Department of Justice Says No To Net Neutrality

The U.S. Department of Justice officially spoke out against net neutrality this week, in a filing with the FCC that says such regulations would “prevent, rather than promote, optimal investment and innovation in the Internet, with significant negative effects for the economy and consumers.” The department says the free market has done just fine so far, and that “precluding broadband providers from charging [content providers] directly for faster or more reliable service” could shift the burden of cost directly onto consumers.

The Assistant Attorney General in charge of the department’s Antitrust Division added, “Consumers and the economy are benefiting from the innovative and dynamic nature of the Internet.” The department also said that its antitrust enforcers will take action when necessary to allow broadband competition, which removes the need for net neutrality regulation.

“DoJ Opposes Net Neutrality Rules” [InformationWeek]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. frijoles99 says:

    Gonzales resigns and the department of justice says something intelligent for the first time in 7 years. Coincidence? You decide.

  2. dbeahn says:

    I’m just waiting for the outcry about “It’s WRONG! It means things I have to PAY for will work better than things I can get FREE!”

    Um….duh?

  3. TechnoDestructo says:

    @dbeahn:

    It means things you get for free will be deliberately degraded, so they don’t have to upgrade pay service.

  4. d0x says:

    Next they should deal with our crappy net service in general. We pay more then twice as much per month and get 1/4 of the speed other countries get…and we invented the damn internet!

    Comcast…I hate you, verizon..hurry up with the FIOS for the love of god hurry up.

  5. frijoles99 says:

    The problem is consider the United States population-wise is not nearly as dense as Japan or South Korea so getting super fast internet here is way tougher than over there purely because of distances. But ya hopefully the freemarket will solve this problem and we reach their speed.

  6. aixwiz says:

    Do you realize everyone who uses the internet pays for it already? Doesn’t matter if you’re a large corporation or a guy at a coffee shop surfing the web on a “free” wireless connection (that’s one of the reasons why the coffee is so expensive)?

    Companies pay for their use of the internet to a connection provider just like you pay for your dialup or broadband connection. Most pay based on the amount of traffic that flows to and from their connection.

    Allowing “broadband providers” to put another charge on top of what “content providers” already pay is just a way to increase their profits without adding benefit to anyone. It is essentially a form of protection payments similar to what the mob used to do: “Youse wants your packets to get there safely and on time, dontcha?” The extra fees will be passed on to YOU, the consumer, by the “content providers” so they can maintain their bottom line.

  7. killavanilla says:

    Thank you DOJ….
    Been waiting for this for a while now.
    Too bad Congress has been too busy undergoing witch hunts to find out that no law was broken and there was no wrong doing to allow the DOJ to operate properly.
    Just in case you think that Gonzalez retired because he did anything wrong, the reality is that Congress had made him a distraction and thus limited his ability to accomplish anything since they started their little witch hunt into a non-event.
    Thanks Congress! Don’t work FOR us, work against the Bush administration. That’ll end well…

  8. wessev says:

    Clearly the American gov’t takes consumers for a bunch of morons.

    I am extremely interested in knowing why various government agencies have recently come out against American consumers and have issued reports that do nothing but protect and ensure the continued monopoly that the various telecommunications providers have over this market. What ever happened to requiring telco’s to provide greater and more equal access to the internet, especially to the poor and people in rural areas?

    I do not mean to come off as sounding a bit like a conspiracy theorist here, but a part of me can’t help but wonder if these reports by agencies such as the Justice Dept (and also the FTC) that do not favor net-neutrality are somehow linked to the telecommunication providers’ very willing participation in illegal domestic wire tapping programs. The gov’t has already come out strongly to try and have legislation passed that would grant immunity from lawsuits for violating your privacy. So, its not too far fetched for me to think the gov’t would also be willing to throw another bone out to them by helping their business interests, for their continued cooperation.

    I can’t think of too many major telecommunications companies that has suffered financially over the last decade that the internet has really taken off. The only ones that have done poorly have been brought down from within, and not because of the burden of consumer growth and demand.

    Whatever the case may be, I find it really disturbing to see that our government would rather act to protect corporations before consumers time and time again.

  9. swalve says:

    @aixwiz: I agree with what you say- was it the Sprint guy that went nuts because Google was making money off of his pipes? Doesn’t he know that he already charges everyone that connects to his company’s network?

    However (for example), why shouldn’t Vonage be able to pay Verizon for better QoS, and then advertise that fact?

    I almost think that it’s fine because a fair market would break out and it would all work out in the end, as long as it’s not OK for ISPs to intentionally cripple certain traffic, only to improve other traffic. And that all traffic shaping agreements must be made public.

  10. swalve says:

    @killavanilla: It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup. Gonzalez reacted badly to the situation, and the US needs someone who can perform better under a little pressure running the Justice department.

    Also, wasn’t GOnzalez one of the clowns trying to get drugged up Ashcroft to authorize something illegal? Talk about low.

  11. jimconsumer says:

    @swalve: What do you mean, “So long as it’s not OK for ISPs to intentionally cripple certain traffic, only to improve other traffic?” When you’re dealing with a pipe, it’s the same damn thing. If you provide priority access to one netblock, you’re automatically slowing the rest down.

    Now, if an ISP ran dedicated fiber to a media provider to speed up video downloads, that’s one thing. Problem is, everything I’ve heard about this issue revolves around ISPs who just want more money and figure they can cripple access to any site that doesn’t pay up. That’s a big load of bullshit and, quite frankly, I’m surprised the DOJ is refusing to get involved.

  12. Televiper says:

    This sounds like something that will work about as well as deregulating the electrical grid. Take a look at the countries that have better broadband performance and you’ll find that they did go and squash net neutrality to accomplish it.

    …and how could anyone back-up “I don’t recall” Gonzalez? Especially after watching any of his testimony and the comments made by democratic and republican senators?

  13. dukrous says:

    @wessev:
    Your interpretation of the report is completely wrong. This report simply reinforces the idea that any gov’t mandate of net neutrality is a tacit acceptance of the monopolies current ISPs have. It’s net neutrality that gives the telcos more power since they can affect legislation. Forcing an open market solution and making ISPs compete at the last mile of access would put consumers in control.

  14. EtherealStrife says:

    You mean the DOJ is supporting the companies over the consumers? *gasp* Next you’ll be telling me we have a Republican president. It’s not surprising that the usual band of sheepumerists are backing the DOJ decision.

  15. Xkeeper says:

    @dukrous: Actually, judging from other countres, having the Gov’t subsidize the lines for any provider instead of having only one company own it would probably be better … that way, the Gov’t could take care of creating access in rural areas, instead of relying on “it won’t generate profit so fuck you” Conglomo Corp.

    But, then again, this is mostly based off of memory of articles I’ve read recently, so there are bound to be errors.

  16. bearymore says:

    @dbeahn:

    I don’t know about you, but I pay plenty to my ISP every month. So I’m supposed to put up with them degrading the accessibility of most of the content I receive because they get what amounts to a kickback from large content providers.

    Fine… I receive less value, they should decrease my monthly fee. Fat chance. The Telcos and cable companies have local monopolies in almost every market. Where I live, my only broadband provider is Time Warner. They’ve been engaging in monopoly pricing for years. All of a sudden they are going to turn into nice guys because the can charge content providers???

    And the innovation argument. What a bunch of bullsh*t! The internet has developed because the cost of entry is low. By charging content fees, the cost of entry becomes significant and gives the big guys — the non-innovators — a leg up in the market place. So, no new E-Bays, new Facebooks, new Youtubes, new Googles even. If there had been a content fee in the ’90’s we’d all be doing our searches through MSN and buying online from Walmart.

  17. LordKanchi says:

    Wow, what a surprise. The bush justice department comes out in support of big businesses over what is best for the country.

    But to the people here in favor of this…Are you people morons? I’m not trying to be insulting, I honestly can see no other reason why you would support this (unless you are either a large telco, or a representative paid to astroturf this debate, which has been the main tactic so far).

    Capitalism NEEDS regulation. Yes, it can be manipulated for ill, but all you have to look at is ANY industry that has been deregulate to see the desperate need for at least some level of it. If large telcos are allowed to do anything they want, they will do what ever is best for their profits, NOT what is best for consumers. Since consumers want the most for their money, and telcos want to give the least, it should be obvious to even you supporters of this who wins when big companies are given free reign. Don’t buy into this ‘free-market’ BS, there’s no such thing. Our market is an artificial construction based on rules, a ‘free-market’ would be one without rules, where only those already wealthy would benefit. That is capitalism as a cancer. A market that benefits everyone, is REGULATED to do so. The economy what eat itself alive otherwise.

    Here’s what will happen without Net Neutrality. Telcos will offer higher speed services to companies and individuals. To do this, and make it more attractive, they will throttle down the speed of ‘regular’ service, which will cripple companies who can not afford the higher premium. (Reduced competition is BAD for consumers, in case you forgot) They can also affect the content on the net through restrictive user agreements for higher service tiers, by denying the use of the service to whoever they want, and by outright censorship. (We already saw how Pearl Jam’s online concert was censored for political content.) Once this is the norm, they will reduce the bandwidth given to the ‘free’ portion of the net more and more, until they eliminate it, leaving only their own private tiered services. Which they control completely.

    That means this ends free speech on the internet. It means the end to anyone being able to have their own website, where they can say and do anything within the confines of the law. It means the end of the internet as a public domain. It means nothing less than the end of the internet.

    Do you want the net to be ONLY businesses and advertisements? Because that is what is profitable, and that is all you will get if profit is the only driving force. Do you like being forced to use only one provider? Regulations, such as anti-trust laws, could force telcos to allow multiple providers to use the communication infrastructure, giving you actual choice, and lowering prices through competition.

    Or you could not have Net Neutrality, and pay $100 a month to surf the DRM loaded, government surveyed, McWeb. A sterile marketplace, where you will never see a post like this speaking out against corporate america, or a site like this that benefits consumers over businesses.

  18. msthe8r says:

    @LordKanchi:
    Amen.
    Just how long does anyone think a site like The Consumerist would last in a world where Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon, etc. get to control the content of the intertubes?

  19. Kaien says:

    I think crap hits the fan within a few weeks, they’ll start degrading things slowly so people won’t notice it. Just like crapware.

  20. nctrnlboy says:

    @aixwiz:

    And then there are those of us who live near a starbucks, ihop , or a neighbor who has an unsecured wifi connection…. who pay NOTHING for internet! :D

  21. dbeahn says:

    @TechnoDestructo: No, it means that things you get for free will have to live in the “left over” space. Bandwidth costs money to provide, period. Cables, fiber, nodes, servers, hubs, gateways, etc etc etc – this stuff doesn’t grow on trees.

    Do you provide whatever professional services you make a living from to your employer for free? No? They why are you so gung-ho that people that work for internet providers work harder for less money (yes, with many companies, when they make more money the employees get better raises, profit sharing, stock plans, etc etc) just so you can have “free stuffs” from their work?

    @msthe8r: “Amen.
    Just how long does anyone think a site like The Consumerist would last in a world where Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon, etc. get to control the content of the intertubes?”

    There’s a checks and balances there We’ll assume Time-Warner, at very least, learned the “trying to control internet content = bad business” when AOL was driven straight into the ground because they tried to do exactly that.

    You people DO realize that 100% net neutrality would mean that spam, viruses, and botnets would, by definition, ALSO be entitled to the same bandwidth?

    No one is suggesting that each company be allowed to control content. Although TECHNICALLY there is no “net neutrality” NOW, and this site seems to be doing fine. Why is it not blocked now, if that’s “what would happen if we don’t pass a law forbidding it”? By your logic, we shouldn’t be able to see this site right now.

    Internet providers understand that the ONLY way they can NOT have regulation is if customers are happy with the service they get. It’s when people are pissed about it (AT&T break up anyone?) that the Government steps in and makes things even worse.

    Seriously, do you REALLY want the same people that screwed consumers over with the DMCA writing a law about this?

    There’s been so much hype and fear mongering, mainly by people that are making a profit from not having to pay for the bandwidth they’re using, that most people haven’t actually stopped to think what it would actually mean to pass this law, when there doesn’t seem to be any problem right now, when we don’t have it.

    OK, everyone call me a shill and an astro-turffer and all that. After all, I couldn’t POSSIBLY just believe that if there isn’t a problem now, then there’s no reason to pass a law to “fix” the no problem, right?

    *sigh*

  22. mac-phisto says:

    i’m confused. half of us in here are speaking as if there is already competition in the broadband market. as far as i see it, the only competition that exists is between which cable carries the signal. the assumption that the “free market will prevail” is bullshit b/c the free market doesn’t exist. if it did, i would have a dozen vendors to choose from instead of two (one cable, one dsl).

    now, i have cablevision, which effin rocks. but if i lived 5 miles west, i’d have charter which effin blows. for $50/month, i get 15Mbps down & 5Mbps up. in charter territory, that $50/month buys me 3Mbps down & 256Kbps up in charter territory. even charter’s “gold package” at $80/month doesn’t compare to what i pay. & we all know that DSL doesn’t compare at all.

    if you want to let the forces collide, for god sake, let them collide. break the franchise monopolies so we can see the true effects of competition. we should all have pick of the litter when it comes to the last mile.

  23. Mojosan says:

    I have too many cars.

    I demand “garage neutrality.”

    I want you to build a garage and then let me park my car in it.

  24. forgeten says:

    @dbeahn: How do you not pay for the bandwidth your using? I pay timewarner X dollars a month for a X Kbps stream down and up. I’m sure google pays somebody for their X kbps stream down and up and most likely total bandwidth. Don’t really understand who is getting away for free

  25. hypnotik_jello says:

    @forgeten: No one is getting free bandwidth now. ATT et al simply want to charge organizations more for priority service. Pay X dollars to have your site’s traffic prioritized over other sites. Organizations who don’t pay the premium will have their traffic relegated to the general traffic lanes which, with congestion, and lack of capital investment, could definitely become degraded and slow. An side consequence could very well be censorship. Possibly not intentional, but if say organization A paid for premium service, their message would become prioritized over those who can’t afford to pay (organization B and C), which ends up being de facto censorship, even if organization A didn’t intentionally seek to censor B or C.

  26. Ncisfan says:

    Sounds like our government. Always for the big guys, never for the little guys. Something has to be done its like the big corporations are the ones really running the show not the people.

  27. thepounder says:

    @killavanilla: Amen.

  28. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Mojosan:

    If we were talking about storage you might be making a point.

    As it is you’re just making a fool of yourself.

  29. dbeahn says:

    @forgeten: So do you support net neutrality? If so, why is what you’re getting now so bad we need it?

  30. TechnoDestructo says:

    @dbeahn:

    Regardless, it isn’t FREE now anyway. It’s “non-premium.” And if non-neutral net traffic comes about, it’d be a fool who bets on that “left over” space being large enough to accommodate even today’s traffic.

    Nevermind that this is just another anticompetitive move in the US telecom industry. Don’t think for a second that this won’t result in companies attempting to damage their competitors, and prevent new players from entering, by selectively throttling traffic, say, from servers they host to subscribers on their competitors’ networks.

    I think we’ve seen ample evidence that the big ISPs cannot be trusted.

  31. TechnoDestructo says:

    @hypnotik_jello:

    Oh, I doubt it will be a lack of attention that makes traffic slow. It’ll be deliberate. All sites not paying a premium (or subscribers if they go that way too, in a more active way than simply paying for higher speed caps) will see have their performance deliberately degraded and the telcos will be all like “gee, we just can’t keep up with demand.” And without an internal whistle blower, no one will be able to prove it.

    They are lying about the state of broadband in the US. They are lying about net neutrality holding anything back. They WILL lie about their actions if they are allowed to go down this path. LIES, LIES, LIES.

  32. zolielo says:

    @dbeahn: For some people in certain universities net neutrality is already a topic of the past.

    I do understand that basically being the ISP of s small town full of more or less children is a high cost operation… However, as a researcher and an avid internet user, I hated the throttled down protocols, ports, and websites. Such actions clearly focused activities to certain sites, applications, and similar; though often seemingly at random and unintentionally.

  33. zolielo says:

    I have a significant suspicion that a strongly for profit firm will not act with the same benevolence (enlightened self interest) as many universities.

  34. dbeahn says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Except that we don’t have anything that requires “net neutrality” NOW. I personally have “non-premium” service, as does anyone else with basic cable internet or basic (1.5mbs) DSL. And the point is THERE ISN’T A PROBLEM.

    So please, explain to us as you see it, what exactly the problem is with the current non-neutral net we have. While you’re at it, explain what possible reason “the telcos” would have to upgrade the network if they have no chance of making any addition money off of that investment. Do you think they’ll continue to upgrade their networks out of the goodness of their hearts, without ever having any hope of making that money back? And you say they’re LYING about it? I think they’re being brutally honest – they’re TELLING us: “Hey, if we can’t make that money back, we’re not going to spend it to keep upgrading the networks. You can just use what’s there and when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

    Even a child can understand that idea. Go find a 5 year old with a lemonade stand, and explain that they should practice lemonade neutrality, where they pay for the lemonade mix, cups and water, then give it away without getting to make their money back or make a profit.

  35. hypnotik_jello says:

    @dbeahn: From a technical traffic QoS prioritization perspective 1.5Mbps basic DSL and 6Mbps premium DSL are identical right now. Non-neutrality which ATT is lobbying for is to charge Content providers more for serving data. It has nothing to do with end users service charges.

    Why do you think Google is opposed to it?

  36. dbeahn says:

    @hypnotik_jello: That’s kind of my point. From a consumer perspective, nothing will change. The people that make the heaviest use of the networks will have to kick in more to keep the network upgraded enough to handle the services (video, for example) that they want to provide.

    So is it “net neutral” that the ISPs have to constantly upgrade the network to handle that extra load amd the people getting the most benifit (and making the most money) from that investment in upgraded networks doesn’t have to shoulder the cost?

  37. hypnotik_jello says:

    @dbeahn: Well, why couldn’t the telcos simply charge the content providers more money to cover the costs of investment? Why create a tiered system which introduced inequality and prioritization of packets and information?

    If ATT is worried about infrustructure investment can’t they simply raise the price without segmenting the Internet?

  38. Trai_Dep says:

    @jimconsumer: Problem is, everything I’ve heard about this issue revolves around ISPs who just want more money and figure they can cripple access to any site that doesn’t pay up. That’s a big load of bullshit and, quite frankly, I’m surprised the DOJ is refusing to get involved.

    Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. Gawd, your humor is spot-ON!

    Oh wait, you’re serious. It’s the BUSH administration. Anything good for intrenched, well-lobbied interests is for “us”. Anything that’s entrepreneurial, innovative and relies on unmediated, fair capitalism is bad. That’s how they play.

    If this came into being ten years ago, there’d be no Netflix, Google, Facebook, Myspace, Gawker/Defamer/Consumerist/Wonkette, Youtube, iTunes Music Store, any of it. Because they couldn’t afford the toll road charges that the wires guys would have charged. Hundreds of billions of dollars of our GDP – poof – gone. Let alone the kewlness factor and how they’ve impacted lives.

    Kiss off the disruptive techs, such as VOIP (Vonage…) or bittorrent, or whatever transformative technologies are on their way.

    It’s a way to strangle innovation and for politically-connected quasi-monopolies to pick our economy’s winners and losers. Which is simply anti-American.

    On the bright side, Comcast and AT&T stock would be SUCH a good buy!

  39. olegna says:

    >> We pay more then twice as much per month and get 1/4 of the speed other countries get…and we invented the damn internet!<<

    Not sure what “other countries” you are referring to, but I assure you that ~$45 a month (which is what I paid for Roadrunner and Cox on two different occasions between 2002 and 2005) for cable internet connection is among the world’s lowest in relation to the speed you get. Roadrunnr and Cox offered me much more reliable and faster speed than in two different countries I have lived (one in Latin America and the other in the Middle East). I have family in Europe that pay as much for DSL as Americans pay for a faster cable connection.

    Rates for 512 DSL in many countries is much higher than $50 a month, esp. in countries without a solid cable infrastructure. Satellite internet is much higher (the only alternative sans phone line DSL in countries without a large network of coaxial cable) and WAY slower unless you pay well over $200 a month.

  40. dbeahn says:

    @hypnotik_jello: “If ATT is worried about infrustructure investment can’t they simply raise the price without segmenting the Internet?”

    Why should Donald Trump pay more taxes than you? Shouldn’t the IRS just collect money without segmenting the taxpayers?

  41. GBanville says:

    Where Would be the best place to find the major arguments advanced both for and against net neutrality?

  42. hypnotik_jello says:

    @dbeahn: Uhhhh, way to go with an analogy which doesn’t come close to comparison.

  43. hi says:

    This article is not even giving half the story. They don’t want net neutrality because they want a two-tiered web. Here’s a snip from bbc news:

    The web should remain neutral and resist attempts to fragment it into different services, web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said.

    Recent attempts in the US to try to charge for different levels of online access web were not “part of the internet model,” he said in Edinburgh.

    He warned that if the US decided to go ahead with a two-tier internet, the network would enter “a dark period”. Sir Tim was speaking at the start of a conference on the future of the web.

    “What’s very important from my point of view is that there is one web,” he said.

    “Anyone that tries to chop it into two will find that their piece looks very boring.”

    Full story here: [news.bbc.co.uk]

  44. alteredcarbon says:

    Who here trusts ::ANYTHING:: coming from the U.S. government? Protector of all things corporate, particularly the bottom line. If you believe this load, I’ve got some waterfront property in New Mexico to sell to you. Contact me at 1-800-CHUMP

  45. hi says:

    btw: Thats straight from Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web. I’m sticking with him on this one.

    Tim Berners-Lee: [en.wikipedia.org]

  46. MrEvil says:

    Explain to me oh supporters of no net neutrality. How this isn’t a goddamn protection racket? It seems to me that the Backbone ISPs want to go to Google and basically twist their arms into coughing up money so that they can guarantee people can use their search engine. If they dont, well they’re going to have some “problems” I want an explanation as to how this differs from the mob coming into someone’s little grocery store and saying “If you don’t pay us, your store might suffer a little disaster.” Nobody is freeloading on the internet. Google pays their phone company for their connection. And the end user pays for theirs. Costs of transporting data across other lines across the world are covered in the fees paid at both ends.

    Right now with local franchise laws you only have ONE cable company. Nobody else can come in and give you TV and internet via Coax. Things are a bit better with telephone service, at least in my area. However, the problem is the little phone companies are just re-selling you an account with AT&T (or whomever owns the lines). So if you get DSL through a small ISP you’re still stuck with AT&T or Verizon. There is no free market in broadband these days. The bigger companies just buy out anyone with a modicum of success or they cripple any less-desirable upstarts.

  47. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Mr3vil:

    Your comment about cable is >99% wrong. In the vast, vast majority of the US, if you want to start your own cable company, you certainly can. All you need to do is show the municipality that you have the financial backing required so that you don’t go broke halfway through your buildout, leaving torn-up streets in your wake, agree to pay the franchise fees (about 5% of revenue) agree to provide free service to schools and municipal buildings, and agree to provide some public access channels, and you’re all set. Problem is, the economics suck. RCN tried it, focusing on very high-income areas (the most attractive markets), and went bankrupt. Cable’s a great business if you can get 50% of the households in your footprint as customers. It’s a terrible business if you can only get 25%.

    Market forces keep alternative cable operators away, not cable monopolies.

  48. swalve says:

    @jimconsumer: What I mean is that “premier” traffic gets priority, but that non-premier traffic gets whatever is left.

    What I’m advocating is that ISPs are NOT allowed to intentionally cripple unwanted traffic. They don’t like bittorrent, fine. Put it at the bottom of the priority chain. But if the pipes are wide open, then bittorrent gets to use them. There is a difference.

  49. dbeahn says:

    @hypnotik_jello: It’s an imperfect perfect comparison. The jist is: Shouldn’t the people that benefit the most also contribute the most?

  50. dbeahn says:

    @Mr3vil: “It seems to me that the Backbone ISPs want to go to Google and basically twist their arms into coughing up money so that they can guarantee people can use their search engine.”

    Here’s how it works:

    ISPs build a network. Content providers decide they want to provide more streaming content – audio and video for example – that clogs up the network because of large file sizes. As people become used to this content and more and more becomes available, the ISPs are pretty much “arm twisted” to pay the cost to upgrade the network because of what the content providers are doing.

    So what about the guy that runs a webcomic and is making enough to support his family, but that’s about it? Why should HIS bandwidth cost go up because mega-companies are hosting crap loads of videos, and making a ton of cash off of it? With “net neutrality” the choice is raise costs for everyone to offset the impact of a few mega-corps, or suck it up and build out the network and end up raising prices for the consumers.

    @Mr3vil: “Google pays their phone company for their connection. And the end user pays for theirs. Costs of transporting data across other lines across the world are covered in the fees paid at both ends.”

    The point is that this isn’t the case. Google pays on their end, and the consumer pays on the other end. This worked when people were mainly loading web pages and e-mail. You can bet your life that Google’s bill went WAY up when they started serving video. The bills at the other end (the consumer’s) didn’t. The ISPs are saying that they would prefer to charge the people PUSHING and PROFITING from the high-bandwidth content rather than raise prices for consumers. But hey, if you’d rather your bill go up to cover Google’s new profit center, that’s your business. Just don’t expect me to support it.

    @Mr3vil: “Right now with local franchise laws you only have ONE cable company.”

    Um, no. That’s totally up to the local city/town/county that signed the agreement. If the agreement SAYS that, then yes, it’s the case. Most places, the agreement says that in exchange for tax and right-of-way considerations, a specific company agrees to provide certain services and quality levels, and build out the entire area, not just the “upscale” areas, and will provide a certain turn around time on customer support.

    As previously noted, if you’ve got the money to build your own cable network, then you’re certainly able to do so. Competition from other services (DSL, satellite, etc etc) is already so tough that no one wants to invest the tens or hundereds of millions required to build the network before even starting to get customers set up.

    @swalve: “What I’m advocating is that ISPs are NOT allowed to intentionally cripple unwanted traffic. They don’t like bittorrent, fine. Put it at the bottom of the priority chain.”

    This is EXACTLY what is being proposed. No one is talking about allowing anyone to block anything – the deal is that if you want to make SURE your traffic gets through no matter what, then you CAN, if you like, pay extra for that. If you don’t, then depending on how busy the internet is that day, your site may load slowly. If the network isn’t busy, then things go fast for everyone.

  51. Trai_Dep says:

    I laugh at technically illiterate people frothing out telecom propaganda that makes no sense.

    If a site has heavier traffic (youtube, say), they PAY for hosting.

    Consumers viewing the files also PAY for web access.

    What the net bias people want is to layer on additional payments on top of that. They want to pick winners and losers (actually, they want to drive innovators out of the US since no one else will stand for this, so the Web 3.0 companies will all be creating jobs and GDP for others besides the US – but telecoms are too stupid to see this).

    Or, did you think the telecoms give free hosting to youtube, myspace, apple, etc., because… they’re nice? Of course not. They pay already. Enough for great profits and reinvestment.

    Really, you guys look VERY foolish. Or shills.

  52. dbeahn says:

    @trai_dep: “I laugh at technically illiterate people frothing out telecom propaganda that makes no sense.”

    Then you must be laughing at yourself pretty hard right now. Explain this one to me, genius. Google pays Company X for hosting and bandwidth. Does the traffic and file sizes magically disappear when it moves off Company X’s network and on to whatever network you use at your house?

    “Web 3.0″? “creating jobs and GDP”? Someone is shooting buzz words and propaganda out of their ass, that’s for sure.

  53. SprayBottle says:

    @trai_dep:

    Okay, so what if some little guys page becomes the next “Best Page in the Universe” and gets millions of hits, your saying that the telco companies should charge him just because he was popular for a while? How is that fair to him?

    “This is EXACTLY what is being proposed. No one is talking about allowing anyone to block anything – the deal is that if you want to make SURE your traffic gets through no matter what, then you CAN, if you like, pay extra for that. If you don’t, then depending on how busy the internet is that day, your site may load slowly. If the network isn’t busy, then things go fast for everyone.”

    When is the internet not busy? “You can if you like, pay extra for that” How is that in ANYWAY fair? So some little start up organization with a message to get out, needs to pay so that people can see what they have to say? Tell me, should George Bush be canonized too? You remember McLibel? What if they had to pay so that the thousands of people who wanted to see their site could do so? If what you are proposing existed when they were fighting their case in the courts their message would have NEVER gotten out.

  54. killavanilla says:

    @swalve:
    Totally agree.
    But what was he covering up? Nothing.
    So I do place the blame on him and the Bush administration’s seemingly intentional cover ups when nothing wrong has been done.
    Simply put – the USA’s who were fired, were fired properly. Had he just come out and said “These are political appointees. They can be fired by the President for any reason. I could have fired them all, just like Janet Reno was in my position did, but we didn’t.”, I think things would be different.
    It seems to me the BDS and the investigation loving democrats on the hill have created a weird culture in DC of practicing CYA theory even when there is nothing to cover up.

  55. killavanilla says:

    @wessev:
    I’m afraid we have to agree to disagree.
    The free market has worked well to regulate the industry so far. The less the government touches the internet, the better off we are.
    Simply put, keeping decisions in the hands of the consumers will ALWAYS work out for the customers over allowing the government to influence the market.
    The problem with net neutrality is that it would result in the opposite of what you want to happen. As it stands now, the first ISP to restrict bandwidth will lose customers to a different ISP that won’t.
    Had the federal government taken control, ALL isp’s would be denied the ability to operate as they see fit. They would raise rates and we would all be in worse shape.
    As it stands, the free market is working. This decision about net neutrality DOESN’T change anything from the way it is being done right now. It appears to me that putting restrictions in government hands protects the consumer from one problem, while introducing them to far more.
    Let’s see what happens. If in five years, ISP’s are ruining the net experience, a new bill can always be introduced. Until that time, find out what your ISP is doing and see what the competition offers. A free market is just as important economically as a free nation is politically.
    If/when an ISP starts limiting bandwidth and charging for access to certain sites, SWITCH. It gives the market a chance to be truly competitive.

  56. killavanilla says:

    @trai_dep:
    WHAT?
    Here’s what those of us who ‘get it’ don’t understand about what those of you who oppose what just happened.
    Essentially, NOTHING CHANGED. Not one thing. Exactly what could happen yesterday can happen today.
    SO why to opposition exactly?
    Net Neutrality would have been the ‘new’ thing, not what happened.
    The DOJ basically just said “What has worked until now will continue to work”. They didn’t CHANGE anything.
    Why are you folks so upset?
    Are you unhappy with your current internet experience?
    I’m certainly not.
    I have comcast broadband.
    I could easily switch to DSL, Satellite, or another companies broadband cable internet.
    It would LITERALLY take me 5 minutes to sign up for a new service and a few hours of a window for an installer to show up.
    Settle down, tin foil hatters. Nothing changed. Stop operating under the assumption that things are magically different now than things were before.

  57. killavanilla says:

    @Mr3vil:
    “Right now with local franchise laws you only have ONE cable company. Nobody else can come in and give you TV and internet via Coax.”
    Not true. At all.
    There are two coax cable companies in Chicago and at least 3 choices for satellite based cable.
    Evil – NOTHING CHANGED.
    The DOJ simply said that there is no reason anything should change in the internet business.
    That’s it.
    They didn’t create a new law, change the way an ISP operates, or create any loopholes. They simply said that the free market is working just fine.
    Why the knee-jerk reactionism?

  58. Trai_Dep says:

    Guys -

    Look at your ignorance as a good thing. It’s a signpost saying that you have an opportunity to learn (this is the good thing). I’ve stumbled over the same situation many times, and I’m a better man for it.

    I suggest using Google or Wikipedia (both relatively new companies that, if they came out in a regime where telecos get to pick winners and losers, either wouldn’t exist or be some stunted, underperforming shadow of their glorious selves that we know of today). Have questions? Find answers. Preferably before you spout off ill-informed opinions (why would anyone do otherwise?)

    I’ll pencil in the basics as they exist today, in our net-neutral, capitalist, free-market environment. As far as the basics of backbone economics, look it up yourselves. It’s not my job to school you.

    Visitors, consumers – us in other words – pay the telecos for net access. As an aggregate, we provide them with substantial revenues that allow us to go wherever we damn well please.

    Providers ALSO pay telecos, for hosting. Servers are bought, intermediaries are involved, traffic is pushed. The more traffic a site generates (the higher their bandwidth), the more they pay. It scales, though. So a small company hopefully generates revenues to offset these costs proportionally.

    Telecos have two huge revenue streams that bathe them in cash, enough to post record earnings, dividends AND monies for reinvestment. They also have other revenue streams if they decide to provide services (server farms, analysis…) as a value-add.

    There’s no mediation between supply and demand. Pure, rational, liberal economics. A hothouse of beneficent capitalism that warms our hearts. Everyone benefits, from the garage startup guy, to the established companies to the huge multinational behomoths. A virtuous circle. Puppies rejoice.

    What the net-bias people want to do is break this. To have a select few companies (AT&T, etc) to discriminate, to pick winners and losers. It’s unheard of (no Asian or European companies would dare do this since it’s so hostile to the broader economy). And it breaks a model that’s brought us tremendous growth, jobs and GDP. All so AT&T gets to be gate-keeper over who gets to succeed online.

    It’s that simple. Don’t be fooled.

  59. killavanilla says:

    @trai_dep:
    I still fail to see what you are saying.
    By LEAVING THE FREE MARKET ALONE, what ill did the DOJ undergo?
    Simply declining to regulate an industry that is working just fine doesn’t allow anything to happen like the scenario you suggest.
    ALL THAT WAS SAID was the no law needed to be put in place. Period. Nothing else was authorized. No loopholes were created.
    NOTHING CHANGED.
    So why the panic?
    Explain it to me, because I’m just not seeing it. If things were fine yesterday, and they are fine today, and nothing changed, where is the down side?

  60. Trai_Dep says:

    It’s working fine NOW. The telecos want to make a power grab because they’re angry that they’re “mere” bandwidth providers. Instead of creating compelling products to fairly compete with the Googles – and gods know what other innovators want to change our lives that are in the garage stage – they want to use their sanctioned monopoly power in one sphere to control – curtail – another.

    Net neutrality IS the status quo ante. It IS “leaving things alone”. Got a great idea – bring it on! Let the market decide. No barriers. I’m stunned that there’s argument on something this fundamental.

    What they want to do is erect a toll booth. A significant CHANGE. From there, they’re be able to give pass/fails on companies far more innovative than they.

    “Nothing’s changed” solely because they’re in the planning stages. Facing significant pushback from consumers, from innovative companies, from the wealth-providers. It’s like defending Microsoft’s early attempts at “removing the oxygen” from Netscape: no harm. Yet. Until it was too late.

    No one is stopping them from competing. Nor should they. Net neutrality ensures they do so fairly. That’s all.

  61. dbeahn says:

    @trai_dep: “Net neutrality IS the status quo ante. It IS “leaving things alone”. Got a great idea – bring it on! Let the market decide. No barriers. I’m stunned that there’s argument on something this fundamental.”

    So let me get this straight: There is no law now, and telcos CAN pick winners and losers if they want. And that system is working. So you think we need a law to fix what isn’t broken?

    Maybe you should see if Google or Wikipedia have entries on “insanity” before you “you spout off ill-informed opinions”. That way, you’ll know how you sound.

    On top of that, no one believes that telcos have the right to pick “winners and losers”. Wouldn’t hold up in court, and ISPs know that. What net-neutrality is about is whether or not telcos have the right, on their own networks, to give certain traffic priority. Does Comcast have the right, if the network is congested, to give their Comcast Digital Voice traffic a priority code so that people that have it can still use the phone. Well, why shouldn’t they have that right? If you have one person that has Vonage, which pays no money to maintain and build out the network, and another person that is paying more for Comcast Digital Voice because Comcast has additional expense that Vonage doesn’t, how is it “anti-competitive” that Comcast offer their customers something Vonage can’t? Which is the priority on the net to keep their service clear.

    Now, if we were saying they were BLOCKING Vonage, or limiting the “free” bandwidth to the point nothing could get through, then yes, it would be a problem and there would need to be legislation to “fix” it. But that isn’t happening, and there’s no reason that the ISPs would do that (because the lawsuits would get expensive fast, and the legislation that DID pass as a result would likely be punitive in nature).

    @trai_dep: “No one is stopping them from competing. Nor should they. Net neutrality ensures they do so fairly. That’s all.”

    How is it “competing fairly” when the people that build and maintain the network, and therefore have higher costs, have to compete against a company like Vonage, which doesn’t have that extra cost, and as a result can offer the service for a lower price?

  62. Trai_Dep says:

    God are you f*cking stupid or what?

    Look up net neutrality on wiki. You’re a misinformed, blathering idiot and I’m tired of explaining what the basics are. Learn them then feel free to join the debate.

  63. killavanilla says:

    @trai_dep:
    trai – settle down champ.
    Net Neutrality is a subject people are at odd’s about.
    I don’t think you are ‘f*cking stupid’ because you think government regulation of a perfectly functional internet is a good thing.
    Calling other people stupid because they disagree with you doesn’t help your cause one bit.
    Insulting others because they think differently than you isn’t a good idea.
    You seem to believe that government regulation of net neutrality is a good thing – the government will make sure that competition is available and that through regulation, we will have a neutral net.
    Others, including myself, think we don’t need the government to get involved when there is absolutely no problem with the way things are.
    And we aren’t alone, many experts on the subject believe that the idea of regulating net neutrality would be far more harmful than good.
    For instance, (from wiki)
    Bob Kahn, one of the fathers of the Internet, has said net neutrality is a slogan that would freeze innovation in the core of the Internet.
    Dave Farber, Michael Katz, Chris Yoo, and Gerald Faulhaber — Farber, known as the ‘grandfather of the Internet’ because he taught many of its chief designers, has written and spoken strongly in favor of continued research and development on core Internet protocols. He joined academic colleagues Michael Katz, Chris Yoo, and Gerald Faulhaber in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post strongly critical of network neutrality, stating, “The Internet needs a makeover. Unfortunately, congressional initiatives aimed at preserving the best of the old Internet threaten to stifle the emergence of the new one.”
    These people, I assure you, are not idiots.
    It’s okay to disagree. It’s not okay to assume you know better than everyone else.

  64. boandmichele says:

    @mac-phisto:
    to be blatantly off-topic

    that sucks for you. i have charter, 10down/1up. i regularly hit speeds of 7000 kbps on speed tests and torrent speeds of over 1100 kbps.

    i also have charter telephone and tv, and pay 180 a month for everything. long distance, all premium channels, and my internet.

    its odd that charter is so bad there, and so good here in TN.