Net Neutrality Revisited

By on January 15, 2014 8:25:56 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
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This is a follow up from a prior article about net neutrality (here).

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of the recent 9th Circuit decision essentially striking down net neutrality which ruled that the FCC’s rules regarding anti-discrimination and anti-blocking. Those rules were:

“The second rule prohibits broadband operators from blocking lawful content on their networks. These rules differ in strictness depending on whether the provider is a fixed-broadband provider or a wireless operator. Fixed-broadband providers, such as cable operators and DSL providers, abide by a more stringent set of rules, and wireless operators adhered to a less strict version of the rules.

And the third rule applies only to fixed-broadband providers and it prohibits "unreasonable" discrimination against traffic on their networks.” – cnet

The actual legal reasoning is less interesting than how it well might affect you. The FCC will continue to regulate the internet.

In the article (cnet link above) those faq type questions are answered well. I don’t expect price changes soon, but I figure they will be coming: They won’t be decreasing, and that’s for sure. The other “sure thing” is that this will most likely be appealed, and hopefully on a First Amendment basis.

I see net neutrality as THE free speech issue of the internet age. When the ISPs raise rates, they are by default changing internet access. To me, this puts a “Poll Tax” on one’s right to free speech. The ‘little guy’ will be competing with the ‘Comcasts’ and the ‘Verizons’ for the net. The ‘free market’, in this case will favor whoever can pay more. This will also harm small businesses, as well as innovation on the internet (backed by Google, Facebook, and Amazon).

Unfortunately, the ISPs and big boys aren’t expanding the infrastructure, and why should they? That would require capital outlay, as well as enabling lower prices. Think: Gold, Silver and Bronze levels of service. The good? Services (like streaming video) would likely become more reliable. Worse (and more likely) will be wars like the one CBS had with Time-Warner, with the little guy caught in the middle. Just imagine such a war WITHOUT the anti-blocking provision. If it were with Google or Amazon, access to those sites could be blocked until a fee was negotiated.

My pov? It makes no sense to allow ISPs to become the arbiters of who gets to start a business or who gets access to various sites. It makes MUCH more sense (economic, etc.) to require the ISPs to develop their infrastructure to encourage business. The issue is really no different than maintaining and developing roads, railroads, bridges, etc. No one would agree that big corporations should get preferred access to them. Same for the internet, imho.

Source:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57617242-94/why-you-should-care-about-net-neutrality-faq/

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January 15, 2014 11:05:49 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Read about it. To me it comes as no surprise. This country because of its corporate bias is f****d no matter which way you turn. Fun part is that eventually it all comes back to bite ya in the ass. When that happens I'll sit on mine and have a really good laugh.

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January 15, 2014 11:40:52 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

"Because the commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order."

 

In other words: the commission should've established that the [..] rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations.

 

In other words, their rules were too narrow, they imposed only those companies that can be categorized as carriers.

 

Am I right? All those negatives on negatives are a bit confusing.

 

It's more or less what the writer of the article said "it cannot use statutes that pertain to telecommunications services as a basis for regulation on broadband services.", I just wanted to check that.

 

So... can't they just make some new rules to correct for this?

 

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January 15, 2014 12:52:08 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Not only were the rules too narrow but were based on "Common carriage" which apparently is not applicable according to the court.

They're not giving up:

"FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the commission "will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans." But he has not yet elaborated on what the might entail."

 - on PCMag

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January 15, 2014 4:46:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Good. They should not give up, because if they fail, such a thing will probably spill over to Europe and I wouldn't like that to happen.

 

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January 16, 2014 1:18:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
I have not looked at the specifics of the FCC and all the other interested parties related to the current fighting over control of the web. But historical patterns will probably hold, and human nature's push to nurture one's own interests even at the expense of everyone else's will continue. It is not in the interests of the corporatist oligarchy and its (mostly) hereditary ruling class to permit the unbridled discourse that currently occurs on the web. The mainstream media in the USA fulfills its function of distracting and entertaining the masses via broadcast (HD) and cable/satellite venues with a high degree of effectiveness. Soft control. The web is the primary arena where news, information, etc., can still be disseminated without the control (max-spin) of media giants (and other corporatist giants). So it is not surprising that those power centers are striving to exert greater control over the web. It is primarily about money and power. I hope the groupings that desire the web to remain a place of freedom even for us small fry will continue the struggle. Unfortunately, its the same dance that Ben Franklin referenced when asked what kind of government the Continental Congress had adopted. ' A democracy (Republic? quote from memory) if you can keep it. ' Same with the web, the struggle to keep it available for all will be an ongoing struggle with no end in sight. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Same dance, different tune. My non-expert opinion...
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January 16, 2014 2:29:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm skeptical the FCC will do anything.  It's going to come down to a bribing contest, or Google's going to have to go national with Google Fiber.

 

 

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January 17, 2014 3:47:40 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Yes indeed, companies can screw you all they want!

But then they will not have many repeat customers.  I do not see it as being that much impact.  But I am surprised the 9th circus went along with it. 

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January 19, 2014 3:07:38 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

That article makes it sounds so simple, but it's not that simple to change provider. You've to cancel your contract (and if it's one that lasts a year, then you've to wait a whole year). You also lose your email address. And when you lose your email, you've to change the email with all the accounts you have. If you don't do that, you can run into problems with your password (if you forget it).

 

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January 19, 2014 4:22:24 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The fact is that Congress required the FCC not to view ISPs as "common carriers". There are good reasons pro and con.

Definition:

"Common carrier refers to a person or entity in the business of transporting goods or people for hire, as a public service. A private carrier, in contrast, is employed to transport good for people for specific needs on an individual case basis. For example, city buses are a common carrier, as opposed to a private carrier such as a moving company which is hired on a one-time basis. A common carrier runs according to a regular schedule on a designated route.

Under common law rules, a common carrier is generally liable for all losses which may occur to property entrusted to his charge in the course of business, unless he can prove the loss happened in consequence of the act of God, or of the enemies of the United States, or by the act of the owner of the property."

In fact, ISPs aren't easily defined. The 'highways' or 'streets' are telephone and optical cable...in part owned by the public, in part private. Also, the service they provide is in part public, but also in part private. 

I think there needs to be a compromise here. Worse the luck. In the D.C. Lexicon, incest is preferable to compromise.

 

GeomanNL...most cable TV companies operate on a month-to-month basis so, with appropriate notice, usually less than one month, you can switch TV providers with no problems.

However, if you have a term contract that is not close to expiration, you may be required to pay an early termination fee when switching cable companies. 

As for email address? That's why people use web based services like hotmail/yahoo/gmail. However...when you plan to switch ISPs, you can ask for a few grace days to forward/copy important/saved emails to your new account (or save on your hard drive).

That's also a good reason to have LastPass.

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January 19, 2014 9:16:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Dr Guy,

Yes indeed, companies can screw you all they want!

But then they will not have many repeat customers.  I do not see it as being that much impact.  But I am surprised the 9th circus went along with it. 

 

9th circus?  Freudian slip?  Did you short a circuit? 

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January 20, 2014 1:12:13 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting ElanaAhova,
9th circus? Freudian slip? Did you short a circuit?

You have never heard it referred to as the 9th circus?  The most over turned appellate court in the country?

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January 21, 2014 2:49:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 i thought the circus was the Brit secret service digs in London.  Did you miss being 'short' a 'circuit?'    Actually, never heard that expression.  They get overturned often? 

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January 21, 2014 4:02:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This whole thing is a mess from start to finish (whenver that might be).

Ideologically I would say that I support a company's right to alter their own product. If they feel they are being unduly punished in some way to provide someone else's service via theirs, then they have an obligation to do something about it.

I also think it's strange that this whole conversation is so anti-ISP when it might as well have been anti-YOUTUBE and anti-NETFLIX; those are causing massive demands for infrastructure and at the same time not paying their share of the cake.

So let's say an ISP decides to throttle some service. The customer then has the opportunity to change ISP. The throttling becomes a way to compete. An ISP that throttles some may provide a better service overall for everything else, all else being equal. But a customer might love that particular service being throttled. And so on, basic free market stuff.

Except there isn't much competition in the US thanks to fiddling government regulations going back quite a few years. So now the option to go with a "hands off" approach isn't looking so good, simply because there's no way to make a clean exit without causing significant damage to the market.

I personally would say that the US customers should want to "bite the bullet" - accept the throttling short-term because lower government regulation should lead to better product per dollar long-term. But it might be just as viable to have the government stay in the market they've meddled with before. Go all Keynesian, wait for the next recession then invest heavily into "infrastructure". So that's problem number one.

 

The primary obstacle against new companies in the market place is and always will be more regulation. And herein lies the second problem. You can have more regulation and less competition, or you can have less regulation and more competition. Enter a company like Google Fiber. The primary threat they face is legal. Their product is good - in fact they aren't even doing it to profit, they just need people to have fast access to the internet to profit second-hand. Competitors in areas where Google launch suddenly drop prices and increase service capacity. But - and here's the kicker - if the primary obstacle they face is legal, shouldn't we be asking for less regulation instead of more? Back to the case of net neutrality, coming full circle so to speak. So that's a second problem. We can force ISPs to maintain some synthetic balance between internet services, but does that mean that we in the long-term accept the penalty it imposes on competition in the market place?

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January 22, 2014 2:21:04 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Companies already have a "fair use" clause in their contracts with consumers. Meaning that if a consumer uses too much bandwidth, he could be punished. In theory at least, I don't think that right is excercised in practice, because there's enough bandwidth available. In the Netherlands at least. And someone who wants to download more, he just chooses a more expensive service.

And sure people can switch to another ISP, but will they really do that? Instead of going through the hassle of changing provider, if one of the internet sites is blocked by an ISP, they can also simple go to another website, that is a lot easier. That's another aspect of the free market...

 

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January 22, 2014 5:13:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The thing is, in regards to Heavenfall: the ISPs try to block government intervention, because they're on record as saying that hurts their profits.  They get more profits by offering inferior service.  They have incentive to not improve service due to a lack of competition.  That's why the Koch Bros and their ilk work so hard to block municipal broadband. (they banned it in North Carolina outside of a couple of cities)

 

Not sure if is passed, but it was also attempted in Georgia and South Carolina, with AFP support (Americans for Prosperity, pro-corporatist group heavily funded by the Kochs, and has support from Art Pope, who pretty much bankrolled McCrory's campaign in NC)

 

 

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January 22, 2014 9:02:56 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting ElanaAhova,
They get overturned often?

 

Actually, my information is a bit dated.  The 6th has recently over taken them by one method of counting.  http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/a_sixth_sense_6th_circuit_has_surpassed_the_9th_as_the_most_reversed_appeal/

 

Still, a reversal of 100 out of 128 is not something to crow about.

 

 

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January 31, 2014 4:04:08 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums
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February 1, 2014 2:17:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,

I'm skeptical the FCC will do anything.  It's going to come down to a bribing contest, or Google's going to have to go national with Google Fiber.

 

 

yes, and the cable companies are pushing state laws in Oregon that forbid municipal google cooperative broad band partnerships. 

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February 3, 2014 2:32:07 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

They're also trying in Kansas due to Google FIber kicking their asses and forcing them to gasp- improve their service.

 

I really wish the companies that relied heavily on broadband, like Stardock, put some muscle into this fight- it affects them as much as us.

 

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February 6, 2014 11:38:35 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums
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February 7, 2014 7:35:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's a pretty blatant smear job.  Reclassification means the ISPs won't be able to tier off content without government approval- in other words, your ISP could make you pay $20 extra per month to access Steam, or Youtube, and if the other ISP in your area matches (and they would collude), your boned.

 

Especially since municipalities are being targeted for bans on building their own broadband to prevent this sort of thing (already succeeded in North Carolina, and being tried in Kansas, Georgia, and other red states- with funding heavily provided by Americans for Prosperity aka Koch Brothers)

 

 

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February 7, 2014 8:16:37 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Koch brothers.....LOL.  

 

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February 7, 2014 9:38:27 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting Alstein,
Especially since municipalities are being targeted for bans on building their own broadband to prevent this sort of thing

Hmmm...It did not work in Bristol Virginia.  So many slip through.  Makes you wonder how the rich are so stupid, yet are rich.

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February 7, 2014 9:57:57 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Alstein,
Reclassification means the ISPs won't be able to tier off content without government approval

I can certainly see how this could be a good (if applied equally and ethically) thing but also an extremely bad thing considering our current Election Laws. The ease with which that could be corrupted and the consequences of that are frightening. Still, I don't want to have to pay an ISP for content which should be free.

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