Ma Bell Looks To Stomp Out Net Neutrality World Wide

from the that-should-be-fun dept

One of the things people have brought up repeatedly in the network neutrality debates, is that even if the big US providers end basic network neutrality, there's still the rest of the world. It appears someone at AT&T (one of the more vigorous supporters of building a tiered internet) realized that as well. So, their plan seems to be to go global. AT&T is now saying that its latest focus is to expand further around the globe, doing its best to make sure that there are fewer ways of using the internet anywhere that don't involve somehow using AT&T's network. Many people will obviously point out that AT&T is simply trying to build up a better business for its shareholders -- which is its right (or, as some might say, its duty). However, the more the company blocks out network neutrality, the more harm it's actually doing for shareholders. It reduces the value of the internet, reducing the overall value of what it offers -- harming the company's future prospects.

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  • identicon
    Andrew Schmitt, 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:03pm

    Ridiculous

    This is just a ridiculous post. AT&T growing their network so that they can keep people from using it?
    They are just trying to prevent 5% of the users from dictating what the other 95% pay.
    More here:

    http://www.nyquistcapital.com/2006/02/20/net-neutrality-tragedy-of-the-commons/

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    • icon
      Mike (profile), 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Ridiculous

      Hmm. I think you miss the point in two different ways.

      On the concept of net neutrality, your post ignores the fact that everyone is already paying for the bandwdith they use. Google, Yahoo and others pay a greater amount for more bandwidth. So your whole argument doesn't apply. What the telcos are trying to do now isn't charge more for bandwidth, but hit them up again for QoS type charges. That's different... and the point on net neutrality is that this gives incentives for the telcos to lower QoS so that people pay more to get on the better QoS train. If the telcos had architected their networks properly in the first place, however, QoS wouldn't be much of an issue.

      Secondly, yes, the telcos are trying to grow their networks to keep people from using it... While that sounds stupid the way you've written it, what the telcos believe (incorrectly), is that they can make more money by limiting the network, and effectively charging more for it. It's what you do as a monopoly.

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      • identicon
        Andrew Schmitt, 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:24pm

        Re: Ridiculous

        The telcos are looking to establish a variable pricing model now that the fixed pricing model is being abused by 5% of the users.

        Agreed, if you buy a T1 or OC-3 connection you expect 100% throughput. The new multi-mbs tiers being marketed by the Telcos lack the backing infrastructure to enable those rates at always on speeds. Rather than marketing deception, this is a means of the telco's allowing people to benefit from the statistical patterns of bandwidth access (i.e. bursty). When a whole new class of users comes on board that breaks this model they either need to charge this call of users more or charge those who are enabling it.

        In the end, who is going to pay? The people who are not fitting the traditional usage mold? Or everyone? I don't want to pay for how others choose to use their internet connection.

        The telcos have done a horrible job of explaining this, but this is the fundamental technical problem that is driving the issue. They didn't decide to step out in front of this bus without a good reason, and it isn't naked greed.

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        • icon
          Mike (profile), 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Ridiculous

          The new multi-mbs tiers being marketed by the Telcos lack the backing infrastructure to enable those rates at always on speeds. Rather than marketing deception, this is a means of the telco's allowing people to benefit from the statistical patterns of bandwidth access (i.e. bursty). When a whole new class of users comes on board that breaks this model they either need to charge this call of users more or charge those who are enabling it.

          So, what you're saying is the telcos offered something they couldn't deliver... and now we have to pay for it?

          The real answer is that the telcos should have implemented networks that could handle the usage, or they shouldn't have sold it the way they did in the first place.

          So, they take out their own false advertising on their customers by charging them double? Sorry, that doesn't seem right.

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          • identicon
            Andrew Schmitt, 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:52pm

            Re: Ridiculous

            Very well. You get a flyer in the mail.

            "Your home DSL line has just been dropped to 128k guaranteed, with a maximum burst capability of 3mb/s, determined by a WRED policing algorithm."

            I can hear the web outrage now.

            Get ready for longer, more complete Terms of Service, class action lawsuits. None of this is going to help anyone get more and faster broadband. If charging 5% of the users for actual usage is what it takes, fine by me.

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            • icon
              Mike (profile), 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:59pm

              Re: Ridiculous

              If charging 5% of the users for actual usage is what it takes, fine by me.

              Um. Do we need to repeat this? Everyone's already paying for their bandwidth. This isn't about bandwidth, but about QoS...

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:10pm

                Re: Ridiculous

                Okay, I think I understand but I'm not too sure. What they want to do is basically, bottleneck anyones connection that hasn't paid the premium? like route traffic from specified IP's along non fiber lines so that the service is slower than it could be and if you pay for the right service plan then they put you through on the high-bandwith lines?

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              • identicon
                Andrew Schmitt, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:16pm

                Re: Ridiculous

                OK, calling it quits after this. This is non-payside activity for me.

                It's not about QoS. It's about charging more for using certain applications, Applications that have bandwidth profiles that break the statistical model used to build the internet.

                They break the statistical model in such a way that QoS cannot be guaranteed.

                In order to accomodate and adapt to these new traffic profiles more investment will be needed.

                Bottom line is _someone_ needs to invest in the transport network. The telcos are not going to do it for free. You take away variable pricing flexibility and broadband prices will go up.

                Look, if the telcos act egregiosly, you can bet someone or something is going to kill them off. The amount of $$$ they spend on lobbying in washington is peanuts compared with other industries. Cable and Telco combined are less than 20MM a year, which isn't even pocket change in Washington.

                This is about big media vs. big telco, not big telco vs. the consumer. The Telcos have a right of way they need to improve, and rather than asking consumers to pay they are trying to implement a variable pricing model (used by virtually every other business besides broadband) and asking the media providers to pay.

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                • identicon
                  Jamie, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:35pm

                  Re: Ridiculous

                  "This is about big media vs. big telco, not big telco vs. the consumer."

                  No, you have it completely wrong. Yes, the telecos want to charge big media, but the only ones who are going to be really hurt by this are the consumers and the small media companies. Currently the internet is a very fluid and changing place to do business. A large reason for that is that the initial investment to start an internet business is so small. Anyone who can build a better mousetrap can, with a few thousand dollars, start selling that mousetrap (even if the mousetrap is actually media) anywhere in the world. There is no easy way for the big players to shut him out as they can in the normal markets. The cost of entry is so small that he can easily raise the money with a small loan or his savings.
                  A tiered internet would change that for everyone. With a tiered internet the inventor/developer/writer would have to pay an extra fee or his product wouldn't even be noticed. And if it became too popular he would have to pay more simply because more people noticed him. This already happens in a way, since his site would use more bandwidth, but what if his mousetrap was a tool (VOIP, IM). Then the telecos would try to charge him because more people are using his tool.
                  When everything is settled, the only ones who could afford to put new products/services on the market would be the big entrenched companies. That is never good for the consumer.

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                • identicon
                  Mousky, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:43pm

                  Re: Ridiculous

                  Who else other than the consumer is going to pay for these improvements? Don't be so naive to think otherwise.

                  Of course, you ignore the fact that the consumer has been paying for improvements, but that the Telcos have never delivered these improvements:

                  http://techdirt.com/articles/20060131/2021240_F.shtml

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                • icon
                  Mike (profile), 20 Feb 2006 @ 2:13pm

                  Re: Ridiculous

                  It's not about QoS. It's about charging more for using certain applications, Applications that have bandwidth profiles that break the statistical model used to build the internet.

                  Uh. But all those applications pay for the bandwidth they use. So, it is about QoS. Just listen to the telcos. They say it's about QoS. No one says this is about bandwidth. We ALREADY HAVE sliding scale tiers for bandwidth. So that's got nothing to do with network neutrality. What they're trying to do is offer different rules for QoS on the applications that they think need more QoS.

                  The telcos are not going to do it for free. You take away variable pricing flexibility and broadband prices will go up.

                  Then why are they doing it? They're doing it because they know there's demand for it. And, no one is trying to take away pricing flexibility. People are just trying to take away the ability of the telcos to give certain applications preferential treatment within the network.

                  Is it really that difficult to understand the difference? People pay different rates for different bandwidth already. You seem to be arguing that they don't, but I'd bet you don't want to switch your bandwidth bill with Google's. This has nothing to do with bandwidth, no matter how many times you say it does.

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                  • identicon
                    somewhat confused, 20 Feb 2006 @ 2:54pm

                    Re: Ridiculous

                    So are you saying that basically what the telcos want to do is go to people like Vonage and say "pay us a premium or else all your customer's phone calls are going to start stuttering?" If this is an issue of QoS, then its companies that compete directly with the Telcos *AND* the cable companies (streaming media/television/movies) who are going to lose out if network neutrality goes away. And yes, this will end up costing consumers more - just not in their ISP charges each month.

                    Or have I missed the point?

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                  • identicon
                    Michael, 21 Feb 2006 @ 9:52am

                    Re: Ridiculous

                    This is about bandwith AND quality of service.

                    The telcos have made a mistake and priced access based on oversized pipes. Yes, Google is paying for their larger pipes, and paying a lot more than the average consumer. So yes, Mike is correct. Google has already paid. The problem is that Google hasn't paid enough, and it's the telcos fault. They gave them X amount of bandwidth on the assumption that they'll use 1/Yth of it per day, as has traditionally been the case for years. The problem is that now, Google is using the full X bandwidth every second of every day, rather than the 1/Yth the telcos assumed. Now the telcos have a problem, and they're seeking a solution.

                    Personally, I don't think network neutrality needs to go away to solve it. In fact, I favor it, as I simply don't trust the telcos to operate within legal limits. However, big media does need to start paying more, and so do the percentage of high-use consumers of big media. Both of them are operating outside the bounds of traditional usage, and the current access model allows that to happen. Therin lies the problem, and as I said before, it's the telco's fault.

                    I think we either need to pay per bandwidth, or the telcos need to start offering bandwidth based on increasingly common always on assumptions, rather than errantly high burst assumptions.

                    But then, I'm not an expert. Just a citizen trying to figure this all out.

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                    • identicon
                      Mousky, 21 Feb 2006 @ 11:07am

                      Re: Ridiculous

                      I think we either need to pay per bandwidth, or the telcos need to start offering bandwidth based on increasingly common always on assumptions, rather than errantly high burst assumptions.

                      Customers are already paying per bandwidth. My cable provider has 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps plans. You want more bandwidth and higher caps? You pay more. Am I missing something in this discussion?

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                      • identicon
                        Jamie, 21 Feb 2006 @ 12:12pm

                        Re: Ridiculous

                        "Am I missing something in this discussion?"

                        No, you have it right. The problem here is that while the teleco sold it to you for a per bandwidth price, they didn't expect you to actually use that bandwidth. So they told you it was a bandwidth price, but actually they sold it to you at a high burst price. What he is saying is that they need to ACTUALLY charge on a per bandwidth price scale instead of just SAYING they are charging on that scale.
                        But they won't want to do that, because that would make customers mad. To most customers it would look like they were suddenly being charged double or triple the price they were paying before without any improvement. But again, that is the telecos fault for misrepresenting(lying) about what they actually sold you before.

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                        • identicon
                          Andrew Schmitt, 22 Feb 2006 @ 6:02am

                          Re: Ridiculous

                          Jamie has it right. The issue here is the telcos never did the network planning (or the pricing) to pay for someone using their connection at full speed 20% of the time. Now that new applications and services, particularly always-on services and streaming services that require high QoS to function are arriving, the problem has come to the surface.
                          The increasing bandwidth of the pipe to the home is driving more use, use that is less bursty in nature. This is creating a geometric increase in traffic on the backbone, where most of the traffic is going to be out-of-order and latency sensitive.

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                      • identicon
                        no name, 22 Feb 2006 @ 11:16am

                        Re: Ridiculous

                        Yes: your cable provider is offering you two different speeds, not two different bandwidth caps. At least, that is how most US cable companies are. Comcast offers different tiers for speed, but not different tiers for bandwidth. You can run afoul of their AUP with the lower tiered or higher tiered service.

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              • identicon
                Mousky, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:35pm

                Re: Ridiculous

                There is nothing original in Andrews dissertation. It is based on "recent insightful data" from Japan that is hardly convincing. Besides, Andrews makes a few incorrect statements, such as:

                "4% of the fiber internet users account for 75% of traffic usage"

                That should read "4% of 'heavy hitters' use 75% of inbound traffic".

                There is an interesting statement on the last page in the presentation. Cho postulates that perhaps fiber users are looking for applications to use the abundant bandwidth. Sounds to me that users are paying for the bandwidth and are deciding to use it. Not sure how that supports any of Andrew's dissertation?

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            • identicon
              Jamie, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:15pm

              Re: Ridiculous

              "If charging 5% of the users for actual usage is what it takes, fine by me."

              Once again you are ignoring the point that Mike is trying to get across. The problem here is not that 5% of the users are abusing the service. They aren't! The problem here is that the teleco sold the service that way! Why is it a problem that 5% of the users are using what the teleco sold them? If the teleco can't deliver the 3mb service at unlimited usage THAT THEY SOLD, then they shouldn't be selling it. I don't blame the few people who are using what the teleco officially sold for that.
              Yes, if the teleco sends me a message in the mail that my service has been downgraded I won't be happy. But oh well. Not much I can do about that other than hope that in my area there is an alternative. The teleco raised the bandwidth caps and sold them that way to compete with Cable, so I may have to revert to using Cable.

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          • identicon
            no name, 22 Feb 2006 @ 11:25am

            Re: Ridiculous

            Well, they've been doing this with telephone service for 100 years, and we are better off for it. I suppose you think that everybody is paying for their phone service, so that everybody should be able to make a call when they want to. Well, they can't. Engineering the phone networks to allow all circuits to be in use at the same time would make your phone service cost FAR more than it does otherwise.

            They make projections as to how much usage the network can expect at peak periods, and engineer from there. Broadband isn't much different. They make projections on how much bandwidth they need, and go from there. As has been noted, if you want a connection that you can use as much as you want, get a T1 line. That $15 dsl service all of a sudden costs $800, with no increase in speed.

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        • identicon
          bigpicture, 20 Feb 2006 @ 2:19pm

          Re: Ridiculous

          Well then the tel-co idiots need to develop a different charge model. I know it is a difficult model for them to understand, having perpetrated the charge by the minute model for many years.
          The cable companies have had the flat fee charge model for years. But this does not mean unlimited use. There is a upload / download volume use level box which you must operate inside. Consistently go outside this box, and you will have to pay commercial prices or have the service cut off.
          VOIP is not part of this limit, and I think that is what the tel-cos are on about, and deliberately trying to make this intention unclear. VOIP is also a flat rate model for a higher level of service, and is eating into the revenues of the POT (plain old telephone) service. Having to provide a service where higher use levels does not necessarily generate higher revenues is a scary model for the tel-cos.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 12:50pm

    No Subject Given

    Network neutrality is about as legitimate as the rolling blackouts that Enron caused in Calfornia.

    Create a demand for network access, centralize control of that network in a few huge corporations and then watch as they jack up the prices claiming some artificial barrier.

    Hmmm, never seen THAT scam before. At least Anaheim, Philly, and Minneapolis will have Internet access...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 1:13pm

    No Subject Given

    Ok. So that's what arguing with a mule is all about...

    posting information and commenting on that information is great - but when someone misunderstands the article, that person should research the terms they misunderstood before making a strong response (ie; the mule).

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  • identicon
    JP, 20 Feb 2006 @ 3:00pm

    one little fact no one is mentioning...

    is that these telcos were given the money they needed back in '95 by us the tax payers since they received billions for rolling out their fiber but never did. If they had fulfilled their end of the deal back then, maybe their network of backhauls would be actually prepared for this influx of utilization which they brought upon themselves in competition with the cableco's. No one seems to remember that they at one point promised to deliver dsl bandwidth to 90% of the population while there are still many areas that don't even qual for any sort of tele-based broadband circuit. I think Mike summed it up best himself when he mentioned "naked greed". They spent all that money uncle sam gave them to buy back all the competition and combined with their already present government lobbying power, are set to begin their reign as the twin sister bells. Welcome to the new millenia circa 1984.

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  • identicon
    dirtboy, 20 Feb 2006 @ 3:34pm

    No Subject Given

    Look, guys, it is about QoS, even the Bellsouth and AT&T say this. What is getting missed here is what that means exactly.

    QoS means that packets with higher priority get pushed to the front and delivered first. Some people will say "Hey, that great!" but what you are missing is that when anything is pushed to the front, a lot of other packets are pushed to the back. Depending on how many people get pushed to the front, the packets to the back may not make it in time to be useful, if at all. Whats to stop Bellsouth from deciding that web packets should be more important than, say, Skype packets? They can effectively kill the application and the business model it was built on, all the while saying "See, we told you VOIP wouldn't work, now pay for a telephone!" We would also have to trust them that they weren't artificially delaying packets just because they could.

    Another question is one on price. What if they price of "privileged" DSL could only be afforded by the businesses and wealthy of the world? Would you be happy that your online shooter or MMORPG was now useless because you can't afford to pay $300 a month to avoid lag?

    Sorry, but I don't agree with moving anybody to the back of the bus.

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    • identicon
      Stoolio, 20 Feb 2006 @ 4:03pm

      deja vu

      I remember back around 96 reading that some Telco and ISPs were going to start charging customers and other ISPs for using 'their' bandwidth or they would block their access.

      Bellsouth and AT&T (I know they are really SBC now) are dying monopolies who think their survival still depends on using some type of force instead of offering a service that someone actually needs.

      In the end they need to offer a service that people want and will pay for. If not all this is the same old strongarm horseshit.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2006 @ 6:42pm

        No Subject Given

        As Stoolio points out, in the end they need to provide a service that people want.

        I used to work for a hardware company working on products to allow the telco's to provide differing services, and yes that includes (and right now is almost limited too) QoS. The idea is (or was) that the telco's could provide better services to the customer (better of course being in the eye of the beholder). For instance you could provide 12M DSL service to everyone, but they can choose to pay less for 1.5M, However should they decide to watch a pay per view movie (on demand), then they can automatically get a new stream with higher QoS required for the movie, on top of their existing internet connection.

        Look at it like caller id, call waiting, conference calls etc - all the "goodies" that they now provide on POTS that once upon a time were not available.

        However, POTS is limited to what the company offers. The internet is not. What is to stop people from using a open source VOIP offering in preference to AT&T's offering? Nothing except convience, better intergration and "it just works" (ie having dedicated hardware that they provide so no setup is required, because they have the resources to provide this, but the open source community will usually require the user to have some knowledge of computer systems).

        I suspect these companies are struggling themselves on what they should do. So they are sounding out the waters, to see how far they can push it.

        I think most people would happily pay for on demand movies, but what happens when everyone has enough bandwidth such that they can get that from anoyone, not just the telco?

        Its a tough situation, because without the telco the internet will not work. One of the largest costs of creating, running and expanding the internet has been infrastructure (the rest is less physical, and not absolutely required). But the physical layer of the internet is very much a commodity that doesn't really make "much" money (its all relative of course- its still lots of money), and they are fast realising that they don't have many options of increasing that income.

        Of course this doesn't mean that I agree with what they are trying to do. Maybe a good analogy could be roads. There are toll roads that you can pay to get there quicker, but for the majority its just a service that exists that you use. Pay more for it (in taxes) and you have a better quality road (hopefully), pay less and your ride is comprimised (and you may pay for it in car maintenance anyway).

        I don't offer a solution, just the way i see it.

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        • identicon
          crypto, 21 Feb 2006 @ 8:44am

          QoS or pipe dream??

          First the “high” speed ,DSL cable if you can call it that Basically OUR CONSUMER HIGH SPEED INTERNET IS the speed of a save to floppy disk.. For those that remember using floppies ?! Second the ATT move with SBC in my view has at least these considerations or assumptions. Many more I sure but considers these!!! 1. Backbone pipes are carrying more and more media content. That to date no one has proposed a clean method to monetize, mediate and settle transactions of this IP media wireless carriers have not solved the all you can eat per month for data and not participating in the potential revenue streams it represents. A 5% of network bandwidth for data just hosed the income that bandwidth for voice calls presently billed at .10-.15 cents a minute. I use large amounts of wireless data bandwidth but only pay 10.00usd per month for it. Witch equates to 66.6 minutes of wireless talking at .15cents a min. I use a large amount of voice bandwidth to do data. Data monetization is not the same. I’m saying that present ATT move is a attempt to mitigate this shift. 2. IPv6 if implemented will swing the anonymous use present now, to media aware backbone. 3. These two factures will cause the transport to be the point on which one of the methods to monetize media traffic will occur. IF you own it you can create a billing model and platform based on knowledge of media traffic going by. 4. Traffic of VoIP and all other IP based traffic on IPv6, if one could monetize it, then one should own the IP transport backbone. Creating a global awareness of media content transport and billing for it. 5. Lastly fear that LEC ILEC POTS lines will be replaced by IP based solutions for Res and Biss lines. What better way to attempt to cause it usability problems then have fluctuating bandwidth and changing renewing IP address for certain high speed product lines. They will participate one way or another. QoS price differential will give them revs with out carrying the POTS line.

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        • identicon
          no name, 22 Feb 2006 @ 11:13am

          Re: No Subject Given

          Anonymous Coward has it exactly right as to what the telcos are up to- and they need to explain this better. This is so Joe Schmo can have his $15 1.5 dsl line, but if he wants to pay google to download a movie, he will download it at high speed- a much faster speed than he is paying for. Google will pay the telco for that high speed burst. And what we are really talking about is the download goes to his set-top box, so he watches the movie on his tv, not his computer. It is a stab at the cable companies- they control what you can watch on their tv network. The telco model opens it up so anyone can compete.

          So: this burst speed is above and beyond what you are paying for. If you choose not to use it, then you can download it the slow(er) and old fashioned way. Consumer choice. Better competition vs cable. Google gets to offer a product that they can't now. Good all around.

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    • identicon
      Mousky, 20 Feb 2006 @ 8:36pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      "Whats to stop Bellsouth from deciding that web packets should be more important than, say, Skype packets?"

      Nothing really other than self-destruction: The competitors of BellSouth may classify all BellSouth traffic as low priority. BellSouth retaliates and does the same. The internet grinds to a standstill. People complain by phone and email, overloading the customer support system. People are pissed, so they call the politicians. Politicians regulate internet passing on costs of regulation 100% onto customer. Telcos are pissed off because now they have to deal with another level of beauracracy. Telcos decide network neutrality was not a bad thing. But it's too late now, the government has it's fingers in the pie.

      "What if they price of "privileged" DSL could only be afforded by the businesses and wealthy of the world?"

      What if? Why do you assume that only businesses and the wealthy could afford 'privileged' DSL? People have to make difficult choices in life - and that is a good thing. If the market determines that the price to avoid lag is $300, then so be it. There are people that are willing to pay for more bandwidth, so a market clearly exists for premium internet access.

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      • identicon
        dirtboy, 21 Feb 2006 @ 8:26am

        Re: No Subject Given

        "If the market determines that the price to avoid lag is $300, then so be it."

        But that is the point, isn't it? Market price is based on supply and demand. Without another supplier the demand doesn't matter because the monopoly can set the price to whatever it wants. Any other ISP in the area must still go through Bellsouth on the backend in this area and risk their own packets being given the lowest priority, and, consequently, making their offering less attractive.

        I'm not speaking of the endpoint to the consumer, I'm speaking of the routing behind the endpoint. Bellsouth can use their QoS at the backend to make their own ISP division the only game in town. I'm not saying that Bellsouth will do this, but it is scary that a company with its track record of anti-competitive behavior has this ability and thinks it makes sense to use it against other companies.

        A "privileged" internet would make sense to Bellsouth. Once you are the only game in town it makes good fiscal sense to decrease the subscribers and increase the price on the service. You would make the same money, if not more, and not have to support as many people or as much traffic, social conscience be damned.

        Also, Bellsouth has its hands in so many areas that it can afford to lose money on internet services, while its local competitors cannot. I doubt that anything that happens on its ISP side will cause it to self destruct.

        Competitors to Bellsouth ISP services cannot classify Bellsouth packets as low priority because Bellsouth owns the routers. Just take a look at the new deal struck between the MS Dept. of Education and Bellsouth and you'll see that any access given by Bellsouth uses its own router at the location. I'm relatively sure (though not positive, I'll admit) that the case is the same for anyone who gets backend access through Bellsouth, including ISPs.

        I know that these wild speculations are all fire and brimstone, but thats the image I get when we speak of Satans Telco.

        Oh, and I appreciate the calm, insiteful exchange I get here. Very refreshing.

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        • identicon
          Mousky, 21 Feb 2006 @ 10:31am

          Re: No Subject Given

          Without another supplier the demand doesn't matter because the monopoly can set the price to whatever it wants

          Having a monopoly does not mean that you can set the price to whatever you want. Demand still matters; not as much as with full competition, but it still matters. One still has the choice of not using the product or service. Yup, people may decide to abandon using the internet instead of paying $300/month.

          Bellsouth can use their QoS at the backend to make their own ISP division the only game in town.

          They sure could do that. But so could another Telco in another town. JoeBlowTelco could be the only game in Nowheresville and decide to give Bellsouth traffic a very low priority. And so on and so on, until all Telcos have essentially created regional intranets. In the end, the Telcos have reduced the value of their so-called internet service.

          Several things could happen. Crazy Telco decides that it needs a hook to attract customers. It decides that network neutrality is a great thing. It advertises that it does not prioritize network traffic. People sign up in droves. Other Telcos also agree that network neutrality is the best thing since sliced bread and match Crazy Telco. Hooray, the consumer wins.

          Or the government gets involved. Boo. Hiss. Boo. Hiss. They legislate network neutrality, add another layer of beauracracy and pass 100% of the cost to the customer. Telcos are pissed because the government monitoring them. Customers are pissed because there are additional fees on their bill. Questionable win for consumers.

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

    • identicon
      James Rand, 22 Feb 2006 @ 12:17pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      The telcos and cable companies aren't giving you the whole story of what they want to do. They could, for instance, create their own search engine and then slow Google and Yahoo down sufficiently to make their service more competitive. Sound crazy? Check out the hardware that Cisco and other vendors are pitching to the carriers for this express purpose: Here.

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

  • identicon
    Jim, 20 Feb 2006 @ 4:34pm

    QOS & AT&T

    at&t (Another Toll Trajedy) is at again, they neutered their own company so that SBC and AT&T could merge again to attempt what they had before: monopoly. Double dipping is what they do best. The current UCL charge is Ca. is marked up by them already, in other words they are making a profit at even that. I heard someone refer to AT&T as the Evil Empire, that's about right.

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

  • identicon
    Levi, 20 Feb 2006 @ 5:23pm

    oooh look little people

    THE STORY OF THE NEW coughcoughMA BELLcoughcough
    "oooh look... it's the little people..."
    *looks both ways to make sure the coast is clear*...

    *stomp*
    *stomp*
    *stomp*

    "what?! we would never want a monopoly. its just that no one wants to compete with our amazing services and prices" *smiles big greasy used car salesperson smile* (sorry used cars salepeople i know that was below the belt your not that bad your just trying to make a living and them... well lets just say that they are satans little precious angels).

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

  • identicon
    Simon, 21 Feb 2006 @ 3:53am

    Competing in the US different from the rest of the

    AT&T is going to find that competing in the rest of the world is a lot different from the US. For one the regulators tend to be much more active and take a dim view of many of the practices of the US Telcos.

    Many of the markets that AT&T is likely to want to expand into are also more highly competitive than the US market not only amongst a particular delivery method (cable, dsl etc) but also between methods. I can hardly see AT&T (or any US telco) establish a significant market presence in Europe, Japan, China, India or Brazil to the point where they can dictate tiered Internet access.

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

  • identicon
    Jobe, 21 Feb 2006 @ 3:31pm

    No Subject Given

    The only people who don't want net neutrality is the telco's and ISP's.
    I have yet to see a reason why I would want a tiered network.

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

    • identicon
      Andrew Schmitt, 22 Feb 2006 @ 6:10am

      Re: No Subject Given

      Jobe:
      Because you are going to pay more for your connection if you don't.
      This debate is first and foremost about whether the government should step in and stop a problem that does not yet exist. Why can't we let the market decide? What history makes you believe the government is going to provide a better solution? The government has been regulating the telcos for half a century, and from the opinions on this thread it's clear that their actions have proven less than satisfactory.
      There has been big progress in the last few years by the telcos to offer better broadband services. Municipal wireless is a great trend that should be encouraged. Wireless is a disruptive technology. If tiered access turns out to be a competitive disaster, there will be multiple ways the market will wage a war of creative destruction and deliver something better.

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

      • icon
        Mike (profile), 22 Feb 2006 @ 10:02am

        Re: No Subject Given

        This debate is first and foremost about whether the government should step in and stop a problem that does not yet exist. Why can't we let the market decide?

        Indeed. But the point people are making is that there's now a market failure. The FCC has recently taken out all the competition and narrowed it down to a duopoly.

        There has been big progress in the last few years by the telcos to offer better broadband services.

        Yeah, because there was line sharing requirements which created competition. Those are now gone.

        Wireless is a disruptive technology.

        I'd modify that statement. Wireless has the potential to be disruptive. It's not yet.

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


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