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[ NNSquad ] Re: L.A. Times Biz Section/Lazarus: "We can't be neutral on net neutrality"

On Aug 30, 2009, at 7:08 AM, George Ou wrote:

Great explanation Vint. So you're saying it's ok to charge more for better
service, then can I assume that you are opposed to the Markey (any version)
Net Neutrality bill which prohibits charging more for better priority?

I do take big exception with your assertion that it's not ok to charge by
volume. Your own Richard Whitt has stated that usage caps are a superior
alternative to network management last year. Every broadband provider in
the world, either implicitly or explicitly implements usage caps. If you go
over the cap (I prefer the disclosed explicit caps rather than the
undisclosed implicit caps), you're either billed more money or you're given
a warning. If you continue to exceed the cap, then the provider stops
taking your business.

I think you misinterpret Rick's intent. A bandwidth cap is superior to a volume
usage cap for several reasons. First, if you can purchase a bandwidth cap,
and if the provider can limit your usage through traffic shaping, you need not
be fearful of a huge bill or sudden loss of access. You simply are constrained
by the bandwidth cap. In fact, during periods in which the system capacity is
not fully utilized, it might even be allowed to exceed a bandwidth cap. The
purchase of a particular maximum is essentially an assurance of access to
capacity in times of congestion. Users get their pro-rata share of access
capacity based on their purchased caps.

The same is true of server access. My colocation server costs me $50/month
(which is very cheap for a 1U server) with 100 Mbps Ethernet connection.
That includes the rack space, electricity, basic support, AND BANDWIDTH.
The ONLY reason I can get this great service at this low price is that I not
exceed 1000 GB of data transfers a month or I would get billed for each
additional GB used per month. But that's absolutely wonderful for me since
I hardly need to transfer more than 400 GB per month, and I get this very
responsive burstable Internet connection that rockets to 100 Mbps.

you could get the same treatment with a bandwidth cap.

I also have the option of buying a DEDICATED 100 Mbps circuit with no usage
volume caps for $1100 per month
(http://www.dedicatedserverstore.com/Colo_dedicatedlines.html). Our
organization, unlike Google, can't afford to pay that kind of money. So are
you honestly suggesting that the 1000 GB usage cap pricing option not be
available to a little guy like me? If that's the case, then you're
effectively putting me and every other small org or business out of business
Vint. You're effort to save me from "discrimination" is killing me.

I think you misunderstand my point. I am not saying you should not have access
to options offered; I am suggesting a different set of options than volume pricing.

Furthermore, Access Providers have invested in private circuits and
facilities just like Google has invested a lot of money in private circuits
and facilities. Those Access Providers use those circuits that THEY BUILT
AND PAID FOR to offer reliable TV services so that they can stay in business
and have sufficient revenue to invest in our next generation broadband
infrastructure. Are you now suggesting that we need a bill like Markey III
which would outlaw and confiscate these private circuits so that they could
be given to the public Internet? If so, would you also support opening up
some of Google's "private transmission capacity" (as Markey III puts it) to
me and every other small organization and business on the Internet so that
we have the ability to get some equal access to the Internet?

It seems to me that access providers who offer video services would actually
provide a wider range of options if the total capacity they have built to offer
users could be dynamically shared between video services and internet
services, to the extent these are distinct. In fact, at some point, it seems to me
that the internet access capacity might just as well be offered to the user
in such a way that the customer can choose video sources provided by the
access provider or those provided by others, both using Internet transport
as their basic access mechanism. In that way, the customer can pay for
broadband access that allows the customer access to any Internet source,
regardless of origin, at capacities up to and including the maximum bandwidth
to which the customer has subscribed.


-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+george_ou=lanarchitect.net@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+george_ou=lanarchitect.net@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Vint Cerf
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2009 1:49 AM
To: nnsquad
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: L.A. Times Biz Section/Lazarus: "We can't be
neutral on net neutrality"

I prefer to emphasize the need for non-discriminatory service,
providing access to internet services on equal terms for all
application providers and especially consumers. Does this mean that
the access provider cannot charge more for larger capacity? No, I
think it is reasonable for a consumer and application provider to pay
more for higher capacity (preferably measured in maximum bits/second,
not measured in volume of bytes transferred). Access providers who
impose limits based on total bytes transferred (e.g. per month) do not
really reflect the constraints on their system's capacity. the
capacity limit has to do more with the rate of data transfer than with
the volume. Bits per second, not bytes per month. If applications
require distinct classes of service (e.g. low latency), I think it is
quite permissible to offer such services. But, as Lauren argues, I
think these options must be equally available to all application
service providers and consumers. This does not require that all
packets be treated equally. It does require that all users be provided
equal access to such preferential services. I agree with Lauren's
point that the provider of access services (especially broadband, by
whatever definition we end up for "broadband") not discriminate
against competing application providers by favoring the access
provider's services over those of competitors. In rough terms, this
means that the underlying Internet access should be equally accessible
among competitors.

The rationale for this treatment is to maintain the open networking
effect that allows new application providers to introduce new
applications without discrimination, thereby maintaining an ecosystem
that is friendly to innovation. I hope you will note that the proposal
above does not prohibit access providers from responding to denial of
service attacks or managing congestion. I also allows them to offer
differentiated services but in such a way that competing application
providers are not disadvantaged merely because they are not the
providers of access facilities.

A key question is when differentiated access services become
discriminatory. If we are unable to define this point clearly, then
another option in legislation is to provide for a process in which
anti-competitive and discriminatory access practices can be
adjudicated. Of particular concern is that users of the Internet have
the freedom to choose what application providers they wish to use
without discrimination or interference by the access providers.


On Aug 30, 2009, at 3:20 AM, Richard Bennett wrote:

Thanks for proving the point, Lauren. From your LA Times article:

"Network operators want to set priorities for users, rather than
letting all data flow freely and equally.

"At the same time, a pay-for-play system would create a tier of
"super providers" that enjoy a competitive edge over rivals that
lack the resources for speedier service. This also would make it
harder for entrepreneurs to even enter the market.

""You're essentially ghettoizing Internet content that cannot pay to
play," said Scott at Free Press."

That's the argument for "all packets are equal" in black and white.


[ No Richard, you're misprepresenting the argument.  Nobody of note
 that I know of on the "network neutrality" side of current debates
 is saying that customers should be able to buy OC-192 speeds for
 the same price as a consumer DSL line, nor that time-sensitive
 payloads (like VoiP) shouldn't be able to have appropriate
 priorities over, say, conventional browsing.  But the question is,
 do all comers have access to these facilities at a competitive
 price and on equivalent terms, or do the ISPs favor their own
 content and services and those of their partners?

 The dominant carriers, most of whom now have highly valuable
 content (mostly video) that they want to deliver "out of band" in
 relation to other traffic, are also the ones who are able to
 arbitrarily set the pricing, TOSes, restrictions, and virtually all
 other parameters for access services which allow for competition
 with these ISPs' own content.  Bandwidth caps, which would only
 affect external Internet traffic (including all Internet video
 competitors) but not cable-company provided video fed (via the
 same protocols in most cases) on the companies' own video on
 demand and pay per view systems, are an obvious example of
 the problem.

 In other words, in the absence of reasonable regulation, the major
 ISPs not only may have a direct conflict of interest in terms of
 content, but also control all the balls relating to the ability of
 potential content and service competitors to compete in terms of
 speed and pricing.

 With the appeals court ruling a couple of days ago voiding the FCC
 rule limiting the size of the giant cable companies, this
 situation can only be expected to become far worse in an
 unregulated Internet access ecosystem.

   -- Lauren Weinstein
      NNSquad Moderator ]

- - -

Lauren Weinstein wrote:
"We can't be neutral on net neutrality"

"The snooze-worthy phrase is about something vital to all: whether
companies that control the pipes through which data flow can dictate
terms to the websites that originate the data ..."

Full Article (8/30/09):


--Lauren-- NNSquad Moderator

-- Richard Bennett Research Fellow Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Washington, DC