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Senators Bash ISP and Push Extensive Net Neutrality 427

Posted by samzenpus
from the there-good-enough-and-smart-enough dept.
eldavojohn writes "Remember when Verizon sued the FCC over net neutrality rules? Well, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) see it a bit differently and have authored a new working bill titled 'Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 (PDF).' The bill lays out some stark clarity on what is meant by Net Neutrality by outright banning ISPs from doing many things including '(6) charge[ing] a content, application, or service provider for access to the broadband Internet access service providers' end users based on differing levels of quality of service or prioritized delivery of Internet protocol packets; (7) prioritiz[ing] among or between content, applications, and services, or among or between different types of content, applications, and services unless the end user requests to have such prioritization... (9) refus[ing] to interconnect on just and reasonable terms and conditions.' And that doesn't count for packets sent over just the internet connections but also wireless, radio, cell phone or pigeon carrier. Franken has constantly reiterated that this is the free speech issue of our time and Cantwell said, 'If we let telecom oligarchs control access to the Internet, consumers will lose. The actions that the FCC and Congress take now will set the ground rules for competition on the broadband Internet, impacting innovation, investment, and jobs for years to come. My bill returns the broadband cop back to the beat, and creates the same set of obligations regardless of how consumers get their broadband.'"
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Senators Bash ISP and Push Extensive Net Neutrality

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:49PM (#35011598)

    Won't someone think of the oligarchs!

  • Franken 2012! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:49PM (#35011600)

    Please, Al, please run!

    • by severoon (536737) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:09PM (#35012614) Journal
      This legislation is good enough, it's smart enough, and doggonnit, people like it!
    • I'm not a big fan of Al Franken. I'm with him on this one thing. He's dead wrong on too many other things for me to vote for him for anything. Something about a broken clock being right twice a day.

      • by bberens (965711)
        Honestly at this point in my life I'd rather have someone who is just an honest and decent person rather than someone who claims to subscribe to my personal political views. That's basically the reason I'd vote for either Franken or Paul. Both are a bit nutty and at opposite ends of the political spectrum for sure, but (imo) honest decent guys who would do what they could to make things "right". They'd do it in diametrically opposed ways, but there's more than one way to skin a cat.
    • You know, I personally think Al Franken would make a great president. He is level-headed, understands middle- and working-class Americans, and has more common sense than most of Washington put together. But it will never happen. Yeah, it may have shocked some folks when Ronald Reagan (the actor) began to have some success in politics, but Franken is a different type of character. An opposing party's followers will never take a comedy writer/comedic actor/political satirist seriously. And he's a Jew, which w
  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:51PM (#35011634) Homepage Journal

    Speaking for the pigeons, we approve. We don't want to sniff or otherwise inspect your packets. We just want to deliver them and get our feed.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @02:54PM (#35011670)

    Franken is one of those comedians who, with age, has gotten less and less funny and more and more nutball. Most of them are SNL alum too, which must say something about the mental toll of being on that show. Dennis Miller and Janeane Garofalo, I'm looking in your direction.

    But on this and the Comcast/NBC merger, the guy is dead on. Who better to appreciate the depths of evil at NBC than a SNL alum, after all?

    • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:01PM (#35011770)

      I don't see it (Franken, at least). His books are the thing that switched my political reality. And they are funny. There's nothing nutball about his political stances--nothing along the nutball levels of a Glen Beck or Michele Bachmann, at least.

      Miller and Garofalo were never funny to begin with, so the argument they are no longer funny is invalid ;-)

    • Wouldn't a better solution be to break-up the ISP Monopolies, just as we broke-up the AT&T Phone monopoly during the 1980s?

      Trying to impose net neutrality is a good idea, but doesn't solve the CORE problem: Lack of choice for customers. They are treating the symptom rather than the root disease.

      • Breaking up AT&T didn't do much of anything these days since most of the companies have gone back to being merged.

        The best bet to network neutrality is either institute line sharing rules, or the US government fund the mass expansion of fiber lines which ISPs can then compete for consumers over those lines.

        Unfortunately, the latter would require a ridiculous amount of tax dollars, get libertarian panties twisted in a bunch, and would never pass. The former would be hard enough to get through Congress.
      • Your choice of ISP doesn't affect the ISP of the site you're attempting to reach, or the various other hunks of network infrastructure you need to pass over to get to that site.

        Lack of customer choice is a core problem that needs to be addressed, I agree. But it isn't the only problem.
    • What exactly about him do you find "nutball"ish?

      • I think he's mainly talking about the way that O'Reily goes absolutely apeshipt about Al Franken. It's common knowlege that O'Reily only goes apeshit over nutballs, therefore Franken must be a nutball.

        Also Franken has poor taste in ties. It's absolutely unacceptable for a Senator to wear ugly ties.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        There is a line that any entertainer can cross where self-righteousness about some cause, combined with their innate narcissism, turns them from a talent into an insufferable bore. With comedians this seems to often take the form of the once funny comic talent whose stand-up routines evolve from funny routines, with some political content, into full-on raving diatribes where not a laugh is heard. Franken (and many others like Miller and Garafalo) was at one point a guy you would have on your show to make fu

      • by Hatta (162192)

        He's trying to do the right thing in Washington. You'd have to be a nutball to do that.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:22PM (#35012064) Homepage Journal

      Franken is one of those comedians who

      Franken hasn't billed himself as a "comedian" in well over a decade. Unlike the very unfunny Dennis Miller, who still tries to do standup, mostly in front of audiences who know him from his right-wing radio show. For them, showing up at Miller's shows is more of a tribal identifier than comedy consumption.

      For the most part, Franken was always more of a writer than a performer and anyway, he left the comedy business a good while ago, though you could say the U.S. Senate is pretty comical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:02PM (#35011788)

    I didn't think Franken sounded any better than Coleman in the last election and voted for the devil I knew.

    I must say that I have been shocked to see his name so often attached to great ideas (actual NN, ending ACTA secrecy, etc.). I will definitely be sending my vote his way next time around; I think he is one of the few senators with people's rights actually guiding him.

  • US = World (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:02PM (#35011796)

    The problem is that all telcos are waiting US decision to very soon spread those policies around the world. Will be very difficult to revert once they have control over all internet information. Besides, there is a deeper problem illustrated by two Brazilian episodes: 1) YouTube was blocked to the whole country due a decision involving a celebrity sex video (really). 2) Telcos already advertise promotions like "free social network access", not to mention dozen of lawsuits against Orkut for cloned profile, etc.

    Putting all together: As soon as telcos start to dictate internet's tone, will be much easier for governments to implement restrictions without consulting people's right or even the content/service provider.

    Let's hope not!!

    • by bonch (38532)

      "Telcos" can regulate their private networks however they want. You are merely paying for an IP address from their servers as a privilege. Calling on politicians to tell sysadmins how to regulate their network traffic is totally insane.

      If you give the government power to regulate the internet, it's going to be a field day of DMCA takedowns, piracy site takedowns, and more. Every lobbyist with access to government politicians is going to "dictate internet's tone." Governments are the most corrupt organizatio

  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:02PM (#35011802)
    The key is that everyone should get what they pay for. If I pay for 768kbps, then I should get at least 768kbps. If google wants to pay extra, then I'm ok with google gettting to me at 2mbps, but not with google paying my ISP so that yahoo only comes to me at 250kbps.

    I should get what I pay for.
    Google should get what they pay for.
    Party X should not be able to pay for party Y to get less than what has been paid for.
    • by George_Ou (849225) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:12PM (#35011920)
      So you're saying that "up to" means "at least"? Do you not realize that broadband bits cost 20-40 times less than commercial bandwidth, precisely because it's shared 20-40 times? Now you want the government to change the service level of a shared circuit to that of a dedicated circuit? Any idea what this does to prices? Any idea how you'd actually achieve this, since it's impossible to build a core network that can handle all the concurrent data that the end points can throw at it?
      • IT's a truth in advertising thing. If my ISP is actually selling me a 76Kbps connection that bursts to 768Kbps, make them sell it that way. (Low number first and foremost)

        The ISPs should have to spell out exactly what they are selling and what it costs. Selling much, much more than you can deliver is bait and switch.

        Today 1mbps is fine for light browsing, but if the local ISP sells that to everyone, then youtube adds HD video, and everyone tried to watch it at the same time, they're going to be
        • DSL isn't really better. DSL is constrained to sharing the CO's link to their backbone just as cable connections are constrained to sharing a cable node's link to their backbone, the only difference is where it's located.

          In addition to that, both are constrained to the interconnects their backbones have to the other parts of the internet, which is quite often a bigger issue than the last mile bandwidth constraints.

          • by Kagato (116051)

            I don't think it's so cut and dry. In particular when the DSL provider is the incumbent telco. Starting from interconnecting issues to the backdones. Not a single cable company has a Tier 1 network. Whereas Qwest, Verizon/UUNet, Sprint, and AT&T are all Tier 1 networks. Cable Companies are strictly Tier 2, often buying connectivity from the Telco companies they compete with for consumer customers.

            Cable doesn't have the infrastructure and redundancy most Telco DSL networks have. Telcos started putti

        • by Pentium100 (1240090) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @05:28PM (#35013672)

          Advertise 3 numbers - minimum guaranteed, average (that is achievable over, say, a day) and peak bandwidth. That would reduce the confusion greatly.

          For example, my connection is advertised as "up to" 80mbps (up/down), which is great. I manage to get about 32mbps average and the bandwidth sometimes (for a few hours every day) drops down to 10mbps (let's assume this is due to the ISP). I still think that my connection is great, especially for what I pay for it. However, the ad could have said 10/30/80 mbps (min/avg/max). The contract actually specifies a minimum guaranteed bandwidth, but I am too lazy to go now and look it up.

      • If they cannot deliver it, then they shouldn't advertise it. It's not complicated.

        • They don't advertise at least x Mbps, they advertise "up to" 6 Mbps for example. I got my mom a 6 Mbps U-verse connection and found that their advertising wasn't accurate. Turned out that they gave her 7 Mbps which is generally sustainable even over a long duration. However, I don't expect 7 or 6 Mbps to be an "at least" number.
      • So you're saying that "up to" means "at least"? Do you not realize that broadband bits cost 20-40 times less than commercial bandwidth, precisely because it's shared 20-40 times? Now you want the government to change the service level of a shared circuit to that of a dedicated circuit? Any idea what this does to prices? Any idea how you'd actually achieve this, since it's impossible to build a core network that can handle all the concurrent data that the end points can throw at it?

        If dedicated lines are prohibitively expensive and an extremely robust "core network" impossible to build, why can so many service providers in northern Europe and southeast Asia provide an extremely consistent 100+ mbps, even at night when virtually everyone is online (say in South Korea), to every single household for anywhere from $10-$50/month? I understand that truly dedicated bandwidth costs more, but it's bullshit to claim that pure economics dictate paying $60+ per month for something that's been s

        • What you are saying is that it's "impossible" for it to cost more than $60 per month for 1/20th or 1/40th of a dedicated line.

          Quick math. DS3's (45Mbps) cost around $3500 per month. Order 1 DS3 for every 9 people (9 people at 5Mbs = 45Mbs) = $388.89 per month per person. Feel free to get you and your closest 8 neighbors to cough up $388.89 per person (not including router, and cables to each house beyond the first), and you can get yourself a 5Mbps connection that you can do whatever you want with, and t

    • by Bob9113 (14996)

      Very good analysis of the fundamental principle at stake. Said that way, it is very clear that the purpose of Net Neutrality is to defend the free market from those who would bias it, not to inhibit the free market. That is exactly the sort of illumination that ought to send the anti-free-market rats scurrying.

      Thank you.

      If I may offer one slight modification:

      "Party X should not be able to pay party Y to cause party Z to get less than what party Z paid for."

      That makes the core anti-free-market agenda a bit m

    • That's exactly the problem though. You aren't getting what you paid for. The equipment you're internet connection is so over sold that its impossible for the ISP to give you the speed they're selling. That's why they now call it "Up to 768k!" If you're paying for 768k, you should be able to get that any time of day or night to any website that can also provide that speed.

      The biggest laugh in this whole net neutrality is the premise that ISPs have sold a customer a service that they can not provide. Then the
  • by trollertron3000 (1940942) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:04PM (#35011822)

    Jesus H Christ, why is a former comedian the smartest politician we have? It's embarrassing that this guy has to come to Washington to kick some sense into them just because our elite educational institutions have been pumping out the smartest dumb fucks on the planet for years.

    • by phoebus1553 (522577) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:16PM (#35011966) Homepage

      Jesus H Christ, why is a former comedian the smartest politician we have? It's embarrassing that this guy has to come to Washington to kick some sense into them just because our elite educational institutions have been pumping out the smartest dumb fucks on the planet for years.

      Is it really? Usually the best way to get the pulse of the public is to see what comedians are joking about. They can rip people a new arsehole from behind the guise of comedy, and nobody really gives a crap. Now if $yourFavoriteTalkingHead does the same thing, they in turn get ripped a new arsehole by $theOpposingViewTalkingHead and it goes into a shouting match on the Today Show.

      I'm all for level headed comedian policy makers. I would have moved across the river to Minnesota to vote for Frankin, I had to watch all his ads anyway ;)

    • Jesus H Christ, why is a former comedian the smartest politician we have?

      He's not the smartest, his interests just align with the common man rather than the corporate elite.

      Might have something to do with the fact that he isn't a former lawyer/CXX/Trustafarian.

      • Actually, I'd almost be willing to bet that he's above the 80'th percentile for intelligence in the Senate. You need to have some serious brain power to turn out comedy week-after-week for years, especially of the more cerebral stuff that he did.

    • I think he's using the system the way it's supposed to be used. He wanted to change something so he became a politician to try to change it. I'm not too familiar with this guy so while I can't back up the things he has done before this, I am greatly pleased with what he has done regarding this bill.

  • by Bengie (1121981)

    I think QoS could add some amount of value, but I think it needs to be carefully.

    I have an idea of how QoS might be implemented in a "fair" manner.

    I Win7, I know you can assign QoS to an App or data stream. Let an ISP have 3 different priorities.

    1) High priority would be a guaranteed bandwidth that a customer gets. An example of this might be I have a 2Mb up on my connection. I might only have 192Kb of "dedicated" bandwidth because ISPs over subscribes. I can assign on my machine to flag a packet to have hi

    • by amentajo (1199437)
      So, why would Joe User use a BitTorrent client that makes downloads go slower on purpose (i.e., flags packets as "idle" instead of "normal")?
  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @03:07PM (#35011856) Homepage

    ...then why do they pass laws and ordinances mandating their existence? If you don't believe me, try starting your own phone or cable company sometime.

    I love it when government passes laws adding new regulations to solve problems created by government rather than just fixing their initial mistakes. The closest we got to to sanity was the AT&T breakup by the Judicial branch, but the legislative and executive branches were bought off sufficiently bought to more or less undo all of the good done there.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Because some markets are natural monopolies [wikipedia.org] in which the most economically efficient outcome is in fact a monopoly.

      The supply curve you were probably taught in econ 101 is upward sloping, but that's actually a not-always true simplification. For instance, the supply curve of computer software is actually downward sloping, because higher numbers of customers = a lower cost to produce the software per customer. Most supply curves are actually an upward-sloping parabola, where the economies of scale create the

  • We need an extension so this hits them too.It wont be long before VZW has a Unlimited Slashdot service* *This service entitles you to to read unlimited idle.slashdot.org stories. All other content from this website will be charged $0.20 per story
  • ...the new slashdot censorship icon just isn't cool. Censored guy looks like having no emotions or so.

    And well, I wanna see how this process will look like in Europe.

  • Or rather, manufacturing doesn't fuel jobs any more than any other job fuels jobs. What idiots usually mean when they say this is that manufacturing makes things people can hold, actual physical products, but that has nothing to with anything. People buy what they want. Whether they spend $10 on a movie ticket or a toaster or cell phone minutes, they still spend $10. Someone else gets that $10, spends it on resources used to sell the service or product that was bought.

    I am soooo tired of this malarkey.

    • Manufacturing does in a way fuel jobs, in that it produces new goods that bring in money external to the local economy. You can't support an economy composed entirely of service personnel unless there's a great outside desire for the service (read: tourist traps, Vegas, and the like). The money incoming from manufacturing however has a greater tendency to come in from outside the local environment, and money flowing into an area rather than circulating around it creates demand for additional services and

  • Stop calling me a "consumer." I'm a customer, and I don't appreciate being treated like a wallet with legs.
  • The bill lays out some stark clarity on what is meant by Net Neutrality by outright banning ISPs from doing many things including...(7) prioritiz[ing] among or between content, applications, and services, or among or between different types of content, applications, and services unless the end user requests to have such prioritization.

    Hopefully the bill will specify that's an opt-in request, not an opt-out.

    .

  • Finally, someone in an elected office who understands what net neutrality mean to us.

  • Has anyone looked at what this spells:

    Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011

    If BP CPA. Soon, if this law is allowed to pass we'll be overrun by Certified Practicing Accountants working for British Petroleum. We're on to you...
  • and its policies. a lot.

    however, at times like this, i say to myself "Well, there are good people in america too after all".

    i mean it.
  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:36PM (#35012978)

    ... the way ISPs (and other utilities) work so that we can actually have real competition. Competition would basically fix this sort of thing, wouldn't it? Droves of people don't want X-ISP because X-ISP is throttling/sniffing/whatever traffic. Y-ISP comes in and advertises they don't do that (and in fact, they don't). Droves of people switch to Y-ISP.

    Right now, though, because of the way ISPs share (or don't share) infrastructure and all that, we don't have competition; we have local monopolies. The fact that we allow local monopolies is why we now are struggling to regulate them; regulation may not be required, though, if we actually had competition. By "competition" I mean competition for the same customer using the same - more or less - technology; e.g., one person looking for cable can actually buy from multiple providers.

    Maybe I misunderstand how it works right now, but it seems to me that allowing local monopolies is a bad idea and is the only reason we are having to go down the regulation route. Maybe if the infrastructure were public and paid for through $x-per-customer-served by the provider, thus allowing multiple providers access to the same infrastructure at the same cost (and that cost going to the local government, which would be maintaining/improving/whatever the infrastructure), we wouldn't have need for all this?

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @04:43PM (#35013086)

    it was vendor neutral.

    I think VOIP and streaming movies SHOULD get priority over bittorrent traffic as long all VOIP and streaming movie vendors are treated equally whether its youtube, netflix or comcast or my calls are made on skype or at&t.

  • by pseudorand (603231) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @05:52PM (#35013972)

    Net Neutrality has so many definitions floating around that it's to confusing to bother with. Until now. Despite the fact that it's a very hard-to-read sentence, I think this is actually what a violation of net neutrality: "6) charge[ing] a content, application, or service provider for access to the broadband Internet access service providers' end users based on differing levels of quality of service or prioritized delivery of Internet protocol packets". Let's just make that illegal and forget the rest.

  • If you do not fully agree with Net-Neutrality, then you support the Corporate Welfare State and Net-Nepotism.

    Vorizon, ATT, Comcast... are all Internet Access Providers (IAP). You pay for access.
    WikiPedia, Google, /., Yahoo, Microsoft, Sony PS, eTrade, Amazon... are all Internet Services Providers. You pay for services and/or view advertising for freebees.

    Corporate, religious, or special interest control of access to content, information, news media is un-American and conflicts with The USA Constitutional freedom to speak, practice a religion, obtain information on science, weapons and/or art.

    If you are against Net-Neutrality, then you are against US and all folks who stand for patriotism and the American way of life.

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