back to article Americans stand against UN internet-tax plan

The idea of taxing internet traffic has got the twitterverse into a tizzy. Apparently socialists monsters want pay for their carriage, and the UN has cooked up a secret plan to get the money. Having failed to find evidence that blue-helmeted geeks are poised to invade cyberspace, the US internet community is now up in arms …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    Having spent the weekend in the company of a couple of Americans, both seemed to think the NHS=communism. Which was worrying.

    And there was me thinking that it was just the reds that did brainwashing!

    1. Nights_are_Long

      Re: Indoctrinated

      That is worrying, I myself up until the other week posted on a Tech site that was mostly US user based and on a Discussion about healthcare costs the NHS got dragged into it... let's just say I asked for ym account to be deleted when this got posted -

      "Why should I pay for some fat *****'s heath care when her and her little ********* sit's on her ass eating cake all day", the second word I stared out was rhymes with Piglets only with the P replaced with a N.

      While I would normally wave off that one comment as a racist, arrogant and above all idiotic statement from one user but when 20 of them all joined in agreeing with it and one or two disagreeing I left, and fast.

      I think we can blame McCarthy for this mess, that man did more ongoing damage to the US than any one else I can think of.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Indoctrinated

        I don't know why the Americans defend their system so much. They pay over the odds for medical insurance (they have the highest medical costs in the world), their treatment is in the hands of insurance companies who will do all they can not to pay out, hospitals will refuse to take you in if you don't have the right cover and will sling you out as soon as the insurance runs out regardless of your physical state.

        And where does spending all that money on health care get them? World class services, longer life spans, better quality of care? Not at all. They are rated 37th in the world by the WHO and they are supposed to be one of the most advanced developed nations on the planet. How pathetic

        One nation, driven by greed, powered by selfishness with an ego larger than their collective arses and crumbling from within yet they think the world should look to them as a model of how a country should be.

        1. John A Blackley

          Re: Indoctrinated

          Just a couple of minor suggestions for your comment:

          As a percentage of salary I pay no more for the best health insurance here in the states than you do for NI.

          No hospital is allowed to discharge patients - no matter their financial condition - if doing so would endanger their life.

          No major population area is without a hospital designated as caring for the indigent.

          Under the recent health care legislation, no insurance company is allowed to terminate coverage because of previous health history or refuse it because of pre-existing conditions.

          Apart from that your comment was................ well, rubbish really.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Indoctrinated

            From what I see you have vastly over-estimated how much NI we pay. The cheapest I can find any cover in the US is in California at $205 per month (subsidised by your employer) and that comes with clauses about you having to pay the 1st x amount of your treatment and doesn't cover dental. Admittedly I haven't done a full search, but looking quickly I can't see anything anything like as low as NI, you are looking at about $1000 per month for a family of 4 and I pay about £100 a month NI and don't need to worry about cover for my family. We have looked at going private and even here with the NHS as competition we are looking at a cost 3 or 4 times higher than that for the whole family for decent cover so it's not going to happen.

            No hospital is allowed to discharge patient if (and that's a big IF, there are ways insurance companies and accountants can legally kick people out even if they will die) doing so would endanger their life. But what they can do is diagnose a problem that if left untreated will become life threatening but without insurance off they go. Medicaid will only kick in once the condition does become life threatening costing you as a tax payer far more to deal with it than if the hospital had just treated the original condition.

            Ahh yes, the last refuge of the die-hard republican - look we provide mercy hospitals for those without insurance. Again look how much extra it is costing treating people with critical illness than if they had just been treated in the 1st place.

            As for the insurance, no they can't terminate coverage based on previous history or refuse it because of a pre-existing condition but what they can do is refuse to cover that condition and you are only covered if something unrelated to your condition happens and if the insurers can find any way to link the new problem to the old then they will and you are no longer covered. They can also base your premium based on those conditions and give you stupidly high quotes for the insurance. They haven't refused to cover you, you just can't afford what they are asking.

            Apart from that your comment was................ well, rubbish really. Americans have just been brainwashed into believing they are well cared for.

            1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

              @AC Posted Friday 8th June 2012 20:51 GMT

              You didn't look very hard. My coverage (subsidised by my employer) is $150, and I have what is colloquially referred to as a "Gold Plated Cadillac Plan", which means they have to cover me for a whole lot of frivolous stuff, like a sex change operation if I want one.

              But on the original topic of taxing internet traffic, the main rational seems to be that some bureaucrats simply don't like the present "winners" and want to skew the playing field.

          2. G Mac
            Thumb Down

            Re: Indoctrinated

            Let’s go through *your* comments one by one:

            “As a percentage of salary I pay no more for the best health insurance here in the states than you do for NI.”

            Possibly, but note that if you pay personal Vs. via your company, you will pay a higher rates – madness of tax codes.

            Next, you may not, but somebody does – the US spends 16% of its GDP on health care, Vs. 8% by countries with higher life expectancy. And you might get better care, but a large number for a highly developed country don’t.

            “No hospital is allowed to discharge patients - no matter their financial condition - if doing so would endanger their life.”

            And yet, they do:


            Now, *you* may not regard the homeless as “patients” and therefore skate on your statement, but others know better.

            “No major population area is without a hospital designated as caring for the indigent.”

            And yet the Catholic Church in the US is considering not treating non-Catholics because they have to allow their (non-religious) employees birth control choices. And that is just that issue - don't pretend it doesn't occur for the poor.

            “Under the recent health care legislation, no insurance company is allowed to terminate coverage because of previous health history or refuse it because of pre-existing conditions.”

            Unless a minor pre-existing condition was not disclosed, in which case insurance coverage is terminated, even if the condition does not relate to the current health issue.

            And yes, they cannot refuse to grant you insurance for a pre-existing condition – you just have to be able to afford the cost of such. Good luck with that, because:

            “Harvard researchers say 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 were caused by health problems—and 78% of those filers had insurance”


            Why folks believe that there is no problem because they themselves don’t have a problem is beyond me. They certainly like it when other folks put their lives on their line when they are in danger.

            "Apart from that your comment was................ well, rubbish really."

            Yes, yes your comment was.

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          5. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Indoctrinated

            Well, it doesn't matter how much we pay or don't pay. I'm an American, and I can say from first hand experience that American doctors are total retards who couldn't find their ass with both hands and a copy of Grey's Anatomy.

            Look at the "Empowered Patient" column on CNN for examples of idiocy. I've personally had a doctor tell me I had a knee fracture and ankle fracture, when I really had a collarbone fracture. I've had a doctor refuse to give me a vasectomy based on his religious beliefs. I had a doctor diagnose me with strep throat when I really had scarlet fever. I had a doctor tell a friend "oh that red line up your leg from that cut is nothing to worry about" and the guy was fighting for his life from a blood infection 2 days later.

            1. Bronek Kozicki
              Thumb Up

              Re: Indoctrinated

              Clueless doctors are not unique to States, this happens quite often in this side of the pond as well (search UK newspapers for yourself, it makes for sad reading).

              My point is that NHS (UK system) and private insurance (American system) are likely to give similar level of care, and the dominating factors may not be directly linked to type of insurance. Instead, this might be linked to incentivization of health care professionals. More specifically, high levels of pay seem to have negative effect on motivation, thus leading to incompetence (just like bankers pay).

              You can read more about it and find relevant works here or search for Behavioral Economics Incentives

          6. aurizon

            Re: Indoctrinated

            ""As a percentage of salary I pay no more for the best health insurance here in the states than you do for NI.""

            Rubbish also, your employer also pays, and often more than the employee.

            ""No hospital is allowed to discharge patients - no matter their financial condition - if doing so would endanger their life.""

            True, but in a narrow sense, indigents get few transplants or new hip/knee joints

            ""No major population area is without a hospital designated as caring for the indigent."", also true, but if you look at the death rate of these near-bankrupt hospitals you wonder if they are hospitals or hospices.

            ""Under the recent health care legislation, no insurance company is allowed to terminate coverage because of previous health history or refuse it because of pre-existing conditions.""

            AHH, welcome to the death of 1000 cuts, as you try to find a number wherein payment follows in the

            huge book of treatment codes.

            You speak like a former UK resident??

            That said, the USA pays a huge cost for their BAD HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. True, they also have the best of treatments, but only for the rich or covered. Those not covered die 8-10 years earlier than the rich and covered. The rich and covered live as long as Canadians, but not as long as Japanese. Those not covered drag the entire USA age at death stats far down.

            As another said, the insurance companies, lawyers, and doctors waste about 40-50% of the US health $$. Eliminate that wasted $$ = a solution.

            I am in Canada, and the system works, elective procedures are last in line, critical work is at the front of the line. That said, the Canadian system is riddled with union feather beds - sweepers at $28/hour plus $12 in benefits for example.

            1. G Mac

              Re: Indoctrinated

              “Rubbish also, your employer also pays, and often more than the employee.”

              You are obviously not self-employed, or haven’t had COBRA run out. And check your US tax codes – an old law allows companies to use tax-free dollars to pay for insurance, while if you pay personally it is taxable. One reason it is a mess.

              Australian here, living in the US.

              As one of my ex-co-workers discovered when his COBRA ran out, then got reinsured, realizing the whole pay-for-services thing skews things:

              “I never knew how expensive health care was until I had insurance”

              1. Rampant Spaniel

                Re: Indoctrinated

                This varies state to state. My healthcare is covered by my employer at just under $500 a month. My wifes by her employer (the same amount, same provider) and my kids out of my sad empty wallet (again the same cost per person, same provider, via work but not subsidised by work). It is probably completely different in other states and other jobs.

                Should I lose my job I would pay the full amount via cobra for a few months then be left to find coverage by myself.

                The system is insanely complicated, nobody knows how much anything actually costs (with the NHS it is free at the point of use, with Bismark models there tends to be a controlled cost which is easy to find, no mass of different pricing), its a mess. Education and health should be basic things we get right for the benefit of our economy and well being. We fail.

                1. TheRealRoland

                  Re: Indoctrinated

                  Finally - proper reactions from both sides of the pond.

                  Speaking as a person living in the US - I'm constantly amazed by the vicious cycle I'm in;

                  Buy insurance

                  Go to dentist

                  Dentist maxes out allowance on useful and less useful stuff

                  At end of year insurance company sees TheRealRoland maxed out allowance

                  Insurance company increases premium for next year.

                  And this happens not only with mr. Dentist, but also with ms. Hospital, mr and mrs Glasses...

                  A long time ago someone on Oprah said on TV: do not buy insurance - it's not worth the money, and in case of a Life Event, you'll go bankrupt anyways...

                  Everybody mocked him or her (can't remember, the Mrs. keeps telling me about this)

                  The longer I live here, the more I feel this person was on to something... Keep the money you get, and use it for FunStuff (tm)

                2. Keep Refrigerated

                  Re: @Rampant Spaniel - Indoctrinated

                  The system is insanely complicated, nobody knows how much anything actually costs

                  That's because from the doctor to the insurance salesman they're all gaming the system.

                  A guy I worked with whilst in the US had to go to hospital for an op. He looked at the final bill and there were items like $60 a pop for a "Mucus Removal Device"... he never saw one, nor could he find one in his room. When he traced down the source of the item this turned out to be a box of tissues that was occasionally replaced.

                  Another billable item I heard about during that time was "Exercise" for what amounted to the doctor asking them to walk 20 paces.

          7. Rampant Spaniel

            Re: Indoctrinated

            US health care costs significantly more than in countries with Beveridge or Bismark models.



            US Life expectancy is 50th in the world


            US 48th in Infant mortality (174th in reverse order)


            The US system wastes money, it doesn't deliver value for money. It fattens wallets. There is little incentive for preventative care. Many people are not covered. Many people cannot afford treatment they need. I wish it were better but frankly it is overpriced and under delivers unless you happen to be making a fortune selling drugs etc.

            As regards socialism. What is an army but socialised protection? Which country has the biggest expenditure on armed forces? Doesn't that make the USA the most socialist country? The same could be said for police forces, fire fighters? Perhaps a little less salad and school dodging would improve peoples health and ability to discuss things rationally. Then again, who ever let facts get in the way of politics!

        2. npo4

          Re: Indoctrinated

          While I agree the NHS is much better than the American system, baear in mind that not *all* Americans are happy with it, and I wouldn't make any blanket statement insulting Americans.

          I've spoken to plenty of online friends who would appreciate our system, and I would say that I have plenty of American friends who are far more friendly/ nice than my British ones...

        3. Euripides Pants

          Re: US health care costs

          The reason our health care costs are so high is because we aren't healthy.

      2. Keep Refrigerated

        Re: McCarthy

        Ayn Rand takes her fair share of blame here too.

    2. Werner McGoole

      Re: Indoctrinated

      From what I can see, the American system does seem to have some serious flaws, but I'm not all that keen on the NHS here in the UK, either TBH. The idea is basically OK, but yes, there is an element of communism to it and the supposed "costs to the taxpayer" give the state too many excuses to interfere in personal lifestyle choices.

      On top of that, standards of service in the NHS are often third-rate, which isn't all that surprising given that anything run by the government has this problem. If you want better care, you have to go 100% private. There's no way of "topping up" the basic NHS provision. The resulting step-change in costs is basically an ideological defence against the NHS being incrementally eroded by private suppliers who could potentially provide a better service.

      But there are lots of health services in the world, and some of them look pretty good to me. I just wish we in the UK could eradicate that "not invented here" attitude and look around us a bit. The NHS is past its sell-by date IMHO, but that's not to say it can't be revived if we adopt a more open mind.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Indoctrinated


        Third Rate Care

        Pick one and only one. Virtually no one who uses the NHS's services comes away dissatisfied. In 1997, only about 34% of the general public were satisfied with the NHS. Shortly before Lansley started dismantling the service, back in march 2011, that figure was 64%. Amongst actual service users, people who have utilised the NHS in the preceding 12 months, it is unusual for that figure to be below 95%. The NHS is the most efficient and accessible healthcare system in the world.

        Leave your weasel words about the NHS "sometimes being crap" at the door, ta.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Indoctrinated

          "Virtually no one who uses the NHS's services comes away dissatisfied."

          Technically correct. But if you die, you don't come away at all.

      2. David Evans

        @ Werner McGoole

        You don't realise how fantastic the NHS is until you leave the UK. I only moved as far as Ireland and the quality of medical care is light years behind the NHS. It costs €50-60 every time you see your GP (no exceptions for babies and children), it costs €100 if you set foot inside an A&E, and to get maternity care to the same standard as the NHS will cost you about five grand. Yes you can get medical inurance to cover some of these costs, but since the collapse of the Celtic Tiger the quality of cover is increasingly worthless. And the icing on the cake is that my PRSI (NI) payments are pretty similar to the level I paid in the UK. On the other hand, if I'm ever unemployed I'll get a shitload more money than the UK pays. Personally I think that's entirely the wrong way around, but hey, I'm just a guest here.

        As for quality of care, yes I've seen some bad examples in the NHS, but I've seen a lot more good ones.

        1. Figgus

          Re: @ Werner McGoole

          For those arguing how much cheaper NHS is, I would point out that what you pay directly is dwarfed by what you pay in tax dollars.

          You need to bear in mind, too, that the US has a substantially larger welfare state. We have generations of people who think the way to get through life is to let the government pay your way.

          What works in the UK doesn't necessarily work elsewhere, and if the Americans don't want socialized medicine, that really is THEIR business. Perhaps they can just send all the people who do believe in it over to live in the UK?

    3. ACx

      Re: Indoctrinated

      Its funny, health care does equal socialism to yanks, but police and armies don't. So, it the merkin government want to help you, its evil, it it wants to arrest or kill you, its fine and all American.

    4. Peter Murphy

      Not all Americans are that brainwashed, I'm glad to say.

      My uncle-in-law in Maryland knows how overpriced the American system is. Mind you, he's Vietnamese born, got automatic refugee status in 1975, and citizenship some time later. He's also a doctor who spent most of his life working in the FDA. In other words, he knows his shit - about the medical system and about the world outside the country. He's not a "USA! USA! Number One!" kind of bloke.

      1. npo4
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not all Americans are that brainwashed, I'm glad to say.

        I'm glad you brought up that point, some of these comments seemed a bit too insulting for my liking...

        I've spoken to Americans who don't like their system, some of whom it made life difficult for, and liked the idea of free healthcare like in the UK.

        But in the comments on some American sites I read, there are also a lot of people who don't like the system and support changes to it like Obamacare.

    5. ManxPower

      Re: Indoctrinated

      I strongly suspect those people who are against health care/health insurance reform have always had health insurance (paid in most part by their employer). Part of the problem is these people don't really understand how much their employer spends on health care coverage. Maybe these costs should be considered part of peoples' income and taxed as income. THEN people will start to see just how much money goes into insurance coverage and might start to think maybe the way we handle this issue isn't working.

      1. tony

        Re: Indoctrinated

        When you're comparing Insurance vs national insurance don't forget the employer contributes considerably to both

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you pick apart the logic of others, you should pay close attention to your own logic.

    "iPlayer provides TV free to anyone in the UK, the cost being covered by the licence fee Brits pay annually for the right to own a TV set."

    Its not free just because its included with something you already pay for it.

    The people using service like Netflix that use a lot of bandwidth should be the ones paying for the bandwidth they use.

    I haven't dug into the details, but the idea of the UN taking the internet sounds bad to me. China has veto powers.

    1. Mike VandeVelde

      "and the UK ISPs want to know why they shouldn't get some licence-fee cash."

      Does the BBC connect to the internet for free? I'd like to hear more about that, if there is a free connection available then where do I sign up?

      "The people using service like Netflix that use a lot of bandwidth should be the ones paying for the bandwidth they use."

      Sure, and they do. Unless you know of somewhere offering free internet connectivity, see above.

      What's the difference between me and Google? So much data to transfer, so fast. The ISPs get in betweeen, and should charge whatever it takes to carry the traffic, with a little left over for network improvements. Why is that so hard?

      My eyes have always glazed over whenever someone says "well they (usually content providers) are getting blah blah blah so they should pay". If they aren't paying, then explain how because I would also rather not pay. But nobody ever explains that part, so it's hard to get to the end of a story like this witout falling asleep. But I force myself to, because anyone who thinks I'll suffer anything like global corporation A making some sort of a deal with global corporation B to have my bits turn into second class citizens can fuck right off, so I try to keep my eyes open.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: "and the UK ISPs want to know why they shouldn't get some licence-fee cash."

        It is to do with network ingress and egress. You have content producers who make traffic, websites etc, you have viewers at the other end who are basically black holes for data, and you have a varying number of links inbetween. The idea is that the producers pay their provider for the data they produce send out into the world. The networks then either peer with each other or purchase transit from other networks to get it to the user. ISP's (which may or may not be involved with the middle of the chain as backbones) then deliver it to the user. They have a lot of power as they can take data off networks and give it to users, everybody wants to love them! They generally do not pay for connectivity to backbones, however, users pay them. Basically money enters the chain from the end user to pay the isp for the 'last mile' network and from the content producers to pay the backbones to link them to the last mile.

        Where all this has fallen over is marketing. ISP's have been driven to offer stupidly cheap pricing. Very few folks are willing to pay for quality and many are trapped by a lack of choice. The ISP's, rather than put up pricing, are looking to change the model to drag more money from the other end of the chain. This is bollocks, the content producers have already paid or come to arrangements to get data off their servers onto a network. If the ISP cannot sustain its arrangements, it needs to charge more and invest more.

        Yes peering can become one sided (cogent was famed for this) but that is why contracts are written to drop peering should it become unfair to one party. Peering for free as opposed to buying transit is supposed to be mutually beneficial. If it isn't fire the muppet who wrote the agreement.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: "and the UK ISPs want to know why they shouldn't get some licence-fee cash."

          Rampant Spaniel : "Peering for free as opposed to buying transit is supposed to be mutually beneficial."

          Valid point, but I feel you are coming at it slightly off-kilter.

          Mutual peering agreements aren't free, the least you pay is to carry the other ISP's traffic, you have to pay for your internal connectivity to handle that traffic.

          Just because someone else does the same with your traffic doesn't make it free. Same end point, but we got there via a non-free route.

  3. M Gale

    "and the UK ISPs want to know why they shouldn't get some licence-fee cash."

    Because the license fee is an anachronism that needs to be staked, quartered, burned and its ashes flung to the far corners of the Earth.

    Though I'm sure some people will tell me "well would you rather have a tax". Myself, I don't see the difference and I'd rather have neither.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes lets kill the BBC

      And then we can watch all the quality television produced by the commercial providers.... Oh wait

      The BBC is respected worldwide for its programming which is only possible thanks to the way it is funded. Yes all the money they get might not always be spent well, but they still produce content that is far better than what most of the world have to put up with,

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Please get on message

        We should not be watching that 'commie' BBC. Instead we should all be watching 'Big Brother' 24/.7.

        Well that's what the advertisers and by inference all 'Capitalists' wants.

        I hope you realise that I'm joking but that is the sort of debate I had last month while I was in the US. The NHS, the BBC etc are all regarded as being Commie plots or total fabrications. One of the people taking part in the conversation was a respected politician. You can guess which party he belonged to. (GOP)

        This was in a very liberal part of the US namely, San Francisco. I'd really hate to bring the subject up in a more redneck area. I'd be lucky to escape unscathed.

        1. Zombie Womble

          Re: Please get on message

          "We should not be watching that 'commie' BBC. Instead we should all be watching 'Big Brother' 24/.7."

          I didn't know Fox News transmitted in the UK.

      2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Yes lets kill the BBC

        Except that argument isn't valid any more. The BBC produces nothing that isn't either matched or beaten by other broadcasters world-wide. In fact most of the BBC's content is produced by external production companies - it makes very little in-house, most of which is useless tat, and most of what it broadcasts is produced with an eye on foreign markets, which is why the BBC has such long idents. They're filling the time that would be taken with adverts. Even its vaunted nature documentaries and big-name dramas are produced by third-parties and aimed at the international market first and foremost.

        The license fee is only used to pay over the odds for slebs and wannabe opinion-makers, and the layers and layers of managers that infest broadcasting house. It is a regressive anachronism that forces people to pay for a service they don't even use.

        If Microsoft extracted a tax for every computer that was sold you would be up in arms but when another greedy, overbearing corporation with delusions of superiority does it you're just fine with it.

        OH WAIT!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          And why is that? Because people like you have winged for years that the way the BBC is funded is unfair and more should be done to help private companies and why does the BBC have to do everything in-house when it could be so much cheaper to outsource it to private companies.

          The BBC might have to outsource a lot of production because of that but they still keep a close eye on those companies and make sure they do the job well. Without that input from the BBC we get the joys of Big Brother and The Only Way Is Essex

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge


            Or we get Stargate SG1, The Venture Brothers, Game of Thrones, Futurama, Deadwood, The Wire, Sharpe, The Sopranos, House, Farscape, Firefly... the list goes on and on and on and on. What has the BBC produced in the last decade that could match that? Dr Who. Maybe a couple of documentaries, a "world class" news service that can't even get basic facts about even close European neighbours like Norway and Sweden right and then scads of mindless shite trying to compete with ITV.

            Face it, your argument is lame. Other companies produce far better television for far less cost with the added benefit that I don't have to pay for them if I don't want to watch them.

            And no, people "like me" haven't been whining about the BBC doing everything in house. My argument has always been that the BBC's funding is simply immoral and has always been used to fund the lavish lifestyles of a self-selected group of wannabe-kingmakers with delusions of grandeur and a belief that they're the only ones who know how the world should be run. In-house or external production doesn't change that; the fact that it's using a government-mandated levy extracted by threat of force to fund private companies is merely the latest layer of icing on the cake.

            I don't watch television. To do so would require me to pay the wages of people I am fundamentally in disagreement with and I'm not prepared to do that.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge

              Re: @Anon

              >I don't watch television

              That seems rather at odds with your first sentence.

              1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

                Re: @Anon

                Maybe you've heard of these things called DVDs?

                1. frank ly

                  Re: @Anon

                  DVDs... or iPlayer. I watch all my tv the next day on iPlayer. So convenient :)

            2. Pax681

              @ Graham Dawson

              erm... erm.. Sharpe is an ITV1 production.. .. the Only BBC to show it is BBC America as they "co-produced" a few episodes.. which is to say two episodes with ITV1......


            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Anon

              Waking the Dead!

    2. That Awful Puppy

      Re: "and the UK ISPs want to know why they shouldn't get some licence-fee cash."

      You know what, I live quite a distance away from the UK, and I would very gladly pay the license fee + a bit extra just to have access to BBC programming. As it is, I pay 132 EUR per year for the privilege of watching complete and utter drivel on our national TV, and - get this - I pay this not because I own a telly, but because I'm connected to the national electricity grid. No way out - you have electricity, you pay nice gentleman money for TV, or nice gentleman break knees.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does the US "attack the ITU in this way"?

    Because the ITU is endorsing proposals that would lead to US communication companies making less money from foreign countries' use of the Internet than they do now. Why is that difficult to understand?

    Add to big money's control of government the fact that most Merkins feel that they own the Internet and should control it, and you've got an issue everyone can agree on.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Hold on, I *already* pay the carrier, the ISP, via my monthly direct debit. They want even *more* out of me? *And* they want to charge both the produce *and* the consumer? When I watch a film I pay the "carrier" (the local Odeon). They then pay the producer (eg Paramount). The Odean doesn't bill Paramount, Paramount bills the Odeon.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Paramount bills the Odeon.

      Yeah, but you didn't pay Paramount directly for the film and "just" pay Odeon for your seat.

      How about if the local cinema sold you a seat for £2 for the duration of a showing? They get the film from the producer for free. but you have to pay the producers, at whatever price the producer sets, to be able to actually watch it? That's the Netflix model on t'internet. Bear in mind that your "seat" at the cinema may not be available at the time you want it due to congestion.

      I can't say I know enough about the economics of internet data transit to really form an opinion on this subject, but your analogy sucks.

  6. Dropper

    Swings and Roundabouts

    Being English I spent the first 30 years of my life in the Great British NHS system and then after moving to the US I've spent the last 14 years with private insurance.

    There are so many misconceptions on both sides of the Atlantic and of course even when you do tell people how it really is, no one believes it anyway.

    What I will say though is shouting that you pay more than we do (that's both of you).. you're wrong. You pay roughly the same and the care you get is pretty much identical. That $200 a month covers the whole family, it is not a per person amount. As long as your 'children' are under 26 that is, otherwise you have to ask the question - why haven't they got jobs yet?

    There are a few differences. You almost always get a private room in the US and the hospitals have more carpeting. On the other hand in England most doctors still do house calls. The procedures are the same in both countries, waiting lists are similar - in the US you tend to have to wait a long time to see a specialist, surgery is then almost immediate, sometimes as soon as the same day.. in the UK you tend to get to see the specialist right away but then have to wait to get the surgery. Different areas have better availability depending on where specialists have decided to live.

    I know English people want to believe that you get thrown out of hospitals if you don't have money or insurance, but that's illegal. And the US has always had government backed health insurance, but it's only offered to the most vulnerable groups, such as the unemployed, disabled, seniors and children. I know Americans want to believe that European doctors still hack off limbs without putting the patient under, but that is also illegal outside of Scotland.

    When it comes to prescriptions Americans pay far more than anyone else, mostly because insurance companies are willing to pay whatever they're asked. That can be hard if you don't have prescription drug coverage. On the other hand they get access to the new stuff well before anyone else, which usually doesn't matter but for an extreme minority is the difference between life and death.

    I still say the most significant difference between health services in the two countries is that carpeting tho.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Swings and Roundabouts

      Wouldn't carpets be terribly unhygienic?

      Paris because.... well use your imagination. :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "You pay roughly the same and the care you get is pretty much identical"

      No you don't. You pay twice as much on average (percentage of GDP spent on health care). But hey it's the insurance company that pays everything, once you're covered why not use it eh?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Swings and Roundabouts

      Your post is mostly true, except that health care for the unemployed is now nearly impossible to get. Most states have eliminated those programs due to lack of funding, or instituted quotas that require long waiting lists for coverage. Standards for receiving disability benefits have also been tightened. It's true that if you're a child, or a senior with no assets, you can still usually get care, though.

    5. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Swings and Roundabouts

      Average cost per person per year in the US for healthcare $7538. In the UK $3129. A rich person in the UK would pay more than a poor person in the US, but the underlying cost per person is cheaper in the UK. I guess it depends how much you earn as to how you would view it but basically how you are charged and the actual cost is not as clearly linked in the UK as it is in the USA. Not intending to attack or dispute your comments, just a different view :)

      Having had the same experience as you (UK then US), a lot of what you say is true. The quality of care is similar, there is a lot less GP contact in the US, a lot less preventative care, however things like cancer care are superior in the US. You do get private beds more often, nicer surroundings etc. There system does however piss away a fortune in inefficiencies.

      The government does provide some healthcare services to vulnerable people. Sometimes (like Hawi'i's QWEST) this is better than what working schmucks like me get. However, this care is often limited in scope and as it pays less than private insurance plans, until you actually see it in action you don't realise how inferior it is. As it pays a lot less doctors and specialists are less willing to accept patients with Medicare of QWEST type plans. The insurance is no use if you cannot make a claim.

      It is a personal belief and I don't expect others to agree, but I feel we have a duty to ensure every child has a decent education and healthcare irrespective of their parents situation. Frankly we fail at this which is a sad reflection of our society. Big TV's and trucks are not important next to kids health and well being. These kids will be the countries future. Their taxes will pay our retirement (if we are allowed one). We need smart, fit kids. It is also the right thing to do as human beings. Apparently thinking like that makes me a pinko communist or something similar, I think it has something to do with the size of your bbq?

  7. Roger Stenning

    This has NOTHING to do with the NHS, you idiots.

    It's to do with the profit margins of ISPs, Telecomms providers, and the state of the EUs economy, which desperately needs a massive injection of wonga if the bloody Euro is to survive (I hope it doesn't, it's a sick sodding joke).

    The problem is that the ISPs and telecomms providers want you to watch their own content, not freely available content from elsewhere, as they can load their own advertisements onto it, and make more money if you click on them, than if you're viewing someone else's ads.

    Then there's the states of the EU, who are currently defecating enough masonry to build a ten-mile high wall around Europe, because the economy's gone down the shitter due to certain states not holding their purse strings tight enough in the double dip we're in; the result is that they're widely swinging around for ways to make money, and another bloody tax on us little people is just the ticket,thanks very much.

    NOW do you comprehend the scale of the problem?

    Troll, because it feels right, as some of you will no doubt be pissed that I called you idiots *evil grin*

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i like this idea

    ok, so that's SO not true. but... the only way this makes sense is if:

    Condition 1) free speech, no government-controlled firewalls / proxies / filters, and every single word that any such filter has ever been blocked in the past is made publicly available to anyone in the world, whenever it was blocked, forever and ever.

    Condition 2) any Internet search, no matter what search engine and no matter where in the world, for Comrade Bob redirects to "murderous bastard", not "UN tourism".

    Condition 3) global agreement that if a site is hosted in country X, only country X's libel / free speech laws can be deemed to apply to that site. Alternatively, condition 4 applies and can over-ride this.

    Condition 4) if a site hosted in multiple jurisdictions, the least restrictive free-speech rules apply and cannot be challenged in any other jurisdiction, and any judge accepting ex-jurisdiction cases can himself / herself be sued as an individual (not as officer of court) or simply required to resign, imm-eady-ately.

    When all of those are met, and 1 fulfilled completely (eg if anything is online referring to the events of June 4 1989, just to use one example), then maybe the ITU can raise this proposal as something to be discussed. Not before. Ideally there'd be a corollary that makes it a death-sentence offence for an elected representative to use online methods to mislead the electorate on something as important as war (election / manifesto promises, we expect it - but wars, a little more serious, and it doesn't take 45mins to work that out).

  9. Chris_Maresca

    The documents leaked are not the whole story

    I was at the conference (Tech Policy Summit 2012) where this story came out and talked with Sally Wentworth about this over drinks (aka, the ISOC person in the CNET story). The docs releases actually reference a further 3 drafts (around 600 pages) that include the proposals outlined in the CNET pieces. This have not been released or leaked yet, so it's impossible to get the full story from what is public.

    That said, Wentworth (and 3 other people, all gov't officials) confirmed the general thread in the proposals, quite a lot of which is an attempt to get large US software companies to pay for transit. At least that's the excuse/incentive given for this change, but a side effect is complete traceability off all internet traffic, something which is of great interest to China, Russia and Iran, who are also pushing for this change.

    The worrisome thing is that between those three, Europe & Africa, there are enough idiots to vote for this, which would cause huge chaos, to put it mildly. Needless to say, this hatchet job by the Reg is based on very very poor sources & research. Uninformed & clueless would be an appropriate description.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ITU treaties permitted a bunch of ripoffs on POTS

      Do you remember when lots of phone calls were being re-routed through Moldova and company and charged at the $10/min rates in the Moldova tariffs. All of which was enforced by ITU rules. Who knows how much the Moldovans could charge per megabyte for this and that Youtube content. A then bill a month or two later. And cut off your service for not paying. The ISPs aren't going to eat those bills.

  10. plrndl

    Internet Tax

    Excuse me while I make an on-topic intervention.

    ISPs should charge their users for the bandwidth they use. To do this they first need to get off their addiction to selling a fat pipe (that you aren't allowed to use) for a thin price. Bandwidth hogs are then good for their business.

    If ISPs charge the likes of Google to deliver content to the ISP's customer, the likes of Google will build their own networks, put the ISPs and Telcos out of busines, and then buy their assets for pennies on the pound/dollar/euro. You have been warned!

    Morons who want to watch Eastenders or reality TV on iPlayer, because they're too stupid to use a VCR should pay the price of clogging up the system.

    And of course the NHS is communist.

    1. Roger Stenning

      Re: Internet Tax

      I agree all but the last comment. It's socialist, not communist, there's NEVER been a communist government in Great Britain, you twit ;-)

  11. Zombie Womble

    Socialist medicine is bad, m'kay.

    This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by socialist electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the socialist clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the socialist radio to one of the FCC regulated channels to hear what the socialist National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using socialist satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    I watched this while eating my breakfast of socialist US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the socialist drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

    At the appropriate time as kept accurate by the socialist National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my socialist National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the socialist roads build by the socialist local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the socialist Environmental Protection Agency, using socialist legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

    On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the socialist US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the socialist public school.

    If I get lost, I can use my socialist GPS navigation technology developed by the United States Department of Defence and made available to the public in 1996 by President Bill Clinton who issued a policy directive declaring socialist GPS to be a dual-use military/civilian system to be managed as a national socialist asset.

    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the socialist workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labour and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the socialist USDA, I drive my socialist NHTSA car back home on the socialist DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the socialist state and local building codes and socialist fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the socialist local police department.

    I then get on my computer and use the socialist internet which was developed by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Administration and browse the socialist World Wide Web using my graphical web browser, both made possible by Al Gore's socialist High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991.

    I then post on and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

    1. Zombie Womble

      Re: Socialist medicine is bad, m'kay.

      P.S. I have no idea who the author is as I found this on the internet some time back.

      I find it funny how the same people who argue against universal healthcare are fully prepared to enjoy the benefits of 'socialism' when they see it as being in their own interests.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Socialist medicine is bad, m'kay.

        You mean like all the Senators who bitch about socialism then grant themselves access to America's largest social healthcare system (the military hospitals \ VHA).

        I would respect their beliefs if they stood by them, however they are hypocrites.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Socialist medicine is bad, m'kay.

      Don't worry so much. US Postal Service is bankrupt, so you might have to drop it off at the UPS store. And do worry about the weather because the satellites are dropping out soon.

  12. Robin Bradshaw

    So have i got this right?

    So what they are saying is they want the ISP's to ask for a cut of traffic coming from popular sites such as for example netflix, google, microsoft (for all the windows updates)

    so what happens when these popular sites say no and route all traffic from the money grabbing ISP's to a black hole?

    How long do you think an ISP would survive if you couldnt reach google/netflix/microsoft from their connection, and as has been noted who do you think would then buy what was left?

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: So have i got this right?

      As it stands right now...

      A website owner \ content creator pays to put data out onto the internet. Various companies received a cut of this (transit fees) or benefit in kind (peering) and the money passes down the chain to the ISP who owns the end mile, the access to the customer. Installing a last mile network is expensive, at some point somebody has to pay for the buildout. Hence the ISP gets paid or benefit in kind from the network backbones AND by the customers who buy their connections.

      However, the market is fierce in the UK and some other countries. ISP's providing consumer connections don't want to put up prices, they generally peer more than sell transit so income from this isn't huge so now they are looking for a 3rd revenue stream. The first from the customers (you and me buying broadband), the second from the backbone companies who provide the global transit and now a third from the website owners who have already paid to get their data out there.

      It's only my personal opinion but this is a mistake and will impact ISP's quality of service. Not everyone will pay, consumers will leave etc.

      The first link in the chain already pays based (almost always) on the quantity of data it transmits (by the mbps, GB per month, 95th percentile, whatever method, even unlimited connections are capped to port speed and often contended) so why should they then pay extra for something they have already paid for?

      ISP's & cellular providers are simply trying to avoid doing what they need to do, put up retail prices.

  13. Keith Williams

    so wot's "Wcitleaks" then?

    Also, if YouTube shows up faster than other sites isn't that just an indication that Google is paying for a bigger pipe to access the internet?

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      at its most basic yes. Google has larger and more diverse connections to 'the internet' than many other sites. Often they are in a position to be a backbone themselves and peer directly with ISP's or buy transit from them for network egress.

      Fixed \ phsyical last mile networks have to spend a fortune upgrading their networks, cellular networks are struggling to cope with the fact that data takes up most of their capacity but the least of their money. They need to make the jump to voip and just bill folks for pure data that way they can bill for actual usage rather than data as an add on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > so wot's "Wcitleaks" then?

      It's a website, dummy.

  14. Chris Fox

    Factual error: UK licence to watch live TV as it's broadcast, not to own TV

    The article is misleading. You do not need a licence to own a TV in the UK. But you do need a TV licence to watch "live" television, as it is being broadcast, at your main or temporary residence, whether you are watching it on your own TV, a borrowed TV or streaming over the Internet on a computer, games console or mobile phone etc.

    It is true that shops may register sales of new TVs with the licencing agency. But you don't have to pay anything if you never use the TV to watch live broadcasts. And conversely there are circumstances when you need a licence even if you don't own a TV.

    (With all this messing up of easy-to-check facts, on top of the one-sided reporting, repetitive tired abuse, and the anti-science propaganda, The Register looks like Slashdot for the middle-aged Daily Mail reader.)

    1. Jeebus

      Re: Factual error: UK licence to watch live TV as it's broadcast, not to own TV

      Andrew Orlowski and Lewis Page ARE middle aged Daily Mail readers.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Egad! UN? Internet?

    You do want the Internet to actually FUNCTION right? Get a packet from one place to another without several windy committee meetings in between?

    Bad enough if it were Brussel weasels, be exceedingly expensive to plump up fat eurocrats but might still work. But UN?! The mind boggles at the thought.

  16. Jeebus


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like, but shouldn't you be Big Dumb Guy (and his wife)?

  17. Boston Yankee in Tampa

    Let's be clear what this is...

    The UN's ITU is clearly being manipulated by the majority of "poorer" countries, because they see a rich source of easy money and new ways to control the flow of information to and from their citizens.

    The flaw in the ITU argument for levies against large Internet service providers is that they are not the initiators of the transfer - the end consumer is. Claims of the large service companies being the source of burdensome costs to various state controlled internet connection utilities are laughable at best. No one is forcing consumers to view or access American content.

    Since the alternative is to tax their own citizens (clearly unpalatable), governments are choosing instead to "tax" service providers to either raise revenue or to drive those providers out.

    So we come to the socialist argument. Is this a socialist power grab? You bet it is. The defining feature of the socialist is their belief that rich people's money should be taxed (seized, really) for the so-called common good. Once those special taxes against the rich are collected, the money is funneled to political supporters to ensure the continued power and control of those who had called for "redistributing" that money.

    Americans are opposed to this ITU power-grab for many good reasons, not the least of which is that it forces American businesses and consumers to contribute more dollars to fund programs of other governments. It is effectively taxation without our consent or representation, with plans made in secret closed-door meetings by unelected and unaccountable officials.

    Treaties are supposed to be compromises to ensure the well-being of all parties. These proposed changes in the ITU are mandates designed to wrest money away from "the rich Americans". The changes are not in our interest, and we won't agree to them.

    I suspect, one day soon, we Americans will get so fed up with the UN that we'll defund them by more than half, thus ending much of the wasteful spending of that bloated and ineffectual bureaucracy.

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Thumb Down

      Re: Let's be clear what this is...

      No - the socialist stance is "From each according to their ability to pay, to each depending on their need". I am a socialist and always have been (despite the climate-change loonies insisting that I'm further right than Mussolini for not believing in AGW). My stance on that is that when everyone has the basic minimum, then and only then can individuals amass significantly more than others, but only though the sweat of their own labour. No inheritance. No gold-plated directorships.

      Quite imply, it is far past the time that the USA actually paid its way in the world, rather than just keep taking. Military enterprises into other people's countries for the USA's benefits don't count as paying its way.

  18. Dropper
    Black Helicopters

    Resistance Is Futile

    I heared that after they take control of the internet, the UN is going to force all member states to pass a law mandating we set our OS Language to Canadian French, as well as making it illegal for Windows to include a calculator or your mouse to have more than one button.

  19. Callam McMillan

    ISPs and the BBC

    "But the licence not only covers the creation of content, but also its delivery, and while that is normally in the form of radio transmissions it can now equally be over ADSL wires, and the UK ISPs want to know why they shouldn't get some licence-fee cash."

    The thing is though, the ISPs do get some of the license fee cash. I am pretty certain that the BBC will pay a hansome amount for their pipes to their data centres and also a nice wad to their content distribution network providers. Then I am sure that there will be a fair exchange of money for the privilege of networks peering and the data which passes between them. So what you're actually saying is that the ISPs are greedy bastards that want paying twice. Once for taking the content from the content provider and again to pipe it to our desktops?!

    1. auburnman

      Re: ISPs and the BBC

      Don't forget they already get paid to deliver internet content to our desktops - by us. If you also count the network costs for the BBC (which I hadn't thought of initially) then really they're trying to triple dip. Greedy Shakespeare Kebabs indeed.

  20. niya blake

    I highly doubt that. Almost all health insurance plans exclude SRS. In fact City of SF is one of three employer based health insurgence plans in the country that covers SRS. oh and SRS is not frivolous.

  21. SimonG

    Are US doctors UK vets?

    Funny how in the UK you take your pet to the vet and the 1st question he asks is if your pet is insured. That answer determines the level of treatment. And recently look at the hassle as certain providers have been looking to get out of the pet insurance market . . . I can see parallels between this and the US healthcare/insurance system . . .

    1. SimonG

      Re: Are US doctors UK vets?

      Sorry folks - that comment was meant for another article - apologies for potentially creating some confusion.

      1. DaddyHoggy

        Re: Are US doctors UK vets?

        Given there were more comments about US Health care v UK NHS your post was no more off topic than most of the commentary to this article.

  22. Tom 13

    No real mystery actually.

    The Big 0 is in so much trouble he needs any boogie man he can. Best of all one that is completely false so he can beat on it to show what a great leader he is.

    Where you run into trouble is that we crazy 'Merkins, having dealt with you fracking Europeans and Brits for so long, no longer care what you SAY, we care what you do. And with your economies all headed to the crapper even faster than ours, you're ripe for implementing some sort of VAT tax on telecom after establishing the pay for origination principle in law solely as means of propping up your yes, socialist economies.

    Deal with it.

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