Want to see most of the Internet artificially throttled?

So did you guys hear about the move to eliminate the Net Neutrality laws? This would apparently allow the ISPs to throttle anyone who didn’t pay a fee to become a “premium provider.” Right now, all sites are supposed to get equal access to net users.

Obligatory MoveOn petition link with a link to more info on the law. They already have 250,000 signatures. Can’t see how this change would benefit anyone other than ISPs. (And whatever companies decided to “pay the toll” to keep fast access.)

[Edit: Typed the wrong word. Argh.]

Can I sign this even though I don’t live in America ?

It doesn’t benefit the ISPs either. It benefits only the tier 1 guys, the AT&Ts and UUNETs and other backbone providers. Your local dialup.com doesn’t get shit.

I don’t think this is a big deal. It’s sort of like phone companies being allowed to charge business more than residential customers for pretty much the same thing. It lets the big paying accounts subsidize things for everyone else to some degree. The backbone providers have no motive to put bigtime bandwidth restrictions in place on non-premium sites, that would be bad business.

The problem is that the Internet has flourished most and resulted in the most innovative and useful applications when used as a big dumb bitpipe. Any sort of discrimination threatens that. Really, what the providers want is to be able to extort the successful Internet-based businesses, because they’re not satisfied with being paid x amount for x amount of bandwidth.

I wouldn’t mind it as long as they had to let me know. “Your generic-telephony-software packets are being moved to the end of our routing queue. Please contact generic-telephony-software-company and request that they purchase AT&T ‘premium’ routing for crystal clear calls.”

I think you are overdramatizing this. The internet has never been a collection of fully equal bandwidth peers. Think WoW has the same sort of backbone hookup as the local florist who happens to have a web page? Of course not. All this new wrinkle is doing is allowing the backbone providers to use traffic shaping technologies to give preferential treatment to/from certain sites when a link becomes saturated.

Like I said before, the backbone providers have to make their money somehow. This is basic free market economics in action. If they are making more off the big boys who can afford to pay for it, then they can also charge less to the customers that were low volume anyway.

Free market, yeah right. When I can get DSL or cable from lets say 100 companies, then we’ll have a free market. Until then, most Americans are stuck with 1 or 2 broadband providers.

U.S. is already lagging behind in internet speeds, if this goes through, then companies in areas with no competition will have absolutely no reason to ever upgrade the lines. Do you want to stay on 1-3 mbps forever?

What the hell are you talking about? How would net neutrality have anything to do with the speed of lines local ISPs offer?

They certainly wouldn’t get faster – if I was a rival ISP I’d slow down your traffic as much as possible to coerce your customers to switch. Also, I would slow down traffic for unfavored sites on my backbone too, so that they would have no choice but to go with my company’s network of portals.

They certainly wouldn’t get faster – if I was a rival ISP I’d slow down your traffic as much as possible to coerce your customers to switch. Also, I would slow down traffic for unfavored sites for my own customers too [in areas without competition], so that they would have no choice but to go with my company’s network of portals.

Want to see most of the Internet users throttled?

Hell yes! Preferably with piano wire.

Dude, seriously, stop posting in this thiread until you get a glimmering of how the internet works. Hint: rival local ISPs can’t do anything to throttle each other, net neutrality or not.

Or, in other words, they’d like to create an artificial scarcity situation because that’s more profitable than expanding bandwidth. Any sort of traffic filtering is suboptimal compared to simply increasing available bandwidth.

Perhaps the backbone providers will slow any VoIP solutions other than their own? And offer it as an incentive to switch service? Or even as a way to make standard phone service seem more appealing. Never mind that this sort of filtering introduces some extra latencies into the mix anyway.

While possible, the best solution to not enough bandwidth is to make more bandwidth. At present, that doesn’t seem to be a technical challenge, merely a culture shock to CEOs and executives who realise that customers want service to continue to improve. If there really is a need to raise prices, I say raise them, but don’t use this sort of technique which is so easily used for anti-competitive practices, and seems to be an attempt to slow technical advances rather than embrace them.

(Note that as an Australian, I’m well aware of the gradual progress that can
result from a government/commercial/telco sector that is unwilling to embrace technological advances, but wants to continue to charge premiums for services considered obsolete in the rest of the world. Recently, some smaller providers started putting in their own DSLAMS. They offer 12Mbps ADSL2+ for less than they can offer 1.5Mbps ADSL1 which they have to rent from our telco. Recently the rental Telstra charged on bandwidth for ISPs went up. In a market of few competitors, the big companies are only too happy to get together to screw the customer out of as much money as possible.)

You’re joking right? You’re trying to out-argue me by saying I don’t know how the internet works… on what authority are you exactly making these grounds?

With wonderful hardware-related questions like why one needs a DVI cable, whether or not XP serials are compatible, and disabling ActiveX popups… you must know how the internet works.

So I’ll tell you what. Before you insult a CS major who actually does some of this for a living, think again. I’ll even humor you and tell you how I would throttle another ISP:

My ISP (A) is competing with ISP (B). Because of routing, to get to Site C, all customers from ISP (B) must go through my backbone (or else route through Canada, through the opposite coast, through Texas, and then finally to their location, in other words easily twice as many hops). We can even assume their routing hardware isn’t a complete POS. So whenever traffic from ISP B goes through my backbone, it is trivial to throttle it (hello, their IPs come from a different subnet which I don’t own). If they tried to route more packets through a different location, I would notice this and decrease the throttling.

People using ISP B would be completely unaware of this, and I would have my marketing team call the customers at ISP B and promise them a much more enjoyable and faster connection to Site C if they switched to me.

Naturally, the staff at ISP B would notice this pretty quickly and end up throttling my customers on some other site that I have to go through their ISP for.

The thing is, most of the internet traffic does go through one or two big pipes (i.e. to get to LA you might start at Chicago, hop to Texas, hop to LA) before dispersing across to the smaller regional ISPs.

And if you try to use word play and tell me you were talking about small ISPs that serve <1000 people, they won’t be around for much longer if this law passes…

So let’s see how this theory works:

  • Local ISP 2, which controls half of the seattle market, decides to throttle packets from local isp 2, which controls the other half of the seattle market.
  • I’m on Local ISP 2. When I send packets out, the only way they go through Local ISP 1 is when I’m making a request to a server on Local ISP 1 - everything else goes out to the common carrier backbone.

Cross-local isp traffic is statistically pretty minor. I don’t see how you think this is really a potentially meaningful threat, even if someone was dumb enough to do it. Now if the backbone carriers want to do it…

Exactly, only the backbone carriers can fuck with each other in any meaningful way. But there’s no percentage in it for them because the other side can just retaliate in kind. Net neutrality is about backbone providers and their desire to monetize high bandwidth guaranteed-QOS backbone services to people like VOIP providers, not about screwing individual customers. In fact, it’s quite likely going to be good for individual customers.

I was talking about the Tier 1 carriers, I mentioned that in my last sentence when I said I wasn’t talking about small ISPs. Local ISPs will be the first to go because all their traffic has to go through some big ISP’s pipes, and boom, you have insane latencies and slow 10 kb/s download speeds.

Seriously, for the last time, it’s not going to happen. There is no economic reason for backbone providers to try to screw with each other in a fashion like this bizarre nightmare scenario you are trying to concoct.

Not necessarily but they’ll definitely screw the Tier 2 ISPs out of business.