May 4, 2006 4:40 PM PDT

Verizon: Net neutrality concerns are 'hypothetical'

WASHINGTON--Verizon Communications on Thursday dismissed concerns about Net neutrality as "hypothetical problems" and suggested that new laws mandating the concept were premature.

C. Lincoln "Link" Hoewing, an assistant vice president at Verizon Communications, said that the ability to charge for services such as high-quality video is crucial to being able to afford the multibillion-dollar price tag of upgrading its network-to-fiber links.

"We could put other services on those pipes--it's got a lot more capacity to do this," Hoewing told the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference here. That would help "to make it more viable economically and financially and to help us compete."

Calling concerns about Net-favoritism entirely hypothetical, Hoewing said: "I'm getting tired of it...We've never done anything that I know to interfere with anyone's traffic."

Net neutrality, the concept that all Internet sites should be treated equally by broadband providers without any kind of discrimination, has become a hot political topic in Washington, D.C., this year. Lobbying for laws making the concept mandatory are firms including Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google--which have found allies in Democrats and are being opposed by Republicans.

Republican members of the House of Representatives last week defeated a bid by Democrats to enshrine extensive Net neutrality regulations into law. Under the defeated amendment, the Federal Communications Commission would receive the authority to police the Internet for violations of the rules and ban any kind of preferential treatment based on charging extra fees. (Even without the amendment, however, the FCC already has taken action in cases of blocking traffic.)

Hoewing said that Verizon is able to slice up bandwidth on its high-speed Fios service based on different lasers and different frequencies. But he declined to say what services might be offered. "I can't give you a portfolio of services that I can lay out that are coming out of the broadband networks that we're deploying," Hoewing said.

Gigi Sohn, president of the Public Knowledge advocacy group that has pressed for neutrality legislation, said: "This is an issue of discrimination, or on the flip side, favoritism."

Sohn's group has been part of a coalition that includes one or two conservative organizations--but mostly liberal groups such as Moveon.org. Perhaps as a result, Sohn acknowledged, "This has become very politicized on the Hill...They have decided to make this a partisan political issue."

Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, admitted that some longtime Internet hands may be skeptical of giving the FCC more regulatory power. But, he said, if AT&T would ink contracts letting Google.com load in one second but other search engines load in 3 to 4 seconds, "that's a serious distortion of competition in that market."

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29 comments

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If a monopolist calls a threat hypothetical, start worrying...
We're down to two telephone companies and a handful of cable companies. Most consumers in the US have zero, one or two (at most) choices for broadband into their home. That's called a natural monopoly.

And we all know how monopolies can be abused.

This is, despite the attempts to portray it as such, not a Democrat vs. GOP issue. Plenty of conservatives -- from the Gun Owners of America, to Right Wing News, Instapundit, etc. -- support net neutrality. And more are joining the cause every day.

You can read some background material here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2006/02/end-of-internet-another-fantastic-deal.html" target="_newWindow">http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2006/02/end-of-internet-another-fantastic-deal.html</a> and take action here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.savetheinternet.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.savetheinternet.com</a> .

Even now, without network neutrality, investment in net startups has chilled: Blair Levin, analyst with Stifel Nicolaus said, "Right now, I would never invest in a business model that depended on protection from Net neutrality."

So who will fund the next Vonage, Skype, or Google?
Posted by directorblue (148 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Learn some economics
First, a natural monopoly is one where a market cannot efficiently maintain more than one player. You've never seen it because there is no such thing. Monopolies exist primarily where government dictates business practices -- think utilities. Such markets are deeply unnatural.

With regulation, it becomes very hard for new entrants because there is less money to be made, and the regulatory barriers are higher. The companies that do survive are unnaturally powerful (due to less competition) and are also beholden to gov't. That's a bad combination. That is what the neutrality proponents are advocating.

A variety of services and protocols, on every part of the network, are what will move us forward and invite new players. Skype is cute, but give me my IPTV. Dedicated tiers make that feasible, and guess what? More video competition.

(By the way, if Skype or Google had to adhere to common-carrier rules, they never would have existed.)

The idea that gov't can legislate the next generation of network into existence is absurd. Let the network providers experiment and the customer will make the call.

The market is more competitive by the day: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.onlyrepublican.com/orinsf/2006/04/broadband_expan.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.onlyrepublican.com/orinsf/2006/04/broadband_expan.html</a>
Posted by ORinSF (57 comments )
Link Flag
You mean you never blocked port 80?
"I'm getting tired of it...We've never done anything that I know to interfere with anyone's traffic."

Mr. Hoewing is obviosly not well informed. Selling an "Internet Connection" and using mandatory port filtering to limit what customers use it for IS interfering with traffic. Requiring a more expensive "business account" for an unfiltered connection IS preferential treatment based on charging extra fees.

It is one thing to charge for a bigger pipe. It is another to try and dictate what people do with it.
Posted by CagedAnimal (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Its the company's right. Its about freedom.
&lt;&lt;It is one thing to charge for a bigger pipe. It is another to try and dictate what people do with it.&gt;&gt;

No, it's not. The company owns the network and they can govern and sell it any way they choose. If you don't like the service, then you are free to pay somebody else. The government has no business dictating pricing structures for ISPs.

There absolutely are different levels of service at different prices, and almost EVERY industry thrives this way. If I pay more than you for my Internet access, I should get more. Simple as that.

Businesses want service level guarantees... and that costs more. Thus... business class services and pricing. Its so obvious, and so common, one really must wonder how this became an issue at all.

There is no such thing as a guaranteed consumer right to the service they want, the way they want it, at the price they want to pay. And no law should establish such a scenario. It will cripple legitimate business.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Of course they are dismissing, the issues...
...because, they certainly CANT actually LOGICALLY, or ETHICALLY, defend their stated-intentions...

That only leaves desperately-trying to discredit the overwhelming numbers of people, and industry-experts, who have explained, at great-length, exactly why this Monopoly-based GREED, and Industry-manipulation, will be really bad for almost everyone else.

Just my two-cents...
Posted by Had_to_be_said (384 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are due a dollar in change...
for your well worded two cents
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
Lets try to be logical here...
&lt;&lt;...because, they certainly CANT actually LOGICALLY, or ETHICALLY, defend their stated-intentions...&gt;&gt;

So.. you are suggesting that it is not logical or ethical to *have the right* to charge different prices for different levels of service?

If that's the case, we're going to have to prosecute almost every business that exists.

"Net Neutrality" is a joke. It is nothing short of Internet regulation by the US Government. It should be rejected, and the Internet should be left just the way it is today, until a problem arises that the private sector cannot handle.

This is not a problem resolution. Net Neutrality is government control over the Internet simply because they can, and it should be rejected because it represents a waste of taxpayer money, a shift in control of the Internet to politicians and lobbyists, and threatens the viability of capitalistic business providing Internet service.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
I'm Happy as Long I Get What I Pay For
If I pay for a 2Mbps connection and the wire has a 12Mbps capacity, I won't mind if my ISP sells the other 10Mbps to companies such Google or Yahoo so that I can download/upload data faster from them so long that it doesn't reduce the performance of the 2Mbps that I had paid for.
Posted by shawnlin (75 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good point... BUT>>>
that ain't how they will do it, they will limit you to your two meg and squeeze out the services that dodn't pay them a bribe
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
Look who's talking...
"hypothetical". Already Verizon Wireless requires phone manufactures to "cripple" phone used with the Verizon Wireless so you can ONLY use the Verizon "Get It Now" feature for wallpapers, ringtones, etc. I would not say this is hypothetical: I would say this is already being done.

For some reason this seems to be an excepted practice in the wireless industry. However, when your ISP does this, it won't be as easy as flashing your firmware or making a SEEM edit to reverse this.

Good bye iTunes, Amazon, eBay! Your only choice is iGetItNow: minus any licensing deal or extra content fee.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hypothetical Monopolies?
Come on. Does this idiot honestly believe he can use this argument especially based on the history and current practices of big Telcos which by the way anre getting pretty much back to their original size before the government broke them up for pretty much the same behaviour!

Remember the Telcos has their billing legislation modified in the mid 90's so they could collect HUGE users fees to BIULD OUT THEIR NETWORKS AND FIBER OPTIC INFRASTRUCTURES. Which they didn't.

The truth shall set you free:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm</a>

So I say tough **** boys. You had yor chance to build out but you pocketed the profits instead.
Posted by mliving (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Telecom subsidy scam!
If you want to know what the telecos really did with your tax dollars: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm</a>

By 2006, 86 million households should have been rewired with a fiber optic wire, capable of 45 Mbps, in both directions. -- read the promises.
The public subsidies for infrastructure were pocketed. The phone companies collected over $200 billion in higher phone rates and tax perks, about $2000 per household.
There is a lot more and it's all merticulously documented.
Posted by zanzzz (138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Reality Check For Those Of You Who Don't Depend On The Net
Ok this might not be the right spot but I am throwing down a reality check for everyone right now. I dont give a flying fart if your a democrat or a republican, but I am going to give you a clue what kind of stuff is going to happen if they push and pass this bill because if they do it will kill start up and small businesses. I am disabled. I have 3 types of epilepsy and because of my seizures I have convulesed so hard that I broke my back. I have an atrial fibulation (heart condition) I cant see 4 inches in front of my face out of my left eye from an injury recieved when I had a seizure. I can go on and on about my problems caused by this. Now pictures this I am a married 24 year old with a 14 month old baby. I was on disability and I recieved $780 a month for me my wife and son to live off of besides her income. Before we where giving this oppirtunity we had several hard choices to make every day. Get my medicines, my wife and I be able to have a real meal, or make sure my son had formula baby food diapers and he was able to go see his doctor because he is what they call tounge tied his entire tounge iss completely attached to the bottom of his mouth, and he has a herniated bellybutton that leaks fluid and we have to get it froze twice a week. For all of you who believe in governement aid it isnt crap. Now picture this my wife and I were giving the chance to start htis business with a family friend who wanted to take part of her business on line. We make decent money off of our on line business no we dont make loads, but we make enough that we dont have to decide if I am going to get my medicine, if my wife and I are going to be able to eat, or we will be able to provide for our son. It was an easy choice our son came before us.
Now picture if the telecommunication companies get this bill passed and it makes my wife and I have to stop our internet then we have to go back to make the choices of how we live. Now I wish anyone who wants this bill to pass have to live my life before we were able to start this business then after they spend a day how we were living before be able to go and vote this bill through and then live with the fact that they have done this to not only me but also other disabled people who earn their income the same as me and be able to look in the mirror and live with t he choice they made and how on alot of people it has had more of an affect then they ever thought.
Posted by plentifulpiercing (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
For Those Of You Who Don't Depend On The Net
Ok this might not be the right spot but I am throwing down a reality check for everyone right now. I dont give a flying fart if your a democrat or a republican, but I am going to give you a clue what kind of stuff is going to happen if they push and pass this bill because if they do it will kill start up and small businesses. I am disabled. I have 3 types of epilepsy and because of my seizures I have convulesed so hard that I broke my back. I have an atrial fibulation (heart condition) I cant see 4 inches in front of my face out of my left eye from an injury recieved when I had a seizure. I can go on and on about my problems caused by this. Now pictures this I am a married 24 year old with a 14 month old baby. I was on disability and I recieved $780 a month for me my wife and son to live off of besides her income. Before we where giving this oppirtunity we had several hard choices to make every day. Get my medicines, my wife and I be able to have a real meal, or make sure my son had formula baby food diapers and he was able to go see his doctor because he is what they call tounge tied his entire tounge iss completely attached to the bottom of his mouth, and he has a herniated bellybutton that leaks fluid and we have to get it froze twice a week. For all of you who believe in governement aid it isnt crap. Now picture this my wife and I were giving the chance to start htis business with a family friend who wanted to take part of her business on line. We make decent money off of our on line business no we dont make loads, but we make enough that we dont have to decide if I am going to get my medicine, if my wife and I are going to be able to eat, or we will be able to provide for our son. It was an easy choice our son came before us.
Now picture if the telecommunication companies get this bill passed and it makes my wife and I have to stop our internet then we have to go back to make the choices of how we live. Now I wish anyone who wants this bill to pass have to live my life before we were able to start this business then after they spend a day how we were living before be able to go and vote this bill through and then live with the fact that they have done this to not only me but also other disabled people who earn their income the same as me and be able to look in the mirror and live with t he choice they made and how on alot of people it has had more of an affect then they ever thought.
Posted by plentifulpiercing (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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