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[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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RE: Good idea if...
By bah12 on 12/20/2010 1:30:03 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
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.
Why is that wrong? Are you insinuating businesses should not charge what the market is willing to pay?
quote:
...if all the carriers effectively colluded together and ensured that the customer had no other options...
As the poster said that would be a cartel/oligopoly, and there is already legislation in place to deal with that.

So by that rationale either you are straight up anti-business, as they should not be allowed to set their own pricing at the expense of lost customers.

Or you want more government regulation because you fear the existing regulations governing price fixing are inadequate. 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.


RE: Good idea if...
By Tanclearas on 12/20/2010 2:32:48 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
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
quote:
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.

quote:
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
quote:
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.

quote:
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.
quote:
So sweat shops are ok?
No as the OP said.
quote:
...it 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.
quote:
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.
quote:
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.
quote:
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
quote:
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.

quote:
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.

quote:
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.

quote:
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.


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