Is "Net Neutrality" a scam?

The other day, I read an article about “Net Neutrality”, and how this idea will receive a warmer reception if Democrats take control of Congress. Some of the things I read got my B.S. meter twitching. As I understand it, websites that gnerate a lot of traffic can pay more money to get preferential treatment from the ISPs. Supposedly, a lot of people are concerned that this practice somehow jeopardizes our First Ammendment rights. However, I noticed that the companies that are listed as being big supporters of Net Neutrality (Google and eBay) are the companies that would stand to benefit from Net Neutrality. These guys have a bazillion hits a day, and their bandwidth costs must be astronomical. I’m wondering if these companies are really just trying to lower their operating costs by making it illegal for ISPs to charge a premium to websites that generate a lot of traffic.

So what’s up here? Do you guys think that there’s any real free speech issues at stake, or is “Net Neutrality” a load of crap?

You’ve evidently missed the many and long discussions on Net Neutrality here on the Board. If you use the Search function you can zero in on them. Here’s one:

In a nutshell, people like Google do pay high bandwidth costs currently – their costs go up in proportion to the amount of bandwidth they use. Thus if they use X amount of bandwidth, and they need to use 2x amount of bandwidth, their costs would double (assuming no bulk discounts).

No net neutrality and if they need to you 2x bandwidth, their costs might triple or quadruple. The telco can charge whatever they want.

Now, suppose a telco creates Mediocre Search. It doesn’t have any features and only searches 20% of the pages Google does, but they own it. Without net neutality, they can charge themselves the bare minimum to get bandwidth, while charging Google ten times that amount.

Or say Google signs an agreement with Telco A that keeps their costs down. Without Net Neutrality, Telco B can throttle down traffic to Google to next to nothing (while promoting their own Mediocre Search).

Net neutrality benefits everyone. Eliminating it only benefits the telcos.

One aspect of a tiered internet is a more efficient use of available resources, which seems to make sense. For VoIP calls you want low latency, and don’t really need totally accurate data transmission, For finance data you need accurate information and a few extra miliseconds may not be a big deal, but a flipped bit would. For TVoIP (if that’s what TV over IP is called), again speed and accuracy is not a big issue, but high bandwidth is. A tiered internet could route transmission on the basis of speed, accuracy, bandwidth, other, or combo’s of them.

I work for a telco and attend numerous conferences that are always looking about 5 years into the future of technology. I think the net neutrality issue is about the future uses of the Internet, not something as vanilla as a search engine.

TV over the Internet is a whole new world waiting to happen. Sure, you can down load tiny limited length videos on YouTube, but to get where you can use a website like a video-on-demand server with HD videos, you need much more bandwidth than is available today.

How is this new bandwidth paid for? The telcos are the ones that have to build it and they don’t want to build it for free. One way is to charge the site owner for a guaranteed bandwidth all the way to the customers modem. The increased bandwidth doesn’t have to be an always-on arrangement, it could be just for the length of the download.

If net neutrality becomes law, it will slow down the evolution of the Internet to something far more robust than it is today.

I’ve evidently missed them too but I’ll just say that you will hear and see ads on both sides of this issue trying to make it sound like it’s some free speech or high-falutin’ Internet Morality issue when it’s just business. Companies simply take the side that would bring them the most profit.

Slow it down to something more robust? :dubious:

QoS sounds like a great idea in theory, but I think that it’s a horrible mistake. The real problem is who decides what gets priority? The telcos are in a conflict of interest once they start offering services. If, for example, the telco offers a VoIP service(for a charge), what incentive do they have to give other VoIP providers priority? Don’t say competition: people are lucky to have a choice between 2 broadband providers. You can’t leave it up to the endpoints, either. What’s to stop me from marking all of my packets as high priority?

This article makes some good points against QoS.

I don’t see how Google or eBay would benefit from having to pay ISPs for preferential treatment.

They would have to pay more to get essentially the same treatment they get today. Everybody else that doesn’t pay a premium would in effect have degraded service.

Google and eBay are in favor of net neutrality.

From this article:

This *isn’t * about anybody doing anything for free. The telcos are already charging both the consumers and the content providers for the bandwidth, and they’ll continue to do so. This is mainly an anticompetitive play.

The real power here isn’t in being able to offer “better” service to some, but to offer unacceptable service to others. What they’re asking to do is preferentially slow down certain streams, and their reason for doing it isn’t innovation, but to give them overwhelming anticompetitive power. They can make it so that any competitor to their services - including VOIP providers or any future applications they want to develop - will deliver inferior and unacceptable service.

That’s the real crux of the issue. Without net neutrality, telcos have a compelling interest in limiting bandwidth, since sufficient bandwidth would make their “value-added” network services worthless.

You parsed it wrong: “it will slow down [the evolution of the Internet to something far more robust than it is today].” He was saying that the process of “the evolution of the Internet to something far more robust than it is today” wlll be slowed down.