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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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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.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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