In the Future, Where There Is No Internet

|

The LA Times reports on the hilarious conspiracy video that's been giving net neutrality advocates a bad name:

The video, "2012: The Year the Internet Ends," has been watched nearly 1.5 million times since it was posted on YouTube June 1. In it, the group says over ominous music that it has high-level sources at significant Internet service providers around the globe who have revealed that they are jointly planning to unveil a new subscription-based pricing model in 2012. Under the plan, the group says, ISP users would get access to a few basic websites and be forced to pay extra to go anywhere else on the Internet.

I Power is using the plan to advocate for network neutrality—rules to prevent Internet providers from discriminating against individual websites.

But there's a major problem with I Power's theory. If you're going to have a worldwide conspiracy, then it would seem vital to include the world's wealthiest country. And in the United States, the plan I Power is talking about would violate federal rules.

Meanwhile, giving net neutrality a good name, some Comcast users are in their second week of a program that's limiting traffic at peak times, while trying not to throttle the system.

"Unless you are an extremely heavy user of internet resources (which is not likely) you will not notice any change to your internet experience during this test," Mitch Bowling, general manager of Comcast online services says in the e-mail. "At the busiest times of the day on our network (which could occur at any time), those very few disproportionately heavy users, who are doing things like conducting numerous or continuous large file transfers, may experience slightly longer response times for some online activities, until the period of network congestion ends."

The move is designed to set aside complaints that the Philadelphia-based company has been throttling BitTorrent data and other peer-to-peer traffic to manage congestion. Comcast's practices have been the subject of hearings before the Federal Communications Commission, which is set to announce new rules concerning the concept of net neutrality.

Comcast announced in March it was switching to a new network management technique by the end of the year for managing bandwidth use and congestion. The company said it was partnering with BitTorrent Inc. of San Francisco, to develop a neutral traffic-management protocol.

I'm optimistic about a solution that came about via filesharers and telcos knocking their heads together like this; I'll be curious to see whether it works.

Advertisement

NEXT: The Feminist Mistake

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. None of this matters, as the world will end on December 21st, 2012 anyway. We won’t be without the internet for very long.

  2. Nice cleavage in that video. Were they talking about something?

  3. wow, Tim Russert is dead.

  4. Comcast has been quietly throttling for years.

    It was at least a year ago now that they throttled my Vonage VOIP service to death. The packet loss became so high at peak usage times that all you got was a nasty buzzing sound.

    Coincidentally, this happened just as Comcast rolled out their own VOIP service.

    That experience sucked Comcastically. Still, it is their network.

  5. The only Comcast problems I have had are the occasional service “reset”, which caused me once to call in and wait for ages as they created a password and ID for me, that I never needed before, then go in and change password after resetting all of my home gear.

    Then another one, where I skipped the call-in step and just reset everything, in the proper order of course, and got back online.

    Well, the bill is kinda big too, but it is a “voluntary” bill, as opposed to a government bill. If I don’t like it enough I can always quit.

    Now, about this 2012 thing, seems that as soon as this rumor subsides (sometime after the ‘Whitie’ Obama video nonsense) I believe it would be time to bring back the Post Office e-mail tax plan!

    Yea, I can’t believe that Tim Russert died. I liked his work.

  6. TallDave – That wasn’t throttling that killed your Vonage. That was congestion. Throttling is actually the solution to your problem.

  7. http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=23001

    When it comes to property rights and a free market, net neutrality is not “neutral” in any sense of the word.

    Net neutrality infringes upon the Constitutional rights and economic viability of Internet service providers. Consumers who value neutrality should seek out and reward service providers that promise to handle their network traffic in a neutral way. Instead of using government to manipulate markets forcibly, the supporters of net neutrality should use the forces of cooperation and competition among Internet service providers to achieve their goals. The proper role for government here is to enforce the contracts made between consumers and providers, and to avoid violating Constitutional principles for the benefit of one party over another.

  8. I went like 2 mins in and am wondering when does she take off that blouse?

  9. Comcast does many kinds of traffic shaping, some of them are actually beneficial (at times) to the customer. FTP transfers are cached up to a few megabytes for a kind of burst advantage. However, my problem with the caching was I became increasingly concerned that the technology is now in place for an ISP to actually capture and reassemble your packets, and then inspect what you’re transmitting or receiving. Or worse, hand over your activity to someone with real authority, like the RIAA or Federal Government. I now run an encrypted Darknet. Traffic shaping disappeared the instant I got that configured and active. Now comcast just moves the packets.

  10. “And in the United States, the plan I Power is talking about would violate federal rules.”

    Similarly, it would violate federal rules for telecom firms to let the government tap calls without warrants.

    So it could never, ever happen.

  11. ” Consumers who value neutrality should seek out and reward service providers that promise to handle their network traffic in a neutral way. ”

    Doesn’t work that way. An ISP generally doesn’t control the wires all the way between me and the sites I want to see. It only controls a portion of the route.

    Even if I could get a right-thinking service provider, that wouldn’t guarantee that traffic would be handled neutrally on all network paths I might want to traverse.

  12. Net Neutrality in a Nutshell: “The market may work for cars and milk, but it doesn’t work for networks. Everything you know about production, distribution and consumption has to be discard, because the internet is something new that Adam Smith never thought of. We must have massive government intervention or we will lose our freedoms.”

    The number of otherwise intelligent libertarians who favor net neutrality is depressing.

  13. I’m pretty sure the nicely endowed female in that video is the same one who promised to give 40,000 blowjobs for something or other. The dude to whose youtube account it was posted has another one up where he incoherently thumps his chest about being the highest leveled paladin in WOW. Truly, reliable sources.

  14. I’m pretty sure the nicely endowed female in that video is the same one who promised to give 40,000 blowjobs for something or other. The dude to whose youtube account it was posted has another one up where he incoherently thumps his chest about being the highest leveled paladin in WOW. Truly, reliable sources.

    To be fair the LA times sure picked a group of incoherent idiots to represent Net Neutrality.

    I guess you can say they pulled a Weigel.

  15. Does it occur to anyone else that major Internet business interests (eBay, Amazon) would throw a fit if this were actually happening? The lack of said fit damns the hypothesis in my eyes…

  16. Zach, Zach, Zach. Don’t you see? That just proves that they’re in on it. They get to wet their beaks, too, so they’re laying back, just us suckers won’t see it coming.

  17. None of this matters, as the world will end on December 21st, 2012 anyway

    This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way…the world ends.

  18. Does it occur to anyone else that major Internet business interests (eBay, Amazon) would throw a fit if this were actually happening? The lack of said fit damns the hypothesis in my eyes…

    Those two probably think they’re safe because of their popularity–people will switch providers if they think they can’t get to them as quickly as they want. It’s the startups of the world who would be the losers, as their barriers to entry would dramatically increase, in favor of established players.

  19. Doesn’t work that way. An ISP generally doesn’t control the wires all the way between me and the sites I want to see. It only controls a portion of the route.

    Even if I could get a right-thinking service provider, that wouldn’t guarantee that traffic would be handled neutrally on all network paths I might want to traverse.

    This is actually the biggest argument against discriminatory throttling: your provider wants to charge someone upstream of him more for content that he only has to support for the last little bit of its journey. The companies who would be getting shafted if the internet worked the way Verizon and Comcast executives claim it does would be Level3 and other backbone providers. So if they start favoring some companies over others, well, I bet you’ll hear Verizon and Comcast start freaking out over UNFAIR!!!1! MARKIT FAILUR!11!!one!

  20. TallDave – That wasn’t throttling that killed your Vonage. That was congestion.

    No, it wasn’t congestion per se. It was Comcast deliberately downgrading Vonage traffic at times of high traffic.

    This is trivially easy to prove: Comcast’s VOIP does not have this problem.

  21. The number of otherwise intelligent libertarians who favor net neutrality is depressing.

    If it’s implemented I worry net neutrality will look like rent control: infrastructure degrading because we’re removed the profit incentive in the name of “fairness.”

  22. TallDave, AFAIK there is already net neutrality.

    This is the real, common sense, non-libertarian reason why net neutrality is bullshit. (when I say “non-libertarian,” I mean that it’s not an argument where I just say “property rights, the end!” Although, don’t get me wrong, I do like that argument.):

    Currently no Internet sites are paying ISPs for a higher tiered service. If suddenly, there is no net neutrality, and if all sites refuse to pay ISPs, why would ISPs suddenly slow down the speeds of all sites not paying… when they weren’t paying in the first place when there was net neutrality? Why shouldn’t we assume that, right now, these are the slow speeds those net neutrality activists keep warning us about when sites don’t pay?

    This paradox leads me to assume that tiered services would not be to slow down sites that do not pay, but to speed up sites that do pay.

    Having other sites pay ISPs for faster individual services would work as a way of cutting costs and making x sites run faster.

    To truly understand the beauty of my argument, you should read this article in Wired Magazine. It applies perfectly to everything I’ve said so far.

  23. Actually, I lied. You only need to read this part of the article:

    Scenario 2: Ads on the subway? That’s so 20th century. By sponsoring the whole line and making trips free, the local merchants association brings grateful commuters to neighborhood shops.

    “Free” is an exaggeration at the moment; Moore’s Law has more work to do before that happens. But definitely cheaper and/or at a higher speed.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.