How a non-Neutral ISP could work

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51 Responses to “How a non-Neutral ISP could work”

  1. sciencebzzt says:

    In my last comment, replace but as long as there are no laws forcing people to run business a certain way, it can easily change. with but the fewer regulatory laws, the easier things are to change.
    Nipping the “but there are already so many regulations for ISPs” argument.

  2. sciencebzzt says:

    In my last comment, replace but as long as there are no laws forcing people to run business a certain way, it can easily change. with but the fewer regulatory laws, the easier things are to change.
    Nipping the “but there are already so many regulations for ISPs” argument.

  3. Zyklon says:

    I saw that earlier and it made me shiver. No, literally.

    The scariest part about it is that Ted Stevens, a complete meatball, will be in charge of net neutrality.

    I’ll end up moving to Russia if that day comes.

  4. Mike Friedman says:

    You know, this is not a totally one sided issue.

    For example I make heavy use of Skype Out but quality is patchy and I often have to fall back to regular phone lines.

    Why shouldn’t I be able to pay my ISP a little extra in return for a guaranteed high bandwidth connection to Skype’s nearest Skype Out gateway?

    Not unreasonable, right?

    But certainly not neutral either.

    Now, there are obvious concerns that an ISP making extra money this way might take steps to downgrade everyone else’s Skype connection in order to make more money. I think in most cases competition would prevent that. In those where it wouldn’t regulation may be the answer. But does that mean we have to ban value added services like this?

  5. sciencebzzt says:

    So one provider tiers their Internet, don’t use that provider. Use Copowi or some other provider that doesn’t. When one company does something you don’t like, just shop somewhere else, that’s how capitalism works, it evolves. If someone can make money providing something people want, then that thing is provided. Making a law against it will put politicians in charge, and guess who has more pull with politicians? Not you and me…lobbyists do, people from the big companies. So instead of shopping somewhere else, and giving them an incentive NOT to tier, you want to make a law, and give the big companies the power to regulate the Internet any way they want? Plus you make government the steward of the Internet, so they can continue to regulate it for the so called benefit of the country, maybe they’ll start blocking Arab sites, to stop terrorism.
    This is what people don’t understand about Net Neutrality, the regulators ARE the big companies.

  6. Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    [Boring moderation notice: Sorry about the holes that just appeared in this conversation. The commenter who posted here as "CantStopTheSignal" is actually another user who's been temporarily suspended for misbehavior in another thread. CantStopTheSignal's comments, here and elsewhere, have been unpublished because he's the sockpuppet of a suspended user. For the record, this had nothing to do with the content of his comments. -tnh]

  7. lev3k says:

    Well, now I look all nutty. :-P

  8. Flying Squid says:

    You can already do that, Mike. ISPs already offer multiple levels based on bandwidth. It just isn’t regulated like it could be.

  9. nick says:

    Here, here, Noen and Flying Squid.

    Unfortunately, the argument that the airwaves are public property doesn’t cut much ice with the half of this country’s population that favors privatizing just about everything.

    I personally think that in a society where everything is for sale, nothing has any value.

    An example: you wouldn’t sell your kids, right? Their potential monetary value is irrelevant. I believe the same applies to things like the airwaves, the environment, etc: strictly Not For Sale.

  10. JohnB says:

    Zyklon – Enjoy the trip. You’ll have more pressing issues to worry about than NN.

    Michael – You bring up good points. I agree, all it takes is one law – be it a ‘good’ law or an ‘ignorant’ law, doesn’t matter – and large sectors of modern internet activity go bye-bye. Or Executive Order. Or judicial ruling. Or administrative finding. Or National Security Incident. Or… *wry grin*

    Imagine, just for a minute, a law that requires unique identification of users throughout the internet – as someone else commented, only terrorists need privacy. Think about the ramifications of that – they get really ugly really quickly, and we do have ignorant people in power who’re capable of deciding that that would be a good idea – let the geniuses who made the web implement it.

    ScienceBzzt – It’s not the amount of regulation that matters, it’s the details. Sure, more regulation has more details for high-resource people/groups with an axe to grind to play funny games with, but the lack of regulation gives YOU less details for YOU to play funny games with.

    Perhaps a better choice would be to get the RIGHT legislation passed the FIRST time, with room for growth in technology, not relying on laws from back in the 1800s to police today’s new twists – or tomorrow’s, for that matter.

    Mike Friedman – You’ve got that choice already in some ISP contracts & leased lines with bandwidth guarantees. Admittedly, it’ll cost you more and be a right royal pain to negotiate with the technopeasants on the sales force, but it’s available.

    -John B

  11. Cory Doctorow says:

    You’re ignoring the fact that establishing an ISP either requires regulation (to give you permission to run on the telcos’ wires) or regulation (to give you access to the spectrum or rights-of-ways necessary to get your wires through the country).

    Indeed, telcos are nothing but greed wrapped in a thick, greasy blanket of government-created regulatory monopolies. That isn’t capitalism — it’s a kind of regulatory socialism, not subject to market forces in the same way that, say, restaurants are.

    See my column on this:
    http://www.informationweek.com/software/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=189600971&subSection=Enterprise+Applications

  12. Cory Doctorow says:

    BTW, Copowi’s terms of service allow them to practice network discrimination and abandon network neutrality if that turns out to be more profitablke

  13. epp_b says:

    This nightmare already exists:

    I live in a small Sierra community, and there is only one ISP, (SierraTel,) available to us.

    SierraTel sells two packages of monthly DSL service, “normal” and “fast.” Now, this obviously means that ST is not doing anything to make their DSL service faster for the additional $20/month, but that they’re actually slowing down all of us rebels who refuse to be extorted by them.

    …which suddenly gets to me wondering about something: You can’t use any old DSL modem with the service, you have to rent or purchase a “specially coded” modem from ST… so, could it be that the “fast” or “slow” configuration is selected in the modem?

    Hmmmm… Time to break out the tools and have a look see at the jumpers in the modem.

    Sorry, that’s not a very good example because it’s not what we’re talking about (and I’m a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth proponent of neutrality).

    An ISP intentionally slowing down a single Internet connection for a particular customer who selected a lesser package is normal and there’s nothing wrong with it. Because you’re provided less bandwidth, you’ll transfer less data, it will cost the ISP less money for your throughput and therefore charge you less for the connection. It has nothing to do with QOS or “guaranteed delivery”. It doesn’t matter what type of connection you have, a $5/month dial-up connection should get you absolutely the same access as an $35/month high-speed cable or DSL connection, just at different speeds because the bottleneck is at your end (not because a business has refused to be extorted by an ISP).

    What we’re talking about is ISPs double-dipping. An example is AT&T claiming that Google is getting a “free ride”. My backside, they are. You pay for your Internet connection from your ISP, Google pays for their Internet connection from their ISP. ISPs then use the money they make to pay for access over the “backbone” of the Internet, which serves to connect ISPs together. What AT&T wants to do is charge your for your connectivity (which is fine) but also charge Google for “guaranteed content delivery” (which is bullocks). “Guaranteed delivery” is implied because both parties are paying for connectivity. That is how the Internet is supposed to work.

  14. morgan says:

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned – but Mark Pesce (VRML co-creator) has a wonderful presentation (from Mind States 2007) and an essay concerning Gilmore’s Law

    “The net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”
    – John Gilmore

    From the essay:
    Recently, advances in software have produced a new class of devices which create their own networks. Devices connected to these ad-hoc “mesh” networks act as peers in a swarm (similar to the participants in peer-to-peer filesharing), rather than clients within a hierarchical distribution system. These network peers share information about their evolving topology, forming a highly-resilient fabric of connections.

  15. Gilbert Wham says:

    “When one company does something you don’t like, just shop somewhere else, that’s how capitalism works,”
    Hmmm, can anybody say ‘cartel’?

  16. lev3k says:

    #2 and #3:

    Note that you can’t really decide the network you’re connecting to. You may be able to decide the person you’re connecting directly to, but the internet does not consist solely of who you connect directly to.

    you -> provider 1 -> provider 2-> provider 3-> boingboing

    You may be able to change provider 1 at your whim. However, if provider 2 suddenly puts boingboing on their shitlist, changing provider 1 may not be all that helpful. There’s no reason why both your cable and your DSL provider connect to boingboing through provider 2.

  17. ryan says:

    I think people are often mistaken that if there are 2 providers you have competition. There is a perfect parallel to gas – gas stations aren’t really ‘in competition’ with each other most the time.

    The same thing with Cable and DSL – while they would like you to be with them over the competitor, that is the extent of the illusion of choice. Both companies have similar philosophies and will end up doing the same thing.

    The basic problem is the last mile problem tends to create monopolies (aka natural monopolies). Good spread spectrum wifi last-mile technologies (eg: wimax) might help.

    People worry about what will happen if Google goes in to the 700 mhz auction. The alternative is what we have now and worse: telcos have been just plain old evil since the 70s. More of the same is a losing proposition.

    Besides which, I’m already paying for my connection, why should my ISP charge Google, Yahoo, whomever for access? I’ve already paid!

    I guess we’re talking about MBA-land – extract maximal profit from existing infrastructure. More of the same.

  18. eripsa says:

    For the record, this image was created in May 06 by Something Awful forum member echobucket in response to the failed neutrality amendment to the telecom bill drafted that summer. The full-sized, original image can be found here.

  19. Derek says:

    Surely this is a self-defeating proposition. Making people pay (more) for sites like YouTube will simply mean that those sites will lose visitors, become less popular and no-one will want to pay a premium for them. The masses will just shift to other sites and ISPs will be chasing their tail trying to figure out where the hell everyone has gone.

  20. Elisa says:

    I want to reiterate what a lot of people have mentioned, which is that there’s an illusion of choice of ISPs going on here. Most areas of the country have a choice between one or two (sometimes three if they’re very lucky!) providers and that’s really no choice at all in the end.

    The other point I want to mention that no one has brought up is that there’s a lot of strong economic/class prejudice going on here. Of the people in the United States who have internet access today, who’s actually going to spring for the third tier? The upper-middle class and the wealthy. And geeks desperate enough to not eat so as to have unrestricted access. And the people who are going to be stuck using the first tier are going to be the poor or “unwealthy” and/or those who are not particularly technologically literate.

    And of course, the poor outnumber the wealthy enormously, but consider which companies/sites were going to be available for the lowest pay level in the ad mock-up? The mainstream news. AOL. Nothing with user-added content. Which locks the underprivileged out of the political discussion even further.

    I have seen some absolutely brilliant documentaries on youtube from people in inner cities working against police brutality or lack of funding for public school. Or not even documentaries, just footage of protests. If the poor are knocked out of participatory sites, they lose the ability to network with each other across the countries and to share their story with the country as a whole. We’ll all lose when that happens.

    That said, I agree that this could be an easy-ish problem to surmount if one provider refuses to tier their service. My concern is what is going to happen if this turns into a law that requires companies to tier their service in some sneaky way (because of corporate lobbyists that want to lock out that exact rogue company offering untiered service that we’re all counting on) rather than a law that simply says that tiering can occur.

  21. Mike Friedman says:

    No… I’m not talking about just higher bandwidth.

    I’m talking about a guaranteed service quality for a connection to a particular service provider (Skype).

    That’s the kind of value added service that net neutrality would prohibit.

  22. Flying Squid says:

    Or… skype could just invest in better servers themselves.

  23. lev3k says:

    #32:

    You seriously underestimate the power of the internet. Yeah, sure, getting to know the local people is important for grassroots action. However, the internet is far more capable than you let on. There is no other medium that allows the common man to collaborate en masse over vast distances as this one. There is no other way as free of censorship and un-limiting to ideas as this one.

    Do you seriously think it would have been nearly as easy for me to become an atheist had I not been as aware of others who thought as I did? Or knew of communities who were open enough to accept one who was?

    Sure, local action is important. But knowledge and communication of national/worldwide action emboldens you to take local action. It tells you how you can help locally to do what is right. It means that knowledge of the wrong things in this world is much more difficult to squash down simply because it happened far away.

    A non-neutral internet would seriously harm these things. It allows those a select few to quash down and get rid of whatever they don’t want.

    Something the libertarians in the audience don’t seem to realize is that the free market *WILL NOT WORK* here. Picking and choosing your ISP *WILL NOT WORK*. If a free market system were to work here, you would need multiple Internets. You would need the ability to pick and choose between multiple entirely separate networks, and you would need the ability to make your own network if you felt that none in the market suited you. You would need to make *YOUR OWN INTERNET*. It would have to connect from you to any and every site you wanted. It would have to be available wherever you wanted. Right now, we only have the *one* internet. Picking and choosing the last person in this chain doesn’t change the fact that you are connecting to the same, one internet that you always have been.

  24. epp_b says:

    I’ve being saying this for a long time: ISPs should be regulated to sell connectivity and nothing else. Period. Wiring should be publicly owned.

    This would ensure true competition among ISPs and telcos where one ISP can’t restrict another by selling it’s lines and abusing them however they please.

    Additionally, ISPs should not be allowed to own backbones either; it should be one or the other (or public).

  25. shiva7663 says:

    When net neutrality is crushed, all forms of net anonymity will eventually be crushed as well, as anon.penet.fi spins in its grave.

  26. JohnB says:

    Mike Friedman – Leased line. If you can get Skype to agree to receiving one.

  27. epp_b says:

    I’m sure it’s an innocent typo :-) but I’m trying work out what a Rune Goldberg device is, ‘One over engineered widget to rule them all…’

    Oops! Yes, a typo, indeed :)

  28. epp_b says:

    For example I make heavy use of Skype Out but quality is patchy and I often have to fall back to regular phone lines.

    Why shouldn’t I be able to pay my ISP a little extra in return for a guaranteed high bandwidth connection to Skype’s nearest Skype Out gateway?

    Why not? Because you should be getting good service to begin with. Secondly, that’s not a particularly good example. VoIP <-> PSTN is still in its experimental stages and is quite a Rune Goldberg-esque system. It’s really quite amazing that it actually works at all.

    Secondly, pricing for bandwidth is NOT the same thing as pricing for “guaranteed delivery”. Using more bandwidth genuinely costs the ISP money to provide, so you have to pay for it. It’s that simple. “Guaranteed delivery” is a scam to wring in people who don’t have a proper understanding about Internet infrastructure (particularly politicians)

    No… I’m not talking about just higher bandwidth.

    I’m talking about a guaranteed service quality for a connection to a particular service provider (Skype).

    That’s the kind of value added service that net neutrality would prohibit.

    No, you’re still not getting it. It should be “guaranteed” to begin with, barring any inevitable problems with software bugs, hardware failures, human error, etc.

    I don’t know what “other things” he’s talking about so I won’t comment on that. Modern RF spectrum is auctioned to the highest bidder and given the amounts paid it’s hard to argue that they aren’t buying a property right. As for the “public internet”, no, it doesn’t belong to the public! It’s a bunch of fiber lines and switches and every single one of those is owned by a company, a government, or a private individual.

    You mean, except for the millions of dollars the government gave to the telcos and ISPs to lay their lines to provide public access, which came right from the public’s pockets via taxes, right?

    Also, I’d just like to say to Elisa that I can’t express how insightful your comments were. You are absolutely correct.

  29. Elisa says:

    Why, thank you epp_b :)

  30. Jason says:

    When you display “How a non-neutral ISP could work” you are really fishing. I can draw you a picture of how a non-oxygen breathing human could work — but you won’t see any walking the streets tomorrow.

    Net Neutrality is a massive red herring. The type of pricing structure the graphic Cory provided won’t work for the many, many reasons already called out. In essence, people will just not choose to work with an ISP that tries that crap.

    The need for tiered pricing models and priority delivery is, however, real. There are some services that are enabled by a higher quality of service and won’t work right on a network that can guarantee certain delivery metrics. It is not economic to try and raise the entire network to quality levels that can support those services when the bulk of internet data transfer can happen at the old 32cent stamp postage rate. Why pay for FedEx when you don’t need it?

    There has not been any meaningful move by a NSP to block routing to any portion of the internet on tier rate structure. Liken the tiered pricing to various types of mail. Sometimes you need Overnight delivery and sometimes First Class mail is just fine.

    Net Neutrality isn’t about censorship. Its not even a real issue past the media companies wanting to force some regulation on the NSPs to keep them from charging market rates. If you look a the history of the massive telco crash, you may realize that some of the prime players on the “Net Neutrality kills censorship” side of the debate, they are all major benefactors of the telcom crash and have been paying below-cost rates for years. They do not want to see new services created that they have to pay more for access to and they certainly don’t want to pay the telecoms any margin to get access to those services.

    When you display “How a non-neutral ISP could work” you are really fishing. I can draw you a picture of how a non-oxygen breathing human could work — but you won’t see any walking the streets tomorrow.

  31. lev3k says:

    #17:

    You bring up a truly valid point. Holy *crap*, you do.

    I hope I’m not the only one who finds the basic idea of auctioning off our spectrum for money really sickening. It’s taking something we all have a right to use to use and saying “here, this right will go to the highest bidder”. I’m aware this is massive hyperbole, but it feels to me as if we were auctioning off some other, more important right. “Want exclusive (or in our case, any) habeas corpus? Have your company pay us $5 billion and you may have it”

  32. Miss Cellania says:

    There are a lot of people who don’t have ANY choice in ISPs. Where my mother lives, there is NO broadband available, for anyone. I only realized that when she bought a new Mac Mini, which no longer has an internal dialup modem. Apple dropped it because “no one needs it.” Yeah, right. She uses dialup through AT&T, or no internet.

  33. Andrew says:

    This is going to make searching for porn incredibly difficult.

  34. rusty-armour says:

    This doth seem bad.
    At this rate South Africa won’t have any internet…
    Unless of course Telkom drops their prices by more than 50%…

  35. Monkeybaister says:

    Most people arguing in the net-neutrality debate don’t know IP routing, routing protocols (specifically BGP), traffic classification, and the amazing price of internet when last-mile isn’t a problem. I don’t see many people who know all those areas speaking up.

    Lev3k accurately points out that with IP routing, when a packet is handed to another party, how it gets there is up to that other party. So now you’ll have to use BGP communities and hope that every provider on the way is respecting your “no provider 2″ community. This is taking an already huge table of values (full internet routing tables have over 200,000 entries) with a certain amount of instability (average of over 1,400 prefix updates a minute) and adding another layer of complexity which would make routers cost more.

    Packet inspection is more powerful that people think. There are packet inspection devices that can classify and shape a 1 Gbps link with minimal delay. So Tor traffic can be classified and throttled (or outright blocked) easily.

    I was part of changing an ISP’s last-mile connection away from telco leased lines to leased fiber, now their internet connection is about five times faster and costs less. That’s with the same ISP, they just took the telephone company out of the picture and the ISP could offer faster packages for less money.

    I’ve seen very few people who display first-hand experience in all these areas.

  36. noen says:

    The people who are saying “Well, let them use Tor” are missing an important point. Most people barely understand their computers at all and have little ability to use tools like Tor. I am not much of a geek by BoingBoing standards but I am according to those around me. Most people have never even heard of FireFox and they sure as hell are never going to be able to re-route around Net Neutrality.

    The people around me ask me to help them with their PC’s and when I look it is a living nightmare. Their machine is usually chock full of adware and viruses and God knows what else. They have lives and don’t have the inclination or the time to become savvy enough to run a clean PC.

    They are the Eloi.

    That’s what Net Neutrality is all about. It’s about putting a fence around property.

  37. lev3k says:

    The barrier to entry to starting up a new newspaper is far lower than the one for making an entirely new internet, or even becoming an ISP. This very site started as a zine published by a couple people.

    And TV is absolutely regulated to hell and back. The FCC places colossal limits on what can and can’t be said, and, IIRC, requires at least some public service content in order to maintain a broadcast license.

    The only options that I could possibly see as keeping the internet free are a truly free market and regulation. A truly free market requires, among other things, a low barrier to entry and an widely informed consumer base. I don’t see either of these things happening, so I seriously don’t see the ISP market as becoming truly free any time soon, so I see regulation as the only other alternative.

  38. Flying Squid says:

    If the worst happened, which tier would BoingBoing be on? Because I couldn’t live without you guys.

  39. beep1o says:

    The “just switch isp’s” argument is crap, there are lots of places where only one isp is available. Heck, there are places where only one cell phone provider is available. Tiered pricing does not encourage competition. It doesn’t in the cell phone market either.

  40. Michael says:

    Zyklon, Ted Stevens won’t be in charge, because he’s (unsurprisingly) fallen deep into a little problem with the FBI, and bribes turn out to have built his house. He’s going to be history, unfortunately for the future of the funny Internet phrases market.

    Cantstopthesignal, it is naive to believe that Tor won’t be made illegal. Homeland Security will break down your door, carry off your computers and TV, shoot your dog, and leave you with a bruised kidney, for daring to presume you have a right to privacy. Only terrorists need privacy, after all. Everybody else will be happy with a tiered Internet (which, I might add, will include Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh in the lowest tier, but whose 2000 “advanced” sites will *not* include Eschaton, Digby, or anything outside the borders of the United States). That’s where the Powers that Be want to go with tiered Internet, because it’s the only way to make sure people are forced back to pre-Internet ways of communicating.

    You *can* stop the signal. Real easily. Didn’t you watch Serenity? They *killed* him, man. It was sheer luck and a displaced nerve center that allowed the signal not to be stopped in that one case, and in reality, the pundits would quickly have tamped down on that illegal broadcast anyway — “Oh, I think there’s no question, Dave, that that was a forgery, and not a very clever one either. The public isn’t going to buy that line, and that’s what everybody thinks.” Besides, only a Reaver sympathizer would try to say there was a cause for them to become Reavers. Everybody knows that Reavers, like Terrorists, are simply evil embodied, and hate us for our freedom.

    Can’t stop the signal, my ass. I *wish* I could believe that, but rooting out fascism isn’t going to be so simple as just waiting for the deus ex machina of the free market to take care of it.

    Next, I predict this, somebody here is going to say I’ve poisoned the debate — Godwinized it, in a sense — by linking it to my moonbat liberalism. But what is, actually, fascism? The definition, I mean? Yes, it’s that form of government in which big business is coopted as a means of state control. Controlling the signal *is* controlling the people. A tiered Internet *is* fascism, and will enable more fascism. And if you think it’s not in the interests of AT&T and the other telcos to support an authoritarian government, well, I pity you good Germans. It’s the nature of the corporate beast to keep the market as controlled and predictable as possible — fascism *works*, if you’re rich enough that you’re in control of it.

    And there is most definitely a reason that the Bush administration is now demanding legislation to hold the telcos retroactively harmless of any alleged assistance they may have provided in alleged illegal wiretapping, which certainly didn’t occur, and certainly wasn’t illegal if it did, and certainly wasn’t directed against anybody but terrorists anyway, or people who might know terrorists, or people who we think might be able to spell “terrorist”, or Kevin Bacon.

    No, the telcos are behind this 100%. A tiered Internet just consolidates their power *and* locks their profits in. It’s perfect, from their point of view. Bastards.

  41. Dr_Fau5tus says:

    epp_b wrote: “VoIP < -> PSTN is still in its experimental stages and is quite a Rune Goldberg-esque system.”

    I’m sure it’s an innocent typo :-) but I’m trying work out what a Rune Goldberg device is, ‘One over engineered widget to rule them all…’

  42. Mike Friedman says:

    I’m finding some of the reactions here very interesting.

    For example, see Flying Squid, #27:

    Or… skype could just invest in better servers themselves.

    Mr. Calamari, how do you expect better Skype servers to solve network congestion and similar problems?

    JohnB, #29, isn’t quite as silly, but he demonstrates the “Let them eat cake” attitude that many of the neutrality absolutarians have:

    Mike Friedman – Leased line. If you can get Skype to agree to receiving one.

    So, in other words, because you are worried about a tiered Internet Skype can’t do deals for guaranteed QOS with various ISPs and I can’t buy a premium Skype connectivity service? You expect every single person who wants a premium service like this to get his own leased line? Is this really reasonable?

    Finally, for pure comic relief, let’s see LJSeinfeld, #17. Actually, he’s so over the top I’m not sure if he isn’t being sarcastic… but others seem to be taking him seriously and agreeing with him…

    These companies/conglomerates/what-have-you need to be reminded is that the public internet, the RF spectrum, and other such things *belong to the public*.

    I don’t know what “other things” he’s talking about so I won’t comment on that. Modern RF spectrum is auctioned to the highest bidder and given the amounts paid it’s hard to argue that they aren’t buying a property right. As for the “public internet”, no, it doesn’t belong to the public! It’s a bunch of fiber lines and switches and every single one of those is owned by a company, a government, or a private individual. None of it is owned by the “public”.

    I am growing increasingly more tired of businesses trying to call every little added ability to a given service a “value add” and expecting to charge more for it.

    I don’t follow – you expect businesses to offer additional services at additional cost and not charge for them?

    What ever happened to over-delivering on a product or service.

    Probably the same thing that happened to the tooth fairy… NOTHING! Because neither of them ever existed!

    Money-grubbing swine.

    Ummmm… yes… that’s their job!

  43. lev3k says:

    #41

    You say you’re potentially in favor of regulation in case of monopoly. The current situation may not be a strict monopoly, but it seems very much like an oligopoly. You also say that the internet is the best means of starting a movement or organization (and i’m assuming you’d agree that it’s the best way to disseminate important information).

    Given the important nature of the medium and the inability for the free market to ensure fairness among the ISPs, why exactly do you say that there is no need for government regulation? Why should this medium not have legal protection to ensure unhindered speech over it?

  44. domeier says:

    This nightmare already exists:

    I live in a small Sierra community, and there is only one ISP, (SierraTel,) available to us.

    SierraTel sells two packages of monthly DSL service, “normal” and “fast.” Now, this obviously means that ST is not doing anything to make their DSL service faster for the additional $20/month, but that they’re actually slowing down all of us rebels who refuse to be extorted by them.

    …which suddenly gets to me wondering about something: You can’t use any old DSL modem with the service, you have to rent or purchase a “specially coded” modem from ST… so, could it be that the “fast” or “slow” configuration is selected in the modem?

    Hmmmm… Time to break out the tools and have a look see at the jumpers in the modem.

    Paul Domeier
    Coarsegold

  45. stevew says:

    I’m with FLYING SQUID, #13. Sadly it probably will happen, I just wonder were my favs will shake out in the multi-tiered pricing. Think – coach vs 1st class, 1 bedroom vs penthouse, suburban vs waterfront, public park vs private club – twas ever thus.

  46. Mike Friedman says:

    Noen, #33 says:

    Mike Friedman said:
    no, it doesn’t belong to the public! It’s a bunch of fiber lines and switches and every single one of those is owned by a company, a government, or a private individual. None of it is owned by the “public”.

    Actually Mike, it does belong to us. Even though every TV station is owned by a company none-the-less the airwaves are indeed publicly owned. You might want to double check what you wrote there. Can you spot the error? I can.

    1. I was talking about the Internet here… I ask again, given that each piece of the infrastructure is privately owned how can you claim the Internet is publicly owned?
    2. The airwaves were publicly owned… but given that the government auctioned off the rights to much of them are they still publicly owned? You may disagree with that decision… but you can’t argue it was made.

    What has happened is that the Rethuglicans have sold off vast portions of government (that’s us ya know) owned property (frequencies) to their buddies in corporate America. They feed off of and destroy what was once held in common.

    1. Clinton also auctioned off frequency
    2. Why do you consider frequency different from real estate? All land in the US was publicly owned at first. Governments auctioned it off or even gave it away. Were those actions also “Rethuglican” chicanery? Are all home owners in America “feed[ing] off and destroy[ing] what was once held in common?

    Frankly, if the primary argument for net neutrality is based on the concept that private property is illegitimate I don’t think it’s going to get much traction.

  47. noen says:

    Mike Friedman said:
    no, it doesn’t belong to the public! It’s a bunch of fiber lines and switches and every single one of those is owned by a company, a government, or a private individual. None of it is owned by the “public”.

    Actually Mike, it does belong to us. Even though every TV station is owned by a company none-the-less the airwaves are indeed publicly owned. You might want to double check what you wrote there. Can you spot the error? I can.

    What has happened is that the Rethuglicans have sold off vast portions of government (that’s us ya know) owned property (frequencies) to their buddies in corporate America. They feed off of and destroy what was once held in common.

    They destroy the environment, they destroyed radio, they destroy everything everything they touch. Corporations are engines for resource extraction. As you say “that’s their job” but they are unable to create what is not already there. Obviously, that presents a bit of a problem over time doesn’t it?

    There is a saying:

    That which cannot continue will stop”

    As indeed I expect it will.

  48. LJSeinfeld says:

    Sheesh.

    These companies/conglomerates/what-have-you need to be reminded is that the public internet, the RF spectrum, and other such things *belong to the public*.

    I am growing increasingly more tired of businesses trying to call every little added ability to a given service a “value add” and expecting to charge more for it. What ever happened to over-delivering on a product or service. God forbid they should actually exceed their customer’s expectations.

    They’ve been trying to turn the internet into CATV for almost as long as I can remember… looks like we’re one step closer.

    Money-grubbing swine.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I hear the telecoms scream that they get reamed by users chugging down too much bandwidth, that its costing them money. If thats the case, charge those people more. I know there are levels of service you can offer “gamers” that should accomodate their need for bandwidth.
    If a server uses too much bandwidth, their ISP charges them overages. If a user is on a limited service and goes over, he is charged. It would seem what is in place -should- be working fine.

    Anyways, I think its less about abuse of the network and more about control. Especially since we know that the networks SO easily cooperate with the government in many respects.
    I imagine if tiered pricing does go into effect, if the censors at the telecoms won’t block certain sites from ALL levels of service (a la China). Maybe mark one site as a “terrorist website” where all users post anonymously and often let out their base instincts and feelings, and another as terrorist because they condemn the government. I mean, “If you are not with us, then you must be against us!”

    And above all, its about money. Everything revolves around it, and its the root of all evil. Why give away everything when you can section off content that requires an additional charge?
    Its one reason companies like pay-per-use. Luckily Divx was fairly quickly killed off, and DVD dominated. But it would seem most companies are very interested in the idea.

    I wonder if anonymity will cost more on a tiered internet. i.e., posting anonymously here, or on Slashdot, or any other site that permits it. Would it affect usenet, gopher, email? Already, though, I hear there are some places that won’t guarantee email delivery from some places that won’t pay up.

  50. sciencebzzt says:

    You’re ignoring the fact that establishing an ISP either requires regulation (to give you permission to run on the telcos’ wires) or regulation (to give you access to the spectrum or rights-of-ways necessary to get your wires through the country).

    Indeed, telcos are nothing but greed wrapped in a thick, greasy blanket of government-created regulatory monopolies. That isn’t capitalism — it’s a kind of regulatory socialism, not subject to market forces in the same way that, say, restaurants are.

    Cory Doctorow is right about ISPs, but I still don’t think MORE regulation is the answer. Regulation invariably becomes a tool of big business, always, and in every situation. So you’re right, shopping for ISPs is not like shopping for restaurants with the best service, but less regulation is still the best answer for consumers. People may well have to deal with tiered internet while technology catches up, but as long as there are no laws forcing people to run business a certain way, it can easily change.

    Think about it this way:
    With NN, how do we change it if the laws get out of control? We have to get a majority, elect a person who we think will start change, and then HOPE that one person will help change the laws. And the big business that is benefiting from the laws will fight us all the way.

    Without NN, it just takes one company, looking for profits from an ignored segment of people who want non-tiered internet to set up infrastructure, a minority can make that happen.

  51. Flying Squid says:

    On top of that, you have to remember that the roots of the internet were at DARPA, meaning our tax dollars paid for the infrastructure. If you paid taxes in the last 30 years, you’ve helped pay for the internet.

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