TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Vonage Complaining Of VoIP 'Blocking'

Re: Vonage Complaining Of VoIP 'Blocking'

Robert Bonomi (
Wed, 16 Feb 2005 11:16:47 -0000

In article <>, Tony P.
<> wrote:

> In article <>, says:

>> On Mon, 2005-02-14 at 17:07 -0500, Mike O'Connor wrote:

>>>> Not concerned yet? Well consider this -- suppose your web page was
>>>> hosted on a particular ISP, and suddenly one of the large ISPs took a
>>>> notion to start blocking access to web sites hosted on selected
>>>> competitive ISPs. Of course, their solution would be to open an
>>>> account with them and move your web site to their servers. Now what
>>>> happens when two or more ISPs do this? Pretty soon the entire
>>>> Internet as we know it falls apart, and I don't think I'm being overly
>>>> dramatic in saying that - I have seen just too many examples of
>>>> corporate greed destroying the good things of life to think that it
>>>> could not happen that way.

>>> Most ISPs of reasonable size have figured out that it's not worth it
>>> to block or deny peering with other providers of reasonable size (of
>>> course there may be quibbling at the margins). The result of blocking
>>> is too much grief with customers, who don't care that much about the
>>> underlying transporter of bits. Blocking = less bits = less money, in
>>> the general sense. In the 21st century, it's been legal issues that
>>> have resulted in "stupid acts of site blocking" moreso than anything:

>> That's what gets me. Last I remember, to qualify as a common carrier, an
>> ISP isn't allowed to exact any sort of traffic control beyond what is
>> necessary to maintain the stability of the network. Anything more and it
>> could be seen as having the ability to control its content, and would be
>> vicariously liable for crimes committed over its infrastructure and
>> services.

>> Isn't that still the case?

Nope, that is *NOT* the case. Never was.

"Common carrier" is a *whole*lot* more complex than that.

As a common carrier, there _are_ some things you are prohibited from
doing; "restricting content" is one of them.

There are other things that you must _actively_ perform.

Simply 'refraining from prohibited activities' does _not_ a common carrier

> Yep, and by those rules Cox shouldn't be considered a common carrier
> any longer. They actually teach parents how to implement filters on
> web sites, etc. via Cox provided servers.

*NO* ISP is, or ever was, a common carrier.

NO ISP has ever even _applied_ for common carrier status, let alone been
_granted_ it.

Common carriers' have certain immunities that ISP's _want_ you to
believe that they are protected by.

However, along with those immunities, comes a whole sh*tload of
regulatory nonsense, that no ISP would put up with. Like having your
*entire* rate structure overseen by the government. Like having to
apply to the regulatory authorities *every*time* you want to change
your rates -- and suffer for an average of *two*years* while they
'make up their mind' how much, *if*any*, of that requested increase to

For any ISP that claims "common carrier" status, or immunity
protections, just ask to see a copy of their "tariff", and ask what
government agency it is on file with. No tariff on file, *no*
common-carrier status. Common carriers are *required* by law to have
their tariff on file, *and* 'available for inspection' at the
corporate offices (at least). They are usually *big* documents.

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