Net Neutrality One Step Closer To Becoming Law

17

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

cgb1116

This legislation is a symptom of a larger monopolization issue.  The way you make this legislation unnecessary is by opening up the market.  Consumers have to be protected from ISPs as it stands now because the major service providers have established a system of agreements with local governments to eliminate competition - if the only company that provides cable service to your area is say, Charter, then in order to get Time Warner Cable, you'd have to move to a different town or county or zip code.

If you put an end to this, then you don't need a net neutrality law, because Joe Consumer can drop his Comcast service instantly and get TWC or Charter or whomever without having to change address.  If you remove the artificial subscriber base, the companies are forced to provide a quality experience as well as provide competitive pricing and bandwith.  Free market and competition driving customer service experience in action. 

avatar

bling581

Right, but the government kind of let it happen with all the mergers and crap that's gone on over the past years. When the internet first started to catch on there was a lot of different providers available but they slowly were eliminated or bought out. The only thing they can try and do is split them up, but I don't see that happening.

avatar

HTMLi

The consumer should always have the power to motivate the trends of the supplier even if there is only one supplier. The problem lies in the inability to "go without" these days. The concept of "boycotting" was the idea of a group of "fed up" people going without a product or service for a period of time to motivate the supplier into acting in a way the consumer wanted them to. These days, we've been groomed into the "gotta have it NOW!" and "can't live without!" mentality to the point that the supplier now has more leverage in the mind of the consumer. So, to counteract this "perceived" leverage disadvantage, instead of tightening our belts for a little while and going without, we create "laws" to "control" these companies when in fact those laws make things much worse.

 

We need to get rid of the overall attitude of entitlement (that we deserve what we want when we want) and replace it with an attitude of sacrifice (and sacrifice isn't giving up something we want, it's giving up something we want for something we want more). It's just nobody's willing to give up anything even for a short time and that's where the consumer is losing their power and suppliers know this. We don't need new laws, we just need more will power and self control.

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

Don't forget these companies are also going to be throwing bribes and high paying stress free job offers to those that can assist with the destruction of Net Neutrality.

avatar

opticallog

I've posted on this topic here before, but there's a huge difference between the intent of new regulation, and the actual effects of new regulation.

 

If we allow the FCC to tell private citizens and corporations how they can administer their privately owned assets, those with the most to lose by the outcome of those regulations will exert the most influence via lobbying and incestual political appointments to take over the regulatory bodies.  This concept is called Regulatory Capture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture.  In this case, the people with the most to lose are the ISPs that own their own networks, NOT consumers of internet bandwidth.  When the government and regulatory bodies are the deciding influencers of policy and corporate behavior, then whichever special interests have the best lobbyists win.  When markets are left free, consumers become the dominant force when it comes to influencing policy and corporate behavior.

 

Why isn't anyone asking if increased regulations would be a BETTER regulator of ISP behavior than the actual consumers themselves?  The fact of the matter is, loud consumer pressure from the free market system defeated Comcast's initial draconian P2P traffic throttling policies, prior to any announcement of even government investigation into the matter.  Consumer behavior is far more responsive and effective than government intervention.  Part of the reason we've seen such innovation and wild creativity in the tech sector the last 30+ years is that the government has not been interfering with the system.  The free market with consumers demanding bigger faster stronger cheaper products and services has already given us wonderful technological innovation.  Can someone please explain to me how ceding our authority as consumers to regulate the offerings of producers to the government will actually make things better?

avatar

TheZomb

When the markets are left free only in competitive industries do consumers become the dominant force. The telecommunications market is completely stagnant, since Bell was split up it has essentially recovered its market dominance in the form of at&t and verizon. Competitive markets do not slowly concentrate into one or two companies who can then leverage their monopolies on internet pricing. landline phone service and pricing hasn't changed in years and pricing hasn't changed the service at all. Cable companies and phone companies (our ISPs) have a vested interest in packet filtering since free internet services out price and supplant many of their existing services.

Deregulation only works in a vacuum. With many competive corporations without outside influence, but such situations do not exist in the real world. It is in human nature to seek out the best service and because of that all markets will slowly concentrate without regulations. As the human race we are the most glaring example of the failure of the free market. Nature being the best example of a hyper competitive free market, we were able to gain dominance and we constantly further that dominance. The more deregulation the more powerful the bigger players in a market become until there is only one.  If at&t lowered the packet priority of internet VOIP do you really that the people whos only real internet option is at&t that comprise 90% of their customer base are going to leave, and if they can't leave they only pressure they can give is to make enough noise to perk up the FCCs ears. Just take a second to look at the internet pricing in your area. you will probably see something like att => $20 as the cheapest option with the closes competitors requiring you to buy a cable subscription or be part of the shittiest satellite network ever devised or join a wireless broudband solution that limits you to 5GB a month, which amounts to 1-2 weeks of most users.

Deregulation will just allow the market incumbents to do whatever they want.

avatar

dmonkyking

Well said and I agree with you.  I'm not a fan of net neutrality, because governmment regulations rarely do anything else, but create a bigger government power grab and helps destroy competition and the free markets.

avatar

bling581

What free market? There is no free market with ISP's. Most areas are lucky to have two broadband providers so there is no choice or competition. I don't know if you've been paying attention lately but all the major ISP's have banded together to block possible copyright violators. They have no interest in competing with each other and will only band together if given the chance to enforce more strict rules and pricing. Government regulation is often bloated and doesn't work very well in a lot of areas, but this is one of the times where it's a good thing.

avatar

jgrimoldy

Free market pressures don't seem to have affected U.S. Airlines from charging ridiculous fees for things that used to be included.  Nor have they had much effect on Cell Phone providers removing data caps.

/just sayin'

avatar

opticallog

Airlines and the air travel industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries we have.  It's a poor example at best for comparing to other industries for how free markets "work."  However, if you compare the airline industry today to itself in the pre-deregulation era, you'll find that access to air travel has expanded from being exclusive to the wealthy to readily available to all, more flight destinations, more on time service, and cheaper prices.  A large part of this was because the Federal Government was acting as a gatekeeper to the industry and preventing low cost competitors like Southwest from even entering the market.

 

As far as data caps implemented by cell phone providers go, the data caps function as a feature enhancement for 99.5% of all cellphone data plan consumers, as they help to protect the integrity and usability of the network against overload by a small minority of people who are not paying a higher price for their increased usage.  The simple truth is that most smartphone users do not consume an "unlimited" amount of wireless bandwidth, and paying for such is as a result because it is built into every data plan is absurd.  Do you pay your grocer for an "unlimited" plan at the supermarket where you get to take as much food as you want for a fixed fee per month?  What if this was the way we all purchased food?  Would it make sense for the single woman to pay the same X dollars per month for unlimited food as it would for a family of five?  If we did all pay for groceries in this manner, do you think the price for the "unlimited" food plan would be relatively high or relatively low, in order to cover the costs for producers to supply fat people with food, as well as skinny people?  What about people with expensive food tastes versus people with cheap food tastes?  Would such a system produce more or less food "waste," given as how there would be no financial penalty for taking more food than you actually end up using from the supermarket?

 

While current data caps are not the most sophisticated pricing models, I hope that they are the first step towards a more "pay as you go" system. 

avatar

Hangdog42

Please, tell me where this free market in ISPs exists?  I live not far outside DC and my choice of ISPs is exactly one:  Comcast.  How the hell am I supposed to vote with my wallet if I have no choice?  Furthermore, those "private" networks got boatloads of public dollars.(http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_002683.html ).  n the absence of any actual competition, net neutrality regs are a must.

 

avatar

opticallog

So your solution to crony capitalism where the influential get fat subsidies is to also create a regulatory body that will write the rules for self regulation?  Sounds logical to me.  That sure worked well with the SEC, the Treasury Dept., and Goldman Sachs.

If you diagnose the problem as companies being too in bed with their regulators, why prescribe more of the same to fix it?  Why not prescribe freedom instead?  Even if I buy your premise that you only have 1 option in your area (which I don't but that would be a different topic entirely), have you ever stopped to wonder why you only have 1 option?  Do you think government payouts to Comcast and other mega-ISPs increase or decrease your available choices?

 

 

avatar

Hangdog42

My solution is to use regulations where necessary.  Some services are natural monopolies, like water, electricy, roads, etc.  Free market prinicples simply don't apply to those, and networks are very, very similar.  Besides, net neutrality isn't some huge, onerous set of regulations.  It is about making srue that ISPs treat all packets equally.  And if they need to do some QoS throttling, they need to do it to an entire classs, not based on the source.

You can already see the ISPs starting to play the boiled frog game.  First they tried throttling, and backed off because they were afraid the FCC would step in.  Then they started bandwidth caps.  Nothing too onerous to start, but caps just the same.  Then AT&T tried a bit more onerous caps, but oh, if you have Uverrse you get a bigger cap.  In essence, they are using their ownership of the network to prevent competition. Slowly but surely the ISP/media congolmerates are moving in the direction of a walled garden, and your vaunted "free market" isn't doing anything to stop them.  Sure, consumers can yell, but what good is yelling if you have no choice?

avatar

FahKingNut

I'm kinda of the school of "if I'm paying for a service don't bother me unless I'm slaughtering children for Satan."  We're already backed into a corner with just one choice for cable in the area where we might live, but don't make it worse by giving those cavity riddled kids the keys to the candy shop!  I understand the gray areas are there, but constantly declining customer service and more end user restrictions are definitely NOT the answer.

avatar

Roll Tide

Mr. Chacos your beard of infinite wisdom may have a stray hair. You see what from I understand its not just data trafficking we are talking about here.  Its about what that data is.  Its about "neutrality" of ideas as well. 

For instance, what a person rants about on blog B is considered the rants of Person on Blog A. Therefore when a certain amount of Data has been sent from Blog B until the weight of the pendulum swings more towards an acceptable margin of "neutrality" then Blog B data is slowed way down. Consequentially if it has been decided by the FCC that certain ideas from certain servers are getting too popular then that traffic can be slowed down or ceased. Imagine how much power that is in the hands of five people.

avatar

TerribleToaster

RIAA must be pissed that this is moving since this kinda hurts their whole "ISP cop" thing.

avatar

bloodgain

I'm in the middle on Net Neutrality. On the one hand, if a company purchases and provides the equipment, they should have most of the control over how it is used (with some reasonable regulation). On the other, we know that without careful regulation, telecom companies will walk all over us, and there isn't enough competition in the market. I understand why telecoms may want to do some traffic shaping, and that in some cases, it can be a good thing (e.g. content delivery).

I have a middle-ground idea, though: dual channels. In return for licensing a telecom to build into the backbones and sell service, they agree to provide equal support to neutral and shaped channels. Comcast, for example, could shape a path for premium business customers or partners who deliver their content, so long as they provided an equal, unshaped, neutral path for other traffic. To further ensure fairness, when the non-neutral path was under 50% utilization, overflow unshaped traffic should be allowed through at normal priority. The reason I like this idea is that it allows the ISPs to offer QoS features for VOIP and other latency-sensitive applications while also giving them an incentive to expand and enhance their networks (something they don't do much now, and still won't under Net Neutrality). I could even see the argument in saying the current networks cannot be split, and must remain neutral in order to boost that "build more" incentive.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.