How About Shaming Telcos Into Remaining Neutral?

from the creative-solutions dept

In the (mostly misguided) debate about net neutrality, one of the problems is that neither side seems willing to admit that they're bending the truth in a lot of ways. Both are making dire predictions that won't come true if they don't get their way. This really is a debate where it's difficult to know who to support. The telcos, clearly, are looking to prevent additional competitive services. Yet, handing regulatory power over the internet to a government agency always is risky -- and could open up a Pandora's box of other problems down the road. That's why we've been intrigued by more creative solutions, such as scaring the telcos straight, by threatening to take away their networks using "eminent domain" language. Of course, there may be another option as well: shaming the telcos into keeping the network neutral. If the telcos are caught blocking any content, the public outcry would likely be pretty damaging. However, simply degrading the traffic would be a lot harder to detect, and could allow the telcos to claim ignorance. Technology to the rescue. Broadband Reports points us to a new technology that would test how neutral a network is, by making traffic appear as if it's coming from a particular provider or a particular type of traffic (such as VoIP), and judging how the telco treats that traffic. If widely used, this type of tool would allow people to "out" any telco found to be degrading competitive services, hopefully shaming them away from doing so. Of course, given how blatant some telco execs have been about this topic -- perhaps they wouldn't care. In places where they don't face any serious competition, they'd probably ignore the outcry anyway -- or make excuses about how it's necessary to protect against "congestion."

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Degraded, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 2:03am

    Who said telcos are not innovators...

    ...they have created a new industry (software to test network neutrality) where companies will make even more money off "their" network.

     

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  2.  
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    PopeRatzo, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 3:41am

    Shame? You think a huge rapacious corporation is going to respond to shame? Do monopolies respond to shame? Have they ever been worried about customers "going somewhere else"?

    You think you're going to be able to use your VOIP when AT&T has its way? Please.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Raemir, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 5:01am

    Shame won't work

    Unfortunately, trying to shame the telcos won't change their behavior. Because of the EFF suit everyone knows that AT&T is spying on everyone for the NSA, but it certainly doesn't seem to have affected their attitude!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:30am

    Actually, you will be able to use VoIP, but you will get it from AT&T, Verizon or your cable company.

    As for what AT&T (and every other communications company including Google) does to help the NSA. the majority of Americans actually support the govt in their quest to protect America.)

    So here is my question. Verizon is spending 10 billion to run fiber, same as ATT to the curb for half that, who is funding that?

    You curse the monopolies, but I don't see anyone jumping up requesting the chance to replace them.

    Personally, I have no idea why Ed keeps popping off about net neutrality, because he is the one making it such a hot topic. The only thing I can think of is that Wall Street needs to know that they will be able to get ROI on FTTH to keep the stock up. Either that or he just does,t understand the media.

    Any ideas on why he keeps this topic as the hot button with comments like "freeloaders can't use my damm pipes'.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:41am

    "Claiming that broadband providers would deny their customers access to what they want is akin to Starbucks hatching a plan to secretly serve customers Folger's Crystals. On paper it makes them more money; in reality it puts them out of business." -- Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president, public affairs, policy and communications

     

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  6.  
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    ebrke, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:45am

    Shame a telco executive?

    I couldn't key this reply until I caught my breath and wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes. Have you been following some of what Ed Whitacre's been saying lately? Not one of them knows the meaning of the word "shame".

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    ebrke, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    But it doesn't put them out of business if the are a monopoly or duopoly, does it? And that's the situation in most of the country at this point.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Matthew, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    by Anonymous Coward on Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:30am
    Actually, you will be able to use VoIP, but you will get it from AT&T, Verizon or your cable company.

    As for what AT&T (and every other communications company including Google) does to help the NSA. the majority of Americans actually support the govt in their quest to protect America.)


    Prove it. All I hear is outrage, but that's my view and have no statistics to back that up either.


    So here is my question. Verizon is spending 10 billion to run fiber, same as ATT to the curb for half that, who is funding that?


    The customers directly through billing, and government grants via taxes.


    You curse the monopolies, but I don't see anyone jumping up requesting the chance to replace them.


    I'd like to invite you to a wonderful new investment! For only 1 billion dollars you can have a small share in my new upstart the TakeDowntheMan Technologies...


    Personally, I have no idea why Ed keeps popping off about net neutrality, because he is the one making it such a hot topic. The only thing I can think of is that Wall Street needs to know that they will be able to get ROI on FTTH to keep the stock up. Either that or he just does,t understand the media.

    Any ideas on why he keeps this topic as the hot button with comments like "freeloaders can't use my damm pipes'.


    It is a distraction from more pertinent topics such as the war and flagging economy in regards to upcoming November Elections. It's confusing, pointless, and the average J. Voter will blindly follow his or her party about it.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Farley, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    That Verizon exec must have watched that SNL skit when the server tells Chris Farley that they gave him Folger's instead of Columbian coffee. "You son-of-a-bitch!" Chaos and hilarity ensue.

     

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

  10.  
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    Jon, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 6:53am

    Widespread Use

    One way to get this tool in widespread use would to have someone like Google integrate it in their website and the results. It may not be too feasible from a load perspective, but I do think it would make quite a statement. While companies may not respond to shame, they DO respond to bad press especially at the magnitude that adoption by Google or the like would cause.

     

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  11.  
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    Brian O'Connell, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 7:00am

    Actually, you will be able to use VoIP, but you will get it from AT&T, Verizon or your cable company.

    You make it sound reasonable. Actually, you will be forced to get it from your ISP or whoever your ISP has struck a deal with. Choice is being moved from the customer to the ISP.

    Oh, and this guy Ed is the reason that net neutrality is a "hot topic"? You're standing by that assertion are you?

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Andy, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 7:18am

    Re: Shame a telco executive?

    Dude, give old Ed a break. He only took down 9.5 million last year in salary and bonuses. That's less than $30,000 a day. How do you expect a man of his status to live on such a low salary.

    It's all our fault really, the people who don't pay SBC to access the Internet, and say use cable. We clog his pipes all up by using sites like Google and Youtube. He really has no choice but to lobby for legislation that puts AT&T back into a position of being a monopoly. Otherwise he's going to have lay more people off, cut out even more health-care coverage, and lower the hourly salaries of all the people who work on those Pipes for him.

    At 9.5 million dollars a year, we certainly can't expect HIM of all people, and the rest of his executive team (who between all 10 of them took down another 40 million in compensation and bonuses) to take a pay cut. Please...

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 8:28am

    Is it safe to say...

    that greedy telcos (I'm sure there are telcos out that there aren't lobbying for absolute control of their industry) represent the dark side of capitalsm?

     

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  14.  
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    Lay Person, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 8:46am

    Truth?...Shame?

    Come on!

    Do you really believe that anthropomorphizing the telcos will really matter? All I know is that telco=government, the two are synonymous. I still remember when AT&T ruled the entire telco empire (with the help of the man).

    Shame and truth require an understanding of lies and arrogance. Through that contrast one concludes a set of values with which to conduct ones actions.

    All I ever see from the telcos are greed, lies, deceit, and arrogance.

    Does this really suggest that the telcos possess an understanding of constructive values?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 9:02am

    Brian, Yes, I stand by my statement

    that Eds comments are why this topic is such a hot item.

    Without Eds comments, the other side has very little ammunition.

    My question is why he has made and continues to make these statements?

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    phr0ze, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 10:05am

    What a contrast...

    ESPN is charging ISPs to host their online content but google is being charged by the ISP? Google should just state they are a service provider and make ISPs pay to carry them. Why not- it works for ESPN?

    Other thing... Tons of reports that google is buying dark fiber. Maybe they know this Net Nutrality thing is comming quick and they'll put out a big FU to telcos by offering WIFI everywhere. That will eventually lead to the demise of all telcos because all phones will end up being VOIP or SKYPE devices.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 10:19am

    Re: Truth?...Shame?

    "All I ever see from the telcos are greed, lies, deceit, and arrogance."

    God Bless America!!

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    Yet another victim of bullshit propaganda. I feel sorry for you.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    ghoti06, Aug 3rd, 2006 @ 1:49pm

    Well, I work with the group Hands Off, which opposes a new regulatory system.

    And we've been saying for months that degradation of traffic is not going to happen. The only degradation would be relative, not absolute -- degraded compared to the high-speed QoS packets, sure. But with more broadband coming on line and last-mile technologies being deployed, it will always get faster.

    Of course, as Internet users we'll try to "dump" more stuff on the "truck," you know, that series of tubes, and so it might not always SEEM faster. Like I bet your desktop PC doesn't FEEL much faster than it did 5 years ago, even though it is.

    So shame away. Doubt you'll ever need it.

     

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


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