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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!
    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Shakrai (717556) *

        They're also lying assholes. yes, they should be able to charge more for a T1 than DSL

        But should they be allowed to prioritize the traffic from that T-1 over the traffic from their DSL customers when network congestion is an issue? The T-1 customer probably got an SLA if he was smart. The DSL customer was promised nothing of the kind.

        • by jythie (914043)
          Yes, they should, which net neutrality does not stop them from doing. Putting them back under common carrier rules would NOT stop them from prioritizing traffic of their own customers.
    • by Kepesk (1093871)
      Yeah, pretty much. AT&T can go suck it. That's really all I have to say about that.
    • ..AT&T...YOU are harmful and contrary to the fundamental principles of Capitalism!

      Corporate Welfare is socialism/communism for private institutions. If you (Corporate C*Os) need the law to protect you from market competition, then you run a socialist institution of incompetence.

      Telecommunications/Infrastructure is for the utility of domestic distribution of information for the economic and public good. IOW: AT&T - Grow The Fyck Up (GTFU) you are a utility company, not a technology company seling pro

      • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "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?

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bsDaemon (87307)

      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.

      • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jgagnon (1663075)

        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 th

        • by bsDaemon (87307)

          Well, perhaps its just my perception of things, since where I grew up the best we could get was dial-up until I was a sophomore in college. At college on the lan, it was 10/100 switches and there was traffic shaping and QoS across the LAN, and I think we had a few T1s channel bonded together serving the whole campus. it was still faster than my dialup at home.

          I still look at a 3Mb cable connection as "that's two T1s". Of course, I'm not going to get "line-rate" on cable, but the 10Mbit cable connection I

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            personally, when moving multi GB files over VPN links (often VM's between sites for testing) I find the remote sites with T1's unbearable. (13,583 seconds, or 226 min, or 3.76 hours to move 20GB via a T1) we've partnered up with a local ISP and started moving customers over to 100Mbps pipes on the private network, and 10Mbit per site gateways for general access. (204 seconds, or 3.4 min, or 0.06 hours to move 20GB via a 100Mbit line)

            I completely agree that for 90%+ of the people that use the internet,
    • Frame of Reference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> 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?

      • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by XAD1975 (1628499)
        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 jack2000 (1178961)
      You mean it would holdup our internets hostage.
  • by rotide (1015173) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:56AM (#33434968)

    "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.

    Telecommunications providers need the ability to set different prices for different forms of Internet service, AT&T said, adding that it already has "hundreds" of customers who have paid extra for higher-priority services."

    So you want to tier the internet. You want only certain things viewable if I "only" pay you $30/month. I'll get more, but probably not everything at $50/mo and at $100/month I'll get everything you think I should want, but of course, something will be blocked as it will probably be against your businesses interests for me to see and/or use it (competing services, etc).

    Seriously, go @#$# yourselves, AT&T.

  • 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
    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.
  • how fitting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:58AM (#33434986)

    I love how this is the quote that came up at the bottom of the story.

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. -- Aleister Crowley

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Yeah, Crowley sliced off the important bit.

    • Re:how fitting (Score:5, Informative)

      by Haxamanish (1564673) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:16AM (#33435206)

      Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. -- Aleister Crowley

      François Rabelais [wikipedia.org] wrote that already in the first half of the 16th century in his book "Gargantua", chapter LIV.

      • jollyreaper shall attribute quotes to whomever he wilt, in accordance to said quoted Law.

        And that's the problem with the quote in question.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          From your link:

          All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed,

          Do What Thou Wilt;

  • 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.
  • More detail... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @09:59AM (#33435008)

    Man, that's a short summary.

    Essentially, AT&T is arguing that because the idea of service classes is built into packet headers, the internet is not meant to have net neutrality.

    Their opponents argue, essentially, that the service classes are there for a given end user entity to prioritize traffic by class if they choose, not for the telecom companies to do so.

    Honestly, who could be surprised that AT&T reads the history/design of the internet in such a way that it seems to say exactly what they'd like it to say? This isn't any different from a corporate version of the phenomena in which a person interprets the holy text of their religion in such a way that it just happens to say that they should hate things or people that they already hate.

    • Honestly, who could be surprised that AT&T reads the history/design of the internet in such a way that it seems to say exactly what they'd like it to say?

      I'm not surprised. But then I'm not surprised you read the history/design of the internet in such a way that it seems to say exactly what you'd like it to say.
       
      Everyone does that - not just corporations and religions.

    • Re:More detail... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @11:04AM (#33435914) Homepage

      Their opponents argue, essentially, that the service classes are there for a given end user entity to prioritize traffic by class if they choose, not for the telecom companies to do so.

      If that's what they're arguing, frankly, they're absolutely full of shit.

      Go read the RFCs. The entire point of TOS flags and DSCP bits is to give traffic engineers *in the network* the flexibility to manage traffic as needed to optimize service for various traffic classes. Of course, this requires cooperation between network operators *and* end users, but it benefits everyone, as everyone gets the best service for the type of application they're using.

      Is this mechanism open for abuse? Absolutely. But AT&T is *partially* correct, in that 100% neutral packet routing has never been a core principle in the architecture of the internet. *However*, the idea that clients and servers are equal peers, and that traffic should be treated fairly regardless of source or destination, *absolutely* is, and to conclude that network neutrality is invalid based on the presence of IP-level traffic classes, is, to say the least, a twisting of the facts and the history of the internet.

      As such, I think network neutrality is vitally important, and should be regulated, to ensure that everyone is routed fairly. *However*, that same regulation should not preclude the use of valid traffic engineering techniques for optimizing network performance.

  • Bandwidth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Script Cat (832717)
    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.
    • 10 end users to 1 "advertised" bandwidth.

      This is all about money. They want to cram more customers on their network without putting in a bigger pipe.

  • 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 rwv (1636355) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:02AM (#33435038) Homepage Journal

    The Internet is not a Mall. Sure, there are stores. Sure, there are ads for anything you can think of plastered everywhere. Sure, it's an anonymous place with crowds of people you don't actually know.

    But the Internet is not a Mall.

    It transcends the status of a basic retail venue. The Internet is a place where information (and occasionally knowledge) is stored. The Internet is an international forum. The Internet is an academic cornucopia. The Internet is the Great Library of Alexandria for the 21st Cenutry.

    If AT&T demands the right to tax access to the Great Library, I demand that AT&T offer to sell all of its shares to the United States government for $0.01 so that there's public control about how those additional tax revenues are spent. Failing to hand over the keys to the castle to the public, AT&T can go pound sand. They ought *not* to be the arbiter of who gets access to what for which price.

    • 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.
  • by Dusty101 (765661) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:02AM (#33435048)

    Actually, hey: let's just forget the "Oxy", shall we?

  • 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.

  • 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 PhysicsPhil (880677) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @10:12AM (#33435156)

    The usual Slashdot response is that there is no way prioritization is compatible with net neutrality, but we only have to look at the post office to see that it can be done. You have the choice to send by standard mail, or to pay more to speed up delivery. I'll grant that it's not a perfect analogy, but there are models that would work.

    My biggest concern would be that prioritization is done on an exclusive basis, i.e., a company pays to be the only one that can distribute sports on a high priority basis. We could imagine multiple tiers of bandwidth with a couple of conditions. Each tier must be available on uniform and nondiscriminatory terms, so that anyone can pay $X to deliver a megabyte on the highest tier. It's also important that the lowest tier doesn't get starved, which could be accomplished by requiring that no more than X megabytes are transmitted by high speed delivery before a megabyte is moved over the lower tier system.

    As a community I think we have to look really hard at whether net neutrality is a battle that can genuinely be won. If it is, then we fight the good fight. If not, then I think we have to consider what kind of non-neutral network is most reasonable.

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by coolsnowmen (695297)

        One man's discount is another another man's extra. Meaning as long as there is a difference in price & service, one is either less than the other, or the other is more than the one.
        E.G.

        Advertisement 1: 90$ for our service, 10$ extra for better service.
        Advertisement 2: 100$ for our service, 10$ discount for our discount service.

        There is no difference between the product, just the psychology. Companies love to reel you in with the low price, and then convince you that you NEED the higher one.

        Also, using

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:08PM (#33436878) Homepage Journal

      Your analogy is too deeply flawed. It more matches paying more for a T1 than a DSL line, which few would object to. What AT&T wants is like charging more for shipping a ten pound box of chocolate than shipping a ten pound box of raw sugar.

  • Any Net Neutrality plan must enable "paid prioritization" of network traffic.
    -also-
    Any Net Neutrality plan must enable "complimentary non-prioritization" of network traffic.
    -also-
    AT&T == tardfarm

  • 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.

  • Don't all the Tier-1 providers have peering contracts so they don't have to pay money for each others' traffic? How can you charge another Tier-1 provider's customers when you've agreed to let that traffic pass already? If I signed a contract to let your traffic pass for free if you let mine pass free, I would be pissed when my customers complained you're trying to charge them for traffic pass.
  • 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?

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      The whole idea behind net NEUTRALITY is that NOBODY plays around with the traffic. Not the government, not the Corporations, not anyone.

      Your last paragraph for example - you assum,e the government is going to police the internet. Also I'm 101% sure that if the MPAA blacklisted torrents bla bla bla - they could easily get the ISPs to do it.

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        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 ca

    • Which variant of "net neutrality" are you talking about? The one I'm familiar with shouldn't prevent you paying your ISP extra to be able to prioritize your traffic, it should only prohibit your ISP charging third-party websites for being available to you.
    • 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

  • 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.

  • Can someone point me to the source for all this "I'll have to pay more if I want to see the whole Internet" argument? I RTFA, and if either side (even those arguing pro-neutrality) alleged that's going to happen, I somehow didn't see it; but I see a whole lot of people here claiming it's what AT&T wants.

    In the end, my position on "net neutrality" regulation is the same whether or not content providers contemplate blocking access in a price-tiered scheme; and it is this:

    There should be regulations, but

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Can someone point me to the source for all this "I'll have to pay more if I want to see the whole Internet" argument?

      Past experience with telcos? Give them the opportunity to charge for something and they will. Where's your source for your argument that they won't?

      As for competition, if there were 500 choices of ISP everywhere it would work, but when the average user is lucky to have two or three choices of ISP and many people have only one, it hardly applies.

  • Couldn't a self-respecting nerd simply bypass the paid priority by tunneling into a non-double-dipped protocol? (ping tunnel comes to mind). If mole-bashing becomes an issue, simply tunnel through a protocol they cannot mess with, like http. Tunneling may be in a nerd only realm now, but it could easily become as ubiquitous as (insert kid friendly p2p app) here.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @12:23PM (#33437128)

    I recently changed my iPhone plan on my work account to include the ability to tether (I don't want to jailbreak my work provided phone).

    The choices were 2GB "DataPro" plan with tethering ($45) or a 2GB "Enterprise" plan with tethering ($60). It wasn't clear on the web-site what the differences were so I called AT&T.

    After three transfers I finally got to someone who could explain the difference. The guy told me that the "Enterprise" plan is for users connecting to their own mail server - not a google/yahoo/hotmail type service.

    I asked if they would actively block my connection to my mail server on the "DataPro" (non-enterprise) plan - and he said no - not yet. I asked if he would support (somehow) my connection to my mail server on the "Enterprise" plan, and he said no I'm on my own.

    So AT&T is charging more for an "Enterprise" data plan and not giving ANY additional service - they only reserve the right to break your connection to your own mail server on a non-enterprise data plan.

    Fuck those guys. We are leaving them the minute iPhone goes to Verizon, or some other carrier. Are we to trust this company with ANY policies regarding network fairness? No way.

    -ted

  • 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 cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday September 01, 2010 @01:02PM (#33437780) Homepage

    Maybe some people don't understand this, but in general the pipeline from an ISP to the rest of the world just isn't big enough to handle user traffic to a lot of very popular sites. Take CNN for example. When you type in www.cnn.com what do you think happens? Do think your request goes to a server owned by CNN in Atlanta?

    Well, if you did you would be wrong. It goes to a server probably in the same building as your ISP (if it is big enough) that is owned by Akami. See, if you have enough traffic it is almost cheaper to pay Akami to cache the content on its servers which are co-located in pretty much every major ISP's facility. If you want high speed access to your content for all users then absolutely you want that content coming from a locally caching server.

    Now, if you don't have a lot of money then Akami's fees are way out of line for you. And so you get way, way slower performance on requests.

    See, pay-for-performance is here already and has been for a really long time.

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