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Networking The Internet United States Wireless Networking

The Danger In Exempting Wireless From Net Neutrality 161

Posted by samzenpus
from the share-the-air dept.
nmpost writes "Nearly two years ago, the FCC outlined its rules for net neutrality. Notably absent were rules for wireless networks. There are several legitimate reasons that the same rules applied to wired networks can not apply to wireless networks. However, the same danger lies in leaving wireless networks unguarded against the whims of its administrators. As we move more and more towards a wireless dominated internet, those dangers will become more pronounced. We are going to need a massive investment in infrastructure in this country regardless of net neutrality rules. Demand for wireless is going to continue to grow for many years to come, and providers are not going to be able to let up. Data caps and throttling are understandable now as demand is far outpacing infrastructure growth. Eventually, demand will slow, and these practices will have to be addressed. This is where allowing internet providers to regulate themselves becomes an issue. Self regulation usually does not end well for the consumer. Imagine allowing power plants and oil refineries to determine what chemicals they could pour into the air. Would they have the population's best interest at heart when making that determination? In the future when the infrastructure can match the demand, what will stop internet providers from picking winners and losers over their wireless networks? As conglomerates like Comcast gobble up content providers like NBC, a conflict of interest begins to emerge. There would be nothing from stopping one of the big wireless providers like AT&T or Verizon from scooping up a content provider and prioritizing its data speed over the network."
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The Danger In Exempting Wireless From Net Neutrality

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The more the ones who can afford armies of lawyers will win.

    And once the government starts regulating the internet, there will be literally thousands and thousands of pages of regulations.

    Tell me, how does that help the consumer?

    Or do you REALLY think the government is really setting out to help YOU? YOU don't control enough money to generate millions of dollars in campaign contributions, do you?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      The more the ones who can afford armies of lawyers will win.

      And once the government starts regulating the internet, there will be literally thousands and thousands of pages of regulations.

      Tell me, how does that help the consumer?

      The more complex one makes the rules for the WiFI space, the better the chances for the non-representative minority of customers that chose to stay wired [wikipedia.org] will be...

  • Ham radio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @04:55PM (#41208397)

    I could solve all the problems associated with these profiteering asshats with a simple solution: Allow people to be licensed to broadcast internet. Right now amateur radio can't offer internet access. If private persons were allowed to do with a larger spectrum space what they can do right now with wifi, I suspect that their entire business model would implode.

    Mesh networking is a mature technology -- and it doesn't require the infrastructure these companies offer. Make it legal for people to build wireless communities. But I guess that would be too radical of a concept for the FCC; They seem only interested in appearing to support the common citizen, rather than actually supporting them. There's no profit in handing over spectrum to "the public", the group the FCC claims to represent, and whom the FCC mandate the spectrum is actually owned by, for which the FCC is merely an administrator of.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      And what about radio and TV broadcast? Would you just run roughshod over those bands & block people's reception?? Fact is you DO have the WiFi bands open, and yet very few people setup mesh networks. Instead they lock-up their Wifi modems so nobody else can access them.

      • Re:Ham radio (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @07:11PM (#41209273)

        Fact is you DO have the WiFi bands open, and yet very few people setup mesh networks.

        Another technically true, but misleading statement. The wifi frequencies are "open" they just aren't open enough because transmitter power is still extremely limited. To the point where it is unreasonable to expect a single wifi access point to cover more than an acre of so of open land. Ham radio operators are allowed to transmit at levels of power that are orders of magnitude stronger.

        Get back to this argument when anyone can run a wifi base-station that will cover at least 5 square miles.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @04:59PM (#41208427)

    Self regulation usually does not end well for the consumer. Imagine allowing power plants and oil refineries to determine what chemicals they could pour into the air. Would they have the population's best interest at heart when making that determination?

    That's not an apt comparison because power plants are refineries are paid for what they deliver and what you are concerned about regulating is an unwanted byproduct of their operations. With data service, your bits getting to and from your devices is both what you are proposing regulating and what they are selling. Sure, there's an inherent conflict between what they want (to get as much money from you for service under the most favorable to them terms) and what you want (getting your data fast and cheap without restrictions of any kind, or according to restrictions you can dictate). But that's the case in every other commercial transaction as well. There's a need to protect consumers from such unfair practices as abusing monopoly power to drive up prices higher than could be sustained in a competitive market, lock-in, charging you for access to your own data, unreasonable tarriffing of data from outside networks, uneven and deceptive price models and unfair cost shifting. But these are unrelated to problems like pollution.

    In the future when the infrastructure can match the demand, what will stop internet providers from picking winners and losers over their wireless networks? As conglomerates like Comcast gobble up content providers like NBC, a conflict of interest begins to emerge. There would be nothing from stopping one of the big wireless providers like AT&T or Verizon from scooping up a content provider and prioritizing its data speed over the network.

    I don't foresee a future where the infrastructure can match demand. As capacity grows, people will demand more data services from more mobile devices and saturate the capacity unless pricing prevents them from doing so, and prices in a free market would normally be be set such that they fall a short of saturation.

    • I don't foresee a future where the infrastructure can match demand. As capacity grows, people will demand more data services from more mobile devices and saturate the capacity unless pricing prevents them from doing so, and prices in a free market would normally be be set such that they fall a short of saturation.

      Another, related, reason why infrastructure will not, and cannot, match demand for wireless data is that there is only so much spectrum. Actually, there is a way that wireless infrastructure could match demand. That would be for it to be priced out of the reach of the average person.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I don't foresee a future where the infrastructure can match demand. As capacity grows, people will demand more data services from more mobile devices and saturate the capacity unless pricing prevents them from doing so, and prices in a free market would normally be be set such that they fall a short of saturation.

      Obligatory: https://xkcd.com/908/ [xkcd.com]

  • Excuse me? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @05:13PM (#41208545)
    Name one time in the history of the internet where demand for bandwidth has slowed? The size of content outpaces the increase in bandwidth that technology provides. Remember when you could install your OS with a floppy? Try a DVD now. The current Debian dist is 8 DVD's, over 300GB.
    • by danomac (1032160)

      300 GB? That's one hell of a download. I think downloading that once would put almost everyone over their monthly cap!

    • Remember when you could install your OS with a floppy? Try a DVD now. The current Debian dist is 8 DVD's, over 300GB.

      I get what you're saying about bandwidth and I agree, but OSs aren't really that much bigger, its just all the optional bloat bolted on top that takes up so much space.

      Damn Small Linux can squeezes in under 50MB. [damnsmalllinux.org]

  • Are you kidding me? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <`ejkeever' `at' `nerdshack.com'> on Sunday September 02, 2012 @05:26PM (#41208641)
    Demand for wireless is going to continue to grow for many years to come, and providers are not going to be able to let up. Data caps and throttling are understandable now as demand is far outpacing infrastructure growth. Eventually, demand will slow, and these practices will have to be addressed.

    Um, NO?

    Demand for bandwidth will always exceed supply. Because it's ridiculously easy (more often than not to the point of the application doing it by default) to use more and lower-latency bandwidth, while it is difficult and time-consuming to install more supply. And this becomes ever more true the farther you move up the tiers. Installing new high-quality GigE cards and 8-port switch in my office? Under an hour from opening the NewEgg box to a job well done. Rolling out 10GigE to the whole floor? All week for a crew of guys. Rolling out 100M or 1G fiber to whole cities? Years of work and the job's barely even begun.

    And if anyone thinks demand will saturate, there are always applications waiting in the wings to use more bandwidth.
    • by Zaelath (2588189)

      Confusing want and need, it's the consumer's god given right and you will respect it!

      Also, we clearly need legislation to ensure smooth delivery of orange guidos to television into the future.

  • Antitrust (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @05:28PM (#41208649)

    As conglomerates like Comcast gobble up content providers like NBC,

    So, stop them [wikipedia.org].

    Corporations shouldn't be allowed to acquire other corporations anyway. After all, they are people. And President Lincoln said people shouldn't own other people.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      Comcast already asked and received permission from the Obama-era FCC to buy NBC. You're not going to get an antitrust lawsuit.

      • by PPH (736903)

        So, we need to throw the Obama administration out and vote one in that will look out for the rights of the electorate first.

        Like Romney ....... Nah. Mr LBO from Bain Capital isn't going to do any better.

        What about bringing an antitrust suit as a civil class action? And name the FCC as a defendant/co-conspirator in the antitrust action?

  • We started with wireless television broadcasting to everyone's home, but not we have wired television reaching most of the country. I see internet moving the same direction, towards more wired lines as time passes by. (Of course people will still have their cellphones & other portable gadgets, but that data will mostly be streaming through WiFi modems that hook-into the wired LAN lines.)

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @05:46PM (#41208759)

    "In the future when the infrastructure can match the demand..."

    Why do you assume the infrastructure can't match the demand? The fact that it doesn't does not mean that it can't.

    Let's look at some facts:

    (1) Bandwidth has continued to get cheaper for the providers, every year, while price / MB for consumers has actually been going up.

    (2) Provider profits have never been better.

    (3) Other countries (Canada, much of Europe, many others) manage to deliver superior bandwidth at much lower rates.

    And these up, and the logical conclusion is: the providers are deliberately creating an artificial shortage to keep prices high.

    They could easily take some of their record profits and turn them into bandwidth. The fact that they haven't been doing enough of that to meet demand pretty much gives them away. Others haven't had that problem.

    • s / And these up / Add these up ...
    • by compro01 (777531)

      (3) Other countries (Canada, much of Europe, many others) manage to deliver superior bandwidth at much lower rates.

      You must be thinking of parts of Canada that aren't serviced by Bell, Rogers, or Telus.

      • "You must be thinking of parts of Canada that aren't serviced by Bell, Rogers, or Telus."

        Well, I could be wrong about Canada. But that's what I seemed to recall reading in an Ars Technica article. But Europe, definitely.

        Certainly, the U.S. does have infrastructure issues that much of Europe does not (particularly "last mile" costs in sparsely populated areas), but I don't think it's enough to make the difference, and it doesn't explain the high costs in areas that are not sparsely populated.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @06:03PM (#41208877) Homepage

    The biggest problem here is not controlling usage so there's less congestion. Providers already do that plenty with data caps.

    The problem is providers telling you what application you can use that 2GB or 4GB you purchased for.

    AT&T for instance, says that if you have a 2GB smart phone data plan, you can't tether your laptop. But if you have a 4GB plan, you can. What business do they have telling you if you can tether your laptop? If you want to sit there and use 30GB tethered, that should be okay; you'll just have to pay for the additional usage. This is understandable and makes sense.

    They're doing it again with iOS 6, saying you can't do Facetime over cellular unless you upgrade to one of their sharing plans. They shouldn't CARE if you use facetime over cellular, because if you use too much data, you'll have to pay for it anyway.

    Charge me $xx for $yy GB. That's fine. Just don't tell me what I can do with those GB. They're MINE, I paid for them!

  • by VTI9600 (1143169)

    This article reeks of FUD. The technical challenge alone is pretty unbelievable when you think about it. It's one thing to set up layer 3 policy-based QoS on a handful of service provider core switches, but to coordinate that policy across hundreds of access level devices is quite difficult to say the least...assuming those devices even support it. Never mind that the relationship of consumer to service provider has been less the focus of net neutrality policy than the issue of fairness to content providers

  • Data caps and throttling are understandable now as demand is far outpacing infrastructure growth.

    What color is the sky on your planet? Data caps and throttling are not acceptable, because the whole notion of them is a complete fraud, and anyone with half a brain knows it. The fact that they're running their networks at or over capacity should be a good thing. This should mean that they have the money to upgrade and rebuild their networks. After all, they have been fleecing their users and the government in the form of broadband subsidies for years. There's no excuse for not building a new network where

  • The US FCC has no authority to do anything with regards to the Internet.

    Discussing "how" and "how much" and "when" begs that question. Stop it.
    The FCC is an irrelevant dinosaur that regulates television and radio. It is
    specifically prohibited from interfering in useful networks -- including the Internet.

    http://tinyurl.com/9p4z35p [tinyurl.com]

    E

  • I deal, on a daily basis, with people who are using hotspots and cellphone connections as their primary connections. Netflix, Hulu, torrents, all cramming their way through some poor little Android; the laptop, the console, the iPads and iPods all feasting on its misery. I think the speeds currently being offered just shouldn't be available. I don't think "4G" is a product whose time has actually come, and telling people it exists results in them using it as if it were a real connection. Don't ban FaceTime
  • by hemo_jr (1122113)

    As long as there is not a monopoly, why can't the marketplace take care of issue? Simply take your business to an ISP that practices net neutrality.

  • Why not allocate half of available wireless network capacity to strictly nondiscriminatory use and half to unrestricted commercial trading? Pretty soon, we will have the answer as to which approach is more beneficial. My guess is both, and that the largest users of commercial spectrum wouldn't be able to initially grow and succeed without nondiscriminatory spectrum.

  • I first noticed it around the 17th of August, before that date, no problem.. I assumed it was implemented for RNC convention, but the convention is gone now and T-mobile's filtering nasty is still active.

    I can no longer remote admin any of my customers networks (router web pages, remote desktop, etc) using non-standard network ports(8000+ range) over t-mobiles wireless network.

    T-Mobile appears to be using a combination of unsolicited tcp resets and throttling down to 60kbits, (even simple web pages no

  • TFS is wrong, starting with the most basic premise stated in the first sentence, to which the whole rest of the piece is a reaction (and a reaction which is completely pointless, since the premise it is reacting to is completely inaccurate.)

    Nearly two years ago, the FCC outlined its rules for net neutrality. Notably absent were rules for wireless networks

    This is false on several levels.

    First: what the FCC did wasn't "outlining", it was publishing the actual rules (not an outline of the rules).
    Second: Wired/

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