The end of net neutrality isn’t the end of the world

by on November 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm in Current Affairs, Law, Web/Tech | Permalink

That is the title and topic of my latest Bloomberg column.

1 TMC November 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

“After a statement by President Barack Obama in November 2014 in favor of new regulations, the shares of traditional media companies (owners of movie and TV content) did better than the shares of new media companies (Netflix, Facebook). That’s at direct disagreement with the story that net neutrality rules are necessary to prevent cable companies from levying extortionate access rates on bandwidth-intensive new media companies.”

Precisely as expected. The added regulation’s purpose was to enable regulatory capture that eluded the internet. It’s all about the established corporations paying off the politicians to retain their earnings.

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2 Abelard Lindsey November 21, 2017 at 11:17 pm

This alone should convince anyone with a room temperature and above IQ that net neutrality was a lie and that its advocates were arguing and acting in bad faith. It was an attempt at criminal parasitism.

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3 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm

I am pro functional neutrality, and I am more confident now that it will be accomplished by Congress, or threats of Congresses to come.

I think the Brynjolfsson studies support neutrality, given that anti-neutrality is essentially “bundling” ’til The cows come home.

https://twitter.com/erikbryn/status/933049938136756225

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4 Erik November 21, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Some sanity.

If you think that ISPs can (or will) throttle your favorite sites and services, I’d like to point you to the difficulty China is having in controlling the type of content it’s citizens can access.

It is very straightforward, cheap, and easy to disguise your internet traffic and make it impossible for your ISP (or China) to know if you are trying to access a service which they are trying to restrict.

That entire argument, the idea that Comcast can (or will) restrict your access to, say YouTube, is wrong.

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5 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 3:55 pm

They only need to see “ours” versus “not ours” to prioritize “theirs.”

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6 Erik November 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Yes they could do whitelist only service.

At that point, would you fork over a premium for in home wireless (i.e. 4g)? That market is more available for ‘perfect’ competition.

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7 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 4:09 pm

One of the Brynjolfsson studies says that bundles already create barriers to entry, and that customer preferences may not appear, even with some level of consumer demand.

Makes sense, right? If your street is happy with Facebook why would a startup appear to give you Marginal Revolution?

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8 Mulp November 22, 2017 at 3:14 am

Especially in places the Trump voters live, rural and outer suburbs with one mediocre choice for internet access plus a bad choice.

This is being ended along with subsidies for internet for the poor plus cutbacks in rural utility subsidized loans for Internet.

Verizon dumped and continues to dump it’s rural landlines to small utilizes that have for the past decade have been getting subsidies to build fiber backbones needed by Verizon cell service for backhaul. You can’t have cell service without a telephone company with a fairly robust fiber network.

The Trump telecommunications policies will be neutral or even positive for the coastal elites – taxes to subsidize rural areas will go down. In most areas in Baltimore, I can say from experience, competition between Verizon, Comcast, and Dish is very high for TV and Internet.

For most Trump voters, choice means moving to a Democrat coastal elite urban area from rural GOP backwaters.

9 Jonathan November 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

What you’re saying, mulp, is only true if you buy in to the notion that 25 Mbps download speeds are needed to provide broadband. If you use a more reasonable notion of 10 Mbps (which is what the FCC used to use before the numbers got so good that they stopped using it — Pai wants to go back to it) then the vast majority of the country has more than two, often 3 or more sources of broadband service.

In addition, it depends on the volume of service needed and on zero-ratings. With T-Mobile, you get unlimited Netflix, for example, so even a mobile connection can get you a whole lotta data in the vast majority of the country. If mobile broadband (at 10 Mbps) is included, then almost everyone in the country has 6 or 7 choices, though obviously those choices won’t work for everyone…. but competition is over the marginal customers. Note that satellite can now deliver even 25/3 broadband in vast swaths of the country, through Exede and (very soon) DirectTV.

10 NYSHLONSF November 21, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I work with China every day. It is very effective at controlling information and websites. The number of Chinese internet users who have the technical chops to access Facebook, Twitter, the many available but blocked Chinese versions of foreign news sites, etc. is miniscule. Especially now, since virtually all non-corporate VPN services have been effectively disabled. Even Skype, which is operated by a state-connected Chinese partner, has now been removed from all the app stores, and of course most other foreign VoIP services were never available in the first place. Even foreign video games being ported to a China version are subject to detailed content edits to expunge problematic political and “superstitious” elements.

Poorly disguised subversive memes spreading on WeChat and Weibo are quashed immediately, while better disguised ones do proliferate for a while, but are incomprehensible to most users. And this is all taking place in the form of memes, not long form analysis or reportage, on platforms owned and operated by Chinese companies, all of whom (though private) have close cooperative relationships with the CAC, MIIT, SAPPRFT, PSB and related online “content management” authorities. Those authorities regularly issue directives (often verbal, and intentionally vague and expansive) on what stories and themes must be suppressed, not reported on, “ferreted out”, etc., and those directives are diligently complied with, because the platforms risk being blocked themselves if they are too slow, or not pro-active enough, in their zeal to maintain the party line.

Next time you go to China (you go there often, right?), try to use the internet like you usually do, and see how far you get.

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11 NYSHLONSF November 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

So you’re in favor of paying to access specific websites? Where if there are two competing services, one offered by a shallow pocketed start up and one offered by a deep pocketed diversified incumbent, the service offered by the incumbent will be able to pay to be bundled in an affordable internet package, thus effectively marginalizing the competitor service based on a factor totally unrelated to the quality of the underlying service? You are in favor of an ISP offering only access to news providers that are sibling companies, and not any others? Anything is possible, and potentially profitable, if they can differentiate providers.

The only real question is whether you think the internet situation in Spain and Portugal right now is optimal for long term growth, innovation and well being. https://qz.com/1114690/why-is-net-neutrality-important-look-to-portugal-and-spain-to-understand/

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12 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Wow, that is amazing. Excellent link.

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13 Art Deco November 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Seems good to me.

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14 Dzhaughn November 21, 2017 at 5:07 pm

Foolish. Just because a regulation prevents a hypothetical bad outcome does not mean it is a good regulation. Consumer demand, anti-trust regulation, and any number of other regulations (current and possible) prevent the same outcomes.

T-Mobile allows free streaming of good resolution video and music, while charging for the highest resolution video. That doesn’t seem like a problem to me, lots of consumers seem to like it. It is totally forbidden by net neutrality, which says all packets must cost the same. Why advocate for such a draconian regulation?

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15 Mulp November 22, 2017 at 3:22 am

Only if the landline utility has the fiber network to handle cell site backhaul. If the landline utility doesn’t have the fiberback bone, then the density is too low to justify cell site services to build the fiber network just for one purpose: cell service.

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16 Butler T. Reynolds November 22, 2017 at 8:29 am

Yeah, like that was happening.

The reproductive rights people have been advocating for net neutrality because they say that ISPs might block access to information about birth control. *eye roll* Go ahead. Play political team sport, but don’t be so blatantly stupid about it.

Because we all know that the FCC would never censor anything.

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17 chrisare November 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Outrage is overrated but sometimes appropriate. Has Tyler ever been outraged about anything? It seems his stock and trade is contradicting outrage.

Not saying this necessarily calls for outrage. However sometimes the knee-jerk the-sky-is-not-actually-falling posts come across just as an extension of TCs never-outraged personality. Occasional outrage would enhance the credibility of these poo-pooing of outrage posts.

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18 Just Another MR Commentor November 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Tyler DOES get outraged though – this “knee-jerk-sky-is-not-falling” only has to do with things that benefit the corporate elites.

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19 chrisare November 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm

What has he been outraged about?

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20 Just Another MR Commentor November 21, 2017 at 5:03 pm

He was upset when Trump won the election – he only calmed down a bit when it became clear that Trump wasn’t going to rock the corporate elite boat much.

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21 Shazam November 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm

He’s still entirely furious about the election.

He only calmed down when he realized that the recount was going to fail, Trump was not going to resign, Trump was not going to prison, Trump was not going to be booted via the 25th amendment, Trump was not going to be impeached, and there was literally nothing untoward about the election itself.

You can always count on him to succumb to reason when all else has failed.

22 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

No one with an independent intelligence or an independent sense of decency would vote for Donald Trump, therefore we have the sad revelation that about half the country has neither.

We get Trump and “Christians for Roy Moore” because group intelligence and group decency is a poor substitute.

23 TMC November 21, 2017 at 6:06 pm

No one with an independent intelligence or an independent sense of decency would vote for Hillary Clinton, therefore we have the sad revelation that about half the country has neither.

We get Clinton and “MSM for Hillary” because group intelligence and group decency is a poor substitute.

24 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Is that your final answer? That the American political process only allowed two choices?

I don’t think Gary Johnson voters were pragmatic geniuses but they clear one bar.

Also, in retrospect, Margaret Cushing “Meg” Whitman was underrated.

25 So Much For Subtlety November 21, 2017 at 7:43 pm

ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

We get Trump and “Christians for Roy Moore” because group intelligence and group decency is a poor substitute.

No, we get Christians for Roy Moore partly because there are no credible allegations against him but mostly because people have woken up and realized that the Left uses these attacks very selectively. They know Republican voters care about values so they attack Republicans on those issues. But do they care? Of course not. Every Democrat gets one free grope. They were happy about Bill Clinton. Ted Kennedy was a “lion of the Senate”. So it is hypocritical to weaponize character issues when they have no intent of applying those rules themselves.

What this has to do with net neutrality I do not know. Except I am pretty sure the Big IT companies are working on ways to prevent anyone defending Moore online.

26 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm

No one with an independent intelligence or an independent sense of decency would argue for Roy Moore.

27 So Much For Subtlety November 22, 2017 at 3:14 am

That is odd because the PTA-going, Rotary Club-supporting, solid law-abiding middle class of America did largely vote for Trump. While the pot-plant-assaulting amoral globalist Upper class was more likely to support Hillary. As was the feckless, criminal, often murderous underclass.

So it looks to me like most of the decent people voted for Trump.

28 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

That is how some otherwise normal people chose Trump. They told themselves enough crazy things, that Trump looked good in comparison.

But in retrospect we should agree that did not show an independent intelligence nor an independent sense of decency.

It was a mob thing. Partisanship as mob. “Lock her up” because she was Hillary, and not because she was convicted of any particular crime, by due process.

(She isn’t even indicted now, because while she may have made errors, errors are not always crimes.)

29 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 22, 2017 at 10:53 am

Welp, Trump now endorses Moore.

That should separate the sheep from the goats.

30 Jan November 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm

This analysis seems off base.

Netflix does well because this policy protects incumbents and stifles innovation. We are now less likely to get the next Netflix.

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31 JWatts November 21, 2017 at 4:36 pm

“The end of net neutrality isn’t the end of the world”

Since “net neutrality” was only in effect for 2 years, it’s really hard to believe that the regulations will have much effect one way or another. There wasn’t a drastic change after the rules went into effect, there won’t be a drastic change when we revert to the status quo of the last 20 years.

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32 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

No, neutrality dates from ARPANET.

Neutrality was built into all “peer to peer networks” because what else does “peer to peer” even mean?

It was an audacious change to float the idea of being a “bad connection” for business purposes.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer

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33 Tanturn November 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

What he means is a net neutrality mandate.

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34 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Well, let’s not underestimate that threats of non-neutrality and threats of regulation have both been in play.

If an administration could make a credible promise of “no regulation going forward,” all heck would break loose. And the original ARPANET vision of any node as client or server would be lost for good.

(We don’t do “literally any node” but “servers are cheap” because neutrality.)

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35 JWatts November 22, 2017 at 6:49 pm

“No, neutrality dates from ARPANET.

Neutrality was built into all “peer to peer networks” because what else does “peer to peer” even mean?

It was an audacious change to float the idea of being a “bad connection” for business purposes.”

Really you couldn’t be more wrong. Peer to Peer doesn’t imply net neutral. Peer to Peer means there’s no central server between the clients. There’s nothing stopping a Peer to Peer net work from prioritizing certain traffic over other traffic. It would just depend on the given protocol. It’s pretty clear that you don’t know what you are talking about.

Furthermore, Arpanet, was not a peer to peer network. Hell this is what your own link says:

“As a precursor to the Internet, ARPANET was a successful client-server network where “every participating node could request and serve content.” However, ARPANET was not self-organized, and it lacked the ability to “provide any means for context or content-based routing beyond ‘simple’ address-based routing.”

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36 Jan November 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm

I question whether two years was even necessarily long enough for any of the major market effects to take shape. This speaks to why businesses are always talking about regulatory certainty. It takes a long time for new business strategies to take shape in response.

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37 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm

The internet protocols are historically and intrinsically neutral. What happened prior to the FCC rule were changes that flirted with abandoning that neutrality. At least that is the story in the US. As shown above China and Portugal show, there is certainly no technological barrier to abandoning neutrality. With putting a wrench in the works.

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38 JWatts November 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Net neutrality regulations were a solution in search of a problem. The fact that you can’t tell any difference after two years tells you the regulations weren’t necessary.

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39 Jan November 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm

I think you missed the point I was trying to make. You wouldn’t necessarily see any difference after two years.

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40 Mulp November 22, 2017 at 3:46 am

So, Comcast has no interest in rent seeking by selectively charging higher fees to customers competing with Comcast holding company subsidiaries?

That Comcast merged with NBC to lower customer prices by eliminating duplicate profits (profit from cable on top of NBC production profits)?

Do you think Comcast will ensure Netflix earns as much or more profit competing over the top with NBC streaming over the top, nbc.com and hulu?

I don’t have cable, but my OTA TV carries annual news flashes about Comcast not carrying this or that TV station.

I’m pretty sure that Comcast will happily screw 5% of customers to boost profits 10%.

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41 Adam November 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm

@JWatts You are being willfully ignorant. The NN regulations were indeed only in effect for two years, but the FCC had been working towards them for over a decade. The first attempt to codify NN rules (which were already being followed in practice) was started circa 2005 and accepted in 2010, the FCC Open Internet Order 2010. ISPs were operating knowing that they couldn’t be too conspicuous in their behavior.

The Internet was designed from the start to be neutral. No one thought it was a good idea to make it non-neutral until there was a distinct profit motive to do so. Self-regulation worked for a long time because it wasn’t run by commercial interests. That has changed. ISPs (I mean media conglomerates) monopolies are now making boatloads of money selling a connection that they have complete control over. That is why the FCC started the whole regulatory process to begin with. They knew this was going to happen.

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42 JWatts November 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I’m willfully ignorant because I stated the facts?

” ISPs were operating knowing that they couldn’t be too conspicuous in their behavior.”

Then logically won’t ISPs continue to constrain their behavior to avoid a future FCC from re-introducing Net Neutrality rules?

“The Internet was designed from the start to be neutral.”

No it wasn’t. The Internet was built for military/government research. That’s the opposite of neutral. The original internet was paid for and controlled by the US government / military and built and run by a consortium of universities working under the dictates of the US government. The first commercial use of the internet didn’t start until the late 1980’s. And commercial usage was completely restricted until 1992 when the NSF reluctantly relinquished control.

“In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Scientific and Advanced-Technology Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1862(g), which allowed NSF to support access by the research and education communities to computer networks which were not used exclusively for research and education purposes, thus permitting NSFNET to interconnect with commercial networks. This caused controversy within the research and education community, who were concerned commercial use of the network might lead to an Internet that was less responsive to their needs, and within the community of commercial network providers, who felt that government subsidies were giving an unfair advantage to some organizations.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet

Before 1992, the internet wasn’t remotely “Neutral”. That’s just laughable. It was a “proprietary” network until that time with tightly controlled access.

“ISPs (I mean media conglomerates) monopolies are now making boatloads of money selling a connection that they have complete control over.”

And this is just flat out wrong. It’s not even remotely correct. The overwhelming majority of American households have access to at least two different types of providers, satellite, cellular, phone line and cable internet providers. Most have access to all 4. It’s ridiculous to claim that there is a monopoly. It’s just flat out wrong.

This whole meme that the internet has always been neutral is flat earther level nuttery. The claim that modern American’s are subject to an internet monopoly is just as obviously wrong.

43 Viking November 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm

I will characterize the TC Bloombergh column on net neutrality as missing the important points.

Among the (Bloomberg) comments is one somewhat interesting point

“Consumers who attend theme parks know how fast lanes have enhanced the experience for the rich at the expense of everyone else. Those fast lanes passes ruin the experience for everyone who pays for basic admission. You have to buy a fast lane pass if you want to ride more than 5 popular rides in a day. ”

The real benefits of net non neutrality would be applications that require a guaranteed minimum latency. Non net neutrality would allow some market participants to pay more for reduced latency, which could benefit video conferencing, virtual reality, remote surgeries, VOIP (already part of video conferencing) and other possibly new applications, say remote monitoring and control various kinds.

The concerning thing is that we are worried about Comcast charging Joe Sixpack extra for accessing Netflix. That implies a pretty poor consumer protection expectation. If I were in charge of criminal prosecutions, I would criminally charge all of upper management of Comcast for fraud if the bandwidth of a Comcast connection to Netflix is significantly slower than subscription speed, if not through incompetence.

The under discussed point is the following: Does it really make sense that grandma that checks E-mail twice a week on a low tier plan pays the same as an unemployed dude living in his parents basement, streaming video 18 hours per day?

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44 Jay November 21, 2017 at 11:01 pm

“The under discussed point is the following: Does it really make sense that grandma that checks E-mail twice a week on a low tier plan pays the same as an unemployed dude living in his parents basement, streaming video 18 hours per day?”

LOL. Go to reddit. The unemployed parasites really want to make sure Grandma keeps paying to cover their externalities.

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45 Alex November 22, 2017 at 3:23 am

Redditor here. Also, not unemployed; currently working as an automation engineer to hopefully put you out of a job one day.

My grandmother has a 15 mbps connection, which she uses to find recipes, play bridge online and check her e-mail (sometimes twice a day, even). I have a 50 mpbs connection, which I use to play online games and stream high-def movies at night.

I pay about 3 times what she does for the privilege. Why would we pay the same for different needs?

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46 clockwork_prior November 22, 2017 at 5:09 am

Your example has absolutely zero to do with net neutrality.

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47 Dave November 22, 2017 at 5:15 am

Agreed, but I think he was referring to the Viking and Jay’s erroneous “underdiscussed” claims that grandma pays the same as an unemployed dude living in his parents’ basement.

She does not. Many tiered plans are available for different needs, at different prices already. But agreed, this doesn’t have anything to do with net neutrality.

48 Mulp November 22, 2017 at 3:53 am

“The under discussed point is the following: Does it really make sense that grandma that checks E-mail twice a week on a low tier plan pays the same as an unemployed dude living in his parents basement, streaming video 18 hours per day?”

They don’t pay the same price for different products. Net neutrality does not mean only one product offered to all.

What net neutrality means is grandma can read her mail on aol, msn, or gmail with Comcast having no say in her choice or quality of service.

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49 TMC November 22, 2017 at 11:58 am

Or without HER having any say in quality. Grandma may be an online gamer that would be happy to pay ten extra buck for a low latency connection. Another Grandma might be very content with her service as it is because all she does is surf the web and check email. Different services have different needs.

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50 Adam November 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm

And net neutrality doesn’t mean you can’t provide different network level of service or have reasonable network management (i.e. prioritize low latency packets). Net neutrality means you can can’t arbitrarily throttle similar packets.

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51 JWatts November 22, 2017 at 4:09 pm

“Net neutrality means you can can’t arbitrarily throttle similar packets.”

I don’t think you really understand what the FCC’s interpretation of Net Neutrality was.

The Obama administration, enacted the following constraints:

“President Obama largely followed this lead in his November 2014 speech advocating Net neutrality. He did not say that all bits should be treated equally but specified four rules: no blocking, no throttling, no special treatment at interconnections, and no paid prioritization to speed content transmission.”

https://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/net-neutralitys-technical-troubles

52 A Truth Seeker November 21, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Such is life in Trump’s America.

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53 fishbane November 21, 2017 at 7:19 pm

End of the world? Of course not.

Higher prices for less? Smell the freedom!

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54 AlanW November 21, 2017 at 8:47 pm

This topic makes my head explode. If I pay Comcast $75 a month for 50MBps service, I do not want Comcast telling me what I can and cannot access up to the limits of my data plan. I do not want to pay Netflix an extra $5 or $10 a month so that Netflix can turn around and pay Comcast to deliver its content at premium speeds. I do not want Comcast having a veto over whether I can patronize the next Netflix, or the next Snapchat or the next Marginal Revolution (or worse, extorting a stake in those companies).

In most cities in America, I have little or no choice for my internet service provider. They are de facto or de jure monopolies, therefore the state should have a say in whether they provide a level playing field for content that travels over their network. It’s easy to see how this plays out: Right now, I’m looking for a pro-Net Neutrality wireless carrier so that I can dump Verizon in protest. Sprint and T-Mobile were pro-NN at one point – now, kind of hard to say. If I have no choice in the matter, the marketplace has failed.

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55 Jonathan November 22, 2017 at 10:13 am

“In most cities in America, I have little or no choice for my internet service provider.”
This is simply untrue. First, it depends on the bandwidth you want. Second it depends on the data allowance you want and what services you want to spend that allowance on. But most American cities have a choice of their cable company, Exede, maybe an AT&T or Verizon or Google, and, for the right applications, four different wireless carriers. Plus there are numerous other niche providers,

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56 Nemo November 21, 2017 at 11:10 pm

The “net neutrality” debate, here and elsewhere, conflates four different ideas: 1) ISPs should not discriminate against content providers 2) ISPs should not discriminate between classes of traffic like prioritize live streams, low latency for VoIP etc. 3) ISPs should.exchange traffic via free peering 4) ISPs should not charge users by usage.

The real issue is 1). While it may not be the end of the world, an Internet of walled gardens –monopoly access providers vertically integrated with content providers– would be terrible and worth avoiding. Hopefully wireless will provide enough competition but it would help to have such a framework in place when mega mergers between media companies and ISPs come up.

Unfortunately it seems the issue is muddied by people who argue for 2), 3) and 4). Those should be non-political issues. There is nothing wrong with different “lanes” for different classes of traffic, nor with usage based pricing. The applications are as a different as a bicycle is from an 18-wheel truck.

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57 Jonathan November 22, 2017 at 10:15 am

+1, with the added notion that an monopoly ISP who did (1) is potentially subject to a Sherman Act violation.

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58 JWatts November 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm

“There is nothing wrong with different “lanes” for different classes of traffic, ..”

Indeed any network engineer will tell you that this is critical. But most net neutrality advocates don’t understand how the system works.

““Networks just plain don’t work worth s–t if you literally treat every packet exactly the same as every other packet,” said one engineer, who asked not to be named. Cisco’s Baker put it more delicately, saying that equal treatment for all packets “would be setting the industry back 20 years.”

That’s particularly true of wireless networks, where high demand and limited bandwidth make network management crucial.”
““Some Net neutrality advocates are convinced that any kind of management will create bad results, but they’re not willing to accept that having no management will also have bad results,” says a senior Nokia engineer.”

https://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/net-neutralitys-technical-troubles

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59 Abelard Lindsey November 21, 2017 at 11:13 pm

The problem with net neutrality is that it was never about net neutrality itself. It was pushed as a smoke screen by factions who really wanted to regulate actual content as well as to levy taxes on internet access. That is why net neutrality deserved to die and why it died.

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60 Bob November 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm

We’d not even be discussing net neutrality at all if there was competition among ISPs, which happens if we separate the wires that connect me to the internet are only owned by said ISP. Fiber to the home is not something that is going to be done by 3-5 companies per city: We are lucky with 2. But separate the wires to central locations, which in no way care about what your ultimate destination is, and ISPs that connect that to internet backbones, and suddenly creating a new ISP is not all that expensive.

I understand a world with no neutrality regulation, yet very little vertical integration. I also see a world with neutrality regulation and a few giants controlling the landscape. But a few giants that have zero regulation, and no interest in competing with each other, sounds like the worst of both worlds.

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61 Mulp November 22, 2017 at 4:26 am

Where is fiber to the customer offered by two utilities as a standard service?

Without paying hundreds for reports, my best estimate is 25% of business/residential units have the standard option of fiber service from a single utility. Most of those have the option of coax, which depends on fiber to the node or neighborhood, for the headend.

I know of no city where two utilities offer fiber to the same customers as a subscriber option.

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62 clockwork_prior November 22, 2017 at 5:14 am

‘We’d not even be discussing net neutrality at all if there was competition among ISPs’

Just about right – I have the choice of easily 3 different ways to access the Internet (Telekom, cable provider, smart phone) and can easily pick between 10 or so different providers (most of them offering smart phone services). There is no need to mandate that my ISP offer the sort of access that the Internet was designed for – that is, each data packet is treated as a packet to be sent along until it reaches its destination, without any filtering or preference along the way.

In the U.S., a company like Comcast absolutely has an interest to favor some data packets over others – and if you don’t like it, tough luck.

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63 Alex November 22, 2017 at 3:19 am

Tyler, I understand your position, but I read through your article – and indeed, many of the comments here, and I mostly see reasons why ending neutrality will not be bad. I see no reasons why ending it will be good.

What is the argument in favour of ending it? How on earth does ending net neutrality improve my life or the lives of millions of internet users around the world?

At BEST, this seems unnecessary, and at worst, dangerous for the future of the internet.

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64 clockwork_prior November 22, 2017 at 5:18 am

‘does ending net neutrality improve my life or the lives of millions of internet users around the world’

Much of the rest of the world does not care about net neutrality because they cannot imagine an ISP being anything but a pipeline to the Internet, where all packets are treated like they always have been – equally.

But then, when somebody moves from Germany to the U.S., they are amazed at the scarcity of options and choices involving something as mundane as a smart phone, much less the lack of competition for telecom services. The U.S. is becoming increasingly unlike many places in basic services, and most Americans are seemingly unaware of this.

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65 Just Another MR Commentor November 22, 2017 at 8:29 am

“But then, when somebody moves from Germany to the U.S…” yeah but their salary basically triples if not quadruples.

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66 Rob November 22, 2017 at 9:22 am

You think ending net neutrality will increase competition in the telecoms industry? Ending net neutrality does nothing to answer the insane barriers to entry to the market.

The telecoms industry is among the most hated by consumers, there already exists incentive for competition.

Besides, if this was really going to bring more competition and options to the market, would the big telecoms companies really be pulling so hard for it?

Qui Bono

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67 Jonathan November 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

Somehow my really long comment got eaten.
So my short comment is: because the Title II framework to implement the rules does more harm than good.
The zero-rating inquiry is the purest example of that…. A long investigation, followed by confusing and unmtivation distinctions, followed by a policy which can be reversed with the political winds. Business can’t operate under this framework, and only the biggest participants with millions of dollars worth of lawyers and lobbyists will even try to play.

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68 TMC November 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm

“At BEST, this seems unnecessary, and at worst, dangerous for the future of…”

This is true for much of regulation.

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69 Alex November 22, 2017 at 6:46 am

|But then, when somebody moves from Germany to the U.S., …

Funny you say that, I am writing from Germany and going to the US on business next week.

I lived and worked in the US for 2 years, and I hope I’m not out of place to say, for a country that claims to be the freest, I was (and still am) surprised by the lack of options and lack of transparency the US has in a number of fields, including some consumer products; telekom, airlines, trains, health insurance. Even alcohol and fruit all seem to come from the same companies…

Best of luck! I am still concerned by net neutrality because (selfishly) I worry about the precedent, the implications and trickle-down effects this may have in the largest market in the world.

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70 Gil November 22, 2017 at 7:29 am

I think net neutrality is important, but complicated and technical. The Bloomberg column and a lot of other writing on the topic misses the subtlety.

Let me talk about one example. Delivering streaming video over cell networks.

With strict net neutrality, there is no way to deliver lots of streaming video over cell networks in a cost effective manner.

However, if the application (i.e. Netflix) and the cell operator (i.e. Verizon) collaborate, then you can deliver tons of streaming video over cell networks for basically no cost.

So “all traffic must be treated equally” is just a really bad idea technically. Treating different traffic differently can give us quite a lot more out of the same infrastructure for the same cost.

Balancing that though, if Verizon and Netflix do collaborate, but Verizon refuses to collaborate with TheNextNetflix, then we have a problem.

Ideally what you would like is that Verizon can do anything they want to optimize their networks, but it must be done with public protocols available to all applications. And really what we need is to extend the internet protocols so that all applications and ISPs can take advantage of the potential of the existing networks without any direct collaboration. Thus TheNextNetflix just follows the protocol and they automatically get efficient and cheap use over cell networks.

I am not that worried about the loss of net neutrality, but we will see. I expect attempts at some fairly evil stuff from the likes of Verizon, but there are pretty tight limits on what they can get away with without facing a backlash from their customers.

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71 Jonathan November 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

+1

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72 Evans_KY November 22, 2017 at 8:52 am

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”-Charles Dickens

Every domino that entrenches disparity is in danger of eventually being toppled. A reckoning is coming.

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73 Jay November 22, 2017 at 6:12 pm

If I go back to 2000 post Bush election win will I find the exact same claims from Proggers?

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74 Vulcidian November 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

I’m not going to miss an opportunity to plug my old grad school paper on this topic! https://www.scribd.com/document/35896235/Net-Lit

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75 egl November 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

Premium internet bundle: Amazon, Facebook, Google. Or deals to transfer profits from the big three to the telecoms. Or Google gets serious about fiber.

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