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Killing Net Neutrality Could Be Good For You

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the assuming-you're-a-cable-exec dept.

Communications 361

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Berin Szoka and Brent Skorup write that everyone assumes that cable companies have all the market power, and so of course a bigger cable company means disaster. But content owners may be the real heavyweights here: It was Netflix that withheld high-quality streaming from Time Warner Cable customers last year, not vice versa and it was ESPN that first proposed to subsidize its mobile viewers' data usage last year. 'We need to move away from the fear-mongering and exaggerations about threats to the Internet as well as simplistic assumptions about how Internet traffic moves. The real problems online are far more complex and less scary. And it's not about net neutrality, but about net capacity.' The debate is really about who pays for — and who profits from — the increasingly elaborate infrastructure required to make the Internet do something it was never designed to do in the first place: stream high-speed video. 'While many were quick to assume that broadband providers were throttling Netflix traffic, the explanation could be far simpler: The company simply lacked the capacity to handle the "Super HD" video quality it began offering last year.' A two-sided market means broadband providers would have an incentive to help because they would receive revenue from two major sources: content providers (through sponsorship or ads), and consumers (through subscription fees). 'Unfortunately, this kind of market innovation is viewed as controversial or even harmful to consumers by some policy and Internet advocates. But these concerns are premature, unfounded, and arise mostly from status quo bias: Carriers and providers haven't priced like this before, so of course change will create some kind of harm,' conclude Szoka and Skorup. 'Bottom line: The FCC should stop trying to ban prioritization outright and focus only on actual abuses of market power.'"

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riiiight (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274683)

bullshit!

Re:riiiight (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274723)

Exactly. If they receive revenue from two major sources (i.e. double billing for the same bandwidth) then they have a distinctive to carry any data that they cannot charge twice for moving over their pipes. Berin Szoka and Brent Skorup are abviously industry shills or completely clueless. Simplistic assumptions what a load of bullshit...

disincentive not distinctive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274801)

Spelling error, sorry...

Exactly. If they receive revenue from two major sources (i.e. double billing for the same bandwidth) then they have a disincentive to carry any data that they cannot charge twice for moving over their pipes. Berin Szoka and Brent Skorup are abviously industry shills or completely clueless. Simplistic assumptions what a load of bullshit...

Re:riiiight (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46275021)

this has always been this way
CDN's and other companies who paid for access and special circuits always got better access

this net neutrality idea of ISP's carrying all their traffic through their internet pipes never existed. companies have always signed deals to prioritize some network traffic. google does it as well and has private circuits to most ISP's for youtube and all their other traffic

Re:riiiight (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#46274845)

Yep, since prioritization is an abuse of their market power. And since there is little competition due to the telcos/cable companies buying local monopolies, there's nothing anyone can do as theu continue to try strangle out smaller competitors. This seems to be nothing but a false dilemma argument.

Re: riiiight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274999)

The govt granted them the monopoly at layer 1. They should be held to open access standard. Not only the morally and politically correct policy, but especially in digital age with rapid obsolescence the economically correct policy as well.

Re: riiiight (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#46275095)

Yes, they have their monopolies due to their own heavy lobbying for it. It's not as if the local governments just up and gave the monopolies to them against the the protest of these companies.

Not enough net capacity? Build more! (5, Insightful)

DoctorNathaniel (459436) | about 8 months ago | (#46275025)

The argument that the poor carriers are being bombarded by all this data (when our endpoint bandwidth is much less than other places in the world) is completely absurd. It's not because the internet wasn't "designed" for video, it's because competition hasn't spurred more development by the carriers. They've been living on capital rents.

This piece is naive in the extreme: it assumes implicitly that the only players are major content providers, carriers, and "consumers", and never speakers, telecoms, and citizens.

Re:riiiight (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 months ago | (#46275089)

Except for some interesting aspects that make net neutrality a real issue.

Most of our high speed internet companies, are also ones who offer us TV and/or Telephone service too, and are often with partnerships with other companies. That means they are offering a pipeline to their direct competitors. High bandwidth services such as VoIP and Streaming Media, are often in direct competition with the subsidiaries of your ISP. Being that they are indeed high bandwidth, give your ISP alternative reasons to throttle the site besides just because they don't want you to go there.

Re: riiiight (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about 8 months ago | (#46275099)

How can somebody right that it's the content owners we should fear, and not mention that the largest ISP is one of the largest content owners? It seems a little disingenuous. If NBC, Comcast cable, and Comcast ISP were separate companies, net neutrality would be a lot less important.

Re: riiiight (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#46275157)

That's because the entire argument is disingenuous. It's just an apology piece for Comcast. That anyone believes that Netflix is bullying companies many times their size is laughable. Especially when some of the very same companies are ones they license their content from.

Ignore the elephant in the room (5, Informative)

willaien (2494962) | about 8 months ago | (#46274687)

"No, you shouldn't worry about prioritization, in fact it can help startups."

What? Wasn't that what everyone was worried about to begin with? That those with all the purse strings would be able to lock out these very startups you're claiming will benefit the most from this setup?

Content owners may be the real heavyweights here (5, Informative)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 8 months ago | (#46274689)

Of course, Comcast owns NBC and Universal Studios.

Re:Content owners may be the real heavyweights her (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#46274789)

That is where the real danger lies: stacks: the joint ownership of or collusion between content providers and transport providers. If the interests of a specific content provider overlaps with those of a specific transport provider, there is an opportunity to screw the customers and competing content providers. Net neutrality aims to prevent such practices, and rightly so. You don't want to be locked out of DuckDuckGo (or even Bing) because Google have paid off your ISP.

Re:Content owners may be the real heavyweights her (5, Funny)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#46274837)

No, The Free Market will solve all that. Unless Government interferes.

Re:Content owners may be the real heavyweights her (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46274865)

In what way? There is not a free market in broadband because the incumbents interfere, meaning that it cannot be solved without government interference.

Re: Content owners may be the real heavyweights he (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275043)

Decrying govt interference is a lame & ignorant excuse when it is the govt grant to "public good" rights of way & frequencies that create monopoly to begin with. Govt should push for equal access in layers 1-3 across WAN, MAN, LAN boundaries.

Re: Content owners may be the real heavyweights he (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46275127)

I am not decrying interference, I think you are targeting the person above me.

Re:Content owners may be the real heavyweights her (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275169)

In what way?

In the whooshy way, I expect.

No (-1, Offtopic)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 8 months ago | (#46274691)

TLDR: I have no idea how the internet works, but here's my opinion on it.

Obligatory: killing beta could be good for /.

Incentive to not carry data as well (5, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 8 months ago | (#46274693)

"A two-sided market means broadband providers would have an incentive to help because they would receive revenue from two major sources: content providers (through sponsorship or ads), and consumers (through subscription fees)."

Thus it would be a disincentive to carry any data where they could not do any double billing for the bandwidth revenue. Is Berin Szoka an industry shill?

Re:Incentive to not carry data as well (5, Interesting)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 8 months ago | (#46274705)

Yeah as soon as I read this I had propaganda bullshit sirens going off in my head.

Re:Incentive to not carry data as well (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 8 months ago | (#46274811)

Thus it would be a disincentive to carry any data where they could not do any double billing for the bandwidth revenue. Is Berin Szoka an industry shill?

Yes. Not to mention the obvious fact that if content providers have to pay for that bandwidth those expenses will be passed on to the customers. The only people who'll benefit from this are ISPs that can double dip and price gouge while services become both less varied and more expensive. That the customer buys the bandwidth and is then free to use it on Netflix or YouTube or TPB or any other service he wants is exactly what has made the Internet so successful, obviously the ISPs would love to be the gatekeepers to their customers charging companies lots of money for the priviledge of communicating with them but we'd be total fools for letting them.

Re: Incentive to not carry data as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275077)

The internet content, application & infrastructure markets are competitive where pricing reflects marginal cost. The edge, access market is a duopoly (and a relatively poor one at that) where pricing reflects inefficient (due to siloed vertical integration), high, average cost. The latter is 20-150x more expensive than latter as evidenced by Google fiber & 802.11ac.

Re:Incentive to not carry data as well (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 8 months ago | (#46274931)

If must be. The alternative would be incoherent with the his alleged ability to write.

Some simple questions (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 months ago | (#46274701)

1. How much bandwidth does a Super HD stream require?
2. How much promised bandwidth are you paying for?

Re:Some simple questions (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46274713)

Since when has an internet provider actually promised bandwidth, and not just said less than or equal to X amount?

Re:Some simple questions (1)

Paco103 (758133) | about 8 months ago | (#46275073)

Windstream has told me on multiple occasions by multiple reps that 60% is their acceptable minimum. Funny thing is when I moved out here everything was great, but they haven't oversold, there's just "More people using more internet than they used to".

Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274703)

Content owners has the biggest possible competitor: piracy! They need to compete and they need to be reasonable. Case in point: Netflix.
On the other hand, pipe owners ...

"... focus only on actual abuses of market power" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274715)

I'm not sure Net Neutrality as it stands now is anything but a free pass to abuse said power?

Misses the point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274719)

everyone assumes that cable companies have all the market power, and so of course a bigger cable company means disaster. But content owners may be the real heavyweights here

So big content providers (the "real heavyweights") can lean on ISPs to exclude access to small content providers (or at least to get better access than small content providers). That's what network neautrality is intended to stop.

Common Carrier issue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274721)

When ISPs where Mom and Pops shops doing things for the neighborhood, they got some special protection and the FCC kept their hands off.
Now ISPs are huge companies and SHOULD be considered common carriers. If they start inspecting packets to see where they come from, to assign priority, they will lose the shield of common carrier. They will be expected to know more about the contents of the packets that get sent. So that Bin Laden or kiddie pron video will be on THEIR network. Do you want them to know more about the contents of what you put on the web?

Re:Common Carrier issue (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 8 months ago | (#46274805)

I would mod you up if I could. I always thought the same thing. A requirement for common carrier protections should be neutrality.

dark matters too much wasted bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274733)

pathetic is an understatement http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=paid+shills&sm=3

Yea, ohter things could be good for you too (5, Insightful)

pesho (843750) | about 8 months ago | (#46274737)

Things like polluted air and water, sugary drinks, strychnine, high crime rate, police state, etc. could also be good for you. Except that they are not.

Re:Yea, ohter things could be good for you too (2)

bmajik (96670) | about 8 months ago | (#46274979)

Actually, lets look at one of these in particular.

Let's look at "high crime rate"

Part of our current high crime rate is the rampant usage of illegal drugs in the US.

I think we can agree that there are negative outcomes here. General disregard for the law; some people don't manage their drug habits well; even people who manage their drug consumption well are doing harm to their body.

However, I'm of the opinion that what we do to police drugs is worse than any of the problems of the drug trade.

At this point, I would be willing to accept more drug usage (and some evidence indicate that doesn't actually happen when you decriminalize) because the enforcement of drug laws is so bad for our society.

So, in the case of drug crime -- the poison is better than the cure.

This, in essence, is why I am opposed to net neutrality. I hate comcast. I hate the government more. I can trust comcast to act in their self interest -- which is shaping traffic in a way that generates the least number of angry customers.

Contrastingly, I can't trust the government to do very much right. And I can be assured that whoever will work at the FCC that gets put in charge of policing ISPs will be one of two types of people:

1) won't have any idea how the internet actually works, and won't have any business trying to police practitioners of the evolving art/science of traffic management.

2) will be a former comcast exec, to try and get someone who doesn't suffer from the problems of #1. Of course, this will become yet another revolving door between regulation and industry, where regulation functions to protect incumbent interests

Basically, I look at the speed of innovation on the internet, and I look at the speed (and results) of federal government, and I don't see anyway for the latter to beneficially regulate the former.

As a side note, I do think that ISPs that benefit from locally granted monopoly powers (e.g. telco foo has a service monopoly for neighborhood blah) should come under local regulations in order to retain their legally granted monopoly privilege. And I think industry plays to crush municipal ISP/broadband should not only be laughed out of court, but the instigators of such suits should pay dearly for having brought them.

Re:Yea, ohter things could be good for you too (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#46275143)

I should hope that there is a happy choice between crappy regulation and having no regulation at all. But if there isn't, you can be sure that as the options for traffic shaping improves, the likes of Comcast will at some point approach Google or Netflix with a request (demand) for payment for offering bandwidth-intensive services. And once those companies pay, you can be sure that all other similar services will be effectively broken unless they pay up as well. Having no regulation in the form of net neutrality will serve incumbent ISPs as well as incumbent content providers, and will raise the barrier to entry for newcomers on either market.

Your other scenario is crap regulation that will effectively break traffic shaping in any form, including the kind that allows ISPs to throttle high bandwidth services to ensure that other services remain usable. That is a a risk, but it seems far more favourable than not having net neutrality. ISPs have always complained about increasing demand for bandwidth, but so far they have managed to keep up just fine without traffic shaping. Except perhaps in areas where they didn't have to keep up, i.e. where one ISP has an effective monopoly.

reading this is just disgusting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274739)

reading this is just disgusting

"What the internet was designed for" (4, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46274743)

The internet is a dumb system of pipes with the intelligence at the edges, specifically so we can do things with it that non-techies don't think we can do.

Streaming video is easier than downloading large programs, as you only need to ship a certain amount per second, rather than ship it all and only be able to use it when the last byte has arrived. For real-time broadcast, which causes massive numbers of synchronized transfers, you can use multicast directely, as well as to "prime" a content delivery network node close to your particular edge.

Re:"What the internet was designed for" (3, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 8 months ago | (#46274841)

you can use multicast directely,

Well, in theory, but it's usually blocked by default on many/most routers. I'd be happy to wait a few minutes to start a show if it mean the end of buffering. DVR-like capabilities are just the logical extension of that.

But the thing I don't get is how Netflix can afford 'my' bandwidth for less than $9/mo but my ISP supposedly can't get a similar deal. Or is the ISP simply unwilling to allocate $9 out of the $90 they charge me for upstream costs?

Re:"What the internet was designed for" (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#46275065)

ISPs bottleneck on their respective upstreams, and this makes them a major business (ie, financial) concern. This in turn drives technical decisions to be based on

  1. 1. the ability of the delivery arm to express the problem to financial management and
  2. 2. to make a business case for any change that has the capability of increasing costs.

Re:"What the internet was designed for" (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 8 months ago | (#46274961)

I new this article for bullshit when they said the internet was not "Designed for video", as if video was any different to all the other 1s and 0s sent between computers. I use my phone to stream Netflix (unlimited data ftw) and I get min 10 to max 15 GB of data each month. That's one large game, like TERA or ARMA or The Witcher, of which, if in Steam sales I might download 5-10 such games a month.

No, this is just another propaganda piece to try extort the greatest common denominator (those who watch TV) and not punish niche, but heavy, users. People stream at a set and predictable rate, whereas those who buy software online will gulp down as much data in the shortest period of time.

I'm not saying people like me who download games should be punished, just pointing out that streaming does not have near the same "Detrimental Impact" to the quality of service than regular downloading would have, so the ISP's arguments really should vanish into thin air.

Re:"What the internet was designed for" (4, Informative)

ardor (673957) | about 8 months ago | (#46274995)

Streaming video is easier than downloading large programs, as you only need to ship a certain amount per second, rather than ship it all and only be able to use it when the last byte has arrived. For real-time broadcast, which causes massive numbers of synchronized transfers, you can use multicast directely, as well as to "prime" a content delivery network node close to your particular edge.

Uh, no, it is not easier. I say that as somebody who has been developing audio and video delivery software. The requirements differ significantly. Most network gear out there is optimized to maximize throughput, which is *not* what you want for video. For video, you want deliver on-time. This affects the kind of buffering used in hard- and software. Given the many different sources of latency over a WAN, the real-time constraints of video playback cannot be met unless you use a big jitter buffer. How big? Well, here is where the difficulties start.

Multicast does not solve that problem. All it solves is scalability (which is nice). But not the real-time constraint. BTW, if you wish to distribute video over Wi-Fi, you might be surprised to find out that many unicasts streams are better than one multicast one, thanks to Wi-Fi specific issues.

(And yes, video playback is a case for real-time programming. Real-time simply means that a given task has to be finished before a specific deadline is passed, in this case, the next frame has to be shown on screen until its timeslice passed. It does not necessarily mean that it must be something that happens many times per second.)

I do think this case against net neutrality is bollocks though.

Re:"What the internet was designed for" (1)

bmajik (96670) | about 8 months ago | (#46275107)

Streaming video is easier than downloading large programs

This is false. Another response to yours is worth reading, but I wanted to emphasize this point.

I don't have an expectation that once a program _starts_ downloading at a certain rate, that rate is maintained, _without interruption_, for 90 minutes.

That is precisely the expectation I have for video.

Think about all of the timeouts in the 7 layer OSI model. Can you even enumerate them?

If your goal is to deliver an uninterrupted stream of video, with no hiccups, a lot of things that the internet is designed to do can't actually take place. Say for instance your upstream ISP is multi-homed. Their current route to netflix is over route A. They also have a route B available. Route A dies. Does your movie start going over route B? Do you notice a hiccup while this happens? How long of a hiccup?

If I am building a video player, how much buffer to I put into the player to present the illusion that the stream was never interrupted and that the route change never happened?

Maybe I should blast down bits to you as fast as possible?

But that implies an unlimited buffer on the client device -- which is already a false assumption. And it means that I'm sending bytes that may not be necessary-- users can stop or fast forward playback.

When I was first reading the Stevens Book a long time ago, I was astonished by the UDP protocol. "Why wouldn't people want TCP all the time? It does more stuff for you, and has guaranteed delivery"

In fact, streaming media is precisely one case where udp is commonly used -- perhaps because controlling timeouts, and controlling which data you think is "current", requires more nuance than what TCP provides.

Bullsh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274755)

The SECOND they allow companies to do this sort of thing, the Internet will quickly turn into balkanized fiefdoms... Oh, you prefer using Google for searches instead of Bing? Tough, you're on Time Warner and we got paid a ton of money from MS to route all search traffic through Bing. Don't like it, find another provider. Oh there AREN'T any other providers in your area? Oh well...

NO NO NO NO!

Find a better way for the companies who provide the content to pay (oh wait, they ALREADY DO by having to pay for their own bandwidth......)

This is just the typical case of greedy cable companies wanting more and more of the pie when they are really nothing more than wire providers.

ROTFL you said it best - it's allowed, not happeni (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46274851)

> The SECOND they allow ...

The second it's allowed, eh? So since the 1980s when the internet was invented? There never has been a net "neutrality" protection law, and what you predict hasn't happened.

Companies looking for a new law have invented an imaginary problem and convinced people who don't think things through that it'll inevitably happen. ISPs didn't do that in 2013, it didn't happen in 2012, not in 2011 ... not in 1997.... Why would it suddenly happen in 2014? You've been played, my friend.

Re:ROTFL you said it best - it's allowed, not happ (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274991)

Having worked at an ISP during the 1990s, I can tell you this didn't happen because the people working there had RESPECT for the neutrality of the traffic. They had no desire to prioritize anything and it was considered bad form and, ultimately bad business. If you start caring what the content is going through your wires and even go further and filter then someone could do it to YOU in return.

What we have in 2014 is several heavyweight "ISPs" like Comcast who 1) have shown to have no respect for anything or anyone and 2) are big enough to bully others.

Re:ROTFL you said it best - it's allowed, not happ (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46275027)

Nothing has killed net neutrality yet.. Seeing as he was speaking to the second they kill it, we still have not reached that point.

Re:ROTFL you said it best - it's allowed, not happ (1)

ardor (673957) | about 8 months ago | (#46275029)

They kind of did back then. Remember, in the past, you usually logged into something like CompuServe, which acted as an Internet portal, but also contained its own network.

But I think the simple reason net neutrality wasn't such a hot topic was because the internet just wasn't big enough yet. It is hard to compare the internet from the 80s with the one from today. In the 80s it was still very research and university/DARPA centric. Today.... not so much.

Re: ROTFL you said it best - it's allowed, not hap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275167)

Net neutrality was a fiction. It was equal access in 1983 that started WAN competition, dramatic cost reduction, horizontalization of voice that gave data its commercial foundations to explode in the 1990s when the www/html/mosaic stack hit. Computers II/III protected the nascent SIPs from vertical, anti-competitive bundling. Furthermore Bells opened door inadvertently by expanding flat-rate calling areas to protect voice monopoly from competitive WAN. Everything started reversing after farcical Telecom Act 96. Bottom-line is that equal &/or open access should be applied multilaterally in layers 1-2.

Killing Yourself Could Be Good For You (1)

boulabiar (1892246) | about 8 months ago | (#46274759)

I think it works the same..

Who posted this troll article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274765)

What a load of crap

"Unknown Lamer" is right. (1)

Joseph P Nelson (3542339) | about 8 months ago | (#46274773)

"Unknown Lamer" is right. Not about what he says, but about his handle. His nonsensical endorsement of the looming cable monopoly couldn't be any "lamer." Are you sure this isn't just a very lame joke?

How much (0)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 8 months ago | (#46274775)

Mr. Szoka, Mr. Skorup,
How much did Comcast/Time Warner/Verizon etc. pay you for your lip services?

This message (advertisement) brought to you by the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274779)

Read the damn title

Why stream? (2, Interesting)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about 8 months ago | (#46274783)

Shouldn't we instead at some point focus on the fact that streaming itself is a silly and wasteful thing? So much more efficient to download something once and watch it to your heart's content. But then how to keep it under control...

Re:Why stream? (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | about 8 months ago | (#46274831)

Because most people only want to watch it once. Any they don't want to wait for the whole thing to download.

Re:Why stream? (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46275057)

kids + cartoons

if netflix had a consumer CDN it would save a lot of bandwidth

Re:Why stream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274855)

But how could they force us to use up 10% of the bandwidth for commercials?

This is so wrong. (1)

CmdrEdem (2229572) | about 8 months ago | (#46274797)

Sure, the Internet was not designed to stream HD videos, but neither it was designed to play games, or make telephone calls. The only thing they designed it for in the beginning was simple http. But all those things work now. The Internet is flexible. The companies want to kill net neutrality because the Internet is a strong competitor in many services they have a stake in too. Examples: Skype can replace telephones. Netflix can replace cable. And the Internet allows for people to create new, better solutions at any time and over the already established infrastructure. Having a tenth of my download rate as my upload is already a spit on my face, and now they want to control what services I can properly use or not? That's not acceptable.

Besides, if they charge more to not limit Netflix bandwidth, most people will likely pay for it and keep using the same amount of bandwidth, only now the ISPs are getting some money for that. This is only about profit, that they have more than enough.

Re:This is so wrong. (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 8 months ago | (#46274959)

Quote"Skype can replace telephones. Netflix can replace cable "End Quote"

Sorry that is just 100% wrong. I had Skype its crap Skype is useless on a cell phone as it doesn't have its own network Netflix doesn't show any live sporting events it doesn't show local sporting events i not sure but Netflix doesn't show any sports unless its a movie. I would never drop cable for netflix ever being a sporting fan. In all my years as a home phone owner i have NEVER lost my Telephone connection. I lived in the woods lost power for 3 days once but my phone worked Skype is tied to the PC. Skype and Netflix might be good for some of the people but not all the people Cable is good for everyone but the price sucks

please spend 10 minutes on internet history 101 (4, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46275085)

> The only thing they designed it for in the beginning was simple http.

In the beginning, when the internet was designed, http wouldn't be invented for another 15 years. Http has only been around for half as long as the internet has.

Who are these people? (5, Informative)

bobstreo (1320787) | about 8 months ago | (#46274803)

It appears to me like thay are paid shills of the Telecommunications Industry hiding behind "non-profit" "think tanks"

Berin Szoka used to work for the PFF: (from Wikipedia)

The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) was an American market-oriented think tank based in Washington, D.C. that studied the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. Its mission was to educate policymakers, opinion leaders and the public about issues associated with technological change, based on a philosophy of limited government, free markets and individual sovereignty.[1]

PFF was funded in part by the digital media and communication industry.[2]

Brent Skorup works for the Mercatus Center: (From Wikipedia)

Washington Post columnist Al Kamen has described Mercatus as a "staunchly anti-regulatory center funded largely by Koch Industries Inc."[3] Rob Stein, the Democratic strategist, has called it "ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington.”[2] The Wall Street Journal has called the Mercatus Center "the most important think tank you've never heard of."[2]

The Mercatus Center was founded by Rich Fink as the Center for the Study of Market Processes at Rutgers University. After the Koch family provided more than thirty million dollars[2] to George Mason University, the Center moved to George Mason in the mid-1980s before assuming its current name in 1999.[2] The Mercatus Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit and does not receive support from George Mason University or any federal, state or local government, but rather is entirely funded through donations, including some from companies like Koch Industries[3] and ExxonMobil,[4] individual donors and foundations. As of 2011, the Center shows that 58% of its funding comes from foundations, 40% from individuals, and 2% from businesses.[1]

Lol... (1)

bloggerhater (2439270) | about 8 months ago | (#46274813)

All I've got for this one is that this is the biggest heap of bullshit I've ever read. How did this get on the front page?!? I find it even more fascinating that whom ever wrote this article actually used an article that argues FOR net neutrality and argues against the exact statements made here, as a references for this baseless hyperbole.

Absolutely priceless.
This was clearly written by some shill working for the ISPopoly.

If bandwidth is an issue, we can help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274821)

So the answer to bandwidth saturation is charge us more (or ad spam me) and throttling. How about allowing torrents that link to strategic file nodes that store popular content? With the right algorithms the high demand content could be shared at low peak hours and then distributed from there. Of course that would mean admitting there is a cheaper solution to something they could monetize. I can't help but feel the original article had an insidious agenda.

We've already paid for high speed infrastructure (5, Insightful)

Kevin108 (760520) | about 8 months ago | (#46274823)

In the early 2000s, the federal government gave tax breaks to the then-leading communications giants to install an open high-speed data infrastructure throughout the country. The amount of taxes they didn't collect averaged $2,000 per household. Shortly after that, the companies began sales and mergers. TechDirt.com [techdirt.com] published an article detailing this scam as recently as 2013.

Re:We've already paid for high speed infrastructur (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 8 months ago | (#46274985)

Sure they did its called the NSA Network. That said when are our elected officials going to do something about the scam unless its not a joke and it really was the NSA network.

typical spinning (1)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 8 months ago | (#46274827)

trying to make something horrifying into good. Good luck !
Even with net neutrality, it's already bad enough for content providers.
Stop with the BS.

I Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274847)

Youtube, I don't Netflix, I don't Linux-distro, I don't porn, I don't warez, I don't smoke, I don't drink, and I sure as HELL don't want to pay for you doing any of those.

Finally someone has the guts to say it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274861)

"The FCC should stop trying to ban prioritization outright and focus only on actual abuses of market power."

That hits the nail on the head. The frequently stated fear that cable providers will lock out Netflix to push revenue to their own on-demand services can be handled with antitrust law. In fact it may already be illegal.

As far as charging more for better service, that practice is as old as sailing ships. Think first-class airfare, overnight express delivery, etc. What's so scary about that?

Net neutrality isn't the real problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274869)

The problem is lack of competition which currently prevents people from voting with their wallets. When you can only choose between crap and downright evil, what choice do you really have? In most markets where there are only two providers, duopolies are the norm and they don't bother trying to compete, they just split the market and continue to raise prices with no incentive to increase bandwidth, quality or infrastructure. Currently the only protection against outright blocking of non-paying sites are the net neutrality rules, a captive audience without those rules would be force fed whatever the providers deem fit instead of what the customers actually want.

Fix the competition marketplace before you throw out net neutrality and I'll probably agree with this. At least then I have a choice to switch to a provider which doesn't prioritize things based on who pays the most, ignoring their customer desires.

Danger! (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 8 months ago | (#46274873)

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

have your cake and eat it (1, Insightful)

bigmo (181402) | about 8 months ago | (#46274879)

Caution, this is a rant:

People want to be able to download as much as they want from anywhere they want for a flat rate. This is childish.

I believe completely in net neutrality. The ISPs are in fact common carriers and should be treated as such.

However net neutrality does not come cheap. People have to pay for what they use in bandwidth the same way they pay for what they use for electricity, water and fuel. Someone who uses 10GB a month should pay ten times as much as someone who uses 1GB a month and they should be able to use 100GB if they can afford it.

This is not a social issue. A poor child doing their homework doesn't need a gigantic feed. It's for people who have nothing better to do than watch netflix and play games.

sorry, but I feel better now...

Re:have your cake and eat it (3, Interesting)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 8 months ago | (#46274941)

Someone who uses 10GB a month should pay ten times as much as someone who uses 1GB a month

While I agree with you in principle, your pricing structure is way off. There is a physical infrastructure that must be maintained regardless of whether you're using 1GB/mo or 1TB/mo. Your proposal would require breaking out a separate network access fee, which would be the overwhelming bulk of the cost for someone only using 1GB/mo.

Re:have your cake and eat it (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 8 months ago | (#46274997)

I'm okay with that, provided that the monthly amount is reasonable. $10 a month for flat the network access, and then 50 cents per gigabyte on top of that. So the 1 gig email checker pays $10.50 for the pipes they're sipping from, and the Netflix junkie pays $60 for the 100 gigs of bandwidth they're hogging.

Re:have your cake and eat it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275111)

>$0.50/GB
Wow. How about, no? That rate is worse than what I pay when I go over already (AT&T DSL 3.0, 150 GB + $10/50GB)
Maybe you should do some actual research before you open your dicksocket? Anyway, your entire premise is unfounded. I've a friend in Tromso, Norway (An Island in the arctic) that gets 70/20 for $30 (nominal exchange rate). It would be laughable to make the common claim about population density for Norway, so you can stop typing right now. The only reason we do not have comparable plans is lack of competition and the "greed is good" mentality.

Re:have your cake and eat it (1)

Paco103 (758133) | about 8 months ago | (#46275137)

Most electric and water rates I've seen have a connection fee that includes the first X amount of power/water. I would envision something that's like, say (making numbers up here), $20 for the base connection and the first 10GB, then 10 cents/GB after that. *THIS* would give incentive to ISP's to give you all the bandwidth they could. We wouldn't all the power we want* (yes, I know, there *IS* technically a limit) available at all times if we still paid for electric on a per outlet basis, and we'd also still have houses with only one outlet per room.

Switch infrastructure: 100 Mbs: $15. 10 Gb: $1000 (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46275161)

>> Someone who uses 10GB a month should pay ten times as much as someone who uses 1GB a month
> your pricing structure is way off. There is a physical infrastructure that must be maintained regardless of whether you're using 1GB/mo or 1TB/mo.

This is cheap infrastructure to keep in place for 1 GB. There is expensive new infrastructure to buy for 1 TB.

24 port 100 Mbps switches cost about $15
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html... [ebay.com]

24 port 10GbE switches cost about $450 - $3200
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html... [ebay.com]

So in fact the infrastructure cost DOES scale with bandwidth. In fact, it's more extreme than that. Lower capacity infrastructure is already installed.
To higher usage per user, new infrastructure has to be installed.

Re:have your cake and eat it (1)

kcmastrpc (2818817) | about 8 months ago | (#46275071)

if i had mod points i'd +1 this.

Re:have your cake and eat it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275113)

There's no reason for a "metered" internet, that's just a corporate profit dream.

In more civilized countries (like the Nordic countries) internet access has been flat-rate with no caps since the introduction of *DSL in the late 1990s. It's definitely doable, it's just more profitable to cry about how there's just not enough intertubes around and how we (i.e. the ISPs) have to charge per byte.

I don't mind traffic prioritization when a link is saturated. The problem is that rather than solving bandwidth issues on major links by say, placing a Netflix cache server at one of the ISP's data centers they instead want to charge both their customers and Netflix for the bandwidth used by their (i.e. the ISP's) customers.

You broke my BS meter! (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 8 months ago | (#46274881)

Net neutrality is important, both to keep the big players from keeping small players out of the game but also to keep people informed that this is something they should really worry about.

If the internet providers are unhappy with providing roads to the internet perhaps they should divest into content. But i have no inclination to pay twice.

Industry shill writes article. (5, Insightful)

kjs3 (601225) | about 8 months ago | (#46274883)

He's not talking about a "two-sided market", he's talking about an industry that is trying to double bill. The end user pays for the delivery infrastructure, and if they need to build more capacity, it should come out of the huge profits these companies are realizing. *That's* how Economics 101 works. Saying "I'd really hate something bad to happen to your bits on the way to your customer...maybe you should pay me a little something to make sure that doesn't happen" and then claiming "I need the money because bandwidth" is simply extortion. Utter bullshit, every word of it.

Slashdot on its way out (1)

fsck-beta (3539217) | about 8 months ago | (#46274885)

8 Unknown Lamer stories in a row, are even the editors leaving for Soylent News?

Losing net neutrality is like pissing in your pant (5, Funny)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about 8 months ago | (#46274889)

It's warm and feels good to let it flow.

But after a while you realize that in the end you will stink and be dirty.

Don't do it!

Advocating Forever (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274893)

> Disclosures: The authors’ work is supported by both broadband and edge providers.

Well, what to expect? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 8 months ago | (#46274897)

All this boils down to: "Look, the battle for Net Neutrality is lost. Deal with it. Try to find a silver lining, because that's all you can do. Too bad. Better luck next time. Oh, right, there won't be one, sorry."

So Cholera is not a problem, but pest? (2)

prefec2 (875483) | about 8 months ago | (#46274905)

The problem with BIG network companies is that they control which data can be transmitted and how fast it can be transmitted. If they cannot do that, the net is an equal space which can be used by everybody, depending on his or her connection speed. This allows any business to use the net as a medium to eliminate distance between data users. A thing which brought us voice over IP, media streaming, education, and knowledge in every home (which can afford connection fees).

The big network companies form an oligopol for data transportation. As any oligopol, they must be regulated otherwise they misuse their power. The same applies to content delivery companies like netflix. There are also only a few companies available which provide streaming services. It is also hard to enter that market and therefore they must be regulated. Actually they are just on a higher level in the ISO-OSI layer architecture.

Lost me in the very beginning (3, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 months ago | (#46274913)

Let's start off with:

But content owners may be the real heavyweights here: It was Netflix that withheld high-quality streaming from Time Warner Cable customers last year, not vice versa

Netflix except for a few shows it funded, is mostly a distributor. Also if you read up on what really happened [gigaom.com] , Netflix found itself with steep interconnect fees due to the actions of Comcast. So it built their own network that the ISP could join. However, any ISP that joined and did what Comcast did would find itself under scrutiny by the FCC. Time Warner wants to spin it as Netflix "withholding access" when really it is Netflix protecting itself.

Short-sighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274915)

So, let's say we embrace the end of network neutrality and allow content distributors to fight with content producers over control of the "tubes" to our homes and the data flowing over them. You know what'll happen? We'll end up exactly where we are now with Network Conglomerate X fighting with Cable Provider Y over bundling of channels and how much is charged/paid per viewer per channel.

You know who gets screwed in this scenario? The consumer.

It's like two rabid animals fighting over a piece of meat. Either way, we get eaten.

They're already double dipping (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 8 months ago | (#46274917)

Do these people claiming allowing ISPs to charge providers even understand how the internet works? Providers buy bandwidth from one ISP. Consumers buy bandwidth from another ISP. Those ISPs then decide amongst themselves who has the more valuable network, and one ends up paying the other for access. If consumer ISPs think they deserve more for access to their customers, they charge their peers, and those peers in turn charge Netflix and their ilk more. Charging them directly would constitute triple dipping.

Monopolies are in everyone's best in interest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274925)

I call bullshit on this articles attempt to misdirect people from focusing on the clear monopolies of internet, cable and telephone distribution. What we need is local or state run fiber infrastructure that peers to the service providers. This will create competition as it has in other countries. Right now there's no incentive for Comcast or Verizon to improve their services simply because their customers have nowhere else to go, or in some cases they can choose between two providers who collude in their pricing. It's anti-competitive and a failure in capitalism.

Competition (lack of) (1)

gramty (1344605) | about 8 months ago | (#46274937)

The issue is lack of real competition in the market.

If the market were truly competitive then they would not be any need for Net Neutrality laws. If a provider fails to deliver a high quality service their customers can vote with their wallets. Unfortunately the US telecoms market is far from competitive, so regulation is required to provide what customers want, rather than what the telcos want to give.

Not always separate entities (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about 8 months ago | (#46274949)

Netflix isn't the only content provider out there, and most of the others are also service providers. Net neutrality is often about keeping the behemoths from giving their own content preferential treatment, bandwidth-wise. Laissez-faire inevitably leads to consumers getting a raw deal. Are these guys the shills they seem like, or do they just not understand economics?

This and beta... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46274993)

Need I say more?

ESPN should fuck itself (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 8 months ago | (#46275001)

ESPN should go and fuck itself, sideways. In the past they forced net operators to pay them in order to make online streaming accessible to their customers.

That's right, you probably sponsor Joe Shmuck's ESPN habit even if you are not interested in watching the fucking 'football' or baseball. And now they want me to sponsor his mobile data?

Pure Bullshit (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about 8 months ago | (#46275033)

Yet it’s important to remember that subsidy programs are a conventional business practice that brings down the cost of services for consumers. Nobody’s access is degraded. In an increasingly connected world, it’s a welcome development that carriers and ISPs are proposing market-oriented solutions to bring more people online while gaining a new revenue stream for network upgrades.

Is this a joke? Subsidy programs don't bring down the cost of services, ever. Access is 'degraded' by overselling services after the big ISPs use their subsidies for piecemeal upgrades that only pad profits, instead of actually improve the entire infrastructure. Carrier and ISP's market-oriented solutions are to bring more profits with the least amount of additional expenditure, and network upgrades are an accident of necessity. New revenue streams are about profits.

Berin and Brent - enjoy your payola (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46275037)

But you're still morons.. without net neutrality, internet access will cost 10x to 100x more than cell service.

Think about it without your wallet open for *donations* for spewage of the wrong sort.

Viacom, ESPN, (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 8 months ago | (#46275055)

I actually assumed that the biggest losers in TW/Comcast Hookup would have been the cable content producers, who have to negotiate where their programming is carried. But I checked and Viacom at least saw it's stop spike up on the news of the merger (NASDAQ: VIAB), and Disney follows the same exact spike (NYSE: DIS) Then I figured wait, they are a big enough corporation that the end of Net Neutrality must be even better for them than the merger of Carriers is bad for them.

CNN reports that perhaps the merger will provide support to reverse the end of Net Neutrality http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/20... [cnn.com] I think the "good news" logic would be that the more big corporations monopolize, the more hope that someone will do something in the future to correct it. I

Alternat stream method? (2)

aurizon (122550) | about 8 months ago | (#46275123)

Streaming was originally set up to allow a 1:1 dialog between the content owner, in both audio and video formats, with the person receiving not permitted to make a copy - Hah, that lasted 11 minutes and now we can copy a stream at will.
So we are left with the relic of streaming, and zero benefit to the content owners or to the buyers (who suffer buffering, etc), and the content owners must marshall the resources to send tens of thousands of streams of the same content, on scattered time phases, which blocks any possible efficiency of scale.

How can this be rectified?

I believe a form of torrent should be made that allocated a unique hash number to each transmitted block, so that the blocks could be seeded to many hosts and when the receiver wants them his torrent program marshalls them in the correct order to play a stream.
In the best case a 1-2 minute buffer would serve, a worst case would need a deeper buffer.

When a client signed up for "The Gladiator", if he was the first to buy, the system would start to stream these sequential blocks, and know where they were. It would also assess the network the data would traverse and present the customer with a screen display that said, "building stream and buffering - stream will play in x seconds", and if nothing changes that x seconds buffer would be deep enough so the client would never break out of the buffer. As more clients came on board, they would also start to stream and also have access to closer and prior streamers and they could use their data in sequence = a smaller buffer time. Overlaid on this is the clients "last mile", on which the depth of his buffer would be determined. He knows his last mile and will accept this.

The content owners have been so screwed over (only in their minds) by torrents that this would need a new name, like "sequential multi cast", or some such to make it palatable to them.

This method might be the saving of the industry. In fact, it seems so obvious that it must have been thought of and be in use already?

Multicast (1)

605dave (722736) | about 8 months ago | (#46275159)

It's wrong to say the internet wasn't engineered to deliver video, it was. Multicast [wikipedia.org]

Unfortunately for this to work seamlessly service providers and backbones would have to implement the standard protocol. This would enable streaming what we currently consider cable TV much easier. It does not solve on demand problems, but would create a similar experience to current viewing habits.

But I don't see it ever happening, because if you are in the business of selling data you don't want to make delivering data exponentially more efficient.

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