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FCC Planning Rule Changes To Restore US Net Neutrality

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept.

Government 235

Karl C writes "In a statement issued today, FCC commissioner Tom Wheeler announced that the commission will begin a rule-making process to re-impose Net Neutrality, which was recently struck down in Federal court. Among the standards Wheeler intends to pursue are vigorous enforcement of a requirement for transparency in how ISPs manage traffic, and a prohibition on blocking (the 'no blocking' provision.) This seems like exactly what net neutrality activists have been demanding: Total prohibition of throttling, and vigorous enforcement of that rule, and of a transparency requirements so ISPs can't try to mealy-mouth their way around accusations that they're already throttling Netflix. Even before the court decision overturning net neutrality, Comcast and Verizon users have been noting Netflix slowdowns for months."

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Could we be so lucky? (1, Insightful)

Michael Casavant (2876793) | about 6 months ago | (#46289085)

Slow clap starting...now

Re:Could we be so lucky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289315)

Cue the weeping with joy and shouts of triumph

Re:Could we be so lucky? (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46289593)

If this is so great, explain "total prohibition of throttling". Most networks are oversubscribed, and that's OK since most users use a small portion of their allowed bandwidth. One way or another, there will be throttling. What about QoS-based throttling? Voice traffic is harmed much more by dropped packets than torrents. The ISPs sell voice service, and they sell products that compete with torrents. Doing the right thing for QoS directly serves the financial interests of the ISPs. Should we cut off our nose to spiderface? Never spiderface.

So are we going to have clear rules about what you can and can't throttle? Simple rules won't work. ISPs will be better at gaming those rules than the FCC will be at writing them. As SuperKendall posted about 4000 times the last time this came up (and still most people didn't get it): the way Comcast was throttling Netflix was perfectly OK under the last set of rules. Do you think more rules will help? There are always corner cases to exploit, because each new rule just creates new corners.

Anyhow, we know where any complex set of rules ends: the big players end up writing the rules. I'm sure the cable companies would happily give up throttling Netflix if they get in exchange the ability to bar any new players from entering the ISP business. After all, they don't have local monopolies everywhere yet, but with a high enough regulatory barrier to entry they could get there.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289637)

You do know that the phrase is "cut your nose off to spite your face", right?

Hopefully you're just trying to be clever, I trust?

Re:Could we be so lucky? (1, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | about 6 months ago | (#46289669)

One way or another, there will be throttling.

Right up to the point where we make it illegal.

Do you think more rules will help?

No. But buying Comcast will [slashdot.org] .

Re:Could we be so lucky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289769)

One way or another, there will be throttling.

Right up to the point where we make it illegal.

...

Riiiight.

Obama can just wave his pen (via the FCC, apparently) and everyone has infinite bandwidth. Because without infinite bandwidth, there WILL be throttling of some kind.

So Obama and his administration can not only ignore statutory laws, but physical ones as well?

That or you're a fool.

What color's the sky on your planet? Fool.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about 6 months ago | (#46289895)

So now you are going to make it so that any pipe the ISP has, if it becomes saturated with data, they are legally required to upgrade it to a larger pipe?

No? Because that is how netflix is being "throttled" today. They just don't have a large enough pipe to them to satisfy all the requests.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (1, Funny)

The Cat (19816) | about 6 months ago | (#46289959)

So now you are going to make it so that any pipe the ISP has, if it becomes saturated with data, they are legally required to upgrade it to a larger pipe?

Yes.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 6 months ago | (#46289885)

I'm pretty sure networks are oversubscribed because ISPs have no motivation to improve them. [arstechnica.com] The margins for large service providers are ridiculous. A lot more infrastructure can be built before providing internet access becomes unprofitable.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (2)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46290105)

That's an orthogonal concern though. The product ISPs sell for home use isn't a guaranteed bandwidth product (those exist for business), it's an oversubscribed product. It's really much cheaper to provide an oversubscribed product, chances are you'd pay 10x for the guarantee of bandwidth.

In any case, for the world we live in, what do we do about throttling? Do we let the packets fall where they may? That would certainly be fair, but your telephone would become unusable under high congestion. I treasure my analog phone line, but since those are going away I'd sure like to hear clear voice traffic at the expense of torrents.

And what do you do about services like Netflix that (on pitiful DSL lines like mine) use all available bandwidth by design? It's the right design, I think, because it shouldn't be Netflix's job to ensure my voice call is clear. But with Netflix cramming as many packets down the pipe as possible, unaware of my voice call, someone has to do QoS throttling somewhere, and I sure as heck don't want to replace my router with Linux box just so I can learn to do that myself!

Re:Could we be so lucky? (4, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46289903)

"Oversubscribed" does not mean "congested". If your network is congested, then you're overselling it to the point that you are no longer providing what you're advertising. For wireless networks, I could see throttling until a better design or management solution is available, but fixed line should not do throttling. If an ISP needs to state two speeds, one for "Internal" ISP network speeds and "External" Internet speeds, so be it, but a customer should not have to guess what speeds they will have.

If an ISP sells a 10mb connection, they should not be the bottle neck. I repeat, the ISP should not have congestion on their networks. They cannot control other networks, but they can control their own. If you don't have it, don't sell it. If the competition is marketing faster speeds that you can't support, tough luck.

It really just comes down to false advertisement. You don't see people selling cars with "up to 40mpg", then you only get 5mpg in normal driving conditions.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46290021)

"Oversubscribed" does not mean "congested".

Oversubscribed always means "congested sometimes". If the ISP is doing it's job (pause for laughter) then it's not congested most of the time.

If an ISP sells a 10mb connection, they should not be the bottle neck. I repeat, the ISP should not have congestion on their networks.

If you want guaranteed bandwidth price a T3 line sometime. Guarantees are very expensive. A service that's congested 5% of the time likely costs 1/10th as much as a service that guarantees no congestion. Chances are you want the oversubscribed product, not the guaranteed bandwidth for home use.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289931)

Should we cut off our nose to spiderface?

<facepalm>
Spiderface? The saying is "cut off your nose to spite your face". Your odd interpretation makes no sense at all. Folks, don't use sayings you don't understand.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#46289981)

Should we cut off our nose to spiderface?

<facepalm>
Spiderface? The saying is "cut off your nose to spite your face". Your odd interpretation makes no sense at all. Folks, don't use sayings you don't understand.

It's probably Autocorrect. But bog knows why he has that term in his dictionary. Best not to ask.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (1)

knightghost (861069) | about 6 months ago | (#46290133)

I'd accept packet prioritization. That way video calls don't drop while p2p downgrades. Maintain full use of resources.

The problem is fake throttling that chokes out netflix and others by 75% or more regardless of system capacity.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46289719)

Assume no. Proceed as if the announcement was made that things are going to get worse. E-mail the FCC, e-mail your congressperson. We should believe that this is merely PR to get us to calm down, then do nothing. Wheeler was a lobbyist for the people he's regulating. That doesn't prove he's corrupt and is doing this to screw us over, but I'd bet good money if I had it that he's corrupt and is doing this to screw us over.

Re:Could we be so lucky? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 6 months ago | (#46289805)

As good as censorship on the bad guys sounds; what if those souless fools are correct? Censorship means we'll never know; for certain.

No throttling? Shit! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289095)

There are many times I want to throttle AT&T and with these proposed regulations, I won't be able to do it?!

NO! We must preserve out right to throttle these people!!

Re:No throttling? Shit! (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 6 months ago | (#46289697)

IANAL, but in skimming the article and the statement by the FCC chief, I don't see any mention of throttling. ISPs won't be allowed to block traffic outright, but there didn't appear to be any language about throttling it down if they refused to pay, though I assume that the new transparency rules are designed to discourage that sort of behavior.

I.e. You're still free to throttle them, just as much as it sounds like they're free to throttle Netflix.

ordinary citizens become 'terrorists' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289099)

in the wink of an eye slash of a pen.... http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-leader-names-army-chief-clashes-180643542.html whilst the band of 85 WMD on credit cabalists avoid detection again

Re:ordinary citizens become 'terrorists' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289157)

Did you know that possessing a copy of the US constitution makes you a domestic terrorist in the United States?

Not imposing common carrier status (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289105)

I imagine there are some legal reasons for not invoking common carrier status for ISPs, legal reasons that will sound like bullshit to everyone not in possession of billions of dollars.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (3, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46289291)

It sounds to me like the ISPs position is that if they are going to be subject to net neutrality, they want the whole ball of wax of being a common carrier. On the other hand, the FCC does not want to call them common carriers. It would be interesting to see why the FCC does not want to call them common carriers, since the judge flat out told them that the only way they can legally regulate "net neutrality" is if they change their classification of ISPs to common carrier.
It looks to me like the FCC's plan here is to keep massaging these rules and re-issuing them until the ISPs decide they cannot afford to keep going back to court over it.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 6 months ago | (#46289417)

It sounds to me like the ISPs position is that if they are going to be subject to net neutrality, they want the whole ball of wax of being a common carrier.

ISPs don't want to be [cabletechtalk.com] common carriers. The reason given in the link is of course bullshit; the real reason is that being classified as common carriers would force them to divest themselves of their (relatively lucrative) content business.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 months ago | (#46289835)

If there was ever a good reason FOR making them common carriers, I'm going to say that content divestiture is it!

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 6 months ago | (#46289841)

It would be interesting to see why the FCC does not want to call them common carriers, since the judge flat out told them that the only way they can legally regulate "net neutrality" is if they change their classification of ISPs to common carrier.

As common carriers, the ISPs would have zero liability for the content of traffic they handle, which would upset politically powerful lobbies like the RIAA.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 6 months ago | (#46289305)

If I recall, the main reason is that Congress explicitly said "ISPs will not be classified as common carriers." The ruling that caused all this is based on the idea "if congress said they're not going to be common carriers you can't make rules that effectively turn them into common carriers."

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (2)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | about 6 months ago | (#46289509)

No, I think it was the commission themselves, not Congress, that classified them as an "information service" when they COULD have called them a "telecommunications service." However, it is within the FCC's power to reclassify them and they don't need approval from Congress.

The court told the FCC [uscourts.gov] :

Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.

Basically, the court just told the FCC that if they want to treat them as common carriers, all they have to do is classify them properly.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 6 months ago | (#46289623)

Thank you for that link; it was quite amusing.

I like this one:

"But common carrier regulation discourages infrastructure investment and network enhancement"

Because the telecoms have been doing so much of that otherwise. That's why I'm still stuck with the option of either using a 5Mbs cable line or a 2Mbs DSL line. It's all that infrastructure they've been investing so much in.

Or:

“It is the policy of the United States . . . to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”

Actually, it is true in 1996 - when the above was written - there was a vibrant and competitive free market; there were dozens of ISPs to chose from. Oddly enough, after the 1996 Telecom Act was passed, consumer options started dwindling away.

Or:

"Nothing in the court’s decision will change the basic incentives of service providers to offer consumers capabilities that meet all of their ever-increasing needs.”

Except running their own servers, or slowing down downloads that compete with ISPs own content delivery, or double-dip charges to keep competitors' prices unfairly high. A competitive free market might have allowed that sort of thing, but when there are only a handful of companies working in collusion with one another, none of them have any incentive to keep prices down and offer different services.

"When a company’s return on investment is dictated by the government, there’s little incentive to re-invent or improve the system, which is why copper phone lines are still prevalent, water main breaks are an all-too-common occurrence, and the electric grid is in need of serious repair."

Odd, my Internet goes down more often than all of those COMBINED. Probably caused by all those backhoes repairing waterlines and downed power-cables...

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#46289399)

There are reason, but I'm not sure I can agree that we shouldn't.

HOWEVER, if you want to give common carrier status to ISP's there are going to have to be some technical limits imposed first on what an ISP can actually do that's under common carrier rules, and second, what an ISP cannot do with the traffic it routes.

FIRST, you have to limit common carrier to ONLY the data transmission part of the business. If it is not *directly* shoveling TCP packets from point A to point B it needs to be OUTSIDE of the common carrier rules. Any kind of "store and forward" system, where data is not just being buffered for retransmission will not fall under common carrier rules. So your web proxy, E-mail relay and Web Servers are out but your routers and switches are in.

SECOND, you have to have a demarcation point where common carrier rules cease to apply when data enters customer premises. Once the data enters the system through a demarcation point, it must be handled like any other data in the system and cannot be monitored (without a warrant) or disrupted on it's way out of another demarcation point. ISP's cannot monitor or manage traffic based on the type it is or where it is going. They must just route it.

But I'm not so sure this is a good idea. It releases the ISP from ALL liability for the data they carry at the same time it imposes free passage of the data. People who want to take advantage of this and disrupt the ISP's network, can, and the ISP will be powerless to monitor, diagnose, and prevent such abuse. They might not be able to TOS you, but they won't be able to TOS the idiot next door either.

The FCC had better think carefully about declaring ISP's common carriers or there will be some nasty side effects I'm not sure any of us will like.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (1)

RLaager (200280) | about 6 months ago | (#46290017)

I'm pretty sure if you try to disrupt the telephone network, the phone company has every right to disconnect you or take other measures. I don't see how the ISP side should be any different. FWIW, I work for a small, rural, independent telephone company that also provides Internet.

Re:Not imposing common carrier status (1)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#46289689)

Even if there were no legal reasons, common carrier has become political kryptonite lately. I am not sure who started the rewrite, but the idea that we only have monopolies because of the government has been catching on like wildfire esp over the last few months, thus under that concept moving ISPs to common carrier status would destroy the market or something, despite history not actually supporting the idea.

Excellent (0)

Kardos (1348077) | about 6 months ago | (#46289119)

I wonder if that We The People petition had anything to do with this..

I'll Be Over Here Holding My Breath (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289127)

*dies*

Total prohibition of throttling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289137)

That's pretty broad. If it is a "total" prohibition on throttling, then tiered speeds will be a thing of the past, and everyone will get the fastest possible connection.

After all, it is "throttling" to limit the upload or download speed of a consumer's connection.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289493)

No. Tiered speeds have absolutely nothing to do with throttling and net neutrality. Throttling is per service, or per remote connection owner. Throttling everything equally because you pay less for a slower connection is still very fair and fully net-neutral.

Can you spell Restraint Of Trade? (2)

AlphaBravoCharlie (3517679) | about 6 months ago | (#46289141)

That's what NetFlix, Hula, and anyone else should be suing ComCast and Verizon for.

Re:Can you spell Restraint Of Trade? (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 6 months ago | (#46289261)

It's less complicated than that. If you are a Verizon or Comcast customer, you are paying for internet access, and you aren't getting it. Why hasn't there been a class action suit?

Re:Can you spell Restraint Of Trade? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 6 months ago | (#46289309)

Because Verizon and Comcast customers are subject to binding arbitration. (Hey if they don't like it, they can always refuse and use one of the [nonexistent] other ISPs instead, so what's the problem?)

Re:Can you spell Restraint Of Trade? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46289479)

I've been beginning to feel arbitration courts are a fundamental violation of my rights as protected by the 5th-8th amendments in a fundamental way and should be physically destroyed.

Re:Can you spell Restraint Of Trade? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 6 months ago | (#46289817)

"Beginning to?!"

Re:Can you spell Restraint Of Trade? (1)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#46289423)

I agree in principal with you, but I'd guess it's the constellation of asterisks that come next to advertised bandwidth which are attached to all manner of limitations and constraints that may prevent you from getting the bandwidth you think you're buying, along with some kind of magical hand-waving about how they can't promise you a specific bandwidth to any particular site on the internet due to all manner of network engineering limitations.

If consumer connections had a SLA attached to them they would have a claim, but as of now the claim isn't really a contractual one, it's more of a moral one based on the vendor claiming to sell X but delivering less than X.

I'm Sorry. I have ZERO faith in government. (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 6 months ago | (#46289151)

I'll believe it only if it survives the many lawsuits that will come from the corps.

All this translate to in my mind is:
        "Yo, corps. That last cheque is not gonna cut it."

This is expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289161)

The judge who tried to restrict the FCC should be smacked down with contempt of congress.
Enough said.

Re:This is expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289413)

That's the dumbest thing I've ever read. Do you have any concept of how the US government is structured? I'm going to assume no, since otherwise you wouldn't have said something so brain-numbingly stupid.

Totally out of control administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289179)

So getting slapped down in court means they'll do it anyway?

Imagine your thoughts if teh evul BOOOOSH!!!! was President and his FCC did this.

Re:Totally out of control administration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289221)

So getting slapped down in court means they'll do it anyway?

Imagine your thoughts if teh evul BOOOOSH!!!! was President and his FCC did this.

Greetings Sir and or Madam!

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Love

Aunt Tom

Ain't my panties in a bunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289311)

What happened to the shrill idjits who DID get their panties in a bunch when Teh evul BOOOSH!!! was doing "warrantless wiretapping", now that Saint Obumbles is running the program? Where are those fools?

What happened to the fools who went crazy over "Gitmo is an unconstitutional violation of human rights" now that their boy 1/3-term Senate backbencher 0bama is President? Oh, yeah, they're now making excuses for their "Constitutional scholar". The man who can order the bombing of a sovereign country like Libya without Congressional approval doesn't have the power to shut down an "unconstitutional" prison? Yeah, right.

Seems like your panty unbuncher worked too well on the now-silent critics of Bush who can't be bothered to know Obama's worse than their nightmares of Bush.

Re:Ain't my panties in a bunch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289403)

Oh noes! If you wish, I can also sell you a pair of glasses that make Obama look like any ethnicity you're comfortable with?

Love

Aunt Tom

Re:Ain't my panties in a bunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289883)

Oh noes! If you wish, I can also sell you a pair of glasses that make Obama look like any ethnicity you're comfortable with?

Love

Aunt Tom

Ahh, yes. When logic fails you, play the race card.

Re:Ain't my panties in a bunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289957)

That or it's just two fools trolling each other. Either way.

Re:Ain't my panties in a bunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289865)

Nothing has changed, why do you think we've changed?

We'd still rather Obama than Rmoney was in power, it gives us a better starting point to enact the kind of change we care about, which itself didn't change just because one guy over the other was elected.

Re:Totally out of control administration (2)

bigpat (158134) | about 6 months ago | (#46289383)

So getting slapped down in court means they'll do it anyway?

The judge actually ruled that they could impose net neutrality, but only if they first labeled the companies as common carriers... which they most certainly are. All along the FCC should have been regulating these Internet network providers as telecommunication services and not merely as "Information Services". That designation made sense when companies like AOL were providing "Information Services" over existing telephone wires and thousands of ISPs were setting up shop with modem banks that used existing telecommunications networks for their communications, but it was always the case that the underlying infrastructure that connected these ISPs and connected the ISPs to the customers was regulated as a common carrier. Fast forward twenty years and we don't really have ISPs in the 1990s sense, at least not ones that are separate from the telecoms anymore.

Re:Totally out of control administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289715)

I'm always surprised that people (not bigpat, the author of the comment aboveI mean in general) don't think about the consequences of what giving the FCC any power over the Internet means. They only see "Oh, the FCC wants to impose net neutrality! Great!".

Well, that would be great if that's all they want to do. I have my doubts. Look what's happening in Britain right now and what happened after they decided they could regulate anything about the Internet.

I'm not a fan of the cable companies. These mini-monopolies are the reason they can get away as much as they can right now. Those monopolies should be abolished.

If a law were passed that the FCC would impose net neutrality and do nothing else other than that, I'd be satisfied.

Remember, this is the same outfit that regulates what you can see or not see on broadcast TV "for the good of the people".

Re:Totally out of control administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289951)

> Look what's happening in Britain right now and what happened after they decided they could regulate anything about the Internet.

Comcast shill detected.

Look, it doesn't matter if ISPs are common carrier or not, the Government can and will enact any laws it sees fit to control the content of the Internet. Our only defense is a large number of ISPs who are willing and able to resist these laws in court, and what we have now isn't cutting it. Comcast doesn't want to waste it's money protecting consumers because they don't have to. If you have 10 local ISPs and 5 of them get in to a pact to sue the Government to get a law changed then you have the ability to move your business to the ones that act in your favor and support them, so they have an incentive (to win your business) to do it.

But what about caching systems? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46289225)

I've heard that Netflix has a caching server that it will happy colocate in the ISP's sites, so that Netflix customers can get good streaming quality without the ISP incurring massive traffic back to Netflix's CDN(s).

Now suppose I start my own company that competes against Netflix's streaming service. Is the ISP "throttling" if they accept Netflix's cache server in their network nodes, but won't accept mine? Or what if there are 10,000 would-be Netflix competitors - do all ISP's have to host 10,000 cache servers, all on the same terms?

Re:But what about caching systems? (1)

The Rizz (1319) | about 6 months ago | (#46289283)

These aren't the same thing at all; if someone has something on an internal network, it'll be faster just by virtue of how the internet works. It's the option of artificially slowing down some traffic that is the issue.

Re:But what about caching systems? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46289429)

Right, but my point was that the ISP can still do things that favor one site's performance over another, even if they're not throttling.

Re:But what about caching systems? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46289551)

And his point, I'm guessing, is that they should be and will be able to do those things. Oversubscription is a separate issue and should be handled as such.

Re:But what about caching systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289345)

It is up to ISPs if they want to colocate Netflix caching box or not. If they colocate, they save DL bandwidth. They essentially peer with netflix.

If you start your own company, the ISPs do not care about your service until it becomes a significant part of their bandwidth.

Or what if there are 10,000 would-be Netflix competitors - do all ISP's have to host 10,000 cache servers, all on the same terms?

They already do. It is called CDN. A number exist that you can choose from. Akamai is the most widely known one but there are others.

Your question doesn't really make sense. You may as well ask, "what if there were 10,000 googles or 10,000 facebooks". Then no one cares about them because they do not have significant traffic by themselves. Only dominant players have significant traffic, by definition.

The entire point of Net Neutrality is that dominant players cannot pay some ISP to throttle traffic of their competitors. That's all. It's called fairness for end user and end-user's ability to choose. CDN have nothing to do with throttling.

Re:But what about caching systems? (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 6 months ago | (#46289611)

Now suppose I start my own company that competes against Netflix's streaming service. Is the ISP "throttling" if they accept Netflix's cache server in their network nodes, but won't accept mine?

Nope.

Or what if there are 10,000 would-be Netflix competitors - do all ISP's have to host 10,000 cache servers, all on the same terms?

ISPs want CDN servers because it lowers their costs. The same way mutually beneficial peering arrangements lowers costs. If you operate a service nobody uses no ISP will want your servers. The space they take up is not cost effective.

It has nothing to do with "blocking" or preferential treatment of packets from sources your in cahoots with.

Re:But what about caching systems? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 months ago | (#46289699)

I agree. But my point is that the public and activists are perhaps barking up the wrong tree when they focus on just packet throttling. I.e., they should maybe be focusing on anything that an ISP can do to favor one content provider over another, even if the mechanism is something other than packet throttling.

Net Neutrality == useless proxy war (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289233)

"Net neutrality" is nothing more than a proxy war being fought over how to apportion the profits being made by huge corporations on internet traffic.

On one side, supported by Democrats, are Google, Hollywood, and other content providers. On the other, supported by Republicans, we have infrastructure owners.

Nowhere do I see where "we the people" are going to benefit from government intervention here.

So please, stop drinking the "Net Neutrality for the PEOPLE" Koolaid. Cuz you ain't the people who stand to benefit.

and what about slow internet pipes? (1)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#46289237)

no one has to throttle netflix or anyone else since the outgoing pipes on most ISP's can't handle all the traffic
the big money guys buy CDN and special private circuits into the ISP's network dedicated to their traffic
the little guys cry network neutrality

you can pass NN, but until you force the ISP's to allow CDN's of their competition or force them into allowing private circuits its just a piece of paper

No throttling - impossible dream (3, Insightful)

misnohmer (1636461) | about 6 months ago | (#46289293)

Wherever there are finite bandwidth connections, there will always be throttling. Whether the throttling occurs based on type of traffic, end user limits, or "naturally" sort itself out via TCP or other protocols, throttling will occur as the bottlenecks fill up. If the carriers will not be allowed to do any throttling based on traffic type/source/etc, then the guy that decides to run a p2p file server will have his 500 connections open while your measly 1 netflix connection will get drowned out, as the "natural TCP throttling" tends to divide the bandwidth equally per connection (not per user). Then people will complain about the quality of service, but it will be neutral. What people are really wanting here is "don't throttle me", but that obviously cannot be satisfied for all users.

On the other hand, the providers can implement another type of throttling - financial. Once they start charging you for bandwidth used, folks considering watching a netflix movie for $x per show may start throttling themselves.

Re:No throttling - impossible dream (1)

wile_e8 (958263) | about 6 months ago | (#46289591)

Strawman - this isn't about "don't throttle me", this is about "don't throttle me while letting the other guys doing that same thing as me go because they paid you $millions". Capacity is finite (although it would be nice if they put all those profits into improving that), but as long as they don't discriminate based on the source there should be fair competition between startups and entrenched services.

Re:No throttling - impossible dream (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 6 months ago | (#46289813)

Wherever there are finite bandwidth connections, there will always be throttling. Whether the throttling occurs based on type of traffic, end user limits, or "naturally" sort itself out via TCP or other protocols, throttling will occur as the bottlenecks fill up. If the carriers will not be allowed to do any throttling based on traffic type/source/etc, then the guy that decides to run a p2p file server will have his 500 connections open while your measly 1 netflix connection will get drowned out, as the "natural TCP throttling" tends to divide the bandwidth equally per connection (not per user).

Give policy peeps some credit they are well aware of the difference between network management and throttling shenanigans. Simply put application of "network management" preferentially is the issue rather than management itself.

If content wants to play games by nerfing congestion algorithms for competitive advantage this is separate issue from the typical eyeball network which will simply forward whatever it gets subject to local constraints/queue management.

I agree with the sentiment people get sad when their streaming service lags and tend to automatically jump on conspiracy bandwagons both real and imagined as explanation. Thankfully while hearsay may act to promote change in regulatory environment it has no place with respect to enforcement.

Re:No throttling - impossible dream (1)

misnohmer (1636461) | about 6 months ago | (#46290009)

WaffleMonster, I believe you hit the nail on the head - the key is differentiate between bandwidth management and discrimination or preferential treatment. The problem will be how to clearly draw the line between them. If an ISP will start throttling higher bandwidth streams, such as video, before it starts throttling low bandwidth voice calls, some will see is as discrimination, while it may simply be "keep the most customers happy" policy, which prioritizes low bandwidth stream. If an ISP starts throttling p2p downloads so that other customers can stream netflix, p2p operators will scream discrimination, or conspiracy theorist will infer ISP is in bed with Netflix. So while I agree that ISP's that get special status from the government (any company that the government will force me to allow them to dig through my yard, a.k.a. easements) should be regulated by the government and prevented from unfair business related throttling, I think the problem will be clearly defining what that is and then proving it if it occurs. I have in my previous lifetime worked in network management on private links between company offices and such, and believe me, I've never seen a way to throttle that everyone will perceive as fair. Someone will always scream foul. I don't know what a complete solution is to this problem, but one thing that comes to mind is there should never be any throttling occurring unless the connection is close to full (though how you define that is up for debate).

Just make them common carriers already (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 6 months ago | (#46289295)

Making Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobile, Sprint, T-Mobile, Time Warner and all the other ISPs common carriers will make it illegal to do any of the BS they have been doing lately and solve the problem once and for all.

Heck, it might even make it illegal for ISPs to continue with the "copyright alert system".

Re:Just make them common carriers already (2)

JoeDaddyZZZ (3543989) | about 6 months ago | (#46289325)

Agreed, wire company or media company, but not both. Make the wire a utility.

Re:Just make them common carriers already (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 6 months ago | (#46289511)

but the profits! Please no!

Netflix slowdown may be coincidental. (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 6 months ago | (#46289297)

From the article:

A likely explanation for recent slowdowns is that Netflix usage went up, but peering and transit bandwidth didn't. Verizon and Comcast also haven't joined Netflix's "Open Connect" content delivery network, which can improve Netflix performance by placing video caches closer to customers.

After this story published, one commenter pointed out that the declines in performance came after Netflix started delivering its so-called "Super HD" and 3D video to all customers, even those whose ISPs are not members of Open Connect. This may have increased the traffic load.

Things could get worse for Verizon customers. While Comcast is still bound to follow the FCC's net neutrality rules due to conditions placed on its merger with NBCUniversal, Verizon is under no such obligation...

Both companies are slow to upgrade their peering infrastructure and they both have been in disputes with bandwidth providers over compensation (eg. Level3). Net neutrality never applied in these two cases.

Re:Netflix slowdown may be coincidental. (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 6 months ago | (#46289609)

In my case Netflix performance problems (via Comcast) were certainly happening before the ruling. 18 months ago Netflix was responsive; video started quickly and never stalled during play. During the last year there is usually at least one interruption during any given hour when the steam runs dry. It hasn't gotten noticeably worse since the ruling. Claims that the ruling created these problems seem like hysteria to me.

As for the "Super HD" and 3D video theory; that seems plausible. It seems like it's Netflix servers that struggle, as opposed to network congestion; streams stall and then suddenly recover and work fine as if their system is overloaded and shifts clients to usable capacity.

If high definition video is a contributor then this is self inflicted and deeply stupid. Cord cutters aren't trying to improve their media fidelity. Why compromise the performance of your service by overloading your system with HD content when your customer has already proven to be largely indifferent to HD? In all likelyhood the typical Netflix subscriber is the same person that still hasn't bothered to get a Blu-ray player.

That's certainly true in my case. A name-brand blu-ray is what? $50-100? It's not like I can't afford it. I could have a tower of the things if I wanted. I just don't care.

throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I download (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 6 months ago | (#46289301)

You want to play unfair? Well, Comcast, guess what? I can download what I want at a better quality then you can offer, so no need for your cable. Oh, you don't like people using Netflix? Well, fuck you then, I'll just download off usenet and torrents (via a vpn).

Quit being stupid greedy fucks. Forcing me to use your services by fucking with everyone else's services isn't stupid and very short sited. I might currently have to use your internet, but enough people are getting sick of bullshit that you pull and are doing stuff about it. And for the record, I will not use your services, ie, Cable TV/Internet Phone mainly because you pull bullshit all the time. Plus you are way too expensive for the quality and services you provide.

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (3, Insightful)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 6 months ago | (#46289431)

You want to play unfair? Well, Comcast, guess what? I can download what I want at a better quality then you can offer, so no need for your cable. Oh, you don't like people using Netflix? Well, fuck you then, I'll just download off usenet and torrents (via a vpn).

You understand that's not sustainable, right? Only so many people can cancel cable and go internet only before internet prices increase and speed drops.

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289557)

The speed wouldn't actually drop.

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46289579)

You understand that's not sustainable, right? Only so many people can cancel cable and go internet only before internet prices increase and speed drops.

Only so many people can cancel cable and go internet before the mainstream cable companies lose their dominance, because without their media empires they have to compete on a level playing field.

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 6 months ago | (#46290031)

Compete with who?

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 6 months ago | (#46289843)

True, but at least this would force some action.

Right now, the prices of Cable TV (content) vs Cable Internet (connectivity) are artificially linked, inflated and imbalanced. Let them split off and see how the "free market" reacts. If it means cable internet prices skyrocket, at least it might spark some genuine competition.

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (1)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#46289681)

you are probably doing comcast a favor
torrenting a show once and then watching it from your local copy is better for them than streaming the same show multiple times from netflix

Re:throttling, crappy HD quality, is why I downloa (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 6 months ago | (#46289977)

Only if the same copy is watched more than once, otherwise, I suspect the torrent overhead is worse, much worse.

The REAL good news (5, Informative)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about 6 months ago | (#46289365)

So, when the FCC re-rules ISPs as Common Carriers, the real good news is that means that 6 strikes rules and other copyright stuff is out the window... after all, a big part of common carrier status is taht you are exempt from having any responsibility for controlling the content you're carrying - so you can't be sued by a copyright owner because user susy q used your infrastructure to share/copy movie x.

(Ok, so I bet they still WILL do crap like that because they're so far in bed with copyright owners... HHHMMM COMCAST/NBC? but it would be nice to stop them having their cake and eating it too... one can dream)

I really am happy that the FCC and the Obama administration "get it" - the Internet has become vital to our economy and a free, fair, open Internet is key to innovation and continued growth. If the 'net were allowed to become an expensive toll road, it would only feed the pockets of the already wealthy whilst simultaneously raising the barrier to entry for anything new/innovative.

Well thats a good thing as it will... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 6 months ago | (#46289377)

... stop the US from slipping further down the drain of internet quality. Adn the US is far from the top as it is.

Netflix Throttling? (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 6 months ago | (#46289405)

I called AT&T about this and they blamed Netflix. I don't know what the truth is. I can stream Amazon in HD fine most days, but even with an 18Meg pipe, Netflix looks like garbage. Hopefully when Google comes to town this year, I can finally get rid of AT&T.

Re:Netflix Throttling? (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 6 months ago | (#46289543)

> I can stream Amazon in HD fine most days, but even with an 18Meg pipe, Netflix looks like garbage.

I wonder if Netflix is currently over-utilized due to the recent House of Cards season 2 release. I know I'm using it more than usual, and the video quality while watching House of Cards is worse than even standard-def TV.

Re:Netflix Throttling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289709)

The problem is if you use a VPN connection, Netflix looks fine in HD. This means they're looking at the destination and slowing you down or the VPN outbound has a better way of getting to Amazon than Comcast.

Rule changes are ephemeral (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 6 months ago | (#46289441)

Obama's hands are tied because the Republicans will reflexively obstruct if he tries to get this through Congress, but the real problem with doing this via FCC rule change is that as soon as a Republican gets elected President network neutrality goes out the window.

say'n and doin (2)

Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) | about 6 months ago | (#46289473)

Saying a one thing but doing it is another thing. All I know is that lobbyist are very strong here since netflix and comcast generates huge loads of money. I don't think Comcast is ready to give up the attacks but this is a good day for net neutrality.

direct too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289495)

we recently switched from scumcast to direct & can't help but notice we get a lot more stalling w/direct's vod than scumcast's on demand (which are both just streaming over ip)

So it begins (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289565)

I'm not a fan of the cable companies, I'll say that straight out.

The FCC really, really wants to be able to regulate the Internet. They're doing this in the name of "net neutrality" right now. This is the same ruse that was used in Great Britain. They'll end up using this to regulate what we can put on the Internet. Hell, the FCC regulates what you can put on the public airways now in broadcast TV. What makes you think they won't do the same thing on the Internet?

For more info on that:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_United_Kingdom

Anyway, considering who's in charge of the RIAA and who's in charge of the movie industry lobby, there's reason to be concerned.

There's got to be a better way. We sure as hell shouldn't leave it up to the FCC or the cable companies.

Federal judges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289589)

Every single federal judge in America needs an assfucking for how incompetent they are towards humanity.

Words (1)

UPZ (947916) | about 6 months ago | (#46289627)

Are nice but only action means something. What happens six months from now when the topic is not making headlines?

Municipal Broadband Saber Rattling? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 6 months ago | (#46289629)

The statement reads to me a lot like saber rattling. He basically says, "Remain neutral voluntarily, and don't challenge this next round of rules, or I will make you common carriers." That seems like an interesting approach. Mostly it kicks the can down the road, which is unfortunate since the cable and telco lobbies won't stop trying, but it does seem like it'll get the job done for now at least.

The last bullet point caught my attention:

6. Enhance competition. The Commission will look for opportunities to enhance Internet access competition. One obvious candidate for close examination was raised in Judge Silberman's separate opinion, namely legal restrictions on the ability of cities and towns to offer broadband services to consumers in their communities.

So is he saying, "Cut the crap with local ordinances prohibiting competition"? If so, big props to him. There are natural barriers to having sufficient competition for an efficient free market even under ideal conditions, but at least removing the fiat barriers would be nice.

Also: Beta is not an efficient interface for the primary authors of Slashdot's traffic generating content. Lean, static, and dense must remain a comment UI option or a big chunk of your content will disappear.

Terrible news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289795)

What makes a good man go neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?

Business Opportunity? (1)

msmonroe (2511262) | about 6 months ago | (#46289901)

This just seems like even net neutrality is no upheld and eventually struck down this will create a huge opportunity for some start-up to come in and offer non-throttled fiber; which will shoot Comcast, Verizon, ATT in the foot with their plans to control the internet and reap huge profits. I know it's a huge investment probably a billion dollars but the cable is owned by communities that they run into; in theory anyone can rent them. Seems like google already has this idea in mind for the future. I think Comcast, Verizon, ATT are only thinking about trying to keep the status quo which must deter cord cutters and try and stay with their present business models. I always argue with my friends that business is like a living organism; when the climate changes it must evolve aggressively or die; most die. I think Comcast, Verizon, ATT must aggressively either find or create a new business niche to survive; they are presently trying desperately to fight against change. I am sure it is a futile move on their part.

Why SHOULDN'T Netflix Pay? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46289937)

Why should Netflix get a free ride on other peoples' networks? They profit from backbones run by other companies. Let then share a little of that money with the people who deliver their product. I wouldn't expect to be able to send a package via FedEx just because I show up at their depot with it. What is so evil about being expected to pay for a service that you (ie, Netflix) profit from?

This was my submission... (4, Insightful)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about 6 months ago | (#46289963)

Everybody else's full-handle is used in their submissions (including people with SPACES and names 3-5x longer than mine) so why am I "Karl C" and not "Karl Cocknozzle?"

Truncating my last name is an insult to generations of Cocknozzles that have come before me.

Best line (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 6 months ago | (#46289979)

From (one of) TFA:

In a statement to the Washington Post, Verizon said it was investigating the report and that the customer rep was misinformed.

"We treat all traffic equally, and that has not changed," the statement read. "Many factors can affect the speed of a customer’s experience for a specific site, including that site’s servers, the way the traffic is routed over the Internet and other considerations.
We are looking into this specific matter, but the company representative was mistaken. We’re going to redouble our representative education efforts on this topic."

Here come the whips and chains...hate to be a Verizon rep right about now...

Yay! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46290053)

At least it sounds like we are heading the right direction. But since most federal actions have so many loopholes and hidden traps, ill be a bit reserved, but hopeful.

submitter (as usual) needs to learn English (1)

sribe (304414) | about 6 months ago | (#46290057)

"Throttling" is not the same as "blocking", therefore a ban on "blocking" is not the same thing as a ban on "throttling".

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