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  1. #1
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    The fight for net neutrality goes to round two




    TOP STORY

    The fight for net neutrality goes to round two


    By Woody Leonhard

    With 1.1 million (and counting) consumer comments to ponder and an alliance of tech companies nipping at its heels, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission enters round two of the fight for net neutrality.

    The end of the 120-day public-comment period ends Sept. 15 — at which time the real fight over access to the Internet begins.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/the-fight-for-net-neutrality-goes-to-round-two/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Does this have any relevancy to the rest of the globe outside the US? If so, how?
    Last edited by timsinc; 2014-08-21 at 04:08. Reason: spelling!

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    Exactly!

    Is this a US fight affecting only the US, or
    Is this a US fight that will affect all of us, or
    Is this a global fight in which we can all take part?

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    The article is concerning a US fight. But, it may be or become an issue elsewhere if the local governing body (or EU if they have the power) allow an ISP to prioritize traffic based on ability to pay.

    Joe

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    If this happens in the US, I think there is big chance that it will happen in the EU, too. I would rather see this fail in the US first.
    Rui
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    If this happens in the US, I think there is big chance that it will happen in the EU, too.
    I wonder what my compatriot, Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee (now director of the World Wide Web Consortium), makes of it.
    Tim

    (Asus Transformer Aio. Win8.1. Galaxy S4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5)

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    Net Neutrality

    I'm writing from Newfoundland Canada,and in answer to your first poster, I would say this is more than a US problem. As far as the Internet goes anything which is adopted in the USA, will spread to the rest of North America especially Canada. As we have a bunch of weak kneed politicians. Giving the large Multinational companies free reign over pricing is not the answer. The consumer must be protected, and Net neutrality must be maintained, the USA is not living in a vacuum, and what flies there will eventually make its presence felt here.

    Max
    Last edited by ruirib; 2014-08-21 at 12:23. Reason: Moved from Contact Us

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    First, I think it is complete rubbish to lump Cell Networks with landline ISPs. The Internet Backbone does not include Cell Networks. Cell Networks were assembled by the individual carriers for their own private use, without government funding. These networks are therefore private networks, not public utilities. Cell Carriers are free to make and alter their own rules at their discretion.

    The Internet Backbone on the other hand, was partially government funded, and is used in the fashion of a public utility. This is a ripe field for labeling Title II Common Carrier, thus bringing the question of Net Neutrality down to the ISP level -- the so-called "last mile" between the ISP Gateway and the customers' homes and businesses or institutions.

    But between the ISP and the customer, this is where Net Neutrality would seem to apply in a pure sense. And here we are also on shaky ground, as the Last Mile is totally built and maintained by private companies for their own customers. Regulation could be argued against on the grounds that these are private data networks, not public utilities. Personally, I would prefer the Last Mile to be reclassified as Title II Common Carrier, but there may be legal grounds to argue against this reclassification.

    Here's where things get messy: There are already Fast Lanes between large content providers like Google and Netflix, and all the big ISPs:
    http://www.wired.com/2014/06/net_neutrality_missing/
    Note the illustration in the middle of the article. Peering, as it is called, already creates an imbalance among content providers.

    This is why Net Neutrality needs to extend from the Content Provider to the ISP, and onwards to the customers. But only for landline ISPs -- not for Cell Data Networks.

    Peering exists worldwide, so this advantage is of concern to everyone around the globe who wants to have as much access to a small-audience content stream as we can get from a major content provider, without throttling or unduly restricted access.

    Now on to why even those who consider Netflix to be a trivial use of the Internet need to worry about things like Net Neutrality. Look at this report from CBS 60 Minutes alleging that the US Stock Market has been "rigged" by the use of Fast Lanes. While these are physical Fast Lanes, the same principle applies to technical Fast Lanes.

    We all have money at stake, and money to lose if the outcome is not what it needs to be.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-21 at 16:01.
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    Quote Originally Posted by timsinc View Post
    I wonder what my compatriot, Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee (now director of the World Wide Web Consortium), makes of it.
    That's not a secret, really:

    http://www.theguardian.com/technolog...net-neutrality

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014...n_4945595.html
    Rui
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    Thank you for those links. The Guardian article (written in Queen's English!) does help to make sense of the complex issue for the simple-minded - me!

    In the UK, the Royal Mail some years back increased its postal rates on size and weight of of the (printed) information - as well as other matter - one receives via its service. There are other postal providers too - so competition. But what they all do is charge the SENDER of the information.

    Isn't that what should happen in the digital world? Now my bank, say, could charge me the customer more for having next-day delivery of my monthly statement (indeed, for having a paper statement at all), such as Amazon does for its goods.

    So I, the customer, in the end pay for speed. I don't bother about how many vans the Royal Mail needs for this, or whether it takes fibre-optic or copper to get my instant digital delivery. But in the end I pay.

    Do we have "postal neutrality"?

    "Net neutrality" – in which services, if I have understood it correctly, are treated exactly equally as they pass over the net, no matter what their source or destination - seems pie in the sky to me.

    I have probably totally over simplified the complexities, not taking into account such things as monopolies and the difficulties of changing ISP.
    Tim

    (Asus Transformer Aio. Win8.1. Galaxy S4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5)

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    Quote Originally Posted by timsinc View Post
    Thank you for those links. The Guardian article (written in Queen's English!) does help to make sense of the complex issue for the simple-minded - me!

    In the UK, the Royal Mail some years back increased its postal rates on size and weight of of the (printed) information - as well as other matter - one receives via its service. There are other postal providers too - so competition. But what they all do is charge the SENDER of the information.

    Isn't that what should happen in the digital world? Now my bank, say, could charge me the customer more for having next-day delivery of my monthly statement (indeed, for having a paper statement at all), such as Amazon does for its goods.

    So I, the customer, in the end pay for speed. I don't bother about how many vans the Royal Mail needs for this, or whether it takes fibre-optic or copper to get my instant digital delivery. But in the end I pay.

    Do we have "postal neutrality"?

    "Net neutrality" – in which services, if I have understood it correctly, are treated exactly equally as they pass over the net, no matter what their source or destination - seems pie in the sky to me.

    I have probably totally over simplified the complexities, not taking into account such things as monopolies and the difficulties of changing ISP.
    Speed (bandwidth) in many countries already is tiered, so heavy users may opt for higher speeds while lighter users opt for slower speeds.

    Your Postal Service analogy gets things essentially exactly backwards.

    Charging customers by "bulk" is not what is going on in the US. Net Neutrality tries to correct the situation in which ISPs can take one kind or source of traffic, and give it a preferential fast-lane compared with other types or sources. This has no correlation with the user's bandwidth or speed tier. It is not about charging users for how much bandwidth we use each month, nor offering us greater overall speed at a higher price.

    In fact, as things stand, the greatest bandwidth hogs on the Internet get the fastest lanes for their streams. Netflix alone takes up to one-third of all US Internet bandwidth during peak usage times.

    This is about offering a level playing field at all speeds to every content provider or data source. As long as the traffic is legal, it should get through with no impediments.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-21 at 15:01.
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    I still don't understand why all forms of digital data should be treated completely equally:

    • A live video chat needs high bandwidth, low latency, and no dropped packets. That speed and quality might well cost more than...
    • An email service that is neither high bandwidth nor need realtime delivery and can deal with dropped packets by requesting them again...
    • Or a BitTorrent type service that needs bandwidth but is not realtime...
    • And so on. So why not let backbone providers charge differently for different types of digital service provided?

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggsy2 View Post
    I still don't understand why all forms of digital data should be treated completely equally:

    • A live video chat needs high bandwidth, low latency, and no dropped packets. That speed and quality might well cost more than...
    • An email service that is neither high bandwidth nor need realtime delivery and can deal with dropped packets by requesting them again...
    • Or a BitTorrent type service that needs bandwidth but is not realtime...
    • And so on. So why not let backbone providers charge differently for different types of digital service provided?
    Fine, until you see what happens in real life. Content is not tiered in the logical way you propose. Different video streams of similar quality travel at different speeds with different priorities, depending not on how much the end user pays, but on how much the content provider has paid the ISP. In Illinois politics we call this Pay To Play. And it has nastier terms associated with it. Especially when AT&T and Verizon throttle Netflix traffic in an effort to coerce that content provider into paying the ISP for better access.

    This is not about paying for what you are using. It is about someone paying for priority access for the same type of traffic. The former is only fair; the latter is just highway robbery.
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    Quote Originally Posted by timsinc View Post
    Thank you for those links. The Guardian article (written in Queen's English!) does help to make sense of the complex issue for the simple-minded - me!

    In the UK, the Royal Mail some years back increased its postal rates on size and weight of of the (printed) information - as well as other matter - one receives via its service. There are other postal providers too - so competition. But what they all do is charge the SENDER of the information.

    Isn't that what should happen in the digital world? Now my bank, say, could charge me the customer more for having next-day delivery of my monthly statement (indeed, for having a paper statement at all), such as Amazon does for its goods.

    So I, the customer, in the end pay for speed. I don't bother about how many vans the Royal Mail needs for this, or whether it takes fibre-optic or copper to get my instant digital delivery. But in the end I pay.

    Do we have "postal neutrality"?

    "Net neutrality" – in which services, if I have understood it correctly, are treated exactly equally as they pass over the net, no matter what their source or destination - seems pie in the sky to me.

    I have probably totally over simplified the complexities, not taking into account such things as monopolies and the difficulties of changing ISP.


    Receivers pay their ISPs an amount that usually depends on bandwidth. "Senders" also pay to whoever provides them with the service. Why should they pay more to some big ISPs? Do you want your ISP to actually choose who you can view with quality or not, depending on who pays them?
    Rui
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Receivers pay their ISPs an amount that usually depends on bandwidth. "Senders" also pay to whoever provides them with the service. Why should they pay more to some big ISPs? Do you want your ISP to actually choose who you can view with quality or not, depending on who pays them?
    And receivers pay the senders. I pay Netflix (my subscription) to receive my film. If it costs Netflix more to deliver the goods, they must charge me, the consumer, more. I see the ISP like my telephone company - providing me with the equivalent of a landline. And yes, they should not 'censor' the delivery. If it's been paid to be the equivalent of next day delivery (ie quick and instant with Netflix) that's what it should be.

    It surely must be up to negotiation between the business and the courier/carrier (ie ISP), treated just like any other market place deal. Different postal services have different rates after all. If Netflix or whoever cannot provide me with a speedy service I must look elsewhere.
    Tim

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