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The Internet

In Net Neutrality, It's Jeffersonet Vs. Edisonet 172

PetManimal writes "Curt Monash has a middle way on the Net neutrality debate. He writes that the classic 'Jeffersonet' — which includes e-mail, instant messaging, much e-commerce, and most websites created in the first 13 or so years of the Web — is 'the greatest tool in human history to communicate research, teaching, news, and political ideas, or to let tiny businesses compete worldwide,' and cannot be compromised by a tiered Internet. On the other hand, a reliable, tiered scheme is required for what he calls the 'Edisonet' — which consists of 'communication-rich applications such as entertainment, gaming, telephony, telemedicine, teleteaching, or telemeetings of all kinds.' Commenting on Monash's proposal, blogger Richi Jennings points to a lack of investment in Internet infrastructure and IPv6 technologies at the root of the problem: '...if an application writer makes assumptions that ignore realities such as the speed of light or temporary congestion, their application's going to behave badly. But no premium QoS in the world is going to help that. My sense is still that the ISPs that are complaining about net neutrality are simply being greedy and don't want to invest money to cope with the growth in usage.'"
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In Net Neutrality, It's Jeffersonet Vs. Edisonet

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  • ...Jefferson was a hit with the ladies. Obviously his solution must be superior.
    • But Edison invented the motion picture camera, which allowed for the creation of porn. Which is clearly much more important to the success of the internet.
  • by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @01:53AM (#18866569)
    It would make total sense to deploy all of the high bandwidth
    applications such as video on IPv6, and keep the existing
    e-mail and web applications on IPv4.

    Total sense.

    But, the darkside has frozen IPv6 deployment because
    they want to control it all!

    It really is that simple.
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @05:28AM (#18867775) Journal
      Leaving aside the parent article's sense of humor on the topic, Richi's blog article doesn't really add up technically. IPv6 will eventually be necessary to handle the IPv4 address shortage, and maybe some of the mobile IP work in IPv6 won't get ported to IPv4, but probably anything useful will.


      IPv4 has several flavors of priority marking, including TOS and DSCP; most of the MPLS (private routed IP) carriers out there are using DSCP to provide 3 to 6 priority levels, which their customers typically use to give high priority to VOIP, maybe high priority to video, medium priority to corporate data applications, and low priority to things like email, web, and ftp that aren't latency-sensitive. Some ISPs support these markings on their public internet service as well, at least on some of their services (e.g. higher-speed corporate-priced circuits, but not necessarily on DSL where the routers don't always support it.) The real limitation there is getting ISPs to agree with each other on which of the 64 available markings to use, how many values, and of course, how to charge (preferably a flat rate.)


      As far as peering infrastructure investment goes, the big carriers are spending madly on this to prevent bottlenecks. It's a bit different in the US, where ~20-25 big carriers peer with each other, than in the UK, where everybody peers at LINX, but the problem for Richi should be whether his ISP buys enough LINX bandwidth to keep up with their users. Last I heard LINX and AMSIX were doing mostly ok on keeping up with demand, as long as the ISPs kept up.


      Static IP addresses are really a critical issue, and NAT traversal problems are closely related. IPv6 may make this a bit easier, but basically it's an ISP administrative convenience issue (so they don't have to help customers configure PCs) and a firewalling issue (NAT's a cheap beginning on real firewalls, so everybody uses it), and the various flavors of IPv6 autoconfig may eventually replace some of it.


      IPv6's big problems for now are router performance, chicken&egg issues with content providers and lack of motivation until the big addressing crunch hits.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cato ( 8296 )
        Agree completely - IPv6 has almost identical QoS/CoS features (DiffServ code points aka DSCP, which supersede the old TOS byte but are used in similar way), and is really not at all relevant to net neutrality or QoS. IPv6 is really about avoiding the need for NAT, and will primarily be taken up for very large IPTV / Cable TV deployments, e.g. Comcast which is already IPv6 in core IP network and going IPv6 for the home networks as well, due to sheer number of addresses required (beyond what you can fit behi
        • Unfortunately, router performance with IPv6 still is a big issue - just because routers have hardware-based forwarding for IPv4 and have IPv6 capability doesn't mean that the IPv6 on most of their varieties of port cards is really hardware-based.

          MPLS moves some of these decisions from the really fat core MPLS switches to the IP-to-MPLS edge or middle-tier routers, but they still have the same scalability problems to solve. IPv6 does better for private networks, where you're not trying to route to the whole

      • by arminw ( 717974 )
        .....lack of motivation until the big addressing crunch hits......

        It's more the lack of motivation because it is not at all apparent how all that expensive investment in IPv6 is going to significantly improve the bottom line of the ones making the investment. Don't fix anything that isn't fundamentally broken, especially if it's going to cost a big pile of money.

        In spite of all the noise about video and other entertainment delivered over the Internet, the number one use has always been and still is personal
  • Am I not getting it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arun_s ( 877518 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @01:53AM (#18866573) Homepage Journal
    This net neutrality argument has been going on for quite awhile, is there something I'm not getting? From what I know (not much), protocols like MPLS have QoS features to distinguish between types of traffic, and they supposedly do a decent job of it. What more is needed then?
    Is it not sufficient that packets be differentiated according to the Class of Service? Why do those that argue against Net neutrality seem to imply that differentiating among ISPs is somehow going to make an improvement?
    • It's sorta like this (Score:5, Informative)

      by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:36AM (#18866853) Journal
      It's sorta like this: it's not about what protocols you implement, but about who you allow on "your" network, and at what price or at what speed.

      What protocols don't solve is being able to say, "ok, if you want high speed access on _my_ network, you have to pay extra." That's the problem. From just a neutral protocol's point of view, for example VOIP is VOIP is VOIP. A non-neutral approach could say, for example, "ok, you can use VOIP with our client and our paid service, but Skype users can eat shit and die... or at least get their pipe throttled until they have an incentive to switch to ours." Or, "you can play WoW on our network because Blizzard gave up and paid the tax, but you might notice a lot of latency and disconnects in SWG because Sony wanted to play hardball." Or viceversa, although it would probably count as a crime against humanity to make people play SWG ;) Or "you can get high speed access to MSN Search, because Steve Balmer was more than happy to pay to 'fucking kill Google', but you might have problems using Google or getting your site indexed by Google."

      It's all about walled gardens and monopolistic practices. You only make so much money with just one interchangeable product or service, so you'll want some kind of trade obstacles that give you some kind of a (semi)captive market. You'll want that people who want your product or service X, also have the incentive/FUD/lack-of-choice to also buy the less competitively priced Y and Z from you. That's where the money is.

      If you look around you, that's how most people who make money, make it.

      E.g., take iTunes. Not the worst case of shearing penned sheep, to be sure, but nevertheless an example of how it works. ITunes itself doesn't make Apple much money, and it actually caused the music companies to make a lot less money than with a CD. The companies wanted to kill the single, but iTunes made them kill the album. Previously they'd sell you a whole CD, now you just buy 1-2 tracks at 1$ each, and they don't even get the whole dollar. ITunes is basically priced not to make Apple or the music companies a profit, but to keep any possible competitor unable to make a profit.

      However, iTunes just happens to have this proprietary DRM that works only on an iPod. (Yes, as Steve Jobs is quite happy to tell you, the DRM is there because the RIAA wanted DRM. But, no, they didn't ask for a DRM that works only on his players. The lock in is _not_ RIAA's demand.) The iPod is quite a bit overpriced. If you want to use iTunes, you pretty much need an iPod. And IIRC, Apple sells around 1 iPod for every 10 songs sold on iTunes. So iTunes doesn't make Apple much money, in fact, it barely makes enough to keep the servers running, but makes you buy another product from them.

      The key to making money there is the whole not being neutral.

      The big ISP's now would like to get in the same kind of position. They have a service which doesn't make a fortune, and as long as they stay neutral, they have no way to coax/coerce you into buying an overpriced product to go with it. They'd like to be able to do something like that, because that's where the money is.
      • by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:58AM (#18867015)
        Another way of putting it (with limitation as always): are ISP like public roads? If not, then highway owners can block certain brands of cars or limit them to 1 lane. Or free to choose to interface with an undesirable highway competitor by limiting the interconnection to 1 lane on they side vs the 4 lanes that are required (and that the competitor has already built). Which highway will have more leverage, and be able to force their terms on all other highway contractors? And when that happens, the will be a lot of great roads to certain places, and incredible traffic (or no connection at all) to other unfavored locations (like certain cinemas, certain plants, certain cities, certain car dealers, etc).

        WOuld that make the economy great? Wow, we'll have great roads to places we wouldn't have gone in the first place, and crappy roads to very promising and desirable places. If you contro, here people can go easily, you control the economy.
        • by ASBands ( 1087159 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @04:15AM (#18867399) Homepage

          I think the best comparison (and the one that historically goes with my point of view on the matter) is to compare ISPs to the telephone companies when the telephone first started out. In the beginning of the 20th Century, after the Edison patent expired and when the telephone network was recognized as the most important part of the system, marketing types would come to your front door and say "Join our network! Your good friend, Mr. Google is on our network, if you'd like to call him, you should join us!" So you would. The next day, another salesperson would come and say "Join our network! Your doctor, Dr. Kaspersky is on our network, if you'd like to call him, you should join us!" Not wanting to make Mr. Google sad, you'd just get the second phone installed. The next day, another salesman would come by and say, "Join our network! Your furniture mover, Mr. Ballmer is in our network, if you'd like to call him, you should join us!" Not wanting to make Mr. Google or Dr. Kaspersky sad, you'd join the new network as well. Pretty soon, you'd have 10 telephones in your living room. So the government stepped in and made the public telephone system, which coincidentally works almost exactly the same (fundamentally) as the internet does today.

          This is exactly the same as net neutrality. Both networks provide a means of remote communication. The internet may move a lot more information and may be growing at an ever-increasing rate, but it was built a century later. The internet is still a relatively new system - we're still learning just how big the enormous amounts of data we can transport, but the ISPs are still complaining about laying new lines. Phone networks are old technology, but all the telephone companies switched to digital telephony in the 60s to allow the massive amount of people getting phone services.

          It costs money to keep a public network running, but once the the public telephone system was established, nobody was calling to bring back the old system. The problem is that the internet is a little bit more complicated than telephones and so the politicians don't fully understand the repercussions of their actions. We need somebody in Washington to stand up and explain that the series of tubes that make up the internet is the same as the series of tubes that make up the telephone network (and with VoIP are becoming the same tubes) and that they've already made legislation regarding it that works and they don't need to waste their time.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by jez9999 ( 618189 )
            And if they use the term, 'series of tubes', they should be shot.
          • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:20AM (#18868221)

            This is exactly the same as net neutrality. Both networks provide a means of remote communication.

            The telephone network is not neutral and I don't think it has been, since perhaps the earliest days. Two words: Peak Rate.

            The phone networks use variable charging to discourage people from using the resources when they're in demand -- peak time -- so that the resources are available to those who need them; it's called demand management, and it's more efficient than increasing supply ad infinitum. Mobile networks in the UK have a longer peak period than fixed line, because while fixed-line phones peak during office hours, mobile peak usage continues throughout the commute period.

            Fixed-line performance traditionally didn't degrade gracefully under strain -- in general connections were simply refused. (digital exchanges are changing this though) Mobile networks slice up traffic and degrade "gracefully", but will let it get to the point where neither party can hear the other due to lack of granularity.

            In these cases, demand limits itself -- people put the phone down. The claim is that the same thing happens with the internet -- people will only connect when they have a useful speed. However, if I'm at work, I don't care what response I get on my home PC if I choose to download DVD images of Linux builds, service packs for Windows, HD video etc etc for later use.

            Net neutrality, inasmuch as it advocates no peak rate, turns things upside-down: it discourages people who need to use it during peak demand from using it. The downloaders don't need to -- they can run overnight -- but it's more convenient for them.

            HAL.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by ASBands ( 1087159 )

              I see your point, however I think you've misunderstood me. Sure, mobile companies can encourage people to join their network by offering free calls after a certain time of the night or free calling to others within your network, land lines can charge you different amounts for certain times of the day, but there is a difference between what you see as a "neutral" network and what net neutrality wants to enforce. My mobile carrier charges me so much for my gateway to the public telephone network and they ar

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Eagleartoo ( 849045 )

                It would be like ATT intentionally not allowing you to call SBC (I hope they're not the same company) - it's simply not right.

                SBC bought ATT not to long ago and are now using the ATT name.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Qzukk ( 229616 )
              Net neutrality, inasmuch as it advocates no peak rate, turns things upside-down

              But that's not what we're asking to block, and that's not what the CEOs are publicly demanding. We don't care what they bill their subscribers, after all, the subscribers are their customers.

              Do you remember the days of MCI and "family calling" where you could talk to selected "in-network" people for lower rates than others? Now imagine that MCI let you do this for people who were using AT&T, but while they charge you only 5
            • by Kjella ( 173770 )
              The telephone network is not neutral and I don't think it has been, since perhaps the earliest days. Two words: Peak Rate.

              I'm all in favor for the ISP to price me any way they like, what I don't like is that they want to double-dip - it's not enough that I want to connect to someone, they also want money from whomever I'm connecting to. If you looked up the yellow pages and called a bunch of companies, at peak rate or not, would you accept that some of them connected with good quality, others with crap? All
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by vic-traill ( 1038742 )

            think the best comparison (and the one that historically goes with my point of view on the matter) is to compare ISPs to the telephone companies when the telephone first started out. In the beginning of the 20th Century, after the Edison patent expired and when the telephone network was recognized as the most important part of the system ...

            Point of clarification - the Edison patent was for the carbon transmitter (which made the telephone a practical device), not for the telephone system itself. Bell's first transmitters were voice-powered water xmitr's.

            Wikipedia says:

            In 1879, the Bell company acquired Edison's patents for the carbon microphone from Western Union.

            YMMV.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Graham_Bell [wikipedia.org]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison [wikipedia.org]

      • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @03:25AM (#18867167) Homepage Journal
        What protocols don't solve is being able to say, "ok, if you want high speed access on _my_ network, you have to pay extra." That's the problem.

        I understand what you mean, but it's not quite described right, so I'll clarify for others.

        What you are trying to say is that the ISPs are in a way trying to sell access to their customer base to the internet services. They are asking the sellers of video, VOIP and other services to pay money to the ISP that the customer is using. Basically they want both sides to pay for access through the "last mile". The customer is already paying for the service over the last mile, but the ISP wants the sender of those services to pay too, otherwise they might get unsatisfactory service. At least, that's the popular interpretation around here, and I think it's the most plausible.

        The ISPs might say that they would be offering a premium improved service to Google, iTunes and such, but in reality, I would expect that they would just degrade service for customers of services that don't pay. I just don't think the big ISPs can be trusted to be honest about this.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Moraelin ( 679338 )
          In a nutshell, very much so. I don't expect them to lay extra cable to shave a few milliseconds latency to, say, Google if it paid. Getting the result in 0.495s instead of 0.5s wouldn't even start to be an incentive to pay for the premium service. What is indeed more likely to happen is that the the answer time would jump from 0.5 to 2.5 for everyone who doesn't pay.
        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
          So...

          I pay my ISP for access to the rest of the internet.
          I pay my webhost for access of the rest of the internet to my website.
          The individual ISP's want me to pay for access of the rest of the internet to my website too.
          But I'm already paying for that.
          How is this in any way fair?

          I just hope that if ISP's ever start doing this, popular site like Wikipedia, Google, MySpace and YouTube starts asking those same ISP's for money in order to allow the ISP's customers to visit their sites and let the neutral ISP's
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            Hahahahahaha, fair. No really, fair. It's not fair. It's business, it is called a competitive edge. It works like this:

            your money ----> ISPS (---- money from websites for services

            Or in Slashdot terms:
            1. Charge customers for services
            2. Charge service providers for customers
            3. Make this legal???
            4. Profit!

            Imagine that you getting internet it is process, like baking a cake. The websites are the ingredients in your cake, and the bakers are the ISP. You paying for a internet and downloading conte
      • by coaxial ( 28297 )
        What protocols don't solve is being able to say, "ok, if you want high speed access on _my_ network, you have to pay extra." That's the problem. From just a neutral protocol's point of view, for example VOIP is VOIP is VOIP. A non-neutral approach could say, for example, "ok, you can use VOIP with our client and our paid service, but Skype users can eat shit and die... or at least get their pipe throttled until they have an incentive to switch to ours." Or, "you can play WoW on our network because Blizzard
      • If you want to use iTunes, you pretty much need an iPod.

        Even assuming that you're talking about the iTunes Music Store, this isn't really true, since you can listen to the music on your computer and burn CD-Rs all you want. That certainly covers the vast majority of my music listening. It would be better to say that if you want to use a portable music player with iTMS, it has to be an iPod. There are ways to circumvent the DRM, but that's really a corner case.

        And IIRC, Apple sells around 1 iPod for e

        • Most tie-ins work both ways, so no big surprise there. So, yes, iTunes encourages people to get iPods, and iPods encourage people to sign up with iTunes, so their next player will be another iPod too.

          In fact, I'll say that any working (near)monopoly implementation would have to work in as many directions as technically possible. If you can map a sort of a flow from a product that no other needs, to one which is only needed, it becomes easy to attack the whole from that end. So if you have products X, Y and
      • by MECC ( 8478 ) *
        Quite true. What people often miss is that an ISP can sell a customer a service to mark their web/VOIP/Steaming video traffic with a 'higher priority', but unless absolutely every other carrier/ISP/backbone provider honors those DSCP/Diffserv settings, its mostly meaningless. And, I intentionally put it in terms of what QOS features ISPs might want to sell to (steal from, actually) the Apples, Microsofts, Googles, and Yahoos because the DSCP/Diffserv settings have to be treated similarly on the whole In
      • You could summarize this entire meandering post (not that it isn't interesting and accurate enough) with the statement that the technology is separate from the purpose to which you put it. Guns don't kill people, people do. QoS doesn't make the internet unfair, people do.
        • More like: merely QOS isn't what they're asking for. A neutral implementation of QOS wouldn't care _whose_ packets it routes, merely whether it's high priority ones (e.g., tele-medicine to reuse that word), low priority (e.g., email), or something in between. They don't need to argue and lobby against net-neutrality to implement that.

          What they _are_ proposing -- outright and explicitly, not just inferred or slippery-slope -- is the ability to discriminate based on _whose_ packets are they routing, and make
      • by arminw ( 717974 )
        .....The iPod is quite a bit overpriced. If you want to use iTunes, you pretty much need an iPod.........

        Ipods on the whole don't cost significantly more that the others. The Zune is an example of that. If you want to play certain (not all) games you need a PC, X-Box, PS2 or 3 etc. You can still play CD's or even vinyl to get your music fix. Apple just makes it easier to get your music fix when and where you want it than the others. I predict the DRM free extra cost/quality songs coming soon will be a big h
      • One way of thinking about it is that ISPs could sell you different amounts of bandwidth and different priority levels (you get to mix and match & pay accordingly).

        Thus instead of ISPs VoIP application specifically working better, any application that you tag with your higher priority number does better.
    • by iangoldby ( 552781 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @04:12AM (#18867381) Homepage
      There is certainly one thing that you do get, that many other people are missing, and the ISPs and others with a big financial stake would dearly love everyone else to miss.

      That is that when people talk about net neutrality there are two different things they might be talking about:

      1. Differentiating between packets based on packet type/protocol. This is already done and most people think it is a good thing.

      2. Differentiating between packets based on where they came from, or where they are going to.

      The big companies who argue against net neutrality say that we can't have net neutrality, because (1) is absolutely essential to keep your VOIP calls glitch-free when capacity is limited.

      What they don't like to mention is that actually the reason they don't like net neutrality is because they want to make deals with selected networks and content providers to extract money from them in return for giving their data higher priority.
  • Greed is the root of these problems- eliminate it and everyone will do better (including the ISPs!)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by heinousjay ( 683506 )
      Then all we have to do is eliminate human life, and the problem is solved.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by iminplaya ( 723125 )
        You will have to eliminate the universe. Even galaxies are greedy. Big ones eat little ones. The universe will eat itself back into a singularity and poop out a new one. There, now you know the original of everything.
  • A system with guaranteed bandwidth aka "net neutrality" aka "truth in advertising" would allow you to spend your bandwidth however you want. This seams like it would foster adoption of high bandwidth service such as "entertainment, gaming, telephony, telemedicine, teleteaching, or telemeetings". A tiered system would probably let you use low bandwidth things like email, web, and text chat at your full speed, but would charge you extra or throttle you for high bandwidth items. A tiered Internet is the ene
    • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:14AM (#18866735) Homepage Journal

      A system with guaranteed bandwidth aka "net neutrality" aka "truth in advertising" would allow you to spend your bandwidth however you want. This seams like it would foster adoption of high bandwidth service such as "entertainment, gaming, telephony, telemedicine, teleteaching, or telemeetings". A tiered system would probably let you use low bandwidth things like email, web, and text chat at your full speed, but would charge you extra or throttle you for high bandwidth items. A tiered Internet is the enemy of newer multimedia services.

      In short, no. You're right, but that's not the point.

      You're falling victim to the common misconception that this is all about charging consumers more for 'premium content'. That is a straw man constructed by those who want to destroy net neutrality.

      This is all about toll roads. The telcos want to charge everyone who uses their network, every time, and they want to do so prejudicially, letting their friends through cheaply, and charging killing rates to others. As things stand right now, Google pays one price to access the Internet, and everyone who has paid to access the Internet can access them. The price determines the quality of the service, but they only pay it once.

      What the net neutrality 'debate' is about is that the Telco A wants to charge every bit of traffic that passes onto its network from Telco B, regardless of the fact that Telco B has already been paid for Internet access. In other words, Telco A is setting up a toll booth, and charging companies for something they've already paid for.

      (There are numerous permutations to this scenario, but that's the simplest way I can express it.)

      This practice is the precise antithesis of the end-to-end network that we like to call the Internet. Net Neutrality is not about consumer choice, it's not about quality of service, and it's not about new business opportunities. It's about whether we still want an Internet. If you do, then you must support Net Neutrality.

  • NO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 246o1 ( 914193 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @01:58AM (#18866611)
    Some sort of synthesis of both sides, while always useful in bullshitting high school and college papers, is not always the right way in the real world. Freedom is to be favored over commercial interests in an arena like the internet, which provides massive public good but not QUITE enough profit for the companies to be happy.

    Communications over the internet work pretty well now, despite the drain that youtube &co have put on the system. Sure, there could always be better infrastructure, but letting the wealthy and businesses insulate themselves from internet-wide problems will only decrease the impetus to improve the infrastructure by letting the most powerful market forces sidestep all the problems. This is the same reason that health care for so many Americans sucks: the rich decision makers are not forced to use the same system. Don't let that happen to internet service.
    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )
      Well, you could also view it as rich decision-makers supply lots of cash to fund R&D, and then the benefits trickle down to everyone else. That's more or less how it works for health care (although it works better for drugs than stuff like surgery where the cost doesn't drop as much with time) - I wonder if it would work with internet access. I'm generally a fan of net neutrality though.

      The rich will always be better off than the poor - if they weren't why would anybody bother to work hard? Even in "
      • by 246o1 ( 914193 )
        Yes, yes, market economy is good, blah blah blah. Someone always comes along to preach it whenever it's pointed out that socialized medicine/whatever is better for most people.

        Of course it's important to have incentives to keep people producing, it doesn't mean it's right to have fundamentally different internets.

        BTW, lots of government money goes into research, though perhaps you haven't heard of the NIH, WHO, etc?

        Anyway, your long rambling response about how useful laws and markets are is not particularl
        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )
          BTW, lots of government money goes into research, though perhaps you haven't heard of the NIH, WHO, etc?

          Sure, and they should patent any drugs they develop and license them royalty free. I don't think anybody objects to that. However, I don't know of any major drugs on the market that were developed from basic research to marketed product by a government organization. At best they discover an enzyme which can potentially be inhibited, and maybe some proof-of-concept molecules that might or might not kill
  • by wombatmobile ( 623057 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:01AM (#18866633)

    "a reliable, tiered scheme is required for what he calls the 'Edisonet' -- which consists of 'communication-rich applications such as entertainment, gaming, telephony, telemedicine, teleteaching, or telemeetings of all kinds.'"

    Why shouldn't we consider "communication-rich" applications to be a fundamental part of the internet in the same way that email and web browsing already are?

    Standards for voice applications, meeting applications and graphics applications have already been developed, published and endorsed by the W3C, 3GPP and ITU. Let's use them.

  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:06AM (#18866659)
    monash is just another one of these anti-neutrality people pushing the same exact "rationing" of existing resources these telcos were trying to push off in the first place. only hes calling it a compromise.. (in much the same way the RIAA asks for the moon and stars.. then asks for carte blach regulation as a "compromise")

    its very simple.. the "jefferson" net would be perfectly applicable for all these media intensive applications if they upgraded the freaking infrastructure like they were supposed to in the first place

    they were given grants and local monopoly contracts on the promise of laying new fiber, they didnt and are now wanting to "ration" crowded lines in order to shoehorn in applications which would have had room to spare if they had upheld their part of the bargain.

  • by Oddster ( 628633 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @02:16AM (#18866745)
    Before you cry afoul in agreement that the ISP's don't want to invest in new infrastructure and are greedy bastards, remember for one second that in telecommunications terms, the Internet is still very young. Before this, the last major jumps in the sector were television and satellites, 50 years ago. Before that was the radio a half century earlier, and another half century back gets us the telegraph. The Internet in its current form is barely 15 years old, and at most you could peg it at 20.

    Much of the infrastructure was laid down during the dot-com boom days of the late 1990's, so much of the hardware itself is only a decade old, and at the time was quite expensive - there's a reason that Cisco is huge. The ISP's just have not seen the return on hardware investment in the Internet that they had in the phone business before undertaking any massive overhaul of the underlying network, as a transition to IPv6 would be.

    The whole tiered internet system is (surprise!) purely motivated by the money to be made, of course. Yes, it might end up sucking balls for the home user, but then again, maybe they'll have the monetary incentive (or when it becomes viable, perhaps some startup company will) to upgrade the network, which is good for everybody - after all, they do need some kind of bandwidth to push more digital HD channels.

    Personally, I would dislike my packets being lower priority than somebody else's. I'm just saying that you need to think about it from a utilities business perspective, not a technology business perspective - their business is a service, not a product as such.
    • what the hell are you just talking about ?

      WHAT incentive ?

      Do we have to provide "incentive" for those shitheads to actually PROVIDE what they were selling to us for the past 10 years in the first place ?

      They have oversold THEIR bandwidth, and now they have to pay from their OWN pockets to meet what they promised. Thats whats there is to it. Neither state nor public can be coerced to patch up what they messed up.
    • Yes, it might end up sucking balls for the home user

      Will they even notice? If most people are like my parents, they use email and surf the net. They don't podcast or stream audio, they don't use BitTorrent or share photos. So if they can't do those things, will they even care? Probably not.

    • by Znork ( 31774 )
      "as a transition to IPv6 would be."

      A transition to IPv6 isnt a massive overhaul. At worst it's a software upgrade and an implementation project; the end result of which would be a significant drop in router processing requirements, ie, _cheaper_ hardware.

      "The whole tiered internet system is (surprise!) purely motivated by the money to be made,"

      Rent-seeking is purely motivated by the money to be made. Highway robbery is purely motivated by the money to be made.

      This does not mean either is socially or economi
      • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
        Well, IPv6 is a massive overhaul in some situations. Some large routers (that can support millions of connections per second; we're talking large ISP routers here) don't have the processing power to route IPv6 addresses. I'd assume that at this point most of these routers have been upgraded or replaced, and since we also have programs like 6tunnel, the remaining IPv4 routers can safely continue to connect to people in IPv6 and vice-versa. With IPv6 support across the board in all major OS's, there's no r
    • Fuck that.
      This isnt about the poor ISPs and their tear-filled entreaties of needing financial incentive to upgrade infrastructure. Its about bullshit, and how far they can spread it. The internet may still be young, but bandwidth-intensive applications are growing very quickly. Too quickly for the resulting bottlenecks to be resolved by trying to double-charge for network access, which is bullshit anyway. This is classic corporate america: There is a demand for something, but the short and mid-term profi
  • U.S. Problem? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Genocaust ( 1031046 )
    Is it just my perceptions, or is this mostly a U.S. problem? I'm prepping to move from living just outside of Tokyo to Texas in a month -- and I'm not looking forward to it.

    U.S.: Paying $60+ for 5mb/768kb cable/dsl -- with possibilities to have my service terminated for over-using an "unlimited use" service
    Japan: Paying $60 for 100mb/100mb fiber -- no hidden catches

    I don't know how things are across the EU, but I know that the U.S. has a sorry, outdated infrastructure in place and it's like pulling teeth to
  • I'm sure some people already have as it's quite old a paper, but those who simply attribute all these problems to greed should understand it's just not so simple. Read The Broadband Incentive Problem [mit.edu] white paper from MIT. After that, read a bit more [telco2.net] on the current situation.
    • both papers are telcos whining about how they have "heavy users" who actually make use of the bandwidth they (over)sell, and more people are doing this.

      the solution is simple:
      you don't oversell your bandwidth.
      you upgrade your infrastructure, specifically last mile.
      you stop scheming together trying to find ways to rip these users off/shut them out just because they use what they pay for.
      you accept that youre a utility, and this means your earning curves will flatten out and stabilize, and you will be expecte
  • Now all we need is a way to distinguish these packets. How about a new bit?
    • Now all we need is a way to distinguish these packets. How about a new bit?

      The IP header already has a bunch of ToS flags which indicate what sort of service the traffic requires (high bandwidth, low latency, low cost, etc). The problem is that you can't trust these flags because end users are antisocial bastards - if they discover their bittorrent goes a bit faster when pretending to be a low-latency application then they will set that flag, nomatter who else they screw in the process.

      My favourite idea is
  • Its almost a tie between "teleteaching" and "telemedicine", but I think "teleteaching" wins.

    At least it wasn't "e-teaching", or, (the horror, the horror...) e-teleteaching.
  • Edison-Net my ass.

    What it comes down to, is that net neutrality makes the internet a network of thousands of toll bridges where every ISP and backbone provider can dip into the pockets of monied dotcoms and extort money from them to play ona level field on their block of the internet.

    This is double dipping. It should be their customers who pay for the Bandwidtdh and QoS they get, not the sites the user frequents.
    If the user wants to watch streaming video all day and talk to all his buddies on skype with fa
  • Since when has any proposal from a telecommunications company, especially the companies who own the broadly-installed infrastructure, ever encouraged competition or innovation? It just doesn't happen. The only possible way to make a "third way" happen is if the government put in some basic and strict groundrules... eg. that prevent telcos from using packet shaping to give their own services a significant advantage over competitors. Unfortunately, government performance on this in the past has been spott
  • Middle Way? Bah! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @03:41AM (#18867237) Homepage Journal

    Net neutrality is both necessary and workable for what I call Jeffersonet, which comprises the "classical", bandwidth-light parts of the Internet.

    I read that as, "if your application uses so little bandwidth as to be negligible, then net neutrality is ok. But if you want to actually use some of that broadband bandwidth that you're already paying for, then I want to charge you extra".

    Or in other words Let's compromise - do it my way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FireFury03 ( 653718 )
      But if you want to actually use some of that broadband bandwidth that you're already paying for, then I want to charge you extra

      Ah, but the thing is that you probably aren't already paying for it. A lot of people seem to think that if they have a residential 8Mbps DSL then they are entitled to use that whole 8Mbps 24/7 (e.g. leave Bittorrent going all the time). However, the only reason residential connections can be so cheap is by having users contend with eachother for bandwidth - i.e. you can use up to
      • However, I am worried that outlawing non-neutrality would also squash the ISPs' ability to do legitimate traffic shaping.

        I think you are confusing net neutrality with traffic shaping. They are not the same, although there are plenty of interested parties who would like us to think that they are.

        I believe that the argument for traffic shaping is accepted by most people. Prioritise real-time traffic, throttle bandwidth-sucking low-priority traffic such as file-sharing. The only people who object to this are

        • I think you are confusing net neutrality with traffic shaping.

          Since there is no strict definition about what "net neutrality" is you cannot state that traffic shaping cannot be considered to be part of it.

          Most discussions about net neutrality focus (probably correctly) on the "bad" type of non-neutrality (changing traffic behaviour based on charges imposed on the content providers) and ignore the potentially "good" traffic shaping. A completely neutral network would be one that handles every packet in the
      • Ah, but the thing is that you probably aren't already paying for it.

        I am too. I have a contract with my ISP that entitles me to the service defined in our agreement. Contention rates don't enter into it.

        the consumer is already paying for their connection, why should the content provider pay more?

        The content provider is already paying. They pay their ISP bills too. The "tiered internet" argument is about the ISPs in the middle extorting cash from those who have contracts with someone else.

        However,

        • I am too. I have a contract with my ISP that entitles me to the service defined in our agreement. Contention rates don't enter into it.

          Ok, I guess that's a fair point - your ISP's service agreement will include a monthly cap (or similar) and so long as you don't exceed that you can consider the bandiwdth paid for by yourself.

          This isn't about bittorrent, and it isn't about your ISP. It's about being able surcharge web proividers so as to drive the small sites off the web.

          No - the term "net neutrality" has no
          • No - the term "net neutrality" has no formal definition. A neutral network would be one that handles all traffic in the same way

            But the informal one you just supplied works for me, so why not use that? It's the alternatives that are worryingly fuzzy and ill-defined.

            But in any case, the concern here is that if ISPs are allowed to levy charges on packets passing through their subnets, they will abuse it to their own short term gain, and the long term detriment of the Internet.

            I believe that traffic pr

  • But when walmart, microsoft, netflix, etc allow downloadable movies/games, broadband is going to be much in demand that ISP's might start offering faster services for prefered providers.

    I think that we will see people buying faster QoS for some services, and companies like google providing the infrastructure equipment/software to make it happen.

    And most ISP's offer better QoS for the enterprise customers, nice big fat virtual pipes for companies needing speed for medical, industrial, (voip), etc.. Also the
  • ...just wait for the hardware to catch up.

    Farnsworth: These are the dark matter engines I invented. They allow my starship to travel between galaxies in mere hours.

    Cubert: That's impossible. You can't go faster than the speed of light.

    Farnsworth: Of course not. That's why scientists increased the speed of light in 2208.
  • Terrible English (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jez9999 ( 618189 )
    OK, this might seem like a nitpick, but I can't let it pass; I had to read this sentence a few times before I understood the true meaning, and I only did because I'm a native English speaker:

    He writes that the classic 'Jeffersonet' -- which includes e-mail, instant messaging, much e-commerce, and most websites created in the first 13 or so years of the Web -- is 'the greatest tool in human history to communicate research, teaching, news, and political ideas, or to let tiny businesses compete worldwide,' and
  • My sense is still that the ISPs that are complaining about net neutrality are simply being greedy and don't want to invest money to cope with the growth in usage.

    Unless the ownership is secure, there will not be much investment — that's so obvious, it is a truism. Yet these people expect companies to invest in infrastructure, while, at the same time, trying to reduce the companies' control of same:

    • Oh, you built a new pipe? Great! No, we are not going to let you charge a premium for using it, no sir
    • by Ernesto Alvarez ( 750678 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:12AM (#18868169) Homepage Journal

      Unless the ownership is secure, there will not be much investment -- that's so obvious, it is a truism. Yet these people expect companies to invest in infrastructure, while, at the same time, trying to reduce the companies' control of same:


      But the ownership is secure.

      They build a new pipe. The rules are that you pay $x/Mbyte. So, duplicating the capacity will let you make twice the amount of money you made last year (in the case of flat rate, it is seen as being capable of selling to twice the customers than last year).

      The point of net neutrality is not whether you're going to charge me for downloading warez or whatever. The point is why should you charge more for downloading from TPB instead of yourtelcowarez.com service. After all, the pipes don't care (for the argument's sake, let's assume both sites are equally far away).

      Obviously there is a problem of oversold bandwidth, and now that people is starting to use it, they bitch about it. Basically they want to raise prices without saying so (pay $5 to telcowarez.com subscription + ISP subscription = ISP subscription + make TPB pay $5 for "premium content" = ISP subscription + make me pay $5 for "TPB premium content access" = telco makes 5 extra bucks).

      The problem is that they'll overdo it and they will eventually demand $5 for each site. That kind of Internet would definitely suck.
      • by mi ( 197448 )

        The point is why should you charge more for ...

        Right here is the problem. Why should I charge whatever I want to charge is no one's business except mine. As long as competition exists, that is — and if it does not, then bring on the anti-trust laws...

        Your trying to count my money and make my fees your business is exactly, what I'm talking about, when I criticize the attempts to erode ownership and how these attempts reduce incentives to invest.

    • by anothy ( 83176 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @10:05AM (#18869865) Homepage
      You're about the fifth person today i've seen make the "ooo, socialism!" argument. This isn't particularly targeting you or your version of it, but the whole class of argument.

      Am I the only one who finds it more than a little ironic (not to mention short-sighted and grating), considering the internet is the result of socialist practices in the first place? I realize we're largely an American audience here, but is our sense of history really that short that we can't even make it 20-30 years back? Do we not remember our origins with the ARPANET, a project nurtured in and entirely funded by America's favorite crypto-socialist organization, the Department of Defense? This is a project funded by tax dollars which fall well outside the core capitalist/libertarian conception of what the government should be doing, and while it's certainly got problems, it's worked out pretty well. While the technology wasn't necessarily the best around at the time (personally, I think we missed out on better things with datakit from Bell Labs), it was plenty good enough to facilitate growth.

      But the most important aspect of all leading to the creation of the modern internet wasn't technical at all. Rather, it was the fact that its form and structure was decided outside the realm of commercial interests. The free interchange was facilitated by a design which had no interest in "walled gardens" of any kind. Wondering what the corporate, capitalist world would have come up with instead, if left to their own devices? We needn't wonder: look at AOL, or most of the national mobile networks (especially those on the CDMA side). Closed, tiered networks... all of which inhibit growth of services. Users, who're now accustomed to the wealth of readily-available (and frequently free, although that's secondary) resources on the Internet, have no interest in restricted choice, leading to (well, among the things leading to) very limited uptake of advanced mobile services. "The market" has told us that what "the market" comes up with on its own is, by its own measure, inferior to what the DoD's socialist practices came up with.

      It's not a question of arguing "the free market is failing" - the Internet's very existence is thanks to the government realizing "the market" had no way of getting where it wanted to be.

      Today, every mobile (and many fixed) network operator in America (and many internationally, although the dynamics are very different in other places) is struggling with the same conflict which ate AOL's business model: they want to be the walled garden, to be the guardian of the user's experience and to get paid for access to those users (walls work both ways). But the users just want the internet. Verizon want's to provide (or choose who provides, and get kickbacks from) my weather service, my news service, my search service, my photo sharing service, and so on. I, as a user, don't care what Verizon wants; I want to pick which ones I'm using. Fundamentally, that's what this whole net neutrality debate is about: the market you're so fond of drives network providers to be dumb pipes, or to at least divorce the content they do provide from their dumb pipes, but that's exactly what network operators are scared to death of. They don't want to compete in a commodity market.

      A large part of me blames this whole mess on the McCarthyism-induced confusion between socialism and communism in America. We've given ourselves just the right kind of collective brain damage to be unable to tell the difference.
      • by mi ( 197448 )

        Do we not remember our origins with the ARPANET, a project nurtured in and entirely funded by America's favorite crypto-socialist organization, the Department of Defense?

        We remember that perfectly well, but interpret it differently. The Internet is the result of a "spillover" of the dual-use technology. Developed by the DoD for itself, it turned out (or was wisely designed) to be usable by others. This was terrific and has since been matched only by GPS in popularity.

        Mind you, ARPANET has paid only for

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by anothy ( 83176 )

          The Internet is the result of a "spillover" of the dual-use technology. Developed by the DoD for itself, it turned out (or was wisely designed) to be usable by others. This was terrific and has since been matched only by GPS in popularity.

          Mind you, ARPANET has paid only for the development of software and the standards -- it did not pay for the pipes or other hardware, that today's socialists demand be upgraded.

          only half true. look at the evolution beyond the military personnel and facilities and their dir

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @10:14AM (#18869991)

      Unless the ownership is secure, there will not be much investment -- that's so obvious, it is a truism. Yet these people expect companies to invest in infrastructure, while, at the same time, trying to reduce the companies' control of same:

      I think its a little late for the ISPs to be complaining about socialism, seeing as the taxpayers have subsidized their infrastructure they now own to the tune of billions of dollars. In any case, all investment has risks, the ISPs are simply looking for a way to make money by investing in politicians instead of hardware. "You know, if not for these common carrier provisions the FCC requires, we could extort a lot more money without actually providing any more benefit, lets buy us some congresscritters!"

      Oh, you built a new pipe? Great! No, we are not going to let you charge a premium for using it, no sir, net-neutrality and all... Don't be greedy, we want to trade our warez and to hold high-res video-conferences over it.

      Do you even know what you're talking about? Net neutrality does not say that an ISP can't charge a premium for a faster pipe or even for running a given type of traffic faster. Net neutrality does not ban QoS, that is FUD they have been spreading that has always been shown to be false. Net neutrality is about insuring all traffic of the same type is treated the same, regardless of the source and destination. If the ISPs want to charge their customers a premium for use of some new pipe, they are free to do so. What net neutrality stops is them from charging people who are not their customers a fee for not waylaying any transit traffic from them that happens to cross their network (in violation of their peering agreements). They can charge 10 times as much for video conference traffic as they do for Web traffic and use QoS to ensure the video conference runs fast enough. What net neutrality stops them from doing is looking at traffic they are paid by peers to have cross their network, and intentionally slowing down traffic from say, Google, so that Google searches are extra slow, because either Google (who is not their direct customer) did not pay extortion, or because MS paid more than Google.

      ISPs are given immunity to certain laws under the assumption that they are common carriers. They can transport child pornography without going to jail because they just carry all traffic impartially. They can carry slanderous remarks without fear of lawsuit because they just impartially carry traffic. If they decide not to impartially carry traffic, but instead to discriminate among different people sending and receiving, what benefit to society does it bring to continue providing them with special immunity to the laws?

      Next you'll see some creeps argue, that the free market is failing, and that the government thus needs to take over the Internet service provision, much like it currently is responsible for highways (is not that a roaring success)...

      There is not now and never has been a "free market" for internet. The government highly subsidized the infrastructure from day one, provided special legal protections to ISPs, and allowed only two in most geographical areas to run lines in the public right of ways creating government enforced monopolies. Because of those public right of ways and the geographic realities, internet service lends itself to being a natural monopoly, which never obeys free market rules anyway. Claiming then, that one given act of government interference is the cause of all problems is absurd.

      I build tools for ISPs and I can tell you the ones outside the US are a lot less fucked up and are investing a lot more in improved infrastructure and bringing real value to customers as a way to make money. In a lot of Europe and even in some of south america you can buy internet pipes that allow you to filter our DDoS attacks at your ISPs peering border, not once it has hosed your network completely. People pay a premium for those pipes, but in the

  • .. NOT.

    there is one 'net'. and it is the INTERNET.

    so quit crapping around and make due pressure for shitty telco companies to actually INVEST the unearned money they have got from OVERSELLING connectivity subscriptions.

    by joining or jumping in every crappy debate they are funding, like this "edisowhatcamacallitnet" & "2nd internet" "othermorecrapolanet" debate, you are, without knowing, supporting their attempts to get out of their predicament without paying for it themselves.
  • Last night I watched my first movie via download. I have 4MB/s cable and I took 2MB/s for about 2.5 hours to watch my 90 minute movie. I can see that as soon as my neighbors find out how wonderful this is, my web surfing, IM, and other real Internet activities will suffer. Not to mention, I doubt that movies will be rewarding in the slightest unless I choose to download at some practical hour, like 3AM.

    I am currently only thinking about my local cable provider, it doesn't include the interconnection wh

  • Very simple explanation.

    The history of communications has been very simple up until now; one pipe = one method of communication.

    Telegraph lines = telegraphs
    Broadcast radio = sound
    Broadcast televison = sound + pictures
    Cable television = sound + pictures (originally) diced up into "channels" with one channel per signal.
    Phone lines = speech (originally) + telefaxes (secondary) diced up into specific numbers

    One pipe = one medium
    "I have a pipe, all of my media must be streamed."

    You're keeping up, right?

    Enter the
  • Not to take the analogy too far, but I want to go from Jeffersonianet to Tesla-net.

    I.E. Wireless, worldwide broadband which is cheap, ubiquitous and enabling of communication by anyone to anyone at any scale for any content.

    Quite frankly, once you blanket everything in fiber, and deploy WiMax in all metropolitan areas, we'll be 90% of the way there. Switch to IPv6, and keep researching better iterations of Wireless data transmission, and these concerns we currently have about bandwidth won't make any sense

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