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Author Topic: Save Net Neutrality
DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted July 01, 2006 09:44      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Click the link

If you live in America, write your congressmen if you want the Internet to remain free and open.

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ewomack
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Icon 1 posted July 03, 2006 23:03      Profile for ewomack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I heard something a while back about a significant rise in domain name costs. I haven't heard anything since.

Has anyone else heard? That could pull a lot of people off the web alone; if the price of a domain name went from $75 to $500 that would create quite a ripple (or tear).

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 00:55      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
yea, I've done my part, signed the petition and mailed my congressman.

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 04:31      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm in two minds about net neutrality, and especially the proposed legislation regarding it. Something tells me that it might not be what we (well, the USA mainly, but it'll affect people worldwide) all need, and that people are just blindly signing up 'cause it's the latest net craze, and they don't understand the issue.

As far as I can see, it's actually a very complex matter. I've been reading into it quite a bit, and I still don't understand it properly.

If I get round to it, I might try and write down my thoughts on it, in case anyone's interested. Either way, I've heard a lot of ill-informed nonsense regarding it from both sides.

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 05:17      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well said Maximile!

Whilst not wishing to trivialise the issue in anyway it appears to be a lot more involved than "Free Neutral Net = Good vs. Evil Corporate Contolled Net = Bad" and yes a lot of people who apparently have no understanding of the issues involved at all have been spouting off a lot of highly emotive drivel.

It is important that these sort of decisions are thought through really carefully because if you get it wrong the ramifications could be unbelievable. We neither want to see the Net sold down the river for greedy teleco/content providers' benefit nor do we want to hold everything back on some fanciful notion that all traffic is held to be equal regardless...

And just to reassure you that your politicians are up to the onerous job.... how the net works... Senatorial Style

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 10:43      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the whole thing is a big giant mess. I can't say that I whole-heartedly back the concept of Net Neutrality as it's being posed to us, but the alternative paints a bleak picture.

I think it's a lot of bollocks that anyone is suggesting that certain websites will be considered 'preferred partners,' but I suppose the possibility exists. I help manage a not insignificant network, and I do know that there is merit to doing some degree of traffic management. Left unchecked, Kazaa and BitTorrent can completely saturate an Internet connection, and ruin the rest of my users' Internet access. At least with the old link, letting Kazaa run free would make the page load time for Google go to something silly like 10 seconds. I'm willing to be that even our bloody fast new connection could get saturated by Kazaa & BT if we didn't throttle them.

Personally, I do not believe in illegal P2P, and think legit. P2P is a regrettable casualty. No one has a God-given right to download movies illegally, and as a NOC guy, I don't give a damn what you're downloading...but if it prevents a majority of people from accessing useful resources, I'm going to severely restrict, if not disable, access to that largely illegal system. I feel really bad about BitTorrent, as it's a great system that was designed with the best of intentions. Hell, it's got plenty of functionality built in to track who uses it, which should have discouraged illegal use of it...but no one seems to care. I've used BT in the past to download Linux ISOs, and it's been great for that...but these days BT wastes so much bandwidth around the world on illegal P2P that it's not even funny, raising everyone's costs so some people can get 'free movies.'

Corporate-backed P2P is wrong, IMHO. While it's nice to follow the fluffy-bunny happy-sunshine idea of 'helping others out,' customers should not be forced (or even asked to) to sublet their bandwidth to distribute components of software, or products themselves. I was going to say something about games using it, in particular Steam (from Half Life 2), but I'm delighted to learn that it was scrapped!

Whether ISPs can really step in and dictate how their clients use their connection is a tricky matter. I think one should have free access...but maybe with a TOS that has clear language in it stating what one can do with their connection. I know the subject once came up on NANOG about specifying whether one could do as they pleased with their connection, or whether there was an unofficial understanding that it was really meant for casual use. Home broadband connections are usually underprovisioned, with the expectation that most users will not use the full advertised capacity all the time.

In the end, everything should be left alone, and no laws or regulations should be passed, either way. That would make just about everyone happy...except maybe the companies trying to leech off customers' broadband.

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 18:19      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I hate companies with the strangle hold on the pipe, and exploiting content providers for money if they want their sites to reach the people.... On the other hand, I dislike the government passing any law about the internet's content and bussiness that have the potential to be used as precedent for more regulations... It's a double edged blade, but I think ... I'm not sure ... I'm for legislation stepping in. Typically, I'd say leave it to the almighty dollar, but the problem is that SBC-Yahoo!-AT&T and TIME-Warner-AOL are about the only choices in some places for decent amounts of band width. The reason for this because localities have allowed only limited leans on land (which makes sense) to run wires, and these are grated to precious few (which is unfortunate, but we also can't have everyone getting leans on private property to run any wire they want... else no one would be able to see the sky through the wires.

Free (as in beer and speech), safe (encrpyted), fast (up and down), long range wireless everywhere is the ideal... But, we know this would never happen... At least not for a long time.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 20:57      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GameMaster:
Free (as in beer and speech), safe (encrpyted), fast (up and down), long range wireless everywhere is the ideal... But, we know this would never happen... At least not for a long time.

Who's going to pay for that? Multi-megabit transit isn't cheap, you know? Someone's got to lay fiber, set up switches, run DNS, and maintain the whole mess. How's the entire Internet going to run without anyone paying for the final mile? Personally, I really don't care to have /more/ advertising to deal with... and besides, all you freeloaders would just run AdBlock anyway.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted July 05, 2006 21:15      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
GM, I'm pretty sure that the word you're looking for is "easement". Very different from a lien. For one thing, you can sell property that has an easment.

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 06, 2006 19:08      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Net neutrality is a very simple concept. I want to by internet bandwidth from one provider (my telco or my cableco) and I want to be able to by my VOIP phone service and my movie download service from any provider I choose. When the bit pipe provider is a monopoly (as the telcos and cablecos pretty much are) AND they get to decide if they want to pass traffic that competes with products they also might offer, then I can easily get screwed.

It is about separation of the pipe from the content. The telcos would like to bundle the pipes and the content - because the content is where the money is. The point of net neutrality is that you should be able to buy a pipe at a fair price and then use it for any content you want. It does not imply you are entitled to 50MB/s bidirectional for $20/month. All it should mean is that you can use the committed bandwidth you purchase for any purpose you desire.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 06, 2006 20:54      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Quoth qf:
The point of net neutrality is that you should be able to buy a pipe at a fair price and then use it for any content you want. It does not imply you are entitled to 50MB/s bidirectional for $20/month. All it should mean is that you can use the committed bandwidth you purchase for any purpose you desire.
I agree wholeheartedly with you. The only catch to this, which no one will like, is that some of the prices might change to provide this kind of access. Everyone wants bandwidth like they want their gas: as cheap as they can get it, and they'll raise hell if the prices go up.

I don't even know what we pay for our bandwidth at work, but it's certainly a fair going rate. So long as we're not doing anything illegal or abusive, we can do whatever we damn well please with it, and at times, we have made judicious use of it. (One of my happiest Internet moments ever was downloading a full Knoppix CD ISO in 92 seconds.)

In order to woo customers into signing up...and most certainly, into getting them to go for bundled packages, ISPs are most likely selling their access for less than the going rate, under the assumption that it will never be fully used. Anyone who /does/ use the allotted bandwidth consistently will get capped... it's definitely a mess. Unfortunately, I think this whole pricing business started with the flat rate fiasco of the mid-late 90s, introduced by AOL. Once the biggest ~ISP~ started it, everyone else followed suit, and all of a sudden, it was everyone's God-given right to use as much bandwidth as possible, for as little money as possible. In the midst of this, I really want to know how long YouTube can continue to burn through a speculated $1M per day of bandwidth.

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted July 07, 2006 06:44      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
Net neutrality is a very simple concept. I want to by internet bandwidth from one provider (my telco or my cableco) and I want to be able to by my VOIP phone service and my movie download service from any provider I choose.

...

It is about separation of the pipe from the content. The telcos would like to bundle the pipes and the content - because the content is where the money is. The point of net neutrality is that you should be able to buy a pipe at a fair price and then use it for any content you want. It does not imply you are entitled to 50MB/s bidirectional for $20/month. All it should mean is that you can use the committed bandwidth you purchase for any purpose you desire.

Sure, net neutrality is simple if you condense it down to a list of things that you want from your provider. But realistically, it's not going to happen.

You say you want to buy bandwidth at a 'fair' price, but what if that price was significantly higher than what you're paying at the moment, for the same advertised service. Sure, you might understand that increased usage is causing costs to rise, but how are the companies going to explain this to all the less techy people that are suddenly facing higher charges?

As far as I can tell, there's a very good argument to say that the best way for customers to get the service they expect is through an internet that has no illusions of neutrality.

I'd love a connection on which I can do whatever I like, without restriction, but I couldn't pay the price I'd have to. It seems that I'll have to put up with it.

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 07, 2006 07:34      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dragonman and maximile both reach the logical conclusion that costs for unrestricted service might rise. But, so what? The costs are still there. It's just that current pricing models for internet access are based on people not actually using all the bandwidth that is advertised to them or the bundling of higher cost services (phone and video) with access.

I would rather have those costs clearly split out, so that I can purchase the value added services that I want, rather than those that the pipe owner restricts me to.

quote:
As far as I can tell, there's a very good argument to say that the best way for customers to get the service they expect is through an internet that has no illusions of neutrality.
Maximile: Did you even bother to think this through for a second? You almost got it right that unfettered, free markets will eventually deliver things at the right price point, but internet access is not a free market. The telcos and cablecos are semi-regulated monopolies. They were given right of way to string cables in return for delivering a service deemed useful to society. Most people do not have a choice of who they get access from.

People who believe that they will get what "they expect" from a monopoly will actually just end up getting what they *deserve*.

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Spiderman

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Icon 1 posted July 07, 2006 08:35      Profile for Spiderman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am a network engineer for a small(ish) fixed wireless ISP. Like most ISPs in our category, we are "Last Mile" providers. We deliver directly to the consumer, and our bandwidth is not resold. Keeping this in mind, the following may or may not be relevant to the debate as a whole, as I'm fairly certain that any legislation on this subject is targeted at larger telcos, but, I feel like rambling a bit anyway. [Wink]

As an aside, I should mention that we are *not* a wifi outfit...we use proprietary long range, point to multipoint microwave gear from motorola, so the end user's experience is rather similar to what one would expect from a cable connection in terms of bandwidth capabilities and latency, but I digress.

Like everyone else, all of our links are oversubscribed. In a hypothetical situation, a 20Mbit link is run to a cluster of six access points, each capable of providing 10Mbits to the customers associated with it. Approximately 50-60 customers can be accommodated on each access point. With about 80% of the customers opting for a 3Mbit connection, and the rest at about 1.5Mbits, there is obviously no way that the AP could hold up if all users were fully using their bandwidth at all times.

This is where the QoS/shaping comes in.

In order to maintain customer satisfaction, heavy users *will* be scaled back, frivolous traffic *will* be given a low priority, and traffic such as VoIP is sent to the front of packet queues.

If we see fit to cut back some category of traffic that begins to become problematic, we will do so at our discretion. Customers agree to this in their contract when signing up.

We've toyed with the idea of providing VoIP directly to our customers, and I see the value in providing service where we can prioritize our system above say, Vonage. There would be no degradation of competing VoIP providers. In a perfect world, this would work, but the room for abuse is obvious. Do you trust *your* ISP? probably not.

Given the complexities that any form of legislation would bring, I'm of the opinion that leaving things as they are would be the best solution. Lesser of evils I suppose?

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 07, 2006 10:21      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with that. Legislation is probably worse than leaving things alone ... but....

You're point about trusting the ISP is an important one. There have been recent cases of telcos outright blocking Vonage traffic. The current legal framework does nothing to prevent more of this happening.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 07, 2006 13:18      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
I agree with that. Legislation is probably worse than leaving things alone ... but....

You're point about trusting the ISP is an important one. There have been recent cases of telcos outright blocking Vonage traffic. The current legal framework does nothing to prevent more of this happening.

He who controls the network, controls the access. Most people believe that everyone must be able to access everything all the time. Well...not if I feel like it. [Smile] Unless you're getting business grade connections, your resources are provided at the discretion of the ISP.

For better or for worse, I use RBLs on inbound e-mail. These block 250,000-300,000 attempted message deliveries per day. (I can't honestly say 'messages,' as many of them are surely to [email protected] and would bounce with 'unknown user at host.) Every now and then I hear of a case in which a legit. message was denied because the sending IP is blacklisted (Gmail even has a few listed IPs). If someone doesn't like it...tough...I am prevent so much spam from reaching people that there is no way I'm going to turn off the blacklists to let one or two unfortunate casualties get through. (Also, it seems non-trivial to whitelist IPs from RBLs in the system I use. :-/)

I would really love a 'proper' connection for residential access, with no restrictions...which I could have external access to ports 25 & 80 on. Would I love paying $70/month for that? Probably not...but if I really needed that level of service, I would definitely pay for it. For now, I'm quite pleased with Verizon FiOS, with no bundled packages. [Smile]

If Congress feels an absolute need to make a law about broadband, it should be for clear advertising and information regarding the level of service provided. Ports 25 & 80 blocked? Tell the customer! TOS restricts the use of P2P? Tell the customer! Static IPs are an option? Tell the customer!

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maximile

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Icon 1 posted July 08, 2006 07:52      Profile for maximile   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
I would rather have those costs clearly split out, so that I can purchase the value added services that I want, rather than those that the pipe owner restricts me to.

Right... but I don't think that what you want is the same as what most internet users want. Most internet users want to get on MSN or Myspace, and of course they'll grumble about the speed, but a lot less than they'd grumble about the price if that increased.

quote:
Originally posted by quantumfluff:
quote:
As far as I can tell, there's a very good argument to say that the best way for customers to get the service they expect is through an internet that has no illusions of neutrality.
Maximile: Did you even bother to think this through for a second? You almost got it right that unfettered, free markets will eventually deliver things at the right price point, but internet access is not a free market. The telcos and cablecos are semi-regulated monopolies. They were given right of way to string cables in return for delivering a service deemed useful to society. Most people do not have a choice of who they get access from.

People who believe that they will get what "they expect" from a monopoly will actually just end up getting what they *deserve*.

Like I said, this is an issue about which I've been reading a lot recently. Of course I had to learn about how the internet and infrastructure is regulated in various countries, but I think I now have a pretty good grasp on it.

But my point was not that the problem would go away thanks to a free market. I meant to say that what would suit the most people would be for this law to be kicked out, and to allow the companies to do what they want.

Of course, there should be a better solution. But it seems to me that this law isn't it.

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Colonel Panic
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Considering what Comcast, AT&T and Mediacom pay my congressman, I don't think me, a letter and my vote count much.

His voting record is pretty much what the big communications companies tell him to do.

As for Net Neutrality, I'm not sure who pays for all the broad band improvements. I figured me and the other millions of folks who fork out $40 a month just to be hooked up was enough -- plus there's what all the other companies pay to have their server farms up and harvesting cash.

This seems like it will generate another communications fee, and leave me with less than what I have now.

Wow! How exciting!

CP

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 09, 2006 12:36      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sure that no more than half of a subscriber's fees on broadband goes towards paying for core Internet infrastructure. Most of that goes towards the upkeep and expansion of the last mile, and the operations of the ISP. Dialup might pay more into it, as they run the modems, but don't own the copper.

Regarding server farms...the lion's share of that surely goes towards plant operations and opportunity costs, though I would wager that they do pay more towards core infrastructure than some ISPs do.

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 14:09      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I couldn't resist the necropost here, but when you get fools like Senator Stevens railing against neutrality, it's too good not to share.
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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted July 15, 2006 15:23      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't want to rain on your parade QF but I posted a link to that one earlier on (different link to the same quote...)

But it is still damnably funny isn't it?

[thumbsup]

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