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Net neutrality critics and advocates alike all despise the plan equally, but for different reasons

At long last, the new FCC Chairman Thomas ("Tom") Wheeler has presented his vision of net neutrality.  But replacing his predecessor's ambitious, yet failed regulation has proven as difficult as one might imagine.  While there's plenty of time for revisions, one thing is clear at this point -- if the previous version of net neutrality managed to anger some, the new plan accomplishes an even more dubious feat -- angering just about everyone.
I. Twin Rejections Paved Road to the New Plan
The first time the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality draft rules on behalf of Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) back in 2008, they ruled that the FCC lacked authority to regulate companies throttling the internet.
The same court -- and even some of the same judges -- reevaluated their decision earlier following a fresh lawsuit from Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and others over the FCC's second try at a net neutrality policy.  Those rules -- the 2010 "Open Internet Order" drafted under former Chairman Julius Genachowski -- were struck down in a Feb. 2014 decision.  However, this time around the decision to kill them were due not to criticism of the FCC's authority to regulate, but rather a complaint that it was regulating against "common carriers" in a discriminatory fashion.

Julius Genachowski
Former Chairman Genachowski tried adamantly to push net neutrality through, but his time atop the FCC ended without being able to craft a policy that was defensible in court.
[Image Source: Getty Images]

But the court did critically rule that the FCC was empowered to enforce some form of net neutrality under its powers granted by Congress.  Specifically, it decided upon reevaluation that net neutrality falls under the FCC's Congressionally ordered duty to enforce a "vibrant and competitive free market" (47 U.S.C. § 230 Chapter 5, Subchapter II, created by The Communications Act of 1934 [PDF], modified by the Telecommunications Act of 1996).
That decision put the pressure on the FCC to "reboot" net neutrality, trying its hand at a third draft under Chairman Wheeler.  Pressure has mounted in recent months as part of the warning delivered by Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) came true -- Comcast subsequently began throttling Netflix's service, forcing it into an agreement to pay annual fees of several million dollars annually, according to reports (the exact dollar figure was not disclosed).
After paying this toll, Netflix was unthrottled, but the incident was both damaging to Netflix and alarming to the internet industry as a whole.  Customers were quick to note that shortly after the decision, the streaming video service announced that it would be charging new customers a higher rate later this year.

Netflix turtle speed
Netflix was recently forced to pay fees to Comcast to avoid being condemned to the "slow lane". [Image Source: Mashable]

Last week the FCC in a roundabout way delivered part of its response, when Chairman Wheeler's latest was shared with some members of Congress.
It didn't take long after the release of the plan for a firestorm of criticism to ignite over it.
II. A Fair Compromise, or Special Interest Debacle?
According to net neutrality advocates, the FCC seemed to mostly ignore the roughly 10,000 comments that were submitted by the public during the last couple of months.  Instead the FCC focused on the 69 or so lobbyist interests that reached out to it in recent months offering political payments to both parties if they bent or tweaked the rules in certain directions.
Many had feared this might happen given Chairman Wheeler's background as a telecom industry lobbyist; now those fears may be coming true.

Tom Wheeler
Chairman Wheeler's critics are quick to point to the time he spent as a telecom lobbyist.
[Image Source: Bloomberg]

Under the new plan Mr. Wheeler proposes allowing internet service providers fees to charge fees to create internet "fast lanes", while condemning those who don't want to or are unable to pay (e.g. startups and smaller sites) to the internet's "slow lane".  To be fair, Mr. Wheeler phrased this in slightly different terms, saying effectively that most sites will remain at "normal speeds" while others will be accelerated via unique business models.
But given that the plan fails to define what "normal" speed is and has no prohibitions on throttling explicitly, virtually every expert says that the plan boils down to fast lanes and slow lanes.

Slower traffic keep right
The new plan allows ISPs to charge for internet "fast lanes", as Comcast is doing with Netflix.  Those who don't pay may be bumped to "slow lanes". [Image Source: Gas Buddy]

So what does the plan do?  Mr. Wheeler blogged about it last week, trying to defend his controversial strategy.  He wrote:

There has been a great deal of misinformation that has recently surfaced regarding the draft Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that we will today circulate to the Commission.
To be clear, this is what the Notice will propose:

  1. That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
  2. That no legal content may be blocked; and
  3. That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.
But again, this seems slightly disingenuous, as he didn't address the main sources of the criticism.  The draft does forbid a few extreme practices including outright blocking of websites (unless they engage in illegal activity), favoring traffic of an in-house competitor to a third party offering, and ISPs must publish their throttling plans in a clear fashion.
III. Why (Almost) Everyone Hates the Plan
However, the crucial issue that has net neutrality advocates fuming mad is that the new plan has literally no provisions to firmly block throttling or accepting fees from third-party services to create a "fast lane".  In other words, this version of net neutrality isn't so neutral.
Even the White House has been silent on the new plan, perhaps not wanting to get caught up in the controversy.  A petition launched Friday on We The People -- the White House petition site -- called on the President to scrap Mr. Wheeler's latest rules and offer up a plan for a truly "neutral" internet.  That petition had over 30,000 signatures by Monday.
Most Democrats in Congress expressed outrage at the idea of internet "fast lanes" and "slow lanes", calling it antithetical to net neutrality, taking to Twitter to voice their thoughts.  
Chairman Wheeler will have a tough time convincing Democrat-appointed Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel to support the plan.
And if Democrats hated the plan for what it didn't do -- ban throttling -- Republicans hated it even more vehemently for what it did do -- regulate the internet to some degree and ban outright blocking or favoring of in-house services.  They wanted to see net neutrality killed altogether.  Rather than "monopolistic" anticompetitive tools, Republicans in Congress view blocking websites as a "free market solution" -- valid emerging business tactics that should not be stifled.  Given this opposition, the pair of Republican-appointed Commissioners will likely vote against Chairman Wheeler's plan.
Congress Buillding wide
Neither Republicans nor Democrats are pleased with the new net neutrality draft.
[Image Source: U.S. Congress]

Both sides also dislike the vagueness and ambiguity of some parts of the proposal.   While each party at times in other bills defends such vague terminology -- when it suits them -- in this case both sides take issue to it largely because the terminology isn't really advancing their view.
One thing is sure after last week's response; both major sides of the issue find it offensive in different ways.  It seems that nobody is pleased.
IV.  Special Interests: We Asked You to KILL Net Neutrality, Not Disfigure It
Barring a change to the proposed rules, the Chairman's office must now try to desperately convince Congressional Democrats and his fellow Democratic commissioners to rethink their opposition of throttling and support his weakened brand of net neutrality.  But things are looking dire for his plan.
Michael J. Copps, a former FCC commissioner who helped former Chairman Genachowski draft his rejected version of the regulation, lashed out at the plan in a comment to The New York Times, complaining of the influence of lobbyists on the plan.  He also points out that the plan fails to rectify the fundamental reason that the court struck the rules a second time -- unequal regulation against common carriers.
Mr. Copps -- who now works for net neutrality advocacy Common Cause -- remarks in an interview with The New York Times:

[The new plan] is a lot closer to what they [the lobbyists] wanted than what we [net neutrality advocates] wanted.  It reflects a lot more input from them.  The courts did not tell Chairman Wheeler to take the road that he is reportedly taking.
Fiber optic cable
Net neutrality are demanding a new proposal from the FCC, one that forbids throttling in all forms.
[Image Source: Guardian UK]

In other words, he believes that the courts will strike down the plan for the same reason they killed it the second time.
The irony is that while the plan may be viewed as a glass-half-full victory for telecoms and ISPs, they appear unhappy with it.  They wanted Mr. Wheeler to essentially throw out net neutrality altogether.  Verizon Communications -- which successfully struck down former Chairman's Genachowski's order -- issued a thinly veiled criticism of the new plan:

[Verizon] is publicly committed to ensuring that customers can access the Internet content they want, when they want and how they want. [However] given the tremendous innovation and investment taking place in broadband Internet markets, the FCC should be very cautious about adopting proscriptive rules that could be unnecessary and harmful.

The fact that Verizon is giving Mr. Wheeler's plan the cold shoulder is perhaps the most troubling sign of all, and not just because it indicates that another lawsuit could be incoming and strike the rules down -- should they pass.  Rather, the biggest issue is that these days in Washington D.C. money talks.  Were Verizon, et al. to be pleased by Mr. Wheeler’s plan they might be able to put their money behind it and successfully convince their Republican and Democratic allies to push the other four FCC commissioners to support it.

Verizon executives
While net neutrality activists see the plan as a "win" for lobbyist for telecoms like Verizon, those telecoms are equally pleased with the plan, which they fear could still be potent in some ways.   They will likely spend money lobbying to scuttle their own "win". [Image Source: AP]

But the response suggests that lobbyists will likely oppose the plan as well.  And that means that it is more than likely dead before it has even received an official vote -- which, according to Mr. Wheeler, would be held at a meeting sometime before the end of 2014.  Anything's possible, but it would be very surprising not to see Mr. Wheeler's office scrambling to change this proposal in some way in order to try to get someone to support it.

Sources: FCC Blog (Chairman Wheeler), The New York Times

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Get the Faster Network
By Floorbit on 4/28/2014 9:57:53 PM , Rating: 1
Going. Japan,South Korea,Europe most of the rest of the world have greater bandwidth speeds than we do in the U.S. . True there are fast fiber lanes rolling out,but these are really only in a few isolated urban areas.
Reading from this article- it would appear that when there are faster 'lanes' via an ISP that controls them,an ISP would just assume take the money from whoever would pay for the speed. However the description of 'content provider',and 'baseline service' referenced in the courts opinions dont describe anything technically. And really,cannot influence technical specifications on the web.
Where you and I would consider only 'speed'- in may be that the newer 'lanes',will not be available unless there is a piece by piece description of what is consistent to 'content' . Say if I create a video,if I view a video from someone - is that said that that would be of the user a 'content provision'. Or perhaps said of something above a certain data amount per transmission speed.
Actually there is not a such thing as 'content provider'. While it was generally spoken of Netflicks,it should not make relevant that in order to take advantage of the newer networks. That somehow persons using the web have to be 'self employed' by their transmissions !
Still the court can't win that description. Whatever the business model of a web site,or ISP considers . We need the fiber lanes to go on. Upgrades to the networks. To have faster /wider bandwidth. I can't believe that with the mouse hole,that the media industry,is going to squat on everybody. So that well not only can they put us to sleep,now they can take out communications with them.
I'm not interested in being entertained. I want the faster lanes for communication. Then not dictatory provisions whereby the unlimited bandwidth,is limited by its type of content. Or monopolized by segment from its industry- via promotion that 'they are the only part of communication which can do so'.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 10:19:35 AM , Rating: 3
We also have a different style of government than all those countries pretty much. And for good reason.

I'll take America (at least the way its supposed to be run) to any of them any day.

The problem is more that government has gotten too involved than it isn't involved enough. If not for government involvement decades ago, many of the problems today wouldn't exist.

Whether anyone likes it or not, the internet is a service. The providers of that service have free reign to do whatever they want with it (that doesn't mean I agree with what they want to do with it). In America anyway. If I sell thumbtacks and want to charge you more for preferred colors, that's my right as a business. There's no difference in selling access to the internet. If I want to create a tiered system because certain sites are using tons of bandwidth which costs me money, I have the right to do that. Now me the consumer doesn't like it but me not liking it shouldn't take away a businesses right to do it. Me the consumer has the right not to use a service or start my own if I really don't like it enough because there aren't other options.

The problem is when people start feeling entitled to things. As if they deserve a product because they like it and/or it makes their life better/easier. Sorry but you don't and you're not. You either have the money to pay for a service or you don't. And its up to you to decide whether or not a service is worth the money it costs as its available. It's not the government's job to make things more affordable for you. Or more feature rich.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 12:22:53 PM , Rating: 1
I guarantee if the Internet worked as you wish it could (free market, ISP do whatever they want), it would not be as ubiquitous as it is today. Whether good or bad, it would not exist as it does today. It might be tiered like television where you want access to premium sites it costs you x dollars above basic Internet; there might be way fewer sites because the ISP's charge too much to access the customers. Any number of possibilities, but it would not look the same as it does today.

Free to play online games would almost certainly not exist, unless they were created by Comcast or Verizon as a selling point for their networks..

Ugh, it sounds terrible. But yeah, go Freedom!

RE: Get the Faster Network
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 3:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
Uh no. This isn't about charging content consumers more. It's about charging content providers more. Now yes then they might have to charge their customers more, but this isn't about Comcast telling its customers "OK if you want Netflix, you have to pay more for our service than someone who doesn't".

Why wouldn't F2P games exist? MMOs use very little traffic overall.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 4:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
The content provides already pay their Internet bill on their side. This is about providing access to the customers for the content creators. It is extortion, and the customers have no choice but to pay, because they cannot use the netflix service any other way.

It is essentially like saying you have to pay more for our service, it is just that you pay some to netflix who then pays it back to us, while the neighbour that uses Hulu or HBO Go currently doesn't have to pay that extra "tax" (but they will eventually).

Not sure how you can not see what is coming; it already happened with mobile data. They got us hooked on using data plans, and when we now want it they jack up the price and say their network can't handle it; but voila once the price goes up all the problems disappear. Internet should be getting cheaper every year, not more expensive.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2014 7:52:35 AM , Rating: 3
And that's their right. If I want to make a product and offer it cheap to get you hooked on it, and then jack up the price, that's my right as a business. I'm not doing anything illegal. Nor should it be made illegal. It's called personal responsibility. If you like my product then you pay the price I dictate. If it no longer becomes worth it to you, you stop paying for it. Not go whining to the government about how I raised the price so they need to force me to make it cheaper again.

Capitalism has pros and cons. But the pros far outweight the cons. Stop acting like a 3 year old who cries anytime his mom tells him no to getting candy at the store.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By SeeManRun on 4/30/2014 10:37:00 AM , Rating: 3
The market system only works when there is competition. ISP's are often monopolies in regions. That is why prices do NOT fall. Same as cell companies.

If you have your customers over a barrel, you can't act the same as if they can go elsewhere. This is the exact same reason why public utilities are regulated, so they can't hold their customers hostage.

You might argue that the Internet is not the same, and you won't die without it, but that goes for almost everything. If someone bought the road outside your house and charged you $55 dollars every time you drove on it, you would be upset, because you have no choice but to pay, or don't use the road.

I guess it is just your point of view that the market system solves all problems. I just don't see it that way, and I don't think we'll ever agree on issues like this.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By kypd275 on 4/30/2014 9:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
I like how you ignored the part where they are able to raise prices because they also lobbied and got their monopolies.

A more correct analogy would be you making an pretty important product (paid for by your taxpayers), get your politician to kill off all your competitors and make sure no one can ever compete against you, and then jack up the price.

You're right on one thing - internet access is not essential to life, it is just essential for the majority of the population who doesn't want to get left behind and become an irrelevant relic, and this will only get worse as time goes on.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 4:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
The MMO would have to pay to use the network, not just the traffic while playing, but the initial download of the game. They would have to overcome whatever bandwidth costs are with in game purchases for their game. Some might survive, but I believe many would not be viable without sufficient budget.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2014 7:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
And that would be factored in to the cost of the game and the micro transactions in the game. Since that's how F2P games survive.

It wouldn't spell doom for all of them if they had to pay more for bandwidth. If anything maybe we'd see some better games since they'd have to make sure the game would be good before putting it out there.

RE: Get the Faster Network
By Paj on 5/1/2014 8:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with this plan is that it sets a precedent. They start charging you to use particular sites. Then they might charge you more to use content that doesn't come from 'carefully selected corporate partners'.

Then you are likely to end up with something like cable packages, where you could have to pay extra to access youtube, facebook, plus a bunch of crap sites that you dont want to visit. You might get access to your ISP's crappy music store for free, but you cant use iTunes unless you pay more.

The point is that what's good for corporations is sometimes not always good for society. It's not as black and white as saying regulation = bad. Nothing is.

The internet owes its success due to the fact that the protocols and systems that underpin it are largely open source and government developed. The 90s walled garden model of Compuserve, AOL et al died a long time ago, because people realised they were inferior to the open model.

Read this, then see if it's the kind of internet you want to use.

By XeenFalcon on 4/28/2014 10:34:45 PM , Rating: 5
When I ran my dial-up ISP back in the late 90’s the goal was to offer the best possible routing to the internet to the customers and that was how it was for all the ISP’s at the time. Now that ISP’s have become so large it is no longer about best possible routing to its paying subscribers it’s about selling content providers the best possible routing to the customer . The large ISP’s are now double dipping charging the customer a subscriber fee and selling the subscriber to the content providers. If ISP’s did care about optimal routing to its customers these so called peering disputes wouldn’t exist a real ISP would welcome a wholesale internet providers peer for free. I have a 50/10 connection with Comcast network; Comcast advertises this as 50/10 internet access. It’s not internet access it’s a 50/10 connection to Comcast network with some limited internet. Back when I had issues streaming Netflix (before Netflix paid its ransom) I had to use a VPN to get better throughput to Netflix. Because the VPN’s exit server was most likely hosted by a wholesale internet provider my problem was solved and I had no problem getting and maintaining a full HD steam. I still us a VPN to stream YouTube I’m sure Google is not going to pony up the Comcast ransom. The fact that I used a VPN to essentially alter my routing and bypass the Comcast chokepoints says it all Comcast is not concerned about offering optimal routing for its customer. Comcast and the other large ISP’s say they have the right to manage their networks the way they see fit. As far as I’m concerned if something is advertised as being internet access then it needs to be “internet access” and managed that way. I want to see a real Net Neutrality law passed by congress with something that defines what internet access is and what ISP internal network access is. I also want something that defines what true internet routing is and what routing is not internet routing.

By iworkforisp on 4/29/2014 4:43:22 AM , Rating: 2
Instead of saying "I want a" please actually define the rule you want to see passed.

You will see it's not so easy. Why would only Netflix receive free pipes paid for by residential subscribers but not every company and Internet destination?

Charging each end for their own pipe and then connecting them is the only thing that makes any logical sense. I mean it when I say I challenge you to define a rule that defines that all peering should be free that doesn't essentially change the whole Internet.

By marvdmartian on 4/29/2014 7:46:25 AM , Rating: 3
How about we start with, "For so long as no other provider of equivalent speed internet service is available in the area, no internet provider shall be allowed to throttle internet service for that area"??

Sorry, Comcast....if the only other provider is DSL, you can't throttle. Only if there's fiber optic service, or another cable internet provider available, which would at least give them some competition in the marketplace.

This wouldn't stop them from having another "competitor" shell company providing service in the same area, but I'm hoping that the FCC would be able to prevent those kind of shenanigans.

By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 12:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
What? Netflix doesn't pay an ISP?

Netflix has their own ISP, or their datacenter does anyway. They already pay. Now they have to pay their own ISP and the ISP of the customers. Customers only pay their own ISP and that ISP then makes payments to other ISP's for data. If the customer's ISP wants to save some of that money they can invest in a cache so they have to leave their network less and don't have to pay other ISP's so often, thus pocketing more of their customers payments.

By XeenFalcon on 4/29/2014 8:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix isn't wanting a free ride on an ISP's pipe's, Netflix pays the wholesale internet provider to distribute its content. Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are the last mile providers to which their pipes are funded by the users subscribers fees to which the user request the content. Its the end user that decides who gets to ride the last mile pipes. The last mile providers need to shut up and not get in the of the data their paying subscribers want.

By dice1111 on 4/29/2014 8:43:24 AM , Rating: 2
I hope everyone is signing that petition!

bribery rules
By SPOOOK on 4/29/2014 1:12:13 AM , Rating: 2
bribery rules who pay the bribes

By Reclaimer77 on 4/28/14, Rating: -1
RE: Proof
By NicodemusMM on 4/28/2014 8:11:29 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know. I think they've done a pretty good job on... wait... nevermind.

RE: Proof
By Shig on 4/28/2014 8:28:22 PM , Rating: 3
The problem is private sector lobbyists getting elected to FCC positions. Their loyalty lies to the almighty dollar and nothing else, that's all this is. A new way to charge people even more for a resource that they need.

RE: Proof
By Nightbird321 on 4/29/2014 4:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
The solution is to do something about it. Smart people, get quantum entanglement working in a communication device and internet infrastructure will be much cheaper to build without having to "donate" to officials at the federal, state, and local levels...

RE: Proof
By Jeffk464 on 4/28/2014 8:27:34 PM , Rating: 5
Oh no, this is corporate corruption of government no the other way around. Like I have said before we are all going to have to start using vpn services to regain net neutrality. If your provider can't see what your doing they can't know when to throttle or block you.

RE: Proof
By inighthawki on 4/29/2014 2:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
Sure they won't throttle you, but they can throttle the services themselves. Netflix cannot sit behind a VPN to upload its content and pretend Comcast doesn't know exactly what bandwidth they use.

RE: Proof
By gmyx on 4/29/2014 9:30:03 AM , Rating: 2
And then they will throttle VPN use. Not hard to see the logical extension there.

I bet they could even throttle Tor. They don't know what your doing but they know how.

RE: Proof
By lagomorpha on 4/29/2014 9:50:24 AM , Rating: 4
I bet they could even throttle Tor. They don't know what your doing but they know how.

While they certainly could throttle TOR if you've ever used it you'd know they wouldn't need to.

RE: Proof
By Jeffk464 on 4/28/2014 8:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
By the way the first form of protest people should all employ is drop Comcast. I have already checked that box.

RE: Proof
By daboom06 on 4/28/2014 8:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
it's either comcast or tethering to a cellphone here. or i guess i could go back to the dark ages and not have internet. might as well stop paying for running water too...

RE: Proof
By NellyFromMA on 4/29/2014 9:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
lol @ equating no internet to no water...

RE: Proof
By tayb on 4/29/2014 12:15:06 PM , Rating: 3
I work from home. Without internet I don't have a job. I would rather do without running water than internet.

It's amazing how many people treat the internet as less than a basic utility. An enormous number of people and corporations are 100% reliant on the internet and yet we threaten this economic way of life with stupidity such as traffic throttling.

We laugh at European countries and their "socialism" and lack of freedoms and yet they have more internet freedoms than we have in the United Corporations of America.

One part of me wants opponents of Net Neutrality to get what they want so that they are FORCED to live with the results of their own stupidity. The other part of me doesn't want to move to Europe to enjoy basic freedoms on the internet.

RE: Proof
By Ammohunt on 4/29/2014 1:44:55 PM , Rating: 1
I would rather do without running water than internet.

That's an easy choice for hippies that don't wash anyway.

RE: Proof
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 2:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
And that's your choice. The fact remains that you can live without internet by doing something else.

If I choose to be a race car driver, I don't work without a car to race. But that doesn't make it essential to my life.

And no. Our founding fathers chose the freedoms that guarantee us other freedoms. Like the right to defend ourselves. The right to a trial. Free speech. Press. Belief.

I just got back from Italy. I'll take America any day of the week. One observation I had is around the idea that Europeans are healthier than us. Based on the Italians, no. They just make themselves too poor to do anything but walk almost everywhere (which helps you stay in better shape).

Taxes are between 23-24% and 43%. Plus a 20% VAT tax. So minimum you're paying 43% of your income to the state so things can be "free". Still tons of poor, hungry, sick people on the street there though. Go figure.

RE: Proof
By Nightbird321 on 4/30/2014 11:16:26 AM , Rating: 2
I think his point is you can shower somewhere else (like a gym) and buy bottled water. Both would be inconvenient, but if you don't like the internet you have it would be even more inconvenient to get another internet.

RE: Proof
By PaFromFL on 4/29/2014 9:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
The problems of capitalism can be worse than those of government. When the money performance metric of capitalism is applied to essential goods and services, the inevitable result is a monopoly and then price gouging. This is why water, sewer, electricity, and to some extent telephone companies are tightly regulated as public utilities. Now that fast internet connections and medical care have become essential, they should also be regulated as public utilities.

RE: Proof
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 10:08:13 AM , Rating: 2
The internet is not an essential good or service. No one dies from not having internet. Billions of people around the planet who struggle to survive every day would love to smack anyone who calls the internet "essential" to human life.

RE: Proof
By cknobman on 4/29/2014 10:32:49 AM , Rating: 2

If you want to get down to nuts and bolts anything besides food, water, and shelter can be considered "non essential".

When your society and its infrastructure become dependent on something to function properly then it then becomes "essential". The internet has evolved to that point.

Many peoples means of communication are through the internet, essential services like fire and burglar protection, etc...

RE: Proof
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 11:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
You prove my point. No one dies from not having internet.

Only things are absolutely essential to live should be considered essential. And only those things should the government be involved in helping ensure people get. And when I say government, I don't mean the federal government because they don't have the authority to do it. State governments should handle it if the citizens of a state want it.

RE: Proof
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 12:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
How do states throttle national companies? If Washington says no throttling, but Oregon says yes throttling, then how does Netflix from California get to Washington unthrottled? Via Montana, who also says yes to throttling?

RE: Proof
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 2:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get governments throttling anyone from?

RE: Proof
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 4:10:17 PM , Rating: 2
State governments should handle it if the citizens of a state want it.

The state government could deny throttling capability or enable it if their citizens want it (to allow companies to throttle), is how I interpreted your statement.

RE: Proof
By FITCamaro on 4/30/2014 7:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
I was referring to essential things like food, shelter, and clothing.

Not internet which is not essential. But yes states could allow ISPs in their states to throttle traffic certain traffic too. Or ban it. It's not impossible to do that kind of targeted throttling. They already do it with consumers on different speed plans.

RE: Proof
By rountad on 4/30/2014 10:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
We have many rights, including liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Our freedoms must not be limited unless there is an overwhelming case for the limitation of that freedom.

You're looking at it from the wrong direction, I think.

These companies, like Comcast, have been granted monopolies by government and then are trying to act as if they are the same as some business with real competition.

Internet should be treated as a utility.

Food acquisition, while even more important, has competition in most areas of the delivery from field to consumer. I would agree that any of those areas need to be free of monopoly control, as well.

RE: Proof
By rountad on 4/30/2014 9:55:21 AM , Rating: 2
So you're arguing for state-provided uniforms for all?

RE: Proof
By PaFromFL on 4/29/2014 2:06:03 PM , Rating: 3
"The internet is not an essential good or service..."

By that same logic, no one dies from lack of public education, electricity, sewer, and telephones, and people have survived in the past without modern water treatment facilities. The USA can afford to provide low cost medical care and internet service to all legal citizens, assuming the affluent are willing to chip in like they do in all other 1st-world countries.

RE: Proof
By NellyFromMA on 4/29/2014 9:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
Corrupt Lobbying wins again, meanwhile any American's not receiving lobbying kick backs lose in perpetuity.

We should really push harder for Lobbying reforms. This process is the one true reason America has devolved into such a pile (and I say that with all of the nationalist pride I can.)

RE: Proof
By brshoemak on 4/29/2014 11:07:31 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with your solution is that lobbyists will just lobby against lobbying reforms.

It won't happen. It would be like trying to pass a law where members of Congress take a pay cut or are paid based upon they work they actually perform. They don't gain anything (like cash) from passing such legislation, so they won't pass it.

But I do agree wholeheartedly with your idea.

RE: Proof
By Zak on 4/29/2014 10:08:58 AM , Rating: 2
That's because the republicans do whatever in their power to make the govt appear inept so they can move more control into private hands.

RE: Proof
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 11:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
Control of the internet should be in private hands.

Please tell me one thing that the government does well.

RE: Proof
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 12:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
Collect taxes. They have it down to a science.

RE: Proof
By ZmaxDP on 4/29/2014 2:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they suck at that too. Look at the billions and billions of uncollected taxes each year. Oops!

RE: Proof
By wempa on 4/29/2014 2:36:22 PM , Rating: 2

I've got one. Waste money.

RE: Proof
By KCjoker on 4/29/2014 6:20:47 PM , Rating: 2
Holy cow what a reach. Dems were 100% responsible for ObamacareTAX and it's implantation and it was a complete disaster. It's not that the Gov't APPEARS's that they are and it's both parties.

Throttling? Really, Jason
By rudolphna on 4/28/14, Rating: -1
RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By Scrogneugneu on 4/28/2014 10:44:50 PM , Rating: 5
Netflix doesn't have to pay.

They already pay ISPs in order to give their servers internet access. That is their fees. If a lot of people view their content, then their data allocation will be consumed faster, which means they'll need a bigger plan.

Plus, the content viewers also pay to access the network. If a lot of people view Netflix's content, then a lot of people are already paying for that bandwidth.

The ISP is already charging both sides to transfer the data. They shouldn't be allowed to charge even more because "well, you're using a lot". If you provide an amount of bandwitdh for a price and your customer pays, you need to shut up and provide the bandwidth. If it doesn't suit you, don't offer that plan to begin with.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By hpglow on 4/29/2014 1:01:40 AM , Rating: 2
It sure does feel like we are stepping back in time to the Compuserve and AOL days doesn't it? Where you got an Internet time limit and bandwidth cap (mind you with a slow as get out 56k modem.)

Allowing an Cable service/movie studio to own an ISP should be illegal. We all know why it happened because they already had wires in many homes, but now they are just milking customers for piss poor service and using their ISP to strong arm their competition. Someone needs to step in and force Comcast to either cut the crap or sell the ISP segment off. I think they are definatly in anti-trust territory. Unfortunately, while lobbying is still legal this will continue.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By iworkforisp on 4/29/2014 4:12:55 AM , Rating: 1
Hello, rudolphna was actually correct. You attempted to correct him but gave incorrect information. You misunderstand some of the concepts so I have to assume your expertise here is that you use the Internet in the same way using a computer makes me an expert in microprocessor design.

>They already pay ISPs in order to give their servers internet access.

If they connect directly to a last mile ISP, they no longer pay a transit ISP for that traffic. This is called peering. With settlement free peering they pay nobody, with paid peering to the last mile ISP, they pay only that ISP for those pipes. This diagram partly explains it:

>Plus, the content viewers also pay to access the network

Content viewers also pay to access, should dailytech send you their bill for connectivity? Is it unfair for them to pay for their own access and for you to pay for your access? Probably not.

>The ISP is already charging both sides to transfer the data. They shouldn't be allowed to charge even more because "well, you're using a lot"

This is not true.

>If you provide an amount of bandwidth for a price and your customer pays, you need to shut up and provide the bandwidth.

You mean not only provide your connection to the Internet but also a spot free links to every other person and company on the Internet their subscribers could possibly want to transfer data with? The logic that Netflix must be entitled to free access to the ISP networks doesn't hold up when you start expanding that same assumption to other companies as well.

It's also worth noting that even the EFF who is a huge supporter of Open Internet isn't thrilled about giving the FCC unchecked power over it:

"That claim of ancillary jurisdiction, if accepted, would have given the FCC pretty much boundless clearance to regulate the Internet, and to claim other ancillary powers in the future. Even if you happen to like the FCC’s current goals, who’s to say we will still like whatever goals the agency has next year and the year after that?"

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 12:15:20 PM , Rating: 3
Not following your logic.

The customer is paying for access to the Internet, using the design that was created long ago. They make requests for IP's and initiate connections and download data. Netflix is just data like any other data.

The customer is already paying to access that data. Without that data on the Internet, the ISP has no purpose. The entire point of the ISP is to serve data to the end points on the Internet.

If Netflix is such a desirable service that all the people want to download it at once, the ISP could create cache's on its network so it doesn't have to pay other companies for said data and it could all be kept "in house", thus saving costs on the ISP. Netflix already provides these cache's to ISP (not sure about the cost), but the ISP can decide whether it is beneficial to have this device on their network or not.

It should not matter whether I browse the Internet and use up my 500 gigs or so of data allocation a month watching videos, viewing Dailytech, or video chatting vs downloading netflix. I paid for the access and the ISP should deliver. It is none of their business what I am doing with my data allocation.

What the ISP's have done here is see that Netflix is a huge part of their bandwidth, and decided to extort Netflix for access to the customers who want Netflix's data, under what I suspect is the guise of required network upgrades. Funny that as soon as the money started flowing the network upgrades happened overnight.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By iworkforisp on 4/29/2014 4:13:05 PM , Rating: 1
>Not following your logic.

What's so hard to follow? You are demanding data from dailytech are you not? So how is your ISP not responsible for providing their bandwidth free of cost. The same is true of all content under your logic. How do you not follow that? If Netflix should receive free pipes because they provide content the same should be true for ALL sources of content.

>The customer is already paying to access that data.

You are paying for your pipe to your home, not the entire Internet and everything on it. You ISP is responsible to deliver content to you once it gets to their network but they aren't responsible to go around the Internet giving free pipes to every party you exchange traffic with because that's not the business model that's in place and if that were the business model your bill would climb drastically.

>It should not matter whether I browse the Internet and use up my 500 gigs or so of data allocation a month watching videos, viewing Dailytech, or video chatting vs downloading netflix. I paid for the access and the ISP should deliver. It is none of their business what I am doing with my data allocation.

This applies to YOUR connection yes. But again you are not also paying for everyone elses connection. Other people and companies on the Internet must also pay for their own personal pipes to get there.

>What the ISP's have done here is see that Netflix is a huge part of their bandwidth, and decided to extort Netflix for access to the customers who want Netflix's data, under what I suspect is the guise of required network upgrades. Funny that as soon as the money started flowing the network upgrades happened overnight.

You have absolutely no idea what transpired and your assumption is wrong. Netflix went from a paid peering agreement (through Akamai) and tried to circumvent the relationship through intermediaries and many last mile ISP's chose not to allow it by saying they weren't going to donate settlement free ports. They pointed out the paid peering agreement that was in place was working until Netflix tried to circumvent it through intermediaries. When they went back to paying for pipes like everyone else the dispute was resolved.

If you want to argue that they are being over charged you might be onto something (depending what they are actually being charged) but if you want to argue that they shouldn't have to pay at money all for links to ISPs your stance smashes into the brick wall of basic reasoning.

You can complain that they are charging the supplier but that would only be a valid point if it worked like grocery where stores paid suppliers but the difference is your ISP doesn't work like a grocery store or you would pay them directly for Netflix service, they would take a percentage of they money to operate, and give Netflix their cut of it. The "charging suppliers" argument is irreverent simply because that's not the business model of the Internet and its a poor analogy. I highly doubt would actually prefer that business model over the current one as well.

Netflix has a direct relationship with subscribers for revenue but they have to pay for their own pipes to get their traffic at least TO the ISP's involved in delivering it. If they were complaining about paying too much money for those links they might have a valid complaint but if their objection is with paying at all you can't blame the ISP's.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By SeeManRun on 4/29/2014 5:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
I see your username, so I will just ask a question. Netflix obviously does pay someone to get their data on the Internet, they just might not pay Comcast or Verizon... Anyway.

Customer ---> ISP (Comcast) ---> intermediate ISP's <--- Netflix ISP (AT&T) <--- Netflix.

This is my understanding of the Internet. Comcast pays the intermediate ISP's for their customers data on a per megabyte basis. Every time a customer leaves Comcast's network, Comcast has to pay some money to the other ISP's that it has connections to. When a customer stays within Comcast's network (2 comcast customers play a peer to peer game, or download files from each other), Comcast pays no one and it is basically free for them (subtracting for the cost of running the routers and switches and all that stuff, but those are sunk costs in this example).

Is my understanding of the Internet and ISP system grossly incorrect?

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By inperfectdarkness on 4/29/2014 6:30:12 AM , Rating: 2

What Comcast & TW (among others) is doing is highway robbery.

What is so morbidly humorous about this is that this single issue succinctly highlights everything that is wrong with American politics:

-The FCC chairman is a former telecom lobbiest which is an AUTOMATIC conflict-of-interest red-flag to anyone with an IQ above 70. Of course, that didn't stop the president from nominating him or the senate from approving it.

-Democrats are FOR net-neutrality, yet the democratic president nominated someone woefully improper for the job to head the FCC. The net effect is that the democrats have the right idea but zero ability or competence to make it happen.

-Republicans are against net-neutrality. This despite continually pushing for free-markets, less regulation, increased competition, and supporting "small businesses". The net effect is that the republicans are completely out of touch with the American public and can't even eradicate the dichotomy within their own stated political platform.


Now transpose this to any other issue and the political parties roles' might reverse, but everything else remains the same. The evidence is clear as day. And yet, year after year, GOP and DEM is all that gets voted in 99% of the time. I therefore conclude that congress MUST be a representative cross-section of Americans, because the voting public is just as incompetent.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By Solandri on 4/29/2014 6:57:36 AM , Rating: 3
Republicans are against net-neutrality. This despite continually pushing for free-markets, less regulation, increased competition, and supporting "small businesses".

Actually, the Republican position is the free-market, less regulation position. They want to neither prohibit nor require net neutrality - they want the market to decide which is best.

Under normal circumstances they'd be right. But the problem is that this particular market isn't free. In the vast majority of the U.S., the ISPs have been granted monopolies by the local municipal government. The Republican position would work if such monopolies were prohibited (e.g. if Comcast's Netflix service was slow, Comcast customers who viewed Netflix would've dumped them for a different ISP. And Comcast would've had to pay Netflix to improve their peering to stay competitive, not the other way around).

So we end up in a perverse situation where half-freeing the market results in a worse outcome than double-regulating it (first granting a monopoly, then mandating net neutrality). The best solution would be to completely free up the market and prohibit municipal governments from granting monopolies. Which paradoxically is how "socialist" Europe does it.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By Digimonkey on 4/29/2014 9:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
I have no idea why you think this is an issue with municipal governments. From what I heard several towns and cities would like to set up their own public internet service but are restricted from doing so at the state level. It's in a towns/cities best interest to have as many ISPs as possible.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By FITCamaro on 4/29/2014 11:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
Yes because the state governments gave ISPs monopolies in areas and by trying to set up their own ISP, the municipalities are breaking that contract.

I agree it sucks. But legally those ISPs are in the right by suing.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By wempa on 4/29/2014 12:03:48 PM , Rating: 2

The township makes a deal with the local cable company. The cable company agrees to offer cable/internet service to the town and pay for the expensive infrastructure. The town agrees to forbid other companies from offering competing service for X number of years. So, the township is the one that grants them the monopoly. What should really happen is the infrastructure should be owned by the township and then there should be multiple cable/telecom companies that lease the lines and offer service. This would drive down prices dramatically. There are a few areas that have competing cable companies and the customers in those town get much better deals than the majority of us do.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By SpartanJet on 4/29/2014 1:14:20 AM , Rating: 2
Care to explain how I'd get much better performance using a VPN would result in better performance? Its called throttling.

RE: Throttling? Really, Jason
By iworkforisp on 4/29/14, Rating: 0
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