Net Neutrality Hyper-Sensitivity Makes Things Difficult For Telcos' Traffic Protection Racket

from the never-let-the-truth-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-rant dept

Sometimes on the internet, things break. With so many pieces of network gear between a user, their ISP and a content provider’s servers, it’s not unreasonable that something goes down, gets misconfigured, or unplugged every once in a while. Something along those lines happened yesterday at Comcast, when a DNS server failed, temporarily blocking users from accessing Google and some other sites — and then the conspiracy theories started flying, with plenty of commenters fingering net neutrality even after the problem had been resolved, and the truth of the equipment failure had come out. The upshot of this isn’t to point out trigger-happy commenters ready to jump all over ISPs before the truth comes out, but rather that it illustrates just how difficult telcos have made it for themselves — should they ever actually go so far as to follow through on any of their inflammatory rhetoric about blocking or degrading the traffic of sites that won’t pay protection money. The tremendous amount of press this issue has gotten, fueled by the exaggerated and dishonest claims from people on both sides of the issue has made a lot of consumers hyper-sensitive and imagining “net neutrality violations” where they don’t exist. It’s seemed pretty clear all along that any telco stupid enough to block access to something like Google in the middle of this highly charged debate would be shooting itself in the foot; but these sorts of reactions to network outages and problems reiterate that even if telcos have the right to demand payments from content providers and block traffic, doing so would be commercial suicide.

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Comments on “Net Neutrality Hyper-Sensitivity Makes Things Difficult For Telcos' Traffic Protection Racket”

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3dera says:

Commercial suicide? I wish. Comcast is well-hated by all it’s consumers already. Forget net neutrality, we already have crappy service and speed slowdowns (due to expansion?) Some of us don’t have an alternative. DSL isn’t available in my area, so it’s Comcast or dial up. And much as I’d get a kick out of digging out that old 56k modem, I think it’s Comcast who’d be laughing in the end.

Matt Bennett says:

I get annoyed at Comcast’s commercials making fun of DSL. I’ve had both, in the same area. The Cable modem may technically be capable of being faster, but it varies widely by usage, and slowdowns are often noticed. DSL, on the other hand, has always been “fast enough,” i.e., I don’t notice any load time that isn’t caused by my computer itself, and it’s way more consistent.

Anonymous Coward says:

I was wondering why I wasn't affected. . .

This is certainly not the *first* time Comcast has had problems with their DNS. I think it may be the first time the problem was so wide-spread. I’ve lost DNS service three times in the last year.

The last time around I finally switched to OpenDNS. Forget about them going to the trouble of creating service tiers or degrading/disconnecting those who won’t pay the “protection”, they can’t even get their standard network operating properly. If their “tiered” service was as effective and capable as their wonderful network, we can rest assured that Comcast will be net-neutral … all services will run equally poorly. Everything’ll be Com-Crap-Stick!

ebrke says:

Re: I was wondering why I wasn't affected. . .

The municipality I live in was exploring the idea of suing Comcast because during one of Comcast’s prolonged periods of DNS outage (maybe a year and a half ago), their service reps were telling people who called that the problem was that their computers were old or weren’t “fast enough”. Never mind the issue of why people would think that a computer that was “fast enough” last week suddenly wasn’t “fast enough” this week, people did actually buy new hardware, and of course, that didn’t solve a thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what’s weird, is that after restarting Firefox, my computer, my router, my cable modem, I still couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t access google. And then I started up IE, and it came up fine. I suspect that IE was pulling up a cached version, but I’m still not sure. What was weird about what was happening was that it appear to be able to resolve the address okay, it just couldn’t render the page.

Anonymous Coward says:

Scott, could you document that shows where tax dollars were given to telco’s? Could you show me the cancelled check from the govt. that is worth 200 billion or so dollars?

I didn’t think so. You dickheads love to spout off about this and that, and either you know you are lying or you can’t get beyond the stupid headlines that other crooks use to sell books.

Quit your bitching, I live in New Jersey, and they said they would pay for EZ Pass with additonal revenue, lower headcount totals and additional fines. None of that happened, and now taxpayers pay for it. Get over it, thats how things work.

concilio says:

Re: NJ Anonymous Coward

You’re the dickhead. Your first question makes no sense. Your second is just plain stupid. Your last paragraph is off topic. Its last sentence gives the reason for why EZ Pass was not paid for as promised, American acquiescence.

How necessary is it to use curse words? Your comment did not need them at all. Nobody incited you. Nobody made inflammatory remarks towards you.

Bish says:

Consumer Choice

So what if Comcast *was* playing with a heavy hand for a bit there? It’s not like its customers can churn over to another provider. Name the areas in the US where a consumer has both DSL *and* Cable broadband available (to say nothing of BoPL), and scope of the problem becomes clear: Customers are unable to exercise the choice which fuels the checks and balances part of capitalism.

In my home town, two cable companies compete over the same cable system: switching over is as simple as two phone calls, and can take an hour. They both seem to be doing well, and the DSL provider is also doing a healthy business.

I hope one provider doesn’t buy its competition and ruin the good thing consumers have going.

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