# Net Neutrality wins minor battle in long war

1. Jul 12, 2008

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus

What are your opinions on net neutrality, and how it should be protected (or not protected)?

Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
2. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

People have a lot misconceptions based on misinformation.

I think if some people consistently use more bandwidth that what is considered acceptable fair use on an ISP's network, let them do it and make them pay extra for it. It's not fair for everyone to have to pay higher prices because of these bandwidth hogs.

3. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

From what I heard, Comcast did not act unreasonably. Apparently customers using Bit-Torrent were affected. BT requires a lot of band-width. It's not clear to me that others were affected.

FCC chief says Comcast violated Internet rules
Perhaps failure to disclose to consumers it was blocking or managing traffic is a violation, but then I don't know the specific rules.

Clearly some services did not anticipate services like Bit-Torrent.

There certainly is the issue that local cable providers have a monopoly. My internet service at work costs twice what I pay for my home service (with a different company). We regularly get dropped (lose link between modem and server) by the ISP, and I get about 10% of the speed that I get at home. I'm waiting for a competitive serviced to be installed. The fiberoptic trunk was laid in the street two weeks ago, now I waiting for them to intall the service to the building.

4. Jul 12, 2008

### NeoDevin

North of the border here they just do bandwidth caps (and those are only ever enforced if you go really crazy).

5. Jul 12, 2008

### Crosson

I hope that everyone understands that bit-torrent is a communications protocol, just like TCP/IP or FTP, and that the issue is with the ISP blocking data packets that are sent and received using this protocol. For example, I may be able to download attachments from physics forums at a max speed of 1.5Mib/s (using a TCP/IP protocol) but I can only download new Linux distributions using a bit-torrent protocol at a pitiful speed of 20 Kib/s.

There is no reason for this from a technical point of view, a 32 Kib BT packet takes the same amount of bandwidth and overhead as a 32 Kib TCP/IP packet.

As others have mentioned, studies show that BT is a sizable part (25%) of total internet traffic, and so by blocking this protocol the ISP can significantly reduce the total bandwidth that is available to their customers. It is not entirely clear if this is the only motivation for the ISP, since they might also be under pressure from the entertainment industry to solve the perceived problem of unauthorized copyright violations.

I am glad to see the FCC knows that the correct response to the problem is to immediately punish the taxpayer subsidized telecom monopoly for violating net neutrality laws that are already on the books. As individual citizens (as opposed to shareholders in the entertainment or telecom coporations) the most compelling reason we should support net neutrality is captured in the spirit of the poem "First they came...", to which effect I will offer a suitable variation:

"First they blocked bit-torrent, but I didn't speak up because only media pirates use bit-torrent..."

Note that, from a technical standpoint, the primary growing pain experienced by the internet is due to the heavy server loads, not due to a lack of bandwidth. It takes a huge rack of computing power to serve pages to millions of users per day, and these computers cost big bucks (the latest and most powerful hardware is seemingly never enough). Bit-torrent mostly solves this problem: since it is a P2P protocol it splits the server load across all the users, which is why it is used to distribute Linux distributions. In contrast one can better understand the price of bandwidth knowing that there are thousands of miles of 'dark fiber' that has been installed into the ground but has not yet needed to be used by the telecom industry, all of this done at taxpayers expense to the tune of $100B. 6. Jul 12, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor I "sell" bandwidth to ISP's. The problem is not a lack of availibilty of bandwidth from Internet Backbone providers (my company is one). It is how much ISP's have to pay for that bandwidth. FYI, ISP's pay the backbone provider a cost per MB for the bandwidth they allow their customer's to use. So it is the cost to the ISP's for the bandwidth that is the issue here. Dark fiber has absolutely nothing to do with the price of bandwidth. It is merely fiber cable that does not have the electronics connected. Lighting more dark fiber only gives more bandwidth to the backbone provider to sell to the ISP's if it were ever needed. The ISP's would still be charged for it and their customers would then be charged for it. And, no, it's not done at the taxpayer's cost. These are private companies for the most part. 7. Jul 12, 2008 ### humanino Would you sell bandwidth to individuals ? I always wanted to see in the infrared :shy: 8. Jul 12, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor Yes, I will sell to anyone willing to pay and can pass credit. I only sell to businesses though, but that doesn't mean that you can't say you are a business. 9. Jul 12, 2008 ### OrbitalPower Good post Crosson. Bit Torrent has legal uses, so you shouldn't be able to block the whole thing. Net neutrality would ban this from occurring. I have comcast as they are a monopoly in my area, and the other monopoly on the "DSL" side of things, Qwest, is asking way too much for crappy service. With broadband if you have a neighborhood downloading things then it'd lag me a little bit, but I'd rather be lagged a few times then blocked from accessing the services that I need. 10. Jul 12, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor Net neutrality means higher prices. Hopefully, they will only penalize those that use a lot of bandwidth. Cellphone companies are now beginning to limit data use. Gone are the days of a flat rate for unlimited data. I'm afraid we are going to see the same thing happen to our home internet service if ISP's aren't allowed to control traffic. Thank you to all the bandwidth hogs for ruining everything for the rest of us! 11. Jul 12, 2008 ### OrbitalPower Isn't Obama for Net Neutrality? A reason (one of the only) I might consider voting for him (I'm a registered Green). ISPs can create tiers of service. That's what they do. The underlying concept, though, is that they do it on a non-discriminatory basis. That is, the overall bandwidth of all the customers' traffic, without discrimination for certain destinations. Really, I'm against coercion rather it be a government, or a corporation taking my freedoms. In this case, it's a state sanction monopoly, as Crosson hinted to. When you use the government to back your business, you have every "right" to be regulated. Corporations are really governments anyway, and as such their power should be curbed and/or subjected to public influence. 12. Jul 12, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor I think there is some confusion over backbone providers that are also local phone companies, this would be Verizon, AT&T & Qwest, for example. Sprint, Level 3, and others are not local phone companies and do not get local phone company subsidies. And this will force ISP's to start charging for usage. You download a lot, or do a lot of file transfers, don't start crying when you get a bill for$500 for your monthly internet service. It's the only fair way to do it. You drive an SUV, you pay $100 to fill your tank, you drive a small car, you pay$50.

13. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

The ISP for my home has two rates, one for about $50/mo and the other for about$100/mo for a much higher bandwidth. My daughter uses most of our bandwidth doing video/voice over the internet. Traffic slows down when she's home.

The ISP that serves my office has 7 tiers of service, but they are very costly and the highest level is not as fast as I have at home, but costs about several hundred dollars, well above what I pay for home service. I'm waiting for a lower cost, faster service from a competitor - then I'll switch. It's not even the bandwidth, but rather remaining connected.

14. Jul 12, 2008

### rootX

At my university, I hardly ever go out of bandwidth. We have fixed amount of bandwidth per day. If we use more, our internet slows down until the tank if refilled.
And at my home, rogers charges fixed amount for using some gigs, if you go over it; you pay for which additional one you use. I hardly ever go above it so haven't been affected by either.

15. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

The "higher bandwidth" is the speed, not the usage. Two different things.

It's the difference in technology. If you are cheap, you get cheap. Dedicated private lines like T1's are a higher class of service, are more reliable, and having better TTR (Time To Repair). Of course if you buy a T1 from Bill and Ted's Excellent Internet Service, you are at their mercy, you are now paying a middle man. Always better to buy from a backbone provider. A dedicated T1 for a business might have a guarantee for repair of 4 hours, where cheaper, less reliable service like DSL has a TTR of 2 days. You're not comparing apples to apples. FIOS is the same, it's cheap, it's unreliable, and if you go down, no quick repair. Also, there is (or was) a lawsuit against Verizon for cutting the copper to a house or business when they installed it so that you are stuck, you can not switch back to regular phone and DSL, or switch to another provider. I don't know if they have been forced to stop that as an illegal practice yet.

16. Jul 12, 2008

### Crosson

You are putting the blame in the wrong place. These are the same cell phone companies that charge \$0.20 for a 10Kib text message, just because they can get away with it. The corporations will always charge you as much as they can, especially when their are high barriers to entry in the market.

17. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Most cellphone companies have unlimited texting plans. And none that I have used charged per KB, they charge per message, if you don't have a plan. You expect to use a service and not pay for it?

And what do you mean "just because they can get away with it?" When you go to buy shoes, do you pay for the pair, or can you carry out as many as you can hold for the same price? When you buy groceries, do you buy by the can, box, bottle, pound, ounce, item? Or do you expect to load your cart up and not pay for what's in it?

Please tell me what companies let you have all you want without charging you.

18. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Thanks for the clarification on the speed vs bandwidth, Evo. I just associated the higher speed with higher capacity.

I don't think I'm bandwidth limited, except on the home network. I don't generally do a lot of video, and I don't do bit-torrent.

As for cellphone usage, I don't do text, although it was offered in a package. I think it's by the message, but they also had different pricing schedules depending on volume. One of the guys in my company checks emails on his cell, so he took a more expensive option for his phone. I'm not sure why people need to text - why not just call some one. On the other hand, I've heard some pretty inane (and totally unnecessary) conversations on the phone - only because the person nearby wouldn't talk softly.

19. Jul 12, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

I'm with you on the texting. It seems to be something inherent to teens. The Child of Evo is always texting. Why spend ten minutes texting back and forth when a 60 second phone call would have the same results? I understand that teens use the text so that they can "talk" to each other in class without the teacher noticing. And it's a good way to reach her if she's in a movie. Other than that, I don't get it.

20. Jul 12, 2008

### Strilanc

I expect that, in the end, flat rates will become a thing of the past. There's too much a usage difference between someone who only checks email compared to someone who is downloading movies.

Net neutrality is a catch-all term for a bunch of different things ISPs could do. I don't particularly mind them prioritizing http traffic, but I prioritizing traffic to particular sites should not be allowed [eg. pay for access to websites before you can use them]. There's a lot of other possible things that would make pricing overly complicated (eg. an ISP in the middle not forwarding your traffic unless you pay them] that should be blocked.

Essentially, I believe ISPs should be allowed to prioritize based on protocol, and only at the edge of the network.