Comments on: Network Neutrality: Critical push http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/ Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 By: three blind mice http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16829 Tue, 13 Jun 2006 12:11:44 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16829 the vote in the house: 269 against, 192 for.

roll call here.

it’s nice to see the republican controlled congress – that cabal of corrupt power – for once reject “progressive” legislation and actually do something that resembles a conservative agenda.

at the same time, it is embarassing for us mice to be on the same side of any issue that this republican party.

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By: Paul M http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16828 Sun, 11 Jun 2006 23:44:14 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16828 Network neutrality will never happen. Too many polititians who need to put some money in their proverbial freezer will make sure it doesn’t happen. Its kind of like the billion dollars of aid going to a poor country and after the parties and spending some poor children get stale rice and a flat soccer ball. Us little people have to want network neutrality but it is way way too late for that. Again, all we can do is blog and wish for the days of compuserve and marajuiana, where we could find out what was playing at the theatres in the next town. Those days of the bong hits and zork are over, people, network neutrality is dead. But write a letter to the polititan anyways, if it makes you feel better.

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By: poptones http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16827 Fri, 09 Jun 2006 18:07:42 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16827 I do… not that it does much good.

and your point is?

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By: Alexander Wehr http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16826 Fri, 09 Jun 2006 18:00:46 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16826 I’m getting sick and tired of the fallacious “free market” rhetoric.

I challenge anyone opposing net neutrality on the basis that “the free market will provide competition” to also oppose such regulatory structures as “limited liability” and “coporate personhood”. After all, those are regulations as well.

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By: Richard Bennett http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16825 Fri, 09 Jun 2006 07:42:37 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16825 Montana says: I need to strike a deal with each and every one of their ISPs to prioritize my traffic so that all the packets don’t get dropped in favor of my competitors’ traffic.

That’s not likely. When QoS tiers become commonplace, they’ll be parts of the tiering agreements between NSPs. So you buy QoS tier from your ISP, and they buy it from their NSP, and they trade with the other guy’s ISP, and he pays for QoS from his ISP. That’s not going to complicate your life at all. In comparison, the local sales tax ordinances that e-retailers have to conform to are much, much more complicated. The interesting twist – and the part that potentially affects Googoo’s video-on-demand hopes – is what happens of you make a QoS-dependent purchase and you didn’t buy QoS from your ISP. In that case, Googoo can charge you extra and negotiate for-fee QoS from your ISP in real time, through a QoS-on-demand protocol. That’s hardly going to rock your world either. It’s like the choice between making a station call or a collect call when going long-distance. I assume Googoo will get the equivalent of 800 numbers for QoS.

QoS isn’t fundamentally about dropping packets, it’s about re-ordering queues, and we’ve been doing that on the Internet – as well as selective dropping – since 1984.

You should try approaching these issues from a sober and analytical perspective instead of being so emotional. Computers handle complexity quite well, and can make even the most complex issues appear simple to the end user. That’s why there are a billion PCs in a world that only has a million or so smart people.

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By: Montana http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16824 Fri, 09 Jun 2006 04:11:43 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16824 poptones – The only reason I even mentioned increased prices for end users is as a response to the frequent claims in this debate that the telcos don’t have enough incentive to build increased capacity. I see no reason why QoS couldn’t be implemented without any sort of cost increase at all, if present prices are sufficient to fund infrastructure improvements.

And I can’t say I disagree with you with regard to the old laws. Unfortunately since the smaller ISPs don’t seem to have as much lobbying clout as AT&T and the cable companies I don’t know how successful a campaign for that could be presently. Something needs to be done to get the money out of Washington; it’s gone so far past ridiculous that there aren’t even words capable of describing it.

Richard Bennett — that’s a nice bit of rhetoric there.

Part of the problem here is one of complexity. In the normal arrangement you buy a connection fast enough to transfer the data you want to transfer, so does the party you’re communicating with, and how the network in between gets it there — or who the other party is — doesn’t really matter. The problem with the “new” model is that if I want to provide some service, I can’t just get myself a fast connection and let the party at the other end worry about their end. Now I need to know who I’m communicating with. I need to strike a deal with each and every one of their ISPs to prioritize my traffic so that all the packets don’t get dropped in favor of my competitors’ traffic. This is quite feasible for Google or Yahoo or Microsoft (though they don’t like it), but what about small businesses? Who pays to prioritize open source P2P software that needs low packet loss?

I’m not against the concept of QoS, I just think that the person who is actually paying for the connection should be the one who decides which traffic is more important, rather than making it a bidding war between service providers that naturally favors the party with the deepest pockets.

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By: poptones http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16823 Fri, 09 Jun 2006 00:01:17 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16823 Why not just raise the price of the data service by the prioritization cost and be done with it? And this applies not only to VoIP but to any sort of P2P (or non “big business-to-you”) traffic that requires low latency or low packet loss.

Either I’m missing something, or all the lunatics calling for higher end user prices on data services are. You all seem to have forgotten Google got where it is by offering sponsored data services; the bells got where they are by charging end users fees on a service that (was) inherently p2p, at least in the larger scheme of things (the phones were p2p at least as much as the rest of the p2p services are, as they all ely on substantial back end infrastructure to do what they do – it’s not just my computer calling your computer directly).

If the bells (or any other backbone or last mile service) adds tariffs to Google and Yahoo and the other “fat data” services it doesn’t inherently add cost to the end users, who are already paying ridiculously high rates in the US compared to much of the rest of the wired world. The scheme you and others propose would do exactly that – put even more money in the pockets of the telcos at the expense of those least able to afford them. If I were a more pessimistic person I might ask if you perhaps work for the phone company.

So far as VOIP, I addressed that before here: why? I now pay about $35 just to have the stinking phone line, which I need for DSL. I pay another $60 a month to my ISP, who in turn tithes a good bit of that money (most of it by their telling, but I’m pretty sure it’s really only about half) to the phone company. On top of that I pay another flat $25 fee to the phone company for flat rate nationwide calling, which provides me vastly more reliable and high quality service than VOIP, which attempts to cram realtime streaming traffic over lines not made for it. That’s a total of about $90 a month to the damn phone company, but VOIP wouldn’t make my bill much cheaper at all – even amortized over a year or five.

Extending that, what’s to stop the phone companies, when the googles and yahoos make it worth their while, from using those same switched services that are designed to efficiently stream data in real time, to route “fat data?” The end user gets a higher quality service, the phone company gets the incentive to upgrade their backbones, and all it costs is the yahoos and googles – whose bottom lines, frankly, I couldn’t care less about protecting; if they can’t make it work, someone else will.

This nonsense about google and yahoo and amazon.com being “shut out” of the internet (along with those lesser voices providing “legal” content as mandated by big brother) is specious; no ISP is going to shut out the most popular services altogether, because they’d lose customers. And if they degrade the services too seriously, they’ll also lose customers – that is, so long as they cannot effectively shut out all the competitors by making their higher quality services so expensive only healthy businesses or upper middle class homes can afford them.

We don’t need more legislation allowing big brother to dictate what is “neutral net” – what we need is a return, at least for a time, to the old laws that ensured competing ISPs could not be priced out of the only last mile connection available to them.

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By: poptones http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16822 Thu, 08 Jun 2006 23:40:05 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16822 They could build their own last mile presence, but not everyone can.

So what? They can be another ISP offering a competing voice to teh bells; they can play the open game all they like and put their money and infrastructure where their very cavernous corporate mouth is…

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By: Richard Bennett http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16821 Thu, 08 Jun 2006 18:02:06 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16821 “Extortion game”, Montana?

Is that what FedEx does by charging more for overnight delivery than for three-day mail? I never knew they were a criminal enterprise, thanks for opening my eyes. I’m going to write a book about the damage FedEx does to Free Culture and My Democracy by charging more for overnight delivery with this “priority tax” they put on overnight delivery. Doesn’t an overnight letter use the same airplane as a three-day letter? How in the world can they justify bumping three-day letters off that plane, don’t they have the same “right” to travel as the overnights? It’s damn shame that the privileged few can ship overnight and the rest of us, in our garages, have to wait three stinking days for our letters.

They can ship all the letters overnight if they just get more airplanes and more trucks and more people to run them, so why don’t they? I’ll tell you, it’s because these greedy corporations are blood-sucking capitalists who only care about their bottom line.

People before profits, Dude! Save the overnight letter!

(And save the whales while you’re at it! And bring back Buffy, dammit!)

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By: Montana http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16820 Thu, 08 Jun 2006 16:19:45 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16820 poptones:

That would be great if it was only Google. They could build their own last mile presence, but not everyone can. The Google of a decade ago couldn’t, just as the Google of a decade from now can’t. There are plenty of other problems too. For instance: Suppose that in a few years time all phone traffic is VoIP. Everyone buys data service on their “phone” from one provider and VoIP service from someone else (or possibly the same provider who charges extra for it). Once everyone is using VoIP there is no longer a need for a service provider — your IP address (or FQDN) becomes your phone number and all it takes is for someone to write some free VoIP software. However, then there is no longer any company to pay the VoIP prioritization tax, which means that the free service will never catch on because the ISPs are dropping its packets during peak hours. Suddenly everyone is paying a useless tax to various companies who do nothing productive while chopping off a portion of their fee as profit only to feed the rest to all the ISPs for prioritization. Why not just raise the price of the data service by the prioritization cost and be done with it? And this applies not only to VoIP but to any sort of P2P (or non “big business-to-you”) traffic that requires low latency or low packet loss.

Realistically a much better solution would be to have the ISP work with the user to enable QoS. Whenever a pipe gets full, the ISP will drop some of the packets of the current heaviest user (until the point that some other user becomes the heaviest user) and will respect the priority that this user has set for the traffic. For example, if the current heaviest user is downloading something and is also talking on the phone via VoIP, the ISP would drop the packets for the download and leave the VoIP traffic alone because the user has VoIP configured as high priority. This way the user decides which traffic is more important rather than the ISP, but at the same time no user can set all their traffic to be high priority and then flood the network, because part of the heaviest user’s traffic is getting dropped no matter what — the priority the user sets only determines what part.

Compare that to the extortion game where ISPs tax anyone who provides a time-sensitive service lest it be unusable during peak hours. Who would want that rather than just letting users (and good defaults) decide what part of their traffic is the most important?

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By: poptones http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16819 Thu, 08 Jun 2006 10:15:04 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16819 Man, y’all have gone so far off the deep end on this debate it’s become moot. We’re not talking about the bells erecting a newer, better network – we’re talking about the bells seeeing packets from google video and pushing them lower on the totem pole in the last mile queue (the only place it really matters) if google isn’t paying them for priority delivery.

And if it isn’t obvious by now, I don’t have a problem with that and I think many of y’all don’t, either. Give google incentive to devise their own last mile presence, or give the bells more money to invest in giving us all better last mile connectivity. My only reservation is in the castration of the OLD laws that said the last mile providers have to offer wholesale connectivity to other ISPs at competitive rates. Ultimately that may not be the best thing either, but it’s way too early in this game to be allowing the bells to effectively overcharge any customer (the local ISPs still pay the bells for every DSL connection, after all) who doesn’t want to play by their ridiculous rules.

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By: Richard Bennett http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16818 Wed, 07 Jun 2006 18:01:21 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16818 I’m not making an argument about what engineers should or shouldn’t do in general, David, I’m trying to demonstrate that the religious point of view in “end-to-end” is silly, wrong, and broken.

End-to-end says that the Internet must be as dumb as the Original Ethernet or all kind of hell will break loose: innovation will dry up, the network will collapse, and conference speaker gigs for David Isenberg will stop and he’ll have to get a real job.

End-to-end reifies one option in network control that sorta works some of the time and doesn’t work at all most of the time. So my argument goes like this:

1. Innovation in the application space is dependent on services in the transport space. If your network only offers one type of transport, and it’s highly variable like Best-Effort IP, your application space is limited to applications that tolerate variable delivery.

2. The richer the transport service, the richer the application space. If we supplement Best-Effort IP with Low Jitter IP, we open up a whole new universe of applications that rely on this service.

3. Similarly, if we had Mobile IP that actually worked, lots of other applications would be possible.

4. You seem to be confusing “innovation” with “work-around”. If the network is retarded, applications have to do a lot of work to compensate for its quirks, such as running deeper de-jittering buffers for video streams. You may mistake these band-aids for “innovation” but in fact they’re simply kludges.

5. If it’s easier to implement a service outside the network, then do it there; if it’s easier to implement it inside the network, do it there. Engineering is good at making tradeoffs, and we don’t need politics and religion forcing us to make them incorrectly.

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By: David Eads http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16817 Wed, 07 Jun 2006 12:01:21 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16817

Uh, read the part where I compare Old-Timey Ethernet with Switched Ethernet.

How does that have a bearing on the assertion that engineers should value doing the most good over doing the least harm? Note: I didn’t give a principled argument about that pro or contra because that’s another kettle of fish and involves a lot of philosophy.

I like all that stuff you say about RTP, because, dude, it’s not TCP, is it?

Like I said, it’s UDP at the transport layer and IP at the network layer. UDP is part of the traditional Internet stack. Note that a lot of the Internet is using RTP, unless I’m miscounting the millions of VOIP users.

I know what you mean about “all kinds of VLAN games” to get WiFi devices to roam successfully. Similarly, you have to play the same games when moving a box around physically. What’s the big deal? While not necessarily ideal, a device’s connection point typically handles this, and this really becomes an issue for things like cell phones that need to be distinctly addressable at all times — and at that point, your connection point is vendor specific and they need to figure it out.

As for Amazon — they’re not doing the same thing as the JC Penney catalog, though they’re cousins. Amazon is always up to date with products, allows for user reviews, lets you search inside of books, tries to decide other things you might like, and sells a wider variety of goods than department store catalogs. The models are similar, sure, but those are innovations. You can reduce many kinds of economic transactions back to “an exchange of money for goods via some communications mechanism” but you’ll miss the trees for the forest.

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By: Richard Bennett http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16816 Tue, 06 Jun 2006 23:45:00 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16816 I see no principled argument to back it up, and this is a key theme of the discussion at hand.

Uh, read the part where I compare Old-Timey Ethernet with Switched Ethernet. The market had a choice between a dumb network and a somewhat smarter one, and chose the latter. Switched Ethernet works better, routes faster, and expands higher than the gnarly old crap that was the model for TCP/IP.

The TCP/IP suite has been successful because it had no competition. The ISO protocols were too late in the game to mount a challenge, and computer vendors felt more comfortable with Internet mail than with anybodys proprietary system. IP was vendor-neutral, and that was important when we built the first and only world-wide packet network.

The Internet succeeded because there was no alternative.

WiFi gives TCP/IP fits, because of that whole mobility thing. IP wants every computer to be nailed down and always reachable through a static route. Ha ha, funny funny. So we have to play all kinds of VLAN games to get mobile systems – laptops and phones – connected to the Internet without losing their ability to roam. The World’s Most Democratic Architecture is a severe shortcoming here.

I like all that stuff you say about RTP, because, dude, it’s not TCP, is it? And if the Internet starts using a lot of RTP, what happens to congestion management? The poor old Internet relies on TCP backoff to keep it from getting overloaded today, but RTP doesn’t give a crap about that.

An RTP Internet is completely unable to manage congestion. Oh oh.

BTW, what’s so all-fired wonderful about Amazon, they’re just selling crap the same way the JC Penney catalog did, only without the phone call. This is innovation?

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By: David Eads http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16815 Tue, 06 Jun 2006 23:05:44 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16815 Richard Bennett says I’m arguing an article of faith rather than a provable claim, then goes on to say:

Like anything else in engineering, we should place network controls where they can do the most good, not where they can do the least harm.

How is this any less of an article of faith? I see no principled argument to back it up, and this is a key theme of the discussion at hand.

Your historical and technological argument substitutes apples for oranges. You ask to look at the historical record of Ethernet and wifi.

First, what about improvements in the physical and data layers that composes your examples makes “the Internet shudder”? The wifi standards explictly do not touch the upper level layers in the OSI model so that wifi can interchangable with most any LAN technology. You can just as easily run other network and transport protocols over wifi and Ethernet, or other networks as well.

This leads to the second point: there are a number of ways to try to measure innovation. If we look at dollars earned that would have not otherwise been earned (the common metric here is revenue from new products). Since the “era of the Internet” began, we’ve seen companies make a ton of money online: Amazon, Ebay, Google, Yahoo… shoot, even little 37Signals and their incredibly successful Basecamp program. If you look at protocol stacks, the IP stack, for all its problems, has smoked pretty much every other protocol in terms of absolute dollars earned and dollars earned that wouldn’t have been otherwise earned. Many of the ways this has happened has involved great novelties at network layers above the transport and network layer — witness, oh, I dunno… stuff like http or ssl and tls. Those protocols are the absolute bread and butter of revenue generation online. Name some protocol stacks that have made more money for more companies and individuals.

Sure, wifi nutures innovation, but that innovation is still mediated by IP because IP is both good enough for serious work (with growingly obvious limitations, the easiest to spot is the size of the addressable network) and open enough to allow a lot of flexibilty at the application level. The SIP protocol for voice over IP, is an increasingly cool application to run over local wireless lans and uses RTP, an application level protocol that runs mainly on top of UDP/IP. The innovation in this case happens primarily on top of the traditional Internet networking stack. Certainly, things like RTP tend to rely on quality of service mechanisms at the data layer. While building a realtime protocol into lower layers would have its advantages, it is likely, given the history of such things, to be vendor and application specific. While from an engineering perspective, the good there might be considerable, the long-term utility is more dubious and more susceptible to market pressures — which, I’d argue, isn’t where you want the market to be going apeshit.

Before you jump on me about the OSI model — I know it is an abstraction, but it is an extremely useful one for this sorts of discussions.

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By: Richard Bennett http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16814 Tue, 06 Jun 2006 19:49:07 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16814 David Eads says: “The “smarter” the network, the less innovation on top of it.”

This is an article of religious faith, not a provable claim. Let me show you why with an example.

The old Ethernet was a simple, dumb network. It provided a single speed and single priority, making end-users control access through a totally distributed CSMA/CD scheme. It was the architectural model that Kahn and Cerf borrowed for TCP/IP.

But the marketplace was offered a choice with the New Ethernet, the one that used active switches, twisted-pair and fiber optic cable, and multiple speeds. It centralized access to the network inside network switches instead of in end-user nodes. It offered VLAN overlays. The New Ethernet killed the Old Ethernet, completely and utterly.

Along comes WiFi, offering still more intelligent network services than even the New Ethernet. It does things that make the Internet shudder, such as mobility, and uses obscure features of the IP suite to prioritize traffic.

Does WiFi nurture innovation? Clearly it does, as it makes the entire realm of mobility-enabled applications possible and does cool things for voice and video.

So a careful look at the historical record says, no, dumb networks don’t promote innovation, they circumscribe it to the class of applications they can support. Like anything else in engineering, we should place network controls where they can do the most good, not where they can do the least harm.

Religion is not a good guide to engineering, David, logic and evidence work much better.

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By: David Eads http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16813 Tue, 06 Jun 2006 15:31:44 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16813 Bennett’s point about the “net neutrality” ratio raises some points about how complicated affirming a principle of net neturality actually becomes in the real world (not that Richard necessarily wants to affirm it).

From a technical standpoint, you should really be typing “tracert yahoo.com”. You’ll get lines like this:

chx-edge-01.inet.qwest.net (205.171.139.166) 25.966 ms 25.881 ms 25.881 ms

That’s more useful because you see where the bottleneck is. Net neutrality arguments assume that if under normal conditions packets travelling through some host take n milliseconds, but when trying to contact Your Favorite Site they take n*10 milliseconds, then net neturality is being violated.

You could, in some sense, connect this conception of net neutrality with the idea that all men are created equal. Well, obviously they aren’t, but it might be a good idea to assume for the purposes of the law, government, etc that they are. Net neutrality is the assumption that given a pipe that is the passing around packets, those packets are not treated preferentially. Of course, even that has a ton of pragmatic complications.

In a genuinely competitive market, with low switching costs between providers and several players in the market, I believe this would be a non-issue. But regionally, the commercial carriers behave better-than, but not much, the old school PTTs.

Mice says:

that’s exactly what’s needed, poptones, or we get stuck in the NTSC/PAL/FM paradigm where information transport technology becomes frozen in one big immoveable standard for 50+ years. “net neutrality” has a very negative impact on this sort of innovation.

But the innovation of the Net is that the underlying protocol is one big immoveable standard, on top of which a bunch of other rapidly changing, competing products and standards exist. Just as a free market in the physical world needs certain conditions to exist (unless you buy extreme anarchist arguments, and even then, few anarchists are going to set up shop in the Arctic), the net as a free market requires certain conditions to exist, and one of the primary factors in that is the “big dumb network”. The “smarter” the network, the less innovation on top of it.

A final point: I think the example of what happened to proprietary networks like AOL and Compuserve are useful examples. When the Internet happened, those companies whithered, even though I promise you that GEnie’s gaming service was quite a bit more sophisticated at squeezing performance out of available bandwidth than a dumb Internet connection. But consumers didn’t think those sorts of advantages were enough to outweight the larger good of non-preferential access to millions of computers around the world. if there is innovation in the network space, that innovation is localized to the network and once the incentives to continue innovation go away, then you get truly monolithic and ugly standards and services.

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By: Joseph Van Eaton http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16812 Tue, 06 Jun 2006 15:12:37 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16812 What eBay is doing is very important, but it is missing the boat in an important respect. Pending legislation in California would have the same anti-consumer, anti-neutrality effect as the federal legislation. As is traditional for the Bells, their monopoly/duopoly strategy is being pursued at the federal level, at the state level and before administrative agencies/courts (as one poster points out, traditional regulatory safeguards that required companies to provide neutral carriage of all messages in return for access to public rights of way, are being discarded). Participating in the federal legislative debate is not enough — if there is victory at the state level the Bells will no longer need federal legislation, and can devote their efforts to blocking or delaying any federal “net neutrality” bills. The net neutrality community needs to respond at all levels as well.

At the state level the issue is slightly different than it is at the federal level. What the telcos seek is a new vested property right (in the form of a franchise from the state government) to occupy public property to provide voice, video and data services, and free from conditions limiting their right to control all content on the system. That ought to be opposed. Net neutrality is being lost today in California.

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By: Richard Bennett http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16811 Mon, 05 Jun 2006 19:46:08 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16811 Here’s a little experiment you can run to show just how neutral the Internet is: from a Windows “command” window, type “ping yahoo.com” and notice the Round Trip Times (rtt). Then “ping guardian.co.uk” and compare the rtt to Yahoo’s. From where I sit, there’s an 18:1 “neutrality ratio.”

What’s neutral about this?

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By: three blind mice http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16810 Mon, 05 Jun 2006 05:16:14 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16810 ..in northern england there are churches from the 10th century with the prayer “God save us from the Norsemen”

God save us from the enlightened individuals.

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By: Adrian Lopez http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16809 Sun, 04 Jun 2006 22:55:03 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16809 Nah. I think we should put “Adam Smith” types in their own private island with their own private network while more enlightened citizens enjoy a neutral internet.

As for Kool-Aid, I won’t drink it unless they release the formula under a Creative Commons license ;).

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By: anonymous http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16808 Sun, 04 Jun 2006 16:51:11 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16808 Let’s all pitch in and give larry and friends a *free* island and some koolaid they can *share*. We can allow the outcome to be *open* ended.

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By: three blind mice http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16807 Sat, 03 Jun 2006 04:51:53 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16807 With the diversity of protocols and content types, the Internet is not and will never be neutral, otherwise it would collapse.

thanks stef for your thoughtful comments. yeah, seen from old europe – london to be precise – which not so very long ago suffered under state owned PTTs – the trend among some americans away from a market-based solution does seem baffling.

in old europe, privatisation and de-regulation resulted in a telecoms revolution. quite literally. americans complain about verizon, bellsouth, etc., but they do not have the experience of dealing with the state-owned BTs, televerkets, etc. that set standards never to be beaten for poor quality, miserable service, and antiquated infrastructure. municipal networks indeed.

the future of america should not follow the history of europe: this is what is at stake in the debate over NN.

poptones, we agree. openness is not always a sham, but in a competitive free market sharing everything with everyone is not only a sham, it’s neither free nor market.

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By: Adrian Lopez http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16806 Fri, 02 Jun 2006 23:52:10 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16806 When Verizon said Google should pay for using its bandwidth [...]

Google pay Verizon for using its bandwidth? I don’t know which company provides connectivity to Google’s servers, but unless Google is a client of Verizon it’s not at all accurate to suggest that Google is “using” its bandwidth. In my case, for example, I am using my provider’s bandwidth, my provider is using its provider’s bandwidth and likewise for all hops along a particular route. The bandwidth is already being paid for, so the real problem is that ISPs want to get even more money, in this case from content providers. I believe it’s called extorsion.

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By: Stef http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/network-neutrality-critical-pu/#comment-16805 Fri, 02 Jun 2006 14:00:30 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/network_neutrality_critical_pu.html#comment-16805 Seen from “old” Europe this whole NN debate is very surprising. Why would America suddenly abandon the market driven model and want additional regulation suddenly ?

The unescapable fact is that content is transported on networks that do not maintain themselves and upgrade themselves magically for free. Who is leading the push for strong NN legislation: a couple of major content providers, who are manipulating citizens opinions. With the diversity of protocols and content types, the Internet is not and will never be neutral, otherwise it would collapse. I hope american consumers do not believe that these Internet corporations are doing this for their sake. When Verizon said Google should pay for using its bandwidth, it should have been interpreted as an alarm signal that identified in plain words what the current trend is, which is not leading to a better world:

Consumers carry almost all of the cost of getting content from the Internet, and even then their contribution is diminishing – thanks to purveyors of lesser quality but nearly free alternative telecom services, often provided by companies owned by big Internet content corporations. Network owners desperately need to find the money somewhere to do what they are expected to do, that is, to provide more bandwidth – and better service, while we are at it.

In Europe, where I fear the telecom deregulation process would be negatively impacted by a NN debate possibly imported via big multinational Internet content corporations, I believe that market dynamics, perhaps with some minimal governmental steering in some cases, are the only garantee that investment in networks remains attractive. More of the old or some new telecom legislation, especially along the lines of NN à la Google, clearly is not such a garantee, on the contrary. This said, I would not dare offer advice concerning another part of the world where I don’t live.

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