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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.



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RE: Not the best method of solving a problem
By Keeir on 4/7/2010 3:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think it's safe to say that if you're hitting 250 GB/month, you're either doing something illegal or your needs exceed what a residential service offers.


In my area, Comcast's new "basic" internet is 15 Mbps. 250 GB/Month is just 37 hours of full rated speed. Thats pretty shoddy "unlimited" cap.

Now, I think caps can be fair... but given that the average person watches ~2.5 hours of television or more per day... I think a cap less than 500 GB/Month is unreasonable. (2.5 x 30 x 15 Mbps)


By Yawgm0th on 4/7/2010 5:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
I really hate this, because I think there should not be caps at all, but I don't see 250GiB monthly as unreasonable. This is enough for any of the following:
-25 1080p 120-minutes films
-200 720p ~43-minute TV episodes (hour minus commercials)
-Virtually every Linux distribution worth using... twice
-Every version of every iteration of Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, and 7, including SBS, R2, x64, x86, IA-64, Standard & Enterprise & Datacenter, etc.
-More porn than you can possibly imagine
-More Youtube videos than a person has hours in the day to watch
-Anywhere from 30 to 366 games, given sizes ranging from a full CD to a full dual-layer DVD.

Keep in mind I'm giving some examples of not-necessarily legal usage. I could see myself approaching the limit with a feasible, but unlikely combination of the above. I can't even imagine a person doing it with entirely "legitimate" needs.

Supreme nitpickary: It would be about 39.7 hours (are you using decimal GBs instead of binary GiBs? Comcast doesn't manufacture storage devices.)


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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