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AT&T Says Net Rules Must Allow 'Paid Prioritization'

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  • Actually.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HopefulIntern (1759406) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:52AM (#33434934)
    ..AT&T...YOU are harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet!
  • Fuck you AT&T (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:53AM (#33434942) Homepage

    AT&T said Tuesday that any Net neutrality plan restricting its ability to engage in "paid prioritization" of network traffic would be harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet.

    Uh, no...that would uphold the fundamental principles of the Internet.

  • by brennanw (5761) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:57AM (#33434976) Homepage Journal

    1. We do things on the internet that you pay us for.

    2. You do things on the internet that you pay us for.

    3. When you do things on the internet that other people pay you for, you pay us for the privilege of doing them.

    4. If we find out you are doing things on the internet that we are also doing, you will pay us for the privilege of doing them slower than us.

  • Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:57AM (#33434978)
    There's already issues with ISPs promising bandwidth they don't provide, now they will come up with plans to sell you both bandwidth and priority. If that were the case and AT&T started to charge for priority traffic, how can any entity can confirm they are receiving the proper "right of the way" on networks?

    This is yet another strategy to sell services that cannot be quantified.
  • by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:59AM (#33435006)
    Well that's funny, considering the fundamental principles that have driven internet growth have until now been all about net neutrality. There are always crazy anti-net neutrality advocates whining about governments regulating what "might" happen instead of what is happening. If this isn't proof enough that strong net neutrality regulation is needed to prevent the balkanization of the internet, then I don't know what is.
  • Bandwidth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Script Cat (832717) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:00AM (#33435014)
    I bought bandwidth from my provider. Now additional tolls are being charged to the providers who I want to access. AT&T wants to sell something that is not theirs to sell.
  • by Itchyeyes (908311) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:01AM (#33435024) Homepage

    The point of net neutrality is not to do away with differentiating levels of service. It's to prevent ISPs from charging others for access to those tiers, while giving themselves or preferred services access to those tiers for free or reduced prices. The main fear is that a company like Comcast might offer a streaming video service over their network for a fee, then charge other services, like Netflix, a quality of service fee that makes it prohibitive to compete with Comcast on their own network and prices them out of the market. AT&T objections here, while worrisome on their own, don't necessarily conflict with the principles of net neutrality.

  • Unclear? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:01AM (#33435034)
    Why are people having such a hard time understanding what network neutrality means? Paid prioritization pretty much is the exact _opposite_ of network neutrality. Thus, any net neutrality plan that included provisions for paid prioritization are NOT NET NEUTRALITY PLANS!

    sigh...
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:05AM (#33435082)

    Using Adolph Hitler's "Big Lie" tactic, ISP giant AT&T simply turned the definition of "Net Neutrality" on its head in order to take advantage of people (especially in government) too stupid or too uninformed to appreciate the Net Neutrality concept and its importance to everything positive about the internet.

    Gee, what a shock. News at 11.

  • Frame of Reference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:09AM (#33435112) Journal

    Uh, no...that would uphold the fundamental principles of the Internet.

    I agree with you but we're just users. That's the fundamental principle to a user. The fundamental principle of the ISPs and other businesses surrounding the internet is to make money and -- let's face it -- if there had never been a profitability aspect of the internet it would not have become as big and powerful as it is now. So far we've been pretty much in symbiosis with most of what the companies do but it seems to diverge daily. Back then I wanted to buy everything without leaving my home. Then came Amazon and Newegg and an endless supply from retailers. They wanted to sell, I wanted to buy, we were happy.

    I think that's one of many reasons that Net Neutrality is so confusing to your average consumer: the internet used to be a great tool in getting them what they want from people who want their money. AT&T will phrase the debate to the consumer thusly: "You want prioritized traffic and we want to give you prioritized traffic so let's do the whole cash dance just like you do with everything else on the internet." The problems with that are obvious to you and me but may bamboozle the average consumer into thinking: "Yes, I need this. Here is my moneys. Please go do, my intarwebs are all slowed up from the evil file sharers!"

    I'm on the same page as you but I think we're at a disadvantage because people are willing to pay for a prioritization of processing in many other things and assume that doing it this way with internet traffic is just a logical step in a capitalistic society where the rich can pay a premium for better and ensured service. In my mind, the simplest counter explanation without getting into -isms and what the internet manifesto is they don't meet my current advertised speeds so why should I pay them more to not meet higher speeds?

  • AT$T suck it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:09AM (#33435116)
    Providers OWE us net neutrality. They get access to public lands, and private properties to build and maintain their cables and routing hubs. Sometimes they need to tear up streets or block off traffic to to their work. Hell, they can sometimes get government subsidies to build cables or routing hubs. To say they own their network 100 percent is preposterous. That doesn't mean they shouldnt get a return on their investment, but if they want to charge for prioritization then they need to start paying for the aforementioned privileges and shouldn't get a cent of tax payer money.
  • by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:11AM (#33435136) Homepage Journal

    is that if you repeat it often enough, people start to believe it.

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:13AM (#33435166)

    I've been using the Internet for a long time, since when it was just an University network and before AOL and in all the docs, READMEs, RFCs and FAQs that I read over the last 28 years, not once was "The right to profit" ever been mentioned as a fundamental principle of the Internet.

    Openess and interoperability: yes, profit: no.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:17AM (#33435216) Journal

    I'm on the same page as you but I think we're at a disadvantage because people are willing to pay for a prioritization of processing in many other things and assume that doing it this way with internet traffic is just a logical step in a capitalistic society where the rich can pay a premium for better and ensured service.

    Logical fallacy. Doing it this way IS a logical step in a capitalistic society; that doesn't mean it's actually optimal (pure capitalism isn't), and a gently regulated free market supposedly looks for these issues and smooths them out. A communistic market would, on the other hand, have a higher power (Congress) examining the issue and deciding (scientifically) what is best for everyone. A divinistic society would have a higher power (God) sort it out.

    Don't imply that X isn't capitalistic when it is, and I won't imply that !X is communistic when it's not.

  • Re:Fuck you AT&T (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:17AM (#33435224)

    in it's simplest form net neutrality is similar to anti-monopoly legislation.

    Yes this is a semi-car analogy but it's not completely off the wall.

    Imagine 1 company owned and maintained most of the highways in a state, collected tolls and also got to make up their own rules for traffic on the stretches of road they were maintaining.

    Now imagine that the same company owned a large retail chain and taxi company.

    So they make a rule that on their highways everyone else has to get out of the way of their delivery vans or taxi service and there is no speed limit for their own taxi service or delivery vans.(perhaps they also extend this to their buisness partners)
    This would both give the other wings of their company an advantage and also hurt the service of their normal customers who get pushed over into the slower lanes whenever company traffic is going through.
    analogous to ISP's which also run a voip service or a video streaming service prioritizing the packets from their own service

    At the same time they start charging tripple tolls to all delivery vans for competing retail chains or taxis from competing services or even make a rule setting a lower speed limit for those cometitors vehicles.
    analagous to an ISP intentionally dropping the priority of packets from their competitors streaming service or voip service or charging them an additional fee if they want to get equal priority

    Would this be fair? they'd be using their position in one market to gain advantage in another.
    Would this be healthy for a market?
    of course not, it would be exactly the sort of crap that healthy regulation aims to stop.

    but AT&T want to be able to pull that kind of crap because there's a hell of a lot of money to be made in distorting the market to their favor.

  • Re:Actually.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:20AM (#33435252) Homepage Journal

    They're also lying assholes. yes, they should be able to charge more for a T1 than DSL, but they should NOT be able to charge more for a user to use Google than to use Bing, or more for torrents than streaming video.

    I was actually thinking about checking into their $20/month wifi they snail mailed me about a week or so ago, as wifi connections at Felber's, the laundromat, and McDonald's are almost always fast enough to stream video, and it didn't take long to DL the latest Mandriva distro (now if I can get my netbook to boot from it..)

    But after this, I'm not too sure. AT&T or Comcast? Both are really BAD choices, but they're my only two.

  • by XAD1975 (1628499) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:22AM (#33435288)
    As you point out, there's certainly a market out there. But the next question coming to my mind is : would that prioritization come at the expense of the standard user's comfort? By the moment they switch their prioritization on, will we see our latencies and bandwidth melt like snow under the sun, to the point where we'll become obliged to buy their package?
  • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:29AM (#33435370)

    we only have to look at the post office to see that it can be done

    Except that the post office works in exactly the opposite way.

    The post office was created in the firs place to deliver letters. Later, to use available capacity, they divided their services into "first" and "second" class. If you send a horseman to some distant place to deliver one letter, it will cost as much as sending that horseman to deliver one letter and one magazine.

    The post office offers discounts for second class mail, what AT&T is offering is to charge extra for "first class" content.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:30AM (#33435380)

    Here on Slashot, I know I will be pilloried. But this issue is too important to fear retribution of the masses.

    The deal is, that network neutrality is not just talking about stopping ISP's from not slowing certain network types.

    It also stops companies from charging you more for expediting certain kinds of data. Well, what if I as a consumer WANT to pay a bit more to have my Comcast voice work really well with video, or to get faster bandwidth to some CDN's so that I could really replace cable video with internet video? Why should they and I not be allowed to do that?

    The only issue we've ever seen is something I'm not even sure a network neutrality law would stop - Comcast forging packets to screw over BitTorrent. None of the proposals we are talking about say anything about forged traffic or even adhering to network standards, just that the companies cannot ever prioritize one source of traffic over another. So we're talking about a regulation to solve a problem we have not yet seen and there is no sign of that may not even prevent real attempts at hurting user traffic, while at the same time limiting the possibilities for advanced services ISP's could offer in a network-savvy world.

    The real crime is that people don't have more ISP's to choose from, so that they can go elsewhere if they do not like the policies of the one they are using. Instead of adding new regulation, why not loosen up that one and see what real competition does for the internet instead of the government-enfornced monopolies we have today?

    The last note I want to offer is one of caution - if you choose to regulate the internet, which until now has been free and open, you invite special interests to follow up and shape what the regulation means. If the government has a hand in regulating the flow of the network it can just as easily decree that MPAA blacklisted torrent trackers MUST be blocked or the ISP would face a fine. Is that really the world you want to move forward into?

  • Re:Fuck you AT&T (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:30AM (#33435386)

    Net neutrality, as a term, is similar to global warming. There is a whole lot of FUD spread on both sides of the issue and more than one definition depending on who you ask.

    What many people want to avoid is a situation where an ISP can arbitrarily filter or throttle the content flowing through their connection. They want a "dumb pipe to the Internet" that they can use how they see fit up to the limits of the connection, without fear of filtering or throttling based on the contents (or protocol used) of the information they are sending or receiving. Some users want a completely unlimited connection while some just want a cheap connection, even with limitations.

    What many ISPs want is the ability to offer tiered services, allowing them to tailor their offerings based on rules they are in control of and not just be a "dumb pipe to the Internet". So they could reduce or remove the ability to torrent, for instance, with their lower priced offering and offer a less limited connection for more money. Many also want the ability to prioritize packets based on tiers, so their corporate customers, for instance, might be less affected during heavy usage times because their packets would be given priority over someone patching World of Warcraft (again, just an example).

    With the current business model of Internet connections, a great deal of people under utilize their connection and still pay the same as someone who uses their connection to the max. The way many ISPs do their business model is that they expect that the bulk of people use relatively little of their available bandwidth so they will oversell their capacity. Now that there are so many ways to eat up large amounts of bandwidth (TV over the Internet, rich media sites like YouTube, social media sites, etc.) it is a lot harder for an ISP to guess how much over booking of their capacity will actually work well. They often blame the people that are maximizing the connection they were sold when the real problem lies in their business model. The days of "unlimited" connections are over. Net Neutrality is just one battlefield of the overall war.

  • by cfulmer (3166) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:35AM (#33435448) Homepage Journal
    I disagree. Consider two situations: (A). AT&T starts up a search subsidiary and then says "We're going to impair connections to all other search providers in favor of our own," reaping a ton of profits. (B) AT&T spins-off that search subsidiary but enters into a contract with it where the subsidiary pays a bunch of $$$ for AT&T to impair connections to the other providers, reaping a ton of profits? The end result to AT&T, end-users and other search providers is identical; the only difference is that in (A) the flow of money from search to AT&T comes through ownership and in (B) it comes through contract.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:37AM (#33435460)

    Actually, there is a great deal of the Big Lie in politics today. Small wonder to see large corporations taking it out for a ride as well. Newspeak is alive and well. You might be surprised by how much difficulty you have persuading the average citizen that x ~= ~x.

    War is Peace.

    War out.

  • by n2art2 (945661) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:41AM (#33435528) Homepage
    I don't agree with your analogy.

    I agree with the fact that Paid Prioritization is the opposite of net neutrality, however I don't think your argument is helpful.

    The internet is more like a highway that connects you to destinations (Websites).

    The internet is not the websites themselves, and no information is stored on the internet, information is stored at destinations (servers) and the internet is the avenue that you can use to access that destination.

    AT&T is saying that they want to maintain the right to put up a toll, and charge the traffic on that toll, and provide different speeds for different types of traffic on that toll road.

    The problem is that AT&T wants to charge the destinations the toll, to allow the traffic to reach their destinations faster. This is very different then what they already are doing which is charging the traffic (the end users) that use their ISP a rate for a specified speed of access.

    The argument is really a double dip. Charge the driver, and charge the destination they are wanting to get to, in order for that driver to get to that destination faster.
  • paid can be ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:42AM (#33435540)

    Honestly, I don't think it would be unfair to pay for priority service.

    Things like WoW connections, VoIP, and any other such "real time" protocol that is sensitive to delays can benefit from increased priority. Paying for "packet rushing" is IMHO a valid thing.

    The problem comes when it turns into a protection racket, or worse, sabotage.

    If you can pay to have your packets boosted, that's ok.

    What isn't ok is for the network to sabotage your performance on purpose because you didn't pay up, or worse, because one of your competitors did.

    And that includes throttling bittorrent connections.

  • Does AT&T realize (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:46AM (#33435626) Journal

    Does AT&T realize that they too can get severely screwed without net neutrality? Verizon or any other provider can decide that they don't like AT&T network traffic and place it at the bottom of the priority list or not route any of their traffic at all. For the small guys, this could quickly become a death sentence.

    Look at Cogent history of issues with other providers. (AOL, Level3, Sprint, etc) Cogent was under-cutting everyone on price, generating huge amounts of traffic that caused lopsided peering and some providers didn't like it. What happen? They started dropping any traffic coming from Cogent.

    I think it's imperative that all network traffic flow freely with the exception in the case of gross abuse of resources.

  • Re:Fuck you AT&T (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Barefoot Monkey (1657313) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:49AM (#33435664)

    Maybe I just don't get net neutrality and what's being argued for, but how would it no affect how peering contracts are worked out, how QoS can be implemented, etc? All this "routing around damage" stuff people talk about seems to stop fairly swiftly at the border, where policy is used to determine where data goes, and not metrics.

    The "routing around damage" principle does not apply to endpoints, because there is only one route. If you are connected to the Internet via AT&T then at some point ultimately everything must go through AT&T before it gets between your computer and the Internet proper, and there is no way around this. If are connected through a completely different carrier but are trying to connect to an AT&T customer, then the connection must also go through their chokepoint. There is no way around a wall between point A and B if it completely surrounds either of those points.

    Regerding peering contracts and such, that's the way things have always worked in a neutral network, so that isn't a concern. QoS is also acceptible in general, as long as it isn't abused. Network neutrality is about defining what constitutes abuse. The ur-example: "paid prioritization" amounts to AT&T demanding that target non-customers "compensate" them for chosing one of their competitors over them by threatening to degrade their own customers' connections to the target (potentially causing severe damage to the target's business) unless the target pays them.

  • by jx100 (453615) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:51AM (#33435700)

    How about ths:

    The internet should be considered a public good, because the benefits of having it are spread to the entire public in the form of greater communications and information spreading.

    Also, the internet was created and funded by the federal government, and currently continually uses public land.

    Because of these reasons, we should have a say in assuring that the internet continues to operate in a manner primarily supporting the public good, and not primarily as a for-profit endeavor.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:09AM (#33435986)

    They offer their business plan, you can take it or go to the competitors.

    Sounds good to me. If Time Warner does something I don't like I can go to.... hmmm.... FIOS isn't in my area yet. I suppose I *could* go to DSL but Verizon doesn't seem to be supporting that as well as they used to. And what if Verizon does something I don't like? No other company in my area offers high speed Internet.

    The problem with the "go to the competitors" argument is that most people in the US have a choice of two or less companies from which to get broadband. You can't rely on the threat of competition with two or less companies.

  • by Defenestrar (1773808) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:12AM (#33436034)

    I think it's more of what is meant by priority traffic. If priority traffic happens to be users who pay more for a higher bandwidth cap then I don't see a problem - there's definitely an infrastructure cost if a user wants more than the standard line will deliver to their location (or the provider has to put in a bigger node so there isn't a pinch point). The entire issue seems to be an artifact of how we bill for internet usage. Billing entirely based on pipe size is absurd when the cost to the service is actually a function of total data sent and received.

    How would you react if your electric company told you there was a flat rate on your 200 amp household service and that it was going to be more expensive just because your neighbor happens to like using his welder as a full spectrum light source every night (or you pay out for CF bulbs and he or she doesn't)? I'd even bet that some people would take to running a salamander in the back yard all summer just to "stick it to 'em." If you've ever needed more juice you may have to pay an initial fee for a 400 amp service (and maybe not) but after that it's pretty much based on what you use (some places might have a nominal recurring fee based on increased maintenance). Some industrial locations will pay a premium for guaranteed service (or guaranteed first back up service) but they may also get volume discounts - nobody seems to complain about that.

    If we're talking about something other than neutral to the content of the traffic then it is not net neutrality. If we're talking about a provider making decisions and pricing based exclusively on quantity and rate of traffic than that should still be within the bounds of net neutrality.

    Sure, I'd love to see a flat rate determined by a third party (government?) at a set percentage of profit of which another set percentage must go back into infrastructure improvement, but I am not convinced that such a system would work out the way I'd envision it's implementation and success.

  • Re:Actually.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:14AM (#33436072) Journal

    giant douche or turd sandwich, basically.

    however, yes, isn't competition great? we have lots of choices, none of which are actually competitive in comparison to what we'd like to see available in the US. If 100mb/s synchronous was available to consumers right now we'd be talking competition, but as is people are getting what, 20mb/s upstream as the maximum available?

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:22AM (#33436192)

    The whole idea behind net NEUTRALITY is that NOBODY plays around with the traffic

    Exactly- for good or for ill.

    Lots of things work better when ISP's are allowed to shape traffic. It's the idea that we need to dumb-down what is possible to protect against a danger that has not come to pass to this point, that offends me.

    Your last paragraph for example - you assum,e the government is going to police the internet.

    And you assume with government dictating what can be done with networks they will not?

    How naive can you be? Once control is given it's a bitch to take away, so even the chance of that happening makes the risks of making it possible not worth it unless there is a compelling reason to do so - and once again, with no instances at large of ISP's behaving in bad ways that would be stopped by Network Neutrality laws, why take that risk? It's a "think of the children" kind of argument that argues we have to do something because otherwise something bad "might" happen, without thinking of what other bad things are even more likely to happen should we proceed with the regulation.

    Also I'm 101% sure that if the MPAA blacklisted torrents bla bla bla - they could easily get the ISPs to do it.

    But the point is right now they would have to fight with each and every ISP to get them to do that.

    Whereas if the government has a say in how traffic is carried they just need to convince five guys in a closed room in Washington.

    Under which scenario are they more likely to have success?

    Regulate the internet - the regulation is the guarantee of neutrality .

    It's the guarantee of control, and central authorities long term have never governed with wisdom. You are seeking to put control of the internet you and I use on a daily basis into the hands of the "tubes" people. I"m so sure THAT will end well.

    The weirdest thing about the whole issue to me is that most people seeking to support Network Neutrality as a concept, do so for the practical reason they don't want to lose torrent access. I'll come right out and say that's actually my primary concern. But that's why I'm so against network neutrality - because in a regulated environment, with the lobbying power Hollywood has that is for sure the first thing to fall.

    I buy most of my video content online already anyway and only torrent what I can't buy, so I'll not be that affected. I'm just trying to help everyone understand the full implications of imposing regulation on what has truly been an open and free environment.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:30AM (#33436302) Homepage

    This is their next step after they get their protection racket pushed through.

    The ISP's want it 3 ways.

    Customer pays $X for service. Websites and services pay $X for access to those subscribers.

    When that is done they will then start charging customers $X for "faster" access to popular things.

    The ONLY legitimate thing they can charge for is the $X to the customer for service. Everything else is extortion money and flat out scumbaggery.

    I so wished the FCC had the balls to force Internet ISP's to be Common Carrier Status to avoid all this crap.

  • Re:Actually.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:33AM (#33436356)

    are you sure? most places in the US have alternatives, check dslreports.com for independent ISP's in your area.

  • Re:Actually.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Somewhat Delirious (938752) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:34AM (#33436362)

    "AT&T said Tuesday that any Net neutrality plan restricting its ability to engage in 'paid prioritization' of network traffic would be harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of the Internet."

    I wasn't aware AT&T arbitrarily limiting customers access to information based on how much money they stand to gain from extorting the companies that provide it was a fundamental priciple of the internet?
    When did that happen?

  • by sstamps (39313) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:38AM (#33436404) Homepage

    It also stops companies from charging you more for expediting certain kinds of data. Well, what if I as a consumer WANT to pay a bit more to have my Comcast voice work really well with video, or to get faster bandwidth to some CDN's so that I could really replace cable video with internet video? Why should they and I not be allowed to do that?

    I haven't read any proposed rule-making for Net Neutrality that prevents ISPs from offering expedited services to customers/endpoints as a paid option. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you paying as a consumer/endpoint for the QoS prioritization you desire; that's the entire point of QoS.

    The problem is that many big ISPs started out as content suppliers as well, or want to be in that business. Thus, they wish to control access to their competition's content by either blocking it, or by rate-limiting it on their networks so as to be difficult to impossible to access, unless their competition pays them a toll on the back end to carry it.

    A more proper analogy would be that you are a long-time YouTube user. You're on a big ISP like Comcast. Comcast sets up its own user-video service called YouCast. They then start blocking/rate limiting YouTube unless YouTube pays them an exorbitant toll to carry their traffic. As a result, you as the YouTube user are faced with a number of rather unfair options: no access or painfully slow and choppy access to YouTube, or now YouTube has to charge you money (or more money) so they can afford to pay the "toll" just to serve you. But, hey! YouCast is still free/cheap, and boy is it FAST!

    Normally, in an open, competitive market, you have lots of choices, and you can simply toss Comcast into the garbage can and go with a REAL ISP who doesn't pull those types of shenanigans, because either it is run by more ethical people, or they don't have a content division which is going to end up competing unfairly via their ISP division. However, because of the way the Internet has come about (and, yes, I realize the government had a hand in the debacle), those "other choices" don't exist for the vast majority of consumers.

    The first problem that needs to be fixed is that ISPs should not be allowed to have content divisions and vice versa. The people who own/run the pipes should have no vested interest in what content flows through the pipes. Ever. Likewise, the people who supply the content that flows through the pipes should have no vested interest in the pipes themselves. As long as there are businesses which do both, there is a HUGE potential for abuse, including wanton violations of the Sherman act which need to be prosecuted.

    Now, that said, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with large content providers buying big pipes into many major ISPs to make sure that their content is delivered faster to as many people as possible. The difference between that and what AT&T is talking about is that the default situation is not intentionally degraded by AT&T as an ISP in an effort to extort money from said content providers.

    The last note I want to offer is one of caution - if you choose to regulate the internet, which until now has been free and open, you invite special interests to follow up and shape what the regulation means. If the government has a hand in regulating the flow of the network it can just as easily decree that MPAA blacklisted torrent trackers MUST be blocked or the ISP would face a fine. Is that really the world you want to move forward into?

    That's a no-brainer for me. I know how corporations work. They are a known quantity, and I can fully expect them to do the worst possible at all times in the name of their single-minded pursuit of the Almighty Profit. The government, on the other hand, in principle, is intended to protect and serve the people. It doesn't always work out that way, but it does do so often enough for me to feel pretty comfortable in giving it a chance to make the corporations do the right thing when they have zero incentive to do so otherwise.

    As s

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:39AM (#33436420) Journal

    It would be stupid to roll out a network that restricted your customers to 3.0mbit/s when you can offer them the ability to burst at higher speeds and even sustain them when others don't need them.

    That's fine and all, but sell it as a 3.0 mbit/s service with higher burst speeds as a bonus. Don't sell it as a 10mbit/s service when you never see those speeds in reality.

  • Re:Fuck you AT&T (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:47AM (#33436572)

    Unfortunately, the cash derived from the proposed tolls, etc, is more than enough to buy a few Senators (hell, its a downturn economy, Congressmen are cheap these days). That allows them to keep their position until someone cries foul loud enough to get the anti-trust case into court, where they will be slapped on the wrist with a meager fine, and be able to ride onto further success with the damage already done.

    Deja vu, all over again

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:48AM (#33436596) Journal

    The T-1 (or more properly DS-1) is still 1.544 Mbps and not 100 Mbps as AC mentioned.

    I think his theory was that AT&T would sell 66 1.5mbit/s DS-1s (99mbit/s) and a bunch of DSL connections and make them all share the same 100mbit/s backhaul.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:58AM (#33436728) Journal

    I'm convinced an ideal system is capitalist, which acknowledges the competitive nature of humanity, but with socialist attributes, strategically applied, to prevent abuses and provide support.

    That's called a "Free Enterprise" system, with carefully planned regulation to prevent abuse. Unfortunately, what we're seeing is a failure of the regulatory system in which the regulated economy gives rise to an economic demand for control over the regulators, while the regulators have demand for money and attention (votes). In this way, the regulations put in place instead help create strategic advantages for small numbers of companies, while allowing small competitors to barely survive and supply the illusion of competition.

  • by Anomalyx (1731404) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:05PM (#33436832)
    So... what they're saying is that in order for net neutrality to work, we have to not have net neutrality?

    And if you think about it, the pay-for-prioritization model doesn't help anybody except the ISP, by bringing them in more money. It hurts the customers who pay for prioritization because they are paying more for the same service they had before the prioritization model. It hurts the customers who don't pay for prioritization because their connection now sucks.

    Another interesting way to think about it is, "Pay us more or your connection will be throttled down," which I'm pretty sure has to be some form of illegal.

    What there needs to be is a clearly advertised minimum speed (and require it to be within a certain range of the maximum advertised speed, as well as not being throttled depending on its source/destination) and a clearly advertised maximum latency. If we can get those to be required somehow, it will at least be a step in the right direction. Tis a longshot, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:20PM (#33437072)

    I remember when the power company charged a flat-rate for a stream of electrons that entered my house. Nowadays, they charge based on the Tiers as they are not an electron provider but an energy services provider.

    Tier 1 is Basic Services ($.05/kw/h): refrigeration and one light bulb.
    Tier 2 is Basic Enhancements ($.10/kwh): hob/microwave, washing machine, one electric fan and three light bulbs
    Tier 3 is Common Enhancements ($.20/kwh): drying machine, dishwasher, two electric fans and a garage door opener.
    Tier 4 is Advanced Enhancements ($.50/kwh): television, computer, more than four light bulbs, more than two electric fans.
    Tier 5 is all other devices or devices without smart metering ($1.00/kwh)

    Next year, their moving to a preferred Tiered Pricing Scheme.

    Tier 1 is Basic Services ($.05/kw/h): GE refrigerators and one GE light bulb.
    Tier 2 is Basic Enhancements ($.10/kwh): Samsung hob/microwave, Whirlpool washing machine, one GE electric fan and three GE light bulbs
    Tier 3 is Common Enhancements ($.20/kwh): Whirlpool drying machine, GE dishwasher, two GE electric fans and a GE garage door opener.
    Tier 4 is Advanced Enhancements ($.50/kwh): Samsung television, Dell computer, more than four GE light bulbs, more than two GE electric fans.
    Tier 5 is all non-listed devices or devices without smart metering ($1.00/kwh)

    I fail to see how this good for anyone, really. The electricity generators are losing money due to decreased demand. Consumers are losing money due to constant rate increases and restrictions. The only people benefiting from this seem to be my local power utility, GE, Samsung, Whirlpool and Dell.

    It's a bit frustrating as tax money was used to build the electricity distribution infrastructure in the first place but part of the new policies are that government money cannot be used for infrastructure development.

    Although, to be fair, it's not all that bad. At least I don't have any Tier 6 (non-GE general medical – $5/kwh), Tier 7 (non-GE life support – $10/kwh) devices.

  • Re:Actually.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:29PM (#33437248)

    This is just like cities taking the diamond lanes that were only for fuel efficient cars, and remaking them into special fast lanes for rich people. Money talks, poor people walk.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:33PM (#33437332)

    ..AT&T...YOU are harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of Capitalism!

    The Principle of Capitalism: use the money you have to make more.

    That capitalists might voluntarily limit themselves to moral or even legal ways is simply a myth invented by the likes of Rand and then perpetrated by the robber barons who's image it helps improve. Comcast, Enron and BP are the true face of Capitalism, and the faster you understand that the faster we can make the huge corrective turn towards left we should had done a long time ago. Otherwise, watch things get worse as the pack of wolves deregulation has unleashed keeps on tearing the society apart.

  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:56PM (#33437658)

    "I'm all for net neutrality, but with restrictions put on what the government can do"

    Your point seems to miss two fundamental points:

    1) we (the government, by virtue of those we elect; yes we often chose poorly) paid to have the internet invented

    2) putting restrictions on the people to their own inventions so that rules can be set by third parties, with no accountability is just asking for trouble, since eventually these parties will exclude everyone else from the decision making process and then be free to charge whatever they want for "internet related services", which essentially means every aspect of human activity these days.

    Better have a few basic rules like net-neutrality that essentially say, no you can not manipulate the system to give yourself an unfair advantage. I like the idea of requiring ISP and service providers to pay a larger "royalty" to the government each year so that certain essential services (free and fair exchange of political speech, free and fair elections, universal pricing for political advertising, free availability of laws and regulations be made available to all, etc. without third parties being able to inject their own self-serving "rules" into the process whereby they can charge differential costs to access such information.

    Maybe we need some kind of "minimum delivered services laws" akin to minimum wage laws, if the principal of net-neutrality for IP packets is to abandoned to the free markets. Otherwise, a few will gain at everyone else's expense and that is not an equitable or useful social policy upon which to manage the sustainability of a fragile planet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:01PM (#33437762)

    1. The telcos don't want to spend money on more bandwidth, everywhere to everyone.

    2. Having limited bandwidth lets AT & T ration the bandwidth, and enhance margins.
              No spend and more margin. Gotta Love that.

    3. If there was enough cheap bandwidth to my house, I could start a TV station. I would be on equal footing with Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the Propaganda People, and the MSM. None of this signing my rights away in perpetuity for a 15 minute clip that gets pulled when someone's girlfriend gets their panties in a bunch. Vive la Revolution.

    4. If google had enough cheap bandwidth from everyone to everywhere, it could take out the MSM, telecoms, cable, dvd rentals, itunes, pay per view. This is the Convergence they used to talk about. If it involves data or content moving via packets, Google is poised to take them all out. What do you think youtube is all about?

    5. Peer to Peer: Unlimited cheap bandwidth from everyone to everywhere disrupts the government/MSM propaganda model. It disrupts Hollywood, and the Record companies.

    6. If google gave the pipe providers bags of cash to build out no bullshit real stuff in real world, and everything ran just a little faster, but youtube and google apps ran really, really fast because google parked a bunch of those shipping containers in the parking lot by the pipe provider's backbone, and optimized and tweaked and advanced the state of the art, does it make a sound?

    The telco's need to build out or die. Google is obviously demanding the build out, and has the cash to do it, but the problem it the telcos are blocking the advance in the internet.

    The temptation for google to do something evil would be just too great, and the precedent would be set, leaving the door open for the next group of dudes to do evil.

    7. But AT &T wants the bags of cash, with no build. You get your packets 'prioritized' and the other packets get the FU. AT &T sets a precedent, no build happens, the internet remains stagnant, while the MSM and the other dinosaurs flail around and do nothing, except maintain a declining grasp on the status quo. For a while. While the country stagnants.

    8. Banks could lend. Wall Street could issue those IPO thingies. Helicopter Ben could print up a trillion. Hire all the engineers in the USA, we could have it all done in two years. GO! Are you waiting for the go code? GO! GO! GO!

    9. There is nobody even close to google, to compete. The rest of the industry is still playing checkers and can only win by cheating.

    10. Telcom, computing, networking, content, distribution, data processing, hardware, software, sales, service, support these are all the same business. Google sees this. Nobody else does.

    11. You can't outsource innovation

    12. You can't be an innovator by following the herd

    13. You snooze, you lose.

    14. Time occurs in larger intervals than 90 day quarters.

    15. The pioneers are the ones with the arrows in them. Full speed ahead, dam the torpedos and body armor all around!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:21PM (#33437996)

    How they claim in the article that people want to force rate hikes to pay for more broadband infrastructure. What happened to all that money that was SUPPOSED to go towards this that the government gave them? Orite, they just took it and spent it on anything they wanted.

    I want landline broadband where I live, believe me I do! But doing it at the expense of Net neutrality is wrong. I'd rather be extorted by the satmodem companies.

Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine

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