Fiorina opposes Net Neutrality, rips Boxer for regulatory expansion

posted at 1:30 pm on August 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Carly Fiorina stepped up her attack on Barbara Boxer by scolding her for backing a regulatory expansion into the Internet instead of fixing the broken systems that already exist — and that hurt the tech sector.  Fiorina came out explicitly against Net Neutrality and the effort by the Obama administration to impose it by bureaucratic fiat.  Politico thinks that the Silicon Valley vote is already sewn up, but Fiorina has already put Boxer on the defensive over the guest-visa system that Congress has supposed to address for years, and that may be enough to open a few more minds:

Ultimately, the Net neutrality issue is unlikely to energize voters in a race pivoting primarily on economic issues, and Fiorina’s comments most likely won’t shake the ground in Silicon Valley, especially given her more than 20 years of experience at AT&T and Lucent Technologies.

Many of the Golden State’s top tech companies have also long made up their minds, said Ralph Hellmann, senior vice president of the Information Technology Industry Council. He added many of those firms “are already close to Boxer.”

But a Fiorina win could make it more difficult for Net neutrality advocates to get anything through the Senate next year, especially if the FCC finds itself mired in legal battles should it reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. …

Fiorina further emphasized the need for reform to guest visa laws, which she said would allow talent from abroad to stimulate innovation in California, and she proffered the importance of free trade agreements to economic development. She hammered Boxer for prioritizing neither issue, although the Boxer camp says that that the senator strongly supports increasing guest worker visas and incentivizing successful foreign students to work at high-tech companies in the United States.

“I would sum it up as her economic policy is higher taxes, more regulation and bigger government, and she has not been a friend to the technology industry or any other industry,” Fiorina said.

Will Fiorina’s stance change minds in Silicon Valley?  It still could.  Although Tony Romm at Politico rightly notes that some firms there have backed Boxer, that’s more or less legacy support of a long-term incumbent.  Before last year, some people deluded themselves into thinking NN wouldn’t be a government takeover of the Internet, but some market-pressure effort to bully providers into agreeing to self-regulation.  Julius Genachowski has removed all doubt as to the true intent of Net Neutrality efforts, and some of those Silicon Valley firms may be rethinking their support of Boxer as a result.

I doubt that Fiorina’s announcement aims as much at tech firms as it does at the general electorate.  Boxer’s support of this ham-handed government intervention to solve a problem that doesn’t exist fits a larger narrative of Washington DC careening out of control.  Democrats have taken over health care and now want to control the Internet as well.  With the economy sinking and deficits exploding, do we need more regulatory expansion, especially in the one area where the economy has worked well through the Great Recession?

If Boxer takes the bait, Fiorina will have her engaged in exactly the discussion Republicans want across the nation — where Democrats defend big, expansionist, nanny-state government, and Republicans remind voters that the costs for that are killing the US economy.  At least in theory, the GOP will win big on that argument in these midterms.  That’s a stronger theory than Net Neutrality, too.


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NN doesn’t work in practice or theory.

rock the casbah on August 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

All things work well in theory.

Like I read somewhere:

In theory, reality and theory are the same.
In reality they are different.

zmdavid on August 28, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Do you guys do nothing but read Politico all day?
This was a speech and press release covered by many outlets and it was reported better elsewhere such as The Hill and CNET.

Rocks on August 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Could be the deal breaker for Boxer and her supporters though.

24K lady on August 28, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Without the internet, the brainwashing propaganda by the mainstream media would have more of an influence on American thinking as the truth would become irrelevant. Since it is unanimous that Obama is a narcisstic control freak bent on forcing his will over the objections of the masses, censoring the internet is a tool he must have to succeed. Boxer knows this as her existence is alligned with Obama’s ability to control the thought of the American people. Boxer has to go.

volsense on August 28, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Unfortunately, Silicon Valley is packed with limousine liberals. When it comes to anything other than computers, they’ve got their heads firmly stuffed up their anal orifice.

GarandFan on August 28, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Since when has net neutrality been a campaign issue anywhere…?
Carly needs to hammer Boxer on her votes for Obamacare, TARP, and stimulus.
She needs to show the voters what an arrogant condescending cow Boxer has been.
She needs to make the voters angry at Boxer.
Talk up the Central Valley drought.
Talk about all the job losses and pin it on Boxer.
She needs to tie Boxer to amnesty and gay marriage.
She needs to tie Boxer to fat cat union pensions and state bankruptcy.

Those are issues that will resonate.

NeoKong on August 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

What we need to do is tie the dhimmicrats to reality. that’d do it.

Mojave Mark on August 28, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Do you guys do nothing but read Politico all day?
This was a speech and press release covered by many outlets and it was reported better elsewhere such as The Hill and CNET.

Rocks on August 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM

But..But…But…We must drink from this pot of weak tea in order to more easily “refudiate” it. :-)

P. Monk on August 28, 2010 at 2:39 PM

I’m for net neutrality. I’m against abortion. Fiorina is against net neutrality. Boxer is for abortion.

Fiorina has my vote, because saving lives trumps increased internet usage fees.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 6:51 PM

So, “net neutrality” is the same Orwellspeak as “Employee Free Choice Act” for Card Check, and innumerable bizzaro-worldly named recent liberal laws or initiatives? What a magnificent list that would be. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” for ObamaCare. The $700+ billion Feb 2009 stimulus, “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009″. What a mind f***, excuse my French, but that’s what it is.

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2010 at 6:58 PM

I doubt that Fiorina’s announcement aims as much at tech firms as it does at the general electorate.

Those firms are bloody liberal, even to their detriment. Hopefully enough other voters will get the freedom message.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Net neutrality is the stealth way to regulate access to the internet as an information platform. I know this is hard for a lot of people to “imaginate,” but for those who do understand how it can be used, once the feds get their foot in the door with the deceptive “net neutrality” argument, it’s territory that absolutely must not be lost.

If the feds have the authority to impose “net neutrality,” as currently outlined, they have the authority needed to impose the same effective channelization and regulated access to the internet that they currently exercise over radio and TV. Getting web content out there — as opposed to being the reader or “customer,” will require licensing, credentialing, and money, just as it does with TV and radio programming.

Unless you want to see low-cost individual blogging shut down (not to mention a lot of new constraints on the freewheeling IT industry, especially its small businesses and niche operations), you don’t want to be in favor of “net neutrality.”

While there are limo liberals in Silicon Valley, there are also a lot of old-style netizens and granola libertarians who understand better than the average American what the outcome of “net neutrality” would really be. Fiorina’s not so dumb to make her point with that demographic.

J.E. Dyer on August 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Net NeutralityNeutering

Fixed.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on August 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM

While there are limo liberals in Silicon Valley, there are also a lot of old-style netizens and granola libertarians who understand better than the average American what the outcome of “net neutrality” would really be.

J.E. Dyer on August 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Richard Stallman, for one, springs to mind.

Expecting “neutrality” out of the government that regulates the internet (in-theory) is like expecting “fairness” from the IRS wallet rapers who are authorized by law to take more from people who make more money. That’s not equality under the law, and neither is “net neutrality.”

gryphon202 on August 28, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2010 at 6:58 PM

No, true net neutrality is merely that a byte of data is treated by an carrier equally, no matter what its source and no matter what its destination.

Consider your access to HotAir as an example. A byte (or, rather, an IP packet) from you to HotAir (a request for this webpage, for example) may pass through five or six carriers — peers, in internet purlance. The response may be routed back through a different five or six — the internet being a bunch of interconnected tubes with many different owners. Up until recently, peers contracted with the peers their networks touched and gave equal rights of passage for all bytes entering and leaving. That changed with the rise of megaproviders — companies who are both the targets and sources of a very large number of packets.

Assume HotAir is a megaprovider. Assume that Carrier V has peering arrangements with Carriers B, H, L, and O. But Carrier V notices that a lot of bytes are destined to HotAir or are coming from HotAir (who is serviced by Carrier B). Carrier V already has a peering contract with Carrier B which earns a good profit on every byte taken from B, but sees an opportunity to make even more money. All Carrier V has to do is approach HotAir and say — unless you pay us a surcharge, we will slow down or drop data packets destined to or coming from your site as we see fit.

My point is that the Internet is the worlds first distributed utility, and the acts of any subutility affects the whole. What happens when Carrier V attempts to place such a surcharge upon HotAir? Well, the Internet is designed to be survivable (of, say, a nuclear attack), and one of two things will happen:
a) If Carrier B has no routes other than through Carrier V, it can do nothing in response to Carrier V’s decision, or
b) If Carrier B has other routes, less preferred (from a speed, capacity, or cost standpoint), its infrastructure will detect that HotAir traffic needs to be routed around Carrier V and use those routes.

Cool, eh? But for you and HotAir, the result is pretty miserable. Now multiply that by hundreds of megaproviders, and what you have as an internet bill may well be not a single payment to your ISP (who is one of the aforementioned peers), but a payment to your ISP and payola to a bunch of other tollgates for the privilege of unimpeded access to HotAir (or Google, or Youtube, or Wikipedia…). Or HotAir will pay that price — a double tax, as it were, on every packet just because of its success. And once HotAir pays Carrier V, certainly Carriers H, L, and O will take notice and institute their own surcharges.

Given that at least one large US carrier has already breached the possibility of a non-neutral network, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, so we will, in the end, have a net neutrality law — the big question is what form that law will take and who will obtain the most rights under it. The alternative are the special contracts of the type being forged by Google and Verizon — in which Verizon promises not to slow down Google’s packets but makes no promises about other packets.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

The net poses a real world challenge to the socialists. They must use it to communicate to their followers. They must forbid it to the conservatives who communicate information counter to the party line.

What’s a socialist to do? Lie. And HOPE for CHANGE.

Caststeel on August 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

So, in a nutshell, you think that the government will be a more efficient regulator of those packets than the free market.

Sigh.

GnuBreed on August 28, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Those firms are bloody liberal, even to their detriment. Hopefully enough other voters will get the freedom message.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2010 at 4:34 PM

The proper term is crony capitalists. Companies and leaders who have managed to claw their way to the top in a more open environment who now wish to close that competitive door behind them using the kind of obtuse and invalid sophistries of nitwits like unclesmrgol.

iconoclast on August 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM
No, true net neutrality is merely that a byte of data is treated by an carrier equally, no matter what its source and no matter what its destination.

I WANT my 2KB email to have priority over a 100MB porno movie. That’s just common sense. I trust the free market and the private sector to let me continue to email freely. I don’t trust government and the public sector one inch. You have these wonderful formulations of your mind (in this case on “net neutrality”) which again in your mind COMPEL regulation and a public solution. Get away from me. I don’t trust you and I don’t want what you’re offering. Get it? Why don’t you merely f off.

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2010 at 5:51 PM

So, in a nutshell, you think that the government will be a more efficient regulator of those packets than the free market.

Sigh.

GnuBreed on August 28, 2010 at 5:15 PM

No. I liked the old internet, which had net neutrality built in by virtue of the contracts between each pair of peers. You route my packets, and I’ll route yours, and I’ll pay a fair price by bulk for the packets you are routing for me, and you’ll pay a fair price for packets I’ll route for you. When a single peer on the distributed utility which is the internet sets itself up as a tollbooth and starts charging remote customers directly, we need a whole sh*tload of dimes.

I’d rather it not be reduced to that.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 6:10 PM

I WANT my 2KB email to have priority over a 100MB porno movie. That’s just common sense.


Get away from me. I don’t trust you and I don’t want what you’re offering. Get it? Why don’t you merely f off.

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2010 at 5:51 PM

Too late, Mr. Paul-Cincy — When the Google/Verizon setup is complete, Google’s YouTube traffic will trump your e-mail — unless, of course, your e-mail is both sent and received via Gmail.

You are welcome to not trust what I’m offering, but I’m not offering it to you. I’m offering it to me. Get it? Why don’t you merely.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 6:13 PM

The proper term is crony capitalists. Companies and leaders who have managed to claw their way to the top in a more open environment who now wish to close that competitive door behind them using the kind of obtuse and invalid sophistries of nitwits like unclesmrgol.

iconoclast on August 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

No, companies who have clawed their way to the top in a more open environment who now wish to close the competitive door are the ones against net neutrality. We’ve had net neutrality, for nearly all of the Internet’s life, from ARPANET through DARPANET through the commercial network we have now. Now, few big ISPs have decided to change that.

I’m fighting for the Internet as it is, not as they want to make it.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

I’m fighting for the Internet as it is, not as they want to make it.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Do you even think before you write this nonsense? So the way it has been for many years is NOT the way it was. But having federal bureaucrats control pricing and peering will make it the way it was before political appointees like the FCC had any influence over access and pricing?

You must either be on very good drugs or a die-hard leftard. Or, more likely, both. Fortunately, your distopian view of the future is highly unlikely to be enacted. Watching the epic incompetency, corruption, and cronyism of the leftists currently in control of government has stimulated the opposition of millions.

iconoclast on August 28, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Do you even think before you write this nonsense?

Yes.

So the way it has been for many years is NOT the way it was.

False. I started using the Internet at UCLA and at RAND when it had six nodes. I’ve watched it grow, and I was there when the Government transitioned it to a commercial network. I develop internet software, and I fully understand how it works. At the point of transition, the Internet had the current form. Nearly every traffic shaping protocol we have today existed on DARPANET before the transfer. Even then, DARPANET was being run by commercial companies — all that changed was that the roles played by DARPA (DNS, ip address block assignment) transitioned to commercial companies — most of them booted up by the academics who ran those services before the transition. Examine the history of Network Solutions for a mini tutorial on internet commerce.

But having federal bureaucrats control pricing and peering will make it the way it was before political appointees like the FCC had any influence over access and pricing?

You must either be on very good drugs or a die-hard leftard. Or, more likely, both. Fortunately, your distopian view of the future is highly unlikely to be enacted. Watching the epic incompetency, corruption, and cronyism of the leftists currently in control of government has stimulated the opposition of millions.

iconoclast on August 28, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Dream on. Net neutrality will come, because the elephants (and not Republican ones either) have begun their dance, and they are stepping on a lot of toes, and the Government always steps in to stop the dance after enough pinkie toes are broken.

The Google/Verizon agreement is the second step onto the road to non-net-neutrality (the first was when Verizon first floated the concept of charging Google transit fees for their data up and above the peering fees). When Verizon is allowed/required by contract to favor Google traffic over AT&T (or other peer) traffic, things are broken on the Internet, and they won’t be put back together easily once they break.

The present mode says that Verizon cannot favor anyone’s traffic on its public network — not even its own. That’s the beauty of the current Internet — everyone is a peer, and the protocols self-regulate based on size of pipe.

As for drugs, you screw your argument when you call people names or claim them as lesser humans. That’s like what the Dems do to Palin all the time. Debate on the merits, not via ad hominem attacks.

No, I do not trust the Government — but I trust the megapeers even less.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 7:18 PM

If you think government-enforced “Net Neutrality” will give you more choices in Internet access then you must also believe that ObamaCare will give you more choices in medical care and financing. Or maybe you think that government censorship of “bad speech” generally gives you more freedom of expression. 

What’s wrong with the private  ISPs and network operators bargaining amongst themselves, and without the government looking over their collective shoulders, on the arrangements for providing Internet service at a price their customers will pay? That’s similar to considering why should not medical caregivers workout the details of agreeably serving patients without the government micromanaging each aspect?

ConScribe on August 28, 2010 at 7:54 PM

If you think government-enforced “Net Neutrality” will give you more choices in Internet access…

Hey clueless, we aren’t asking for more choices. All we’re asking for is the government to keep megapeers from turning Internet service into a caste system. Either block data entirely if its spam or malware or send it on its merry way.

Dark-Star on August 28, 2010 at 8:33 PM

I’m fighting for the Internet as it is, not as they want to make it.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

I used to think that way however the federal government once they get their hands on the “tubes” will alter it and start to regulate it.

Let the free market that built the internet manage it not the government.

We have to give thanks once again to the DOD for “conceiving the baby” however I don’t think they realized what they just released.

F15Mech on August 28, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Hey clueless, we aren’t asking for more choices. All we’re asking for is the government to keep megapeers from turning Internet service into a caste system

Dark-Star on August 28, 2010 at 8:33 PM

Do you honestly believe that the government can do what you ask without first regulating the internet?

F15Mech on August 28, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Do you honestly believe that the government can do what you ask without first regulating the internet?

F15Mech on August 28, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Do you honestly believe the internet isn’t already regulated? It’s just the content itself which hasn’t been touched yet.

Dark-Star on August 28, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Do you honestly believe the internet isn’t already regulated? It’s just the content itself which hasn’t been touched yet.

Dark-Star on August 28, 2010 at 9:23 PM

And who would control the content if the government gets involved? I know lets ask China.

F15Mech on August 28, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Re: unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Even if there are differences in service, there will not be censorship by a central government in the absence of “net neutrality”. Give a central government control over the media and you will find defacto censorship. With this administration I would expect blog articles to go to 98% favorable to Obama to only 2% unfavorable. (Even the critical “professional left” sites would suffer.) And the 2% negative that is left is only because this administration can’t do anything very well; even censorship.

KW64 on August 28, 2010 at 9:40 PM

If you think government-enforced “Net Neutrality” will give you more choices in Internet access…

Hey clueless, we aren’t asking for more choices. All we’re asking for is the government to keep megapeers from turning Internet service into a caste system. Either block data entirely if its spam or malware or send it on its merry way.

Dark-Star on August 28, 2010 at 8:33 PM

Yes you are asking for more choices. Maybe not directly, but more choices would solve your problem. You want a service rendered a certain way. The best environment in which you can get your desired service is one in which you have the most variety of choice possible. What I think is that if few megapeers try to extract more revenue for their services, then they should accept the market-based consequences.

Now, perhaps the Internet is now not nearly as free as can be, but if anything, the government should look to enable peers to operate as freely as possible–in the commercial business sense. I do not trust that the government will be an honest broker in managing internet traffic flow or whom is paid for what–because that where this “Net-Neutrality” business is headed, given the bent of the current administration, whether you asked for it or not, in my opinion.

Maybe the government could generally promote and simplify the expansion and penetration of more service providers into more areas so that the megapeers in question could less easily turn a local or regional area of the internet into a “caste system.”

ConScribe on August 28, 2010 at 9:46 PM

No, true net neutrality is merely that a byte of data is treated by an carrier equally, no matter what its source and no matter what its destination.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Like “feminism” is different from “movement feminism,” “net neutrality” is different from “movement net neutrality.”

The problem is that the NN rank and file is apparently blissfully unaware that the movement is now owned by the left/lobby network, as they sit back and read Wired or snicker at Slashdot posts.

There are indeed two sides here, unfortunately, neither one of them is neutral, one of them just calls itself that.

If you actually want neutrality, you’re going to have to split off from the NN Movement, because it hasn’t been on the neutral side for years.

As far as “utilitizing” the internet, ask Californians how well utility regulation works. If you’re *lucky*, you get blackouts, high prices, and regulators threatening company heads with prison rape.

No ******* thanks.

You know what the difference between the “megapeers” and the government is? The corps are predictable, and they don’t have armies and police to enforce their ideas. Buy in or don’t buy in, the biggest problems come from when the government gets involved, either for themselves OR on behalf of the corps.

Merovign on August 28, 2010 at 10:13 PM

No, true net neutrality is merely that a byte of data is treated by an carrier equally, no matter what its source and no matter what its destination.

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Go NN!! let the government create laws on how an ISP conducts itself.

Are you F’n insane?

F15Mech on August 28, 2010 at 11:23 PM

This has to be one of the most interesting comment threads I have ever read.

It scares me that not many people really truly understand or care to understand this topic..

I am just curious to see how I will be describing what the internet was like to my grandkids in 30 years.

johnnyboy on August 29, 2010 at 1:34 AM

Let’s just give Ojesus a throne and get it over with.

Like Hell.

Never, ever trust Government to not overreach, because they certainly will, in ways not even now imagined.

Food for thought.

hillbillyjim on August 29, 2010 at 5:48 AM

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 7:18 PM

You cannot compare Verizon’s PTSN to the internet. The public network is a regulated utility. Remember that Verizon is the current name and version of the old RBOC’s, and Verizon LD is the result of the old NYNEX, MCI, WTL networks.

I don’t pretend to understand VoIP or how the internet works. One of the reasons I took early retirement was because as an old SxS and DMS100 tech I just didn’t have it in me to learn it and it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than the public switched telephone network. But it is all kept separate and there is one analogy to your example. It’s called Least Cost Routing and it’s been in use by long distance carriers for many years.

Assume that Carrier V has peering arrangements with Carriers B, H, L, and O. But Carrier V notices that a lot of bytes are destined to HotAir or are coming from HotAir (who is serviced by Carrier B). Carrier V already has a peering contract with Carrier B which earns a good profit on every byte taken from B, but sees an opportunity to make even more money. All Carrier V has to do is approach HotAir and say — unless you pay us a surcharge, we will slow down or drop data packets destined to or coming from your site as we see fit.

First of all, if Carrier V went to Ed with that kind of demand the first thing Ed would do, after slamming down the phone, would be to call Carrier B and scream at them. If Carrier B doesn’t want to do anything about it, Ed has a choice to go to another carrier who will give him better service.

Your example takes people out of the equation. Trust me, Companies like V do not stay in business very long, and if they do stay in business their reputation gets out very quickly and they become fringe players who rely on start up connection fees and long term agreements to make money. Even huge players lose over time.

The market takes care of situations you describe much better than the government ever could.

Jaynie59 on August 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

[quote]Up until recently, peers contracted with the peers their networks touched and gave equal rights of passage for all bytes entering and leaving. That changed with the rise of megaproviders — companies who are both the targets and sources of a very large number of packets.[/quote]

Tier 0 networks have a peering agreement and always have. Who do you mean by “megaproviders”? Content providers like Google or Youtube? Here’s the thing: What they actually ended up doing was building massive private networks which onramp to the ISPs through edge routers and cache servers.

Companies who sells pipes (RBOCs or ILECs) stand to make the most money by selling the most amounts of pipe, not by charging different amounts of money to different providers. Why do they care who is buying the OC-192c?

[quote]Given that at least one large US carrier has already breached the possibility of a non-neutral network, the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, so we will, in the end, have a net neutrality law — the big question is what form that law will take and who will obtain the most rights under it.[/quote]

So someone floated the idea, therefore it’s inevitable? Wow. Just wow. You know, if I floated the idea that we nuke Greenland, does that mean we needs laws against nuking Greenland? Guess what happened when that company floated that idea – all of its other customers got on the phone and said no, I don’t think so. When faced with the loss of revenue, the company decided the idea was not economically to their benefit – the law of supply and demand, which has a much better track record than activists do.

flashoverride on August 29, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Oh, and one other thing on QoS – LTE is coming, and it has a flat IP backhaul architecture. Umm, don’t you *want* VoIP packets to have a higher priority than lolcat pictures? I mean, I guess if you don’t mind dropping calls and spotty audio… And what about Cable TV’s transition as more and more video is going streaming? Right now those broadcast signals are seperate – what happens when they go to a flat IP archtecture?

flashoverride on August 29, 2010 at 11:53 AM

unclesmrgol on August 28, 2010 at 4:59 PM

uncle – as I read your very knowledgeable explanation, it occurred to me that the Internet functions something like our interconnected road system. We have highways, secordaries, and back roads. We have freeways and toll roads. Only the government is allowed to set tolls. Does this analogy work, and does it have any implications for the internet?

paul1149 on August 29, 2010 at 12:16 PM

If you think government-enforced “Net Neutrality” will give you more choices in Internet access then you must also believe that ObamaCare will give you more choices in medical care and financing. Or maybe you think that government censorship of “bad speech” generally gives you more freedom of expression.

What’s wrong with the private ISPs and network operators bargaining amongst themselves, and without the government looking over their collective shoulders, on the arrangements for providing Internet service at a price their customers will pay? That’s similar to considering why should not medical caregivers workout the details of agreeably serving patients without the government micromanaging each aspect?

ConScribe on August 28, 2010 at 7:54 PM

No, I do not think “net neutrality” will give me more choices, nor do I think it will give me less. What I do think is that it will maintain the current “level playing field” which is the current Internet, and will give me equivalent service to what I have now.

Unlike healthcare, there is exactly one Internet — the argument doesn’t transfer via simile. Healthcare is regional in nature, while the Internet is national.

A better simile than healthcare is our railroad system. In fact, the railroad system is an excellent simile, because railyards are like routers, each line can bear only so much traffic, and so a railcar (packet) may not necessarily travel the shortest route between its source and its destination. In addition, our national rail system is the result of government intervention — just like the Internet. The events we encountered on the road to regulating self-interested railroads are precisely the events we are seeing in Internet-land now.

The arguments are not between ISPs and network operators — those terms are synonymous — the arguments are between ISPs and data providers, and so far the results are not encouraging. The pact between Verizon and Google says that Verizon will treat Google’s Internet traffic as Verizon treats its own — it will not introduce artificial traffic shapers whose sole task is to generate revenue by slowing down traffic whose data provider has not paid a toll.

How did the rail companies deal with the issue? Answer: right of passage rules between connecting lines, which allowed so many railcars from each side to pass through a railyard. Such rules are nearly identical to the peering arrangements on the Internet today.

Now, what if one rail line reads the bills of lading on railcars passing through its system and notices that Sears, Roebuck, and Co. is generating quite a bit of traffic, and decided that it was going to get some extra cash by delaying railcars owned by Sears unless Sears pays extra — railcars which Sears already paid one of its peers to transport. The railcompany Sears contracted with is the one owning the rails in front of the Sears factory, and that railcompany (say, the Reading) has a contract for 1,000 railcars per month transit right through the tollcharging railcompany (say, Union Pacific), and the Sears railcar has already been paid for under that agreement.

Now, lets assume further that the railcompany charging the toll was one of the builders of the Transcontinental Railway, and had achieved that status by being given preferential treatment by the Federal Government.

Reading cannot help Sears, because Union Pacific has told Reading that, if it retaliates, Union Pacific will cancel its existing contract with Reading, thus affecting ALL of Reading’s customers going west.

If Sears complains to the Federal Government demanding relief, is Sears right, and should the Feds respond?

This is great simile, because the telcos and comsat operators, as utilities, got help for our Government in setting up their businesses, and hence must submit to Federal oversight. In this case, the Feds gave our money to these people, and in return, we get a say in how they run their business. No matter what you think about that — they have taken their 20 pieces of silver, and they must now pay the piper.

Do I trust the ISPs as a whole to charge a fair price (one which realizes them a good profit) while providing me the service I contracted for? No, I do not. While my ISP may be charging me a rate which makes them a profit while meeting the terms of my contract, their peers (or their peers’ peers) are not being paid by me directly, but by my ISP. If they invent a way (as Verizon tried to do) to get money out of my pocket directly, in addition to the money they are already getting directly or indirectly from my ISP, then I’m going to fight that — and, if I have to fight that — what better ally than the 600 pound gorilla that invented the Internet in the first place, nurtured it, and then gave the whole network over to commerce?

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2010 at 10:48 PM

uncle – as I read your very knowledgeable explanation, it occurred to me that the Internet functions something like our interconnected road system. We have highways, secordaries, and back roads. We have freeways and toll roads. Only the government is allowed to set tolls. Does this analogy work, and does it have any implications for the internet?

paul1149 on August 29, 2010 at 12:16 PM

That is close to the proper analogy. Our road system is public infrastructure, paid for by a combination of tax dollars and bonds. The tolls represent a fee load on users to service and pay the bonds, or to service and maintain the roads themselves. In the case of private roads (of which there are a few examples here in California), the private companies submit to government restriction in turn for the right of eminent domain — to condemn the private properties needed to build the road.

A better analogy is our railroad system, as I’ve pointed out above. There you have many interconnected private companies, each of which wants to maximize its profit. However, most of these companies are founded on government intervention in the form of awards of public land or the rights of eminent domain. To prevent railroad companies from shutting off competition completely (say, competition in local markets from short lines), the government mandates that the regional carriers haul freight originating from the short lines at a fair price. Roads were our first national utility, railroads our second, telegraph systems our third, and the telephone system the fourth. Our fifth is, by my reckoning, the Internet. The same issues the previous systems faced are now faced by the Internet. I’m seeing a form of parallel evolution, with the rate envelope being set by the Government.

Similes always partly fail. The cautionary note here is the one associated with the history of Conrail, formed from the carcasses of six regional carriers who went bankrupt due to a combination of Federal regulation unresponsive to their immediate needs, coupled with competition from the Feds themselves — when you drive on the federally built freeway and there’s a semi-truck in the lane next to you, you are driving on the gravestone of the railroads.

Again, I don’t trust the Feds very much, but I trust the loosely regulated regional peers of the Innertubes even less.

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2010 at 11:10 PM

So someone floated the idea, therefore it’s inevitable? Wow. Just wow. You know, if I floated the idea that we nuke Greenland, does that mean we needs laws against nuking Greenland? Guess what happened when that company floated that idea – all of its other customers got on the phone and said no, I don’t think so. When faced with the loss of revenue, the company decided the idea was not economically to their benefit – the law of supply and demand, which has a much better track record than activists do.

flashoverride on August 29, 2010 at 11:40 AM

If you float the idea of nuking Greenland, and you have nukes, don’t be surprised if the Greenlanders believe you may and take the appropriate measures to protect themselves.

A megaprovider is a Tier 0 or a major with lots of capacity like Google. As you point out, the difference is nill when each has edge capability. Google made Verizon kneel because Google has tons of dark fiber and could become a Tier 0 as well as a local provider instantly should it choose to do so, and could do so with such a vengeance that it would severely damage Verizon. To understand this, look at where Google sites its service centers and where Verizon has its territory.

Do I trust Google to have my best interests in mind as it makes its “peace treaty” with Verizon? Do I really want Verizon to be delaying my Internet telephony packets because I subscribe to a competing company? No, and now that Verizon has floated that possibility, I want to nuke it once and for all.

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2010 at 11:26 PM

You cannot compare Verizon’s PTSN to the internet. The public network is a regulated utility. Remember that Verizon is the current name and version of the old RBOC’s, and Verizon LD is the result of the old NYNEX, MCI, WTL networks.

I don’t pretend to understand VoIP or how the internet works.
Jaynie59 on August 29, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Jaynie, I’m not talking about Verizon’s PTSN — I’m talking about the Internet capabilities they are overlaying on top. Verizon is both a Tier 0 and a local provider, and have the capability, borne of a regional monopoly, of making life extremely difficult for both customer and competitor, should they choose.

Here’s the really quick lesson. Click the link and look at the picture. Look at rackspace.com, an endpoint ISP who happens to also be hotair.com’s ISP. What does the picture tell you? It tells me that, for the majority of peer connections, rackspace.com depends on AT&T, and it’s got two other peering relationships — one with Qwest and the other with Time Warner Telecom. So, rackspace can route over any of three peers, and could route via Qwest or TWTC if AT&T goes down. Now, if AT&T were to decide that they ought to toll hotair.com, we’d, as I put it earlier, need a whole sh*tload of dimes among us, because I don’t see rackspace.com having the resources to fight a decision of that type by AT&T. Even if they route via the other two, look what is behind Qwest and TWTC by examining their graphs — you’ll see plenty of AT&T. Once one domino falls, the others fall too. That’s why Verizon vs. Google was such a wakeup call for me. I don’t even want a carrier thinking of doing what Verizon floated.

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2010 at 11:41 PM

Even if there are differences in service, there will not be censorship by a central government in the absence of “net neutrality”. Give a central government control over the media and you will find defacto censorship. With this administration I would expect blog articles to go to 98% favorable to Obama to only 2% unfavorable. (Even the critical “professional left” sites would suffer.) And the 2% negative that is left is only because this administration can’t do anything very well; even censorship.

KW64 on August 28, 2010 at 9:40 PM

The federal government has regulatory control over broadcast media, and has regulatory control over cable systems, and I don’t see Glen or Rush giving back even a foot of battlespace between themselves and the current administration.

Censorship is the least of our worries. With an Internet utility carrying more and more of our data, including television and telephone, I’m much more worried about an Internet provider tolling competitor packets or charging me a “channel fee” to receive certain packets. They are already being paid a very good price to route those packets to me, and I am already paying bandwidth fees to send packets, so why allow them to double-charge me or to give any of my packets a lower grade of service based either on origination or destination?

Verizon floated this, and while it looks like a bunch of pretty little party balloons, the little package tied under them is a pocket nuke. I say shoot the sucker down with all the firepower one can bring to bear.

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2010 at 11:51 PM

Keep kicking her in the teeth, Carly!!

Khun Joe on August 30, 2010 at 10:00 AM