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Google says it's ready to file antitrust complaints if telcos abuse their network control

Google spoke to reporters today and warned that if broadband service providers abuse a possible right given by the government, it will step up and file anti-trust complaints. The issue boils down to net neutrality, which has been large ongoing issue between broadband service providers, companies, schools and the government. Google says that it hopes that legislators will support net neutrality, which will prevent large telcos and cable companies from creating tiered networks, charging more for a certain type of use than another, even though the data travels on the same network.

Google said that it will not hesitate to file anti-trust complaints against any company that abuses their control over network bandwidth and prices. However, this control has not been handed over from the government just yet. Although the US Senate Commerce Committee approved a communications reform last week that allows telephone companies to offer subscription based television services to customers.

Vint Cerf, a Google vice president told reporters that "if the legislators insist on neutrality, we will be happy. If they do not put it in, we will be less happy but then we will have to wait and see whether or not there actually is any abuse." Google, like many other content-driven companies -- including Microsoft -- support net neutrality. "My company, along with many others believes that the Internet should stay open and accessible to everyone equally."

Several communications and network companies including Cisco, oppose net neutrality simply because their business is based on network control and bandwidth. Last week, DailyTech reported that the net neutrality debate received two new proposals from two groups. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the New Yorkers for Fair Use both offered their own proposals on how net neutrality should be handled. Both of the groups offered similar views, saying that US legislators should distinguish the Internet from other types of networks. Tiered networks would be okay as long as the Internet itself remained neutral, said both groups.

Although several major telcos have said that the government and companies like Google are concerned over nothing, many companies supporting net neutrality say that given the chance, large telcos would create tiered networks in a heart beat. Without a neutrality bill protecting equal Internet access, Google fears that fair competition would be stifled and prices would soar.

"We are worried that some of the broadband service providers will interfere with that principle and will attempt to use their control over broadband transport facilities to interfere with services of competitors," said Cert.


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What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By xKelemvor on 7/5/2006 8:13:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
which will prevent large telcos and cable companies from creating tiered networks, charging more for a certain type of use than another, even though the data travels the on same network.


How is this different than having lower prices for slower speeds and higher prices for faster speeds? I wish more people would actually do this. I have Roadrunner and hate paying for extra speed that I have no use for. Who really uses 5megs down unless gaming or torrenting? General internet could get by for less than half that...




RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By RandomFool on 7/5/2006 8:51:25 AM , Rating: 2
The difference is that it would be Google and Microsoft paying the extra cash to get their sites on the high-speed lines. Any sites that couldn’t or wouldn’t pay would be in trouble because users wouldn’t get access to them as quickly as a site that was paying. Sorta like connecting to a site hosted on a T3 with your cable modem but the line in between the two is only a 56k modem.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/5/2006 9:13:58 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. And I think Google wouldn't be the only person to sue the crap out of any ISP they caught doing this. As Microsoft is a huge content provider, especially with Windows Updates, they wouldn't hesitate to sue the crap out of ISP's either, and Microsoft has that army of lawyers to dole out some serious pain. Net neutrality or not, I think Google and Microsoft, probably Yahoo and other large content providers too, would crush any ISP trying to create a tiered network. It's good to know even if Congress is retarded and doesnt secure net neutrality, that several behemoth companies will put the hurt on anyone trying to take advantage of a retarded bunch of old guys in congress that couldn't tell you the difference between a 56K and a T1.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 9:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
> "Any sites that couldn’t or wouldn’t pay would be in trouble because users wouldn’t get access to them as quickly..."

In other words-- exactly the situation we have today. Sites which can't afford the bandwith run slower.

It's not quite as common today, but in the early 90s, it was the status quo, especially since so many commercial sites were hosted on painfully slow frame relay and ISDN lines.

And you know what? People still flocked to those sites; they didn't bypass them to only visit the "fast lane".


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By RandomFool on 7/5/2006 10:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
What's different from today is this would add another layer and you'd have to pay for hosting bandwidth and telco bandwidth.

What happens when a small slow lane site starts to get big and google/microsoft/aol/yahoo come out with a very similar idea? Now the small site needs to spend more on hosting AND get in fast lane to stay competitive?

Today's internet is very different from the early 90s, people are impatient and if there's a faster, better site out there they'll switch to that no problem. Just look at all the frendsters and myspaces out there.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 11:07:08 AM , Rating: 3
> "Today's internet is very different from the early 90s, people are impatient "

What sort of nonsense is this? People are no more or less impatient than they were in the 90s.

The issue here is pretty simple. Advanced services require need hardware and firmware; to deploy these services costs billions. With a tiered network, the people that actually use these services pay those costs, and subsidize their deployment for the rest of us. With net neutrality we all pay those costs...which means it won't happen at all, until the cost of deployment is so low as to be neglible...delaying the entry of new services for years or even decades.

The fact is, "mom and pop" sites have always run slower than those from a corporate giant...that is, if they have any significant load on them. A next-gen tiered Internet actually promises to be the best thing for such small sites. Tiered delivery drives the cost of the lower tiers down further. In this case, likely all the way to zero. Free. High-priority services pay the bills...low priority service are given away free, in the hopes of attracting new business. Now my mom-and-pop site loads just as fast as it always did...but it doesn't cost me anything whatsoever. If it becomes a big hit, I can pay extra, and have it load faster still. The free market at work.

I understand that, for some poeple, the warm-and-fuzzy socialistic vision of an Internet where a penny can buy you as much speed and bandwidth as million dollars is attractive. But low-latency services such as HD videoconferencing and remote teleoperation will never happen...not when their packets are legally compelled to have no more priority than quadrillions of bytes of spam email.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By RandomFool on 7/5/2006 11:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
The users of today's Internet are vastly different from the 90s, today every teenager, grandparent and joe-schmo can get on and surf around the internet. If something is taking to long they’re very likely to just give up and click close.

I think one of the bigger issues is whether anything will get cheaper if the tiered networks are employed or if it'll just get more expensive for anyone who wants the fast lane. Sure, in theory, things could get cheaper but if a company has an opportunity to make more money are they going to take it? Probably. You can get free hosting now but look how bad most of it is, a tiered solution could become much like that where sure there’s free services out there but if you want to do anything useful you’ve got to pay for it.

You’ve got a good point tiered systems could work really well but it is just a matter of who's involved and what their ultimate motives are and right now I just don’t see tiered service working. To many companies and people are involved most of whom are looking at their wallets wondering how to make it just a little thicker.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 12:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
> "If something is taking to long they’re very likely to just give up and click close."

I have a bridge for sale to anyone who believes a new ultrabandwidth low-latency service is suddenly going to make existing sites load slower. And I have a small nation in Africa for sale to anyone who believes that an ISP who attempted to degrade service would be able to stay in business.

Tiered networks is about adding new higher-speed services on top of existing ones. Not downgrading existing services...which, of course, ISPs are already free to do.


> "Sure, in theory, things could get cheaper but if a company has an opportunity to make more money are they going to take it?"

Poor logic. A company always has the opportunity to "make more money" by raising their prices. Why don't they do so? Competition. If a telco raises additional funds through selling higher-priced services, they have headroom to lower prices on everything else. If they don't do so-- their competitors will, and undercut them from the market. This is why all prices in the high-tech world descend over time.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By RMTimeKill on 7/5/2006 4:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
This is the same logic that kept gas and electric prices lower also right? At least is sure sounds like it, tiered networks are supposed to help lower our costs... deregulating gas prices was supposed to help increase competition and drive prices down, same with energy costs... Did it work? no... so why would this work? Dont we learn from history? >.<


By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 4:51:54 PM , Rating: 4
> "This is the same logic that kept gas and electric prices lower also right? "

I'm not quite sure to what you're referring. The electric industry remains one of the most highly regulated ones in the nation; competition is prevented, and prices are set by government oversight boards. In the case of California, their so-called "deregulation" was anything but.

As for "gas", if you mean gasoline, the industry has never been regulated. And as a result, prices are unbelievably cheap. Gasoline produced from oil pumped from thousands of feet underground, shipped halfway around the world, and refined in multi-billion dollar facilities is cheaper than milk pumped out of your local cow, a few miles down the road. And- had we in the US allowed any new refineries to be built since the 1970s, would be even cheaper still. Its a bit hard to meet current demand with a rickety network of plants all 30-40 years old.






RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By InternetGeek on 7/5/2006 9:13:33 AM , Rating: 2
I believe most people confuse the issue of net neutrality with the access plan they are paying their ISP for.

Net neutrality is not about paying for bandwith but paying for having content delivered to you. ISPs would basically charge you for all content provided. For example you would be charged per mega torrented a certain fee, another for email, another for http browsing and a premium for http brosing of selected 'premier' sites.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 9:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
> "Net neutrality is not about paying for bandwith but paying for having content delivered to you. ISPs would basically charge you for all content provided"

Sorry, your answer was incorrect. Net neutrality is about differential treatment (and potentially billing) of data.

For instance, if telcos began offering an ultra-low latency connection, for use in say, videoconferencing, remote control, or even online gaming, net neutrality would forbid it. It doesn't allow some packets to have priority over others...even though your email doesn't really care if it arrives in 200ms rather than 2ms.

Net neutrality is intended to frustrate the deployment of new, advanced services...unless those services are provided to every single packet over the Internet, and at the exact same price. Which, of course, means most of these services just aren't feasible. Case in point, the curent IP encoding, which allows packets to have a priority set.

Since "high priority" packets are available to all applications at the exact same price, why would anyone choose to mark their traffic as "low priority"? Why no, one of course. So the priority setting is meaningless-- and spam email packets arrive at the same priority as anything else on the Internet.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By jtesoro on 7/5/2006 7:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Net neutrality is intended to frustrate the deployment of new, advanced services...unless those services are provided to every single packet over the Internet, and at the exact same price.

Intended to frustrate deployment? Come on. A better definition is that it intends to help ensure that operators do not abuse their power and put services like Skype on the slow lane when the operator comes up with their own version. Frustrating deployment of new advanced services based on the tiered internet is the Effect. Whether the Net Neutrality bill will achieve it's intent, whether the Effect is a major or minor, and is it all worth it in the end, that's what the debate is about.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/6/2006 11:24:04 AM , Rating: 2
> "A better definition is that it intends to help ensure that operators do not abuse their power and put services like Skype on the slow lane "

Incorrect. If that was all 'Net Neutrality' wanted to prevent, it could easily be accomplished by a much simpler and less intrusive legislation-- "make all services available to all customers at the same rates". Instead of the pathetically inane commandment, "thou shalt treat all each packet the same as all others".

Honestly, do we WANT a packet of spam email treated the same as our high-priority VoIP traffic?

> "Frustrating deployment of new advanced services based on the tiered internet is the Effect. "

Glad to see we agree. The effect of this law will be to frustrate deployment of advanced Internet services.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By jtesoro on 7/7/2006 5:55:21 AM , Rating: 2
By saying that the INTENT is to frustrate development, your version of the commandment is "thou shall not have innovation", which isn't the case. Separate the Intent from the Effect. As I was saying, it is a matter of weighing the benefit of the Intent vs the price of the Effects. And everyone has their own opinon on this.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/7/2006 9:32:51 AM , Rating: 2
> "By saying that the INTENT is to frustrate development..."

Look, reading comprehension really isn't a difficult task. I did not say the intent of net neutrality was to frustrate development. I said it was intended to frustate deployment of advanced services *unless* those services are offered to all at the same cost as existing service.

My statement is correct. When you leave off a dependent clause, however, the meaning changes totally.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By jtesoro on 7/7/2006 10:15:32 AM , Rating: 2
My reading comprehension is OK. Your sentence construction needs improvement.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/7/2006 10:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, why not change the habits of a lifetime and simply admit your error? Misreading a sentence isn't a crime, you know.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By jtesoro on 7/7/2006 10:41:33 AM , Rating: 2
What's this about "habits of a lifetime" now? In another discussion you had with someone, you harped about not attacking the poster and similar talk. And yet you do the same. A few times if I might add.

You think your post is clear. I don't. Let's disagree and leave it at that.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/7/2006 11:39:44 AM , Rating: 2
> "You think your post is clear. I don't. Let's disagree and leave it at that"

Instead of leaving the discussion with a pointless argument over my phrasing, why not address the point itself? My statement was:

quote:
"Net neutrality is intended to frustrate the deployment of new, advanced services...unless those services are provided to every single packet over the Internet, and at the exact same price...


Now, instead of quibbling over extraneous ellipses, why not focus on the meat of the matter. Net Neutrality has a very clear intent, to bar introduction of any new Internet service, unless they are offered as a "base service" without additional cost.

That is going to frustrate and delay some advances for decades to come. If you have concerns with telco monopoly power-- address those concerns. But Net Neutrality is focused entirely on a different matter.

> "In another discussion you had with someone, you harped about not attacking the poster and similar talk. And yet you do the same"

Fair enough; I retract the statement.


RE: What's wrong with Tiered Networks?
By OrSin on 7/5/2006 9:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
This is completely different. YOu ahve that 5 meg pipe and if someon doesn't the IPS for fast access you can only connect to them at 56K speeds. It's basicly saying you have no control over how fast your connection is to the world. YOu cna have all teh bandwith you want but if the sites you like don't pay your screwed.


By careyd on 7/5/2006 9:40:32 AM , Rating: 2
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