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FCC Looking Into Paid Peering Deals

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the and-people-trust-the-fcc dept.

The Internet 37

An anonymous reader writes The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Friday that it has successfully obtained the details regarding paid peering deals between Netflix and Comcast as well as Verizon and is working to obtain similar information for other video streamers and their respective ISP peers. The FCC's goal is, as they pointed out themselves, not to regulate as yet but to examine these deals with the goal of providing some transparency to the American public regarding the internet services they pay for. Verizon and Comcast issued statements expressing their willingness to be open about their peering activities and stressed that no regulation is required. The peering market 'has functioned effectively and efficiently for over two decades without government intervention,' Comcast claimed at a congressional hearing. The Free Press policy director nevertheless points out that 'when the FCC required reporting from AT&T after the company blocked Skype in 2009 and Google Voice in 2012, the disclosures revealed that AT&T was indeed misleading its customers.'

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No fault found (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 months ago | (#47235807)

Tom Wheeler's FCC is not going to do anything helpful for end users.

Re:No fault found (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47235985)

of course not. When you put the wolf (lobbyist) in charge of the henhouse (FCC) what do you expect to happen?

The peering market 'has functioned effectively and efficiently for over two decades without government intervention,

that was before they got greedy (greedier?)

Re:No fault found (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47236095)

Tom Wheeler's FCC is not going to do anything helpful for end users.

That's not his job. His job is to maximize profits for a small number of corporations. Profits that will come out of the hides of a population already in difficult straits from the financial terrorism of the 2000s.

The people who are pulling the strings of our society are dead-enders. They have a vision for a glorious future that does not include you and me.

Tom Wheeler is Reason #1438 that Barack Obama is the worst president in the last half-century. What's worse is that he made me look bad because I voted for that feckless sonofabitch. But I'd rather admit my failure than pretend otherwise. That's the only way to learn, you know?

Re:No fault found (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 3 months ago | (#47237067)

Tom Wheeler is Reason #1438 that Barack Obama is the worst president in the last half-century.

Do you think Romney or McCain would have appointed anyone better? And "worst President in 50 years?" Dude, when he took office the country had its largest budget deficit in history, the economy was in its worst shape since the Great Depression, and we were fighting two wars. Now the economy has improved greatly although it has a long way to go, particularly among working people, the unemployment rate is lower than when he took office, one war is over and the other will be over in a year, two states have legalized marijuana and he hasn't siced the DEA on them, and he gets no help whatever from Congress.

Contrast that with his predecessor, who took office in boom times and left it in the worst recession since the great depression, ignored the previous administration's warnings and his own FBI agent's reports and got our country attacked, started the longest war in our history and then started another completely senseless war that has resulted in Civil War there, rammed through the misnamed PATRIOT act, started the TSA and all the NSA bullshit Obama is (rightly) condemned for using, rammed through "No Chid Left Behind" which should have been "Leave them ALL behind"... name ONE positive thing Bush did for this country? Obamacare is a clusterfuck, but it's better than what we had.

Bush was the worst President in my 62 year lifetime and likely the worst in history. No other President damaged our country (indeed, the whole world) as badly as Bush.

Hell, with the exception of Bush, Carter was the worst president in fifty years. IMO the only decent President I've seen since Eisenhower was Clinton, who turned HW's recession into a boom, presided over the end of generational welfare, took office with until then was history's largest deficit and left office with a balanced budget, and put 100,000 more cops on the streets... coincidence that the crime rate started dropping then?

Wake up, friend. Both parties suck, and neither produce very good lawmakers or executives.

Re:No fault found (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47237167)

Do you think Romney or McCain would have appointed anyone better?

No, but they would not have had the built-in cover from people that President Obama has enjoyed. People who supported him are loathe to point out the massive amount of damage that Obama has wrought, and his sheer incompetence and dishonesty. The nuts on the Right are discounted because they're, well, nuts and there is a protective impulse from the Center and Left because a), like me they supported Obama and b) because he's just so damn historic.

I believe McCain or Romney would have been disasters. I'm not sure they would have been as audacious and insistent on sucking as Obama. If the income inequality had bloomed under a President Romney to the extent that it has under Obama, I think Romney would have been a little bit of shame, whereas Obama has no such shame. McCain is just kookoo - someone who thought Sarah Palin would be a good VP is just not competent to make any decision besides what he chooses to have for breakfast.

President Obama has brought disastrous neo-liberal economic policies and neo-conservative foreign policies: the worst of both worlds. I don't believe McCain or Romney would have had the gall to blow up the NSA, surveillance, whistleblower prosecutions and government secrecy to the extent Obama has. Yes, the PATRIOT Act was passed during Bush, but the last of the restraints were taken off under Obama. His Justice Department has pushed for less oversight, more surveillance, more secrecy and more prosecution of whistleblowers. And when it comes to being bad, George W. Bush was a piker compared to Obama. Obama has continued every bad policy of the Bush Administration, putting them on steroids and adding his own extra-bad embellishments.

If you corner one of the Obama loyalists, the real dead-enders, and ask them "What were Obama's greatest achievements?" you will inevitably get the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which did absolutely nothing and Obamacare, which has actually contributed to the upward redistribution of wealth, making the middle class and poor people poorer and the rich richer. That's it. Obama had nothing to do with gay marriage, nothing to do with any barely perceptible improvement in the ecomony and everything to do with the sense that a large majority of Americans have that the game is rigged and everything's getting worse.

Regarding the other presidents you mention, Carter was not as bad as Obama and he only served 4 years. Clinton put income inequality on the fast track, creating a huge housing bubble and worst of all, pressed for banking deregulation that directly caused the Great Recession that started in 2008 and continues to this day. If you look at the long-fuse bombs that Clinton dropped on us, which only were set off a decade later, you can make an argument that he did nearly as much damage as Ronald Reagan, who was pure malevolence personified. But even Reagan didn't shit the bed the way Obama's doing.

Look, I take no joy in this. I voted for Obama and I've got to answer to my own conscience for that. But Hillary Clinton is waiting in the wings to continue the destruction of the American middle class and to put the final nails in the coffin of anything like individual liberty and privacy in the US. And like Obama, her "historicity" will protect her from serious criticism for the damage she will inevitably do.

Re:No fault found (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 3 months ago | (#47237587)

I agree about Romney, he would have been worse than Shrub. As to income inequality, making the haves richer and the have-nots poorer has been his career; his job is firing people, dismantling companies and selling the parts for a huge profit.

As for McCain, he sounds reasonable when he talks; he's on the Sunday morning news shows a lot. As to Palin, I'm sure there was some dealing done by someone to get her on the ticket, because McCain just doesn't seem stupid enough. Someone must have made him an offer he couldn't refuse. I see someone like Koch saying "Palin is going to be VP. Fight me on this and [primary opponent] will be the next President".

Out of the entire House and Senate, he and Durbin are the only two I have any respect for at all. Durbin, unlike Obama, isn't from Chicago, he's from central Illinois. The first ballot he was on was for Mayor of Springfield. I can actually vote for him, because he doesn't want to put half the people I know in jail for an activity that harms no one but perhaps themselves.

Since I knew that Illinois was going to be overwhelmingly for Obama I voted Green in both Obama elections, but told my daughter, who lives in Ohio, to vote Obama (although there was no need for me to).

When you say "President Obama has brought disastrous neo-liberal economic policies and neo-conservative foreign policies" I'm not sure what you mean.

I have to agree 100% about Reagan. As to Carter, he only held one term because he did such a bad job in his first term. The economy got even worse under him, inflation was bad but did worse under him, ditto unemployment. Lots of negatives and no positives at all, as weak as Obama's positives are. And Carter hurt me and everyone like me; I was a poor, struggling college student working part time, like thousands more, not going hungry because we had food stamps. Carter took them away, adding a rule that if you were in college you were ineligible no matter how poor you were. I wonder how many bright but poor kids dropped out because of that? We may have lost another Faraday. I might have dropped out had I not been married; my wife was a waitress (most waitresses are dirt poor).

Re:No fault found (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47238203)

I had forgotten about the Carter foodstamps thing.

As far as McCain sounding "reasonable", I have to disagree:

http://twitter.com/SenJohnMcCa... [twitter.com]

Re:No fault found (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47303637)

Re:No fault found (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47303643)

Re:No fault found (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47237239)

Reading the article till I got to the part where Wheeler said we will not regulate these deals, we just want them to be open to the public. And then to hear the idiot from CONcast rabble on with his propaganda made me slap my forehead.

Wheeler is (was) a lobbyist for cable companies what did you expect? This is the very problem with politics in DC, and nation wide, I have a problem with republicans bitching and moaning about the President hiring "special interest" people/persons in high ranking positions or regulatory government, my point is they all do it even Bush hired special interest people/persons. Or they hire 'close friends' also known as campaign donors, or I should say the company that donated picks a person to represent them in Washington.

This should be pissing people off, having two parties talk out their ass about being for the people and yet if the GOP lead Congress passed any sort of bill/law for net neutrality, it would almost have wide open loopholes, and if the shoe was on the other foot the Democrats would be doing the same, just more PR spin to sucker people into voting for them. The other problem is the mainstream press, and the asshole readers who will only read the headline "NET NEUTRALITY WINS" without realizing it is nothing more then a headline and not a reality.

And this is why I come on this site, and read citations and comments to get different views.

Re:No fault found (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47240025)

Yeah I'm hearing: "let me just have some time to dance around the topic posturing about this and that but never ever coming to a conclusion and hence a decision".

What a waste of space he is. I hope they paid him enough to make new friends AND family because I sure as he'll would be nagging his ass to do something instead of protecting his cronies.

The FCC is obviously cheaper to hire than lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47235841)

Are Comcast and Verizon switching above layer 3 at peers? (duh) If yes, then they are constraining trade and free speech. There is a difference between network management and sandbagging.

Thanks regulatory capture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47235843)

When you own the regulators, you get what you want.

Why don't we own them again?

If it's paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47235845)

it's transit, not peering.

Re:If it's paid (3, Informative)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about 3 months ago | (#47235947)

This is the common definition:

  • Settlement free peering: Doesn't take money from you. Advertises their routes to you. Advertises your routes to their customers.
  • Paid peering: Takes money from you. Advertises their routes to you. Advertises your routes to their customers.
  • Transit: Takes money from you. Advertises the whole Internet routing table to you. Advertises your routes to their customers and peers.

You will see that there is no technical difference between settlement free and paid. It's the same router configuration. The money flow is just the end result of the poker game of which peer needs the other more.

Transparent as Glass. Steagall. (3, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47235861)

Verizon and Comcast issued statements expressing their willingness to be open about their peering activities and stressed that no regulation is required.

Well hell, as long as the for-profit corporations are on record promising there's nothing to see here, what's all the fuss?

Re:Transparent as Glass. Steagall. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47235951)

Well hell, as long as the for-profit corporations are on record promising there's nothing to see here, what's all the fuss?

Imagine all the money publicity people, lawyers and "grassroots campaign" companies take. This stuff is not cheap. I think that all they are trying to say is that these kinds of expenses should be rightly covered by the government. It's a bit like being treated like a common criminal who would have to pay for his own defence when he committed a crime and not a great corporate wealth pillager^W creator.

How do you know a company is lying? (1)

Cantankerous Cur (3435207) | about 3 months ago | (#47235891)

"The peering market 'has functioned effectively and efficiently for over two decades without government intervention,' Comcast claimed at a congressional hearing."

When they say anything

Re:How do you know a company is lying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47235923)

I think what they are talking about is peer-to-peer. They want us to share their content with each other without paying. I'm all for it.

Re:How do you know a company is lying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47236203)

I wish people would quit saying "misleading" when it's really "lying".

Ugh (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47235899)

I was very excited about this, until I read:

He did not say whether the deals would be opened to the public.

Also, it seems like these are only for the "Paid fast lanes" but it's hard to tell.
Reveal all the peering agreements, when they start, when they end, their term... etc...
Then this entire problem will make a hell of a lot more sense to the public. The peering agreements ARE the problem. Charging for them is not the solution.

Yeah (2)

alzoron (210577) | about 3 months ago | (#47235903)

They keep saying that additional regulation will degrade service, raise prices and reduce healthy competition, yet the United States has some of the worst prices, service and competition with the little regulation that already exists. I don't see how adding additional regulation at this point is going to make things any worse unless modems and routers will start spontaneously catching on fire or service technicians are going to start shooting people's dogs.

Re:Yeah (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47236029)

They keep saying that additional regulation will degrade service, raise prices and reduce healthy competition, yet the United States has some of the worst prices, service and competition with the little regulation that already exists. I don't see how adding additional regulation at this point is going to make things any worse unless modems and routers will start spontaneously catching on fire or service technicians are going to start shooting people's dogs.

In the case of the Cable companies (not telecoms) they are basically not regulated at all. So yes, some regulation would have little impact and improve service. In regards to Telecoms, regulation is VERY heavy. It's a significant portion of their operating costs and a lot of it is just plain stupid. It could probably use more regulation in 'some' areas but needs a significant reduction in others.

The biggest problem in the US is our government and the FCC are completely incompetent. Rudimentary basic reforms would solve a lot of our problems. We're still operating under regulation that was, for the most part, developed prior to the Internet. It's literally a completely different industry now. It's unrecognizable compared to what we had in the 80s. So why are we still using that same regulation?

We need what we buy defined, in law. i.e. "You'll have 5mb/s service 60% of the time, minimum degraded level of 500k/s" or whatever. So you know what you're getting. This should be enforced by weights and measures.
Content providers need to be regulated. Netflix in particular has been operating in a completely irresponsible way. Don't regulate what they can provide. Regulate how they provide it. You can't move a 10gig peer overnight without telling anyone.
All ISPs need to operate under the same regulatory framework. No more pretending Cable and Telephone provide different products. They don't.
Get rid of all the nonsense like regional laws that require working pots lines in abandon homes. Most state and federal buildings dont even have pay-phones anymore, why should an abandon home? If the states not willing to pay for it, why should the ISP have to?

Common sense rule changes would do us all a lot of good.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47236211)

We're still operating under regulation that was, for the most part, developed prior to the Internet..

Remember to call your phone company before hooking up a modem!

Re:Yeah (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 3 months ago | (#47236723)

This should be enforced by weights and measures.

Good luck with that.

There are thousands of variables that can affect the bandwidth available between points A and B across the internet, many of which beyond the end-users and the ISPs' control, which makes any sort of bandwidth guarantees with "best-effort" transit impossible to actually guarantee in any remotely meaningful way. Throwing W&M, NIST or whatever else at this is not going to do anyone any good.

If you want everyone's internet service to effectively be covered by an end-to-end bandwidth SLA of some sort, things are likely going to get a fair bit more expensive if the minimum guarantee is to be remotely usable.

Re:Yeah (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 3 months ago | (#47237073)

There are thousands of variables that can affect the bandwidth available between points A and B across the internet, many of which beyond the end-users and the ISPs' control, which makes any sort of bandwidth guarantees with "best-effort" transit impossible to actually guarantee in any remotely meaningful way.

Seriously, do you think this is the reason W&M shouldn't be involved? I worked at a jeweler (where you have to have W&M certification on some equipment), and they wouldn't inspect the scales every certification period. Not even close. It would be 5+ inspection periods, at a minimum, before they would show up to provide their certification instead of mailing it - and this is in an industry where literally hundreds to thousands of dollars directly rely on each time the scale is used, not someone's home internet connection.

Re:Yeah (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 3 months ago | (#47240415)

Weight measurements are simple: the weight of a non-volatile substance (or volatile substance in a container) does not change with time, temperature or other variables. You have a quantity of whatever, put it on the scale and you are done.

Jewelry is a poor example for W&M policing since jewelry is luxury goods and jewelry is not sold by weight in the first place. Try the retail food and gas industry instead. I do not know how it works in the USA but in Canada, calibration stickers for pumps and balances used for retail must be in plain sight where consumers can easily inspect them and merchants are required to stop using the equipment if their calibration is out of date. No calibration, no sale.

Available bandwidth through a network of networks however is infinitely variable: there is nothing that can be "calibrated" to guarantee any amount of bandwidth along any particular route at any given time since the whole standard internet operates on a "best-effort" basis where "best-effort" actually means no special effort at all - just leave the equipment on and forwarding packets. If you want guaranteed performance between two points across the internet, you need to pay intervening networks for a private virtual circuit of some sort.

Re:Yeah (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47237825)

This should be enforced by weights and measures.

Good luck with that.

There are thousands of variables that can affect the bandwidth available between points A and B across the internet, many of which beyond the end-users and the ISPs' control, which makes any sort of bandwidth guarantees with "best-effort" transit impossible to actually guarantee in any remotely meaningful way. Throwing W&M, NIST or whatever else at this is not going to do anyone any good.

If you want everyone's internet service to effectively be covered by an end-to-end bandwidth SLA of some sort, things are likely going to get a fair bit more expensive if the minimum guarantee is to be remotely usable.

I work for a major ISP and one of my jobs is to maintain a provisioning system that, when you call in to order service, tests the remote you'd be operating off of and returns the max speed of the equipment. The "5mb/60%" thing is an industry standard way of measurement already for data lines. We do it all the time for businesses, and we already have the software in place to do it for residential. We usually take the aggregate number from the remote to flag it as "undeserved" when it starts capping out. Then an order gets put in to add more equipment or trench a new line. The ISP KNOWS if you're going to have a problem when you order. You should know to. There are probably quite a few small town ISPs (under 30k customers) whos equipment is too old to do this, but it's time they upgraded anyway.

It's not that I'm saying "Force the ISP to provide this speed!" What I'm saying is the ISP should disclose exactly what the speed will be max, and what percentage of the time you'll be able to get that speed. Currently the ISPs market "Up to 50mb!" but thats only if no one else out of your remote is currently online. So the chances you'll actually get that speed for any real length of time are pretty slim. You should know that before you sign a 2yr contract.

Re:Yeah (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 3 months ago | (#47240323)

Currently the ISPs market "Up to 50mb!" but thats only if no one else out of your remote is currently online.

If you have 50Mbps over phone lines, you have VDSL2 and VDSL2 remotes typically have at least 20Mbps of available upstream capacity per port so if everyone on the same remote has 50Mbps service, about 40% of people connected to it can simultaneously use their service at full speed before the remote actually becomes a choking point. This part of the service is something the ISP has full direct control and visibility into. Even ancient ADSL1 DSLAMs had the ability to probe lines for service quality monitoring/provisioning purposes, everyone knows performance on xDSL depends on line quality and that part of the service has absolutely nothing to do with network neutrality.

Where things become far less predictable is when the traffic leaves the ISP's middle-mile infrastructure, interconnects with peers and transit providers, internal hops across those external parties the ISP has absolutely no visibility into or power to do anything about, interconnect between those third-parties and others beyond, the far-end interconnects between those third-parties' third-parties, the far-end network, etc.

If you want network neutrality to start defining some degree of end-to-end performance guarantees (unless further limited by technical limitations such as maximum sustainable line sync), the whole internet would be affected; not only the first-mile operators.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47236765)

Netflix in particular has been operating in a completely irresponsible way. Don't regulate what they can provide. Regulate how they provide it. You can't move a 10gig peer overnight without telling anyone.

What the hell are you talking about?

I suppose lots of people like to pretend they know what they're talking about and then listen to the sound of their own voice and fantasize about being smart, but in this case I have no clue as to the actual meaning. "How they provide it"? "Move a 10 gig peer"? To me it's illegible.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47237027)

The biggest problem in the US is our government and the FCC are completely incompetent.

They're not incompetent, they're doing exactly what they're being paid to do. A lot of the time they're being paid to do nothing.

Re:Yeah (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 3 months ago | (#47236221)

Shut the Hell up, they'll start charging extra for modems that don't burn my house to the ground, having to hide my dog is bad enough.

Re:Yeah (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 3 months ago | (#47236469)

the United States has some of the worst prices, service and competition with the...regulation that already exists

Then clearly, the answer is to completely deregulate! It's worked out quite well for [the CEOs in] other industries.

First question: (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 3 months ago | (#47236191)

How big is our cut?

Time Warner and Vonage (0)

wesware (301817) | about 3 months ago | (#47236577)

I was out one night having a beer, Time Warner (my ISP at the time, this is one reason they are no longer) called me to ask to sign up for thier VOIP. Being slightly intoxicated (learned from this do not voluntarily give information) they asked to sign up for their VOIP. I (regretfully) said your competitors have a better deal, they replied "Vonage" again regretfully I answered "YES". Vonage never worked again with quality resulting in my discontinuance of the cheaper/better experience i had received! Net Neutrality is an important aspect of innovation! A start up needs to be able to compete openly without the HUGE corporations having the ability to virtually squash a competitor in the name of profit!

What a bunch of bull. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47236579)

Ignore what they say and regulate, fine, tax or otherwise break up those bastard companies.

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