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FCC chairman: Net neutrality must be preserved

post #1 of 45
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As devices like the iPhone make the Web an even more integral part of Americans' daily lives, it is important that the Internet remains an open system, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said Monday.

In a speech delivered at The Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., Genachowski outlined a list of six principles he believes the FCC should follow, and also proposed methods tto achieve those principles. In his address, Genachowski specifically cited the iPhone as a "path-breaking" device that has "enabled millions of us to carry the Internet in our pockets and purses."

He stressed that it is important for the Internet to remain a free and open place, noting that recently some broadband providers have blocked or slowed access to Voice Over IP services and peer-to-peer downloading software.

"In view of these challenges and opportunities, and because it is vital that the Internet continue to be an engine of innovation, economic growth, competition and democratic engagement," Genachowski said, "I believe the FCC must be a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet."

He proposed that the commission adopt the four principles previously laid out by former Chairman Michael Powell in 2004, known as the "Four Freedoms," as well as two new principles he believes should be added to the list. The six are:

Freedom to access legal content
Freedom to use applications of the users' choice
Freedom to attach personal devices to connections in users' homes
Freedom to obtain service plan information
Non-discrimination: Broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications
Transparency: Providers must be transparent about network management practices

The statements are a major benefit for Apple, which delivers music and movies to millions of users through iTunes. Without Net neutrality, bandwidth for content providers like iTunes could potentially be "throttled," or even altogether blocked, by Internet service providers.

But with regards to its own devices and the AT&T network, Apple has also been on the restrictive side -- particularly with respect to Powell's second "freedom," regarding applications. After the Google Voice telephony service was not allowed into the iPhone App Store by Apple, the FCC launched an investigation into the matter. How Genachowski's proposal could affect wireless carriers like AT&T, or handset makers like Apple that engage in exclusive contracts, is not yet clear.



In support of the initiative for a free and open Internet, the FCC launched a new Web site, OpenInternet.gov, Monday. It invites discussion from citizens on the Net neutrality issue, with Genachowski noting that while the goals are clear, "the best path to achieving them is not."

"We are here because 40 years ago, a bunch of researchers in a lab changed the way computers interact and, as a result, changed the world," Genachowski said to close his speech. "We are here because those Internet pioneers had unique insights about the power of open networks to transform lives for the better, and they did something about it. Our work now is to preserve the brilliance of what they contributed to our country and the world. It’s to make sure that, in the 21st century, the garage, the basement, and the dorm room remain places where innovators can not only dream but bring their dreams to life. And no one should be neutral about that."
post #2 of 45

The new rules would prevent ISPs, for example, from blocking or slowing bandwidth-hogging Web traffic such as streaming video or other applications that put a strain on their networks or from charging different rates to users.


That's going to be . . . a problem.
post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


The new rules would prevent ISPs, for example, from blocking or slowing bandwidth-hogging Web traffic such as streaming video or other applications that put a strain on their networks or from charging different rates to users.


That's going to be . . . a problem.

There is a difference between throttling a users connection because he is downloading terabytes worth of data, and throttling the connection to a spcific competitors website all the time. The former would probably still be allowed, the latter explicitly would not.

One important thing this will eventually force ISPs to more publicly advertise is bandwidth caps should they feel that's the best way to manage their network. Saying that they allow "unlimited" bandwidth and really capping at 5GB then charging huge fees afterwards will be vehemently discouraged in the future (wierless ISPs are particularly bad at this).
post #4 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


The new rules would prevent ISPs, for example, from blocking or slowing bandwidth-hogging Web traffic such as streaming video or other applications that put a strain on their networks or from charging different rates to users.


That's going to be . . . a problem.

Yeah, wait till customers can't get the bandwidth they are paying for, it's a double edge sword.
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


The new rules would prevent ISPs, for example, from blocking or slowing bandwidth-hogging Web traffic such as streaming video or other applications that put a strain on their networks or from charging different rates to users.


That's going to be . . . a problem.

As the previous poster said, it shouldn't be a problem, especially not for consumers.

If they were allowed to arbitrarily throttle or block certain types of traffic, users and anyone not in the network delivery business business would suffer. Apple makes a nice revenue from music and video download sales. If the largest ISPs in the US went to them and demanded tariffs for this traffic then Apple would suffer. They would either increase prices to the users to cover costs or they lose the ability to deliver to their largest market. The bounties demanded by the ISPs could become unreasonable. Should they be allowed to do this?

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post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


The new rules would prevent ISPs, for example, from blocking or slowing bandwidth-hogging Web traffic such as streaming video or other applications that put a strain on their networks or from charging different rates to users.


That's going to be . . . a problem.

I actually agree with this. I really really want to see an end to preventing competitive applications and the like--that's just not cool--but if these companies are forced to allow these bandwidth-hogging applications with no limitation and no regard to network performance, we will be the ones who pay the price. How happy will we be with SlingBox on the road if the network quality is so poor that it barely runs?

I think a good first step is making sure that applications aren't denied because they're competitive, but forcing things on networks has to happen when the networks can support it. AT&T's, obviously, cannot. All you have to do is travel through a major point of use (e.g. parts of Manhattan, San Francisco) and the problem is obvious enough.

AT&T better work hard on upgrading their networks...
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post #7 of 45
Captain Obvious says that net neutrality bit the dust in 1996 when Microsoft refused to adhere to web standards and included Internet Explorer with Windows 95 OSR2.
post #8 of 45
This is a tough issue to get right. I agree that net neutrality is important, as without it, innovation could easily be stiffled.

However, I don't think it is right that I could effectively subsidise someone who downloads Tb of data using file sharing (and lets face it, for all the talk about Bit Torrent allowing people to share their material easier - it's mostly used for stealing) when I use far less but am on the same ISP.

Effectively some sort of "fair use" needs to be defined, but who defines that is the question.

I think downloading a movie each day on my Apple TV is fair use, but I bet Comcast would like to stop me!
post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Captain Obvious says that net neutrality bit the dust in 1996 when Microsoft refused to adhere to web standards and included Internet Explorer with Windows 95 OSR2.

What does that have to do with net neutrality?
You're whining about monopolistic competition--a different subject.
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post #10 of 45
"We are here because 40 years ago, a bunch of researchers in a lab changed the way computers interact and, as a result, changed the world," Genachowski said to close his speech. "We are here because those Internet pioneers had unique insights about the power of open networks to transform lives for the better, and they did something about it. Our work now is to preserve the brilliance of what they contributed to our country and the world. Its to make sure that, in the 21st century, the garage, the basement, and the dorm room remain places where innovators can not only dream but bring their dreams to life. And no one should be neutral about that." [/QUOTE]
you mean....
DOUGLAS ENGELBART?
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Freedom to access legal content

And that will be the loophole that ISPs use to try and keep business as usual. ISP will be allowed to do all sorts of things in the name of protecting copyright.

Also, from a story on Ars about this...

"Throughout, Genachowski stressed his own background in business and his concern for innovation. He decried "detailed rules" that would be immediately outdated and made clear that ISPs could still throttle heavy users at peak times and take reasonable measures to manage their networks."

I have no doubt this dog and pony show is just for the masses that will read the story an yell "yipee, we are getting net neutrality!". However, I guarantee you that after the lobbyist get their way the the government's version of neutrality will be a joke.

-kpluck

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post #12 of 45
Net Neutrality will mean nothing until the FCC forces Cable/Telecoms to divest themselves of all content. Cable/telecom should be dumb pipes, and treated as the utility they are.
It doesn't take a genius to see that the approach Comcast et al are taking of throttling on usage, as opposed to (yeah, sure) content, they are just setting up defensive barricades against the inevitable assault on their control of content. With increased bandwidth, we will finally get to subscribe directly to the channels we want from the networks. Ala carte streaming. No more of the obscene 'packages' to which we're held hostage by the Cable companies. No more home shopping and evangelist networks (unless you want them.)
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

I actually agree with this. I really really want to see an end to preventing competitive applications and the like--that's just not cool--but if these companies are forced to allow these bandwidth-hogging applications with no limitation and no regard to network performance, we will be the ones who pay the price. How happy will we be with SlingBox on the road if the network quality is so poor that it barely runs?

I think a good first step is making sure that applications aren't denied because they're competitive, but forcing things on networks has to happen when the networks can support it. AT&T's, obviously, cannot. All you have to do is travel through a major point of use (e.g. parts of Manhattan, San Francisco) and the problem is obvious enough.

AT&T better work hard on upgrading their networks...

Good points, but how happy would we be when Sling is one of the things they decide to block or throttle? Or if the landline ISPs decide their own VOIP business is growing well, so they shape traffic to given themselves a higher priority, causing our video, VOIP and other latency susceptible applications to suffer?

It is a difficult balancing act between regulating effectively to encourage competition and innovation while also not setting unfair expectations on the providers. I agree totally that the first step is to not allowing them to use their position to an unfair advantage,

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #14 of 45
What is going to happen is we'll start seeing ISPs selling access on a 2-dimensional tiered structure. Max download rate on one axis, and total download/month on the other. Want more speed for intermitent big downloads (OS updates), you'll pay more. Want more total downloads, but spread out over more time (VPN connection), you'll pay more. Want both more speed and more data (buying/streaming your daily dose of TV), you'll REALLY pay more.

Unfortunately, this will probably end up inceasing prices for the heavy users (which may be appropriate); but it probably won't lead to price breaks for the light users who are probably getting overcharged today to help pay for the infrastructure needed by the heavy users.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

What does that have to do with net neutrality?
You're whining about monopolistic competition--a different subject.

He's not whining about Apple!?
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post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Net Neutrality will mean nothing until the FCC forces Cable/Telecoms to divest themselves of all content. Cable/telecom should be dumb pipes, and treated as the utility they are.
It doesn't take a genius to see that the approach Comcast et al are taking of throttling on usage, as opposed to (yeah, sure) content, they are just setting up defensive barricades against the inevitable assault on their control of content. With increased bandwidth, we will finally get to subscribe directly to the channels we want from the networks. Ala carte streaming. No more of the obscene 'packages' to which we're held hostage by the Cable companies. No more home shopping and evangelist networks (unless you want them.)

One step in that direction would be to declare that on-demand content be treated as data for the purpose of net neutrality. If the cable ISPs place caps or require a higher tier of service to allow me to rent a couple of movies from iTunes each month, then their on-demand services should have the same usage penalty. Otherwise independent content providers will always be at a disadvantage. This would prevent them from setting caps so low that you couldn't afford the overage charges to buy/rent from a 3rd party content provider.

Live TV is a little more difficult. It's usually a constant stream whether you are watching or not, so it's not taking extra bandwidth when you watch a show. Yes, I know this isn't strictly true anymore; but it's still the dominant model. And my cable box is constantly tuned into a show (two actually), even if my TV isn't on. Whereas with on demand you can assume the person is watching a show they've specifically requested and paid for.
post #17 of 45
But with regards to its own devices and the AT&T network, Apple has also been on the restrictive side -- particularly with respect to Powell's second "freedom," regarding applications. After the Google Voice telephony service was not allowed into the iPhone App Store by Apple, the FCC launched an investigation into the matter. How Genachowski's proposal could affect wireless carriers like AT&T, or handset makers like Apple that engage in exclusive contracts, is not yet clear.

"Not yet clear"? I'll say... Way to totally muddle, and confuse completely unrelated issues, Neil.
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I agree that net neutrality is important, as without it, innovation could easily be stiffled.

I realize that the point in your post is quite different (and much broader), but I wanted to respond to this statement (since I hear people often making a similar point): If that were true, what would explain all the amazing internet-related innovations we've had this past decade-and-a-half? After all, we've not had 'net neutrality' during all this time?
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Freedom to use applications of the users' choice
...
But with regards to its own devices and the AT&T network, Apple has also been on the restrictive side -- particularly with respect to Powell's second "freedom," regarding applications.

Not at all.
Apple is limiting what is in their app store but apps can be put onto the iPhone thru other means, such as jailbreaking" or corporate applications.
Apple does limit the network connection thru their devices but they do not limit the connection from the wall jack to the etherworld.
The bulk of the net neutrality openess seems to be put on the shoulders of the ISP.

Hardware/software products should not be "required" to do everything but the network connection should allow everything (dependent upon the plan you have).
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I realize that the point in your post is quite different (and much broader), but I wanted to respond to this statement (since I hear people often making a similar point): If that were true, what would explain all the amazing internet-related innovations we've had this past decade-and-a-half? After all, we've not had 'net neutrality' during all this time?

ISP's have just over the last few years started to throttle people and say they want web sites like google to pay "their" fair share. They really have not been blocking or extorting web sites and services yet. This is what the FCC is trying to stop before it starts. There really is not much choice in Broadbrand service, at least in my area and I'm in a big city (Boston)
With only a hand full of broadband ISP's out there they could really screw access to the internet up.
post #21 of 45
I, for one, believe that the free marketplace should be allowed to be the source of influence over ISPs. I think there is a marked distinction between the fundamentally finite spectrum that is available for over-the-air transmissions and the bandwidth that exists as the result of the infrastructure that industry has put in place. While government regulation of the former may have been necessary, regulation of the later is not.

While the short-term notion of unthrottled and unrestricted access to all content is appealing, I fear that allowing the government in would be a slippery slope that would ultimately curtail what we can do online.

If enough of the consumer base demands that ISPs not restrict their access to particular content, the providers will have to either comply or lose market share to competitors with a more consumer-centric philosophy.

I think the FCC is a genie that would be impossible to get back into the bottle.
post #22 of 45
I'm not sure that the FCC really has the jurisdiction to tell apple what app restrictions to place on the iPhone. Apple isn't a network operator -- apple sells phones and computers. i would think that the FCC's jurisdiction would be limited to the network providers. So I would think that this app rule would mean that AT&T or Verizon can't restrict the use of apps they don't like, but that says nothing about Apple or Microsoft or Google. But exactly which government agency has jurisdiction over what is difficult to keep track of, so I could be wrong.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetlaw View Post


While the short-term notion of unthrottled and unrestricted access to all content is appealing, I fear that allowing the government in would be a slippery slope that would ultimately curtail what we can do online.

.

Right. Because leaving corporations to their own devices just serves us SO well.
No 'slippery slope' there, huh?
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetlaw View Post

I, for one, believe that the free marketplace should be allowed to be the source of influence over ISPs.

...

If enough of the consumer base demands that ISPs not restrict their access to particular content, the providers will have to either comply or lose market share to competitors with a more consumer-centric philosophy.

Under normal circumstances I would agree with you. But if you think choice and competition doesn't exist for health care, there is even less for broadband internet access options. If Comcast decided to restrict my access to certain content, I have limited options for taking my money elsewhere. And I probably have more options than most people, but still limited.

Most municipalities still control cable franchises in their cities, and usually that means one choice. Most people also have only one choice for DSL (granted, you could contract with someone who wholesales from your phone company, but it's still your phone company's infrastructure providing the service). Verizon's FIOS and ATTs Uverse are still in rather limited geographies. Once the cell carriers deploy 4G networks, there may be more competition; but that's likely to be a very expensive option for several years.

One only needs to look at the cell phone industry in the US to see an example of how, even with competition, "consumer demand" doesn't always have enough influence on how service providers behave.
post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I realize that the point in your post is quite different (and much broader), but I wanted to respond to this statement (since I hear people often making a similar point): If that were true, what would explain all the amazing internet-related innovations we've had this past decade-and-a-half? After all, we've not had 'net neutrality' during all this time?

I'm not going to take up the specifics of your argument, but I have to point out it's a logical fallacy in and of itself.

There could be tons of innovation that's not happening because things are "the way they are now" and there is no way to know what that would be in the absence of things being "different from they are now."

For instance copyright law as it now exists could (and is argued by many to actually do so), also completely stifle innovation and invention, or it could actually aide it as is currently argued by it's proponents. However, no one can know the answer to that question until the situation is changed.

It's wrong to assume that the presence of some innovation now can be ascribed exclusively to the current state. We could have had innovation *despite* the assumed dampening effects of a lack of net neutrality or that innovation could also be ascribed to the assumed lack of net neutrality.

Overall however, the internet started off as "neutral" in exactly the way being proposed here, so it's a safer bet that keeping it that way will give the same result it's always had (innovation) than it is that restricting it will create *more* innovation.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I realize that the point in your post is quite different (and much broader), but I wanted to respond to this statement (since I hear people often making a similar point): If that were true, what would explain all the amazing internet-related innovations we've had this past decade-and-a-half? After all, we've not had 'net neutrality' during all this time?

I see what you mean, but I actually think we have had net neutrality in the past, it's just we've not needed to give it a name - it's just how things were.

It's only recently that we've been hearing about the idea of a two tier internet whereby ISP's could give priority to certain data over other. Previously all data was treated the same, hence the development of things like streaming audio, then video, VOIP etc. etc.

I'm reasonably sure things like streaming audio and video would have happened anyway, but VOIP? I'm not so sure the cable providers will like the fact that they have lost phone revenue by people using their own infrastructure this way.
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

How happy will we be with SlingBox on the road if the network quality is so poor that it barely runs?

I question how much it would actually slow down the network. Sure there are a lot of people slinging, but it's probably not even 1 out of 10 iPhones. Even if it were 1 out 10 iPhones slinging media, what are the chances they are all doing it simultaneously?

When we're "on the go", why not allow me to use Slingbox on my phone. If I'm allowed to use it on a computer wit a 3G card, why not a an iPhone with 3G connection? If we are going to limit the phone's 3G capabilities, they should say it upfront.

Perhaps there should be a little footnote that says. iPhone 3Gs - 3G speed for e-mail and web browsing... only.
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

I actually agree with this. I really really want to see an end to preventing competitive applications and the like--that's just not cool--but if these companies are forced to allow these bandwidth-hogging applications with no limitation and no regard to network performance, we will be the ones who pay the price. How happy will we be with SlingBox on the road if the network quality is so poor that it barely runs?

I think a good first step is making sure that applications aren't denied because they're competitive, but forcing things on networks has to happen when the networks can support it. AT&T's, obviously, cannot. All you have to do is travel through a major point of use (e.g. parts of Manhattan, San Francisco) and the problem is obvious enough.

AT&T better work hard on upgrading their networks...

The Beauty of Physics, Material Science and Chemistry is that it is always moving towards greater capacities.
post #29 of 45
Number six, transparency, is the key principle here. If we actually do find out how ISPs will manage customer usage, we have the information we need to decide wether we want to pay for it.

I'm all for metered Internet pricing, providing the cost per GB is cheap enough for the average person to afford it. I like most average users would see their monthly access bills reduced because we use very few GBs per month.

I don't expect the ISPs would want metered billing unless they could increase the cost per GB at least 20 fold. They elected to go the anti P2P capping route because they know these heavy users are a small fraction of their customer base.

To meter usage at current average bandwidth prices would seriously cut into their cash cow. When you increase charge by 20x to the majority of consumers, who are using the fewest GBs, above the outrageous price they have currently, you'd be biting off your nose to spite your face.

I'm betting the ISPs would rather accept the FCC's brand of net neutrality regulations because it doesn't effect ISP's status quo pricing which is currently gorging the consumer.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Net Neutrality will mean nothing until the FCC forces Cable/Telecoms to divest themselves of all content. Cable/telecom should be dumb pipes, and treated as the utility they are.
It doesn't take a genius to see that the approach Comcast et al are taking of throttling on usage, as opposed to (yeah, sure) content, they are just setting up defensive barricades against the inevitable assault on their control of content. With increased bandwidth, we will finally get to subscribe directly to the channels we want from the networks. Ala carte streaming. No more of the obscene 'packages' to which we're held hostage by the Cable companies. No more home shopping and evangelist networks (unless you want them.)

Cable/Telco traffic isn't regarded as generic ISP data and as such is exempt. In fact I'd go so far as to say Telcos supported this outcome. Trying to run realtime services across non-QoS data networks guarantees voice & media services will fall way short of acceptable standard and the FCC have effectively outlawed QoS.

Well played Telcos - using geeks obsession with freedom & ignorance of realtime systems against them - very, very clever!

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post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I'm not going to take up the specifics of your argument, but I have to point out it's a logical fallacy in and of itself.

There could be tons of innovation that's not happening because things are "the way they are now" and there is no way to know what that would be in the absence of things being "different from they are now."

For instance copyright law as it now exists could (and is argued by many to actually do so), also completely stifle innovation and invention, or it could actually aide it as is currently argued by it's proponents. However, no one can know the answer to that question until the situation is changed.

Wow, I guess you really do believe in costly social experiments just to prove some logical point, huh? Cool.

But what if the experiment - in this case, availability of broadband capacity from logical risk-assessment based capital provided by telecom service providers - gets undersupplied? You think Skype, Apple, Google, P2Ps et al. will cough up the $$ to make up the difference?

You know the answer that question, so the logical follow-up to that is: And, if they don't (and already-bitten telecom service providers are not willing to go back to business-as-usual)? What happens to 'innovation and invention' on the internet then?
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I see what you mean, but I actually think we have had net neutrality in the past, it's just we've not needed to give it a name - it's just how things were.

Yeah, but as I recall, those were also the days of copper wire and dial-ups. Cable and telecom (DSL) services had not incurred all the expensive capex to install broadband access to homes and businesses yet. And, there were truly digital haves and have-nots (a phenomenon that still exists, but much less so, today).

Also, some would argue that supply of all that capacity drove its own demand ('Says Law') - i.e., the pipes propelled the innovation.
post #33 of 45
Nowhere in his 6 principles does it say that an ISP cannot limit individuals to a given amount of bandwidth - only that ISPs cannot discriminate based on content or the application being used. So as long as an ISP states up front that with Plan A you get xGB/month and Plan B you get 2xGB/month, there's been no discrimination. And they are free to use the quota system to distribute bandwidth to everyone equally (at least in theory).

Too many people think "net neutrality" means they get to use as much bandwidth as they want and that ISPs who manage their networks are breaking net neutrality. Not true. "Neutrality" only means that your ISP can't tell you what apps you can/can't use and they can't interfere with particular content streams. They can't tell you that you can't use BitTorrent and they can't interfere ONLY with torrent packets. But they do have the right to throttle ALL users to pre-agreed caps (then there's no discrimination).
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post #34 of 45
Yep, it's going to be a useless regulation.

Hey, you can use the iphone anyway you want --- you can even get free tethering. But nobody ever tells you that AT&T is not going to do what the Italian carriers do --- give you a 250 MB data allowance per month.

You end up paying $800 for the iphone, then pay for the privilege of getting the right to have 250 MB data allowance that you are going to blow in a few hours of tethering.
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Net Neutrality will mean nothing until the FCC forces Cable/Telecoms to divest themselves of all content. Cable/telecom should be dumb pipes, and treated as the utility they are.

Then the carriers will just not build any new networks.

That's the whole problem in Europe and Australia right now. These countries forced their formerly landline monopoly to lease their DSL lines to competitors so that these competitors can sell DSL internet access. Now nobody wants to build fiber optics in Europe and Australia. The Australian government (left leaning labor party) is willing to spend $30+ billion US of the public's money to build a national fiber optics network because no commercial carrier wants to do it. The UK government just shot down a plan to tax every landline $12 a year to fund their national broadband dream.

Don't get conned by idiotic statistics that Scandinavian countries are leading pretty much the world (outside Japan) on fiber optics. Yes, they have some of the lowest population density in the world --- but they are like Canada where most of their population is in their biggest 3 cities. You cover the city of Copenhagen with fiber optics network --- you cover 1/3 of Denmark's populations. Makes the whole statistic about them leading the world in fiber optics deployment a joke.

Trust me --- I am a Canadian --- who reads how Canada is regularly in the top 10 countries in terms of broadband penetration. Pretty useless statistics --- you cover Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver --- you cover 1/3 of Canada's population.
post #36 of 45
In Australia our previous government sold off the entire National Telco (Telstra), which led to the biggest wholesaler (and retailer) selling retail broadband at a lower price than they sold wholesale broadband, which really inspired competition.

Meanwhile Telstra led by Sol Trujilo (who went back to the US with a massive severance payout after driving the share price down substantially while he was at the helm), refused to come to the party and thumbed their noses at the new Government's proposals for a National infrastructure as they wanted to retain control over everything.

Now the current Government is looking at splitting the wholesale network apart from the retail business which is how it should have happened in the first place.

The Government is also looking into filtering the Internet to "protect the children", so in the US you can expect an influx of Aussies who will want to run VPN's via proxies, there might be a few dollars in this for enterprising, entrepreneurial types.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

Then the carriers will just not build any new networks.

That's the whole problem in Europe and Australia right now. These countries forced their formerly landline monopoly to lease their DSL lines to competitors so that these competitors can sell DSL internet access. Now nobody wants to build fiber optics in Europe and Australia. The Australian government (left leaning labor party) is willing to spend $30+ billion US of the public's money to build a national fiber optics network because no commercial carrier wants to do it. The UK government just shot down a plan to tax every landline $12 a year to fund their national broadband dream.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #37 of 45
I see this as forcing the hand of pipe providers to up the ante or get pushed by the wayside by (hopefully) more competition. Telco's will no longer be able to oversell their services, or they will have to be more upfront about the services they CAN provide.

There have been too many shady contracts and penalties to consumers who are simply trying to use what they were sold.

This could also add additional costs to the consumer, but the simple truth is, that right now most people get acceptable performance on their connections, even with the current media frenzy/P2P load. Telco's will either have to expand their pipes, or avoid overselling their capacity, which is what they should have been doing all along.
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post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

In Australia our previous government sold off the entire National Telco (Telstra), which led to the biggest wholesaler (and retailer) selling retail broadband at a lower price than they sold wholesale broadband, which really inspired competition.

Meanwhile Telstra led by Sol Trujilo (who went back to the US with a massive severance payout after driving the share price down substantially while he was at the helm), refused to come to the party and thumbed their noses at the new Government's proposals for a National infrastructure as they wanted to retain control over everything.

Now the current Government is looking at splitting the wholesale network apart from the retail business which is how it should have happened in the first place.

The Government is also looking into filtering the Internet to "protect the children", so in the US you can expect an influx of Aussies who will want to run VPN's via proxies, there might be a few dollars in this for enterprising, entrepreneurial types.

The Australian government still indirectly owns about 17% of Telstra.

They could have broken Telstra 20 years ago like the US government breaking apart AT&T.

Share price drop happened during that time for everybody --- even the best run telecom company in the US (Verizon) during that time period. Can't blame Trujilo for that.

You can look at Europe --- they have all kinds of separation --- whether functional separation, legal separation... It doesn't work --- nobody in Europe is building fiber optics network.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Under normal circumstances I would agree with you. But if you think choice and competition doesn't exist for health care, there is even less for broadband internet access options. If Comcast decided to restrict my access to certain content, I have limited options for taking my money elsewhere. And I probably have more options than most people, but still limited.

Most municipalities still control cable franchises in their cities, and usually that means one choice. Most people also have only one choice for DSL (granted, you could contract with someone who wholesales from your phone company, but it's still your phone company's infrastructure providing the service). Verizon's FIOS and ATTs Uverse are still in rather limited geographies. Once the cell carriers deploy 4G networks, there may be more competition; but that's likely to be a very expensive option for several years.

One only needs to look at the cell phone industry in the US to see an example of how, even with competition, "consumer demand" doesn't always have enough influence on how service providers behave.

That's the thing: consumer demand does have influence and does make changes the right waybut the reason you have few choices for broadband access in your locale isn't because companies aren't eager to get your business. It's because government intervention through public utilities contracts makes it difficult for ISPs to enter the market.
post #40 of 45
This article talks about how AT&T wants to use net neutrality regulation to attack Google Voice.
Their feigned innocence about their role in the iTunes rejection (or pendency) of Google Voice is looking more and more suspicious to me.
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