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Democrats Unveil New Bill to Fully Restore Net Neutrality (vice.com)
97 points by turtlegrids 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 107 comments



Instead we should revisit the Communications Act of 1934 and rethink the classification structure in the digital age. 1996 didn't do enough, in my opinion.


Disappointing -- the text of the legislation is just "hey, take it back! Also, no double-backsies".

Having a comprehensive revisiting that directly addresses the needs and requirements for large-scale packet-switched networks rather than bolting it on to legislation aimed at switched networks would make it a lot clearer. The original rule that the FCC removed had a ton of exceptions, "ignore this because it doesn't apply" and had to shoehorn a lot of other definitions.

It would be good for Congress to explicitly lay out what the FCC's responsibilities in this area are (or to allow the FTC to enforce instead, since that was largely okay except for the regulatory scope problems).


While I'm opposed to "Net Neutrality" (partially due its shifting definitions), I'd much rather this be debated in Congress properly than the FCC.

And as both of you stated, its shouldn't just be "Do this from the 1934 Act!" but a complete review and a proper implementation.

This biggest problem I saw with the 2015 FCC order is it just said "while we could have this power over the internet, we promise we will never use it!" for a couple different things. If we are going to do something about "Net Neutrality", I'd much rather Congress just remove that power completely and permanently than letting it up to an administration who decides they no longer want to keep that promise.


Given that a large majority of the public supports this, why is it the responsibility of Democrats to advance this bill?


This and Global Warming alone are enough to keep me voting Democrat for years and years to come.


Abortion's all the Rs need for the same loyalty from a big chunk of the population. They end up voting for all kinds of other stuff incidentally, just because the Rs are—thanks to some serious errors in our system of government that aren't likely to be fixed any time soon—the only viable pro-life party. So those voters will keep opposing action on climate change and voting anti-net-neutrality, simply as a side-effect.

[EDIT] wrote "pro-net-neutrality" rather than "anti" by mistake; fixed.


It's a shame that there is so much Money involved in each of those topics.


Plus jesus and gays. The second the Republicans produce an intellectual candidate the country will change profoundly. I feel the exact same way as you.


Meanwhile abortion and second amendment enforcement are enough to keep me voting Republican for years and years to come (and the occasional Libertarian).


The interesting thing is, fewer abortions happen under Democrat presidents than under Republican presidents. Something about pushing sex education and birth control that reduces abortions.

I don't exactly understand why you would vote Republican if you did not like abortions.


Typically, they want them to be illegal because they consider them morally close or identical to murder. One might not vote for the legalize-murder party just because the stats say fewer murder happen when they're in power, preferring to vote for make-murder-illegal party that'll try to outlaw it entirely.

That my fellow Dems so often paint this position as plainly stupid or obviously wrong is a frequent source of frustration for me, and why I usually just avoid engaging in discussion of the topic (whoops). Not accusing you of having done that, mind you, I just see it a lot.


Fair point.


Snopes rates "Abortion rates drop during Democratic presidencies and rise during Republican administrations" as false. [1]

And even if it were true (and it's not), the national legislatures is often the opposite party as the executive, and they're the ones that actually make the laws. (The real reality though is that the states are far more relevant in this area.)

[1] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/abortion-rates-presidencie...


Different fact check than what I'm saying. They don't rise during Republican presidencies. They do fall at a slower rate.


Well, if we're being precise, your original assertion was something different altogether.

You claimed "fewer abortions happen under Democrat presidents than under Republican presidents", but that's still not really true. Two of the top four years for abortions per live birth (1979, 1980, 1981, 1984) had a Democratic administration. Three if you look at the previous year's President. [1]

[1] According to CDC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_statistics_in_the_Uni...


> The interesting thing is, fewer abortions happen under Democrat presidents than under Republican presidents.

I think you've confused abortions with deficits, in terms of things Republicans rhetorically oppose but in practice increase while in office.


Don't you feel guilty about global warming denial?


> majority of public

Do you have sources? I personally believe in the free market, and think fast lanes are beneficial for customers.


It's pretty easy to find sources on this, although I'm sure that you can find conservative media sources that would support a contrary opinion (as is the case for most things). Maybe try using DuckDuckGo to ensure that you're not stuck in a bubble: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=net+neutrality+poll

One of the more compelling sources that I've seen is an analysis of the comments that the FCC received, which showed that 66% of verifiably legitimate comments favored Net Neutrality. See: https://medium.com/ragtag-notes/bot-or-not-verifying-public-...


Thanks for the reply, and I suppose you're right. In my review of the public understanding of this topic, they don't seem to understand or even realize the potential benefits from the free market approach.


One thing I am curious about is why "fast lane" traffic is sold for so inexpensive a price to favored companies. Prices that are a lot less than a typical consumer could pay for extra transfer.


Because Republicans have given up all pretenses of governing based on the will of the people and now openly strive to protect their own power and wealth forever at all costs.


And you say that as if the Democrats are concerned about the will of the people. The problem is that Congress, in general, is bought and paid for by their favorite special interests and no one in congress really cares about what the people think.


Democrats have a long track record of trying to get money out of politics. A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and establish public funding of election campaigns has been on the platform since 2014, and it was one of Hillary Clinton's chief campaign promises.

For Republicans, it is just the opposite: they voted unanimously against an amendment proposal to overturn citizens united (all Democrats in favor)[1], unanimously against a bill requiring fincial disclosures of campaign finance (all Democrats in favor)[2], twice[3], against a ban on dark money campaign ads[4], unanimously in favor of a repeal of the existing pittance of public campaign money (all Democrats against)[5], and against a bill to require auditable paper trails of elections (all Democrats in favor)[6]

Money in politics is absolutely NOT a "both sides" issue.

1. https://votesmart.org/bill/votes/49906

2. https://votesmart.org/bill/votes/32154

3. https://votesmart.org/bill/votes/41152

4. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2002/roll034.xml

5. https://votesmart.org/bill/votes/37426

6. https://votesmart.org/bill/votes/21011


Let's take a look at Democrat vs Republican fund raising:

https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/


The fact that PAC money is needed to win elections doesn't mean that everyone supports PAC money. There are multiple PACs whose stated goals are to abolish PACs.

Look at the votes. Republicans vote to defend money in politics, Democrats vote to abolish it. The pattern has been very consistent for over a decade.


Meanwhile, Republicans typically prefer term limits instead, and are typically opposed by Democrats. [1] [2]

TBH it amazes me that Congress has as much power as they do over campaign finance. Ads, etc. are form of political speech. And restricting political speech is nigh unto violating the 1st Amendment.

[1] https://www.heritage.org/election-integrity/report/national-...

[2] https://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/208395-senate-...


Well term limits are a genuinely bad idea. They make sense for the President, because the Presidency is a uniquely powerful office, and a perpetual president is a real threat to democracy.

A perpetual representative, who wields 1/535th of America's executive power is not going to cause much harm, certainly not enough to justify overriding the will of the people who would keep them in office if they could.

Consider also, term limits would speed up the revolving door between lobbyists and congress, by forcing people out before they're ready to leave, and replacing them with legislators who are less experienced and easier to manipulate.


When some people in Congress have been there for over 40 years, term limits certainly do sound reasonable.


> easier to manipulate

If they weren't always re-campaigning, they might be less easy to manipulate.


If they weren't always re-campaigning, they would not be accountable to the people for their actions, and during their statutory final term they would be actively seeking an employment guarantee from somebody once they're out, and that employer will have leverage over them during that two year term.


  it was one of Hillary Clinton's chief campaign promises
And one impossible for any President to fulfill, so it was inherently dishonest. The President has no authority in amending the Constitution and does not even participate in the process.


You can be supported all you like by special interest groups. If people don't vote for you, you're ejected from office. So at some point, they have to keep up the appearance of standing for the people.


The only time they "appear" to care is when they are campaigning and saying all the right things you want to hear. But on return to Congress, it is just business as usual.


Politicians overwhelmingly tend to keep their promises[1]. Democrats have tried many times to get money out of politics, but they were obstructed by Republicans (who have never promised such) on every attempt.

1. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trust-us-politicians-ke...


The article you're commenting about would suggest otherwise.


Republicans can only remain in power if people continue to vote them into office... so there has to be some pretense or the will of the people will cease to support them.

Any party is only as effective as the numbers of people they have in office.


- Not if they can cling to power through gerrymandering: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/29/us/politics/n...

- Not if they can strip the powers of positions that they have lost: https://www.apnews.com/62c976c13a574fa7a8cbb2aa4de425da

- Not if they have a propaganda media outlet that misinforms voters: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-...

The cronysm and party-before-country behavior of the republican party is a threat to the democracy of the nation.


Do you genuinely believe these things explain >1% of Republican electoral success? If so, can you explain your thinking?


North Carolina is gerrymandered so that Republicans reliably win 77% of the seats despite getting only 49% of the votes, that's 2% of the House of Representatives right there.


The House of Representatives is currently in Democratic hands, so the system there would appear to be working as intended.

Meanwhile, the Senate and the Presidency are controlled by Republicans, and gerrymandering is utterly irrelevant to those outcomes.


> gerrymandering is utterly irrelevant to those outcomes.

You're correct that at the first order gerrymandering is irrelevant to the Senate and Presidency. Gerrymandering comes into play as a second-order effect, though; when used at the state level, it can cause state legislatures to effectively lock to a party. These state legislatures can then make changes to the way voting is organized in their state, enfranchising and disenfranchising voters in ways that support their party, and funding/defunding polling districts per the same. This has an effect that can be plenty large enough to swing statewide elections: see the last election's shenanigans in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida if you're in doubt.


I cannot overstate my doubts enough. Can you point me to evidence (aside from Stacey Abrams' sour grapes) that this swung an election?


The Democrats won the largest popular vote margin of any party in American history in 2018, but only the 53rd largest congressional majority in history, mostly because of Democratic voters in North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin who were "packed and cracked" so that their votes counted far less.


Suppose they had in fact won the largest House majority in history. What exactly would it change? How would NN be faring right now? Moral grandstanding aside, I don't see the relevance of any of this.


The relevance to this is that you asserted that Republicans haven't given themselves any electoral advantage at all or that, if they did, it accounted for less than 1% of their success, when that cannot be further from the truth.

You said "explain your reasoning", and that's what I did.

No need to get defensive over it and try to pretend like it's irrelevant to the discussion. This is literally the discussion you explicitly asked for. If you don't like the fact that the Republican party has acted in a decades-long effort to guarantee their own power in perpetuity with or without public support, don't get mad at me, get mad at them.


I’m not mad at anyone, you simply haven’t explained anything. You just keep repeating the standard litany of Republican sins.

I never disputed Republicans’ attempt to give themselves an electoral advantage. I just disagree that this is consequential, much less decisive. As you yourself argued elsewhere in the thread, NC Republicans’ chicanery could mean a 2% swing in the House. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you’re telling me that by attributing 100% of R success to trickery, in a state that’s the worst of the worst in this regard and so yields the biggest effect size, you can create a counterfactual where Democrats have 2% more seats in just one half of Congress?

Your smoking gun is a rounding error. So I’m asking again: how do these sorts of numbers lead you to believe what you apparently believe?


Gerrymandering is utterly irrelevant to the Senate and the Presidency... in the sense that, if you lift the restriction for representative districts to have comparable populations, the resulting distortions of the popular will no longer count as mere "gerrymandering".


You asked how "these things explain >1% of Republican electoral success", but have now moved the goalposts to "It's still not enough to control the entire house".


I'm really not trying to move the goalposts. It just seems weird to use the House to argue about the incredible effectiveness of the Republican's underhanded tactics--when they don't even control the one body where those tactics should help!

In any event, the House sits beside the Senate and the Executive. As another commenter pointed out, this case at best explains ~2% of the dynamics of one out of three legislative bodies offices. And sure, other states might contribute a bit more. Fine, maybe it clears my 1% threshold; but just barely.


You did though, and when faced with the evidence you shifted the burden of proof to maintain your opinion that gerrymandering by Republicans isn't a problem. The fact you continue to minimize it and ignore the other problematic Republican behavior shows confirmation bias.


You're unnecessarily fixated on the 1% threshold I set out earlier. While nothing you said has changed my mind (my estimate is still <1%), I'm not really interested in the exact number. My point is that your concerns are qualitatively irrelevant (practically, not morally). So what if, in the absence of gerrymandering, there would be 100 fewer Republican congressmen? The Senate still isn't passing NN, and Trump is still stacking the judiciary with conservatives.

I'm not here to defend Republicans (I think they're pretty bad) or the practices you described (I also think those are bad). But that doesn't change the fact that gerrymandering and power grabs and Fox News are nearly completely inconsequential in explaining the world in front of us. Quit with the liberal wishcasting. People don't vote Republican because they've been misled by some sinister conspiracy. They just don't want what you're selling.


The articles I listed do a good job of explaining that, especially the NYT one and how they cling to control in states they lose votes in. It's much more than the 1% or 2% which you keep repeating to minimize it.


Your article explains the House of Representatives makeup in what the NYT concedes is the single most gerrymandered state in the country. Should we really be generalizing from that?

Regardless. The biggest obstacle to NN is currently the Senate and the Presidency. Two out of your three points are completely irrelevant to those offices. Is it all just Fox News? The Russians?


[flagged]


Dude, you're just hand-waving at this point. Add up all the gerrymandering you want. Maybe it gets you to 2%. Maybe 5%. Heck, let's say it accounts for 100% of Republican House members!

Wave your wand and make it disappear. The House is now... still Democratic. And the Senate is now... oh dang, still Republican! And the Trumpenfuhrer... still there!

Sounds to me like your electoral boogeymen don't have that much explanatory power.


> Republicans can only remain in power if people continue to vote them into office

That's not true. People voted them out in 2016 but their votes were not counted, or their registrations were falsely and illegally cancelled, etc. There is a lot more at play here than people's choices; and given that people's ability to choose with correct information and free will has been significantly hampered by Republican-led efforts to reduce the quantity of real factual information in the hands of voters, replaced with lies designed to steal votes.

Now I know that Donald Trump lies a lot, like a lot but sometimes he tells the truth. He has stated at least 5 times that neither he nor his supporters would accept any election results where he did not win.

The current President threatens the nation regularly with his active plans to cancel the next elections and stay in power.

Be careful assuming that the popularity of politicians or their party has anything at all to do with them being in power. It doesn't.


Um... isn't the constitution designed to prevent shit like this happening?

I have no special interest in American politics as I just watch from the other side of the border, but I'm pretty sure my understanding of the political system down there is full enough that I'm right in saying that a sitting president can't legally follow through on threats like that without getting evicted from office.

Aren't there failsafes and backup plans and laws and a justice department to prevent presidential overreach?

This is the whole purpose of the three branches of government.


Just because the constitution was intended to have certain properties, doesn't mean that it actually does.

For example, the chief architects of the Constitution, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, tried several times to eliminate the Electoral College with amendments once they saw how it behaved. They wrote extensively about how their intention had been subverted and the language they chose was a mistake, but other politicians rebuffed their efforts to fix the mistake, and decided instead to exploit it: presidential candidates can ignore most of the voters.


Paraphrasing a certain mustachioed totalitarian, how many federal agents does the Constitution command? Is the Constitution going to personally storm the White House? Even if it did, what would happen if there were resistance at the other end?


Because Republicans are too popular on other issues to swing the Senate.


Agreed, but "too popular" within certain geographies, which the structure of the senate favors. If I recall, at least by the numbers a majority in the Senate can be elected by something less than 20% of the US population.


I think treating the internet connection as a casual "product" is irresponsible and outright wrong. It provides access to education, news, communication, and entertainment. I mean when Russia blocked LinkedIn the response was that authoritarian government is limiting its citizens freedom but when American businesses are throttling firefighters connection it's a healthy competition... "Verizon admitted that the throttling of first responders was in violation of Verizon’s own policies, but in a statement to Motherboard denied that the fracas had anything to do with net neutrality. " Yes it does.


No, it doesn't. Net neutrality is the idea that all content should be treated identically. The idea that you should have unlimited data, or that data should be billed monthly, or any of these other things that are nice are not the same.

An easy way to picture it is common carrier. The postal service does not ask what you are sending. It asks you how big it is. It charges you based on when it needs to arrive. There is no mention of the contents - a dimensional pound of feathers and a dimensional pound of lead cost the same to ship Express Post. Net Neutrality is the expansion of the same idea to the internet - that Spotify, Netflix, my cat blog, and Hacker News cost the same, and are charged the same, per "standard reliability" kilobyte.


Another good analogy, I think, is to electricity. Should your electric usage be differentiated between your alarm clock and your toaster?

https://github.com/ryanpcmcquen/ryanpcmcquen.github.io/blob/...


Both of these analogies are against net neutrality though. The postal service has special requirements and costs for shipping packages that could impact it's services or employees such as Ord-D and Hazmat. Electrical services differentiate between loads that have an impact on the service in the form of power factor correction fees. You just don't see these as a typical homeowner because nothing you run has enough impact to warrant it.

There are two major parts/ideologies in Net Neutrality centered around the idea that traffic should be treated equal no matter what it is, and that traffic should be treated equal no matter where it is from or two. Both of these stances lead to interesting and nuanced technical discussion or at least used to before they became a broader public platform.


But a package is still a package, and electricity is still electricity. Neither the post nor the power company care what you're using your electricity for or what you're sending in your packages as long as you pay an appropriate cost for your usage.

A byte from Netflix takes exactly the same number of packets on the wire as a byte from Hulu or a byte from fcc.gov. Charging more for transferring one of these over the others is pure rent seeking.


> A byte from Netflix takes exactly the same number of packets on the wire as a byte from Hulu or a byte from fcc.gov.

This may be true, but its irrelevant unless the COGs for an ISP is measured in packets. It's almost certainly not.


It pretty much is. That's what customers pay for: how many bytes they can get per unit time. How much the ISP needs to spend on infrastructure is exactly proportional to the total bandwidth customers in an area are using at peak. More usage means they need to install more switches. What label is on the return address of the traffic makes no difference to the expense on the ISP.


It absolutely makes a difference. My neighbor on the same ISP as me pulling down a file from my FTP server does not have the same cost to my ISP as both of us streaming Netflix.


Yeah, and they charge you for your bandwidth to the internet, not your bandwidth to your neighbor. What travels along that bandwidth that you've already paid for is irrelevant. It costs the ISP the same amount whether they are sending you Netflix, or Youtube, or Hulu, or their own digital TV.


If I am using voice traffic, it is very sensitive to routing delay. The total transit time that packet route takes is much more important than the amount of bandwidth I need to throw at it. If I am using an emergency service such as 911, that packet must keep going through regardless of other traffic congestion no matter how many people are streaming Netflix at the moment. Netflix itself is relatively immune to impact from group delay and doesn't need prioritization for reliability but it does require a large amount of bandwidth to be available in order for it to function properly. A packet, is not just a packet that can be simply interchanged if you want maximum performance out of your network.

Also you have the issue that sparked the large public prominence of Network Neutrality. Netflix was renegotiating their peering agreements and the ISPs were trying to soak them on the last mile costs. ISPs felt Netflix should bear the cost of network expansion since their service was generating all the traffic that they needed to upgrade to accommodate. Netflix felt the cost should be primarily carried by the ISPs. This has almost nothing to do with you as a consumer, but Netflix successfully branded it that way to garner public support. N.N. complicates adds a lot of uncertainty to what is legal to negotiate in a peering agreement between companies. L3 is probably going to be the big loser here, not Comcast.

And finally, because I see a lot of posts on this chain that don't understand what Power Factor is, it probably needs to be pointed out. A refrigerator has an inductive motor in it's compressor that it uses to chill the air. A toaster is a simple resistor. The inductive nature of that motor degrades the power network by transforming some real power into imaginary power (mathematical terms) and basically messing up the phase relationship on the distribution network itself. This ratio of real(useful) and imaginary(useless) power is called Power Factor and the power company measures it and asses a fee based on how much you screw it up. A typical household does not run enough of anything to noticeably impact the networks power factor so most consumers don't know about it but if you were running a hundred refrigerators you would absolutely be charged more than running a thousand toasters.

What does that have to do with packet networks? Well, when the traffic (electrical load) impacts the function of the distribution network, the cost is passed on to the user that generates that load. Not all Kilowatts of power consumed are equal.


"Last mile costs" are what consumers already pay for. The ISPs claim that netflix needs to pay extra or else they won't give their own customers the service that they have already paid for is extortion, plain and simple.

Netflix was already paying for an uplink connection of sufficient bandwidth. The customers were already paying for a downlink connection of sufficient bandwidth. The assertion that it's necessary to hold one party hostage in order to get more money from the other is absurd.

UPS doesn't demand that Amazon pay for its new trucks, and it certainly doesn't hold Amazon packages hostage until they do so. They're supposed to buy their infrastructure with the profit that they're already generating. And ISPs are seeing record profits right now.


Except, when Amazon generates a volume greater than UPS' capability to ship, UPS absolutely negotiates infrastructure and capital investments as part of their guaranteed service contract. If Amazon is unwilling to help them increase their capacity to ship, then they throttle the amount of packages that they will ship for Amazon so as not to shut out their other customers and damage their base. These are regular negotiations between large entities entering into partnerships.

What I am saying here is that your analogies are poor because you are uneducated about the topics you are analogizing from. Which sadly, has become a good analogy for the broader Net Neutrality debate.

You might also notice that I am not advocating for the ISPs in my last post. I feel that their demands on Netflix were excessive and unrealistic. That's why I described it as the ISPs trying to soak Netflix.


That's just splitting hairs.

IP packets aren't at risk of blowing up in ISP employee hands, and even if they were, it wouldn't justify allowing ISPs to charge more for Netflix than NBC streaming.


The mail analogy is that some items have special requirements for handling and routing. I won't route Hazmat through post offices that can't handle it just as I won't route high security network traffic through China. Shipping perishable goods requires that those goes be given prioritization so that the arrive before spoiling. Real time voice data requires a minimum time delay. Is it OK to prioritize voice packets over other data to ensure quality?

Another question you might ask. Is it OK to prioritize data that is destined for the 911 network over data that is heading to Pornhub? What about a university? What about Khan Academy? What do you do with encrypted data where you can't tell the type or destination? What if the encrypted data is malformed such that it is causing detrimental performance to the broader network?

Management of a modern network like the internet is an amazing challenge that requires all kinds of work to find optimal solutions. We need real technically nuanced discussion and consideration to craft legislation that actually solves problems and doesn't create significant new ones. We don't need badly flawed analogies designed to garner public support that only apply if you don't know about the topic.


All analogies are inexact by nature, which is why it's splitting hairs to nitpick them to death.

These are fringe use cases that still don't justify an ISP charging more for Netflix streaming over NBC.


So I'm genuinely curious. What legislation would you propose to solve the issue?


That's an interesting analogy. While a power company doesn't necessarily differentiate based on alarm clocks and toasters, they will bill you differently based on the impact your load has on their delivery system even if the kwh is the same.

Given two loads of equivalent kwh most power companies will charge you a different price based on the power-factor of the load.


The matching analogy to kwh is data usage.

The matching analogy to power-factor of the load is bandwidth, not traffic source.

Thus charging more for higher bandwidth during high traffic periods is both reasonable and allowed under NN.

Charging more for higher bandwidth or data usage because of the application is not allowed under NN.


> Charging more for higher bandwidth or data usage because of the application is not allowed under NN.

ISPs would never charge customers depending on the product because measuring that is practically impossible. They never even wanted to do that nor advocated doing so (this was a major source of misinformation put out by the pro-net neutrality camp). What they do want to do is bill the service, namely very large companies that use tons of data, for example earlier Netflix, for the cost of the infrastructure build out they need to do. They're not interested in small companies that produce small amounts of data, nor the end users. They're interested in recouping infrastructure costs from those that drive it upward, which isn't end customers.


> ISPs would never charge customers depending on the product because measuring that is practically impossible. They never even wanted to do that nor advocated doing so (this was a major source of misinformation put out by the pro-net neutrality camp)

That is exactly what zero rating is. Some data costs more than other data.

Also, Netflix the company isn't using the data, Netflix's customers are using the data.


> Given two loads of equivalent kwh most power companies will charge you a different price based on the power-factor of the load.

Or in other words: They will bill you based on the amount of kWh they are actually transporting for you ... which is precisely what network neutrality is about?


Now that you mention it, it sounds like a good idea. From a European perspective, taxing electric usage made by heating, cooking or watching TV differently seems right.


Why does that sound like a good idea from a European perspective, or from any perspective?


I was under the impression that electricity is not very taxed in the US, while here it is.

Also we have different tax rates for different things. You don't pay the same tax for eggs than for electronics. I don't know if the US has that. Applying the same to electricity sounds good. Hard to implement though.


In many places your electricity usage costs more per kilowatt hour as you consume more kilowatt hours. So in essence, more power hungry appliances do cost more per kilowatt hour to use. For example, if someone powers an AC during the summer, their bill will be higher in a non-linear way based on the excess electricity consumption during this time. This makes running the AC more expensive per kilowatt hour if you view it this way. You could be consuming 2x the electricity but have a bill that is 3x higher.

The analogy for the net would be that domains that require more kilobytes would begin to pay more per kilobyte to have it delivered. I'm not saying I agree with this at all but the electricity analogy can be applied very easily to anti-net neutrality advocates' point of view.


I don't think that's the point though. If I understand correctly, the point is that it's okay to charge by usage -- just not specifically giving different rates to different things.

Net neutrality says that the ISPs can't throttle Netflix's speed while giving priority to another streaming platform. It's okay if users are charged by usage (even, perhaps, non-linearly) -- but it's not okay in the eyes pro-NN people if the ISP charges more for Netflix than, say, their own streaming platform. A byte should cost the same regardless of its use (much like a kW of electricity costs the same for a toaster as it does your refrigerator or another brand of toaster).


> The analogy for the net would be that domains that require more kilobytes would begin to pay more per kilobyte to have it delivered.

1. What does any of that have to do with domains?

2. What does any of that have to do with network neutrality, i.e., discrimination based on content?


But electricity costs are not fixed, in the US at least, they float with the market. So electricity during the day is more expensive than electricity at night.

This is how a good market should work. Why should the internet be any different? I think the only reason why net neutrality is a thing people support is because of the monopolies the service providers have in many parts of the country. If there was healthy competition in the space, I don't think anyone would be talking about net neutrality.

As such, I think we should be focusing our efforts on deregulation and creating some real competition in the space instead of net neutrality.


> But electricity costs are not fixed,

It's not network fixedness, it's network neutrality.


No it's not. Net Neutrality is the idea that large bandwidth users should not be charged when they cause most of the cost of the ISPs. Netflix and similar countries want to be able to grow forever and not be billed for the required hardware growth that ISPs need to put out to support those companies products. ISPs should be able to charge for that.

An ISP doesn't bill you for how many bits you download because data traffic is extremely peaky, way more peaky than water or electricity. If they build their network assuming a certain amount of peakiness and then everyone suddenly massively blows out those estimates because some new company comes along that massively uses more data, someone needs to get charged for that. That cost should fall on the company causing that so they can properly set the price of their product to how much data traffic they drive.


Good. It'll pass the House and then the Senate is forced to vote on it. It's necessary to get Republicans' positions on issues on the record so that voters can see just how reprehensible they are.


I don't really see this affecting much in the way of reputation. NN stopped being about the actual policy once it went mainstream and is now entirely tribal signaling. Nobody outside of a tiny tiny group of policymakers and a few ISP level network engineers can claim to really actually understand RIFA.

Anyone who is arguing that eliminating NN is reprehensible and not "I understand the positions of the stakeholders and the current FCC administration's policy goals but disagree that the bill will have the desired effect because..." isn't really helping anything.

Please, we can do better than this. Read the actual text and disagree with it on its merit, not because the people involved are evil.

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-347927A1.pdf


>Anyone who is arguing that eliminating NN is reprehensible and not "I understand the positions of the stakeholders and the current FCC administration's policy goals but disagree that the bill will have the desired effect because..." isn't really helping anything.

Strongly disagree; people can also disagree with the desirability of the effect, not just whether the bill will have the effect that the stakeholders and FCC administration desire. Note that I have not stated any opinion on NN in this comment, just the meta-discussion on what is an acceptable point of disagreement


I strongly agree that there's nothing essentially sacred about the concept of net neutrality. If it can be proven that certain aspects of net neutrality coded into law are a net benefit for society, I'm for it, but I don't think this has necessarily happened yet, and the justification for it gets lots in tribal signaling.

For example, as much as I've read, I'm not sure exactly what part of net neutrality has overwhelming public support. Among people willing to comment on the matter, they seem to stand with the organizations that support it, but the public also doesn't seem to want their network to be neutral.

Outside the specific laws implemented, the general principle of net neutrality is that all data should be treated equally in transit, but all data is not equally prioritized by people. T-Mobile's plan to throttle online video in exchange for unlimited streaming was so popular that everyone else copied it. People are excited for unlimited Netflix, and don't mind 480p on a tiny screen. If most people were given a choice, they would want their most used services to have a fast lane with unlimited data caps and wouldn't mind if the website they check once every few months was a little slower or their video was compressed to fit their device.

Of course, people don't want the nightmare situation presented where they need to pay their ISP a subscription fee for access to each siloed section of the Internet, but so far nobody has proposed that outside of plans like Facebook had in India where base access was free. I would even guess that if people were offered a free unlimited data plan with access to services owned only by Facebook, Google, and Netflix and the option to buy unilmited web access, it would be extremely popular.

So I think we have to acknowledge that many of the things that net neutrality is meant to prevent are actually very popular with many people, while also examining the negative consequences.


You understand that policymakers regularly consult professionals in respective fields before making a decision?

Policymaker regularly delegate the understanding of specific pieces of technology/etc to professionals they trust and have worked with over their tenure.


Really? If you asked the average person about how the repeal of NN has effected them, you'd probably just get a blank stare. For 99% of people, the repeal of NN has not affected them in any tangible way.


  just how reprehensible they are
Are you unaware that we had NN under Bush and then lost it by actions of the Obama administration? And that Pai was originally nominated by Obama?


then lost it by actions of the Obama administration

I thought that while the FCC under Obama did consider lifting NN, the Obama administration and the FCC under Obama ended up coming down strongly on the side of NN. Are you arguing that if the FCC hadn't looked into the possibility of dropping NN under Obama then the Trump administration never would have gotten the idea to follow through on it?

But you are right that it was president Bush and a Republican FCC chair that first adopted the principle of NN.


> Good. It'll pass the House and then the Senate is forced to vote on it

How is the Senate forced to vote on it? McConnell seems to be fond of blocking votes that go against the Republican agenda. See: the shutdown. Also the anti-corruption and voting rights bill that passed the House will not be brought up for a vote in the Senate. Is there something about this bill that forces the Senate to vote on it?


He's having them vote on the Green New Deal (sarcastic comment, but he really is).


Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought that House Resolutions must be voted on in the Senate in some form.


Nope. There's a lot of legislation passed in one chamber just to die in the other. I don't know how many times there have been bills to repeal the ACA in the house, for example, that never got voted upon in the Senate.


Thanks, I forgot about that example.


Passing a bill in the house doesn't have much of a forcing function on getting a bill voted upon in the Senate. I doubt McConnell will bring it up for a vote. It's perhaps possible to attach it to some must pass legislation, in committee, but I'm doubtful.


Either way, both steps are required.


The bill in the tweet in this article is a Senate bill.




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