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Traditional approaches to receiver-driven layered multicast have advocated the benefits of cumulative layering, which can enable coarse-grained congestion control that complies with TCP-friendliness equations over large time scales. In this paper, we quantify the costs and benefits of using noncumulative layering and present a new, scalable multicast congestion control scheme called STAIR that embodies this approach. Our first main contribution is a set of performance criteria on which we base a comparative evaluation of layered multicast schemes. In contrast to the conventional wisdom, we demonstrate that fine-grained rate adjustment can be achieved with only modest increases in the number of layers, aggregate bandwidth consumption and control traffic. The STAIR protocol that we subsequently define and evaluate is a multiple rate congestion control scheme that provides a fine-grained approximation to the behavior of TCP additive increase/multiplicative decrease (AIMD) on a per-receiver basis.