back to article Google, Netflix ready next weapon in net neutrality battle: The fury of millions

As the future of net neutrality hangs in the balance, Google and Netflix have this week decided that offense is the best defense. The two web kingpins are preparing to rally millions of netizens to their cause, namely that their internet traffic should be free to flow unmolested by broadband providers. It comes as Verizon won …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Blarkon

    Silicon Valley hates regulation when it gets in the way of profits, but loves it when it comes to protecting its business model.

    1. Ashton Black

      I'm racking my brain to think of an private industry sector where that isn't true.

    2. LarsG

      Net neutrality?

      With the Government and UK ISPs introducing censorship of the net, net neutrality is a rather moot point.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Net neutrality?

        > net neutrality is a rather moot point.

        No, it isn't. Not only is censorship a separate issue, it's one which would be made worse by loss of net neutrality. Censorship is better the less there is, giving dozens more actors free reins to block content on the net is worse than the present situation even though it technically isn't censorship.

    3. sabroni Silver badge


      That's the only rational position, isn't it? We are talking about businesses.

    4. Vociferous

      So what, when their interests coincide with ours.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: when their interests coincide with ours.

        But does it?

        I sure as hell don't want your Cat lolz gumming up my phone calls. And me streaming an old episode of Chuck on Netflix shouldn't gum up your phone calls. Prioritizing services can guarantee that. Net Neutrality destroys it.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: when their interests coincide with ours.

          > But does it?


          > I sure as hell don't want your Cat lolz gumming up my phone calls.

          No, you want to pay extra to have my cat lolz gum up your phone calls, I get it. Because, you know, the tubes don't get any thicker just because the ISP nickles & dimes you, and if you think your ISP will prioritize your calls over Netflix and Youtube access, then you're in for a rude awakening.

        2. JEDIDIAH

          Re: when their interests coincide with ours.

          > And me streaming an old episode of Chuck on Netflix shouldn't gum up your phone calls. Prioritizing services can guarantee that. Net Neutrality destroys it.

          No. Allowing the common carrier to run amok ensures that you will have no choice in VOIP carriers and you will be forced to use your local ISP which also happens to be the local physical monopoly.

          This is about Verizon packets and Netflix packets being equal. If they want to prioritize one type of traffic, then they need to do it for EVERYONE.

          If you're a sheepish rube, then it shouldn't only be your VOIP packets that get through. Mine also should benefit from the same QoS policy even if I choose to treat my local physical monopoly strictly as a common carrier.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: when their interests coincide with ours.

          You've got a point, but it shouldn't be an either-or choice. It's a matter of how one defines net neutrality. If the subscriber paying for the service can be given a certain allocation of higher-priority traffic, say for phone calls, provided that the subscriber controls the allocation, then I think that's helpful. Traffic management is useful and even necessary. But the ISP needs to have no business interest that provides monetary incentives to favor one service or another. That is where neutrality is important.

    5. Uncle Ron

      Not the Point...

      Profits or Silicon Valley or Business Models is not the point here. If we want broadband to look like cable TV, with metered billing, "carriage fees," and all manner of "regulated" shenanigans, let's continue to bicker over whose ox is getting gored here. Our monthly bills will skyrocket, innovation will shrivel, we'll be stuck with backward technology, and zero investment... Sound familiar? It's Cable TV all over again. The rapidly dying business model of Big Cable should not be bailed out on the backs of the public.

      Broadband is already the most profitable product cable systems sell. By far. The TV side profits are shrinking. Should these monopolies be allowed to impose new unwarranted billing practices simply because the world is changing? Why should the FCC or Congress bail out this industry on our backs? Broadband is a -very- -very- low tech service. These guys have a monopoly on only one thing: The right to lay the cable. Which was paid for decades ago. The rest is off-the-shelf.

      I'm sorry these behemoths find themselves in a dull utility business, but that doesn't mean they get to screw us through lobbying, campaign contributions and bribery. It's not right.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Broadband is a -very- -very- low tech service.

        Broadband is anything but low tech. Yeah the old cable companies were low tech, but not switched digital communications. It may be slow to change because introducing instability into the system could down the whole country, but that isn't the same thing as dusty.

        Why should Congress or the FCC force the rest of the country to subsidize freetards who don't want to pay the people who produce their entertainment?

        I'm all for forcing the broadband suppliers to comply with the terms under which they sell their services. If they say "unlimited" there should be no '*' after it, or at least it needs to be spelled out in letters just as large in close proximity to the term. But that doesn't mean we should force untenable contract terms on those private companies. I'm a Netflix subscriber. If their business puts too much stress on the high speed network, I should pay for it (either directly or via an increased fee to Netflix). And yes, I actually have been thinking about talking to my roommate about upping the limit on our broadband speed because of the number of appliances we now have on our home network.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not the Point...

        Unfortunately in our very corrupt country, the telco & cable operators buy the the legislation they need through campaign contributions. They have also got exclusivity deals at the local level for franchises so each city or town is a monopoly or duopoly. That's why we have very high prices and very low speed for broadband in the US. Couple that with the decline in land line revenue (>50% 2000 to 2010 & forecast to fall another ~35% 2010-2016), as well as people dumping cable which is now accelerating, and you can bet AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, et al are going to be looking for further ways to extort money from us.

  2. Christian Berger

    Well yes, but what should it change?

    Imagine you are an ISP in the US. You are likely a local monopoly, so people have to get their Internet from you. If you get more complaints, you just staff up your support department and raise the prices. Or you cancel the contracts of the people who complain the most.

  3. Big_Ted


    Could the US situation be covered by freedom of speech ?

    Could the ISP's be in danger of being charged for that ?

    I know I would be looking into it if I were a Google Lawyer.....

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Ummmm

      No, no, no, and I say again no.

      The US Constitution governs the government, not the corporations or the people.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Ummmm

        "The US Constitution governs the government, not the corporations or the people."


        Article I, Section. 8: (excerpt)

        The Congress shall have Power...To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.

  4. S4qFBxkFFg

    If Google/Netflix don't get their way on this, it could get messy - I assume Google has quite a large number of IP addresses from which it can fling packets, as well as various other ways of obfuscating the content it's sending.

    Imagine playing whack-a-mole where the number of holes is equal to the number of ipv6 addresses Google can control - just becomes a portal, the actual video data comes from all over the place.

    (Yes, I know the ISPs could just block altogether, but that's probably a bit too blatant.)

    1. Tom 13

      Re: playing whack-a-mole

      Except, that's not at all what the Verizon et al have talked about doing and the FCC is preventing. They're talking about QOS for types of traffic, and/or peering arrangements to move loads off the backbone. Which is what makes this a really EVIL Google stunt: they've already done what Verizon might ask Netflix to do.

  5. auburnman

    I thought Google had switched teams on the Net Neutrality issue? I'm sure El Reg had an article about it.

  6. Elmer Phud

    What Google is saying is . . .

    . . . fat pipes = more cats

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Internet is so so last decade

    Get real Google.

    The internet is being depreciated in every way. Apple and Microsoft are concentrating on apps so don't expect your web support to work well there.

    Remember HTML 5 ? Well things have stagnated there too. Whilst Chrome, Opera and Firefox are moving forwards, IE and Safari seem to be stagnating, in fact it seems demanding web sites on Safari create one big crash.

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: The Internet is so so last decade

      Indeed, but customer choice will also render these browsers obsolete if they do not render the pages their users want to see, pretty much in the way IE market share was falling like a stone before they got on the standard bandwagon and pulled their finger out. As for apps...better browser support for fast programming language execution is making them rather less relevant, apple can not hold this up as android accounts for far more devices than apple.


      Re: The Internet is so so last decade

      > The internet is being depreciated in every way. Apple and Microsoft are concentrating on apps so don't expect your web support to work well there.

      Was this meant as some sort of satire or sarcasm? It's hard to tell sometimes. Some people are just stupid. You can't always be sure when someone is joking.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Internet is so so last decade

      you are either a troll or incredibly fucking stupid.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sent a cold shiver down my back. Google, AT&T, Verizon, damn cat videos, the FCC....that's just toooo many negative points in one story. And to think Google and AT&T are supposedly fighting for my rights? Kinda like trusting the devil with your best interest. However this goes, it will not turn out good for anyone.

    Good thing the NSA isn't in the details as well, it would probably start snowing blood red snowflakes.

  9. David Kelly 2

    The Twisted Minds of Progressive Leftists

    "Net Neutrality" originated in the twisted minds of progressive leftists who believe everything originates from the benevolence of government and therefore everything is their's to regulate, and tax.

    I pay for my internet connection specifically because it gives me access to Netflix, The Register, Amazon, Google, YouTube, etc. Progressives see those as evil capitalists who are fair game to tax because supposedly they are taking advantage of "the internet" which progressives are claiming the right to regulate.

    The truth is just the opposite. Big providers are not burdening the internet with a free ride, big providers are the very reason the internet exists. The very reason I subscribe to an ISP. I pay for my connection and I expect my ISP to deliver the expected connectivity. If download is slow I blame my ISP, not Netflix.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: The Twisted Minds of Progressive Leftists

      I pay for my internet connection too, and half the time it *doesn't* give me access to YouTube. And when I complain, they just laugh, because there's no one else to "buy internet" from.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: because there's no one else to "buy internet" from.

        Then you should vote for a different mayor and city council (or appropriate equivalent thereof for your locale). Because that's where the problem is not with some cat stroking villain running the ISP.

    2. Vociferous

      Re: The Twisted Minds of Progressive Leftists

      @David Kelly: I hope you one day realize how mind-bogglingly dumb your post was. I also hope someone films your reaction, and posts it to youtube.

      With a bit of luck I'll have paid my ISP extra for the "pathfinder" internet package, so I'll be able to see it.

      1. Tom 13

        @ Vociferous

        No, yours is the vapid comment. David Kelly is exactly right. He paid for the service he should get it. I do the same. If you're getting shafted by your local ISP, you need to vote for less corrupt local politicians too.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: @ Vociferous

          > He paid for the service he should get it.

          We all pay for the service. That's not the issue.

          The issue is if the ISP can charge you extra for not throttling your service, and can charge sites extra for letting users access them. The issue is also that ISPs are natural monopolies, meaning that libertarian dreams of how the Invisible Hand of the Truly Free Market will make everything just perfect is even more bullshit than it usually is.

          The question is: do you wish to pay extra to be able to access any site you want? Do you feel that websites should pay ISP's for the users coming from that ISP? Do you feel that ISP:s should be able to throttle access to or block competitor sites and sites which do not pay them? Do you feel that the internet should be carved up along national and corporate borders?

          Because that's what NOT having net neutrality gets you.

          For users, and for websites, there is no upside, no advantage, to abolishing net neutrality. Only ISP:s benefit.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The Twisted Minds of Progressive Leftists

      "...big providers are the very reason the internet exists."

      Uh, no.

      You know nothing of the history of the Internet and how it was created with OUR tax dollars as well as the disappearance of the small ISPs and therefore, competition or the fact that most of the fiber laid back in the boom days was done by private companies hoping to bypass the telcos.

      But the issue is about being able to deliberately throttle access and charge YOU more for it.

  10. Herby

    On the lighter side of things...

    ...Maybe they can look at the SPAM packets and charge more for them. It might even work.

    As for the bigger picture:

    Call them "Common Carriers" and be done with it. Of course then we will get nicked for every byte, but that is how it goes.

    The end user should be the one that determines the "quality of service", Nobody else!

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    The lie of the big ISPs

    I don't know specifically what Verizon Wireless' plan is -- if they plan to put the screw job to people, or if they are just trying to get out from under the 700mhz C band throttling prohibition (when Google started bidding, they got the FCC to put this "no touching the data" prohibition onto the C band specifically.) VZW is using 4G LTE on this band -- VZW's throttling on 3G on other bands only kicks in when the cell site is loaded enough your usage is actually slowing down other users, not 24/7; a few users on howardforums reproted using 500GB-1TB *a month* on this so I could see mere usage-based throttling being not that big a deal, even for these heavy users. On the other hand, if VZW cripples their internet access by pretending Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, etc. are something either they or I should pay extra for, I will quit paying for this service on the spot.

    On the other hand, AT&T has been downright WHINING that Youtube and Netflix are "freeloaders" -- conveniently not mentioning that they pay BIG BUCKS for their physical connections to internet exchange points, AND pay for the traffic already as well (if traffic is even in both directions, typically there is little or no charge as it's a wash -- but if traffic is mostly in one direction then they get a nice fat bill already.) This is what Google should mention if they aren't already, that they do pay for their internet connections just like everyone else.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The lie of the big ISPs

      Exactly. To imply Google and Netflix, et al are not paying for access and paying incredible sums of money for it, is a damn lie and should tell you all you need to know about what Verizon wants, which to eff us all up the arse.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    It won't make any difference.

    The American government is officially now a fascist government and what people want doesn't mean a damn thing and hasn't for 3 decades.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting to think that..

    Netflix - or video streaming companies are an interesting example.

    They benefit heavily from the ISPs who drag content to us users.

    Netflix - 40million subscribers @ $5 per month = $200m per month gross revenue - $2.4billion per year and no local network costs. The ISPs should be buying stock fast.

  14. Miek

    The way I see it is that it could be used to create a monopoly. Let's say you are a VirginMedia Netflix user and you just get broadband from VM. VM might be unhappy about this and start throttling Netflix until it is unusable and then force the customer to sign up to one of VM's TV packages.

  15. Richard Cranium

    "The tragedy of the commons"

    If you're not familiar with the phrase google it.

    Why should my moderate internet usage be slowed because some customers make huge demands on the system. If the answer is "the ISP should invest more so they can give an all you can eat service to everyone, including the resource hogs" then I can expect a price hike in order to pay for the hogs excess usage.

    I would prefer an ISP that works more like an electricity supplier. A quarterly base charge for service provision (based on bandwidth provided - 20Mbit delivered at the premises charged higher than a line providing 1Mbit) then a cost per gigabyte of actual traffic used this quarter. If I want a continuous stream of cat videos why shouldn't I pay more than the guy who just deals with a couple of emails a day?

  16. Pat 4

    Doesn't really matter anyways...

    In Canada, net neutrality is still alive but ISPs have figured out a way to get around the rules.

    The trick is for ISPs to own other media services, like Bell has a very large media empire along with it's Internet services. So does Videotron in Quebec, Rogers out west etc etc. Most large ISPs in Canada also have cable/'satellite/fiber television services.

    See, they all have caps on the amount of Data that is allowed per month. You can raise your data cap for a fee. Now they've started offering new "services" where you can stream all the content offered on certain channels for a fee, and that amount of data does not count on your monthly allowance. For example, for 5$/month you can watch all the HBO shows on your phone, and that doesn't count on your monthly data allowance. They also have a Hockey package that works the same.

    They will add more and more content like this. Sports, specialty channels etc. Soon, for a fee, you'll be able to view all kinds of content on you phone or home computer and it wont count on your Data allowance. No packet filtering, no bandwidth throttling... all at the same speed, all respecting net neutrality rules. Then... slowly, they will start to reduce the size of data plans... just watch...

    Soone or later... you'll still have net neutrality, BUT... you wanna stream a TV show... buy the package. You wanna watch Netflix... sorry, you busted your download cap for the month... pay up.

    In the end... we'll have to pay up either way.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021