Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Saturday March 22 2014, @12:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the play-fair-or-I'll-send-you-all-to-bed dept.

chromas writes:

"Reed Hastings of Netflix writes in his blog:

The essence of net neutrality is that ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast don't restrict, influence or otherwise meddle with the choices consumers make. The traditional form of net neutrality which was recently overturned by a Verizon lawsuit is important, but insufficient.

This weak net neutrality isn't enough to protect an open, competitive Internet; a stronger form of net neutrality is required. Strong net neutrality additionally prevents ISPs from charging a toll for interconnection to services like Netflix, YouTube, or Skype, or intermediaries such as Cogent, Akamai or Level 3, to deliver the services and data requested by ISP residential subscribers. Instead, they must provide sufficient access to their network without charge.

Business Week and Forbes have articles with very slightly contrasted viewpoints."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by prospectacle on Saturday March 22 2014, @01:52AM

    by prospectacle (3422) on Saturday March 22 2014, @01:52AM (#19562) Journal

    Imagine if all roads were toll roads, with the fee schedule entirely at the discretion of the owner. Bigger companies would probably be charged more, because they can afford it. Competitors (and companies owned by competitors) would be charged vastly more. Also the owner of the road happens to own a courier company that uses that road.

    That is one option for the internet.

    The other option is that any vital infrastructure which doesn't lend itself to healthy competition (how many competing cables can you have running to every house?), is either heavily regulated, or publicly owned, to ensure fair and equal access to all customers, regardless of whether they use the network for commercial or personal use.

    The loudest voices in America seem to have a deep suspicion of public ownership, and faith in market-competition. Some things, however, cannot - in practice - be subject to healthy competition. Physical infrastructure is one of them.

    If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tibman on Saturday March 22 2014, @02:03AM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 22 2014, @02:03AM (#19565)

      I agree. I was thinking something along the lines of public property. A company that is not using public property to provide service can do whatever they like. Any company that is using public land (even if they are paying for it) cannot filter, throttle, or tamper with any data. That seems very fair.

      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Saturday March 22 2014, @08:11AM

        by edIII (791) on Saturday March 22 2014, @08:11AM (#19638)

        I think that's a bit simplistic. Hastings said it should be done for free. I strongly disagree.

        Even if the ISPs were not overselling their bandwidth it would be crazy to ignore the efficiency provided by content delivery networks.

        There are peering and transit agreements. The infrastructure may be paid for, but expansion, upgrades, and maintenance is not. It is a non-zero cost for the ISP to transit a packet across its network.

        If the ISP started to notice that a single content provider was responsible for a large percentage of network bandwidth is it reasonable to take steps to moderate that impact? Is a content delivery network not an attempt to do so?

        That's far more of a compromise to me, and for the record Netflix already extends its hands in this way.

        Netflix is willing to pay the ISPs to host their content delivery network infrastructure and pay for the bandwidth used, and that's a reasonable position.

        Comcast though is shaking them down for more than what they would get in a fair hosting contract because they are pissed that one way or the other their average customers bandwidth consumption just skyrocketed and they have to pay for that which digs into their arguably unjust enrichment.

        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday March 22 2014, @06:59PM

          by sjames (2882) on Saturday March 22 2014, @06:59PM (#19775) Journal

          Setting up or cooperating in a CDN isn't filtering, throttling, or tampering. It's just network engineering.

          But in a case like Netflix, perhaps it SHOULD be done for free. Both entities benefit from such an arrangement.

          As for an ISP's internal bandwidth, the ISPs are certainly making enough money to do the needed upgrades (to match what they have freely chosen to sell), saving on upstream bandwidth can only improve the situation for them.

          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Saturday March 22 2014, @10:31PM

            by edIII (791) on Saturday March 22 2014, @10:31PM (#19820)

            It simply can't be done for free.

            1) There is no standardized content delivery network.
            2) Network engineering has no one-size-fits-all caching solution that can transparently create content delivery networks.
            3) Solutions involve costly server hardware, and data center hosting requirements such as power and cooling.
            4) Solutions involve maintenance and monitoring. Even in lights-out data centers that is still a non-zero cost.
            5) Solutions involve proprietary methods and authentication schemes. Netflix has its own, Akamai has its own, Appriver has its own, etc.

            The bandwidth is really a secondary concern. As you said, it's in everyone's benefits to do so since you offload the bandwidth that impacts your P&T agreements and then it becomes solely an internal issue. Some cities might need more than one node.

            It cannot ever be free, and it's unreasonable IMHO, to expect the ISP to bear the costs alone.

            You say they are making the money through what they charge already. Possibly, they are possibly making that money. It's well known that they have been using their unjust enrichment schemes for some time WRT to the overselling of bandwidth.

            That may not be true anymore, and I feel it's likely that is no longer true. Even with the CDN usage customers have become large scale consumers of bandwidth. Netflix is a killer, but so is Youtube. Let's not forget about Amazon either. While small individually, the cumulative effects on javascript, beacons, and trackers do cause webpages to not sit idle in the browsers. Open webmail interfaces generate bandwidth along with javascript timeouts that perform regular AJAX calls.

            The ISPs are suffering and receive no sympathy since all of those customers are merely enjoying what they paid for.

            All of that being said, it has nothing to do with whether or not Netflix should pay their own hosting costs. That's a separate issue.

            Interestingly enough, that's not even what Comcast is arguing about if you read the articles, read up on Netflix, and understand what they are demanding.

            Netflix repeatedly asked for space, being one of the largest generators of bandwidth consumption, from Comcast in the most efficient locations on the network.

            Comcast refused

            Even though Netflix was willing to pay, Comcast eventually settled for Netflix paying above market rate (that's important) for space that wasn't even ideal to eliminate network congestion. That was in one of the recent articles about their dispute.

            So while it can't be free, once a company like Netflix is generating that much bandwidth it should be a reasonable request from the ISP that Netflix locate some of their equipment and pay reasonable local market rate costs for the hosting. That's not a financial burden either since Netflix charges their customers enough to cover those costs already too.

            ISPs don't want to cooperate with what is a very reasonable compromise that Netflix openly offers. That's why the FCC needs to step in and enact regulations to protect Netflix from what amounts to extortion from highwaymen.

            Net Neutrality needs to address these issues WRT to peering and transit and have provisions for very large content providers to pay a reasonable rate to reduce the unwanted, unnecessary, and costly traffic across peering and transit which negatively impacts the ability of Tier 1 carriers to move packets across the country and the world.

            In the end, the only way to really do this and keep the costs transparent is to remove unlimited bandwidth, introduce tiered usage that automatically scales, introduce account caps, burst, etc.

            We already have that in the data center. While my bandwidth is not unlimited, and costs upwards of 10x a residential account, I do have guaranteed bandwidth, burst capabilities, and the payment structure is tiered based on average usage. It's very fair and transparent.

            It's not impossible for an ISP to offer the exact same pricing structure to a residential account. In the past the argument would have been that they can't achieve a base subscription fee without it, but Netflix has killed that. They could easily charged tiered usage and find that heavy Netflix users would get bills near $100. Regular users, or economy users, might pay $15.

            All of these solutions are possible.

            Only one group continually refuses to cooperate in good faith and continues to find ways to increase fees, reduce choice, and have less informed consumers.....

            So I actually have the radical idea that the FCC should be empowered to dictate how bandwidth is measured and sold. Have a single solitary way for bandwidth to be sold to both residential and commercial subscribers in data centers. Make it transparent, and make it law.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Sunday March 23 2014, @12:28AM

              by sjames (2882) on Sunday March 23 2014, @12:28AM (#19850) Journal

              When such agreements are done, generally the content provider provides the caching server and the ISP supplies the rack space. That seems equitable enough. Both benefit so both cover part of the cost. Since the provider provides the cache, the standardization is irrelevant. In that sense, it certainly *CAN* be free. I have little doubt that both parties will save more than the solution costs them.

              If the ISP refuses, they deserve to watch their uplink melt from the traffic. They should by all rights be begging content providers to provide caching servers and be grateful they don't have to rent them. It is, after all, helping to save them from their own sales people who oversold everything so extremely.

              All of that aside, U.S. ISPs charge an order of magnitude more per Mbps than in many other countries. Many have already done away with 'unlimited' in practice, but typically keep those transfer limits far far away from their ads. Upstream bandwidth in the quantities they use isn't that exepnsive (even less so if they cooperate with content). They complain about the last mile bandwidth costs ass well, but they don't seem to mind it when they offer a competing video on demand service.

              I agree that the FCC should probably step in. Particularly before computing billing becomes sufficiently complex that they start breaking new mathematical ground.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22 2014, @12:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22 2014, @12:22PM (#19675)

      It's still worth mentioning that comcast could've just accepted the use of netflix CDNs []. It makes them unable to really claim they're not in it precisely for the price gouging. If comcast is threatened by major networks I understand but netflix isn't the one one screwing them. They're really just that bratty ass kid who won't stop bellowing.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Solaarius on Saturday March 22 2014, @02:31AM

    by Solaarius (127) on Saturday March 22 2014, @02:31AM (#19570)

    I'm actually concerned about the deal Netflix did with Comcast. It's like negotiating with terrorists. Now every 2-bit ISP around the world is going to have their hand out for their piece of the Netflix pie.

    Further, other services are going to be throttled for no reason until they also pay up.

    It may have made sense to them in the short-term from a customer-service point of view, but I can only imagine that it's going to make his fight a longer one than necessary.

    • (Score: 2) by tynin on Saturday March 22 2014, @03:33AM

      by tynin (2013) on Saturday March 22 2014, @03:33AM (#19592) Journal

      It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
          To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
      "We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
          Unless you pay us cash to go away."

      And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
          And the people who ask it explain
      That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
          And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

      It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
          To puff and look important and to say: --
      "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
          We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

      And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
          But we've proved it again and again,
      That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
          You never get rid of the Dane.

      It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
          For fear they should succumb and go astray;
      So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
          You will find it better policy to say: --

      "We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
          No matter how trifling the cost;
      For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
          And the nation that pays it is lost!"

      -- Rudyard Kipling, Danegeld

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by black6host on Saturday March 22 2014, @02:33AM

    by black6host (3827) on Saturday March 22 2014, @02:33AM (#19571) Journal

    I agree with the comments above, especially regarding the use of public property.

    The cynic in me says, however, that the money will be paid. By us. Somehow. There's not a lot of choices for providers where I live and internet service is expensive. More providers would be nice, but ultimately the providers have to pay for the service we're rendered. Those at the top of the food chain, if impacted negatively by net neutrality, are going to get their pound of flesh. And we at the bottom will be providing it. Net neutrality or not.

    And yes, I personally am for it. But we're still going to pay. All the big players are doing is arguing over who's going to get the money. Internet fair and inexpensive? I'm sure Reed Hastings would love that, more free income to pay for Netflix! :)

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22 2014, @04:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22 2014, @04:42AM (#19613)

    The current payment system, and net neutrality, is too simplistic. There should be a move to a more complicated form of internet payment. Distance should be a factor. Caching should be factored in. I wish netizens wouldn't be too simplistic, and be only pro net neutrality.

    • (Score: 1) by Solaarius on Saturday March 22 2014, @05:33AM

      by Solaarius (127) on Saturday March 22 2014, @05:33AM (#19620)

      Why? What incremental cost is there for the system you propose? The true incremental cost for the IPS to forward those packets is zero. They already built and paid for the bridge, now they get to toll it forever? And double it if you are going farther?

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22 2014, @10:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22 2014, @10:10AM (#19654)

    Netflix doesn't want an open, competitive internet. If they did, they weren't lobbying for DRM in HTML. []

    • (Score: 1) by Tork on Saturday March 22 2014, @04:44PM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 22 2014, @04:44PM (#19738)
      Netflix wants to use DRM because their service is strictly a rental service... which DRM is perfect for.
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈