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Communications The Almighty Buck The Internet Your Rights Online

To Save Net Neutrality, We Must Build Our Own Internet (vice.com) 196

In light of reports that FCC plans to announce a full repeal of net neutrality protections later this week, Jason Koebler, editor-in-chief of Motherboard, suggests that it is time we cut our reliance on big telecom monopolies. He writes: Net neutrality as a principle of the federal government will soon be dead, but the protections are wildly popular among the American people and are integral to the internet as we know it. Rather than putting such a core tenet of the internet in the hands of politicians, whose whims and interests change with their donors, net neutrality must be protected by a populist revolution in the ownership of internet infrastructure and networks. In short, we must end our reliance on big telecom monopolies and build decentralized, affordable, locally owned internet infrastructure. The great news is this is currently possible in most parts of the United States. There has never been a better time to start your own internet service provider, leverage the publicly available fiber backbone, or build political support for new, local-government owned networks. For the last several months, Motherboard has been chronicling the myriad ways communities passed over by big telecom have built their own internet networks or have partnered with small ISPs who have committed to protecting net neutrality to bring affordable high speed internet to towns and cities across the country. Update: FCC has announced a plan to repeal net neutrality.
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To Save Net Neutrality, We Must Build Our Own Internet

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  • There's a the flaw in this plan. If there's a publicly available fiber backbone, I'm not aware of it.
    • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:17PM (#55595953) Homepage Journal

      however, the big issue is the connection to our old friend, The Connected Internet. if you don't live next to a peering point, you are going to have to backhaul to it, or hook to another Tier 1 or 2 provider who is. money, money, money. lighting the glass is not free, either.

      pipe dream.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        300â per month for gigabit port in some peering points. Of course you still need to peer with other networks and you will need transit (at least until you reach tier-1 status ;) ) but competition at most exchanges is much bigger for transit so you can get an ok deal. Fiber backhaul is very expensive if you need to lease private dark fiber (but around here you also have some that is publicly owned and cheaper), microwave links do not need to be, depending on the situation. Roof access at the datacenter

    • by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:23PM (#55596013) Homepage Journal

      Also, unless there are massive advances in satellite internet (which there very well could be), the reliance upon massive corporations who own backbones will always be there holding us back.

      We need advanced technology to free us but the problem is that R&D projects are always going to be hamstrung by lobbyists and big corps.

      The other big issue here is student debt, tbh. Take any PHD and unless they sell their soul to big corps, they are penniless. It reminds me of guys like Tesla, who despite all of his advancements for human technology, died alone and completely depressed and broke.

      If we could eradicate reliance upon educational institutions for furthering human knowledge, we could then start seeing more and more open source solutions to big problems.

      AI is going to somewhat solve this problem. The AI arms race will be all about computing power. As quantum computers advance and become more accessible, an average person will eventually be able to do way more than they could today, including research and also personal protection, on the same level as large corporations or governments. But even then, we have the problem that everything we use for computing is sourced by massive corporations. Sure, eventually 3d printing will make home computer construction a possibility, but that's a long ways away.

      If the world starts embracing a fair universal income standard, we could also see huge advancements happening from basements and garages at a much higher rate than today but still these efforts will face roadblocks designed by massive companies like MSFT and Apple who prefer to keep us in the dark about most of their design and getting worse every day for selfishness.

      Today? Students are caught within the politics of old boys networks. That also is a huge obstacle. That said, most of these kinds of problems could potentially change dramatically as we further deplete our natural resources and our governments continue to be terrible examples of human beings.

      But if you look at Health Care, for example, in many countries where a proper health care standard exists where people aren't bankrupted by hospital bills, that is always a public service and never is there a case supporting 3rd party health care where citizens are better off short term or long term.

      I guess if there was a state security element to health care, we might see worse results with a public health care system, but overall the private healthcare systems are just terribly corrupt.

      • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:34PM (#55596127)

        The average person today has way more computing power in their cell phone than any government or corporation several decades ago - it hasn't changed the balance of power because governments and corporations *also* have radically increased their computing power, so it still dwarfs that controlled by individuals. AI capable of solving endemic social problems is unlikely to help much, because the people profiting from those problems will have their own, far more powerful AIs dedicated to improving their profits. The result being that not only would the profiteers be more powerful than the disordered masses, as they are today, they'd also have radically more powerful intelligence at their disposal than the masses.

        • by mfh ( 56 )

          The average person today has way more computing power in their cell phone than any government or corporation several decades ago - it hasn't changed the balance of power because governments and corporations *also* have radically increased their computing power, so it still dwarfs that controlled by individuals.

          You're right. However, my more nuanced point that possibly wasn't explained well enough is that we need to start actively thwarting that stranglehold. Individualism is good to a point. Collectivism is

          • Is Tesla doing anything to fight corruption? I must have missed that press release. They're doing an end-run around corrupt regulations in order to do business, maybe even fighting those specific regulations that interfere with their profits, but that's hardly the same thing as "good".

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        But if you look at Health Care, for example, in many countries where a proper health care standard exists where people aren't bankrupted by hospital bills, that is always a public service and never is there a case supporting 3rd party health care where citizens are better off short term or long term.

        Are you under the impression that there is no 3rd-party private healthcare option in places where there is a national health service, like in Canada or the UK? You may want to take another look at the situation... Bespoke healthcare is fairly common in the UK, and countless Canadians cross the border into the US for their medical needs.

    • Building your own Internet is difficult, but VPNs and onion routers are already pretty well established. The technological solution is to move to protocols where the network has no visibility into the traffic and little visibility regarding the endpoints.
    • If there is, and its use starts to cut into corporate profits, look for the federal government to privatize it and sell it at a bargain-basement price to a huge company in the name of "smaller government". And people who cry "state's rights!" and "local control" and "That government is best which governs least" will shamelessly support this tragedy of the digital commons.
    • I have my own internet it's called the darkweb.
    • There's a the flaw in this plan. If there's a publicly available fiber backbone, I'm not aware of it.

      Call me a cynic, but I think there are other flaws as well.

      For one thing, it seems fairly obvious to me that moving from a national+state-government-regulated Internet to a local-government-regulated Internet is just creating many opportunities for problems where before we had, nominally, "only" 51.

      And that's not to say that the feds, and the states, wouldn't step in and regulate from afar either; after all,

    • There's a the flaw in this plan. If there's a publicly available fiber backbone, I'm not aware of it.

      The other side of the coin is that if you want to connect your network to the internet, you'll have to follow FCC laws, rules, and regulations. They'll likely pass rules to prevent any such 'people's internet revolution(TM)'.

      No, the only way I see for taking back control is to either remove government regulation of the internet or to reduce the size, power, and scope of the government overall.

      As long as Big Government and it's inherent corruption and cronyism controls it, it will not be operated in the best

  • Last Mile Problems (Score:5, Informative)

    by Powys ( 1274816 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @12:57PM (#55595731)
    The issue with this mentality is the last mile problem. Communities have monopoly agreements with ISPs (comcast/att/etc) that restrict the ability to get a new ISP to the home. Radio based internet is still a possibility perhaps since it avoids much physical infrastructure. I think another good option is community provided (aka utility) internet service. Comcast/Centurylink caused a law to be passed in Colorado that disallows municipal internet unless a community votes to allow it again. In Colorado alone, it has happened MANY times.
    • by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:11PM (#55595879)

      This is the real problem to building your own Internet: Comcast and friends make that illegal b/c it kills profits.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Communities have monopoly agreements with ISPs (comcast/att/etc) that restrict the ability to get a new ISP to the home.

      That is false. Such monopoly agreements were literally outlawed 25 years ago by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 [wikipedia.org] The problem is that the cost of a cable plant is a high barrier to entry, so monopolies happen "naturally" — especially when companies decide to divvy up territory to avoid competing.

      And, as you mentioned, the companies also bribe state legislatures to pass laws making it hard for municipalities to build their own cable plants. For that you can blame [alec.org]

  • by Curupira ( 1899458 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @12:58PM (#55595747)

    FCC: Enjoy your corporate owned internet!

    Bender: Yeah, well... I'm gonna go build my own internet infrastructure, with blackjack and hookers.

    In fact, forget the internet thing!

  • Yeah, that'll work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @12:59PM (#55595763) Homepage

    I'd be interested to see how these "communities" manage to afford to lay their own billion dollar T1 backbone infrastructure. Good luck rattling the tin for the funds for that! You might as well say people who are fed up with traffic laws should built their own highways - a dose of realism is needed here people. Infrastructure is NOT cheap.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But it's getting cheaper, and that's the point.

      We're entering an era where reliable, unlicensed frequency gigabit radios are small thousands to buy and install. Buried fibre may still be the most reliable option, but for residential and SOHO internet this is generally "good enough" and easily comparable to uptimes for Cable/DSL/GPON. That puts cost recovery on a small investment + monthly internet within 2 years for most projects.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This reminds me a lot about what we're currently seeing happening with the Rust programming language. It's following a very similar path, and I think the outcome could be the same in the end.

      So there's the incumbent. In the case of Rust, the incumbent is C++. It has been entrenched for decades, and has become very successful.

      Then we have these Rust upstarts come along, who want to do things their own way. It's not necessarily the case that they can do any better; they're more interested in just being differ

      • Except what you're talking about is competition driving innovation. Problem is there's little competition. So following your lines, we'd have to create a private internet for them to improve enough that we'd throw our private internet away.
    • They could just use leased lines, VPN tunnels, and wifi. You build some free network in one downtown community with boring free public-access quality content. It costs nothing to run that, then you link a few of these community hotspots together with VPN and suddenly you have a network. Cost of putting content on the network? Maybe very low, there are lots of peer to peer technologies that could develop into free CDN like services. Maybe you connect and the captive portal offers up some browser plugi

      • The technology available to ordinary people is not long-range. You get a hundred meters with regular APs, and a few kilometers line-of-sight wireless with directional antennas - but you can't go around stringing fiber up all over a city, or burying it alongside roads.

        I'd love to try what you are doing. Seriously, I would. It sounds like a fun challenge and a satisfying project. But for that to be viable I'd need a very high density of local nerds with the inclination and ability to join me. Very few places

        • Hahah I'm not even trying to do it sadly but I did spend a little bit of time daydreaming about the feasibility and details since making that post.
          I was one of the first users on TOR and a relatively early internet adopter so I know what infant networks look like compared to what they look like once they're in the mainstream.

          All we would need to do is configure one of those dual SSID wifi networks with an open guest side, prioritize the AP owner's private side over the open guest side. Have it connect to t

          • First thing, forget Freenet. Nice idea, great at what it does, but not what we want - that extreme level of counter-monitoring has a serious performance hit. Also it's storage architecture is seriously inelegant, and that's not fixable - it makes block management unweildy. I suggest IPFS instead. If you want to do what you propose, IPFS may be the key to viability.

            AP + captive portal with instructions + IPFS node with generous cache tied across the internet. That'll get you everything except real-time commu

            • Wow that IPFS is exactly the sort of problem we would need to solve eventually, But just getting a wan set up and exposed to small parts of the world over wifi would be step one. As I said you can't do that forever but you could surely run like that until you'd attracted nerd talent and tech resources to move to the next phase.

        • But for that to be viable I'd need a very high density of local nerds with the inclination and ability to join me. Very few places meet these criteria.

          Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, College campuses (especially dorms!)

          I guess if you really want to set it up keep talking to me and respect that I am extremely lazy. Luckily nothing involved in getting started is rocket science
          https://www.flashrouters.com/v... [flashrouters.com]
          https://www.flashrouters.com/b... [flashrouters.com]
          The vpn could be some ghetto hack, VPLS, or even hamachi at first.

          I wouldn't be surprised to find out that someone already has done all of this actually.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do people still say T1? If a community is going to lay a T1 backbone in this day and age, they're going to get slaughtered. a 1.5Mb connection is hardly impressive. Especially if it's being shared. How about something more modern, like OC72 or bigger?

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      We know. We paid for it.

  • To end government control of the Internet we need to build a government owned Internet. Funny they don't even see the problem there.
    • To end government control of the Internet we need to build a government owned Internet. Funny they don't even see the problem there.

      Actually, that part's kinda reasonable. Sort of the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate [wikipedia.org].

    • Who's trying to save the internet from the Government? The concern here is that the Government is removing regulation that keeps the monopolistic communication companies from ruining the internet. The regulation was good and worked to keep the internet healthy. The problem here isn't government control, it is corporate lackeys placed into influential government positions specifically to remove regulatory hurdles for the corporations.

      • And, I'd note that the government intervention was only needed because of the greed of the big ISPs. Before Net Neutrality was a government regulation, it was the unwritten law of the land. If you ran an ISP, you treated two video packets the same regardless if one came from Netflix and the other came from some tiny, obscure site.

        Then, the big ISPs saw the Internet companies making a ton of money and got greedy. They wanted some of that and decided to get it, not by innovating, but by charging on both ends.

  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:10PM (#55595867)

    we must end our reliance on big telecom monopolies and build decentralized, affordable, locally owned internet infrastructure. The great news is this is currently possible in most parts of the United States

    If you want me to join this effort, there are some conditions. First, no Google, Facebook, or the like. Second, no government involvement in setting policy or in enforcement.

    You know what? Forget it. I think what I am actually looking for is FidoNet.

  • Side step the corroded copper!

    https://www.extremetech.com/ex... [extremetech.com]

    https://hackaday.com/2017/04/1... [hackaday.com]

    https://thenewstack.io/laser-r... [thenewstack.io]

    • The biggest problem I see with this is bird shit. "Look, that laser tower will make a convenient roost after my big meal of worms and pitted berries. Heck, it's so nice I might build a nest here."

      Not to mention rain/snow basically ensuring that large chunks of the network will be down all the time (assuming it is nation wide).

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @01:30PM (#55596083) Journal
    What makes this guy or anyone else think that we, The People, will be 'allowed' to build our own Internet replacement? Think about this: if the government is taking the leash off ISPs, what's to stop them from eventually buying out backbone providers, or otherwise using leverage to prevent them from providing backbone connectivity to this upstart Internet 3.0? For that matter, what if ISPs use pages out of the Starbucks playbook, and saturate any given market with their services, even if they're taking a loss overall, just to squeeze small startup Internet 3.0 providers out of the market? Then buy them up, absorb or liquidate them. The phrase 'uphill battle' doesn't even really begin to describe the situation. Now consider this: Ajit Pai is clearly in the pocket of the telecom industry. To my mind that makes him corrupt as hell. What's stopping him from putting any roadblocks he can in the way of Internet 3.0 companies, to either stop them from happening at all, or hamstring them so much that they're not viable? There apparently isn't going to be any 'fair play' anymore, so anything is going to be possible. Add to all this, that the general public, who don't even know what 'net neutrality' is in the first place, is completely oblivious to all this. They just pay their money because they think they have to, and so long as they can see Facebook on their phones, and watch movies and play games on the Internet, they really don't give a damn. It's only when things aren't working that they care; they aren't going to be sold on 'Internet 3.0' because why should they change?

    The whole situation sucks. ISPs, greedy companies, and oppressive governments are destroying the Internet for everyone, everywhere, not just here in the U.S.. It may not be possible to save it, and it may never be possible to create a viable alternative to it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > What makes this guy or anyone else think that we, The People, will be 'allowed' to build our own Internet replacement?

      Why are you so unwilling to even fight for your rights? What is this 'allowed' you speak of? Your defeated mental attitude has already lost you the battle. Get out of the way so the adults can make your life better.

    • by Mryll ( 48745 )

      I think that the existing state of the internet infrastructure has been deemed too big to fail, and that anything that threatens its stability will not be treated kindly. When ILECs started struggling during competition with CLECs as the first tech bubble came apart, the mandated leasing of line stuff to the CLECs was terminated, and I don't see anything heading in that direction at all after things stabilized. They want the big players to stay healthy.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The whole situation sucks. ISPs, greedy companies, and oppressive governments are destroying the Internet for everyone, everywhere, not just here in the U.S.. It may not be possible to save it, and it may never be possible to create a viable alternative to it.

      Thanks for your concern but speak for yourself. In most countries where Internet access is not so 0wned by cable networks ISPs keeps delivering faster and better. Here in Norway national statistics say mean speed is up 50% to 67 Mbps and the median speed up 26% to 34 Mbps in the last year, about 90% now have 8+ Mbps. About 41% of all broadband is now fiber and climbing by about 5%/year. For capability 80% can get 100+ Mbps and 51% can get fiber.

      Really if any ISP tried double dipping here I think the content

    • Net Neutrality is available to anyone with a decent VPN. If Google, Apple, Facebook or Cloudflare or Amazon decide to do it, they have the ability to bring net neutrality back by offering free and easy VPNs. Want to win this fight? We need someone who can afford to run the infrastructure to join the battle. Google started the push to encrypt everywhere, which is half there. Maybe we can get them to take the fight to the next level.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because what you are now motivated to do, was the only robust solution anyway. Market pain beats political bootlicking. Don't beg for what you want, build it.

  • don't work. If you get it big enough to matter they folks in charge will just buy it out. Money corrupts everything eventually unless something above and beyond money takes control. That something is a Democracy that leaves nobody behind. Right now stuff like this happens because we abandon large swaths of our country's people to a miserable fate. You've got 60% of us living paycheck to paycheck. Net Neutrality is the last thing on their minds. They're worried about food, shelter and medicine. Until you ta
    • If you get it big enough to matter they folks in charge will just buy it out.

      Rinse, repeat. They're broke and not in charge anymore...halfwit.

      • that's not how this works. That's now how _any_ of this works. They raise their rates and we all pay it because high speed internet is becoming more and more a necessity. Your kid's homework will be delivered on it. You'll be required to work from home on it. You're electronics won't work without it. A few will cut the cord, live without. They'll just raise the rates higher for those that have to have it.
  • What happened to Internet2? [wikipedia.org] Remember all the press announcements of them breaking speed records all the time.

    I can't even remember an internet speed record announcement.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nothing happened to Internet2. It's an education/research thing, and they're smart enough to keep the dumb fucking plebs off it this time.

    • Re:Internet2 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @02:03PM (#55596371)

      It is still around, and doing what it was meant to do.

      Here is the NOC: https://noc.net.internet2.edu/ [internet2.edu]

      Remember that the main reason that Internet 2 exists is that educational institions needed shelter from the Eternal September [wikipedia.org], along with all of the other crap that came when AOL joined the Internet that they and ARPA built.

      This time, they kept it on-mission, and it has worked out just fine.

  • *facepalm* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RedK ( 112790 )

    Net Neutrality today is not what Net Neutrality was back in the days. These days, we're actually discussing 2015's FCC Title II rules. See :

    https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_pub... [fcc.gov]

    Part of Micheal Orielly's dissent to this (he's an Obama appointee for anyone thinking this is a Trump thing), the part relevant to framing our understanding of old vs new Net Neutrality, is as follows (see page 399) :

    The FCC "fact" sheet promised bright line rules, but the reality is that the bulk of this rulemaking
    will be conducted through case-by-case adjudication, mostly at the Bureau level and in the courts. To be
    sure, there are three bright line rules: no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization. But those are
    mere needles in a Title II haystack.

    Essentially, Title II is too vast, to burdensome and basically serves as a stiffling mechanism to Internet growth, whil

    • Bad nerd! You telling me that 2 years isn't long enough for the internet to change? Remember when bit torrent wasn't a thing? So do I. Heck I even remember when ISPs began having fits because quake was taking up huge chunks of their local bandwidth. Had traffic shaping tech been available back then, I am pretty sure they would have been turning off apps left and right. It's only fairly recently that networks have started seriously shaping and limiting their bandwidth.

      • by RedK ( 112790 )

        You call me bad nerd and then say we didn't have traffic shaping circa the Quake era ?

        I was working at a ISP circa 1998-2002. We did have traffic shaping tech back then. We did use it. It did screw our users. We stopped because it was screwing our users and wasn't in the best interest of the company and basically hurt the service and thus our corporate image.

        Maybe you're just not old enough to remember this stuff ? The point is not that the FCC Title II rules are from 2015, it's that they are way too c

        • I really curious what appliance you were using way back in 1998, when most of the RFCs for traffic shaping were just coming out? I myself worked for 2 isps, one Dial-up based from 98 to 2000, with about 30,000 subscribers, and then another from 2000 to 2005 (250,000 adsl subscribers at the end of my stint) and while it is possible we were just some backwoods ISP, I don't remember shaping appliances being a real option until at LEAST 2003. Sure, you could throttle the connection, but there was nothing near

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Internet 2 has existed for 20 years or so but it's only available to government and universities.

    Internet 3 needs to be a independent mesh network with zero dependency on government or corporations in order to prevent any of them from getting control.

    it needs to have no dependency on DNS, DHCP or any registration service which means IPv6 or some other protocol.

    Start by hosting your own stuff, and running a cable to your neighbors, or by using a radio router or laser router or packet radio to network all ove

  • by CAOgdin ( 984672 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @02:00PM (#55596347)

    It's electing people who are committed to CITIZEN'S INTERESTS to Congress. They can actively appoint qualified, and public-interest-minded heads of departments, like the FCC.

    During Obama's presidency, we had Tom Wheeler, who ruled (almost universally) in favor of citizens' interests...and, in fact, established the "Net Neutrality" rules in 2015...against the wishes of one of his Commission members, Ajit Pai. When Wheeler retired, Ajit Pai (who is a legal shill who worked at Verizon, who benefits from his decisions) ascended to the Chairman post, and started dismantling the good work done by Mr. Wheeler...mostly (I posit) because he wants that job back at Verizon, when he is replaced in the future.

    The Republicans are notoriously favorable to providing more advantages to large corporations (e.g., Verizon) and couldn't care less about you and me. With the Buffoon in the White House, and a Republican dominated Congress, we can expect virtually every government-sponsored benefit to citizens to be abolished or diminished.

    So, to my mind the ONLY ONE SOLUTION is to restore our government to attending to benefits for citizens...it's not going to be done by a party that passes legislation to give Fat Cats tax breaks, and make you and I pay MORE taxes to cover the giveaway. Have YOU figured out the solution yet? It's a plain as the nose on your face! Make sure that we elect people who CARE about the citizens' interests, not just lining their own pockets. They will do the work of replacing the people who are engaged in wholesale destruction of every potential good for citizens. I reason that there is NO REASON our country should be favoring large businesses over individual citizens. Others' may believe differently.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @02:48PM (#55596905)
      maybe you support abortion, maybe you don't. Maybe you want to take my guns away. Maybe you'd like an end to mass shootings. Maybe you'll raise my taxes and I'm barely making it as is. Maybe I need my schools federally funded because my property values tanked when the jobs went overseas and there's not enough tax base left.

      The working class is fighting among itself for scraps while the elites take everything from us. But I have no idea how to stop that fighting. In the 30s, 40s and 50s churches were used to organize the working class. The right wing picked up on that in the 70s and 80s and took them over with wedge issues and mega-pastors. We need to get people to stop clawing at each other's throats, but I'll be damned if I know how to do that around stuff like gun control and abortion.
    • Net neutrality might be won back with Blue Team temporarily, but only because it benefits the position of two of the largest internet platforms that are fancying themselves as arbiters of acceptable political speech and news for the masses. Anything good for the public will come as an unintentional byproduct of serving their own interests.

      It's rinse and repeat in an endless cycle where one side that fucks us over to the point where voters get pissed and toss them out in favor of the other side that fucks

  • Before going directly for the last-resort option, maybe try to keep that no-good Verizon goon from rolling back net neutrality? I think the mother of all protests is in order. Think SOPA blackout protest times a hundred. Give that a try and see how it goes.

  • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @02:16PM (#55596519)

    I've said this multiple times on slashdot, but in my experience, the best option is to resolve this issue at the County/PUD level. My favourite example is what is available in Chelan and Douglas counties, in Eastern Washington state. In both of these counties, the PUDs have built out nearly ubiquitous FTTH networks.

    The trick is that the PUDs only provide the last mile service, they don't provide the content (in the case of TV) or Internet service. When a local resident wants to sign up, they have the choice of some 8 or 9 ISPs, and 6+ TV providers, all of whom in turn transport that service over the County network. Businesses can also buy transport from Zayo, Cogent, and some other peering provider. For the resident, it's easy... Their bill for TV or Internet (or both), has something like a $6/mo line access charge which covers the fiber connection, and the rest is for service. On the flip side, the service provider doesn't need to maintain the last mile.

    The PUDs themselves are responsible to their residents through elections, and from my observation are very responsive to faults in their systems. I was involved in the summer of 2015 when a wildfire burned through and knocked out a significant chunk of their infrastructure, both power and fiber. They had the fiber truck rolling right behind the power trucks, and had the system back up and running as soon as they could source and plant 50+ replacement power poles.

    This kind of thing really does work.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I've said this multiple times on slashdot, but in my experience, the best option is to resolve this issue at the County/PUD leve

      They know [slashdot.org]. Somebody was listening to you.

  • What a fantastic idea! All he is proposing is entering a regulated business (becoming your own "Internet Service Provider"), and simply ignoring the existing regulations! It's amazing how many brilliant ideas these Internet Wunder-kind come up with that have as a basic part of their business plan the simple disregard/ignoring of any applicable regulation.

    So the plan is to exploit a non-existent "public backbone", erect your own wireless towers and maybe even lay cable along the right-of-way? I can't imagine

  • Thanks Trump! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Trump voters did this. And worse.

    Please, rethink your politics. This is just the beginning of the train wreck.

  • There is no technical requirement that the Internet have ISP's at all. They are the prime points of profit-making, control, and spying on people. We are blinded to this by service providers and powerful interests that maintain their status quo by killing off other approaches. All of the routers and cell phones which are ubiquitous today can already talk with with each other and route data to more distant locations if only they had the software to do so. In fact, re-purposing existing equipment is how many o
  • So the FCC, up until a couple years ago had no "net neutrality" regulations, then they implemented some regulations, that the FCC is now considering rolling those "net neutrality" regulations back, and the best answer it to create your own unregulated internet as an alternative to the soon-to-be unregulated internet?

  • In cities where the density of privately owned computers is high enough, it would be technically feasible to use mesh networks for most of the local traffic. You scratch my back, I forward your packets and provide local caching services for viral content. Something along those lines. Still need some gateways to long-distance networks, but most of the infrastructure doesn't need to be owned by giant cancerous corporations. Let's not forget soulless and driven by nothing but profit maximization. (Ranting now,

    • You'd also need to use some sort of content addressed distributed store to make bulk traffic manageable. I see some potential in IPFS. If you take the distributed store from that, and combine it with mesh networking, then... well, it's still not entirely workable. But it's an avenue to explore.

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        I feel like I failed to be sufficiently clear, though I think I agree with your comment. Technology remains morally neutral. Technology can be used to increase freedom or destroy it. Highly centralized networks of the corporations, with rules by the lawyers, for the greater wealth of the richest 0.1% are NOT going to increase your (or my) freedom. It's not a struggle between capitalism and socialism. Dead concepts. What we have here is corporate cancerism running amok.

        My alternative vision from more than 30

  • It's about time to just fork the internet and place this new network in the hands of the people. It looks like Big Telecom is going to get its way and we will be paying even more and getting substantially less. Soon we'll have to pay a base price of around 50.00. Then add 5.00 extra for streaming, 5.00 extra for HD streaming, 5.00 for social network access, and so on and so forth.

    With the abundance of commodity hardware, open source software, and the relative ease of wireless deployments, it is easier to do

    • > Then add 5.00 extra for streaming, 5.00 extra for HD streaming, 5.00 for social network access, and so on and so forth.

      Actually, tiered pricing based on QoS and bandwidth would be fine (assuming reasonable competition in the ISP market). It's tiered pricing for access to particular sources (or, worse, network access billing on the server side) of data that's bad.

      Imagine if it was impossible to start a new Netflix because you can't start a company with enough capital to pay the major ISPs' fees for st

  • People talk about decentralized, P2P networks but don't understand that current versions (FreeNet, I2P, IPFS, ZeroNet, etc.) are not true P2P. Peers connect to the Internet via ISP, which are part of a collection of star networks. Peers act as hosts or "service" providers when they make connections to several hundred peers and host a copy of their websites on a local HD. Many ISP's ToS forbid such activity. Some ISP's block P2P connections, considering them to be torrents used for illegal activity.

    A tru

    • Some of those - Freenet and IPFS at least, I don't know enough about the others to say - are capable of operating in an almost fully distributed manner using only short-range wifi mesh. But that won't work right now because there isn't enough user density. The chances of you having another person living within a hundred-meter range of your home who also runs Freenet or IPFS are rather remote.

  • the fight continues at the local level in Colorado for energy and data local autonomy from terrible corporations: https://muninetworks.org/conte... [muninetworks.org].

    The institute for local self reliance has been at this a long time: https://ilsr.org/ [ilsr.org] and the specific site for local internet, https://muninetworks.org/ [muninetworks.org] .

    Comcast succeeded in throwing its weight around in Seattle: https://ilsr.org/comcast-money... [ilsr.org] .

    The battle of Pinetops North Carolina is critical here, there is a documentary about it even . https://muninetwor [muninetworks.org]

  • Rather than putting such a core tenet of the internet in the hands of politicians... There has never been a better time to...leverage the publicly available fiber backbone, or build political support for new, local-government owned networks.

    We don't want the principles of the internet in the hands of politicians, so let's create a government owned internet? And we don't like nasty corporations so let's use the (corporate owned) fiber backbone?

    I'm lost what this guy wants. I guess it's local ownership and I'm sympathetic to that. I like farmer's markets as much as the next person. It's just a little hard to build a cross-country network one town at a time.

  • It doesn't have to be lightning fast so you can stream your favorite series on Netflix. You can pay for a conventional internet service for that.

    What we need are sub-networks for communities to freely share information among themselves without having to worry if [insert favorite ISP name here] is snooping on them. Should we find an effective way of connecting the nodes (communities) then we effectively have a "new internet" in the making.

    Networking from a technical level is not my strong point though, so I'

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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