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United States The Internet

Congresswoman Writes On Broadband, Net Neutrality 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-to-the-lady dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat representing parts of Silicon Valley, has written an op-ed defending net neutrality and pushing the administration to take more steps to speed up US broadband. From the article: 'A climate of openness and innovation has been the hallmark of the Internet. A decade ago, it's what allowed a startup named Google to compete with better-funded, less technologically advanced competitors. Today, Congress has the responsibility to preserve this climate for the next Google, and for the consumers and the economy that will benefit from its success.'"
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Congresswoman Writes On Broadband, Net Neutrality

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  • Opt-ed?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by claybugg (1496827) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @07:59PM (#35121960)
    Can we opt out?
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:07PM (#35122016) Journal

    with the occupant of the White House acting AGAINST net neutrality, this is nothing more than lip service as any meaningful bill has zero chance of reaching the White House, and even if by some wild chance that it does, it has little chance of being signed.

    • Yes, and Eshoo knows it. She's the Representative from Intel, HP, and Cisco, and what they want, she does. So any pretense from her of net neutrality is just a PR pose to win her votes. I loathe her phoniness. She supports extensive use of H1-Bs to replace American labor, because that's what her corporate hands-up-the-ass want. I wrote to her and her office responded with incorrect statistics directly contradicting the Dept of Labor, and explaining why it was so vitally necessary to hire Indian engineers.
    • by VanessaE (970834)

      Assuming for the moment that both houses of congress were to compose and pass their respective iterations of such a bill, and the president were to veto it as you predict, you forget that congress can still override that veto if that bill has enough support. Granted, it practically takes an act of G*d for such a thing to occur, but the president does not, and never has had, the last word on legislation passed across his desk. As broken as our system is, checks-and-balances are still in place.

  • by vonkohorn (688787) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:20PM (#35122072) Homepage

    To begin talking about Net Neutrality, it helps to clarify what the internet is. It’s simply data sent via TCP/IP (the protocol for sending data through routers). Some people host web sites, others connect to their company e-mail, others do other things - it’s all the internet.

    Understanding that the internet is just a connection using TCP/IP, then Net Neutrality is simple, too. Net Neutrality simply means that your ISP may not interfere with the internet. They may not censor your packets (the data that is sent via TCP/IP). This means they can’t censor your news, keep you off of Skype, or otherwise interfere with your TCP/IP communications.

    Any compromise on this is wrong for two reasons: 1) Your ISP should not have the right to interfere with your free speech, and 2) ISPs should not be able to tax the value creation of the media industry.

    ISPs should not be able to interfere with consumer access to media companies, nor tax those companies for access to consumers. ISPs should not be able to interfere with our speech or block our access to the speech of others.

    ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don't own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.

    • by Palmsie (1550787) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:23PM (#35122096)

      Net neutrality is a government regulation insomuch as free speech is a regulation that speech is regulated to be free. Net neutrality is merely forcing the Internet to be free and unbiased. Politicians (both liberal and conservative) like to paint a picture of net neutrality as a regulation, which is as silly as the Internet as a bunch of tubes.

      • by Arker (91948)
        The irony is they are technically correct, but practically wrong, and the reason for the disconnect is that they have over the past couple centuries abused the word 'regulation' till it's almost unrecognisable.
      • >>>forcing to be free and unbiased.

        Ironic.

        "Force" and "free" don't belong together. I think it would be better to describe it as a Monopoly (comcast, verizon, et al) that has abused its powers over the customers, and therefore the government has stepped in to regulate the corporate tyrant. It's not ideal nor is it free, but it works.

        • by Golddess (1361003)

          "Force" and "free" don't belong together.

          I disagree. Example, the 1st amendment "forces" government to allow us to have free speech (among other freedoms).

      • by gangien (151940)

        You are wrong. It's most definitely regulation, by just about any definition. And forcing freedom is an oxymoron.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don't own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.

      They own and control the access points. Many also own the higher level links. Some even own vast chunks of the content flowing across it.. So yes, in effect they do 'own the internet'.

      But i do agree they need to be slapped down before things get more out of hand. In today's society the internet is more like a public utility, much like electricity became long ago, and should be treated as such. Not really 'required' for life, but modern life without it would be difficult at best.

      • by internettoughguy (1478741) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:58PM (#35122284)

        ISPs are in the business of providing internet access, but they don't own the internet; any attempts to eliminate net neutrality would violate our consumer rights and hurt the economy.

        They own and control the access points. Many also own the higher level links. Some even own vast chunks of the content flowing across it.. So yes, in effect they do 'own the internet'.

        But i do agree they need to be slapped down before things get more out of hand. In today's society the internet is more like a public utility, much like electricity became long ago, and should be treated as such. Not really 'required' for life, but modern life without it would be difficult at best.

        Exactly, things that require vast infrastructure, like roads, water, gas, electricity, communications all require antitrust regulation (which imo net neutrality is a type of) because the barrier to entry is so vast. Regulation is justified and infringes no ones property rights, because these things are usually built on vast tracts of public land using public funds.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        ISPs are a utility, like a power company. A power company cannot choose to provide power to your branded toaster over a cheap Chinese 'counterfeit' toaster. Yet in the world of ISPs, this is what they want to do.

        Enough is enough. ISPs forward packets to users. Meter the packets, heck, even limit the rate of packets to users that are using too many resources! But DO NOT tell me that one packet is better than another - ALL packets are created of equal bits and should be treated as such. Classification of whic

    • by powerspike (729889) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:49PM (#35122244)
      If an ISP starts charging for access to users / sites, then they should become responsible for those users/ data transmitted, remove the safe harbor provisions in the DCMA etc, that would stop a lot of them in the their tracks outright.
    • by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:49PM (#35122248)
      Some interference may not be a bad thing. If I'm using Skype, I wouldn't mind if the ISP gave my packets priority over someone's email. Realtime audio and video is a lot more time sensitive and if someone has to wait a few extra milliseconds for their email, I don't think that they would notice or even care.

      I don't think there's anything wrong with prioritizing certain types of traffic, especially if it would improve service quality for most of the end users. Where I would draw the line is when they start to differentiate based on who's providing the packets or where they're going. For example, you can prioritize streaming video, but you can't prioritize YouTube ahead of Netflix.

      Depending how interference is defined, what's permissible under net neutrality could vary widely.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe I would mind if my email is 100 ms later than normal.
        Maybe I wouldn't.
        If I decide that my traffic is low priority thats fine, but the ISP shouldn't decide for me.

      • by mpeskett (1221084) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @10:05PM (#35122600)

        If I'm using Skype, I wouldn't mind if the ISP gave my packets priority over someone's email.

        That would have been a better statement if you'd said you don't mind your ISP giving someone else's Skype call priority over your email. 'Cause I see no reason why you would mind your packets getting pushed up the queue (unless you disagreed with the principle of the thing).

        Maybe if they allowed packets to set a flag to volunteer to be given lower priority, then there's no way to game the system into giving your higher priority than the default "everyone is equal" priority.

        Except then if that caught on in a useful way, some ass would pop up and not follow the norm, so that their massive downloads seemed faster than everyone else because they were still asking for the same priority as VoIP, while everyone else was voluntarily taking the slow lane.

        That there is the reason we can't have nice things like consumer-friendly QoS; someone, somewhere, will always be trying to abuse it.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Or they could guarantee everybody a certain amount of priority packets to do with as they please. If you want to use them for skype you could, if I want to use them for something stupid, I'd be free to do that. Of course the problem with that is that it would reduce the amount of bandwidth that they could oversell by.

        • by Apocros (6119)
          I've made this point before [slashdot.org] (seems more recent than 2009... where did the time go...?), but there's no reason to give an infinite amount of high-priority bandwidth to anyone. That is to say, customers could promote/demote their packets based on whatever criteria they choose, but once the monthly quota of high-priority data has been reached, everything is auto-demoted to whatever level is appropriate to ensure minimal interference to those who are playing fairly.
          • by Zenin (266666)

            That would be easy...if only a given person's packets only ever traversed a single company's network.

            But that's not the Internet.

            To reach practically anywhere your packets will be carried by a half dozen or more independently owned and operated networks. How does each network track your specific bandwidth allocation to know when they should drop your priority? Why should they care anyway, they aren't your direct ISP? And we haven't even gotten into tracking this with non-static IPs that are most frequent

            • by Apocros (6119)
              Obviously there are implementation hurdles, and those may be high enough that it's not worth the effort (or cost). But, if such a scheme were implemented, your ISP might track your ratio, but subsequent networks would track the ratio of your ISP, or the backbone connections, etc. So you'd need some sort of wide-scale peering agreement that the network will tolerate X% of high priority packets, and that X applies to all users, and everyone on the network can effectively enforce that. You may be right thou
        • Except then if that caught on in a useful way, some ass would pop up and not follow the norm, so that their massive downloads seemed faster than everyone else because they were still asking for the same priority as VoIP, while everyone else was voluntarily taking the slow lane.

          This really isn't all that hard. Make three traffic queues: the normal one that everyone uses by default, a high-priority queue with low bandwidth, and a low-priority queue with high bandwidth. Let that Skype call get near-real-time performance, up to 64Kbps.

          Of course, most of this is academic because you can't easily shape inbound traffic, and the received:sent ratio for most home users is pretty darn high.

      • Some interference may not be a bad thing. If I'm using Skype, I wouldn't mind if the ISP gave my packets priority over someone's email. Realtime audio and video is a lot more time sensitive and if someone has to wait a few extra milliseconds for their email, I don't think that they would notice or even care.

        Indeed. I would prefer to delay web page accesses by 0.1 seconds so that others' VOIP works without interruption, as long as they do the same so that my VOIP works without interruption as well. So if my

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Perhaps we should be trying to set some kind of standard for how much packet delay is acceptable... because I'm okay with your skype being prioritized over my email but not over my realtime gaming. Essentially only services known to not be lag-sensitive can be delayed. Seems like it's a bad idea. So perhaps instead we should NEVER use QoS to prioritize YOUR packets over MINE (or vice-versa) and instead only use QoS to prioritize YOUR skype packets over YOUR email packets, and otherwise queue round-robin by

      • by T Murphy (1054674)
        I think some fraction of your nominal connection speed should be guaranteed to you. From there, it is up to you what to flag as high priority (ie what should use your guaranteed bandwidth). Any high-priority stuff over that goes ahead of low-priority stuff from your neighbors, but is overall at the mercy of the current demand. This kind of discourages people from flagging everything high-priority, as it means they have no control over what goes through their guaranteed connection.

        Now, if your neighbor c
  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @08:35PM (#35122150) Journal

    Congress has a responsibility To support America's richest fatcat aristocracy from upstarts and mushrooms. Puppets work for those who pull their strings.

    That is what it exists to do these days.

    They don't want anymore Googles. They'd rather such things were strangled in their cribs.

    • If I was a completely corrupt government functionary, I would at least have an eye towards utilizing disruptions in the market and replacement of key players for my own advancement. Static power relations goes for the people above me too. And I can only be lucky/healthy/alive for so long.
  • It's like the Gold Rush in California or Alaska. They figure, that if the Internet is open and free, that will cut into their profits. So anyone with money and influence looking to make a buck off the Internet will contact their "friends" in Washington. They want to control the flow of information. Just look at Rupert Murdoch's antics to see what I mean.

    "People on this Internet thingie are stealing my news content . . . and not paying for it!"

    Um, Mr. Murdoch, is it OK, if we steal your content, and pa

  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @09:32PM (#35122464)
    ...devalues Citizens United.
    • Damn that's a depressing wiki article. How much funding do these type of political nutjobs get? It's a non-profit, right? Where would I go to take a look at their books?

      Also, back in 08 I had a discussion with a republican friend. He mentioned how Obama didn't take public funds. I shot back that republicans were a lot better at funneling money around campaign finance laws. This here would be a prime example of that. A little on the crazy side, but it still fits the bill.
  • We all payed for the physical lines and everything needed to run the internet one way or another. How much has our government "Us" given to theses cable company to run new lines upgrade lines. If we have subsidized theses company's in any way they shouldn't get full say on who can do what on the internet because they really don't "Own" the internet, we all do because we have all payed.
    • First off, it's "paid", not payed. and it's "companies", not company's.

      Secondly, chances are the only way you paid for these lines via the government was the government allowing near-monopolies in the telephony market. In America, the infrastructure was built by the companies - the original being Ma Bell [wikipedia.org]. Subsequent upgrades are also courtesy of the telecoms and ISPs.

    • by kenh (9056)

      I keep hearing about Broadband adoption monies in the various stimulus plans, so the answer is the government (us) is taking our money (they don't have any of their own) and giving it to broadband companies to run miles and miles of fiber and coax into under-served neighborhoods that were never economically viable for the cable companies/ISPs (if they were, they would have expanded into them already, unless they knew if they dragged their feet they could get free/cheap government monies to help reduce the c

  • But as I understand Net Neutrality, the groups that support it don't want ISP to be able to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, right? If so, how does that make other connections slower? It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

    Just because something faster exists, it doesn't make everything else slower.

    Now, making a competitors packets actually travel slower through your network IS wrong, and I get that, but everytime I hear the argument expresse

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Priority Mail is via the USPS in the US, which is run by the federal government. The problem is that sites with deep pockets would have a competitive advantage over sites which couldn't afford to pay the ransom. As a result sites like Youtube and Flikr would have an advantage over sites that wish to compete with them in the future because those sites would be slower to load.

      Additionally, there's no guarantee that sites would be able to get sufficient bandwidth as ISPs are unlikely to be willing to spend mon

    • by sparky555 (986576)

      I'm already paying Comcast for a certain level of service (not that they actually provide anything close to what's advertised), but they'd also want someone like Netflix to pay to send their data to me (which is what *I'm* paying Comcast for). In a better functioning market, Comcast would have an incentive to get the fastest possible connection to Netflix so that I'm a happy Comcast customer with great connectivity to Netflix. Since they're a near monopoly (slower DSL is the only other option I have), they

    • But as I understand Net Neutrality, the groups that support it don't want ISP to be able to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, right? If so, how does that make other connections slower? It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

      Consider this analogy: You're shopping in a store, and step into a line to check out. Such lines are normally strictly FIFO (First In, First Out), so the amount of time required for you to reach the register is based solely on how long it takes the people ahead of you to check out.

      Now, add in a special policy of the store, where certain customers have "priority checkout", and are allowed to cut into the line ahead of anyone already in line. Each time such a customer cuts into the line, it adds to the amo

    • by bidule (173941)

      But as I understand Net Neutrality, the groups that support it don't want ISP to be able to charge higher fees for faster/better access to their networks, right? If so, how does that make other connections slower? It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

      If you want to pay the USPS extra for priority mail to Britain, go ahead. This is between you and your postal office. If I want have mail delivered to me hourly, that's between me and my postal office. I shouldn't have to deal with your postal service, nor should you have to deal with mine. There should be no preferred service for Japan. That's what Net Neutrality is about.

      So yes, the only ISP allowed to sell faster service to Google is Google's ISP. Not mine, nor yours. If my ISP wants extra money to impro

    • by Spad (470073)

      Because, to extend your analogy rather badly, there's only so much room in the mail van and if it's full of Priority Mail then your First Class stuff will have to wait for the next van - and don't make the naive assumption that they'll use all that Priority Mail money to buy more vans, because we all know that won't happen.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      It's like arguing that Priority Mail service makes First Class mail slower.

      There's a fallacy brought about by someone who hasn't seen their first class mail getting slower. The problem is one of finite resources and delay in transmission. The post office is for want of a better description over resourced for the load of priority mail they are sending. The priority mail doesn't arrive any faster between routes, and there's not enough of it to jump the queue at the endpoints.

      Now scale it up. Assume that instead of 1 package in 100, 10 packages are now priority mail. The backlog

  • The real fight, not the cosmetic fight over ISPs censoring content which they can't do anyways, is over the government setting peering and interconnect prices even though this has always been set by the free market. In this case, the hardline Net Neutrality proponents want to set ISP peering rates to zero, or at least heavily regulated by the ISPs. The FCC tried to compromise by putting out incoherent regulations that would outlaw paid prioritization but not outlaw paid peering which are essentially the s
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      not the cosmetic fight over ISPs censoring content which they can't do anyways

      Sure they could, either by intercepting DNS requests for a site and returning a bogus IP, or by dropping packets too or from some IP address. Both of those would be quite simple to pull off if you're in control of the routers in between the clients and the site you're trying to censor. Would it take effort? Yes, but not all that much.

      Remember what this whole fight started over: SBC went to Google and basically said "Nice website you have there, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it."

  • I hear many different definitions of net neutrality but it seems to come down to the internet should be free. That's all well and good but I also realize that it just ain't the way it works. I pay Cox a significant amount of money for internet access. Everyone who runs a connection to my house is looking for money. I believe Cox also charges if you go over a certain useage level. Soi we don't have net neutrality now and never have had. So will someone please tell me what the phrase really means?
    • by Spad (470073)

      Net Neutrality is the principle that traffic on the internet is treated equally regardless of source or destination.

      i.e. Traffic from Google to you or Bing to you (or vice versa) should both be assigned the same priority and treated in the same way.

      That is not to say that you can't give higher priority to, say, VoIP than to Bittorrent as long as you give that higher priority to *all* VoIP traffic and not just Skype (for example).

      The basic problem is that you pay Cox money to provide an internet connection.

  • One of the few topics in which I agree with most liberals.
  • Freedom is the only answer. Freedom is what made Google great. The ONLY thing the government is capable of doing is enacting force, which obviously takes someones freedom away. How can taking away freedom help the internet? US Government, stay out of my internet!
  • Whether or not the actions proposed by the FCC are good and beneficial to the market, both the Congress and the Judiciary specifically instructed the FCC that it was not within it's authority to do it. It is legally allowed only to do that which Congress says it can, by law, passed by congress. It is proceeding with the rules, ignoring Congress and Judges. The Executive branch is acting outside the law, in this matter, thumbing it's nose at the other two branches, which have told it not to.

    Regardles

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