Net Neutrality - Now a thing of the past?

This just came down the wire…

Thoughts? Implications? What are the next steps, both for advocates and opponents of NN?

I was never a big fan of the Net Neutrality legislation. I think the market will protect neutrality better than the government.

You know, it’s pretty rare that I actually laugh out loud while reading something on the web, but this managed it.

The only thing the free market does is make money. If they can make more money by limiting your access to the internet, that’s exactly what they’ll do. Consumers don’t have perfect freedom to choose another provider, so in many cases the providers have a captive market.
Here’s a pretty good article about it.

This is, of course, a terrible decision. But it’s not a nationwide problem (yet, hopefully ever). It will be appealed. A voice of sanity from reddit, of all places:

And that’s not going to happen. It’s a good topic for discussion, but it’s not as hysterical as a lot of news outlets are painting it.

(my bolding)

The only thing the free market does is make money.” This is wrong. The free market is not about money, it’s about free people exchanging goods or providing services.

The point, however, is that, despite what some free-market fundamentalists and capitalist apologists would like you to believe, it by no means always gives rise to situations that are optimal for most people. As often as not, the invisible hand will grab you by the throat.

Soon the Information Superhighway will be a series of toll roads through gated communities! How can we lose?

The “free market” doesn’t apply in a discussion about internet service providers. They have monopolies in a lot of places, making them more like utility companies than regular companies. There’s no freedom involved in choosing the single cable internet provider in your area, unless you mean the freedom to choose not to have an internet connection.

the invisible hand of the market has you by the short hairs.

Basically, if you want to see how this shakes out, take a look at cable TV. The cable company around here increases its rates a steady 5% a year; my ISP has raised it only once in seven years years ($30 to $35). My cable company decides what channels I can see (no BBC America, for instance); I can go to any page on the web.

If this continues, the obvious results are:

  1. “Sure you can have a high-speed connection to Youtube. Just pay for expanded access! Otherwise you have the dial-up speeds; it was good enough in the 1990s.”
  2. “Want Netflix? Sorry, we don’t have a contract with them.”
  3. “No, we don’t provide Google Search. But we have, which is just as . . . well, almost as . . . not close, but they pay us more.”
  4. “Sure you can switch to another ISP. Of course, we’re the only one in your area.”
  5. “Sure you can switch to another ISP. They do have Netflix on the base rate. But they don’t have Facebook; we do.”
  6. “Sorry, small startup company. We can’t give you a fast Internet access because you’d compete with one of the services we provide.”

The current system is like the telephone system: no matter which telecom you use, you can call any number in the US and they’re all treated the same. Without net neutrality, you will only be able to go to websites the ISP decides you can go to, at varying speeds that depend on how it will make them the most money.

It’ll make AT&T rich, but its customers poorer.

The NSA is part of the government. Do you really want them to have a hand in regulating the internet? People are worried about large corporations using their money in lobbying efforts; don’t you think that will happen here as well?

I agree with your first statement which is why I think we can let the market handle it. For a vast majority of companies on the internet they make the most money with a free (i.e. liberal) internet. Do you think porn companies want the FCC involved? Does Google want the number of users who can search on their page (and see resulting adds) limited in number? The only group of companies that could benefit from limiting their users are the ISP, which is a concern. However, if ISPs limit their users more than a trivial amount they will flock to other ISPs. I believe that ensuring there is viable competition for ISPs will have a better result than government regulations.

I’d say Verizon has already started down this road with regards to YouTube and Netflix.

Customers have been complaining since last summer that both have been throttled down (coincidentally, since Verizon bought Redbox last April or so). Verizon stoically denies these complaints, then quietly brings suit to challenge the FCC regulations - freeing them to choke out their competitors. Nice bullshit move there Verizon.

ISP providers and program providers need to be separated, not unlike banks and trading companies.

Hardly; the free market is full of exploitation, coercion and deception. Slavery is free market, if it’s profitable; so much for “free people”.

RealityChuck for the win! A free internet requires the separation of content producers and infrastructure providers.

Only if there are other ISPs to flock to. In most areas consumers don’t have any choice when it comes to high-speed internet providers.

Good luck with that one! Telecos will fight that even more then they’ve fought against net neutrality.

That’s not a voice of sanity, it’s a voice of someone who doesn’t really know what the DC Circuit does.

Of course, the cable company is operating under a highly-regulated, explicit government-issued monopoly. Further, when the telephone system was previously more highly regulated, it imposed differential pricing upon calls based upon the length of time and to some extent the distance involved.

None of this is to say that net neutrality legislation is bad, but rather just to point out that configuring the argument as government vs. free market is probably not a useful framework in itself. “Regulation” can lead to varying outcomes just like “the market” can.

Let’s also be careful before freaking out here. The Court ruled that the FCC overstepped their bounds. Now, maybe this is a laughable proposition, but nothing is stopping Congress from passing a law making ISP’s “common carriers” and thus given FCC the ability to legally make this rule.

Do you have a cite for this? It seems to be the common perception but I don’t remember seeing any stats one way or another.

A couple of thoughts on this:

  1. I don’t think they will; we’ve passed a number of laws that help foster competition, like allowing users to keep their #'s when they switch companies.

  2. Even if they do, I don’t care. I believe that competition is the best guarantee for a neutral internet.

I seem to recall the cellular providers being really resistant to that, so I’m not sure how that bolsters your contention that the companies will do anything which doesn’t help lock in their market dominance.

The best way to keep the internet neutral is to put it into the public’s hands, much like national forests.