North American Network Operators Group

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Re: [Latest draft of Internet regulation bill]

  • From: Todd Vierling
  • Date: Fri Nov 18 10:52:10 2005

On Thu, 17 Nov 2005, Stephen Sprunk wrote:

> I'm curious what would happen if an ISP tried blocking P2P apps under that
> section, however.  Sure, a lot of it's illegal, but not all of it.  Could
> "gross overuse of bandwidth" be considered a threat to the network's
> reliability, or would the statement of minimum capacity required in Sec
> 104(b)(1)(A) mean the ISP can't complain about how the customer uses their
> bandwidth?  The courts will have fun with that one.

Cable providers in particular will have a very big problem with that
interpretation.  While the asymmetry of cable downstream/upstream traffic
levels is good (insofar that the structure of radio channels more or less
requires it), cable providers have been massively overbooking their
downstream bandwidth lately.

$CableVendor in my market now pushes its "6Mb/s" service quite hard in
advertising.  I have written proof in hand from its "Abuse Department" that
it will not honor its downstream rate for any sustained amount of time --
though none of its ToU, AUP, nor this document states what its criteria are
for service interruption under this guise.  Funny, that:  $CableVendor is
deaf to spam and DDoS complaints, but it certainly sits up and listens
closely when someone has a reason to make use of its consumer offering at
full capacity.  (And I got this letter at a time when $CableVendor's maximum
downstream rate was a mere 1.5Mb/s.)

In any case, the letter I received would make an interesting litmus test to
your theory about guaranteed service speeds.

> Preempting state prohibitions on public carriers is interesting -- hopefully
> we'll see a lot of those emerge in states (like mine) that currently ban them.

This sort of preemption is becoming somewhat commonplace and is an attempt
by legislators to pacify telecom operators doing local business in multiple
states (as otherwise the Constitution's Amendment 10 would relegate near
total power back to the states -- where it should be IMHO ;).

There was a similar clause in [YOU-]CAN-SPAM, because the DMA wanted it.
But then, the DMA got a lot of wishes granted in that piece-of-cr^Wlaw.

-- Todd Vierling <[email protected]> <[email protected]> <[email protected]>