Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Aug 2012 08:29 UTC
Apple "AT&T is defending its decision to limit the use of Apple's video chat feature, FaceTime, to its Mobile Share data plans by saying that the limitation does not violate the FCC's net neutrality rules. The company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that some groups had 'another knee-jerk reaction' to AT&T's limitation, but the company argues that its decision meets all FCC requirements." You can expect Verizon to follow suit soon. Carriers don't do things like this unless they know the competition will tag along. This also happens to explain why Apple probably can't do much about it; if both Verizon and AT&T give FaceTime the boot like this, there's little Apple can do. For what it's worth - I'm happy The Netherlands (and Chile!) has unconditional net neutrality. This would not fly here, further illustrating the need for net neutrality.
Thread beginning with comment 531887
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
net neutrality isn't neutral...
by roracle on Thu 23rd Aug 2012 10:30 UTC
Member since:

The company providing the service should have a say in how it provides service. Customers have no say in this except the classic "vote with your wallet".

If I came in and said you had to change OSnews to provide news that wasn't jiving with your site, or forced you to change anything at all, you wouldn't like it much. Same thing with any other company, no matter how big or small. They have the right to run their business the way they want, and you have the right to go to someone else if their service isn't necessary for you anymore.

Reply Score: 0

iskios Member since:

I guess you believe the Power company should tell you you cannot use your electric heating unit unless you go to their more expensive "Live Sustainer" plan right? Or that the water company can tell you you can use the water service for everything except bathing, unless you go for the higher priced "Cleanliness" plan?

Before you say it isn't the same, it is. You are paying for access to something and these companies are now slowly gouging you for every nickel and dime by taking back normal uses. It's the crack business paradigm. Let them use it, then take it back so they have to pay more, and it's scuzzy.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

The whole unlimited data plan seems to be the problem. There just isn't enough spectrum around for everyone to use as much as they want, so they have to ration it. The most fair way to do that is to pay per unit consumed. Like electricity, water ( some communities just charge a flat fee), ect.

Reply Parent Score: 2

zima Member since:

Well there is some ambiguity in the examples you gave...
It's ultimately about the capacity of the pipe (and/or source) in all given cases.

Yes, electric company effectively can (and does) limit the amount of electricity used in a "basic" plan - by specifying the maximum current and voltage that goes into the house (and electric heating is quite power-hungry), and giving you an option of more "industrial" installation (say, the 400 V one; in the future, it should be useful also for charging electric cars).
And there definitely are (coming from the inherent nature of electric supply generation limits & economics - base load vs peak load) electric supply plans which, in practice, tell you when it's best to turn on that heater or laundry machine... (when it's cheapest - at night)

Water similar - what when there isn't enough capacity for all & only rationing makes it somewhat usable if everybody wants to bathe?
(and, really, a full-blown bath isn't required for cleanliness and hygiene - by implying so you're kinda mocking most of people, who do fine with much smaller amounts of water, and/or you are falling into "western problems" thinking... generally, for bathing or washing, a drinkable water is absolutely not required - which kinda even makes two-tier approach logical)

Edited 2012-08-28 04:04 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

ricegf Member since:

I don't think this isn't legally true in the US - AT&T would be considered a "common carrier" (please google, IANAL), while OS News is an over-achieving blog site.

From wikipedia, a common carrier is "a company that transports goods or people for any person or company, [and] ... offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body. ... In the United States the term may also refer to telecommunications service providers".

From, "A common carrier is legally bound to carry all passengers or freight as long as there is enough space, the fee is paid, and no reasonable grounds to refuse to do so exist."

For better or worse (and in spite of my stubborn Libertarianesque leanings), in the USA AT&T arguably can't discriminate against telecommunications traffic unless it can demonstrate to Big Brother that it has reasonable grounds to do so. I suspect that Internet neutrality could be implemented at the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen, though congress makes period runs at autoscribing.

Reply Parent Score: 4

tanzam75 Member since:

A couple of sections down in the same Wikipedia article that you quoted (emphasis mine):

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 made extensive revisions to the "Title II" provisions regarding common carriers and repealed the judicial 1982 AT&T consent decree ... The Act gives telephone companies the option of providing video programming on a common carrier basis or as a conventional cable television operator. ...

Computer networks (for example, the Internet) that are built on top of telecommunications networks are Information Services or Enhanced Services, and are generally regulated under title I of the Communications Act ... Internet Service Providers have argued against being classified as a "common carrier" and, so far, have managed to do so ...

Because ISPs are no longer prohibited from discriminating among different types of content under common carrier law, Internet providers may charge additional fees for certain kinds of services, such as Virtual Private Networks. Some network neutrality supporters advocate reclassifying all ISPs as common carriers in order to prevent content discrimination.

In this case, FaceTime would operate over a packet-switched data network. It would thus be considered an ISP for regulatory purposes, and not be subject to common-carrier requirements.

But note that even circuit-switched telephone voice connections are subject to fewer regulatory requirements when a mobile carrier is involved. For example, landline ILECs are required to sell their networks to CLECs at wholesale. Cellular providers are not. Most of them provide wholesale access to MVNOs anyway, but this is strictly a business decision -- they are not legally required to do so.

Reply Parent Score: 3