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Democrats The Internet United States Politics Your Rights Online

Democrats, Minority Groups Question Net Neutrality Push 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-so-usual-suspects dept.
uuddlrlrab writes "A group of 72 Democratic lawmakers is the latest to question the US Federal Communications Commission's move to create new net neutrality regulations. Democrats, including US President Barack Obama, have generally supported new rules that would prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web content, but the group of 72 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter Thursday to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, saying they're concerned that new regulations would slow down investment in broadband networks. A coalition of minority groups made their objections known as well, saying, 'We are concerned that some of the proposed regulations on the Internet could, as applied, inhibit the goal of universal access and leave disenfranchised communities further behind.' This follows news from earlier in the week that similar letters were sent by a group of 44 tech companies and a group of 18 Republican senators." It's worth noting that the FCC is receiving letters in support of the net neutrality regulations as well. One such is from a group of internet pioneers, which includes Vint Cerf and Stephen Crocker.
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Democrats, Minority Groups Question Net Neutrality Push

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  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:25AM (#29777433) Homepage Journal

    Who would have ever thought.

    • by cjfs (1253208) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:47AM (#29777571) Homepage Journal

      Definitely does fit in the current political climate, complete with just making stuff up left and right.

      Opponents of net neutrality rules say there have been few examples of broadband providers blocking or slowing traffic.

      So what's the problem with restricting if if there have only been "few examples" of it?

      In light of the growth and innovation in new applications that the current [regulatory] regime has enabled, as compared to the limited evidence demonstrating any tangible harm, we would urge you to avoid tentative conclusions which favor government regulation

      So what do they consider tangible harm and what's the evidence of it being "limited"? The article and letter could use about 15 [citation needed] tags. I can't seem to find anything to back up the "could slow investments in broadband and slow minorities' access to telemedicine, distance learning and other services" either.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:58AM (#29777643)

        The article and letter could use about 15 [citation needed] tags. I can't seem to find anything to back up the "could slow investments in broadband and slow minorities' access to telemedicine, distance learning and other services" either.

        It's all speculation propagated by the AT&T Artificial Turf(TM) fanclub. The argument is that network neutrality will make the Internet "more expensive" to poor people because there won't be any discounts for the people who "want" all of their Internet traffic other than the ISP's walled garden to be degraded into the abyss.

        The argument ignores the fact that the absence of network neutrality in the presence of a monopoly/duopoly landscape will only result in higher prices for the people who want the "no DPI" option (if it's available at all) rather than any sort of lower prices for anybody else.

        • by postbigbang (761081) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:55AM (#29777967)

          These are utilities and common carriers. They're supposed to work for US. Instead, the propaganda pushes have become obtuse. They threaten to slow down expenditure-- slowing down broadband speed and reach. In fact, what happens is that the vacuum breeds ISP investment in areas the current crop of jerks don't want to reach. The BPL initiative starts. Sat from Hughes gets cheaper. Even gas companies figure out how to get into the broadband business.

          The group of Democrats that have been suckered in by the propaganda become their stooges, once again. They won't learn. But why should they as long as their own campaign finances are good.... filled and lined by the telcos?

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            It is worse than that. They are simply wishing to line their own pockets. With universal high bandwidth broadband there is no need for commercial add placements nor the campaign funds to pay for them, as anyone at any time can view any add,speech etc streamed from congress or the senate for free, as such they can all commercial adds can be banned outright.

            This of course cuts off corrupt politicians from the 'teats' of the lobbyists and their corporate backers (apparently they do have prostitutes on the p

      • by Ironsides (739422)

        So what's the problem with restricting if if there have only been "few examples" of it?

        If there's only been a "few examples" why pass a law restricting it? Shouldn't the government try to get by with as few laws as possible instead of as many as possible?

        • Shouldn't the government try to get by with as few laws as possible instead of as many as possible?

          Fewer laws mean less "requirement" to position oneself as a gatekeeper, requiring constant attention from the adoring masses, and of course constant campaign "donations".
        • by dgatwood (11270)

          If there's only been a "few examples" why pass a law restricting it? Shouldn't the government try to get by with as few laws as possible instead of as many as possible?

          As far as I know, there has only been one example. The problem is that the example is Comcast, which is the nation's largest residential ISP, serving more than 15.3 million customers, or almost 14% of the households in the United States.

      • by R2.0 (532027) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:19AM (#29778105)

        "A coalition of minority groups made their objections known as well, saying, 'We are concerned that some of the proposed regulations on the Internet could, as applied, inhibit the goal of universal access and leave disenfranchised communities further behind.'"

        Bullshit - "disenfranchised communities" (read "minority")being served now. The reason they are not going into those areas is lack of profit. So how is leaving the ISP's alone going to help that? Or how will net neutrality hurt it?

        Of course, there could be another reason. Net Neutrality move ISP's closer to common carrier status. The effect of this will be to LESSEN the amount of pressure these politicians can bring on behalf of their "constituency". If the ISP's are treated as content providers, then the Fairness Doctrine will have more impact when it gets reapplied - they can try to force ATT, Comcast, L3, etc. to manipulate their traffic in a way that promotes "fairness". So the carriers could be forced to, say, throttle traffic from Rush Limbaugh's website so that its traffic level matches, say, Public Radio International (PRI). Or the NRA's website until it matches the Brady campaign.

        But if Net Neutrality is the policy, that becomes harder - they'd be saying, in effect, that ISP's could control political speech, but NOT commercial speech. That wouldn't even make it past the District court, much less through appeals and SCOTUS. Net Neutrality would hobble a Fairness Doctrine for the internet, and THAT's why this group doesn't want it.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Personally, I'd say LEAVE the disenfranchised communities behind.

          Not to say they don't deserve to have internet, but I'd propose we make sure everyone has good water, good power, and good fire protection, yes?

          Case in point: My grandmother used to live in eltopia. Internet access? Hell no! We had to use well water, and we didn't even have a fire district.

          I don't think internet access would be the first thing on their minds.

          Yay for open access, but let's not forget life's essentials first.

          • by 4D6963 (933028)

            Eltopia, WA? You don't have running water in Eltopia, WA?!? And you're making one dumb ass false dichotomy. "Leaving the disenfranchised communities behind" by having net neutrality and thus hindering the incentive for telco companies to invest in infrastructure there won't make anything else magically better, that's completely unrelated.

            • by shentino (1139071)

              I'm all for fair and open internet access, and for network neutrality.

              However, I do believe that there are more important things, like a basic civic infrastructure, that need to be taken care of before a community should even be worrying about internet access.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          That's absurd. The fairness doctrine will never be applied to ISPs. It covers ONLY broadcast TV and radio, and only because of limited spectrum. It doesn't even cover content providers like print media, much less ISPs. There's no way that anyone could possibly get it expanded to cover ISPs.

          And even if they did, in order to get bandwidth restrictions put in place, they would have to prove that traffic was being unfairly altered in such a way that limited access to one side of the issues. The fairness do

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sumdumass (711423)

          There is a way to solve the issues without ever going to those points. A simple law that says no ISP can purposely limits traffic on their networks to speeds below what was advertised and sold to the customers sending or receiving the internet traffic.

          That eliminates the entire idea of slowing others traffic down in expectancy of payments as well as slowing services down in order to promote their own services. Maybe add something about not being able to exclude communication protocols or tier them and make

      • Let's use a comparative example:

        There have only been a "few examples" of people buying fertilizer to make bombs, so the gov't is going to pass regulation to make sure fertilizer can no longer be purchased.

        Is that enough of a reason for ya?

        • by Jaysyn (203771)

          Go buy 4 tons of ammonium nitrate without being a megafarmcorp & see which prison you end up in.

        • There have only been a "few examples" of people buying fertilizer to make bombs, so the gov't is going to pass anti-terrorism regulations?

          Fixed that for you. That is: besides comparing apple and oranges.

          Once upon a time, regulations were all the rage. That was back when there were no regulations over the handling of meat, and all sorts of nasty junk was being sold. Adam Smith's invisible hand didn't fix the public health problems with the sale of meat, so regulations were brought in to set minimum stan
    • Yes and no (Score:3, Informative)

      Government parties against neutrality

      Who would have ever thought.

      Yes and no. The Obama Administration's official policy is strongly in favor [whitehouse.gov] of net neutrality [whitehouse.gov].

    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      '...saying they're concerned that new regulations would slow down investment in broadband networks.'

      Call me cynical, but I suspect their concern is proportional to their bribes^wdonations.

  • Har (Score:3, Funny)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:25AM (#29777441)

    saying they're concerned that new regulations would slow down investment in broadband networks

    Any slower and the underground cables are going to start digging themselves up.

  • Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy (216950) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:25AM (#29777443) Journal

    So all internet traffic is equal, but some traffic *should* be more equal than others?

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:28AM (#29777457) Homepage Journal

    I read that as 'if we cant control content distribution and restrict our competition, and screw our own customers out of more money, we don't want any part of it'.

    I hate to support the federal government, but that is what the FCC is there for, to watch out for us citizens, not the corporations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      I read that as 'if we cant control content distribution and restrict our competition, and screw our own customers out of more money, we don't want any part of it'.

      That's one way to read it. The other way to read it is the legitimate concern that potential investors have when people start throwing around ideas like forcing the ILECs/cableco's to open up their networks to companies that didn't help fund the roll out of those networks. Why should I invest my money to build out a broadband network when I can just wait a few years until Congress forces them to let me use it?

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Why should I invest my money to build out a broadband network when I can just wait a few years until Congress forces them to let me use it?

        That's a good point. Let's get congress on forcing cable companies to resell part of the right-of-way. Otherwise it's not worth it to me to grant them the right to install their equipment. Fuck cable TV.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:11AM (#29778073)

        Because, I dunno, the taxpayers AND subscribers already paid massive amounts a decade ago and have been paying more and more since then all the while the rest of the world (ok, Europe, Japan, and Korea) enjoys faster internet connections at lower rates?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by microbox (704317)
        open up their networks to companies that didn't help fund the roll out of those networks

        The taxpayer paid for the networks.
        • by j1mmy (43634)

          prove it

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @01:12PM (#29778859)

            All that public land? Where's the receipt.

            The wires were laid down with government workers.

            Where's the receipt.

            Personal property of US citizens have been overcome by the right of way of these companies who use OUR land to make THEIR profit.

            Where's my cut?

            Thieves.

            You are like Napoleon "I see no ships!". That's because you're not looking. Because you daren't.

          • here (Score:3, Informative)

            by microbox (704317)
            enjoy [newnetworks.com]
      • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000.yahoo@com> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:58AM (#29778367)

        Why should I invest my money to build out a broadband network when I can just wait a few years until Congress forces them to let me use it?

        How can you roll out broadband when the incumbents enjoy a monopoly. How many people have a choice as to whom they get cable or landline phone service from? Governments granted these companies monopolies so even if a compeating cable, phone company, or combined company wanted to they could not install their own cable or fiber.

        Quite simply there is no free market in these services and until there is the incumbents should be regulated.

        Falcon

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:23PM (#29779287) Journal

          There can be no free market in these services until government lays down the cable itself and leases it in a nondiscriminatory fashion to any ISP that wants to set up shop in a community. Only when the colossal startup infrastructure cost is taken out of the picture completely can competition be even slightly practical outside of large cities.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by SEE (7681)

          How can you roll out broadband when the incumbents enjoy a monopoly. How many people have a choice as to whom they get cable or landline phone service from? Governments granted these companies monopolies so even if a compeating cable, phone company, or combined company wanted to they could not install their own cable or fiber.
          Legally, those monopolies were all voided thirteen years ago with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

          In practice, the political power structures in large urban areas tend to have, ahem

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grcumb (781340)

        The other way to read it is the legitimate concern that potential investors have when people start throwing around ideas like forcing the ILECs/cableco's to open up their networks to companies that didn't help fund the roll out of those networks. Why should I invest my money to build out a broadband network when I can just wait a few years until Congress forces them to let me use it?

        I live and work in a country which recently introduced exactly these measures. The incumbent monopoly Internet provider has been fighting tooth and nail against what a past CEO called a 'cuckoo's egg' - a business that leverages someone else's infrastructure to compete directly with them.

        On the face of it, it seems like a reasonable concern, but the moment you begin unpacking the implications, you realise that it's actually quite the opposite. Under the new law, network resources that are unlikely (or impos

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Is the 'minority coalition' acorn? How much money did the corprats pay to get that sort of 'grass roots effort'?

  • I have been a subscriber to Armstrong OneWire for cable internet for the last 5 years and the bandwidth has not changed at all. You would think that the price would drop, but it has remained constant, too.

    Where I live in Ohio there is no incentive to invest in BB networks. There is no real competition.

    • by nxtw (866177) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:03AM (#29777669)

      AT&T DSL (available in much of Ohio) has gone from 768/128 for $40/month and a one year agreement in 2002, to 6016/768 for $35/month with no one year agreement in 2007. AT&T never bothered to upgrade to ADSL2, so they can't offer speeds that are much higher than what they offer now. Only those who live in an area in which their IPTV service is available can get faster speeds (over VDSL.)

      In the past 5 years or so, Time Warner/Road Runner (also available in much of Ohio) has increased the speed from 3 mbit to 7 mbit without any price increase, and have added "PowerBoost" - marketing term for a DOCSIS feature that provides a temporary burst of higher speeds. They also have a "Turbo" service which brings the speed up to 15 mbit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FooAtWFU (699187)
        "PowerBoost" (a basic token bucket scheme) is basically their way of saying "Here, look, you can use the Internets for browsing the Web and it will seem fast, but you're out of luck if you want to download anything big." Considering that downloadable video games and movies and such are substitutes for regular cable television service, it's not surprising that Time Warner would want to hobble those (while showing people it's fast for other stuff.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nxtw (866177)

          IIRC, the boost is from 7 mbit to 15 mbit for those on the regular service, and 15 mbit to 22 mbit for those on the turbo service. With H.264, this is sufficient to stream higher quality video than provided by Time Warner's MPEG-2 services.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by nxtw (866177)

            Correction - sufficient to stream higher quality video without the boost feature.

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:03AM (#29777673) Journal

      "We don't want to invest in speeding up the network, so if the government blocks us from investing in slowing down the network, no investment will get done!"

    • That's pretty much guaranteed not to change just because companies will throttle bandwidth on small businesses. People in the middle of nowhere aren't profitable. They'll do anything to ignore them.
  • by toppavak (943659) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:29AM (#29777467)

    The signers*:
    Michael Arcuri (NY-27), Joe Baca (CA-43), John Barrow (GA-12), Sanford Bishop (GA-2), Tim Bishop (NY-1), Dan Boren (OK-2), Leonard Boswell (IA-3), Allen Boyd (FL-2), Robert Brady (PA-1), Bobby Bright (AL-2), G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), Dennis Cardoza (CA-18), Russ Carnahan (MO-3), Christopher Carney (PA-10), Travis Childers (MS-1), Donna Christensen (VI), William Lacy Clay (MO-1), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5), Jim Costa (CA-20), Joseph Crowley (NY-7), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Kathleen Dahlkemper (PA-3), Danny Davis (IL-7), Lincoln Davis (TN-4), Steve Driehaus (OH-1), Chaka Fattah (PA-2), Bill Foster (IL-14), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Charlie Gonzalez (TX-20), Al Green (TX-9), Gene Green (TX-29), Parker Griffith (AL-5), Debbie Halvorson (IL-11), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), Baron Hill (IN-9), Tim Holden (PA-17), Sheila Jackson ,Lee (TX-18), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Hank Johnson (GA-4), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Frank Kratovil (MD-1), Rick Larsen (WA-2), Daniel Maffei (NY-25), Michael McMahon (NY-13), Gregory Meeks (NY-6), Charlie Melancon (LA-3), Michael Michaud (ME-2), Walt Minnick (ID-1), Dennis Moore (KS-3), Glenn Nye (VA-2), Ed Pastor (AZ-4), Solomon Ortiz (TX-27), Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), Nick Rahall (WV-3), Jared Polis (CO-2), Silvestre Reyes (TX-16), Mike Ross (AR-4), Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), David Scott (GA-13), Heath Shuler (NC-11), Albio Sires (NJ-13), Zachary Space (OH-18), John Spratt (SC-5), John Tanner (TN-8), Bennie Thompson (MS-2), Paul Tonko (NY-21), Ed Towns (NY-10), Peter Welch (VT), Charlie Wilson (OH-6)

    *List retrieved from:
    http://www.precursorblog.com/content/72-house-democrats-letter-urges-fcc-avoid-tentative-conclusions-which-favor-government-regulation [precursorblog.com]

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:12AM (#29778077) Homepage

      Acuri (NY-27) $5000 from AT&T
      Baca (CA-43) $5000 from AT&T
      Barrow (GA-12) $5000 from National Cable & Telecommunications Assn
      S Bishop (GA-2) $2750 from AT&T
      T Bishop (NY-1) $2500 from Communications Workers of America, $2000 from AT&T, $1000 from Verizon
      Boren (OK-2) $5000 from AT&T
      Boswell (IA-3) $5000 from AT&T
      Boyd (FL-2) $2500 from Verizon, $2500 from Comcast
      Brady (PA-1) $5000 from National Cable & Telecommunications Assn
      Bright (AL-2) $4000 from AT&T
      Butterfield (NC-1) $5000 from AT&T
      Cardoza (CA-18) $4500 from AT&T
      Carnahan (MO-3) $6100 from Communications Workers of America
      Carny (PA-10) $5000 from L3 Communications
      Childers (MS-1) $5000 from AT&T
      Christensen (VI) No obvious contribution reported yet
      Clay (MO-1) $2500 from AT&T, $3000 from Verizon
      Cleaver (MO-5) $2500 from Communications Workers of America
      Costa (CA-20) $2000 from AT&T
      Crowley (NY-7) $5000 from Comcast, $2500 from Verizon, $2000 from L3 Communications
      Cuellar (TX-28) $1000 from Verizon
      Cummings (MD-7) $1000 from AT&T
      Dahlkemper (PA-3) $3000 from AT&T
      Davis (IL-7) $5000 from AT&T
      Davis (TN-4) $3000 from AT&T
      Driehaus (OH-1) $1000 from AT&T
      Fattah (PA-2) $1000 from AT&T, $1000 from Comcast
      Foster (IL-14) $2000 from Comcast
      Fudge (OH-11) $2000 from AT&T, $2500 from Communications Workers of America
      Gonzalez (TX-20) $2000 from AT&T, $2000 from Comcast
      Green (TX-9) $5000 from Communications Workers of America
      Green (TX-29) $5000 from Communications Workers of America, $2500 from AT&T, $2500 from Comcast
      Griffith (AL-5) $6500 from L3 Communications, $4500 from AT&T
      Halvorson (IL-11) $7000 from AT&T, $3500 from Comcast
      Hastings (FL-23) $5000 from AT&T
      Hill (IN-9) $5000 from AT&T, $2500 from National Cable and Telecommunications Association
      Holden (PA-17) $5000 from Communications Workers of America, $3000 from AT&T
      Jackson (TX-18) $5000 from AT&T
      Johnson (TX-30) $2000 from AT&T
      Johnson (GA-4) $2500 from Communications Workers of America, $2000 from Verizon, $1000 from Comcast
      Kosmas (FL-24) $4000 from Comcast
      Kratovil (MD-1) $3500 L3 Communications, $3000 from AT&T, $3000 from Comcast
      Larsen (WA-2) $1000 from Qwest, $1000 from Verizon
      Maffei (NY-25) $4800 from Data Key Communications, $3000 from Verizon, $2750 from Time Warner
      McMahon (NY-13) $4000 from AT&T, $2000 from Time Warner, $2000 from Verizon
      Meeks (NY-6) $5000 from AT&T, $1000 from Verizon
      Melancon (LA-3) $10000 from Comcast, $4000 from AT&T, $2500 from Communications Workers of America, $2000 from Time Warner
      Michaud (ME-2) $4000 from AT&T, $1000 from Time Warner, $1000 from Qualcomm
      Minnick (ID-1) $3500 from Comcast, $2000 from AT&T, $2000 from Verizon
      Moore (KS-3) $2000 from AT&T, $1000 from Comcast, $1000 from Verizon
      Nye (VA-2) $4800 from Cox Communications, $2000 from Verizon, $1500 from Communications Workers of America
      Ortiz (TX-27) $3500 from AT&T, $1250 from Communications Workers of America, $1000 from Comcast
      Pastor (AZ-4) $4000 from AT&T, $2000 from Verizon
      Perlmutter (CO-7) $4500 from Qwest, $1000 from AT&T, $1000 from National Cable & Telecommunications Association, $1000 from Verizon
      Polis (CO-2) No obvious contributions
      Rahall (WV-3) $2500 from AT&T
      Reyes (TX-16) $2000 from AT&T, $2000 from Verizon, $1000 from L3 Communications
      Ross (AR-4) $5000 from AT&T, $4000 from Verizon
      Sanchez (CA-47) $5000 from AT&T, $5000 from L3 Communications
      Schrader (OR-5) $3000 from AT&T, $2000 from Qwest
      Schwartz (PA-13) $2500 from National Cable and Telecommunications Association
      Scott (GA-13) $3000 from AT&T, $2500 from Communications Workers of America, $2000 from Verizon
      Shuler (NC-11) $4000 from AT&T, $1000 from Communications Workers of America
      Sires (NJ-13) $5000 from AT&T, $3000 from Verizon, $2500 from

      • Total:
        $450450

        Yet another example of how basic command line tools (in this case, sed + bc) can improve your daily life.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        The biggest surprise for me on that list is Jared Polis (CO-02) [wikipedia.org]. For those who don't know him, he's the dude who was behind ProFlowers.com and BlueMountainArts.com, as well as a flurry of other tech start-ups I can't recall. I just don't get it. He didn't take PAC money during his campaign (he mostly self-funded), so no overt telcom influence there that I'm aware of. And he's 100% safe for re-election in 2010, so it's not like he needs the money now. A tech entrepreneur against net neutrality. WTF?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        $5,000? That's all it takes to by a congressman? Seriously? Get all Slashdot readers who are US citizens to put in $2 and you could buy the whole government.
  • Headline != article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd142 (129673) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:32AM (#29777487) Homepage

    "Democrats, Minority Groups Question Net Neutrality Push"

    Except that's not true. The second sentence says that Democrats, including the President, generally support Net Neutrality. Also, the phrase "minority groups" is misleading because it is generally referred to groups of traditionally underrepresented peoples.

    It's the equivalent of writing:

    Slashdot supports Microsoft Windows 7 over Linux.

    One of the people who works for Slashdot uses Windows 7 at home. Here is his story.

    • by Alaren (682568) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:48AM (#29777587)

      So what you're saying is, the headline ought to read, "72 Senate Democrats and a Coalition of Minority Groups Question Net Neutrality Push?"

      I mean, any time you refer to "the Democrats" or "minority groups" you are referring to a fictitious whole, sure. But democrats (plural) did question the push, and the minority groups in the article are in fact groups that claim to represent traditionally underrepresented peoples... groups with names like "Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership," "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)," and "Asian American Justice Center."

      So... yeah. I'm grumpy on Saturday mornings, too, but geeze.

      • by mqduck (232646)

        Yeah, I was particularly depressed to discover that the "minority groups" mentioned weren't somethings like The Black Businessman's Association (a name I just made up) but included groups like the fucking NAACP. I'm a supporter of the group, and this is really shameful of them.

      • by jd142 (129673)

        "I mean, any time you refer to "the Democrats" or "minority groups" you are referring to a fictitious whole, sure. But democrats (plural) did question the push"

        So if two Christians advocated murder and cannibalism, an accurate headline would be "Christians advocate murder and cannibalism?" If it were 2 Republicans, could I write "Republicans advocate murder and cannibalism?"

        Just as 2 out of millions doesn't justify that headline, 72 out of 256, 28%, doesn't justify the headline. If it were 160 out of 256,

      • 72 Senate DemocratsSo... yeah. I'm grumpy on Saturday mornings, too, but geeze.

        I don't think it's too much to ask for that the Slashdot title not imply a fictitious whole, particularly when TFA has a perfectly accurate and communicative title: "Some Democrats, Minority Groups Question Net Neutrality." Why'd we lose the "some"?

        • by Alaren (682568)

          Because strictly speaking it is always "some." The only thing you can ever accurately say about "all democrats" is that they are democrats. We do not usually demand this level of precision from our headlines, despite the hyperbolic counterexamples offered in other replies. We use fictitious wholes all the time.

          I don't think it would hurt anything in this case to add "some." But I don't think the headline really loses anything for its absence, either.

          • by weston (16146)

            Because strictly speaking it is always "some."

            Sure:

            1) Numbers are prime.
            2) Some numbers are prime.

            Both true, right?

            Why even bother to distinguish between the potential inference that we're talking about "democrats in general" vs "some minority of democrats"? Same difference, I guess.

            We do not usually demand this level of precision from our headlines

            Level of precision? Keeping a single word that was already in the title of the TFA that helps point people towards making the distinction above?

    • "Democrats, Minority Groups Question Net Neutrality Push"

      Except that's not true. The second sentence says that Democrats, including the President, generally support Net Neutrality.

      Except it is true. The third paragraph says this "Although the Congressional Black Caucus isn't traditionally against government regulation, some members are concerned that many African-Americans and other ethnic minorities lack access to broadband networks." They are concerned that if net neutrality becomes enforcable broadband

  • Democrats, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have generally supported new rules that would prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web content

    It's okay, they still think the Internet is just the web.

    • Why is that OK? I know that Fidonet is long forgotten for most, but a friend of mine who is still active there pointed out that the Whitehouse press release echo recently died because the Obama administration decided to "upgrade" to a new, blog system for press releases. I can see a net neutrality bill being passed that only covers the web, and suddenly I will lose access to IRC and Usenet because my ISP decided to maximize web bandwidth at the cost of other "services."
  • "Change we don't understand!" The reality that the legislators need to understand is that new neutrality is what we have when people/parties aren't actively doing harm to the way the public internet was designed to work. Net neutrality is what we have NOW. The net neutrality legislation would merely be written to keep things as they are in terms of large players disabling other large player or preventing small players from existing or growing.

    • by jfengel (409917)

      > the way the public internet was designed to work.

      The internet was designed to be flexible. Nothing in the protocols precludes non-neutrality, and there are already instances where ISPs favor some over others. Before the ultra-high-speed Tier 1s became ubiquitous, you ended up with non-neutral access based on who your ISP decided to connect to.

      They just wanted to expand it further, prompting calls for a legislative solution. Legislative solutions to the Internet tend to fail. If you want something s

  • Time to get off our collective butts. Emails, Letters, and phone calls! Keep it short, sweet, clean, well reasoned, and SIMPLE. Remember their attention span isn't all that long. Here's my letter I just fired off to my senators and congressman.

    Senator/Congress(man/woman) --------,

    Please support net-neutrality.

    When Cisco and cable/phone companies say "innovation" it is not my idea of innovation. Cisco means rather than competing with cheap, commodity hardware they can sell expensive traffic shaping hard

  • by taumeson (240940) * on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:26AM (#29777813)

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the case for Net Neutrality could easily be made by asking everyone opposed to it the following question:

    "Do you support the ability for telephone companies to charge you different rates based on who you're calling instead of long distance charges?"

    I would think it's a pretty obvious "no". We don't want the telephone company charging us different rates for calling Papa John's pizza instead of Domino's, right? We certainly don't want to get charged a different rate for calling one radio station over another (you know Clear Channel would want to work out some kind of deal).

    Why does it seem logical to allow for broadband companies to pull this kind of stunt?

    • by will_die (586523) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:50AM (#29778311) Homepage
      However it would be wanted if you asked those same people:

      "Should calls to the emergency call center be of the same priority as calls from telemarketers?"

      Under the current proposals all ports and message types have to be treated at the same priority, so DoS attack would have the same priority as E-mail.
      • Under the current proposals all ports and message types have to be treated at the same priority, so DoS attack would have the same priority as E-mail.

        So change that. Just don't let access providers charge different rates depending on the originations and destinations. If I wanted VoIP phone service, not that I do, and I got it from one company why should my ISP be able to charge the ViOP service when it offers a compeating service? The compeating service still pays for it's access and I pay for my access

      • there is a galaxy of difference between a contractual and requested prioritizing of traffic and an ISP shaping a network to block competing vendors services or interfering with traffic on the network.
        examples
        1 on my control panel i elect to have my VPN and VOIP be given a set amount of bandwidth --- this is requested
        2 my isp decides to shape traffic so that third party VOIP and VPN services fail 85% of the time --- this is not requested and should be illegal
        3 my isp decides to flood the network with reset p

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:42PM (#29779413) Journal

        Under the current proposals all ports and message types have to be treated at the same priority, so DoS attack would have the same priority as E-mail.

        That's not correct. HR3458 [govtrack.us] does not propose ANY specific regulations. It authorizes the FCC to create regulations and specifies a set of guiding principles for those regulations.

        Further, it says that ISPs have the duty to:

        '(1) not block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet access service to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet;

        Emphasis mine. DOS attacks are presumptively not lawful until proven otherwise.

        Finally, it leaves a specific exemption for any reasonable QoS.

        (d) Reasonable Network Management- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an Internet access provider from engaging in reasonable network management consistent with the policies and duties of nondiscrimination and openness set forth in this Act. For purposes of subsections (b)(1) and (b)(5), a network management practice is a reasonable practice only if it furthers a critically important interest, is narrowly tailored to further that interest, and is the means of furthering that interest that is the least restrictive, least discriminatory, and least constricting of consumer choice available. In determining whether a network management practice is reasonable, the Commission shall consider, among other factors, the particular network architecture or technology limitations of the provider.

        Again, emphasis mine. You can pretty much skip everything not in bold and you'll get the gist of the paragraph.

        In other words, injecting TCP resets into BitTorrent traffic: banned; throttling bandwidth of excessive users only during periods of heavy load on the network and only to the extent necessary to give reasonable bandwidth to people just browsing the web casually: allowed. For once, the government got the regulation almost exactly right.

      • by Qzukk (229616)

        "Should calls to the emergency call center be of the same priority as calls from telemarketers?"

        "Should AT&T upgrade their network so that calls to the emergency call center can go through even if there are a ton of telemarketers on the phone?"

        AT&T's answer is no. They would rather take the telemarketer's money and then spend considerable effort (that could have gone into upgrading the network) to mess with their calls.

      • The real irony here is that the minorities opposed to network neutrality are the same people that will be discriminated against because of it. Without network neutrality the NAACP may soon find people can't access their network because the NAACP hasn't paid extra dues to a dozen different service providers.
    • by skine (1524819)

      It's not necessarily charging different rates, but rather enforced delay or blocking the site completely.

      So to use your example, say a telco were to sign a deal with Papa John's that any of their customers who called Domino's would be put on hold for five minutes before being connected. Obviously this would severely cripple Domino's business.

      The telco could take it one step further, and simply block any of their customers from calling Domino's. If there are only two telcos in town, this means that Domino's

  • It amazes me none of these people mention the root cause of the lack of broadband, there is no competition!

    Falcon

  • I'm only seeing a few quotes repeated in a few forms.

    Given that there's a typo in the first line of the extract which is getting bandied about I'm especially uncomfortable calling/emailing/faxing my congresscritter to rip him a new one.

    I want to see the whole thing, THEN I will rip him a new one.

    Which would be a service to him, because apparently, his current one is plugged by the external sexual organs of our local ILEC and cable companies.

    This is ultimately the reason why ILECs are so slow, bloated and in

  • Check the recent campaign donations for all of those politicians. I suspect we'll see some notable opponents of net neutrality on the lists...

    Sorry, but only idiots and those who make money from a lack of net neutrality would oppose it.

    Wait... Maybe some of those politicians are just idiots...
  • Yes because catering to special interests is obviously in the best interest of the poor and disenfranchised.
    Corporate America has only the people at heart when lobbying for legislation that benefits them. To do anything
    but meet their demands is heartless and cruel.

  • The whole problem with the internet is that there no where near enough competition already amongst ISPs. How is effectively killing competition amongst online businesses going to improve anything?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by petrus4 (213815)

      As far as I'm concerned, business shouldn't rightfully have anything to do with the Internet at all.

      I remember the net before business came here. I also remember that when business came, government came after it. Then came spam.

      The corporate world destroys everything it touches, one way or another. The profit motive leads ultimately to nothing but corruption and death.

      It cannot be allowed to dictate the Internet. It's bad enough that the fucking suits exist; there must be some places where their rule is

      • by j1mmy (43634)

        slashdot is owned and opreated by SourceForge Inc., a business. if you really think the net would be better off without any businesses, stop posting here or any other websites that aren't run by non-profits or government departments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bnenning (58349)

        The profit motive leads ultimately to nothing but corruption and death.

        How do you think the computer you typed that on came to exist?

  • Here are their concerns: 1) net neutrality will make internet access more expensive and will cause the Telcos to slow roll-out to new locations; 2) net neutrality will prevent, say, Comcast from offering, say, Yahoo the chance to serve its content an additional 4 mbps faster to Comcast customers for a fee. Both concerns are overblown. While to a certain extent they are true in the long run slow incremental increases in the global quality of connectivity is highly preferred to localized improvements. Basi

  • government regulations have a long history of unintended consequences. it's good to see that these lawmakers recognize that.

    furthermore, the internet has done exceptionally well so far without such rules. i think we're better off without them, in spite of the few incidences of filtering and blocking some providers have tried.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      furthermore, the internet has done exceptionally well so far without such rules. i think we're better off without them, in spite of the few incidences of filtering and blocking some providers have tried.

      The Internet has done exceptionall well so far because of such rules. It blossomed where other networks (AOL, CompuServe et alia) died on the vine precisely because it is an agnostic end-to-end network by design. Recently, in response to moves to subvert these fundamental elements of the Internet, the Obama administration has decided that this set of general principles deserves to be formalised at the regulatory level. They're not proposing anything new, they're simply recognising what makes the Internet

  • Why not a compromise that limits the bandwidth advantage a company can give to X percent? That way they can give their own content enough of a boost to justify investing in smaller towns etc., but not enough to throw rivals into pure molasses.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      Why not a compromise that limits the bandwidth advantage a company can give to X percent? That way they can give their own content enough of a boost to justify investing in smaller towns etc., but not enough to throw rivals into pure molasses.

      I've stated this before, so I won't bother repeating myself. Here's the summary: Network Neutrality is a fundamental design principle that defines the Internet. As such, it is not negotiable [imagicity.com].

  • And then let several big companies have exclusive monopolies. And US taxpayers are paying to network upgrades. How exactly is that going to slow investment?
  • "but the group of 72 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter Thursday to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, saying they're concerned that new regulations would slow down investment in broadband networks."

    -How on Earth could this slow down investment in networks any more that it is NOW?!? This would force providers to invest in their networks, because not doing so would cause congestion problems, as is ALREADY EVIDENT!

    Special Interest groups are like drugs to Politicians: They make politicians fe

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