CCIE Pursuit Blog

September 27, 2007

Cisco Goes To The Dark Side?

Filed under: Cisco — cciepursuit @ 7:26 am
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Brad Reese has a recent blog entry about Cisco’s involvement in Net NeutralityYou can read it here.

Basically the posting takes Cisco and – specifically – Jeff Campbell to task.  Jeff Campbell posted the following after a recent FTC report on Net Neutrality [emphasis mine]:

In other words, there is no reason to rush to impose burdensome Net Neutrality regulations in the broadband market. If there is one thing that we have learned from 70+ years of communications regulation, it is that regulation has significant costs and unintended consequences. The FTC clearly recognizes that government should react to actual problems, not hypothetical ones.

Campbell’s comments are of the “the market will handle the situation…this is just hysteria…blah…blah…blah” ilk.  Brad Reese shows the folly of the “invisible hand of the market” line by linking to this post which explains what is obvious to most Americans: most markets in the USA only have very few (usually only one – sometime NONE) broadband providers.  Without competition, the market is unlikely to “correct” issues like this.  If you’re the only man on the planet, you’re probably not going to woo the ladies with roses and poetry.  🙂

As far as Cisco’s position, I feel that it’s probably more business related than ideological.  Cisco sells equipment with the ability to sort and limit traffic, so they would naturally wish for a market where that capability was desired/needed.  It doesn’t make their position correct, but it does make it logical in a possibly greedy, evil way.  🙂

I am personally in favor of Net Neutrality laws, but I do have a problem with some of the examples that Brad Reese links to in his posting in order to show the evidence that the providers are abusing their power.  For instance, he links to a story about Comcast nixing some users because they used too much bandwidth.  On the face of it that seems like typical corporate fuckery, but if you read the article (found here) you’ll see that these were extreme cases and that the provider gave the users warnings as well as asking them to upgrade to a business account.  Here are some quotes from the article [emphasis mine]:

User who was cut off by Comcast:
Admitted “Internet junkie” and Chattanooga resident Cameron Smith also had his service cut off in January for one year. “They said there wasn’t a limit [for downloading] but that I was downloading too much, about 550 gigs. I backed off to about 450 gigs, but they still suspended us.”

Comcast’s response:
“The customers who are notified of excessive use typically and repeatedly consume exponentially more bandwidth than an average residential user, which would include, for example, the equivalent of sending 256,000 photos a month, or sending 13 million e-mails every month (or 18,000 emails every hour, every day, all month). In these rare instances, Comcast’s policy is to proactively contact the customer via phone to work with them and address the issue or help them select a more appropriate commercial-grade Comcast product.”

Anyhoo…I don’t want to get all “political” in a CCIE blog.  I do think that one of the issues that plagues broadband (specifically cable) is that the last mile is essentially a shared segement.  If you have some 450-550 gig a month ass clown on your segment, it will affect your access.  I would like to see cable broadband providers implement a system similar to Frame Relay CIR in which you are guaranteed an amount of bandwidth (and it’s fucking marketed at the CIR rate and not the “possible upper limit” port speed) and if there’s room on the pipe, then you can burst over that limit.  My interest in Net Neutrality is not bandwidth related as much as it’s related to the possibility of service providers filtering my packets based on destination, source, content, etc.

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