Net Neutrality nightmare, illustrated

December 20, 2010: 11:14 AM ET

A presentation slide illustrates why telecom industry's plan to scrap Net Neutrality to increase profits will hurt consumers.

It doesn't get any clearer than this:

Feel sorry for that poor guy hammering away on that tablet above?  He's getting charged a separate additional fee for each different web service he's using.  Additionally, each different service coming over the air is being throttled according to the rules the telecoms set up.  Notice that Vodafone's services don't get throttled, while Google's (GOOG) YouTube and Facebook data are not only charged additionally, but slowed.

This is called "paid prioritization" of data on wireless networks and is at the heart of what the FCC will rule on tomorrow. 

"It is likely that there is going to be strong language disfavoring paid prioritization," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director of the Media Access Project.

The slide above is part of a presentation that Allot, a carrier infrastructure services company who counts AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) amongst its customers.  As part of the presentation, Allot says that these sort of services are already being implemented in "Net Neutrality affected parts of North America."

[We use] a number of different methods to accurately identify the application -- methods like heuristic analysis, behavioral and historical analysis, deep packet inspection, and a number of other techniques. What's key is that we have the best application identification available on the market, which means that even applications that are encrypted or use other methods to evade detection will be correctly identified and classified... We essentially feed this real-time information about traffic and application usage into the policy and charging system. Each subscriber has a particular service plan that they sign up for, and they're as generic or as personalized as the operator wants.

Wired's Epicenter got their hands on the presentation:

The companies, Allot Communications and Openet — suppliers to large wireless companies including AT&T and Verizon — showed off a new product in a web seminar Tuesday, which included a PowerPoint presentation (1.5-MB .pdf) that was sent to Wired by a trusted source.

Google, in a surprising change in policy, backed Verizon's 'view of Net Neutrality' for Wireless carriers earlier this year.  Google CEO Eric Schmidt said,

We have been talking to Verizon for a long time about trying to get an agreement on the definition of what net neutrality is. We're trying to find solutions that bridge between the hardcore net neutrality view and the telecom view. I want to be clear what we mean by net neutrality. What we mean is if you have one data type like video, you don't discriminate against one person's video in favor of another. But it's OK to discriminate across different types, so you could prioritize voice over video, and there is general agreement with Verizon and Google on that issue. The issues of wireless vs. wireline get very messy because of the issue of Type I vs Type II regulation and that is an FCC issue not a Google issue.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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