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[ NNSquad ] Re: FCC paths to Internet network management? A thin thin slice of pie anyone?

At the risk of sounding like, well you know who, what is this concept of
"disrupting others"? Isn't that the whole point of the first amendment and
any marketplace? By its very nature we have competing interests. The
question is how these competing interests are resolved.

If you have a fixed pie then you may not a have a good solution and, as
Lauren points out, if one of the competitors owns the pie and treats any
sharing as a concession we have the situation we have now.

Fortunately we do not have a fixed pie. So why are we spending nearly 100%
of our effort fighting over crumbs? And worse, why are we fighting over a
micro-pie when it's totally and 100% artificial.

If the citizens of Laramie cannot get it together to pool their efforts into
requiring a DSL modem on every copper pair for $50 or less or fiber to
dwellings (MDU or single family homes) for $1k, then that's their decision.
And their remaining options are meager -- you can read Turnbull's "The
Mountain People" to understand the effects of extreme poverty.

Of course even with an unlimited pie we'd still have behavior that we'd want
to control by policy -- but it's not network policy just normal social
policy like discouraging harassment. At least with bits we can choose to use
technology rather. I've pretty much given up opening up my paper may -- now
that I can get most of my bills online I shuffle through paper envelopes in
case there's a real letter buried somewhere in the pile.

For the most part, disruption is a necessary and vital source of economic
vitality and to have a third party with an inherent conflict of interest
preventing disruption is self-inflicted damage.

If you've chosen a small pie you don't have any good options so the only
response is to explain to those people that they should just get a larger

For those with large pies (as with "broadband") the consequences are less
dire and we should emphasize that the Internet protocols are designed to
support statistically fair sharing but without promises. You are still
fighting over a fixed pie and anyone making promises is either lying or
strongly biased to particular usage models.

What is important is that we focus most of our attention on eliminating the
scarcity. This means growing the pie as we can while accepting the
limitations at scale. If I'm sharing a gigabit pipe among ten people than I
may have trouble if I want 50 2Mbps HD streams at once. We'll just have to
live with that limit until the pie grows some more. I know it's tough but so
be it.

BTW, I changed my FiOS service to 20/20 decided to do some simple tests --
using http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest (without judging whether it's an
effective test) I used to get 4Mbps to me from LA. I tried the metering last
night (admittedly at night) and got 10/10. So just to be safe I tried again
just now during the day and got 13/11. Is the pie growing? NY went from
20/18 last night to 20/11 just now. I do see the effect of rate-limiting.
With 50Mbps (50/5) service I could get 34Mbps from NY but now got just above

This is a very interesting result -- David Reed has observed that latency
goes down as the net grows. These results make a lot of sense because as the
net grows we use more long haul fiber links rather than having to pass
through a myriad of routers because eliminating intermediate routers boosts
performance and we have the funding for simple solutions.

Yet our Malthusian fixed pie assumption is so deeply embodied in our psyche
that we seem unable to act rationally even when the evidence for abundant
capacity is all around us.

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 01:53
To: Brett Glass
Cc: Lauren Weinstein; nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: FCC paths to Internet network management? (from IP)

The following is my personal opinion, not a statement on behalf
of NNSquad.

At the risk of sounding a bit like Bob Frankston, I don't accept the
premise that ISPs have any intrinsic right to monitor my
applications and micromanage my use of the Internet, beyond flow
control as necessary to keep their networks healthy.  Even the fact
that a user is choosing to run application A or application B can be
viewed as an element of content that should be none of the ISPs'

Even if users choose to run 24/7 VPNs, with all applications layered
within those encrypted channels, ISPs' main concerns should be that
those subscribers' bandwidth usage stays within their contractual
limits and that their overall throughput is managed to the extent
necessary to avoid unfair impacts on other subscribers or the network

This implies that any subscriber should be able to run servers if
they wish.  If a subscriber were determined to be engaging in
illegal activities or actions that were disrupting other users (e.g.
spam), they would be subject to appropriate actions, of course, but
it's inappropriate to treat subscribers as if they were
untrustworthy crooks on an a priori basis.  

"Disrupting other users" by this definition doesn't include the
simple running of protocols that make heavy use of subscribed
circuits.  If ISPs have a problem with user throughput, they should
be able to throttle the speed (not block!) as necessary.  But such
throttling rules should be spelled out clearly, so that when a person
pays for a circuit of a specific advertised "up to this speed," they 
have some clue as to what they're actually paying for.

This all doesn't address the problem of how to avoid ISPs managing
bandwidth in ways that favor their own entertainment and related
delivery systems over outside services, but that's another story.

NNSquad Moderator

 - - -

> At 10:48 PM 2/28/2008, Lauren Weinstein wrote:
> >Brett Glass says: "Sixth, there should be no obfuscation of P2P."
> >
> >Bzzzz!  Sorry, no can do, at least if we're talking about some sort
> >of enforced ban.  I'm personally not a user of P2P currently, but I
> >reserve the right to encrypt any or all of my Internet traffic for
> >security and privacy purposes as I see fit, and most security
> >consultants worth their salt recommend encrypting as much as
> >possible, given the nature of the Internet today.
> Encrypt the content if you will, but if you try to obfuscate the
> fact that you are DOING P2P, in violation of a contract you made
> with your ISP, you are being dishonest. And if you announce from
> the start your intent to be dishonest, then there can never be
> a truce, much less a mutually beneficial agreement. And you will
> be exactly the kind of customer whom we will be glad to send
> packing. We like doing business honestly, with honest people.
> --Brett Glass