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Victory for Net Neutrality in Europe (juliareda.eu)
547 points by jrepin on Aug 30, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 174 comments



As always, devil is in the details.

If you look at the fine print in the published "Guidelines for implementing Net Neutratily" [1] linked in the article you will see that there are 3 exceptions to the rule (a,b,c). Being "c" the one that should fear us most:

EXCEPTIONS

  a) "comply with Union legislative acts (...)
-> meaning that a court order can change Net Neutrality, hmmm ok.

  b) preserve the integrity and security of the network, of services provided via that network, and of the terminal equipment of end-users;
-> meaning that in order to guarantee the security of the network Net Neutrality may be avoided. I'm so-so on this one.

  c) prevent impending network congestion and mitigate the effects of exceptional or temporary network congestion, provided that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally.
-> Meaning that ISPs can throttle specific categories of traffic at their own will.

This last one ruins the whole law. And this is not what me as European wanted. ISPs won :(

[1] http://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/...

[EDIT] typos


IMO, IANAL

> -> meaning that a court order can change Net Neutrality, hmmm ok.

It would be weird for a court to order anyone to break net neutrality.

> -> meaning that in order to guarantee the security of the network Net Neutrality may be avoided. I'm so-so on this one.

The intention here seems to be to allow (D)DOS attack mitigation etc.

> -> Meaning that ISPs can throttle specific categories of traffic at their own will.

Note that the law is very clear that this only is allowed "provided that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally."


"Comcast video streaming service is not in the same category as Netflix, Hulu because...."

Back to square 1.


Nope; that would simply be challenged in court.


Really, who is going to challenge the difference between Netflix and torrents.

Both video. Both serve the end user in the same way.

But nobody will challenge it because nobody is in charge of torrents.

This kills neutrality completely. There is no way those ruling over this know where to draw the category lines properly.


Well for one, torrent's not a video format. Let alone a streaming video service.

And anyhow, FCC did exactly that; they went after Comcast for throttling torrents for no reason. And throttling torrents just because they're torrents is clearly not permissable by this clause by BEREC either; all it allows for is temporary and exceptional traffic shaping in case of congestion, provided it's done nondiscriminatorily. Which is a good thing; an ISP needs to have a neutral course of action available then besides a meltdown of its net. And yeah, I'd say latency insensitive bulk downloads would be perfectly sensible to deprioritize then. Now, doing what's reserved for recovery in general instead is certainly an abuse of network neutrality, by this rulebook as by FCCs.


That sounds fine, until you realise there is always congestion at prime time.

Suddenly, you've got throttling allowed against one person's service and not another, because "categories".

This is not neutral.


prime-time congestion is hardly exceptional then, so that shouldn't qualify.


torrents are more general than netflix, so it's not the same category


That's exactly my point though.

It's not the same category, but it IS a competing service playing on an unfair playing field.

Leveling the playing field for people playing the same game is all fine and dandy, but it completely fucks over disruptive innovations challenging the status quo in a different category.

How about this one, people watch less TV than they did ten years ago, a lot of that time is now spent using Facebook, what happens when Facebook isn't throttled but Netflix and the rest in their category are?

This isn't net neutrality in the slightest.


> It's not the same category, but it IS a competing service playing on an unfair playing field.

It really isn't. Netflix isn't a protocol, and if you're using torrents as a drop in replacement for Netflix you're breaking copyright law in any case. You can't argue that you use torrents as a competing service without implying you're breaking the law.


That's kind of irrelevant. I was simply using torrents as an example.

The problem with the category thing is that it makes your passtime more important than my passtime. And suddenly the passtime that pays the most is going to get preferential treatment.

This hurts innovation and companies that want to disrupt current services with a different verticle.

Category based throttling sounds like a good idea but it simply is not neutral and will fail us.


That's not illegal in all European countries though so it's potentially a valid argument.


copyright law is in fact harmonized on EU level, by the EU copyright directive. Not that it could be substantially different already by Berne convention on a global level.


Curiously enough, Switzerland is one of the two european countries where making a copy of a copyrighted work for private use is not illegal.


hmm, wiki mentiones that private copies are actually usually allowed in the EU, with the exception of the UK, and a regular reason given for blank media levies many countries have. But that's rather different from online distribution of one's copies.

I think they have some notion of "commercial scale" filesharing to prosecute things like pirate bay, not sure how that works legally. But that too is a different matter, as they don't even share any copies of anything, just metadata, and lately not even that, but merely links.

The real question is whether any of this has any relevance for "pirated" media streaming or downloading being actually legal; not tolerated or thought too minor to warrant the privacy violation of revealing the person behind the IP or any loophole like that, but actually legal.

Honestly, I'd love to hear more about this.


Switzerland is not a member of the EU.


However, choosing to throttle video content in general to promote their cable service would probably be allowed under this ruling. I don't know if that possibility is serious enough to worry about though.


I wonder even about that, given that it's stated that it can be done only under exceptional and temporary conditions of congestion. The regulator should probably act if it were the general practice instead.

But yeah, the public will need to stay vigilant over how national regulators implement this ruling case by case.


From my understanding it looks more like: "We are streaming the Olympics and its transferring 2TB/s of data, we need to route this differently!". But then again, loopholes are loopholes, and it will be just a matter of time until it will be abused.


Sry, could you clarify, what looks more like rerouting a large download?? Anyhow, allowing traffic shaping in congestion control is not a network neutrality loophole in itself, but ofc any regulation depends on the regulator.


> Note that the law is very clear that this only is allowed "provided that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally."

They can, for instance, slow down P2P traffic. What do you think about that?


comcast could in the US, and won in court. Despite US regulation being seen as quite robust.

By this text, they'd need to show it was an exceptional and temporary necessity to deal with congestion.


If you are talking about the case from 5ish years ago, that was because the court struck down the entire basis for net neutrality. The net neutrality rules themselves didn't allow for blocking p2p.


yeah, that's the case. Could you clarify? I'm just seeing old articles claiming the last court verdict on the matter was that the FCC overstepped its authority in that particular case? Did some case or law change this? But yeah, hard to see how discriminating a particular protocol w/o cause could be network neutral.


Sure. There was a new FCC ruling that based it's decision on a much more legally sound law.

The FCC is allowed to regulate telecommunication services strictly. Right now it takes a sort of a hands off approach, but they have broad authority to make rules. Before 2015, the FCC considered ISPs to be "information services" instead of "telecommunication services." So the first time the FCC proposed net neutrality rules, it tried to apply them under the "information services" framework.

The Court in 2010 (I think) found that the FCC didn't have the power to regulate "information services" so harshly. So the court canceled their net neutrality rules.

So last year the FCC reclassified ISPs as telecommunication services. Since they are allowed to harshly regulate those services, it's considered very likely to upheld by the court this time.

The only chance it gets struck down is if the court thinks the FCC was clearly wrong about ISPs being a telecommunication service. But the law is pretty clear that are. But I think some ISPs are still fighting it.


That sounds like a horrible thing now that there is movement towards distributed systems like the block chain.

I think there should be some regulation that guarantees provider competition so that consumers could take their stand on issues like this.


A legislative act is not an act of the court - that'd be a judicial act - but of the parliament ie a law; that's the legislative body. Ofc a regulation needs to comply with laws; how else is a legal state supposed to work? And afaik traffic shaping done in a content-neutral way is network neutral; for it favors no particular provider. "Provided that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally" is quite limiting.


any thoughts on Obama handing over the DNS directory to the UN on Oct. 1st?


I don't think "of exceptional or temporary network congestion..." means "at will".

Recital 15, attached to the article 3(3)c, goes to great length defining what exceptional means, that such traffic may be managed, temporarily, only if it was unpredictable, unavoidable, and short duration, or it damages network reactivity. It clearly states that such management is not a replacement for upgrading bandwidth, both mobile and fixed. And even then they cannot prejudice specific traffic, just an entire class of it, again, only temporarily.


Yes, this!

The recitals are awesome! I wish USAmerica would use this type of exposition in their legalese.

Hm, this is all I found so far about the practice: https://web.archive.org/web/20130622043635/http://eur-lex.eu...


Here is some more text, from directly below what you pasted.

    Recital 15
    ==========
    
    Third, measures going beyond such reasonable traffic management
    measures might also be necessary to prevent impending network
    congestion, that is, situations where congestion is about to
    materialise, and to mitigate the effects of network congestion, where
    such congestion occurs only temporarily or in exceptional
    circumstances. The principle of proportionality requires that traffic
    management measures based on that exception treat equivalent
    categories of traffic equally.  Temporary congestion should be
    understood as referring to specific situations of short duration,
    where a sudden increase in the number of users in addition to the
    regular users, or a sudden increase in demand for specific content,
    applications or services, may overflow the transmission capacity of
    some elements of the network and make the rest of the network less
    reactive. Temporary congestion might occur especially in mobile
    networks, which are subject to more variable conditions, such as
    physical obstructions, lower indoor coverage, or a variable number of
    active users with changing location. While it may be predictable that
    such temporary congestion might occur from time to time at certain
    points in the network – such that it cannot be regarded as exceptional
    – it might not recur so often or for such extensive periods that a
    capacity expansion would be economically justified.  Exceptional
    congestion should be understood as referring to unpredictable and
    unavoidable situations of congestion, both in mobile and fixed
    networks. Possible causes of those situations include a technical
    failure such as a service outage due to broken cables or other
    infrastructure elements, unexpected changes in routing of traffic or
    large increases in network traffic due to emergency or other
    situations beyond the control of providers of internet access
    services. Such congestion problems are likely to be infrequent but may
    be severe, and are not necessarily of short duration. The need to
    apply traffic management measures going beyond the reasonable traffic
    management measures in order to prevent or mitigate the effects of
    temporary or exceptional network congestion should not give providers
    of internet access services the possibility to circumvent the general
    prohibition on blocking, slowing down, altering, restricting,
    interfering with, degrading or discriminating between specific
    content, applications or services, or specific categories
    thereof. Recurrent and more long-lasting network congestion which is
    neither exceptional nor temporary should not benefit from that
    exception but should rather be tackled through expansion of network
    capacity.


Congestion control and QoS are crucial parts necessary for network reliability and the functioning of low latency services though. How would one even formulate a law that doesn't have loopholes w.r.t. to those?


Core networks do not use QoS or congestion control in the traditional sense, as they are designed to be run without congestion in normal circumstances and because QoS is too expensive compared to adding more capacity.


Next fight : That ISPs advertise the minimum guaranteed bandwidth and are banned from advertising the maximum theoretical number.

Then only we could measure that they do offer the same bandwidth with Netflix and Vimeo as they advertise. Net neutrality at its best.

Edit: Of course the number will be very low because they have to (God forbid!) provision their network to serve this bandwidth to all customers during peak hours. But what we're looking for is not a huge number - we're looking for a number that allows meaningful comparison with competitors.


That's not likely going to happen nore is it a sensible thing to ask for.

As an ISP how would you _guarantee_ the bandwidth for each endpoint? You would have to provision for the maximal capacity all over your network. Given that most people only utilize their channel 1% of the time, this is a huge waste!

What's sensible to ask ISPs to do is: (a) Communicate historically experienced bandwith at each region (b) Provided certified, standartized measurement facilities (software / hardware?!) that can be used to monitor of the link utilization/saturation levels. (d) Refund policy, when agreed service level targets (as measured in b) were not hit. (This should be legally mandated)


A sensible rule would be 98th percentile so 98% of the time every customer can get X bandwidth. This allows for ~10 hours of downtime or congestion a month. They can still over provision, they just can't outright lie.


Except they don't control external hosts. Cox Comm doesn't control that person hosting a server on AOL dialup.


No, but they can guarantee a certain speed within the borders of their network.


Back when communication was still phoneline-connection oriented this was done all the time. You had a contractual quality target of 0.0n% of calls that either aborted or did not connect at all over the yearly average. You then over-provisioned your phone system to hit that target. That could mean adding two additional lines you never need just so new year's eve does not screw you over.

There are mathematical models that describe the probability of a new call coming in at any given time. Add the system in terms of how many connections it can have active and how many it can queue, and you can calculate your required sizing for a given quality level.

As a sidenode, this is also why ISDN flatrates were doomed, because the always-connected nature of them broke the models the system was based on. And why new phone companies renting capacity from established ones could offer cheaper connections, they simply rented at a much higher allowed connection error rate.

Using similar, well, maybe even much easier math, you can calculate that your current system at your desired maximum utilization level allows for 432KiB/s downstream for every customer, but if the overall network is underutilized you can achieve up to the n MiB/s your connection is rated for.

Then you add for example hierarchical traffic shaping where queues are allowed to borrow unused bandwidth from other queues. But it is a huge investment, no doubt.

Also, guaranteed bandwidth is imho not that different from a service level target in Bit. You'll have to refund if you break the SLA, the same as if you break your promise.


At the moment at least in Germany you have ISPs advertising bandwidths and even selling contracts with bandwidth that can never be reached not because they don't have the capacity but because it's not possible to reach them given the technology in the ground.

We're currently in place that is completely unacceptable towards customers. Now you don't have to go completely in the other direction but when you advertise and sell someone a contract involving a certain amount of bandwidth, you should have to provide that 99% of the time modulo schedule downtime. I think that would be perfectly achievable and fair to ISPs and it wouldn't require them to provision for maximal capacity either. I mean it's not like you should be able to sue them into the ground when they only manage 89.9999% or something.


Right, they give you a discount when your max speed is below a certain level. But they really should have the data on hand to provide you with an approximate maximum speed along with their availability check before you buy.


As an ISP how would you _guarantee_ the bandwidth for each endpoint?

You guarantee that you will obtain x mbps of peering/transit per customer, per network. Then you advertise x as your minimum speed, even if off-peak usage can spike to 30 times x.


> As an ISP how would you _guarantee_ the bandwidth for each endpoint?

When I still lived in Slovenia, I had 20/20 FTTH. Fiber went directly into a router in my bedroom. My bandwidth was always exactly 20/20. No matter what.

Now I have Comcast. Speedtest says I get 80/6. On Friday and Saturday evenings Netflix and Facebook and many other things often experience issues. Now I can't confirm any of this. If you run speedtest, it's fine. If you ping something, there's no packet loss. But it just doesn't feel very fast and reliable under normal use.


As someone living in Slovenia and still running on ADSL2+ I'm jelly. Regarding your 20/20, highly suspect, it's likely you were doing speedtest tests against your ISPs server which would make sense but you would never get that past their gateway.


I wasn't doing speedtests though, I was running torrents 24/7. High school was fun like that. Torrents were the only way to get music, movies, and TV shows back then.


> My bandwidth was always exactly 20/20. No matter what.

This can't possibly be true. The ISP providing the service can only guarantee a particular speed to the boarder of their network.

Once you connect to a service not hosted by your ISP they can't guarantee anything.


Sure, they can't guarantee speed with a particular service, but they can guarantee width and reliability of my pipe. Believe me, back then I was downloading so much crap that my internet was stuffed full at all times. I'd notice any dip in service.

And when I was on ADSL, I did notice those dips. A lot of them. With FTTH, they went away.


There's a difference between "they guaranteed it to be that 100.000000% of the time" and "in practice, it actually was that the entire time". The latter can definitely be true.


You would have to provision for the maximal capacity all over your network. Given that most people only utilize their channel 1% of the time, this is a huge waste!

Agreed, everybody loves the idea of fixed allocation, but never seem to consider how much that costs. If you could buy overprovisioned 25mbps @ $50/mo, or fixed allocation 25mbps @ $5,000/mo, which do you think most people would go for...


Everyone is playing by the same rules so they would all end up advertising 2.5 mbps @ 50$ / month with speed boost if that's what they can provide. The important point is it does not actually take much bandwidth to do streaming video etc, but if you can't provide reasonable bandwidth when people want to use it then it's false advertising.

PS: Don't forget back haul is actually a relatively minor cost for most ISP's. Until it hits ~20% it's just not going to have a major impact on peoples bills.


I can watch a Netflix movie in 3G at 320kmh (TGV, in France). So you're right, video consumes fewer bandwidth than we imagine. But it's common that I can't view a proper Youtube video on ADSL. ISPs are really being deceptive when they provide a connection to "the Internet".


It's a well known fact that certain ISPs in France will not peer with YouTube and thus their connections are congested.

This is not a technical problem, but a business decision. The at only solution is to vote with your wallet and chose an ISP that sucks less.


That information is even less useful than what ISPs provide now. Home users really have no reason to value the worst case scenario speed since it never happens.

If my ISP was going to tell me either the limit they cap me at and the speed the can guarantee me at 100% use, I'd pick the former.


If you buy a 30MPG car your not going to actually get 30MPG as it will depend on your driving habits. However, it's based on a meaningful test so you can do meaningful comparisons.

As it stands an ISP can advertise 100 mbps service and fail to show Netflix streams when a 10 mbps connection on another ISP can easily handle 2 of them in HD. Thus, consumers need something meaningful.

PS: Picture trying to compare gas MPG if car companies could report MPG while costing down the side of a mountain. That's a perfect recipe for Honda to optimize the wrong things just like ISP's do now.


If utilization is generally 1% of service today, you'd be looking at 0.25mbps @ $50/mo, not 2.5


You are assuming back haul is 100% of their current costs AND they don't increase it any AND that's 1% of peak not 1% of average including 3AM. Further, this is only limiting them to saying what their current network is.

Honestly, this is like car company's advertising their top speed when dropped from an aircraft and then complaining when they need to list actual horsepower.


That is not what transit actually costs though.


Transit isn't everything you're paying for. Your local street cabinet isn't kitted out like your local datacentre and thus prices won't be the same.


No, but everything that's not transit is a fixed cost and thus as long as the internal network is properly designed and implemented, only transit costs matter. The rest (i.e. the fixed costs) will be covered by the monthly subscription fee.


It is very expensive fixed cost that the customers need to pay the amortisation of. Also, it's only fixed as long as it's never maintained or until it needs to be upgraded. You're not going to be satisfied with 25mbit a few years from now.


Maintenance is a percentage of the fixed costs. Upgrades replace old equipment as they have been paid off and decommissioned, so just another fixed cost that replaces the old fixed cost.

So fixed costs all around.


That certainly depends. But just because a cost is fixed doesn't mean it's free or low.


I made no promises of either free or low.


That was literally the premise of the thread. So your entire errand was pointing out the blatantly obviously fact that fixed costs are fixed?


> That was literally the premise of the thread.

No it wasn't. The thread starter discussed how broadband connections should be marketed, and the suggestion was to use guaranteed bandwidth as a measure.

This then digressed into the cost of bandwidth, where one poster took it totally off the rails by assuming transit costs $25 per Mbps, when the true cost is two decades lower.

The fixed cost of providing guaranteed bandwidth in the last mile pales compared to costs like $25 per Mbps, which was my point. The last mile is a fixed cost and even high amounts of guaranteed bandwidth in the last mile are fixed costs which are easily covered by the monthly subscription fee.

That does not mean that the fixed costs are free or low by absolute dollar terms.

So there.


It would take a massive upgrade to most ISP internal networks to allow each home to use 25 mbit at the same time. There are bottlenecks that would have to replaced.


True, but it would still be a fixed cost to upgrade.


This is roughly how it works in Finland, although the maximum speed can be advertised. It works fairly well.

The real kicker is that the regulator has actually defined acceptable minimum speeds.

Minimum speeds can be stated either as an average or a range. Acceptable averages are at least 50% of the advertised maximum speed measured during any 4 hour period. If stated as a range, 40% of the maximum speed as a lower bound at any time is acceptable.


They are trying to up that 40% to 75% now.

http://fin.afterdawn.com/uutiset/artikkeli.cfm/2016/08/17/st... (in Finnish only though)


Unfortunately they can't guarantee, if I create a website with some crap provider, they can't guarantee a GBps link. A better idea would be to have non discriminatory bridge with any provider. Also it is mostly a US problem, where capitalism is the way, but ironically ISPs have no competition.


They can offer guarantees for on-net traffic and for traffic to Internet Exchanges.

Obviously nobody can offer any guarantees for off-net traffic.


Very difficult to do that with ADSL. The bandwidth varies for every customer, according to the length and the status of their copper cable. They should advertise the minimum bandwidth of some reference cable but how does it help us?

With fiber, yes, that's possible. They're not advertising it in commercials but the website of my ISP has a page with those data. It matches what I experience with fiber.


For ADSL you define classes. Then for each class (i.e. line speed that you sync at) you offer speed guarantees.


Stability of the sync should also be taken into account, to ensure the connection doesn't drop continuously at peak hours.


I guess you are mainly referring to DSL internet connections because this is not a problem for cable providers. They might have some problems inside their network at times, but in theory you CAN get the maximum bandwidth. For DSL it heavily depends on the distance to the next access point and therefor is pretty much impossible for ISPs to predict and the reason why you see all of these "up to 16Mbps" ads when in fact all you can get is <6 because of the distance to the AP.


You can get a guarantee right now. It's called an SLA. It costs money. There are negotiated terms for what happens in the case the SLA is not met.


Second that. Furthermore it would be nice if they could have a map with mean bandwidth per region. If the infrastructure allows it everyone should receive the same service as long as they pay the same fee. We need more information in this matter and only legislation will get us there. ISPs are anything but transparent.


Facebook tried to introduce "Free Basics" in Angola after its failed attempts at doing so in India. Good to see similar efforts being made in Angola to educate about Net Neutrality as well. Maybe they can use some takeaway from the above ruling.

Source: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/wikipedia-zero-facebook-fre...


"It has to be noted with regret that it was not our digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger who listened to the people and defended an internet not biased towards big corporate interests [...]"

That would hardly have been expected: in the first six months of being a Commissioner, Oettinger met with two NGO representatives but with 44 corporate lobbyists [1].

[1] http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/guenther-oettinger...


It encourages me to see that the European court at least has some people on it that seem to understand that net neutrality is in fact a human rights issue.

And this is why Brexit is so heart-breaking. I'm surrounded by people in my personal life who think it's a fantastic idea, but they're not the most... informed? Likewise for local politicians.

(Side note to my rant: I have this theory that the rise of the iPhone, and the fact that it is such a big part of people's lives now, has fooled regular folks into believing that they're experts on technology. I have no more than anecdotal evidence for this).

I strongly suspect that local legislators will see no conflict whatsoever with scrapping these laws when the exit finally comes, and it saddens me that I'm surrounded by a lot of people that will be cheering when it happens.

This is from a real conversation I had this week:

"What it boils down to is do you want to have us control our own laws and decisions and borders, or have to take orders from some bureaucrat in Brussels that doesn't understand us?"

Yes, I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing.


Those are candy-bars to make you happy, just like the EHRC is keeping the leftists in line while we slowly shift toward an ordoliberal paradigm at the european level. For countries like France, Italy and even Germany, that means social regression and harmonisation by the bottom.

>Yes, I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing.

Yay structural unemployment in the eurozone! The folks at the commission and at the ECB sure know as hell what they are doing since the EU is a sui generis structure and the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment absolutely did not hurt western economies and destroyed the industrial tissue of those countries. I am being sarcastic.

Now, without any offense, you sound like someone who has red a wikipedia page about the European Union and who nows consider everyone having dissenting opinion to be a stinky redneck who does not deserve a voice.

Maybe that's not what you wanted to convey, in that case I apologise, but to be honest, at this point, I have met so many pseudo-smartass people who think they understand everything that I have very little hope you don't fall into that category of people. Thinking technocracy will magically solves all your problems is lazy, at best.


Intriguing but 3 questions:

How could shifting more towards Ordoliberalism (=government regulation to maximize competition plus a social safety net) be a bad thing? Quality of life is rather high in Germany after all.

Is there in fact evidence that unemployment is intentionally maintained in order to suppress inflation?

Even if your assertions are true, how would Brexit address any of these things and generally how would a balkanized Europe be more prosperous let alone more globally competitive than a unified Europe?


Unification is counter-productive if you think that the goals of the group are bad.


Which goals would those be? An efficient tariff free zone? A larger area for individual opportunity? A reasonable social safety net? Greater power on the global stage? Protection for human rights?

Or is the objection merely to some wholly imaginary threat to the purity of the anglo-saxon race and culture and an unthinking and instantaneous embracing of anything nationalist and right leaning?


"Or is the objection merely to some wholly imaginary threat to the purity of the anglo-saxon race and culture and an unthinking and instantaneous embracing of anything nationalist and right leaning?"

Yes. Yes it is. Everyone who disagrees with you is emotionally driven and intellectually dishonest.

The goal we object to was the attempt to build a giant country. The EEC should have stuck with the tariff free zone and free movement (of workers, not all citizens, as it was originally). Instead they grew into a 28-nation wannabe superpower with a currency, flag, central bank, law-making powers, etc. Now Juncker is pushing for an EU army. The whole project has departed from reality and is going to collapse in a few decades, sadly taking down the free trade zone with it.


> The goal we object to was the attempt to build a giant country.

Why?

Honestly, how would that be bad? After all the UK consists of Wales, England, Scotland and N. Ireland. People of the past opposed that unity so much they were willing to die to try to prevent it yet on the whole that unity has been undeniably positive.

For the EU for example, how could having an single foreign policy be a bad idea in any way? How does having an EU flag do any harm what so ever? I'd claim that point in particular shows the issue very much is emotionally driven.

And what will make it fall apart except people voting to leave it on grounds as trivial as having a flag?

Likewise such an extreme step as dismantling the entire EU project rather than just fixing the monetary problem can't really be justified rationally and looks pretty overwhelmingly like emotionally driven nationalism.


The EU is too large and diverse to be a viable country. Inevitably, it ends up ruled by a technocratic elite (because there's no way democracy can work with 500 million people and 28 cultures) and with recurring crises (because there's no economic policy that works for all countries, and no means to agree on any fixes).

You seem wilfully ignorant: you focus on my non-essential point about the flag, for example, and ignore the obvious issues with the EU (which a cursory Google search will help you find).

Stiglitz identified the fundamental crossroads: the only fix for the Eurozone's monetary problems is fiscal union. Thing is, if that happens, there'll be further crises and further demands for integration. None of this will make the Germans and Greeks resent each other less, and the endgame is a resurgence of nationalism.

I'm a capitalist, not a nationalist, and it's very obvious to me that the EU should have remained a trade union of independent countries.


>single foreign policy be a bad idea in any way?

Because you might disagree with it? How can you be so narrow-minded to not even fathom people having different fundamental beliefs? Why don't Israel and Palestine just merge into one country called Unicornia? Why don't all people just separate religious beliefs from government, or conversely, why don't we all just switch to the correct(tm) religion?

One country may not want to support terrorists while another wants to support them because they are 'freedom fighters', how do you propose they operate under the same foreign policy?


Do you agree with every foreign policy decision your current country makes? Are there really allot EU member states that support terrorist? Is the UK - EU divide really as violent as the Israel Palestine divide?

I was hoping there was some coherent argument in favor of Brexit that I had not heard and that maronthewall might be hinting at. Clearly I was in error in that hope.

And as objectivistbrit so defensively denied: '...emotionally driven and intellectually dishonest...' is shown very clearly again to be very much at the core of the Brexit movement


I've given a similar response below to a different comment, and it would be a bit pointless to paste it here.

To summarize though:

1) I don't believe I know any better than anyone else, it's just that I feel this was the wrong decision for a variety of reasons, and I'm very scared for the future based on this result.

2) I am a smug jackass that knows significantly less than he thinks he does, and I use long words in a futile attempt to disguise this. But I am not a pseudo smart-ass. Frank that works across from me is, and no-one sits with Frank at lunch.

3) I think the EU makes terrible decisions. I just think that they try to make the correct ones with the best of intentions and fail. I think this is vastly preferable to making the wrong decisions for questionable reasons and succeeding.


> I just think that they try to make the correct ones with the best of intentions and fail.

There is a saying that goes "the path to hell is paved with good intentions".


Amen! The EU is corrupt and incompetent, and it needs to go away sooner than later.


> Yes, I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing.

That requires having people in Brussels who understand what they're doing - at least better than local politicians. But I'm not sure how exactly you ensure that. If we assume you are right that the people around you (excepting you, of course) are woefully misinformed and so are local politicians, where would the enlightened folks in Brussels come from, who would elect and appoint them? If you plan to keep the democracy around and not replace it with absolute monarchy with people as well informed as yourself at the helm (how do you ensure that btw?), I don't see how exactly that may work.

It is a great delusion that democratic mechanisms and limited federalized government are the way to put the best people on top and manage the system most efficiently. They are not. They are the safety valve to mitigate the effect of so-so and worse people being on top. And this mechanism is necessary because there's no viable solution so far that can identify "best" people (whatever that may mean, we have no idea for that either) and put them on top.


In no way am I suggesting that my opinions are any "better" than anyone else's, but on this topic I feel like I'm more informed on the issue of net neutrality than most people I know offline, which is as much to do with my family and friends not sharing the same passion for technology that I have than anything else. I don't begrudge them this at all (different strokes for different folks etc).

I utterly agree with all of the points made above, I simply feel that if it's a case of "better the devil you know than the devil you don't", then I would choose "don't" any day of the week based on a lifetime of experiencing local politics.

Honestly, the thought of any increase in power to local politicians terrifies me, based on their track record alone.


> It is a great delusion that democratic mechanisms and limited federalized government are the way to put the best people on top and manage the system most efficiently

That is not that important because the people on top can only prescribe, the population has to substantiate the plans. Therefore it is important that the population can be informed beforehand to agree with the plans.


> "What it boils down to is do you want to have us control our own laws and decisions and borders, or have to take orders from some bureaucrat in Brussels that doesn't understand us?"

> Yes, I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing.

Julia Reda is a MP inside the EU parliament. She was voted in their and is not some bureaucrat. The voter turnout in Great Britain was 36 % in 2014, so it is partly their own fault if the do not feel represented by their representatives.

Günther Oettinger however was rescued from an historic loss of the conservative CDU against the Greens in the state of Baden-Württemberg [0] where he was minister-president (governor in the US). It was the first time the Greens were the big partner in a coalition to govern a German state. Oettinger screwed up a big project to rebuild a train station followed by many protests, police scandals and so on [1]. His genius argument why Stuttgart should not have a terminal station, when Paris has one, is that there are no people living west of Paris. The CDU lost the election on the topic of nuclear energy and Oettinger was then of all places appointed to be Commissioner of Energy. People also ask themselves why Germany sends the one person with the worst English skills to an international parliament and make fun of it [2].

So yeah, you could definitely argue, that the commission could benefit from directly elected members. Although it is not undemocratic: The members are appointed by the governments. Great Britain also had nice, prestigious positions: Commissioner of Foreign Affairs (10-14) and Commissioner of Finances (today), while Germany only got energy and internet.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Baden-W%C3%BCrttem...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttgart_21

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RrEQ8Ovw-Q


I agree on everything, just pointing out the (UK) Commissioner for Financial affairs very sensibly resigned post-referendum. In his place, a "Security Commissioner" was nominated, covering an area of policy that does not influence Eurozone economic policies and is overall less reliant on EU membership (because Interpol etc etc). Again, a very sensible move by everyone involved.


>It encourages me to see that the European court at least has some people on it that seem to understand that net neutrality is in fact a human rights issue.

If everything is a human right, nothing is. At this point, what's the difference between a "human right" and a nice thing?

>Yes, I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing.

The thing about centralized government is that it's great when you agree with what they're doing, but it's terrible when you don't. Ask yourself how happy you would be with European governance if they primarily didn't implement policies that you personally considered wise.

People have different ideas about what's fair. The hinge of democracy is the simplicity by which a people can make their will known and have that will executed, at least within their own region.

More local governance makes individual will much more important. Consider that a representative's attention is evenly divided by the quantity of his constituents, because each constituent has an equal quantity of votes. Thus, a smaller quantity of constituents means more individual influence in government. That's generally a positive thing. Therefore, jurisdictions should be broken into the smallest workable units, and the amount of power concentrated within a jurisdiction should be correlated with its localness.


Human right: neutral communications

Nice thing: iPhone 6+

Human right: freedom of movement

Nice thing: Maserati

See the difference?

---

As for your second part about localization of politics, the tyranny of the majority is much more severe in hyper-local settings. Global issues like human rights cannot be entrusted to local governments whose local majorities are prone to divisiveness and discrimination.


> Global issues like human rights cannot be entrusted to local governments

Who they can be entrusted to? There's a lot of countries with severe human rights issues, and I don't see many examples of super-governmental bodies having much progress in fixing them unless local government is on board with it. In fact, it's almost always impossible to do without local government participation.


To put the "universal" in the declaration of human rights in its context: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Declaration_on_Human_R...

These countries each take part in the UN, without showing any signs that they respect the universal human rights declaration.

I'd suggest fixing that part of the human rights situation should have a higher priority than making monopolist abuse and unfair trade in communications about human rights.


>See the difference?

Not really. I understand that you've differentiated between tangibles and concepts (and I probably should've said a "good law" instead of a "nice thing" to prevent this obvious conclusion), but the concepts can be moved up to exclude most tangibles. For example, perhaps "smooth, comfortable transportation" is a human right just as "neutral communications" are. In this case, budget transport carriers would be a violation of human rights, just as budget phone carriers deciding to charge either more or less for different traffic sources (as in T-Mobile's BingeOn promotion) apparently is.

Under the old guard, neither "neutral communications" nor "smooth, comfortable transportation" would be considered a "human right". They would be considered nice features. "Human rights" would simply be a very small core of natural, inviolable principles, the rights to which all men inherently possess, and are mandatory for a functional society (and you could perhaps argue that "neutral communications" is included in "free speech").

Since no man inherently possesses the ability to access the internet (he requires external devices for this), it is not a human right, which is a right fundamental and intrinsic to all humans, which the government can only restrict and has no power to grant (because they are granted naturally ("by their Creator", as in American founding documents) as an intrinsic part of being human) (people also do not have a "human right" to food or shelter -- they have to get those things on their own if they want them).

We can perform legislative tasks without exaggerating every issue into the category of basic human rights.

>Global issues like human rights cannot be entrusted to local governments whose local majorities are prone to divisiveness and discrimination.

There is no hard definition to what qualifies for "discrimination". At its most basic, discrimination is simply making choices, and everyone has to do that dozens of times a day. "Discrimination" in the political sense usually refers to making it illegal to make certain choices based on certain criteria -- what are those criteria and which choices should be restricted? That sounds like something for the local government to decide.

As for divisiveness, I've actually found that most localities are mostly one way or the other. They share a common culture. That's why there are only about 6 battleground states in the U.S. (and even then, that's usually the case because the state includes roughly equal numbers of people in 2 divergent cultures -- one rural/suburban and the other urban). The fact that politics is so divisive today, to the point where we are in total legislative gridlock, is evidence that we need more localization, not less.

Urban communities can make laws that sound good to them, rural/suburban communities can make laws that sound good to them, everyone can live in the way they see fit, and survival of the fittest will eventually prove out one method as superior. Competition between the jurisdictions will encourage friendly, popular laws and prevent excessive governmental intrusion.


You're inadvertently falling into the slippery slope fallacy with a bit of a strawman mixed in. Nobody has said that "smooth, comfortable transportation" is a human right. Human rights cover the basic dignities required to function in society, which can change over time. Due to the ubiquity of the Internet, it is reasonable for neutral communications to become a human right.

---

W.r.t. urban vs. rural communities and localized politics, those communities are less homogeneous than you seem to think. It's not terribly uncommon for people to find themselves trapped in a rural community when their personalities and values are more suited to an urban community, but they can't afford to move until they become adults and save up money, which may never happen.

There are floors of dignity below which no human should be allowed to fall, and allowing every rural community to set its own standards for human rights only makes sense if everyone in those communities has total freedom and means to leave, and total awareness of the other options available to them. Think of isolated, repressive fundamentalist or polygamist communities, for example (not that every fundamentalist or polygamist group is necessarily repressive, but it is certainly common).


Ironically, the same issue is exactly why I, as a citizen of the Netherlands, support leaving the EU.

Because even at this point, Net Neutrality is still less well protected by the EU than it was under our own national legislation.

I cannot in all good conscience support a union that has the power to undermine our civil rights. If Brits don't want those civil rights, that's their choice.

Brussels is not a force for good simply because in this case it would be an improvement for the Brits.


I agree with your general sentiment, but wonder where you get the idea that Britain is somewhat backward when it comes to civil rights. Whilst challenges to civil rights will continue to exist and be resisted, it should be noted that the European Convention on Human Rights was influenced by the UK's approach to civil rights: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Convention_on_Human...

If you have concrete examples of poor civil rights in the UK, by all means share them, I'm not pretending things are perfect here, and would be happy to get a better grasp of where things could be improved.


The UK's continuing contempt for the unanimous ruling of the ECHR in Hirst v United Kingdom would be one good point.

Likewise the continued push for mass surveillance (see: DRIPA, the defunct Draft Communications Data Bill and the seemingly inevitable Investigatory Powers Bill) is another - the most recent legislative attempts have been to make legal what the state has been doing illegally for many, many years. What worries me is that there is no common-law right to privacy in English law; our modern privacy rights stem almost exclusively from the ECHR and the EU.

The recent clampdown on the rights of trades unions is a third example. Despite an historic low number of days lost to industrial action, the government has been making it much harder to legally strike, or even to _fund_ trades unions (for example, imposing high thresholds on ballots and attempting to remove the option of payroll funding for union membership).


>I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing. >that understand what they're doing.

Wishful thinking.


It's a property rights issue. Specifically, should private organisations be allowed to own major pieces of infrastructure?

The European vision of capitalism is where you can own, say, a cafe or mobile app, and do what you want with it. However, something like a telecoms network or search engine is too important to be kept in the hands of ruthless big business, and the state needs to step in to control who said businesses deal with.

They talk about preventing monopoly, but even with infrastructure, technological shifts mean any purported monopoly constantly faces real competition. (Witness how IBM lost out to Microsoft, which lost out to the internet companies).

Private investment and private innovation is the best way to build infrastructure, and if the state wants to control how the infrastructure is used (and prevents the owners from cutting special deals with their largest potential customers), investment money stays away.

This has happened with pharmaceuticals - one reason there's been so much investment in viagra and plastic surgery is that more useful medical patents tend to be seized by government. It's also happening in the case of European telecoms: the net neutrality rules provide a disincentive to invest in 5G.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/10/12139700/telecom-companies...

(That article is negatively slanted, but gives a decent overview). Here's the actual report by the telcos:

http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?action=display...

    Yes, I would rather have decisions made by people in Brussels that understand what they're doing.
Every generation rediscovers Plato's republic.


As a Brit, you should appreciate the level of infrastructure you get to enjoy. You are more than welcome to come live in the US with some of the most 'innovative' privately funded infrastructure.

I'd be happy to swap my overpriced RCN internet with TalkTalk or not have to get a new wheel on my bike every year thanks to the pot-holed roads of New York.


US telecom industry is not exactly the best example of non-regulated market. It's not like you can just come and put a new cable network in New York or San Francisco without asking anybody. In fact, Google - if ever there was a company with money and clout - couldn't pull it off in the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose.

And if you do try to innovate, you get lots of vested interests attacking you on every corner and tons of regulations you have to comply with and some new ones that would be lobbied into law and introduced specially to suppress you. Look how much pushback companies like Airbnb or Uber are getting.


US is big and sparsely populated. Also, telecoms there are heavily regulated. Contrary to common claims, there isn't a huge difference between the European and American models (both are free markets with heavy state involvement in pretty much all industries).


Even if we go as far as to say that the models are similar, the implementation differs hugely. Especially with regards to telecoms.


From the report:

"In this context we must highlight the danger of restrictive Net Neutrality rules, in the context of 5G technologies, business applications and beyond. 5G introduces the concept of “Network Slicing” to accommodate a wide-variety of industry verticals’ business models on a common platform, at scale and with services guarantees.

Automated driving, smart grid control, virtual reality and public safety services are examples of use- cases with distinguished characteristics which call for a flexible and elastic configuration of resources in networks and platforms, on a continuous basis, depending on demand, context and the nature of the service. According to the telecom industry, BEREC’s draft proposal of implementation rules is excessively prescriptive and could make telcos risk-averse thus hampering the exploitation of 5G, ignoring the fundamental agility and elastic nature of 5G Network Slicing to adapt in real time to changes in end-user / application and traffic demand. The 5G objective of creating new business opportunities and satisfying future end-user needs would be at risk, with a regulation not coherent with the market demand evolution.

It is paramount to ensure 5G monetisation to drive investments. Monetisation can take place across the entire value chain with end-users, service providers and industry verticals in order to ensure fair returns, speed up adoption by end-users and ensure consumers are not alone in picking up the bill for the innovation that will help the business cases of the service providers. Operators should also be free to mix and manage different technology generations, mobile or otherwise, that are enabling 5G mobile technology to serve their customers optimally."


What a bunch of BS.

Not a single operator is going to delay rolling out 5G or decline to invest in 5G due to network neutrality.

Furthermore none of the given use cases are require general Internet access. I don't care what they do with those closed networks and network neutrality does not even apply to closed networks.


That kind of thinly veiled extortion is exactly why harsher regulation is required.


Right, saying "we won't invest under these conditions" is extortion.

On a sane planet, one not following clown world logic, it would be obvious that the telcos are telling the government to stop extorting them.


I feel I missed something. How is the government extorting the telcos?

The telcos are of course under no obligation to invest in 5G. Do you know of any 4G provider that isn't?


Disappointingly little concrete information of what's in now, anyone knows how to read these things and skimmed the original text? I heard that EU "net neutrality" is disappointlngly vague. I see providers offering free data for things like Spotify, which, in my understanding, is exactly what net neutrality should prevent.


Yeah, there were some potential issues around "specialized services", zero-rating, "traffic class-based discrimination", and "impending congestion", which prompted a campaign to fix them, but it seems the creators of the campaign also seem pretty excited about the result now:

https://savetheinternet.eu/en/

However, according to Julia Reda above, the policies around zero-rating are still pretty unclear, and it seems they will be decided on a case-by-case basis (not great, but may be a little better than in the U.S., where the FCC seems to have no interest in dealing with zero rating at all).


I think you have to click through to the PDF at the side of http://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/...

It does cover this (search for zero-rating) although in a way that I find hard to summarise.


I think there will be more concrete information in the next few days, as the proposal is a bit long, you can find it here:

http://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/...

But it starts well:

>This Regulation aims to establish common rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services and related end-users’ rights. It aims to protect end-users and simultaneously to guarantee the continued functioning of the internet ecosystem as an engine of innovation.


>> "I see providers offering free data for things like Spotify"

Any source for this? I've only ever seen providers offer free Spotify membership, not free data.

Edit: Thanks for the responses. I had no idea this was happening.


T-mobile used to do this in Germany until earlier this month. In their FAQ [1], they state that the following in spotify count against customers' data plan: videos, album covers, sharing, and Spotify's "discovery" feature. They add a flat 100MB to the data plan to cover that. Note that the streaming of music is not included, so it doesn't count towards data usage.

They stopped offering this to new customers on August 2nd, 2016.

[1] https://www.telekom.de/hilfe/mobilfunk-mobiles-internet/mobi... (in German)


Swedens I believe largest operators 3 and Telia has unlimited or a large amount of data that doesn't count towards the usual data limits when using specially selected services such as Spotify and Facebook.


Telia also attached a condition that you had to promise to be nice on the internet and not practice "näthat"(net hate). Not joking either, they were then very unresponsive to criticism and questioning of their stance on net neutrality.


Here's one not from the EU, but Switzerland

https://www.engadget.com/2013/01/21/spotify-signs-deal-with-...


Deutsche Telekom was doing this and advertising it in Germany a few years ago but they've since stopped[1]. Spotify data didn't count against your (usually very slim) mobile data limit.

[1] http://www.golem.de/news/netzneutralitaet-telekom-fuehrt-dro...


Czech O2 offers free data for Spotify and 3 months of free premium membership.

http://www.o2.cz/osobni/spotify/ (in czech)


From Portugal:

http://www.wtf.pt/ Look for "APPS COM TRÁFEGO ILIMITADO" (Free data apps). You can see the apps below.

or

http://www.yorn.net/YORN/tarifario/yorn-x/index.htm#apps

I'm not even sure it's legal, but people don't really care/see it as a problem.


Happens in Austria with Drei.

https://www.drei.at/portal/de/privat/services-und-apps/zusae...

"Kein Datenverbrauch" == Zero Rating.


Happening in Canada too:

http://www.videotron.com/unlimitedmusic


we have here in sweden providers(Telia) that does infact zero the data on any trafic from Facebook and Spotify.


of course, Spotify isn't an american company


Bravo EU! Sure I see that there are plenty of commented caveats, but coming within 24 hours of a 14 billion dollar retroactive tax bill for one of the world's most opportunistic tax dodgers, I cannot help but have good faith towards this announcement. Here is the only bloc, globally, that actually seems to care about individuals versus corporations, with unequivocal and demonstrated evidence of said motivations. I've been fed a diet of "useless, corrupt, 'Brussels' bureaucrats" ever since I moved to Britain (which, as an aside, today disgracefully tried to woo AAPL with the anti-tax red carpet). But all I actually see, is a bunch of people, bureaucrats perhaps, but who are trying to look out for me . Today I say, Hurrah EU! Thank you Julia Reda.


I once heard an interview with the Economist digital editor Tom Standage where he claims (at 5:45 into the interview) that net neutrality is the wrong thing to focus on, and the important thing is just making sure there is more competition between the telcos. Can someone more familiar with this issue tell me if this argument is correct?

https://www.podcat.com/podcasts/i63zqo-untether-tv-mobile-st...


The argument doesn't makes sense. When a normal citizen is choosing her internet provider they are not going to expend a lot of time looking at the implications of their decision. If the services is cheap enough and has the thing that they usually use then they are done. Competition can easy bring cheaper services but hardly can bring improving in long term needs.

That's why we have laws that forbid companies to pollute the environment, restrict child labor and the like. Consumers will choose the short term benefits for themselves over the long term benefits for the society.


"The argument doesn't makes sense. When a normal citizen is choosing her internet provider they are not going to expend a lot of time looking at the implications of their decision."

I think you're missing the implication of the point.

If there is 'a lot of competition' - it makes cartel-like or colluding behaviour among carriers difficult, thereby facilitating de-facto net-neutrality.

Customers don't have to be aware of it.

And it's a reasonable argument: ensuring healthy and fair competition is almost always better than legislative controls, usually because regulations are often poorly conceived and effectuated, or at least, the market changes rapidly and the regulations fail to adapt.

I think that a reasonable net-neutrality law should probably be made both in Europe and in the US, that said, I'm weary of it being too onerous.

My position is also pragmatic: 'more competition' is unlikely in an industry with such massive barriers to entry etc..


> If there is 'a lot of competition' - it makes cartel-like or colluding behaviour among carriers difficult, thereby facilitating de-facto net-neutrality.

Can you explain this further? I struggle to see how you get from "a lot of competition" to "de-facto net neutrality", and how that would continue indefinitely.

It seems to me that we had de-facto net neutrality from the outset but that over time, as the industry matured, the large players started to talk about colluding. It has taken pro-neutrality lobbying and legislation to maintain neutrality in what was previously a free market.


Because it would be very difficult for carriers to co-opt entities like Netflix into nonstandard schemes if there were a lot of competition.

You hinted at it in your comment: "the large players started to talk about colluding"

Only a when there are a 'small number of large players' is this kind of collusion possible.

When there is a lot of competition, the entire layer of the value chain becomes weaker.

It's a problem because they control a scarce resource: the airwaves, and also a kind of scarce resource: access rights for fibre etc..


In my (limited) understanding of economics, all industries coalesce from numerous small players into a small number of big players.


> Can you explain this further? I struggle to see how you get from "a lot of competition" to "de-facto net neutrality", and how that would continue indefinitely.

Well to paint it as an extreme, if there was so much competition that you could change ISP's within minutes then considering the fact NN is so important to many people there will always be ISP's looking to offer that because people will leave the ISP's that don't.


> If there is 'a lot of competition' - it makes cartel-like or colluding behaviour among carriers difficult, thereby facilitating de-facto net-neutrality.

I don't see the point. If Google decides to pay to providers to speed up Google content. How having more carries solves the problem? Is not even worse as then Google will have more power to bring carriers to its side?

What will happen with little content providers? Can they compete once they are slow?

I see that is more difficult for carriers to agree on something, as the more they are the more difficult it gets. But I don't see hot it facilitates net-neutrality on, for example, the situation that I describe.


> If Google decides to pay to providers to speed up Google content.

The Internet doesn't work that way. If Google wants their services to work better at particular ISP they pay for bigger pipes to the ISP and/or install content caches at the ISP and everybody is better off.



They're saying that the U.S. ISP companies have regional monopolies, and that net neutrality wouldn't be as much of an issue if there were substitute service providers per region.

This honestly isn't true, because if we had a marketplace for ISPs, most consumers would pick the cheapest option, which would probably be the one that subsidizes it's revenue from charging companies like Netflix. Some smaller companies that don't care about full market access wouldn't pay, and then you're at a tiered internet structure not unlike cable packages.

He's only saying it's a "red herring" because ISP monopolies and net neutrality are different issues.


> This honestly isn't true, because if we had a marketplace for ISPs, most consumers would pick the cheapest option, which would probably be the one that subsidizes it's revenue from charging companies like Netflix.

The marketplace doesn't work that way. Neither Netflix or any other content provider has any interest in paying any ISP for the pleasure of serving their customers. Netflix would just refuse to pay the low cost ISP and tell it's customers to change ISPs if they complain.

The only reason Netflix is paying Comcast is because Comcast has enough market power and captive users to blackmail Netflix into paying them, lest Netflix be denied access. If there was any alternative to Comcast, Netflix would just say screw that.


The key point about net neutrality is that it prevents the telco monopoly from becoming a key gatekeeper in deciding who gets to do what and how fast on the Internet. If they become that gatekeeper, all the consumer and producer surplus in mutually beneficial transactions between websites and consumers can be siphoned off by the telcos without adding any value. Just adding more telcos to the mix spreads the siphoning around, but still sucks the profits out of the websites who would otherwise be more likely to reinvest to produce better services.


I'm not too familiar with the issue, but the idea would be that a free and competitive market for telcos would allow consumers to use the internet service that best hits their needs. If net neutrality is important enough, someone would make a telco company that is "net neutral" and customers would pay for that service over others.

The general idea is that a free market is more flexible and quicker to react than the government. It would be quicker to shape itself to the demands of the consumers. This could cover issues like net neutrality, antiquated infrastructure not being upgraded, etc. Prices would also probably go down.

I think this is an important issue alongside net neutrality. I also believe that some extra government regulation is necessary for utilities and essential services, so I'm not against government interference.

In general, the consumer benefits most when an industry has a lot of competition in it.


The market has to be protected. The equilibrium has to be taken care of and sought after, otherwise there is an inherent risk that it'll arise only after hostile actions and a great deal of collateral damage. The regulation inhere is for limiting the collateral damage that competing players could inflict upon consumers.


This is true. In the US you have a small number of telcos with a strong grip on the industry whereas in many (but not all) EU countries excessive choice reduces the problems.

The thing to understand about net neutrality is it's a transfer of power from business to government. The devil is in the detail. If you look closely at the laws involved there are vague clauses that allow for extra government censorship and control in the future.

In basic terms, net neutrality sort-of makes sense in the US and makes less sense in the EU. It's a poisoned chalice created and pushed by do-gooders.


Can you clarify who you are referring to as the do-gooders here? Everyone who is asking for net neutrality?

And is the common people the group who is the victim of the poisoned chalice?


I didn't write that comment, but in my opinion net neutrality is mostly a solution in search of a problem. Hypothetically, ISPs could try extorting and controlling the entire internet, but realistically it's not going to work.

I'm more concerned about app neutrality. Apple is extorting 30% from app makers and enforces rules to ensure their dominance over my phone.


> I didn't write that comment, but in my opinion net neutrality is mostly a solution in search of a problem.

Net neutrality is (partial) remedy for lack of competition. Cure that and a lot of the reasons for net neutrality disappear. However, it is not realistic to expect true competition in the US telecoms market anytime soon.

One reason a lot of people see net neutrality as a solution in search of a problem is that net neutrality was the default before and it hasn't been egregiously abused to date. I'm sure a lot of people will agree it's a problem once they get some first hand experience of it.

> Hypothetically, ISPs could try extorting and controlling the entire internet, but realistically it's not going to work.

I don't know. Comcast seems to be doing a pretty good job at it in the US.

> I'm more concerned about app neutrality. Apple is extorting 30% from app makers and enforces rules to ensure their dominance over my phone.

You do know you can sideload apps on your phone?


Can you sideload on Apple without jail breaking?


Yes, either via an enterprise certificate or via a free developer account. Especially in China they are big on sideloading via enterprise certificates :)

Yes, I know it's not ideal, but at least it's possible.


Those seem like two worthy goals that are not mutually exclusive.


I don't understand how it's "progress" to move decisions from a small number of bureaucracies to a single, less accountable bureaucracy.


The same argument could be made against the US federal government. Two points: (A) unified legislation is tremendoulsy important for trade/business (B) larger associations have far more influence than small ones.


It's "progress" when the larger bureaucracy is harder to regulatorily capture, if only because in larger jurisdictions there are more competitors.


> larger bureaucracy is harder to regulatorily capture

The example of US federal government does not exactly support this point.


It does when you compare it to state and municipal governments.


I don't see any indication federal government is more resistant to regulatory capture than state government. It may be more expensive, but the numbers are still don't even breach 1% of potential profits, and capturing one federal regulator is much better and easier than capturing fifty+ state ones or ten thousand local ones...


The EU is accountable, democratic and transparent (more transparent than some countries, like Germany, within the EU anyway).


Because no where does it imply progress. 'Victory' could very well mean maintaining the status quo.


Oh but the neoliberal corporatist elite have our best interests at heart, you see.


These were the guidelines from November 2015

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX...


The two arguments presented - to keep a legal path for a higher priority routing - during late 2015 Trilogue Negotiations that framed the directive the way it is:

Driverless cars Medical applications (remote operations rooms were mentioned)

You have to give to telecoms - they built the infrastructure and are desperate to design some services that could become additional source of revenues. For now, it seems, the door is shut - maybe with the new automation coming they could dig it up - akin to "you don't want your house to send fire warning to city grid too slow, do you?".



How about Clothing neutrality? :)


Any thoughts on Obama handing over the DNS directory to the UN?


For your convenience, here's just the text "in the boxes" (the Recitals), from http://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/...

These are the first 9, the other 10 are here: https://gist.github.com/daveloyall/a1112bb70412d77bebc809090...

Recital 1 =========

This Regulation aims to establish common rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services and related end-users’ rights. It aims to protect end-users and simultaneously to guarantee the continued functioning of the internet ecosystem as an engine of innovation.

Recital 2 =========

The measures provided for in this Regulation respect the principle of technological neutrality, that is to say they neither impose nor discriminate in favour of the use of a particular type of technology.

Recital 3 =========

The internet has developed over the past decades as an open platform for innovation with low access barriers for end-users, providers of content, applications and services and providers of internet access services. The existing regulatory framework aims to promote the ability of end-users to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice. However, a significant number of end-users are affected by traffic management practices which block or slow down specific applications or services. Those tendencies require common rules at the Union level to ensure the openness of the internet and to avoid fragmentation of the internal market resulting from measures adopted by individual Member States.

Recital 4 =========

An internet access service provides access to the internet, and in principle to all the end-points thereof, irrespective of the network technology and terminal equipment used by end-users. However, for reasons outside the control of providers of internet access services, certain end points of the internet may not always be accessible. Therefore, such providers should be deemed to have complied with their obligations related to the provision of an internet access service within the meaning of this Regulation when that service provides connectivity to virtually all end points of the internet. Providers of internet access services should therefore not restrict connectivity to any accessible end-points of the internet.

Recital 5 =========

When accessing the internet, end-users should be free to choose between various types of terminal equipment as defined in Commission Directive 2008/63/EC (1). Providers of internet access services should not impose restrictions on the use of terminal equipment connecting to the network in addition to those imposed by manufacturers or distributors of terminal equipment in accordance with Union law.

Recital 6 =========

End-users should have the right to access and distribute information and content, and to use and provide applications and services without discrimination, via their internet access service. The exercise of this right should be without prejudice to Union law, or national law that complies with Union law, regarding the lawfulness of content, applications or services. This Regulation does not seek to regulate the lawfulness of the content, applications or services, nor does it seek to regulate the procedures, requirements and safeguards related thereto. Those matters therefore remain subject to Union law, or national law that complies with Union law.

Recital 7 =========

In order to exercise their rights to access and distribute information and content and to use and provide applications and services of their choice, end-users should be free to agree with providers of internet access services on tariffs for specific data volumes and speeds of the internet access service. Such agreements, as well as any commercial practices of providers of internet access services, should not limit the exercise of those rights and thus circumvent provisions of this Regulation safeguarding open internet access. National regulatory and other competent authorities should be empowered to intervene against agreements or commercial practices which, by reason of their scale, lead to situations where end-users’ choice is materially reduced in practice. To this end, the assessment of agreements and commercial practices should, inter alia, take into account the respective market positions of those providers of internet access services, and of the providers of content, applications and services, that are involved. National regulatory and other competent authorities should be required, as part of their monitoring and enforcement function, to intervene when agreements or commercial practices would result in the undermining of the essence of the end-users’ rights.

Recital 8 =========

When providing internet access services, providers of those services should treat all traffic equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender or receiver, content, application or service, or terminal equipment. According to general principles of Union law and settled case-law, comparable situations should not be treated differently and different situations should not be treated in the same way unless such treatment is objectively justified.

Recital 9 =========

The objective of reasonable traffic management is to contribute to an efficient use of network resources and to an optimisation of overall transmission quality responding to the objectively different technical quality of service requirements of specific categories of traffic, and thus of the content, applications and services transmitted. Reasonable traffic management measures applied by providers of internet access services should be transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate, and should not be based on commercial considerations. The requirement for traffic management measures to be non-discriminatory does not preclude providers of internet access services from implementing, in order to optimise the overall transmission quality, traffic management measures which differentiate between objectively different categories of traffic. Any such differentiation should, in order to optimise overall quality and user experience, be permitted only on the basis of objectively different technical quality of service requirements (for example, in terms of latency, jitter, packet loss, and bandwidth) of the specific categories of traffic, and not on the basis of commercial considerations. Such differentiating measures should be proportionate in relation to the purpose of overall quality optimisation and should treat equivalent traffic equally. Such measures should not be maintained for longer than necessary.


any thoughts on Obama handing over the DNS directory to the UN?


[flagged]


This is supposed to be about keeping the medium itself impartial.

When we converse in person, the medium (air) doesn't discriminate. Let's have a 'Net like that.

What are you talking about?




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