Parallels are then drawn to the Internet, where if we're not paying attention to what is happening now, then the free and open nature of the Internet today will slowly vanish and be replaced by only the big sites who can afford to be on the Internet.
: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/apr/02/master-switch-... (book review, you can find the actual book on Amazon or wherever)
Some shippers (Standard Oil) wanted to monopolize the rails or at least they wanted rebates for shipping their freight. Others argued that the rails should offer the same rates to all shippers since they were using eminent domain in some cases to obtain property and they should exist as a shared resource.
We’d be renting Wi-Fi cards, access and with additional fees by the second and byte if they had their way.
I'm more and more convinced that this was always the plan. The primary effect of the Telecom Act of 1996 has been to extract hundreds of billions of dollars from investors. All of the CLECs and other competitive types of telcos that sprouted in the spring of that law's optimism have gradually been wound back into the monopoly. Ma Bell (still for the moment two "Daughters Bell") has paid pennies on the dollar for equipment, marketing, vendor agreements, customers, etc. as these erstwhile competitors have gradually succumbed to the monopoly's failure to substantially abide by (and regulators' failure to enforce!) any of the pro-competitive measures in that law.
In retrospect, it was inevitable. Therefore, it was planned from the beginning. Telco executives and bankers have personally extracted billions from all the mergers. Generations of citizens have swallowed the fiction that we ever tried telco competition in USA. Strictly regulated POTS has been replaced with totally unregulated "information services". Perennially-unprofitable operations like FairPoint and Hawaiian Telcom have been unloaded to fools like Carlyle. The inconvenient wall between local and long-distance is gone. The expensive nerds at Bell Labs got sold, so the world can look elsewhere for subsidized progress in basic technology. All in all, a pretty good deal for Ma Bell! Since it happened over the course of decades and Americans have short memories (and since the media that could remind us doesn't want to cross her), we didn't even notice it.
The old AT&T was heavily regulated, and provided lifetime employment with generous benefits to its employees. It was the largest employer after the Federal Government prior to divesture.
Not to mention that many of the big players in silicon valley like to jump back and forth over the line of "is a provider" / "is not a provider". Twitter and Google and Facebook like to police the content on their systems, which is their right, but at the same time they like to hold up the DMCA safe harbor provision anytime someone finds copyrighted material on their networks. They have no problem banning unpopular parties from their networks while simultaneously profiting from clear copyright violations.
We should insist that net neutrality extend all the way to layer 7.
Let's not sacrifice the good for the perfect.
The open network existed as "normal" for maybe a decade.
Google has become the walled garden that they pretend they aren't.
The latter isn't something traditional we're about to lose, but a novel goal for the future which is qualitatively and quantitatively different.
I think I must be misunderstanding what you mean. How could a "neutrality" argument possibly apply to my proprietary application stack?
Facebook etc want the control of a private operator but the protection of a common service, which seems wrong.
That's like the difference between saying who's allowed on the sidewalk vs. saying who's allowed in the bar.
EDIT: In case it's not clear, this comment is pro-net neutrality. I am pointing out the absurdity of disallowing site owners from curating their own content.
The problem is that ISP shills that make these decisions don't care about public opposition. They aren't elected officials.
But they do care most about making money from the public and no one has convinced me that filtering internet packages by website makes any technical, marketing, or business model sense at all.
This has proven to be incredibly unpopular idea with the public for over a decade as well, whenever it has come up in the press. It wouldn't take much market research to see it's a terrible idea.
Plus the huge technical challenge of filtering at the ISP level... this would be a huge boon for encryption and VPNs as well.
No American ISP for the ~20yr timeframe before the FTC regulation was passed a few years ago had ever offered such an arrangement. Not to mention no ISP in any other country has offered anything close to that either. Plenty of American ISPs have said they have zero intention of doing it either.
This would be a boon to any ISP who DIDN'T do this. Competition, the technical hurdles, and obvious lack of business sense, etc has always been an adequate counter-balance to this idea.
So I'm a bit confused why this is generating so much FUD over such a highly hypothetical and hand wavy scenario... as if the only thing stopping them from doing it was this three year old FTC regulation.
Also, for everyone, billing would become more complexified, obscured to extract more money from consumers and thwart cost calculation and comparing with (the few remaining, if any) competitors.
Edit: I meant to imply that 4G would be more expensive. After checking briefly, the best offer I'm finding starts at $30/month for 5GB.
Fellow Americans, does it exist?
That could change though as more providers are rolling out fiber. (AT&T just rolled out Fiber to the Home in my neighborhood, and Comcast says they will do the same soon.)
> Even these numbers overstate the amount of competition, because an ISP might offer service to only part of a census block. The percentage of households with choice is thus even lower.
This is especially true with DSL @10mb - it’s common for DSL providers to have lower speeds for some customers due to distance limitations. Also, is 2 providers at 10mb really enough ‘choice’ to force the market to do the right thing here? Especially considering that those 2 providers are likely one of only 3 or 4 national ISPs...
I am a huge proponent of market freedom and market choices, but the system we have now has embedded natural and regulatory monopolies and duopolies - that’s the opposite of a free market.
And Google's competition heavily incentivized that rolling out fiber. Imagine what the threat of a new entrant offering unthrottled internet would do to these hypothetical plans?
Why not create regulation in response to real scenarios that have actually happened instead of hypothetical ones that are already have plenty of other drawbacks?
Your other points hold up equally poorly: there are no unsolved technical hurdles in throttling or blocking specific sites or services -- as evidenced by the fact that they can and have already done so. As for "marketing" and "business model" and it being an "unpopular idea", these again fall back to the issue of consumer choice: in an effective monopoly, it doesn't matter a whit whether the populace dislikes the idea. It's not like Comcast is winning any popularity contests as it is.
And the current FTC regulations in question didn't do anything in regards to that issue you linked to?
It's the flip side of the same coin. Without net neutrality, ISPs will be able to charge content providers like Netflix a toll to not be throttled out of viablity -- who will then presumably pass the costs on to end consumers -- or the ISPs can directly charge end consumers an extra toll for access to the full internet. (Of course they'll do both, after some experimentation to find the best profit::outrage ratio.)
> And the current FTC regulations in question didn't do anything in regards to that issue you linked to?
...they kinda did? In that Verizon had to back off and wait for net neutrality to be repealed before they could try again?
(I assume you meant FCC, not FTC, in all of this. The FTC, of course, doesn't have any authority here until after the common carrier regulations are lifted. So, roughly a month from now.)
The FCC adopted NN principles in 2004 and did reactive, case-by-case enforcement of the principles without general regulation up until the federal courts stopped that approach in 2010. The two regulatory packages in 2010 and 2015 were largely based on the actual things that had been observed in the 2004-2010 period. That is, while they did consider and seek to preempt some new violations of the same principles, they were very much reactions to real scenarios that happened.
Comcast didn't count movies streamed through there service against the monthly cap. They did count movies streamed through netflix.
Competition surely can help, but currently there is no competition in a lot of places. It's basically monopoly / oligopoly situation, with collusion and market division to boot. So increasing competition is a good goal, but it shouldn't block preventing monopolistic abuse with legal means.
Monopolists also created a lot of blockers that prevent increasing competition. Such as local state laws that ban municipal networks which could solve this very problem.
Places with a lot of people? People who have been harmed by what NN is intending to fix?
> Monopolists also created a lot of blockers that prevent increasing competition.
Facilitated by government. If government was responsible in the first place, why not just undo what they did?
Yes and yes. I've lived all over southern California, but never anywhere that had two broadband providers available at the same address. Parts in cities; I'm not talking about little desert communities, or something. I have however been inconvenienced by various ISPs' content-based packet filtering policies.
> Facilitated by government. If government was responsible in the first place, why not just undo what they did?
Part of it is that you're talking about every individual local government, with lobbying from the incumbent ISPs. A lot of those governments have contracts with those incumbents, giving them franchise rights in the city. They can't just declare those contracts void.
Beyond the local level, a lot of states have laws that make setting up a new ISP difficult or impossible (especially municipally-operated internet access).
It doesn't depend on numbers. Depends mostly whether there is some other ISPs besides the coax provider (which are the most widespread).
I would love for you to use some of your training to supply your post with actual data or sources. Everything I see reported disagrees with so many of your assumptions.
Like your unstated assumption of some sort of fair and competitive market where they will lose money if they don't treat their customers right.
The internet is so vital to our modern world that it has become a human right in several countries.
The only time this has ever been done is in countries like Portugal to offer cheaper internet on limited mobile phone connections to people only who want Facebook/Twitter/etc for $5/m instead of a full internet connection for $20-30/m (typically also far cheaper than the US). It has never been tried to limit primary ISP internet connections.
Data requires actual numbers. I've repeatedly said in my comments I believe we should regulate things companies have done that are provably bad. Not hand wavy hypothetical things that sound like a terrible idea for any company to try.
Where I'm at, it's Comcast or nothing. Most of the US does not have any ISP competition. It's usually 1 ISP to choose from, or if you're lucky, 1 ISP with expected speeds and 1 ISP over DSL.
I really wish I lived somewhere with multiple options, because if anything like this website bundle scenario did play out, I wouldn't have any choice in avoiding it.
The internet is more vital to everyone now than compared to 15 years ago. Every year more and more people are choosing to eschew traditional cable for Netflix et al.
With NN being repealed, it opens up ways for ISP's to promote their own content and shut out others like nothing that's happened before. This whole repeal smacks of anti-consumerism and pro corporate nonsense.
Facebook. India. So-called free basics.
Charge internet companies for access to subscribers. Charge subscribers to access certain websites. It's a simple model.
>>No ISP for the ~15yr timeframe before the FTC regulation was passed a few years ago had ever offered such an arrangement.
Again, not true.
>>Plenty of ISPs have repeatedly said they have zero intention of doing it either (including a few this year). Not to mention no ISP in any other country has offered anything close to that either.
Why would you ever trust an ISP? If they were not going to take advantage of this new opportunity, then they should be fine with having the regulation stay in place. Also, wireless carriers which are in many ways analogous to ISPs already have started preying on consumers using this model https://imgur.com/yYobj7x
>>This has proven to be incredibly unpopular idea with the public for over a decade as well, whenever it has come up in the press. It wouldn't take much market research to see it's a terrible idea.
Market research and public opinion don't matter when you have no competition and have numerous state laws written for protection.
>>This would be a boon to any ISP who DIDN'T do this. Competition, and obvious lack of business sense, has always been a far larger counter-balance to this idea. Plus the huge technical challenge of filtering at the ISP level... this would be a huge boon for encryption and VPNs as well.
Again, there is little to no competition in most markets.
>>So I'm a bit confused why this is generating so much FUD over such a highly hypothetical and hand wavy scenario... as if the only thing stopping them from doing it was this three year old regulation.
It's not hypothetical at all, see above links. It's a big deal because it will ultimately be a huge wealth transfer away from consumers. You're not by chance Ajit Pai, are you?
Now, they explicitly are going to be unclassified, and we, the consumers, will be unprotected.
I assume you mean 1984-2004, the 20 years preceding both the FCC first adopting and first acting to enforce network neutrality rules (under the title “Network Freedom” principles, which later became “Open Internet”.)
Since 2004 there've been all kinds of non-neutral action and an evolving approach to enforcing neutrality responding to court decisions closing off certain approaches until Title 2 was the only thing left.
If they're not going to do it, then why remove the regulation?
I've always loved that (admittedly apocryphal) story. It's one of the vanishingly-rare cases where someone successfully solved a social problem through purely technical means. Even if there's not a word of truth to it, it's a completely realistic description of what consumers can expect in a world without net neutrality. It can be considered a modern-day Aesop fable.
Once you've related the Strowger story, then you can speculate on how it might have unfolded if Ma Bell herself had owned the competing funeral home. That's basically where the Comcasts and Verizons of the world want to be.
All of the incumbent ISPs are charged with stewardship of public resources to one extent or another, if only because they require right-of-way access. The fact that many Americans have a grand total of one decent broadband provider to choose from is another factor that has to be considered, but often isn't.
Basically, net neutrality isn't a gift to the public, it's half of a longstanding bargain. The Trump administration proposes to unilaterally alter that bargain on behalf of corporate lobbyists who do not have consumers' interests in mind.
And it's not so much the wires, as the land the wires have to traverse. These areas are largely public rights-of-way already.
The hard part is giving people something useful and worthwhile to do about it.
However I did claim that the thought that EM spectrum should be privatized is not a mainstream one.
I imagine the more general idea that all public spaces and goods should be private is even less mainstream in the US, given the popularity of public roads, schools, parks etc.
My understanding of the argument is that EM frequencies in a geography are a limited resource and therefore are best treated as property with "homesteading" giving the initial claim to that property. (Which re-reading what you wrote, I think you understand)
The first time I heard that argument, I found it quite interesting. And in fact, I shared it because it appears not to be mainstream but well worth a look IMO.
I do disagree with your characterization of the general discussion. I think parks and radio frequencies on the whole are treated differently by the govt. There are govt owned frequencies of radio which would be like a public park but I believe this discussion is more about the regulation of the private radio frequencies. There are lots of private frequencies, they are just distributed and regulated by the FCC.
The question as I see it is would it have been better to let "homesteading" distribute the initial ownership or the FCC?
I don't personally subscribe to the homesteading concept due to the frequent historical problems with real-world examples of 'homesteading' resources.
On the one hand, I can recognize that the freedom to stake a claim on 'public' resources drove a huge amount of innovation and productivity in the American West. With it though came plenty of degradation, destruction and misuse as well. And one might even argue that it was only there to be homesteaded because the original inhabitants and their traditional cultures had been suppressed with force.
And the US Federal government has privatized public lands for things like military bases and Land Grant Universities just as it has with bands of the EM spectrum for emergency responders or other governmental uses. For the closest analog to public parks I'd look at the shortwave bands or ham radio operators. Even there, as in public parks, there are regulations on behavior.
It's an interesting discussion and in a more egalitarian world I might be more amenable to the view expressed by the original article. But today I look with deep suspicion on folks advancing the view that public goods should be privatized, due to what I consider a very irrational minority of people whose interests are purely selfish despite their claims to the contrary. Some folks wrap themselves in an ideology but really only seek to serve themselves.
I find it absurd that some politicians support both the repeal of net neutrality and the restricting of willing communities to build out their own infra at the same time. I could intellectually entertain either option but never both simultaneously. For a political cohort whose brand has long included local self-determination and rural self-reliance, it's bizarre to me to see them take positions that don't even appear to be logically consistent. It's difficult to accept that they truly have the best interest of their constituents in mind.
 https://muninetworks.org/content/competition . https://muninetworks.org/communitymap
Before the unbundling, Telecom NZ basically had a monopoly on ADSL connections, connections cost a lot of money and had comically small caps (like 10 GB, which even in 2006 was not a lot). Now, in straight dollar terms, plans are cheaper, and uncapped plans are standard.
The right wants isp/telcos to be able to bundle and offer more speeds/services. Assuming it won't censor.
The left assumes isp/telcos will offer services/bundles (tiers) but will censor its services/bundles. (Like it did with netflix.)
As most places have a monopolistic type access (or worse, no access) thats the primary cause for concern. Nobody loves their cableco. If we had a plethora of choices for internet access, that would be the cure for censorship.
But we don't. We are stuck at fighting censorship due to lack of access.
Even with some competition and access, it can take a while for unfavorable conditions to resolve, partially because consumers don’t really care about things like censorship, lack of access, (or in my example) bandwidth limits.
Markets are eventually consistent, but in terms of net neutrality I really don’t think we can afford to wait.
Then ... don't. If someone's actions contradict their words, don't believe their words.
Call your reps and let them know how you feel. If they think they won't get re-elected all the bribe money in the world doesn't really matter.
Ever consider that maybe they are more beholden to those who give them money than those who give them votes?
But any new services that threaten existing ones will be hard-pressed to compete.
Imagine I start a new streaming service. In order for my service to reach people, ISP's will charge me a higher price than Netflix, probably a _significantly_ higher rate. This will make it extremely difficult for my new service to reach enough people to make it an ongoing concern.
This is just another nail in the oligarchy coffin we are actively sealing ourselves in.
It will also allow ISP's to control and block content if someone pays them to do so. There are still anti-competitive laws on the books, but are any of them even being enforced anymore. We allowed the banks to become monopolies, we've allowed the AT&T fox back in the hen house.
If we don't fight back, we're going to become slaves to the digital age.
Huh? Did you forget already that both Verizon and Comcast throttled services like Netflix? They both argued they should get a cut if they were going to carry the traffic to their customers. Now they're getting exactly what they wanted.
So sure: Netflix maybe might not due to size and popularity. The next great thing will be, for sure.
Yes, they do:
On the other hand they partnered with Telekom (most popular ISP in Germany) for a service called "StreamOn". With that you can stream Netflix (and other partnered streaming sites) without affecting your monthly data cap.
It's like a vegetarian eating meat from factory farming every day.
> It's an issue that would have been more important to "the Netflix of 10 years ago," he said.
This is a highly politicized topic but it's hard to find rational discussion.
If I built a network I would expect to be able to charge whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted in exchange for the use of my network.
Is the answer that taxpayers helped fund the network so now feel they deserve not to pay twice? How much of the current internet infrastructure is paid for by taxpayers vs private corporations?
Any good sources you'd suggest reading on the pros and cons of each side of the argument?
Furthermore, the internet has now become a public meeting place. Many people communicate with each other solely through the internet and voice their opinions there. Giving cable companies the ability to legally prevent two IPs from communicating is akin to preventing mail between them.
Basically, because of the ways that the internet has come to be used and the basic expectation of privacy that people have when it comes to similar things such as mail, many people would consider it wrong to remove any semblance of privacy or fairness from the internet, which is what repealing net neutrality does.
These monopolies aren't so bad by themselves; we have similar monopolies with power and water. But those are regulated so that their monopolies can't be blatantly abused. ISPs are trying to roll back regulations that, in the minds of pro-NN people, will allow them to abuse consumers using their monopolies.
The problem with what these network providers are doing is that they own both the lines and the content. For example, if your ISP is a shareholder in Hulu, they're going to charge way more for Netflix to stream than Hulu, so they can essentially use this new ruling in an anti-competitive manner.
I'm not sure what most of the anti-net neutrality side's supporting arguments are aside from the fact that the regulations are unfairly limiting ISP's abilities to make money. They will mention that these regulations are affecting the free market, but in my opinion other existing regulations are much worse about limiting the effects of the free market, except those would make it easier for ISPs to be competed against, not harder.
My friend was a lawyer for an ISP and now works for the FCC (I promise she's a good person otherwise).
The main argument is that small ISPs can't compete if Net Neutrality exists, because they can't build a network big enough for every customer to stream Netflix and YouTube. If they could have most of their customers blocked from those services, they could afford to offer it to the few that want to pay extra for it.
The other main argument against it is that it's not fair that Grandma, who only wants to read email once a day and look at the kids on Facebook, pays the same as the kid next door who is watching Netflix while playing an RTS while torrenting three movies.
They're both decent arguments, and would totally make sense in a world where multiple ISPs could reach everyone's home.
Hypotheticals can be checked by referring to other countries with different market structures.
Australia has a broader mix of ISPs and Telcos than the US, despite until the 90s being under the control of a single public system (Telecom), with a plurality of the current infrastructure owned by its privatised successor (Telstra).
They seem to do fine with net neutrality. Regular competition.
> The other main argument against it is that it's not fair that Grandma, who only wants to read email once a day and look at the kids on Facebook, pays the same as the kid next door who is watching Netflix while playing an RTS while torrenting three movies.
Charging by bandwidth and usage is well settled.
The point is that the ISPs don't want to segment the consumer market. Too hard: there's competition, which as we know is unamerican because it makes business haaaard.
Instead they want to segment the provider market. Far fewer of them to negotiate and there's zero competition. You, the ISP, have at any point in time monopoly control over the consumer who is using your infrastructure. Providers have no other way to route traffic over the last mile.
Nobody mounts this kind of lobbying effort from the goodness of their hearts. They see a gigabuck in it.
What? This logic is like saying, hey the only business model that should exist is one where we should only cater to those that pay the most (whether through ignorance or lack of options, etc).
>The other main argument against it is that it's not fair that Grandma, who only wants to read email once a day and look at the kids on Facebook, pays the same as the kid next door who is watching Netflix while playing an RTS while torrenting three movies.
It's not fair that grandma is going to be even more duped by the limited offerings of news and media that these companies will tighten their grip on through this move. Also the pipe is just sitting there. It's not like Comcast is manufacturing electrons and packets that get consumed by users.
Ask your friend to study other countries internet situations.
I find it hard to believe that the electrical grid, water, sewer, and natural gas systems all are able to make due but the poor ISPs rolling in cash can't.
Meanwhile, these same ISPs are working to make competition illegal or impossible.
This isn't an issue of providing better service. This is an issue of making more money by squeezing the customer every way they can while making recourse impossible.
It seems like a lot of the disagreement hinges on the fact that ISPs have a monopoly and many people cannot easily "vote with their wallet" if the ISP does something they don't like. I wonder if focusing on making it easier for competitive ISPs to start up would do more towards bridging the gap between the two sides.
I think a lot of the anti-NN crowd is based on a more philosophical argument, that if the ISP built the infrastructure then they own it and they should be able to charge $1 million per day for access if they want (they would obviously not do that because nobody would pay it)
I wonder what is the biggest impediment to setting up a legitimately competitive ISP? Presumably the (ostensibly wasteful) cost of duplicating the last-mile infrastructure?
As an aside, do you have more info on the legal challenges to google fiber?
So, in practice, networks are built on public ground, or potentially using eminent domain. Neither of those should result in exclusive ownership of the market thus obtained.
Fighting against properties of a service that make it a natural monopoly is usually not going to work as well as limiting the ability of the resulting monopoly to be leveraged. Either, of course, takes active regulation, and tends to be unpopular with both laissez-faire ideologues and the people holding the monopoly.
Why do you say it's more difficult? It seems like it would be more sustainable in the long run even if it's more difficult up front.
As such, it is always better to try and win over one more customer to increase revenue, even if that customer pays less than the cost of keeping their line in working order, both because the costs are mostly there anyway, and because it reduces the revenue of the competition, thus increasing the likelyhood that they will fail and thus make you have a monopoly again.
That's actually exactly the behaviour you see over and over when some smaller business (or larger business, for that matter, see Google Fiber) tries to build a network where the monopolistic incumbent so far didn't care to provide useful service. The moment that project is announced, you get really good and cheap connectivity from the incumbent. Given that they before didn't consider it to be a good investment, you can guess that they are doing it only to destroy the competition.
Also, the network operator that has the less-utilized network necessarily has to charge higher prices per user to cover their costs, which leads to a positive feedback of even less customers, leading to even higher prices, ...
Having two parallel last mile networks is effectively unstable. There is a reason why there aren't multiple water pipes and multiple electricity cables and multiple natural gas pipes in your house.
Imagine there's no Netflix yet. People are using the web, and ISPs are selling tiny-bandwidth plans. Along comes a streaming movie service and people love it.
All of a sudden, ISP customers are saying "I want more bandwidth and I'll pay more for it."
Can the ISP say, with a straight face, that Netflix is costing them money?
In many areas of the United States, there is only one ISP available. Part of this is due to the high cost of entry, but the ISPs also have a past filled with rather shady activity. Verizon was given federal money to expand their network, did a fraction of the work, and then used their influence to pocket the rest. Comcast will throw lawsuits at new ISPs in order to bankrupt them.
Because of this the ISPs already use their monopoly position to take as much money as possible via data caps and bandwidth. I believe Comcast is on record as saying data caps aren't needed, but no one can stop them. The reality is ISPs are some of the most greedy, unethical companies around that exploit their monopoly position for their bottom line. Either regulation needs to be in place or the government needs to incentivize and protect new ISPs.
But net neutrality is devious beyond the abuse of a local monopoly. It doesn't matter if there are ten ISPs available to any given consumer.
The problem is that creates a new monopoly: that of access to an ISPs subscriber. See my aunt-comment (to this) for the full argument.
Notice how almost none of the service areas intersect? Internet competitiveness in the US is measured by census zones, and they know that. So they carve up territory block by block, allowing them to be engage in "competition" without competing. (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/10/isps-dont-want-t...)
And here's one of the many, many court cases and lobbying efforts they've engaged in to keep rivals from getting a toe hold in their territory; https://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8530403/chattanooga-comcas...
2) The telcos never seem to reflect on the fact that the only reason people want broadband at all is because there are services that they want to access. So just by existing they're already getting their cut. It would be just as reasonable for Amazon and Netflix to ask Comcast for a cut of their revenue, since they're providing these attractive services that Comcast isn't paying a dime to provide.
I think this might be a better solution than a law that specifically mandates the price at which a hardware store can sell shovels, since I think that law would only address a very specific problem caused by a larger underlying issue.
I think the shovel case at least, when the market can sort something out then it's "better" to let it do so.
For Amazon/Netflix, at least on the surface, I would say that the ISP and the content provider can ask for whatever they want and whether or not they get it will be a function of how much each one needs the other. Perhaps ironically a very similar system to how internet peering currently works (the little guy pays the bigger guy for transit).
Without the government giving them the right to do this they would never be able to negotiate with each individual land owner and networks would not be possible.
Wireless has the same problem: use of the airwaves, a public good no one can own. We issue licenses for them otherwise it would be a tragedy of the commons situation where no one would be able to successfully use them.
The internet (and most of its popular protocols) was invented and established due to public funding and released to the world for free.
So quite literally ISPs would not have a business whatsoever without free public assistance. As a result they owe us a lot more than the average business.
Not only are you free to not to give money to these corporations, you are free to start your own non-profit service, with a similar legal structure. You have to appeal to investors' altruism rather than their self-interest. A big challenge, but not outside the realm of possibility depending on the market you 'd like to cater to.
That's because you're not charging your customers. You're selling them to that startup. The startup has no choice but to pay if they want to have a chance of reaching these potential customers.
That means ISPs will have to ability to milk every cent of value generated out of startups, limited only by their ability to measure it.
The normal mechanisms of a market don't kick in, because the customers will be unaware of what's happening. They're not going to change providers only because that provider is shaking down some startup they've never heard of.
Limiting websites they can access is a violation of that agreement with the end user.
You, as a network provider, are already peering with other network providers, and so you're getting paid for (and paying for) the bandwidth that's getting used. What you're after is an extra slice of the pie from Netflix.
the big companies just don't want to be the _only_ ones paying.
"Amazon EC2 and S3 now include prioritized traffic to the network edge through Amazon's deals with over a hundred local and regional ISPs. Just add traffic priority to any elastic IP or S3 bucket and for only $0.04/gb outgoing your traffic will take the fast lane to your customers!"
How will Digital Ocean, Vultr, ARP Networks, Linode, etc. compete with that?
What we're seeing here is the closing of the digital frontier.
That being said my personal preference is not for net neutrality but for changes to state and local regulation to allow for a lot more ISP competition. But due to the patchwork nature of state and local regs that's a brutal slog in the trenches. So we need net neutrality in lieu of more ISP competition. Either that or we need to somehow overrule state and local regs at the Federal level to allow municipal and small startup broadband. That's tough given the fact that the Fed doesn't necessarily have any authority there. They'd have to argue it's interstate commerce.
Now imagine that model with the threat of throttling that startup if they dont comply.
But Netflix is already getting a better deal than start ups at many ISPs. Netflix gets free rackspace for their CDN servers. No start up gets that.
There is already a "fast lane" in many ISPs and Netflix gets it for free.
Or rather, that we're being sealed into, since this can hardly be called democracy.
That's the sad part: the new services that fail will fail quietly and we'll never know what we lost.
Content is controlled and blocked by advertisers in the application layer already. E.g. youtube
>On December 14, the FCC will vote on Chairman Pai's plan to repeal President Obama's heavy-handed Internet regulations and restore Internet freedom.
I love how these laws are veiled with patriotic sentiments, e.g. "Internet Freedom". Just like the "Patriot Act", it is reasonable to assume anything with these sort of labels will likely be an encroachment on your freedoms.
>"The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer," he said in an interview. "If you like your cable company, you'll love what this does for the Internet, because it gives Internet service providers the same kind of control over content and price as cable operators have today."
I am confident there is not a single person who "likes their cable company". Who in their right mind would want their internet controlled like their cable is controlled? This image is exactly what we get to look forward to.
I have called my reps, sent emails, faxes, and just feel so helpless about all of this.
edit: It appears the article altered the above quote, and the second half is no longer the same.
I've never once, in my entire life, heard anyone say they like Comcast.
Long story short there's one person I like at Comcast, his name is Dev, hope you're doing well Dev, you made my commutes fun.
They can do good, they're just misguided.
Wheeler, despite being a former industry man, definitely pushed for the consumer agenda despite industry pressure.
If Comcast is going to try to charge me more to be able to access Netflix, I'm gone.
Why are people buying high-bandwidth plans from ISPs? Because they want to use services like Netflix. Netflix is not costing ISPs money, it's giving them something to sell.
Imagine that taxi drivers want to charge the airport for overwhelming them with passengers and you'll see the absurdity.
Absurd for you, not for the carriers. And, unfortunately, they are the ones dealing the cards now.
Outrageous, for sure, but according to Chairman Pai's plan, carriers will be able to charge both consumers and content providers.
Yup, and only because those same carriers are making competition impossible, if not illegal.
Oh sure. Suppose I'm about to found yaymoviesyay.com to compete with Netflix. I learn that if I don't pay Comcast, its subscribers can't use my site. Same deal for AT&T and Charter.
Before this rule change, my cost to do business was "hosting costs."
Now it's either:
A) hosting costs + payola to ISPs
B) hosting costs + cost of building my own last-mile network
A) Super incredibly unlikely
B) Ridiculously unlikely
C) Extremely, ludicrously unlikely
Why should Granny have to pay more on her internet connection to subsidize your Netflix addiction? Because equal pay for equal access is that: a subsidy from light users to heavy users.
My electricity provider does not charge differently for setting up and maintaining the connection based on what I do with the electricity, they just charge me for what I use. Why should an ISP be treated differently?
I really just want my ISP to be like my datacenter: 95%ile bandwidth billing. Nothing else. No services. No filtering. No "speed boosts." Just a connection to other networks.
> I pay for what I use.
Unless you have a metered services, you are not paying for what you use in that sense. You pay for access, sure, but not for what you use.
> My electricity provider does not charge differently for setting up and maintaining the connection based on what I do with the electricity, they just charge me for what I use. Why should an ISP be treated differently?
The issue is not metered billing. I think most people would be OK with it; it'll suck for some but an honest effort to keep the 95% of usage at normal would go a long way, I thinks.
The issue is when you're being billed differently for what you consume, not how much. Would you be OK with electricity used by an LED bulb from company X was metered at 2 times that of company Y which is 2 times that of an incandescent? _That's_ the issue, not metered billing.
You've got it backwards. Granny and can I both pay per byte. We can even pay surge pricing based on congestion.
The question is this: why should I have to pay more for bytes from Netflix than Granny pays for bytes from Ravelry?
Nobody is saying that ISPs cannot charge for usage, only that they shouldn't be allowed to do so in a discriminatory manner: if, say, they wanted to set a cap or QoS shares they should be able to do that as long as it's applied to everyone rather than just the companies which don't / can't pay the danegeld.
The issue here is that what comcast really want, is to sell Granny a cheap plan, and sell Netflix a plan, and google, and Apple (that app store and updates you know). Oh but wait, Netflix you are already paying a bunch to throw data on the net by the bucket? That doesn't matter… you have your last mile, and you also need to pay for everyone else's last mile as well. Oh, and Google, you also need to pay for everyone's last mile as well. It's just like a Winfrey episode: You can pay! you can pay! You can all pay!!
thats just silly, come on!
if that were the truth, and it isn't, then they'd need to increase the price for the monthly package or decrease bandwidth for consumer packages.
/Edit: going with your example:
amazon doesn't have to pay to keep the streets in service, despite causing lots of (heavy) traffic through their deliveries.
they pay their delivery provider. just like netflix pays for its bandwidth to their ISP
Imagine you're a startup trying to compete with Netflix, and on top of having to create your business and media content, your customers have to pay their ISP a fee to access your website (or have better bandwidth, or have it not counted in your allocated data plan). No one would be able to compete with them. Now replace Netflix with any <Google, Facebook, Uber, any incumbent really>... and yeah you get the idea.
Any company Netflix buys transit from ends up using up all the goodwill of settlement-free peering agreements, doesn't want to actually pay for the traffic, tries to route around problem, and then gets frustrated when Comcast doesn't let them.
VZ was refusing to increase capacity to allow uncongested access to NetFlix (Netflix was willing to pay for the PNIs and the cost of the line cards to terminate those PNIs at VZ in addition to paying for their own gear). NetFlix started putting pre-roll into content sent to VZ customers to explain to them that it was VZ that was unwilling to do it. VZ threatened to sue. Netflix backed off and started paying for a better access to VZ subscribers by buying transit from VZ to use it strictly to access VZ. From that point on NetFlix' position on NN kind of "evolved" - it only kind of supports it.
All of this was with so call Net Neutrality on the books.
I said it before and I say it again:
Consumers do not give a flying f!ck about this fight - it is a fight between Comcasts/ATT/Verizons and Google/Facebook/NetFlix of the world about who gets to fleece consumers more wrapped in the talk about "fairness" and "freedom of to access information".
Just a few days ago we had someone working for small mom and pop NSP/ISP breathlessly tell us that it is NN that is preventing his ISP from offering grannies in a nursing home cheaper email only plans!
I couldn't disagree more. Sure, I don't care whether Netflix or Verizon wins, but I care deeply that there isn't a situation that raises the cost of competing against Netflix/Prime/Hulu to the point where it's impossible to enter the market. Netflix should be hard to compete against because they have better content, not because they have better access to internet subscribers.
Also, Comcast isn't a transit provider. They're an eyeball network and should expect heavy inbound traffic levels. Also look here: https://www.peeringdb.com/net/822
Their locations are all in the states. Most settlement free agreements require diverse meeting points around the world. Right now the big providers are hauling Comcast traffic across the oceans. So their large market share in the US is already getting them preferential treatment from the other providers.
IIRC, the proposed net neutrality regulations would not change this scenario at all. The issue is the absolute leverage that would need to be granted in these agreements for this to be true.
In this hypothetically net neutral universe, what should happen when those peering points clog up? Comcast absolutely has to upgrade those links, regardless of price? Would not upgrading these links be throttling? Would they be obligated to renegotiate their peering agreements or risk fines?
If so, I've got a killer startup idea. I'll get a modest peering agreement with comcast, then turn around and sell bandwidth to Netflix and Google for pennies on the dollar, and then turn around again and tell comcast that they have to renegotiate with me, at whatever price I want, or I'll get the FCC to bring them down. Then what? They're the ones in violation of the law, not me.
In practice, the proposed net neutrality regulations loosely say that the FCC can come in and act as a mediator in pricing agreements, when one party is (paraphrasing) "acting unfairly", which is a whole 'nother can of worms. For starters, it's completely out of whack with the intended scope of the FCC.
> As a consumer Im paying Comcast for quality access to all of the internet. Its their job to deliver on that.
No, you're not, and you never were, and it's bordering on dishonesty to make this claim. At best, you're paying comcast for the same quality access to anything that can reach their network at that same quality. Even that is arguable.
Since most ISPs have an effective monopoly there are no economic pressures for them to deliver quality service. So we need government to step in and treat them like the utilities they are.
Also, pretty sure Google doesnt pay for transit. They have a giant network footprint and push a ton of the internet's traffic. They are likely to be settlement free with everyone.
Almost certainly. Bad example, but the point still stands.
> The problem with a hands off approach is the lack of competition. I cant jump to another provider when the quality of my internet service does not live up to my expectations.
> Since most ISPs have an effective monopoly there are no economic pressures for them to deliver quality service. So we need government to step in and treat them like the utilities they are.
I don't know if I agree with that. Even in the most rural parts of the US you probably have a handful of ISPs available, just maybe not the type of ISP that caters to power users on reddit and HN. Between LTE wireless providers, satellite, DSL, cable, I think most people have a greater degree of choice than we realize. A lot of these options are not going to cut it if you like Netflix and/or torrenting, but for casual facebook, wikipedia, and emailing-- arguably the usage patterns of the majority of US internet users, any of these providers will work out just fine.
If what you're saying is true, why do we see such a dramatic difference in the quality of service across the board in the past decade? We went from terrible GSM to incredibly fast LTE. You can now buy 25 Mbit satellite internet without a data cap. You used to be lucky to get 16m/2m cable internet, now I see the lowest tier of plans with speeds of anywhere from 60Mbit to 100Mbit. If there's no competition, why do we see this progress? Why would they put money into increasing their speeds if the market didn't force their hand?
As a provider on the net I dont have many options to ensure you quality access to my content. I can't route around Comcast if theyre your last hop. I can pay Comcast for the privilege to send you content but I only get around 50 million subscribers and at 10x the price of a Tier 1. The Tier 1 will get me access to the entire internet.
Also with all transit pricing, the more you buy the cheaper it is. So the bigger players have an unfair advantage in economy of scale when dealing with the likes of Comcast.
I'd like to see where in the marketing literature it says this. Right on the pricing page it says Internet Access plans.
It doesnt say Comcast network access plan.
Also, I dont make Comcast oversubscribe their network. Thats a business decision on their side.
This is really what should be at the heart of these discussions, not abstract claims about who is throttling who.
My arguement is that ISPs should deliver the product they sell to consumers. If the consumers demand for Netflix goes up, the ISP should adapt to ensure proper bandwidth at peak. The internet on the whole and interconnection between companies is hardly static. Its constantly growing bandwidth wise and its really very simple to increase bandwidth to other providers. Technically its fairly easy without all the legal bits that get added in to peering agreements.
It allows the cable company to effectively tax the competition.
It's profitable and with their lobbying, they can protect themselves from competition. If cable companies had the opportunity to cut streaming services at the knees 10 years ago (and the foresight to understand how it would affect their market) you bet they would have.
This is as anti-consumer as you can get.
If you can't get competing services in your apartment complex, get a lawyer and sue the owner.
What alternative would you suggest?
I would suggest to do this in combination with a VPN but 1) even with OpenVPN those are often insecure 2) they cost additional money 3) with these new FCC rules their bandwidth might get limited.
I don't know about Starbucks or the USA but many places here with open WiFi have, well, open WiFi (no encryption on connection) and they have abysmal speed. I mean we are talking about multiple customers, on 2,4 GHz WiFi, in the neighborhood (city) with dense 2,4 GHz coverage. What could possibly go wrong?
Plus, indeed here that type of business is just on cable or DSL themselves. Who'd be under the scrutiny of the same QoS shenanigans. Then again, we got net neutrality. For the time being. I really hope the USA keeps net neutrality. The feeling that such a civilized, rich, advanced country would lose such an important right fills my eyes with tears.
If you visit the US, you will find that most internet access sucks, but that public libraries are surprisingly decent. You won't be playing "Call of Duty: Kill Nazis 2017" on it, but it's perfectly decent for most uses.
Because it's a monopolistic monoculture, and they can do whatever they want and get away with it. In this age, having corporate controlled information choke points is a feature that those who want to control what the citizenry think and say are no doubt in love with.
Because the cable companies are the ISPs, and without ISPs acting differently, there's less impetus for people to ditch their cable companies as cable companies.
Especially when the phone/cable/ISP firms can block or tax into submission services that compete with their phone and video offerings by virtue of their control of internet access.
When you control what people see, you control what people think. Dismiss that as tinfoil malarky if you will.
It is so sad we live at a time when one doesn't know if this is sarcasm or a genuine sentiment.
This is what I don't understand. All of these businesses seem to be missing that point. Or, I am over-valuing it. Or something else that I don't understand or see. But, I have the exact same perspective and stance as you.
If I have to pay more to watch streaming video or play video games with my friends or download my Steam library or my Kindle titles, well, I'm very likely to just opt out of all of that. I am 36 years old and I have never once paid for a cable television subscription in the last 18 years that I've been on my own for _exactly_ this same reason. I am not going to pay for 3 separate and/or premium packages just to get access to the one piece of content that I actually want (sports programming).
Would you be "fine" if someone stood in front of your house and intercepted all your Amazon packages and added a $5 delivery fee to each?
Free alternatives, like being able to stream Youtube, could be in danger of fees too. Google might have some sort of bargain with the government to keep it charge-free (like selling more data on its users). But any other video provider without Google's deep pockets will be in trouble, like Vimeo, Twitch, VHX, or some other company that hasn't even started up yet but might not be able to afford the double-dip.
That's why we need NN.
I actually think (and this should be done in addition to NN, not instead) is to encourage local city government to provide Internet access and even allowing smaller companies to lease the infrastructure to them. This would bring back competition again, and the money from leasing would cover cost of maintaining the network and maybe even bring income to the city.
I made a mistake by assuming an apartment complex built within the last 3 years would have fiber, boy was I wrong. I'll never make that mistake again.
People are not going to happily accept the old "bundling" cable TV model that they hate, having experienced the much more open internet model where you really only decide how much bandwidth you want to pay for.
I'm using a general "you" here. It's far more a pervasive presence in peoples' lives than cable tv was.
And I've commented as such already, it likely won't be restrictive and demanding all at once. It will be a progression likely starting with something like:
"Now that we are no longer bound by restrictive government regulations we can offer you new value-added-services that benefit you!
With [company]'s new Speed Boost(TM) packages, you can access your favourite web sites at a higher speed than your current base package allows starting at the low monthly fee of $5! (on a 2 year contract, $10/mo month over month)"
Once the customer base is accustomed, the language changes and becomes:
"Now with [company]'s new Choose What You Use(TM) bundles, we've retired our base packages and now it's up to you what you want to pay for of the internet! Another way we're saving you money!"
And so on. Marketing teams wouldn't let it look like: "Well, you're ours now, bitch." At least not that straight-forward.
Because there is a lot of money in that model if you can make it so there is no where else to go. (But you knew that- you were speaking rhetorically. I am the voice in your head.)
If you have competitors to choose from, sure. If you don't? Or if all the competitors do the same thing?
It's far from ideal, but 4 (soon 3) competitors are better than the 1 choice I have for wired broadband.
I don't know why you think mobile broadband is in any way going to be better in the non-neutral net.
And while 4g service isn't a true replacement, it provides enough competition to prevent the AOL-ization of the internet. At a certain point, people would choose more expensive wireless over absurdly locked down wireline.
So while Comcast does have a monopoly in some areas, people would switch to Fios or Uverse or local DSL in the areas without monopoly if they tried anything too bad. Hypothetically comcast could try to monetize only in monopoly areas, but that would be a hard sell and it would be very transparent.
I was primarily a student then, and trying to skip around in Youtube/online video lectures was an insanely frustrating experience.
I challenge this assertion -> please document it.
90% has two providers of 10mpbs+. One of those is satellite, which sort of sucks, I'll grant you that.
Freedom for whom?
It's an accurate characterization, it gives ISPs lots of freedom!
Except it's not, even. In the world of cable TV, the base cost is set by the content providers - the Disneys and such. With this, I guarantee you are going to see ISPs taking action on their own to tier websites and apps, pocketing the extra money, without input from nor payment to the sites which they intend to profit directly from.
HAHAHHAHAA, wow they're not even trying
Trump's administration is built to enrich 3 groups.
2. His family
3. Other Very Wealthy People
I don't think it's paywalled.
If you want better internet access, instead of begging the FCC for scraps get on repealing legislated monopoly rights for kinds of wires and/or unbundling last mile from ISP.
Then ask yourself why internet reform is focused on NN instead of provider competition.
More to the point, can you imagine how fast the knives would come out if the FCC announced this deregulation and also a federal universal broadband plan where they use taxpayer money to deliver fiber to the home of everybody in the country in order to insure healthy competition?
On a side note, what do you think the odds are that this plan will remove uncompetitive restrictions on ISP (especially municipal ISP) development at the same time? I mean it's all about competition right? If I didn't know better I'd say that the talk of "competition" was just a smoke screen to hide the fact that this is the "allow ISPs to hold your service hostage with no repercussions" bill.
If you're really worried about the coax network then push for what I suggested: unbundling the last mile. It worked great for the phone network.
I'm not arguing that the proposed plan actually helps anything (although the smaller scale and unconventional ISPs that should be encouraged are harder hit by neutrality requirements and compliance obligations in general)
I'm arguing that tilting at the network neutrality windmill doesn't actually deliver much to end users. There's about a million ways an ISP can suck and network neutrality, if you can even get it to happen, kinda-sorta fixes one of them.
There's a real problem (shitty monopoly internet providers) that has a real solution (the entirely proven strategy of eliminating monopolies).
PS: People in areas where the indoor plumbing water isn't safe to drink use competing water companies, mostly those bring-your-own-container 25c water vending machines you see in front of stores in low-income areas. If they waited for regulation to solve their problems they'd all be dead.
I think people would be more confused than anything, since this FCC just voted to drastically restrict choice under the existing universal service find.
Not to mention, there are areas of the country which absolutely could not support more than one provider. Why should they have to suffer non-neutral net?
Competitive, non-neutral networks is something that much of the country already has, so it's a smaller, more regional fight you might actually win. You can try for neutrality after that if it means that much to you (but at that point nobody will care because NN is a non-issue in areas with a competitive provider landscape)
Network neutrality is irrelevant to areas that can't support more than one provider, weird rural providers and satellite internet are already exempt from neutrality rules (iirc because they aren't "broadband" in the FCC sense). Those places will continue to have sucky internet until someone wires them out of charity.
While competition is by all means good, I also DON'T WANT ISP controlling what I can access and how. I want ISP simply just provide the service, and Title II does just that.
More to the point, the people writing the regulations need to consider everyone in the U.S. not just the happiest Internet users. There already is a fairly large divide between people who can and can not access decent Internet service and this policy will only make that worse.