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Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1497
Net Neutrality  Reply with quote  

I have been seeing more and more on this as the months go on, and I've also noticed their are quite a few very tech-savvy people on here so I'm curious to get some of your opinions on the whole matter. I'm rather new to this whole debate but it looks to me like this is just a bunch of greedy companies trying to privatize the internet to make a whole shit load of money off of it, but then again as I said I'm pretty new to this concept and it's very possible I am way off base with my assumption.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 5:46 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8501
Location: Third Coast
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Never heard of it. Link it up.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 6:07 pm
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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1497
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http://www.google.com/help/netneutrality.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality
http://timwu.org/network_neutrality.html

That's just a few, there are tons of resources online about this and I'm sure a lot of sources better then the ones I provided, but it's somewhere to start.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 6:11 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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That's what I'm talking about, dude. I could have done this myself, but I'm lazy. I'll get back to you.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 6:16 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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Yeah, this net neutrality concept certainly has the possibility of violating certain antitrust and monopoly statutes, if I understand it correctly. The regulation of anything in excess will always lead to problems. I personally think that this would be pointless from a practical sense, but maybe I need to learn a bit more before I can come to a definitive conclusion.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 6:25 pm
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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duno how accurate this is, but its meant to illustrate what could happen without nn




i fear this
Post Tue May 27, 2008 6:57 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8501
Location: Third Coast
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Ahhhhh! What is the internet coming to?
Post Tue May 27, 2008 7:40 pm
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metachronos



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 454
Location: Green Bay, WI
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mancabbage wrote:
duno how accurate this is, but its meant to illustrate what could happen without nn




i fear this


Goddamn that is terrifying.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 7:42 pm
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albeeyap2



Joined: 10 Jul 2004
Posts: 1258
Location: Inland Empire CA
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wtf! that's like choosing what premium channels you want for your cable provider. FUCK THAT.

ugh!
Post Tue May 27, 2008 7:49 pm
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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1497
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albeeyap2 wrote:
wtf! that's like choosing what premium channels you want for your cable provider. FUCK THAT.

ugh!


Exactly. This has been in the works for quite some time but just recently has it been gaining a lot more attention. There are a lot of big decisions about the future of the internet being made and it seems like the majority of them are being made by good ol' American corporations, as is how most of the policy in this country seems to be decided.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 8:00 pm
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
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Location: Northern New Jersey
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Eh, that graphic is fairly backward. The current threat to net neutrality is that service providers want to charge websites, not the end users, for preferred routing and bandwidth allocation.

What it means is that Google paying AT&T (or whoever) for their shit-ton of connectivity in several locations immediately off of Internet backbones won't be enough. Google will also have to pay Verizon so that Verizon's FIOS customers don't have artificial lag, adverse traffic shaping, and bandwidth caps applied to Google content. Naturally, Google will pay, but can SFR afford to, or the millions of other websites?

It's all because they see a way to monetize something that was previously free. They don't want to take it to the customer, because the customer may have other options (dsl vs fiber vs cable vs wifi) so they have to compete. However, once they have those customers they essentially have a monopoly on providing the connection between them and popular websites. So the websites will have to pay for the monopolized customers. Remember, every major provider of broadband Internet connectivity is an organization that has thrived under service monopolies, so we'd be foolish to think that they won't seek any monopoly available to them.

In the end, the real problem is that websites who can afford it will pay. Once that happens then the damage will be done. Little websites will start loading slower... and slower... and slower... until the little guys start to pay, too. The user, who creates their own concepts of how the technical things work, will be just as likely to blame the website as they are to blame their provider. Still, none of that will be quite as bad as the system we currently have with cable television.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 8:04 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 1993
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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We talked about this once before (look for a Net Neutrality thread started by Jared Paul in the Knowmore archives), but I wasn't as articulate as I wanted to be the first time so I'm glad you brought it up again.

The Internet is already more private than you probably think. It's a state-owned affair in some countries, but in most of the Western world you're talking about customer-vendor relationships that move packets across privately owned cables, over privately-owned equipment, with the time and effort of people who are paid by a company, not by the government. There's not even one Internet, just a bunch of tier-one providers who mostly agree to share traffic with each other. Almost every node on the Internet has a certain percentage of the "other" Internet that should be routable, but isn't due to incomplete peering agreements, routing misconfigurations, contractual disputes, state-operated firewalls, etc.

As a tech-savvy guy, my discomfort with net neutrality has always been that regulation in the tech sphere has a tendency to get things wrong. Ask people who have to implement IT compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley whether they think the law is a good law or not. It may prevent (or at least mitigate) another Enron-esque collapse, but it comes at the cost of putting a whole class of IT policy decisions into the hands of auditors and regulators who don't understand how systems are actually getting used in the real world. There's no reason to expect that net neutrality legislation will be any more informed.

The stuff that some ISPs are talking about in terms of rate-limiting Google traffic because MSN has pade for faster traffic, that's evil, but it's also stupid, and there's no good reason why customers should stand for it, especially if they're not getting a huge break on their monthly bills. There are alternative examples, though -- things like rate-limiting BitTorrent traffic in favor of Vonage and Skype 911 calls -- which are things where you specifically don't want a neutral net, and we need to make sure that whatever regulation does happen doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Also, even if you can come up with tech-literate regulation, taking revenue out of the system creates disincentives against further investment in that system. Profit margins at the tier one ISPs are razor-thin, and we're utilizing more and more of the existing infrastructure every year. It's hard to go a month in tech/IT circles without reading some article about how at current rates of growth we will reach some cataclysmic shortage in Internet capacity unless we invest aggressively in the networks now; the money to drive that investment has to come from somewhere, as does the manpower to build and maintain the new networks.

The two things that make me not oppose the idea entirely:
1. The "grandma factor". We're nearing 80% or more of citizens in industrialized nations with email or some other form of Internet access, and most of those people have no idea what a packet or a port is, let alone how to tell whether or not traffic is being inappropriately interfered with by ISPs. Because of the huge knowledge gap between most of the userbase and the portion of the userbase that would be most affected by a non-neutral net, consumers aren't able to put appropriate pressure on ISPs. You have to distill the problems of a non-neutral net into something your grandmother can recognize and yell at her customer service representative about, or you're going to be forced to live with her bad decisions, unknowing as they may be.
2. The last mile problem. Internet access is a few-to-many proposition, and it's relatively inexpensive (per user) to run a terabit worth of fiberoptic cable from Minneapolis to Denver -- but it's hugely expensive to run a unique cable from the local broadband office to each and every potential customer within a mile of that office. Because traversing this last mile is socially important, we've used government subsidies to help the first installation happen -- and then regulated markets to protect the huge up-front investments of the first company off the mark in any given market. The people who own the telephone and cable TV infrastructures have a huge competitive advantage over everyone else who is interested in spanning that last mile to offer high-quality Internet connectivity. It's a 20 to 50 year head start in the large cities, and the companies have no market incentive to allow competition.

As we talk about public policy around these questions, we need to balance the growth needs of the network with the interests of the consumer -- interests that are disadvantaged by the very same "long tail" paradigm that has made the Internet such an exciting and productive technology for all of us. I think the right balance can be found with a hybrid strategy:

CARROT: Setting public policy that makes it easy for new entrants into the bandwidth game to solve the last mile problem. The open network policies that Google forced onto segments of the 700MHz auction are a step in that direction; another thing we need more of is government investment in research around municipal wi-fi, mesh networking technologies, and longer-range packet radio architectures like WiMAX; not to mention optical switching technologies and other inventions that let us push 100 times more bits down the same fiber strand.

STICK: Identify the core technologies that threaten a neutral network, and require more transparency at the ISP level around the roll-out of those technologies. If Comcast wants to implement traffic-shaping tools that kill Bit Torrent uploads coming out of their network, fine -- but they should be required to send a plain language letter to every customer explaining what they're doing and why. And there need to be stiff penalties for any ISP failing to meet the transparency requirements.

This transparency is a good thing anyway, because you can push other requirements into the same compliance regime -- for example, forcing ISPs to monitor their networks for botnet/malware activity and shutting off or otherwise filtering the end-users running on afflicted computers.

In general -- I think it's better to give consumers the tools and choices they need to create incentives for good behavior (however they want to define that) than it is to try to make rules preventing ISPs engaging in bad behavior. My feeling is that the net neutrality movement, while well-intended, focuses too heavily on the stick and not enough on the carrot.


Last edited by Mark in Minnesota on Tue May 27, 2008 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Tue May 27, 2008 8:37 pm
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breakreep
homophobic yet curious


Joined: 27 Sep 2004
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Massively infomatic per usual, thanks Mark, but what is the "viber strange" at the end of your Carrot paragraph?
Post Tue May 27, 2008 9:53 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 1993
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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That will teach me to try to write a 1000-word position post while I'm meant to be playing blitz chess at the tea bar. 'viber strange' is an amusing typo for 'fiber strand'.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 10:01 pm
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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1497
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Ha, well I think I like viber strange better anyways, it has a much more enigmatic sound to it. And thank you, your post was very informative and cleared up quite a bit for me, I'm still not 100% sure of what's going with all of this, but to get there I think I'm going to need quite a bit more of technical knowledge. Thanks again though.
Post Tue May 27, 2008 10:26 pm
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