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Battle Lines Drawn Over Net Neutrality 257

InfoWorldMike writes "As the U.S. Congress argues the pros and cons of network neutrality, many companies doing business on the Internet say their very futures may be at stake. Net neutrality supporters want new laws prohibiting Internet providers from blocking or degrading traffic from their competitors' networks. Determining the full effects of Net neutrality can be difficult, however, in part because the concept is hard to define precisely. Most of the debate has taken place inside the Washington Beltway, where lawmakers and outsiders have proposed several different versions. InfoWorld has a Special Report up exploring the issue with a debate between experts Bill McCloskey and Jon Taplin and some of the news that has captured the issue as it developed."
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Battle Lines Drawn Over Net Neutrality

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  • Youtube (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:07PM (#15679332) Homepage Journal
    What would happen to sites like YouTube if they had to pay a premium to get their bandwidth seen?
    • Re:Youtube (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Oh that's fine. The internet's made of tubes after all.
      • Re:Youtube (Score:3, Funny)

        by bcat24 ( 914105 )
        I know what you mean. Somebody sent me an internet a few days ago, and I didn't get it till now. I think the tubes on my own personal internet are being clogged by those stupid people who send WHOLE BOOKS in them.
    • They'd probably do a much better job of policing non-fair use of copyrighted works.
    • Re:Youtube (Score:3, Insightful)

      They'd burn even more VC money than they do now. After all, what's the difference between unprofitable and more unprofitable?
      • Re:Youtube (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @08:32PM (#15680584)
        They'd pay a bunch of money to their ISP, get a contract with a Service Level Agreement, and have an external service monitor check their web site response times to make sure that the higher speed they paid for is what they get. Then, lo and behold, they end up not getting what they paid for. Why? Because implementing QOS/Differv across the Internet will not result in consistant higher speeds. After all, each and every piece of equipment on the Internet will need to have a compatible configuration for QOS/Diffserv to work with any consistancy. And, the last mile will make more of a difference that the backbone (the ones youtube most likely paid for higher speeds). The last mile is where traffic is most variable, and fan-out occurs, and where the mapping between Diffserv and QoS will decide whose packets go into which queue. So without getting ALL local ISPs on board with compatible configurations, its unlikey that youtube's ISP will get consistant improvement for youtube.

        Even more interesting is that without net neutrality, ISPs will be buried under a mountain of regs dwarfing any legislation. That's because already people are talking about making sure 911 VOIP calls get top priority. If the internet is kept neutral, ISPs can legitmately claim that there's no way to prioritize VOIP 911 calls, so government regulation would be pointless. Once the QoS/Diffserv genie is out of the bottle, they'll have to admit thay can prioritize 911 calls. At that point, there'll be no way to stop government regulation of QoS/Diffserv. After, what politician wants to be know as the one that stopped 911 calls? During a terrorist crisis?

        People thinking that being against net neutrality will reduce government regulation have it completely backwards. Without net neutrality, ISPs face a regulation juggernaught out of their worst nightmare. Net neutrality is actually the only chance to limit further government regulation.

        • >After all, each and every piece of equipment on the Internet will need to have a compatible configuration for QOS/Diffserv to work with any consistancy.

          Important insight there.

          Imagine the conversations: "We won't peer with you because of your irresponsible failure to prioritize our VOIP service with e911 support", or the really important one, "Dear 2d tier ISP, we're sorry to hear about your technical problems with packet loss. We can't help you now, but if you contact our mergers and acquisitions depar
    • Re:Youtube (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fupeg ( 653970 )
      Who cares what happens to YouTube? It's not the government's place to say "We need to make sure YouTube doesn't get screwed over by Verizon." This just in. Businesses compete for your dollars. Some win, some lose. If the government helps one over the other, the people who suffer are consumers.

      What is needed is less regulation, not more regulation in the guise of "Net Neutrality." Less regulation would give people more of a choice so that if they are big YouTube fans and their current ISP is making it har
      • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:39PM (#15679999)
        When they deregulated radio we ended up with 2 companies owning 30 stations around here. They're all the same, and I don't have any choice. Now there is massive consolidation in the music venue industry. My favorite ISP was bought by earthlink, and they're nothing compared to the biggies.

        Seems to be the same with lots of things. Deregulate and a few behemoths buy up everything, and you're left with no real choice.

        I don't know how to keep things from doing this. Market forces favor oligarchies forming in anything with nonzero barriers to entry, and supplying bits takes money.

        I was hopeful that municipal internet would provide a bit of competition, but the established players are determined to prevent that. Competition is well and good until it might hit their bottom line.

      • Re:Youtube (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:41PM (#15680007) Homepage Journal
        This just in -- competition doesn't exist.

        Those who compete either join up with other small companies to better compete with the large conglomerates or get absorbed by those conglomerates.

        See AT&T, Verizon, Bell South, etc.

        I would love to believe in the free market, but its a load of ____. Sometimes a competitor comes up who tries to stay independant, usually for personal pride reasons rather than monetary ones. If you study some historical economics, you'll realize this is actually how things work.
      • by TheNoxx ( 412624 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:00PM (#15680116) Homepage Journal
        De-regulation is a good thing for consumers how? Yes, let's stop regulation of trusts and unsafe labor conditions and minimum wage and so forth. What kind of ivy-league masterbatory economics course did you step out of?

        Less regulation does not, for the last accursed fucking time, give people more choices. I could be wrong, of course, about the... self-congratulatory ideas about economics and business. I could be totally wrong, and hell, when the telcom boys charge popular sites with little revenue and mass appeal a fuckton of money just because they are popular websites (like, oh, this one called slashdot ), so we are forced to see content driven by shitloads of ads and corporate sponsorships that get rid of any controversial, meaningful content, in the end, us consumers will REALLY benefit, we'll be in a better place and much happier for it... somehow....
      • Free market will not help when companies start degrading the service of their competitors because in many areas of the country the telco has a monopoly, in others there are few (most of them have only 2) telcos and both of them are going to be doing it. New companies will not emerge because of extremely high costs to enter the market. Content on the Internet is not dominated by companies. This will hurt anybody who gives their content away.
      • Re:Youtube (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tim ( 686 )
        Businesses compete for your dollars. Some win, some lose.

        And it's especially easy to "win" when you can buy a law that allows you to legally extort your competitors.

        What is needed is less regulation, not more regulation in the guise of "Net Neutrality."

        Actually, you have it backwards: the current law requires common-carrier status. The side that you're supporting requires that a new "regulation" be written...it just happens that the new regulation favors big ISPs, so you're OK with the idea.

        Nice troll, th
      • Re:Youtube (Score:3, Informative)

        by dodobh ( 65811 )
        The cost of entry into the last mile is simple infrastructure cost, not regulatory. The problem is that the entity controlling the last mile now wants to regulate different types of traffic differently.

        We are not speaking of control on total bandwidth either, we are speaking different classes of service within the same bandwidth class (not as in more money for more and/or guaranteed bandwidth, but as in "you can't use our competitors VoIP but you can use ours").

        As long as the regulation requires hat all tra
    • I have a feeling the government isn't really interested in whether youtube gets charged more. This is about charging more for P2P traffic, and especially taxing all P2P traffic to fund the **AA. I wish i could have more fait in our government, but the **AA sure seems to have influence all out of propotion to the revenue of their member companies these days.
    • YouTube appeared and succeeded without the government-mandated "net-neutrality".

      Can't you find an example to, like, support your argument?

  • by toomz ( 175524 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:12PM (#15679376) Homepage
    Welcome our new profit-driven corporate overlords.

    Oops.

    That's not a new development.

    Nothing to see here.
    • The funy thing is you have hit on the fundamental truth of the matter. Why pass a law to help either side in what is essentally a battle of the titans. Let them work it out, as has been done countless times in the past.

      I'm for Law Neutrality. Try not to make new ones until there is an actual problem as opposed to only speeches from crazy CEO's.
  • Indeed (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcpkaaos ( 449561 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:12PM (#15679378)
    As the U.S. Congress argues the pros and cons of network neutrality

    I can hear the auction house sounds from here.
    • What bid do I have for this? Its a very nice piece of Grade A consumer ass.

      *insert telcos throwing money and screaming*
    • Ok, next up on the block I have a Ted Stevens. Who wants a Ted Stevens?
      Yes, you, Teleco in the back, $5.
      You, consituents, $6 + Pocket lint.
      Teleco with $10.
      Ten dollars going once.., twice..., SOLD!
  • slashdot effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stocke2 ( 600251 ) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:12PM (#15679380)
    imagine what the slashdot effect would be once they started limiting bandwith down on some of these sites, even worse than it is now
  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:12PM (#15679384) Homepage Journal
    The less regulation the better. Especially considering who will be writing such regulations.
    • by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:39PM (#15679595) Homepage Journal
      less regulation is not neccesarily better. just like less government is not neccesarily better. neither is the more version of either of those sentances.

      Telecommunications companies have government sanctioned monopolies because they taxpayers paid for the communications lines and the companies agreed to follow Common Carrier rules to be allwoed to operate those lines and install them (on behave of the people, with the people's money)

      The VOLUNTARILY subjected themselves to a higher level of regulation.

      Force them to honor the terms of their sanctioned monopolies and stop screwing the consumer
      • Right, but if we didn't have those regulations making them de-facto monopolies in the first place, then nobody would care about net neutrality. The market would be able to regulate itself through fair competition. You're saying that less regulation isn't always a good thing, but it seems to me that every regulation that comes out now is to deal with the failure of a previous set of regulations. If we remove them all, then the world would be a much better place. Mega-corporations wouldn't be able to use them
      • You forgot to memtion we have already given them Billions in rate increases, tax breaks and regulatory incentives to give us Fiber to each and every door, and what we got is a country where the majority of the people are freaking lucky to be able to get a crippled DSL! We are stuck in a pathetic service level where "best effort" really means what ever we feel like giving you of what is left after what you want has all ready been picked over by everybody and his brother.

        Maybe one of these Tellco Vampires wil
    • In some cases the less the government meddles the better. But in some cases, such as this, the government needs to step in a fill the primary reason for having a government: to protect those that cannot protect themselves. In the end, it is the consumers vs the telcos. The consumers do not have the political or economic power to prevent the telcos from forcing us to take it up the ass. The only way we, as consumers, could force the telcos to change their behavior is either cut off all access to the rest
      • by fupeg ( 653970 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:39PM (#15680002)
        But in some cases, such as this, the government needs to step in a fill the primary reason for having a government: to protect those that cannot protect themselves
        Funny, I don't see that in The Constitution. The only thing it says the government should do is protect the rights of all people, regardless if that person is a consumer, a Google executive, or a Verizon executive.
        In the end, it is the consumers vs the telcos.
        Wrong. It's telcos vs. internet companies. Both groups want the government to protect their business, and government protection of a business is always bad for consumers because it prevents other businesses from competing against the protected business.
        The only way we, as consumers, could force the telcos to change their behavior is either cut off all access to the rest of the world (stop watching TV, making phone calls, using the internet, etc) or get the government to stand up for us.
        This kind of thinking only leads to collectivist forms of government, where "somebody" is supposed to be all-knowing and able to make decisions for the greater good of all. The problem is that such a person does not exist, human nature takes over, and the people "looking out for the greater good" wind up just looking out for themselves.

        Appealing to government to resolve any conflict is not the only way. Let's say no net neutrality is enacted, and AT&T starts screwing over consumers. You have more choices than you listed. Instead of demanding the government do more, demand them to do less. Demand them to remove regulation, thus enabling compettition for AT&T. If AT&T is really screwing you over, then you'll gladly switch services if given the choice.
        • by Aadain2001 ( 684036 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:51PM (#15680059) Journal
          But the rules in place are what currently allow competition! It's obvious you don't understand what laws are currently in place, such as the Common Carrier laws. Without regular, the communication lines, whether they are cable, telephone, or fiber optics, will be owned and USED by only one company. Right now if AT&T starts doing things that I don't like, I can go to Verizon or Qwest etc. But if the regulation are removed, AT&T can simply refuse to let me use another carrier since they own the lines in the ground up to my residence. And they can refuse to take any calls from Verizon customers. This is why we have regulations. It prevents the companies from being so territorial that in their pursuit of more money they make life worse for their customers. And since we only have a few competitors out there (how many nation wide telcos can you name?), we need these rules in place.

          Going to the government isn't wanting a single person to fix the problems. Remember, our government represents the PEOPLE and is made up of representatives that the PEOPLE elect. We have placed power in both the Federal government, which deals with national issues, and in the State government, which focus on issues in the state. In issues like this, the Federal government, which is made of the PEOPLE, has the power to standup for the PEOPLE. It's not collectivist government, it's representative government.

          • by MDMurphy ( 208495 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @08:21PM (#15680528)
            Unfortunately, ISPs have been successful by lobbying [payoffs] to keep from being classified as a common carrier. They like to enjoy some of the privilages, but are reluctant to "pay" for these privilages.

            If a an ISP wants to extort from Google, Vonage,Yahoo, YouTube for not screwing with their traffic, I'd say let them. And as soon as they do, start holding them criminally liable for every gambling transaction, spam scam, phishing attack or kiddie porn transaction that originates, terminates or transits their network.

            However, if they want to be immune from what others are doing on their network without their knowledge, they need to be transparent to the origin/destination/content type of data they are transmitting/receiving.

            Wikipedia on Common Carriers:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier [wikipedia.org]
        • by nuzak ( 959558 )

          "According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to ... first, the duty of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies; secondly, the duty of protecting, so far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice, and thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institution
  • I'm safe (Score:4, Funny)

    by adamwright ( 536224 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:15PM (#15679399) Homepage
    I had my staff send me several spare Internets in case the big telcos broke this one. I've plenty of them stored in the basement now so if anyone needs one, I'll Fedex it over for a reasonable price.

    See, there's no reason to worry!
    • OK, wait a minute, I'm pretty sure that you cannot send the internet on the back of a truck. Through a tube, maybe.
  • by browncs ( 447083 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:15PM (#15679401)
    OK line up boys and girls. On my left: those who think that the Federal Government should run the Internet for the good of the public, because those big corporations are EVIL. On my right: those who think that free-market competition should decide the winners and losers, and will drive the Internet's evolution much faster than the stranglehold of the --- perhaps not "Evil" but at least "Slow, incompetent, and stifling -- Federal Government.

    Where do you stand?

    Think carefully, your future is in your hands.

    Then call or write your representative.
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:26PM (#15679490) Journal
      Where do you stand?

      I'm standing on your false dichotomy, hope the boot in your face doesn't hurt too bad.
    • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#15679513)
      Well, ideally we'd get the third option:

      1. Have all the pipes owned by a neutral, non-profit or closely-regulated third party (or worst-case the government itself in the form of local municipalities or even states).
      2. Then, all service providers for any web content can compete in an equal, thriving space. This is very similar to how most roads work in the US (government owned), and almost exactly how the deregulated electricity market in Texas works (TXU Electric Deliver owns the lines, anyone may sell services on them).
      3. Profit for competing businesses and consumers???

      Barring that, and assuming that the lines remain owned by private companies despite many of them having been granted monopolies (or duopolies in terms of cable/phone) to build and maintain them, then there is no possible way for the free market to work out something already limited by the government.

      Thus, government-mandated Net Neutrality is the best we can get, and I'll live with it.
      • Thus, government-mandated Net Neutrality is the best we can get, and I'll live with it.

        Uh .. no. Thats not the best we can get. You earlier stated that we're in this situation where more government is the solution because of government (the granted monopolies).

        Here's an idea: recind those monopolies. Let the market be really free.
    • And in front of you is Bell South who wants to pick your pocket with monopolistic pleasure.
    • The entire planet has had network neutrality for years and it hasn't cost anyone a penny. The US has had common carrier laws since 1830 [davros.org] (they originally referred to shipping companies) and they are still in effect today. Why would continuing a law that has existed for 176 years suddenly incurr some new big cost?
    • Let me go into more detail on why this is a false dichotomy. I'll skip the government side, since we've all already heard about the tubes and the internets, and I'll go with the "free market side":

      This is not a market situation. The telecom wants to charge entities that have no relationship whatsoever with the telecom. Since I'm bored with road analogies, I'll try something different: Mastercard. What the telecoms are doing now is like the CEO of Wal-Mart waking up and saying "you know, we are the large
    • What is more evil to me is a law mandating that either side do something. Why do we need a law to handle an idea this stupid? If Verizon tries to collect money from Google, what will make Google pay? And Google has other levers to work against Verizon doing so like anti-trust laws (as they have threatened) and even outright blocking Verizon from using Google (which actually brings some degree of harm to the company throgh workers not being able to find things as easily or (evil laugh) blocking verizon emp
    • OK line up boys and girls. On my left: those who think that the Federal Government should run the Internet for the good of the public, because those big corporations are EVIL. On my right: those who think that free-market competition should decide the winners and losers, and will drive the Internet's evolution much faster than the stranglehold of the --- perhaps not "Evil" but at least "Slow, incompetent, and stifling -- Federal Government.

      Where do you stand?

      If the backbone providers want to be free of g

  • by trybywrench ( 584843 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:17PM (#15679411)
    I bet all this started over some telco exec trying to figure out a way to cash in on google's success. When I first heard about what they wanted to do I distinctly remember blowing it off and saying "it will never happen, it's too ridiculous for anyone to take seriously", i guess i was wrong. This illustrates a pretty sad state of affairs in the business end of the Internet.
    • Yeah, I vaugely recall AT&T's then-CEO bitching about google traffic on his network in the fall of 2004. At the time I thought he was fucking nuts.
      • I still think he's fucking nuts.

        The only change is that I've come to realize that he's fucking nuts and rich.
      • yeah his mouth was flapping about ambiguios google traffic, but what he was talking about was really TvIP. He knew he was on the hook to put fiber to the door at 45Mbs and a big chunk of that was being earmarked for video delivery, that nobody had ever done TvIP except on small experimental networks and the system was fragile as hell. What he needed was a big fight over something else for a distraction, and net neutrality was a big winner; when their over-promised aready paid-for years late fiber network cr
  • by grylnsmn ( 460178 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:17PM (#15679412)
    In my opinion, many advocates have been going about this fight the wrong way. The telecoms are spending a lot of money to fram this debate as a fight over the infrastructure (and the idea of limited bandwidth). Currently, we're losing that debate, both due to funds, but also due to poor communication.

    However, if we frame this in reference to the existing concept of common carriers, we should go a lot farther. Quite simply, the telecoms want to control what is sent over their networks. If they want to care about what data is passed over their network, then they need to take full responsibility for that data. If someone is transporting child pornography, then the carrier should be liable, because they are intimately involved with monitoring the data being passed back and forth (how else would they be enforcing their charges against big sites?).

    We already have laws on the books that provide common carrier protections for some companies in exchange for certain guarantees. By framing the debate in terms of common carrier status, we should be able to force a similar exchange.
    • then the carrier should be liable, because they are intimately involved with monitoring the data being passed back and forth (how else would they be enforcing their charges against big sites?).

      Great, then not only will they be charging based on content, but they will be censoring it as well. Sign me up!
      • Except that it is completely unfeasible for them to censor everything, and if they let anything through, they are liable for it.

        In that sort of framework, it is very much in the interests of the telecoms to not censor anything, and simply do what they are supposed to do: pass data back and forth.

        After all, isn't the whole idea of degrading or blocking some of the data based upon arbitrary factors a form of censorship? If they want the right to censor my internet connection (by degrading my access to sites
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:49PM (#15679662)

      Quite simply, the telecoms want to control what is sent over their networks. If they want to care about what data is passed over their network, then they need to take full responsibility for that data.

      Actually, this is not really correct. Telecos already charge different prices for ensuring the quality of different kinds of traffic. What they want to do now is not look at the content, per se, but at the people who can be extorted from. For example, they don't want to charge more for porn. What they want to do is charge someone who is not one of their customers an added fee for not intentionally degrading the service of someone who is their customer. They don't want to degrade traffic to search engines. They want to threaten to degrade traffic to each individual search engine unless they pay up. Give us a million bucks or we'll make your site so slow for a huge bunch of people that are our customers that they all go to a competitor. Since end users have no choice (because of government enforced geographical monopolies) there is no free market to correct this.

  • by snuf23 ( 182335 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:18PM (#15679424)
    As long as our fine congress has as strong a grasp of how the Internet works as Senator Ted Stevens [wired.com] how can they fail to make the right decision?

    "I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

    Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially."


    Personally I think 5 days is pretty good to transfer an entire Internet to your personal office. I however have lower expectations than our esteemed Senator.
    • The frightening thing is that his staff email should have stayed on the local intranet.
    • Personally I think 5 days is pretty good to transfer an entire Internet to your personal office. I however have lower expectations than our esteemed Senator.

      Only five days to grasp the entirtey of the internet, and hold it in the palm of his hand before lunch.

      Do you not now realize the truth of the matter? Senator Stevens is The Architect.

      I'll bet I know where he keeps it though, on a small island in Alaska. No wonder he needs such a large bridge. It's gotta bear some load to handle all those pipes being
  • Some "debate" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nakanai_de ( 647766 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:20PM (#15679440)
    There were two questions asked and a total of six statements from the two men. Not to mention the fact that the only response to the question "wouldn't companies have to pay a premium to get their content to end-users" was "Bellsouth has promised not to do that." No mention of the policies of the other 4 major ISPs, and no mention of the possible conflicts of interest that tiered pricing would bring about. It would have been nice if the pro-neutrality guy had raised these issues- and had some backbone. (All he does is blather a little about dark fiber.) Or, barring that, if the interview/debate had been longer, so we could get more of a sense of the depth of this issue.
    • Re:Some "debate" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
      "Bellsouth has promised not to do that."

      I'm going to quote an old post [slashdot.org] from the "DMCA Abuse Widespread" [slashdot.org] article:

      Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying . They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

      If you don't get the promise(s) in writing (ie codified into law), it's worthless.

      E

  • Why NN is important. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:20PM (#15679445) Journal
    South Korea temporarily lifts decision to block VoIP services

    SEOUL -- The decision to block South Korea-based U.S. military community members from making phone calls via the Internet has been put on hold.

    The South Korean Ministry of Information and Communications and Dacom, the Internet service provider that serves about 12,000 base customers, agreed late Thursday to a U.S. Forces Korea request to suspend Saturday's deadline to begin blocking the service.

    Dacom and the two other major ISPs, Korea Telecom and Hanaro, want to ban U.S.-based voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, companies that are not in compliance with the country's Telecommunications Business Act.

    South Korea agreed to "suspend their decision to block these services pending the results of further discussions with USFK," according to a military news statement released late Friday.

    USFK commander Gen. B.B. Bell "expressed his appreciation for the suspension and noted his desire to seek a solution that does not disadvantage U.S. servicemembers and families serving far from home," according to the release. USFK said it will keep people informed of developments.

    The issue came to light Thursday when base Internet customers received notices stating they would no longer be able to use some of the most popular VoIP companies, including Vonage, AT&T CallVantage and Lingo.

    The Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts on-base Internet service through a company called SSRT, which in turn buys its Internet time from Dacom.

    More: http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&ar ticle=37448&archive=true [estripes.com]
  • by richdun ( 672214 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:21PM (#15679448)
    The sound of a large switch being thrown was overhead near the Mountain View, CA, headquarters of search giant Google this afternoon. A local robed old guy was quoted as saying, "It's as if millions of miles of dark fiber suddenly came online, and then telcos everywhere were suddenly silenced."
  • A startup trying to compete with Google Video or Yahoo Video could pay a few pennies over their basic connection fee to turbocharge the connection to the viewer for the period of time that the video is being fed and have a competitive advantage over any video service that was satisfied to offer their customer today's "best effort" connection.

    Yes, because OBVIOUSLY the big providers will never think to spend some of their vast fortunes to get a ride in the fast lane. It's not like the little guy will be forc

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:23PM (#15679470)
    Okay, so Slashdot has this lively debate about Net Neutrality. And paid "experts" stage a lively-looking debate about Net Neutrality on the news. But in the end, does it really matter?

    When it comes right down to it, the only people who matter in the debate over net neutrality are the congressmen. If we leave "the market" to decide, it will decide against neutrality-- because "the market" consists of a small pool of telecom monopolies, and they will always "decide" in their own interests.

    And the congressmen, the only people whose votes matter here, don't understand [sciam.com] this issue-- they're just voting along flat "Government intervention good!" versus "Government intervention bad!" party lines. So basically, what happens on the "Net Neutrality" issue isn't about what's best technically, or what's best economically, or about what's best for the public-- it comes entirely down to, which party line will win? Which party is better at pushing their line? More specifically, it comes down to, which party will win the 2006 elections?

    And we already know the Republicans are going to win the 2006 elections. There just isn't any alternative-- there's no opposition. The Democrats aren't even trying. They're just sitting back, letting the Republicans set the agenda of Congress and the terms of every debate, and failing to either distinguish themselves from the Republicans or establish themselves as a credible alternative. The only time the Democrats even manage to get enough media attention for the public to remember they exist, it's over embarrassing internal bickering. And with no impressions of themselves in the public mind except internal bickering, the Democrats are going to lose.

    So the "Net Neutrality" debate has already been decided, based on entirely external factors. What does Slashdot have to add?
  • InfoWorld has a Special Report up exploring the issue with a debate between experts Bill McCloskey and Jon Taplin and some of the news that has captured the issue as it developed."

    I'd hardly call that a debate, there were what 2 exchanges? The FA was brief to say the least.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:27PM (#15679503) Homepage
    I am curious about the organizations that oppose network neutrality. The article has a list [infoworld.com] which seems to match the list on a fake grassroots site run by telecoms [handsoff.org].

    Is the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation [ncbcp.org] really a group representing Black Americans? If so, why would stand aganist network neutrality? Their web site doesn't list Network Neutrality as an issue anywhere that I can find.

    How about the National Association of Manufacturers? [nam.org]Net neutrality isn't on their list of key issues either, but a search reveals a misguided report [nam.org] showing how they don't want network neutrality because it would stifle companies from laying new fiber. I can see manufacturers not liking that, but since network neutrality has nothing to do with laying of fiber, I only assume that someone there is misinformed.

    The whole list of supporters seems this way. Is anyone here a member of one of these organizations who can shed some light on the views of these organizations?
  • more tubes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by BigZaphod ( 12942 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#15679514) Homepage
    We just need to make sure that the tubes we get are free from any blockage. That way the internets flows with maximum speed. When max speed is possible through our tubes, everyone wins! Flush often to prevent nasty buildup by corporations trying to ruin the lives of our children.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#15679517) Journal
    All that will happen is that a number of the sites will change to p2p rather than a server. All in all, this will work against the companies that are hoping to make a few bucks off of companies like google and MS.
  • I'm done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:45PM (#15679634) Journal

    I give up.

    At some point in the future, I may write one final document about why I am for net neutrality, put it on the Internet, and send it to my congresscritters.

    But for now, it just hurts my head to even try to begin to understand how anyone continues to be fooled. I don't understand how anyone can believe this bullshit:

    In November, AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre famously complained in a BusinessWeek interview that Google and VoIP provider Vonage were using "my pipes free."

    Or this bullshit:

    BellSouth has already promised not to filter, degrade, or impair any service at any speed.

    Maybe South Park has the answer. Maybe we've all buried our heads in sand...

    But really, how can any thinking person not see that these are complete and absolute fucking lies? If they're not going to filter, degrade, or impair any service, why wouldn't they be FOR net neutrality? Or at least neutral -- why would they care if there's a regulation forcing them to do what they're already promising they'll do? Simple: Because they're either outright lying about their intentions, or you need to read between the lines: "Not filtered or degraded" doesn't necessarily mean "As fast as anyone else". And "degraded" compared to what? Whatever the fuck they want.

    This is not a conspiracy theory. This is not a communist plot. This is the simple truth: Without net neutrality, the Internet as we know it will be gone, and the American Internet will be as bad or worse than the Chinese "Internet".

    But I give up. I really don't think there's anything more I can do.

    • Re:I'm done (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Entropy ( 6967 )
      [quote]If they're not going to filter, degrade, or impair any service, why wouldn't they be FOR net neutrality?[/quote] If they stay true to those words, there are still options they can provide customers who want to pay premiums: faster services and/or guaranteed bandwidth. Think guaranteed as in "remote surgery".
    • This is not a conspiracy theory. This is not a communist plot. This is the simple truth: Without net neutrality, the Internet as we know it will be gone, and the American Internet will be as bad or worse than the Chinese "Internet".

      Why? Did these regulations exist before, while the Internet was being developed? What has prevented non-neutral networks from destroying the Internet up to this point, and how has that changed?

      I think the whole net-neutrality issue a bit hysterical, myself. The Internet was c

  • Infoworld starts their "debate" with this:

    Net neutrality is widely portrayed as an assault on the core principles of the Internet.

    I've never heard Net neutrality portrayed that way. Especially since net neutrality is one of the core principles of the Internet that has been around since day 1. This seems like a tactic by Infoworld where they wanted to say "We are going to portray net neutrality as an assault on the core principles of the internet" while somehow managing to blame someone else.

    I'm going to m

    • This seems like a tactic by Infoworld where they wanted to say "We are going to portray net neutrality as an assault on the core principles of the internet" while somehow managing to blame someone else.

      Hmmmm. It's a good conspiracy theory but I'm actually going to have to burst your bubble on that one.

      The fault was mine. It was a lousy edit of the interview. I think all of us on staff subconsciously read it as "the telcos' stance on Net neutrality is portrayed..." but nobody noticed what it actually s

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:14PM (#15679825) Homepage Journal
    I see no reason to enforce "Net Neutrality" through any law, especially since we've seen what happens when the government regulates any action -- less freedom, not more.

    The Mises Institute has a great article on why NN is a terrible idea. The article is titled Who Owns the Internet? [mises.org] and it really gives great insight into why the political side of NN is just another fiasco and a tool to control the Internet by those already in power.

    Competition will keep the Internet cheap and fast -- not laws. NN will only decrease competitive opportunities, and we all know the law will end up with 5000 pork barrel adders that have nothing to do with the title.
    • I see no reason to enforce "Net Neutrality" through any law, especially since we've seen what happens when the government regulates any action -- less freedom, not more.

      Ah, yes, terrible things like the postal service with the cheapest rates for shipping anything anywhere. Terrible things like highways, power grids, safe airplanes, safe food, safe medicine, and licensed doctors and engineers. All of these have caused problems that were not around in the 1800's with sweat shops and child labor and malprac
  • by tlabetti ( 304480 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:24PM (#15679892) Homepage
    I really think people keep ignoring how tiering will work in reality. ISPs/telcos are not going to block or restrict bandwidth to sites. (please refrain from replying with port 25/craigslist/small isp examples) They are craftier than that. They plan to partner up with specific content providers and provide them additional dedicated bandwidth which they will define as Private Bandwidth. This will allow them to say that they are not blocking anyone from using the Public internet.

    For example: they will bundle in 5mbps dedicated bandwidth to MSN sites at no extra charge to the consumer.

    The net effect will be that the ISP's partners will have an advantage over those content providers that will not be receiving dedicated bandwidth. Over time this will have the effect of reducing competiton and innovation on the internet. You can not compete with that dedicated bandwidth.

    Net Neutrality proponents should start thinking about how the ISPs really will implement tiering; no one on the other side of the argument really believes that the ISPs really could get away with blocking/restricting. You won't be able to convince them unless you really start talking about how Access Tiering really will come to be.
    • This is something @home did. They provided content via a portal that was on their network. Media companies who wanted their content on @home had to pay. @home in turn provided a dedicated audience and higher bandwidth availability to the content.

      That being said, why can't ISPs, Content Producers and Content Providers use this method? Setup regional servers that can provide dedicated bandwidth to those willing to pay and a dedicated audience by way of the ISPs subscribers.

      I think the reason is contro
      • > This is something @home did. They provided content via a portal that was on their network. Media companies who wanted their content on @home had to pay. @home in turn provided a dedicated audience and higher bandwidth availability to the content.

        And now @home is out of business.
  • Hard to define... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jemenake ( 595948 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:27PM (#15679911)
    Determining the full effects of Net neutrality can be difficult, however, in part because the concept is hard to define precisely
    I think it's hard to define precisely because people are using different definitions.

    The articles you see in papers and news sites all seem to boil it down to companies having to pay more for the larger amount of bandwidth they use. But that can't be it, because that's what's been happening all along. End users pay more for a faster DSL connection. ISP's pay more for a fatter pipe. This is the way it has always been... so to say that this is in danger of happening doesn't make any sense.

    On the other end of the spectrum is the idea of charging based upon the nature of the content. VoIP, for example, being billed at a higher rate than, say, Usenet or web surfing. This is akin to the phone company charging you (or somebody) more if you use your telephone to dial the police or hospital than they do if you dial your mom. In fact, what might be more accurate is if the phone company charged less when you were talking to your mom about her meatloaf recipie... and then charged more when the nature of the conversation turned to "... make sure that you remember to give dad his heart medication!". That would be billing based upon the nature of the content.

    I've seen some argue that this would merely be capitalism at work. It's charging what the market will bear. Getting the "heart medication" part of the message through is more crucial to you than getting the "meatloaf recipie" part through... and the phone companies should be able to charge what it's worth to you.... not what it costs them, right? Well, all I can say to that is that there are situations similar to that which the American people have pretty much agreed are unfair. Look at profiteering, for example. When a hurricane hits some region and the stores start charging $20 per gallon of water, we've pretty much agreed that that's crossing the line... partly because the increase in price had nothing to do with an increase in costs. (yet also partly because the predicament that the buyers are in wasn't forseeable).

    Plane tickets would be a counter-example, however. Airlines have all kinds of tricks to get more money out of the people who can/will pay more. Charging more if you don't stay over a weekend is their way of getting more money out of the business travelers (who are traveling to a weekday conference, having the company pay for the airfare, and don't want to spend the weekend away from their family). This is an incarnation of price-discrimination that we've come to accept.

    Which of those you feel NN falls into is up to you... but I think we need to start by giving our lawmakers some more-accurate analogies.... because the "fatter pipe" thing is just way off.
  • Without net neutrality, what's to stop backbone providers from charging content providers (ex. Google) also for "guaranteed" bandwidth? They might have the "if Verizon could do it, we could too" attitude. Google could be charged multiple times for sending data to a customer because it traversed networks owned by different providers.

    That would be like trying to send a letter from California to New York, and being charged an extra stamp for each state my letter goes through, just because my letter is in a pla
  • That's all, the forced "net neutrality" would amount to... Another government agency interfering with the market.

    The only valid argument is telcos pessimizing traffic of companies, competing with them on something else. Against that there already are anti-monopoly laws...

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:56PM (#15680094)
    So here's a simple question. If we "need" laws on net neutrality, what are those laws going to stop that is taking place right now? If there is nothing going on today, what makes us so sure there will be in the neare or even distant future?

    Verizon has said they would like to charge large companies like Google money for the bandwith users of those services use. Fine. It's not illegal, so... why have they not done so?

    Perhaps THAT force that has kep the Verizons of the world at bay should be strengthened, rather than having a bunch of people that poorly understand the fundamentals create new laws that the whole tech insdustry has to keep track of.
    • "Verizon has said they would like to charge large companies like Google money for the bandwith users of those services use. Fine. It's not illegal, so... why have they not done so?"

      Because it is illegal. Who mods this crap up, anyway?

      One of the biggest confusions about this whole debate -- a confusion perpetuated by the astroturf campaigns of the telco industry -- is the status of the current law.

      Right now, the law says that data is data. Whether it's voice or IP traffic, the telcos are obligated to treat
  • by snarfer ( 168723 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:19PM (#15680238) Homepage
    Here is a Net Neutrality question. If an article appears on Slashdot that criticizes Comcast or ATT or one of the other carriers, or calls for unionization of the telco industry... do you think you'll be able read Slashdot that day?

    Seriously, why would a corporation allow that to be sent out on the Internet if they can just block it with no repercussions?
  • by dgh ( 149553 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @08:50PM (#15680677)
    Face it, businesses do not promote something unless they will make money from it. The stated purpose of the telcos is to charge services of higher value more money. This increases their revenues while providing nothing more of value to the customer. "Ahh" you say, "but they need to provide better service to enable these high value services to work well, and they need more money to invest in the infrastructure!" Well guess what, higher bandwidth in "dumb" pipes costs less to implement than "smart pipes". So the telcos' scheme not only increases revenue, it also increases cost. Both will be born by all of us. A neutral Net is the most economical way to run the Internet that is known at this time. It is important for commerce just neutral phone lines and roadways are. Abandoning Net neutrally will increase the friction of Net commerce as economists would say.

    And for the "free" market idealogues, capital intensive infrastructure does poorly when run like a competitive market. Who is going to run two lines down your street? That just doubled the cost of the service to provide a duopoly. Generally the guy with the infrastructure there first wins, the cost of entering an established market is too high for competitors to enter. So in a "free" market, these services naturally gravitate to a monopoly.

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