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Net Neutrality a Threat to Online OSes? 203

tomtechie writes " talks about net neutrality and how it would impact the world of operating systems, both online and offline. The author states, 'I know of a couple of people who support the legislation despite the fact that it could possibly enable ISPs to restrict access for those who are not willing to pay a premium fee for broader access. They have a strong belief that it is needed in order to make sure that ISPs have the tools and funds to expand their already overtaxed networks. Keeping in line with their belief system, this allows ISPs to make sure that developing connectivity can in fact, keep up with the explosive demand for broadband in more places. In other words, it allows for fatter pipes.'"
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Net Neutrality a Threat to Online OSes?

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  • by deadhammer ( 576762 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:36PM (#15713557)
    In other words, it allows for fatter pipes.

    Agreed! It's always good to let private industry widen up those tubes!
    • by Mayhem178 ( 920970 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:45PM (#15713621)
      Excellent! Now I can receive an internet in a timely fashion!
    • I'd probably just mod you insightful, though. I mean, how many times do we have to go over this? How much taxpayer money was already paid to the "service providers" for fiber optics to every home in the country? Someone needs to remind these people (in business and in government) about the "tragedy of the commons []." If everyone plays nice, we all benefit. But someone thinks there's a little extra to be had, and then the grabbing begins, and...

      Well, you know how it ends. It's called a tragedy for good

      • by tambo ( 310170 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:23PM (#15714197)
        How much taxpayer money was already paid to the "service providers" for fiber optics to every home in the country?

        True - and it's exactly like every other tax-supported network, such as roads and the mail system. These projects are ultra-critical national infrastructure, and they seem to do just fine with public support.

        It's telling that these other systems also have "neutrality," and it works extremely well. The USPS has no interest in delaying your parcel by two weeks. Every driver on the freeway is bound by the same set of rules. And guess what - when we need extra capacity, the taxpayers buy it! What's wrong with that system?

        The difference is that unlike these government projects, the internet backbone is almost entirely privatized. It's true that ultraconservatives ordinarily support privatization as "more efficient" than government support. But haven't we recently seen some phenomenally anti-consumer behavior in privatized industries? [] And this administration is hardly a "typical" conservative gang - the federal bureaucracy has grown explosively under its leadership. Odd, that. I guess it depends whether the heads of the corporate shepherds are your friends [].

        The problem, as future economic historians will state in tragic retrospect, is that unlike the federal government, private corporations do not have their customers' best interests at heart - often they're in direct conflict. [] We don't put Microsoft in charge of our missile defense network, because every 20 minutes, they'd be hassling the federal government to pay their monthly licensing fees for the laser-guidance software!

        It's more evidence of our shameful government that has completely discarded the notion of serving the people.

        - David Stein

        • Good, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Penguinisto ( 415985 )
          ...the current Bush (nor his father) != conservative. They can claim it all they want, but the facts say otherwise.

          Personally, while the USPS has no interest in delaying a package, they also have no internally-generated interest in making sure it arrives in as timely a fashion as possible, whereas their competitors UPS and FedEx have a 100% vested interest in making sure an overnight package gets there overnight.

          Also, I notice that toll roads seem to be less cluttered with lane-sucking construction area

        • The USPS has no interest in delaying your parcel by two weeks.

          If only that were true.

          I work for a tribal casino in Nice, California. I normally don't mention the name of the town even but let's face it, you could figure me out with google anyway. Our monthly mailer is sent out from god-knows-where; it's assembled by the ad agency that we pay to do such things.

          Currently we are sending our mailer out via first class mail. The idea was that it would get to people in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, t

    • by CompSci101 ( 706779 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:04PM (#15713727)

      They've already widened my tube to the point I can barely sit anymore.

      Thanks, but no thanks.

      • "They've already widened my tube to the point I can barely sit anymore."

        I am trying very hard to contain the urge to make a goatse joke right now.

        On topic: I am a poli-sci major in Washington DC. I interned for someone who is very involved with this issue. One thing that I have not heard, however, is the vote count. The fate of almost every piece of legislation is known well in advance of the actual vote. Is net nutrality looking like it will pass, fail, or is it too close to call?

    • Yeah good theory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sterno ( 16320 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:06PM (#15713744) Homepage
      Unfortunately for Ted Stevens' tubes, it doesn't work that way. Right now the broadband providers have a motivation to create larger amounts of generally available bandwidth. What would happen under a regime that doesn't include net neutrality is that they'd make more money, but there's no reason to believe they'll invest that money in bigger pipes on the consumer end.

      Right now, how does a broadband provider get more money from a customer? Offering more bandwidth or providing additional services like VOIP, IPTV, etc. But if net neutrality isn't protected, then that's no longer where they make their money. They will make their money in creating tiered services and charing external providers to get different levels of service through their network. So rather than competing for your dollar, they'll be competing for Google's dollar, or simply pricing superior service in such a way as to eliminate competition for those services mentioned above.

      As soon as subscribers become nothing more than a pool of consumers for broadband providers to sell to service providers, bandwidth will stop increasing. What incentive would they have to offer 10Mbps to you if 5 is sufficient to provide the services they want to offer? They'll be investing in equipment to tier their network services, not in putting fiber into your house.

      Furthermore, consumers will be paying for this tiering through more expensive services. The bandwidth providers will either charge too high of a fee to use their tiered service and force out competition or they'll simply charge a fee to the competitors just below the level that forces them out and the consumer will pay for it in higher subscription fees and more ads. So what you'll see if your monthly bill will slowly creep up due to lack of local competition, but your bandwidth will not increase significantly and your overall cost for network based services will go up.
      • Or they could compete on offering net neutrality.
        • by sterno ( 16320 )
          No they can't. You've got at most two pipes going into the average home and they maximize their profitiability by doing the tiered service. They would actually be in the position of being accused of mismanagement if they didn't develop such tiered services. If there was legitimate competition in most markets, then maybe net neutrality wouldn't be necessary, but so long as the majority of people in this country only have one or two options for network service, we need it.
    • In other words, it allows for fatter pipes.

      Agreed! It's always good to let private industry widen up those tubes!

  • by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <rufus-slashdot@h ... .org minus punct> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:37PM (#15713564) Homepage
    I wonder where an online OS fits between the hourses and lottery balls [] flushing Ted Steven's pipes. (Last night's Daily Show on Net Neutrality)
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:39PM (#15713574)
    If you can't grow your broadband, get a loan. If you can't get it, don't expand. If you can't host a service, don't host it. Simple as that.

    ISPs don't host mirrors of popular free content out of generosity or because they are such open source fanatics, they do it so you suck that 6+gig image from their local mirror (i.e. only generate traffic inside their net, which they can charge you for but costs them zip) instead of leeching it from overseas (which costs them as well as you).

    Don't fall for that, please.

    As for "online OS", could anyone tell me the benefit of having even less control over the OS I'm running?
    • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:46PM (#15713623) Homepage

      How come no ISP rep can discuss (i.e. oppose) net neutrality without talking about "incentivizing" the creation of higher-capacity networks. 1) Damn, "incentivize" is an annoying word. 2) The incentive to build high-capacity networks is the profit you will get when customers subscribe to your service.

      Car analogy time! Does GM require that the automobile-production needs to be "incentivized"?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        The problem with your plan is that they're pretty much out of customers. Everyone who's going to sign up signed up when they made it $10 a month, and the remaining aren't going to be wowed by "fatter pipes". Of course, it's not Google's fault that they lowered their prices to the point where they could no longer afford to maintain and upgrade their networks, but they seem more than happy to try and take it out on them.
      • 1) Damn, "incentivize" is an annoying word. 2) The incentive to build high-capacity networks is the profit you will get when customers subscribe to your service.

        1) I question whether incentivize is actually a word
        2) How dare you imply they should have to spend money to make money, It's their gods given right to have large groups of people pay them money

        3) Yes, GM needs incentivised automobile production for their alternative fuel vehicles

        I think an even better analogy (only because it deals with moving a lo

      • Their "incentive" to make broadband available is that they can charge more for it than for analog. Don't want to offer it? No problem. Someone will, and their customers move over to him. Case closed. They didn't want to offer it.

        Hey, good ol' free market! I know it's old fashion and outdated to actually offer something for the money you want to rake in, but that's how it's been for a long, long time! And guess what, it worked!

        Anything else those ISP marketing drones keep spinning?
    • As for "online OS", could anyone tell me the benefit of having even less control over the OS I'm running?

      I prefer to call it an online desktop because the term "online OS" is perhaps misleading. The advantages I can see are:

      1) Take your desktop everywhere: your documents, your favourite links, homepage, all your desktop settings and preferences, programs, wallpaper... basically everything. Nothing to carry, and nothing to install to get it working. You can access it from any random internet cafe.

      2) You no l
    • As for "online OS", could anyone tell me the benefit of having even less control over the OS I'm running?

      I have just as much control over the online OS I use [] as I do over any other OS... because it's running on my own webserver. I decided to give eyeOS a go after reading about it in the last Slashdot discussion on web based OSes and it's very slick.

      Installation was trivial and functionality is pretty amazing. Total cost: $0 ($15/mo for the virtual server but I'm already paying for that).

      Now, assumi
    • "As for "online OS", could anyone tell me the benefit of having even less control over the OS I'm running?"

      Mostly because then you don't have to maintain it. Downloading updates and keeping a machine secure is a pain. So is backing up data. By letting full-time experts do this you save time and hassle.

      I moved my e-mail to Yahoo years ago and then to Gmail, precisely because I was tired of backing up email and making sure email got scanned for viruses. I know there are disadvantages. I have to be connected t
  • Fatter pipes... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brothernone ( 928252 )
    for them to stuff our money into. Stop paying the CEO's 400million a year and put some of the cash into the pipes if they're not good enugh. Don't pull it out of my pocket.
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:41PM (#15713587) talks about net neutrality and how it would impact the world of operating systems, both online and offline

    First thought about that was WTF - how would this impact an offline system? Scanned the article and there isn't any mention of it.

    Any takers, anyone?

  • by hoborocks ( 775911 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:41PM (#15713590) Homepage
    Two Hundred Billion Dollars [] were set aside for exactly this purpose. To charge people TWICE is just a way of getting more money.

    Come on. Where did the money go?!
  • I don't buy it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by McGregorMortis ( 536146 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:45PM (#15713614)
    If the money I pay to send/receive my bits is not enough to fund the network, then charge me more for my bits. That's fair, and has the added benefit of not destroying the very soul of the Internet.
    • Re:I don't buy it. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tricorn ( 199664 )

      Exactly. It doesn't cost more to transfer bits containing video, VOIP, e-mail or web pages. You might need a different QoS for something like VOIP, so charge for special treatment (but don't allow intentionally degrading service just so you CAN charge to not mess it up). Charge by peak bandwidth, delay, jitter, since that's what costs you money - but each individual bit doesn't cost anything. Put in intelligent, fair throttling so everyone gets their share of available bandwidth and you don't need caps.

  • It's not as if it is impractical to deploy enough capacity to keep the networks from being "Overtaxed" but of course the greedy telcos want to make everyone (falsely) believe that that they will be driven out of business if they actually spend some cash building out their infrastructure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:48PM (#15713635)
    Isn't one of the fundamental principals of capitalism that the strongest companies will survive? In other words, for a company to be strong, it needs to invest in itself to give itself a competitive advantage over others? To me, it seems like "fattening the pipes" is just something else that needs to be a corporate investment. The telcos/ISPs/whatever seem to be saying "pay up or we won't invest in making things better".
    • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:39PM (#15713945) Homepage Journal
      In this case, there isn't a free market. There is limited space for runnning lines all over the country right up to people's houses, so only a few companies own a limited number of lines. (Otherwise we'd have lines all over the place, if there were 50 different companies, each needing their own lines). This is called a natural monopoly. If you don't like your cable company, you can't have another company dig up your neighborhood to run new lines to your house.

      So basically, you are right. This is simply greed with no market justification. They want money for nothing. If they don't get the free money that they are after, they can do less maintenance on their networks, and then when consumers get lousier service, they will say "See? All this new internet video trafiic is bogging down this network. We need some free money so that we can throttle bandwidth."
      • Otherwise we'd have lines all over the place

        Or maybe no lines all over the place...broadband wireless has the potential to alter the ISP landscape in a dramatic way.
      • Exactly and it goes *much* further than OS clients. Imagine if some of the big ISPs made alliances with Microsoft to slow down any traffic from Linux or Mac *servers* or non-IiS *web hosts* to a tenth of their bandwidth speeds?

        The impact on the net would be dramatic and immediate.

        Companies would migrate away from Linux/Apache or Mac/Apache or Microsoft/Apache to Microsoft/IIS, not because Microsoft/IIS was better, but simply because Microsoft were able to pay to exclude their competing web OSes and web serv
      • Correct. The service providers persist in trying to revert the Internet into an old-economy vehicle for delivering a narrow selection of services. That was acceptable when there really was a need for separate telephone and video service to the premises, but it no longer makes sense.

        The situation is reminiscent of the time when city streets were obscured by the number of overhead wires carrying competing telephone services. Since services did not interoperate, this situation did not scale and was not su

  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:49PM (#15713640) Homepage Journal
    I just can't wrap my head around why ISP's need a NEW chargable interaction. If the ISP needs more money to improve their pipes, either raise the prices for your customers or gain more customers.

    What's so hard about that? If Google's traffic is bogging your network, raise the price on your contract with Google. They will either pay the price, so you can expand, or they will fire up the dark net, opening tons of your pipe back up.

    The back bone carriers increase rates for the high tier ISPs, they raise rates for the low teir ISPs, they raise rates for what the consumer's pay. Viola! The pipe bilders get more money, the consumers and businesses still pay for them, and no one gets censored.

    • by kherr ( 602366 ) <kevin@pupp[ ] ['eth' in gap]> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:00PM (#15713701) Homepage
      I also don't understand why people can't realize that "net neutrality" means preserving the existing internet. It's all about equality of packets. Everything else on the subject is FUD. Light the dark fiber or charge a proper fee base on bytes-per-second (megabytes per month doesn't control tube-clogging, it's more like a truck model). We're really supposed to believe Google doesn't pay for all the video they're transmitting? Hah.

      (By the way, OSWeekly could unclog the tubes with a better web design. One sentence per page to maximize ad loads is ridiculous and I sure stopped reading by the third page.)
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:05PM (#15713733) Homepage
      What is so hard is that is EXACTLY what they do not want to do. Everyone in the ISP business is worried that if they jack up the prices on consumers they will get left holding the bag, the last one without a chair, etc.

      What they want to do is have a hidden (from the consumer) revenue increase without raising consumer prices.

      This means they can still offer their $14.99 DSL package that doesn't even pay for the leased copper line much less the bandwidth, support or anything else. But they get to keep their increasing market share.

      Sure, this has to collapse someday when the value of the market share is no longer higher than the costs associated with keeping it. But it is the current ISP game to push that ate further and further out.

    • What's so hard about that? If Google's traffic is bogging your network, raise the price on your contract with Google. They will either pay the price, so you can expand, or they will fire up the dark net, opening tons of your pipe back up.

      And right there is the part so many people don't get... Google's traffic??? It's not Google's traffic that is bogging down an ISP's network. It's the ISP's own customers's traffic. That those customers happen to be initiating communication with Google doesn't change tha

  • Never Happen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Valthan ( 977851 )
    It would never happen that way, because as the last page states Google are the "server masters" and they cannot to evil, so I ask you, how can they "run" this Broadband-OS when it would be evil to do so? That's right, they wouldn't be able to, it goes against their programming.

    Also, if something like that did start to happen, Google would most likely start to be an ISP which doesn't restrict things... watch out Verizon.

    One last thing, I wonder how this would affect me, being as I am Canadian; or even
    • One last thing, I wonder how this would affect me, being as I am Canadian; or even anyone else in the world.
      If it doesn't effect your ability to connect to site that have to pass through throttled US pipelines to get to you then I'm sure good 'ol Canada will adopt similar policies and follow in the USs footsteps eventually.
  • by Dogun ( 7502 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:55PM (#15713676) Homepage
    The issue isn't the pipes.

    It's the money.

    We all know traffic shaping is going on - and that's fine and dandy so long as it's mild in degree and hard to show, and as long as it's being done to preserve quality of service.

    The issue is that some jerk ISP's want people to pay them money for preferential shaping, which is basically blackmail, in my eyes.
  • his allows ISPs to make sure that developing connectivity can in fact, keep up with the explosive demand

    Really? It says NOTHING about the total connectivity, just about how they want to carve up what conectiviy there is. In fact, it seems likely to discourage growth of capacity; if the premium services are running tight, they can just downgrade the "normal" services a bit more.

  • by troll -1 ( 956834 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:00PM (#15713700)
    Net Neutrality is not a business concept, it's based on a theory in computer science that the most efficient and cheapest networks are those based on the principle that protocol operations (i.e. TCP/IP) should occur at the end-points of the network.

    See "End-to-end arguments in system design" [] by Jerome H. Saltzer, David P. Reed, and David D. Clark:

    This principle was used by DARPA when it worked on Internet design and it's the reason TCP/IP communications have experienced massive growth.

    It's a principle supported by almost everyone except the backbone owners. Verizon's CEO has said many times that the pipes belong to him and if you're going to make a profit off them then he wants a cut too (referring to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, et al who oppose Net Neut).

    An example of a non-net-neut service is a cell-phone. I'm no fan of government regulation, but I don't want my ISP bill to start looking like my cell-phone bill.
  • This is as ridiculous as saying that we won't be able to go buy milk from stores if we have laws against extortion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:09PM (#15713759)
    Competition over limited resources is where advances are made. Make it faster, cheaper, better - catch the market from the competitor. Easy money is just that - easy money. When MS "won" the first browser war, did it continue improving it's browser? It had corned the market after all and was rich and fat because of it. But - in spite of easy money, it had no reason to continue developing IE. It was done. Only when Firefox stepped up the competition did MS start developing IE again!

    When these guys start charging more for our broadband, our services will *not* get better. They will simply get fatter and richer. They'll have less reason to innovate and compete because they have legeslative protection on the outragious fees they'll be charging their captive consumer-base. This isn't just about net neutrality - but net quality! Currently, they have to compete for every nickel and dime they get. Soon tho, they'll be able to sit back for every dollar and c-note they get. Why spend more money? They already have their basic infrastructure in place and there's lotsa dark-cable out there and their consumers are relatively happy with anything faster than dailup. You'll see *some* gimics and gizmos coming in the future - there's still *some* competition - but all in all, they'll just get fatter without really earning their wages.

  • by Frenchy_2001 ( 659163 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:11PM (#15713764)
    This is the difference between "Free" USA and "Communist" Europe I guess...
    In europe, Internet access is already 5x faster for easily half the price. In most of western europe, you can get a 20Mbps pipe in your house to deliver internet, tv (over IP) and phone (VoIP, although they do not call it that there or even make any difference for it).

    In Europe, they forced the local operators (usually state owned) to open the local loop, allowing anyone to install their equipement to connect your house to their network. The result? Healthy competition driving the services up and the cost down.

    Sure, Europe has a much higher population density than the US, BUT, if that was the only problem, you would have that level of service in any metropolitan area capable to sustain it. This is far from the case here... What happenned is the telcos concentrated on low speed "broadband" and low price. Consummer answered on those terms. You can grab a 1.5Mb/128kb for less than $15 (if you already pay for phone service, get into a 1 year contract and promise your first born) while in Europe, they get 20Mb/1Mb, phone and TV for 30 euros (which is about $40).

    "Communist" Europe regulated (forced the operator to open the loop) and got competition. "Capitalist" USA protected the interests of their lobbyists and got a price gouging.
    • Oh sure, thanks Fredomy (can't be using French anything) now that you mentioned that it's working in Europe and that it's something to emulate, congress will never do it. Just because we paid for it once & didn't get it, everyone else in the developed world is ahead of us, and there is a viable way to get it that doesn't involve handing money to people who've already screwed us, is no reason not to allow the US Telcos to have what they want.
      Eminent domain buddy, eminent domain ... it used to apply to
    • The prices are still high; Telenet for example; massal broadband provider in Belgium gave a lot of commercials to watch movies over the Internet. Result: users get smallband after 1gig d/l.

      View two movies and you are already over that 1 gig.

      We also got a direct connection to the UUNet (now Worldcom) backbone; I cannot say it's cheap; it's expensive for the speed coming out of it; while the line is capable of doing +10 times as much traffic. It's clear to me; they are not ready for high-speed/high-bandwidth
    • In europe...

      In Europe, they...

      Last time I checked, Europe was a collection of countries with their own laws. Yes, the EU has had some influence in bringing some of those laws closer in recent years, but AFAIK this has not yet extended to Telecoms regulation. At least in the European country where I currently live, none of what you said above is true. The incumbant telecoms operator has not been forced to open the local loop, though they do have competition in the long distance market, and to a lesser

  • Basic realities of modern computing are a threat to "online OSes".
    I don't want a (very) expensive dumb terminal running software never designed for creating "OSes".

    Stop playing buzzword bingo with the headline, please.
  • It's their fault of course. They overtax the lines, they put money in the hands of the stock holders and talking head company leads instead of back into their network. They've been paid to do things they haven't done.

    They can't honestly tell me they aren't making money. It's all just a ploy (that we've all seen before) where they make it appear they aren't making money so they can justify (and almost always get permission from the gov) raising prices, or doing whatever other monopolistic tactic they wish
  • by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:32PM (#15713904) Homepage Journal
    Another day, another flimsy pretext; anyone else getting that feeling? Whatever next I wonder?

    Network neutrality is a communist plot?

    Network Neutrality is responsible for the spread of Avian Flu?

    Network Neutrality is the sole cause of global warming?

    Network Neutrality has been linked to child pornography and white slavery?

    Network Neutrality is the leading cause of death in children under five, worldwide?

    Network Neutrality has been photographed standing next to Osama Bin Laden?

    Network Neutrality shot JFK?

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:43PM (#15713982) Homepage
    Keeping in line with their belief system, this allows ISPs to make sure that developing connectivity can in fact, keep up with the explosive demand for broadband in more places. In other words, it allows for fatter pipes.

    I agree that that is the theoretical ideal that the free market shoots for. However, given that this is not a free market we are talking about (many of the players involved have explicit fiat monopolies, and all have contract-established trusts), the free-market argument doesn't necessarily hold water.

    The very real fear is that the legal right to restrict access will be used as a barrier to entry. Most major corporations in the US today focus massive resources on developing and expanding barriers to entry, because they allow you to charge above-market prices. Patents, exclusive contracts, volume contracts, per-employee licensing, per-computer licensing, and dozens of other lawyerly schemes; all these things are thinly veiled barriers to entry based on government and court fiat power. They destroy the competition on which the free market depends for efficiency. All these things are heavily invested in by corporations that claim to be free market capitalists, but are in fact oligopolists and fiat monopolists.

    It is killing our global competitiveness. We're getting our asses handed to us in the auto market by China, Korea, and Japan because the cushy barriers to entering our auto markets made Ford, Chrysler, and GM fat, lazy, and stupid (not respectively, all three are all three). Blocking competition is nice in the short run from the corporate executive's stock-option perspective, but it is miserable in the long run. For the consumer it even sucks in the short run.

    That is the real problem with net bias - it is another way that corporations are granted a legal right to bar entry.
  • This fellah has far too much time on his hands. This whole article is baseless blueskying, starting with the daft neutrality definition he got from Google. His article goes on to further muddy the water by inventing "what if" scenarios with no basis in reality.

    The only real definition of network neutrality that matters (and there are lots of BS definitions out there) is that all packets are to be treated equally, no filtering, no preferences applied - packet handling as originally defined in the TCP/IP spec
  • Someone on Slashdot should know the answer to this.

    What's the real cost, in megabucks of capital cost and kilobucks of operating expenses, to add backbone capacity?

    At today's prices for optical transceivers, what's the cost of "lighting a lambda"? Is there still a large untapped supply of dark fiber?

    There's plenty of last-mile capacity to support Google, so the telcos must be talking about backbone bandwidth if they even believe what they're saying.
  • by chrisnoonan ( 192705 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @02:52PM (#15714038)
    Once again the lie that broadband content is "overtaxing" and "choking" the internet rears it's head. The "fatter pipes" that the telcos are claiming they need to build already exist and it's called "Dark Fiber". This is due to the fact that building the fiber optic infrastructure is what costs a lot of money, so when it was built, it was built to a capacity many times greater than was necessary at the time and for the foreseeable future. Not to mention the fact that data compression technologies advanced rapidly thereafter, creating even more bandwidth. We are using a small fraction of the capacity of these fiber optic cables and the telcos are trying to extort money from us all for simply putting unused cable into general use. This would be like building a twenty lane highway, allowing the public to travel on 2 of those lanes, and then when it began to get congested, claiming that new fees are necessary for "fatter highways" that already exist.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:08PM (#15714118) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the article's author has his arguments straight. He claims that enforcement of net neutrality will forestall or kill network-centric OS development. But I was completely unable to find anything in the article explaining why the author believes this to be so, presumably assuming the reader will just go along with the unsupported assertion.

    I don't buy it. I can't see how any ISP, under the current regulatory regime and network architecture (which is what net neutrality is (mostly) trying to preserve), could justify killing a network-centric OS, other than to whine about how much bandwidth it's using (boo-hoo).

    I think it's a very poor, misleading article.


  • this allows ISPs to make sure that developing connectivity can in fact, keep up with the explosive demand for broadband in more places. In other words, it allows for fatter pipes.

    Just about any business situation allows for fatter pipes, but tiered services aren't the fast track to getting them. In fact, tiered services are a great way to ration available bandwidth. The infrastructure owners could sit on the system they've got now, and in the face of growing demand, those who pay top dollar get to satisfy t
    • I've been running through various corporate strategies and tendencies, and this one is exactly what I came up with as what they are aiming for.

      I've seen their little ads on slashdot too.. the pictures show congestion which can "only" be alleviated by discrimination...

      I get the distinct feeling this is their plan to once again avoid upgrading our infrastructure and internet speed to match the rest of the world (20 megabits average and 100 megabits tops, residential).

      If network neutrality is not enforced thes
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) * on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:33PM (#15714255) Homepage
    I cannot imagine the current broadband monopoly setup existing forever. Many places are already served by DSL & Cable. And wimax, satellite (?), and stuff that has not been thought up yet will hopefully provide the broadband comsumer with more choice in the coming years.

    If/when the consumer had more choices, the tables will turn for the providers. Suddenly people will realize they could care less about the method of access, and more about the content. Myspace, youtube, google, all of the sites popular with the kids today might think to throttle their connections to verizon, comcast and the like unless THEY cough up some money. The users will go with whoever has the best access to the content they want.

  • The "couple of people" the author knows are morons. If Network Neutrality is ended, the price for bandwidth to sites which are contrary to corporate profit interests (like free software repositories) will be deliberately raised to make it economically impossible for them to provide even the bandwith they have NOW. The idea that the end of Network Neutrality is going to be of benefit to anyone but the corporations that run it and their friends is utterly asinine. These "couple of people" are either fools
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:50PM (#15714368) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe I haven't seen anyone make this point yet, so let me make it:

    Tiered Pricing Will Create Bandwidth Shortages.

    Rather than increasing available bandwidth, tiered pricing will have precisely the opposite effect. It will create an economic incentive to keep available bandwidth below needed levels.

    The proof is really quite simple. Tiered pricing is being sold as a "guarantee" of network speed and latency. If you pay the premium, you'll get a "guarantee" that your packets will go through at a certain speed and rate of reliability.

    Large organizations -- the ones you're actually trying to extract higher fees out of -- don't take marketing bluster for granted. They actually measure network performance. They assign a dollar cost to network speed, packet latency, dropped packets, and overall performance visible to end-users. Using this metric, they decide which network provider will offer the best network performance for the lowest cost (note that "cost" includes not only the fees charged by the provider, but the calculated costs assigned to network performance metrics).

    Now, let us assume there's enough bandwidth for everyone, and all packets get through with more or less equal speed and latency. The organization measures network performance and discovers this to be true. Thus, since there is no cost advantage to switching to the higher tier of service, no one will subscribe. The money the telco hoped to rake in does not, in fact, appear.

    So, what do you do? Create a shortage. Or, more accurately, route the tiered traffic over the newer network infrastructure, and let everyone else use what's left over (which you neglect). Poof! Now packets over the lower tier are getting delayed or dropped like crazy. Performance on that tier of service suffers, which "costs" you money according to your metrics. So you consider the higher tier of service. If the cost increase of the higher service tier is less than the calculated costs of dropped packets on the lower tier, you switch.

    In other words, the only way to get large subscribers to actually pay more for "premium" network service is to create an incentive to do so by ensuring that the non-premium service sucks. And as long as the higher tier exists, the lower tier will experience a perpetual shortage (because the large organizations don't stop measuring performance).

    I absolutely guarantee you that the telcos long ago had accounting graphs drawn up that assign "costs" to various packet delivery performance metrics, and already know the exact level of bandwidth shortage required to get organizations to pay more. They will not exactly "create" this shortage. They will simply plow their dollars into new, faster network infrastructure, over which will exclusively be run the higher service tiers. The lower tiers will be left with the existing infrastructure, and the occasional hand-me-downs from upgrading the higher tiers.

    Some people may observe that tiered service already exists. Well, yes, but not in the same way. Typically what you're buying is higher bandwidth. Once you get to a certain bandwidth level, quality-of-service guarantees are in place more or less by default (example: you can't really get a T3 link without a QoS guarantee). However, no matter what your endpoint capacity is, your packets are still pretty much running over the same routers as everyone else's, so everyone gets to share the pain of a choked router. However, with the tiered service model the telcos want, which router your packets go through will depend on what service plan you have. Which leads to artificial shortages.

    In summary: The telcos are knowingly lying to your face. Tiered pricing will not reduce bandwidth shortages, but will instead establish the economic incentives to create them.


    • You do have a point that such a tiered service would give an incentive to the carriers to provide poor service so that customers will upgrade - however, I don't see a problem with this kind of "tiering" in general. If I want to pay more to get better service, that's fine. It is the discrimination based on destination or content or application that is the problem.

      I have no problem with setting things up so that connecting to a server that pays more to THEIR ISP for better service gives me a faster connect

    1. Mention something users would like (more capacity built).
    2. Allow ISPs to charge their users more for something (equality of transport) that used to be included in their internet service.
    3. Build nothing.
    4. Profit.
  • Not net neutrality, but lack of it is a threat to all oses of any kind. Even linux.

    Its now free to develop and distribute linux, but if the telco whores get their robbery laws, the free software foundations will have to pay tribute to telco whores, so that people will be able to download and update their operating systems.

    Paid opinion and lobbying = shit

    Telco whore = enemy of people
  • extortion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by non ( 130182 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @04:03PM (#15714446) Homepage Journal
    there are some plain and simple aspects here. *every* business wants more profit for less work; not just telcos. look at haliburton!

    as far as fios is concerned, verizon is marketing it very heavily. even going as far as sending 2-day UPS letters announcing it. that, and some of their marketing materials state, 'an important announcement about your cable service'. as has been pointed out here before, fios is not PSTN, and is not regulated as such. furthermore, once your off the telco grid they won't reconnect you.

    lets use the GM analogy. you're going to drive you're car and go to the casino, so i want an extra dollar per gallon for this gas because someone else is making money on it. plain and simple, this is extortion.

    there is not enough competition in the marketplace for this service, due to the financial barrier to entry, to ensure the consumer gets the best service for the lowest cost. and while poorly managed corporations may eventually go out of business or aquired my more successful companies, this will not compensate those who were overcharged. the only possible manner in which to assure fair and equal service, which should be the goal of our government, is by mandating it legally.
    • Re:extortion (Score:2, Insightful)

      I agree - it is extortion. Notice that we won't get faster, bigger, better pipes unless we all PAY? Bring back the independents. I remember a time when the telcos did not offer DSL - it wasn't worth it to them. When the market hit critical mass they saw billions at stake. "Don't make us subsidize our lines to the independents at unfair prices" they cried. "If we're going to build this thing out we can't lease our lines for less than what it costs us." Well, the FCC changed the regs and guess what? Th
  • They have a strong belief that it [A tiered system] is needed in order to make sure that ISPs have the tools and funds to expand their already overtaxed networks.

    If the ISPs' networks are seriously overtaxes, why don't they raise their prices? There is seriously no need to charge both consumers and suppliers of content. The suppliers are already charged to get their content on the net by ISPs anyways. They have two opportunties to raise their prices, why do they want this third charge? It can only be bec
  • Really, what is the point of posting this article? Hasn't this topic been rehashed over and over and over again?
  • by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @07:37PM (#15715505)
    The main problem of net neutrality is that it would stop efficiency improvements. Example: a vast percentage of modern internet traffic is BitTorrent. What if ISPs collaborated to shunt that all onto a dedicated high speed network and take the pressure off the regular wires? Some packets are being treated unequally, but everyone's speed goes up. Net neutrality would ban that.

    (Yes I know the current trend is the other way, to shunt P2P into a crawler lane - IMO they'll learn that's wrong-headed when increasingly sophisticated circumvention makes their efforts fail. The way to get problem traffic out of the way is to entice it to play "good citizen" in exchange for faster speeds, like building a multi-lane bypass around an old town with narrow streets.)

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!