[telecom] Comcast and the fight against Net Neutrality

[telecom] Comcast and the fight against Net Neutrality

Post by Rick Merri » Mon, 03 Mar 2008 05:06:23

ill Horne wrote:

THAT was not democratic behavior and Comcast will be bashed rightly
for that.

I, a Comcast customer, support the idea of limiting the abuse of the
bandwidth simply because I use part of that bandwidth. At the moment
this is the only way to have a remotely "Fair" distribution.

As an analogy, London now charges a toll on vehicles entering the
city core. This practice will spread.

Net Neutrality sounds simple AND democratic. But it is not as simple
as it would appear. The Backbone should be net neutral, but the last
mile should be subject to bandwidth restrictions. I suspect there
are some gray areas in between.

This rant sounds a tad paranoid to me.

I use CallVantage and have used the [old] Comcast phone service. There
was a LOT OF GRIEF switching!

Very True - too bad the anti-trust laws have been circular filed!

You are right again: it is a red herring.

What should we do?



[telecom] Comcast and the fight against Net Neutrality

Post by Bill Horn » Mon, 03 Mar 2008 08:47:07

ick Merrill wrote:

Actually, it _is_ Democratic behavior: packing public meetings, voting
"on the view", and similar skulduggery are as old as the hills. It's the
blatant use of this old tactic in an electronic age that scares me:
Comcast is either _very_ desperate or _very_ arrogant, or both, to
pull a trick that is so obvious and so easily documented.

Whoa! Stop!! Misconception alert!!!

NOBODY is saying that abuse of bandwidth should be tolerated. NOBODY is
claiming that Comcast or any other ISP doesn't have a right to manage
their network.

_If_ I, as a (thankfully former) Comcast subscriber, deprive other users
of the service they pay for because I'm doing a BitTorrent download of
Ubuntu HardyHeron during the Monday morning email rush hour, then
Comcast is entitled to throttle or cut off my access until such time as
it can take place without interfering with others. I was a network
manager at a small ISP, and I know how hard it is to deal with bandwidth

What Network Neutrality is about is requiring Comcast, which enjoys
common-carrier protections against being sued for the actions of its
users, from SELECTIVELY throttling traffic based on non-technical
criteria. If my HardyHeron download is cut off because I'm hogging the
bandwidth others need, that's tough for me - but if it's cut off because
Comcast has a secret agreement with Microsoft to discourage the use of
open-source software, then I'm entitled to judicial relief.

> As an analogy, London now charges a toll on vehicles entering the
> city core. This practice will spread.

As well it should: governments have an obligation to protect their
citizens from each other's folly, and discouraging people from driving
to a crowded city center is a legitimate government duty. However, the
analogy changes when the reason for the restriction is based on
something other than openly debated public policy: how would you like
being charged a toll based on which dealer sold you the car or which
store you intend to visit - or which suburb you live in?

The last mile _is_ subject to bandwidth restrictions: they're called
"the laws of physics". Nobody is demanding that any one customer get
preferential treatment: Net Neutrality says exactly that. If I'm
downloading a song from itunes, I should have no more _and_ no less
bandwidth than the guy across the street who's downloading a song from
Napster, because Napster should be prohibited from paying Comcast to
give their downloads priority!

Who was it that said "Even paranoids have enemies"? I wasn't making that
up: the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other watchdogs confirmed
that it's going on: see http://tinyurl.com/2g3aeo for details. Moreover,
members (I'm one) of the Boston Linux & Unix Group have also confirmed
selective port blockages.

Glad you asked! Here's my idea:

1. Get Mad.
2. Get Together.
3. Demand that the FCC _and_ the Congress address the issue
in open public forums. Either Comcast is a common carrier
or it's not: there can't be any gray area or hidden agenda.

Thanks for taking time to write.

Bill Horne
Temporary Moderator
Telecom Digest

(When sending a post to the digest, please put "[Telecom]"
{without the quotes but _with_ the brackets} in your subject
line, or I may never see your mail. Thanks!)

(Remove QRM from my address for direct replies.)


[telecom] Comcast and the fight against Net Neutrality

Post by Dave Garla » Tue, 04 Mar 2008 00:03:03

It was a dark and stormy night when Bill Horne < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >

So long as they haven't sold you service they described as "unlimited".

And no more and no less than the guy who's videoconferencing, running a
web server, watching pay-per-view TV via the 'net, filling out a
web-based order form for Viagra, or talking VoIP. Neutrality applies
not only to source/destination, but to type and contents of the packets.

ToS may limit some of these things, so long as they're up-front about
the fact that your service is thus limited.