Another net neutrality video... - Jay Maynard

> Recent entries
> Calendar view
> Friends page
> User info
> Jay's web page

Monday, 3 August 2009


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
1657 - Another net neutrality video...

...and I'm in it. It was released today, to go along with the introduction of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 by Representative Ed Markey, D-MA.

Check it out:



Yes, this is one time I enthusiastically support a bill that's a darling of the Left. I'm still a free market conservative. However, until someone demonstrates a way for the free market to influence backbone providers to not discriminate against traffic from folks who don't pay a premium, I see no alternative to regulation.

location: 56031
current mood: [mood icon] calm

(26 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:thecanuckguy
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Well, I never thought I'd see you and Obama in the same video - and touting the same platform! Being a leftie, I'm for it, being an Internet user I'm definitely for it!

I hope that you manage to get other conservatives on side on this one (I'd hazard a guess that there were very few conservatives in that video, and you were probably the only one with a speaking line). I agree it does need to be passed, and I hope that you reach out in a spirit of bipartisanship and all.

Question, as a Canadian, does it affect me? If this bill somehow gets defeated, would *I* have to pay the premiums they are talking about too, or is this only for you 'Merricans?

(BTW, I was in your great state for a few days last week. Great country you have!)
[User Picture]
From:bucktowntiger
Date: - 0000
(Link)
The Lead Shopwrecker approves this message. :)
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I still say that the solution is to have internet providers display their minimum dedicated bandwidth for each user along with the maximum cap bandwidth. If each user has a minimum bandwidth that they must be allowed to saturate to any site they desire, then the providers would be forced to actually provide additional bandwidth if any providers are given preferential bandwidth allocation. All providers would then have access to the minimum bandwidth allocation without fail, preventing the discrimination of access against providers.

This way, if they want to sell preferential bandwidth to the upstream, then they are required to actually increase the bandwidth on their network.

If this doesn't happen, then you're going to start getting private networks going on the dark fiber that aren't part of the internet, but give companies with deep pockets like google (one of the supporters of net neutrality) an advantage against those who are unable to build their own private networks. Whereas if companies could buy preferential access, then they themselves could fund the upgrades to the general internet and make the internet better for everyone in the long run. If a company isn't using their slice of preferential access at any given time, then that space would be available for others.
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Backbone providers don't have "users", they have peers and customers, who are themselves typically large companies.
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
We're not talking 100% about the backbone though. One of the big arguments that started this whole debate was VoIP providers wanting to pay providers to get lower latency lower packet loss treatment to customers of the end ISPs.
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
The fact that Comcast (e.g.) provides the same guaranteed bandwidth (say, .5MBPS) to me and my neighbor, with up to 15 MBPS if available, does nothing to prevent it from feeding me (and/or my neighbor) Google at .5 MBPS and Company-That-Pays-Off-Comcast at 10 MBPS. Note that neither Google nor Company-That-Pays-Off-Comcast is actually a Comcast customer.
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Here's an article on how Google is finding a way to leave neutrality intact while STILL paying the providers to get preferential treatment for their packets by putting caching servers at the ISP level.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/15/richard_bennett_no_new_neutrality/

And one of the creators of the net saying that it's dangerous to let politics get in the way of technical decisions on routing.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/18/kahn_net_neutrality_warning/
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
That's Akamai's business model. Are you saying they shouldn't be allowed to increase efficiency for everybody (on behalf of their customers)?
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
And that's exactly what I'm trying to say about net neutrality legislation.

Google and Akamai are paying the ISPs money to get preferential treatment to the customers of that ISP, then complaining when other people pay the ISPs money to get preferential treatment to the customers of that same ISP. The problem is that most internet companies can't afford to have a presence at every ISP. Google and Akamai can afford it. Most of those companies could afford to buy 2 or 3 megabits of dedicated transfer at each ISP. Google is getting their back door preferential packet delivery then utilizing their image and monopoly powers to prevent other, less well off people from getting a similar preferential deal by cozying up to the government! Not only that, but for many of those companies that kind of caching is completely impossible, such as Vonage or 8x8, or anyone who does live streaming instead of recorded streaming.

You have to look at it from a whole ISP perspective. You pay for 512kbps. 49 others pay for 512kbps of bottlenecked to-the-net bandwidth. That gives you 25mbits total to the net that the 50 customers get to split. Say then that Netflix, Blockbuster, Sony, Gametrailers, and Vonage all buy 5mbps transfers on that same bottlenecked net transfer. Now you have 50mbit transfer for 50 customers. in a normal situation where all customers have a 10mbit limit for instance, and only a few are transfering at any given time, they'll get full speed to anyone on the net. Those people paying for dedicated minimum transfer are helping everyone on that ISP get higher speeds. Even though Google is not paying the ISP, they still get the benefit. When 50 people are all getting on at the same time and all trying to view something that is on google, and not anything else, then they all get 1mbit, higher than what google would get in that situation if those people weren't paying the ISP. If you're in the same situation, and 2 of those people are going to Netflix, then you get 2 people getting 3.0mbit per second to their netflix account, while everyone else gets around 800-900kbit to google.

Now if we take Google's oh so not-evil solution, in a busy situation netflix who can't afford a server at the ISP gets 512kbps to everyone, while Google who can afford to put a server at the ISP can now get 10mbit per second to every subscriber. Netflix can't do anything about it because they're too small and poor to afford a dedicated rack at the ISP. The transfer rate for everyone suffers to the general not-google not-akamai internet because the ISP can't afford to buy upstream net capacity they aren't using, but google has their uncompetitive, unfair advantage because they pushed net neutrality through.

As for your other question, what stops them from throttling down google when it's not busy... I think that the users and google would both raise holy hell with the ISP if they did this. They're paying for that 512kbps, and they also know that they are paying for a 10mbit max. If they don't get that max on a regular basis to whomever they want to talk to, they will complain. You could probably even take that up to the political level and get action if they were intentionally throttling when they didn't need to to satisfy minimums for all of their paying customers, Subscribers and internet sites alike. (Of which Netflix, etc WOULD be their customers, because they're buying transfer on that network link!)
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
You seem to have the situation wrong.

Akamai puts cacheing servers widely around the net, so that users looking for stuff (e.g. pictures of Hilton hotels on Hilton's website) get served locally rather then remotely. This saves bandwidth for all involved, since the picture only has to travel from Hilton's servers to (e.g.) Comcast's once (per Comcast location). Akamai has no problem with anyone else doing the same; they have several competitors who do (though they will point out that Akamai has more servers in more locations, hence provide better service). Akamai will do this for whoever pays them (within the usual limits, e.g. no spammers).

Apparently Google is now doing something similar. I don't see any problem with that.

Most of those companies could afford to buy 2 or 3 megabits of dedicated transfer at each ISP.

Not even close. 2 or 3 megabits of dedicated transfer is quite expensive, an order or magnitude more than the same amount of non-dedicated (expected) bandwidth. There are many ISPs.

If the cacheing is impossible for you because you're doing live streaming, is that any reason to prohibit anyone else from doing it? Just because you can't do something (through no fault of theirs, but because you haven't figured out how or because it's actually impossible) doesn't seem like a valid reason to prevent someone else from doing something similar.

On top of that, the fact that they're serving locally means that they're using less backbone bandwidth, which means that there's more available for you. If they couldn't cache locally, you'd be worse off.

Now if we take Google's oh so not-evil solution, in a busy situation netflix who can't afford a server at the ISP gets 512kbps to everyone, while Google who can afford to put a server at the ISP can now get 10mbit per second to every subscriber.

I have no idea where you're getting that idea. In that situation, Google is not using any of the ISP's external bandwidth, so netflix gets all of it, and feeds the ISP 5 mbps. In such a situation, if everybody is trying to download from netflix, that's all they can get. If only 1 person is trying to download from netflix, he gets the full 5 mbps.

Do you think the ISP should not be allowed to rent a rack to Google? Or should it be required to provide a free rack to netflix? (Will you pay for the latter?) If it's cheaper for Google to rent a rack at the ISP than to pay for the bandwidth, will you pay them the difference in cost when you prohibit them renting the rack?

(Of which Netflix, etc WOULD be their customers, because they're buying transfer on that network link!)

netflix buys bandwidth from qwest, who peers with cogentco, who peers with comcast. Where do you get the idea that netflix is a comcast customer?
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
You just completely ignored the whole point there didn't you.

The point is that Google is paying ISPs to get preferential treatment for their data. They then turn around talking out both sides of their mouth saying that other companies wanting to buy preferential treatment for their data shouldn't be allowed to by the large, oppressive nanny state bureaucracy. That's hypocritical. The situation gets a whole lot worse when you realize that Google is the biggest owner of Dark Fiber in the whole country, so in addition to caching servers, as soon as Net Neutrality goes through they can snap their fingers, setup the death Googlestar linked up to all these ISPs and even do live streaming, video conferencing, phones, etc with no bandwidth restrictions, while everyone else is restricted and unable to do anything about it. If you want a fragmented network that is essentially an Oligarchy of a handful of companies, pass network neutrality...

As for netflix being a customer of Comcast, If they purchased dedicated bandwidth from comcast, then they would be a comcast customer.

As for the rack, the thing is that netflix wouldn't NEED a rack if we left things as they were and companies were allowed to buy dedicated preferred access bandwidth. The cost of a few megabits of data transfer would pale in comparison to a whole rack of dedicated servers, redundant backup storage, and transfer to the customers.

The hypocrites at Google and in the government muddle the issue all the time. They try to force Bandwidth neutrality while spouting the arguments of Content neutrality. If you had every customer with a fair slice of preferred priority bandwidth then you could ensure Content neutrality while not having any onerous legislation that would set the internet back to the dark ages and set the stage for a Googloligarchy.

But that's what Progressive politicians do. They pick a handful of the biggest corporations and work out oligarchy deals with them, while doing everything in their power to hurt and damage the smaller competition to those big companies, all in the name of bringing more power under the umbrella of government. It happened in the FDR administration. GM and Chrysler both worked with the government on car regulations and Ford, and dozens of other car companies were left to fend for themselves. The only car companies that came through unscathed were GM and Chrysler who worked with the government, and Ford who was already efficient and large and managed to weather the storm even without government backing. They did this all in the name of the Greater Good (tm), the Public's Best Interest (tm) and It's What's Morally Right To Do After All (tm).
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
The point is that Google is paying ISPs to get preferential treatment for their data.

I'm a capitalist. I think that Google can pay ISPs to get preferential treatment for its data, and people can pay airlines (more) to get preferential treatment for their asses, and people can pay Carnegie Hall (more) to get preferential treatment for their ears, and people can pay restaurants to get preferential treatment for their tastebuds, and companies can pay FedEx to get preferential treatment for their packages, etc.

As for the rack, the thing is that netflix wouldn't NEED a rack if we left things as they were and companies were allowed to buy dedicated preferred access bandwidth. The cost of a few megabits of data transfer would pale in comparison to a whole rack of dedicated servers, redundant backup storage, and transfer to the customers.

And the bandwidth of "a few megabits of data transfer" (to the ISP, as seen by one of many customers) pales in comparison to the bandwidth (seen by the customer) from a source that colocates a rack at the ISP and serves from that. Those who pay more (a rack costs more than a few MBPS bandwidth) get more (a rack provides multi GBPS total bandwidth, if there are a bunch of customers who want stuff).

If you had every customer with a fair slice of preferred priority bandwidth then

you would not be able to provide service at anywhere near current prices. So your preference is to price millions of people out of Internet service, in order to be "fair" to those remaining?
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
*sigh*

You are again missing the entire point.

I'm capitalist too. That's why I say that we shouldn't jam network neutrality down everyone's throats. You still haven't given me a reason why Network Neutrality is good because people who aren't customers can't pay for bandwidth, but hosting a server at every ISP is good because people who aren't direct customers can pay for higher speed bandwidth there. The whole darn argument for what google is doing vs. not having net neutrality is if they put a tiny box with an ethernet port on it at the ISP, at this point at least. Why is it OK if they put that box there, but not ok if they don't put that box there?

As far as every customer having internet access at current prices, I addressed that. They don't need to have dedicated access, just a fair amount of access at the same priority that companies can buy. The real point is that those companies will be subsidizing the upgrades to their lines. Not every ISP needs to do this, only the ones that decide to sell bandwidth to internet sites. Everyone else can stick to the same old best effort routing. If the ISPs have to charge too much to provide good QoS to both their local customers and remote customers, then nobody will buy their service and they will get overtaken by other ISPs who can provide service, even if it's not multi tiered QoS.
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
(Also, it would also be acceptable if the ISP didn't sell dedicated bandwidth, but instead included Preferred Queuing bandwidth with every account. You would still get the benefit of added bandwidth because if they start dropping preferred packets because they don't have enough upstream transfer, they're going to need to buy more upstream transfer to satisfy their contracts. They should allow all customers to buy additional preferred queuing at a similar price curve to what companies would be able to buy preferred queuing bandwidth. I think that companies like Vonage and 8x8 would probably love this situation because they could then provide skip-free service to their customers, but they wouldn't need that much preferred bandwidth to do it.)
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
OK, Jay, I have a challenge for you: Write a definition of "network neutrality" that still allows a company to charge an end-user $50/month for 5 MBPS, or $100/month for $20 MBPS (or whatever numbers you prefer). And it should also allow my colo host to charge for bandwidth used, based on its choice (subject to me signing the contract, of course) of 95th percentile for 5-minute periods, average, or any other formula we agree on.

And if I pay my colo provider $500/month for 1 GPS (burstable) bandwidth, and you pay (the same) colo provider $100/month for 100 MBPS (burstable) bandwidth, then I'm paying more and my sites will load faster. Is that what you're trying to prevent?
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
The whole debate started because AT&T was jealous of all of the money Google was hauling in, and wanted a bigger cut than they were already getting from peering agreements. That's what I see as evil, and why I think network neutrality is essential.

The answer to the issue is simple: mandate that all customers be charged the same rates, whatever they are. Network providers are common carriers, and need to play by those rules. No discriminatory pricing; if Google wants to buy a 5 MBPS link, they should pay the same $50 I would - and vice versa: I should be able to get an OC48 for the same price as Google. The provider gets to charge what he wishes, but he must offer the same terms to everyone.

Backbone providers shouldn't be allowed to do anything but ship bytes. If their customers say traffic can be sent with a lower QoS, then that's their business. The backbone shouldn't be able to force end users to do anything. I can't select which backbone my bytes go over, so I can't change backbone providers - so they shouldn't be able to do anything that would make me want to change backbone providers.

Buying bandwidth is content neutral, and that's the whole point. Buy as much or as little as you want, and you get to do anything at all with what you buy, subject to nobody else's decisions as to how important they think it is. It's not their decision to make.
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Note that Google isn't a customer of the backbone, it's a customer of a peer of the backbone.

Network providers are not common carriers, by law. And they do tend to offer the same prices to everyone (modulo both bargaining ability and size of purchase, of course).

The issue is that if I download from Site A (who has a fast connection but doesn't pay off anybody) I get slower speeds than from Site B (who has an equally fast connection but pays off a middleman who it isn't otherwise a customer of).
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
That the middleman Site B is paying off allows that to happen in the first place is what the uproar is about. The middleman that it's not a direct customer of should not be able to offer that kind of preferential treatment. If they can offer preferential treatment, they can also require payment to not make the traffic go slower. That's exactly how AT&T plans to squeeze money out of Google.

Network providers may not be common carriers now. They should be.
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
So you think that AT&T can't provide better service to its customers than to non-customers? How does that work?

(If Google is a customer, that is, pays AT&T a lot, it gets a lot of bandwidth that it is paying for. If it's not a customer, it gets (directly) no bandwidth, and (indirectly) its share of the bandwidth its provider buys (or peers to get).)

You still haven't provided anything like a definition.

And remember, there are plenty of services (e.g. Spamhaus) that provide stuff free to everybody, up to some limit (at some limited rate), and offer better access for a fee. Do you want to outlaw that business model?
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
AT&T as a backbone provider should not be allowed to discriminate. You said it yourself: backbone providers don't have customers aside from other network carriers. Therefore. backbone providers (and anyone else who carries traffic for others that provide connectivity to end users, be they a guy in a spandex costume that lights up or Google) should not be allowed to discriminate between traffic originated by different users. Backbone providers and other transit carriers serve a different function from end-user ISPs. They should operate differently.

That's as close as I'm going to get to a definition.

End users can and should be able to charge more for service to their customers. They're not backbone providers. See the difference?
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
AT&T as a backbone provider should not be allowed to discriminate.

On what basis? You surely don't mean they can't sell netflix 1gbps for a high price, and Joe's Colo Center 10mbps for a much lower price.

Sure, when they're carrying traffic offered to them by qwest, they shouldn't care which of qwest's customers actually originated it. But that's not the issue.

That's as close as I'm going to get to a definition.

And that's been my point all along: even network experts can't write a definition that does what they intend. Therefore, any law that's passed will not be what they want. (Remember They-CAN-SPAM? Do you really want a so-called Network Neutrality law written by lobbyists? Do you think it is more likely to provide what you consider network neutrality, or prohibit it?)

End users can and should be able to charge more for service to their customers. They're not backbone providers. See the difference?

"Backbone" (or "Tier 1") is another term that isn't exactly definable except in an I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense. (In the original sense of the term, there are no backbone providers any more.)
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
When AT&T is selling Netflix or Joe's Colo Center connectivity, they're not acting as a backbone provider. Therefore, it's outside the scope of the discussion. The discussion is about AT&T discriminating against Netflix when Netflix buys connectivity from someone else. Your argument is a red herring.

We don't need a definition of network neutrality except to satisfy pedants. All that's required is a prohibition on transit carriers (defined as someone passing traffic for someone that's not directly their customer) discriminating on the basis of whether they're getting paid by someone they're not selling connectivity to.

Backbone providers, or transit carriers, are defined as someone who sells bandwidth and carries traffic for someone else who sells connectivity to end users.
From:sethb
Date: - 0000
(Link)
When Netflix doesn't buy connectivity from AT&T, and Google doesn't buy connectivity from AT&T, then AT&T treats them both the same.

The difference is when Netflix does buy bandwidth from AT&T, then AT&T provides Netflix the purchased bandwidth, which is more than AT&T provided Google who didn't buy anything.

We don't need a definition of network neutrality except to satisfy pedants.

Such as judges who are expected to enforce a law.

All that's required is a prohibition on transit carriers (defined as someone passing traffic for someone that's not directly their customer) discriminating on the basis of whether they're getting paid by someone they're not selling connectivity to.

So if I buy connectivity (local loop) from me to a nearby peering point, according to you I can't buy bandwidth at that point because whoever I might buy it from isn't providing me with connectivity? That model doesn't work; it would cripple too much of the Internet (for instance, a corporation with offices in different cities couldn't buy guaranteed bandwidth for a VPN if whoever provides local access doesn't also have inter-city transit).

Backbone providers, or transit carriers, are defined as someone who sells bandwidth and carries traffic for someone else who sells connectivity to end users.

So if they sell bandwidth to other backbone providers, they aren't a backbone provider?

Or if they also sell directly to "end users" (what are those?), are they still a backbone provider?

Is an apartment building that provides access for tenants an end user?

Do you see the problems here? What you want is, you think, clear; but the law can't be written as "prohibit what Jay thinks is wrong".
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
When Netflix doesn't buy connectivity from AT&T, and Google doesn't buy connectivity from AT&T, then AT&T treats them both the same.
That is exactly the situation that AT&T wants to change: they want the ability to charge Google extra for the right not to have their traffic slowed down. That is what started the network neutrality debate, and that is what I (and many others) object to. In a world where AT&T does discriminate, you either pay their protection money or else you're relegated to the backwaters of the net.

Or if they also sell directly to "end users" (what are those?), are they still a backbone provider?
You're deliberately making it harder than it needs to be. If you sell connectivity to end users, you can charge what you wish to anyone. If you don't, you can't. If you do both, you can only discriminate in pricing for those operations that are for end users, and not for other carriers. You're trying hard to twist words to make complicated what's simple, and that style of argumentation is why I got so fed up with the other place. It's not about word twisting. It's about solving problems.
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Tier 1 and Tier 2 have pretty solid definitions I thought.

Tier 1 is a provider who pays nobody else for transit, but instead has peering agreements with all of their links that aren't paying them.

Tier 2 are providers that pay for some of their transit to places they can't get peering agreements to, but they have some peering agreements to others.

I would think that it wouldn't be right to sell preferential treatment on a peered link, just because that is pretty much a not-for-profit arrangement on both sides, and is probably running through a shared fabric with a number of tier1 and tier2 providers passing traffic. But I wouldn't want to see legislation locking the whole thing down tight so that something interesting couldn't happen.
[User Picture]
From:kazriko
Date: - 0000
(Link)
In the case of AT&T which has peering agreements with other providers, I think that degrading service for one of their peer's customers would be a violation of their peering agreement. There's no need for big nanny state bureaucracies to enforce this, all you need to do is get the upstream provider AT&T is peering with to take AT&T to court over violating their peering agreement.

> go to top
LiveJournal.com