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  (Source: jonlong724 on Flickr)

[Click to enlarge] Want the web? Well prepare to pay. Wireless carriers are plotting per page monthly or data-based fees. And net neutrality legislation looks unlikely to pass, thanks to their healthy flow of lobbyist money.  (Source: Fierce Wireless Semina via Wired)
Leaked slides reveal that net neutrality advocates worst fears may soon be realized

The topic of net neutrality is a thorny issue.  After all, the American public is increasingly adopting the stance that the less government meddling in the private sector, the better.  On the other hand, advocates of the government adopting net neutrality restrictions have long laid out a dystopian vision of the future in which users have only partial paid access to the internet and smaller independent websites fold under the inability to draw paying customers.

Such visions could have been dismissed as alarmism -- until now.  A presentation from Allot Communications and Openet, two wireless industry giants who supply the likes of Verizon and AT&T, leaked out onto the internet and verifies that the wireless industry is plotting just such a scheme.

I.  Want the Web?  Prepare to Pay

At its web seminar the pair revealed a stunning plot in which wireless customers would be forced to pay additional monthly fees per web page accessed and -- in some cases -- per MB used.  The slide suggests a $0.50 USD/month YouTube access fee, a $0.02 USD/MB Facebook access rate, and a 3€ (appr. $3.95 USD) Skype access fee.

Aside from the payoff from immediate fees, the leaked PowerPoint presentation (1.5 MB/PDF) reveals a double benefit to carriers, at consumers' expense.  The slides suggest that top UK carrier giant Vodafone (who partially owns Verizon Wireless) create its own websites -- such as social networks and video sites -- and offer customers free access to them.

By forcing customers to pay for external sites, but offering free internal sites, carriers could attempt to force customers onto its own sites.  While such knockoffs would likely offer inferior quality to carefully crafted services like YouTube and Facebook, carriers wouldn't mind that -- they would be to busy reaping the additional ad revenue.

II.  The FCC Won't Let Me Be

It is unclear whether the leak is coincidental or is meant to test the U.S. Federal Communication Commission's resolve, a week ahead of its planned meeting to discussing net neutrality.  

Current laws do not clearly grant the FCC the power to regulate wireless internet traffic or enforce net neutrality over wired and wireless service providers.  The FCC's attempts to enforce net neutrality regardless were struck down in the spring by a federal court.  The FCC now hopes to draft legislation to present to Congress.

But the legislation faces serious political resistance.  While some Republicans are supportive of net neutrality, much of the Republican party opposes net neutrality.  And the Republicans in January will gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives.  

Among the staunchest opponents of net neutrality regulation is former presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Az.).  Sen. McCain, like many Republicans, has previously opposed net neutrality legislation due to a stance against government regulation.  However, Verizon and AT&T bequeathed $237,600 upon his 2008 presidential campaign.  AT&T and Verizon lobbyists also raised from various donors – $2.3M USD and $1.3M USD, respectively – for his campaign.  They also offered free services to his 15-acre Arizona ranch.

Sen. McCain is obviously not alone, however -- such contributions are common in Washington.

Thus net neutrality legislation faces tenuous prospects.  And as our computing heads increasingly into the mobile sphere (with smartphones, tablets, laptops, netbooks, etc.) that may soon mean that customers will be paying a lot more for a lot less.  And in the process any government censorship of the internet will likely pale in comparison to that which the "free" market is cooking up.

Many refer to the current generation of web businesses as Web 2.0.  Well if these developments are any indication, we may soon be greeting Web 3.0 -- the transformation of the internet into a series of toll roads.

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By EricMartello on 12/20/2010 9:58:23 AM , Rating: 3
While something like this is not impossible, if it did actually manifest, it would also spawn an "underground" movement. It may lead to the internet evolving to a point where adhoc networks rule and centralized common carriers are completely eliminated from the picture. I think that the "super peer" technology used for many P2P networks could be adapted to create a decentralized network that is free from the shackles of big companies or governments.

RE: Optimism
By Luticus on 12/20/2010 10:18:04 AM , Rating: 3
Where do i sign up? lol.

Personally what i think should happen is a global boycott of all companies that are counter productive to net neutrality. simply have as many websites as we possibly can ban these carriers access. when companies like these are band from half the web their users will be forced to find net neutral carriers. :D

RE: Optimism
By zmatt on 12/20/2010 10:38:43 AM , Rating: 2
I like both of these ideas. I wont lay down and let the teleocm companies suck me dry of cash.

RE: Optimism
By djcameron on 12/20/2010 8:18:11 PM , Rating: 1
You've just suggested exactly why capitalism works! People will vote with the their feet/wallet. If it's too expensive (or too whatever), then people will use another service. The only time we need government intervention is when a cartel or oligopoly comes into existence.

RE: Optimism
By Kurz on 12/21/2010 9:04:46 AM , Rating: 4
Funny thing is Government is excellent at creating those cartels/Oligopoly.

RE: Optimism
By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:30:47 PM , Rating: 1
Wrong. In most cases, government only gives it's blessing to the cartel/oligopoly.... those things existed long before the government go involved in most cases.

RE: Optimism
By Kurz on 12/20/2010 11:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
We had the internet since the early 90's.
So now we have to eliminate/prepare for some problem that probably won't happen?

RE: Optimism
By Luticus on 12/20/2010 11:22:30 AM , Rating: 2
I mean IF things get as serious as what's pictured above. IF they put this plan into action then you start blacklisting companies. It's silly to pass "guilty verdicts" on companies that have only talked about doing "evil" :-)

RE: Optimism
By Kurz on 12/20/2010 11:54:26 AM , Rating: 2
Thats good... Many people believe in preventive law making.
Which honestly just makes things worse than they are.

Thanks for being sensible ;)

RE: Optimism
By mindless1 on 12/24/2010 9:14:21 AM , Rating: 2
Not really, the guilty of being evil stance is true by mere intention to do something, it doesn't matter if you actually succeed.

Ever hear of attempted murder?

RE: Optimism
By TacticalTrading on 12/20/2010 10:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
What will really be interesting is: if ALL providers were to follow the same/similar paths and the resulting Monopoly / Collusion based lawsuits.

Because if I were Sprint (or any smaller provider) I would be hoping Verizon and AT&T took the toll road. Then the smaller providers could sit back offering unlimited and unrestricted access and watch customers flock their way.

The upside of capitalism:
While the Govt can regulate an industry to death and add an absurd fee structure (read: Tax) to everything, the government can not dictate a product based pricing structure that all market participants must follow... No matter how hard the large industry players may try.

RE: Optimism
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/20/2010 11:14:09 AM , Rating: 1
Well, I am glad to see all the "free trade (mostly for their gas guzzlers)" people quaking about this free trade.

But seriously, how are your P2P peers going to network? All traffic crosses the major carriers through some local carriers, so you will get charged one way or another. The point of origin of the traffic will not concern the major carriers, just that there was traffic. And if you are the end-consumer, then you will get charged through your local carrier. It is the interweb, my friend, it's all piggy-backed. Even a VLAN travels on someone's wires.

RE: Optimism
By EricMartello on 12/21/2010 2:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
The basic premise of P2P networking is decentralization. That's how it works, because it was designed to allow people to share files without there being a single target that could be "shut down" to kill the network.

Whose wires will it travel over? Well the answer is more likely than not going to be wireless connections. WiFi routers are a lot more abundant now than they ever were creating a new wifi standard that supports P2P adhoc networking is not far fetched. The internet will essentially consist of millions of individual access points acting as nodes.

This isn't a new idea, I think Google wanted to make something like this happen a few years ago but the time wasn't right. If the major providers start charging extra based on the domain you want to access, that may be the catalyst that sets the P2P internet in motion.

As for Sprint and smaller providers benefiting from Verizon or Comcast going the premium access route - highly unlikely. The large telecom providers own most of the infrastructure and therefore have ultimate control over the minimum that a company like Sprint could charge for access. There are "peering" agreements between large telecom providers which basically amount to "You can use my lines if I can use yours" but smaller providers are LEASING the infrastructure and have to make a profit on top of the fees they pay to lease the lines...they also need to abide by the terms of the leasing agreement, which may require them to follow in kind on the premium access charges.

RE: Optimism
By Yames on 12/21/2010 1:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
There will not be any tolls between peers (internet providers). Once you're on the internet, you're on. Tolls can only be instituted by the edge providers as they control their customers traffic, and can map the traffic back to actual customers. Control to that degree between peers is just too cumbersome and does not make any sense if you understand how the internet operates.

So the original argument is still valid in that customers will flock to ISPs/Wireless providers that offer flat rate access charges, like what we have today, if available.

I agree that the Govt should stay out of it until such a time where the consumer is at such a disadvantage that there is no way for them to fight back, i.e. the fair market collapses.

RE: Optimism
By mindless1 on 12/24/2010 9:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
Actually there could be. If these edge providers are billed by the peers based on where the traffic goes they will argue the fairness of and attempt to pass on the costs to their subscribers, so while it is not direct billing it is still indirectly doing so.

If only...
By Kurz on 12/20/2010 10:38:58 AM , Rating: 5
If only we (The Government) didn't set up these monopolies in the first place we wouldn't need to worry about these big corporate interests playing us like pawns.

Though I actually think there will just be more hotspot action. Myself I always near a unsecured hotspot. There is no need for me to have 3G internet access. In effect they are going to price themselves out of the market and it'll end up costing them more (Subscribers cutting off internet access) by doing this.

RE: If only...
By Iaiken on 12/21/2010 10:36:46 AM , Rating: 3
You're missing the point.

They want to at least try to price the competition out of the market.

Basically this is what is happening in wild west terms:

The telcos are the wealthy cattle barons. If you wanna drive your data-cattle across the land (which they own all of) you're going to have to pay a tax/toll/fee. However, they're free to drive their own cattle across the land to you at no charge.

They want to take advantage of the fact that we're cheap and we'll have basically no choice, but to pay them so we can use the competition, or submit to their walled gardens and let them collect add revenue off us. Regardless, they will be building a complete categorical demographic profile of your online habits.


RE: If only...
By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
BINGO! Right argument in one, Iaiken.

We cannot allow this to happen, unless we want the Telco's to kill the next Netflix, Hulu, etc.

RE: If only...
By Kurz on 12/22/2010 12:52:05 AM , Rating: 2
>.> Government made them wealthy in the first place by protecting their Cattle and putting up barriers to entry.

I did enjoy your feeble attempt at grasping how we got to this in the first place.

US better get their government on this
By snyper256 on 12/20/2010 4:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
If real net neutrality isn't legislated, the corporations will get exactly this.

This is the entire goal of corporations, more monetization. Obviously.

So "let the free market work" is a ridiculous joke, don't even try it.

Governments need to step on ISPs NOW.

RE: US better get their government on this
By Kurz on 12/21/2010 9:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
Lol... I love how stupid you are.

Seriously, businesses are doing this as a PR stunt to get the government to pass a net neutrallity bill in order to secure their position in the market place.

Barriers to entry to a market is the reason we have the BS we have today. (Those Barriers being the government)

RE: US better get their government on this
By Paj on 12/22/2010 7:16:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, because privatising essential infrastructure is ALWAYS in the interests of the consumer.


By Kurz on 12/22/2010 9:10:23 AM , Rating: 2
It is always better...
Its always more efficient with money...
It always provides better results...

Though I guess Private schooling (Cheaper 20,000 public 10,000 private), Health care was better until medicare, Medicade, and all these government regulations came into effect.

This infrastructure as always been protected by local and state governments from outside competition. Protectionism at its best.

By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, snyper256. The fact is that unless we enshrine net neutrality in law, the corporations WILL go to this and we will all have to STFU and bear it or not use the internet, because of the monopolies that most of the Telco's and cable companies have.

No, those are NOT coming from government regulation, people. They are coming from lack of forced line-sharing in America.

Oh no....
By SpaceRanger on 12/20/2010 10:49:32 AM , Rating: 4
I don't like the road we're beginning to go down. Things are looking pretty bleak for the consumer of Internet Services.

RE: Oh no....
By muhahaaha on 12/20/2010 1:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
I may have to pull my 56K modem out of storage and plug it in, and get a $10/mo ISP.

Can you say anti-trust and competition
By omgwtf8888 on 12/20/2010 12:08:18 PM , Rating: 2
First off maybe the FCC, presently, can not regulate net neutrality. However the Justice department certainly can investigate anti-trust. No different then Microsofts bundling of Internet Explorer, a wireless company essentially bundling their apps would be in danger of a huge suit. Next, such fees and reductions in services will open another door for new providers to come in. Maybe some of the secondary carriers with no such tolls will suddenly start peeling business from the majors. This is already proven in this history of this industry. Look at one price unlimited plans, unlimited texting and pictures. These were all once upon a time pay as you go.

By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, if you can find one of those plans that doesn't cost 200 dollars a month, you are doing better than I am!

So that is how!
By solarrocker on 12/20/2010 12:45:41 PM , Rating: 2
for his campaign. They also offered free services to his 15-acre Arizona ranch.

Run for President, it gets you free internet!

RE: So that is how!
By TeXWiller on 12/20/2010 10:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
If McCain had won he might had to excuse himself so often as being incapable of acting as a President. ;) The article fails to specify the amount of the free services offered, say for the time of campaign only, though.

By fic2 on 12/20/2010 1:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
When is Google going to buy itself some politicians to counteract the politicians AT&T and Verizon have bought?

RE: when?
By Master Kenobi on 12/24/2010 8:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
Google has no need. With the amount of dark fiber they have been buying up in the past decade they could become their own ISP very quickly. If that were to happen, god help AT&T and Verizon because Google would annihilate them.

Oh dear...
By Landiepete on 12/21/2010 4:33:56 AM , Rating: 1
In essence there is nothing wrong with paying per page.

However, as soon as the scheme is introdused, greedy providers will start building in dirty tricks like incomplete pages you have to reload, dodgy builders will smear 'page not available' messages to 90% of their websites, and unscrupulous info sites will reduce the amount of useable information per page to about three words.

So you'll be downloading 78 pages to get a weather forcast for the next 10 minutes.

RE: Oh dear...
By bug77 on 12/21/2010 5:12:11 AM , Rating: 3
In essence there is nothing wrong with paying per page.

Dude, it's all bits flowing through the wires. This is as wrong as it gets. It's like paying different rates for plugging in a TV than for a refrigerator.

You sure about McCain?
By bug77 on 12/20/2010 10:41:06 AM , Rating: 2
By wookie1 on 12/20/2010 12:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think it probably happened just to prop up the case for FCC expansion. Maybe it's a plan, or a dream, or notes from a brainstorming session. There is competition, though, and providers will have to compete with each other for customers unless we let the FCC in. The providers will try many things to offset the costs of high-bandwidth users and make profits, but their competitors will be trying to do it better, faster, cheaper. If the FCC takes over, it will lay down one-size-fits-all rules, and the result will be less service for more money with the added benefit of content control (based on the regulation of television broadcast anyway).

No thanks, I'd rather take my chances without the FCC "protecting" me.

By damianrobertjones on 12/20/2010 1:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
iPad owners are now starting to PAY for what they, before, on netbooks/laptops and desktops had for FREE.

If they will pay for that, they'll also pay for this.

The government should act now...
By Wagnbat on 12/20/2010 3:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
... in line with wireless carriers, they should start taxing runners and bicyclists more for using sidewalkes more than average walkers. People who live more than 10 miles from where they work should get charged a super-gas-guzzler tax, even if they drive hybrids.

/sarcasm off

What ever happened...
By aebiv on 12/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: What ever happened...
By aebiv on 12/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: What ever happened...
By snyper256 on 12/20/2010 4:59:20 PM , Rating: 1
How can you not see that this kind of monetization scheme is incredibly bad for the internet as a whole?

Do you really want premiums on every single non-preferred site from every ISP?

This doesn't solve any problems and will hurt everybody.

RE: What ever happened...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/2010 6:53:15 PM , Rating: 2
Please tell me you're joking? The ISPs are not going to switch to something that will cause massive increases in pricing overnight. Its not going to happen because consumers will shut them off. People use the internet now because its convienient, and entertaining, if it costs $3,000 a month or something they just won't buy it and the "evil ISPs" will make nothing at all and go out of business.

Since it is not in the best interests of either party it will simply not happen. There might be some sort of by the KB plan or selective web sites plan at the bottom end but "heavy users" will likely continue to pay a premium for faster unlimited service because thats what they want and there is someone out there that wants to make money giving them just that. If you're dumb enough to buy a plan that charges you by the KB and download 50TB worth of porn and anime then you're probably stupid enough to believe that the ISPs are all in cahoots to get you and that you need your "friend" the governement to come save you.

Whats next regulating text messages too? Because marxist jackasses like yourself cant read 3 paragraphs of a cell phone contract and realize that buying text messages by the message is a bad idea then rack up a $7000/month bill the rest of us should be forced into some other form of government mandated stupidity?! Heres an idea... buy the plan that works best for YOU and if one carrier doesn't have it GO SOMEWHERE ELSE .

RE: What ever happened...
By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:42:01 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, right..... like the United States Private who had 16K in phone charges, when they told him he should be paying only 5 cents a minute from Iraq to the United States?

Get real... it's time to realize that these companies are EVIL and will do ANYTHING to maximize their profits, and they will just tell the consumer "Fuck you!"

RE: What ever happened...
By aebiv on 12/21/2010 12:36:34 AM , Rating: 1
Evidently people have no respect for property if it isn't their property.

Find me one thing the government has regulated wisely.

RE: What ever happened...
By Lerianis on 12/25/2010 8:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm...... the telecommunications companies like AT&T, which we didn't start to have problems until they STOPPED regulating those companies.

The electric companies, which again.... didn't start to have problems until we DIDN'T regulate them at the federal level.

Need I keep on going? The fact is that the problem is NOT regulation.... it's lack of it or stopping that regulation.

Good idea if...
By Spivonious on 12/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: Good idea if...
By Nutzo on 12/20/2010 10:17:27 AM , Rating: 5
If you stream "lots of Netflix" then you are a heavy user and likely to end up paying more.

RE: Good idea if...
By priusone on 12/20/2010 9:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
That is so funny. When my roommate went from MySpace to Facebook, I saw a marked drop in overall bandwidth used. Then she started using NetFlix to watch streaming movies. Needless to say, that shot network usage through the roof.

RE: Good idea if...
By dsumanik on 12/21/2010 2:51:29 AM , Rating: 2
All i know is that the electric company charges me based on my usage, not a variable rate depending on what i have plugged into the socket.

Would it be fair if you got charged an extra fee because your wife likes to use the hairdryer alot???

This whole thing is a scam on an order of magnitude beyond anything ive ever heard of in my life.

The only way to win this battle is to vote with your wallet, if your carrier signs on to this boat...jump ship and vocally let them know why you are doing it.

Another saving grace would be if one carrier decided to vocally go against this optimus prime once said:

"I rise, you fall."

Imagine the ads they could make mocking competitors while raking in the subscriber base.

RE: Good idea if...
By JasonMick on 12/20/2010 10:38:37 AM , Rating: 4

Reportedly, Netflix says that streaming requires about 1 GB/hr.

So assuming the proposed Facebook rates ($0.05/MB), if you watch 3 movies a week (4.5 hours) you'd be paying roughly $230 USD a week or about $920 USD/month .

And god help you if you...
stream lots of Netflix

Hope you have a lot of discretionary cash on hand...

RE: Good idea if...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Good idea if...
By JasonMick on 12/20/2010 12:37:08 PM , Rating: 4
I really think this is a lot of freaking out about nothing. The carriers are trying to figure out a way that they can maximize profits however if you remember from economics 101 (assuming you took economics 101) at some point if they charge too much they will cause demand destruction which will cause them to lose money. Juggle this with the fact that there are multiple carriers available in pretty much every area and you can't charge something way out of wack or all your customers will go to the guy down the street and again you lose money.

The free market works if you leave it alone. They will never implement a pricing structure that charges consumers $900 a month for facebook and youtube because the market will not support it. The only thing the government needs to do is make sure there isn't a cartel that is fixing prices, beyond that I say let them do what they want.

I disagree. For a time I exclusively used Verizon's data cards as my internet connection. I mistakenly thought they offered "unlimited" service, as that was what I had been told by the rep who sold me mine.

I discovered otherwise one month when I had a grad school report due and downloaded around 10 GB worth of programs I needed to complete my analysis. I received an overage of $4,000.

I argued and argued with Verizon and finally got them to reduce it, but I still had to pay $2,000 USD .

You are right in a sense, in that I left Verizon as soon as I could and haven't looked back (now on Sprint -- true unlimited -- and couldn't be happier).

However, the customer service reps who I talked to during my long arguments with Verizon called these sort of overages "common" and related multiple stories of customers who has similar or larger overages who had called in over the last week.

I considered retaining a lawyer and fighting the overage, but ultimately that would likely have cost me as much as the reduced rate, plus would have cost time.

My experience is that some telecoms (Verizon) are absolutely merciless in their fees and overages.

Of course some (Sprint) are more fair, but they too may fall to the dark side if the entire industry goes that way.

Ultimately, you're right, the carriers might not be able to milk an extra $900/month out of the masses, but if you cut that down to $100/month it's possible. I bet a number of smart phone owners would still pay that, if all the carriers effectively colluded together and ensured that the customer had no other options...

RE: Good idea if...
By bah12 on 12/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: Good idea if...
By Tanclearas on 12/20/2010 2:32:48 PM , Rating: 4
Why is that wrong? Are you insinuating businesses should not charge what the market is willing to pay?

Many livelihoods have been established based upon the current model. Allowing one group of businesses that have control over the source to suddenly and arbitrarily charge significantly more harms the economy in a drastic way.

Don't believe me?

Oil prices skyrocket. Gas prices skyrocket. If you were paying about $100 per month in gas before, now you're paying $200. Disposable income plummets. If that figure holds true for only 1/3rd of the US population, you are now talking about billions of dollars redirected from the established market every single month. Higher gas prices also trigger increases in travel and shipping, which in turn affects the tourism industry and increases prices on everything that gets shipped. Disposable income drops further. Depression/Recession anyone?

Allowing Internet providers to charge more "per use" means fewer hits per page, which impacts advertising revenues, which has a huge impact on the existing model of site and app development. Those who can't afford the new model adjust their usage to keep their bills level. Those who can afford the new model are now dumping their money into the ISP's, and all of that money is no longer being spent where it used to be.

Your attack that the poster is "straight up anti-business" is laughable. You mock the poster that an increase in regulation is absurd because the existing regulation isn't working. The whole point behind increasing (or more appropriately, changing) a practice is to make the practice more effective.

RE: Good idea if...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Good idea if...
By Tanclearas on 12/20/2010 7:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
...and yet that is exactly what happened.

A recession is not good for the economy as a whole, but the reality is people will still buy gas. People still need to get to work. They will still drive to see loved ones. Unfortunately, as spending continues to decrease, fewer people will be working. Once they aren't working, even visiting loved ones becomes a luxury. And yes, it did put pressure on governments to actually start taking alternative fuel research seriously.

Those repercussions take a while to impact the oil companies. Greed, and pressure on management to show immediate results, often keeps people from seeing a much bigger picture.

RE: Good idea if...
By Kurz on 12/21/2010 9:14:21 AM , Rating: 2
Money has to be spent in order to get the wealth from it.
Money is still very liquid... except now people are spending what they have, not spending thousands of dollars to finance over a few years.

Money is just a medium of wealth exchange nothing more.
By itself its worthless.

RE: Good idea if...
By Iaiken on 12/21/2010 10:38:17 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you captain obvious...

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/20/2010 6:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
The latter is puzzling because you want more regulation from an entity, that by the very existence of the problem, has already failed to protect you.

Are you insinuating that a government must either be perfect, or otherwise should be non-existant? What puzzles me is why one would argue in an ever changing market the government should not also change and adapt.

Why is that wrong? Are you insinuating businesses should not charge what the market is willing to pay?

A business should charge what it needs to do business and make payroll. Otherwise you end up with what just happened with the housing market. People were willing to pay more and more for the same size house, and Banks were being unethical in their loaning practices.

This is the real and true difference between Republicans and Democrats. What the role of the government should be. And I think it's a great argument to have where both ideas and sides should be respected. I honestly believe that if no one held the Democrats back we would already have collapsed, and likewise if no one pushed the Republicans forward we would still be living in log houses. My personal opinion is that free market is great, but it still requires legistlation and regulation to make it a fair market.

RE: Good idea if...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/2010 7:11:32 PM , Rating: 4
A business should charge what it needs to do business and make payroll. Otherwise you end up with what just happened with the housing market. People were willing to pay more and more for the same size house, and Banks were being unethical in their loaning practices.

You obviously have little to no concept of what a business is or how one works. A business exists to make money for its investors, it isn't there to make products, it isn't there to create jobs, it is there to make money and as much money as it possibly can within the confines of the law.

Jobs, goods, services, etc. are side effects of a business existing. The number of customers is inversely proportional to the price of the good or service. So there is a price range where the number of customers brought in will maximize the profit... heres what I mean. There might be 2 people that are willing to pay $500/lb for ground beef but 10,000,000 that will pay $2... by the sheer numbers setting the price at $2 is more profitable. Would the company prefer to get $500 out of each lb? Sure, but they wont because bringing in $20,000,000 is much better then bringing in $1,000. Set the price too low and you lose money also $1/lb might net you 15,000,000 customers but that only brings in $15,000,000.

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/20/2010 9:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
So sweat shops are ok? I agree a business' main goal is to turn a profit, but does that mean that the entire idea of business ethics is out the window? How familiar are you with the Big Business busts of the early 1900's? Or how Unions were formed? The law should not be the only thing governing how a business treats their employees, their customers, or their partners.

Also, don't quote to me supply and demand. I understand supply and demand just fine. However, I also understand that is an elementary example and not applicable to a great many transactions. It works fine for hot dogs, or ground beef, but not so well when you start getting into single supplier situations or necessity items.

You obviously have little to no concept of what a business is or how one works.

Please refrain from blanket statements in a constructive argument. You don't know anything about me except for 2 posts I've made in an online forum. That's not anywhere near enough information to make an assessment of my qualifications.

RE: Good idea if...
By bah12 on 12/21/2010 10:09:25 AM , Rating: 2
Oh god where to start.
So sweat shops are ok?
No as the OP said.
quote: is there to make money and as much money as it possibly can within the confines of the law
Sweat shops are not within the confines of the law.
It works fine for hot dogs, or ground beef, but not so well when you start getting into single supplier situations or necessity items.
Of which internet access is neither, one could argue the necessity side but clearly it is not a single provider situation.
A business should charge what it needs to do business and make payroll.
That statement is why you are obviously a socialist. Sorry but in a capitalistic economic system, businesses do not exist to break even as you suggest they should.
I agree a business' main goal is to turn a profit
No you blatantly said that it isn't. So I concur with the other poster you have little to no concept of what a business is or how one works, or possibly are just confused since your own posts contradict each other.

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/21/2010 7:30:51 PM , Rating: 3
Of which internet access is neither, one could argue the necessity side but clearly it is not a single provider situation.

From what I understand in a large portion of markets, it is a single provider situation. I know that I can't get anything except Comcast in my area, and I live in a densely populated area. So my point stands.

Sweat shops are not within the confines of the law.

I did not ask if they were legal, I asked if they were OK if you will read. I want to know if he thinks that as long as it is not illegal a company should start using sweat shops. It was not a question of legislation, it was a question of ethics.

That statement is why you are obviously a socialist.

Really? One sentence is now a determination of your entire life's political theory? Wow, had no idea you could read that much about a person in less than 55 characters.

No you blatantly said that it isn't. So I concur with the other poster you have little to no concept of what a business is or how one works, or possibly are just confused since your own posts contradict each other.

No, I'm pretty sure I know what I'm talking about. They don't contradict. They are expressing the difference between blatant greed and ethical business. A business should be focused on turning a profit, that doesn't mean that NOTHING else should matter (notice the "Main goal"? emphasis on MAIN, not SOLE). They need to turn a profit, they ALSO need to make sure they are being ethical about it. Just because you should be paying a fair wage, doesn't mean you can't be focused on profit. As another poster said, Oil prices skyrocketed, the market did not respond. That doesn't mean that they had all kinds of expendable income and could afford to spend more, it means they had no choice, and their money went towards filling their tank instead of replacing their computer. I'm not saying that everyone has no choice, but the last I was aware something to the effect of 65% of people had only a single choice in internet. Which then disproves your point above...again.

If anything I've proven that you are unable to argue politics and business without getting emotional, and with that it proves that you are not intelligent enough to argue theory instead of practice. So stop trying to be condescending. I've treated you with all respect, even though I disagree...up until now where I just took a shot at you, calling you unintelligent, although that is a quantifiable figure and I'm reasonably sure that comparative analysis would prove me right.

RE: Good idea if...
By Tanclearas on 12/21/2010 8:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
What a ridiculous perspective. Jobs, goods, services, etc are not side effects of business. Business AND jobs are the side effect of a need for goods and services.

Businesses are started in the hopes of making money after identifying a need. Regulations are required to ensure that in the pursuit of money, businesses are not actually doing harm, and there are a crazy number of ways in which a business is capable of doing harm.

RE: Good idea if...
By spazmedia on 12/20/2010 4:52:45 PM , Rating: 1
Well you could have simply not paid the bill... you changed providers anyways.

RE: Good idea if...
By Yames on 12/21/2010 1:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
They would not just forget about $4K. They would have taken him to court and if they won, garnished his wages and/or drained his accounts.

$400, sure that you could probably walk away from with just a hit on your credit report.

RE: Good idea if...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 12/20/2010 6:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
Let's not forget that their only purpose is to extract as much money as possible from their customers. If they could stop spending on upgrades, you can bet they would. The ONLY way to lower the cost while improving performance is through competition (or if that's not possible, government intervention).

Intel proved that back in the Pentium-4 days before AMD started kicking them repeatedly in the rear.

Notice how Windows is getting cheaper since Chrome starting to make noise?

The monopolists need to feel that the need to DO SOMETHING before improvements will be made.

RE: Good idea if...
By Lerianis on 12/21/2010 7:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
You should have searched for a lawyer that would take the case based on payout from you winning the case. There are numerous lawyers who do those type of things today, more than in the past actually.

RE: Good idea if...
By guffwd13 on 12/20/2010 1:59:32 PM , Rating: 5
At the very basic level yes, economics work that way. But in reality they are far more complex than for which you are giving credit. Marxism, Communism and pure capitalism all share one common major flaw: they all assume people are perfect.

But as we are all too aware, we are not perfect, not as individuals and not as a collective and in a pure market system the individual has excessive power at the top and thus imparts their respective individual imperfections on the system.

Food, utilities, gasoline, internet (take it as you will but I truly believe it is) and others (health care?) also all share one thing: they are (now) necessities and the supply/demand relationship fails when a consumer has to have it (non-discretionary goods). The recent gas crisis demonstrated this beautifully. Gas prices were through the roof at $130/barrel which was more than three times what it fell to before rising back up. The demand did not react in any predictable way to this change.

Wall street suffered the same problem. With bonuses being based on performance with no liability for risk taken, traders were encouraged to make risky deals in hopes at arriving at big payoffs in the end. And what happened? A lot of innocent people lost a lot of money when the bad investments that were made (knowingly in many cases) and went sour.

Greenspan himself said he was wrong to avoid regulation and Reaganomics was far from perfect. The free market world is great, don't get me wrong. Freakenomics makes that very clear: incentive drives production and service. It is most certainly the way to go in the modern world and its no accident China, the last of the major Communist nations, is shifting its entire economy over to that.

However, governments absolutely need to regulate necessities because businesses can charge what they want, and people will be forced to pay. Economy collapses due to lack of discretionary money. End of nation.

The net must remain neutral. Full. Inexpensive and at the expense of the unfortunate companies that provide that service. They are disturbingly rich as it is.

However I do agree with you. Free speech should NEVER be regulated and I don't see how one (speech vs internet regulation) should influence the other.

RE: Good idea if...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/2010 4:43:00 PM , Rating: 1
Marxism, Communism and pure capitalism all share one common major flaw: they all assume people are perfect.

I disagree. I would say that Marxism and Communism assume that the governing body have the best interests of the collective in mind where Capitalism assumes that people are generally greedy and uses greed to regulate itself.

You cannot blame the crash of 2008 solely on capitalism because the system in place was not pure capitalism. It was some sort of unholy union of capitalism and socialism in which there was privatized gain (greed) but socialized risk (bailouts). That system will not work because it allows greed to run unchecked because there are no economic consequences for taking too much risk (sub prime home loans).

If you want to blame something blame the cronyism of high level excutives and members in congress that allowed the whole house of cards to be built in the first place.

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/20/2010 6:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that Marxism and Communism assume that the governing body have the best interests of the collective in mind

Actually Marxism and Communism don't believe in any governing body at all. The point is a completely volunteer society which needs no regulation or government.

While I agree that the bailouts may fall closer to the "socialized" side of the scale I don't see how they had any effect on how business was done prior to their inception. Things had already failed when they were introduced.

As far as who to blame, I happen to have some insight into the banking industry, and I blame them.

RE: Good idea if...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/2010 6:59:31 PM , Rating: 1
Actually Marxism and Communism don't believe in any governing body at all. The point is a completely volunteer society which needs no regulation or government.

riiiiight so the form of government in which the government owns everything is the type of government which needs no regulation or government?!

Hey would you be interested in buying some beach front property on Mars?!

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/20/2010 8:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sure. The moment you can actually point out a Communist country. Sure there are a lot that claimed to be WORKING TOWARDS Communism, but they never actually were Communist. It was an interim government meant to bring the country closer to Communism. At least, that's what they told their people. But you were talking theory, not reality.

RE: Good idea if...
By mcnabney on 12/20/2010 9:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
Don't bother trying to explain what communism really is. People think communism is Stalin and Mao. Those were both dictatorships hiding behind the mask of communism. Communism is what Jesus was talking about. Sadly, it has only ever worked in small groups and then usually not for very long. Now socialism is different, but we can just look over the pond to see how that works (and fails) to varying degrees.

Also, I believe that ISPs should be made into utilities. A low flat rate to 'connect' and than a per-MB or GB charge based upon usage. Since the going rate for data transport that ISPs pay is about $0.03/GB - so Mick quoting a $0.05/MB price is nearly 1000x their cost. Charging that would be like a gas station chargin $2,000.00 a gallon. I could deal with $20/mo for connection and $0.10/GB for how much I download.

RE: Good idea if...
By Kurz on 12/21/2010 9:42:40 AM , Rating: 2
Though I love how people think socialism is a path to communism. You need a huge government to get socialism down. And somehow you go from 100% government control (socialism) to 0% government control (communism). This doesn't make sense.

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/22/2010 12:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
That's because the majority of American's have never taken Political Science. So they only understand the "Communism" of the Cold War and modern China. They don't understand the theory or the reality of government.

RE: Good idea if...
By Kurz on 12/22/2010 3:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
I am also talking about those who claim to be communist.
And striving for Socialist programs to level the playing field. However this requires 100% control of the government.

Then They wonder why Communism never came to fruition.

RE: Good idea if...
By PrezWeezy on 12/22/2010 5:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the thought process is something to the effect of, if the government can get everything setup, and get everyone in line to go along with it, then when they shut the parliament doors and turn the power over it will be a smooth transition. I don't believe that it would be remotely possible for a government to just say "Ok, it's up to you guys now, we're going communist!" and have it work. The system would have to be setup, all the ducks in a row. Although I don't believe it's actually possible, as the entire reason we are what we are today (as humans) is because of drive and the desire to have better, which creates competition. Just what my thoughts.

RE: Good idea if...
By geddarkstorm on 12/20/2010 2:40:23 PM , Rating: 3
You are also forgetting some of your basic economics. Some commodities are more or less insensitive to price changes. For instance, changes in the price of crocs would greatly affect demand, while wild changes in the price of gasoline has almost no affect on demand. Why? Because gasoline has nearly no alternatives and is a needed (rather than wanted) commodity by many people.

However, did you like it when the price of gas was nearly $4 a gallon? The market surely could sustain it since there were no viable alternatives for the majority of the market, but it certainly caused a massive amount of disruption throughout the economy.

The internet has become sort of on par to gasoline these days. Some bills and paycheck statements are solely online (paperless). Purchases can be done all online, maps and information found, and then there's the productivity and collaborative benefits of cloud programs, the social networking, and yes even the entertainment of movies and games.

Due to the internet's integration at nearly every level of our society now, the market has no choice if the ISPs all decided to charge us outrageous prices. We'd be stuck and trapped. If you want, go look back at the late 1800's for a demonstration of how this works in the wild, and why it was a very bad thing. Moreover, such metered based on site pricing would have profound repercussions throughout the economy. Google, for instance, makes the vast majority of its money on marketing. If people now have to choose which sites they can visit based on how much they have in their pocket book, that damages Google's and other companies marketing models. Which in turns damages what sites can even afford to be on the net.

Yes, the free market would regulate itself, but that doesn't mean it won't go through wild swings till it finds balance. And that doesn't mean those wild swings can't greatly damage other economic segments and the consumer. And if those wild swings get wild enough, the entire economy can go into a depression and recession as we've recently seen in 2008! There was a wild economic model swing in the subprime housing market which nearly brought down the developed World's economy. So, don't take such matters lightly, even the best economists were taken off guard by 2008.

So, should we give the ISPs a chance and room to instigate such absurd ideas as we see in this article (for the sake of my argument, I'm assuming the exact details we see in the slide are what would occur, which is realistically highly unlikely)? I don't believe so. As if they did do this, it would require the entire internet and economy around it to fundamentally change and rearrange. That means chaos and trouble until a new equilibrium can be found.

And quite frankly, the ISPs don't need an even more absurd profit margin to make all the pain we consumers would go through worth it.

RE: Good idea if...
By guffwd13 on 12/20/2010 2:54:44 PM , Rating: 2
Your response is very similar to mine above.

For the geeks out there, inelastic goods is the econ101 term we're referring to. The market can't regulate these by definition. Thus a third party (governing body) must step in or we all get stepped on.

RE: Good idea if...
By bah12 on 12/20/2010 6:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
Due to the internet's integration at nearly every level of our society now, the market has no choice if the ISPs
I would stop you there. Although I agree that an inelastic good should be regulated. The very fact that you had to put and "s" on ISP means there are choices. The internet today IS NOT inelastic, and arguably not a necessity.

My point is we have a mechanism in place for dealing with what everyone is concerned about, and that is price fixing.

This is where the oil price analogy fails. Sure there are more than one provider Exxon, Chevron, Shell however it is quite clear that organizations like OPEC are actively engaged in price fixing. Since they reside outside of US borders we are essentially held hostage by them, as our laws would be difficult if not impossible to enforce.

That situation is not comparable to ISP's they are within our borders, and easily regulated under price fixing laws. Most importantly there is no 1 main ISP there are dozens if not hundreds.

The false assumption is that these could all get together and fix pricing, completely unchecked by existing laws. My contention is that is pure tin foil hat thinking and until that time there is no need to further interrupt the free market.

So yes if you are saying that a company cannot legally choose it's own price, then it is obvious you are anti-business. The tin foil hat fear that one day...maybe...sometime they will come together and fix prices AND that we would let them get away with that; is paranoid at best.

RE: Good idea if...
By Noliving on 12/20/2010 6:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
but the problem though is that it isn't price fixing, its a new business model that charges based upon usage instead of a flat rate for unlimited usage or for certain amount of data.

So for example lets say comcast charges 1 dollar per visit of youtube but qwest charges $.20 for youtube, that isn't price fixing but it will make internet browsing much more expensive. now obviously the prices are lower but those lower prices will still most likely make current internet usages much more expensive.

Again it isn't about price fixing its the new business model that is being proposed.

RE: Good idea if...
By MrBungle123 on 12/20/2010 7:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter if they charge by the website because people will regulate their usage in response to such a pricing structure. IF they charge too much people will find another ISP that doesn't charge so much in which case the ISP with the outrageous pricing structure starts losing money.

RE: Good idea if...
By Noliving on 12/20/2010 10:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
but that other isp that doesn't charge so much will probably be more expensive under this proposed business model then under the current model.

It's the samething with gas, they are all high prices no matter which one, gas station, you go to.

under this new business model the internet will be more expensive no matter what isp you go too compared to the current business model.

RE: Good idea if...
By bah12 on 12/21/2010 9:55:11 AM , Rating: 2
That is pure speculation (aka tin foil hat) on your part. You assume if one goes this route they all will. There is no hard evidence that is the case. Some ISP will most likely continue the current model because it will mean more customers. Take Sprint for example they've elected to still offer a truly unlimited service, and as such their customer satisfaction ratings have exceeded their competition.

But all that is besides the point even if they all switched to this model, again what right do we have to say a business cannot choose how they market and price their goods. As long as no anti-consumer/competitive laws are being broke, let the market at least try first we can always regulate it later.

That is my #1 problem with net neutrality, it is based on paranoid what-if situations by the tin foil hat wearing fools. They are looking to pass legislation on a problem that MAY happen, not IS happening. And most of them use the flawed analogy to the oil and gas. IT IS NOT THE SAME. We are dealing with local entities that reside in our borders. The government would have no issues seizing control of ATT or Verizon and forcing them to comply if new legislation is needed in the future. There in lies the difference, with oil and gas we are essentially powerless against the foreign (illegal by our system) companies controlling the supply.

RE: Good idea if...
By Noliving on 12/21/2010 3:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
How is sprint doing by the way in market share?

Why wouldn't all the ISP's go that way? profit margins will be higher meaning happy share holders, then you factor in that all ISP's want to do this, show a single ISP that doesn't want to have tiered internet.

but why should one always wait till it happens before regulating it. like for example building codes or environmental rules or medical laws, a lot of those were made after tragedy struck. the vast majority of oil and gas that the US gets is from non opec nations. Besides the analogy maybe flawed but it is accurate in showing how dependent US population is on the internet. The argument is that it should be regulated before companies have implemented a tiered internet. I mean why wait?

Here is a question for you, at what point would you argue the government would need to regulate companies like ATT or Verizon?

Keep something in mind, there are millions of Americans that only have access to one ISP, meaning there are no competitors.

RE: Good idea if...
By dark matter on 12/21/2010 2:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
All I can say to you, is you obviously haven't taken life 101, because you expect CEO's to behave in an entirely rational and fair method and play by the economics rules 101 without monitoring or intervention.

RE: Good idea if...
By feelingshorter on 12/20/2010 11:23:22 AM , Rating: 2
Download the Windows 7 desktop gadget Network Meter and you will realize how much you use on a daily basis. I stream DailyShow/Colbert Report, a variety of Hulu stuff, Pandora One and Netflix movie, easily pushing you over 10GB a day. Not to mention the other two power users in my house. Sooner or later these cable companies will be overwhelmed unless they upgrade their network. Verizon on the other hand is already good to go.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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