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The Internet Government Politics

HR 5252 Bill Dies 121

Posted by Zonk
from the tubes-will-remain-neutral-for-a-little-while-longer dept.
Oronar writes to mention a post on the 'Save the Internet' site applauding the death of Ted Stevens' bill. From the post: "The fate of Net Neutrality has now been passed to what appears to be a more Web-friendly Congress ... The end of this Congress -- and death of Sen. Ted Stevens' bad bill -- gives us the chance to have a long overdue public conversation about what the future of the Internet should look like. This will not only include ensuring Net Neutrality, but making the Internet faster, more affordable and accessible."
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HR 5252 Bill Dies

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  • by Aurisor (932566) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:54PM (#17176912) Homepage
    Can someone please link to or provide a quick summary of what Ted Stevens' bill would have enacted? I keep up with the network neutrality to some extent, but all of the corporate power grabs start to blur together after a while.

    Thanks.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I heard it involved kicking puppies, but you can never be completely sure about these things.
    • by forgotten_my_nick (802929) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#17176990)
      According to the cable companies Net Neutrality means that you pay more.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPIYxtjLFeI [youtube.com]

      Dam those evil Silicon Valley companies!!
      • by m-wielgo (858054)
        Ridiculous! Such blatant lies, disinformation and verbal diarrhea this commercial spreads, should be punishable to maximum extent of the law.
        • Ridiculous! Such blatant lies, disinformation and verbal diarrhea this commercial spreads, should be punishable to maximum extent of the law.
          I wonder what the law does prescribe for verbal diarrhea?

          I'm inclined to agree, but I don't think the cable companies' ads are actionable. IANAL.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BalkanBoy (201243)
      In a nutshell it means that currently there is no QoS (quality of service, or otherwise known as priority queueing in computer science) at the last mile from the ISP to your home. This means all IP traffic arrives at the rate at which they are delivered to you, whether that is HTTP traffic, VoIP (Skype, Vonage, etc) traffic, or any other type of data. There is no discrimination of traffic.

      A consequence of that is traffic that may need to be routed there in a more timely manner (like VoIP) may arrive later t
      • by jmauro (32523) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @06:48PM (#17178568)
        So what was it with all the talk from the presidents of the telephone companies using a QoS network to extract more money from the Googles and Yahoos to allow their traffic a "higher" priority then others all about. If it was just about QoS and they gave tools to the end user to adjust his or her QoS settings, then it wouldn't be a problem. It seems to be more about the telecom companies being allowed to decided what traffic they will/will not carry without losing their common carrier status.
        • Exactly (Score:2, Insightful)

          by remmelt (837671)
          Well, the ISPs thought it wasn't fair that the Googles of the world got to use their (the ISPs) network for free. They felt they had the right to charge Google or Yahoo or MS for use of those network tubes. This is unfair because Google is already paying for its access to the internet by being hooked up to backbones, renting serverspace (well, not in Google's case, but you get what I mean), etc. This greedy move on the part of the ISPs was then justified by saying it's in the customer's best interest. I don
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by DJCacophony (832334)
            Not just Google and Yahoo, any website they choose.

            Do you want AOL customers to see your website, or call you on VOIP? Without Net Neutrality, too bad, you have to pay AOL for that.
            Do you want Comcast customers to see your website or call you on VOIP? Without Net Neutrality, too bad, you have to pay Comcast for that.
            Do you want Time Warner customers to see your website or call you on VOIP? Without Net Neutrality, too bad, you have to pay Time Warner for that.

            Anti-net-neutrality is nothing about im
        • by Alsee (515537)
          without losing their common carrier status

          ISPs have argued in court (and every court ruling thus far has been) that ISPs not be subject to common carrier status. Wikipedia:Common_Carrier [wikipedia.org] has a brief discussion of this.

          -
      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        It is possible to have a system that works for pro-QoS people and maintain Net Neutrality.

        My ISP does it. :/

        Basically they have different tiers of speed and contention. You pay the top amount and I get 3MB line with 12:1 and 100GB download a month (after which contention shoots up).

        Lower level means if you just browse normal webpages then the speed is ok'ish.

        I can't see the QoS as anything other then trying to force other companies out of the marketplace that is the internet.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by chis101 (754167)
          I think you are confusing line speed with net neutrality.

          You are saying 'If I pay more, I get a connection that is faster. The 3MB line can download files and webpages at 3x the speed the 1MB line can.'

          Net-Neutrality is more like, "You pay for a 3MB line. You can download Google at 3MB, Yahoo at 512k, some files at 3MB, some at 1MB, not dependant on your line speed, or the other end's line speed, but the QOS your ISP is putting on the packets. It is basically putting artificial limits on some traff
        • by blake6489 (949217)
          thats actually quite different from QoS. usually its the modem on the user end that is different (or at lest the settings), and that modem bottle necks your traffic to match what you paid for. i think this is entirly diffenent, the issue is whether or notthe osp can give different sites different speeds, not whether they can give the customer different speeds
      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday December 09, 2006 @07:24PM (#17179010)

        You're misrepresenting the situation. People are actually using two different definitions for QoS: it can mean prioritizing by protocol (i.e. HTTP vs. VOIP vs. IRC vs. BitTorrent vs. SMTP), as you mentioned, but it can also mean prioritizing by origin (i.e. HTTP from MSN vs. HTTP from Google, or VOIP from Vonage vs. VOIP from Comcast).

        The people opposed to Net Neutrality claim that it will be used only for the first type of prioritization, which is by protocol. This group primarily includes the ISPs. If this really is the kind of QoS that would happen, there's really no reason for anyone to oppose it.

        On the other hand, the people in favor of Net Neutrality claim that the kind of QoS the ISPs really want to do is the second kind, for their own benefit. For example, they say the ISPs want to pit content providers like MSN and Google against each other to see who'll pay more money to get their content delivered at higher priority. Or as another example, the ISP could try suffocate Vonage by prioritizing its own VOIP service over Vonage's. This is the type of QoS that what would lead to stifling of competition and free speech, if it were to be implemented.

      • That would be a straw man argument.

        Not that YouTube/VoIP traffic congestion usually happens on the last mile, but another option (if that were the case) is for your ISP to expand their network.The United States is behind the rest of the modern world in broadband speed/price for home users. (Broadband speeds worldwide) [wikipedia.org] This seems like a reasonable request, especially considering the amount of tax dollars the industry has been given to do this.

        Further..

        (1) Net neutrality is not limited to last mile
      • by modeless (978411) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @07:44PM (#17179170) Journal
        I'm sorry, QoS inside the network is and has always been a bad idea. The Internet is a dumb network. It was designed that way and that is why it thrives. QoS can and should be done at the edges of the network, by the nodes which are actually doing the communicating. If your VoIP traffic is delayed by the HTTP download you're doing, throttle it! It's not as if your computer has no control over the rate people are sending it data.

        Now, if your VoIP traffic is being delayed by the HTTP download *someone else* is doing, you don't have control over it. However, the correct solution here is NOT QoS. The correct solution to this problem is more bandwidth inside the network at the congested node. Adding more bandwidth is cheap, probably just as cheap as adding QoS, yet more bandwidth solves all of the problems QoS does, plus it increases the utility of the network for *everyone*, not just those using latency-sensitive applications. Furthermore, it keeps the network neutral to everyone, and doesn't introduce the possibility of QoS discrimination between classes of users.
        • by sgt_doom (655561)
          Mucho thanks for the highly intelligent post, modeless.

          When I first read the story post - I thought it pertained only to the death of Ted Stevens. Then, upon reading to the ending (I'm a glacially slow reader) I thought: "Oh rats! He's still alive!"

        • by Catharsis (246331)

          Adding more bandwidth is cheap, probably just as cheap as adding QoS, yet more bandwidth solves all of the problems QoS does, plus it increases the utility of the network for *everyone*, not just those using latency-sensitive applications. Furthermore, it keeps the network neutral to everyone, and doesn't introduce the possibility of QoS discrimination between classes of users.

          Actually, this is not true. I use QoS so that my upstairs neighbor doesn't use up all my bandwidth downloading the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica ruining my next-door neighbor's Counterstrike ping and making my Skype calls sound like I am at the bottom of a very deep well.

          I can guarantee that the cost of my QoS package ($0 + a couple hours labour to find out what QoS is and how to configure it) was far less than more bandwidth (two more internet connections at $35/mo each).

          I'm all in favor of legis

          • by modeless (978411)
            My comment was intended to cover the "big picture" over the long run, not individual cases in the short term. For specific limited problems in controlled situations, QoS can help. But your "couple hours labor" isn't negligible, especially when you consider that most people would have to spend a lot more time than that. At a reasonable hourly rate, the cost of an average person setting this stuff up is going to be about the same cost as several months of more bandwidth. Plus buying more bandwidth gives y
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cecil_turtle (820519)
        Think of Net Neutrality like making your ISP's service to you a utility, like electricity. You pay for what you use (bandwidth). Without Net Neutrality, customers (you) or content providers (google, youtube, etc.) will have to pay more money on top of the bandwidth they use for no good reason (it doesn't cost the ISP any more money to transfer google's bits than it does AOL's bits or VoIP bits). The equivalent in our electric utility example would be if the electric company charged you a higher rate for
    • by jthill (303417)
      Thomas [loc.gov] will tell you. Search on bill number for HR5252. Search on keyword for "neutrality" to find more; the one we want is HR5417 [loc.gov]
    • Try this link - http://www.savetheinternet.com/blog/2006/11/01/lam ed-duck-alert-dont-let-senators-sell-us-out/ [savetheinternet.com] Common carriers often discriminate anyway, especially if society's attitudes allow it.
  • by JoshJ (1009085) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @03:57PM (#17176940) Journal
    What? You can't just pack up one Congress and replace it with another. It's not like a truck. Congress is a series of tubes.
  • This is Ted's last show of defiance. He is trying to clog the tubes with his failures!
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#17176984) Journal
    Next year we will see it as a tag on part of a bill called something like "Keep soldier safe bill" and in trying to save our soldiers or keep porn from the kiddies, they'll find a way to control the tubes of the intarwebs...
    • by jlarocco (851450) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:03PM (#17177550) Homepage
      Next year we will see it as a tag on part of a bill called something like "Keep soldier safe bill" and in trying to save our soldiers or keep porn from the kiddies, they'll find a way to control the tubes of the intarwebs...

      Yep, just like they used the SAFE Port Act [wikipedia.org] to block online gambling. I'll never understand why that's legal.

      • Online gambling websites often require you to download (sometimes malicous) software, which may open ports on your computer, thus exposing you and America at large? Keep your ports closed, America!
    • IMHO; My orientation is that blocking the ability for people to communicate to each other is an evil of biblical proportions; And the entities at that level, play for keeps.
  • by Kiba Ruby (1037440)
    I couldn't believe that congress is not backward this time. I thought they are all under the control corporate mongers! I thought congress will approve the bill, based on their past action. But they did not this time.

    I think this is a dream! Hurry! Somebody wake me up pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase!
    • by Cyraan (840132)
      Shhh, its okay, not to worry. The next laughing excuse for an "Energy Bill" packed full of oil subsidies is probably in the works as we speak. All is well.
    • Oh, here, I'll pinch you. The web services corporations combined probably have more money to throw in. So you see... the other corporate mongers won this time. ;-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ah, but we have corporate mongers on both sides. Version, Comcast and so on vs. Google, Microsoft and so on. Congress nearly exploded trying to figure out which side had more money... in the end they couldn't decide. So nothing happened: status quo remains.
  • The story assumes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Crashmarik (635988) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:13PM (#17177084)
    That government involvement can make anything faster better or cheaper. If you are actually looking at the situation you might realize the problem stems from the government granting monopolies initially.
    • by MindStalker (22827) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .reklatsdnim.> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:38PM (#17177322) Journal
      While I agree with you post, it ignores the history of US telecommunications. First of all the US government paid most of the initial infrastructure cost for the phone network in the US. Time for an example. Lets say the US government in its grand stupidity had contracted out the creation of the Interstate system. They said, OK private companies here is a load of cash to build the interstate, you build it, and you can charge fees, and 95% of those fees have to go back into maintainance and building new roads. That is exactly how the phone system was build and maintained untill the mid 90s. At that point they said, Hey there is demand for an all new phone (sorry falling off the methaphore here, oh forget about the raods) system using fiberoptics. You remove that 95% requirement and give us some extra tax breaks, and we will be motivated more to build a newer better system. Congress fell for this (bribed, whatever..) and that is where we stand today, with the new system that was promised never built. The phone companies are now saying, hey we are thinking about building extra toll booths, ones that allow us to charge large trucks based upon the value of their load and not just how much it weights, and other stuff too. Technically there was nothing in law to stop them from doing it besides oversight, but the new HR 5252 was going to remove a lot of that oversight. Now we are just waking up and realizing the boondongle we got ourselfs into.

      Personally I think the government should claim ownership of ALL lines, and then remove all regulations. Meaning if you want to build new lines and compete with the government, thats fine, but you're going to have to do it on your own penny. But the current system which was created from government money really should belong to the people, not these companies.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Totally, man. I mean the greatest and best innovation was during the days when the feds ran the show end to end. I still long for the good old days of the rotary dialer, it wasn't fast but it fucking worked! And that pin drop shit that MCI did? In the 80's? Remember that? On the old analog lines I really enjoyed hearing all the ambient noise and stuff because it was like audiophile for telephones, you know? It was more warm and had richer texture to the sound.

        Since deregulation the only thing we've

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Guy Harris (3803)

        First of all the US government paid most of the initial infrastructure cost for the phone network in the US. Time for an example. Lets say the US government in its grand stupidity had contracted out the creation of the Interstate system. They said, OK private companies here is a load of cash to build the interstate, you build it, and you can charge fees, and 95% of those fees have to go back into maintainance and building new roads. That is exactly how the phone system was build and maintained untill the mi

        • by AuMatar (183847)
          They did indeed pay a large portion of the money. You know the land where they strung up all those poles? The land was given to the phone companies. You know all those small communities in the US? Everywhere more than 30 miles from a major city? The US paid for the phone companies to build those lines, same as they did for electricity. The US government paid more than the phone companies ever did.
      • by Z34107 (925136)

        Personally I think the government should claim ownership of ALL lines, and then remove all regulations. Meaning if you want to build new lines and compete with the government, thats fine, but you're going to have to do it on your own penny.

        Too bad confiscation of private property is illegal and unconstitutional. That's what socialist and communist states do.

        Besides, subsidies very rarely make sense - especially when the recipients large, profitable corporations. You can fix most of the problems by r

        • Too bad confiscation of private property is illegal and unconstitutional. That's what socialist and communist states do.

          Look up Kelo v. City of New London. The city authorized a "private" entity that was directly under the control of the local government to condemn 115 houses, all to make the city look better for Pfizer. If eminent domain can be used like that (which I honestly don't think it should, but the Supreme Court made their decision), it can be used to screw corporations to help the rest of us.

          • by Z34107 (925136)

            Any sufficiently large organization will invariable fuck up and fuck over those that it ostensibly tries to serve. This applies to corporations and governments alike.

            Except that if a corporation "fucks up", that corporation faces the very real risk of going out of business. You tend not to fuck up when your very existence is on the line.

            Our government has been fucking up for centuries. There's no motivation to improve when you'll be around tomorrow regardless.

            Removing regulations would leave us w

            • by BVis (267028)

              Exploitation of workers? A worker can't be "exploited" if he's allowed to seek a job elsewhere.

              Unless there isn't anywhere else to seek a job. The most recent example is the numerous examples of Wal-Mart forcing its workers to work off the clock; by your reasoning they could have avoided this by getting other jobs... Oh, wait, Wal-Mart forced the other employers out of business. I guess those workers should be glad they have jobs at all, and working without getting paid is just being "competitive". Other

    • by ciscoguy01 (635963) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:04PM (#17177554)
      If you are actually looking at the situation you might realize the problem stems from the government granting monopolies initially.

      Close, but not exactly right. The government granted monopolies to the phone company, the electric company, the gas company for good reason. We really didn't want 17 sets of electric wires on the pole out back, did we? Nope.
      So what we as a society did was HIRE those companies and gave them a special position in society as regulated utilities.

      We paid them to build those networks. The money they used, it wasn't their money, it was OURS. Remember the "Rate Cases" they had to file with the PUC to get a rate increase? "We had to build new wires here, we built a central office there, it cost this much." They were then granted rates as the exclusive provider for those services that guaranteed them a certain ROI (return on investment).

      Now there's the "special" position they got, what business is guaranteed to make a certain amount of money, if they lose money somehow they would magically get new increased rates to guarantee that ROI I mentioned? All the while being protected from competition? Not too many.

      But now they are big companies and they don't wanna be protected anymore, at least in their "new media" divisions, but there's no real competiton there either.

      Think about it: Seen those AT&T ads for $12.99 DSL? After a 1 year term they raise that to $26.99. The $12.99 price is only for "new customers". After you have had them for a year you are no longer "new" so they jack the prices up.

      What can you do? Not much, since they have put most of their competitors out of business by overcharging them to use the copper wires that go out to your house and the space in the CO to where they were losing money.

      The few competitors that are left are selling DSL on much the same terms but you can't really switch from AT&T to them since AT&T is using your copper pair to provide that DSL service to you, the one they just jacked up the rates on. If you want to switch you have to first cancel the AT&T DSL and wait 2 months for them to "release the line", after which the competitor can hook you up.

      You get 2 months downtime. So no real competition.

      Back to the "net neutrality" argument. Here's what's really going on:

      The phone company wants to screw up the packets of their competitors. Mostly VOIP packets, but they are not proud, they will figure out more mischief that they can use to cheat us.

      If you get VOIP phone service from one of their competitors they will delay every fouth packet 950 ms. So the phone calls would arrive out of order. Choppy, digital distorted calls. You couldn't use their competitors, only them. Nothing else would work.

      If you get VOIP phone service from them it will work great since they control the network and they will then let the packets go on through.

      Their argument is they want to provide service to *their* customers. If you are someone else's customer, you will be screwed with. Now they aren't really going to use their scarce resources to serve their own customers instead of YOU, they are going to screw you up deliberately. They have plenty capacity and you are paying them anyway.

      When you call them to complain about your bad internet connection that won't work for the services they want to sell you they will say "switch to us and you will then get good service."

      The ideal of "hands off the internet" is a completely bogus argument dredged up mostly by the same phone companies. It's mostly fake. A smokescreen.

      They don't want to have to provide the service YOU are paying them for. They WILL, but only as long as you keep paying them.

      If you want to use a competitive service they will screw it up so you will come back to them.

      They hate competition.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 (559740)

        The government granted monopolies to the phone company, the electric company, the gas company for good reason. We really didn't want 17 sets of electric wires on the pole out back, did we?

        That's only half true. The examples you provided are what economists refer to as "natural monopolies," the definition of which is when one firm can provide a service cheaper than many competing firms can. It's not so much that we would mind 17 different sets of wires on our poles (I'm sure that carries it's own problem

        • by Teancum (67324)

          "We had to build new wires here, we built a central office there, it cost this much."

          Was one of their original attempts at the matter, but that encourages gold plating--buying the most obscenely expensive equipment regardless of whether or not it was needed, because the government would use those costs to increase your profits. Obviously that was not desirable, so they went from scheme to scheme trying to find one that works.

          Yeah, this sounds exactly like what Ma Bell did back before the breakup of the Be

      • The few competitors that are left are selling DSL on much the same terms but you can't really switch from AT&T to them since AT&T is using your copper pair to provide that DSL service to you, the one they just jacked up the rates on. If you want to switch you have to first cancel the AT&T DSL and wait 2 months for them to "release the line", after which the competitor can hook you up. You get 2 months downtime. So no real competition.

        That was not my experience.

        As my first year of Yahoo AT

        • by nbowman (799612)
          unless there is no competition, yes I live in the sticks, and if I really Reallly wanted better interweb service I would move, but it isn't quite worth it to me. yet. this has been my experience with TDS telecom. (nicknamed by me Tedious Telecom, imaginative huh? )

          I pay $35/mo for a plain phone line with no long distance and $50/mo for DSL service. The DSL is supposed to be 1.5M/256K service but the connection won't download from anywhere at over ~350K/s down (bittorrent, file planet, wherever else, i

      • by Legion303 (97901)
        "Now there's the 'special' position they got, what business is guaranteed to make a certain amount of money, if they lose money somehow they would magically get new increased rates to guarantee that ROI I mentioned? All the while being protected from competition? Not too many."

        Yes, but isn't socialism wonderful? It's worked out great for American telecom and airline companies, and I'm certain anyone else who can't compete in a free market could reap some great benefits as well.
      • by abb3w (696381)

        We really didn't want 17 sets of electric wires on the pole out back, did we? Nope.

        Want it or not, we had it for a while. Example pic [nih.gov]; I've seen a lot others from the era (three of the profs I do IT support for are historians focused on that era of technology), but this is the only one that turned up on the Web in a fast search. Alas, this one shows a relatively low level of wire clutter; most of those I've seen were worse.

    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      what I find amusing about all this is that when the US first came up with the internet concept (at the arpanet stage I beleive) they gave it, lock stock and barrel, to the USSR. The reasoning being that the last thing they wanted was a world war starting because of crappy communications.

      Now the US (or powerful parts of it, not all of it) wants to regain control and stipulate what can and cannot occur, and charge for bits that were previously free. What an interesting turnaround.
    • by KZigurs (638781)
      DARPA?
    • by PoochieReds (4973)
      Yep. Apologies to anyone who's read this before, but here's a post I made a few months ago. This describes the *real* net neutrality that this country needs:

      ------------[snip]-----------------

      I'm all for net neutrality, but not in the form currently being campaigned for here and in congress. There is virtually no way that any net neutrality law that gets pushed through congress would be a good thing for consumers.

      Here's what needs to happen...

      The big problem in the US is that there is no competition between
  • "Web-friendly Congress" = I'm not paying more to get my porn fast
  • on the highway. (Score:3, Informative)

    by pseudosero (1037784) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:33PM (#17177276) Journal
    In order to get normal people to understand what impact net neutrality will have on them we need to fight the TV ads which conclude "NET NEUTRALITY: BAD FOR THE CONSUMER" and create an analogy they can understand.

    Although comparing the internet to highways is only marginally better than a "series of tubes" bear with me.

    In its simplest form people can drive on roads. Businesses can transport goods by way of them. In fact, even data can be transported on the highway, on roads. So, in order for you to get your camo gear, guns and tobacco from walmart at everyday low prices, walmart uses the same roads as everyone else and there is no tiered system that you, the consumer, has to pay attention to. So there's more walmart trucks on the road and now it's harder to get to work and in fact harder to get to walmart. Thus is the limitation of the highway system.

    Net neutrality gives you the option to ignore all the walmart trucks on the road instead of paying for it in the long run. (because if the walmart trucks have to pay more to get to walmart, walmart's going to raise their prices.)

    has anyone seen that net neutrality ad? I think they tried to slip that one in there without us noticing. IT totally goes off the series of pipes idea.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 09, 2006 @04:46PM (#17177394)
      This is from a while ago, when people were calling the internet the "information superhighway"

      "Free speech is such a slippery little eel... Just when you think the Constitution has it right, you run into an interpretation that fails the "common sense / bull shit" test. Perhaps an analogy will serve... Think of the computer highway AS a highway.

      There it is again. Some clueless FOOL talking about the "Information Superhighway." They don't know JACK about the net. It's NOTHING like a Superhighway. That's a BAD metaphor.

      Yeah, but suppose the metaphor ran in the OTHER direction. Suppose the HIGHWAYS were like the NET. All right! Severe craziness. A highway HUNDREDS of lanes wide. Most with potholes. Privately operated bridges and overpasses. No highway patrol. A couple of rent-a-cops on bicycles with broken whistles. 500 member VIGILANTE POSSES with nuclear weapons. 237 ON RAMPS at every intersection. NO SIGNS. Wanna get to Ensenada? Holler out the window at a passing truck to ask directions. AD HOC traffic laws. Some lanes would VOTE to make use by a single-occupant- vehicle a CAPITAL OFFENSE on Monday through Friday between 7:00 and 9:00. Other lanes would just SHOOT you without a trial for talking on a car phone.

      AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking BUS with hundreds of EBOLA victims and a TOILET spewing out on the road behind it. Throwing DEAD WOMBATS and rotten cabbage at the other cars most of which have been ASSEMBLED AT HOME from kits. Some are 2.5 horsepower LAWNMOWER ENGINES with a top speed of nine miles an hour. Others burn NITROGLYCERINE and IDLE at 120.

      No license tags. World War II BOMBER NOSE ART instead. Terrifying paintings of huge teeth or VAMPIRE EAGLES. Bumper mounted MACHINE GUNS. Flip somebody the finger on this highway and get a WHITE PHOSPHORUS GRENADE up your tailpipe. Flatbed trucks with ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILE BATTERIES to shoot down the KRUD Traffic Watch helicopter. A little kid on a tricycle with a squirtgun filled with HYDROCHLORIC ACID. "

      I think that describes it pretty well, and is how it should be explained to the politicians.
      • by Renraku (518261)
        That's the best analogy I've ever heard for the Internet. Every word of it is so true.

        The internet is nothing short of a miracle to begin with, one we should marvel at.
      • Sorry, but I had to post. Hilarious description.
      • I think that describes it pretty well, and is how it should be explained to the politicians.

        That would be the worse thing to tell a Congresstroll. They would be falling all over themselves to write legislation resurrecting the Clipper chip, giving Bill Gates bags full of money to DRM the hell out of it with 'trusted computing', and laws requiring only *approved* software and hardware on any network! All wireless routers, cell phones and laptops would be contraband (except for military/governmental use, of

    • Net neutrality in a nutshell:

      The Home Shopping Network [hsn.com] gets telephone service for its ordering call center from AT&T.
      John Smith gets his home telephone service from Comcast.

      Net neutrality prevents Comcast's extortion of HSN by making it illegal for Comcast to tell HSN: "If you want calls from John Smith or any other Comcast customers to come through, you have to pay us".

      ...except on the Internet.

    • As a matter of fact, on highway, you have cars, trucks and in some of our European highways, some of the lines are dedicated to slow vehicules.

      Regarding the concept of net netrality, I am not at ease with it:

      • If this is about business fairness that ISP shoud not silently the content that they are hosting, I would agree
      • If this is about content provider not wanting to share the pie with ISP for the infrastructure, it will either have a negative effect on the future of Internet as ISP might not be able to
    • by maxume (22995)
      Net Neutrality: The speed limit decreases as traffic increases, and if Walmart wants better service, they have to build their own roads. When it sucks it sucks equally for everybody.

      No net neutrality: Walmart pays for the right to use a siren instead of building their own roads. When it sucks, it sucks more for anybody that doesn't want to pay for a siren.

      Of course, much(most?) of the time, things don't suck and it doesn't matter.

      It isn't really a bad law, but I think people are over reacting towards the co
  • Will the "more Web-friendly Congress" also pass bills to reform electronic voting machines? Like the ones that got them elected this year?

    Oh, wait...

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:17PM (#17177664) Homepage Journal
    As a Brit with only a limited understanding of how the interweb works, how does net neutrality affect me? If this bill had happened, how would it affect my internet experience? Presumably it would affect the way my packets are handled within the US, depending on who picks them up at the end of the atlantic cable and who they are destined for at the other end. Are there any signs of change in the EU? My Warcraft packets have to make their way to Rome and back apparently, so I'm a little concerned that they will get held up by a French farmers' blockade or something.
    • Right now, most backbone network providers would like to be able to provide less quality of service or charge more for things they don't want to carry. This includes VOIP, BitTorrent, and video streaming that people find handy now, and that they can't easily make into second class services. Many of them would like to force such traffic to either cost more, or to only be carried with such high quality if it originates from inside their own network and goes to hteir own network, making their larger networks m
    • by evilviper (135110)

      As a Brit with only a limited understanding of how the interweb works, how does net neutrality affect me? If this bill had happened, how would it affect my internet experience?

      Well, it would make internet access more expensive in the US, so you would indirectly be affected by that in any number of ways. No doubt US-based websites would do more aggressive advertising on their sites, and you'd see fewer and fewer personal or non-profit websites, as the costs become prohibitive.

      If you make calls to VoIP custo

  • that this bill went down the tubes. After all, Ted Stevens only wanted it so he could do packet prioritization when one of this staff sends him an Internet.
  • that read that as "death of Sen. Ted" and got hopeful? I thought some tubes had fallen on him or something.
  • by volkris (694) <volkris@gmail.com> on Saturday December 09, 2006 @05:59PM (#17178070)
    It seems to me that a much more important discussion is being completely overlooked. With all the focus on the interdealings of large selfinterested corporations nobody seems to be talking about the evolution of the access that consumers are seeing today.

    "The internet" has largely come to mean "the web" with everything else being secondary. This evolution has severe implications for everything from self publication to the value of peer to peer communication. In short, it seems that most ISPs have made it illegal to run any servers or do anything else that results in decentralization of power. This creates an environment where all content MUST be hosted on the servers of some powerhouse, and therefore be subject to whatever costs that involves.

    The internet no longer connects people and people. It connects people to businesses that sometimes happen to relay traffic from person to person.

    Let people do what they want with traffic and then it doesn't matter quite so much whether YouTube is being slowed down: the big centralized sites won't hold such a monopoly on the content.
    • by m-wielgo (858054)
      I'm with you on this. I cannot stand how ISPs react and place restrictions on consumers on how they use their service. Not only that, but what's with my upload speed being so crappy? (<7% of my download speed)

      I wish I had the ability to say... "Ok, my pipe is 7000kbps; let's set aside X for download and Y for upload."
      • by volkris (694)
        Give users more legitimate (you know, from the polite society's point of view) reasons to upload, and the upload pipes will probably grow.

        Once the restricted upload starts keeping video of grandma's birthday party from being distributed to the cousins you better believe ISPs will feel pressue to increase them. For now, though, high upload rates are supposedly only needed for people pirating music.
  • Come on people, net neutrality doesn't exist! It's either for us or for the terrorists!
    ~troll
  • by davmoo (63521) on Saturday December 09, 2006 @11:57PM (#17181136)
    Anyone who thinks the Democrats are any more "net friendly" than the Republicans is being woefully naive. Neither party gives a flying fuck about John Q. AverageAmericanNetUser or Jane Y. Nerd. Except for one tiny difference (the Republicans rob from the middle class and give to the rich, while the Democrats rob from the middle class and give to the poor), both parties are a carbon copy of each other. And just like the Republicrats, the Democins will do what is in their own best interests and the best interests of their corporate contributors.

    The United States has the best political system in the world...we have the best political system money can buy.
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:11AM (#17181586) Homepage
    Interesting bit of Trivia:

    Until September the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had their main Internet servers hosted at Verizon Business' Ashburn Virginia data center. This past January, Verizon Business (VB) was asked to provide a quote on a major upgrade: More space, more electrical power, more bandwidth, bigger "tubes." They failed. Badly: it took them two months to provide a quote and when they did it was outrageous. And oh yeah: they couldn't guarantee that they'd be able to meet the very modest space and power requirements: 200 amps @ 120 volts + a cage with 5 cabinets. How outrageous was the quote? Well, with Cogent selling bandwidth for $10/meg and most providers in the $50-$100 per meg range, VB was asked for a rate in the $100 per meg neighborhood. They had been charging $250. The new rate? $290.

    But that wasn't the end of it. Oh no. A set of vendors was chosen to replace Verizon Business. The contracts were signed in the summer with completion on each scheduled for the end of August. VB was asked to provide one simple component in the replacement: some Internet bandwidth at a different data center where they confirmed existing connectivity. In particular, the DNC wanted them to do what any reasonable ISP is capable of: move the DNC's IP addresses to the new location. Not only did they miss the August 30 installation deadline by the better part of a month, they never were able to transfer the IP addresses. Working around that with the help of the other vendors was one hell of a scramble.

    This mess all happened in August and September, by the way, threatening to spill over into the main part of the election cycle... And the DNC was under contract to host the Internet servers for the DCCC and DSCC this cycle. So it impacted and very nearly impaired election operations for three of the top Democratic Party committees responsible for helping take back the Congress.

    So, the next time you wonder how Verizon treats folks whose good will they actually need, now you know.

    As for Verizon's lobbying efforts in the 110th Congress? Yeah.
  • This is a great victory but I'll make up my mind after how the "Web-friendly Congress" reacts when local governments start asking for sales taxes from online retailers.
  • death of Sen. Ted Stevens and got really excited. When I read ' bad bill I thought, "good enough".
  • woot now if only we could do something about jack thompson
  • The analogy all of you are looking for isn't hard -- it's already in place and all of us understand it. The postal system.

    Want your stuff overnight? Pay more. Want your packets faster? Pay more. It's already in place and it works. There are plenty of things (magazines, junk mail) that people are happy to send lowest priority, it's not time sensitive. This is the email and web surfing of our analogy. Then there is that stuff like legal documents or the great thing you just ordered from Amazon that needs to b

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