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  1. Default What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    I've always felt that it's a bit vague and more fear-mongering than is necessary. So what is really going on here?

    I understand that the topic is related to governmental or federal regulation of [mostly] practices of Internet Service Providers. Shit that Verizon pulled in the recent past rings various kinds of alarm and seems to warrant a lease on its neck.

    Oh, let's not forget about this image either:

    This alone seems enough to make Net Neutrality look appealing. Still, what does it mean to enforce these new rules? This Forbes article (agenda notwithstanding) gives some insight.

    So, what is this guy saying, and how could these be reasons to vote against Net Neutrality instead of problems we'd just have to try and come up with solutions for? It seems (as I can dig out from his highly difficult manner of writing) that it has to do with this one particular complaint/objection:

    Stifled innovation caused by slow over-regulation. Sounds reasonable enough on paper. Disappointing if this is the best that anti-NN can come up with.


    So that's my (mis)understanding of the situation. Question time.

    • What are the actual motivations for NN? Who are behind it? What do they gain with NN? What do general users gain with NN?
    • Aside from Verizon and other telecom monopoly wannabes, who are against it? What reasons/objections do they propose? What can we lose if NN goes into effect?
    • Can monopoly not be dealt with by existing anti-trust laws?
    • Considering the frightening resemblance between the state of cable TV and Verizon's recent bullpomegranate, how worried should I be?
    • What questions am I being too dumb to ask?

  2. Default Re: What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    Doesn't say anything new beside a brief history of the whole business, which I appreciate.

  3. Trump minus th money
    IGN: xparasite9
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    Default Re: What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    series of tubes

  4. Default Re: What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    1) Cable/service companies like Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, etc. If there is no net neutrality, they have the power to filter content they provide to you as they see fit. If you have Netflix, Comcast can limit the content you get from Netflix to almost unusable levels and proceed to charge you money to be able to use it while at the same time, push their own online video sharing "OnDemand" service for much cheaper without any impedance. With NN in play, they have no choice but to give you content of their competitor if you want it. Think of it like Windows 8 making pages load slower on anything but Bing because you're using Chrome or Firefox as a browser instead of Internet Explorer. That doesn't happen and Windows doesn't care in the slightest if you have Firefox and you incinerate any trace of Internet Explorer off your hard drive.
    2) Any startup company will be against it, as well as free-content giants like Facebook and Google. For example, Google's main focus is getting content to the consumer in the easiest, cheapest way possible, not because they're philanthropic or acting out of good will but because their entire business model depends on it. Without NN, it can be seen as a barrier for accessing content people want to see and thus will result in less ad revenue.
    3) Oligopolies exist in so many industries that it's naive to say that businesses are limited by any sort of government intervention. Think of the oil industry, the food industry, the healthcare industry, the cable service providers and tell me that one of them are controlled in any meaningful way by today's laws as to benefit the average consumer.
    4) That picture is funny because it would be something a cable company could do but it's unlikely that it will happen in that kind of satirical way. In the same way that getting ESPN over inflates your TV bill, your internet service might hike a little bit due to everything being passed to the consumer (as it almost always does). The broader picture is that new breakouts like the next Facebook or the next instagram or the next big social media craze will probably not happen. That's just speculation though. How worried you should be depends on your priorities.
    5) Research the origins of NN and the whole quarrel with Verizon. As I understand it, NN isn't even that definitive or meaningful and was brought up as a weak guideline that the current companies are reluctant to follow. The implications of what may happen can always be deduced by looking at who's supporting which side, whether it's by principle or business interest ie money, but the problem itself and how it came to be is something you should research on.

    I'm not too well versed on this subject so take it as you will.

  5. Default Re: What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    I'll press on a few of these issues @Sephie

    1. Considering how ISPs are (to some extent) bound by contract to provide the service we pay for, i.e. a connection at a certain bandwidth, can they (to some extent) be held responsible for not delivering acceptable bandwidth for a certain service if they do, however, provide acceptable bandwidth for others?

    I imagine that this is what they would ultimately fall back on if they ever adopt content favoritism. Something like a speed test with their servers (or streaming from their OnDemand video services) would prove (legally at least) beyond the shadow of a doubt that they do hold up their end of the contract and absolve them of any responsibilities for your Netflix malfunctionalities.

    Can they get away with this? The question essentially boils down to your experience with a service company fulfilling parts but not all of its obligations.

    2. Problems with NN?

    So, this is one of the few complaints that are... for lack of better words, not vague as pineapple. It seems to be a serious complaint, a legitimate worry. So what bad things come with the cable networks becoming public utilities? I know we all love it and can hardly wait for this to happen, but why is it cited as a negative effect of NN? What is bad about it for us consumers?

    Another problem posed against NN is the efficiency of its enactment by the FCC. There are several existing technologies that require discrimination amongst data to work well, which alledgedly under Net Neutrality laws are sanctioned by the FCC. The potential problem is future technologies like them which will also have to go through FCC (or a legal entity responsibile for upholding NN), and this process is said to be more often than not very slow.
    Is this true? Close to true? How seriously slow?

    Not that I care about such a minor drawback when there is so much (mostly safety) to be gained with NN, but since I'm in this to understand it, I might as well see both sides.

    3. To bring newcomers up to speed on the situation, here's a recap:

  6. Default Re: What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    The issue is profitability and penetration when it comes to public utilities.

    Imagine if you are a company and you want to route cables. Where are you most likely to route them first? Urban areas. Then after that? Maybe some richer but less sparsely populated areas. Then you just kinda say "ehhh screw it" when it comes to farmland. Let them have satellite.

    But now the government says that the internet is a public utility and that every man, woman, and child should have it. That poses a huge regulatory risk for a Telcom. Now they have to put in cabling in a zone where they will have to provide service to underserved areas. These people might not even have a computer let alone be able to pay a $50 bill every month.

    Well, that cost for making it a public utility must come from somewhere. It either comes from the government (effectively you) paying for it in increased taxes or the Telcom charging you higher rates so they can afford to eat the loss on the underserved customers. Therefore, making something a public utility will increase the net cost of that utility no matter how you slice it.

    So an internet connection as a public utility sounds nice, but TINSTAAFL.

  7. Trump minus th money
    IGN: xparasite9
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    Default Re: What's the deal with Net Neutrality?

    Hi, I'm Tom Wheeler, former Cable and Telecom lobbyist.
    Hi, I'm Tom Wheeler, new FCC Commissioner who just ended Net Neutrality
    with an axe
    Last edited by xparasite9; 2014-04-26 at 11:32 PM.



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