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Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules (nytimes.com)
562 points by phaedryx on Feb 6, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 404 comments



A contrary view: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2017/01/24/why-is-th...

I'm not really sure what to think about a lot of this. What I do believe is:

() We need meaningful competition for broadband. (I live in Silicon Valley and all I can get is Comcast!)

() A given company should not be able to be in both the content and connectivity businesses. If classifying broadband as a utility is the right way to accomplish this, let's keep it; otherwise, let's find a different way. I'm open to argument about the means, but not so much about the goal.

() Laws proscribing localities from setting up their own broadband utilities are unconscionable and need to be gotten rid of. I don't know if the FCC or even Congress can do this -- these are mostly state laws.

I don't know if Ajit Pai is going to bring us any closer to this world or not.


I disagree fundamentally with Ajit Pai's reasoning that minimal regulation will lead to innovation and lower consumer price.

There are some industries that are natural monopolies, like water and electricity, because it's incredibly expensive to build both last mile connections and core infrastructure. They're also natural monopolies because you don't really have great, cost competitive alternatives to water and electricity provided on a large scale.

When you consider hard wired internet, it bares of a lot of similarity to utilities, in the cost and difficulty of accumulating infrastructure and in the absence of effective alternatives.

For that very reason, internet should be classified, like other natural monopolies, as a utility.

Moreover, last mile lines should be rentable or available through competitive bidding. There's actually enough dark cable to make some regional ISPs viable if they could actually get access to consumer level last mile lines. But Comcast won't get off them unless they're kicked off them. And if you try to build lines then Comcast will half their rates in the areas that you offer service in!

Of course, Ajit Pai will have a lobbying job earning well north of 400K the moment the Trump administration runs out the door so it's really not his concern.


For the most part agreed. In general, if there is a 'natural monopoly' AND the private sector is failing to provide better service or better pricing or both as a result of competition, I don't understand why we wouldn't simply treat it as a utility or fully make it public.

One counter here is that the reason they have a monopoly is the last mile lines and easements, but arguably there is enough spectral bandwidth in the wireless realm that perhaps whats really missing is competition for home internet from wireless operators. I'm not sure where I stand here but I do think its interesting to consider whether it would be better to help bring competition somehow from that side into the home broadband realm or whether the landline route should be made more public. I'm sure there are some capacity limitations on the wireless side also that may make this a pipedream.


Wireless internet is not a solution – it's very obviously inferior to wired if you don't need the mobility. More expensive, lower bandwidth, higher latency, lower reliability.


"Fixed wireless" systems like microwave and other line-of-sight systems have negligible latency (and considerably less latency than DSL which never seems to go below 20ms for me) and you can theoretically get gigabit speeds, and because there's no last-mile infrastructure besides an antenna it's less expensive to set-up too. The only thing you mention that applies is limited bandwidth: such systems only work in low-population-density rural environments, it would not work in Manhattan.

There needs to be more consumer education to allow them to differentiate between high-performance things like fixed-wireless compared to running their home internet off their phone's LTE connection.

Funnily, my iPhone's LTE connection (according to SpeedTest) has very good latency and throughput: I get ~10ms to my nearest major city and ~30mbps downstream, sometimes my LTE upstream speed is faster than my home DOCSIS connection. Alas I can't use it as my home connection because I need a static IP address and more than a few gigabytes of data-transfer per month (more like a few terabytes...)


I have a grandfathered 'unlimited' data plan with tmobile. I get 75mbit down and 40-70mbit up where I live and the places I spend 99% of my time. I often use a vpn(to hide user agent) and tether to get those speeds on my laptop when I'm not at home. Haven't had a problem with data caps yet, often use 50ish gigs of data, and have tethered over 20gb recently with no issue. Edit: Nexus 6p on LTE 700mhz


That only works because you're 1 person. If everyone in your town decided to do this your phone would be unusable.

We have ~50 users on our unlicensed fixed wireless service and we've been running into numerous signal issues. Wireless isn't the answer.


Was just sharing my experience in downtown Detroit.


Actually. I have a legacy unlimited plan with Verizon (costs $170/mo). When I need to upload or download something large fast, I tether my laptop, since I get 7-9Mbps upload via my phone, versus 768Kbps via my phone DSL. I actually thought of getting rid of my $100/mo slow DSL. I wonder if permanent LTE tethering will be viable in the future.


Why haven't you done it already?


I believe what you're talking about is called a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP). Netlinx is one example of it (http://netlinx.net/)

I've read a bit about WISPs, because they seem like a happy solution to the whole monopoly problem but they haven't caught hold in the way that I've hoped. Latency seems to be a pretty significant issue. Consistency in signal strength is also a problem.

I also sort of think that this is kind of the way we get out of problems without ever getting at the root cause. We look to technology that may exist at a later point to fix problems caused by underlying political, organizational and infrastructure issues. Always looking for the next band aid for the bullet hole I suppose.


Latency is often better than Cable ISPs and DSL (even with VDSL2 or Fastpath) on a WISP, and can easily compete with Fiber in terms of latency (wireless has less latency than optical glass), but where it falls down is in suburbia, where there isn't enough customer density to justify small cells and pole attachment costs don't allow you to feasibly put up nodes to blanket the neighborhood.

Clearwire ran into many of these same issues, but they were able to operate at two orders of magnitude more power than most WISPs can (1 watt vs 150 watts) and had way more bandwidth around 2Ghz to work with, all of which was pristine.


The fundamental problem with wireless is that in an area with even moderate density, you end up needing a wireless antenna within a mile of the customer's location, which itself needs a wired connection. And once you get that close you might as well bring the wire the rest of the way and not consume billions of dollars of wireless spectrum.


All valid critiques, which is why I'm eagerly anticipating the new ISP that would hopefully come out of SpaceX's Low-Earth Orbit Internet Satellites: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12982418


I don't think that actually replaces wired connections in urban or suburban areas, because it's susceptible to the same problem of needing shared wireless spectrum proportional to the number of regional users even though wireless spectrum is inherently limited by physical laws.

What that would solve is high speed low latency access for rural areas.


That's debatable; one of the biggest challenges facing a consumer ISP business is literally called the "last mile" problem because that last mile is surprisingly difficult! (Not that the "other" miles are easy, mind you.)


It isn't literally the last mile, in practice it's really the last five or ten miles. And if you have to go 4.5 out of 5 miles, it isn't worth not going the whole way.


There is currently an idea floating around that you could put a wireless access point on every block and then provide gigabit wireless over millimetre wave spectrum. So a way of skipping the hard bit of fibre to the premises.

Now all we need to do is actually make it work...


Like he said, you still need to spend an insane amount of money to acquire spectrum. Furthermore, High freq spectrum doesn't go through trees or buildings so any obstruction then makes dozens of properties unserviceable. Unless you put AP's every 500m, it doesn't work out the way you'd think it would, and at that point, you might as well just run a physical drop cable to the premise for a few hundred dollars.


Not really up on it, but I am pretty sure the idea with mm wave stuff is to use the signal that reflects and refracts, not the direct path. The fact that it doesn't penetrate objects is a feature. It allows really intense frequency reuse in a relatively small area.


I know, that's also what makes it so difficult to deploy. You need to have dozens of them within a very small area. That essentially defeats the purpose of going wireless at all, since you'll need some kind of backhaul to those devices. Going from curb to premise is cheap relative to bringing the fiber to the curb.


Two points of contention I have with your point that wireless has less latency than optical glass:

1) You don't operate wireless in a vacuum. There's all kinds of potential obstructions to the signal, including any physical objects 2) Even if wireless as a medium itself has less latency, it requires far more relay points to travel comparable distances to fiber, which introduces far more latency than the medium itself


On 2, it is true, but often wireless operators have their relays connected to fiber. (Except for very remote area coverage, but that's another matter than replacing the cable company monopoly)


Maybe we should ask why so few cities provide free wifi in public spaces.

As an example we can see what happened when New Orleans did that after Hurricane Katrina. Not only did Bell South take back donated resources to the rescue efforts, but they and several large telephone companies stepped up an aggressive lobby actions against the city during a time where focus should have been to save human lives and restore the infrastructure.


Wireless is so so much harder and more expensive. I live in an average size apartment built from reinforced concrete panels and it is hell to setup wifi. Basically 2.4 GHz signal halves after each wall. 5 GHz is worse. I have two APs for 3 room 60 sq.m. apart and there are still dead zones everywhere.

Same for GSM - if you are too high, too low, too far or in shadow from tower it just doesn't work properly. Holiday overload on the cell - goodbye internet.

Wireless is barely functioning as it is and more customers will just make it worse.

PS: also when something in the last mile is not working it is insane to debug it. Phone disconnects for some reason and that's it. Router is working but devices can't connect or auth. Some APs work and some aren't. My devices from same vendor and same model lineup can't even properly restart by themselves after power outage. I need to go and reboot them in order one by one each time. I hate wireless... :)


I think the fundamental problem is capacity. I haven't run a WISP, but my understanding is that a highly directional rooftop antenna solves most signal strength problems for individual subscribers. However, there's a practical requirement for the tower to have antennas with broader coverage (I think WISPs conventionally use sector antennas), because otherwise you'd just have too many antennas that need to continually be adjusted as subscribers come and go. Half-duplex medium and protocol overhead means that you're not going to get very many stations on a given combination of antenna and channel before performance starts taking a major hit. I've seen general guidelines that recommend no more than 20 stations per AP; I assume a WISP tower setup can optimize for more stations per channel, but I'd expect that to be on the order of a 2-5x multiplier, not 100x.


> Of course, Ajit Pai will have a lobbying job earning well north of 400K the moment the Trump administration runs out the door so it's really not his concern.

Hasn't Trump banned this?


Trump's executive order banned federal employees from becoming registered lobbyist for 5 years. Unlike the Obama order it doesn't prevent lobbyists from working in the government agencies they lobbied, and it doesn't prevent government employees from going back to work in the industry they regulated in an influential position.

It is speculated that much of the lobbying that occurs is by the influential people in an unregistered capacity and it's known as "shadow lobbying".


Can he even ban it at all? AFAIK he's banned (or was talking about banning) the other direction - lobbyists getting government jobs.


https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/28/execu...

"1. I will not, within 5 years after the termination of my employment as an appointee in any executive agency in which I am appointed to serve, engage in lobbying activities with respect to that agency."


> with respect to that agency

... and there is the "out". Just engage in lobbying activities with respect to another agency, where you now have a lot of contacts. Or consult with an agency that does engage in lobbying activities with respect to that agency.

You get the idea.

I am happy that the "Revolving Door", made famous by Larry Lessig (whose writing and classes, if you are lucky, can't be recommended enough) is getting more than lip service from some branch of government. However, this is just barely more than lip service.


Do you honestly think that will be enforced?


> There are some industries that are natural monopolies, like water and electricity, because it's incredibly expensive to build both last mile connections and core infrastructure.

Is this not beginning to change though? Setting up a local solar farm for a neighborhood and selling on that electricity seems like a valid business model to me. Same with setting up automated water desalinization and treatment plants. But because of regulations, the cost to do either is extreme.

I think the very regulations that add so much cost may be the one's that have us thinking all about 'natural monopolies' today. The more people you can service, the easier it is is to spread the cost of regulation. But why do you need that cost in the first place?


Electricity production has never been a monopoly, and local generation has been done for a long time.

Still, the distribution grid is a natural monopoly, if somehow it became obsolete because everyone was producing energy at home it would become useless but still have the same characteristics that made it a monopoly.


This was the argument against privatizing the telcos in Europe in the 80s. But once they did competition and innovation thrived. Classifying something as a utility leads to stagnation.


They are privatized and regulated. Being a utility doesn't necessitate a government monopoly, and regulation needn't describe only a narrow range of allowed approaches.


I assume they required sharing of the last mile telephone lines, like long-distance competition in the US in the 90s? Because that's regulation that serves competition. Whereas the lack of regulation led to the AT&T monopoly that had to be broken up twice.


Correct.


Unfortunately in the US the telcos and cable providers are already privatized, and have only continued to merge and grow larger. So we need something different from the current situation, whatever that may be.


The US telcos embed themselves into the local governments, keeping competition out. It's governments, all the way down.


That's an odd indictment of government. If government is taken over by private companies, that's government not working, and it's certainly not a democratic government to blame, it's an infiltrated, corrupt political system.


I may tweak your statement a little that the government is run largely by special interests, i.e. small minority wielding substantial influence (is a union a 'private company'?). Why must my city government make the decision on what company may drive a truck in a circuit to collect my refuse? Why was my local YMCA denied a permit to build an indoor pool while the city built a luxurious, beautiful, money-sucking 'Community Recreation Center' (that has an indoor pool)?

Given the broad prevalence of this type of activity, it seems to at least suggest some fundamental breakdown within the system of representative democracy or, as you suggest, it is an indictment of governments, in general.


That while Telco's do use regulatory capture well, you have to admit there's some sort of natural monopoly inherent to hard wired internet service.


The known solution to this is local loop unbundling, but the ISPs lobbied their way out of that more than a decade ago.


This statement is usually made without any substantive evidence to support it, primarily because every monopoly, in practice, can only truly be a monopoly when the government mandates it. When firms are forced to compete on the open market, without the option of non-market strategies, someone will find a way to move in and compete.

This is actually self-evident in the fact that these companies are actively engaging in non-market strategies. There would be no need to practice such tactics if they could simply hold a 'natural monopoly'. Others certainly disagree, but for me, this argument is the one I find most compelling.


And those companies had no choice but to go along with it?


What happened in Norway at least was that when the state telephone company Televerket that is now Telenor was privatized, they required them to lease the land lines and mobile spectrum to others at cost.

This worked really well so now there is a health population of companies in both the telephone/mobile and isp sectors.

I can get at least 5 different wired isps and maybe 50+ mobile broadband providers in the outskirts of a town of 60k people.


I can attest that the same thing happened with the telephone company here in South Africa. A while after its monopoly was taken away and regulation required that public infrastructure be rented out to any ISP that wished to use it, things started thriving after a long period of stagnation.

In fact, ISPs thrived, and a lot of them are now installing and contracting the installation of their own Fibre to a lot of residences. Essentially, side-stepping the existing copper infrastructure that kept people tied to the telco monopoly.


The same thing happened in the UK with BT. There is genuine competition and it works reasonably well.


I very highly doubt that classifying something as a utility leads to stagnation: Furthermore, I would argue that with some utilities, it is a boon to us if we don't grow. We don't actually need electricity or water use to increase.

In addition, it is quite possible to have competition while still regulating something as a utility. Regulation is really more what the classifacation is about. You want clean water standards, companies that don't turn you off for being a few hours late, and so forth. This stuff is doubly important since in many areas, utilities are a natural monopoly. The classifacation can also ensure that the large companies venture out into small and rural cities and areas. Some folks in the US have only had home phone service less than 20 years despite such laws, after all, and I doubt they would without regulation.


All consumer level electricity supply is classified as a utility in the U.S.. Would you say that electricity transmission and generation have "stagnated"?


Have a look at the grid The Grid by Gretchen Bakke.

It describes how transmission has stagnated. Particularly the tactics used by large utilities and how they lead to a degraded and unreliable grid.


> All consumer level electricity supply is classified as a utility in the U.S.. Would you say that electricity transmission and generation have "stagnated"?

That's a pretty bad comparison, though, because the transmission of electricity is as commoditized as possible (given that the electricity gets somewhere, the only thing the consumer cares about is price - there's no such thing as "fast" electricity). So what does "stagnation" on energy transmission even mean? There's no innovation - at least, not that the end consumer would ever know or care about - which is the textbook characteristic of a fungible commodity.

The production is not fungible (see: clean energy production vs. dirty), but that's the part that's also somewhat competitive. For example, in New York City, Con Edison has a monopoly on the infrastructure[0], but you can purchase your electricity either though Con Edison or through an ESCO, which can include clean energy providers.

As a general trend, municipalities which decouple the generation from the transmission and allow competition between companies that generate electricity do tend to have more clean-energy options than those which monopolize both the transmission and the generation.

[0] A few parts are serviced by another provider instead of Con Edison, but basically any given household is serviced by only one power company


The innovation is to find cheaper and more efficient ways to generate and deliver electricity to consumers. Both decreasing costs to customers and environmental impact, as well as increasing profit margins for the company.


> The innovation is to find cheaper and more efficient ways to generate and deliver electricity to consumers.

You're repeating the definition of a commodity, which was exactly what I addressed in my first paragraph.

> Both decreasing costs to customers and environmental impact, as well as increasing profit margins for the company.

"Decreasing cost and increasing profit margins" again is part and parcel of commoditization. The environmental impact is what I addressed in the rest of my comment.

Again, the comparison is bad because the only part of the electric industry which is not fully commoditized and which has the potential for non-commodity innovation is the part that is already competitive and much less regulated.

Broadband Internet, on the other hand, is not at all commoditized. There are at least four different things that consumers can care about besides cost per unit, so comparing it to a commodity utility is a bad comparison.


That came with local loop unbundling, neutrality rules, and two competition authorities (local and pan-European) with real teeth.


In France we have great competition among the the Internet providers, way more than for energy or water. So it's probably not exactly the same.


Same in the UK, we change providers every few years depending on what deals are available. BT generally owns the last mile but is required to share it with other providers, then there are regional cable and fiber networks. I do believe in the power of markets, but as Adam Smith pointed out they must be regulated in order to be free and fair.


Who owns the wires?


British Telecom. Most of the infra was laid down when it was a government owned monopoly. When it was privatized and the ownership went into (mostly) private hands, it was required to lease out access to competing networks. I understand several other European countries have similar arrangements. In the UK we have the same for electricity and other utility provision as well. It's not ideal, but seems to work ok and has genuinely driven down prices for consumers a lot.


Yes, I have been inclined toward this view as well. But I would be interested to hear counterarguments.


>Of course, Ajit Pai will have a lobbying job earning well north of 400K the moment the Trump administration runs out the door

Hahahaha, 400k? The man is the Chairman of the FCC. Try well into seven figures


The view in the Forbes article is misinformed:

> In the final months of the Wheeler FCC, the Commission rushed through orders re-regulating rates for enterprise data services, subjecting ISPs (and only ISPs) to a highly-restrictive privacy regime that upends the model of ad-supported free content, and flirted with banning free and sponsored mobile data services that consumers actually want.

The reason the rules apply to only ISPs is that only ISPs are a natural monopoly. If you don't like gmail scanning your email there are sixty free alternatives that don't.

ISPs have nothing to do with "ad supported free content", nor should they.

And consumers "want" free everything, but that's not how "sponsored mobile data services" work. Instead they allow the ISP to charge high data fees while exempting their own offerings to disadvantage or ransom the competition. And if high data fees and destroying competition are the cost of "free", no consumer who actually understands that wants it.


In Norway and many other European countries, aggressively regulated utilities and local loop unbundling has worked out very well. If you set up some kind of publicly accessible infrastructure such as mobile or fiber, you are obliged, by law, to provide equal access to any third party who wants to piggyback on your grid. Local players thrive by leasing the physical infrastructure and competing for consumers.


This quote from Marc Andreesen sums up why treating it as a utility may not make sense:

"Because sewers and electricity are far more static markets than broadband. You don't shit 10x as much every 3 yrs."

I don't understand the resistance to nationalizing the physical Infrastructure. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes sense for consumers. Because somebody famous once said Govt. is part of the problem, we don't even want to entertain this idea anymore.


> You don't shit 10x as much every 3 yrs.

I buy a new house when I'm single. Three years later I'm married and have two kids. More new houses have been built in my neighborhood, and they all have families moving into them.

I sure hope whoever laid the sewer pipes at year zero anticipated at least 10x capacity in three years.


On the other hand, 3 years from now, the typical house will have approximately the same sewer needs that it has now.

What perseusprime11 is pointing out is that the typical house will consume much more broadband in a few years than it does now, not just the houses with carefully chosen stories.


I don't understand how this relates to whether broadband is a natural monopoly. Certainly it's one that demands more frequent upgrades, but that seems to be missing the point.


A physical fiber strand is mostly agnostic to the technology used (yes I know there are differences).

The government should lay fiber to every home and business, then sell access to that fiber at cost. Let ISPs setup equipment racks at a local POP and do the termination & CPE.

Now you can innovate by replacing the equipment at either end without digging a single trench.


I think the key part is _every_ 3 years. With the sewerage pipes, you can plan around the maximum capacity of the house, and the required capacity of the pipes will remain pretty much constant. You don't have the same upper limit on Internet capacity.


Andreesen is right about the past, but we're near the inflection point where the curve smooths out.

8K video (near IMAX quality) can be compressed into a 500mbps stream[0], so gigabit should have decent lifespan. If we lay fiber to the premises then we can increase speeds in the future without digging everything up.

[0] https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/130238-8k-uhdtv-how-do-y...


So if VR next year is 2K per eye, and is hypothetically cloud rendered, then that means gigabit would support 16-ish people? Sounds good. 2K per eye was at CES last month, and is badly needed.

But 4K per eye prototypes exist, and will almost certainly be at CES next year. And will ship, maybe next year, maybe the year after. That's 4-ish people on gigabit? Hmm. Doesn't that seems a little bit tight to be confident that "gigabit should have decent lifespan"?


Cloud rendering is a fantasy for games on flat screens, because the latency is too high. To maintain 'presence' and not get sick in VR, the motion-to-photons latency has to be _consistently_ <20ms.

360 video for VR is certainly a bandwidth-hog, but I think that could well be offset by most VR content being game-like, where, though the game might weigh in at 40G, you download it once, and spend 40 hours in it, vs a 4k movie at the same size, which lasts 2 (and which you'd likely re-stream if you watched it again). In other words, widespread VR use, even with next-gen hardware, could actually lead to a reduced demand for bandwidth.


> Cloud rendering is a fantasy for games on flat screens, because the latency

One approach I've seen mentioned is sending a larger-than-used field of view (and resolution), and then locally deciding, with more recent orientation data, which portion to use. Also depth segregation of the scene, and sending multiple copies of nearfield, selected by recent position.

These approaches might result in sending more data than the displayed video.

I don't necessarily disagree with your suggestion of gigabit adequacy. Though after hearing similar suggestions so many times over the decades, about everything on Moore's law curves, and then having them almost always be wrong, I'm... leary of this form of suggestion.

But one way such estimates fail, is being hit by an "oh, we didn't expect that one". So I'm brainstorming (well, merely sort of musing) about potential surprises.

Hmm, surprises... One advantage of a single video stream is the system always knows what's needed next. The user may turn it off, but not much else. The above are perhaps examples of needing to send speculative content, which acts a demand multiplier. The future equivalent of web page preloading.

As people acquire automated assistants, one thing they may do is speculative exploration and data gathering. When a user's eye pauses on a github project, not just download everything about the project, to produce the desired pithy little briefing popup, but also other pages associated with the repo authors (still alive? any replacement project?), news articles, related work, and so on. Automation of the 'github project evaluation dance', which in the fine-grained node.js ecosystem, is frequent. So what is now a few bytes of web link, and a rare on-demand textual mouse popover, followed by slow manual surfing, might be become an immediate massive demand spike, and pervasively common? One potential of VR vs 2D screen UIs, is that while screen realestate must be severely managed, else clutter, VR may permit vastly greater inclusion of speculative "some related stuff", blended as low-cognitive-overhead ambiance. Once upon a time, a web page had the bandwidth demands of a few lines of ascii email from a dumb terminal - no longer.


But you assume only one stream will be played at a time which is unlikely.


I don't use 10x as much bandwidth every 3yrs either. I don't use 3x. I don't come anywhere near my "unlimited cap", nor do I use anywhere near my 80mbps limit, except the occasional download (from a very well-connected source).

Consumers at home use bandwidth for exactly one thing: video. I can only watch so much video (just as I can only shit so much).

And the cable that comes into my home - like the sewer line - is 30 years old, and has never been upgraded.


Well you are not typical then. I just had a long conversation with our cable guy as he was installing internet in a new place. He said that more & more people are trying to stream 4k video and hitting their caps within hours/days. It's kind of a problem.

It's really funny because they offer gigabit speed internet but it's cap is lower than the 100Mbit. So you get faster transfer speeds but less actual data.

Also our city (which is relatively small in the 200k range) has two competing cable providers installing fiber for gigabit internet across the city. This doesn't seem uncommon and I'd call that a total replacement.


You live in a 200k-person "city" and everyone's buying 4k-capable TVs? This doesn't sound like a typical town to me.


There are 40 inch 4K TVs for $400 now.


That doesn't mean they need to upgrade the wire going into the house then.


>>I don't use 10x as much bandwidth every 3yrs either.

10 years ago, how many static web pages had several megabytes of JavaScript just to render three paragraphs of text?

:)


We don't come even close to sending uncompressed 1080p over the internet. So no, we don't have good enough internet connections yet even for video.

Netflix/youtube streams are still garbage in image quality with huge amount of compression artifacts.


The last mile wires going into your home aren't changed every 3 years. Those should be shared through a regulated utility. The telcos can compete building connectivity between neighborhoods and cities.


> You don't shit 10x as much every 3 yrs.

All that means is the ongoing infrastructure costs and technology upgrades required are even higher. I don't see how that makes it less like water and electricity infrastructure, surely it makes it even more of an extreme example of the same thing?

The fact is a lot of countries have successfully opened up their telecoms markets to competition through regulation. So the US telco company's assertions that this cannot work has been proven to be false. It has been done, therefore it's a thing that is doable.

This very much reminds me of the US mobile operator's arguments that the European model of standardizing mobile infrastructure on GSM was market interference that would harm consumers. What it did was establish an open market in which consumers could freely switch between providers thanks to common technical standards. Meanwhile the US market was ghettoized into GSM and CDMA silos.


So you think the broadband infrastructure should be nationalized, but not treated as a utility? That seems inconsistent.

Anyway, I think Andreessen's argument is greatly exaggerated. 20 years ago I had ISDN at 128kb, if memory serves; now I have a cable modem that bursts to something like 90Mb. That's a CAGR of 39%, or a factor of 2.7 every 3 years. Give me gigabit fiber and I'll be happy as a clam for years to come. (I don't expect my cable speed to increase significantly from this point either; that 39% CAGR is not going to be maintained.)


I got 100 Mbps in 2005, 1 Gbps in 2016. The same fiber ought to scale fine another order of magnitude to 10 Gbps in 10 years.

Fierce competition made sense in the 90's and 00's when all the last mile technologies were duking it out. Now we know that DSL and Coax cable don't have a future. It'll be either wireless or fiber, and you just can't go wrong with fiber.


'I got 100 Mbps in 2005, 1 Gbps in 2016.' Where the heck do you live? 100mbps is like science fiction where I live, and we are all on fiber at like 10mbps


> we are all on fiber at like 10mbps

Where the heck do you live that runs fiber to the home but can't deliver better than 10mbps?


Here in the UK the max I have ever heard of is 200mbps in inner cities and everywhere else its basically 10mbps or nothing


Everywhere else is presumably not fiber in that case.


It is claimed 'fiber' by the companies, and everyone pays because of the natural monopoly of utilities, where everyone pays for the best service available regardless of how good it is, because everything available is not good enough


Sweden before, Japan now


That's not necessarily true. There is some limit to what we consider fast Internet.

Suppose you build a pipe to provide 1gigabit/person that should he more than enough for the future. Multiple streaming HD videos /person in peak time. That capacity should last quite a while


Some people perceive that their lives are not a toy thing for some far away central planners.


Your libertarian slip is showing.


Then those people should really hate the broadband companies.


> We need meaningful competition for broadband.

It's a physical monopoly. It doesn't work that way with physical monopolies. We need regulation, just like we do with power and water.


really the gist of the problem from what I read is that alot of municipal governments have allowance for only one provider to access homes, so who comes first gets to play. So incumbents have been using this to gouge customers and deny competition.

FCC is not really of help here, granted if you would have more competition at the ground level you would get more options like unencumbered access at a reasonable price.


> We need meaningful competition for broadband. (I live in Silicon Valley and all I can get is Comcast!)

I run an ISP. There's a reason for this. In order to compete, you need a viable business. Unless a competitor can obtain >40% market share, it's not worth the enormous costs of deploying new infrastructure. Competing with Comcast is one of the worst possible business strategies ever; they have limitless access to cash and if you try to compete on price you're going to lose.

> If classifying broadband as a utility is the right way to accomplish this, let's keep it; otherwise, let's find a different way. I'm open to argument about the means, but not so much about the goal.

I honestly don't think that's going to solve anything. We're obtaining "utility" status simply by offering voice service, that won't give us any kind of major advantage other than forcing our local government to be more willing to cooperate with us on infrastructure deployment.


What diameter has a water pipe?

7 inch?

Does it make sense to have like three of them going to the house?...


In market capitalism we need at a least 2. Efficient, isn't it?


Well 5G internet service as I have read will become your home and wireless internet svc...all in one.

That means you will then have st least four to five (att, Verizon, Comcast, sprint and T mobile) broadband providers to choose from.

Sounds solid to me... one bill for my Internet on all my devices and lots of choice!


Will we have 100mbit to gigabit speeds (needed for working from home or for households with more than one person) and no data caps in this scenario? Predictable latencies (needed for video conferencing and gaming)?


They will certainly kill city-run broadband and anything else that the big companies view as encroaching on their monopolies.

In 2008 we should have let the banks fail and all the wealth in the world evaporate like it's supposed to in a Capitalistic society. Instead, we basically made the banks bigger and the rich richer and more powerful.


The global economy as of 2008 was and continues to be absurdly leveraged, often combined with a wonderful smorgasbord of complex financial instruments that obfuscate risk.

If the banks holding these complex instruments were allowed to fail, if Lehman Brothers collapsed along with AIG, then it's very likely that the financial system would have been dragged down with it. The resulting recession would be likely on the same magnitude as the great depression.

The bank bailout inserted a huge amount of liquidity into the market, which absorbed much of the shock of reduced consumer spending. Combined with the auto bailout and Obama propping up state budgets, the economy was able to hold together.

Truthfully, I believe that the banks should have never been able to be too big to fail. Let it be said, however, that main street and wall street are intimately linked, and failure of one deeply imperils the other.


"If the banks holding these complex instruments were allowed to fail, if Lehman Brothers collapsed along with AIG, then it's very likely that the financial system would have been dragged down with it. The resulting recession would be likely on the same magnitude as the great depression."

Other countries simply nationalize and recapitalize the bank and sell it on. This worked out well for Sweden: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_banking_rescue

Any recessionary impact can always be offset by counter-cyclical fiscal spending.


Correct. Notice how you never hear this in the main stream financial press.


Didn't we essentially do that with several companies, including GM?


Regarding bailouts saving the economy... that's the narrative. I'm not sure how anyone can be confident that it is accurate.

Either way, it's fatalistic to say that wall street and main street are linked. We could have easily picked main street banks over wall street banks. To some degree, that's what the opposite of too-big-to-fail looks like.


> We could have easily picked main street banks over wall street banks.

If there aren't any community banks, it's pretty hard to choose them. Dodd-Frank, according to many -- including Barney Frank, the "Frank" in Dodd-Frank -- had a number of unintended consequences, the largest of which was the compliance cost, which smaller banks couldn't manage.

The result of burdensome compliance, more often than not, was consolidation; couple that with the too-low threshold for what counts as 'too big' and the end result was that most community banks were too small to succeed - where we once had 18,000 main street banks in America as of 1985, we currently have fewer than 2,000.


It would be interesting to see the number of banks pre and post Dodd-Frank, say 2010 -> now to really gauge the impact. It would have taken a remarkably foresightful bank to close in 19xx on account of law passed in 2010.



I had a look at the sources for that post and couldn't find anything showing small banks growing up to 2008. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/US1NUM (from exploring citation #4 in the post) was the closest I could find and that shows that over the long term small banks have been in decline since the 80's.


Is that really true though? The majority of Credit Unions in the US don't exceed the asset pool size or have offices in designated areas. It's only if they're doing a lot of home loans or student loans that they might still get entangled.

The small credit unions are in aggregate a very big lobby in Washington and they were pretty good at getting small members exempted. DF and CARD were mostly about stopping egregious behavior by very large FIs.


I think it's over simplifying the situation to make a division between main street banks and wall street banks. Main street is largely owned by and receives liquidity from wall street. Many seemingly stable "main street" banks actually had tons of subprime junk that was rated as triple A up until the correction. These main street banks also had assets whose worth was threatened by the collapse of wall street. Some of these main street banks owned pieces of wall street itself.

I mean I don't give a nickle about wall street, but I understand that the collapse of wall street would have been totally devastating to the global economy.

Compartmentalization is key for the financial industry.


Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by "picked Main Street banks over Wall Street banks" ?


Banks are to big to fail has become mythology. Please read Bill Black of UMKC. He argues that on the eve of insolvency regulators can move in and take over the bank on Friday, blowing out management and share holders while saving depositors, and re-open the bank under a different name on Monday. See Wachovia going over to Wells Fargo.


Capitalism, as a system, tends toward wealth accumulation, and that wouldn't have been less true if they allowed a bunch of banks to fail.


I think you're referring to cronyism (aka crony capitalism), which is often conflated with free-market capitalism here on hn.


I'm afraid I think that's a basic structural flaw of capitalism (notwithstanding its many structural goods). When I hear this argument I feel it's a bit like proponents of socialism saying 'ok communism actually does suck but that's because it's a departure from the beautiful socialist ideal.'

The basic problem is this: no matter how good your system, it's not going to be used solely by angels, but by a distribution of people. A few of those will be very ethical and unselfish and operate completely within the rules and the spirit of the system. A few others will be total assholes and just exploit every weakness they can find to advance their own interests, regardless of the damage inflicted on others. And a lot of people in the middle will just go in the same direction as everyone else - when there are more good people around they'll conduct themselves ethically, when there are more bad people around they'll help themselves. But the middle group is generally passive and doesn't make any particular effort to either support or subvert the system within which they find themselves.

So in the context of capitalism you'll have some very high-minded entrepreneurial people and some corrupt cronyist types, in the context of socialism you'll have some very selfless individuals and some authoritarian thugs, in a religious context you'll have some saintly types and some hypocrites who prey on the naive and use fear of divine retribution to silence their victims, and so on.

When we design or experiment with social technologies, we have to be on our guard against two extremely risky assumptions: one, that our proposed system would work great if only everyone adopted it, and two, that our proposed system will be used by people like ourselves who share our basic assumptions about right and wrong.

In sum, you're right to point to cronyism but you're wrong to ignore cronyism given the fact of its widespread popularity. there are bad as well as good people int he world, and so we should consider what the possible negative outcomes of our technology would be if such people gained control of it.


>A few of those will be very ethical and unselfish and operate completely within the rules and the spirit of the system. A few others will be total assholes and just exploit every weakness they can find to advance their own interests, regardless of the damage inflicted on others

This seems far from the general consensus in social psychology, which is that the context we exist in determines the majority of our actions. The Milgram and Asche lines of research are the most prototypical, but Zimbardo has spent his whole career on basically this question.

True sociopaths are incredibly rare (less than 1% of the population). People find it very difficult to betray or hurt other people, and this comes from genetics, not context, and we know this because it is a human universal.

In similar experiments measuring trusting behaviors and betrayal vs. reward responses to those behaviors, 90% of people engage in a trust behavior (giving money to another research participant, over a computer game, never seeing this other person), and 95% of people who are trusted reward, rather than betray, their partner.

This sort of human-naturism is just defeatist propaganda meant to maintain the existing system of total hierarchical dominance of elites (the capitalist class, men, whites, cisgenderds) over the oppressed. You can choose to stop being a shitty person, and your doing that will create a context where other people are pressured to do the same, and will likely concede to that pressure.

(It's not surprising that this didn't exactly take on in an environment like the Soviet Union, where trust was intentionally minimized by the state, which itself didn't trust its citizenry because it was the active target of an espionage and proxy war for its entire existence. It's also not surprising that people in an environment that values capital accumulation over all else are quick to betray each other. However, there are a lot of examples of libertarian socialist territories, brief though they may have been, that contradict the notion that communism (which is the same thing as socialism, there is no difference at all) inevitably leads to totalitarianism. Since these societies were attacked both by capitalists and authoritarian communists, it's not surprising that they didn't last very long either.)


>True sociopaths are incredibly rare (less than 1% of the population).

That's plenty. If the system rewards unethical behavior, then the 1% of unethical people will be highly rewarded.


Forbes: "Why (Some) Psychopaths Make Great CEOs"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-som...


That most people are good is a big part of the problem though. A lifetime around people who mean you know harm makes us less suspicious. That trust can be exploited and then that exploitation can be aggregated.

Since we're mostly trusting, the market for this aggregated exploitation is quite large. I'd even argue that it includes, to some extent, all forms of labor.


"Crony capitalism" is the only kind that has ever existed and the one for which its critics coined the name "capitalism".

"Free market capitalism" is a not particularly coherent utopian aspirational vision which defenders of real-world crony capitalism invented as a distraction.


I think that's a little harsh. The game of Monopoly exists to show that structural factors can inevitably lead to an outcome an outcome where one player has all the money even if players behave completely fairly towards each other.

BTW if you've never heard of it, I think you'd be extremely interested in Nomic, a game whose play revolves around the reconstruction of its own rules.


Sources?

Piketty's "Capital in the 21th century" can serve as a source on how wealth has been getting concentrated in the real world (interrupted by WW2 which spread it out again). He also argues well for why this is an intrinsic feature of our economies.

You may oppose him and say "that was just because the market isn't free enough", but it is an extraordinary claim and I would say the burden of actual proof is on you then.


I'd refer you to Peter Turchin, War and Peace and War. He argues that it's not capitalism that leads to wealth concentration, it's peace, stability, and prosperity -- since we can see this problem worldwide, and very far back in history. Since peace breeds wealth concentration, it eventually ends in a crisis (normally a period of major wars); the crisis mostly kills people and ruins lives, but it also disrupts concentrations of wealth as a side-effect. Eventually the wars end in a peace of exhaustion, with wealth a little more equitably distributed (or at least enough wreckage that everyone can make money by rebuilding), and a period of peace and wealth concentration begins again.

Solutions to this problem that have been tried and failed include:

* Endless war. This doesn't do much the problem of concentration of wealth (warlords as well as capitalists have high wealth concentration), and it creates sociological problems; for details in a familiar context, read Albion's Seed, specifically the section on the Borderers/hillbillies/Scotch-Irish.

* State ownership of some productive capital (Britain after WWII) or basically all productive capital (the USSR). This works well for a while (see How Asia Works), but if kept around for too long it breaks down, producing complacency, mismanagement, and an inevitable fiscal crisis. Thatcher and Gorbachev did pretty much the same thing, for pretty much the same reasons.

* Wage controls, price controls, tariff walls, heavy internal regulation. The New Deal, Ireland under De Valera, all European governments before the 1700s (see Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life), and the Tokugawa Shogunate did this. For as long as the will to enforce everything exists, this approach sort of works, and it slows down wealth concentration and the development of crises; but it doesn't stop them entirely, and the crises are likely to be really explosive when they hit. (See also the 1700s, 1968, and the fall of the Tokugawas.) It also leads to technological stagnation, which has other obvious problems.

* Letting the market work its magic. See Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, for why this is intolerable in practice.

Don't ask me for a magic bullet, none of the ones above work and I don't know what others there could be. Perhaps the solution is to just be aware of the problem and try to manage it...


Some ancient societies deigned it honorable and mandatory for the most wealthy to be sacrificed to the gods and their property to be thereafter redistributed by the state.

Some forgoed the sacrifice and allowed them to host large community events where their wealth was shared broadly.

Others made it fashionable and socially expected for the wealthy to be absurdly risky with their investments and so ensure their wealth would be redistributed regularly through the risk and reward of the market.


> Others made it fashionable and socially expected for the wealthy to be absurdly risky with their investments and so ensure their wealth would be redistributed regularly through the risk and reward of the market.

This one seems to be the one we're missing today. In particular because of two trends: a) a tax code that encourages large piles of cash to be accumulated offshore inside corporations and b) the modern trend of large companies to be publicly-traded rather than privately owned.

So then you get a billionaire who owns a large percentage of their own publicly traded company which itself has a hundred billion dollars in cash inside of it. He can't direct the company to use the money for risky investments because that's not what the other shareholders want, but neither can he extract his share of it to do that with because it would incur a huge tax cost.

If we fixed this we might have a dozen instances of Elon Musk instead of just one.


I still like the potlatch system, or some similar turn towards "Big Man" economics, but that's a brilliant insight, that risky, sketchy dot-com investments serve as a way of redistributing wealth!

I need to remember that transhumanist axiom, that "the purpose of a system is what it does" -- and not what it claims to do.


> it's peace, stability, and prosperity

In the absence of other factors, it's every known system itself. This is not the same as them being causes. The observation is that humans have not found a suitable system.


Owning income producing assets increases income, allowing for the purchase of more income producing assets. I don't see how crony capitalism vs free market needs to come in to it.


Right, exactly. And besides that, it's not exactly surprising that you'd end up with disparities in a system whose distinguishing characteristic is the ability of a small class of owners to capture the lion's share of excess value.


What is 'Crony capitalism', and what evidence is there for it? This "It's not capitalism, it's crony capitalism" is Capitalism by a different name. You need someone to defend your private property, which usually entails a state or state-like institution (and of course the class system inherent in capitalism).

Rather than linking you to a particular source of information, there are plenty of good sources here on this 'cronyism': https://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/search?q=crony&restrict_s...

Also, capitalism without government intervention is still as flawed because it is capitalism.

And either way, wealth accumulation is a feature of capitalism, 'crony' or not. So is wage labour, the two-class society of the proletariat and bourgeois, maximising exchange value over use value and the biggest teller of them all, private ownership of the means of production.

Recommended reading is Marx's 'Wage Labour and Capital', and I'm making my way through 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' by Robert Tressell if you want to get to the nitty gritty of what Capitalism was like and how it still persists in its exploitative global form.


It's a distinction without a difference.


Iirc correctly there is theoretical work supporting the former (i.e. capitalism leading to wealth accumulation) but not the stability of that wealth over longer terms. That is, there is inequality in distribution, but also churn.

Of course this has the same fundamental issues as all economic modeling when employed in practice.


> Capitalism, as a system, tends toward wealth accumulation, and that wouldn't have been less true if they allowed a bunch of banks to fail.

Perhaps, but if the government hadn't refilled their coffers after they blew up all their money, at least a different set of criminals would have it now.


And a lot of other people would get hosed in the process.


As they should if the funds are not guaranteed.


So you'd be perfectly fine with tons of elderly people ending up homeless.


No, I would not be perfectly fine, it would be very unfortunate.


Then don't advocate for the option which would cause that, and don't say, "it's unfortunate". These are people's lives you're talking about.


What good would come of it?


Bankers would have less incentive to make highly risky bets as it would no longer be a risk-free endeavor. As it is now, they win regardless of whether they are correct.


The same ends could be achieved by stringent regulation without having to also punish ordinary people who are not to blame for what happened.


You're not making any sense.

The reason we are discussing this policy is because Trump was elected as the antithesis of the rich and powerful elite. Which is obviously ridiculous but that's another issue. The masses who voted for him are responsible for this policy.

And simply letting the financial system crash would've hurt the poor and vulnerable the most. Just as I personally saw in the UK when Northern Rock went under. It was pensioners and the poor left confused and panicked who were lining up at branches not the big, fat bankers.


>And simply letting the financial system crash would've hurt the poor and vulnerable the most. Just as I personally saw in the UK when Northern Rock went under. It was pensioners and the poor left confused and panicked who were lining up at branches not the big, fat bankers.

Those people actually got their money back whereas the "big, fat" shareholders sued for compensation in court and lost. I'd rather queue.

Letting the financial system crash and deleveraging in a disorderly manner wouldn't have been the ideal way of dealing with the crisis but it would have yielded a better outcome than the bailouts which simply provided lavish subsidies for the financial sector.


I'd say it's easy enough to look at Iceland to see how they handled the financial fallout. They imprisoned the bankers and bailed out their citizens. They have a booming economy now and no wealth inequality.


Printing money to bail them out has bad consequences too.


We did let the first bank fail, it nearly broke the global economy and it was one of the smaller ones. That's why the other banks were bailed out.


How does it break the global economy? Without the failed bank, there will be no more demand for the labor performed by employees? No more demand for products from customers? People will say "That bank closed up, better stop making things and being productive, time to climb in a hole"?

It's confusing when people conflate the prosperity of the ruling financial elite with the "global economy".


Right, but the reason that happened is that the FTC, FCC and others approved all these mergers. Comcast would never have organically captured all these customers. The same thing happened with the banks. They were getting insane concerns and used that money to buy more banks to speculate on that money too, rinse and repeat. The customer at Sante Fe Trust (e.g.) wouldn't have likely chosen to move to Bank of America or Wells Fargo but he didn't get a say.

The challenge with capitalism is these rollups of the small players are great for efficiency but once they get past a certain size it will become a defacto monopoly without regulation.


> They will certainly kill city-run broadband and anything else that the big companies view as encroaching on their monopolies.

I'm curious, how do you know this?


So you want your children AND your parents living with you for the next 30 years?


Wouldn't it be great if, right after net neutrality was scrapped, some ISP came out and said this:

"Thanks to the innovation-promoting policies at the new FCC, we're pleased to announce that, starting next month, FoxNews.com, Brietbart, 8chan, the Drudge Report and reason.com, will be deprioritized to 1 Kb/sec unless you purchase our premium plan for only an extra $100/month. God bless America and the free market."

What would be even better is if they only did it in markets where there was no competition, and they announced that they would drop the plan as soon as another competitor offered service in the area. Wonder how fast people's ambivalence about net neutrality would shift then.

C'mon, doesn't anyone have the balls? Sonic?


Let it happen, if ISPs are open to true competition. If ISPs are opened up to true competition then a competitor will appear which absolves consumers of the pain points of their current service.

The biggest unknown right now is whether there will be more competition in the ISP space. We need this now more than ever.


That's a nice idea in theory, except I predict it won't happen. Unregulated capitalism is meant to mean (or at least people seem to expect) better service, more choice, better value through competition for your business.

In reality all I've seen is the opposite. The US has bad and/or expensive healthcare, cell service, Internet, TV service to name a few.


>> In reality all I've seen is the opposite. The US has bad and/or expensive healthcare, cell service, Internet, TV service to name a few.

I feel like this is cyclical.

You start out with a bunch of smaller companies that compete and consumers tend to win with the advantages you listed. Over time, some get bigger, the smaller ones eventually either go under, or get absorbed by the larger, growing companies until you end up with either one or two really large companies that then become essentially monopolies.

A prefect example is here in the Midwest when they deregulated US West Communications - now Qwest Telecom. There was a huge explosion of CLECS getting into the game, leasing lines from Qwest and essentially competing with Qwest using its own infrastructure (which seemed weird to me).

Consumers won (in the short term) because these new companies were taking all the risks. How much above cost the CLEC's were willing to risk either made them or broke them. It was a gold rush to see who would have the thinnest margin and try and lock down the most customers they could and get them to switch.

I have many, many stories from those days, but in the end you know what happened? Most of those companies went under, a few survived and merged with other companies and are still around, and most of the people who wanted more choice and lower costs eventually went back to Qwest anyways after having poor billing experiences, poor installation, and poor customer service. People think all you need to do is have more competition and it will solve everything - but that's just the beginning.


I think looking to businesses to oppose an FCC that's too business-friendly is probably a dead end.


Looking to certain classes of businesses to oppose an FCC which supports one narrow set of businesses against the interests of a much larger set of businesses, may, however, be more fruitful.

But, certainly, looking to ISPs to oppose giving ISPs more latitude to capture the value of Internet services is a doomed cause.


>> Wonder how fast people's ambivalence about net neutrality would shift then.

This is the crux of the argument.

If you feel government can dutifully manage the internet then you're generally for NN. If you feel the government is incapable of managing the internet, then you're against NN.

My arguments for being against it are simple:

- Not sure how people are all for privacy and encryption, but also want the government managing the internet. They've proven time and time again that if you give them a foot, they take a mile. There is a strange relationship I see to people who distrust the government but are readily willing to allow them to manage nearly every aspect of the internet.

- Also, I've already read a ton on here about monopolies and how they're bad. How is the government managing and controlling the internet NOT a monopoly? How is it once you hand them the keys to the kingdom that they get to pick the winners and losers a good thing? Again, the same people who were against no bid government contracts are the same people touting NN? It doesn't make sense to me.

- The government has shown repeatedly it is a poor manager. We don't need to look very far to see how government waste and mismanagement costs tax payers billions every year. Do I have to mention the ACA sites that cost north of $3B? The fraud in Medicaid and Medicare? The USPS and how they're effectively bankrupt right now? Hell, just the DOD alone costs us billions every year. If people wanted a more efficient system and competition that will lower their costs, I don't see how letting the government run it is a viable solution at all. The list of government entities that are poorly managed and run deep deficits is a mile long.

Lastly, if you've read the FCC's Open Internet order from 2015 you'd find it pretty gives the government carte blanche to micromanage nearly every aspect of the internet: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-15-24A1_Rc...


I'm not sure they would ever do that. They're going to try and set up a favorable environment for the politicians who will pad their bottom line. That means making it easier to access sites like foxnews.com and breitbart.com.


I think that was his point. Of course they would never do that, as it's opposite their motives.

But it would be the utopian thought experiment of transparently communicating a concept in practice.


I've been thinking about this for a while but I might have to actually do it now. Start a business, and get a server hosted in colo under the business name. Then get a permanent openvpn connection between your home router and the colo'd server.

Now your "ISP" is the colo provider, not your home ISP, who only gets to see an encrypted pipe, and everything you do is under a business name.

Seems like the best way forward to me.


> home ISP, who only gets to see an encrypted pipe

Until your home ISP that doesn't care about net neutrality just decides to throttle your OpenVPN encrypted pipe and make it useless, they don't need to see what is inside of the encrypted pipe to fingerprint it as a VPN tunnel.


VPNs are so ubiquitous in business that a move like this would seem like corporate suicide.


Totally, but they could just spin it to the consumer like TV cable packages. "Get our Internet 'Social Media Plus' plan for $100 / month, featuring blazing fast speed to our premium partners Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit! Use a corporate VPN from home? For an extra $10/month add on our VPN Pro PLUS package to get ultra fast connection back to your office!

terms and conditions apply, all other internet traffic is at speeds of up to 1mb/s"

It is far fetched sure, but I honestly wouldn't put it past some ISPs to attempt something super lame like this.


It is not far fetched.


$10/month? Historically, business prices were much higher. The customer is not footing the bill, remember?


"Oh, you wanted a business connection."


I've been thinking about the same thing. There are actually a lot of benefits to routing all of your traffic through a VPN to a gateway you control. You can work around your last-mile ISP snooping, censoring, or manipulating your traffic. You can obfuscate your meatspace location. You can get as many static or dynamic IPv4 and IPv6 addresses as you want. You can transition between landline and cellular connections without changing IP address(es) or breaking your open connections. You can bond together multiple connections. The only problem is actually getting IP addresses that haven't already been blacklisted by half of the internet for spam/fraud.

I think the killer app would be to combine this with a mesh networking protocol like CJDNS and some kind of cryptocurrency based micropayments for bandwidth. We could build the data equivalent of a microgrid, a p2p internet operating in parallel with but connected to the hierarchical one.


Until ISPs decide that more than a certain quota of opaque encrypted traffic is a premium, business, non-consumer use-case for which a sizable extra fee is levied.

Without the protection of all lawful uses in the Open Internet Order, any technical hack around non-neutral ISP policies is itself fairly trivial subject to being blocked or surcharged by ISPs.


Sounds like an awfully expensive solution. If you're going to spend that much why not just pay extra for a business level service while "Doing Business As" yourself? That way you don't need to worry about some server in a colo and filing paperwork for a business.


Works great, until your ISP bans your encrypted pipe.


But how to get an IP that is not banned with so many services? Usually the providers IPs have been abused so much that you're blacklisted.


So... $50 per month cost on top of my current home internet connection?


Privatetunnel [1] provides unlimited bandwidth for $29 per year.

[1] https://www.privatetunnel.com/home/pricing/


There are better choices, privacy-wise. https://thatoneprivacysite.net


Well, it's kind of funny. I was joking about starting a political party. Now, as a business owner, I feel it's my duty.

Seriously, I've decided after reading this. I just want to vote for a party that supports abortion rights, gun rights, a open Internet, and a generally smaller government (focused more on research and education).

FYI Ill be moving to Champaign, IL if anyone is interested.


> I just want to vote for a party that supports abortion rights, gun rights, a open Internet, and a generally smaller government (focused more on research and education).

The first thing you'll need to do is engage in activism directed at replacing the current electoral system with one that supports more than two viable parties (or, alternatively, convinces enough people of your set of priorities that it replaces one of the two major parties or becomes the platform of one of them.)

This activism will, necessarily, need to be a lot more than just voting.


   electoral system that supports more than two viable parties
This would be: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_voting_systems https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

Explanation of USA's FPTP count as root cause of a two party system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo


Just an observation-- every time the topic of alternate voting systems is brought up on HN, or anywhere really, the discussion devolves into an argument over which alternative system is the best. It's quite obvious to me that if we are ever going to actually move on from FPTP we need to change the conversation to "this one works; it's better than FPTP; let's implement it". Unfortunately, I don't know how we get there, because anyone that cares about this stuff loves to debate the merits of their chosen system. And to top it all off, you can prove that no system is the best in all circumstances!


Not just on HN but in real life too. In the UK we had a referendum on switching to a ranked voting system known as "AV" a few years back. It was defeated with 68% voting against.

Of the people I asked, the older more politically conservative people opposed it because of the perception that it would make it more difficult for their party of choice to win (I heard this argument on both sides of the political spectrum) and the younger, more liberal voters opposed it because it "wasn't good enough". Less than half of the population even bothered to participate. So we're still stuck with FPTP.

The only chance we've had to completely overhaul our election system and people voted overwhelmingly against it. Ho hum...


I was bitterly disappointed in that too. The universal lack of interest was just appalling. I felt particularly betrayed by Labour's lukewarm support -- a proposal for a big, permanent change and they were fretting over how it would damage them in the short term.


What's needed (to put it in programming terms) is gradual refactoring, not a brand new system. We need to figure out small changes that can make things better. Once we have more confidence in the system we can start thinking about how to make bigger changes safely.

Here are a couple of small tweaks that will help a bit:

1. Ditch the electoral college, elect the president by popular vote. There's a concrete proposal for doing that, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Intersta...

2. Fix gerrymandering in congressional districts and state senates. Again, there's a concrete proposal, which recently won an important legal battle in Wisconsin (Whitford v Gill): http://www.fairelectionsproject.org

Neither of those helps bust open the two-party system, but they'll at least help level the playing field so that the big two parties don't have artificial incentives biased towards special interests.

Fixing voter suppression is very important. Anyone know of any good efforts afoot there?

As for third parties, I think that's probably best done first at the state level. If one or more states adopt a more proportional system internally, and show it can work well, that would provide a blueprint for implementing it nationally.

I guess Trump could get away with some really radical proposal, like using PR for the Senate. Both parties would almost certainly resist that though. He would need substantial popular backing, whereas every bungling decision he makes right now is making him less popular.


Actually, the problem is there is a difference between alternative voting systems (which IRV is) vs. broader changes to the electoral system (eliminating single-member districts for legislative bodies in favor of something that can provide more proportional representation.)

Since the latter is what is empirically shown in real democracies to be strongly associated with both satisfaction with government and ability of a system to support multiple viable parties and multidimensional debate on policy in the public sphere (see, e.g., Lijphart's Patterns of Democracy), I'm as disinterested in wasting time with the former as I am with wasting time with any other method of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic of American democracy, like fiddling with how district lines are drawn for single-member districts.


This set of simulations ( explanations: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dzt-q6Gb8PHAgkLBv2j7Uhii... , graphs: http://rpubs.com/Jameson-Quinn/vse3) shows that basically anything is better than FPTP.

(It also shows that IRV is only marginally better; while "worse is better" sets my teeth on edge, if IRV is the doable option I'll take it rather than wait for people to come around on score methods).


Score methods are worse for a reason that doesn't show up in most simulations, because mapping of expected utility to an an externalized score isn't consistent between individuals, but instead highly variable (both among individuals within groups and, particularly, along ethnic and other cultural lines), which has been shown in many studies of score-based rating systems.in many domains.

Most simulations assume consistent mapping from preferences to ballot markings, which is reasonable for ranked, but not score, voting.


Exactly, score voting is just as vulnerable to tactical voting as any other method for that reason.

For example, if the scoring range is 1-10, it's better for me to use the full range even if none of the options on offer is really a 1 or 10. Using the full range gives my opinion more weight in the result.

I strongly suspect score voting tends towards ranked voting when people vote tactically, which they always will, just with extra noise and randomness. (I don't know of any studies on this, though.)


Have links to any of those studies? I am unfamiliar with the terminology but would like to learn more.


Maine just passed it this past November [1], so I'd suggest we use them as the starting point.

There are many versions of it, but let's go with Maine for now, since it got acceptance and will soon have a track record.

[1] https://ballotpedia.org/Maine_Ranked_Choice_Voting_Initiativ...


We may never agree on which voting system is best. But maybe we can agree on which alternative systems have been most easily deployed elsewhere. So I agree, rather than argue over small differences we should probably just try to get everyone to do what Maine did.


Other countries have multiple viable parties because that's just how they roll.

Canada uses the shitty FPTP system and while at the federal level it's mostly been two parties, several other parties have held significant clout over the last century. It's not impossible for it to work, it's just difficult. At the provincial level you see a lot more variety because they don't need to appeal country-wide, they can focus on local issues (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parti_Québécois, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildrose_Party)

Sadly electoral reform here has recently been put on hold much to the frustration of many as it was an election platform issue.

I'm sure part of the problem with reform is there's too many options and some of them are so dizzyingly complicated to explain that most people prefer the "simple but busted" FPTP method to something more mysterious and formula-based.


No, it wouldn't be IRV, except maybe for a minority (e.g., chief executive) offices whee single winner is hard to escape. It would be something proportional for legislative offices (which might use a ranked choice system like STV, or might not.)


I think instant runoff voting is optimal, but it's too confusing for an idiot in a hurry. I'd be content with simple approval voting. Every candidate has a checkbox next to their name on the ballot. If you approve of the candidate, check the box. Most checks wins. Ballot will have a lot of names, but that's the price of democracy.


I too think AV (Approval Voting) is the best. It's bog simple to explain [ETA: and to implement using existing voting equipment], and completely immune from both strategic candidate selection and strategic voting. Its only downside, IMO, is reduced detectability of vote count tampering: there's no simple relationship between the number of voters and the number of votes, as there is with plurality voting or even IRV. So if you're going to use AV, you have to have an auditable paper trail. That's a very good idea anyway, of course, and lots of places are moving in that direction, so I don't think this is really a barrier.

(For very small numbers of voters, such as for elections within an academic society, Rating Voting is even better, but its advantages fade as the number of voters increases. AV is just the limiting case of RV with only two values.)


> there's no simple relationship between the number of voters and the number of votes, as there is with plurality voting or even IRV

This problem still exists in FPTP where some voters may opt not to vote for any candidate for a position.


> I think instant runoff voting is optimal

It's very nearly the worst actually proposed single-member ranked ballots system; I can't imagine any way in which it is optimal. It's better than FPTP, but that's a pretty low bar.


Single Trasferable Vote is a far better system, allowing for much more nuance in voting than simply "Team A or Team B".

Note that choice of voting systems don't matter so much if you only have one representative per electorate.


Perhaps he/she (they) can just hijack the Democratic party. A lot of liberals believe in gun rights. They can just do what Trump did to the Republicans.


Not trying to be snarky, but isn't that pretty aligned with Libertarian views? You might not need to start your own party.


Because Libertarians are corporatists. Mostly they fail to understand that lack of regulation leads to concentration and cartelization because that's the natural state of capitalism, and if you don't actively fight it you end up handing power from the government (which is ultimately accountable to the people) to corporations which exert that same power, except accountable to no one.


Just to add, pure Libertarians also wouldn't be cool with spending government money on research and education.


Not true at all, they'd be totally fine with it as long as it was voluntary. Libertarians aren't anti-government, they're anti-authoritarian.


Who is the volunteer in this equation? Who volunteers to pay taxes? Who volunteers to spend them? Who volunteers to receive them?

What does this even mean?


Libertarians are fine with voluntary collectives, many libertarians are collectivists, aka left libertarians like Noam Chomsky. Being libertarian doesn't mean being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, it can also mean being fiscally liberal and socially conservative, or both fiscally conservative and socially conservative or liberal. Libertarians are anti-authoritarian, they want everything to be voluntary, i.e. live and let live. You can be a total liberal or conservative and as long as you don't want your views forced onto anyone else, i.e. not made law, you're libertarian.

The way presidential campaigns are funded for example, by voluntarily checking a box on your tax form is perfectly libertarian.


I dream of a future where allocating funds for non-essential government programs is as easy as using kickstarter.


I would argue that we are currently under a system of corporatism, but yet not libertarian.

In fact I might go as far to say that corporatism is the natural state of the world. The wealthy and powerful will always use their influence to gain even more wealth and power. It is a state that we must constantly fight against regardless of whether we call ourselves anything from libertarian to socialist.


>I just want to vote for a party that supports abortion rights, gun rights, a open Internet, and a generally smaller government (focused more on research and education).

Request denied. Join a side and conform any of your conflicting ideals with theirs. Too much effort letting people decide each issue for themselves.

Edit: /s [sorry I forgot to put that, I know sarcasm can be confusing on the internet]


I believe this was in jest lol

Im just super liberal. I think you should be able to do what ever you want as long as you don't hurt (or overly annoy) others.

The thing is, almost everyone I talk to agrees with me. I don't understand the current political system at all...


> I don't understand the current political system at all

because you're trying to view it through the lens of "rational, beneficial policies that are supported by a democratic majority" whereas our current system is "niche issues of low utility but high tribal divisiveness used to distract the democratic majority while we secretly empower monopolist corporations"


I don't know about you, but I don't see anything "secret" about the current power of monopolist corporations.


it's not a secret that they're doing it. that much is quite obvious. it's secret not in the sense of "well concealed" but in the sense of "unaccountable".


> almost everyone I talk to agrees with me

If everyone you talk to agrees with your particular political ideology which doesn't match well with either of the major parties, then you have an extraordinarily strong and narrow filter bubble, which you'll need to get out of if you want to achieve any of the goals of that ideology.


Just two comments apart you support "gun rights" and then say we should be able to do what we like "as long as you don't hurt others".

Does not compute. Mutually exclusive desires. Unchecked gun ownership leads to loss of life at a shocking scale.

edit: i see downvotes, but I don't see counterarguments. Parent post says "everyone I talk to agrees", if nothing else I'm trying to point out that while it may seem like common sense to you, others will see other things as common sense.


Owning a gun doesn't guarantee loss of life, and gun rights are literally part of the foundation of the U.S. There's no reason to fight it.

Further, I can kill more people with a truck than I can with a gun. People use guns because of the fear, the spot light, and the ability to target.

I don't disagree people see things as common sense. I also don't disagree in having some laws governing weaponry. That doesn't mean I don't think we should be allowed to own them, nor that it isn't benificial. Honestly, I'd like research done to prove it one way or the other and be rational about it.


> Owning a gun doesn't guarantee loss of life

Statistically it does. I.e. this particular gun might not kill anyone, but for every 100 guns there is n deaths, so adding another gun means another fraction of a death added to that number.

> gun rights are literally part of the foundation of the U.S.

The interpretation of the 2nd amendment has changed radically within the past 50 years. The idea that government doesn't get to regulate even slightly the right to bear arms is a new interpretation.

Free speech is literally part of the foundation of the U.S., but we mostly all agree that slander is a thing that should be illegal. Separation of church and state is part of the foundation of the U.S., but churches are tax exempt.

These rules all have nuances. Why shouldn't "right to bear arms" have nuances.

> Further, I can kill more people with a truck than I can with a gun

Trucks are highly regulated and licensed.

> Honestly, I'd like research done to prove it one way or the other and be rational about it.

Well we agree there, but in my view the research that has been done has already pointed in the direction of more regulation than we have now.


> Statistically it does. I.e. this particular gun might not kill anyone, but for every 100 guns there is n deaths, so adding another gun means another fraction of a death added to that number.

That's not how causation works. If you add more guns in one culture you may get more violence because people do the same violence with more lethal weapons. If you add more guns in a different culture you may get less violence because perpetrators are less likely to initiate violence when there is a higher likelihood that their victims are armed. In a third culture there will be negligible difference because people commit the same violence whether with guns or IEDs or other weapons.

And nothing exists in a vacuum. Something like mandatory firearms safety training in high schools will reduce the number of deaths without reducing the number of guns. In other words, you can determine the culture.

> These rules all have nuances. Why shouldn't "right to bear arms" have nuances.

The nuances that have historically made it into gun laws have no relation to reality. A law banning rifles based on cosmetic features scores political points with the gun control lobby but saves no lives. And the stated end goal of the gun control lobby is to repeal the second amendment and ban all guns, which is not a nuanced position.

Also, this:

http://hsgca.net/2013/10/21/illustrated-guide-to-gun-control...

> Trucks are highly regulated and licensed.

You can own a truck without even having a driver's license, and the regulations are unrelated to intentional use to do violence, which is covered by the general laws against murder and violence rather than anything specific to trucks.


If on one side you have the nra, who lobby against ANY gun regulations, such that only the most control-in-name-only "cosmetic" laws can get passed (then later repealed). And on the other side you have... idk the parents from sandy hook? Whoever this gun control lobby is i've not heard of them but i'll take your word they exist and they want no guns and no 2nd amendment. (To paint everyone who wants to have some gun control as a gun abolitionist is conpletely rediculous but... whatever).

Is it possible that the right place to be lies somewhere in between?

I find the American mentality is that all slopes are slippery. In Canada, where I live, we have some gun control and we have limits on free speech and it seems to be working pretty well.


> Is it possible that the right place to be lies somewhere in between?

I refer you again to this:

http://hsgca.net/2013/10/21/illustrated-guide-to-gun-control...

The compromise you are asking for has already happened.

> If on one side you have the nra, who lobby against ANY gun regulations, such that only the most control-in-name-only "cosmetic" laws can get passed (then later repealed).

The NRA is not lobbying to repeal the National Firearms Act of 1934. It's not that we're at the top of a slippery slope, it's that we're 3/4ths of the way down it already and you're asking to keep going.

The problem is that there is no coherent compromise here. You can't have millions of guns in the hands of millions of gun owners and at the same time not. It's zero sum.

> And on the other side you have... idk the parents from sandy hook?

The parents from Sandy Hook are the people they put in front of the camera. The money behind the gun control lobby has the same motives as the money behind the other side's pro-life lobby -- it's a hot button issue that drives votes, so if you want a particular party to win and your real reasons are unsympathetic, you can beat the "think of the children" drum to get your party into office.

That is one of the reasons why the compromises are so ineffective -- and why real solutions like addressing the root causes of violence are never even considered. The funders (as opposed to the public faces) are not actually interested in fixing anything, they just want their party to get credit for Doing Something, and then have the problem continue to exist so they can get credit for Doing Something again tomorrow.


We are not 3/4 of the way down the slope. If we were the US wouldn't have such high rates of gun ownership, because lots of people wouldn't have the right to own guns. Very few people in the states aren't able to own a gun. Very very few.

Congress is undoing Obama's restriction on people who have someone taking care of their finances due to mental disability buying guns. The restriction wasn't that they couldn't own guns it was that they needed a bg check because idk maybe they are unfit to own one?

Your view of gun control advocacy as a drum to get people into office? Seems highly cynical and mostly untrue to me. Look at the democratic primaries. Bernie Sanders basically changed the subject whenever he was asked about gun control. The two top candidated were not of the same mind when it comes to gun control. That says to me that it is not simply a rallying cry for the left, but an issue americans are deeply conflicted about in both repub and dem camps.

As for addressing the root causes of violence: my view is that gun ownership actually is one of the root causes of violence. Not the only one, not the biggest one (thats poverty), but one.


> We are not 3/4 of the way down the slope. If we were the US wouldn't have such high rates of gun ownership, because lots of people wouldn't have the right to own guns. Very few people in the states aren't able to own a gun. Very very few.

"Not able to own a gun" is the bottom of the slope. It's the final 1%. What we have now is an ineffective mess that does nothing but interfere with honest gun owners, particularly at the state level.

Different state prohibit different things. If you live on the East Coast and legally own a particular pistol, and you want to travel to Maine where it is also legal, you have to drive hundreds of miles around Massachusetts where they will arrest you for it.

Acquiring a permit can cost more than a hundred dollars for each renewal and require you to come in person to a government building during work hours on a weekday, raising the barrier to low income people or anyone without flexible working hours. Blue states do this knowing it will have that effect.

States require permits not only for purchasing but also possession, so low income black men are commonly charged with a felony because they live in a bad neighborhood and acquired a gun for self-defense, and either didn't know a permit was required there or couldn't afford one or let it expire or moved from one state to another or owned it before the law changed. Even though they were entirely eligible to own it -- and now they're not. And have just lost their job and are going to prison. If poverty is a root cause of violence, what are we doing here?

> Congress is undoing Obama's restriction on people who have someone taking care of their finances due to mental disability buying guns. The restriction wasn't that they couldn't own guns it was that they needed a bg check because idk maybe they are unfit to own one?

If you have a diagnosis by a mental health professional that someone is a danger to themselves or others then they get institutionalized and they are obviously not going to have access to a gun in a psychiatric hospital. If that isn't the diagnosis then on what basis are you justifying a background check for someone with e.g. dyscalculia?

Laws like that are also inherently dangerous because they discourage people with mental health issues from seeking treatment for fear that they will be penalized for it. Then you have more people with untreated mental health issues and yet they still have access to firearms. Doctor-patient confidentiality is a thing for a reason.

> Your view of gun control advocacy as a drum to get people into office? Seems highly cynical and mostly untrue to me.

Explain the focus on mass shootings, and especially mass shootings of white kids, which constitute a very small minority of all gun violence, juxtaposed with the high death toll from drug and gang-related gun violence, none of whose victims are commonly individually held up as a reason to pass gun control laws.

> Look at the democratic primaries. Bernie Sanders basically changed the subject whenever he was asked about gun control.

Bernie Sanders is from Vermont. It's like a New Hampshire Republican being pro-choice. Not a representative example.

And his needing to change the subject rather than defend his position, and Clinton's revisiting of it to damage him in the Democratic primary, is only proving the point.

> As for addressing the root causes of violence: my view is that gun ownership actually is one of the root causes of violence. Not the only one, not the biggest one (thats poverty), but one.

You believe that people not otherwise prone to violent crimes, given guns, would commit more violent crimes?


I think it's a bit fallacious to say statistically it does. When you look at the numbers the number of guns doesn't really correlate to gun related fatalities.. for example the U.S. Has a ton of guns, but per capita Japan has a higher gun fatality rate (this includes suicides).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm...


huh? Per that link, the gun fatality rate in the US is about 175x that of Japan (10.54/100k vs 0.06). Are you calculating deaths-per-gun or something goofy like that?


Sure fatalities are, but look at the guns per capita. When you actually do the math the US has significantly less gun fatalities per gun


Guns per capita seems weird to me. Guns are not evenly distributed. One gun collector with 200 guns makes for a skewed representation of the prevalence of guns.

I'd like to see percentage of households with one or more gun. That, to me, would be representative.


That's because many of those guns are smuggled into Mexico and Central America.


> and gun rights are literally part of the foundation of the U.S. There's no reason to fight it.

This is a horrible way of thinking. Times change, just because something made sense in the 1700's doesn't mean it makes sense today. Every generation has a right to change the laws it lives under to better reflect the reality of the world they live in, the Constitution is not a sacred text that can't be disagreed with, it's just laws, and it's changeable. There is every reason to fight that which no longer makes sense. The second amendment was written in an era where muskets were state of the art; unrestricted access to arms hasn't made sense in a hundred years.


Research won't be done because over 20 years ago, Republicans made it illegal for federal taxpayer money to be used to study gun control.

Very little cleanly private money exists to study the issue. Universities are tainted with public funds, NGOs are tainted as well, and so on.

So what studies we do get are NRA-funded.


> I don't see counterarguments

Probably because you aren't interested in a discussion.

> Unchecked gun ownership leads to loss of life at a shocking scale.

The tendency toward loss of life is known and acceptable, much like the cost of having vehicles. You think it's a shocking scale and I think it's marginal. Vehicle deaths still outpace in the US, so your bias is transparent.


Motor vehicle deaths have now dropped top the point that they're about even with gun deaths. [0] But I would argue that the utility of having motor vehicles far outstrips the utility of having guns carried and in the home.

Maybe gun deaths could drop more if CDC and other researchers were allowed study their effects on health more and if gun safety regulations were handled more like car safety.

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/17/guns-...


> Probably because you aren't interested in a discussion.

What makes you say that? Why would I delve into comment threads if I wasn't interested in a discussion.

> your bias is transparent

I also strongly believe cars should be heavily regulated. Lucky for us all, they are. I'm down for more regulation, if well thought out, to continue to bring this number down.


You just described Libertarianism.


Well, sort of. Libertarianism is often (incorrectly) described as "socially liberal, fiscally conservative".

But libertarianism isn't easily defined on the Left/Right spectrum. Two people can hold completely different views on virtually any issue and both could hypothetically fall under the libertarian umbrella.



Exactly, libertarians can be either left or right, they're simply anti-authoritarian.


It's obviously not that simple. Laws are authoritarian by design.


Seems like regulating an "open internet" and asking for a smaller government are at odds. You need a powerful central government to meaningfully regulate that sort of thing.


> Seems like regulating an "open internet" and asking for a smaller government are at odds. You need a powerful central government to meaningfully regulate that sort of thing.

That's not really true. The thing which is a natural monopoly is the last mile, which is inherently local. You could literally have the city government own the fiber and lease it to competing private companies without any federal involvement whatsoever.

The main impediment to this is that the incumbents are too large, which allows them to overpower city governments in terms of lobbying and prevent anything like that from happening on a widespread basis. But if you had some hypothetical state government with the will to stand up to them, that would be the end of it.


>But if you had some hypothetical state government with the will to stand up to them, that would be the end of it.

And then, when the state government can't stand up to them, we could use the federal government to do so!

If only someone suggested doing that in the first place.


How about focus on data driven effective government.


That's the goal, but you can't say that to the masses. Most people can't relate.


Where do you stand on health care?


I'm interested in starting a new party. Email me at toomim@gmail.com.


So, a blue dog democrat.


What power do I, as a citizen have to affect change in the FCC?

Short of violence is there anything to do other than wait four years and elect a president who will put someone not so blatantly against consumers?


You can elect congressmen in 2018 that could codify Net Neutrality as law instead of a regulation. Trump would probably veto, but with a sufficient margin you could override it.

Administrative regulations aren't really democratic. Easy come, easy go.


Further, there is redistricting in 2020 so the 2018 elections will be particularly important.


Contribute to Public Knowledge; the EFF and ACLU are good in their own rights, but PK has attorneys representing a consumer-friendly stance in pretty much every major FCC proceeding. They're the best suited for this fight.

As for Pai, do you remember how much pressure Wheeler had on him? When he wanted to do halfassed net neutrality rules, people were furious. Like, confronting him in his driveway furious. That same spirit needs to be kept here; apathy is going to fuck us pretty hard.

Also, find any FCC proceedings dealing with net neutrality as an issue, and file a comment; explain to them why striking down net neutrality is a bad idea. When they have commission meetings, they have to elaborate on why they didn't choose a certain way of doing things, and the more people who file comments, the harder that'll be. That makes it more likely for them to try and push the Communications Act rewrite the Republican party is planning through the Senate, which can still likely be filibustered.

Just remember though; a lot of the FCC employees are probably having the same bleak thoughts we are right now. We need to make it known they're not alone.


Domestic policy is really Congress's responsibility, but they've granted a lot of regulatory authority to the executive in the past few decades. You can lobby them to take back some of that authority and do something sensible with it.


In addition to the other suggestions, you could become a recurring donor to the EFF.

https://supporters.eff.org/donate/button


I already am for both the EFFand the ACLU


Our main ability to control things happens during elections, but we can debate and become informed in the meantime. Debate and inform your friends and family who are on the fence too. Hopefully by election time, there won't be so many undecideds about the right candidate to vote for.


You can fund lawyers and lobbyists like the ACLU does.


So voting with my wallet? That's great, but that sounds like a losing battle compared to the funds that Comcast/Verizon/AT&T can muster to dismantle regulation and increase profits...


Support a republic instead of an empire.


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