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A century of mixed governmental policy and clever corporate maneuvers has delivered a U.S. telecommunications market devoid of competition. In most cases the cost of entry in the broadband internet market is prohibitively high.  (Source: Parker Brothers)

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today will hold a public meeting to discuss the rough draft of net neutrality rules to try to regulate this unruly market.  (Source: AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Sen. John McCain and Washington Republicans have opposed the measure, but may be powerless to stop it. The telecom industry has donated or fund-raised millions in campaign contributions to McCain and others in a bid to secure their opposition of net neutrality and other restrictions.  (Source: AP/Zimbio)
Under the FCC's new rules "legal" traffic will be protected; though their are significant exceptions for wireless

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will today hold a public meeting to discuss its draft of new internet rules and regulations.  The proposal, drafted by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, represents a relatively moderate approach and thus may draw fire from both strong net neutrality advocates and industry officials alike.

I. What's in the Draft

The draft is all about protecting an "open" internet.  It forbids internet service providers, such as Comcast or Time Warner, from throttling (slowing) legal traffic.  It also would likely outlaw plans, such as the pay-per-site scheme unveiled by wireless providers this week.

The rules have a number of exceptions, though.  Wireless carriers are allowed to throttle certain kinds of traffic (e.g. video), assuming they are not using that as a tool to promote their services in an anticompetitive fashion (i.e. the proposal permits them to "reasonably" manage traffic).  And while they may have to prove it's illegal, wired and wireless operators are allowed to throttle illicit traffic, such as P2P or bittorrent traffic of pirated materials.

Those limitations may bother some net neutrality advocates.  The mobile provision is particularly worrisome to companies like Google who are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile advertising and peddle a variety of high-bandwidth products (like YouTube).

While the outlook is good for video and voice services (e.g. Skype, YouTube, and Hulu) in the wired domain, trouble could show its face their as well.  The proposal permits wired carriers to adopt usage-based pricing, as many are eager to do.

Usage-based pricing is a mixed bag for the public.  For "low tech" internet users, who only check their email and read text-heavy pages like 
Wikipedia or The New York Times, their bills will likely be reduced.  But for "high-tech" users who video chat on Skype, stream movies from Netflix, or play online games they may soon see their bills skyrocket.

The FCC promises to monitor the markets for what it sees as abuses.  But the question is whether the Commission will act in time to prevent such abuses 
before they happen and whether its rulings will even hold up in court, given the fact that they're loosely defined in existing and pending regulation guidelines.

II.  Rise of the Collective Monopoly

i. The Past

Between 1934 and 1996 the internet popped up, cell phones became fashionable, and the telephone marketplace radically changed.  However, there was precious little new regulation to guide this new market.

And the root of the problem began long before that, even.

In the 1880s and 1890s, the Bell Telephone Company enjoyed a monopoly on telephone services in the U.S., thanks in part to the the United States defending its patent on the phone.  Those hoping to construct their own systems of phone lines first had to pay to license the Bell patent , and then had to navigate through a myriad of government restrictions designed to help Bell.

Under the system few legitimate competitors to Bell arose, and those that did were quickly acquired by Bell before they came a nuisance.

In 1899 the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) acquired, Bell.  The net effect was to assign a new name and owners to the national monopoly.

A similar monopoly was developing in the wireless industry, with wireless giant RCA stomping out the competition.  Together RCA and AT&T held the critical patents on vacuum tubes.  And in the 1920s they agreed to a cross-licensing agreement that would essentially make them America's exclusive source of transmitted information over the next three decades.

In the 1960s and 1970s court rulings slowly chipped away at AT&T's domination of the market, by allowing third party devices and their ilk to connect.  And then a landmark decision in 1974 -- the 
United States v. AT&T -- force the AT&T monopoly to split into smaller companies.

Slowly many of these telephone companies began to merge back together, reducing the total number of options.

At the same time as all this was occurring, a handful of cable television companies (Cox, Time Warner, and Comcast) emerged and cornered the small, but increasingly lucrative paid television market.  Eventually some of these firms would be acquired by the telecoms and vice versa.

In 1996 U.S. President Bill Clinton passed the Telecommunications Act, the first major telecommunications legislation since the Communications Act of 1934, which established the FCC.  Among other things, the new law required telecoms to interconnect their wired networks (wireless networks could still operate independently).

ii. Today

Today a handful of companies largely control the wired and wireless internet in the U.S.  There are only four major wireless carriers, and only eight cable networks with a million subscribers or more.

Cable services tend to be what economists refer to as an inelastic good.  While providers make their decisions "independently" they tend to adopt common pricing in a particular region, and have in effect an unlimited supply.  

The cost of market entry is prohibitively high for small competitors to emerge.  Even with the ability to connect to their competitors wired lines, the infrastructure costs associated with launching a cable network to cover over a million people make it virtually infeasible for all but the biggest financial powers.

The question becomes how to regulate a competition-devoid industry that's essentially behaving as a collective monopoly and ever looking for ways to milk more money from customers.  That FCC has largely been saddled with that responsibility.

Many today, however, are unhappy with this state of affairs.  After all, they say, the government put us in this mess by promoting early cable, telephone, and wireless monopolies -- so what makes us think that they will get us out of it with more regulation?

Adding to the difficulty faced by the FCC and pro-regulation members of Congress, is a wealth of campaign donations from the industry's biggest players.  These donations have helped convinced some states to propose laws to effectively ban cheaper municipal Wi-Fi offerings -- an emerging alternative to big cable.  They also have lead politicians on the national scale to fight against new regulation on net neutrality and other topics.

The question, however, becomes -- if Congress and the FCC can't (or are unwilling to) extract the nation from the service providers ever tightening web of rising prices, who can?

III.  The Outlook for the New Rules

The FCC faced contention in its own ranks, when debating Chairman Genachowski's proposal.  Commission members Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn only reluctantly gave their approval to the draft, while expressing misgivings about its exemptions for the wireless industry and various loopholes.  Mr. Copps commented, "While I cannot vote wholeheartedly to approve the item, I will not block it by voting against it."

The two votes from Mr. Copps and Ms. Clyburn gave the Commission a 3-2 vote, clearly split along party lines.  The two Republicans have both opposed the bill.  Commissioner Robert McDowell, one of the two Republican members of the Commission commented in a 
WSJ interview, "Nothing is broken and needs fixing.  Ample laws to protect consumers already exist."

Some industry analysts have praised the draft.  States Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research, in an interview with 
Reuters, "Without regulation, rates could go up and up and up and emerging providers like Netflix and Hulu could have problems attracting users."

However, the proposal, as mentioned, is drawing the ire of some net neutrality groups as being too weak.  Craig Aaron, managing director of Free Press, criticized the bill's many loopholes and lax restrictions on the wireless industry, stating, "These rules appear to be flush with giant loopholes."

These advocates argue the FCC is abandoning its responsibility to protect the public and bowing to corporate influence.

While the bill clearly won't fully satisfy everyone, it does provide some barriers towards the anticompetitive/anti-consumer behavior that the telecommunications market has increasingly been experimenting with.  Thus some see it as a modest step towards preventing telecoms from abusing their artificially dominant position.



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How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By namechamps on 12/21/2010 12:23:13 PM , Rating: 3
If MSE/PE is used then the traffic can't be determined by the ISP.

They know it is BT due to hueristics (how many other applications create hundreds of low bandwidth connections to unique IP at the same time) but they can't prove the content.

I hope the FCC isn't foolish enough to just allow the ISP to assume BT traffic is illegal. i.e. "if we can't prove it is legal then it must be illegal".




By ICBM on 12/21/2010 12:41:19 PM , Rating: 3
Good point. And when the ISP decides what is legal to download, when does that new "online privacy bill of rights" come into play?


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By walk2k on 12/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 2:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, the throttling only seems unfair until you realize that the ISP doesn't have infinite bandwidth and sometimes they just don't have enough to serve all the demand.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 2:11:19 PM , Rating: 1
To add to that what would the "net neutrality advocates" rather have?

Government mandated "fair" internet with no throttling ever which in practical terms might mean you get a 3Mbps connection that can never be throttled?

or

Free Market internet that will give you 20Mbps+ connection speeds that can get throttled back as far as 3Mbps if the network is completely swamped with traffic?

The ISP doesn't have enough bandwidth to serve everyone at their full connection speed at the same time so when too many people are online they have to throttle you.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By room200 on 12/21/2010 2:19:24 PM , Rating: 5
What good is 20Mbps if you're only ALLOWED to use that 20Mbps for certain sites while they throttle the uses that are not a part of their "preferred" network of "acceptable" sites.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By room200 on 12/21/2010 7:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
You have way too many "probablys" for anything you've said to be considered factual, so spare me the sanctimonius nonsense. You're not in people's homes, so you can't say what they're doing with their internet connections.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By FastEddieLB on 12/21/2010 8:18:33 PM , Rating: 3
For example, they could be working on a large collaborative open source program via FTP that could very well be several gigs in size. I've done such myself.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By dsumanik on 12/22/2010 8:52:51 AM , Rating: 4
All arguments against net neutrality are completely BS. User should pay for how much bandwidth they consume, just like water, power and gasoline.

Would you think it is fair to have to pay extra for gas because yu drive a ferrari? A surcharge because your wife likes to use the blowdryer alot???

These isp's can suck my kawk, expand the network, and spend the money for a future proof infrastructure instead playing catch up.

Think of it like this:

If the power is going out, the solution is to increase generation or transmission efficiency...not throttle electricity to your customers. You dont turn out the lights and then charge extra for it.

Furthermore, japan got 3g wireless 12 years ago....do you think it is fair for them to eek every last drop out of this decade old technology by enforcing selective management and tiered pricing?

They need to be looking at expansion for what the demand is going to be a decade from now, then double that for good measure... all these headaches go away and all of a sudden you have millions of customers quietly paying thier internet bill, just like water and power.


By vol7ron on 12/22/2010 7:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Title: ...though their are significant exceptions...


didn't know you could own an "are"


By Klinky1984 on 12/21/2010 8:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
When was porn illegal? Also an illegal & legal download take similar amounts of bandwidth. Streaming a legal copy of a movie will actually take more bandwidth since it's encoded for streaming, which introduces some inefficiencies, also it's not downloaded once and then played locally from then on out, it has to be streamed each time someone wants to play. Similarly a legal song from iTunes takes about the same(more/less) bandwidth as an illegally obtained mp3 file.

If you replace the illegal downloads with legal downloads, guess what it takes just as much bandwidth to transfer. There is the fact that people would have to pay for it & that would lessen demand, but if you think on this, the Internet could ultimately replace regular media deliveries bread and butter. Imagine if you get a box, you hook it to your TV, then you subscribe only to the channels/movies you want ala carte from the content producer directly. You could save massive amounts of $$ and it would create more competition. There is no reason this couldn't happen other than the big media companies doing their best to prevent it.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By namechamps on 12/21/2010 2:57:02 PM , Rating: 5
You seem to be consumed. Throttling has nothing to do with net neutrality. Nothing.

ISP deciding some content is more valuable than others (via payments from content providers) is violating net neutrality.

You are watching show on HBO. I am downloading from a torrent. The ISP runs out of bandwidth (demand exceeds supply). ISP throttles both of your connections back 20% - neutral.

Alternate solution: ISP decides that HBO is more valuable content (because HBO is paying kick backs to ISP). You get 20Mbps accessing HBO. I only get 2Mbps accessing bittorrent. Not neutral.

Starting to see the difference?


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 3:05:19 PM , Rating: 3
If that is the case then the only thing that should happen is that the ISP disclose what types of traffic have priority to the customer before internet service is provided.


By namechamps on 12/21/2010 4:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
Well that wouldn't be neutral would it.

You can't pretend the ISP market is a "free market" by any stretch of the imagination.

The infrastructure was built with significant tax payer dollars, and is enforced both on the telco side and the cable side by monopolistic franchise agreements.

In vast majority of the country consumer has 2 or less choices for broadband and in many places they have a single choice.

Under that environment it would be naive to think the free market can operate.

While everyone likes to espouse "free markets" very few have actually read Adam Smith. His definition of a free market was one free of coercion, fraud, monopolies, and governmental interference. Today most people focus on the last point and forget the other three.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By Iaiken on 12/21/2010 4:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
Who is going to make them disclose anything?

There are pretty much NO regulations whatsoever on what they can or can't do.

The internet is not just like the wild west, things are going down here almost EXACTLY like they did in back then.

The say you want a movie from the data drivers at Netflix wanna drive that movie across the local data baron's land (AT&T's network) so you can enjoy it. Now AT&T wants to sell you their own movie, so they tell you that they're gonna charge YOU for the privilege of them letting those no-good Netflix boys and their stinkin movie across their land. Before they leave, they mention that they're willing to sell you the same movie themselves, without the addition fee.

That is the very definition of anti-competitive behavior and it's wrong. A key aspect of net neutrality is the forbidding of service providers from being content providers. The slides that were posted on WIRED the other day show exactly what form of digital hegemony the service providers are engaged in creating.

I'm sorry sir, but you went outside the walled garden, I'm going to have to charge you a "traipsing through the woods" fee.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By Iaiken on 12/21/2010 4:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to apologize to everyone else with an intellect about the wild west analogy.. I was trying to translate from plain English, to moron.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 5:31:03 PM , Rating: 1
Well excuse me for not being so ready to jump on board with having a bunch of unelected bureaucrats regulate yet another aspect of everyones lives! Clearly you and the rest of the oh so wise ones have the intellectually superior position because there is absolutely no examples of that sort of situation ever being anything but sublime for the public in general!


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By Klinky1984 on 12/21/2010 8:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
You seem more than happy to have a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats(Wait bureaucracy is in corporations too!? Oh no! My world is shattered!) decide how the Internet should be run.


By aebiv on 12/22/2010 11:44:19 AM , Rating: 2
Because ultimately they answer to their stock holders, and unless they get special treatment from the Government, the consumer.

Look at it this way, you can choose to pay a business money.
The government will always just take your taxes.


By RivuxGamma on 12/23/2010 8:03:58 PM , Rating: 1
It also seems unfair when they tell people that they have a 5 Mbit connection and then those same people never get anywhere close to that. It also seems unfair when they're told that they have up to 5 Mbit. It also seems unfair when the ISP doesn't make their policies available so that people don't violate them.

Stop defending assholes that lie about their abilities.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By namechamps on 12/21/2010 2:54:36 PM , Rating: 2
I never said ISP should be able to throttle.

Net-neutrality doesn't prohibit:
* caps
* speed throttles
* per unit pricing (pay as you go)

The issue is that ISP must treat all data neutrally. So someone consuming 100GB via Bittorrent wouldn't be capped/charged/trottled any more/less than someone consuming 100GB from Hulu or cnn or any other source.

Neutrality means simply that.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By Iaiken on 12/21/2010 4:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
How disgustingly neutral of you...

I hate these filthy Neutrals, Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but with Neutrals, who knows?

It sickens me.


By Omega215D on 12/21/2010 11:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah well, Live Free or Don't.

If I don't make it, tell my wife hello.


By EricMartello on 12/22/2010 12:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the key point here that ISPs are OVERSELLING their services and not delivering on what they're advertising. You pay $xx for say 20 Mbps up/down but get throttled because the ISP figures you are using too much. No, if they advertise 20 Mbps and bill you on 30 day periods, that means 20 Mbps x 30 days of usable bandwidth - that works out to 216 GB per day, or 6.4 TB per month. If the ISPs' networks cannot handle a user or group of users putting that kind of demand on their network then guess what, THEY SHOULD NOT ADVERTISE IT AS SUCH.

Selling someone 20 Mbps and then throttling it down to 2-3 Mbps except for a few select sites is essentially bait-and-switch. You're advertising a 20 Mbps connection but in reality its 3 Mbps...when it comes to communications I do think that there needs to be unbiased regulation that prevents companies from doing this kind of stuff. There's also a serious lack of competition in the telecom industry and that's leading to a few fat, bloated providers lobbying for these "abusive" policies to be made into law.


RE: How does an ISP "prove" a BT is illegal
By marvdmartian on 12/22/2010 9:39:10 AM , Rating: 1
Don't be surprised when they decide to "err on the side of caution", and just say everything is illegal. I look forward to the inevitable court battles this will bring.

Jason, check your spelling:
"Under the FCC's new rules "legal" traffic will be protected; though their are significant exceptions for wireless"

Spell check doesn't always catch it when you mis-spell a word by spelling another (wrong) word correctly. ;)


By HoosierEngineer5 on 12/22/2010 11:27:03 AM , Rating: 1
Their are enough grammatical errors in Jason's articles that I believe they are intentional. I personally just grit my teeth through them without commenting. Perhaps he is introducing them in some perverse attempt to increase page hits?


Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By ICBM on 12/21/2010 12:38:42 PM , Rating: 5
The only thing we need telecoms for is to provide us with a dummy pipe to the internet. From there, let us choose what services we want and don't want. These companies see the writing on the wall, and the only way for them to remain as big and important as they are is to try and stop competitors. Lets face it, we only need ATT to provide us an internet connection. If we want something else from them, great buy it from them. Don't force me to buy it! This goes for both the wired and wireless side. Wireless side isn't quite to the point where the wired is, but I believe it should be the same their too. Why not just have a data plan and a vonage/lingo/skype app on your cell for voice calls? This is what terrifies these guys, and this is where we must go.




RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By ClownPuncher on 12/21/2010 12:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
I want micro-transactions on my online micro-transactions. We all do.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By atlmann10 on 12/21/2010 1:08:37 PM , Rating: 1
Well yes the dummy pipe idea could be a true and relevant one. However; I do not believe that it should be owned by a private provider. I am sure there will be arguments to this idea. I believe that the main network pipeline should be owned and provided by the government, and both state as well as federal within that. The reason I say this is multi-fold.

The first is that it will significantly raise our future strength with it's existence. This will be evident both in jobs, and therefore GDP, public protection in the non-monopolization enabled by this. The best thing to look at as a demonstration of this is wireless service in Europe.

In that example as well as one that would make the most sense it is one "utility". The providers then buy and promote what they own within it. Much like when the FCC auctioned frequencies recently that were opened by the digital migration, and the OTA broadcasting that existed prior to it.

So everyone or every place in the country would have availability to the service both wired and wirelessly. Then providers would offer a service path to that as well as services within it. The bottom end would be available to everyone. That would make it universal as it is in most large countries except here (USA).

It would also be a service market not a dominance market as it is now. Another way to look at it is the Highway/Interstate system, as in a realistic regard it is the same. The information Superhighway is a large means of communications, product availability, and is becoming eventually to be the largest means of the procurement of goods. This is exemplified by the ever growing holiday market which has grown yearly now for quite some time.

Eventually it will be the main pipeline for this. You will buy groceries etc to the greatest amount. The local providers will deliver or have pick up services as many already do. As an example you order your groceries online, then pick up a packaged order on your way home.

It is somewhat funny if you think about it. The Milk or general product delivery person will come back into existence. SO regularly used products such as milk/beverages, certain household goods etc bought regularly by everyone will be delivered most likely. The rest will be optionally delivered or pick up packages.

Either way the internet should be addressed like this to provide it for everyone initially at say the 500-750Mb level. Then everyone will buy up for the level of service they want to 1-50Gb or whatever they desire. The service providers will provide Email, commonly used services, security, Television etc.

I know this will never happen I am just commenting on a perfect world picture, where providers are chosen because of the excellence of there service as well as the extra capabilities they offer.

Either way this is the future of our country, and so should be a concern for everyone, even though I know it is generally not so!


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By ICBM on 12/21/2010 1:27:56 PM , Rating: 5
My issue with a usage model is that it isn't costing anyone more money to use the bandwidth that is already provided. For example:

1. I have a pc and a file server running on a 100Mbps switch.

2. The cost for me to transfer files between the two is the initial cost of the switch and the cost of the electricity to keep the switch running. Who cares if I transfer 5MB or 500MB? The cost to run the network doesn't change. (electricity being miniscule).

3. Lets say I want to transfer faster. Ok I upgrade and buy a new gigabit switch. So now the cost has gone up, but cost has nothing to do with how much I am transferring.

I think a government option is an interesting one, but I would prefer to keep private companies involved. I like the idea of having municipal internet services, and having those compete against the private companies. Let the provider who can offer the best service for the best price capture the customers. The key is competition and if the government is the only source, we again lose competition.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By Quadrillity on 12/21/2010 1:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
That example doesn't really work. Your home switched network probably requires just about zero maintenance; which isn't the same with a large multi geographic backbone. There is a LOT more going on behind the scenes than you think.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By monitorjbl on 12/21/2010 2:22:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That example doesn't really work. Your home switched network probably requires just about zero maintenance; which isn't the same with a large multi geographic backbone. There is a LOT more going on behind the scenes than you think.


This is true, but the gigabit switch example still holds. The maintenance cost doesn't go up just because a new piece was installed. The upgrade for a telecom's network is obviously more complicated than just buying some switches or laying some cable, but there is no reason to say that the maintenance of the new switch/line would be higher (unless of course it was done badly).

The only cost to actively running a network that would change in this scenario is the cost to send data to their backbone network. Assuming those rates stay fixed, the telecom would end up spending more money per month.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By HrilL on 12/21/2010 7:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
actually it pretty much is as simple as changing out your switch from 100Mb/s to gigabit.

Just substitute switch with router. They replace the router or a lot of time just a module in the router in order to get faster speeds. Back bones and big ISPs already have the fiber in the ground and just upgrade the modules that interface with the fiber in order to upgrade their throughput through the same fiber they already have.

Many backbones still have thousands of miles of dark fiber because of upgrades in modules that can use more wave lengths of light with the same cables instead of adding new routers and modules that use out dated tech.

Big ISPs and backbones already have Peering agreements that basically allow them to share bandwidth at no costs with each other so that Large data centers a (company like netflix) that need transit can give access to customers and so the customers have access to the content they're looking for.

Really broadband is a very profitable industry and the profits keep rising because many ISPs are not upgrading their networks and are throttling instead during times of high usage. Most cable providers are still using DOCSIS 2 when DOCSIS 3 has been out since 2006. Comcast has only upgraded in areas where they actually have to compete with Verizon's Fios offering in order to stay competitive.

Prices for broadband should be falling because the initial build out has already been recouped the same fiber these companies are using has been in the ground for over a decade now. But prices still seem to be going up. This is what happens in markets with little to no competition.

We'll use Europe for example. They have competition and their speeds are consistently getting better while their prices are going down. I know swedes that pay about $30 a month and get 100Mbps up and down data and also phone service as a package.

The size difference argument is a non argument. Many of our cities and states have higher population densities yet everyone still pays $50 a month for maybe 20Mbps down and something like 2Mbps up. It also doesn't hold water because a lot of areas have no broadband and many of them are not even that remote.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By Zaranthos on 12/21/2010 1:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing the government runs ever works well for long. It gets loaded down with bureaucratic nonsense and red tape. How's the post office doing these days? Terrible. How about that social security trust fund. Spent and gone. Government home loans and student loans? Far in debt. Medicare? Mostly unfunded and in terrible shape. There is no perfect world. There is no hope of some pie in the sky utopia where we all get our cake and eat it to. Life isn't fair. I just wish people would figure this out and quit thinking the government can fix everything. The more you try to let them fix the more you surrender your own freedom for shackles of an out of control government.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By room200 on 12/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By Klinky1984 on 12/21/2010 8:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
How'd that self-regulated financial & housing market fair? Oh wait, that's right... Corruption only exists in the government, silly me...


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By myhipsi on 12/22/2010 9:45:05 AM , Rating: 1
Go look at the facts before you state your opinion on the subject. The market hasn't been "self regulated" since the early 1900's, and arguably never has. There are countless government mandates, regulations, and controls on the market that create endless moral hazards. This is how giant corporations hold onto their monopolies, it's how wall street gets rich at the expense of the tax payer, it's why the little guy (small business owner) finds it tough to compete, it creates barriers to entry into the market (strengthening established monopolies), and actually is the source of 99% of the corruption in the market.

On the subject of net neutrality; Do you really want the internet to turn into cable TV? Cause that's what will eventually happen if we allow it be regulated like every other part of our lives. The internet is the only free, unregulated medium we have left, and it has worked wonderfully since it's inception. Why fix something that isn't broken. Let the market decide with their dollars.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By Klinky1984 on 12/23/2010 1:51:11 AM , Rating: 2
Bandwidth caps, throttling & double-dipping for bandwidth fees doesn't sound that free. The Internet is already "regulated" by the ISPs that can limit your access as much as they want by capping, throttling or charging whatever they want because usually you have no alternative. Cable TV is poorly regulated. These companies need to be broken up and there needs to be more competition or they need to be strictly regulated so as to ensure they are providing fair & consistent service while existing as a local monopoly/duopoly.

Also the fact that that financial market wasn't completely unregulated doesn't excuse the fact that business could have taken the moral high-ground instead of short-sighted profiteering. Morals aren't the concern of business though & one shouldn't expect that they will keep their hands out of the cookie jar.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By myhipsi on 12/23/2010 9:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
Of course the internet isn't free monetarily, that's not what I meant. It's free as in freedom.

Where I live there essentially exists a duopoly, but they are fierce competitors. I constantly get mailings from both companies with offers of lower prices, more features, etc. One offers unlimited usage with 5 mb of bandwidth, the other offers 95 GB per month usage with 10 mb of bandwidth. I actually chose the capped one because of the higher bandwidth, and I rarely use more than 95 GB a month, so it works for me. Neither of the companies throttle, or "charge whatever they want".

On your second point, when the fed provides trillions of dollars of cheap (almost free @ 0.25%) money, what do you expect will happen? It's like providing free booze to a bunch of teenagers. My point is, if interest rates were market driven, they would be much higher than 0.25% and the leveraging party would never have occurred. When people can get rich by simply borrowing money and lending it out at a higher interest rate, over-leveraging is the natural result. It's called moral hazard, and government policies and regulations cause many of them.

As far a business ethics are concerned, I disagree with your assertion that businesses have no morals. Financial markets are a little bit different, and investors do, in most cases, not consider morals in their investment. But in a free market, greed is balanced by fear. If banks and investors were allowed to go bankrupt during the financial collapse, that would have set the stage for a much more conservative future in banking and investing. But since the government bailed them all out, they will just repeat the same mistakes. If you maxed your credit card and there was always someone there to bail you out, why would you stop. You would continue to be irresponsible because it would benefit you. It's the same in financial markets. Again, government bailouts = moral hazard.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By Klinky1984 on 12/24/2010 12:15:07 AM , Rating: 2
...and by "free" I meant it as in "freedom", the ability to use your connection as you see fit w/o interference from the ISP. Money is power & the connection from your home to Internet is power. Digital connections are content agnostic as you can carry voice,video & data across them. I would say by placing caps, throttling services they do not like & trying to extort fees out of content providers on the Internet, all the while promoting their internal services, that is an attack on "Internet Freedoms", being able to do what you want when you want with whom ever you want. Ultimately I could see them trying to charge rates so excessive as to make Internet content distribution unfeasible or at least change the Internet into something they can control and tax.

Also I think it's somewhat scary that consumers are now beholden to a small group of mega-corps in each sector. Maybe Google will step in an save us or MSFT against evil Comcast, Verizon or AT&T? These companies just keeping getting bigger and bigger, at what point does a business have their hands in two many pies to where the market & consumers are negatively affected?

I have Comcast & Verizon in my area, Comcast recently sent a notice they are raising rates, this happens to occur around the time that Verizon sold their FiOS service to Frontier Communications which is planning to stall fiber to the home services, interesting indeed. Verizon DSL is still around but is pathetic at what they offer. Also there are a lot of apartments in this area that are locked down to one provider or the other, where there is absolutely no way to get a competing service installed. This can be the case with your apartment or even the entire city.

Also I am not sure how your mind works where you're suggesting that because business/financial sector couldn't keep themselves from taking advantage of a moral hazard, this means we should entrust them with more freedoms because they wouldn't create a moral hazard in the first place? It also wasn't just a low interest rate that caused the problem, there was a ton of foreign money flooding wall street which everyone wanted a piece of the pie. So banks went so far as to give people loans based on fraudulent information, then have their buddy rating agencies rate these investments as gold, while shorting against them. By now the cheap money is a tiny fraction of the problem and the main issue is integrity of the people running the companies, which you seem to think need more leeway?

The whole financial sector is F'd-Up from the Fed Reserve, to the market makers to the high frequency traders & to the derivatives market...etc..etc..


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By Jaybus on 12/22/2010 5:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I do not trust government to operate a nationwide network with anything resembling efficiency. I believe competitiveness could be brought to this market with two straight forward regulations.

1. An FCC license should require a standardized network sharing agreement with all carriers large and small.

2. Customer contract terms can be for no more than 30 days (month-to-month basis), and "setup" fees are limited.

The first has the effect of allowing anyone with some sort of network cable running to the premises to purchase a service plan from any carrier in the US that they so choose. The sharing agreements dictate the percentage of the bandwidth allocated to them, and they are responsible for that same percentage of the maintenance costs.

The second allows consumers to change carriers anytime they wish without undue penalty. This is crucial. Customers must be able to easily switch service to the provider they deem best for their purposes. Providers must not be allowed to essentially enslave customers with unreasonable lock-in agreements as is being done in the wireless sector.

Once competition is introduced into the market at the local level, the rest will take care of itself.


RE: Telecoms = Dummy Pipe
By HypocriteWatch on 12/21/2010 2:46:41 PM , Rating: 4
My God! You really think that a big dumb pipe from the Government will be a good thing? Are you crazy? Today's news has more regulation on the Internet - BY THE GOVERNMENT YOU SEEM TO LIKE!

Please, many private pipes is a million times better than counting on a censoring government to provide for you. It's almost a little sick to think that I would have to rely on the government to provide that service.

Please noooo...


Looking for a problem
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Looking for a problem
By ICBM on 12/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Looking for a problem
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 1:25:06 PM , Rating: 3
That sucks that you don't have faster service options but that is a consequence of living in sparsely populated areas.

As for competition in my area it is essentially a monopoly. My choices are Qwest DSL which tops out at 5Mbps or charter communications cable internet which has plans that range from 3 - 25Mbps. If I want the faster connection I have a single option. Charter upgraded their way into making Qwest irrelevant years ago and they keep offering faster and faster services.

Even still, living in a tiny town you're still getting a better deal then I was 8 years ago... I payed $50 for a 1.5Mbps connection you pay less than half that and do so with more inflated dollars.


RE: Looking for a problem
By ICBM on 12/21/2010 1:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
Most small towns seem to have at least two options, one being cable the other DSL. For some reason the cable in our town is still analogue only with 36 channels. You get all of this for $49.95 a month!! Needless to say, no cable modems for us. Nobody even uses cable for tv here anymore, everyone is with Dish Network or Directv. I only wish satellite internet was a decent option.

The move to 4G may be the best bet for many smaller communities, assuming they are deemed worthy of having their towers upgraded.


RE: Looking for a problem
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 1:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
The upgrades will get there it just might take longer than you want it to. Bigger areas are upgraded first because they cost less per customer to service, the fact that you have any sort of broadband service at all means that they can pull a profit on that type of service out there you're just in a low priority area.


RE: Looking for a problem
By namechamps on 12/21/2010 3:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
Well there is no guarantee.

10 years ago broadband in some cities was slower but still faster than rural areas.

The cities got upgraded. There is a lot of money to be made so there is some competition (FIOS helps) so more upgrades are made, and more, and more.

My cable internet connection has been upgraded about half dozen times in the last few years. We got two giant upgrades and a price cut when FIOS came.

There is no guarantee ISP will put money into rural broadband. Most of them have a 100% monopoly. Nobody else is going to run lines. So people will buy the product no matter how expensive or how slow.

So it is possible you will see something like this.

Average download speed

2000 rural 1Mbps city 3Mbps
2010 rural 1Mbps city 10Mbps
2020 rural 1Mbps City 50Mbps
2030 rural 1Mbps city 100Mbps
2040 rural 1Mbps city 400Mbps


RE: Looking for a problem
By monitorjbl on 12/21/2010 4:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
I feel like you can't see that other things change too. 1.5 megs was more than adequate 8 years ago, but the internet has evolved a lot since then. Honestly, anything south of 5 megs is pretty piss-poor for an average family that knows how to use the internet nowadays.

This is an unrealistic analogy because electricity doesn't work this way, but...would you want your electricity restricted to a 2 kW at a time just because you live out in the sticks and your electric company doesn't think it's profitable to run more lines out to you? Or because it's more profitable for them to charge you more when you go over a certain amount? For reference, 2kW is like running your computer, A/C and TV at the same time.

I guarantee you'd be on the other side of this if it affected you more; based on your comments on this topic, I don't think you use the internet nearly as much as most of the other people on this site do.


RE: Looking for a problem
By fearrun on 12/22/2010 1:12:47 AM , Rating: 2
Your time-line is fairly close to my own for when I first started using DSL. Two small towns here, around twenty-five thousand for population combined.

In 2002 it was Verizon DSL at 1.5 Mbps or dial-up, Charter had not even hinted at the providing internet services let alone HDTV. Less than a year later we were bumped up to 3 Mbps. In 2006 we decided to purchase our first HDTV and with Charter still a coin toss if they would provide internet or HD in our area, they lost a customer to DirecTV.

Still chugging along on 3 Mbps here at the end of 2010, now with Frontier after being abandoned by Verizon earlier this year. Verizon evidently saw, what some others have mentioned, no profit supporting internet and other services in rural areas like the Northwest.

Eight years later Charter has some coverage for their high-speed and HD. But, they are again stagnant on the likelihood of ever expanding to the area near my home.


Natural Monopolies
By monitorjbl on 12/21/2010 12:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
I've always been of the belief that business has no place in a natural monopoly because it gives companies no reason to improve. If there is only one phone/electricity provider in your region, you shouldn't be made to suffer for it just because you need it and internet connectivity is rapidly becoming just as crucial for day-to-day things. Not to compare the necessity of the internet to that of water, but there is definitely a reason water utilities are usually run by the local government. If a business can abuse its customers because they have no choice in the matter, then there is a problem.

However, with the internet where it is today, I don't think the Internet could survive as a government utility. The vast majority of voters are older and tech-useless, and they would end up having the final say on how fast the internet connectivity in their town was. Most of the older crowd would be fine with dial-up; it's fast enough to do email and it would hardly change their taxes if it were to be their town's only option. Maybe a decade or two down the line, when most people have been using the internet for most of their lives, this will make more sense. But for now, that only leaves us with regulation.

There's already a ton of regulation in place for telecom companies and though I'm not saying all of its current rules are good as-is, it definitely needs more. If your customers are using almost all of your bandwidth, the solution is to acquire more bandwidth, not screw your existing customers by throttling them and keeping the same amount of bandwidth. It's part of the growth of a normal business, but because Comcast's customers are more or less stuck with them, Comcast seems to think it's special.

I'm not saying that these companies need to be profitless in this enterprise, but I can guarantee you that Comcast can afford to upgrade its network. If this were a competitive environment, there would be no reason for this kind of regulation. But since it isn't, even the most conservative-minded person needs to keep in mind that their power bill could be a lot higher than it is now, were it not for government regulation.




RE: Natural Monopolies
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 1:11:56 PM , Rating: 3
I think my powerbill would probably be lower were it not for government regulation.

I live in an area where they are tearing out hydro-electric dams, refuse to allow the power companies to build new power plants, and government regulation of some sort or another gets in the way of almost every new engery project that gets proposed.

Can we keep the dams we have? NO the government says they don't meet the requirements for recertification because they have no fish ladders.

Can we build fish ladders? No because the permitts etc. will cost more than removing the dams.

Can we build a new liqufied natural gas power plant? No because environmental regulations will not allow it.

Can we build a nuclear plant? No because environmental regulations have all but oulawed them in this state.

Can we build a biomass power plant? Maybe but we'll have to import the fuel for it because they've all but regulated the logging industry out of business.

What we can do is use regulation to stop every new energy project then blame the "evil" Pacificorp for rising electricity prices! I think the government can take its regulations and shove them up their ass, they cause more problems than they solve every time from my experience.


RE: Natural Monopolies
By monitorjbl on 12/21/2010 1:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
Those are all valid points, but imagine what that company could do for you if there were no regulations and no government-imposed "projects". They could charge whatever they felt like charging, and you really wouldn't have any choice but to pay it. I mean if you're stubborn enough, you could just go without electricity, but that isn't a realistic expectation of...anyone, really.

I do agree with you on some points though. Environmental regulation can be one of the stupidest things in existence, and I would dearly love for the stupid rhetoric that comes out of environmentalists about nuclear power to somehow be surgically redirected into their butts. So, not saying all regulation is good, but to expect that your power bill would be lower in an unregulated environment is just being too optimistic.


RE: Natural Monopolies
By MrBungle123 on 12/21/2010 1:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
No I don't think they could charge whatever they felt like charging. The power companies still have to deal with market forces. The power they offer has to be cheaper than what it would cost individuals to generate their own power otherwise people will buy generators instead of their services. They can't charge so much that people start making a concious effort to reduce their usage or they lose money because consumers will buy less of it(different side of the equation but the same effect on bottom line). They can't charge so much for it that businesses pack up and move to the next county or (factories and large stores use more power than 100s of homes).

They will charge something close to the "going rate" for power not because of government regulation but because it is a good business decision and charging too much or too little will negatively effect their business.


RE: Natural Monopolies
By monitorjbl on 12/21/2010 2:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's not cost-effective for a person to generate his own power until a certain, massive price point is hit. Solar is inefficient and most people are only at home when the sun goes down, so the only real option is diesel generators. With the cost of fuel being where it is now, you could safely say that you would need to be paying the equivalent of your mortgage in electric bills before that would even approach profitability.

Anyway, you're mostly correct, assuming all variables are static and all cities are equal. You're ignoring the scenario in which power companies offer their service at an attractive rate until they have enough customers, at which point they drive up costs to a higher, but still maintainable rate for most people and businesses. You're also discounting the fact that businesses may need to be in a particular area for access to a natural resource or clientele.

There are dozens of other scenarios but even in yours, the power companies could increase their rates by a lot before people or businesses would seriously consider moving/reducing their loads/generating their own power. Neither people nor businesses pack up and move to a new county just to save a couple of cents per kWhr, and even that much of a hike is a LOT of revenue for a power company with a lot of customers.


Cost and Freedom
By drycrust3 on 12/21/2010 2:12:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The draft is all about protecting an "open" internet. It forbids internet service providers, such as Comcast or Time Warner, from throttling (slowing) legal traffic. It also would likely outlaw plans, such as the pay-per-site scheme unveiled by wireless providers this week.

Firstly, I'm not American, I know very little about the finer workings of telecommunications in America, and have never worked for an ISP, but I have worked in telecommunications in the past.
The problem with banning throttling is there is such a thing as physical limitations. We see these all the time: my car will stop if it runs out of petrol, my cell phone will die if I don't recharge it, you can only get 2GB on a 2GB flash drive.
An ISP is in the same situation: the servers have physical limitations. The CPU inside the server cannot do more work than what the clock will let it, nor can it store more information in RAM than it has RAM, nor can it send more data to my computer than the broadband connection will let it.
Notice the last one: an ISP cannot send more data to my computer than the broadband link will let it! If I choose to live a long way from the local telecoms source, then I cannot expect to get a large amount of data down the phone line, and if I choose to close to the local telecoms source, then I will get more data down the phone line.
An ISP, in turn, has to make choices, one of which is do they buy capacity that equals the sum of all the broadband connections of all their customers to all the other ISPs they connect to, and from there to all the websites. For example, I live in New Zealand, so should my ISP have links to Australia that equals the sum of all their customers' broadband links, and to America, and to Europe, and to Romania, and to Russia, etc? If they did, then they could guarantee that I will never encounter any restriction between the website and my computer, but the cost of my broadband would be so high I couldn't afford it for even one second.
Notice that: for an ISP to guarantee that I will never ever ever, even in times of international crises, get any form of throttling is going to cost me so much that even large wealthy companies would not consider connecting to them, let alone people on a tight budget like me.
So, because of the high cost, the ISPs place bets. The bet is how much can they reduce those physical links by and me not notice. For example, say they reduced their links to America from being equal to all the customers' capacity requirements to being equal to 99%, would I notice? Of course not! So they could get away with that! What about 9%? Probably not, but on rare occasions I might!
The problem with legislation that says you cannot throttle traffic (and that "legal traffic" is just nonsense if you don't want your ISP to be snooping into what you do) is it denies reality. What they should say is an ISP should state what sort of concentration ratio they have between their customers' broadband links and the other ISPs they connect to, and what sort of impact the end user can expect under normal situations.
As a rough guide, a cheaper ISP will have a higher concentration ratio than a more expensive one, but the customer on a cheaper one will encounter a longer time downloading a large file at peak times than a customer on the more expensive ISP.
Lastly, as I said, this idea of "legal traffic" is nonsense! It is like saying I can get a cheaper rate from my phone company if I don't swear on the phone! How can they know? Only by checking on what I am doing! If you want freedom, then you let the ISP run his equipment the way he wants, with the proviso that he should tell you what sort of quality to expect, just like any other business, otherwise you go down the path of censorship and control.




RE: Cost and Freedom
By peebee on 12/21/2010 2:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
True, a glass can only hold so much. Unfortunately ISPs in this country don't operate this way.

Let's say I build a swimming pool and charge everyone $5 to use the pool. It becomes popular around town and more people join the club daily. At this rate, I'm going to eventually run into a capacity issue. This leaves me with two choices. I can expand my pool to increase comfort and useability of my pool for the users or I can tell the swimmers that they can only swim in certain locations of the pool, for a certain number of hours per day, and must use floaties while doing so.

My analogy might be flawed in a number of areas but the general message still applies. TCOMs in this country, for years, have taken the profits for themselves with little regard to expanding their infrastructure to better their service.

This practice is catching up with them today and guess what? They're continuing to pressure the public with reduced offerings and hellacious prices.


RE: Cost and Freedom
By drycrust3 on 12/21/2010 5:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
As I said, I'm not American and don't know your situation, but surely the most important part is your freedom to use the internet. What is so bad about across the board throttling if it allows what you do to remain confidential and away from prying eyes?


RE: Cost and Freedom
By namechamps on 12/22/2010 12:26:34 PM , Rating: 4
There is nothing against across the board throttling (as there is nothing wrong with across the board caps or across the board price increases).

Net neutrality has nothing to do with any of those "issues" which are merely a metric of supply & demand. Supply being available bandwidth and demand being consumption (especially durring peak hours).

What IS a violation of net neutrality is treating data differently.

i.e.
An ISP making it cheaper to access HBO.COM than Hulu.com
An ISP throttling only bittorrent traffic
An ISP putting cap on netlfix movies but not on other content.


Maybe I'm off the mark here, but -
By Dr of crap on 12/22/2010 9:15:02 AM , Rating: 2
I understand the ISPs problem with bandwith and trying to handle problems if everyone wants to look at Youtube videos at the same time, but -

Why not beef up their network so that those that want to have access to this all the time would then be able to get on this beefer network and not have to pay per Mb of download.
It could be like a cell service, XX for service, and a bit extra if you want to have full unrestrited video viewing.

A two teir system, and then they wouldn't have to charge Little Billy hundreds of dollars for looking at You Tube videos on his iPhone!

And yes I know there is cost to get this upgraded system, but is anyone even trying to upgrade now??
Be the first and you'll get the customers!




By namechamps on 12/22/2010 12:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
Basically nothing in your post is correct.

quote:
"Why not beef up their network so that those that want to have access to this all the time would then be able to get on this beefer network and not have to pay per Mb of download. It could be like a cell service, XX for service, and a bit extra if you want to have full unrestrited video viewing."


None of this has anything to do with net neutrality. An ISP can charge more or less without violating net neutrality. An ISP can impose caps, throttling, or even charge by the unit ($10 connection and $1 per gig) similar to water/electricty and that doesn't violate new neutrality.

Net nuetrality simply prohibits and ISP from charging more (either you or the content provider) for one content over another. So for example if your ISP let you access timewarner movies online for free but charged you $1 per gig to access hulu that would violate net neutrality. If your ISP allows you to download 500GB per month but caps netflix movies to 50GB per month THAT would violate net neutrality. If your ISP allows you to surf the web at 50Mbps but throttles Bit-torrent traffic down to 2Mbps that would violate net neutrality.

Treat all data the same - net neutrality.
Discriminate based on type of data - violates net neutrality.

The cost of your connection, the speed of your connection, the caps on your connection, and any throttling necessary on your connection (when aggregate demand exceeds aggregate bandwidth) has nothing to do with net neutrality.

quote:
It could be like a cell service, XX for service, and a bit extra if you want to have full unrestrited video viewing.

Ironically your only "solution" would violate net neutrality.

quote:
And yes I know there is cost to get this upgraded system, but is anyone even trying to upgrade now?? Be the first and you'll get the customers!

The problem your assuming there is competition. Which in most places there isn't. My old apt for example my only choice for broadbad was Cox communication. Now if Cox charges me $50 for 2Mbps or upgrades their network and charges me $50 for 100Mbps it doesn't really matter. Either way my only choice is Cox and my only purchase price is what Cox is willing to spend.

Remember cost of internet and/or speed of internet has nothing to do with net neutrality.


Ugh
By bighairycamel on 12/21/2010 12:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'm so tired of bi-partisan bullsh*t. Do Republicans honestly think the market will work itself out, because that clearly isn't happening now, or do they just want to oppose Democrats to be petty? (The same applies in vice versa)

Where I live we have municipal monopolies where most of us have ONE option for broadband and we're at the mercy of their pricing/options.




RE: Ugh
By Taft12 on 12/21/2010 12:37:07 PM , Rating: 1
I think you meant to use the word partisan there.

Unless you're referring to bi-partisan support of corporations over citizens because that is what this country has come to. This is a dark day for the future of the Internet in the USA.


RE: Ugh
By bighairycamel on 12/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ugh
By bill4 on 12/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Ugh
By Ammohunt on 12/21/2010 1:27:47 PM , Rating: 1
I still believe the future is Open-Mesh networks why rely on an ISP when you can just add a WAP to an existing mesh network and surf away. This type of Governmnet regulation is almost always a bad thing once they get their foot in the door looks for the death of internet freedoms are nigh.


Conspiracy
By KrayLoN on 12/21/2010 3:13:54 PM , Rating: 3
I think it's all just one big conspiracy. The government is not going to step in right away. These changes they are making is to look somewhat like the good guy in the public eyes. If they really wanted to prevent abuse, they could have wrote the rules clear. Why do all the laws and rules that get passed have to be as vague as the Bible and left for so much interpretation? It's because they want flexibility to manipulate the rules and the public. They are putting rules in place to give the telcom companies enough power and enough room to hang themselves. Once the general public is completely fed up with the high prices and abuse, they will call and cry to the government to take over. Don't say that will never happen because then you will have to explain to me how we the people let our government give out all our tax money to bail out the wealthy for making us poor. Once they take over, the cost of they internet will go down and placed in other buckets: internet usage will be taxed, purchases made on the internet will be tracked and taxed and of course every form of communication will no longer be private because they will need to track that to keep us secure. That my friend is the ultimate goal whether you want to believe it or not. Now all we need is President Sidious to show his true self.




Hrm
By aebiv on 12/21/2010 5:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The telecom industry has donated or fund-raised millions in campaign contributions to McCain and others in a bid to secure their opposition of net neutrality and other restrictions.


You act like the only reason anyone is opposed to this, is because they are paid to be. Where as people like me are opposed to it because I respect others private property, unlike the lot of idiots who seem to think it is within their power to dictate what a company does with their own product.




A good read....
By HueyD on 12/22/2010 8:27:53 AM , Rating: 2
By sleepeeg3 on 12/22/2010 3:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
Fantastic - now my internet bill is going to go up so some idiot can download 5000 movies he will never watch.

Majority of people never think about the consequences...




By Lerianis on 12/25/2010 8:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
They also need to focus on the bandwidth caps, which are the bigger Tyrannosaurus Rex in the room, waiting to bite people's heads off.




A Shocking Idea
By The Insolent One on 12/22/2010 2:55:44 PM , Rating: 1
The current ISPs, cable companies, and wireless companies have been acquiring companies like mad to buy their way into a position to decrease competition. However, no one is telling them that they need to service certain areas or the majority of the US population.

If they don't want to provide a high quality service or if they "don't have enough bandwidth" to carry all traffic equally, then they can stop taking new customers. When they do, entrepreneurs will step into the vacuum so long as they can get access to the last mile copper mostly installed by the American taxpayer.

So Mr. Oligopoly ISP which way do you want it?

1) Do you not have enough bandwidth to handle all these customers and you'll let other smaller companies fill the need?

or

2) Do you want to stop bitching about servicing everyone and their "bandwidth hogging" ways and treat all traffic equally?




Ah Jason Mick
By bill4 on 12/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: Ah Jason Mick
By namechamps on 12/22/2010 8:17:13 AM , Rating: 5
Not sure if you thought this one through.

You are aware the Republicans control the house right. So if hypothetical CO2 cap legislation would require a Republican controlled house to pass.

So in response to Republican controlled house passing CO2 cap (and the "bad" economy that results) the logical response from voters would be to vote for more Republicans to rectify the situation?

Ah Bill4 it must be so nice going through life with all complex issues dumbed down to a talking point. I mean it requires almost no independent thought at all.


RE: Ah Jason Mick
By torpor on 12/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ah Jason Mick
By namechamps on 12/22/2010 9:26:55 PM , Rating: 4
Democrats have less than 60 votes in the Senate. Nothing will pass between now and new session without complete support of Republican leadership.

Any other bogus ideas to throw out there.


RE: Ah Jason Mick
By torpor on 12/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ah Jason Mick
By peebee on 12/22/2010 8:21:58 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not republican or democrat. I vote for what makes the most sense.

But go ahead and keep playing the role of the sheep while your conservative flock continues to spin Net Neutrality into something that it's not. The danger of tiered pricing and pay-per-click web browsing isn't from Net Neutrality. This draft simply wasn't written strict enough to include bans on these schemes.

But hey, since Net Neutrality doesn't regulate it, that means it supports and promotes it right? And the whole internet is going to come crumbling down at the hands of the FCC? I'm sure since Glenn Beck or Hannity says it's true it must be.

Keep lying to yourself bud.


RE: Ah Jason Mick
By MrBungle123 on 12/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ah Jason Mick
By Iaiken on 12/22/2010 4:45:37 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Yet more freedoms fall to an ever more opressive government while the lemmings cheer them on.


As much as you like to try and play the FCC off as some usher of dystopian control, there is nothing stopping corporations from doing practically the same, or more.

In areas of no competition, the ISP could simply wrangle your cheep arse into their nice little walled garden. You'll buy what they advertise for and see the news they want to see. There is nothing stopping them from gathering demographic data on exactly what you've been buying, reading and this will allow them to shape your user experience however they like.

They will do this because they want to be the people making money off you one way or the other. You can stay in their little online dystopia for free, but if you want to exercise your freedom of choice and choose the competition, there will be a fee.

There doesn't need to be a lot of legislation to enact net neutrality and you may be shocked by this, but the legislative base for this already exists and would essentially turn ISPs into system operators. When it comes to ISPs, data should be treated indiscriminately and users should be billed according to their speed requirements and their actual usage.

I will say this one last time, having ISPs also be media providers is a conflict of interest at best and the literal definition of anticompetitive and an invasion of privacy at worst.


A Question
By UserDoesNotExist on 12/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: A Question
By namechamps on 12/21/2010 2:08:30 PM , Rating: 5
You should care because the internet is the largest source of innovation in modern history.

The stagnant non innovating ISP being impartial gatekeepers picking winners & losers cost you far more indirectly than an extra $5 for Netflix.

ISP are utilities. You don't see electric company deciding what you can or can't do with electricity, or charging more if you use the "wrong" product with their electricity. No they simply provide you the energy for you to use as you see fit.

Imagine how much innovation would have been lost if you had to buy products approved by your power company. Other products were incompatible.


RE: A Question
By LyCannon on 12/21/2010 3:11:17 PM , Rating: 3
This is an excellent example of how ISP's should be treated. However, Cable should also be treated as a utility, but you already have to pay to get extra channels.

This pay per channel scheme is one of the cores of net neutrality. Imagine having to pay an "social networking fee" to get access to facebook, twitter, etc.

Or imaging an "entertainment pack" allowing access to youtube, hulu, netflix, blockbuster, etc.

If ISPs could get away with this pricing scheme, you know they would!


RE: A Question
By bill4 on 12/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: A Question
By namechamps on 12/22/2010 8:13:32 AM , Rating: 4
In many industries free markets (competition) do exist and the government generally should take a hands off aproach (barring issues of fraud, safety, coersion, etc).

However ISP market is hardly a free market and there is no or minimal competition. In the absence of government there won't magically be competition.

90%+ of the country is limited to 2 choices for broadband (which happen to have remarkably similar prices) commonly knows as an duopoly. Many portions of the country have a single choice.

So saying the "free market" will saves us is just as stupid as hoping the government can solve all problems.

"That's the government's job, make sure there's competition, that's it."
Really? National defense, issuing currency, entering into foreign treaties, promote the general welfare, providing infrastructure, etc should all be handled by corporations.

You have simply proven there are small minded idiots of both sides of the aisle (left & right).


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