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Portuguese ISP Shows What The Net Looks Like Without Net Neutrality (boingboing.net) 244

"In Portugal, with no net neutrality, internet providers are starting to split the net into packages," argues a California congressman -- retweeting a stunning graphic. An anonymous reader quotes BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow: Since 2006, Net Neutrality activists have been warning that a non-Neutral internet will be an invitation to ISPs to create "plans" where you have to choose which established services you can access, shutting out new entrants to the market and allowing the companies with the deepest pockets to permanently dominate the internet... the Portuguese non-neutral ISP MEO has mistaken a warning for a suggestion, and offers a series of "plans" for its mobile data service where you pay €5 to access a handful of messaging services, €5 more to use social media; and €5 more for video-streaming services.
The congressman notes this arrangement offers "a huge advantage for entrenched companies, but it totally ices out startups trying to get in front of people, which stifles innovation."
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Portuguese ISP Shows What The Net Looks Like Without Net Neutrality

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  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @12:43PM (#55453591)
    is that it's a small potatoes issue when 60-80% of your people are living paycheck to paycheck. If you want people to care about these sorts of things you've got to take care of their basic needs first. That doesn't just mean bread & circuses, that means actual stability in their lives. Trump and the anti-NN folks won because he went to the folks who are just skating by and said he'd do something that matters for them.

    Basically, if you don't take care of your working class somebody's gonna come along to do it for you, and you won't like what that somebody does to you and yours.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2017 @01:12PM (#55453707)

      Exactly. When your subjects start feeling pain, then you feel pain, and in the worst way because they have nothing to lose.

      Lets be honest here, the primary overwhelming, key factor in the US is healthcare. When a doctor's appointment costs $500 because you don't have insurance but only $20 if you do (not because they insurance is actually paying anything, it's just a price reduction to the actual cost), then you know your society is 100%, totally, fucked up.

      • by lenski ( 96498 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @08:39PM (#55455427)

        Mod parent up...

        My wife had some blood tests done a few years ago, which initially were not covered by insurance. Cost to us: $1047.00; the provider helpfully offered a payment plan.

        After much discussion and expenditure of hours we don't really have to spare, insurance covered the blood tests. Cost to the insurance company: $44.00, our copay was $4.00

        So if your name is "anthem", $44.00; if your name is "nobody", $1047.00.

        23.8 to 1.

        This system is beyond fucked, it is simple ordinary Mafia extortion: Your money or your life.

        Very similar to the net neutrality question, where the golden rule applies: He who invests properly in congressional races makes the rules.

        The 2006 Supreme Court ruling about campaign donations was a silver-plated invitation to the party for a few, and a red hot poker for the asses of the many.

    • by slashmaddy ( 964291 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @02:09PM (#55453973)

      And killing net neutrality takes away one of the few open opportunities people had to improve their lively hood, by concentrating power to control human communication into the hands of select few who want to keep the general population living paycheck to paycheck, which is one of the few ways to enslave them.

      • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @04:55PM (#55454643)
        of those opportunities. It requires a lot of skill and a brutal amount of hard work. If you're already working just to survive you're in no shape to fire off a start up. And nobody's going to give you the capital because odds are you're going to crash and fail. I don't mean that as a colloquialism either. 80% of businesses fail in the first 5 years. And those are just the ones that got off the ground enough to be counted in the statistics.

        Try telling somebody making $8/hr at Walmart who's only skills are blue collar ones that they can go off and be the next Zuckerberg. They'll actually agree with you because their pride won't let them admit that it's impossible; that ship sailed. But when that person goes to the polls and he/she's all alone she's going to pull the anti-NN lever because those folks are promising them jobs they know they can actually get and do. And that's sort of the problem. Folks like you look at the polls and see people support NN because they like the dreams you're selling, but they don't really believe in it. That's half of why Trump one. Millions of people who wouldn't admit they're gonna vote for him...
    • it's a small potatoes issue when 60-80% of your people are living paycheck to paycheck

      Net neutrality is a critical issue that will determine people's access to the Internet—a network that has gone from being largely unknown and unpopular to indispensable even for the poor (one might argue particularly for the poor). Lots of people with computers of any size will tell you that the number one thing they do with their computers depends on the Internet (they may not word exactly that way, but anyone who u

    • I largely agree, with the caveat, alas, that for most people panem et circenses IS what brings stability in their lives.
  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by zakzor ( 4830975 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @12:46PM (#55453601) Homepage
    I'm from Portugal and yes... net neutrality is the way to go of course but this post gives a little misperception (as of many here). You pay more if you want not for accessing the services but to have more data to spend on them. The access to the services is never restricted.
    • but when the basic data is like 10gb and overages are $10/GB but is that data meter tested to be fair like gas pumps are?

      • Re:Not quite (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @02:21PM (#55454037)

        The fundamental with net neutrality is not all traffic is equally cheap or expensive to transport.

        Suppose I have VDSL2 with AT&T U-verse, and so does my friend who lives in my neighborhood (served from the same VRAD). If we open a peer-to-peer connection with each other, our traffic could theoretically run through the VRAD's local switch fabric without even touching its fiber backhaul. We could fully saturate our upstream connectivity to the VRAD without having the slightest impact on anybody else.

        Now, take it up a level. Friend #2 is also a U-verse customer, but he's a few blocks away... served by a different VRAD, but both of our VRADs run fiber through the same central office 3 miles away. In this case, our traffic might have some impact on others sharing our respective VRADs, but it's still running entirely over AT&T's local loop, whose raw capacity vastly exceeds anything individual users could even fantasize about doing.

        OK, now take it a level higher. Friend #3 is a U-verse customer who lives 10 miles away. Our P2P traffic goes from home to VRAD to CO, from CO to AT&T's regional NOC, to CO to VRAD to home. At this point, it might have a meaningful impact on other customers, but it's still likely to be trivial because it's still traveling entirely over AT&T's own local backhaul.

        Time to get a bit more complicated. Friend #4 lives across the street, but gets his internet through Comcast. Our P2P traffic goes from house to VRAD to CO to AT&T NOC, then somehow gets to NAP of the Americas in Miami, where it gets passed along to Comcast, who relays it to THEIR regional NOC, sends it to my friend's neighborhood, and sends the final few thousand feet over coax. In this case, NOTA will pile on some charges of their own to exchange traffic between AT&T and Comcast, but they're still fairly low.

        Now, let's assume I'm streaming video from Netflix. Netflix pays to bring their own fiber into AT&T's NOC and probably colocates their own server to further reduce and cache the amount that has to be backhauled from minute to minute. From AT&T's perspective, this isn't much different than the scenario with friend #3... Netflix has their own network connection into AT&T, so the only AT&T backhaul that gets used is from NOC to CO to VRAD.

        Finally, let's suppose someone starts their own guerrilla VOD streaming service with a name like "Voogle". Voogle's datacenter is in Kansas City, and their network service provider has to either peer privately with AT&T (and Comcast, since my friends with Comcast watch them too), or they have to find some other mutual interexchange point. As I understand it, public exchange points (like MAE-EAST and MAE-WEST) no longer exist, and all exchange points (in the US, at least) are now privately peered & leave it up to the networks to negotiate their own traffic carriage agreements. So... Voogle's NSP has to negotiate peering and transport arrangements to AT&T and Comcast (because both are big enough to say, "you need us more than we need you"). If Voogle's traffic is light, their NSP probably won't charge them much. If Voogle is streaming 4k video to thousands of customers, their NSP is likely to charge them quite a bit.

        In any case, the "Voogle" case is no worse than the scenario with friend #4... Voogle's traffic originates on NEITHER AT&T nor Comcast, and it's up to Voogle to figure out how to affordably GET their traffic to the regional datacenters of AT&T and Comcast (or at least, to network exchange points into which AT&T and Comcast have their own abundant connectivity). From the perspective of AT&T and Comcast, it's more expensive than the "Netflix" scenario (because Voogle isn't big enough to peer with them directly), but it's no WORSE than a peer to peer connection between an arbitrary AT&T customer and an arbitrary Comcast customer.

        Things get messier with international traffic (say, between a Comcast customer in Miami and a server farm in London or Bangalore), but dependin

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          The fundamental [issue?] with net neutrality is not all traffic is equally cheap or expensive to transport.

          Not sure why you needed a full page to explain that, it's pretty obvious. Net neutrality means you pay the same whether you have a cheap or expensive mix of traffic. Note that this typically only means your half though, like if you're video chatting with someone in New Zealand you pay a bit to reach "the backbone" and they generally pay more because it's harder to reach. Still you have content services like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and CDNs like CloudFlare and Akami who can set up local servers for really

          • All the technicalities in that big explanation really showed where the point comes from, and I totally agree with the reply that in essence, ISPs want to be gatekeepers. They are using this gatekeepr powers not get the average revenue - they are trying to have competitive offers with their gatekeeping in order to acquire more users or more revenue and have an economy of scale that surpasses the average. Because that is the only thing their investors really care about: growing revenues. They are creating dem

          • Net neutrality means you pay the same whether you have a cheap or expensive mix of traffic.

            Absolutely wrong. NN means all traffic of any given type is treated equally. "cost' of the traffic is not even considered. NN means all video traffic is treated equally, etc. It does not prevent treating video traffic differently than non-video traffic, nor bundling of traffic types.

        • If Voogle's traffic is light, their NSP probably won't charge them much. If Voogle is streaming 4k video to thousands of customers, their NSP is likely to charge them quite a bit.

          That was way too much text to read, but this point is wrong. NSP's already have peering arrangements with each other, and the charges are generally based on net difference (upload/download etc).
          When I worked for a large ISP, we used to offer free hosting to high volume services to balance out the peering numbers and reduce our peering fees because our downloads were much, much more than uploads.

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        10 GB? WTF?

        The highest data plan I've been able to find in Germany sits at 8 GB. The average plan is 500 MB to 1 GB monthly.

    • I'm pretty sure that particular distinction is rather unimportant.
      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        Not if this is a translation error. I don't speak Portuguese so can't go check, but is it possible the ISP is naming data cap tiers something like Messaging (200-500 MB/month), Social Networking (500-1000 MB/month) and Video (1 GB+/month)?

      • It used to be, here in Portugal we had international vs national traffic quotas for at least 10y, and it was one of the main showstoppers of our internet usage patterns. This particular distinction was actually the most relevant back then. It was starting to become universally acknowleged as a censorship policy by unsavy users, and then big com corp had to change plans, especially since external ISPs (e. g. Vodafone) started entering the market and bringing international standards around. People wised up,

      • I'm gonna give tou 2 examples on how this affected Portuguese use patterns:

        P2P, online gaming, streaming video and music users users would concentrate use overnight in order to abuse the "happy hour" of international traffic de-cap that plans allowed. This is an example of what pundits will call "bad use so good riddance",which imho is hipocrisy.

        Now I'll give you the example where there was impact to good practices: software as a service, such as cloud storage or remote machines never caught traction in Por

    • by swilver ( 617741 )

      Of course, you have to boil the frog slowly.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @12:47PM (#55453607)

    I remember Australian mobile phone providers starting with the social networking craze by offering "Free Facebook" as part of their crappy packages. Sucks if you're a Facebook competitor.

    • Same here recently with free Spotify streaming, etc. And mobile phone companies in particular still like to have us believe that mobile data is an incredible scarce resource that has to be doled out with great care.
      • Its not just mobile, if your home service has a data cap? Might want to check your data usage and then download a bunch of Windows Updates and see what happens because at least on the ISPs in my area? Windows Updates don't count against your cap, Linux and Mac updates do.
        • I'm from Portugal. This week I accidentally activated samsung cloud backup on my phone. Needless to say my photos and videos ate through my home data cap and now I get 2001 speeds until after tomorrow. Yet if I had used my provider's cloud backup plan, which just happens to be MEO, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FREE TRAFFIC. Now imagine I'm a user or a company that relies on backups for everyday tasks and is willing to pay for it, which service you think I will be purchasing since all I have is this ISP...

      • Because it is. Wired and wireless are NOT the same thing at all. The Net Neutrality argument mostly applies to wired/landline internet, not cellular links. After we settle wired Net Neutrality, we can then start to talk about load balancing and prioritization for mobile, but for now it is a scarce and finite resource. Cellular is still a luxury internet connection (due to it being a finite resource) and i think people forget that.
        • Cellular is still a luxury internet connection (due to it being a finite resource) and i think people forget that.

          Depends where you live. Once you used to something it's no longer luxury.
          Where I live we've had great cellular wireless for years, and is considered as essential as roads and electricity. Some other places might not be as advance so to them it still is. I know when I travel I feel like going back in time because some so called 'developed' countries still don't have ubiquitous 4G everywhere.

    • This exclusion has been with us for a while regardless of whether data is metered on not. Facebook and Twitter already get free advertising on almost every news site on the planet through the insidious like/share buttons, including on Australia's non-commercial broadcaster ABC. With an extra click, ABC advertises Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Too bad if you are not on those lists.
  • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by ebrandsberg ( 75344 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @12:49PM (#55453613)

    Based on what I can gather, the way this plan works is that they offer some amount of bandwidth to the base plan for the general internet, then for a small amount, you can have more bandwidth specifically for particular services at a discounted rate vs. the normal overage rate. This will inevitably lead to fully walled gardens, but it isn't quite there yet. I suspect that they are trying to prevent people from using random peer to peer streaming services that put a strain on every available upstream link, and instead trying to limit where the excessive bandwidth is coming, so they can manage things better. It isn't about access exactly, but billing and cost.

    • It is about access. From a Portuguese who is forced to use MEO in a not that secluded rural area, and has no other internet link available, it is nothing short of censorship.

      But city cats will never understand because of their evolved ways of life on fiber optics. It's really easy to close your eyes to bad policy making in the comfort of your 200mbps 20 bucks plan.

    • ^ and THAT is the Net Neutrality discussion in a nutshell.

      Misleading "stunning facts" spun in a very narrow context when they aren't outright lies.

      I don't have a dog in this fight; I think both sides are guilty of spinning the shit out of this issue.

      Personally, I believe the moment these ISPs start reviewing content, they should be treated no longer as 'common carriers' and thus no longer protected from the consequences of such content.

      Right now, telephones are common carriers: we don't sue AT&T because

  • by McFortner ( 881162 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @12:54PM (#55453627)
    Now this is AT&T's wet dream.
  • I've, erm, encountered a German company called Meo too.

    meo.de if you're feeling curious.

  • So, we demand that cable become unbundled so we don't have to get the channels we don't want, but when a mobile service offers what is essentially unbundling (cheaper access to just the sites you regularly use, still no restrictions on everything else) we complain we're getting screwed over.

    • First, the economies of scale and the technical aspects of landline vs mobile are very different. Mobile is still a premium service for something that is actually easier to deploy to ISPs.

      Second, this isn't unbundling. These smart plans are actually addons. You will need to have either a standalone monthly phone plan or a 5-play service with triple play at home, phone and mobile data, which usually costs 70e around here for, say 100 channels, 100mbs at home, 2gb mobile and unlimited national calls. So this

  • This kind of problem can only exist when there are functional monopolies.
    Is this only being done by Portugal Telecom or is Sonaecom doing it as well? (I can't read Portuguese).

    • Everyone is doing it, but PT started doing it originally with their Meo Cloud, Meo Music and other services that never got traction when plans were cheaper and had more data.

      Vodafone and NOS (SONAECOM) started doing this because PT has 50%chunk on mobile and a quasi-monopoly in rural areas, so they started playing their game and also using outrageously aggressive promotions in order to cope with ANACOMs protection of PT.

      VODAFONE offers free Spotify premium on 12bucks/month mobile+data plans (unlimited calls

    • Actually, this whole shenanigans started with national vs overseas traffic a decade ago. When more players entered the market and ate through PTs monopoly since they didn't havr that cap, that's when ANACOM started protecting the (back then) state owned PT and allowing unfair game such as this. PT is no longer state owned (no majority nor golden share), but the buyers not only got solid protectionist clauses with the discount purchase, they also happen to be tight friends with the Portuguese pollitician com

  • It seems like once again, Slashdot NN proponents do not have the slightest clue what they are talking about.

    Those plans are to choose which services you would like to not count against your data plan - you can still use ANY service you like even if you choose none.

    Wouldn't it be nice if you planned to watch a lot of video to say, yes for $4.99/month don't count that against my data allowance? How is tha in any way a bad thing to let the consumer have more flexible access and payment?

    If that's what the wor

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Wouldn't it be nice if you planned to watch a lot of video to say, yes for $4.99/month don't count that against my data allowance? How is tha in any way a bad thing to let the consumer have more flexible access and payment?

      What criteria does a video provider not on the list, such as your cousin's MediaGoblin server, need to meet in order to be added to the list?

    • Regulation is to be made by entities without conflict of interest, such as for-profits or owners of competing service in the included traffic.

      If "video" traffic is screwing uo the medical and educational industry, or even the IRS systems, it has to be the state to mandate limits in "video" traffic. Is thay fair and clear enough for you?

  • Everyone with a few brain cells knows: Portugal is in the EU.
    So yes: they have net neutrality, facepalm.

    • In case you didn't know, communication technologies is one of the few things the EU has no direct control because it depends on ratification by individual states's communication regulatory authority (analogous to the FCC for the US).

      In Portugal, I have seen first hand ANACOM giving the finger to European Comission AND the EU members regulatory association at the same time. One example is roaming charges, which thr EU will say Portugal no longer has, but we basically have a fraction of our mobile plans when

      • Technologies is ot the same as net neutrality.

        No idea about your roaming charges ... if you still have them, you should sue in an eu court.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday October 29, 2017 @04:55PM (#55454647)

    Only on a level playing field new players can join, increasing competition and offering the experience of a truly free market. Anyone opposing net neutrality necessarily opposes a free market.

  • Sweet Christmas, pay me $20/mo not to use FB or Youtube on my mobile? I'm already doing that, please sign me up and send me the cheques!!

  • What about leqalizing drugs? What about the metric system? What about heath insurance?

    Ok, just that one that that is a bit wrong interpreted anyway? OK.

  • This company was bought by the French ISP Altice who introduced sweeping changes to everything and fired people etc.

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