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Tell HN: Andreessen, Thiel, Cuban, IBM, Intel Are Against Net Neutrality
124 points by please_choose on Dec 12, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments
I haven't see any friends, Democrats, or Republicans (including comments on Fox News Facebook posts that I've seen) that weren't pro Net Neutrality. Curious, I searched to see who was against it beyond AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast. According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality#Arguments_against): Individuals who oppose net neutrality include TCP/IP inventor Bob Kahn,[172][173], Marc Andreessen,[174] Scott McNealy,[175] Peter Thiel,[168] David Farber,[176] Nicholas Negroponte,[177] Rajeev Suri,[178] Jeff Pulver,[179] John Perry Barlow,[180] Mark Cuban[181] and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Corporate opponents of this measure include Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Juniper, D-Link, Wintel, Alcatel-Lucent, Corning, Panasonic, Ericsson, and others.[85][166][167]

It’s no great surprise greedy people are against the majority when it’s convenient for them. What is troubling is our collective inability to restrain their and our greed and consumption from destroying each other, destroying ourselves and destroying the planet. Until that happens, nuanced, smart regulation and enforcement will be as constructive as herding ants.

Either we stop us and them, or we all die.

I don't know if it's that simple.

We have the .coms like Facebook or Uber that made their money by inserting themselves between an existing process, like journalism or cab driving, and its customers, then extracting a profit from it.

From what I've read, repeal of net neutrality regs will basically allow ISPs to re-insert themselves between the consumer and the .coms, giving the Facebooks of the world a taste of their own medicine.

The question to me is, will the consumer now be double-f'ed, or will the existing quantity of f-ery remain zero-sum to where the megacorps have to reapportion the spoils? I don't know the answer. It's just that it looks more like a battle between megacorps than any kind of great moral crusade to me...

Frankly I'm surprised our good friends Oracle or Larry Ellison aren't part of that list.

Was that the obligatory Oracle-bashing comment? Can we agree it has no technical substance and down-vote it?

Actually, Oracle came out as being against net neutrality several months ago.

Was a bit surprised by Marc Andreessen being on that list, turns out those comments were made in 2014 when he thought Google Fiber would shake up the market and competition would solve this issue.

Was also surprised to see Eric Schmidt on that page, though his argument was you should be able to discriminate voice vs video, but not Hulu vs Netflix, which makes some sense if you want to provide lower voice latency, but I think you don't want ISPs to be able to sell you voice and video separately.

He also spoke out against the Indian government when they ruled against FB's basic internet program iirc.

https://stratechery.com/2017/pro-neutrality-anti-title-ii/ - I think this article is a good overview of why the above individuals may be against "net-neutrality". This was an eye-opening read in a filter bubble of "pro-net-neutrality" which as it turns out used fear mongering and unverified news, as the article shows.

This was a very disappointing article for me, as Ben didn’t really do the type of forward looking analysis that he did in the past for other topics. He didn’t do the depth of analysis that he spent a year on with respect to Uber, for example.

Declaring concern about the loss of ISP neutrality is choosing to pretend that the people who control ISPs won’t make rational decisions.

If you ran Comcast, why wouldn’t you make it easier for NBC properties? Why would Comcast behave differently than MSN or AOL did in the dialup days?

The pro-net neutrality folks are motivated by self interest. But keep in mind that there are many of them. Think about why that is — you have a competitive marketplace.

The anti-net neutrality folks are all in positions to extract tolls and “sell shovels” to ISPs.

In my opinion, ISPs have consolidated and enjoy the ability to work in a low/no competition market. They should not be given the privilege of rent-seeking and inflating the cost of services that deliver value to the consumer. They are a utility. If they don’t want to be treated that way, they need to be compelled to allow competitors access to local loops.

...or compelled to stop blocking municipalities from building their own loops:


The article seems to say both these things:

- net neutrality is a regulation on ISPs that is bad for business

- ISPs will not take advantage of repealing net neutrality

How exactly is repealing it going to help them if they won't change anything?

The ISPs won't do anything that would hurt their business. For example throttling, Netflix and not HBO would mean that the users who use both would prefer another service that does not throttle both.

Too much regulation means lesser competition and eventually in the long run things would deteriorate because it would be really hard to innovate.

Regulation seems like the equivalent of deciding to maintain the status quo, while if Title 2 is not imposed, there is the future possibility to make changes based on what the ISPs end up doing. The examples mentioned in the article illustrate this. I don't know why there is this idea floating around that this is the end of the internet and nothing can be reversed or changed from here-on (In fact I think that would be the case if Title 2 and associated regulations remain )

while that first part is most likely true where competition is concerned, once you get outside of the bigger cities, you run into cases where you have one, maybe two, competitors in the space that will service your area.

I'm not saying pro/anti-Net Neutrality is right here, but it seems anti-Net Neutrality works best when actual competition is involved and there is a lot of area in the US where that competition doesn't exist.

Wait, isn't it a bit of a stretch saying that John Perry Barlow is against net neutrality by linking to the declaration of independence of cyberspace?

I mean, that seems to advocate against government intervention on the internet, but not specifically net neutrality. Also, I'm pretty sure data caps and stuff like that would be squarely against the principle outlined in the declaration.

Am I just being naive?

I was surprised by that as well, and the fact that when you go to the sourced EFF site:


You get a Net Neutrality warning leads me to believe that it's a tiny bit off the mark.

EDIT: I re-read it today, and I think it could be mistaken as anti-NN, but is very much for a free and open internet. In the spirit of the document we'd like to believe we don't need meatspace government to define that, but in a practical sense we absolutely do.

I mean, net neutrality is just a shitty duct tape solution to a bigger problem. If we treated ISPs as common carriers the way they do in the UK, we wouldn't need net neutrality.

That's the entire point of ISPs being classified under Title II, which is exactly what the FCC will be voting to repeal. Right now, ISPs are common carriers in the US; soon, they will no longer be.

No, they’re not truly common carriers. Cable companies are exempt from leasing access to their networks to third parties. Telcos on the other hand have to lease such access.

Amazon and Apple are hard at work promoting Net Neutrality this time.

Here are some companies who are "sitting this one out," when they were very actively pro-Net Neutrality 2006-2015. This is quite surprising:

• Facebook

• Google (not too surprising given Eric Schmidt's statement)


(It is noted in that article that Microsoft is pro-Net Neutrality but being fairly quiet about it. At least they have made a statement.)

I don't entirely understand the issue, but something tells me that it has little to do with having the best possible internet.

If a company needs a lot of bandwidth don't they pay mre for it? Why would you charge me for wanting to use youtube? This is my very simplistic understanding of the current state of things.

An ISP's job is to get data someone is sending me to me, and vice versa, their ISP's's job is to get data i am sending to them to them.

Why should I have to pay my ISP and theirs for the connection not to suck? They pay transit providers for us, and peer with other networks to facilitate that job. Now they want a bigger slice of the pie.

Yes, currently the “company” pays once to the origin provider. Under the repeal, the “company” could end up paying every carrier between their gear and their customer. This despite the fact that the customer paid for “unlimited” internet already.

Imagine having a delivery component to a business. Currently, the company supposedly pays taxes to pay for the roads. Now imagine cities using the plate readers at every major intersection to levy additional tolls for every segment of the road network used by their delivery vehicles.

Now imagine cities granted cheap rights of way for the roads owned by the public to Comcast. And now Comcast is collecting a rent of their own choosing from every delivery truck that drives past a plate reader. And that’s what repealing Net Neutrality will do.

these quotes go back as far as 2006. I'm curious whether the people above have changed their mind meanwhile?

The internet flourished from the early 90's through 2015 when the first Net Neutrality regulation came into place. Plenty of companies had peering disputes, the internet routed around it. Net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem. Keep the government out of my internet.

The government is "in your internet" regardless. The question is not whether they regulate ISPs, but how they do so.

Also, the FCC has a long history of enforcing non-discrimination practices. In the past, a investigation was enough to force ISPs to treat all traffic equally. This worked until Comcast sued the FCC and won[0], forcing the FCC to formerly reclassify broadband providers as common carriers.

Wanting the internet to be the "way it was in the 90s-2010" is a pro net neutrality stance. As broadband providers were de facto common carriers as a result of DSL networks operating over phone lines.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comcast_Corp._v._FCC

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