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Print 22 comment(s) - last by Eris23007.. on Sep 25 at 7:02 PM

...And instead talks about the importance of cable TV access

In a recent survey conducted by The Glover Park Group and Public Opinion Strategies LLC, 90 percent of Americans said they preferred to have choices for video service providers over net neutrality. Interestingly, the survey did not appear to address the real issue of net neutrality, which is whether or not network service providers should create tiered networks based on application and client. Instead, survey takers were simply asked whether or not they were more concerned about cable TV choices or net neutrality.

DailyTech has been following the net neutrality topic since the beginning of 2006. So far, the topic is still up in the air, but many content developers are saying that by allowing service providers to create tiered networks, it would impede on the development of Internet services and web applications. If things don't turn out well for net neutrality, Google previously stated it would start filing anti-trust cases against major telcos.

The questions in the survey conducted by The Glover Park Group also seemed to be one sided. For example, the questions about cable TV choices were easy to understand and well explained, but those concerning net neutrality were not. The survey explained that net neutrality as "enhancing Internet neutrality by barring high speed Internet providers from offering specialized services like faster speed and increased security for a fee." Technically, all service providers sell different packages that offer a variety of speeds and email options. From the explanation, the survey made it appear as though the questions were directed at the user, when in fact the issue has to do a lot more with content providers.

For example, we have Content Provider A, which sells books and music CDs online. We also have Content Provider B, which competes with A. We also have an "Internet service provider" that has a large customer base. If Content Provider A pays the "Internet service provider" a certain amount of money to allow users access to its site faster and easier than Content Provider B, herein we have the problem of net neutrality -- or the lack of. From the end user's standpoint, he or she would just be thinking "B seems to always be slow, I think I'll just shop at A."

Despite the obvious flaw in questioning, The Glover Park Group found (PDF) the following:
  • 66 percent were more concerned with delivering TV and video services
  • 19 percent were concerned with net neutrality
  • 3 percent were concerned with both
  • 8 percent were concerned with neither
  • 4 percent didn't know or refused to answer
Interestingly, when asked how many people have even heard of net neutrality, 91 percent said no and only 7 percent said yes. The remaining 1 percent didn't know. In fact, the majority of the survey revolved around cable TV choices. The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation contracted the survey and published the findings as authoritative, which can be read here. From the release:

The survey found that very few registered voters are familiar with the issue of network neutrality. In some regions of the country, only 5 percent of likely voters had even heard of “Net Neutrality.” The survey found broad support for a “Consumer Internet Bill of Rights,” like that contained in the Senate’s communications bill. The provision contained in the Senate bill prevents Internet service providers from blocking access to competitors or degrading a consumer’s broadband service.  According to the survey, when presented with a choice between video choice and additional net neutrality legislation, an overwhelming majority of voters supported video choice.

In other words, the US government is downplaying the importance of net neutrality for both consumers and content providers by introducing a much more well known everyday topic of cable TV. The poll was funded by Verizon, which previously said that it disagreed with the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE). The COPE act allows local governments to collect up to five percent of fees from Internet service providers to put towards developing high speed access in areas without it. The COPE act also will allow local governments to control what Internet service providers do and what they can charge customers if they are the only provider in a certain area -- i.e. monopoly.


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RE: "Net neutrality" no panacea
By Eris23007 on 9/22/2006 6:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
There is a flaw in your analysis. You assume that cable is the only option. Even if I assume you mean copper or fiber cable and not specifically CATV, it leaves out the emerging trend of broadband wide-area wireless. Sprint has already plans to develop a large-scale WiMax network; as this network comes online we will be seeing true universal broadband connectivity.

Competition on the network side of things is growing, not shrinking. Leave the government out and let the net grow organically.

For that matter, none of the telcos has suggested charging extra for the current revisions of their networks. What they're proposing is laying additional cable to provide higher bandwidth, and charging the people who actually USE the bandwidth to do it. This makes perfect sense from both a business and public-policy standpoint - let the people who are driving the demand for more bandwidth pay for its establishment, then the rest of us slowly benefit as even higher-bandwidth networks come online and drive overall bandwidth costs down.

Remember what happens when supply increases - prices drop. The reason bandwidth is as cheap as it is now is the telcos wayyyy overbuilt capacity in the late 90's, increasing bandwidth supply by orders of magnitude. When the demand didn't develop as they expected, MB/s fees that the market could bear plummeted.

The telcos will charge what the market can bear for bandwidth, and the more supply they build, the lower the per-MB fees.

As for your concern over "grand yet underprivelaged [sic] minds," there is no danger of them being cut off from the net. While they may not have the same access to high-bit-rate video and gaming as some, the overall trend quite consistently points to greater levels of net access for the poor, not less. Cities across the country are establishing cheap/free metropolitan WiFi networks (e.g. Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc.). WiMax will continue that trend. Perhaps they'll have to wait a few seconds longer to load each web page, but they will be just fine. Ditto for the open source community.

Remember that the large-scale users of bandwidth are not people sharing code or researching on wikipedia - its the folks downloading huge movie and music files and talking back and forth across the globe on IP telephony (e.g. Skype, Vonage).

I will restate my earlier contention, slightly differently this time: The "net neutrality" movement is simply a public policy ploy by large-scale bandwidth consumers to prevent the true costs of their business practices from showing up in their cost structures.

Your turn for a rebuttal...


RE: "Net neutrality" no panacea
By Tyler 86 on 9/24/2006 5:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
Cable, wireless, whatever... it all has to connect to the backbone somehow, and there is actually a limit. Use all the satellites you want, but much of it will be reserved for profitable applications - and 'quality of service'.

So actually, Joe Developer won't have any problems watching streaming videos or playing videogames on from public sources served on public servers... in fact, they'll have less problems watching streaming videos and playing videogames.

They'll have incredible problems transferring large projects between team members, utilizing peer-to-peer services to distribute their services, and to upgrade their software.

Typical freeware (Linux) operating-system distributions range from 1 to 4 DVDs, and upgrades are in the hundreds of megabytes.

Free SQL servers, heavily interactive web servers, and forums take up a ton of bandwidth.

The telcos may not charge extra for the current revision of their network, but to make room for the next generation, they will decrease the quality of service for 'less demanded' bandwidth intensive applications.

The neutral bandwidth we're so accustomed to seeing isn't at all how it's seen to anyone wanting to work prejudice for profit into the system. Service isolation, and even attacks have already occurred on the Peer to Peer front to 'reduce piracy', but have a dampening effect across the entire spectrum of 'non-commercial' traffic.

Supply won't increase any more with than without net neutrality, and neither will demand - it will increase at the same rate, segregating services will not physicly change capacity nor capability.

Large-scale users of bandwidth ARE people sharing code.
While IP telephony and huge movies and music are nice, they should not be treated with an unequal quality.

You would probably agree that commercial services gaining a boost is worth paying more, but paying the same, at the expense of non-commercial traffic, is quite a different story.

Video game bandwidth is NOT an issue at all - video game LATENCY is an issue, and tierd networks will sacrifice bandwidth for latency in their case. That's all fine and well, but we can do that with quality of service enhancements with net neutrality.

In fact, ALL services can be enhanced by standard neutral quality of service enhancements to existing routers, at little to no cost to a developer... but ofcourse, they're only going to pay top dollar to have such a thing accomplished 'on the table'...

Greater access to the poor is a joke. Introducing the internet to 'the poor' is a publicity ploy. Should the poor want internet access, it's great that they should be able to get it... but it's going to exploit more than educate them.

Distributing the internet in a commercial setting isn't about good-will and neutrality, and it never has been.

The 'internet' started as a military network, and a congregation of educational networks... that's why net neutrality got it's root.


RE: "Net neutrality" no panacea
By Eris23007 on 9/25/2006 7:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We pay taxes in this country for more than one reason; one of which is compassion.

Depriving grand yet underprivelaged minds from the vast resources of the Internet is reprehensible.


quote:


Greater access to the poor is a joke. Introducing the internet to 'the poor' is a publicity ploy. Should the poor want internet access, it's great that they should be able to get it... but it's going to exploit more than educate them.


OK, so which is it? Are you concerned about "showing compassion" for "underprivelaged [sic] minds" or were you just resorting to a bunch of tired socialist rhetoric because you had a hard time proving your point with fact-based statements?

quote:

Joe Developer won't have any problems watching streaming videos or playing videogames on from public sources served on public servers... in fact, they'll have less problems watching streaming videos and playing videogames.

They'll have incredible problems transferring large projects between team members, utilizing peer-to-peer services to distribute their services, and to upgrade their software.

Typical freeware (Linux) operating-system distributions range from 1 to 4 DVDs, and upgrades are in the hundreds of megabytes.

Free SQL servers, heavily interactive web servers, and forums take up a ton of bandwidth.


You have just proven one of my points for me. Right now the internet is extremely redistributionist - that is, those who pay the most for bandwidth are not necessarily the same as those who use the majority.

Why would Joe Developer be able to play games and DL movies & music without problems, but have a hard time sharing code? Source, even for a large program, is considerably smaller than the average two-hour-long movie that people torrent, particularly when sharing modules (as opposed to whole programs).

You have also made a number of statements about how horrible things might be if those who own the backbone are allowed to run it as they see fit. Unfortunately I do not have time at present to put forth a point-by-point rebuttal, and frankly that would be a waste of my time as most of your statements are rhetoric lacking any substantial evidence. You imagine how things might be without recognizing how things are.

In fact, most of your points actually argue in favor of tiered service, not against - make those who need the QoS pay for it, not those who don't. Code sharing and software download is not a latency-sensitive service. Web serving is only slightly more latency-sensitive than code sharing. Net neutrality is primarily about QoS - not raw bandwidth.

quote:
Supply won't increase any more with than without net neutrality, and neither will demand - it will increase at the same rate, segregating services will not physicly change capacity nor capability.


This statement shows a complete disregard for the laws of economics. You assume that companies disregard market conditions when deciding whether to invest capital in expanding their networks. Unfortunately you are wrong.

Net neutrality will add a significant expense to owning and operating networks by way of regulatory compliance requirements well above and beyond those currently in place. How do you propose to measure net neutrality? Whose responsibility is enforcement? What happens when someone comes up with a new QoS policy that can significantly improve the experience for some, with little lost bandwidth to others? Do you have to register that with the government? Will they place software on all routers to determine whether all bandwidth is treated strictly neutral? Does that impact intellectual property rights of the router companies and network owners?

None of these issues have been satisfactorily thought-out, particularly not the atrocious precedent of encouraging the government to regulate the internet . Is that what you really want, the U.S. Government stepping in and regulating the internet? Do you really want to establish laws that serve to further that end? Net neutrality advocates need to take a step back and realize what they're really asking for - BIG BROTHER.

--which brings up a great tanget: the HUGE COMPANIES pushing "net neutrality" the hardest (eBay and Google) have clearly learned Orwell's lesson: language is everything. If you pitch it as the government enforcing uniform bandwidth, it sounds draconian and harsh. If you pitch it as the government providing a fair playing field it sounds nice and helpful. The reality is closer to government enforcement of uniform bandwidth. </tangent>

As if all of that weren't enough, "Net Neutrality" will also place an artificial cap on the potential for return on investment of said networks, as the operators are not able to adjust their pricing policy to what the market will bear. This means continued limitations on supply, as investors will choose to place their money elsewhere.

Frankly, if you are concerned about bandwidth costs increasing, I suggest you vehemently oppose net neutrality. Bandiwdth demand is going up, not down, while net neutrality will inhibit supply increases, as it serves as a disincentive to invest in building additional network supply (once again, specifically on the net backbone).

When demand increases and supply stays the same or decreases, prices go up. This is economics 101.

Please, think this through CAREFULLY before you encourage the government to get involved in an area where it has kept its hands off. The internet is doing wonderfully without government interference. Why do we want to mess with that?

If a problem arises, let's deal with it once it's actually a problem. Let's not rush to get the government involved just to solve something that isn't even a problem yet!

Finally, please note: I didn't just say "You're wrong, supply won't go up." I provided evidence for what that will happen. If you continue to dispute my statements, I suggest you provide evidence for your own statements. Doing so will considerably improve your effectiveness in attempting to sway my (and others') viewpoints.


"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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