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Thank you for helping stop tiered pricing on the internet
Today the power of the grassroots/netroots movement has prevailed.  In combined efforts, through emails, letters, faxes, phone calls, blogs and town hall meetings, the people of Western New York have rallied to stop Time Warner from charging customers for the amount of information they download off of the internet.

On April 7th, my office announced that we would introduce legislation to stop the broadband metering and on Friday, April 10th we began drafting the legislation.  Even though the people of Western New York were successful in stopping Time Warner’s ill-thought out tiered pricing plan, I am moving forward with the legislation, the Massa Broadband Internet Fairness Act, to ensure that this unfair pricing does not spring up elsewhere.
It has always been my position that this plan would hurt the economy in a time when our country is in a deep recession.    My proposed legislation will encourage competition while at the same time offering initiatives to businesses and protecting consumers.
Thanks to all of you in the grassroots/netroots movement for being with us all along.  

Rep. Eric Massa

Originally posted to Congressman Eric Massa on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:46 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  helps when a Congressman understand the power (41+ / 0-)

    and function of the internet.  Certainly given your experience in two election cycles you do.

    Keep going with your bill.


    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:48:36 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (10+ / 0-)

    The implication of your post is right on: Responsibility is on us, the people.  

    We may want to blame our leaders, but ultimately they are only doing what we allow them to do.

  •  Thank you, Congressman Massa. I wiss you were my (12+ / 0-)

    representative, but I live in Texas. Need I say more?

  •  Time Warner's plan was especially egregious (38+ / 0-)

    Comcast's cap of 250GB with a warning is at least somewhat sensible, but Time Warner's caps of 5, 10, 20, and 40GB (or whatever they were) was downright ridiculous.  It would mean the end of internet video, which is of course part of the point.

    •  Comcast should still kill their cap (15+ / 0-)

      They act so much like they are a monopoly still, which to an extent they are in their regions....

      "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

      by skywaker9 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:50:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (7+ / 0-)

      Does this proposed bill stop reasonable caps, or just the horrid caps that Time Warner was putting in?  Some cap is sensible, when you have a very small percentage of customers consuming the majority of the bandwidth, driving up costs for everybody.

      Of course, the big issue is competition, and the fact that most people just don't have all that much choice of providers.  I think this would be a non-issue if there was competition.

    •  Real hurdle to Linux and large open source apps (7+ / 0-)

      as well.

      Downloading Ubuntu is about 1 gig every 6 months, unless you stick with a Long Term Support release. And that's the basic install, no extra programs and no updating between releases. And that's also if you're using the CD, not the DVD. The DVD would be nearly 5 gigs in a month every 6 months.

      Even doing the Distribution Upgrade method would use nearly a gig or more, depending on what was installed on the system.

      And that's if the server doesn't screw up the download. You only know if the file downloaded correctly once it has been completely downloaded. I wouldn't be surprised if some Ubuntu DVD users did use nearly 20 gigs of bandwidth to get a usable disc.

      Can you see this inaugural, Dr. King? Did you see this?

      by Cassandra Waites on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:54:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Windows Update and Apple Software Update (4+ / 0-)

        aren't exactly slackers in the download size category either. Vista SP2 is due in the next month or so, and it's probably going to be in the 1-3 GB range. The Mac OS 10.5.6 update is almost 900MB. Plus there are little updates (especially with Windows) in between service packs and point releases.

        That said, I'm a Debian Testing/Unstable user (as well as a Mac OS 10.5 user) and the caps would severely reduce how often I could run 'apt-get update', and that's not cool.

        I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by sabishi on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:48:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Especially when one considers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          just how important updates can be for system security.

          So, Comcast, Time Warner, etc.... would you prefer a decently high cap or unlimited service but everyone updating their system security often and completely, or an undecently low cap with everyone using their full capacity at once because their updates were turned off the week a bot-producing worm went wild, and then cussing you out for months because they had to pay extra to check basic e-mail after such a cyber-attack?

          Can you see this inaugural, Dr. King? Did you see this?

          by Cassandra Waites on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:56:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Only slightly better with Cox (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm on Cox here in NoVA, they have 10, 40, or 60 gig caps depending on the level of package.

      I do have to say though that despite the official limitations, i've never gotten so much as a warning despite probably doubling (at least) the 40 gig cap on several occasions...I get the impression that for the moment they reserve service cutoffs for only people who massively exceed those limits on a constant basis, though of course their official reps will say otherwise if asked.

      Like anime ninjas? Click here and sign up to help me out in an amusing browser-based game.

      by Deathwing on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:47:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Okay, I don't get it. (8+ / 0-)

    Why shouldn't the people who use the Internet most, pay the most for it?  Why should I subsidize someone else's illegal downloading of movies?

    •  Tell Me... (13+ / 0-) you are subsidizing them?

      How much are you paying because of their downloading?

      •  I'm paying as much as they are ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        debedb, linkage

        ... while consuming less bandwidth.

        •  And You Would Be Paying Less... (12+ / 0-)

          ...if they weren't downloading?

          That I doubt.

          •  Not what I'm saying. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            debedb, linkage, blunami

            Why shouldn't both I and the downloader pay based on the bandwidth consumed, just in the same way that my phone bill is based on the number of minutes I'm on the phone?

            •  Part of the reason (18+ / 0-)

              is that fiber optics, bandwidth essentially becomes a non-issue.  But the companies don't want to bother actually upgrading their networks.

              •  No (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ferallike, Jbearlaw, linkage, I, blunami

                From the consumer to the first hop, fiber makes bandwidth a non-issue, but I assure you that when you get out on the backbones and feeder lines, bandwidth is still a big issue, and yes, they are using fiber.

              •  You're half-right. (8+ / 0-)

                They don't want to upgrade their networks.  Why make capital investments, if you can just charge more for the product you are already producing?  That's the fundamental issue.  

                When AOL first introduced unlimited usage, it put a lot of its' competitors out of business, and really opened the 'Net up for business for the average consumer.  But it also set off the competition to make capital investments in delivery technology (fiber optics, wireless, satellite connections), and we've all benefited.  

                Would DKos even exist if that competition hadn't taken place?  For that matter, would we still be reliant on CNN and cable news as our primary news sources?  Would Obama have been elected, without unlimited (to the consumer) broadband?  

                He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:33:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  The bottlenecks (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FLDemJax, Jbearlaw, I, smileyman, blunami

                are not the fiber, but the switches and routers.  These are not the little plastic boxes like you have at home but large rack-mounted things.  Unlike fiber, these things have to be managed and maintained.

              •  Thats just not true, you ought to do some (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                checking on the amount of money being spent every year by cable companies to upgrade their systems and increase their bandwidth.

                •  And they are making a profit on it as is. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Because we are all paying access charges for more and more capacity.  

                  He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                  by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:13:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They are spending billions to upgrade, so you (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    have to pay for some of it. Someone has to, it is a business not a charity. The more and more capacity is because people want access to more and more things.

                    •  Good. (0+ / 0-)

                      The marketplace is working.  They are competing to provide access (or capacity, depending on how you define it), consumers are buying, and it's an exanding business and industry.  

                      Why muck it all up by allowing the big companies to switch their product from capacity to total data volume?  

                      He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                      by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:51:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes and everyone is relatively happy (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        more channels more things on the Internet, it all drives business and jobs. I work for a cable company, not Time Warner or Comcast. They just finished a three year multi BILLION dollar upgrade that gave them 100 times the capacity. They are thinking this will hold us well into the next decade, but maybe not. They had upgraded just 6 years ago to increase our capacity by 10 times to have it mostly used by the time it was completed. Eventually your cable channels will be delivered over the Internet to your TV, so I think if they get 5 years it will be good. The other problem is technology isn't always keeping up with the demand. Even if they had been far seeing enough to know their first upgrade wasn't going to be enough, technology wasn't there to jump to 1000 times (which is where we are at from first plant) or even 100 times. It also takes time, the upgrades take many months, often several years to finish. Currently they are upgrading voice services, the economy is bad, cash flow sucks, but the upgrade continues on schedule because our newest upgrade also obsolesced a large percentage of our telephony equipment. Then there is the telephony equipment that suddenly is no longer made and has to be replaced. I don't know of another industry that would be sold an installation, spend billions on equipment and then have the manufacturer simply stop making it.

                    •  Believe me, they're making a profit on this... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      "In 2008, TW made $4,159 Million, on high speed data alone, and then had to turn around and spend $146 Million to support the cost of the network. 2008 total profit on high speed data: $4.013 Billion"

                      "It cost TW 11% less money in 2008, to keep their network running, than in 2007."


                      I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. -- Kurt Vonnegut

                      by sabishi on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:54:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  You are already paying for those upgrades (5+ / 0-)

                  through tax cuts given to the telcos/cable ops in the telecommunications act of 1996.  We are all supposed to have 35Mb service at an "affordable" price.  Three years ago.  Not only that but docsis 3 costs them less to maintain.  And they want to charge you more.  Still think their pricing is fair?

            •  Because... (8+ / 0-)

              ...the real profits for providers come not from minutes but from advertisers.

              Should you pay less for a newspaper because you only read one section?  Someone who reads all should pay more?

              •  it costs the same to print both papers. duh. (0+ / 0-)

                Does it cost the same to the ISP, to provide services to my mother -- who uses it only for email and JDate -- and the college student who's doing peer-to-peer file sharing?  Does the latter's usage slow down everyone else's download times?

                •  Exactly (9+ / 0-)

                  It costs the same to provide you service as it does to provide service to another, even though that person uses more of it than you do.

                  This gets to be more and more true, the better our transmission technology becomes.

                  You might also want to remember this:

                  Matt 20:1-16  "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.  When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. He went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. To them he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. About the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle. He said to them, ‘Why do you stand here all day idle?’ "They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ "He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive whatever is right.’ When evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.’ "When those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius.  When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise each received a denarius. When they received it, they murmured against the master of the household, saying, ‘These last have spent one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat!’ "But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn’t you agree with me for a denarius? Take that which is yours, and go your way. It is my desire to give to this last just as much as to you. Isn’t it lawful for me to do what I want to with what I own? Or is your eye evil, because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."

                •  My counterpoint is this: (10+ / 0-)

                  Unlimited usage forces the carriers to compete with each other, as opposed to forcing you and I to cut down on our usage.  The availability of unlimited access is what has spurred the phenomenal growth of the internet.  For quite a few years, AOL and other ISP's competed on the ability to deliver more, at faster and better speeds.  You, I and everyone who uses the Internet has benefited incalculably.  I originally signed up for AOL when they introduced unlimited usage; they used to limit how much you could use, how much time, etc., but decided, since the hardware was comparatively cheap, the better way to grow the company was to get more people using it, more often, and make their money in other ways, i.e., advertising, and other services.  Since I didn't have to worry about overage charges, I started using the service quite a bit more.  

                  I often like to watch trailers for movies, streaming television episodes, etc.  My local CBS station is in a dispute with the DishNetwork, and I can't watch Survivor unless I watch it online.  But I only do that once a week; the bandwidth infrastructure that I need to do that benefits everyone else the other 167 a week.  

                  He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                  by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:23:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Adam, I was also going to make this argument (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    (although probably nowhere near as cogently as Jbearlaw did), because I think it's the right one.  But I notice it's an argument based on the effects of unlimited bandwidth, rather than any rights or equal protection or other stuff I often hear mentioned in connection with the law.

                    As a lawyer, do you have any idea whether an argument like Jbearlaw's is one that would be likely to be accepted by a judge?

                    I think I'm not being clear.  Let me try again.

                    My impression is that a judge wants to hear, "Such-and-such law guarantees a right to this-and-that.  Time Warner's policy denies my client his right to this-and-that, and is therefore illegal."

                    That's somewhat different from Jbearlaw's argument, isn't it?  Just wondering if you think his is an acceptable rationale for making tiered pricing illegal.  Essentially, I guess, I'm asking if you think the law Rep. Massa is writing is likely to be Constitutional.

                    •  I don't know about a Constitutional argument. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      In a sense, you could make an argument about equal protection better now, based on restricted access to a defined class (though I'm not aware of an already existing, SCOTUS defined class that would be subject to the EP clause that is congruent with affected users).  You could make the argument that poorer people have less access to the net, because ISP's charge too high a fee for access, but I really don't think it would fly.  

                      There's more of a case, I would think, to be made under some form of anti-trust/monopoly law.  But that's way outside my area.  

                      He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                      by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:58:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  "slowing down eveyone else's download times" (7+ / 0-)

                  Up to a point, yes.  But remember that everyone is paying, in a tiered fashion, for bandwidth as is; they just set limits on the rate you can download, not the amount.  I can download all I want, at a maximum of 50MBps; but at 50MBps, there is still a limit to how much I can download within a defined period of time -- 3000 MB per minute, maximum, depending on line conditions, etc.  

                  They want to charge me for not just the rate at which I download, but also the raw amount I download.  I find that fundamentally unfair; if I need to download file X, and I want to download it in a hurry, and I pay extra for the extra bandwidth, why should I then have to turn around and pay even more just because file X is size Y?  I'm already paying to have the excess capacity; now you want to cut off how much of my capacity I can actually use.  

                  He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                  by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:00:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  My phone bill doesn't work that way (8+ / 0-)

              I have Verizon Freedom Plan. You pay a flat fee and get all the long distance minutes you want. We also have Verizon FIOS which is being laid across the country in populated areas so speed and access to bandwidth is going to be incredible. But you nor anyone else consumes bandwidth in that it is not done in as a depleting commodity.  

              The point here is that you are not paying for anyone else to download more than you. You are paying for access to unlimited internet and that's it. Think about how this would affect a family whose kids need access to materials for school projects and what exorbitant rates they would pay for access to a National Geographic video or some other streaming information. These companies are trying to change the rules and make you pay for incremental bits of access. Why should we allow that?

              The beatings will continue until morale improves. -8.50, -6.92

              by ferallike on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:52:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  bad analogy (0+ / 0-)

              You're going to be "talking more" as Internet media rapidly progresses. Caps and tiers may seem reasonable now, but as time goes on everyone will suffer for this short sighted money grab.

              How's that "permanent republican majority" thing working out?

              by cybersaur on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:10:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  and I pay $20 for local phone, same as everyone (9+ / 0-)

          while making maybe 1 local call every 6 months

        •  Bandwidth is bandwidth it doesn't matter what's (6+ / 0-)

          being done on the Internet with it and to have a tiered system means all these YouTube clips and netflix and news videos and Hulu and well any video will die off and without out them Dial Up is perfectly able to handle the traffic so this isn't about "downloading illegal movies" this is about control of content and keeping the poor ignorant of facts so the Corporations/Republicans can control the knowledge of the lower income masses it was Broadband based YouTube and other Videos that has helped the Progressive movement,the Conservative Corporate Republican Movement must get the uninformed to have only Fox News as their main source of knowledge from with few methods of finding the truth.Limit Internet access limit the power of the Progressive movement.

          •  Err ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ... should we also charge each household the same for electricity, for the same reasons?

            •  How many electric companies are competing (9+ / 0-)

              to deliver electricity to your home?  Idaho Power has a monopoly in my area; it's a public utility, with rates set by the state board.  

              I'd much rather pit AT&T against Time-Warner, Hughes Satellite, etc.  My bill for Internet service has remained essentially stable for 15 years; but the product has immeasurably improved.  

              He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

              by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:37:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The price of KWH's is the same to houses in the (3+ / 0-)

              same area in most places so to have the comparison your trying to make would mean the utility Co.could charge different rates for different electrical appliance's in each home it might be be 10 cents per KWH for a Computer 40 cents for a washer 60 cents for a dryer 2 cents for a Cell phone charger $1.40 for Electric Heating 15 cents for Fluorescent light $5.00 per KWH for incandescent light and ETC.But the electricity comparison is a apple to orange thing that doesn't work.Remember there was a time that this method was used it was in the early days of Dial-Up notice how successful and popular that was and how it held the Internet back until it was killed off by unlimited Dial-up Access.

              •  Which later became unlimited broadband access. (6+ / 0-)

                To carry the analogy, though; you also pay a higher rate for electricity during "peak hours" or at least I do.  If you want to do all your housework at 3:00 a.m., you can save some money on your electric bill.  But very few do so.  No, you rely on the electric company to be able to provide as much as you need, when you need it, and you pay a little more to use it during those specific times; but there's not even a question that your house should be wired to be able to provide you with the capacity you need -- that's why there are city codes, to ensure proper installation, including capacity.  

                The electric company doesn't charge me to install the electric lines to my home (at least not directly); on the other hand, I'm paying Clearwire $40 a month to provide me with 50MBps capacity - which means I am paying for all the capacity I can afford; I'd love to have a T3 line, and have even more capacity, but can't afford it.  

                The electric company ensures that you have more capacity than you will use, but they don't charge you a dime for it.  So, they can charge for the product (electricity).  The broadband company charges you for as much capacity as you are willing to pay for; that's their product.  

                He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:10:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  If the cable internet providers (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              want to let themselves be as heavily regulated by the states and feds on pricing and upgrades (which would limit their profit substantially less than what they can make now with unlimited usage) as the power companies I might not be upset about paying for pricing on a usage basis - so long as it starts at zero for zero usage rather than a flat rate they tailor to extract the most profit from low usage users and gaining the additional profit from high usage users.

              Or maybe force them to open their networks to other providers and act as a common carrier rather than a provider as was done in the long distance phone service again they don't want this because it would reduce their profits lower than they currently have.

              "...what Washington means by bipartisanship is mainly that everyone should come together to give conservatives what they want." --- Paul Krugman

              by puppet10 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:49:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Bingo (0+ / 0-)

            nail, head, hammer.

        •  You're not using less bandwidth (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luvmovies2000, sabishi, smileyman
          It doesn't matter if you watch Lost on TW Digital cable or if you watch Lost on Hulu. Same bits, but TW doesn't make money off bits you download off Hulu.

          They want to make it too expensive to download from alternate providers. They want you to pony up for HBO instead.

          That's what this is about.

    •  Because if I, for example, (7+ / 0-)

      Legally watch a MLB live broadcast on my computer, that's a whole lot of bandwidth used right there.  Or a Netflix movie or any one of a bunch of things that are 100% legal....

      "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

      by skywaker9 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:51:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (15+ / 0-)

      the best thing that could be done would probably be to divorce tv cable providers from ISPs.  At the beginning it wasn't a problem, but with internet TV becoming more pervasive, there is just too much conflict of interest there.

    •  Illegal doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

      But why shouldn't those who watch more movies legally pay more.

    •  i don't think You understand the issue (15+ / 0-)

      it isn't about throttling end users ...

      it is about throttling sites -- Like DK -- that don't pay the premium to access providers to be on 'the big pipe'

      essentially -- the provider can censor any content it doesn't like by throttling the access to that particular site

      "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

      by josephk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:59:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, THIS particular issue (3+ / 0-)

        is about throttling end users, though it would have the effect of throttling certain sites (youtube, hulu, etc.) just because it would now cost you to use their services by going over your bandwidth limit.

        •  no .. (0+ / 0-)

          i mean -- i haven't read the legislation -- but i doubt that there is anything in there about not allowing throttling -- ISP's throttle certain ports at certain times ... all the time ...

          for the rest of the issues ... see my answer below to Adam

          "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

          by josephk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:11:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And that, I'd absolutely oppose (3+ / 0-)

        But there's a difference between content-based pricing and usage-based pricing, no?

        •  Not really (9+ / 0-)

          they can bring 'into their fold' any content that they choose and adjust their pricing accordingly -- if allowed to tier access pricing

          the idea of 'usage based pricing' - i transfer 30 G a month and You transfer 1 ... is already addressed in speed level accounts -- i already am paying more because i am leasing a bigger pipe

          essetially -- it would be like offering 'unlimited long distance' -- unless, Ya know ... You were to use it too much!

          this issue REALLY had nothing to do with the 'tubes getting clogged' -- as far as the access providers were concerned

          "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

          by josephk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:09:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  am not familiar with "speed level accounts" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            My Comcast cable-provided internet is just a standard package, not based on amount of consumption, as far as I know.

            •  I think Comcast (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sabredance, linkage

              has a couple speed levels, but I don't really see them advertised as much.

              A quick look at comcast's website shows that they have a 12 Mbps plan and a 16 Mbps plan, and they might have others that they don't really advertise too.

            •  Try going back to dial-up. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ducktape, linkage

              Some people are still stuck with it, at 56kbps (kilobytes per second).  At home, I've got a 50 Mbps plan; at work, we've got a 1.2 gigps, so I do a lot of stuff here that would take me longer at home.  

              They already limit how much you can download, by limiting the speed at which you can download.  

              Depending on your individual usage, you are probably overpaying by a substantial amount for excess capacity.  I don't use the net much at home, but I want it to work quickly when I do, so I overpay for the extra capacity.  

              If I have to overpay for extra capacity, why shouldn't I be allowed to use that extra capacity how I want?  

              He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

              by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:52:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Because... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                You're not paying for capacity, you're paying for speed.  Will you go to your water company and say, "Hey, I have a 1 inch pipe into my house, I should be able to draw as much as I can from it for one price."  No, you have a 1 inch pipe, and not a 1/16 inch pipe, because when you turn on the faucet, you want the water to come out in a gush, not a trickle, even though the trickle would give you all the water you use in one day if you left it on 24/7.

                •  by that logic (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  my water "capacity" is all I can fit in the sink and tub at any one time, which is a definition I don't agree with.  

                  capacity   /kəˈpæsɪti/  Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuh-pas-i-tee]  Show IPA noun,  plural  -ties,   adjective  
                  –noun  1.   the  ability  to  receive  or  contain:  This  hotel  has  a  large  capacity.  

                  1.   the  maximum  amount  or  number  that  can  be  received  or  contained;  cubic  contents;  volume:  The  inn  is  filled  to  capacity.  The  gasoline  tank  has  a  capacity  of  20  gallons.  
                  1.   power  of  receiving  impressions,  knowledge,  etc.;  mental  ability:  the  capacity  to  learn  calculus.  
                  1.   actual  or  potential  ability  to  perform,  yield,  or  withstand:  He  has  a  capacity  for  hard  work.  The  capacity  of  the  oil  well  was  150  barrels  a  day.  She  has  the  capacity  to  go  two  days  without  sleep.  
                  1.   quality  or  state  of  being  susceptible  to  a  given  treatment  or  action:  Steel  has  a  high  capacity  to  withstand  pressure.  
                  1.   position;  function;  role:  He  served  in  the  capacity  of  legal  adviser.  
                  1.   legal  qualification.  

                  8.   Electricity  . a.   capacitance.  
                  b.   maximum  possible  output.


                  So, I disagree that your definition of the term is the only one.  You are arguing that, when I pay for water, I am paying for the total volume I use during the billing period, and calling that capacity.  My ISP, and most ISP's, don't give you that option, because you likely would use much less than they could reasonably charge you for.  So, instead, they have made a marketing decision, as an industry, to compete on providing capacity (in the sense of instant throughput as opposed to total volume), and force you and me to purchase the capacity as opposed to the total volume.  

                  The water company doesn't charge me a flat "access fee" every month, depending on the size of the water pipe I want.  They charge me for the total volume of water I use, and allow me to use as little as I want.  If leave on an extended vacation, and don't use any water at all, I don't get charged a dime.  I would be happy not to have to pay $40 a month, just to have access.  There are months when I don't use the net at my home at all; but in order to have it available, I have to pay the monthly access fee, and I have to choose from a pricing plan based on capacity, not total volume.

                  He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                  by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:33:16 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Well they exist; I've seen (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jbearlaw, Futuristic Dreamer

              tiered pricing based on the speed of the connection desired.  You can pick which account you want.

              But looked at another way, we already have tiered speed pricing: DSL vs. cable vs. satellite vs. dial-up vs. T1, etc, etc.

            •  I have the option (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              scrutinizer, puppet10

              of 4 different speed levels with my cable access.  Anyewhere from .5MB/sec to 7 MB/sec.  Each has a different price.  And when I choose the speed level, that limits the amount I can download (or upload) by its very nature.  When I pay for 7MBdl/1.5MBul, ith that must be within the capacity of the carrier, or they should not be offiering that level of service.

              If they offer me 7MB/sec and cannot fill that pipeline, it's not my responsibility to be billed more, it's their responsibility to give what I pay for.

              Now if I am obviously doing a constant capacity DL, they have the right (and the option, I think) to look at my service again, for several different reasons.  But so long as I don't violate the contract, they have no right to bill me for more than I have already signed up for.

              Those who do not study history should not be permitted to make it.

              by trumpeter on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:37:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  No (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jbearlaw, Futuristic Dreamer

            It is not addressed in speed based pricing, anymore than your water bill is decided based on whether you have a 1 inch or 2 inch pipe coming into your house.  If every single consumer maxed out their internet connection, the internet would be unusable.

            •  Really now!? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              so -- lets say i open up a d/l on a 56k connection and leave it open continuously transferring data at the maximum possible -- the absolute MOST i can transfer is gonna be around 18G -- i can transfer that in a day on any decent speed account ...

              as for:

              "If every single consumer maxed out their internet connection, the internet would be unusable."

              it is an interesting point -- but it makes as much sense as saying if every driver was driving at the maximum speed all day every day -- the roads would become unusable ... an interesting point -- but has nothing to do with reality packet processing any more than a road system without traffic signals and controls

              "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

              by josephk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:09:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Driving analogy (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Futuristic Dreamer, blunami

                Most drivers are not on the road 24/7, and most consumers are not using their internet connection 24/7.  If you put every car on the road 24/7, the road would be unusable, regardless of what speed they were going.

                I think you have a somewhat inaccurate view of how the internet works.  When your provider says you have a connection of such and such a speed, that means the maximum speed achievable on the first hop between you and them.  If your connection isn't exclusive to you (and many aren't), your speed will probably be lower unless nobody else is using the circuit.  Your data is sent in individual discrete chunks called packets.

                Even if you have an exclusive circuit, once you are past that first hop, your packets are aggregated with many others, like coming out of a driveway onto a street.  Now, typically these links are a lot faster than your first hop connection to your home, and if you were the only person using it, you wouldn't see any slowdown.  But just like a highway, the more cars (packets) you push onto it, the more congested things get.  When the pipe is full, the link has two choices, drop your data on the ground (lost packet), or throttle how many packets per second each of those users can send (kind of like the flow control lights on on ramps on the freeway).  Preferably, it will just throttle, but a severely overloaded pipe will drop packets, which appears as a very slow link, because the packet is usually resent once it becomes obvious it didn't make it.

                Now, at any given time, most people are not transmitting packets, because they're not using their internet connection.  Even when you are downloading a movie, and maxing out your own internet connection, the big backbone is merrily handling your packets and those of many other users because it is very fast.  But those links are not built to handle the maximum traffic from every single user 24/7, because that would be way overcapacity.  Kind of how your water utility doesn't put mains in the ground that can carry enough water for everybody to max out their own water pipe 24/7, or the DoT doesn't build enough highway lanes to have every car on the road 24/7.

                When the level of traffic reaches the point where the big pipe is close to capacity at peak hours, the internet provider will bring up a new link.  This costs money (especially if they have to dig to put in new cable).  It's a serious issue when half of your links are dedicated to traffic from 5% of your users because they are maxing out their connections 24/7.

                Now the Time Warner caps are ridiculously low, and are going to hit lots of legitimate users.  But the 250 GB Comcast caps are much more reasonable.  I'm a heavy user and I don't come near to hitting that, but it would nail a 24/7 maxer.  I would be more comfortable if there were some mechanism to up that limit as technology improves, and I think the best mechanism would be competition.  If TW and Comcast were competing head-to-head, TW would not dare to put those caps in because they would lose a lot of average customers.  But I doubt if Comcast would care if they were competing against someone who didn't have a cap, because all they would be losing would be a few people who were costing them a lot of money.

                •  But aren't they paying for that? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  scrutinizer, Losty

                  If you (not you personally, of course) are selling that throughput capacity, and saying to someone, hey, you pay $99 a month, and you can download at speeds of up to 1.5 GBps, with unlimited usage; and later you turn around and say, hey, I didn't really mean "unlimited usage," now you have to pay not only for the 1.5 GBps rate, but also for the total volume of data downloaded, aren't you engaged in a bait and switch?  

                  And aren't you already counting on the throughput speed limit, to limit the amount downloaded?  

                  You keep using the analogy of the water pipe; but that analogy doesn't "hold water," so to speak, any more than Ted Stevens "toobs."  

                  The DOT does try to build sufficient roads to cope with peak usage, as does the water company, as does the electric company.  Roads, water mains, electrical lines and grids, have all expanded as usage and demand have increased.  They build excess capacity, compared to average, off-peak hour usage demands.  Every broadband contract I've ever seen contains the caveat, as you point out, that they are not guaranteeing the "speed" you are buying, only "up to" a certain speed/capacity, thus implicitly stating that they have the right to provide less capacity than what the customer is paying for, if the customer is attempting to use their connection at a "peak" time.  So, presumably, these same people who are using 24/7 (which they are within their rights to do because that's what was sold to them and what they paid for) are also subject to that same limitation during peak usage.  So, they are already limited by a) the amount of bandwidth access they buy, and b) the fact that the amount that they buy isn't even guaranteed, and (c)is explicitly conditioned upon its' being available at the time they want to use it.  Why should TW, Comcast, or any other ISP be allowed to arbitrarily decide that they will  no longer be bound by the terms they themselves dictated to all of their customers, just because a few of their customers actually benefited by the bargain more than TW, Comcast, etc., thinks they should be entitled to?  

                  He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

                  by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 02:55:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Unfortunately... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    The reality doesn't meet the perception.

                    10 mbps is about 3.2TB of transfer per month.  Go out and price this in the real world, what you will get as a quote when people know you're using that link 24/7 (like a web server).  You're looking at $300-$500 per month, regardless of whether you're paying for transfer or bandwidth.  This is not a matter of the provider actually being able to provide that much capacity for that price, and just getting greedy (Time Warner excepted).  They simply can't provide that level of service for that amount of money.  They will go broke.

                    Have you actually looked at your contract?  I looked at some, and they all say that the provider can modify them at any time with the only customer remedy being canceling the service.

                    Sure, utilities and the DoT try to build for peak usage, but their users are also paying per unit for their usage.  Very heavy users like trucks, or high peak usage electric customers pay even more.

      •  No, you don't understand this issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Futuristic Dreamer

        This is about consumers, not sites.  It has nothing to do with net neutrality.

        •  i am sure You think You know (0+ / 0-)

          but carrying capacity is not the issue for the ISP and access providers ...

          IF it is YOUR issue -- well, so be it -- i can't really argue what issues are important to You ...

          "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

          by josephk on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:11:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Futuristic Dreamer, blunami

            I have family and friends in the industry (they work for a large public university and a small local ISP).  There is always a small percentage of users who try to suck a huge amount of your capacity.  If your P2P server in the dorm (even if it is totally legitimate Linux ISOs) is causing problems, they will turn off your port if you don't heed a warning.

            My friends at the small ISP have gone all the way from people trying to keep dialup connections on 24/7 (they had a business plan for people who needed this), through the modern era of people maxing out their connections with massive P2P operations.  Trust me, they're not bothered by people downloading video, that's normal consumer usage.

            •  And that is almost always (0+ / 0-)

              spelled out in the contracts signed when a connection is established.  But it's a side issue, as it only deals with a very small proportion of users.

              The tiered-usage fees being discussed here are for all users.

              Those who do not study history should not be permitted to make it.

              by trumpeter on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:44:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  WTF? That's not the issue at all. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sure Kos, the DNC, Obama's campaign, blogspot, and every other political site leases it's own T1 or T3 lines and doesn't use commcast or TW internet like you and I do.  

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:52:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think the main problem... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leberquesgue, Futuristic Dreamer that too many people phrase this issue in terms of "should and shouldn't" or "right and wrong" when, really, I think this issue is entirely amoral. Whether it's cultural or just merely practical, cable TV has always been "subscription-based," and phone usage has always been "usage-based."

      The internet has been one of those weird things in the middle, in that it has used both models (anyone remember back when AOL/Compuserve/etc. charged by the hour?). What business model works best (and makes the most sense) seems to be what ISPs are trying to figure out.

      •  Phone usage is usage based? (6+ / 0-)

        I guess you mean cell phones.

        Because my land lines cost the same no matter how many calls I made and how long I stayed on the phone -- unless I were calling long distance, and that was covered by a different plan.

        And once, you could buy a TV set, plug it in, turn it on, and receive TV programs over the airwaves for free. That's why they showed commercials. Now, very few people can get TV over the airwaves for free (thanks, digital conversion!). They have to pay the cable company for it -- and STILL watch endless commercials, so there really isn't any different thing called "cable TV" after the date of that final conversion. I think it's scheduled for June now.

        Why should the companies that have a monopoly on access to our society's main distributor of information be allowed to gouge people for it?

        "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

        by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:55:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Minor point, slight off topic... (0+ / 0-)

          Why would anyone who was getting free TV over the air before conversion, not be able to now? We even subsidized the converter boxes to make sure it was as painless as possible.

          I had no problem converting my sis-in-law who is on a fixed income and certainly couldn't afford to start paying for cable.

          ...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
          -- Pres. Barack H. Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

          by davewill on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:50:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some places still won't get access. (0+ / 0-)

            There have been people who posted comments here giving their specific issues, mostly rural customers and those in the mountains, who had trouble with weak signals before.

            Now, some of them are just shut out completely.

            "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

            by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 05:57:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Because the costs are not variable, but fixed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jbearlaw, Cassandra Waites, trumpeter

      it costs a certain amount to make sure your connection is available at any time, at full speed. It doesn't cost any more to actually move data over that connection.

      ...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
      -- Pres. Barack H. Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

      by davewill on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:37:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B

        The more data you have to move, the more connections you need.  A link can only handle so much traffic.  And that increases cost.

        When you have 95% of your customers using an average of 10GB of transfer, and 5% averaging 2000GB of transfer, that 5% is costing you a bundle, and since you pass your costs to your customers, they cost your customers a bundle.

        •  We're not talking about 2000GB... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          or even 200GB. We're talking about cracking down at that 10GB mark.

          ...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
          -- Pres. Barack H. Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

          by davewill on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:28:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How about 5GB? (3+ / 0-)

            Or less?  If you follow Noice's arguments elsewhere, why shouldn't we be talking about bytes or even bits as the basic unit?  

            For years, this industry has sold instant throughput capacity as its' product; now, the industry wants to change it's product from capacity to volume of data.  

            That's bait and switch on a massive scale.  

            He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

            by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:42:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The real problem is the fact that they (4+ / 0-)

              are using the fact of a state-sponsored monopoly to squelch competition. They have a unique license to run cables to homes, and are leveraging that to assure that Netflix and the like can't compete with their TV business.

              And that's plain wrong. If this were about a few busybodies using up too much bandwidth and driving up costs, I'd be fine, but it's not. It about unfair competition.

              ...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
              -- Pres. Barack H. Obama, Jan. 20, 2009

              by davewill on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:47:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I agree... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Futuristic Dreamer

            I said above I think TW's caps are just stupid, but from the talk about this bill, it would outlaw all caps, including Comcast's more reasonable 250 GB cap.

          •  TWCs plan has evolved (0+ / 0-)

            The first iteration had a higher cap on the lowest tier at the same rate they are charging today.  They added a lower priced (15$/mo IIRC) tier with a low usage cap afterward, probably in response to negative feedback on their first iteration.

      •  False. It does cost to move information over (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that connection.  That's true with DSL but not cable. Cable has a limited amount of bandwidth an area is sharing, and they pay for that bandwidth.  If many users are trying to use that connection simultaneously everyone's connection slows down. It costs the cable company a great deal of money to upgrade the line to increase the speed everyone shares.

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:47:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because doing so kills our resurgent democracy (9+ / 0-)

      To frame the debate another way, the internet is a utility and the fourth estate.  On the utility front, the cable companies/telcos/etc have NO RIGHT to impose restrictions that would make this site (and many others) non-viable.  Even people so poor that they can't afford a telephone are guaranteed one, via taxes/surcharges/fees and legislation, because a telephone is required to access emergency services.  Similarly with natural gas, because freezing to death in winter is a bad thing.

      Now perhaps you think that consequences short of death do not merit subsidizing broadband for the general population.  However, I think it's a necessity:

      a) With 6 corporations controlling the media and the message, the internet was the only option for low cost access to raw information, minus the corporate propaganda.  Yes, there is much detritus, but you can still separate the wheat from the chaff.

      b) The internet is critical for our democracy.  Where would have been the campaigns of 2004-08 without small online donations, YouTube videos, citizen bloggers, and access to raw, unfiltered news?  We're in a power struggle, and losing access to the internet is something we cannot afford.

      •  Yes, but ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Futuristic Dreamer

        .... part of how we can subsidize broadband-for-all is by making the Internet's heaviest users -- the peer-to-peer junkies -- pay more for it than the rest of us.  

        Your diagnosis of the need does not require a fixed-pricing-for-all solution.

        •  Tax the rich; PTP costs are a smokescreen... (5+ / 0-)

          Tax those free-loaders whose corporations rarely pay taxes, who collect the rent instead of creating wealth, who send $100B offshore every year, who finessed the financial fiasco, who create speculative bubbles and use naked shorts to pillage our wealth, who spend ~$75M supporting a repeal of the estate tax so they can reap $85B and establish a permanent aristocracy, and whose 'salaries', perks, and 'deferred compensation' retirement plans are a non-sustainable drag on the productivity of every company.

          What?  We're supposed to have sympathy for the telco's who illegally wiretapped us all?  Who enjoy a virtual monopoly in their respective markets?  Who slap on fees on top of fees, despite the fact that their costs are fixed?  After you have laid the fiberoptics and put in the switches, what additional costs are there?  It sure isn't upgrades.  Broadband in the US is 30-50 (I forget which number) times slower than in South Korea or Japan.  

          Oh they're trying to blame a couple thousand PTPers for their financial duress...  Right.  I've got a bridge to sell you...

          Want some perspective on our internet providers?  Read this article: some are dragging their feet on upgrades that would make PTP issues go away and others are charging/spending 7-750x the upgrade cost in Japan.

          Tiered pricing is pure BS, a smokescreen to hide the truth, control the message, and render us impotent.

    •  I can see your point. (3+ / 0-)

      But 250 GB is a lot more reasonable than the 5 GB that Time Warner was charging for. Or if the providers wanted to charge extra to the top 1% of users of their system, that would be reasonable as well. We should not have to pay extra because someone decides to spend all their spare time downloading porn and illegal movies and whatever. Under their scheme, 99% would have had to pay extra for what 1% was doing.

    •  Not all movie downloads are illegal. (4+ / 0-)

      Funimation started streaming the new Fullmetal Alchemist series last week. It was part of some sort of deal with the Japanese anime company. Official English subtitles.

      Each episode is about 200 megabytes. The series is of unknown length (they're releasing the English online very soon after the original Japanese airing).

      So, the legal watchers are those streaming the Funimation official sub. Which last week for the first episode took several tries for one of my friends simply because the server was so hammered that the file loaded partway and then stopped.

      Hopefully releasing anime like this cuts down on the fansubs of questionable legality, but having that work depends on those interested in seeing the series before an official English dub can be produced actually having access to the file online. The companies and anime fans have both apparently been hoping for a system like this for a while, but it depends on Internet access.

      Can you see this inaugural, Dr. King? Did you see this?

      by Cassandra Waites on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:08:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Netflix & Blockbuster's new business model (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sabishi, Cassandra Waites

        is to allow downloading of movies at home rather than mailing discs or checking them out of a store. Twenty-first century delivery systems, you know.

        That new company called is also doing this with TV shows and videos.

        These restrictions will kill this business model, as well as the online gaming market, which is one of the few businesses that is still going strong in this bad economy.

        There is nothing illegal about any of these heavy uses of bandwidth.

        Way to go, greedy bastards! Kill another goose that lays the golden eggs.

        "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

        by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:05:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the anime downloading gets to me because (0+ / 0-)

          it will, once it starts happening for more and more series, give the American anime-related companies a way to find out which series ought to be dubbed without having to try to gauge undercover fansub distribution amounts.

          They can spend money on the American licensing rights, do a quick accurate official translation of the Japanese audio, and then host it online like this. If the series flops in America, no money for voice actors, DVD production, and series promotion need be spent. If it catches on, they'll know fans will pay for the DVDs of an English dub.

          Fullmetal Alchemist being dubbed is a no-brainer; there are too many fans of the original anime and of the manga the new anime is more closely based on for them to dare to not produce a dub. But for other series, a test run like this might be a necessary part of the business model.

          Can you see this inaugural, Dr. King? Did you see this?

          by Cassandra Waites on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:35:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm flawed assumption (5+ / 0-)

      Why are you assuming that using more bandwidth equals illegal downloading of movies? Sounds like a strawman argument to me.
      Besides, I've read somewhere that the amount of bandwidth consumed by the majority of people is well below what the providers claim. It' just another way for them to gouge the public.

      "be a loyal plastic robot boy in a world that doesn't care" - Frank Zappa

      by Unbozo on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:39:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He assumes that because the way illegal movies (0+ / 0-)

        are downloaded is a notorious bandwidth hog, and is almost the only way a person could hit some of the caps mentioned.

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:39:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  By the way, way to kick off a conversation! nt (0+ / 0-)

      He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

      by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 02:20:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your bill will teach you (0+ / 0-)

      Wait until little Timmy discovers bittorrent or the dog sits around all day streaming Lassie episodes from Netflix. Is that new wireless access point secure? If you don't know what a gigabyte is now, you'll have a much better understanding of it when you get charged $2 for each one. A movie you d/l from Unbox for $3.99 when you're over your cap could cost you $6. In standard def. You may need to take out a second mortgage if you own a Vudu box.
      This is Time Warner Cable gettin' all Rush Limbaugh on their customers by forcing them to bend over and grab their ankles.
      There oughtta be a law!

      How's that "permanent republican majority" thing working out?

      by cybersaur on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:07:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Eric! (22+ / 0-)

    Broadband metering is like being charged by your cable company for how much you watch teevee.  It's a way for big corporations to see perpetual increases in revenues in an age where video and other data-intensive internet uses are gaining widespread popularity, and are in fact the whole reason for having broadband in the first place.

    While you're writing legislation, can you try to repeal the ban on municipal broadband wireless services?  That was an outrageous giveaway to the corporate telecom companies during the Bush years, and it deserves to go down in flames.

    Godwin is dead. Glenn Beck killed him.

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:50:09 AM PDT

    •  It's not anything like that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, Futuristic Dreamer

      The signal is on the wire all the time with cable TV, it doesn't cost them any more money if every single subscriber watches 24/7.  That's not the case with the internet.  The fact of the matter is that there are a very small number of internet subscribers who are maxing their connections, and not with ordinary consumer activities (including watching or downloading legal video).  This does impose a cost on the internet providers, and if they are not allowed to cap this traffic, then we will all pay when they have to increase infrastructure to accommodate this traffic.  Now TW's caps are absolutely ludicrous, but a 250 GB cap is IMHO entirely reasonable at this time.  I would support some mechanism for increasing that cap as new technologies call for increased bandwidth, but quite frankly, not allowing internet providers to price cap bandwidth is like requiring water or electric companies to provide all the water or electricity that someone can consume over their pipe or wire for a single flat fee.

      I'm a fairly heavy consumer user of bandwidth, and I don't come anywhere near close to knocking a 250 GB cap.  The TW caps I would have a serious issue with.

      •  The problem- (4+ / 0-)

        Giving ISPs the power to cut certain users off, for any reason, is a bad precedent that will lead to abuse down the line.

        Give an inch, and they will take the whole field. The government should invest in broadband lines, and then lease them to ISPs, so the ISPs can't make ridiculous, arbitrary rules to govern a constantly evolving medium.

        To be human in 2008 is to rise in defense of the planet we have known and the civilization it has spawned.

        by beatpanda on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:31:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Please do not confuse your opinion with facts. (7+ / 0-)

        The fact of the matter is that there are a very small number of internet subscribers who are maxing their connections, and not with ordinary consumer activities (including watching or downloading legal video).

        Who are they, and doing what? And what is the source of your "facts"? Do you understand the difference between connection speed (aka "bandwidth") and the aggregate data download, which is what TW & Comcast were trying to cap?

        Have you seen the data size of an HD movie from iTunes? Do you understand that some people actually may have more than one Internet & TV user in the household using that same connection?

        This does impose a cost on the internet providers, and if they are not allowed to cap this traffic, then we will all pay when they have to increase infrastructure to accommodate this traffic.

        OMFG! Are you transcribing from the Anti-Net-Neutrality talking points? Can you explain where this cost "imposed" on the Internet providers comes from?

        Allowing customers to download at faster speeds can certainly means that you can serve fewer customers at the same time, and may need to increase your local infrastructure. But nobody is saying they can't price-tier connection speeds -- that's how it has always been done at the subscriber level, and the connection speed limits the amount of data.

        ...not allowing internet providers to price cap bandwidth is like requiring water or electric companies to provide all the water or electricity that someone can consume over their pipe or wire for a single flat fee.

        That's because the electric and water companies had to purchase the power and water they are selling to you over their wires or pipes. They OWN it.

        Comcast, TW, etc. do NOT own the data that you are downloading ... and that is the point!

        The reason we have had to fight for Net Neutrality is that Comcast, TW, et al, want to be the gatekeepers to the consumer, not only collecting fees from everything that flows through their pipes, but also deciding what can.

        What they DON'T want flowing through it is Hulu, NetFlix, Amazon Unbox, and the streaming video from channel sites -- because they want to be the ONLY gatekeeper of the video you receive in your home.

        They won't unbundle their channels -- because many people would realize that if they paid $4 a month for the channels they actually watch, their cable bills would be cut in half. Their biggest fear is that we'll just say "fine -- I'll watch online" and they are trying to make it so that it will cost you MUCH MUCH MORE to do that.

        And sorry, you really don't get they economics of the cable industry today. The signal isn't "on the wire" any more except in the remaining analog cable plant, and if telcos can deliver IPTV with HD + broadband + SD at the same time over copper wires, then cable has no excuse.

        "I believe that some fine day, the children of Abraham
        will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem."

        by Ducktape on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:35:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ouch! Float like a butterfly, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          sting like a sledge hammer.  

          He's a semi-aquatic egg-layin' mammal of Action . . . He's Agent P.

          by Jbearlaw on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:05:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Look (2+ / 0-)

          I am a computer professional.  I am a consumer in my home like everybody else.  I also buy transfer and bandwidth for servers, so I know the difference, thank you.  I have family and friends who work in the network business (large public university and a small local ISP).

          I understand that a full length HD movie is about 3-4 GB.  I'm not defending TW's caps, I'm defending more reasonable caps like Comcast's 250GB.  I would not want to see a bill that outlawed reasonable caps.  While my friends at the local ISP are not in New York, they would either go out of business or have to raise rates if they had to host the leeches whose transfers are measured in multiple terabytes.  Now, I don't buy by the GB, but if you look at the pricing per GB when you are talking up in the range of hundreds of TB (i.e. you're buying in bulk), you're looking at about 10 cents per GB, or $100 per TB.  Even if we consider that those are marked up from actual costs (otherwise the provider wouldn't make money), you don't have to be be talking about very much measured in TB before the customer is actually a loss for the provider on a $50 a month plan.

          This has nothing to do with net neutrality.  Net neutrality is about providers demanding fees based on what the traffic is or where it is coming from.  It has nothing to do with fees based on how much transfer you use.

        •  Fact: Bandwidth costs money (0+ / 0-)

          The infrastructure to transfer your data won't grow it's self.  Bandwidth is a limited commodity.  No amount of pontificating will change that fact.  You buy bandwidth from your internet provider.  Why should they only be able to sell you unlimited bandwidth?  Why can't they have lower priced packages where you pay for less bandwidth?

          "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

          by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:37:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Read above; this is not about bandwidth (0+ / 0-)

            Your bandwidth is the 3Mb down 768K up, or 15Mb down 1.5 Mb up, or whatever packaged you've purchased.

            THAT is bandwidth, that's how it's sold by everyone today, and no one is saying that they can't.

            FACT: you pay money already for your bandwidth. What they want to do is make certain that you can only get your movies and video from their video distribution (e.g. cable TV) business by limiting your aggregate data.

            No, infrastructure doesn't grow itself. We've been paying for it for years with our tax dollars, subsidies, and by not letting other companies come into their territories as competition. Do you understand how those "legal monopolies" of cable and telco work?

            "I believe that some fine day, the children of Abraham
            will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem."

            by Ducktape on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 05:23:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  TV uses bandwidth too. (0+ / 0-)

        All tv, except for that sent over antennae, uses bandwidth.

        Dish Network, DirecTV, Comcast, CableOne, Mediacom, etc. all use bandwidth to transmit movie and tv. The signal isn't transferred by UHF or VHF frequency, nor is it done by magic. It takes an enormous amount of data to move video, and that goes through whatever method of delivery is specific to you're carrier.

        (That's why satellite have to put new satellites in the air is to provide coverage to additional customers as well as allowing more HD content to be delivered to customers.)

        Compare providers HD sometime, and ask yourself why one has a better connection than the other--it's because some compress the data more to cover more customers with the fewest number of satellites.

        So, going back to the actual numbers here. A HD movie, compressed to an MPEG-4 standard averages 5gb per hour of data. That data has to get transferred to your tv somehow and it uses the coaxial (or fiberoptic) cables to transfer that data. This is bandwidth. It's not internet usage tying up bandwidth, but tv and video usage doing so.

        So, if you watch 1 HD movie a month on your cable tv you're consuming 20gb (minimum) data each month. Most customers watch much more tv than one movie a month. TV viewers are easily the most bandwidth intensive users that a cable company has.

        So, don't talk about how heavy users should pay more, unless you're willing to foot the bill yourself.

        (-5.12,-2.10): Left Libertarian

        by smileyman on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:00:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You For Stifling The Information Trust... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, AaronBa, beatpanda, COkdub

    Times may change, but yesterday's Andrew Carnegie is today's Jeff Bewkes.  It was ever thus.

    And like the drowning man, who, in despair, Doth clutch the frail and weakly straw --Thomas Horatius Delpho

    by terry2wa on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:52:38 AM PDT

  •  As of now, Time Warner is still planning to (10+ / 0-)

    introduce this here in North Carolina.

    Latest from Greensboro

    "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Anne Lamott

    by MsWings on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:56:30 AM PDT

    •  And here too in San Antonio (6+ / 0-)

      Damn those f**kers.  Excuse my language.

    •  I found that confusing too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      because TWC hasn't backed down on imposing caps in Rochester either; they've just upped them from insanely, bloodboilingly low to merely ridiculously, insanely low.

      Here are the plans they're going to offer:

      • Lifeline 768kb/128kb (1GB cap)
         - $15/mo, $2/GB over
      • Basic 1.5Mbps (20GB cap)
         - $35/mo, $1/GB over
      • Standard 7Mbps (40GB cap)
         - $45/mo, $1/GB over
      • Turbo 10Mbps/1Mbps (60GB cap)
         - $65/mo, $1/GB over
      • Turbo Plus 10Mbps/1Mbps (100GB cap)
         - $75/mo, $1/GB over
      • Unlimited 10Mbps/1Mbps
         - $150/mo

      With a $75/month cap on overages.

      It's still crap. Comcast's cap is 250GB for $42.95/month.

      I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by sabishi on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:03:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hi me, you're wrong (4+ / 0-)

        Just read that they have temporarily canceled the cap plans for everyone "while the customer education process continues." So, if they can get away with it, they will try again. Yay for Congressman Massa trying to stop them. (I'm less than a mile from being in his district, but I have Slaughter as my rep, so I'm not really complaining ;))

        I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by sabishi on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:32:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not just the caps that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          they are 'considering' that are crap the rate for overages is ridiculous too.

          $1-2/GB for overages seems totally nuts as well.

          "...what Washington means by bipartisanship is mainly that everyone should come together to give conservatives what they want." --- Paul Krugman

          by puppet10 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:17:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, the backlash has stopped them. (0+ / 0-)

      Here's a story from today (April 16) from Business Week:

      that says in part

      Time Warner Cable caved—for now. In the face of widespread consumer outrage over its plan to change its pricing for Internet access, the company said it will shelve plans to implement the new price formula in several new markets.

      The about-face comes just two weeks after first reported that Time Warner Cable (TWC) would roll out usage-based pricing to four cities. The No. 2 U.S. cable operator hoped to begin charging high-speed data subscribers for the amount of bandwidth they used in Rochester, N.Y., Austin and San Antonio, Tex., and Greensboro, N.C.

      Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said the consumption-based model was needed to maintain an expensive, burdened broadband network, citing other countries that for years have had broadband-metering models, including Canada. But the plan unleashed a firestorm among the public and politicians who say the new method is discriminatory and would stifle innovation. Some politicians called for congressional hearings.

      It goes on to quote Congressman Massa, as well as Sen. Schumer, and outlines his bill.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  While you're at it (6+ / 0-)

    Can we stop this reverse net neutrality thing where people like ESPN360 can offer their services to some ISPs but not others based on who pays them.

    Just like how ISPs should be able to pick and choose what sites get preference, content providers shouldn't be able to demand payment from ISPs for their services either.

  •  Broadband metering != Net neutrality (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry, but I think you're missing the point on this, Congressman.  

    Net neutrality is the concept that carriers should not charge more based on the type of data they are carrying, not the amount.  Broadband metering specifically measures the amount of data transferred.  

    People who use a huge amount of bandwidth should be paying more - as they can clog backbones of providers, and slow down everyone elses' traffic.

    Also, if this bill was to be passed, I'm not certain that it would hold up if challenged in court.

    •  you forget that it disproportionately impacts the (4+ / 0-)

      deaf and hard-of-hearing community who use video chat to communicate with their relatives and friends.

    •  You forget Sen. Stevens Tubes! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluehawk, trumpeter

      The Internet as originally designed was a "fully meshed" network designed to optimize traffic demand.  How the current providers have bent the design to mimic the Interstate Highway system can only lead to the congestion you refer to.

      That does not mean that the system, if allowed to operate as intended, isn't capable of handling the demand we put on it. The marginal cost of providing this bandwidth is quite small.  We just need to keep these providers honest.  The best way is by having many competitors in a market that are aggressively competing with each other and NOT colluding. The other way is for the last mile infrastructure to be owned by the taxpayers and the delivery be provided by competitors.

      --Country before party--

      by chipoliwog on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:21:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)

        It was designed from the military perspective that if one node was taken out, it would be capable of routing traffic around the break very quickly.  The modern internet is not built with the same redundant capacity that was envisioned by military planners because it costs money to do that.

        For instance, I have a single point of failure between my house and my ISP.  I could remedy that by getting a second connection to a different ISP, and you can very cheaply set up a Linux box as a router to handle switching between the two connections.  Of course, I would be paying two subscriptions, but I do know a few people who do that simply because the nature of their work is that they need that assurance that they will always be able to reach the internet.

        Many providers have some redundancy built into their links, if for no other reason than there is too much traffic to go over a single link.  If one link goes down at prime time, sure, the traffic can switch over to the other pipe, but there will be congestion and slowdown.  If you expect them to provide a fully redundant network that can switch traffic with no congestion, then they have to pay for additional links (just like my second ISP example above), and internet service becomes much more expensive.

  •  Thanks Congressman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberalconservative, filby

    I live in Iowa, but enjoy your emails.  You are doing a great job and justify all the efforts the netroots made to get you elected.  

    I appreciate the information you provided here, but am not clear on what stopped Time Warner since you are just introducing a bill.  It would improve your diary to explain that.

  •  Short lived victory, I assure you... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, alba

    the dogs will never stop.

    "...America can change. Our union can be perfected." President-Elect Barack Obama

    by Jack Dublin on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:10:46 PM PDT

  •  thank you! the tiered pricing is happening here (4+ / 0-)

    in Texas!

  •  Not a moment too soon! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberalconservative, filby

    If they make me pay for the amount of toobz I suck blogging on Daily Kos, I'm finished!

    The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing.

    by LaughingPlanet on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:11:24 PM PDT

  •  Thank you Congressman, keep up the efforts (0+ / 0-)

    to keep the internet a growing viable resource.  We in America already pay stupid high rates for the slowest service of the industrialized nations.  It's good to see that someone is trying to protect our interests.

    Now, if you can just get the other members of Congress to do what is right and not bow to their corporate masters who shove campaign cash at them.

    Oh, and Time Warner wants to charge you for more bandwidth because they want you to buy their movies, not download / stream them off of Netflix.

    Never forget the ulterior motives.

    "Life is an occassion. Rise to it." Mr. Magorium - Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

    by Angry Pilgrim on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:18:40 PM PDT

  •  These guys would charge (10+ / 0-)

    per electron if they could. 250Gb is maybe thirty feature length movies, or 60 hours of content. That's 2 hours per day.

    As the net becomes the main pipe for video on demand, and faster connections make HD content a reality, bandwidth usage will skyrocket. Caps and limits that seem reasonable now will be ridiculously low in the future. The companies are trying to get usage based pricing in place now, so in the future they can charge everyone based on bandwidth--which is getting cheaper all the time.

    Just for comparison, in Japan, 160Mbps service is available. Does that 250GB cap sound reasonable now? We're being set up here.

    "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

    by happy camper on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:21:25 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, Congressman Massa (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, MinistryOfTruth

    And while I'm here, how about a link to SAVE THE INTERNET?

  •  and so, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, bablhous

    the cable companies will now try to think of the =next= way to screw paying customers for their service... they're still gunning to drive people back to 'limitless mind-numbing tv'. it's all you want folks; one-way conversation. c'mon, it's nutritious!

    the ceos couldn't be more bare-faced about this. it's not about providing service... it's about controlling the masses.

    they'll keep looking for more passes, and we'll just have to keep cutting them off there. damn if they aren't just like hacker-thieves, just picking at every lock they can to suck your money out of you, until you don't have any more, then they discard you as 'waste' ('sorry, paying customers only').

  •  Thank YOU (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bushco, putting the mock in democracy.

    by Southern Bell on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:28:48 PM PDT

  •  Please keep going (8+ / 0-)

    because Time-Warner is trying to do the same thing in Austin, Texas.

    As a prelude to doing it everywhere.

    Please make them stop this nonsense once and for all.

    The Internet is fast becoming as integral to daily life as any utility, and you should push to have it be considered one. Increasingly, poor and lower-income people are disenfranchised from Internet access by simply pricing them out of the market.

    And a few terminals at the public library, which is not open 24 hours, is a poor substitute for a computer in every home and reasonable access to a connection.

    We are trying to get computers in third-world countries, but there are millions of people in this one who still don't have equal access to a vital tool for the 21st century and beyond.

    Let's work on that.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:35:39 PM PDT

  •  Thank you Rep. Massa! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, trumpeter

    The big companies will come after you for this, but please don't give up!

  •  What till they have this for TV viewing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    like paying for how many minutes the TV is on,pay more for some shows,pay more for the time of day programs are on.Take the last show of E.R. and what they could have charged for it.The reasons for doing that would make economic since of course people would stop watching and go back to radio that the Conservative/Republican/Secessionist own.

    •  TV is broadcast (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For the most part cable TV is based on broadcast transmission there is now "per minute" cost associated with it.  Consumption based pricing would be hard to justify and in a lot of cases impossible to implement with currently deployed technology.

      •  Incorrect (0+ / 0-)

        Cable tv uses bandwidth to transmit video, especially if it's digital or High Definition.

        The only tv that doesn't use bandwidth is that which is received over your antennae.

        (-5.12,-2.10): Left Libertarian

        by smileyman on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:04:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't say it doesn't use bandwidth (0+ / 0-)

          I said it was broadcast and in fact cable TV does use broadcast distribution. The cable "pipe" is broken in to a bunch of 6mhz bands and one (in the case of analog) or more (in the case of digital) video streams are inserted into that band.  The exact same feed is sent, and the same bandwidth is consumed, whether 0 or 2000 people are tuned in to it.  HD is handled the same, but with fewer channels per band. Cable companies are trying to bring some level of sanity to how they distribute video with Switched Digital Video (SDV), but this has its own problem.  With SDV its still a broadcast model, but it includes some nominal switching of content that is infrequently watched, with SDV there is a difference between 0 and 1 users but still no difference between 1 and 2000.

          It also isn't really correct to say that OTA broadcast doesn't use bandwidth.  The whole point of the digital conversion is to free up frequency (which is just bandwidth by another name) that is being used inefficiently today.

  •  Thank you for your hard work and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blue Waters Run Deep, filby

    your support of democracy and our liberties!

  •  How about a little Socialism? (6+ / 0-)

    Have the tubes run by public utilities instead of bilking corporations.
    More efficient. Lower cost.   Sorry Comcast... love ya...mean it...

    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:53:48 PM PDT

  •  AP&T has been doing it for at least 7 years ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Alaska Power & Telephone has been using tiered pricing ever since they introduced broadband to Southeast Alaska.

    Their excuse was that they needed to recoup their investment charges.

    I left Skagway in 2005, but while I was there, my internet bill was $300-$400 a month for one connection for between 6-8 gigs of usage. I watched alot of streaming TV and movies because there were only 21 channels offered on cable and only one video store that had less than 300 DVD's available to rent.

    Currently I pay $50/mo from Charter for 3 connections in southern Illinois and I have no idea how many gigs our household uses but it must be alot. There are 3 adults and we all watch most TV shows streaming.

  •  Not having read the plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer

    I can't say I'm entirely against tiered pricing. As a high bandwidth consumer, I don't think it's completely fair that the guy next door pays as much as I do, and perhaps I don't need to be paying as much as the bittorrent fanatic up the street who periodically cronks the traffic up for all three of us. Why not offer tiers if you can do it fairly and reasonably? Why can't the 10GB consumer pay $15, I pay $50 and the torrent junkie pays $80? If a lower tier consumer jumps their cap, move them into the next tier for that month and notify them. And give the consumer a big fat meter on their modem and a warning e-mail when they're nearing their cap.

    I'm ALL for legislation that prevents punishes providers from for surprising consumers with huge overage charges like the cellphone companies do now.

    Unlike other moves, which threaten to affect how much throughput various information providers get, tiered pricing for consumers doesn't seem like a basic civil rights issue. If anything, I'm suspicious that moves to block tiered pricing could be motivated by the ipTV folks, but from what I understand, even they don't seem care.

    •  look at what else time warner ownes (5+ / 0-)

      the point of this is to keep people from using legal streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and to watch TV with the ads and go see movies in the theater.  By offering an unlimited connection they are competing with themselves in an unfavorable way.

      It's anti-competitive because it keeps people from using Hulu over time-warner cable.

      Fight the stupid! Boycott BREAKING diaries!

      by VelvetElvis on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:42:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's only anti-competitive if (0+ / 0-)

        they discount Time-Warner content in some way. They don't owe it to streaming providers to provide a pipe for their services, only to provide the same pipe to all providers on the same terms. That's net neutrality, and I'm for it.

        I agree this could hurt streamers, but it's not like the TW companies don't benefit get revenue from streaming as well. They get royalties from netflix, their channels all have ad supported streaming content from websites, etc.

        I mean, I do see your point. I'm debating whether to dump my cable subscription and just rely on the internet for my TV. If tiered pricing means I have to pay a little more to use my connection more heavily than I do now, that seems fair. If it means I end up paying the same amount as I am now, and have to do all the wiring and hardware stuff to get ipTV in my living room, then why bother.

    •  the point is drive other companies (3+ / 0-)

      out of business. Tiered pricing will hurt innovation and further allow these companies to consolidate control of media outlets.

      •  That's nonsense. How? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:07:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Steps to use your monopoly to support your (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          outdated business model:

          1. Gain control of an effective regional monopoly over a new information/entertainment distribution system (Internet).
          1. Raise rates for usage of new information/entertainment distribution network (Internet) to levels that make it cost ineffective for customers to use to access content from competitors using the new distribution system with your traditional information/entertainment distribution system (TV/Film/Production).

          This keeps your profits from your traditional business safe in the regional markets you control while locking out your potential competitors in those markets while still making some profit from the new distribution system although not maximizing it because forcing more people to use second tier access to the new distribution network (Internet).  So all you need to worry about are the small areas within your region that you don't have a full monopoly over access and the regions outside of your regionally controlled effective monopoly which may be controlled as well if your competitors in the new distribution network also are working to keep their traditional distribution primary over new competitors (for example Comcast trying to keep cable over internet for example - and forcing the issue by raising the price for access to internet much higher if you don't take cable as well to the point in our area that the price is almost identical for Internet only access or Internet + Basic Digital Cable Tier).

          "...what Washington means by bipartisanship is mainly that everyone should come together to give conservatives what they want." --- Paul Krugman

          by puppet10 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:35:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Kill the monopoly & Get DSL (0+ / 0-)

            The thing about cable bandwidth is that is shared by a neighborhood.  x amount of cable bandwidth is available for the entire neighborhood, growing that pie or splitting it, is extremely expensive for the cable company.  If they're charging people who use more than their share of the pie more; that's perfectly reasonable.

            ISP monopolies should be highly regulated as a public utility, but when competition comes into town, the regulation should be eased up on.

            The most bandwidth intensive protocols are P2P, and they aren't typically used for productive activity (they're often used to violate copyright) while clogging the line for everybody else.  The people who are using that regularly should pay more.

            "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

            by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:09:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Remain calm

      The Internet you paid $X will now be capped at 5 GB a month, which is next to useless...

      If you want the same Internet you used to have, then you have to now fork up $40 more a month!

      It's extortion of the worst degree...

      Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

      by LordMike on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:24:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Free the internet! (3+ / 0-)

    The only way out of this constant battle with braindead ISPs is to leverage consumer technology against them.

    One day, when the chips are powerful enough, every personal computer will have enough radio reception to exchange files with everyone on their block. And if everyone is doing that, everywhere...

    Remember that the internet is nothing but computers talking to each other. As soon as we don't need ISPs to help us with that, all of their stupid, fallacious arguments become moot, and the internet will be truly free.

    To be human in 2008 is to rise in defense of the planet we have known and the civilization it has spawned.

    by beatpanda on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:28:54 PM PDT

  •  Hooray for Western New York (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let's make sure it happens nationally now.

    Thank you Rep. Massa

    "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

    by grollen on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:34:07 PM PDT

  •  We do tiered access (4+ / 0-)

    We do tiered access for our customers. 98% of them have a normal use profile, but the remaining 2% chew up 50%+ of the bandwidth used on certain sorts of networks. If we didn't police things like bittorrent we'd lose customer base in entire towns that are still on old, slow Waverider gear. We're talking a place with seventy subscribers that generates $2,800 in revenue that we like having would go down to two shitheads trading porno movies and paying us a grand total of $80/month - just a little less than the antenna space rental alone costs.

     Tiered access has been a keyword for "taxing content providers". What ought to be done is tiered access based on traffic and class. As a user I should be able to buy a total amount of capacity and then perhaps an amount that is treated preferentially. A 256k or 512k plan with the ability to have one or two increments of 80k of high priority traffic would be just fine in rural America - email, web, and YouTube work well enough, things like Vonage can be accelerated based on customer preference, and life is good.

     So, do stop Verizon from sticking their paws into places they don't belong, but how about we talk about the real needs of rural broadband providers before we get some crazy legislation deposited in our already tough business?

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:35:34 PM PDT

  •  One for the good guys! (0+ / 0-)

    Barack Hussein Obama is OUR President and OUR Commander-in-Chief - Deal with it!

    by TekBoss on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:41:35 PM PDT

  •  Congressman since we now have the OLC Memos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I have read the Aug 2002 Memo already, what will you do to bring the people that ordered the Torture to justice ?
    They, the OLC did not even cite caselaw in any regards to those the ISA has tried and imprisoned for the exact same actions by the US and others. This is a moral, and legal outrage that calls for a Special Prosecutor ASAP.

    Please Sir, the World is now totally aware of what Yoo, Bybee, and others have tried to cover-up for yrs now and that we did indeed torture. As a American I will never be able to be as proud as I once was of this country until these Criminals are brought to justice.

    Free Charles Lynch, He is facing 100 yrs in prison for following Ca. Laws. Charged w/5 non-violent Marijuana violations. Does that equal what Madoff did ?

    by SmileySam on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:41:47 PM PDT

  •  The big picture (2+ / 0-)

    "Normal" traffic like web,e-mail, and downloaded video will use as much bandwidth as possible until the resource is downloaded and then stop.  You can use a statistical model to aggregate this into a single set of activity and offer each user a fast speed which they will (almost always) get even though the link is oversubscribed.  This translates into fast speeds and low prices for everyone.

    Unlike "normal" traffic peer-to-peer traffic will use all available bandwidth indefinitely and with the way the networks are currently designed it doesn't take very many p2p users to keep a node saturated indefinitely.  Since this is constant load that increase proportional to the available bandwidth it can't be easily factored into a statistical aggregation model.

    What this means in the real world what this means is that a node will get saturated and the ISP will split it.  If the ISP splits the network such that the P2P users are spread out evenly both halves will be immediately saturated and need to be split again.  If the ISP splits puts all of the P2P users on one half of the split then that half will be immediately saturated and need to be immediately split again.  This isn't just a theoretical problem its one that cable companies are seeing in the field today, albeit not everywhere.  As P2P spreads it is becoming more widespread.

    So what are the options for dealing with this?

    1. Throttle peer to peer traffic (illegal today)
    1. Throttle heavy users (legally dubious)
    1. Charge heavy users more
    1. Disconnect heavy users
    1. Raise rates for everyone
    1. Stop offering service where it is not profitable to do so

    If we make raising rates for everyone the only legal option it will inevitably be what ISPs choose.  It bears mentioning that Verizon/FIOS has basically the same problems but currently has more unused capacity (and is charging more) than cable so isn't getting squeezed yet.

    Tiered pricing isn't necessarily the best solution, but legislation that stops whatever unpopular thing the ISPs are trying to do right now and doesn't address the big picture is counterproductive. I'm curious what Rep. Masa and the Daily Kos community think is the best solution?

    •  ^^^ that's right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We pulled one problem sector out of a wireless cell, increased available bandwidth, and it took a couple of hours before both were full to the top and performance problems again.

      There are some things that need attention in the internet access business, but poorly conceived legislation will be worse than a laizzes faire Bushist approach.

      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

      by Stranded Wind on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:52:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Peer-to-peer is a different animal, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and if throttling it is illegal under present law, then maybe there is a way to change the law to allow reasonable throttling while not over-pricing higher-bandwidth "normal" traffic. Otherwise we will see a "tragedy of the commons" effect where a few users will swamp the available resources.

      •  unintended consequences (0+ / 0-)

        One thing to keep in mind is that P2P apps are purposely built to disguise them selves. If you consider enviornment like China where there is intense government censorship you could even argue that P2P applications should be designed to disguise themselves... crafting legislation that allows throttling of peer-to-peer traffic without negative unintended consequences is difficult if not impossible.

        •  When I said throttling, I meant limiting but not (0+ / 0-)

          crippling P2P; if indeed there is some way (without deep packet inspection) of seeing what's P2P traffic and making sure it simply doesn't take all the available bandwidth.

        •  There are ways to do it. It's possible. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Just by looking at duration and rate of upload bandwidth used you could figure out whether someone is using P2P, and that can't be disguised.

          "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

          by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:04:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Next, can we please have reasonable pricing? (3+ / 0-)

    On Internet and esp. on Cable TV.

    There's too much monopolistic price gouging.

    And I need cable TV to get a picture (I live behind tall buildings) and to keep up with my profession.

    Media Reform Action Link

    by LNK on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:45:38 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, Congressman Massa, for your good work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Bluehawk

    on this but there is much more to be done in terms of  the cable industry's deadly combination of price gouging and limited technology. It's nuts that our policies are such that our broadband service in pathetic in comparison to broadband service in the rest of the industrialized world. We sit back and let private industry rip us off while somehow fiber-to-the-home at lower prices is available in places like Korea and Japan. The communications industry is in need of the same type of overhaul as are the financial and auto industries.  

  •  from someone in the business (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer

    We have about a thousand fiber to the home endpoints and maybe 700 radio customers.

     I see a pretty steady 40 mbits input and was seeing a solid 16 mbits output. I stuck a wrench in bittorrent at the edge of the network because it was chewing up some of our old, slow Waverider radio cells, and the 16 mbits dropped to 8 pretty much instantly.

     A hundred mbits of internet from a carrier in our region is right at $5,000 - we treat this like an employee - want to keep it busy, but not so busy that one customer is annoying all of the rest. I would start getting nervous if it exceeded 60% - 70% utilization steady state.

     A $40/month wireless customers running bittorrent on one of the Waverider cells eats only $50 a month worth of our total bandwidth, which would be fine, but they piss off $2,000 to $3,000 in other revenue sources, 'cause their stuff runs 24/7 stepping all over everyone else's streaming video. I tried rate limiting for a while, but some people are insufferably clever and go hunting for workarounds. I finally declared war on the protocol network wide; management didn't disagree and the CSRs thanked me for the reduced workload. We lost a couple of customers to other providers by having done this.

     In an ideal world we'd have a tiered plan like so:

      128k or 256k for the casual user
      512k to 1 meg for home users
      1meg+ for business, gamers, etc

      and as a value add we'd sell 80kbit 'channels' - that's the right size for a top quality VoIP session or maybe a control channel for a game.

      As a consumer not on the network I manage if I could get the 512k service for say $40/month and an 80k slice of that went real fast for an additional $10/month I'd be all over it.

      The cellular data caps are new and that is a totally different issue than the fixed wireless/cable/DSL. There the 5 gig cap that is going around the industry is perfectly sensible and defensible for a variety of reasons.

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:49:17 PM PDT

    •  5 gig cap is defensible? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's like 5 days worth of dKos reading... that you'd have to ration for a whole month!

      5 Gig is absolutely ridiculously low!

      The data cap thing is normal business around here, and I don't mind that at all... I just need medium speed, but caps?  Forget it!

      Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

      by LordMike on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:27:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's good for a donation. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, lightfoot, Losty

    Eric Massa's Act Blue page for people who like to reward good governance with a donation.

    Keep up the good work Congressman!

    "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people." -Tony Benn (-6.38,-6.36)

    by The Rational Hatter on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:49:22 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, Congressman (3+ / 0-)

    Being a NY resident I know how diligent one has to be to counter the cable and internet monopolies.

    If you ever get around to mandating "a la carte" cable pricing, I'd be all for that.  Why should I be forced to subscribe to movie channels I never watch (HBO, Showtime, etc.) just so I can have the privilege of getting the NY sports channels, too?  SNY and YES are NOT available unless you also take the movie channels.

    But regardless, good job on the internet pricing.  Unfortunately it's a neverending battle.

  •  Every time I read something new about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, lightfoot

    What Eric's doing in Congress. It makes me glad that I voted for him.

    You're doing a great job. Now if only we could get State Level politicians doing as good a job. Or someone in the Senate that was doing as good a job as you are.

  •  No thanks, Congressman, it's an awful idea! (2+ / 0-)

    Do we really want laws now that regulate specific pricing issues of Internet Service Providers?  That's precisely what this is about.  Congressman Massa's showboating plan tells ISPs that they have to price a certain way.

    The Internet was created by accident -- nobody planned it, and nobody knew how it would work.  And it has evolved to meet demand.  There is one huge threat -- there is no longer a free choice of ISPs.  Due to changes in the rules made by the former regime's FCC, ISPs no longer have the right to lease telephone company DSL circuits or even raw wire.  So there are only two ISPs in most cities, the cable and the telco.  THAT is the problem.  NOT capping egregiously heavy uers.  

    ISPs are treated as information services, like newspapers.  Their supply of newsprint has been cut off.  Imagine if the post office only delivered News Corp. and Tribune Co. publications.  That's the current problem with ISPs.  We have a choice of two ISPs, Pravda and Izvestia.  "Network neutrality" means that both of them have to be "fair and balanced".  But independent publishers are still banned.  (Yes, the local paper route carries one or two local papers, but assume that all magazines unaffiliated with the NewsTribuneUSPOstalSerivce couldn't use the mail.)

    While Internet backbone capacity is pretty cheap in New York City, upstream capacity in rural areas costs ISPs a lot.  Only the telephone companies can get it cheaply.  So a competitive ISP, who might be much better for the 95% or so of subsribers who use less than 20 GB/month, simply cannot afford to provide 100-200 GB/ month so that subscribers can use their system in lieu of cable TV.  And a wireless ISP system simply doesn't have that kind of capacity, but that's the only broadband ISP available in many rural areas.  This is the type of thing that a competitive market in ISPs can take care of -- low usage ISPs and plans for some, high usage plans for others.  Cellular works that way already.

    CAPPING AND TIERING ARE NEUTRAL.  It is not discriminating between web sites or applications!  It just says that the 5% of users who generate most of the usage, which ISPs do have to pay for (price out any Juniper routers lately?), might have to pay more.

    So let's fix the telephone rules, going back to 2001's rules, so that ISPs HAVE THE RIGHT to pay fair (not "below cost") rates to get access to the wire.  And let's NOT regulate ISP content.

  •  Thanks, but no thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer

    An open internet means my provider cannot hinder where I go, or what I download. Period.

    It does not mean I can hog my whole neighborhood's bandwidth to the detriment of every other household connected on the same leg.

    I most certainly want the teenagers downloading terabytes of porn movies (or whatever) to, at the very least, pay more for the privilege.

    This is none of the government's business, as long as every cable operator offers at least a basic service at a reasonable price for all in the coverage area.  Please get out of the business of running every business in the country, Rep. Massa.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 02:12:59 PM PDT

  •  Time-Warner wants to wage commercial warfare (3+ / 0-)

    they envision people eventually buying "lifestyle packages" where you get all your media services from one source and they decide how much you're allowed to consume.

    The internet is about freedom and should remain that way.

    Thank you, Representative Massa.

  •  It's not so much the existence of tiers... (4+ / 0-)

    but the ridiculous and unrealistic prices and tiers they assigned.  40GB was the cap for the $55 plan or some such thing?  $1.38 per GB?  Absurd.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with charging people for what they use... or charging people who download torrents all day long more than those of us who don't... but the prices and tiers TWC announced were painfully ludicrous compared to .. well, to any other provider.

    Capping and throttling or charging some sane price after some sort of cap is an acceptable concept to me.  But when the "monster tier" is 100GB, that's pretty ludicrous.  

    •  it's all about killing iTunes, Hulu, etc. (6+ / 0-)

      And ensuring everyone goes back to buying their media on little plastic discs that can fill up land fills. The BitTorrent issue is a red herring.

      •  It's also about killing Youtube (6+ / 0-)

        And any other medium of Free Speech that regular people use to send a message to those in power.  The Corporations are always trying to figure out a way to stifle Free Expression on the 'net.

        "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine

        by Tommymac on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:21:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, and that's I think the scary part (0+ / 0-)

        Like, say you don't want to pay some lame-fee to subscribe to, I don't know, MLB Extra Innings so you threaten to go with and watch on the web and the cable company come-back with "oh, well that's going to push you over your bandwidth tier real fast."

        I mean, that's a very real scenario; and I think web-based video is getting TWC all jittery.

        All that said, some sort of sane few cents/GB rate isn't the end of the world; but their proposed tiers were exceptionally stupid, which is why so many people complained.  

  •  We don't need congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to regulate the internet. The internet should be free and unregulated as it is now because the moment the government sticks its nose in it, it assumes the power to control it and next thing you know we'll have internet censorship of porn, and then bad language, and then violent language, and then bad political language, and then anything that the government doesn't like, and then anything that anybody anywhere doesn't like, and all the internet freedom we have now will be gone. This piece of legislation, however well intended, is a trojan horse that will eventually destroy the internet if it's allowed to continue.

    Republicans/Democrats Same Shit, Different Piles

    by wingnuttroll on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:08:14 PM PDT

    •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, lightfoot

      We've seen how well deregulation works in oher industries.


      Those who do not study history should not be permitted to make it.

      by trumpeter on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 04:24:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't support deregulation, but this is stupid (0+ / 0-)

        regulation.  Bandwidth is a limited resource. People should pay based on much of it they use.

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:25:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You mean the internet created by DARPA (3+ / 0-)

      the government agency and privitized during the Clinton Administration. The one created by the Government, the one that you claim is unfit it regulate it? The government that treated the internet as a public commons? That government?

      I think we have seen enough of the results of the money=free speech paradigm to be able to choose weather we have the government (which is the instrument of all of us) regulate it, or let it be regulated for the maximum profit of a few.  

      •  You're very naive (0+ / 0-)

        government (which is the instrument of all of us)

        government isn't the instrument of all of us, it is the instrument of a few rich elites who use its force as a way of controlling all of us and keeping us in line. The internet is the insturment of all of us and we need to protect it from the government.

        Republicans/Democrats Same Shit, Different Piles

        by wingnuttroll on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:12:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Congressman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am so proud my dollars I sent to you via ActBlue last year were put to good use.

    Keep up the good work.

    "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine

    by Tommymac on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:25:37 PM PDT

  •  As a Time Warner customer in Cleveland (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluehawk, Snud, lightfoot

    I thank you for your work, Congressman.

    Another bullet dodged...for now.

  •  Rep. Massa--thank you!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightfoot, Losty

    I live in a TWC monopoly area of the US---they continually advertise 'teaser' rates for Roadrunner, phone, and digital HD TV.  They can't keep their service up more than a week without an outage.  And no one holds them accountable for any of this.

    TWC's 'use based rates' were just the latest attempt to take advantage of customers who have no choice in service provider, and also indirectly, an attempt to make it harder--more costly for customers--to listen to internet radio, watch video news clips, and to otherwise utilize the net in ways that benefit citizens and democracy.

    Ironically, TWC has a digital TV service on the same pipe---pumping gigabytes of TV data across the same cable to TV viewers, but while this amount of data far exceeds what Internet users utilize, TWC was singling out Internet users for massive use-based fees, while not upping rates for digital TV or phone services---over the SAME pipe!!

    We have to watch TWC and other major ISPs, because they won't give up trying to throttle Internet users, forcing them to subsidize TV and phone customers.

    Thanks for taking the initiative on this issue.  I take careful note that NO ONE in the ares I live in here in the South,  took TWC to task on this--our local politicians are totally bought by the telecoms.  

  •  They should charge extra (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Futuristic Dreamer

    For how much Fox News people watch. Over an hour and their cable rates double!

    Thanks, Congressman!

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:47:53 PM PDT

  •  You're welcome - now how about marriage equality? (2+ / 0-)

    Please support marriage equality in New York, and the Uniting American Families Act in Congress.

  •  The Internet will be a basic human right... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, K S LaVida, Losty, smileyman, blunami the very near future.  It is inarguably and unquestionably the greatest advance in human civilization since the invention of the written word.  Probably within twenty years, countries will provide unlimited wireless internet access to every citizen, taxpayer-supported, with possibly some "power-user" paid versions on top (much like some countries with universal health coverage still allow the purchasing of higher-end super-policies).  

    But at this particular moment, I'm not sure I quite agree with a blanket ban on tiered pricing, especially in rural areas (the bulk of the country, lets not forget) where the lines can't physically take handle the amount of bandwidth some are using.  It is unfair for 1% of a community's users to monopolize the limited bandwidth so thoroughly that the 99% can't even get normal webpages to load quickly, much less online video.  In circumstances where the occasional power user ends up crippling the internet for the vast majority of his neighbors, it's only fair to establish some reasonable limits to allow everyone access to online content.

    That's the first issue.  The second issue is more complicated: i.e., is it really fair for a grandmother who sends a couple text messages a week to pay the same price as a guy who watches multiple streaming HD movies per day?  The first issue concerns instances in which an extreme minority of power users are hogging all the internet for themselves, and depriving other paying customers of reliable access.  But the second issue is somewhat more philosophical.  In that, in cases where there's plenty of bandwidth to go around, and the HD-movie guy isn't negatively impacting the emailing-grandma, should the services cost the same?  Then the answer depends on whether you see the Internet as a right, or a privilege, and we're actually close to a parallel on health care coverage.  If you're an in-shape healthy guy who has virtually no medical needs, or an overweight type 1 diabetic like myself who needs about $20,000/year in medicines, test strips, and treatment, to stay alive, should we both pay the same for health care coverage?  Trickier question.  If health care is a "right", then of course we should pay the same.  If health care is a "privilege", then it should be tiered, and people with greater health needs should pay more.  Not an easy question anymore!

    "Don't hope for a stronger America. Vote for one." - John McCain. And I did!

    by cartwrightdale on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 05:01:34 PM PDT

    •  Welcome to Planet Earth in the 21st century. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The internet is not necessary to survive, medication is.  People die because they don't have access to vital medication, nobody dies because they don't have access to the internet.  Medical care is a right, the internet is a tool and a toy.

      Congressman, why don't you do something useful and pass laws preventing insurance companies from over charging people who need medical care, instead of people who want to bitTorrent all day.

      "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

      by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 07:49:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Highly disagree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lightfoot, MicahT0078, Losty

        Dismissing the internet as a "tool" or a "toy" is a little ludicrous.  It's the entire canon of human knowledge available instantly, anywhere in the entire world, for free.  Information will always, always, always be more important and vital to humanity than any medical advance could ever be, because ultimately as human beings, all we are are storers and users of information.  Even as someone who's dependent on multiple injections daily to survive, I believe very strongly that, if a choice between modern medicine and the internet had to be made for humanity and the future advancement of the human race, the internet would win hands down, a million times over.  I, of course, would like to see both the internet and healthcare covered for all, but the internet really is the more crucial of the two.

        "Don't hope for a stronger America. Vote for one." - John McCain. And I did!

        by cartwrightdale on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:13:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Humans get along just fine without the internet (0+ / 0-)

          You should get out of the basement sometime and find out. Most people don't have the time to use the internet as anything but a tool, many more can't afford it, or don't know how to use it, and they all get along just fine.

          "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

          by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:22:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have to agree with you on this. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lightfoot, Losty

          I use the internet for work as a remote office, school for a distance learning degree,  and keeping social ties with my family and friends around the world (not internet friends but ones I made outside of the basement).  I use it to download TV shows and podcasts from Stanford and other universities to increase my knowledge.  It is the only reliable way for me to get Democracy Now on a daily basis.  I collaborate musically with other musicians via the web.  I have no cable and no land line; just internet, a home server, and a cell phone.  Futuristic strikes me as someone who is a first or second generation internet user and has not been able or willing to integrate the power of the net into the basic functions of daily life.  If I didn't have it I could earn a living, complete my degree or be informed of current events.  That is hardly the definition of a toy or "just a tool."

          A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.-Robert Frost

          by MicahT0078 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:46:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Please reconsider! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    K S LaVida, Futuristic Dreamer

    There is a real cost to providing bandwidth. The bandwidth paid for by the typical home cable or DSL customer is shared among many, many other customers. One user downloading 24/7 can easily overwhelm the upstream connection, degrading service for other customers. To suggest that all customers should pay the same price, a few receiving very good service and many more receiving very poor service, is ridiculous.

    While the bandwidth pricing scheme proposed by Time Warner was functionally crap, there is a need for metered Internet service for home users. Back in the days when modems were all the rage, most people paid by the hour to access their ISP. I remember running up a few large AOL bills back in the day.

    Most web-hosting providers tier service based on the amount of data being hosted and a monthly bandwidth allotment. This has been standard practice for as long as the Internet has been around. To suggest that bandwidth should always be available at a flat rate to all users regardless of usage is ridiculous.

    If you really want to help more people get better Internet access, spend less time on legislation on issues like this and more time on legislation that can foster competition among service providers. The easiest way to ensure individuals have an option to purchase uncapped service it to get as many services as possible to the market.

  •  Ha! So my payoffs worked. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, lightfoot

    I knew donating to you would payoff...and I didn't even need to move to K Street.

    Getting congress people to do what you want is so easy when you elect people who want to do the right thing.

    Please keep working on this issue. Also, you already know this, but keep your eye on the net neutrality issue too. After watching how Fox controlled the coverage of the Tea Bag Day I hate to think what internet providers who could set the agenda would do to the netroots.

    "You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see." Ann Althouse, Conservative Thoughtmeister

    by Bill Section 147 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 05:41:58 PM PDT

    •  What does this have to do with bandwidth caps? (0+ / 0-)

      "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

      by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 07:51:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not sure what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

        My title referred to the fact that I donated to his campaign and was glad that I was getting some value for that.

        The first point in my comment was thanking him for working on the issue of tiered pricing on the internet. Which I believe is the point of the diary.

        And then, after asking him to keep at it, I mentioned a separate and wholly different concept that was of concern to me – net neutrality. Being a Congressman he may be able to do something about it.

        I could have said, Thanks for working on tiered pricing on the internet. Also say hello to Joe.

        Now I know that Joe and Eric's friendship with Joe is not related to his Diary but I am not sure why I cannot make two separate points in my comments.

        Maybe I am not aware of all internet traditions.

        "You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see." Ann Althouse, Conservative Thoughtmeister

        by Bill Section 147 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:23:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, pshaw, Congressman (0+ / 0-)

    No need to thank me.  My saintliness is its own reward.  Also, I didn't actually do anything.

    Thank YOU, though.

    "No." - Sen. Mitch McConnell

    by houndcat on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 06:17:55 PM PDT

  •  I'm a little unclear about why (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer

    metering internet service is a bad thing.  Billing based on usage encourages people to use the internet more efficiently.  If you're reading the news, emailing friends, chatting, you're never going to get anywhere near these bandwidth caps.  We have tiered billing for electricity, water and natural gas.  

  •  Your constituent thanks you Rep. Massa! (0+ / 0-)

    Keep up the good fight.

  •  We already paid for better than we've got (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In the 90 we gave the telecom companies lots of taxpayer money to being high speed internet to all.

    They did not deliver.

    They took the money and they did not deliver.

    They need to be held accountable for that. The Bush administration wasn't going to do it. Will the current government finally hold them accountable?

    Internet on fiber optics is not like any physical thing that we're familiar with, so it is open to abuse. It costs hardly any more to double or quadruple.

    The telecoms have been working on a scarcity model, since it makes so much "sense" to monitor flows like water and electricity. Fiber-optic internet isn't anything like that, at all.

    It should run free and fast and the companies should be getting something like the rates we pay for garbage service, a low, rate.

    "Everyone in this room is wearing a uniform, so don't kid yourself." - Frank Zappa

    by brione on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 07:47:18 PM PDT

  •  Glad to hear this! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a customer of Time Warner, but they would have lost me if they attempted to implement this.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33

    by wrights on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 07:53:39 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for standing up for our last line of (0+ / 0-)

    open communication.  Thank you thank you thank you.

    "As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever." -- Clarence Darrow

    by Bluedoc on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:10:51 PM PDT

  •  Great Idea! Heres some more great ideas.... (0+ / 0-)

    As Gates, Schmidt et al press for net neutrality how about advertising neutrality eliminating tiered pricing in advertising (Is that Google I hear screaming nooo....)? How about software neutrality (Billy boy its your turn....), in fact economy wide pricing neutrality such as airplanes, rail, rental cars, everywhere! How about house price neutrality so houses in Manhattan cost the same as in New Iberia Louisiana?

    The stupidity of businessmen in trying to get government to set price controls is amazing. They never seem to understand these things rebound.

    If you consume more you SHOULD pay more else who would pay for these costs? If this is such a great business why doesnt Google et al invest in it? If this should be a utility a la water, let the government buy and run a network but just as in bottled water/energy drinks do not be surprised that for performance applications users move to private ones.

    Incidentally Congressman do you know what MPLS-TE is or even more basically QoS? Have you ever talked to those who actually design  networks? Unfortunately the supporters in industry are all from the high volume user community who would like to abuse this capital intensive industry. Aaah well lets not have reason prevail over emotion!!!

  •  what about... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if someone on an internet network is really misusing it and is actually using an unfair share of a networks capacity.

    (god I can't believe I just posted and argument a cable company would like.  i need to wash now)

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:46:33 PM PDT

  •  Thanks! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:53:04 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! nt (0+ / 0-)

    As long as prejudice exists in this country-in this world-we are all its victims. ~~ Keith Olbermann

    by Purple Priestess on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 12:30:52 AM PDT

  •  Dear Congressman Massa: (0+ / 0-)

    Thank-you for your vigilant work! As an activist for low income people who could never afford these prices, and would thus be affectively made outsiders to the Internet, I cannot thank you enough.  

    There is a very wide digital divide and this is simply not fair to citizens who also pay for this access with their taxes.  The truth is, the mega-companies who monopolize the bandwidth, got subsidies from the government for their expansions and for the expensive feat of laying cable as well as being allowed to BE monopolies in cities around the nation. Often one of the contingencies for their monopoly is that they provide bandwidth for low income people ~ but here lies the rub as what does that mean?  Often inner city and rural people are literally cutoff from ANY high speed access except satellite ~ and they have a ridiculously low bandwidth rate, which is merely 200 megabites per day.

    It is time these companies pony up as they are already making billions off our publicly owned bandwidth.  They are not going to be hurt, unlike the people they are supposed to serve!

    Cat In Seattle  

  •  "Congressman Eric Massa"! (0+ / 0-)

    Wow. As a Clarkie since 2004, that's the best thing about this diary. Too bad Clark didn't run this time, and too bad he didn't make Veep, either, but that you're in Congress is consolation.

    Please keep blogging, here and at the Clark Community Network.

  •  Thank you so much Congressman. (0+ / 0-)

    Even though I'm a Comcast customer I've been watching the TW thing very closely.  Comcast is the kind of company that will do anything they feel they can get away with, and if TW had succeeded everyone knows Comcast would have come crashing down on their customers as well.  

    So I'll be watching this matter very closely, and supporting you in any way I can!

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei

    by Dittoz on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 06:15:22 AM PDT

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