Cartoon about net neutrality and Verizon


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If Verizon wants to filter traffic by content or destination, I say we give it to them. That would categorically eliminate their safe harbor status and make the ISP liable for contributing to any illegal activity running through their routers.


Wow. Nice catch. I’m sure their lawyers have nine ways to prove you’re wrong, but there’s always room for hope.

Just chiming in from overseas here to point out that we US citizens at home and abroad need to hammer home the point that Net Neutrality is part of what gives the USA an economic advantage. Companies stay in the USA because of the access they can get, but the more the roads become tolled, the more they start looking at putting their services overseas, and US companies will slip more into irrelevancy. Do we really need a repeat of what happened to US automobile makers versus Japanese and German automakers?

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Twitter’s nice’n’all that, but that cartoon frame’s hardly a good example. If folk are forced to ‘pony up’ for twitter they’ll just stop using it. It’s Twitter who should be getting mad at Verizon, not users, who will be merely annoyed, much as they are when somebody locks shut one side of a double door.

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Back in the day, I worked for a certain Regional Network - back when the Internet was more limited to Big Science and Big Education. (This Certain Regional Network ran NSFnet 2 for a while…)

Back when the State of the Art for the internet backbone was T3 circuits. (Yes, and it was uphill both ways to and from school when I was a kid too.)

Back then, it was noted that 25% of both our regional network traffic (and, I think, the NSFnet traffic) was management traffic - routing data, logging data, and traffic statistics data. I.e.: metadata. Data about data. And it was also remarked (about the clueless Baby Bells of the time) that 50% of your bill was to pay for billing.

My incremental use of the Internet doesn’t cost my ISP anything. But BILLING for it does - because not only is there the added infrastructure overhead of collecting the data, there’s ENORMOUS overhead in a usage or access based billing process itself - complete with mechanisms for all the special deals, etc. that marketing dweebs come up with.

Clearly, I’d rather ISPs come up with mechanisms to allow to pay for your minimum guaranteed bandwidth - rather than the maximum.

I think that if Verizon really does go through with things like this, it’ll only make efforts like GigU and Google’s metropolitan area networks even MORE competitive, as Verizon will be crippling their own offering.

But I don’t really want to put up with the interregnum before GigU and Google roll out to my neighborhood.

Look to other countries for what happens when you allow telcos to do this.

  • Korean mobile services have some content-based billing, as on LTE plans you can only use VOIP services like Skype up to only about 20% percentage of your GB limit.
  • Chinese ISPs simply throttle everyone’s access to certain services (like Gmail) on certain days, and they outright block others, encouraging you to move to other services (Renren instead of Facebook, etc). “Censorship” is just a clever cover to make a competitive landscape more favorable to homegrown companies. It’s a digital trade tarriff.
  • Sometimes something doesn’t work, and all you get is a “shrug.” There is sometimes no rhyme or reason to what gets blocked and what doesn’t: Blogspot, along with Tumblr had been blocked forever but one day, Tumblr became accessible. You just don’t know who said what to whom to make that happen.
  • You can imagine there would be money being passed under the table for these arrangements. Setting up infrastructure for throttling and content-filtering only invites corruption and unfair competition.
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