back to article Net neutrality meets opposition in US, while Europe mulls charges for Big Tech

The Biden administration's proposals to restore net neutrality rules for US internet services are facing opposition from Republican senators who claim it is a politicized move that would not survive judicial review. Plans to revive the policy adopted during President Obama’s tenure came to light at the end of last month. …

  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

    ... so charge them to use your networks.

    I'm no fan of these sites, but this is not a regulatory issue. The fact the majority of your customers PAY you because of these sites seems lost on you.

    Users PAY you for the bandwidth from these companies - you should be grateful the companies aren't charging YOU for peering.

    If this sucks, it's your business model that sucks...

    -- Why won't you charge these companies?

    -- They would refuse to pay.

    -- So cut them off.

    -- Then we would have to pay more for our general peering, or our paid subscribers would moan and go elsewhere.

    -- Exactly

    If a bus service to a certain shopping centre suddenly becomes incredibly popular because of one particular store, the bus company can't start charging the store... If the bus company offered unlimited travel, that is now unsustainable, that's their problem.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

      A bus company is a public service that can't boot people off for protected classes (sex/gender, age, religion, and general appearance including inoffensive clothing choices) nor because of where they shop at. ("Victoria's Secret? Not on my bus!")

      We need the FCC to reclassify the ISPs as public services -- like the phone companies of yore, and like it was just a few years ago -- to gain that same protection for the users, so that their packages/parcels (data packets) don't matter, only whether they paid the fare. Similarly, what's in those packets shouldn't force someone off the express bus and onto the local bus unless their sheer volume violates their service contract.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

        I think that's the problem in the states.

        Internet does not come from anyone who can even pretend to be a "common carrier".

        1. NoneSuch Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

          "43 Republican senators call on the FCC chair to rethink things, saying to reinstate the “heavy-handed public utility regulations” would be a mistake and urging her to “end this charade.”"

          43 Republican senators who have taken hefty donations from US cable and Internet companies no doubt. Any politician issuing a statement on an industry should be forced to state how much money they have received from that industry in the first sentence.

          "I Senator (Insert Name Here) have received $125,000 from AT&T. I feel this legislation would hurt my relationship with AT&T and if it is passed they will no longer give me as much cash as they have in the past."

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

        "A bus company is a public service that can't boot people off for protected classes (sex/gender, age, religion, and general appearance including inoffensive clothing choices) nor because of where they shop at. ("Victoria's Secret? Not on my bus!")"

        I don't disagree, but there were 2 stories in this article - one about American Net Neutraiity, and one about European ISPs wanting to double-charge for bandwidth.

        My response, and analogy, was in response to the second story.

        And just to clarify further, whilst my example could be applied to public bus services, I was thinking more about private bus "shuttle" services, or even taxis... Whatever.

        The point being, if a transport company of any kind offers customers a monthly subscription with unlimited travel to the shopping centre, they can't then attempt to charge the shopping centre if it starts to become a really popular destination, making their customer contracts unprofitable.

        If they really need more cash, they need to change the terms of future customer contracts - it's got sod all to do with the shopping centre!

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

          Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

          My apologies and I agree; I was extending the metaphor to the first story, not arguing against your point.

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

        But back to the first question... I don't know if you know this, but in the UK, the owner of the main national local-loop infrastructure (BT) was forced to split from the service provider (BT).

        "Openreach" (as the local-loop company is now called) are responsible for the local-loop, and are required to sell access to it to anyone who wants it, at the same price.

        Yes, there were calls for it to be completely independent, but big cash and politicians said otherwise, so it's now a "fully independent" company, owned by BT. Still, looking past the potential conflict of interest (which to be fair, is held in check), the point is, any joe-blow can set up an internet company / phone company, and there is no one company that has an effective monopoly over the local infrastructure to stop them.

        Maybe a similar idea (where the service company is disconnected from the company that owns the local cable, and is forced to be impartial) would work in America?

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

          Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

          "Maybe a similar idea (where the service company is disconnected from the company that owns the local cable, and is forced to be impartial) would work in America?"

          Probably not.

          Anecdote: I remember a coworker trying just that back in 2005-06, but when the service didn't work the two companies just pointed the finger at each other, plus there were billing issues between them. They both wanted to get paid as if they both provided the whole package but without taking responsibility for the lack of actual service.

          Practice: our major providers differ in terms of technology. Until that is sorted -- probably requiring legislation at state level -- they will maintain independent systems and not work together at all. (My local duopoly gives you a choice of copper coax or copper twisted pair; neither has upgraded to fiber-to-the-premises yet, and using cellular for home internet is a joke unless 5G actually works but I haven't tested that yet, and there are supposed drawbacks to that.)

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

            Ahhhh yes, I didn't think of that. We had a coherent national (apart from Hull) landline structure to utilise due to the previous privacy of British Telecom, and cable wasn't ever such a thing here as it was over there.

            There were a few cable companies - they have now been bought out (nothing to do with government) so there is only one main national cable company now. They had compatibility issues for a while, but that was ironed out when they went digital - but as they grew privately, and never had a huge influence on the residential comms marketplace, they weren't subject to the "common carrier" clause anyway.

            Cheers

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: " “pay almost nothing for data transport in our networks.”

          Well everywhere in the UK except for Hull, where Kingston Communications owns the last-mile cables.

  2. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The ISPs would be happy if all their customers pay £20+ a month to check our emails one a week like it was the 1990s, we have heard it all before with the offering 'unlimited' data and then suddenly throttling users because they went over their limits. Customers got pissed off with that so now they see 'big tech' as their next place to try and squeeze some more profits from for the shareholders.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      The ISPs would be happy if all their customers pay £20+ a month to check our emails one a week like it was the 1990s, we have heard it all before with the offering 'unlimited' data and then suddenly throttling users because they went over their limits.

      This is the alternative. If content providers won't pay for the capacity they use, then users will. Netflix etc will happily charge their users a premium for 4K content, but pay virtually nothing for the delivery of those extra pixels. The latest CoD will charge users £80 and maybe a monthly sub to play FPS games, but pay virtually nothing to make sure their customers get a lag-free experience.

      That's kind of the technical argument, ie not all content is created equal, and QoS or CoS could benefit real-time apps so they work well when there's congestion, and packet loss. As traffic levels continue to increase, so will congestion. The only solution to this is to throw money at the problem to increase capacity. This is very expensive, especially when you have to jump tech levels, ie something with a 10Gbps interface costs a lot less than something that can support 100Gbps, especially at peering locations where you have to route and want Nx100Gbps interfaces with multiple peers, transit providers or CDNs.

      And then the bigger problem is the constant need to upgrade the rest of the ISP's network, so all the backbone/backhaul links and capacity to the edge switches that form the access network. Content drives those costs, so if content providers won't contribute to them, the only people who can be charged are the users. So expect an end to 'unlimited' offers, and a transition to mobile-style xGB a month tariffs. Users may be unhappy with this switch, especially as they often have no knowledge or control over the apps they run, especially all the garbage that 'requires' an Internet connection and cloudybollocks. You may pay £20/month for your fancy new baby monitor, but it may end up eating all your data allowance and generate overage charges at £1/GB.

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        The likes of Netflix must be paying SOMEONE for their connection to the internet? They don't get it for free. If I want a hosting service I will have a set data limit or bandwidth limit and if I want more I have to pay more.

        We're being offered ever faster internet connections which leads to more data and then the people offering these ever faster connections are moaning that we're using too much data....

        Either I'm missing something or the telcos are just being whiney.

  3. Yes Me Silver badge
    Flame

    5G is irrelevant anyway

    5G is just another transmission technology. Its success or failure is indeed nothing to do with net neutrality. The controversy in the United States of Advertising is about freedom to brainwash the population, and it's no surprise that the advertising industry and its friends are lobbying to avoid any kind of consumer-protection rules, and it's no surprise that their lackeys in Congress are going along.

    More power to the FCC, say I.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    “threaten the progress the country has made”

    Yes. Forcing the Internet back to net neutrality would certainly threaten the progress back to slavery that the Republicans have been pushing with Trump and ever since.

    After all, going backwards is still going somewhere . . .

    1. Dimmer Bronze badge

      Re: “threaten the progress the country has made”

      Please review your history. Democrats of old were for slaves, Republicans of old abolished it.

      Note I said “of old”. I can’t tell the difference of the parties now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We own the supreme court, so don't waste your time"

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The US is in a leadership position?

    “The senators also contrasted the US, which they claim is now in a leadership position in adopting “next-generation telecommunications services” like 5G and Wi-Fi 6e, with “Europe’s heavily regulated internet providers” which they say are struggling to keep pace.”

    I have a choice of 1 broadband ISP in my major US metropolitan area, the local cable TV monopoly. My sister in a Paris suburb has a choice of at least 6 ISPs offering 2 Gbps fiber for less than 1 pay for my 100 Mbps coax connection. God bless America!

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: The US is in a leadership position?

      I find it a minor miracle that you can now go almost anywhere in the lower 48 with just one mobile carrier.

      The US has always been anti-competitive and this is not a Dem vs GOP thing.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: The US is in a leadership position?

      Leadership? Not sure how long I've had 5G here, but I know it was live for at least a year before I bought a 5G phone. There's 1GB fibre here and we haven't even upgraded to that yet.

      Seems like it's "Europe's heavily regulated internet providers" who might be in a "leadership position" here?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like