back to article Putting the internet into neutral, or neutering the net?

The usually perspicacious Neelie Kroes, the European Digital Agenda Commissioner, has finally hit a wall in Net Neutrality legislation, perhaps seeing the conflicting sides to the net neutrality argument. These are the same arguments that the US Government and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been unable to sort …


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  2. John H Woods Silver badge


    Why do the ISPs seem to have such clout? There are big organisations who should be supporting net neutrality (I'm thinking of all those providing video). And a huge groundswell of consumers who - even if they don't know it - want net neutrality. But the ISPs seem to hold some kind of sway over the legislators that is out of all proportion to their financial clout and their popular support. Is it just that governments need them to be on side so they can spy on us?

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Information Supply is Money and Power and IT Enables its Remote Controllers *

    "Instead of sending out a nice text saying, "You have just gone over your limit, but we can sell you a cheap deal for an extra 1 GB of data, just click Y and send", the cellular operators thought it was clever to just steal money from their customers."

    Here is a current BT cell solution to ...... well, screwing/encouraging customers to upgrade from 10GB to the next available level of 40GB per month. [Whatever happened to the earlier not unreasonable £1 charge for every extra GB]

    [quote] Your usage allowance is near its limit -

    what you need to know

    Dear Customer,

    We thought you'd like to know that, so far in November, you've used more than 7GB of your 10GB monthly usage allowance for your BT Total Broadband Option 1 service.

    In accordance with our Fair Usage Policy, if you exceed your usage allowance, you'll be charged for additional usage in units of 5GB, at £5 per 5GB. Charges will apply from the second month that the usage allowance is exceeded. If you do exceed your allowance, we'll tell you at the end of the month and let you know the amount of any additional usage charges, which will be added to your next bill.

    Great news! To help you keep track of your usage we have developed a new tool which shows on a daily basis, how much of your allowance you have used and how much is remaining. To access the usage monitor you will need your account log-in details. If you haven't set-up an online account then you can register at If you already have an online account click here to access the new usage monitor.

    To avoid charges, you can always upgrade to one of our broadband products with a higher usage allowance or go for unlimited usage*. To find out about your options and to upgrade, please go to

    If you have any questions about this email, please see our Fair Usage Policy.

    Thank you for choosing BT.

    Best wishes,

    BT Total Broadband team

    * Fair Usage Policy applies.

    Please note that this is an automatically generated email for your information only. Unfortunately we cannot respond to 'replies' to this address. [/quote]

    * Well, IT Bods and CyberIntelAIgent Boffins do, surely :-) ?

  4. Murphy's Lawyer redux

    I don't think Ed Vaisey thinks we're the Internet's customers...

    He sees us as having ideas above our station. We need to be put back in our place and be reminded that we are the meat that is fed to the Internet's real customers. Who are, of course, the advertising companies and other corporations, just like it is in the television and newspaper businesses.

    This, for a certain breed of Conservative, is the Natural Order of Things and must be upheld at all costs. And if the companies this benefits just happen to put large sums of money into the Conservative war-chest, that's natural too.

    Mine's the one with the "Lone Gunmen" DVD in the inside pocket...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    not anothe mess coming!

    just look at what unregulated banking system have done to us,

    silly woman!

  6. MMcA
    Paris Hilton

    Silver linings

    At the recent SVC2C (Silicon Valley Comes To Cambridge) meeting, a certain BT chap tried to defend their shoddy plans for a two-tier service, and was met by simmering silence. Then Joi Ito explained why it's actually a crap idea; cue thunderous applause from the whole theatre.

    Of course the vendors are going to take advantage of this, with certain overpaid hotshots thinking they're being especially clever by screwing the customers yet again. Trebles all round, for sure.

    But remember, this is the age of t'Internet. Nothing is secret for long.

    Preferential traffic throttling - and anything else that those short-sighted corporate shits are thinking of - will be detected. The truth will always out, followed by huge loss of image and customers flocking to the one or two remaining Good Guys in the market.

    If a few idiots want to hang themselves, I say pass them the rope.

    (Paris, cos she's just as clever)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    The idea that

    we can simply switch ISP if we don't like what's going on is ludicrous. For one thing, they aren't like utilities where we can just switch on a whim, most of them have minimum contract lengths. For another, suppose I subscribe to and make extensive use of two different online services, A and B. One day, my ISP decides to route all packets from A via a vintage 1970's dialup modem link. So, I pay a substantial "exit fee" and switch ISP. The day after, my new ISP decides to tie lead weights to each packet from service B. I am now screwed.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Lets get real - this is important

    My ISP used to be Virgin media (via a BT ADSL line). Speed was OK as we were close to the exchange, but I was always breaching their fair use policy and as a punishment our network speed slowed that of dial up for a week at a time. We have a household of 5 users including 3 teenage children.

    Whenever I rang them I could never get a straight answer as to how much data I transmitted & received and what the fair use thresholds were and I had no other remedy presented to me other than use less.

    I have moved to PlusNet - I pay more but get a clearly defined service. I can buy more at reasonable rates and get useful and helpful customer service. Certain traffic is prioritised (VoIP etc) and certain traffic is restricted (FTP etc) at peak hours with free usage in the Midnight to Morning quadrant.

    This all seems very sensible to me, I don't expect something for nothing and I realise that there has either to be vast overcapacity, congestion, or some traffic management.

    The important thing is that there are enough suppliers with different products all competing in order for there to be a sensible competition on price and variety of service, so that I can get what I need at a reasonable cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "there has either to be vast overcapacity"

      I'll take that then please.

      Okay, I know it will cost millions to put in a fully fiber-optic network and that we will have to pay for it but that's what we should be doing.

      When it's in place, we can finally forget the ridiculous notion that bandwidth is scarce. All we would have to do is keep inventing a better type of laser or a beefier transceiver to stick at the ends of the fiber.

      We've done it with storage, did anyone think they would be able to fit an 8TB RAID array into something as big as a lunchbox? Well you can now, and it's almost insulting how little it costs (currently £510 for disks and NAS).

      This is technology, it's supposed to be fast, and powerful, and amazing. Can we stop pretending that the solution to everything is rationing and soup lines? That's some 18th century shit right there. It's almost insulting how much better our lives would be if we spent as much money as we spend restricting technology, on improving it.

  9. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Silly bastard

    "So who or what is going to protect Skype? Consumers' freedom to change operators, says Kroes."

    So when all operators block it because there is nothing to be gained by not doing so - market forces argument has always been piss-weak when faced with the anti-competitiveness of major companies, just look at the international air freight price fixing for an example - where will the poor little consumer go then? This is *the* reason for her having a job, namely to sort out crap like this because market forces are with the biggest bully.

  10. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    But I'm all for net neutrality being enforced.

    The government says "Customers who dont like what their ISP is doing can goto another ISP"

    So what do people like me do where one company has 50meg cable available and all the other ISPs have to come down a BT landline of very dubious speed

    What about apartment dwellers who cannot even get another ISP delivered because their building is wired up by a rival company?

    Then what happens when a major on-line games company wont pay extra to the ISPs to get their data delivered faster? or more likely raises all their prices to cover the extra charge the ISPs make to prioritise their packets...

    But then the government wont enforce advertising rules that allow the ISPs to say "upto 20 meg broadband" when in reality the deal is "5 meg if you are more than 6' away from the exchange and 200k if you go over your 500megabyte daily limit"

    Will the government make ISPs advertise something along the lines of

    "Sky 20 meg BB, unless you are downloading from Valve software, Warner Brothers TV on demand, or Youtube in which case you'll get a 250k speed" (company names picked at random by the way)

    1. Tom 13

      It's called wireless broadband

      and if the landlubbers don't keep up, it will eat their lunches.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "hate markets to be too highly regulated and will resist any attempt"

    Regulated by who, precisely?

    All markets are regulated. It only depends on who is doing the regulating and whose pockets are getting filled - because that is what markets try to do for the suppliers as the participants provide and consume. Also, define "highly" for me, please. Complex markets,often made so by the self interest of the supplying participants need simplifying or complex regulation if they are not inhibit access or transparent operation.

  12. James Minney

    Charging Google to get its packets to the customer on time

    is just like EuroDisney working with tour companies to subsidise travel/accommodation, to get people to go spend high-margin money in their theme park. But importantly, the consumer is still making a decision about the travel/accommodation bundle, whereas if charging Google directly is seen as the way the market should go, then consumers will have not idea what's going down, as you say.

  13. Glenn 4

    Layered pricing yes, increasing no !

    "A sensible way is not to have punitive capping charges, but to have multiple layers of service for each online service a home takes and gradual increases in charges as we go over thresholds"

    I thought commodities got cheaper as you bulked up on volume ?

  14. Eddy Ito

    The FCC is a funny and whacky bunch

    Come now, even the FCC don't believe those four principles from 2005. To recap;

    (1) consumers are entitled to access Internet content of their choice; (2) consumers are entitled to run applications and services of their choice; (3) consumers are entitled to connect their choice of devices to the internet; and (4) consumers are entitled to competition among internet providers.

    (1) Where is that local access online gambling server? (2) Don't mind if I operate my own online gambling servers? (3) Somewhere, some day, somebody will try connecting their sour mash still to the internet or some such thing but I suppose with the first three it isn't the FCC who will be cracking those particular whips. (4) Hahahaha, as long as the FCC considers 56k dialup as competition with 700k DSL and 7M cable, this will remain the biggest running joke foisted on the consumer evar! Simply a laugh factory those gubberminty types.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother


    "For years cellular operators have been charging ludicrously high roaming charges for calls in neighboring countries and making excess profits [what the hell are 'excess profits'?] on overseas traffic. It has taken years of legislation from Neelie Kroes and others, to stop this profiteering."

    The only legislation I remember that caused international tariffs to go down was the breaking of the state-run telecom monopolies on landline and mobile traffic that hoovered up crazy money from their captive market (these state employees have amazing salaries and perks, ya know). Big corporate customers suddenly able to route all their calls through private switches or mobile customers able to switch their provider were a marvelous wake-up call.

  16. Ray Simard

    Net neutrality != free rein (at least, not necessarily)

    I dread the hand of government grabbing Internet providers by the throat to force them to do much of anything a certain way. The net has thrived on openness and freedom from tinkering by outside forces, governmental or otherwise.

    Nonetheless, net neutrality means preserving, as much as practical, the old ideal of the net as blind to location or content: any two points work like any other two, and that what kind of data flows between those two points is ignored entirely by the net itself--the old end-to-end model applied administratively as well as technically. If governments can grasp that and press to preserve it, as the FCC's rules tend to do, that I can accept. I can also accept some reasonable exceptions (blocking outbound port 25 is one, reluctantly agreed. DNSBLs are another).

    The article is spot on to cite competition, or the lack of it, as central. Where a provider monkeys with traffic, users can express their displeasure by walking--when there's someone else to walk to. Where there isn't, governments might have to step in there, too. I shudder to imagine that. To the best of my knowledge, ISPs are not common carriers and shouldn't become so, but I could be wrong about that. If not, I'd hate to see it happen.

    One bright spot: the historical coalescing of providers of other utilities such as electric and telephone into effective monopolies has provoked actions to break their strangleholds afterwards. In this case, if similar coalescing is happening (is this what they mean by convergence? Not sure.) remedies can come into play during the process instead of corrective measures after the fact.

  17. mafoo

    Soft caps

    Talk Talk already practice shaping, where by if you go over your monthly bandwidth allocation (fairly easy watching the iPlayer), all non port 80 traffic will come to a grinding halt - Making skype unusable until your quota resets.

    The irony is that the BBC iPlayer being over port 80 - will continue to function perfectly. If it didn't regular consumers would complain and move to an ISP who didn't throttle the services they choose to use when online.

  18. Tom 35

    charging punitively for all data above a certain cap

    Why should it be punitive? Just charge what it costs them plus a reasonable profit.

    Another thing I don't like is the size of the cap being tied to the speed (with no option of buying more).

    If you watch streaming video you don't need a super fast service just a high cap, but the ISP makes you pay for the super fast service to get the high cap.

    An ISP is often not just an ISP. You may get TV/Phone/internet all from the same company, and they REALLY want that "triple play" so given the choice VoIP or Video might just trip and fall down the stairs.

    As for the networks not putting their content on Google TV, that's not the same as the cable TV/ISP blocking it (so you have to pay for cable TV). Two different problems.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Traffic shaping, packet inspection, phorm

    I hope that once Internet usage becomes burdensome, whether through pricing or traffic shaping, that people will simply cancel their connection. That is how you show ISPs your displeasure with their practices. If enough people decide the Internet is not worth the cost, monetarily or through not been able to use its functionality efficiently, and simply stop using it that would certainly get any ISPs attention. This would also greatly increase the pressure on ISPs from business to start doing what they should always have done, provide a dumb pipe.

    I love using the Internet but there is a point at which it won't be worthwhile if ISPs get in their own way and by which get in all of ours.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    > perspicacious

    Please don't tell me I have to go hit the dictionary site just to make sense of a Reg article... and yes I'm an idiot, for those who were wondering :)

  21. thecakeis(not)alie

    I don't know about this.

    This is Steelie Neelie we're talking about here. She has a long history of doing what's right for the consumer and sticking it to Big Business with a sharp stick in the eye. Of all politicians on this planet and all corporate leaders of all corporations I am more inclined to trust her than any other. This may be something as simple as a play to draw out her opposition. Make them commit to clearly anti-consumer policies so that she can return to this game a year from now and nail the buggers to the wall.

    It is quite simply not like her to do something this overtly anti-consumer without it being part of a larger game. Time will tell.

  22. frymaster

    Did you miss out part of a sentence?

    "Another argument is that 5 per cent of the users use 95 per cent of the traffic on the internet"


    "so traffic shaping is needed to block in particular video piracy"

    huh? What's piracy, or indeed video got to do with it? That particular argument is between real-time services and bulk downloads. From a network usability point of view, the engineers don't CARE if it's a pirated disney film, or your granny's home movies, or some non-video large download. They don't have to figure out what trackers P2P is associated with, they just need to go "peer-to-peer, bulk download, deprioritise, job done"

  23. Thomas 18

    The internet has no law...

    The internet needs no law!!!

  24. copsewood

    The purpose of legislation

    Is surely to promote competition. Customers should not be able to get locked into contracts without being able to buy themselves out for more than the residual value of equipment subsidised (e.g. the PAYG value of a mobile phone minus the difference between what someone on a contract with the same phone has paid against what someone on a SIM only contract has paid). To the extent competition exists and people can switch to better providers at a moment's notice, regulators should exercise a light hand, because providers will then have to outcompete each other on features as well as price.

    Regulation is more difficult for rural fixed telecom providers if there is only one network accessible. In this situation, the fixed infrastructure accessible to multiple providers model works better than fixed infrastructure one monopoly provider.

  25. J 3

    Consumers' freedom to change operators

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

    Maybe things are better in Europe, but here in the US... I live in the downtown area of a state capital -- and it's not something remote either, we're less than a couple hours from the country's capital. Now, if we are not happy with Comcast for whatever reason, we have a lot of choice. Namely, not having broadband Internet nor cable TV (well, at least for the TV there is the possibility of satellite, if you don't live in an apartment and/or can install the ugly dish). Nice, isn't it? And Comcast knows it.

  26. J 3

    5% take 95%

    Well, a few years ago I would have believed that but now... I don't know. Any real research proving that?

    For example, in my household the highest bandwidth use is Netflix, which is almost all the TV my girlfriend does, for example. Almost all the movies we watch are streamed (the only ones we watch from a disc are the ones that are not available on line, which are have been few lately). And in HD. That's a (reasonably) high quality video feed. And I know of a lot of people who use Netflix or similar services. In a distant second in bandwidth use here would be watching videos online "YouTube-style". Another popular web use, I believe. Uploading photos to Flickr every once in a while... Not too much. And every six months or so I download the newest Linux distro or two -- sometimes I do that at work actually, since the bandwidth at the University is much... broader. And that's pretty much it. Buying music on line is a trickle of a few MP3s every few months. Somehow I suspect, but would like to see real world data, that our Internet usage is typical for under 40s or so.

    I think the "5% using 95%" comes from the olden days when file sharing was proportionally much larger, compared to all the folks just doing email and web surfing with nary a totally Flash-based site in sight...

  27. Neal 5

    Propaganda is as

    it is. Doesn't matter what colour you paint it. A shit is still a shit. Swallow this crap at your own risk.

    There never has been, and never will be, such a thing as net neutrality.

    The more laws you make, the more criminals you get.

    "Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position."

    For those of you who don't know, or don't remember, this was something that Hitler was extremely good at. Whatever you say, he was a massive motivator.

    Yes, I for one , welcome our American overlords. With a fuck off gold plated Kalashnikov.

  28. Pat 3

    Smart pipes

    Actually I'm dead against net neutrality. I'd like a VOIP service that is prioritized over p2p so I can call people without a landline. I would have thought, however, that ISP's would hate to have smart pipes. That ruins their defence against copyright infringers so that they themselves are liable for content. I guess they've got more money for lawyers than me though and have figured a way around that part.

  29. Jetblack

    It's not a brave new world - apparently

    The equivalent practice in the old public switched telephone network (PSTN) world would have been for your telephone company to say

    "you know what, no, I'm not going to connect you to that number. It's for a horoscope service (or an insurance service, or roadside breakdown service - insert your own idea here...) and we have a competitive one of those - or there's another one who pays us money to let people call them. So, sorry, that number is just going to come up with unavailable beeps"

    If telephone companies had started doing that there would have been hell to pay.

    There should be no difference with the Internet. We paid our telephone companies to connect a circuit between us and a destination PSTN address (aka a phone number) on request. When we pay ISPs, it should be to direct IP packets between us and a destination Internet address (aka an IP address) on request. For some reason ISPs have decided there's some sort of difference and they should be able to dictate who we communicate with.

    Why doesn't the unregulated model work? Because, in the end, you just get to choose between a set of ISPs, each of which has decided who they're going to set up a "relationship" with on the Internet. So you end up having to choose between different subsets of the Internet. It would be like having to choose which phone numbers you were going to be able to dial.

    The simple formulation of the soundest net neutrality regulation would just say:

    "ISPs cannot block or otherwise prejudice the exchange of IP packets between their subscribers and other Internet users for the commercial benefit of the ISP or third parties."

    That's it. There's no problem with shaping or grooming traffic so everybody gets an optimal experience based on limited network bandwidth. That is *not* what net neutrality is intended to address. I agree with previous posters that charging for "bytes used" is not unreasonable. It's no different than other utilities like electricity, gas, and water. It's what was done on the PSTN - except now it's bandwidth consumed rather than temporarily hiring a circuit - Megabytes are the new minutes.

    1. DragonLord

      Logical errors

      "ISPs cannot block or otherwise prejudice the exchange of IP packets between their subscribers and other Internet users for the commercial benefit of the ISP or third parties."

      Erm, you do realise that what you've just written would preclude traffic shaping due to the key word Prejudice.

      Something better would be to restrict traffic shaping to types of traffic regardless of source/destination - so they can improve VOIP but not just their own VOIP, or they can slow down bit-torrent but not all bit-torrent except their own bittorrent.

      1. Jetblack

        Logical error by exclusion of key phrases?

        Erm - do you realise that you ignored the qualifier "for the commercial benefit of the ISP or third parties"?

        IOW, the situation you describe would be perfectly fine - because it's not prejudice to commercially advantage the ISP.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Too late

    It has only been a relatively short time that the internet has been in the public conscience, but it's growth has exceeded almost all projections. During that time very few rules have been put in place, no one organisation has attempted to take control, simply a few governing bodies used to steer it here and there.

    A huge generation is growing up, leaving behind the traditional methods of entertainment and communication and embracing the internet, this leads to the ad-men and corps to try to commercialise the internet in any way they can.

    If industrial history teaches us one thing, it's that when the corps and big business smell a money making opportunity they seize it and to hell with anyone who gets in the way. The internet will soon be controlled by corps and politicians, this will happen because "big money spins big wheels". Someone, somewhere will get their way and they will find a way to set up a "PAYG internet", this is simply to great an opportunity to pass up, once those 'PAYG' rules are in place, the party is over and those rules will never be removed.

  31. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    ISPs will never ?!?

    Actually, my ISP, Zen, not only sends email at various percent of the cap, it has a not-many clicks on demand way to buy more allowence, an API to do it, and even a FireFox plugin. This is on top of a generous cap anyway.

    Do not tar all current ISPs with this brush ...

  32. Anonymous Coward

    A helping hand for the hopeless

    Here we go for another round of hand wringing and blackmail as government leaps to rescue yet another failed business model at our expense. No one forced ISPs to choose the fastest route to the bottom by by engaging in pricing wars and promising the earth with "unlimited" data and then by and large failing to deliver it. Now margins are (allegedly) as wafer thin as their veneer of offshored customer service, they're flailing around looking for someone else to blame/mug for their own inability to price their services sensibly according to usage. The obvious route of putting prices up (if they are really that unsustainable) clearly eludes them, so they're banking on government allowing them that most oily of tactics; artificial scarcity. Cut us off from what we want and we will (apparently) gleefully pay a "premium" for what we used to get for nothing - a bit like getting mugged as the price of a night out in Joburg, or closer to a privatised tax on using the internet.

    But that's the "innovative" business practice of the age isn't it? If you're too thick to make your business work, just cry, whine and wheedle till yer equally thick mates in government hand you the necessaries to give consumers the total unrelenting rogering you just know they really deserve. It kept the champagne flowing at the banks, will be keeping music industry execs and their lawyers in Mediterranean villas for a few years to come, and now its the turn of the poor old ISPs, doubtless led by the impoverished shareholders of that nearly non-monopoly, BT. All helped along by that useful Labour hand-me-down, Ofcom, whose primary role seems to be to deflect criticism from the industry by rubber stamping everything on their wish list, then telling us its all for the best - they "know", because they've consulted.

    But of course none of this matters, because we'll have transparency! We may be getting royally screwed, but we'll know exactly how and by who, so it'll be really easy to jump ship to one of the hundred other ISPs.... who'll do exactly the same thing, all over again.

    If we've got the government we deserve, whatever we did must have been really, really bad.

  33. Jacqui

    residential or business tarrif sir?

    Its a long standing joke that big business get very very cheap leccy and gas on the understanding that the can be cut off without notice, however big business will switch suppliers at a drop of a hat so the supplier would rather brownout the very highly profitable residential customer base rather than lose an estate of "droppable" factories.

    Even if said corp install has a backup genset, they get preferential treatment and homeowners will end up without heating to ensure the genset diesel plant is never needed.

    With internet traffic we have expensive residential and SMB net connects and as you move up the chain you start to get ecomonies of scale and hard fought (massive) discounts.

    The important thing to remember is that like gas and leccy, the residential and smb users are profitable and the large corporates are not - we subsidise them!

    Now the UK/US wants to add legislation to allow net "brownoouts" for individuals so that he subsidised coporates can keep going. This is the same plan as smart meters - cut off the residential users to ensure we dont lose the corporate leccy accounts!

    Vote pastafarian or monster loony - the only parties that give a damn about us :-)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    I Can Haz Arts Degree

    "it‘s okay to pursue insane regimes of traffic-shaping which are purely competitive and not for the health of the network"

    Spare us from network analysts with arts degrees.

    Traffic-shaping annoys users and ISPs introduce it only reluctantly, and do so for the health of the network. No ISP wants to do it, and ideally none would. Faultline implies it's some competitive advantage.

    As for paying for the data we use: bring it on. The Free Lunch crowd will complain either way.

    1. foo_bar_baz

      Did you even read the FA?

      This is about blocking or downgrading competing services like VOIP and video on demand to favour their own voice network / walled gardens / partner services. ISPs have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar already.

      Reluctant and health my ass.

      Maybe you work for a clean-as-a-whistle ISP and couldn't imagine doing this. If that's the case the props to you.

  35. Connor

    Totally agree

    Kroes and Vaizey have it spot on. This has worked so well in the past, if one bank charges extortionate borrowing fees and has a low interest rate, one simply moves to another bank. It is not as if they have uniform charges and all follow the same practices.

    The same goes for the power companies, one charges too much simply move. It's not as if they all change their prices at the same time or by the same degree or any thing.

    I am sure it will be the same with ISPs, and that we really have nothing to worry about. I'm sure they won't all start providing the bare minimum access to the internet for maximum profit, one or two will definitely stand out and take an earnings hit compared to their rivals and all for altruistic reasons.

  36. teebie


    "But the idea advanced, for a second time in the US later week, of self-regulation by operators over Network Neutrality, from Comcast this time, from Verizon and Google last time, is of course nonsense"

    What was that, Yoda?

  37. Andrew the Invertebrate

    Could we make a minor change to provider pays?

    Trying to get the BBC to cough up so that iPlayer is a stupid idea and should stopped dead in it's tracks.

    However all off those irritating little adverts that clutter the place up, can't we at least get the advertisers to pay for the bandwith that they take up. If you want to sell me stuff that's one thing, asking me to pay to let you do it, well that's a whole other thing.

  38. Robin


    "For years cellular operators have been charging ludicrously high roaming charges for calls in neighboring countries and making excess profits on overseas traffic. It has taken years of legislation from Neelie Kroes and others, to stop this profiteering."

    In that case, can she take a look at some non-roaming charges down here in Spain please? It's cheaper for me to send an SMS from my roaming UK mobile, than it is for me to do so from my Spanish phone on the same network as the recipient. 11p versus 15 cents (at today's rate that's 13p)

    Even considering that SMS isn't as popular here so will naturally be more expensive, this isn't right. And sending SMS to the UK, for example, is about 50p a go.

    I don't use it much, but it's handy for the odd "I'm going to be leaving this really noisy bar soon" type message.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    I wonder how much longer it will be before Google has enough fiber to create itself as an ISP? I wonder what they'll charge? I think I'd let others use them as an ISP but they might force other ISPs to be more reasonable.

    1. Tom 13

      I guess you missed it.

      Google already have more fiber than anyone else, it just that it only talks to other Google servers, not the public. So the while the Net Neutrality people might talk a good game, in effect it only subsidizes Google, who already own their own money printing presses anyway.

  40. P. Lee

    Data caps

    Isn't the point of having data caps that you are then not over subscribed and you don't need to "manage" the traffic?

    If I pull down massive data volumes in the first couple of days I then end up shaped for the rest of the month, or paying for more data.

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