Net neutrality killed in the House...

Well, a subcommittee, anyway.

So will this pave the way for ISPs to selectively censor news and content they don’t want their users to see? Bankrupt or severely disadvantage small businesses by demanding extra payments to not turn access to their sites to dialup speeds? Or are these worst case scenarios brought up by those who support the concept unrealistic?

And for that matter, is this really the absolute end of net neutrality?

God Republicans are shits, aren’t they. Is there no end to fellating business?

Huh? Any investment analyst that is not aware that Google is also innovating and working on improving network capacity and quality is suspect in my book.

Not the worst scenario.One fear is that the provider will slow down or disallow competitors information and will not let criticism of their company get through. If they can be a gateway, can they be trusted to be honest and above board?
The answer is ,no.

It seems to me, that the Internet is built as open domain, an area where anyone can do as they please, much as the seas were, back in the days of sailing ships and pirates. We lost the oceans, we do NOT need to lose the Net to ISP’s like CinBell, Verizon, AT&T. They don’t own it, and they can’t own it. How can you own something you can’t touch?

I’m confused. I thought this was already covered without a law. I know I read a lot about a decision that enacted an (imperfect) version of net neutrality that covered the big concerns. Heck, I’m pretty sure I read it here, and I know I read it on Giraffe by people who post here.

Any ISP that did that would go under very quickly.

Well, here’s how I’ve long felt about this situation.

In much of the United States broadband internet access is available from either one or two competing companies. Even in the largest metropolitan areas in the country, the big telephone and cable companies have areas of exclusive operation.

In Seoul, South Korea, there are something like over 25 major ISPs (with overlapping service areas), each one offering consistent 100 Mbps downstream connections. I’m a die hard capitalist, and the way broadband internet is being delivered in this country isn’t the result of free market capitalism but the result of local governments giving favored status to a hand full of service providers.

At one point in time, telephone companies were I believe required to offer “line sharing.” Meaning that DSL providers could offer you service through the same lines that your local phone company did and in direct competition with the local phone companies. I believe the Federally mandated line sharing agreements have expired and this is no longer mandated on the telephone companies (although I believe some still participate in it?)

ISPs have increasingly been attempting to make it palatable to the public that we should pay for our internet usage and move away from flat fee internet service. At the same time, the ISPs want to be their own content providers and be free to prioritize their content over their competitor’s content. Essentially companies like Comcast want to prioritize Hulu on their network, since they own NBC and NBC owns Hulu. At the same time, they want to do everything they can to hurt Netflix and its streaming business, by treating packets to and from the Netflix streaming service as second class citizens.

On the issue of prioritizing traffic, I see two paths:

  1. ISPs are permitted to prioritize traffic based on their business desires. If allowed to do so, they must forfeit all local exclusivity, and must allow competitors to share their lines. Basically, an ISP that prioritizes traffic should only be permitted to do so if they do not have exclusive operating rights in a region, because such behavior should be subjected to the free market. The free market would mostly condemn such shenanigans and the companies that didn’t engage in prioritization would bankrupt those foolish enough to do so in the face of real competitors.

  2. ISPs may keep their local monopolies and duopolies, but may not prioritize network traffic, it must all be treated the same.

On the issue of usage fees, I see four paths:

  1. Charge a flat rate, with some regulation by local PSCs in the case of companies that operate exclusively.

  2. Charge a flat rate, with no regulation, but forfeit the monopoly rights (meaning their high prices would be subject to competitors undercutting them.)

  3. Charge a usage based rate. However, just like water, electric, and natural gas, I only view this as acceptable if local PSCs have high regulatory power over this.

Public Service Commissions have to approve raises in the electric rates in their area. They actually have agreements with the companies they cover that says the company is entitled to a certain profit margin, however the PSC’s regulatory authority means they actually get to go in and look at the costs of the utility. So the rate charged by the utilities as regulated by the PSCs is essentially the cost to provide the service + the agreed upon profit margin.

The dirty secret about internet usage, is the expense that operators talk about is insanely lower than what they suggest. For almost every single customer of Comcast, under a usage based fee in which the fee was regulated by a Public Service Commission and tied to their actual operating costs, would see a major decrease in their bill. A small handful of Comcast customers would have their bill remain about the same and a few would see their bills go up.

So yes, if ISPs wanted to go this route I say let them. They would end up becoming just like other utilities, meaning they would have small profit margins but have fairly stable business models.

  1. Charge some usage base rate that is unregulated. Again, unregulated means you lose your monopoly rights and your rate has to survive in a competitive market.

As a free market advocate I basically fucking hate government issued monopolies, I think most of them are horrible for the consumer and I have little to no sympathy for the companies that hold them.

Especially internet service providers, who essentially up to now have avoided most regulatory oversight that to which traditionally utilities have been subjected. They want to charge usage based fees based not on their operating costs but just to boost profit margins (fine if you’re in the free market, not fine if you’re operating with a local monopoly), and they want to prioritize their own profit-driving traffic. Well, if you have a local monopoly you need to be held to the same standards as the electric and water companies.

If there’s no Net Neutrality, don’t ISPs lose their ‘common carrier’ (?) defence?

My understanding is that this was part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TA96), which was a large beast that I’m only familiar with at an almost uselessly high level. Probably best to read the wikipedia page for more. The line sharing, as I recall it, only applied to phone companies, specifically exempting cable (and possibly others). I think the pertinent aspect to look at is to pay attention to the distinction between telecommunications and information services.

Actually, I think common carrier is another term of art related to the telecommunications/information services distinction. I don’t think it is part of the definition of ISP (though an ISP may indeed be a common carrier), so wouldn’t necessarily be applicable.

Again, I’m not knowledgeable enough to really comment intelligently about this beyond dropping a few breadcrumbs for others.

I really have a hard time getting worked up over net neutrality as there are hundreds of massive companies involved in Internet content creation and thousands of smaller ones that still hold considerable clout if they all got together.

Do you really think Microsoft and Google are just going to sit back while Comcast and Time Warner bully them through Internet slowdowns? To me, it’s a ridiculous leap. Then you throw all the other content creators in there like Fox, CBS, ABC, Sony, HBO, etc, etc, etc. What do the ISPs actually think they could do?

How so? Many places you can only get high speed internet from one provider. You have the choice of cable, or much slower DSL, or one or two slow 3g or 4g providers.

It’s not like a competitor can thow up another cable internet company to compete with the one that censors. And when all of them do the same thing, and they will, then nobody is going out of business for doing it.

I think you’re thinking of the “safe harbor” defense, which says that ISPs do not know what is traveling over their networks, so they shouldn’t be held liable if one of their customers is trafficking in, say, pirated movies.

And yes, it’s not clear to me how a lack of net neutrality (and, in particular, the use of “deep packet inspection”) is at all compatible with the premise of the safe harbor provision.

If true then the best way to ensure Net Neutrality is to foster competition, not limit what current providers can do.

Yep, bust up the providers into smaller companies that are hungry.

No, the best way, since they are using OUR internet…that the PEOPLE owned and created, is tell them they cant sell access to it if they don’t play nice.

Well, aside from the sky-is-falling panic, Net Neutrality has a lot of problems. No point in going into that, but my main thing is that there’s no rush here. If it becomes neccesary, it can be done later. I don’t favor fixing a problem that does not exist, quite possibly will not exist, and which can be easily fixed if it does exist.

I do see it as something that will be easy to fix. Quite the opposite.

The internet exploded once it became a money-making opportunity and I want to put as few limits on it as possible, especially if I think any potential problems (like “Net Neutrality”) can be solved via competition.

It cant be. I cant one day decide to start my own cable company to compete with the big boys, run my own cable lines to a few million houses, and plug them in to the net. It just doesn’t work that way. You wind up with what you have now–a few huge companies that stand to make more money by not being neutral than they could hope to gain by the increased business of being neutral.