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Friday, July 11, 2008


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Thanks commenters. I'm optsiimtic. Either consumer freedoms and privacy will be protected by law, or the markets will move toward technologies that provide the same. We might all have to use encrypted packets routed through anonymous proxies in the future (which would be less efficient), but we will achieve our freedom one way or another.


Bellnet is even worse than you know trust me on this. It worked very well for me for five years, but they moved their tcacniehl support to India. I didn't mind this, except that their tech support people don't speak Geek when they need to and they only follow a narrow manual of procedures. It takes hours to get anything done. I moved my home office nine months ago, and it took them 20 days to get my DSL cable moved and all the problems sorted out.Bell Canada is incompetently staffed and the problem has been getting worse in recent years. I like long business relationships, but Bell shows no loyalty to its customers. The only department that is efficient too much so is its payments. I used to drop the cheques I wrote every month for five different Bell Accounts in a mail-box in a Bell service centre, but after a while Bell stop checking their own mailbox. Cheques I wrote in April 2008 didn't get cashed until July. In the meantime, there were five sets of computer generated Why have you not paid yet? When can we expect the money? calls all following the same script. It really annoyed when the late payment charges came in plus interest on the same, when they had the payments in hand and hadn't processed them.Things became even more Kafkaesque when I finally worked out what the problem was in July 2008 (just after I had paid the monthly bills again) and was told that the box was now closed (after having found my way to a VP of Administration). I told him a notice could have been posted to that effect and reminded him that several customers besides myself had just deposited our most recent payments there. Nobody in Bell checked until March 2009, when our July payments were finally processed.Being foolishly optimistic, I tried using the Bell Internet Unplugged wireless modems for my laptop last May. This worked really well they sent three, none of which worked and each time I spent about three hours with the Indian tech support line (following the same damn script every time) to no avail. Seeing as BIU never worked I sent their modems back with all the ancillary equipment. Bell wouldn't accept them and keeps still trying to bill me for a service it never provided. Fat chance.Oh yeah, and they keep sending me bills for a cell-phone account I've never heard of, have no contract for, and with a number that is totally unfamiliar.Recently told a friend of mine in the Toronto Metro Police that if he ever hears of somebody going postal in a Bell office in Toronto, it's probably going to be me. He told me not to worry, the cops wouldn't show up for at least an hour and if I ran out of ammunition, arrangements for resupply could be made not sure he was joking.

Richard Bennett

I'm glad you like my piece, Michael. It was published in the San Fran Chronicle on Wednesday, and reprinted in the Washington Times on Saturday. It isn't often that these two papers agree that a particular viewpoint should be aired, but they did in this case.

Commenter bofkentucky is a little off-target on the role of neutrality in Google's strategy. Google owns a private network of very expensive data centers, which intersects the public Internet at several points. Some 20% of the Internet's traffic comes from Google/YouTube. This traffic isn't regulated by Net Neutrality.

And it's the sheer volume of traffic that Google releases on the public Internet that gives them control over Vonage, Skype, et. al.

Moose Head

No competition in Louisville? What about Dish or DirecTV? Don't you get AT&T's offers for their combined service.

If you don't like Insight, there's a competitor just a phone call away. Not that you'd catch me attaching a satellite dish to my roof. Insight has always treated me just fine.

Scott Ritcher

Is the issue of net neutrality relevant in markets where there is only one cable internet provider?

If Mr. Willner is so pissed off about the marketplace being regulated, let's open up the Louisville market to competition.

"They are outraged when someone suggests that they need to be regulated while they simultaneously seek to regulate others."


I believe that Google's role in Net Neutrality is not financial or anything sinister. Characteristically, they don't behave in that matter. It's really a POV issue, and how each side believes they are trying to ruin the Internet.

The Wikipedia article on Net Neutrality has some good insight on why this issue was even brought up:

"In early 2005 the FCC enforced network neutrality principles in a documented case of abuse involving Madison River Communications, a small DSL provider that briefly blocked VoIP service."

Before that, it was just talks and papers. Now, some ISP decided to -BLOCK- VoIP service, including 911 service, in the name of promoting their own phone service. The Internet exploded with this grave concern that any ISP could interfere with Internet service for profit. This is not unlike the porting numbers issue that Verizon got smacked on.

The sides provided their positions. The pro-NN side wants to make sure that nothing like the MRC indident doesn't happen again, and further prevent even slowing down a site for company gain. The anti-NN side wants to make sure that massive P2P traffic from the 2% of the network doesn't overtake the network, and can still be managed for the rest of the 98% that just want to surf the web, read emails, and play games.

BOTH sides have valid arguments and concerns. I think the sooner either side realize this, the better they can hash out a proper compromise.


Google's request for a neutral net is a very altruistic position given their domination of many sectors of internet content. If someone builds a better youtube tomorrow on a neutral net people can transition to it without hinderance.

What the Comcast's and Verizon's of the world have proposed is prioritizing itunes music store traffic versus yahoo or microsoft's music store. Apple would use their dominance in the pay-per-track audio market to negotiate a positive throttle rate with the major isp's for themselves and/or a negative throttle rate for their competitors, furthering their dominance of the market.

The real danger is in the phone market, both the telco's and cable co's have investments in phone deployment they would love to hang onto without skype, vonage and similar products buzzing around cutting into their margins. Any ISP has the capability to cut "unblessed" voip off at the knee's just like comcast has attempted to do with bittorrent or att and apple have done with voip over wifi calls on the iphone.

Not to long ago you were complaining about the telco's sitting on dsl to protect their T-1 markets and Comcast and TW had to fight telco protectionism on the telephone interconnect rules in North Carolina. The telco's complain about the cable companies fighting them tooth and nail on statewide video franchising. It looks to the consumer that instead of two "equals" wanting to fight each other on equal terms, driving down pricing and increasing quality of service that both industries would rather attempt to destroy competition leaving the customer with a monopoly for all their data, voice and video. Neither side has proven themselves worthy of the trust to not hinder their customers

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