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Net neutrality is in jeopardy again (blog.mozilla.org)
928 points by kungfudoi on May 8, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 374 comments



Net neutrality is fundamental to free speech. Without net neutrality, big companies could censor your voice and make it harder to speak up online. Net neutrality has been called the “First Amendment of the Internet.”

Not just harder. Infinitely more dangerous. Probably the scariest implications for NN being gutted are those around loss of anonymity through the Internet. ISPs who are allowed to sell users' browsing history, data packets, personal info with zero legal implications --> that anonymity suddenly comes with a price. And anything that comes with a price can be sold.

A reporter's sources must be able to be anonymous in many instances where release of information about corruption creates political instability, endangers the reporter, endangers the source, endangers the truth from being revealed. These "rollbacks" of regulations make it orders of magnitude easier for any entity in a corporation or organization to track down people who attempt to expose their illegal actions / skirting of laws. Corporations have every incentive to suppress information that hurts their stock price. Corrupt local officials governments have every incentive to suppress individuals who threaten their "job security". Corrupt PACs have every incentive to drown out that one tiny voice that speaks the truth.

A government that endorses suppression cannot promote safety, stability, or prosperity of its people.

EDIT: Yes, I am also referring to the loss of Broadband Privacy rules as they have implications in the rollback of net neutrality: https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15100620/congress-fcc-isp...

Loss of broadband privacy: Yes, your data can and will be sold

Loss of net neutrality: How much of it and for how much?


I'm not American, so please correct me if I'm wrong but I have yet to see any proof of this whole 'sell your internet history' complaint that seems to be blatently copied by everyone without any research.

The way I understand it is that ISPs can sell anonymized data from groups of users. Like: people who visit news.ycombinator.com generally also visit stackoverflow. I also don't know how an ISP would get your actual internet history if the website uses HTTPS.

Yes, I am a strong supporter of NN and I was appaled when the EU diluted it, but this reply is directed at your 'ISPs who are allowed to sell users' browsing history' part.


The common response to this is that ISPs have access to everything you do (which is true), and that they could sell that (which is false).

The regulations being overturned here are ones that have only recently taken effect, and non-anonymized, non-aggregate selling of ISP data is still outlawed by the Cable Communications Act of 1984, which protects subscriber privacy is 47USC § 551[1].

Put simply, neither the most recent executive order, nor a reversal on Net Neutrality overturns that law on the federal register.

Of course, if Congress were to draft a bill that does so, the current fears would be well justified.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/551


"Anonymized" aggregate data is not as anonymous as you might think. This study [1] was able to accurately de-anonymize users based on internet history and public social media 70% of the time.

[1] http://randomwalker.info/publications/browsing-history-deano...


Legally, is there a minimum requirement for what it takes for data to be considered "anonymized"? Just because the customers' billing info isn't included doesn't mean you can't figure out who is responsible for traffic.


There might be multiple options that the federal government would respect:

* https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title5/html/USCODE...

* http://ws680.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=904990

Legally, I can't think of a case where it's been tested that didn't lean the government's way, so who knows?


So you're saying this most recent regulation does absolutely nothing, even though it was the highest priority for the incoming industry friendly regulator. Seems doubtful that some 1984 law is going to protect our browsing data.


I'm not saying it does nothing. I'm saying it doesn't do what people think it does.

Repealing the Obama rule does mean that you can't opt out of data collection or sale. It does not mean that your individual browsing records are available to anyone with enough cash. Moreover, much of the rules Trump's executive order overturn had either very recently taken effect, or not yet taken effect.

There may be much theoretical damage from overturning the regulations, but the practical effect here will be minimal, and limited because of the other laws that already exist to prevent exactly the doomsday scenario many are predicting.

I'm not saying that Trump isn't after your privacy rights, but the surest test of that will be whether or not he goes after or seeks to circumvent the 1984 protections I referenced earlier.


You're correct. But only because - per Chaos Monkeys, Dragnet Nation, and the like - your data is already being captured, aggregated, and sold. If that's your concern, you're too late. On the other hand if your concern is specify to ISPs (as opposed to other entities you don't even know) then sure worry and complain. But at least your ISP has an incentive to not go too crazy, as the data they sell could be used to market to you to leave that ISP ;)


You can turn cookies off or similar, or you can choose to not use or employ such services. That the ISP can do this, without your consent - each DNS lookup, each TCP connection you're making - is a whole different thing.

I think it is truly insane.


Fyi...They can, with reasonable accuracy, track you across multiple devices. And that was 3+ years ago. I'm sure it's only gotten better since.

I do agree. There are somethings you can do to mitigate things. But at some point you have to be you (e.g., FB, etc.) and as small and minor as such digital breadcrumbs might seem, they add up.


Using Facebook is a rather large bread "crumb" though. Not using it is easy enough and you're making it easier for your other privacy-conscious friends to do the right thing.

I don't know anyone who would fault me for not being on Facebook (yes I know this has a strong selection bias). Only time was at a convenience store, looking a bit puzzled I had to scan my ID-card in some device (to buy cigarettes[0]), the guy explained this was announced on Facebook, I (completely neutral, matter-of-factly, already having complied with the ID-device thing) replied I don't have an account on Facebook which he took as a cue to start some anti-privacy diatribe at me. My guess he was probably having a bad day, possibly from other people giving him a much harder time about the ID thing. I finished the transaction, excused myself because I (really) had to catch a bus, and wished him a very nice day.

My point is, when I look around, it seems like Facebook is going the way of the cigarettes. The majority of people (that I know) know of at least one or two scandalous things that are deeply wrong about the way Facebook treats privacy and manipulates its users. Of those people, a good chunk hate it, really want to quit, but feel they can't due to social pressure or addiction. Just like cigarettes. Others make excuses about convenience, little vices, relaxing. Just like cigarettes.

I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember that you could smoke in trains, bars, in restaurants while people were still eating 2 metres next to you. As late as the early 90s. And only after those bans people started to dare to ask if you could maybe smoke outside, in home situations, even if they're the guests and it's your home (I was younger and inconsiderater).

If you don't remember you maybe also don't remember how thoroughly ingrained the social act of smoking was in society. Only a few decades ago, nobody could imagine where we are today. Smoking was just so normal, even if you didn't really, you would occasionally, your friends would offer, people just liked it too much, were addicted too much.

The almost-entirely-non-smoking-everywhere society we have today was seen as an impossibility. We could never get there, we couldn't change or impose, people wanted it too much. And it was a hard transition before it got momentum, but it did in the end. I personally, as a smoker, welcomed these bans, because I figured it would make it easier for me to quit (hint: if you're addicted, you still have to quit by yourself. those bans maybe helped me the first 5% of quitting).

The point is, it may seem impossible to imagine a way out of this anti-privacy swamp. But it's not too late. Just remember the cigarettes and how far we got. DON'T let anyone tell you it's useless to refrain from using surveillance tech X just because "you're going to be tracked any way because P, Q and R" (being your phone, CCTV and the NSA). The fight is NOT lost, not at all. It's just getting started, now that people are slowly realizing they don't actually really want this, they are mostly made to want this, and more and more people want it to stop, and it would help if only everybody else would stop shoving it in their face.

Just because it seems impossible now doesn't mean we should roll over, curl up and stop voicing your dissent, ever.

Then maybe our kids (or other people's kids--who didn't ask for this either) can grow up in a society where they're not quite as pervasively tracked and surveilled as our generation.

If it helps maybe to imagine the next impossible thing, imagine everybody securely wiping the exabytes of private data they've collected on us so far. I really can't see that happening either and it kind of gives me hope in a weird "wishing on a star" kind of way, because other important things used to seem just as impossible.

[0] I've quit since. It's hard. Very hard. Unfathomably harder for some people than others. I will never judge an addict in my life.


But NOT being on FB is also a signal. A signal I presume can be detected and noted somewhere. Frankly, I don't think staying off FB is enough. And not being there, should you make the evening news for some strange reason, will mean you're labeled as antisocial, loner, etc.


That section of law says they can sell your data with prior written or electronic permission.

47 U.S. Code § 551 (c)(1)

Except as provided in paragraph (2), a cable operator shall not disclose personally identifiable information concerning any subscriber without the prior written or electronic consent of the subscriber concerned

So this section of the law, though another might, does not support your statement that "that they could sell that (which is false)".


I think you're misreading it, unless you have reason to believe that you've already given your permission. Either way, the regulation that Trump's EO overturns also allowed you to opt in if you wanted to.


non-anonymized, non-aggregate selling of ISP data is still outlawed by

Your statement is too strong. It's not outlawed. There is a relatively easy avenue for ISPs to sell this type of data, and it's written into the law, and not some sort of weird loophole. It is voluntary that they have not pursued it on their part.


I believe that pretty much every single customer has given their "permission" in that sense, the standard contract or terms&conditions would include language that says that you consent to such information "being processed by selected partners" or something like that.


Wouldn't a privacy policy cover "the prior written or electronic consent of the subscriber concerned"


If so, I don't know how the Obama regulation would have been any different.


47 USC 551 only applies to cable operators, and the 6th Circuit ruled that it doesn't apply to Internet service.[1]

[1] http://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/06a0366p-06.pdf


The law section you linked to is concerned with PII, personally identifiable information. But what ISPs are most likely to sell is anonymized browsing data, i.e. when an advertiser goes to display an ad the ISP will tell them what other URLs you've been to but they won't tell the advertiser your name, address, social, etc.


Agreed, with the caveat that there are also restrictions requiring aggregation as well.


The only thing your link says about aggregate data is that PII is not aggregate data, meaning that aggregate data is exempt from these restrictions.


So, that's applicable to every instance except where being provided to the government (section h), and . It's somewhat circular in that regard. Combined with disclosure restrictions, specifically 2(c)(ii), the net result is that only aggregate disclosure is allowed unless specifically permitted by the end users.


My reading of it is that anonymized individual non-PII data, such as browsing history, is allowed to be sold.


You may be correct, now that I re-read it again. There may be something in a subsequent act that prevents non-aggregate data, but until/unless I find that, I'm working under the assumption that you are right and I am wrong, regarding aggregation.


I have yet to see any proof of this whole 'sell your internet history' complaint

What the bill stripping Broadband Privacy rules does is make it nearly impossible for the law to set a precedent for what should be considered illegal to sell when it comes to users' data. What may have happened if broadband privacy rules were enacted as intended here[https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/technology/fcc-tightens-p...]

... someday somebody who didn't "opt out" would have discovered their [medical, financial, insert whatever] data had been sold to their detriment. Lawsuit. Legal scrutiny. Precedent == Baseline for what is acceptable and what is not for people who don't opt out.

Now, with no consumer privacy rights by default on broadband, and no neutral delivery system (net neutrality), and with provisions the GOP inserted into the Broadband Privacy rollback explicitly to make it harder to sue entities who sell your data, the default situation is already stacked badly against the average person.


> I also don't know how an ISP would get your actual internet history if the website uses HTTPS.

Your ISP can (and likely does) monitor your DNS queries, which (as far as I know) are not encrypted.

Personally I think the net neutrality stuff is a tad overblown. I'd vote for maintaining it, but I've never been particularly convinced by the whole "surveillance state/beyond-orwellian/ISP censoring your speech" arguments that get thrown around on HN, among other places.

I think the problems with ISPs are more practical: they overcharge, provide shitty service, have no incentive to upgrade their infrastructure, and clearly collude with one another. Therefore they need to be regulated.


> I think the problems with ISPs are more practical: they overcharge, provide shitty service, have no incentive to upgrade their infrastructure, and clearly collude with one another. Therefore they need to be regulated.

Agreed. Though I would prefer that we do whatever we can to identify and implement mechanisms to increase competition. I want new ISP options, and several of them, rather than just marginally better behavior from the one or two ISPs I have in my neighborhood. I'd prefer regulation that increases competition (even if that hurts the incumbents) rather than regulation that assumes the incumbents are fixed and therefore just manages how they conduct their business. The prior is designed to create new ISP options, the latter tends to serve to decrease the incidence rate of new options.

I've always been a voracious Internet consumer. For all of its faults, I really enjoyed the regulatory framework of the Communications Act of 1996 that allowed competitive ISPs to lease physical wires.


How about forcing ISPs to lease the last mile to help bolster competition, they did something similar in the UK [1]. Not quite sure how that worked out for them.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local-loop_unbundling#United_K...


This was a requirement of EU law, and is presumably a reason why there are more ISPs in the EU than in the US (apart from the density issue, of course).


Yes, I think that would be great!


> > I also don't know how an ISP would get your actual internet history if the website uses HTTPS.

> Your ISP can (and likely does) monitor your DNS queries, which (as far as I know) are not encrypted.

HTTPS does expose the domain name in plain-text through SNI. Yes, DNS is not encrypted.


> I also don't know how an ISP would get your actual internet history if the website uses HTTPS.

Until the world switches to DNSCrypt, DNS-over-HTTPS, or DNS-over-TLS and while most Internet users are using ISP provided DNS resolvers, recent research shows it is possible to narrow down what pages the user browsed based on their DNS queries.

[1] https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/21/dns_records_more_re...


If someone really wanted to, couldn't they buy that anonymized data and then make a series of inferences on which data is yours based on cross-referencing various information? (please correct me if this is wrong)

Like say I run hackernews — couldn't I just cross-reference my own logs with that "anonymized" data and get a pretty good idea of what a specific users' traffic was?

Based on some of the tools Uber has used to pinpoint specific users like, government officials, it doesn't seem too far beyond the realm of possibility.


Exactly. Gather a could sources - as is already happening - and with a graph DB and not even grad level algorithms you could get a pretty accurate picture of enough people, given enough data.


>I also don't know how an ISP would get your actual internet history if the website uses HTTPS.

The ISP could monitor your DNS requests or the SNI[1] in the TLS handshake.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Name_Indication


Back in the 1980's, Robert Bork's video rental history was disclosed during his supreme court nomination. As a result, the Video Privacy Protection Act was passed.

Why shouldn't there be similar provisions to protect my browsing history?


>I also don't know how an ISP would get your actual internet history if the website uses HTTPS.

Charge users extra fees for "premium service" unless they agree to let the ISP their traffic.


How does that change how HTTPS works?


It doesn't, but the ISP still know what pages you went to.

If they want to determine your political leanings your browsing history is enough.


How would the ISP know what pages you went to over HTTPS? Only the domain name would be available, through SNI/DNS.


They could just MITM all connections and say 'for compatibility reasons, please install this root certificate'.

With a fee, this requirement could then be waived.

Dystopian but technically possible.


This type of hypothetical drives me batty, and I was tempted to be snarky. I'm not sure how to respond to the idea that there will ever be a time your ISP requires root cert installation for service, but I will be finding a way to launch a WISP of my own at that point.


It's only slightly hypothetical.

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2865806/cloud-security/gogo...

Gogo didn't require installing a root cert, but they DID issue forged certificates to MitM connections to *.google.com (and others).

Also, remember "Superfish"? Their root cert was pre-installed by Lenovo.


My original was already snark. Though I don't think its impossible that a small amount of non-technical people might actually be convinced to do this.


Just the domain names is already a lot of information...


You can't really anonymize data:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_search_data_leak


It's a fair question to ask! I wrote my representative on this issue actually. I'll let you read for yourself:

"On October 27, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a proposed rule that seeks to expand its regulatory jurisdiction, create a two-tiered privacy regime for different types of Internet companies, and impose data restrictions on Internet service providers. These types of regulations have traditionally been under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which already has in place a regulatory regime to protect consumers. Full implementation of this proposed rule would have, among other things, given consumers a false sense of protection and privacy. As a bipartisan group of representatives stated in a 2016 letter to the FCC in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking:

-We had hoped the FCC would focus on those protections that have traditionally guarded consumers from unfair or deceptive data practices by ISPs and the other companies in the Internet services market. But, based on the [FCC’s] Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we remain increasingly concerned that the Commission intends to go well beyond such a framework and ill-serve consumers who seek and expect consistency in how their personal data is protected. If different rules apply to the online practices of only selected entities, consumers may wrongly assume that the new rules apply to all of their activities in the Internet. But when they discover otherwise, the inconsistent treatment of consumer data could actually undermine consumers’ confidence in their use of the Internet due to uncertainty regarding the protections that apply to their online activities.-

In response to these actions, the House and Senate introduced legislation in March to disapprove of this proposed FCC rule. The House version of this legislation, H.J.Res.86, was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R – TN) on March 8, 2017. The measure seeks to block the proposed FCC rule. On March 28, 2017, the House passed the Senate version, S.J.Res.34, with my support, and the measure now heads to the president’s desk for signature. Again, it must be noted that recent actions in Congress have not changed the status quo in terms of privacy-protection standards for consumers."

That's what they attest. And the Washington Post had a good editorial (which I'm currently at pains to find) explaining how, under Commissioner Wheeler, the FCC pushed for broadband privacy rules, but ran roughshod over the FTC in the process. While it was a win in the sense that a legal gap was closed (more on that in a minute), it wasn't good in that it weakened the definitions between the FTC and FCC, which bother have governance roles to play. While it might sound like needless bureaucracy, firm and clear rules are the underpinnings of strong court rulings, which are essential to good governance.

Except, now that gap still exists. While it's claimed that the FTC will now fill in the gap, the problem is that it couldn't effectively in the first place. WP explains:

"Can't the FTC go after Internet providers with its rules?

At the moment, not really. The reason has to do with the FCC's rules on net neutrality. When the FCC passed those rules, it branded all Internet providers as “common carriers,” essentially a fancy legal term to describe traditional phone companies.

The problem is that the FTC is bound by something called the “common carrier exemption.” The agency isn't allowed to take action against companies that have been labeled common carriers by the FCC. (The idea behind the exemption is to prevent both agencies from going after the same companies twice for the same infraction.)

So if the House vote succeeds and Trump signs the measure, that releases Internet providers from the FCC's privacy regulation but does not do anything to apply the FTC's own privacy guidelines to the industry. The FCC can still sue companies after they have allegedly violated consumer privacy, industry groups say. So can state attorneys general. But the FCC will be unable to write regulations that preemptively bar privacy violations, meaning that Internet providers will be subject to less oversight as a result of the congressional measure."

(From: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/03/28...)

So, with regards to selling data. Is it anonymized? Probably. To an extent. People get assigned an advertising ID, which is a random number in place of your legal name, and your profile is built under that. But you and I both know that it's not really anonymous, and it's trivial to then do a correlation between your, say, name and address, and then your advertising ID and address, and suddenly you have a full profile on someone. That's an issue when other businesses and services begin to take advantage of your health, interests, associations, etc, to charge you more or deny service based on these indicators. ISPs feel they've been at a disadvantage compared to online services like Facebook. Remember, that they do not want to be "just a bit provider". There's a very powerful profit factor if they can use their lock-in to be your content provider as well.

Anyways, hope that helps!


This is well-written, but I worry it will be scanned by a staffer and replied to with a canned response. I'd be interested in hearing about any response if you care to update?


Sorry I wasn't clear, I didn't state it well. That was the response in italics above. The representative (or rather, her staffer) is asserting that the status quo has not changed. That's only half true. The ability for ISPs to sell data was on shaky ground before, until the FCC closed the door. The door has been reopened, and the FTC has weak jurisdiction.


I think if you read Chaos Monkeys and/or Dragnet Nation (and I'm sure, others) you'll realize the data privacy cat is out of the bag. It's likely such ISP data to be sold is already available via other channels.

Aside from that, the danger of the internet doesn't seem to be free speech, but free thought. The bar is much higher and deeper. Droves are being manipulated, nudged and misled. That's happening, nearly frictionless, now. Even Orwell would blush thinking, "My, I really underestimated what was going to happen."

Mind you a lack of NN isn't going to help. But with NN or without NN the root issue(s) aren't NN.


current regulation doesn't account for anonymity. only that a isp must also do its best to route packages it can't understand. but doesn't guarantee either. if they can understand the content and want to monitor it, there's no protection against it.

without it they can just block/charge extra for things they cant read. making anonymity and privacy harder. but again, they wont have any new rigths that they don't have today.


We will fight now, but sooner it will come back. We won the last battle but what about this and the ones that will come if we win again. This is going to be never ending battle until we lose and corporations win. There should be a strong amendment with irreversible clause on Title II .


>Probably the scariest implications for NN being gutted are those around loss of anonymity through the Internet.

Does it currently exist?

Do something significantly illegal enough online most anywhere and you will be caught. Other than very specialized internet usages that are outside the purview of the common individual, the only question currently is if the government can justify going after you, not if they can go after you. Right now if you point out corruption against a local government they likely won't go after you due to lack of resources, not technical limitations. Point out major corruption at a high enough government scale and you will be caught (especially given that one will have to go outside of legal channels to do so).


I don't see how net neutrality has any relation to privacy. It is orthogonal to privacy.

In fact, since the anti-privacy law was put into law, removing Title II status from ISPs would allow the FTC to regulate privacy again.


Your edit makes me wonder if you realize consciously that your rant is completely orthogonal to net neutrality even with your epplanation, and you're just doubling down on deliberate unawareness as a strategy to avoid feeling foolish.


No, not really... have a look through my (quite infrequent) posting history and comments to follow the logic.

The current GOP-controlled administration is implementing a cunning strategy to undermine the safety and freedom of all Americans. These are deliberate actions being taken, with specific goals to suppress what it is calling "fake" news/media, but what most people call facts. The most astonishing thing is that they've twisted and mangled the definition of "freedom" into something that doesn't resemble freedom at all; and yet there are many people who are stupid enough to believe they're actually being helped by these ludicrous decisions.


What are you on about? What does privacy have to do with net neutrality?


"NN being gutted are those around loss of anonymity through the Internet."

How is that by necessity a bad thing? People aren't anonymous in every day life and their internet anonymity is mostly an illusion anyway. Big brother can almost always find out who did what if they want to.

" These "rollbacks" of regulations make it orders of magnitude easier for any entity in a corporation or organization to track down people who attempt to expose their illegal actions / skirting of laws"

It also makes it orders of magnitudes easier for anyone to find out about a coorportions illegal actions / skirting of laws.

I agree with most of your statements. But in the long run there really are a lot of benefits to a non-anonymous internet that can't be denied (just as there are a lot of problems as well). For instance, full access to health and medical data for research purposes would be a huge benefit for mankind and the sick people themselves just as that same access would necessitate a major rehaul of the ligislation concerning insurance companies.

I don't see how removing anonymity is inherently by its very nature a bad thing. It seems likely it would be like everything else, you'd need to legislate the legality of certain things given that all activity is non-anonymous, etc.


Anonymity balances power. Think not about this government, but the next, and the next after that. How much more thorough, brutal, and administratively easier would China's "cultural revolution" been if this technology had been in place in China as Mao took power? What if they could have used ISP logs for kill lists? IMO, you trust too much in existing social structures and laws. As unimaginable as they are, these things happen.


You're acting as if our governments don't have access to all this information already which they do.

Its because I do not trust social structures and government that I think anonymity needs to go away.

In a truly de-anonymized system if you are a malevolent actor (gov't or individual) anywhere your actions are broadcasted to the world and people or governments can respond before too much damage is done, no one cares what the benevolent actor is doing.

In a fully anonymous system a malevolent actor can run wild and no one will be able to stop him. The same is true for a benevolent actor, but in a de-anonymized system no one is trying to stop him anyway.

The whole thing though does depend on whether you think the world at large is made up in majority of benevolent people willing and wanting to help their fellow man or malevolent people wishing to do damage in the world.

I think the majority is benevolent which is why I'm for de-anonymizing structures.


One of the best responses I've heard to this particular line of reasoning is recorded here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30JORRy7F0A&t=53s

Not the same scenario being discussed, but worth noting that the consequences of a loss of anonymity through the internet have the potential to be a lot farther-reaching and more sinister than they are in any analogous loss of anonymity in everyday life. I'd be interested to hear if you find the linked argument persuasive.


The engineer is conflating privacy with security. These are not the same thing and they are constantly confused when people discuss this topic. I can for instance lock my house in such a way that no one can enter (security) but broadcast everything I do inside the house to everyone worldwide (no privacy). Conversely, I can stand in front of a closed curtain and no one can see me (privacy) but if someone shoots a bullet it will easily penetrate the curtain and kill me (no security).

I agree with him that the consequences of loss of anonymity are worse than a loss of anonymity in everyday life. In everyday life if a person sees my credit card number I only have to worry about that person say, whereas conversely on the internet its as if everyone the world over were to see my credit card number.

Assuming we don't have NN i.e. anonymity then the world knows everytime I use my credit card (no privacy). However, they do not know my credit card number because its encrypted (security).

So my thinking hasn't changed much after listening to the google engineers argument, I still think its a much better balance of powers to have everyone have access to everything than only those with the skills or power to acquire it, since I think given an absence of anonymity we would build better software and societal structures to ensure we have security for everyone even though privacy might be gone.


> I don't see how removing anonymity is inherently by its very nature a bad thing. It seems likely it would be like everything else, you'd need to legislate the legality of certain things given that all activity is non-anonymous, etc.

I see a few issues with such massive violations of privacy:

1. Slippery slope: Knowledge of people's private lives is extremely valuable, and nobody with the power to collect or use it is going to relinquish it, if anything they're more likely to try to get more, until they have absolutely everything. This isn't inherently bad, as concentrated power is very easily abused. We have a wonderful case study of this with the NSA, their ever expanding powers, their willful breaking what few legal limits are imposed upon them, and their inability to prevent themselves from breaking their own policies about abusing access to their treasure trove.

2. Benevolent dictator: This privacy invasion will most certainly work it's way back to the government, which has severe implications for civil disobedience and political dissent in general. While it's all peaches when the government is "nice", you're never going to have all citizens agree with the government, and future politicians abusing previously allocated power/resources is extremely likely (not that there has ever been a government administration worthy of invading everyone's privacy to begin with).

3. Drawing a line here is not only a great place, it also lets everyone consolidate resources to fight for a known good state. There's a lot of information to be gleaned from the data, and it's unlikely that everyone can commit fully to understanding the ramifications of letting this information out, much less understand how it will be used, or how it can be used. And much like giving the legislation a pile of money with legislatively imposed spending limitations, they're going to be constantly fighting to tweak and remove those limits. And its so much harder to be constantly vigilant when there's dozens of laws governing what can or cannot be done with the data, before we even presume that we agree with those laws to begin with.

4. As noted above with the NSA, it's not possible to trust custodians of this treasure, they're only human, and they're bound to abuse their power at some point. But we don't just have to worry about people with legitimate access obtaining this data, we also have to worry about hackers grabbing it from poorly secured servers, which seems to be an inevitable computer event, even more so for such massively useful information.


These are my thoughts as well. In particular:

> _It also makes it orders of magnitudes easier for anyone to find out about a coorportions illegal actions / skirting of laws._

I would add that I find it more important to ensure that there is transparency about the ISPs and other corporations' (and governments') actions.


It's insane the amount of comments on HN of all places that don't understand that the end of Net Neutrality is the end of the open web. People that didn't get a peek at Compuserve have no idea the fire we're playing with here. The open web is the most significant human achievement since the transistor and we're about to kill it happily.


Could you expand on your Compuserve comment? What happened?


Presumably OP is referring to the walled garden of CompuServe, Prodigy, and others where you could only talk to other CompuServe customers on their proprietary message boards. If you wanted to talk with someone else, it was impossible (until later) because the systems didn't interoperate. CompuServe controlled the message boards, and could control which ones were created (or not created) and thus controlled the message. Not maliciously, just as the nature of their product and the state of technology at the time.


I used AOL and Compuserve, but after they had both expanded to allowing access to everything. What drove the expansion? It seems like the market worked as expected in this case...


The existence of the open internet made it beneficial to interoperate; lack of it would mean that the expected market interest would require them to not interoperate.

For many markets, the natural consequence of unregulated free market conditions is to aggregate towards a monopolistic or oligopolistic market, which isn't a free market any more. The idealized economic free market isn't a stable equilibrium - it's a good position for society, but it doesn't stay there on it's own, it needs to be kept free by preventing it from devolving into the monopolistic optimum.


What was the 'open internet'? I genuinely am not comprehending what drove AOL and Compuserve to tear their walls down.


While the internet as such existed, at the heyday of AOL&Compuserve residental users were not able to get a connection to internet as such at reasonable prices.

By the 'open internet' I mean the arrival of ISPs who offered consumers direct connectivity with all the internet, competing with AOL who offered connectivity to, well, AOL.


And what created the existence of the open internet? Voluntary interaction.


Wrong - benign neglect.

The fact that the consumer was more nimble and capable of exploring and creating value in this space allowed them the chance to beat the entrenched players.

Today those entrenched players have finally turned around and are using their legacy power, connections and money, to make it an unfair playing field.


When the web came along the walled gardens were immediately obsolete. By the time you joined they were trying to stay relevant by becoming portals to the web. Some people were actually fooled into thinking AOL was the web for over a decade afterwards.


Not a valid analogy. AOL, Compuserve, et. al. didn't own the wires entering your house. Comcast, Verizon, et. al. do. The barrier to entry to start an ISP in the days of dialup was much lower.

The "free market" will not be a savior here.


"others where you could only talk to other CompuServe customers on their proprietary message boards."

In other words, Facebook and Twitter.


No. More like if you are on Comcast, you can't access Twitter. If you're on AT&T, you can't access Facebook. When you sign up for your ISP, you get to choose between Amazon and Netflix, and you can't change your mind without paying someone to come out and lay new line if you're even one of the tiny few lucky enough to have more than one ISP that serves your home.


I don't know if this particular legislation would allow this, but this the path that I fear we're heading down.

The flyer you'll be getting from the company who owns the line coming to your house: https://imgur.com/muJfxMQ


If Facebook and Twitter were also ISPs and you could only intereact with them and not with any other social networks.


Does anyone else find the internet market odd? Up until now net neutrality and other policies have given us the following:

1. Massive monopolies which essentially control 95% of all tech (google, facebook, amazon, microsoft, apple, etc)

2. An internet where every consumer assumes everything should be free.

3. An internet where there's only enough room for a handfull of players in each market globally i.e. if you have a "project-management app" there will not be a successfull one for each country much less hundreds for each country.

4. Huge barriers of entry for any new player into many of the markets (no one can even begin competing with google search for less than 20 million).

I think there's still a lot of potential to open up new markets with different policies that would make the internet a much better place for both consumers and entrepreneurs - especially the small guys. I'm just not 100% sure maintaining net-neutrality is the best way to help the little guy and bolster innovation. Anyone have any ideas how we could alleviate some of the above mentioned problems?

EDIT: another question :) If net-neutrality has absolutely nothing to do with the tech monopolies maintaining their power position then why do they all support it? [https://internetassociation.org/]


> 1. Massive monopolies which essentially control 95% of all tech (google, facebook, amazon, microsoft, apple, etc)

Many years ago your list wouldn't have included facebook, it would have included myspace. If FB was required to make a deal with every ISP in the US, do you think they would have been able to grow? Ditto for Google and Amazon.

> 2. An internet where every consumer assumes everything should be free.

I don't see how this is the fault of net neutrality. In fact, it's completely unrelated. We can have net neutrality and pay for content, many people do, viz Hulu, Netflix, iTunes Store, &c.

> 3. An internet where there's only enough room for a handfull of players in each market globally i.e. if you have a "project-management app" there will not be a successfull one for each country much less hundreds for each country.

I have no idea what you mean or how this is related.

> 4. Huge barriers of entry for any new player into many of the markets (no one can even begin competing with google search for less than 20 million).

It's easier to do that than it is to make a deal with every ISP in the US. I really have no idea how this isn't doublethink.


" If FB was required to make a deal with every ISP in the US, do you think they would have been able to grow"

It would be much more difficult obviously. But it would also have been much more difficult for myspace in the first place and if they got too big the the gov't could easily split them up. There might be many such companies providing facebook-like services in such a scenario. Maybe not, but its not something I've heard anyone discuss.

"I don't see how this is the fault of net neutrality. In fact, it's completely unrelated"

I don't know if that's a fact. If ISPs could charge for particular services, consumers might be more aware that in order to get a certain service like translation or search or ordering a pizza they need to pay some % per month for it making them more apt to purchase other services. Again I don't know if this would be the case but its something I'd like to see someone look into.

"It's easier to do that than it is to make a deal with every ISP in the US".

Why would I necessarily need to make a deal with every ISP. For most products I think you probably don't really care or need to be everywhere in the USA especially when starting out.


> But it would also have been much more difficult for myspace in the first place and if they got too big the the gov't could easily split them up.

Please elaborate. How would ending net neutrality help the government easily split up myspace?

> If ISPs could charge for particular services

Then they would, and don't be surprised if they kept the lion's share of the profits, not giving much if anything to startups. Without net neutrality, ISPs could say "we're allowing you startups the privilege of being available through us, so don't expect any money from us"

> Why would I necessarily need to make a deal with every ISP. For most products I think you probably don't really care or need to be everywhere in the USA especially when starting out.

Ok but you initially said "no one can even begin competing with google search for less than 20 million" and guess what - that fact would not go away if you removed net neutrality. In fact, it would get even worse. You would need way more than 20 million, because now you also would have to pay the ISPs.


Let's say your idea has merit.

How do you compete against competing services owned by ISPs?

If your alternative is that ISP are prohibited from owning content producers, you're the only one pushing that plan.

The only serious alternative being offered is that the invisible hand will deal with all the problems.


"How do you compete against competing services owned by ISPs?"

Good question. I guess you wouldn't need to as long as the ISP market is competitive. You might go to another competitor and convince them your product is good or your product can help/augment the service they are currently providing.

The invisible hand would be really interesting to watch there.


> I guess you wouldn't need to as long as the ISP market is competitive

How would it be competitive? If my ISP released its own Netflix and throttled my connection to Netflix to the point where Netflix seemed extremely slow but my ISP's version of Netflix was super fast, there would be no competition. My ISP would dominate.

> You might go to another competitor and convince them your product is good or your product can help/augment the service they are currently providing.

Do you mean go to another ISP? There aren't that many consumer ISPs around, so what happens when they've all made a deal with someone's Netflix, and a new company wants to revolutionize/reinvent their own Netflix? Now it's even harder for them to do so, because the existing players already have contracts to make themselves very fast and everyone else very slow.

Currently, this stuff can't happen (legally) due to NN, but if you remove NN, you enable this stuff, and you prevent new competition from coming up.


The point is that NN would be less important if there were more consumer ISPs around. Specifically if consumers had more choice.

I should note that competition amongst ISPs wouldn't do much to prevent zero-rating, which is still problematically anti-competitive.


Well, NN also helps make it easier for new ISPs to compete. If there is good content (netflix) that is not owned or exclusive to other ISPs then it is much easier to launch your own ISP.


I believe that almost the entire barrier to entry for ISPs is the last mile. Network Neutrality does very little to remove that barrier.


> I guess you wouldn't need to as long as the ISP market is competitive.

But it's not.


Market forces do very little against zero-rating. It's not anti-consumer so users see little need to switch. It is very much anti-competitive though.


1) happens naturally in most markets. Without net-neutrality I believe that it would be harder for these companies to be dethroned if something better came along.

2) I think will only continue to be true for a short period of time. With products like Netflix and amazon, and with traditional television channels like HBO and ESPN starting to charge for streaming online, I think consumer attitude will shift as they realize that it's worth paying for content on the internet.

3) I'm skeptical is actually true and I'm skeptical that it's bad if true.

4) for most internet products the barrier of entry is smaller. You're only looking at one company. Compare to a company like Boeing, where it would take hundereds of millions to compete.


> 1) happens naturally in most markets. Without net-neutrality I believe that it would be harder for these companies to be dethroned if something better came along.

In what way would it be harder for them to be dethroned exactly?


Remove net neutrality or any semblance of it. ISPs now control who has access to their customers. Big businesses (Netflix, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft) can afford these costs. DuckDuckGo cannot. Wikipedia cannot. Startup #9 cannot.

Yeah, sure, the data maybe still gets through. But now it's getting through at a reduced rate and (potentially) lower quality of service. This prevents new businesses from being able to enter into many markets. Having to establish peering arrangements with many ISPs individually instead of just with the few that they directly use.

Want an alternative to AWS/Azure? Good luck, not only do they need the physical infrastructure for hosting, they now need individual peering arrangements with many ISPs to provide the same QoS.


So why wasn't this a problem for the 30+ years we had no NN rules in place?


Initially, because net neutrality was just how business was done. It also helped that while there were certainly commercial applications of the early internet, they were fewer, and business-to-business more than business-to-consumer. Consumer applications of the internet were essentially non-existent outside, perhaps, informational and communication oriented, not consumption oriented (in the media sense). Then by the 90s you were dealing with more, and local, ISPs. These ensured a certain level of cooperation or you'd risk being booted out because you'd be known as a bad actor. This is also when consumer applications for the internet really start, but were also generally lower bandwidth (certainly due to the last-mile connections being slow, 28.8k to 56k modems, at the time, ISPs could handle you maxing out your 28.8k modem because you could only do so much damage to their total bandwidth pool).

Then with broadband you end up with users given access to a larger portion of the pool, akin to overbooking an airline. If everyone in my town gets 1Mbps but the local ISP can only handle 1Gbps, well, 1000 users maxing it out will shut the rest of the town out. This gets to a legitimate case for traffic shaping, ensuring equal access to the common resource pool. Those users can still max it, but only when everyone else isn't using it (or using it minimally).

However, traffic shaping (and related things like blatant packet dropping) started being more generally applied, to whole protocols (bittorrent) or services (Netflix, et al.). The latter example is a particularly good example of a conflict of interest. Companies like Comcast control so many user experiences in the US, but they own NBC and other media brands, as well as providing video-on-demand services as part of their cable offerings. They have a clear reason to want to reduce the QoS of Netflix and can, legally, without network neutrality. This is directly harmful to customers experiences, and a bordering on an abuse of market position.

===

Really, though, it's silly to look at how things worked 30 years ago and think the exact same rules will apply today. The circumstances have all changed. Broadband-requiring, consumer-oriented services didn't exist 30 years ago. They do today. ISPs today are screwing over consumers and prospective new businesses. They are the robber barons of the digital age, imposing their taxes at each bend in the river and screwing over everyone upstream and downstream to make a buck.


Because until recently, we had defacto NN via gentlemen's agreement. ISPs no longer want to adhere to that agreement.


It's not just that they don't want to. Many of them probably never wanted to. It's the scale.

Previously, you had a lot more ISPs, even more operating in the same physical area when we had dial-up. They needed to cooperate. Their customers' desired data wasn't on their network, and they were barely more than an interlink (services offered: dial-up, email, custom home page at isp.net/~user). If they didn't abide by peering arrangements businesses and customers would have been unable to communicate, making the ISPs unable to fulfill their purchases.

There are now far fewer ISPs and they have far more services and customers. They're in a position, due to the number of customers they have to bargain with, to demand quite a bit from other ISPs and content/service providers. Failing to peer with Comcast could mean losing half of all US broadband customers. So when they demand $$, you're in a bind and almost have to pay, or suffer lower QoS as a result.


The issue I take with Net Neutrality is that regulation is just a likely to enshrine the existing players so firmly no one can break in because regulation protects it.

Net Neutrality is not a magic cure all and it isn't neutral when only one side has to change. both providers of bandwidth and providers of services would need to adhere to specific rules for it to not stagnate and recreate AT&T/etc we suffered through in the early days (remember Long Distance where it was all protected ... yeah, no thank you


> no one can break in because regulation protects it

Are you saying that net neutrality protects existing players? Let's imagine removing net neutrality for a second. Now companies can pay ISPs for preferential treatment. Who has the money to pay the ISPs? Existing players. Thus, existing players get even harder to take down


ATT got back together after being broken into pieces and now they control much more https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13389592/att-time-warner...


The internet is the greatest barrier-lowering device to starting a business ever conceived.

You can, using just your skills and barely any money, compete with google and facebook this afternoon! (google and amazon will even give you a month to try for free) Your chances at winning are pretty low, but eventually someone will do it.


The value of a product like facebook depends on more than just the quality of the product. It is the userbase where a lot of the value comes from.

This has the effect of essentially creating a huge barrier to entry.


> Your chances at winning are pretty low, but eventually someone will do it.

That's a 'lottery', not a 'barrier-lowering device'.


This makes no sense. Using just your skills and barely any money, you cannot acquire a corpus of decades of historical searches and click data nor can you employ the thousands of human raters, both of which Google uses to make the search algorithm work.

Please stop spreading this misleading idea.


No, but you could create a better note taking app than Google Keep, or a better email client than Gmail, or a better chat platform than Hangouts, etc...

Sure, not everything is that easy, but an open internet does allow for a massive leg up that many other industries could only dream of.

Imagine being able to take on Honda's lawnmower division competitively with less than $100 and a few months!


The hallways of VC offices are littered with corpses of startup founders who did have a better app than Google, but were shown the door, because: you don't want to compete with Google.

I should know - I am one of those corpses :-)


Your mistake was relying on VC for success.


Did you because an ISP squeezed you out of business?

If not net neutrality helped you.


At least you agree that Google search is unassailable.

That's the misleading example I wish people to stop using.

It's certainly true that the barrier to entry for new products is lower because of net neutrality.


>you cannot acquire a corpus of decades of historical searches and click data nor can you employ the thousands of human raters

No, but as soon as Google starts abusing their monopoly status by turning into something reminiscent of Alta Vista, a new search engine will sprout up.

Google itself grew like wildfire in the late 90s not only because it offered superior search results, but because of the massive global reach it had, thanks to net neutrality! If the net wasn't neutral back then, AOL search would still rule the net.


How will this new search engine 'spring up' if nobody can build a better search engine because the resources are not available?

You are right that net neutrality enabled Google's growth, but the barriers to a Google competitor are different now, and far more difficult to overcome than what Google faced.

Google is not trusted, but people use it because there is no alternative and the barriers to an alternative being built are monumental.

https://www.cnet.com/news/people-trust-nsa-more-than-google-...


Google's only non-technical reputation in the search engine department is reputation. Should google fall, Bing would easily be replace google.

The biggest challenge in replacing google would be getting the advertisers. Especially because at the start, your low userbase makes targeted adds much harder to pull off.


Right now, there is no need for an alternative search engine because Google fully satisfies that market (it is fast accurate and clean). However, once Google gets so comfortable in their position as AOL/Altavista/Myspace once did, and turns into a bloated adware machine, any alternative but functioning search engine will take over, even one that pales in comparison to what google can do today. Net neutrality is the Internet's "invisible hand" that can immediately slap google into shape if they start offering degrading product quality.


Sorry - Google's profitability is so high that if what you say was true, there would be huge incentive for someone to simply compete on price.

The fact that hasn't happened proves you are wrong.


And why you should get something without work.

Also nobody forces me or you to use google. It is a free choice, if a better search engine comes up we can use it and nobody forbids you to use other search engine or any site.

With net neutrality you are free. Without net neutrality you are bound to the services of the friends of the ISP. You have cable tv 2.0

no more freedom


Net neutrality is a prerequisite for competition, agreed.

However a better search engine cannot 'just come up', because Google is the result of billions of dollars of investment over more than 2 decades using data that is not publicly available.

Stop pretending otherwise.


What would you rather compete against?

1. Conglomo with 2 decades of competitive advantage

2. Conglomo with 2 decades of competitive advantage and the ability to pay ISPs for preferential treatment?


Have I argued otherwise?

I am simply asking people to stop claiming that Google can be easily competed against with minimal resources if you are just clever. It's simply false.

Competing against google is a red herring when it comes to net neutrality.

Net neutrality hurts new products that don't compete against Google. It is barely relevant to competing against Google because the other barriers are so high.


Net neutrality has nothing to do with why we have monopolies, and is something we absolutely need in response to those monopolies.


1) Without net neutrality, Facebook can simply pay your cellular internet provider to block all messaging apps but WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (does that still exist?). Then their (as you put it) 95% monopoly can permanently increase to 100%. The only way to compete would be to either outpay Facebook (good luck!) or start your own cellular company (good luck!).

In fact, the massive monopolies can already pay for better internet speed for their services by paying for better (physical) access to the ISPs network.

2) I'm not sure what causality you are implying here. Is it that if websites were forced to pay off ISPs they would have no choice but to charge users for content, and users would in turn get used to it?

3) Without net neutrality there is room for exactly one app - the ISP provided app, since everything else is blocked. Currently there are people in my country (which is dominated by WhatsApp) that are using Telegram, Signal and Line, so it seems like there is some competition to the giants (and many people abandoned WhatsApp when it was bought by Facebook). You can imagine what would happen if Facebook was allowed to pay off local ISPs to block everything else (and since "everyone uses WhatsApp anyway" you can bet they'll all agree to it).

4) As shown above, net neutrality reduces the barrier of entering into the market because without it there is the additional barrier of paying off the ISPs to allow access to your service.

Therefore, I suggest that the best course of action we have right now to alleviate these problems is to strengthen net neutrality :)


1) And violate several components of the antitrust laws in the US?

You might want to check out the following guide https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a... especially the "supply chain" portion.

You next comment "paying higher rates for better speed" is generally considered competition and lowers overall costs. I find most of the "net neutrality" arguments highly specious and circular.


> Without net neutrality, Facebook can simply pay your cellular internet provider to block all messaging apps but WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (does that still exist?). Then their (as you put it) 95% monopoly can permanently increase to 100%.

It makes much more sense for FB to pay ISPs to make access to WhatsApp and Messenger free. That way the ISP doesn't have to deal with the angry backlash.


Please tell me how allowing ISPs to to steer consumers towards services owned by them via preferential treatment of their data helps small businesses.


ISPs and utility companies are natural monopolies. When you move to a new location, you're stuck with the ISPs that service that location; often just 1 ISP.

By giving them the power to selectively control what they're sending down the pipe, the monopoly problem will grow far far worse.

Net neutrality is not the cause of the problems you listed, and removing it won't solve any of them.


ISPs are not natural monopolies though. In the US they are self-made monopolies that over the years pushed for enough regulations to completely thwart competition. Compare that with the most competing ISP markets, like Romania, Ukraine, Russia, where most people can choose from a few ISPs and up to 10+ in densely populated areas.

So, net neutrality is an attempt to fix regulation problem with more regulations. Which obviously cannot work for long, they are too big and have too much influence to push regulations that benefit them. At some point this could cause enough problems to become a political thing and new people in power would be forced to actually take action against them.


ISPs are natural monopolies due to the incredibly high infrastructure investments required. In countries or regions where there are many ISPs to choose from, it's almost always because the government has required the one or two that own all the infra to rent capacity at cost to anyone who wants to start up a competing service. In return, the governments frequently supply tax breaks.

This mechanism may be a viable alternative to net neutrality as it drastically lowers the cost to enter the ISP market, and it would be in the competitive interest of some providers to self impose net neutrality.

My guess based on observation though is the infrastructure owning ISPs would probably prefer net neutrality to forced rental of their infra if one of those 2 regulations were to be chosen.


FYI, there is no forced rental in Romania, Ukraine or Russia. Their governments simply didn't bother to regulate ISPs at all for a long time.


Maybe this is because the market is still fresh. Give it a time, and those companies will start merge together like they just did in the US.

There's limited amount of space in the city infrastructure to use for laying all of the fiber.


I don't think we want to use Russia or the Ukraine as examples of Bastions of free speech... for obvious reasons.


I wouldn't say that net neutrality is just addressing the shortcomings imposed by other regulations.

I think the way forward would be to repeal those other regulations and keep net neutrality


> ISPs and utility companies are natural monopolies. When you move to a new location, you're stuck with the ISPs that service that location; often just 1 ISP.

This is simply not true. With the wide availability of cellular service that provides broadband speeds pretty much everyone in the country has multiple choices of ISP.


Cell service is also highly monopolistic. It is honestly very strange we have 4 relatively competitive network operators in the US - it isn't a stable system to say the least, though, and it will almost always degenerate into two (and it almost did - for a while T-mobile and Sprint were non-competitive with AT&T and Verizon, and it took their complacency in the 3G->4G transition era to give the two underdogs a chance to reestablish themselves).

Fundamentally, though, nobody in the US can open a new cell phone operator now. The spectrum is bought and owned, the owners know how valuable it is, and owning light is a much scarcer and more valuable resource than any plot of land that billionaires are buying up in the present property investment bubble.

It is even worse than the ISP monopoly - ISPs are local monopolies. We have a national cartel of cell operators that can't face real competition because of a state guaranteed monopoly on radio waves. As is the nature of all business with guaranteed profits, eventually AT&T and Verizon will consume T-Mobile and Sprint, possibly even under this administration, where there will be much less anti-monopoly scrutiny, and then we will have two network operators controlling all the usable cellular bandwidth with no intent to let anyone else compete.

Just because we are in an... alright situation right now, doesn't guarantee that environment will persist forever. Cellular network operators are absolutely crooked and near guaranteed in a long enough time span to devolve into a duopoly, while we already have collusion between them today to screw over consumers.


If you live near a city this is often true (at least in the US). However, there are at least two problems with this:

1) often the broadband provided by mobile services is capped and/or much more expensive than the services provided by the 1 or at best 2 non-mobile ISPs you have access to.

2) in rural areas, often you do NOT have access to anything close to the same level of broadband speeds. There are a lot of places where the coverage is still spotty, and even where you have it, the speeds just aren't that great.

(again, I'm speaking about conditions in the US)


Why do all people need insanely fast broadband speeds and data download limits? I think the fact that a small percentage of the population wants those speeds should not dictate what the larger percentage of the population has to pay for. NN hurts low-income internet users.


Allowing ISPs to use publicly supported infrastructure and their natural monopolies to guide consumers towards ISP owned services helps low-income users how?

If 1 or 2 ISPs eventually own all commercial content creation, I can assure you it won't be good for low income internet users.

There are several possible solutions to this, ramped up enforcement of anti-trust laws, forced sharing of last mile infrastructure etc... Net neutrality isn't the only possible fix. Which fix do you prefer?

To your point about not needing fast download speeds. What's considered fast today is just "required to browser the internet" tomorrow. I used to get by with a 28.8kbps modem, but that's not a viable option today.


First off, I was neither arguing for nor against net neutrality. I was responding to "With the wide availability of cellular service that provides broadband speeds pretty much everyone in the country has multiple choices of ISP." From a practical standpoint, this is not true for many users.

Secondly, I was in no way referring to "insanely fast broadband speeds and data download limits". I was talking about practical limits. Where I live, if I depended on mobile connectivity for internet service, it would be impractical to do anything that involved any media of any significant size. The connectivity would at best be barely capable, and the data limits and plan costs would make it hideously expensive. Therefore I have pretty much one ISP that can provide me with tolerable service.


But you base where you live on the infrastructure available. If high internet speeds are important to you, then moving to a city with better options makes sense. If you want to lie in the boondocks, then that's more important to you than internet.


It is true that I accept more limited choices of certain things by living in a rural location. There are many benefits that I enjoy from being rural that I weigh against technological needs -- it isn't a simple "pick one or the other" situation.

However, the point I was trying to make is that your statement "With the wide availability of cellular service that provides broadband speeds pretty much everyone in the country has multiple choices of ISP." which was in response to the statement "ISPs and utility companies are natural monopolies. When you move to a new location, you're stuck with the ISPs that service that location; often just 1 ISP." is actually not true from a practical standpoint for many people in the US.

I don't just use the internet for entertainment. I use it for my work. And because of the limitations of where I live, that means basically one ISP can provide me with the service I need. The "broadband" service provided in my area by mobile companies, is first of all, not really "broadband" at all, and secondly, even if it was, it would not be practical given the high cost that said companies would charge for it.

I think that many people who live in cities underestimate the number of people who are in this situation (and no, I have not lived in a rural location for my entire career). It is certainly not true from a practical standpoint that "pretty much everyone" in the US has access to "broadband speeds" from multiple ISPs.


Ok, so you're past claiming that "pretty much everyone in the country" has the benefit of "wide availability of cellular service that provides broadband speeds."

Well, that's progress anyhow.


You're assuming a level of mobility for people that's not actually available.


> NN hurts low-income internet users.

wat.

This is completely unsubstantiated, and in fact quite likely the opposite. Often, rural WISPs will rely on other ISPs for backhaul. Imagine if ISPs could charge/throttle whatever they want, rather than treat the WISP's backhaul as an opaque pipe?


If I used the same amount of data on my cellular service than I do on my land line, I would be kicked out of every single provider in the country.

And I live in a country where data is cheap.


Is that actually the case? The cell services I know of have very low caps, one or two orders of magnitude higher cost and suffer congestion problems.


How many of those companies actually have their own network and aren't subcontracting from one of the top companies?


Most of them have their own network, and only in very remote locations do they have to subcontract on top of other companies.


You're almost correct! The truth is actually the complete inverse of your statement.


How competitive are they with regard to latency, speed and pricing?


They're not, on any point (especially when you add "reliability" to the list--I've played the "upload a multi-gigabyte file over mobile" game before and paid for it in drop-outs!). There might be a day, ten or fifteen years from now, when I can do three-quarters of what I do today over a mobile link, but it certainly isn't today. It's so prima facie silly that it verges on bad-faith argument.


The Internet is the product of several economic effects, which explain all your points:

* The cost to enter the market is effectively nothing.

* The opportunity cost to switch new services is, again, nothing (change the URL).

* The opportunity cost to switch established services is not nothing (network effects, all friends are on Facebook, etc).

* The cost to acquire network effects is not nothing.

The later effects have nothing to do with the Internet. In any economy where window shopping options is free and competing is free, then whoever owns the collective opinion on your product domain is going to get a winner take all situation. Capitalism in general is like this - the more of a market you control, the more easily you can displace the competition through your own influence. That is why you get many natural monopolies.

Consumers expect web based content to be free because the marginal costs of their usage is effectively nothing (the per-user costs of running a server with a billion users requires many zeroes). Websites, and digital information in general, are non-scarce resources. Once made, making copies costs nothing. That is a much bigger rabbit hole though, and is generalized into broader problems of cognitive dissonance in people trying to put scarcity into non-scarce resources.

The only way to make the Internet - or more specifically, tcp/ip and http - more small guy friendly is to promote browsers to make content discovery easier at the browser level. Otherwise people will go to the silos they are familiar with / the ones they are told about.

Google et al fight for net neutrality because getting rid of it only makes ISPs richer at the cost of consumers and website hosts. The only possible state of being without net neutrality is paid bribes for service - Comcast will demand huge sums of money from Google et al or will throttle their services so their customers stop using them and use their own in-home products instead. And given the opportunity ISPs won't be some charity giving small business free rides - they will slow down or cripple the Internet for everyone except those who pay. The customers Google wants are a captive audience of major ISPs - without competition in the ISP market, and without net neutrality, every website operator needs to prostate themselves to the demands of ISPs to have their websites reach their audience, and the customers have no say in that relationship because they don't have a choice in ISP.


I like how you say "massive monopolies" then list 5 companies (all competition one way or another) and an etc. That sounds like a healthy market.

Also in what world does giving ISPs complete control of which services can even function on the internet help the "little guy"? You'll just replace the relatively healthy tech market with a 0 innovation series of walled gardens managed by each megacorp ISP-MediaCompany union.


I think this person is here to spread FUD and waste our time.


Net neutrality simply means that all content is treated equally by the ISPs, backbones, etc...

As for the massive monopolies, that was born of US businesses. US tech monopolies are not original. Monopolies are a traditional form of how the US does its business. Just because the founders and their employees where shorts and shirts instead of suits, it was sold as "radical and new" when it was in fact the same old game.

Now that these major monopolies have established a significant foothold, they find it in their interest to remove net-neutrality to prevent anything disruptive from occurring to their bottom-line.


Net neutrality just makes internet services a free market, which does not avoid monopolies but makes competition possible. The alternative is a captive market, which actively imposes monopolies.

Also, net neutrality is about consumers not being monitored by ISPs.


>1. Massive monopolies which essentially control 95% of all tech (google, facebook, amazon, microsoft, apple, etc)

>3. An internet where there's only enough room for a handfull of players in each market globally i.e. if you have a "project-management app" there will not be a successfull one for each country much less hundreds for each country.

I'm not sure either of these have anything to do with any particular policies, rather than just the nature of all maturing industries. Consolidation is always the tendency as an industry matures. Some policies try to slow or mitigate it, for example as Federal restrictions on radio station ownership did until the Telecom Act of 1996 ended that [1]. But the natural endstate of any complex system is increasing concentration of critical resources of the system into fewer hands.

4. Huge barriers of entry for any new player into many of the markets (no one can even begin competing with google search for less than 20 million).

What exactly are the barriers to entry for search? Unlike social networks where reconstructing a social graph comparable to Facebook's is a major barrier to entry, what's to keep consumer eyeballs from just using another search engine as their default? Not much network effect there, seems habit and laziness are the only real barriers, but as far as barriers go those are the easiest for a competitor to break through. For example, I use DuckDuckGo for mine, and it's fine in all but a few edge cases.

[1]:https://futureofmusic.org/sites/default/files/FMCradiostudy0...


People miss the detail that it's those big players that want net neutrality because it lets them essentially have a captive last mile infrastructure that requires no investment on their part.


Infrastructure which everyone else has access to.

Without net neutrality that isn't guaranteed.

It's difficult to compete with Google. But imagine competiting with an ISP owned version of Google who owns the last mile to all their customers.


> Infrastructure which everyone else has access to.

Unless you think ISPs will simply block off many hosts, this is likely hyperbole.

More likely, certain services would be charged tolls upstream and others would be promoted with discounts.


> More likely, certain services would be charged tolls upstream

Any service that competes with an ISP's service

> others would be promoted with discounts.

An ISP's or their partner's service.

When you have at most 3 but usually only 2 choices for an ISP in a local market, how do you think this will benefit anyone ither than them?

My only two choices are comcast and at&t DSL. I live in a dense, wealthy area where people would definitely pay for faster internet in a very large city, but the fastest speed i can get is 60 MBps for $80/month. These two companies are not known for innovation or treating their customers well. Comcast is regularly voted the worst company in America because of its terrible service.

Nn removal will add additional costs on trying to get your service noticed since they can arbitrarily put you in the slow lane. How will you be able to compete with an ISP in this landscape?


Both of your comments will require a bit more in-depth a response. I will do so later on today. Enjoying the discussion.


Comcast is nearly the worst internet provider and the worst company that has ever received my money. The only worse experience I've ever had is with AT&T.

Comcast is also a huge content provider of crap I'd never watch: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, E!, CNBC World. I watch a couple of shows from USA (Mr Robot) and SyFy(The Expanse) that I prefer to purchase by the season. I don't want to live in a world where those stations are fast laned and NEtflix (which will pay), crunchyroll, curiosityTV, youtube (will pay), various documentary streaming sites etc are in the slow lane.

One possible resolution I can see where this has a happy ending is that it causes Google, my municipality, etc to enter the ISP market. Unlikely because of the legal costs.

More likely option, I'll get SpaceX internet and deal with the 25ms latency. I'm already running a VPN, degrading my service, so that I'm not just another data point for marketers and advertisers to manipulate.

Look forward to your response and that you give me some hope


> deal with the 25ms latency

Even on that metric there's not a lot of downside vs. typical monopoly/duopoly ISPs. I have 20ms of last-mile latency on ATT.


And I'd feel better about where my money is going. It'd be in the hands of someone who actually innovates and invests in the uture


> People miss the detail that it's those big players that want net neutrality because it lets them essentially have a captive last mile infrastructure

How exactly?


These points are the result of a fully efficient global market, combined with network effects.

The first makes it possible for anyone to be almost perfect in finding and using the best service in any field. The second makes it so that more users makes a service better.

I'd argue that this has led to overall better services, though at the cost of centralized powers.


Allowing existing internet companies to make deals with service providers concerning the preference of their data streams over others is the surest way to RAISE the barrier to entry for small businesses.


Your argument plays out like a textbook example of treating correlation as causation.


Monopolies are natural in markets. Networks effects from marketshare and efficiencies of scale lead to this.

Net neutrality helps everyone, especially the smaller companies, by making sure there is free and equal access to customers and other companies without being charged, profiled or otherwise blocked based on who you are or how much you pay.


When all the capital flows to small companies that strive to become monopolies, it's no surprise that a market dominated by near-monopolies is what you get. Some of these are natural monopolies, or just large companies with a moat of network effects. It has little to do with net neutrality.


95% of tech? I agree that we already have monopolies, but I vehemently disagree on net neutrality being one of the causes. In a system without net neutrality, the already established companies or monopolies would gain even more power than they have right now.


You merely iterated history, how does NN actually result in any of what you just said?


> Up until now net neutrality and other policies have given us the following

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Just because NN was in place, does not give hardly any information how the events you describe would have played out.


Net neutrality has only existed since 2015. It's vital because it halted a bunch of attempts by cable companies to shake down businesses (small and large) and their potential customers for extra money for prime access to pipes. Dismantling net neutrality won't open up new markets. It will make cable companies the gateways to those markets, and essentially cripple innovation the same way cable companies crippled television by having an iron grip on channels, packaging, and all the other nonsense we deal with today in cable TV.


I do generally remain in support of net neutrality, but your point about the big tech monopolies supporting it is still worth discussing.

If ISPs could charge web sites for fast lane treatment and such, Google, Netflix etc. would have the largest bills to pay.

They'll argue it as a moral point to drum up grassroots support, but in reality its just a business item for them. If the roles were reversed they'd push for the policy that let them charge other companies more.


"If net-neutrality has absolutely nothing to do with the tech monopolies maintaining their power position then why do they all support it?"

By your definition, they're not monopolies, they're just big companies, they're all competing with each other and the occasional new-comer.


This whole debate reminds me of an older issue with the ownership of airwaves that was debated in newsletter titled "The Property Status of Airwaves" back in 1964


Looking what you write, I think you misunderstand what NN does.

The monopolies you mentioned have very little to do with NN. Someone already gave example how Facebook replaced MySpace, similarly Google, replaced Yahoo, AltaVista etc, I suppose Amazon did not replace anything, but started e-commerce (and currently creating other markets, like cloud computing), but it is getting higher and higher competition.

Apple and Microsoft existed before Internet and are just using their old position to leverage their existence, but the fact they face competition.

> EDIT: another question :) If net-neutrality has absolutely nothing to do with the tech monopolies maintaining their power position then why do they all support it? [https://internetassociation.org/]

Simple, because it expands powers of existing monopolies making them relevant. Perfect example is Netflix. They providing service to stream movies. They pay also pay large amounts of money for Internet access and ability to send content to their users. On the other side users similarly are paying for Internet access to be able to receive the content.

You would think it's double paying (and it kind of is), but it's normal, why users should subsidize Netflix costs or why Netflix should pay for users' access (since they are not only using Netflix) they just pay for their access to the network.

But, regional ISPs (in this case Comcast) started having "problems" where packets from Netflix were dropped, because "Netflix was sending too much data to them", ignoring the fact that that data Netflix was sending was requested by ISP's users who were already paying ISP to do one thing and do it well (i.e. deliver data they requested).

Things were kind of bad for the users (and users couldn't also switch their provider because at most they only had just another option which was equally as bad), until Netflix reached deal with Comcast where they pay Comcast to deliver the content (something that Comcast users are already paying for).

Net neutrality is trying to make sure this kind of manipulation is not allowed.

The thing with Netflix already happened but could easily be translated to other companies. For example (I'm borrowing it from here [1], I think you should watch it it explains the core issue very well IMO) Microsoft could pay so Bing has always fast access at cost of Google. Don't you want as a user to not have any company dictate you what you can access or not? Similarly those Internet companies also don't want to pay extra on top of what they already are paying. That's their interest. The only companies who would benefit from lack of NN are handful companies that deliver Internet to end users (especially companies like Comcast, TimeWarner/Spectrum, AT&T, Verizon etc) and lack of NN would give them huge power to bully anyone else.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92vuuZt7wak


I don't think this has anything to do with net neutrality and much more with the absence of geographic barriers.

> 1. Massive monopolies which essentially control 95% of all tech (google, facebook, amazon, microsoft, apple, etc)

Facebook and Microsoft are able to leverage network effects. A social network were your friends aren't is not very good independent of the features, similar with Microsoft and the available software. I dont't think, that there is an effect from net neutrality at play here.

> 2. An internet where every consumer assumes everything should be free.

This is mostly about the absence of a good micro-payment system, plus the internet forces in many relevant areas everybody to compete with free. (The free newspaper is just a click away, same with youtube etc.)

> 3. An internet where there's only enough room for a handfull of players in each market globally i.e. if you have a "project-management app" there will not be a successfull one for each country much less hundreds for each country.

Is that the case? In cases were you can leverage scale effects certainly, Google has the largest database of websites and as a result the best search engine. Similar for facebook. However, is the relevant metric youtube or is the relevant metric number of people who can live from youtube. Same with Amazon market place and ebay. (Not really arguing either way, I am not really sure what the answer is.)

> 4. Huge barriers of entry for any new player into many of the markets (no one can even begin competing with google search for less than 20 million).

Compare that to the barriers of entry for a shipyard or hardware manufacturing.

> I think there's still a lot of potential to open up new markets with different policies that would make the internet a much better place for both consumers and entrepreneurs - especially the small guys. I'm just not 100% sure maintaining net-neutrality is the best way to help the little guy and bolster innovation. Anyone have any ideas how we could alleviate some of the above mentioned problems?

Yes, however no net neutrality should benefit the large guys. I can put a video on my server, but I can certainly not negotiate with all the ISPs that they should deliver my video. So in the absence of net neutrality youtube has an additional lever to compete against me. I don't really see any scenario where absence of net neutrality benefits the upstart competition instead of the incumbent.

However, the platforms we see today look in many ways more similar to either infrastructure or states than to competition, so an rather interesting question is, how does one ensure that they are not evil. (To borrow an old Google slogan.)


I tried commenting on the proceeding at the FCC site but I keep getting service unavailable errors. The FCC site itself is up but conveniently we the public cannot comment on the issue.


I have attempted to comment, but the form won't let me select a state. When I submit the form, I get an error telling me that I must select a state.

Does anyone else have this issue?

https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express


you can upload a document with your comment here: https://www.fcc.gov/restoring-internet-freedom-comments-wc-d...

you can also submit via API: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/public-api-docs.html


> you can also submit via API: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/public-api-docs.html

That's dope, I had no idea this was available. Thanks for sharing!


Is it because the public is denied access or just capacity problems?

Where can I find this proceeding to lodge a comment?


> Is it because the public is denied access or just capacity problems?

There's no difference. It's like understaffing voting booths in areas where the majority is anti-current-government.


I've written it before and I'll write it again (despite the massive downvotes from those who want to silence dissent): Title II regulation of the Internet is not the net neutrality panacea that many people think it is.

That is the same kind of heavy-handed regulation that gave us the sorry copper POTS network we are stuck with today. The free market is the solution, and must be defended against those who want European-style top-down national regulation of what has historically been the most free and vibrant area of economic growth the world has ever seen.

The reason the internet grew into what it is today during the 1990s was precisely because it was so free of regulation and governmental control. If the early attempts[1] to regulate the internet had succeeded, HN probably wouldn't exist and none of us would have jobs right now.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Decency_Act (just one example from memory--there were several federal attempts to censor and tax the Internet in the 1990s)


The free market is also not the panacea that many people think it is. Broadband is an industry where there is a natural monopoly, which is never good for consumers. Last mile infrastructure just costs too much and you can't have umpteen different companies digging holes in the street and stringing wires.

I've said for a while that we could rely on a free market solution to the broadband market with one very large change from the way that things are done now. Last mile infrastructure should be publicly owned and customers should be allowed to choose any provider. Once that's the case, then you can have a truly competitive market that's more likely to give consumers choice. Short of that, heavy regulation is better than allowing monopoly/duopoly players to behave in whatever way they want.


"Last mile infrastructure just costs too much and you can't have umpteen different companies digging holes in the street and stringing wires."

If you remove all the regulatory overhead last mile is cheap, something on an order of $100 per customer in urban areas.


I understand you just through out a number but you're at least an order of magnitude off. This is an article which is about 7 years old. I can guarantee you the prices have not lowered since then.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/03/fiber-its-not-al...


Sure -- let's say free market is a solution? Free market only works if I have choice. Right now, my only choice for internet service is Comcast. Free market won't do a thing until I have actual choices here.


Government handed comcast monopoly over the wire to your door. Now we're sweeping the problem under the rug by policing what goes down the wire. The way to get more choices is to let anyone compete to be your ISP, by liberating the wire. Remember how long distance phone service improved in the 90's?


> Government handed comcast monopoly over the wire to your door. Now we're sweeping the problem under the rug by policing what goes down the wire.

> The way to get more choices is to let anyone compete to be your ISP, by liberating the wire.

While he's killing net neutrality, Pai is also doing what he can to limit broadband competition. So, thanks to him, we're getting the worst of both worlds: less consumer-friendly regulation AND less competition.

* FCC removes competition requirement from Charter-TWC merger conditions (https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/3/15161456/fcc-charter-merge...)

* ISPs who don’t want competition get good news from FCC chair: FCC to kill merger condition that required competition in 1 million locations (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/isps-who-dont-wa...)

* One broadband choice counts as “competition” in new FCC proposal (https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/04/one-b...)


Comcast is the big ISP in most areas because it was unregulated. DSL was regulated under title II and cable wasn't. So capital flowed to cable companies who weren't subject to invasive regulations. That's why cable internet is so popular in America compared to the rest of the world. It wasn't until telecom ISPs were classified title I that Verizon and ATT decided to upgrade their dsl services.


> That's why cable internet is so popular in America compared to the rest of the world.

I'm not so sure about that. The coax used for cable is a higher-bandwidth cabling than the POTS twisted-pair lines used for telephone service, so the cable companies started out with better infrastructure. DSL also has distance/bandwidth limits ("distance from the central office") that cable internet doesn't have, so many people are unable to get DSL that rus at acceptable speeds. Cable television has also been widespread and popular in the US since the 80s, at least. I'm not sure if that's true in countries were DSL has been popular.

I, personally, would attribute cable internet's popularity (in the US) to the technical superiority of the legacy infrastructure it is built on.


and why do you only have comcast as a choice? Government granted monopolies. Void all local contracts with ISPs (cable or telco), and you will have choices.


Rewind. Why did the government grant monopolies to these companies in the first place?

To entice them to invest in their area because nobody else would.

Infrastructure isn't software development. It requires billions of dollars of capital investment. That investment isn't going to go to many areas unless it's nearly guaranteed a return, hence the labyrinth of monopolistic guarantees bestowed upon ISPs.

It's not clear to me that consumer options would flourish if you were to roll back all ISP related regulations and void existing contracts. I suspect the current system would just become more entrenched.


Not to mention that big-name ISPs like Comcast will litigate their smaller competitors out of existence.


>you will have choices.

No, companies will go with the cheaper route i.e. continue the comfy collusions they have now. You're insane if you think they'll magically start sharing their own infrastructures with each other.


no, I expect them to build redundant connections to homes / neighood POPs. Especially for cities that plan well and design for easily pulling new wire through existing conduit.

The first build out of fiber to the curb is expensive. 2-N is cheap if you do it right.


Outside of large cities, most of America can't even afford the upkeep associated with their existing infrastructure. I'm not sure how you think they'll be able to afford large scale fiber deployments.

Or maybe you're saying that private ISPs will perform the deployment and then share their fiber? Which seems wildly unrealistic.


Rural flat areas: I expect fixed point wireless to be more prevalent.

firms specialize, it's an important attribute of a functioning free market. If there is demand for running fiber through conduits, local firms might specialize in that type of construction, especially if local knowledge and working with local governments can be leveraged across customers. Many industries are not vertically integrated where specialization is more efficient than vertical integration. (i.e. Ford stopped making tires and glass)


Why do you think net neutrality is a natural consequence of the free market? It seems like a completely orthogonal concept. It doesn't result in higher profits and it's not really a competitive advantage for ISPs.


Huh? My college roommate ran a little ISP on top of the POTS network back when compuserve, aol, and prodigy were "the internet" for most people in the US.

He was just some high school kid with little cash when he started the business, and eventually got acquired by one of the 100's (1000's?) of successful local ISPs that replaced the big walled gardens, and gave average people access to TCP/IP.

This was all with "european style top down regulation" of the telcos (which was actually invented and practiced in the US until lobbyists killed it).


> The free market is the solution

Famous last words. Free market caters to existing major players. Even the notoriously free financial markets are heavily regulated to prevent bigger players squeezing out smaller players. The idea that free market unregulated capitalism is the answer to everything has been shown as wrong many times over.


Most of the POTS system is fiber and has been for some time. The "sorry copper POTS network" enabled the future through any number of amazing technologies up to and including SS7 and lots of modern tech. If you're saying NN gets us something as long-lasting, ubiquitous and powerful as the POTS system, sign me up.


Not to mention POTS goes everywhere and provides basically the same service to everyone at roughly the same price nationwide. And it works even if the power is out. If broadband stood still at the speed it's at right now (my not-impressive suburban area is 40-60mbps) but matched the consistency and affordability of POTS nationwide, we would be in a far better place than we are now.


It puts a smile on my face every time someone refers to 60Mbps as not impressive... I live in a rural area, that is true, but it isn't that under populated or that far from a city. And we can get 6Mbps tops, unless we go to Verizon and pay per gig. Oh wait, actually Verizon service is pretty terrible here too.


Yeah I knew some people would say "60mb is really fast" while some others would say "I can't live without 1gig". For more populated areas in the US, 60mbps is pretty average these days, and if we spread that around to everyone equally I think we'd all be better off.

My grandparents were on T-Mobile for their Internet access until T-Mobile focused their tower in the opposite direction and they had to switch back to satellite Internet. They lost the ability to reliably Skype with their great-granddaughter, which is an absolute shame.


So there's regulation of the Internet, and regulation of the gatekeepers. Your example is of the former, a straw man I don't think you'll find any in support of; NN is an example of the latter.

I find it hilarious that so many people have forgotten why there is such good access to internet in this country in the first place. The US government made a deal with the devil (the telecoms) to run copper to every back assward town and county across the heartland. This has proved to be an awful deal, however, there would be no internet outside of the metro areas if not for the big scary government.


> The reason the internet grew into what it is today during the 1990s was precisely because it was so free of regulation and governmental control.

And massive government subsidies. In the early 90's, I lived in a region that basically could not get Internet. It was a dark time for me coming from a more urban area. A few years later every small community has been hooked up with broadband -- almost entirely due to government regulation and money.


Hi, European here. Do you want to compare access to broadband in ANY of our countries to the US so I can have a laugh?



"Data analyzed for this report reveals, however, that the U.S. led in many broadband metrics in 2011 and 2012."

Anything more recent? I can tell you from my experience in the south of Spain that investment and availability in broadband has improved massively since that report was provided (e.g. I personally was struggling to get the full advertised 10Mbps in my area 5 years ago, I've had solid 300Mbps for around €25/month extra for a year now). I wouldn't be surprised if the study took place shortly before fibre and other investment in certain areas really came to fruition.

I also see they seem to be hedging things in the summary descriptions (e.g. mentioning cost as a positive on the US side, but then making excuses while they admit that US access is only cheaper at slow speeds), so that doesn't seem particularly convincing.


[The propaganda Comcast is tweeting right now is absolutely ridiculous.][1]

[1]: https://twitter.com/comcast/status/859091480895410176


Looking at Comcast's webpage on this:

http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast-voices/comcast-supports...

They're arguing that Title II Classification is not the same as Net Neutrality, with the following statement:

"Title II is a source of authority to impose enforceable net neutrality rules. Title II is not net neutrality. Getting rid of Title II does not mean that we are repealing net neutrality protections for American consumers.

We want to be very clear: As Brian Roberts, our Chairman and CEO stated, and as Dave Watson, President and CEO of Comcast Cable writes in his blog post today, we have and will continue to support strong, legally enforceable net neutrality protections that ensure a free and Open Internet* for our customers, with consumers able to access any and all the lawful content they want at any time. Our business practices ensure these protections for our customers and will continue to do so."*

So if Title II goes away, where do those strong, legally enforceable net neutrality protections come from? Wasn't that the reasoning behind Title II in the first place, it's the only effectively strong, legally enforceable way of protecting net neutrality (vs other methods with loopholes)?


>Wasn't that the reasoning behind Title II in the first place

Yes, Verizon v FCC [1] ruled that Title II classification is required for any sort of NN regulation.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verizon_Communications_Inc._v....


Other than passing a new law, which is at least my preferred means to substantially change policy governing a huge industry.


Honest question, but is Net Neutrality the answer to these problems?

A few weeks ago on HN, someone made an analogy to water: someone filling their swimming pool should pay more for water than someone showering or cooking with it. This seems to make sense to me, water is a scarce resource and it should be prioritized.

Is the same true of the Internet? I absolutely agree that ISPs that are also in the entertainment business shouldn't be allowed to prioritize their own data, but that seems to me an anti-trust problem, not a net neutrality problem. I also agree that ISPs should be regulated like utilities, but even utilities are allowed to limit service to maintain their infrastructure (see: rolling blackouts).

Perhaps I simply do not understand NN and perhaps organizations haven't done a good job of explaining it, but I don't know that these problems are not best solved by the FTC, not the FCC.


Imagine if a water company intentionally degraded the water supply coming into your home so that it was unsafe to consume but safe for most other needs. Then that same company offers to sell you safe to consume bottled water.

There's nothing specifically immoral about selling safe bottled water. But as soon as you induce people to buy it, in this case by degrading the tap water, you're doing something wrong.

Much like water companies, many areas either have no choice in ISP or can only choose between the big three who have very similar policies. Choice is in effect an illusion.


Water is a terrible analogy. There is no marginal cost per bit for consumer internet access. The only scarce resource is peak utilization.

The only reality-based and fair network management that residential ISPs can employ is rate-limiting during peak time. The stereotypical customer who only uses their connection to stream Netflix/YouTube during prime time is actually more costly than a heavy P2P user who transfers TBs of data in the off-hours overnight and in the early morning.


ISPs are allowed to limit their services to prevent overuse. See: data caps and bandwidth limits. Net neutrality is concerned specifically with limits on usage that are not related to the amount of data used, but rather the information contained in that data.


Great, I can get behind an anti trust angle! Where's the link to the court case? I don't see any. Where's the link to the petition surrounding this? I don't see any. Where can I see that you, or the people pushing the anti trust angle, has developed any headway into pushing this sort of answer? I haven't seen any.

If the government brings suit, and loses, will they/you continue to point to anti trust law?

"The real problem is X" is fine and good if working on X is anywhere in sight. Yes, X may be the real problem, but generations can be born, grow old, and die while you're waiting for X to be solved.


>A few weeks ago on HN, someone made an analogy to water: someone filling their swimming pool should pay more for water than someone showering or cooking with it. This seems to make sense to me, water is a scarce resource and it should be prioritized.

I don't think so. Water is a resource that can be stored. Bandwidth is a perishable good. If it's not used, you can't store the excess for use later. Billing based on peak usage or peak available bandwidth maps properly to provider costs, but billing based on usage doesn't.


>This seems to make sense to me, water is a scarce resource and it should be prioritized.

Bits on the wire are not a scarce resource.


Trumps appointees disappoint me a lot. This guy and the one over the EPA


Ajit Pai was technically appointed to the FCC by Obama. (Though this panel of 5 people can have only at-most 3 people of the same part affiliation on it at any given time). What Trump did was appoint Ajit the chairman of the FCC.

The FCC only has 3 people on it right now (2 R, 1 D), with 2 vacant seats.


This is true. I think it's also worth noting this whole deregulation push to have a fast lane was initiated by Tom Wheeler, who was appointed chairman of the FCC by Obama (Ajit Pai was in the ranks at the time). The initiative Wheeler introduced was supported into motion by the 3 Dems appointed to the FCC (overriding the 2 dissenting Reps)[1]. What stopped the fast lane momentum (IMO) was a very loud outcry by the public and some of the big tech companies that also voiced dissent.

It's what Trinity said that has me really worried: "A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something."

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRDEZHJxdw4&t=230s ( 2:18 to 5:00 )


He was recommended by Mitch McConnell - its customary to appoint the Republican recommendation.


[flagged]


Please don't post unsubstantively like this.


It is really a pity that in the US, net neutrality was never established by law, but "just" on institutional level.

Here in the EU, things are much slower and the activists were somewhat envious how fast net neutrality was established in the US, while in the EU this is a really slow legislation process. But now it seems the this slower way is at least more sustainable. We still don't have real net neutrality in the EU, but the achievements we have so far are more durable, and can't be overthrown that quickly.


Out of curiosity, what laws does the EU have that are similar and why do you say it's not 'real' net neutrality?


My Internet connection contract already says that they reserve right to: Queue, Prioritize and Throttle traffic. This is used to optimize traffic. - Doesn't sound too neutral to me? It's also clearly stated that some traffic on the network get absolute priority over secondary classes.

Interestingly at one point 100 Mbit/s connection wasn't nearly fast enough to play almost any content from YouTube. - Maybe there's some kind of relation, maybe not.


I think a great thing to do (if you are for net neutrality), is pick specific parts of the NPRM filed with this proceeding and comment directly on it[1] to help do some work for the defense. I feel sorry for anyone who might actually need to address this document point for point to defend net neutrality.

I tried my hand at the general claim of regulatory uncertainty hurting business, then Paragraphs 45 and 47:

-> It is worth noting that by bringing this into the spotlight again the NPRM is guilty of iginiting the same regulatory uncertainty it repeatedly claims has hurt its investments.

-> Paragraph 45 devotes 124 words (94% of the paragraph), gives 3 sources (75% of the references in this paragraph) and a number of figures (100% of explicitly hand-picked data) making the claim Title II regulation has suppressed investment. It then ends with 8 words and 1 reference vaguely stating "Other interested parties have come to different conclusions." Given the NPRM's insistence on both detail and clarity, this is absolutely unacceptable.

-> There are also a number of extremely misleading and insubstantiated arguments throughout. Reference 114 in Paragraph 47, for example, is actually a hapzard mishmash of 3 references with clearly hand-picked data from somewhat disjointed sources and analyses. Then the next two references [115, 116] in the same paragraph, point to letters sent to the FCC over 2 years ago from small ISP providers before regulations were classified as Title II. Despite discussing the fears raised in these letters, the NRPM provides little data on whether these fears were actually borne out. In fact, one of the providers explicitly mentioned in reference 115, Cedar Falls Utilities, have not in any way been subject to these regulations (they have less than 100,000 customers ... in fact the population of Cedar Falls isn't even 1/2 of the 100,000 customer exemption the FCC has provided!). This is obviously faked concern for the small ISP businesses and again, given the NPRM's insistence on both detail and clarity, this is absolutely unacceptable.

[1] makes a great point on specifically addressing what's being brought up in the NPRM: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/27/how-to-comment-on-the-fccs...


> The order meant individuals were free to say, watch and make what they want online, without meddling or interference from Internet service providers.

> Without net neutrality, big companies could censor your voice and make it harder to speak up online.

Hmm, was it ever prohibited for e.g. some Twitter user to write your ISP an angry letter calling you a Nazi, so they shut your internet off to avoid the headache?

I've only heard about "net neutrality" in the context of bandwidth pricing. It's very different if companies are legally required to sell you internet(except maybe short of an actual crime).


This is an interesting question, actually. I don't know of that being prohibited, but I've also never heard of it actually happening to anyone.

Does anyone know of an example or a regulation against it?


I never thought hackernews would have so many opposing net neutrality. Is some alt-right brigading this thread? which is ironic considering how they claim to care about free speech.


"Why aren't you all falling in line out of fear of this boogeyman?"


Pretty much, only liberal progressive "brigade" holes like this....


Why does anyonw want to give more power to Comcast or AT&T? Neither has hardly ever been described as innovative.. unless you count clueless members of Congress.


> Neither has hardly ever been described as innovative

I'm not sure what you consider innovative, but my local comcast connection has grown by about 10x in bandwidth over the last 15 years.


Comcast tops out at 60Mbps where I live, which is basically Beverly Hills, a pretty wealthy area. Oh, the upload speed is a comcastic 5Mbps. It's $80, it's regularly throttled, and it has data caps (although I've gone over and not been charged.) If I had a 4K tv, I'd most likely be over.

This is a perfect example of how they stifle innovation by being another impediment/middle man in the move to 4K TV.

Previously, I lived in a ramshackle studio apartment in Venice that had Fios where I paid $50 for symmetrical 200Mbps.

I don't want or need my ISP to be innovative. I want a dumb, no BS pipe that offers a decent price without bundling, since I don't need tv or a phone


They are rolling out Docsis 3.1 in pretty wide areas. Sooner rather than later you'll be able to get way over 60mbit. And 60 mbit is nothing to sneeze at.

>I don't want or need my ISP to be innovative. I want a dumb, no BS pipe that offers a decent price without bundling, since I don't need tv or a phone

No, you don't want it to be a dumb pipe. You want an ever increasingly fast service. If they installed a dumb pipe in 2003 and never upgraded you'd be mad as hell.


> And 60 mbit is nothing to sneeze at.

It's substandard, especially when living in the 2nd largest city in the US. It's nealy unacceptable when the upload speeds are a paltry 5Mbps.

I want, a network that simply provides simple bandwidth and network speed while being completely neutral with regard to the services and applications the customer accesses that offers if not symmetrical, usable upload speeds.

A dumb pipe is not a stagnant pipe, upgrades to network speed doesn't make it smart.


Are those things profitable.


are public utilities profitable?


That article makes little sense to me. For example:

> Net neutrality is fundamental to free speech. Without net neutrality, big companies could censor your voice and make it harder to speak up online.

Big companies are censoring your voice right now! Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and literally every other big provider is censoring online speech all the time. If it's so scary, why nobody cares? If it's not, what Mozilla is trying to say here?

> Net neutrality is fundamental to competition. Without net neutrality, big Internet service providers can choose which services and content load quickly, and which move at a glacial pace.

Internet has been around for a while, and nothing like that happened, even though we didn't have current regulations in place until 2015, e.g. last two years. At which point we start asking for evidence and not just "they might do something evil"? Yes, there were shenanigans, and they were handled, way before 2015 regulations were in place.

> Net neutrality is fundamental to innovation

Again, innovation has been going on for decades without current regulations. What happened that suddenly it started requiring them?

> Net neutrality is fundamental to user choice. Without net neutrality, ISPs could decide you’ve watched too many cat videos in one day,

ISPs never did it, as far as we know, for all history of ISP existence. Why would they suddenly start now - because they want to get abandoned by users and fined by regulators (which did fine ISPs way before 2015)?

> In 2015, nearly four million people urged the FCC to protect the health of the Internet

Before 2015, the Internet was doing fine for decades. What happened between 2015 and 2017 that now we desperately need this regulation and couldn't survive without it like we did until 2015?


Maybe we should give up and just let global capitalists own and run everything and jam web cameras up everyone's asshole.


It's interesting how much could have changed if ~175k or fewer people in the Great Lakes region had voted differently..


Is the internet a utility? And are internet providers a utility service? That's really what this is about.


The top comments here seem to misunderstand net neutrality. It's not about companies selling your browsing history---that was recently approved by Congress in a separate bill[1]---but rather is about whether ISPs can prioritize the data of different sites or apps. IIUC net neutrality doesn't really provide any privacy protections, though it's likely good for privacy by making a more competitive market that motivates companies to act more (though not always) in consumers' interests.

1: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/03/how-i...


Last Week Tonight just did a piece about it. They described the circuitous, torturous route the FCC site put into place to hinder consumer feedback. LWT announced they have purchased the domain >>> gofccyourself.com <<< to take you right to the FCC page you need to get to. Go to gofccyourself.com and comment. Long form is better. Well written is better. Well reasoned is better. But any comments are (one hopes) better than nothing. Get involved!


I am agnostic on net neutrality (ie. neither for nor against, just admitting my own lack of ability to assess its fallout).

I read a lot of sweeping, but hard to measure claims on its affects (such as in the linked article). Are there any concrete, measurable affects that anyone is willing to predict?

Examples might be:

* Average load times for the 1000 most popular webpages will decrease.

* There will be fewer internet startups over the next 5 years than the previous.

Edit: formatting


Your examples are actually pretty spot on.

> * Average load times for the 1000 most popular webpages will decrease.

Absolutely possible if companies in the top 1000 pay for priority over other companies in the top 1000. Also possible if an ISP decides to make their own version of a top 1000 site, and throttles its competitors.

> * There will be fewer internet startups over the next 5 years than the previous.

When ISPs create an artificial barrier to entry such as paid prioritization, costs to start a business and become profitable will increase, which will absolutely reduce the amount of new startups.


To that end, I'm curious how the internet works in countries without net neutrality protections: https://www.thisisnetneutrality.org/

I know in china there are a handful of telecom companies with absolutely terrible peering between each other, so that companies have to buy CDN services which have points of presence in all the carriers. But that may or may not be an effect of their lack of net neutrality policy, since there's so much else going on there.


I'm curious: to what extent could a US ruling on this affect the rest of the world?


Not much affect with regards to the EU as net neutrality became EU law in 2015.


Title II "Net Neutrality" is a dangerous power grab -- a solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist, with the potential to become an engine of censorship (requiring ISPs to non-preferentially deliver "legal content" invites the FCC and other regulatory and legislative bodies to define some content as "illegal").

Title II "Net Neutrality" is also an instance of regulatory capture through which large consumers of bandwidth (such as Google and Netflix) hope to externalize the costs of network expansions to accommodate their ever-growing bandwidth demands. To put it differently, instead of building those costs into the prices their customers pay, they want to force Internet users who AREN'T their customers to subsidize their bandwidth demands.


Freedom is never won, only temporarily secured.


If the internet is fundamental to free speech, maybe it's not a good idea to give it's freedom over to state control, and in particular to an agency who historically has gone beyond it's original mandate and censored content.

When you hand over control to the government, don't ask yourself what it would look like if you were creating the laws, ask yourself what it'll look like when self-interested politicians create them.


Your argument glosses over the difference between a last-mile private corporation controlling every byte of content and the government simply preventing the practice of route prioritization.

Just because you are in favor of preventing route prioritization doesnt mean youre in favor of the bizarre absolute opposite of government "controlling content".

nobody (I know of) is advocating government control of content. That is a different discussion entirely from net neutrality.


You've missed the point of my argument entirely. The FCC was put into place to regulate airwaves, i.e. who can use what airwaves and for what purpose. It didn't take long for them to start regulating the content said airwaves.

My point is that I really don't care what your good intention are, or what you believe the government will limit itself to. That's all nice and sweet, and a great discussion for a 5th grade civics class, but what I'm saying is how long do you think before well intended, someone please think of the children types (or more recently those of the outrage culture spawned from university campuses), will start regulating the content? Once you give them authority to make decisions about how the internet should be regulated, they'll start getting creative. The FCC is a historical example of that, and it's the exact department your handing over the internet to.


I'm not sure putting the internet into the same class of service as a telephone made sense for all the unintended consequences. Everyone is fine until they wind up paying $50/month for their internet and then seeing another $15 in government fees added to their bill. From a pragmatic point of view, I'm sure the government will always have the option to regulate it later on.


Net neutrality should be on the constitution. Safe from lobbists and the politician in office.


Someone tell me again why we don't have public internet backbone like we do roads?


It's sad that this article stayed at the first positions for so little time. And we are on HN.

But is this HN folks fault?

At the time of my writing "Kubernetes clusters for the hobbyist" - who thinks it is as important as this one? - with 470 points less, almost 300 comments less, both posted 6/7 hours ago is six positions above.


I wasn't impressed with this article; it reads like fear mongering. More importantly, I don't think the fix is regulation, I think it's better privacy tech + increased competition via elimination of local monopolies. Do we really want to depend on government to enforce privacy on the Internet?


Competition is not the solution to all problems.

That's like suggesting that we don't need laws against fraud in functional healthy markets. Removing monopolies would not fix the privacy issue either.

However, it would probably eliminate the need for net neutrality. In the meantime, we need it.

And we need to keep privacy laws in place until such time that technology makes it impossible for ISPs to discover any details about what you are doing. Don't hold your breath.


> Competition is not the solution to all problems.

Of course not. I didn't say or even imply as much.

> However, it would probably eliminate the need for net neutrality. In the meantime, we need it.

Maybe, but I think the importance people place on this is exaggerated. If you want it as a stopgap, fine. But let's not pretend that NN is going to seriously impact any of the issues discussed in this article.


The problem with your argument is that a significant number of HN readers, I among them, work in the Internet interconnect industry.

Network Neutrality didn't go far enough. Most major eyeball networks in the US charge a high fee (should be zero) for interconnecting with content providers. And even after fees have been agreed to, drag their feet on installing the ports or limit port availability.

We should be looking for ways to give NN more teeth, not get rid of it. Without NN, ISPs can expand the war currently being fought via port availability and pricing, to specific content within a port... as well as placing traffic shaping and QoS back on the table (legally).


We should also ban CDNs, they give unfair advantages to big guys.


Privacy aside (it's a different question), I think this undervalues the degree to which we don't have any competition.

Yes, I think monopoly-breaking and increased competition between ISPs is vital. But right now, we don't have that. In fact, we have generally have state/local governments protecting monopolies - there's no chance at a free market when competition is criminalized.

So at the moment, the question is "given these unbreakable monopolies, do we want them behaving well or poorly?" And that doesn't seem hard to answer.


This is not about government enforcing privacy on the internet. That is false analogy, but even if it were good analogy, it would still fail. Do you want government enforcing your personal security (also known as policing)? Would it not be better if guys who are richer and can afford more bullies, intimidate you and ask for money while you are trying to walk by their house/business etc?

Net neutrality is about each ISP, carrier etc treating each packet flowing through the network equally and not discriminating between its origin or destination.

If net neutrality is gone, ISPs and back bone operators can start asking for money for packets routed though their network based on who the packet is going to. You want to watch Youtube? Well, your ISP thinks its unfair that you are using the internet connection you paid for already to do that, they would rather you watch their own service. So, they throttle your connection to youtube, and ask money from both you and Google, to make it fast again.

The danger here is that Internet will be turned exactly what cable TV is now.

And if you do want physical world analogy, this is a better one: Imagine that starting next Monday the Yellow Cab Company begins charging all business to which a fare is delivered, since it is unreasonable for businesses to receive the benefit of customers and employees arriving at their sites in a safe and timely manner and for them to pay nothing. After all Yellow Cab Company spends time, gas, and quite frankly, expects them to pay their fair share of the fare. They may also begin billing all businesses passed on the way to a destination, as these business receive "free marketing".

If presumably technical people visiting this site have such a hard problem with net neutrality, I'd say the battle to keep internet free is lost.


> Do you want government enforcing your personal security (also known as policing)?

As a rule, no.

> Would it not be better if guys who are richer and can afford more bullies, intimidate you and ask for money while you are trying to walk by their house/business etc?

Definitely. Rich people are both busy and fewer. Right now I have people who are poor (and not busy) intimidate me and asking me for money. Why is this better?


Youtube already has an unfair advantage, which new video services can't match.


What is unfair about it? Or are you using "unfair" to just mean that they have a "large" advantage?


We have documented cases over and over where the ISP monopolies prevent innovation and higher tiers of speeds and said ISPs are trying their hardest to clamp down on the specific regulations that make them less money.

If we dont depend on government for regulation we lose everything because no other system can arise within the confines of what we have.

Eliminating regulation will in no way eliminate local monopolies, only the opposite.


Net neutrality has nothing to do with privacy, it's about treating everyone's traffic the same.


I was referring to 'privacy' in the sense of knowing who you are, who you're communicating with, and what traffic you're sending. An ISP must know some of those things before they can impose any of the Very Scary scenarios invoked in the article.


Assuming full end to end encryption (eg: TLS) an ISP has to know who you are (source IP) and who you are talking to (destination IP) there is absolutely no way around that if you want to use the internet; that's just how networking works.

One way to cut the ISP out of the loop is to use a VPN so all your ISP sees is you (the source IP) talking to your VPN provider but this just shifts the "who knows who you're talking to to" the VPN provider (who may have these restrictions as well). Tor offers good* anonymity but if you start steaming videos over Tor you're going to have a bad time.

Yes the ISP needs to know who you're talking to to apply these limits so a VPN can help bypass things like speed limiting but many services like Netflix block VPN providers (to stop people getting round region locks etc...), alternatively ISPs could just start limiting all traffic to your VPN provider as they would to Netflix or YouTube.

The issue is that ISPs want both parties to pay for bandwidth (you with your subscription, the providers with peering), don't pay? your users suffer, so your business suffers, so pay the protection racket to make sure your packets reach where they're supposed to.

* Good enough for most people trying to be anonymous, but there are still multiple attacks possible to reveal who you are if you're targeted and sloppy.


So your argument against "better privacy tech" is that existing privacy tech have problems?

Your VPN complaint is bunk when each person can have their own VPN in any region for ~$5/month. And no, blacklisting IPs is not cost effective for any ISP--either there are too few people that it's not worth the effort or you blacklist a huge swath of IPs and their owners just cycle the address of their VPN (leaving the ISP with a huge blacklist of non-VPNs).


> I think it's better privacy tech + increased competition via elimination of local monopolies. Do we really want to depend on government to enforce privacy on the Internet

Unfortunately, if that ever hapoens it won't be any time soon. ISP's just throw lawyers at new entrants to the market who can, through legal maneuvering, delay entrance by years and fighting them will cost a fortune. There were some successes by municipalities (who voted foe their own city owned isp) but many many more losses


Is there any evidence that this is the principle problem for ISPs? I looked into it several years ago, and everything seemed to suggest that the barrier to entry was arcane local regulation or absurdly inflated charges for access to use public rights of way.


I've read numerous stories of ISP's suing municipal governments who try to implement their own ISP to prevent entry to market because ATT or Comcast won't invest in higher bandwidth speeds


You depend on the government to enforce privacy elsewhere, so why not? A man hanging around inside the women's toilets? Government deals with that. A stranger hanging around inside your house, or just peeping in your windows? Government deals with that. The whole point of government is to lay down the rules to keep society ticking along.


Net neutrality has little to nothing to do with privacy. Better tech and competition can definitely help with keeping data locked down.

What alternatives to government regulation do you see in regards to data selling and paid preferential QoS? Other than "voting with your wallet" (which is largely impossible since most markets only have 1-2 ISPs) what can the average consumer do to prevent this? How will they even gain visibility? Do you know what information your ISP has sold about you over the last few years? It's definitely more than you think.


Privacy is tangential to the issue of net neutrality.


How do you suggest we eliminate ISP monopolies?


Deflating the cost of access to rights of way would be a huge start.


Can someone define net neutrality? I've yet to see a definition. Well if I understand the definition then there's no debate. Net neutrality ended long ago. Anyone ever heard of akamai?


How much of this can just be fixed by the free market?

If I feel an ISP is limiting my choices wouldn't I just switch?


How many ISPs do you have to choose from? Personally, I have two: Comcast and AT&T. Comcast has been a nightmare recently, with almost weekly outages and frequent periods of severely degraded bandwidth. AT&T (even their supposed "Fiber" offering) requires a working copper twisted-pair RJ11 outlet where the gateway is to be installed, which I don't have and which would require an electrician and multiple holes in my walls to supply.

So I'm on Comcast. Reluctantly. Now what if Comcast decided to charge more for access to HN?

Where's your free market god now?


>> Where's your free market god now?

Most places I've lived, the primary issue has been whether or not local government will allow additional networks. Mine is very set on "You can have Comcast or CenturyLink at DSL speeds". So I get DMV-like service anyway.


> Now what if Comcast decided to charge more for access to HN?

Then, you might want get that RJ11 outlet installed. Easy fix.


[flagged]


You can always safely leave out the personal jeers, like the guidelines ask.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


It wasn't a personal jeer. I was commenting on his behavior/attitude, not calling him names. There's a big difference.

alternately:

    > You're just being (a prick | stubborn | bullheaded | rigid | perverse | unreasonable)


If there's a difference, it's one that doesn't bring the comment within the guidelines. They don't just ask us not to call people names, they ask us not to call names at all:

> When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. E.g. "That is idiotic; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3."

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Alright let me replay this conversation:

Post:

> the free market is broken. I have a choice between two providers but one is a slight inconvenience for me to have installed so I refuse to use it.

YC Approved© Reply:

> the free market is not broken.

🆒


This evades the point. The point is that you can't post things like "You're just being a prick" to Hacker News. We ban accounts that do this, so please don't do it again.


I did not evade the point. You are choosing to to ignore it.

This comment is well within HN guidelines.


In some places, you don't have a choice of which ISP you use. It's comcast or nothing. The free market doesn't automatically fix everything, because of the high cost to entry related to infrastructure.


In rural Texas I am lucky to have the one choice I have, and it's 12 Mbps ADSL+. Most out here can't get that.


For the same reason the "free market" doesn't afford you competitive choice in power or gas delivery, sewer service, trash pickup, road paving outside your driveway...

Physical residential networks are, like all other civil infrastructure, natural monopolies. They don't work in a "free market" and never have. The insistence on the part of glibertarians that somehow this "regulation-free" mode will work for data when it hasn't for literally a century and a half of experience with other utilities is... frustrating.


You can get 540mbps wifi gear for like $50 now. Radio internet is not a natural monopoly.


those speeds are not achievable anywhere outside of a perfect test condition lab. With a lot of other wifi radios in the area, you are lucky to get a usable signal at all.


Because the telcos in America have legislated the market away. If you live in a major city like New York, you probably have many options - which boil down to the big 3 telcos and their resellers. If you live in a city of under 3 million, you likely don't even get this illusion of choice.


More and more people are moving into condos in cities where a board picks one ISP and that's what you get. Are you really going to move just to switch ISP's?


It could work like that if you have a choice in ISPs in your area. Many people don't and are subject to the whims of the single ISP that serves their area.


I live in a major tech hub in a neighborhood full of Amazon and Microsoft engineers, and the only available ISP is Comcast.

If I had literally any other choice, I would never give Comcast another dime. Given the prohibitive cost of last mile infrastructure, I can't see how I'll ever have another option in a deregulated market.


It costs a lot of money for ISPs to expand their areas of service. As such, they explicitly avoid expanding into areas where a competitor already exists (riskier rate of return).

To counter this, government at all levels have provided tax subsidies or outright payment to ISPs to expand into their localities. And regularly, the ISPs simply take the money and do nothing, relying on the fact that they are large enough that they can fight it out in court.

The end result is a nation of monopoly coverage.


Don't forget the lobbying efforts that result in local legislation that make it illegal for other companies to move in, see google fiber or any of the municipal attempts.


Where I live now, I have two ISP choices. There's no actual evidence of collusion, but their prices are high, eerily similar, and far different from their prices in higher-competition markets.

Where I lived before this, I had one ISP choice. And the local government had given them a legal monopoly, so the free market was incapable of offering me an alternative.

Even if the market arguments are sound in theory, net neutrality is happening in the world we actually have. That's a world where ISP competition is somewhere between "scarce" and "illegal".


Where do you live that gives you more than one choice of a decent ISP?

Do you really think even if you had half a dozen good providers, they wouldn't play ball and snatch up premium data deals?

Who do you think is lobbying for this change in policy to begin with? All of our ISPs, uniting against a common enemy: the savvy consumer.

When you hear and agree with things like "but free market competition will save us!" you are buying directly into their propaganda campaign.


I live in an area with one ISP. What do I do? Please do not tell me to 'start my own'.


In many parts of the US there is no real choice.


> Net neutrality is fundamental to competition.

so, I won't get 20 times faster youtube. fuck that net neutrality.


Your speed depends on the speed of your own connection, not on whether youtube has a special deal with your ISP.

Net Neutrality means you are the customer of your ISP, rather than the content provider.


speed of my own connection is not sufficient to watch youtube video. youtube don't have any deal with my ISP. they just provide extra facilities on play store, youtube, facebook, dl.google.com (some isp on all google services) ubuntu mirror, local server, connection with user in our country etc.

you probably won't want to spent half of your salary to watch youtube and install a package faster.


(In the US)


[dead]


I'm not sure what has confused this subthread for the FCC comment submission page, but we've detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14291757 and marked it off-topic.

Edit: and maybe kill the parent comment to slow things down a little.


I don't know whether or not it is a conspiracy theory but John Oliver's link has not worked in either Chrome or Firefox since he exposed this last night on his show. So, I went at it manually because I have not been able to overcome the blank screen effect and this is important!

Here are the manual steps: 1) Navigate to: http://fcc.gov/ecfs/search-proceedings 2) On the next form, fill Specify Proceeding box with 17-108 3) Search 4) On subsequent page, select: Restoring Internet Freedom 5) Then choose + Express link and complete the comment form

P.S. I cleared my browser cookies first to ensure any cookies dropped by the FCC site weren't inhibiting me.


Another brilliant piece by him. You can see it on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92vuuZt7wak


The search page is now working again. I filled out the Express page but the submit form wouldn't do anything (background 503 error). It took 6 attempts to succeed.

Make sure to keep hitting submit to until you see the success page.


After you hit the redirect, click the "+ Express" button the right to go to the comment page.


Many of these articles are missing an easily exploitable position. The key term is "bandwidth" which is the resource at stake. What is being fought over is how to define this "bandwidth" in a way that will be enforceable against the citizen and favorable to the corporation (i.e. "government").

One way they could do this is to divide it like they did the radio spectrum by way of frequency, where frequency is related to "bandwidth". The higher the frequency, the greater the bandwidth. With communication advances, the frequencies can be grouped just like they did with radio, where certain "frequencies" are reserved by the government/military, and others are monopolized by the corporations, and a tiny sliver is provided as a "public" service.

This way would be the most easily enforceable for them to attack NN and the first amendment, as it already exists by form of radio.

* It is already being applied by cable providers through "downstream/upstream" where your participation by "uploading" of your content is viewed inferior to your consumption of it. i.e. Your contribution (or upload) is a tiny fraction of your consumption (or download).

* Also, AWS, Google and other cloud services charge your VPS for "providing" content (egress) and charge you nothing for consuming (ingress). On that scale, the value of what you provide is so miniscule it is almost non-existent to the value of what you consume.

tldr; NN is already partly destroyed.


Bandwidth doesn't have a frequency. Net Neutrality is literally the concept of treating all bandwidth the same, no matter the source.


I don't understand why you're getting downvoted. This is a valid question and shouldn't be downvoted so others can learn from the discussion.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14291577 and marked it off-topic.


I guess its a passionate topic.


[flagged]


> feigning this absurd obtuseness

Please don't post uncivilly, regardless of how disagreeable you find another comment.


> a talking point

It's a question. There isn't any statements or manipulation in it.

> Why don't you just honestly say: "stop downvoting"

I effectively did. I said it "shouldn't be downvoted"

> There were 7 top level replies to the comment before you came along, hardly lacking discussion even with the downvotes.

That's my point. Hopefully others get to read those comments if this question isn't already pinned to the bottom.

For the record, I'm not against net neutrality.


A free market solution to net neutrality is a talking point, regardless of how a specific comment is formatted.

You missed this part: "without feigning this absurd obtuseness".

And for the record I'm addressing the dopey false concern, not your stance on net neutrality.

Have an honest day.


It's unfortunate you don't seem to appreciate the difference between rhetoric and a question. I skipped your baseless accusation of "feigning this absurd obtuseness" since it was flamebait and wasn't worth addressing. Being insulting isn't really appreciated in this community.


It's because those who seek to create an echo chamber in a discussion thread about so-called neutrality have no sense of irony of what they're doing.


If you want people to take your article seriously, then maybe you shouldn't put a pointless animated GIF in it.


The HTML of the page doesn't contain "888". This makes it impossible for some disabled people to get the number at all.

This makes it a practical concern in addition to bad taste.


It's rather sad that none of the images (that I checked — I might be wrong) on blog.mozilla.org seem to have an alttext.

(For the record, while I generally dislike gifs, I don't have strong feelings, either way, regarding the animated image here.)


That is unfortunate. I'm not generally opposed to sensible use of images or (occasionally) gifs, but the practice of describing their contents in alttext is excellent - it enables both usability and machine-readability, and I really hope it catches on more widely.


And it flashes so fast, no human could actually call the number. It's very frustrating, even for able people!


This feels like one of those complaints only ever made because "others may find it objectionable". I've seen that sentiment ruin the best ideas with mediocracy. Maybe "Marketing Correctness" would be an appropriate term: "A creative idea that everyone thinks is extraordinarily good, but that nobody is willing to embrace because they expect others to complain".

I. e. what happens when you want to name an airline "Virgin", or a morning-after pill "Plan B" and aren't Richard Branson.


[flagged]


> Help me to understand how freedom of speech was attenuated, prior to Net Neutral, or how was it ACTUALLY threatened? Why couldn't I have published my own blog or editorial site, now or in the future?

You can publish your blog all you like, but you need people to be able to route to it and have bandwidth to download from your server. If you don't have an agreement with every ISP (not just the ones you already pay access to) then they could simply say, no sorry we're not going to route to your content or say "OK, we'' route to your content but you get 2kbps on our network".

> Why wouldn't other Internet services step into the void, to fulfill a demand? Perfect example: As in China, the Great Firewall has caused a boom in VPN / tunneling technology, to fulfill a consumer demand for government-free access to information.

Many ISPs have total monopolies enforced by law in the US. You cannot create a competing ISP.

> Any honest person would refute the assertion that "investment in innovation would dry up." There will always be wild-cat investors seeking huge multiple returns and willing to dump stupid cash on a bunch of white dudes in hoodies.

To get funding you need users, if users can't access your site to begin with you don't get any users.

> I do, however, think that revenue-sharing concepts that include the transmission companies, modeled after the cable monopolies of olde (cable cutting is killing that model) could be a suitable alternative to todays two-tier model (transmission vs. content).

These already exist, these are the companies you peer with.


[flagged]


Because I pay my ISP to serve the content I want, not the content they want.


> not the content they want

This is FUD. Any ISP that decided to break the internet is going to fail. All they'd do is offer other services as alternatives to the big dollar ones like YouTube.

A last mile ISP does two core things. It arbitrages bandwidth for residential usage patterns and it deals with the last mile communications link. Net Neutrality forces a very specific arbitrage strategy on ISPs that severely limits profitability and removes the incentive for last-mile innovation.


ISPs regularly break the internet, see blank domain redirecting to advertising, various MITM attacks, working with advertisers to sell your data, ignoring best practices to enable DDOSing, the list goes on.

There is little to no choice, so there is little to no market force occurring so arguing that "any ISP that does X" when you might have 1 other choice who might just as bad doesn't really work.


> Any ISP that decided to break the internet is going to fail

When there is a lack of competition then they don't fail and continue to become worse as people have no choice.

We don't need "innovation" for last-mile connectivity, cheap affordable access is all people want and the math works out fine. The problem is political with governmental regulations that make it incredibly difficult to get access to customers to serve them in the first place, and these blocking efforts are usually lobbied for and funded by the very ISPs that have no competition.


>All they'd do is offer other services as alternatives to the big dollar ones like YouTube.

And they'd put data caps on competiting services, while allowing unlimited streaming of their own (we've already seen them do this).

In markets with 1 or 2 viable ISPs, what is your solution?


> In markets with 1 or 2 viable ISPs, what is your solution?

I watch about 1 hour of Youtube per month and about 5 hours of Netflix. Why should I subsidize people who watch 5 hours each day?

Let's not pretend bandwidth is not a scarce resource. ISPs have to pay for upstream bandwidth. If they can affordably colocate systems to serve specific content at a fraction of the cost by eliminating upstream costs, why shouldn't they?


Because in your world the eventual outcome is that nearly all (commercial) content providers would be owned by ISPs.

Last mile infrastructure is a natural monopoly, and unless you do something to force companies to share it, they won't.

There are various ways to do this. What's your preference?


I don't think last mile is a natural monopoly anymore due to wireless options.


Wireless isn't a viable option for video streaming, downloading large files, gaming etc...

They all throttle you past 20GB or so, they aren't nearly fast enough, latency is terrible, and they suffer huge congestion problems.

But let's assume you think that wireless is currently good enough to replace cable and DSL for your needs. Switch half of the population over to wireless. I guarantee you it won't be good enough then.

Satisfaction ratings for Comcast are atrocious--if wireless was a viable option, everyone would already be using it at home.


I stopped reading after your analogy to a highway. In a highway, slow users affect everyone and cause congestion.

In a data pipeline, that is not the case.

Most real world analogies for the internet are contrived and do more harm than good. We need to understand this technology is unlike anything we have had before, and its closest cousin is communications. And we have already qualified our communications pipelines as neutral infrastructure.

Please give your position on this matter more thought, without the harmful highway analogy.


> In a data pipeline, that is not the case.

You misunderstand my point or you misunderstand QoS.

The capacity of a data pipeline can be significantly increased by QoS. Not its absolute, theoretical maximum, but its ability to achieve high throughput amid disparate traffic types. Ultimately it's all buffers and queues.

> And we have already qualified our communications pipelines as neutral infrastructure

Right, but POTS has a latency requirement. If you keep reading my comment, my point is simply that without making a claim for what the QoS rules should be, advocates of net neutrality are just handwaving and spreading FUD.


You don't understand how latency works at all. If latency to a location is bad, fix it -- that's what you are being paid for.

As for bandwidth allocation, that is an entirely other issue that has nothing to do with latency or congestion. You pay for the bandwidth tier you can afford, as an end-user. And business pay proportionate to the amount of bandwidth they require. This need tends to scale directly with customer load, so this arrangement is sustainable and scalable. ISPs can also profitably scale as they get more premium-tier users.

The issue is that business would now have to pay premiums in order to offer premium services. This further enhances existing monopolies and prohibits fair competition. It also reinforces the idea of, "We will treat you better if you have more money" which is a classist approach that has no basis.

Not to mention the fact that most of our leading ISPs are directly tied to many media platforms, and the ones that aren't wish they were. The drawbacks are so plainly obvious that it's hard not to suspect that anyone who doesn't openly admit a nascent understanding of the issue around "net neutrality" is following a playbook given to them by employers.


> You don't understand how latency works at all. If latency to a location is bad, fix it -- that's what you are being paid for.

Are you serious? There are some cases where latency is a function of a malfunctioning circuit and can be improved, but in general the latency of a circuit for tcp/ip has to do with traffic shaping settings and physical layer technologies/protocols.


I understand how TCP/IP works. Are you saying that latency issues are something that cannot be fixed without creating something analogous to artificial scarcity on content that you stand to profit from?


November 8th was critical to the Internet's future, not today. People made their bed when they refused to get behind Clinton. Now you must accept the consequences.


Neutrality does not mean anything should be authorized... international law should allow ISP to submit to judiciary surveillance of individuals if those a suspected of serious crimes, terrorism, pedophilia, black hat hacking, psychological operations/fake news. I don't think because policemen can stop me in the street it is a violation of my freedom. Moreover the article is extremely vague and use argumentum ad populum to push its case while remaining quite unclear on what is really planned: "His goal is clear: to overturn the 2015 order and create an Internet that’s more centralized."


So, which is it HackerNews? Are we OK with companies deciding what gets on the internet, or are we not? On one hand, we laud Facebook et al. for suppressing "fake news", and then we get upset when ISPs do the same.

Furthermore, the FCC has historically engaged in content regulation. Anyone wonder why there's no more cartoons on broadcast television? Or perhaps why the FCC is investigating Colbert's Trump Jokes? If we're so concerned about content freedom, the FCC is not the organization to trust.


> So, which is it HackerNews? Are we OK with companies deciding what gets on the internet, or are we not? On one hand, we laud Facebook et al. for suppressing "fake news", and then we get upset when ISPs do the same.

If you could only access the internet through Facebook, you would have a point.

You don't.

> Furthermore, the FCC has historically engaged in content regulation. Anyone wonder why there's no more cartoons on broadcast television? Or perhaps why the FCC is investigating Colbert's Trump Jokes? If we're so concerned about content freedom, the FCC is not the organization to trust.

You mean the FCC under George Bush Sr, and the current Republican majority FCC that wants to repeal net neutrality issued by the formerly Democratic majority FCC?

The people distrusting the government running up the the election currently seems to trust the government a great deal.

You can't issue timeless blanket statements regarding any organization consisting of rotating individuals. Hell, even the two parties have switched places a few times throughout history.


> If you could only access the internet through Facebook, you would have a point.

Effectively, many people do. They open their web browsers, and search for "facebook", and click the first link. Don't even get me started about Google!

My point is that regulating the network and regulating the endpoints are one and the same. It's bad enough when the endpoints do it under the guise of "fake news", it's worse when the government gets involved under the guise of "free speech".

The current political party will not significantly affect the organizations behavior, either. Get back to me when the FCC ceases investigating Obscenity, Indecency & Profanity, or regulating the RF space.


You're conflating a bunch of different things into a kind of opinion mush.

A common carrier is a very specific thing legally. Being a common carrier puts you in a very powerful position, so the government applies regulations to common carriers so they aren't put in the position of being "kingmakers" in a wide range of industries by either blocking certain people from using their utilities or extorting them.

Facebook is a publisher, essentially. Having the government step in to decide what a company can publish on their own website seems... problematic.


> Effectively, many people do. They open their web browsers, and search for "facebook", and click the first link. Don't even get me started about Google!

I'm not sure what you're saying. Are you saying that the government should draw up regulation to change Googles or Facebooks behavior? What are you even arguing for?

1) No one is forcing people to use Google or Facebook, so people aren't limited by what they decide to promote or not.

2) People are forced to use one ISP (or live with DSL speeds or unreliable wireless) in most areas, both because of local monopolies, and otherwise for upstart costs.

These things are not comparable.

> The current political party will not significantly affect the organizations behavior, either.

They are repealing something they (by your account) themselves instated before. How is that not the work of the political party?


Facebook isn't an ISP.

Facebook -- though big! -- is one site on the internet and if you feel like you're not receiving news about things that are important to you there, you hop onto another site. If enough people stop using Facebook, Facebook will be compelled to make changes.

Breaking net neutrality laws makes it harder for you to find alternatives. Imagine you're stuck with whatever news sources your ISP picks for you. "Huffington Post, Reddit, and Twitter have decided not to pay us, so we no longer offer our users access to those sites."


> Comcast -- though big! -- is one ISP on the internet and if you feel like you're not receiving news about things that are important to you there, you hop onto another ISP. If enough people stop using Comcast, Comcast will be compelled to make changes. [...] Imagine you're stuck with whatever news sources your social network picks for you. "Huffington Post, Reddit, and Twitter have decided not to pay us, so we no longer accept links to those sites."

And yet, when you change the name of the company, the argument somehow doesn't apply.

I'd make the argument that Facebook has just a powerful monopoly on social networking as ISPs have on service. Especially with things like "shadow profiles". We should have the FCC break up Facebook and Twitter for open source things like Mastodon, right?

You also dodged my point about the FCC's history of content regulation.


> And yet, when you change the name of the company, the argument somehow doesn't apply.

This is a ridiculous argument -- you're not "changing the name of the company" you're changing the entire business that they're in. You're just arguing that Apples and Oranges are the same except they have different names.

> I'd make the argument that Facebook has just a powerful monopoly on social networking as ISPs have on service.

That might well be a problem, but that's a different problem involving different companies, different services, and different issues. Conflating them doesn't add anything to this discussion.


> Comcast -- though big! -- is one ISP on the internet and if you feel like you're not receiving news about things that are important to you there, you hop onto another ISP. If enough people stop using Comcast, Comcast will be compelled to

Unfortunately, for the majority of people in the US, there would only be one other choice. For me, that's AT&T. The big companies will payoff both or one isp for fast lanes, the ISP's will definitely put there service in the fast lane, if your service competes with either of them, get to pay not only the normal infrastructure costs, you now have to bribe the isp's not to throttle your service.

Facebook in the same class of monopoly as there are many other niche social networking apps built around oarticular interests. I only have two ways to connect to the Internet.

I lament that my ISP choices are limited, but not enough people even understand tech issues to care about them and certainly no one in Congress, save for a few.


To put a finer point on it: Facebook isn't a common carrier, Comcast is.

I don't think Facebook yet has a monopoly on social networking. There are too many powerful competitors and "social networking" is kind of a broad term, anyway. Does LinkedIn qualify? Twitter? Reddit? Tinder? Anyway: If they do wind up with a monopoly, that's a whole other issue and has little to do with common carrier laws.

My understanding is that the FCC investigates complaints. Someone complained about Colbert. They're investigating. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they haven't taken any actions. And the FCC does have rules which they're allowed to apply to network broadcast television because it fits into a special case. (Cable doesn't have the same sorts of restrictions.)


Hey, see my reply to croon above.


>The internet is not broken,” There is no problem for the government to solve.” - FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

This is sooo true. If internet carriers were preferring some kind of content, or censoring or giving less bandwidth to certain content, or charging for certain content - and this was causing the problems described in the mozilla article - then yes - we could have legislation to solve that problem.

What gets to me about the net neutrality movement is that the legislation they are pushing for is based on vague fears and panic. Caring about net neutrality has become some sort of weird silicon valley techno-virtue signaling.

If ISPs start behaving badly or restricting free speech, I would be happily on board to having legislation to address that. This has not happened and there is no evidence that there is any imminent threat of this happening. Net neutrality legislation is a solution to a vague non-existent speculative problem.


If you have no problem with net neutrality, how about we just let it be?


Because legislating every conceivable fear and every instance of mass panic will lead to an overly complex and overly burdensome legal system that hampers legitimate activity.

In the words of Cicero, "more laws, less justice"

When we start having problems with net neutrality, we can legislate against it. As we don't have any such issues, and there is no evidence that we are in imminent threat of net neutrality being dismantled, I see no reason for net neutrality legislation.


Do you trust the Trump administration and Ajit Pai to listen to the public at that point? I sure as fuck don't. You're right that I don't know of any instances of the sort of censorship people are afraid of, but once they start happening, I have zero faith that the (current) government will protect consumers' rights.


I'm a big proponent of NN, but do you think it would be popular to screw with people's internet? The "internet is serious business" (these days).


We don't need to wait for there to be problems to put some common sense rules in place. It happens all the time.




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