backtop


Print 51 comment(s) - last by marvdmartian.. on Apr 12 at 3:46 PM


Despite enjoying monopolies across much of the country, ISPs continue to look for new ways to increase their profits. One promising candidate is throttling certain kinds of traffic to cut the cost of bandwidth on "unlimited connections". A U.S. federal court has ruled that the FCC is powerless to stop ISPs from throttling.  (Source: CFC Oklahoma)
Uncontent with mere monopolies or duopolies, ISPs hope to use throttling, "speed lanes" to further increase profits

Is net neutrality dead?  The idea of protecting against the creation of internet "speed lanes" and discrimination against specific types of traffic -- such as P2P connections -- certainly still has powerful supporters, like Google.  However, the movement has been dealt several recent legal defeats which may in effect make it possible for the government to enforce net neutrality, leaving ISPs free to steam-roll the movement.

A D.C. federal Court of Appeals has overturned Federal Communications Commission sanctions against Comcast stemming from 2007 throttling of P2P traffic.  The court was highly critical of the FCC, grilling its lawyer.  It said the sanctions were "aspirational, not operational" and pointed out that the FCC couldn't identify a "specific statute" Comcast violated.  The judge commented that the FCC "can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good."

The FCC is likely to appeal the ruling.  They also are looking to give net neutrality a legal backbone.  FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has been one of the movement's most outspoken advocates and is currently working with Congress to craft legislation that would make protections against data discrimination the law of the land in the United States.  President Barack Obama included net neutrality in his 2008 campaign platform and he's pushing Congress to complete legislation on the issue.  Obama's 2008 presidential race rival Sen. John McCain is one of the biggest opponents of net neutrality.

Such legislation, though, may still neglect to protect certain kinds of traffic such as P2P connections.  ISPs complain that these connections are frequently used to commit copyright infringement.  More importantly to them, they take up a lot of bandwidth.  The public opposes metered connections, so many ISPs want to throttle P2P traffic as a more subtle means of keeping bandwidth on "unlimited" connections to a minimum.  This could increase their profits greatly, if rolled out across their entire network.

ISPs may be pressed harder by new competition, though.  The FCC has announced a plan to offer speedy 100 Mbps national broadband, to 100 million American homes.  The plan, basically a jumbo version of municipal internet efforts, would increase competition in theory.  Currently ISPs enjoy a monopoly or duopoly on services across much of the country, and consumers have been forced to endure higher prices.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

No regulation
By chmilz on 4/7/2010 11:40:24 AM , Rating: -1
I'm happy with the courts keeping gov't regulation out of things. Now they just need to repeal the laws that give these companies monopolies and let the free market fix our broken system.




RE: No regulation
By Shig on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: No regulation
By Shig on 4/7/2010 11:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
The true problem is the monopolistic barrier of entry of laying fiber optics in the ground.

Remove that barrier of entry with government subsidation (like every other infrastructure in the country has) to private entities and you'd see more competition. I'm not saying the government should pay for 100% of it, and I am saying that making private companies pay for 100% of it is stupid. It should be split in some fashion with the private companies paying a portion and the government subsidizing the other portion.

But the super telecoms love those barriers of entry, no one can get enough money to even compete unless they have 10's to 100's of millions of dollars to invest. With major networks costing in the billions.


RE: No regulation
By Shig on 4/7/2010 11:58:06 AM , Rating: 1
Net neutrality isn't even the main problem, it's a micro problem to the bigger macro picture that the telecoms don't want anyone to address, ever.


RE: No regulation
By Yawgm0th on 4/7/2010 5:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Remove that barrier of entry with government subsidation (like every other infrastructure in the country has) to private entities and you'd see more competition. I'm not saying the government should pay for 100% of it, and I am saying that making private companies pay for 100% of it is stupid. It should be split in some fashion with the private companies paying a portion and the government subsidizing the other portion.
This is actually a much better argument for nationalization than subsidization. Even if ISPs operate as management companies analogously to utility companies (and really, Internet is practically a utility), there is no economic reason to have more than one providing the same type of connection, just as there is no economic reason to have multiple power companies lay down multiple lines and compete.

Even the oligopolous markets we see with two to five providers giving either different or re-leased service have better pricing than two competing fiber carriers laying separate lines to the same homes.


RE: No regulation
By invidious on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: No regulation
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 12:17:21 PM , Rating: 5
I say we throttle Comcast... with a baseball bat, upside their head. :(


RE: No regulation
By HalJordan on 4/7/2010 12:44:00 PM , Rating: 5
1) Government okays ISPs to throttle network speeds.
2) Citizens outraged.
3) Government offers "National Broadband", with no throttling, for free!
4) Citizens flock to free government provided broadband.
5) Government in control of information, and communication.

No problem with the government controlling what we see and hear...just ask North Korea, and China...no issues there at all.


RE: No regulation
By invidious on 4/7/2010 1:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot a few steps there cowboy.

6) Citizens don't like increased censorship
7) Citizens switch back to private ISPs

No one is forcing anyone to leave their current ISP. You want lots of benifits then it might start to cost you. Sounds a lot like capitalism to me.


RE: No regulation
By Kurz on 4/7/2010 1:36:22 PM , Rating: 4
However if all the citizens switch to government ISP then the current private ISPs will shrivel up and die.


RE: No regulation
By Yawgm0th on 4/7/2010 5:42:46 PM , Rating: 3
You forgot two steps:

8)???
9)Profit


RE: No regulation
By Lerianis on 4/8/2010 5:03:59 AM , Rating: 1
You are making a big assumption that there would be increased censorship. Personally, I don't see that happening in the slightest. Every single time people have complained about 'increased negative anything' with nationalized services, when you look at the PRIVATELY RUN services, they have just as many problems.


RE: No regulation
By Lerianis on 4/8/2010 5:10:14 AM , Rating: 2
On another point, since I pressed post before I was done:

Just as many problems, but not always the same problems.


RE: No regulation
By knutjb on 4/8/2010 1:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You are making a big assumption that there would be increased censorship. Personally, I don't see that happening in the slightest. Every single time people have complained about 'increased negative anything' with nationalized services, when you look at the PRIVATELY RUN services, they have just as many problems.

You are making a moral relativism argument where it doesn't really matter who runs it both are terrible. In a lightly regulated market with a number of providers I can pick the best service for me and change whenever I want, when government runs it you have a number of bureaucratic problems and YOU DON'T GET TO CHOOSE.

Congress writes vague laws for the most part, go read the health care law or any other bill/law. http://thomas.loc.gov/ It the goes down the chain with each level writing what the bureaucrats think should be in it and they are usually faceless nameless entities. Finally you get whatever they decide.

I know this because I spent 21 years in it much of it having to look back up that chain to figure out how some crazy interpretations ended up handicapping the end user. Changing those crazy rules is not easy. It can take years to find out who did what and why, let alone fix it.

Much of the time someone was trying to fix a general problem in one specific area but it ends up applying across the board, due to a lack of understanding or concern with how it impacts downstream rules. Usually it ends up with a very painful, rippling affect.

If the government were to do what it is supposed to, that is, regulate lightly , not restrict the market to just a few cherry picked providers so some gov entity can earn a "fee" which is just another name for taxes.

Current government rules only allow a handful of companies to monopolize a market, are overreaching, and stifle the open market. They limit choice, prevent competition, and lock the consumer into our current predicament, crummy service for many through lack of choice.

Don't fall for the "government can do it better" socialism BS. Nothing is ever free because the money will come from somewhere and that will be you.

Before complaining about a system learn how it works.


RE: No regulation
By Lerianis on 4/9/2010 10:34:32 AM , Rating: 2
"Congress writes vague laws"

Do you know why they do that? A very simple reason: so if something that comes in the future that they wanted to cover under the law appears, they won't have to go back and make an entirely NEW law for the thing in question.

It's meant to save on complexity of the legal code, although I have to admit that a lot of times it has the exact opposite effect.


RE: No regulation
By BioRebel on 4/7/2010 1:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody here seems to have read the actual ruling which wasnt that the companies have the RIGHT to throttle, but that the FCC DOESNT have the tight to enforce net neutrality currently. Congressional legislation currently in the works would grant the FCC the ability to enforce such regulation.


RE: No regulation
By Yawgm0th on 4/7/2010 5:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
You're skipping the part where the government already knowingly and willingly tapped lines illegally. Honestly, is there really a practical different in a private carrier controlling the lines as far as privacy and security go? If anything, a government agency might be more likely to take a step back and say "hold on" when another government agency comes in and tries to tap our lines.

Either the government acts legally or illegally. A private company isn't going to effectively stand between that any more than a government agency will, at least in this context.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki