Save net neutrality

Discussion in 'Politics' started by lucky8, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. lucky8

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    https://secure.freepress.net/site/A...z91.app44b&cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=277

    Go to the website above, fill out the information, and they will forward it to your elected officials.

    If you don't know what net neutrality is, read the site below now, before it's too late and you can no longer access LPSG.

    Save the Internet : Frequently Asked Questions

    And please, save your political mumbo jumbo for another thread, this is about protecting our freedoms, and yes, it is real, and yes, McCain supports ending it...just saying
     
  2. 1BiGG1

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    No "political mumbo jumbo" but you take a jab at Mccain! Here, let's look at the facts ...

    One reason is that there's no accepted definition of network neutrality itself. It is, in fact, more of a networking philosophy than a defined political position. A pure "neutral" network is one that would treat all content that traveled across it equally. No one data packet would be prioritized above another. Image files, audio files, a request from a consumer for a web page—all would be blindly routed from one location to another, and the network would neither know nor care what kind of data was encompassed in each packet. For most but not all kinds of files, that's how it works now.

    When they were created, TCP/IP protocols were not intended to discriminate routinely between packets of data. The idea was to maintain a "best effort" network, one that moved packets from place to place in an effort to maximize overall throughput. But the protocols did allow for discrimination when it was needed. "Even the very first design for IP, back in 1980, had a "type of service" field, intended to provide different levels of traffic priority in a military setting," says John Wroclawski, the director of the computer networks division at the University of Southern California's revered Information Sciences Institute.

    "The big question is not 'can you do this technically,'" Wroclawski says. "It's 'how do you decide who to favor?'" In today's multimedia-saturated Internet, streams of time-sensitive voice and video data are routinely prioritized over nonsequential data transfers such as Web pages. If one bit doesn't follow another in a videoconference, for instance, the stream falls apart. For the most part, even proponents of net neutrality are okay with that level of discrimination.

    The real controversy arises in the "last mile," where Internet service providers (ISPs) serve as the conduit between the public Internet and customers' homes. At this point, data cannot be rerouted along a different path in response to excessive traffic. So, predictably, the biggest opponents of net neutrality are ISPs, particularly the cable Internet providers such as Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, etc. These companies are selling shared bandwidth, meaning that many customers are drawing data from a limited-capacity pipeline at the same time. Cable companies divide up that bandwidth through a process known as statistical multiplexing: They analyze traffic flows in an effort to ensure fair distribution of the overall bit rate. By the strictest definition of net neutrality, even these maneuvers based on usage are restrictive, slowing down the service of heavy-downloading users for the benefit of the larger crowd.

    When this sort of technology is used to ensure a fair allocation of total capacity, then it works to the benefit of most customers, but the ethics start getting shaky quickly. On cable systems, the download speeds quoted to customers range from 5 to 30 Mbps (megabits per second), but those are maximum speeds, and are based on a shared-usage estimate that presumes everyone isn't placing heavy demands on the network at all times. If a large percentage of those users start using the Web to watch video streams and place VoIP telephone calls, then the cable multiplexers either need to throttle down the bandwidth available to those customers, or slow down the network for everyone else. Today's video- and audio-compression codecs are extremely flexible and can scale the quality of their transmissions to the available bandwidth in real time. In other words, if you narrow the available pipeline, these streams automatically make themselves slimmer. (Then again, if you open up a fat pipeline, a single high-def stream could suck up 6 Mbps or more for 2 straight hours.)

    Now, here's the part where it get's controversial—and political. It just so happens that cable companies are selling VoIP and video-on-demand services of their own, though not in forms that you access over an Internet browser. Is it acceptable to let cable companies reduce bandwidth for competing services? If so, they could, theoretically, lower the quality of their competitor's offerings until consumers had little choice but to sign up for their own ISP's services. Could the ISPs totally prevent competing VoIP or video services (like, say, Skype or Netflix's Watch Now) from using their bandwidth, eliminating competition altogether? Then again, is it fair to demand that a cable company open up an unlimited pipeline to every potential movie download site that pops up? That could make its bandwidth extremely hard to manage.

    Here's another complexity. In a world where unfiltered Internet access is a legislative goal, what do we do with emerging broadband Internet access technologies such as 3G cellular networks, WiMAX and municipal Wi-Fi, which all have shared bandwidth issues that are at once similar and yet totally different from those of cable Internet? Cellular providers in particular have been highly prescriptive about what content their customers could access from the Internet (although with the advent of the Apple iPhone and Google's Android cellular operating systems, that is changing). Could regulators write rules fair and flexible enough to apply to these services as well, without choking them off in their developmental stage? Or is the technology still moving too fast for any relevant regulation to keep up?

    Stepping back, underlying the issue of net neutrality is a more fundamental policy question: Is Internet service a public utility? If the answer is yes, then many people would assume that it should be subject to robust yet flexible regulation on par with what exists for water, natural gas, telephone and electrical service. In one respect, both presidential candidates seem to look on the Net as somehow akin to electrical service: They both favor extending broadband to underserved rural areas. Their approaches are different—McCain advocates private investment and local government programs, while Obama suggests an extension of the Universal Service Fund that brought telephone service to America's rural areas. However, both acknowledge that universal broadband is in the public interest.

    Perhaps the problem with the argument over "net neutrality" is that it is often promoted as a battle of unimpeachable ideals. If we agree that the Internet is as important as telephony and electricity, then it calls for practical, intelligent oversight that will balance the needs of consumers with incentives for investment in infrastructure and innovation in new content and services. Just think of it like municipal water and sewers on a national level, a series of tubes for information whose proper function is in the public interest. Give any one company unrestricted power over the system and water will only come when it's most profitable, but subject it to oppressive rules and regulations and there may be no incentive to keep the water running in the first place.



     
  3. lucky8

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    It's relevant, people need to know that McCain does want to change how the internet is setup...not really a jab, just informing people of something that has gone unspoken for awhile...and nice copy and paste job, I can do that too.

    Besides, that article is off topic. The internet is working GREAT without regulation, why do we need to restrict people to equally distribute bandwidth if the internet is working fine? I recently called Cox and downgraded from their Premium High Speed Internet to their cheapest, "slowest" service they offer, and my internet speed remains unchanged. It's a tactic to make money, and that is it. The internet does not need reforming in the slightest bit.
     
    #3 lucky8, Oct 10, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  4. 1BiGG1

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    WTF? The article is a balanced look at “net neutrality”, the subject of this thread and it’s off topic?

    Also, it shows how cable companies can screw their customers anytime they feel like it and since most areas of the country do not have a choice in providers I see nothing wrong with treating them like those providing water, natural gas, telephone & electricity.
     
  5. lucky8

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    I see where you're coming from, I do, but restricting access seems to be the opposite of what needs to be done. I can use as much water as I want, same as I can use as much electricity, same as I can watch as much tv as i want and so on: the argument is flawed because I could leave my faucet running for a month and my access to water would still not be restricted. The internet is an entertainment and information resource, it's not a public utility. The difference between the internet and electricity is even if I don't want electricity, I still have to pay for being on the grid, whereas if I don't want the internet, I don't have to pay anything.

    I don't see it as a public utility because it is not a necessity. As of now, I can use as much bandwidth as I want and it doesn't affect my neighbor in any way, so I don't see what the problem is. The court's have already ruled it illegal, so why are people still pushing for it?

    Slow access is mainly a problem of the personal computer, not the internet or IPs. For example, on my laptop, this page takes about 1 second to load simply because I have nothing stored on it. On my desktop, it takes roughly 5 seconds to load because I have so much stored on it.

    And by the way, we're talking about a complete overhaul of the internet here, an overhaul that will allow officials to track everything you do online...not my cup of tea
     
  6. Calboner

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  7. 1BiGG1

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