Democracy doesn't always work, but when it does it's a beautiful thing.
However, this increase of course would also have been the case without the new laws (as you say, as people move from SMS to Whatsapp, they have to compensate). The only difference is that they now can't differentiate between different uses of the internet, but only on the amount of data you get.
I don't think the net neutrality isn't such a bad thing price/economic wise. I'd rather have this clear system which might mean slightly higher prices for the average consumer than a system in which different prices for different uses of internet make calculating your actual costs more difficult. In my opinion, that would only give more opportunities to telecom providers to screw you over with little details, rules and clauses in their contracts -- something which history has shown they don't shy away from (rounding up every call duration to a full minute etc.).
The Telcos are using SMS money to subsidize more expensive parts of the business that people will probably opt out of if they were charged the full amount.
I don't know enough to say what those are, but you're right, the SMS money probably isn't all profit. Right-pricing SMS will probably mean that some other part of the business would be cut back (unfortunately R&D is often a victim).
When the current shareholders are pitted against the future shareholders, the future shareholders often lose.
Specifically for the net, it's a concession that we need gov't to wield the ultimate authority over detailed aspects of the Internet and step into many disputes between private parties if the specter of non-neutrality is raised (and of course it will be). You might think it's in your immediate favor, but voting for net neutrality isn't really voting for equal packet treatment: it's voting for government control over packet treatment, which will be turned against you in ways you haven't foreseen.
Net neutrality is like saying I can't open a store w/out handicap access, even though handicapped folks have the option of a) passing by my store to another; or b) finding a way to shop at mine because it's closer and has lower prices. "Shop neutrality" would dictate that if I won't treat everyone equally - although it's clear in my terms - I just shouldn't exist. There are those who agree with this analogy, too, of course.
You suppose the government should be the ultimate arbiter of what options should be on offer, rather than the entrepreneur and the market of free people? A dangerous way to look at it, I think.
No, the telecoms aren't by any stretch unregulated as it is. But if that's your complaint, tackle it from that direction, not by badly regulating bad regulations.
Personally I sorta agree with you though, that I would rather have regulations that seek to break down the barriers to entry. For instance, require telcom companies to connect homes to a fiber network for a flat connection/service fee, and then allow any ISP to sell those customers internet access.
This is functionally like the network we had during the dial-up days. And the result was thousands of ISPs giving the typical customer dozens of choices. There was no need for government or anyone else to protect network neutrality because the market was functional, as is demonstrated by AOL finding it increasingly necessary to dismantle their walled-garden service to compete with the independent guys.
There were some halfhearted attempts to give ISPs access to the COs to offer DSL service beside the local telcom, but telcoms have been successful in sabotaging it.
Further restrictions -- for example, kneecapping pricing structures that companies can use to differentiate themselves -- will only exacerbate that, though.
Another thought is that with the right market dynamic, I have more variety than it seems at first blush: cable, DSL, fiber, dial-up, satellite, WiMax, 3G, power lines, and possibly others. There's a variegation of technical specialty there that lends itself to horizontal competition by many companies. For heavy usage, several of these are currently poor... but looking at our present options and determining that only cable and fiber matter, for instance, is selling innovation short. It's surprising what can crop up out of nowhere when someone sees an unexploited opportunity.
The reason there hasn't been a mass flight from the standard telcos yet, I think, is that packet profiling has largely taken the form of capping torrents for heavy users, which is a small minority of the market -- and they're arguably being capped for the benefit of the majority. If the telcos make a gamble on harming access or speeds for the majority, there will be a scramble for alternatives, and they will present themselves.
Legislation is too often proposed with the deeply flawed assumption of an inelastic economic model.
But what about my freedom to choose a slower connection? Or one without video chat capacities? I propably would be ok with paying half the price if my traffic has not the highest priority.
When I had less income, an internet connection might have been more affordable if I wasn't forced to buy traffic capacities I didn't need. I have a couple of friends who still struggle to afford internet (sadly, the more time passes without internet access, the harder it'll get for them to ever improve on their income).
Does the "net neutrality" concept differentiate between "intent of usage" and "interest of usage"? The first to me seems more important to be kept neutral.
(What I mean by the latter might be better expalined with the 19th century rail-pricing systems where you had 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers. 3rd class was dirty, packed and propably pathoenic. But more importantly, the "3rd class" could afford the ride. )
For example, if I get a plan that promises:
1) 5 mbs download
2) 1 mbs upload
3) 15 GB usage cap
The ISP is well within it's rights to provide me with such a slow connection, as long as the packets I access on that slower connection are treated equally.
Net Neutrality is not concerned with providing everyone the same internet speeds, but rather that packets are treated equally (ie throttle all packets equally, instead of discriminating against certain packets).
I'm still confused why/if an ISP shouldn't be able to go further with offering me a "Non-You-Tube/Grooveshark-Plan" if it would be cheaper. I guess one critical point is that my data packages should not be looked into for privacy issues. But considering your mentioned plan: You could be rewarded for not using the 5mbs bandwith constantly.
So instead of looking into the data packages, using the "length of a data stream" to penalize heavy-users shouldn't be at odds with net neutrality. Right?
As to why an ISP should not be able to go further with offering you a "Non-You-Tube/Grooveshark-Plan", that is actually the main thing that Net Neutrality was created to stop. ISPs filtering traffic and access to websites based on content.
The greatest fear that proponents of Net Neutrality have is that ISPs will begin walling off the Internet and restricting access to sites in an effort to increase profits.
Currently, the internet is the closest thing that society has to pure competition and freedom of expression.
Imagine if when Facebook first started, MySpace had spent millions paying ISPs to slow down all traffic to Facebook.com, they would have effectively killed it.
Or imagine if a rich billionaire on the Right (or the Left) did not like what a certain website was saying about him and/or his ideology, he would be able to pay ISPs to slow down all traffic to those sites (thus providing a chilling effect on free speech and expression).
And anyway, if your aim is to reduce the cost of an internet connection, the best thing to do would be to increase competition among ISPs. Without competition, even if the costs of ISPs go down, they have no incentive to decrease prices (unless doing so could increase their bottom line), in fact, they may even increase prices if the choice to consumers is either pay more for internet or have NO internet at all.
A large problem with the high cost of the Internet is that many ISPs either through the government become the only company that can legally provide Internet service in an area (government supported monopoly), OR like it is where I live (Montreal, Canada) there is a small number of ISPs and they have carved out regions that they have decided NOT to compete.
Net neutrality should be built into the fabric of the Internet through better technology - legislation clearly isn't working.
And btw, when it comes to net neutrality, I don't think it's such a good idea, because I'm a firm believer in a free market and government regulations only hinder competition.
Net neutrality may be a solution in the U.S. where monopolies are a bigger issue and where you don't have much choice in regards to your net provider depending on location, but in Europe the competition is pretty tough.
For instance people criticized the net neutrality proposal pushed by Google because it exempts mobile providers, however in my country there are 3 major carriers (plus a couple of smaller ones), each of them with mostly the same network coverage, each of them with 3G data plans, each of them operating on the same standards and compatible frequencies. Also under our law, you can always interrupt a contract, the only penalty being that you have to give back the subsidized amount for the remaining period (e.g. the price of the phone minus the initial price, divided by 24 and multiplied by the number of remaining months), but if you have a contract with no subsidy, there are no penalties involved. And since you can also move your number from one carrier to another, there is absolutely no lock-in effect, other than the bureaucracy involved. Also, for locked phones, the carrier must unlock it for free once the subsidy is paid.
The competition is pretty though, and the PrePay plans here would make you jealous ;-) And in my area I also have not less than 3 major broadband providers which are national, so the same arguments hold for landlines.
In this light, in the context of cut-throat competition, yet another government regulation simply does not make sense.
On a higher level, I am certainly for a free market, but don't dismiss government regulations purely because they can 'only hinder competition'. That is a very dogmatic statement as regulations aren't always 'bad'/hindering competition. No personal offense intended, but I always find the strength of belief in a purely free market for some people to be almost the same as how other people believe in religion, very idealistic and extreme. There are a lot of subtleties and nuances to free markets. Also, is pursuing a free market a goal in itself, or a means to an end in creating a 'good society'. In the latter case, other advantages of certain regulations should be considered as well.
Lastly, regarding the issue at hand, next to economical arguments, I think a large part of getting this regulation has comes from other motivations such as valuing equality and accessibility for all etc.
I'm not being religions here. However, I do think that capitalism does work because of competition and in the context of capitalism, the worst that could happen in a market is the creation of a monopoly / oligopoly.
The context is important here. I'm against government regulations, because such legislation increases the chances of such monopolies and despite what many people think, few monopolies are "natural", with most of them being driven by legislation.
> valuing equality and accessibility for all
My problem with "net neutrality" proposals is that I haven't seen any unbiased and throughout analysis of its pitfalls from its proponents. Another problem I have is that the Net was never "neutral", so why is that an issue right now? And sure there are problems, but aren't we fixing the symptoms here rather than the cause?
So much for believing in a free market...
Also you can not really expect ordinary people to care about stuff like this. They will gladly pay more for getting rid of net neutrality only realizing their mistake when it is too late.
On the other hand, it's an essential bit of regulation to ensure that the market for services running over those networks works more like a free market. That is, I think you should favour this one ;)
But if you pay close attention, legislation in the U.S. is also the reason for why there is a lack of choice for consumers in regards to Internet providers. I invite you to read this article:
Actually, 98% of US zipcodes have 2+ broadband providers, and 88% of US zipcodes have 4+ broadband providers. This is from the FCC's own data and excludes 4G providers, which are popping up like crazy (I'm posting this via a Clear mifi device for example).
We could let this devolve into a semantic argument about "broadband," "real broadband," etc. but what would be the point?
My point is that according to that 2008 FCC report, 99.7% of US zipcodes have a choice of 200kbps+ internet provider, and most have even better. This doesn't include any of the networks that have been built out since 2008, like the 4G 6Mbps network I'm using right now.
It's simply not true that "very few homes" only have high-speed internet through a cable or telephone company.
I realize that's not the same thing as coverage of zip codes. Unfortunately the report doesn't break out the number of non-satellite providers per zip code. But, it does break out the number of providers of different types reporting per state, and satellite provider numbers are either 0 or redacted across the board (because they're deanonymizingly low).
If you run numbers on the zipcode data for 2008 , 88% of US census tracts had 4+ providers, 75% had 5+ providers, and 60% had 6+ providers. It's just not plausible that satellite providers account for this.
In order for coverage and competition statistics to be useful, they need to keep up with modern bandwidth and latency requirements. IMO the absolute bare minimum that should be acceptable is 2mbit/s (for sub-SDTV video quality), with ping times less than 80ms. Meaningful participation in the modern digital world requires 15mbit/s or better, especially for households with more than one person.
There was a lot of coverage about some kind of mesh network being developed in response to SOPA (reddit related?). Is it still going strong?
I'm glad Dutch ISPs are not allowed to throttle my traffic to specific websites. But apparently blackholing it is still allowed.
Blackholing because a judge ordered to is not. When disagreeing with the judge, give him better guidelines to work with (ie. change the law)
Censoring The Pirate Bay is interfering the with the users' traffic. Does that mean the court ruling of Ziggo and Xs4all being forces to censor that site, contradicts this legislation?
It's pretty hopefull the law passed senate unanimously.
The situation is not entirely clear even in the US: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125859862658454923.html
"Now, courts are increasingly taking into account whether employers have explicitly described how email is monitored to their employees.
Yes this is why all contracts have been updated. It's in most new contracts. (The 'fine print'). Best thing to do is not use the company e-mail privately (if you value your privacy that is).
They're just reporting this, it's not like we have them to thank for it.
And in the mean time BREIN manages to sue Dutch ISPs into blackholing TPB.
I really wonder whether my monthly donation is doing much good. I'll keep donating, but it'd be nice to see some (recent) successes.
Is common carrier a useful concept for society?
What do you think?