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Cell Phones Presage Future of Non-Neutral Internet 155

An anonymous reader writes "The US cell phone network has no network neutrality. This story on NewsForge takes a look at the obstacles to getting a third-party application running on cell phone networks, and explains why the same obstacles could ruin a non-neutral Internet." (NewsForge and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.)
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Cell Phones Presage Future of Non-Neutral Internet

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  • Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:01PM (#15772359) Homepage
    I think competition alone at this point would gaurentee net neurality. That is if one company starts limiting access to the web then customers will switch to other providers. If they all try to do it at the same time I am sure they would be breaking some collusion / monopoly laws.
    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:04PM (#15772380) Homepage Journal
      how many choices of providers do you have available to you right now? if i want decent speed and prices, that list for me consists of one company.
      • how many choices of providers do you have available to you right now? if i want decent speed and prices, that list for me consists of one company.

        Post your zip code and I'll show you one reason that is the case -- the State (meaning the government at some level) requires that one to be the sole monopoly provider. Numerous regulations, restrictions, licensing and mandates prevent competition.

        The government can not fix ("net neutrality") what it broke ("regulating one monopoly.")
        • the State (meaning the government at some level) requires that one to be the sole monopoly provider. Numerous regulations, restrictions, licensing and mandates prevent competition.
          I don't believe that's why. I think it's because it's simply not practical to have 2 (or N) parallel network infrastructures.
          • the State (meaning the government at some level) requires that one to be the sole monopoly provider. Numerous regulations, restrictions, licensing and mandates prevent competition.

            I don't believe that's why. I think it's because it's simply not practical to have 2 (or N) parallel network infrastructures.

            That is the reason why, but "practicality" is the given reason it's legislated so. Do you really think the only reason the giant behemoth that was the old AT&T didn't roll through those few areas contr

      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:26PM (#15772534) Homepage Journal
        and in most places if they have more than one company they really just have one company - the others - the "local ISPs" still buy from the big Phone/Cable Cartel company
        • Around here I've found that you usually have two choices: DSL or cable. Where cable is controlled by the local cableco, and DSL is either through the local Telco or somebody else who buys access to their lines.

          Of course, in many cases the telco tends to be more accessible to rural areas (no cable TV, no cable internet), and the really rural areas often have weird ways of getting access such as airwave (wireless) or sattelite.
        • We offer wireless to people's homes in our area.

          The telephone company can and does undercut our prices. Anyone buying the survice solely on the monthly service price will go with the telephone company.

          The only difference is the service. We go out of our way to help our customers when they need it. For example, one customer called me on a Sunday afternoon and told me that the mouse on his computer had quit. I was headed his direction anyway and so I dropped a mouse off for him to use in the meantime.
          • While it is undoubtedly impressive that you would go out of your way to provide service like that, what was your customer thinking calling his ISP's tech support about a problem with his mouse? I mean, give me a break, did he really think that his Internet provider was responsible for his inability to move the mouse pointer around the screen?
        • Hi. I agree Hatch is a corporate whore, but you can't googlebomb him from your slashdot sig. Googlebot doesn't log in to read pages, so it won't see the sig.
      • Well, here in the UK I have half a dozen or so mobile phone providers, plus a couple of dozen companies that resell service from one of these with their own packages tacked on.
        • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:46PM (#15772890)
          Yeah but we can put these mobile networks through the airwaves, and we have a huge amount of air space, so it's no problem. In the US however, mobile networks are a series of tubes full of internets and people taking dumps in them, /that's/ the difference.

        • Here in Brazil we also have several choices for cell phone providers. Heck, my father lives in a very small town (less than 40K inhab), and he can choose between 4 different companies.
          Competition is so aggressive that some are predicting that in 2 years, the rates for cell calls will be lower than those of fixed landlines, which is already true, in many cases, for long distance calls.
          Actually, there are many households around here that no longer have a landline. They only have cell. You can have a cell phon
        • I'm not talking about mobile phone providers- I'm talking about ISPs. I can understand some of the ambiguity - as half the respondants knew what I meant and the other half thought I was talking about mobile phones. But in regards to net neutrality in the US - which is what the article is about, the idea that the free market will work this all out automatically is not accurate. It is not a free market to begin with. If it were, I might find that argument more palatable.
          • I'm not talking about mobile phone providers- I'm talking about ISPs.

            In an ever-increasing number of areas, mobile phone providers offer broadband internet access cards.
      • I get really tired of the "I've only got two broadband providers available" complaints by US residents. Sometimes you've only got one good choice - cable modem - if you're too far from your telco CO to get DSL, and the wireless providers in your area don't have high-speed data yet (or you don't want to pay their cluelessly high prices) and you think satellite latency is too slow for your applications and where you live is too hilly to get an 802.11 directional antenna to hit anything useful.

        But if you've

    • Re:Competition (Score:2, Informative)

      by Pirogoeth ( 662083 ) *
      If I want access faster that 56k, I have exactly one choice for (reasonably priced) connectivity, cable, as I cannot get DSL in my area. Time Warner is also the only cable provider here, so I don't even have a choice that way.
    • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Knytefall ( 7348 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:16PM (#15772470)
      So how come competition hasn't guaranteed neutrality on the cell phone networks? How come existing cell phone carriers aren't in violation of collusion/monopoly laws?

      This is not a situation where competition will magically make things better.
      • Re:Competition (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:55PM (#15772940)
        Because cell phone networks are private networks built with private funds. The PSTN (POTS) system was built on common land (right-of-ways) with a large percentage of the cost subsidized by the government. Cell-phone networks were built as either a) an ILEC's towers as endpoints on the PSTN that bridge it to wireless users or b) a CLEC's private network with an upstream ILEC. In the case of (a), the towers are private equipment and are not part of the PSTN. In the case of (b), the provider doesn't even have a stake in the PSTN and owns the whole network, and isn't subject to any of the rules that prevent collusion because what they have is theoretically completely unique (and therefore nobody can collude with them because nobody has the same type of system).

        In other words, you're comparing apples to oranges. The PSTN and all the stuff that uses its copper and fiber could be subject to collusion because it's a common and known entity. Private networks are not, and can't be regulated that way. The bright side of this is that the PSTN can't be held hostage without a lot of government help. It's only now (and not 50 years ago) that we're seeing enough "help" from the government to bring this about, and it may not last. We can only hope.
        • Cell phone networks are built on the publics airwaves with an explicit provision that they must serve the public interest. If anything the landline phone companies who own right-of-ways would have a stronger claim to private property.
          • not to mention that i'm pretty sure (that's a lil sarcasm there) they don't just bounce their signal from tower to tower. how else do you end up making a call to a landline phone? they are routing quite a bit of their traffic and making use of the POTS. perhaps not for data services per se, but it's not like they aren't even touching all the old copper anymore.
      • by KarmaOverDogma ( 681451 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:46PM (#15773315) Homepage Journal
        That's because cell phone providers have realized that the cell network is not a truck that you just "dump" stuff on. It's a series of tubes. *Microwave* tubes to be exact. Competition has helped the service providers to collectively and concurrently realize this fact.
    • if one company starts limiting access to the web then customers will switch to other providers

      Yeah! That's why AOL never got off the ground... wait...

      but history dosen't repeat itself, I'm sure this time around the average public will be much smarter...

      Well, People will make informed decisions based upon sound engineering principles, not marketing....

      crap, we're all doomed

      • Well, I think those half-billion people across the pond might be less interested in those chunks of the internet that are non-neutral than in the restricted chunks; and with that kind of market just sitting there, really, what kind of company with international interests is going to bother putting all their eggs in chunks of the internet that are guaranteed to be both restricted and restrictive? I suspect the prestige will remain with the neutral internet. (Not to mention nearly four billion people in Asia

    • As the summary points out, mobile phone networks in the U.S. compete against each other with no third-party innovation allowed.

      I'm not talking about java games here, I'm talking third-party mobile services.

      So, why would a privatized internet be different?
    • Re:Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qzukk ( 229616 )
      How much data can you transfer on your "unlimited" internet account before your account is throttled or suspended for "excessive" or "unreasonable" usage? Can you find that number in your contract? Can you call the ISP and ask for that number? How can I compare ISPs and "vote with my wallet" when they won't tell me everything I need to know about their service so that I can select one that meets my needs?

      If the companies open pandora's box and begin to unleash that darkness and destruction on the interne
    • It's a shame this article is about the mobile phone industry, which as we know contains no competition whatsoever, with, y'know, just one national cellular provider in the entire world and no competition whatsoever. Otherwise we'd have an example of more or less unfettered competition in front of us with which we could judge whether competition forces network neutrality.

  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:02PM (#15772368)

    I don't think it's the best argument for net neutrality. I think the average person might look at that statement and think, "Well, even though different cell companies are linking different networks together - everything seems to work fine. So why not do the same thing with the internet?"

    Of course, we know why. Competing companies would squeeze competitor's offerings unfairly, and that would stifle the current net's model of natural selection. Sub standard service would result.

    So, while I agree with the article I don't think it should be used in arguments about net neutrality. It's possibly misleading to non-geeks.

  • O2 blocks TCP & UDP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:04PM (#15772377)
    I tried to create a chat client for a free mmo game i play [] only to discover my cell phone provider

    O2 only allows HTTP and blocks TCP and UDP. Sucks, aparently it is to prevent people using VOIP but it prevents hundreds of legitimate uses.
    Then again they probabbly dont want people to play or use 3rd party free apps.
    • by Nos. ( 179609 )
      HTTP runs over TCP.
      • Why is this modded troll?? Someone get that jerk in meta-mod.
      • Well, first off, HTTP does not need to run over TCP. It can actually be ran over other protocols, such as UDP. Of course, the simple answer is that few if any do that.

        My next thought is, why are you modded down? You are correct for near 100%.
    • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:07PM (#15772398) Journal
      O2 only allows HTTP and blocks TCP and UDP

      You mean HTTP runs on something besides TCP? That's news to me.
      • Doesn't cell phone networks use "ether" for HTTP? :P
      • Why is this modded troll? Pay attention meta-mods.
      • Between the proxy and the webserver, yeah it's tcp, but between the proxy server and the phone it can be anything really. Hell you can have webpages returned to you by SMS! My phone was set up by default to use WAP rather than true internet, and web page access was done through a wap gateway / proxy, which means that anything that tried to use raw tcp/ip failed (I can't say I know whether the WAP setting uses tcp/ip between the phone and the proxy, I wouldn't be surprised either way).

        Changing the phone's ne
    • by fishbowl ( 7759 )

      >O2 only allows HTTP and blocks TCP and UDP.

      Please explain how HTTP works with TCP blocked.
    • Like one of my siblings, you basically want TCP over HTTP [], aka just put your traffic inside an HTTP packet. We like to joke about TCPoHTTPoTCP at work but I guess it has a use. ;)

      To one of the other siblings: TCP is not blocked, but a firewall can look at the first line of the packet and if it is not HTTP it will drop the packet - I've dealt with firewalls that do this - quite irritating if you're sending a POST request through the firewall only to have any request larger than a single TCP packet (typical M
    • Skype will attempt to tunnel over HTTPS or HTTP if it's normal route is blocked. So O2 doesn't really block VOIP completely at all. You should tell them that their measures only hurt legitimate customers, and then switch providers.
    • Maybe your phone doesn't use IPv4 at all. That doesn't mean it's using proprietary stuff, it might just have IPv6 in which case you'd _need_ a proxy to access the v4 Internet.
    • by x2A ( 858210 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:56PM (#15772943)
      Are you sure? The reason I ask is that I thought the same was true with my network (vodafone), but found that actually it was the default phone settings that only connected to a proxy, and creating a new connection on my phone allowed me full tcp/udp access (over 3G/GPRS). This basically involved changing the user/pass from 'wap' to 'web'. More information: [] (O2 settings at the top, but this is UK information, I don't know about the rest of the world, but it's worth looking in to).

      After that I also had to contact the network to get them to lift the blocks on certain ports. This involved them doing an age verification check for some reason or another, maybe to stop kids running up huge data bills using such services).

      Incidentally, I had to find this information out for myself on the web, speaking to vodafone without being armed with the information did not yield results.

  • But what if the 'Net's neutrality *is* compromised? Could this not spur the development of a new kind of communications network? It seems to me that there is not a great enough incentive for our civilization to make the next great leap in how communication is sent because we haven't been weaned from the nipple of the telcos.
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:20PM (#15772488)
      Like what? Any network involving wires would pretty much have to work with the telcos, because no one else can or will spend billions of dollars to build out a new network. So, the only other option is some sort of peer to peer wireless network, which would work except that the telcos already have the FCC in their pockets, so it wouldn't take long for such a thing to be regulated out of existence.

      Sure, the airwaves technically belong to the people, but the FCC and Congress sold them to the highest bigger a long time ago, and have long since stopped paying anything but lip service to the idea that the new owners have any sort of obligation to the public trust.
    • But what if the 'Net's neutrality *is* compromised? Could this not spur the development of a new kind of communications network?

      If the people who control the physical wires over which your new-fangled network would run would have the ability to effectively disable your access to those wires, there would be no way to bulid a whole new communications network except to replicate the vast amount of wiring infratsructure.

      It would be impossible to compete with them or set up anything in parallel without spending

    • But what if the 'Net's neutrality *is* compromised? Could this not spur the development of a new kind of communications network? It seems to me that there is not a great enough incentive for our civilization to make the next great leap in how communication is sent because we haven't been weaned from the nipple of the telcos.

      We already made the leap.

      Now we're talking about letting the telcos control and bastardize it.
  • by AugustZephyr ( 989775 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:12PM (#15772435)
    I assume that if it was profitable for cell phone companies to find a way to create a net neutral infrastructure, there would already be steps in that direction. It seems to me that the biggest reason that they are insisting on controlling their own networks is that it is simply more profitable to them, no surprise the telcom giant want to do the same to the internet. Imagine if ISPs had the same amount of control over the internet that cell phone companies have over their networks now. I dont think what we know as the internet today would have ever gotten as large or productive as it currently is.
    • Yes, you are right. it is all about the money, for a couple of of reasons.

      A) Wireless companies are expensive to operate and thus the main focus is on operational effeciency - how to maintain towers, basestations, manage customer churn, deal with handset procurement, etc. The CEO's of wireless companies focus on these issues, for good reason I suppose.
      B) Wireless companies have employees who would like to open up their infrastructure, provide open services, open API's, etc. However, these people are few a
      • I have a Nokia 770 which runs GAIM (among other things). I can connect to my Jabber server, handshake, update my roster, and chat for about half an hour for the cost of one SMS. When you work out how much SMS is being charged per MB, suddenly the bloat of XMPP seems very cost effective.

        I used to be an Orange customer, but I left because they have no customer-retention skill; as a customer of several years, and a contract customer of 12-months, I was not entitled to the same deals as a new customer, even

    • There's some truth in what you say, but I think you're missing a key aspect.

      Cellphone networks desperately need to increase their revenue per user. They need to encourage users to do things with their phones other than just make occasional voice calls and send a few texts. For a long time all sorts of people have been predicting an explosion of applications... but it hasn't happened.

      The reason it hasn't happened is not because it's hard to write phone apps. It's the same reason why businesses fail to th
    • It seems to me that the biggest reason that they are insisting on controlling their own networks is that it is simply more profitable to them, no surprise the telcom giant want to do the same to the internet

      The problem is that this assumption is wrong. Their proprietay network will make more immediate money, but an open network as a higher probability to develop (for example, the internet).

      If the telcos had had that kind of power over the internet 10 years ago, we would *STILL* use modems to connect to BBS

  • I'm one of the non-IT /. readers. I've never doubted that AT&T charging Google protection money was a BAD idea, but I don't think I could have really articulated why at all, let alone stood up and departed the issue. What a great way to put it. In an instant, you can see just how bad an idea non-nutral, and just how bad it could get.
    • Actually, I believe it is a poor analogy. I'm currently undecided on the merits of legislating for net neutrality. I'm not sure differentiated classes of service is intrinsically a bad idea. It all depends how it is handled. Much of the debate is, indeed alarmist.

      Anyway, having got that out of the way, why is it a bad analogy?

      The article asks why there is a dearth of innovative applications on cellular phones and answers: It's simple. Because the cell phone carriers control what services are allowed to use
      • Blockquoth the poster:

        Net neutrality potentially threatens to impose the third big sin of the cellular networks:

        3. The content/connectivity walled garden where you can't connect to Google or YouTube, Just AT&Tgle and You&T.

        I think you've gotten your terms crossed here. Net neutrality would mean that no one is "cut off". The loss of net neutrality would allow a telco to block, say, Google or YouTube.
    • And what's worse, everyone is missing the boat. rents an OC12 from a provider. is Provider's FIRST customer! Provider provisions an OC12's worth of backbone to their border with SomeOtherProvider.

      Then, I decide to rent a T1 from that Provider. They take a look at their backbone load, with their one existing customer... and see that it's only 60% utilized by him. Plenty of room to add me to it, and they do not need to "re-provision" anything.

      Wash, rinse, repeat until their backbon
  • by zoloback ( 785676 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:16PM (#15772467)
    Excelent article, i think it make a very valid point and without intervention, that is a plausible future for the Internet.
    The way I see the argument pro-non-netrality is mainly that the big ISP's don't want to invest large amounts of money into new technologies unless they get a piece of the action (control, basically) over those developments. They see it as a way to get back their investments (and I believe that they would have a decent return without all this, just by gaining subscribers and by the simple fact that the internet is not free to the end user).

    So they are asking for control in exchange for innovation, that's not a new concept, not even on the internet. (under different forms but with the same basic concept, networks like Netzero allowed access to the net for free, gaining a bit of control on your computer).

    The difference is that we know how the internet is today, and I'm not sure the end user is going to stand for less than that, It's easy to switch a paradigm when you give people something better, suddenly they don't stand for what it was before, if you change it for something less good, people complain, and markets shift, if a given ISP chose to be more neutral than others, there's a chance they'll attract more customers.
    Before all the replys come in, I don't like the idea of a non-neutral Internet, we see what happens in China and other countries that block traffic, we look upon them as something dirty and low, ISP's need to realize that they may be looked upon that way if they choose to go too far with their efforts to make extra money.
  • point is valid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by evoltap ( 863300 )
    I think his point is valid. Anyone who has a cellphone knows how these companies cripple their phones and basically limit their customers to very few expensive, poorly designed, services. It seems pretty obvious to me that verizon would love to be able to control their landline network with the same stranglehold. How else could they get people to actually use their shitty services?
  • The real fun begins when you attempt to install a 3rd party application or even an "untrusted" certificate on a Smartphone running 'doze 2005. A warning that an application is "untrusted" along with an annoying warning window that requires something affirmative to be entered would be one thing; but some (most?) Smartphones are programmed to simply forbid the installation of untrusted apps and certificates. Sucks for those businesses that want push e-mail and don't want to bend over and pay VeriSlime or Eq
  • SMS is not IP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yoik ( 955095 )
    SMS uses the, rather limited bandwidth, control channel for transport. That puts a lot of pressure on the kinds of applications that can be supported.

    Look at the price per megabit for messages outside a package to get an idea of the cost (k$).
        Not the same at all!

    But some cell carriers are far from neutral on IP as well. I'm not sure they are clear on how that affects their market share.
  • So, no net neutrality is a bad thing - I've felt this in my guts for a long time and this article gives me some very good arguments to articulate it (yes, I should have done my own thinking, but I'm lazy).

    It's easy to understand WHY cell phone companies are doing this, though. Too much money was lost in creating a transparent, neutral internet; some companies and executives may have gotten rich but as an industry, global telecommunications has an appaling performance record.

    Cell phone providers are one of t
  • by statemachine ( 840641 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:27PM (#15772543)
    " For now, Internet service providers are prohibited from discriminating against connections to particular sites on the Internet: they are required to treat traffic to Google exactly the same as traffic to Yahoo! or MSN."

    Incorrect. They are not *required* to do anything. There aren't any laws that specifically prohibit data discrimination.

    "It's simple. Because the cell phone carriers control what services are allowed to use their networks. There is no net neutrality on the cell phone network."

    And this is much like how AOL used to be (in the past: Prodigy, CompuServe, and many bulletin boards).

    What's next, water pipes?
    • The balance of the arguments is so out of kilter I can barely treat it as an argument of merit. Currently, the net is a (mostly) impersonal collection of linked devices. ISP providers take their chances and either succeed, or fizzle.

      I am paying Verizon for the cabeling that allows data to flow. That is their revenue source, fair and square. There is no way Verizon should ever get *content control* over what flows ON their net cable. Yes, they have somehow achieved this lock on the cell phone side, to the pa
    • What's next, water pipes?
  • but charging against the content control was stupid. There are plenty of conservatives techno-users who would sign up for every single word of the article except the unnecessary libertine diatribes against content screening. The whole net neutrality movement should concentrate on discriminating by business and potential monopolisation instead of focusing on decency censorship issues.
  • and the near term motivation is the idea that Bell can't charge google. Its not fair that google makes millions by providing a service and Bell only gets the subscription fees. Its just not fair. Bell needs the legal ability to extort google if it is going to survive and have money to 'innovate'.
    much of the article was a stretch however this is slightly disturbing and believable:

    He is writing the article pseudonymously because the cell phone companies have the power and freedom to crush his company by block
  • incentive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pikine ( 771084 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:06PM (#15772735) Journal
    Those who want to eliminate neutrality dismiss this as alarmist, and claim that net neutrality would remove the incentive for broadband providers to build the next generation of Internet infrastructure, which all agree is sorely needed in the US.

    If having paying customers is not enough incentive to build the next generation networking infrastructure, I don't see what else is enough.

    The only case where non-neutral Internet makes sense is to have ad-supported Internet, so that content providers pay for end user's Internet bills from advertising revenue. If this is the case, then you get what you didn't pay for. But I don't see this coming.

    In the current model where end users do pay for their own Internet access, eliminating net neutrality actually poses risks to the ISP. If they happen to choose the wrong premium partner, they will lose customers. In fact, some people will be dissatisfied for every choices of partnership. Remaining neutral is probably the best way to make most people happy.

    • If having paying customers is not enough incentive to build the next generation networking infrastructure, I don't see what else is enough.

      Oh, they already got a better deal: the government paid them already in tax deductions and incentives to build that fast internet they claim can only happen with no net neutrality.

      In effect, they will be paid *TWICE* and probably still wont deliver.

    • Problem is, the "paying customers" are being offered a loss-leader service to build market share. If you were paying the $60-$70 a month for DSL service, there wouldn't be quite some many people on it. Unfortunately, in major markets the subscriber cost is more like $15 a month. In my opinion, this doesn't count as a "paying customer" - it is a statistic that lets the DSL companies fight over how many customers they have.

      Of course, in this kind of a price-war environment it is impossible for any DSL prov
      • The curious thing is, Verizon, for example, allows you to get Business DSL at a residential address. Here you do pay $60-$70/mo. for a presumably better service. I'm okay with that as long as we're not stuck with $15 partial/biased Internet.

        But I do wish that sometime in the future, all business DSL plans are bundled with at least one static IP address. If it were phone, nobody would accept dynamic phone numbers (it changes everytime you pick up the phone). Why would people put up with dynamic IP addresses?
  • The great thing about the internet is that it only does one thing, and it does it incredibly well. The internet moves little bits and bytes of information from point A to point B. That's it.

    There is some guy who's name escapes me (and who is also I believe famous in geek circles) that said that if you take away features from a protocol, you'll increase innovation. I'm paraphrasing a bit as I don't know the quote or the man who said it, but look at the phone network.

    Phone companies do phoen calls really w
    • There is some guy who's name escapes me (and who is also I believe famous in geek circles) that said that if you take away features from a protocol, you'll increase innovation.

      Could be Richard Stalllman

      Freedom, Innovation, and Convenience: The RMS Interview []

      Nonfree software is controlled by its developer. The developers often implement malicious features--for example, to spy on the user or to restrict the user. Sometimes they keep the malicious features secret. But they also figure that people will be so des
  • I can write a letter in the cyrillic characterset on either my phone or computer. I can send the message via computer from the US to Eastern Europe or the other direction with few problems (especially if in Unicode). I can not send or receive cyrillic (or other alternet non-latin character sets) to or from Cingular with SMS, but while in Ukraine the same phone sends the same text without problems to other Ukraine phones. Worse, I can MMS a message from Ukraine to Cingular in cyrillic and it is garbled by Ci
  • If you want to convince anyone of net neutrality.. you just show them this video [] where john stewart & co describe net neutrality in a way even your grandmother could understand.
  • That's a good argument.

    Furthermore, I already went to a DSL ISP that rents pair from the local telco monopoly rather than be subjected to the abuses of network neutrality that Telus has already perpetrated bly blocking Union websites [].

    When I called Telus to disconnect, the service rep tried to tell me that they were posting content unlawfully (like addresses of Telus execs, blabhlabh). I said "You guys don't bother blocking all the rest of the illegal stuff out there on the net, why the hell are you starting
  • by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <{gorkon} {at} {}> on Monday July 24, 2006 @07:53PM (#15773143)
    The cell phone non-neutrality problem has even caused the government to go and buy thier own cell network. I would say that this would be a first since the birth of the states. I am talking about the Nextel iDEN network. Eventually all Nextel customers will be on Sprints network with PTT on it as well. Oh you forgot about the DoD buying one of the better networks out there? This has to be a first for the DoD. Usually DARPA invents it, sells it to the company who can make it fo the cheapest. In this case, they bought a whole cell Network for DHS.

    This is the number one thing that pisses me off about all cell providers in the states. One example is Verizon Wireless seems to block a wap site outside of thier network. Why? I don't know, but the site I am talking about provides subway train info via wap browser. I can get to the site from my laptop outside of thier network, but on the phone I get nothing. I can get to google and I can get to gmail, but this subway thing? No dice. The reason? I don't really know, but I am guessing that maybe they are going to start selling a app that does the same thing and they'd rather me pay them instead of get it for free.
  • The cell phone marketplace sucks for non-voice applications, but how is it non-neutral? I can make and take calls to/from off-network endpoints without any penalty, voice quality remains the same no matter what, and that describes most of what the cell network is used for currently (although is changing with more smart phones, blackberry, etc). It'd be a better argument if calling a landline or a different carrier meant crappier service, but that would be the death knell for any cell provider.

    I think it's

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead