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FTC: Can't We All Just Get Along?
Workshop on broadband tackles network neutrality
by Karl Bode 12:28PM Wednesday Feb 14 2007 Tipped by AthlGrond See Profile
Speaking at the first day of an FTC workshop on broadband competition (you can catch the webcast here), FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz lamented the lack of quality discussion on the issue of network neutrality. "It seems to me that each side listens to the other side sort of just enough to mock it," said Lebowitz, whose previous post was at the MPAA. Lebowitz called the fight a "battle of dystopian worlds" and voiced his desire for a middle ground. FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, meanwhile, has made it clear that she's of a deregulatory "market based" approach (aka do nothing until an egregious violation occurs).

The FTC's somewhat pedantic desire for everyone to play nice when billions of dollars and fundamental freedoms are at stake aside, it's not clear whether the workshop will actually result in any substantive policy change. A "hands off" decision (the most likely) is fundamentally a win for incumbent providers and network hardware vendors like Cisco, who are eagerly pushing their new profit vision: prioritization and "personalized toll ways" (Cisco's term) aimed at subsidizing infrastructure build outs.

According to the FTC agenda for the workshop (available here in pdf format), yesterday was largely consumed by discussion of tiering, network neutrality and other prioritization concerns. Today the workshop focuses on broadband competition and consumer protection issues. As we previously mentioned, the FTC hopes to address misleading marketing terms such as the "up to" speed qualification.

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morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Reviews:
·Charter

no subsidization of private networks

absolutely no tax money should go to support subsidization of private infrastructure. any money should go toward equal access infrastructure with telco's having to get in line just like any Joe Schmoe's ISP. yes, I'm talking about YOU, AT&T. see Utah's UTOPIA for a guide.

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ

Re: no subsidization of private networks

said by morbo:

absolutely no tax money should go to support subsidization of private infrastructure. any money should go toward equal access infrastructure with telco's having to get in line just like any Joe Schmoe's ISP. yes, I'm talking about YOU, AT&T. see Utah's UTOPIA for a guide.
Ahhha Utopia, how wide are the tubes on there back-bone.

Chris Sparks

@datafoundry.com
Then it should infuriate you to know that $200B of money earmarked for fiber-to-the-curb was all created from government subsidies and concessions granted to telcos. The REAL kicker is that by 2006, 80 million homes were supposed to have fiber connections. Guess what they did with the money? I don't know either. All we can do is guess. 1/5 of a Trillion dollars just handed over to these clowns and absolutely nothing was given in return. Our government gives money to the people who need it the absolute very least.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

1 recommendation

Nothing Wrong With Current Approach

Hopefully the FTC will discuss "Net Neutrality" as the two separate things that it really is, and not attempt to confuse people by mixing the issues:

Currently ISPs are sanctioned when they block access to a particular service.

No one seems to have a good reason for banning companies from building their own private networks to offer their own services. If people think these services are worth it, they will pay for them. If not, then its the company investors left holding the bag if the project fails. Why should this be of any concern whatsoever to the government?
--
Only SHATNER is Kirk.

T1 Rocky

join:2002-11-15
Dallas, TX

Logistically,how would the internet work without neutrality?

The telcos collect from customers for providing them internet service. What is wrong with this model? If the telco thinks that the consumer is using too much bandwidth then charge them more for it. You already have an accounts recievable department recieving money from the consumer anyway!!

This logic of charging the content provider is totally ridiculous and even more so, it's totally impracticle. Say AT&T decided to bill Broadbandreports a nickel every time an AT&T customer went to the bbr website. How is that going to be possible? Now the consumer has to have a credit card number to get charged a nickel for every site they go to....unless its on the AT&T network. This is nothing but another push for a monopoly.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Wait and See

Regulation is not required for a problem that doesn't exist. If/When such a problem arises, reevaluate the situation at that time. I should think that the FTC has larger, more prevailing problems to deal with than this "potential" issue.

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

1 recommendation

Re: Wait and See

said by openbox9:

Regulation is not required for a problem that doesn't exist. If/When such a problem arises, reevaluate the situation at that time. I should think that the FTC has larger, more prevailing problems to deal with than this "potential" issue.
Exactly which potential issue are you referring to? If Net Neutrality does not become a reality, then essentially, all bets are off. The telcos want to double dip so they make up all sorts of fictions about NN, that is the bottom line. If NN does not constitute a potential issue in the world according to you, then apparently you haven't been paying very close attention.
--
The Toll

openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Wait and See

When I said "potential" issue, I was referring to one that hasn't come to pass. There's a lot of hype on both sides of the fence on what will/won't be done in regards to "net neutrality" (the term in and of itself has many meanings and is vague at best). The real bluff is that ISPs to date, haven't double-dipped and haven't prioritized their traffic over other providers' traffic in an anti-competitive nature (except for a couple of rare occasions that have been corrected). So what exactly would you propose be regulated that is NEEDED right here and now?

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

1 edit

Re: Wait and See

said by openbox9:

When I said "potential" issue, I was referring to one that hasn't come to pass. There's a lot of hype on both sides of the fence on what will/won't be done in regards to "net neutrality" (the term in and of itself has many meanings and is vague at best). The real bluff is that ISPs to date, haven't double-dipped and haven't prioritized their traffic over other providers' traffic in an anti-competitive nature (except for a couple of rare occasions that have been corrected). So what exactly would you propose be regulated that is NEEDED right here and now?
Do you even understand what is at stake in NN debate? I seriously doubt it b/c it. But nm, I'm not going to participate in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Move along now...Go back to watching Fox News.
--
The Toll

openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Wait and See

Intelligent response. I do understand the net neutrality debate. The point is that you can debate all day, the reality is that there's nothing requiring legislation because no "mischievous" action has been taken by the providers. So my question still stands...what needs to be regulated?
bi0tech

join:2003-06-19
Cockeysville, MD

1 recommendation

Re: Wait and See

Yeah I mean it's not like ISP are:

providing nebulous service under unstated terms... oh wait

throttling traffic in whatever way seems fit to them... oh wait

are basically a geographically oriented monopoly/duopoly... oh wait

intent on squeezing as much money out of customers as possible without regard to making broadband available to the masses as any real UTILITY should be... oh wait

always seeking financial aid for infrastructure buildouts that they then turn around and cry pauper when any kind of open system legislation is attempted... oh wait

have continuously lobbied against communities setting up their own systems that fulfill net neutrality requirement based on nonsensical and outright fraudulent claims... oh wait

Shall I continue?

WTF

@rr.com
said by openbox9:

Regulation is not required for a problem that doesn't exist. If/When such a problem arises, reevaluate the situation at that time. I should think that the FTC has larger, more prevailing problems to deal with than this "potential" issue.
I believe the same thing was said about the stock market, right about the time it crashed in 1929 due mainly to unregulated banking practices.

karlmarx

join:2006-09-18
Chicago, IL

The issue is FREEDOM

Net neutrality came about simply because the dumb ass ceo's of the megacorps SAID that they wanted to double dip. Look back at any of their past comments, and you can see why people get so riled up. WE, the customer, see NO ADVANTAGE in that proposal. WE, the customer, PAID for the internet. We, the customer, DEMAND that we get what we paid for.

What did we pay for? Bluntly, I am paying for a pipe that is x/mb/sec. I expect it to provide me with an IP address, and that's IT. PERIOD. I don't want AOL. I don't want COMPUSERV. I want an IP address, that can get to any other ip address, at the speed I paid for.

What they are proposing? They are saying that I pay based upon how much they think they can charge me. They want to charge me if I download a video from utube. They want to charge me more if I use google to search. They want to charge me more if I download a movie.

Guess what, that's NOT what I'm buying. I pay for a pipe. I expect that pipe to run at it's specs. I pay based on the SIZE of the pipe, NOT what I use it for.

Net neutrality is required simply because what we pay for isn't what the CEO's of the megacorps think we should be buying. We KNOW what we want, and we WILL use the law to enforce it.
--
Stick it to the MAN. Support your local torrent sites. Proudly providing 100mb of upstream for all your TV, Movie, and MP3 needs.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: The issue is FREEDOM

You pay for a commercial product that is subject to change at any point in time with sufficient notice from your provider to amend your contract (there is an implied month-to-month contract when you pay for any service). The provider should be held accountable to provide what was sold in accordance with their current terms of service (this is a separate issue). If you don't like the conditions of service provided to you, find a different provider.

Net neutrality legislation is not required at this time. Do you know of any provider that "double dips" or prioritizes their traffic over a competing service's traffic?
Ahrenl

join:2004-10-26
North Andover, MA

Re: The issue is FREEDOM

If they're not doing it, then the legislation won't effect them. The fact is, they said they were going to charge service providers for "using their pipes". They (whitacre) started the debate.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: The issue is FREEDOM

But nothing has been implemented. Do people not realize that legislating things that aren't broken more often than not tends to make situations worse. Less government is usually better Not to mention, I'd rather my tax dollars go towards things that are broken.
Ahrenl

join:2004-10-26
North Andover, MA

Re: The issue is FREEDOM

Umm, it is broken, that's the problem. This will keep it from getting wrecked more. It's broken because it's not possible to compete as an ISP, when your competition owns the network you're competing on.

I'm all for less government. Unfortunately, unless we let everyone who wants to build a network in public ROW's (which would blot out the sun) then less government, in this case, is not possible.

T1 Rocky

join:2002-11-15
Dallas, TX
I totally don't follow your logic about it not being broken? That's sort of like Iran with nuclear capacities saying that Israel should be wiped from the map....but Iran hasn't done anything yet so let's not worry about it.

After we have lost netneutrality is not the time to address the issue. Hell, if we are loud enough on broadbandreports.com and we make enough noise then Verizon, AT&T and the telcos can literally stop passing traffic to the BBR website. What would stop them?

Losing netneutrality will have far reaching consequences that we haven't even realized yet.
k0balt

join:2007-02-16
Melber, KY
i created an account just to correct you.

open box 9 says: "Net neutrality legislation is not required at this time. Do you know of any provider that "double dips" or prioritizes their traffic over a competing service's traffic?"

clearwire blocks voip ports unless you call them to open them up. a few months after they started this they introduced their own voip service.

fuck off

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ

No we can't all get along.

When it comes to money, my money you have to earn it. If you steal it from me I will not like it and get even by any means necessary.

You can listen to the next hustle a buck WorldCom/MCI and pass all of the laws you want. The US is 16th, do you want to try for 32ed?
viffer

join:2007-02-15
Toronto, ON

Content & Carriers

With regard to wireless data networks owned by the carriers, it appears that without regulation they will completely control what type of content is delivered through their "pipes". This is like if our highways were completely commercially owned, our options for holidays or road trips might be quite limited. Although, HOV lanes and toll roads appear to work to an extent and still provide access to all. Could this balance be achieved for broadband?

Joe citizen

@comcast.net

The real crime

The real crime is that these telcos were given BILLIONS in subsidies and tax breaks to encourage them to build out their infrastructures to support today's needs.

They were happy to take the money, but only built out to the absolute minimum requirements, thus maximizing profits.

You want to prioritize the network. Fine. Then pay back all the BILLIONS we taxpayers put forth to subsidize all your efforts. It is clear that the telcos want their cake and your cake and my cake while their stuffing themselves.

Ultimately, these are local monopolies, so that government should step in to make sure the consumer is protected. Sadly, this administration seems to feel the citizens of this country are nothing more than cash providers for corporations. These corporations are allowed to rape and pillage the American population with substandard connections (compared with other nations) AND they receive BILLIONS in corporate welfare (which are also our dollars).
burdett

join:2002-06-03
Arlington, WA

Necessity is the mother of invention.

If corporations are forced to play on a level field they will be forced to come up with new inventive ways to push more content across the network.

A tiered network is wrong on a public funded network! The FTC needs to step in and say NO! If a company wants to lay a private network backbone and charge a premium then should do it with out any public funds. The communications company's have already over charged us for fiber to the curb that was to be deployed by the year 2000, that never happened!

ej00807

@mchsi.com

listening to both sides

Hey, my perspective is that the backbone carriers and ISP companies are free to workout any agreements or arrangements that they want.

However, from a consumer perspective, any company filtering content, prioritizing packets, blocking ports or engaging in selective DNS practices SHOULD NOT LEGALLY be allowed to call themselves an internet service provider.

To clarify, this should mean that they cannot even be allowed to use the word internet in their advertising.

If I were the FTC, I'd look to some internet standards committees, if they aren't certain of what the defintion of internet service should be.

For me, it's a matter of honest representation of goods and services being sold. Don't represent a service to me as the internet, if it's really a distortion of what has come to be known and expected as a unified, equal network.

You know any politician with an incline to WIN ANY ELECTION could simply commit to introduce and support legislation to shore-up internet law, SECURITY, PRIVACY.

It is amazing to me, that at this late date and time, there are so many people without access to broadband or even basic internet service.

We need to recognize the internet as a core component of our social and economic success and status as a technological leader in the free world.

We are lagging. If you will excuse the pun. And the internet is looking more and more to be the only hope for our democratic processes and self-determination.

wifioz

@217.41.229.x

wifi

why cant we just set up our own wireless internet network,if everyone bought a wifi router and we came up with a way of sharing the connections wirelessly we wouldnt have to use an isp. if every household in a city had wifi we could all be online, or does it not work that way?