Print 88 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Dec 25 at 8:34 PM

  (Source: jonlong724 on Flickr)

[Click to enlarge] Want the web? Well prepare to pay. Wireless carriers are plotting per page monthly or data-based fees. And net neutrality legislation looks unlikely to pass, thanks to their healthy flow of lobbyist money.  (Source: Fierce Wireless Semina via Wired)
Leaked slides reveal that net neutrality advocates worst fears may soon be realized

The topic of net neutrality is a thorny issue.  After all, the American public is increasingly adopting the stance that the less government meddling in the private sector, the better.  On the other hand, advocates of the government adopting net neutrality restrictions have long laid out a dystopian vision of the future in which users have only partial paid access to the internet and smaller independent websites fold under the inability to draw paying customers.

Such visions could have been dismissed as alarmism -- until now.  A presentation from Allot Communications and Openet, two wireless industry giants who supply the likes of Verizon and AT&T, leaked out onto the internet and verifies that the wireless industry is plotting just such a scheme.

I.  Want the Web?  Prepare to Pay

At its web seminar the pair revealed a stunning plot in which wireless customers would be forced to pay additional monthly fees per web page accessed and -- in some cases -- per MB used.  The slide suggests a $0.50 USD/month YouTube access fee, a $0.02 USD/MB Facebook access rate, and a 3€ (appr. $3.95 USD) Skype access fee.

Aside from the payoff from immediate fees, the leaked PowerPoint presentation (1.5 MB/PDF) reveals a double benefit to carriers, at consumers' expense.  The slides suggest that top UK carrier giant Vodafone (who partially owns Verizon Wireless) create its own websites -- such as social networks and video sites -- and offer customers free access to them.

By forcing customers to pay for external sites, but offering free internal sites, carriers could attempt to force customers onto its own sites.  While such knockoffs would likely offer inferior quality to carefully crafted services like YouTube and Facebook, carriers wouldn't mind that -- they would be to busy reaping the additional ad revenue.

II.  The FCC Won't Let Me Be

It is unclear whether the leak is coincidental or is meant to test the U.S. Federal Communication Commission's resolve, a week ahead of its planned meeting to discussing net neutrality.  

Current laws do not clearly grant the FCC the power to regulate wireless internet traffic or enforce net neutrality over wired and wireless service providers.  The FCC's attempts to enforce net neutrality regardless were struck down in the spring by a federal court.  The FCC now hopes to draft legislation to present to Congress.

But the legislation faces serious political resistance.  While some Republicans are supportive of net neutrality, much of the Republican party opposes net neutrality.  And the Republicans in January will gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.  

Among the staunchest opponents of net neutrality regulation is former presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Az.).  Sen. McCain, like many Republicans, has previously opposed net neutrality legislation due to a stance against government regulation.  However, Verizon and AT&T bequeathed $237,600 upon his 2008 presidential campaign.  AT&T and Verizon lobbyists also raised from various donors – $2.3M USD and $1.3M USD, respectively – for his campaign.  They also offered free services to his 15-acre Arizona ranch.

Sen. McCain is obviously not alone, however -- such contributions are common in Washington.

Thus net neutrality legislation faces tenuous prospects.  And as our computing heads increasingly into the mobile sphere (with smartphones, tablets, laptops, netbooks, etc.) that may soon mean that customers will be paying a lot more for a lot less.  And in the process any government censorship of the internet will likely pale in comparison to that which the "free" market is cooking up.

Many refer to the current generation of web businesses as Web 2.0.  Well if these developments are any indication, we may soon be greeting Web 3.0 -- the transformation of the internet into a series of toll roads.

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What ever happened...
By aebiv on 12/20/2010 12:06:45 PM , Rating: -1
So it seems like a bulk of people here are fans of ending someone elses private property rights just to satisfy their own desires.

How else would you phrase legislating a company to only offer its product in a certain form and fashion?

I tell you what, you go ahead and make a widget, and then I'll come in later and demand you let me use it this way and only charge me at this rate. Sounds fair huh?

As for those who will start mentioning the fact that the US Gov helped pay for the fiber and lines in the ground that they use, well here is the deal. You don't tell someone you're going to let them do one thing, and then come back later and go, "Well, I changed my mind, now you have to do this."

RE: What ever happened...
By aebiv on 12/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: What ever happened...
By snyper256 on 12/20/2010 4:59:20 PM , Rating: 1
How can you not see that this kind of monetization scheme is incredibly bad for the internet as a whole?

Do you really want premiums on every single non-preferred site from every ISP?

This doesn't solve any problems and will hurt everybody.

RE: What ever happened...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/2010 6:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
Please tell me you're joking? The ISPs are not going to switch to something that will cause massive increases in pricing overnight. Its not going to happen because consumers will shut them off. People use the internet now because its convienient, and entertaining, if it costs $3,000 a month or something they just won't buy it and the "evil ISPs" will make nothing at all and go out of business.

Since it is not in the best interests of either party it will simply not happen. There might be some sort of by the KB plan or selective web sites plan at the bottom end but "heavy users" will likely continue to pay a premium for faster unlimited service because thats what they want and there is someone out there that wants to make money giving them just that. If you're dumb enough to buy a plan that charges you by the KB and download 50TB worth of porn and anime then you're probably stupid enough to believe that the ISPs are all in cahoots to get you and that you need your "friend" the governement to come save you.

Whats next regulating text messages too? Because marxist jackasses like yourself cant read 3 paragraphs of a cell phone contract and realize that buying text messages by the message is a bad idea then rack up a $7000/month bill the rest of us should be forced into some other form of government mandated stupidity?! Heres an idea... buy the plan that works best for YOU and if one carrier doesn't have it GO SOMEWHERE ELSE .

RE: What ever happened...
By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:42:01 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, right..... like the United States Private who had 16K in phone charges, when they told him he should be paying only 5 cents a minute from Iraq to the United States?

Get real... it's time to realize that these companies are EVIL and will do ANYTHING to maximize their profits, and they will just tell the consumer "Fuck you!"

RE: What ever happened...
By aebiv on 12/21/2010 12:36:34 AM , Rating: 1
Evidently people have no respect for property if it isn't their property.

Find me one thing the government has regulated wisely.

RE: What ever happened...
By Lerianis on 12/25/2010 8:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm...... the telecommunications companies like AT&T, which we didn't start to have problems until they STOPPED regulating those companies.

The electric companies, which again.... didn't start to have problems until we DIDN'T regulate them at the federal level.

Need I keep on going? The fact is that the problem is NOT regulation.... it's lack of it or stopping that regulation.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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