Why Is There So Little Honesty In The Net Neutrality Debate?

from the is-it-so-hard? dept

We've been bashing both sides of the net neutrality debate for stretching their arguments to ridiculous extremes -- but what's bothersome is that even when things are clearly untrue and been disproved, they're still being trotted out as arguments. The question really, is whether or not the people making the arguments know they're being dishonest and keep at it. With some of the arguments it's hard to see how people can legitimately believe what they're saying. On the pro-net neutrality legislation side, we've already pointed out why cases like BellSouth and MySpace and Craigslist and Cox have nothing to do with net neutrality -- yet they're still being used by supporters of legislation as examples of broken net neutrality policies. On the other side, the dishonest statements are just as bad -- if not worse. We've covered the two misleading editorials by Washington DC papers, and it appears that's now extended out to Chicago -- where a piece by the Tribune appears to have been written by pro-telco lobbyists -- trotting out all sorts of dishonest statements as if they were fact. It claims that internet companies like Google and Amazon don't want to pay for their bandwidth -- which is false. They already pay for their bandwidth. What the telcos are discussing is making them pay twice because they don't seem to understand that people don't pay to connect to the middle, but to the ends of the network. Then the editorial trots out the FCC's discredited stats on broadband competition -- which have already been shown to be meaningless for the purpose of this debate. It then trots out the telcos favorite lie, that there simply won't be enough bandwidth if they don't tier things. Beyond confusing the issue of QoS and bandwidth, it's simply false. There's still a huge bandwidth glut, and it's not likely to go away any time soon.

Finally, the article rolls out the bogus argument that a few others have used before that, if network neutrality applied to the delivery of packages, we'd never have FedEx or UPS because they wouldn't be able to offer priority service. That's the wrong analogy, since there's no barrier to entry into that space in the form of a natural monopoly. If the analogy was to hold, it would be a situation where the government sold off the interstate highways to private companies to manage (the Roadcos), in exchange for reasonable rules that since they were given publicly funded infrastructure, they could not discriminate by vehicle owner who drove on those roads. Now, the Roadcos are coming back and saying they need to rebuild their highways to accommodate more traffic, and in doing so, they want to charge FedEx extra to drive in a special fastlane -- while potentially blocking out UPS. Charging more for trucks vs. cars makes sense, and charging more for more usage makes sense. But charging different brands of trucks different amounts raises questions since they have so much control over the network... er... highway. It's quite difficult for someone to plop down a competing highway next door. There may be local roads, and perhaps one other highway choice, but it's nowhere near real competition. Hopefully the future will include flying cars that don't need roads or teleporting or some new technology that wipes out the need for the natural monopoly infrastructure -- but we're just not there yet.

But instead of actually debating the real issues, we get hyperbole about how either side represents the end of the internet as we know it. That link is full of even more ridiculous statements from a pro-telco think tank that even tries to rope in how dangerous muni-WiFi is to the internet. Apparently, the writer believes the argument that mesh WiFi could be the competition needed to keep the telcos in line. However, for a supposed expert in the space, she seems to completely ignore the fact that almost every muni-WiFi deal is really no different than the deals the telcos got. That is, it's not taxpayer supported, but the government is simply giving a private company rights of way. For someone to claim that this somehow is unfair to the telcos who got the same deal (and then chose to ignore the obligations that came with it) suggests someone who is purposely lying to further one side of the debate.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Julian Bond, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 3:18pm

    Tired of this

    You know what? If you Americans can't work out that competition in the broadband space is good, that your artificially created, government sponsored monopoly on broadband provision is bad and needs changing or that cheap fast broadband is good for your economy and your long term future as a global player, then screw you. We'll just start treating the USA as damage and route round you. I'm getting really, really tired of this debate. It's not about net neutrality. It's not even about end to end connectivity. It's about propping up the failing business models of dinosaur corporations by spinning and lobbying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    JerseyRich, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 3:36pm

    Mike, Mike, Mike.....

    ...see what happens? You write more than one short paragraph and all these ADD sufferers lose you :-P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Abyss, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 3:45pm

    Re: JerseyRich

    Agreed. I haven't even bothered to read more than the first sentence. I prolly will in a bit, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Trent, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 4:01pm

    Why not?

    Why is there so little honesty in any Congressional debate? For that matter, why is there so little honesty (or is it simply ignorance) in your debate? You say there is no natural monopoly in package delivery and that whether UPS and FedEx would not exist in a "net neutrality" world is an unfair comparison.

    You know, of course, that US law prohibits UPS or FedEx from delivering first class mail? That the implicit subsidy the post office receives by nature of this "natural monopoly" makes it very difficult for private companies to compete on rural routes? I suggest Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 as an entertaining approachto learning about this.

    Meantime, the best thing for the future of the Internet would be for Congress to stay the hell away from it in any way whatsoever, else we end up repealing their foolish "Iraq War" anti-encryption laws 100 years from now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jun 26th, 2006 @ 4:31pm

      Re: Why not?

      You know, of course, that US law prohibits UPS or FedEx from delivering first class mail? That the implicit subsidy the post office receives by nature of this "natural monopoly" makes it very difficult for private companies to compete on rural routes?

      I'm not sure what definition of "natural monopoly" you're using, but that is not a natural monopoly. You're discussing a government granted monopoly -- which is a different thing. A natural monopoly is a situation where it simply is economically inefficient to have the same infrastructure built mulitple times, as the network effects of having a single infrastructure are quite strong.

      As for the monopoly that the USPS has, that's something quite different -- and you'll note that it hasn't stopped Fedex or UPS from competing with them at all.

      The point is that Fedex and UPS can easily compete with the USPS, in part because of the transportation infrastructure out there and anyone can use it freely. These are services on top of the infrastructure -- like a Google or a Yahoo. They're not the infrastructure itself, like the highway system, or your broadband connection.

      So, I fail to see what's dishonest about my explanation, but feel free to let me know. If I'm wrong about something I'm willing to learn.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    anonymous coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 4:27pm

    why doesn't someone just draw a friggin' diagram and end this debate

    contentcreatorcontent servercustomer

    argument over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 4:33pm

    Preaching to the Choir?

    I would venture a guess that the majority of people who read this are probably well-versed in this topic (most likely due to the myriad of previous posts on this topic). Wouldn't this post be better used as the basis for an editorial to counter these "misleading editorials"?

    Mike reaching out to the unwashed masses...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Mousky, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 5:00pm

      Re: Preaching to the Choir?

      That is unlikely since Mike has his own agenda in regards to net neutrality. As far as I can tell, Mike seems supports net neutrality legislation on the basis that it will act to punish the telcos/cablecos who stole money from the government on the premise of providing faster broadband (among other things). At the very least, he sees the threat of net neutrality legislation as some sort of big stick being waved around by the government in the hopes of promoting competition. Two wrongs do not make a right. Besides, the telcos/cablecos are experts at manipulating regulations to their advantage. If net neutrality was legislated, I can guarantee you that customers will see a 'net neutrality fee' on their bills.

      Not being able to fully defend his position (though I'm not totally convinced he has taken a position) Mike has resorted to pointing out absurdities in pro and con arguments. That to me, is the clearest sign that net neutrality legislation is unwarranted. In the end, despite the hot air from a few telco CEOs, net neutrality will prevail not because of legislation, but because it represents the best business case.

      This discussion reminds about all the discussion concerning oil and gasoline. The way people talk about gasoline prices, one would think that we are in a crisis. Yet, fuel is readily available. There are no fuel shortages, no long lines snaking around street corners. People are buying bigger vehicles. People are driving their big vehicles. Is there a crisis in the internet network? I have no problem talking about the real issue - the lack of competition - but it seems that Mike has a net neutrality fetish because he insists on posting at least one story a week about this non-issue.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Mike (profile), Jun 26th, 2006 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Re: Preaching to the Choir?

        That is unlikely since Mike has his own agenda in regards to net neutrality. As far as I can tell, Mike seems supports net neutrality legislation on the basis that it will act to punish the telcos/cablecos who stole money from the government on the premise of providing faster broadband (among other things)

        Have you read anything I've written? This is almost the complete opposite of my position.

        I DON'T support net neutrality legislation. I think, as written, it's beyond useless.

        I don't want to punish the telcos for stealing money. I don't think the gov't should have a big stick.

        I want competition in the space. I think the best way to get competition in the space is to face up to the fact that, right now, broadband infrastructure really is a natural monopoly. The reason I support pushing back on the telcos for breaking their promises is because those promises seem more likely to have resulted in real competition in the broadband space -- which is the key issue.

        If there were competition, then net neutrality isn't an issue. So I don't really care about the core net neutrality debate. I think it's a distraction -- but it's such an annoying distraction that people are looking at it the wrong way. The reason I bring it up so often is because I want people to recognize the real issue and focus on that. If they focus on net neutrality, no one will focus on the real issue of competition in the space.

        I'm confused, by the way, how "pointing out absurdities in both pro and con arguments" is "not being able to defend [my] position." I've stated my position REPEATEDLY for quite some time.

        So please, don't put words in my mouth -- especially when they're flat out wrong.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Trent, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 4:51pm

    Natural Monopoly

    The natural monopoly argument I am using is the one that was behind granting the legal monopoly. The same one that was behind granting AT&T a legal monopoly for 100 years. The idea, sold to someone in government, that it would be completely impossible to have any service at all without granting a monopoly to the service provider in question. That natural monopoly definition.

    FedEx and UPS have been able to compete on package delivery. Were they also able to offer first-class delivery it is likely they could make more efficient use of their capital base to deliver multiple services to the same home. That has nothing to do with roads or other transportation infrastructure. To link one concept (competitive market) to the other (infrastructure as a public good) as you did is dishonest.

    You are drawing a comparison to roads which were provided by public funds, and the Internet which was provided by a combination of public funds, private investment, the grant of suspect legal monopolies, and a myriad of other sources. You may or may not agree that roads should be a public good, but at least it makes for a straightforward argument. How do you determine which part of the Internet is the public good and which part was made by private investment?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jun 26th, 2006 @ 5:13pm

      Re: Natural Monopoly

      FedEx and UPS have been able to compete on package delivery. Were they also able to offer first-class delivery it is likely they could make more efficient use of their capital base to deliver multiple services to the same home. That has nothing to do with roads or other transportation infrastructure. To link one concept (competitive market) to the other (infrastructure as a public good) as you did is dishonest.

      Hmm? Now I'm just confused. I was responding to someone else using the analogy, and showing why their analogy didn't make sense.

      I think you're reading too much into my response. I was simply pointing out that the analogy can be flipped around just as easily.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jezsik, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 4:58pm

    Highway analogy

    I've used the same analogy but adding that not only do *you* have to pay to use the roads, but popular destinations (e.g. Six-Flags) must *also* pay the Roadco.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    J.R., Jun 26th, 2006 @ 5:18pm

    http://www.handsoff.org/ -- I nearly spat while watching this crudely drawn tripe (the animations). And it goes a long way towards showing the lies they're flinging around. I mean, here's the thing: they say that we need to have different lanes in the pipe for priority services... but we need to not have it regulated... so... so they're saying, and stay with me on this folks:

    Dumb Internet == Regulated internet where all data is treated equally.

    Smart Internet == Unregulated internet where all data gets special treatment.

    But... but... data being treated equally doesn't NEED regulation! And data treated specially HAS TO HAVE REGULATION. ARGH! THEY ANGER HULK! HULK SMASH PUNY INTARWEB!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Russ Stebbins, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 5:20pm

    trucking

    the problem for me is not that they could restrict traffic by FEDEX over UPS, although we should be concerned by sweetheart deals.

    The problem I forsee is that the teleco's want to both own the roads as well as the trucking companies. It is as though they were to charge FedEx and UPS premium tolls but thier trucks got to use it for free

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Reed, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 6:29pm

    When the bandwith dries up

    What is the point of the whole net-neutrality debate when the reality is the internet has plenty of bandwith still? I have heard at least one person comment that less than 1% of our total fiber optic network is in use.

    It seems to me people want to get paid for nothing. I was under the impression most of the internet connections where made with the help of government subsidies. So they never really paid full price for it in the first place. Next, it isn't even close to being used up yet.

    In order for the debate to even start one way or the other their must be some implicit or explicit cost going on here, but I can't find it!

    Does someone want to enlighten me with some conspiracy theory? Because the current theories and rhetorics are just outright retarded.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Blbpaws, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 7:38pm

    Editoral

    I wouldn't mind seeing Mike expand his thoughts into a NYT or Washington Post editorial. Some sense would finally enter the debate. How about it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    d.l., Jun 26th, 2006 @ 7:41pm

    bandwidth

    The fact that there's a lot of fiber out there (somewhere) doesn't necessarily prove much. The capacity of the Internet is limited not just by the amount of fiber in any provider's backbone network, but perhaps more importantly by the capacity of the links between providers. Anyone who thinks there's a glut of capacity in these links is mistaken.

    The Internet is ill-suited for faster-than-historical expansion in utilization. The pace at which backbone providers expand interconnect capacity does not even keep up with historic rates of growth. QoS doesn't really fix this either. The real problem is that the backbone providers' business models seem to require more capital than the revenues justify. Backbone providers need more revenue -- that's what it really comes down to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    I, for one, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 9:35pm

    Red herring

    Two reasons

    As others have already said, it's because there isn't really any such debate as "Net Neutrality", it's a red herring. The only real issue is competition in the telecoms market, which if we had any would render neutrality moot. I admit it took me a lot of thinking to see through the smokescreen and arrive at that conclusion.


    Secondly, as I've tried to articulate in many of my other posts we have a real problem with the psychology of prominent spokespersons throughout government and industry right now. Obfuscation is the order of the day and the "net neutrality debate" is typical of a tactic to divert attention from a core issue.

    A program was screened on British TV recently called "Gods new army". I highly reccomed you watch it if you can find it. It was a shocking insight into American far right christian political grooming school to "forge new leaders". The entire operation came over as sinister brainwashing incubator where candidates are broken down and then infused with the most spectacular sense of self deception. In other words it's a school for liars, pawns and yes-men. Nothing to do with "leadership" as you and I would understand it. These are the people being installed at every level of public interface right now. An entire art of deception and rhetorical bullying has emerged that relies on spin, lying, character assasination... basicaly avoiding rational debate at any cost.

    As I've said before, these people are fundamentally incapable of knowing or reasoning about truth since they are brain damaged, in a very sad way. We have to learn to recognise them by the noises they make, not what they are attempting to "say".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), Jun 26th, 2006 @ 9:47pm

    Change or no change?

    The bogus "net neutrality" debate comes down to one fundamental question: are we going to allow the Internet to adapt to the needs of the future or are we going to strangle it according to the design of the past?

    The Internet is under assault by new applications such as telephony and streaming video and new protocols such as Bit Torrent that suck up all available bandwidth. The old TCP-based congestion model doesn't work any more, and people expect better QoS for their phone calls than they can reasonably hope to get on a network dominated by Bit Torrent traffic. And the business model for the wholesale Internet has never been right.

    The net neutrality sycophants with their backward-looking hippie fixation on the past are the real barrier to technical progress for the Net.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Don S, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 8:45am

      Re: Change or no change?

      Spoken like a true telco shill.

      The Internet is hardly "under assault" by applications or protocols. The only bandwidth being "sucked up" is that of the hosts providing the various services to their customers and/or users. This bandwidth is already being paid for by said hosts and users. Why, then, should the telcos be allowed to charge for this same bandwidth again?

      There is a world of difference between offering a premium service, which many file download sites already do, and requiring extortion money before allowing a group of users to have anything more than the barest of access to a website. That, I believe, is the true crux of the matter and one that real competition would render moot. Real competition in the broadband space, however, is as readily available as politicians passing on lobbyist-sponsored junkets.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bill, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 9:29am

    Why not truth?

    It actually seems rather simple to me. All we demand of our government anymore is that they put forth an expaination, not an answer, nor even a reasonable explaination. This is the nation where, all too often, when I ask someone whether they are a Democrat or Republican, then ask why, the number one set of answers is that their dad/mom/grandpa/friend/professor/dog said to. Essentially, they have no idea, nor would they want one filling their empty space.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Fred Halpern, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 10:05am

    I'm all for it, I think

    If the telcos mean they're going to put the porn downloaders into to the slow lane so that I can enjoy interrupt free HD IPTV and IP telephone calls without drops, then I'm all for it.

    Seriously, I can't help but get the feeling that there are significant costs/bandwidth issues involved and companies like Google want to pass those costs onto customers like me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Mr. K., Jun 27th, 2006 @ 10:07am

    Who do you trust.

    The editorial argues that there is enough competition in broadband and the cable companies would be limited from innovating. What a crock. In my area we only two, maybe three choices. That's it. I see very limited innovation coming from the broadband companies in terms of technology or services. They commonly lock people into 1 year contracts while they lower prices for new subscribers. They are monoplies that are abusing their power over the markets where there is limited competition. I think they should realize that nobody is signging up for broadband in order to look at Comcat's home page. They are doing it for access to sites like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon and therefore they should know where they stand in the pecking order. This is why they are doing the power grab... because in a truly competitive market they would lose this battle with their outdated, overpriced services.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MnZ, Jun 28th, 2006 @ 12:49pm

    UPS and Fedex are valid

    However, if you have a problem with those examples, let's use the post office, which has traditionally charged different rates for different tiers of service.

    Frankly, charging differently for different tiers of service makes sense.

    -A video conference needs a large amount of regularly timed packets.

    -VOIP needs a small amount of regularly timed packets.

    -Streaming, buffered HD video can needs a large amount of packets, but these can be timed irregularly.

    -Email needs a small amount of packets that can be timed irregularly.

    By the way, if Internet service is a natural monopoly, then charging tiered rates is a beneficial to consumers. As a matter of economics, if a monopoly has to charge the same price for everyone, then it will choose a price above what lower margin customers can afford or are willing to pay. However, if the monopoly can charge a different price to lower margin customers, then it can offer low margin customers a price they will accept.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Michael Martinez, Jun 30th, 2006 @ 2:57pm

    Stop and look at the complaint provision

    The problem with the Net Neutrality bill is that it will allow any party to stifle new development for any reason, the same way media companies prevented local organizations from developing low-band television stations in the 1970s and 1980s.

    All the media companies had to do was lodge an objection to an application for a low-band license, and it died right there.

    With the Net Neutrality bill, if a Telco wants to create new higher speed infrastructure capable of surpassing today's infrastructure (and the current bandwidth glut doesn't make the infrastructure more capable than it would be at 90-95% usage), all Google has to do is file an objection to their application and the Telco is stuck.

    Then Google can go ahead and finish building out its WiFi network and they control the new infrastructure.

    This bill isn't about whether the consumers are going to be directly impacted by new infrastructure costs. It's about who will control the next layer of infrastructure in such a way as to be able to monetize it.

    There won't be any neutrality with this bill. Just a lot of people pointing fingers at each other because they cannot develop and monetize infrastructure alternatives to Google's WiFi network.

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    If you support this bill and it passes, you'll get exactly what you deserve: another era of Microsoft-like stifling of innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    L. M., Jul 28th, 2006 @ 9:35am

    subtle onion-like layers of B.S.

    I htink the argument on net neutrality is so heated mainly because not everyone is talking about the same thing. First there is the academic version of net neutrality, all packets are sent equally whether they are video, voice or otherwise. A bad idea if you want to do anything more than read and look at still pics over the net. Then there is the libertarian version of net neutrality, or website neutrality, that says every website is created equal and cannot be charged otherwise, and the telecom companies have said they will not violate. (and why should we not trust them right??) Then there is Senator Olympia Snowe's version of website neutrality which prevents bundling of services and forces telecoms to state and keep users at a specific bandwidth as well as giving net neutrality and basically puts the telecoms and ISPs over a barrel and might well be impossible to do anyway. So just a thought, maybe people should be specific in what version they support, net neutrality, website neutrality or Snowe's neutrality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dooley Pouriliaee, Aug 1st, 2006 @ 7:35pm

    Why...

    It's a sad state when companies want to tear down what we have and simply divide it further.

    It's even sadder that do this rather than evolve further.

    The idea that we wish to further divide down what we already have, as a money grab, is sickening.
    We should be evolving what we have... not mixing and matching red tape in an effort to syphon more money from each other.

    The idea of internet2 has so much potential to save many aspects of humanity in ways nobody on a telco lobby could understand, such as information sharing, and increased security.

    It's a proven fact throughout history that when you accept the bad with the good, suddenly the bad becomes easier to manage with the good. That is, that in the face of wifi takeover we'd have the airways clogged with advertisement, but with wireless you can't see me if I don't want you to.

    Suddenly half of 'our' (the little people) problems disappear. The corporates though, understand that wifi is freedom from this sort of state...

    internet2 is a concept that would allow my pc to connect to your pc if yours or mine were running similiar programs and thusly mine or your computer would be assisted in the processes (if not busy).
    Like p2p data transmission and processes would be so much more successful.

    What if your friend's computer could detect that yours had just 'crashed' or 'locked up' and could signal your machine to 'jumpstart it.'

    Lobbyists have mouths to feed, and your cheque is based on your contracts...
    It's a sickening state of affairs that we have here on Earth. We humans are fucking ourselves over by worrying so much about bullshit and not enough about moving forward and upward.

    I think Scientology proves that.
    The moment we start teaching scripture in schools is the moment we've become insane. Scripture was never the basis of science. It is lobbyied and sold to schools as education.

    Shameful. Pathetic. I spit on any lobbyist who fends a ridiculous and limiting point. They truly are, the devil's advocates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Mark A. Craig, Aug 1st, 2006 @ 11:32pm

    Common infrastructure: roads AND internet?

    This article made a tangential and perhaps unintended point about the very nature of the Internet, one which actually goes right to the core of this current and many other 'Net-related arguments:

    The Internet is every bit as much a part of our common national (and global) infrastructure as are the roads on which we drive, the air we breathe, and the rivers whose water we drink. We haven't allowed coonstruction companies to own the sections of highway and city streets they've built, so why do we allow AT&T and other private for-profit interests to own pieces of the telephone and data networks that they've built?

    This is in fact part of the argument that I made at a CPUC hearing for the SBC-AT&T merger last year, at which I was the ONLY person arguing either against or in favor of the merger for any reason other than selfish interest. I argued that AT&T should not have been dissected into the Baby Bells, but rather should have been left a monopoly and instead compelled to become a non-profit corporation or a de-facto branch of the government like the USPS. Rather than allowing the still-for-profit Baby Bells to slowly re-merge and thus re-monopolize, they should first be made non-profit and then ALL the telcos merged into one entity.

    It makes sense for monopolies to control infrastructure, but NOT when their motivation is profit rather than serving the common owners of that infrastructure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    JadedGamer, Aug 26th, 2006 @ 11:31am

    Business model is the issue

    The Telcos' real issue is a need to build infrastructure at their end because they use outmoded business models where they "promise" say 4 Mbit bandwidth "knowing" the customer will only use a fraction of that. As more abndwidth-heavy services like video streaming and VOIP increases in demand, that over-sell of bandwidth starts to bite them in the posterior.

    In desperation, they want to make the providers of those services pay for the required upgrade of their infrastructure - in a competitve space they don't want to renegotiate the mointhly fees from their customers. The problem with that logis is that the service provider like YouTube already has a contract with their ISP where they pay some amount for a bandwidth. Why should they pay additional fees to scores of other ISPs just so their customers can get decent throughput of YouTube videos? YouTube has millions of users they don't have to pay for in that manner and would be wise to refuse such "extortion".

    But let's assume that the telcos' dreams come true, and YouTube pays so that user A can get faster streaming videos from YouTube. User B (on the same switch as A) doesn't use YouTube, but the shared bandwidth is now smaller, since, say, 1MBit of the total has been paid for by YouTube. Does B get a discount? If user B instead switches to some other provider, does that provider get compensation form A's ISP for the reduced available bandwidth through the switch since the "priority" for YouTube needs to go all the way from the big murky cloud the ISPs connect to to user A?

    Unless there's a net neutrality bill there will be chaos.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    tsreyb, Sep 8th, 2006 @ 10:42am

    fedex analogy

    Your fedex analogy is pretty good, but it left out one fact that is important:

    The Internet its core technologies are based on packet switching equipment. The protocols (at least, the ones currently in use in the real world) and the equipment are not designed to provide a circuit that meets the requirements of multimedia applications.

    Now, one logical area of Internet evolution is to provide all sorts of multimedia applications.

    However, since the protocols and equipment aren't designed to provide circuits that meet the requirements of multimedia applications - this evolution is not going to occur without introducing new protocols and/or equipment.

    One NECESSARY step in this direction is that the new protocols and/or equipment MUST be able to identify a multimedia application as it flows through the network.

    Once it identifies that a particular flow is a multimedia application, it can reserve a multimedia circuit for this flow. Without this circuit, and using only today's equipment and protocols, the packets will not be delivered in a reliable and predictable sequence, making the multimedia experience for the end user become unacceptable.

    Case in point - have you ever tried to watch streaming video over the Internet? It ain't pretty, is it? There's a long way to go before full screen video can be streamed over the Internet.

    Notice in my argument I didn't mention anywhere about WHO was providing the multimedia content. I'm only talking about providing multimedia content - PERIOD. I don't care where it comes from, I only care that the technology can provide multimedia. Because, presently, I surely CANNOT provide multimedia - regardless as to who provides the content.

    I claim the idea of Net Neutrality prohibits reliable multimedia from working on the Internet (I challenge anyone to explain HOW reliable, fullscreen multimedia streaming works in a Net Neutrality world)

    One (flawed) argument might be to throw more bandwidth at the problem. If there's enough bandwidth, then surely any multimedia application will pass through the pipes.

    This is flawed - simply because no multimedia service can be engineered on top of an unreliable delivery service (ie, the Internet) without building into it some sort of reliable, predictable delivery mechanism. Lots and lots of bandwidth addresses neither of those requirements - even with 99% bandwidth idle, a switch still might deliver packets in a non-predictable manner. This results in jitter, which, in sufficient quantity, renders a multimedia connection unusable.

    How do we provide reliable, predictable, low-jitter connections? By reserving a circuit between two endpoints, with the characteristics of that circuit being sufficient for multimedia (reliable, predictable, low-jitter).

    Once again, I'm not talking about where the content comes from - only that the content needs to get from point A to point B in a reliable, predictable fashion no matter who is providing the content.

    However, I just described a process that is illegal in the Net Neutrality world. Setting up a reserved circuit is the same as distinguishing/discriminating one packet from another. Because as each packet enters a network, the equipment must decide whether it is destined for a reserved circuit or for general bandwidth.

    So, if you want Net Neutrality, then you are saying you do not want multimedia on the Internet to evolve beyond where it is today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This