Sunday assorted links

by on December 3, 2017 at 8:23 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. A musician’s take on Google and net neutrality.  Not my view, but that is what makes life interesting…

2. A very good thread on personnel economics.

3. Diane Coyle reviews the new Edith Penrose biography; Penrose’s book was a favorite of mine as a teen.  And Pankaj Mishra reviews Sujatha Gidla.

4. Why Nigeria wins at Scrabble (The Economist).

5. Raising a teenage daughter (mother writes the essay, teenage daughter comments on it).

6. Clickhole explains Bitcoin.

1 So Much For Subtlety December 3, 2017 at 8:44 am

4. Why Nigeria wins at Scrabble

I guess what the Economist is too polite to say is that Nigeria is such a badly mis-managed country that if you struggle hard to acquire a difficult foreign language in much demand internationally, all you can do with it except play Scrabble.

Although with the ideological developments of the former Free Trade rag, perhaps the subtext is that they want two Five Year Plans for Scrabble players?

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2 Anonymous December 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Quite clearly you don’t know much about Nigeria. Because the 3 major tribes speak different languages, they speak to each other in English and English is widely spoken.

But why worry about veracity in comments?

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3 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 8:52 am

1. Google is not the Internet (or much of an ISP, for that matter), and concerns about data packets being treated equally goes back longer than 2007.

‘The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems.’

Here are a couple of examples from that wiki article – ‘A widely cited example of a violation of net neutrality principles was the Internet service provider Comcast’s secret slowing (“throttling”) of uploads from peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) applications by using forged packets. Comcast did not stop blocking these protocols, like BitTorrent, until the FCC ordered them to stop. In another minor example, The Madison River Communications company was fined US$15,000 by the FCC, in 2004, for restricting their customers’ access to Vonage, which was rivaling their own services.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

You can read about the Bittorrent protocol data throttling here, by the way – http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21376597/

However, her point 9 is so deliriously confused that the less said, the better.

To sum up her basic misunderstanding – hard as this might be to imagine, Google, Facebook et al are not the Internet, and Google is not an ISP/common carrier (in any meaningful sense – and Google’s CDN is undoubtedly dwarfed by Akamai, a company founded the same year as Google).

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4 Bob December 3, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Her point 9 is confused, but I think it get close to something real, which is the tremendous value of very large amounts of data: Better algorithms with far worse data lose in many machine learning situations.

And yet, Net neutrality is absolutely not about Google. Google is large enough to fight in any environment, so they can adapt to rules changes. Their advantages are more indirect regarding net neutrality: They are internet infrastructure. If the GDP of the internet gets bigger, they get more money while doing absolutely nothing. Small ISPs could never bully google, and would end up capturing few gains from internet growth. Large ones, however, when are also tied to content and do their own last-mile, are in great position to compete for the infrastructure profits, but every single thing that they can do there goes directly against what is good for consumers: It’s pure, unadulterated tax.

I think that, overall, what is good for the world is large amounts of growth, internet included. The best scenario for growth is probably serious ISP competition and no net neutrality. Neutrality and competition would probably put is in a good place too. Neutrality and no competition will lead to little investment, but so will no neutrality and no competition, which I suspect gives us the worst of both worlds.

Another wrinkle is that most of the reasons we have weak to no competition for broadband is local regulations, while net neutrality is a federal matter: Ask Google what happened when they decided that they should lay residential fiber: Local and state regulators have no interest in the GDP of the internet: If anything, they want the opposite.They’ll only end up relenting when weak internet infrastructure makes their region uncompetitive, and we are still quite a bit away.

Which gives us yet another unpopular opinion: People were outraged by the giveaways cities are offering amazon for HQ 2.0, and yes, the offers are outrageous – Outrageously low. The difference between having a real tech sector is going to be worth so much that the alternative will be decay. We’ll have plenty of examples of how Chicago betting on rail was a century-long win vs St Louis disastrous bet on the river.

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5 shrikanthk December 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

It is interesting that Tyler continues to link to discredited writers like Pankaj Mishra (remember his puerile arguments against Niall Ferguson?)

Mishra here talks about Indian society being deeply hierarchical with wealthy citizens being overwhelmingly upper caste. But as always there is no evidence.

Does Pankaj or Tyler have an estimate of the Per-capita income of each caste? No. Nobody does.

The wealthiest Indians in India include men like Ambani and Azim Premji, who are anything but upper caste. Here are the top 10 wealthiest Indians. There is not a single brahmin in the list.

1. Mukesh Ambani – middle caste
2. Azim Premji – Muslim
3. Hinduja family – middle caste
4. Lakshmi Mittal – middle caste
5. Pallonji Mistry – Zoroastrian
6. Godrej Family – Zoroastrian
7. Shiv Nadar – Low caste (historically just a notch above Dalits)
8. Kumar Birla – middle caste
9. Dilip Shanghvi – middle caste
10. Gautam Adani – Jain

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6 shrikanthk December 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

In fact in the list of top 100 wealthiest Indians (source : Fores), just 5 of them are brahmins. 5.
Interestingly the proportion of populaiton that is brahmin is also 5%. So it exactly mirrors their share in population

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7 Moo cow December 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

It would seem Zoroastrians are over-represented. How many practitioners are there in India? There’s about 100k in Iran.

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8 shrikanthk December 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

MooCow – There are some 70K Zoroastrians in India today

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9 Abhi Ram December 3, 2017 at 2:48 pm

The Mittals, Hindujas, Birlas and Sanghvi are all Marwaris which I would have argued is middle caste in the traditional sense but in modern India are upper castes

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10 shrikanthk December 3, 2017 at 6:11 pm

We can’t keep changing the definition of upper caste in this way. Let’s stick to the traditional hierarchy, which is what gets bemoaned by social justice warriors. If caste hierarchy is merely determined by current economic status, then there is no caste system to bemoan! No need to raise the brahmin bogey in every conversation.

The fact is that a very very very vast majority of the wealthiest Indians are not “upper caste” as claimed by Pankaj Mishra. Period.

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11 Dmitri Helios December 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Most of them are banias. Banias are not upper caste now?

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12 shrikanthk December 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

No.

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13 rayward December 3, 2017 at 9:28 am

1. Ms. Schneider’s attack on Google ends with a list of five personal complaints about Google (listed as (a) through (e)). She isn’t opposed to net neutrality, she’s opposed to Google not being required to make it easier for her to sell her music on the internet. Indeed, what she wants is regulation, whether it’s Google or the ISPs (which she considers an ISP). I suppose “net neutrality” means what people say it means. Cowen has expressed ambivalence about the issue (of net neutrality), which I have commented is consistent with his preference for disruption: end net neutrality and see what happens – the result could be an internet that is better at promoting innovation. Or not. But we won’t know unless there’s disruption. I’m more of an order and stability sort of person, which is a reason I’m not keen on traveling. Cowen, on the other hand, travels the world, to exotic places that would give me the willies. Now that’s disruption. I should acknowledge that I was one of the last to swap my enormous television for a flat screen and my flip phone for a smart phone, that the car I drive I purchased in 1999, that I ate the same cereal (raisin bran) for breakfast for 25 years, and that I spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s at the same three (different) places every year. Net neutrality works for me.

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14 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

Good post, but I would say the status quo has been decades of rolling disruption, so much so that the gag is that founders say “disruption” when they should learn to say “business model.”

The argument against “net neutrality” is “we won’t lose that much disruption with lockdown by last mile vendors, honest!”

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15 Larkin December 3, 2017 at 11:12 am

@rayward: “I’m more of an order and stability sort of person… Net neutrality works for me.”

yes, free markets and voluntary choices by buyers/sellers — are so untidy and variable. The deep wisdom of government regulators imposed upon us is so much more preferable… to prevent such untidy “disruption”.

NetNeutrality is fundamentally about the pros & cons of government regulation and political market intervention. It’s so easy to predict where Progressives/Democrats/Leftists stand on that issue.

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16 rayward December 3, 2017 at 11:22 am

“free markets and voluntary choices” What drug are you taking? And I suppose you believe Facebook and Google are “free”.

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17 Larkin December 3, 2017 at 11:33 am

…as free as your choices at your local food market or gas station

you think FCC mandates are “free” choice ?

18 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 12:16 pm

What kind of person compares to random retail rather than other utilities?

19 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 10:52 am

I don’t know how many noticed, but we had a guy who presented himself as an ISP network engineer here recently. What he basically said was, when the ISP gave you a contract for X network speed, they had a statistical model of your use in mind.

When you all shifted from mostly text, to more images, and then video, you were doing two things. You were participating in a lot of disruption, and you were blowing up the old statistical model.

The ISPs went looking for people to blame (Bandwidth hogs! Netflix! Free riders!), but I would say the fundamental problem was their own. They had a static expectation in a dynamically changing field.

You should worry now, with “net neutrality defeated” how they might use their power to control, and restrict, change. How they might want to keep you within the model.

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20 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

You completely skipped bittorrent – as noted in the link above, in 2007 Comcast started basically forging data packets to prevent its customers from uploading data using the bittorrent protocol.

No need to go theoretical on the long term interest of American ISPs to not provide the service their customers thought they were actually paying for. And no reason to make this about video/Netflix etc – in the case of the bittorrent ‘data flood’ more than a decade ago, all the data was truly peer to peer, by protocol design.

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21 Potato December 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm

What people were doing was trading stolen property.

I really don’t see the consistency: anti-bitcoin, pro intellectual property theft.

We know what societies look like when no one respects property rights. It’s not pretty.

I do appreciate the p2p networks causing IP owners to drastically change their business models. It increases consumer surplus by an incredible amount and helped bring some reality into the market. Monopoly and copyright is long overdue for reform.

Let any jackass draw Mickey Mouse and sell it, have sunset provisions etc.

But you still need IP laws. It just needs reform.

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22 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 2:36 pm

‘What people were doing was trading stolen property.’

Some of them. But you just might want to read this nearly 5 year old article – http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8-legal-uses-for-bittorrent-youd-be-surprised/ Protocols and formats are not the same as stolen property.

‘I really don’t see the consistency: anti-bitcoin, pro intellectual property theft.’

This is still mystifying – where have I expressed any opinion about bitcoin as a technical idea? To be honest, I find bitcoin fairly boring – unlike the bittorrent protocol, which was an elegant way to create ad hoc peer to peer networks that could grow to massive size and transfer massive amounts of data by simply having more users. As companies like Blizzard having been using to their advantage for years.

‘But you still need IP laws. It just needs reform.’

The bittorrent protocol has nothing directly to do with IP law (MP3 as a format has a fascinating history on its own, of course), regardless of how desperately some IP owners tried to convince people otherwise.

23 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 2:36 pm

I only ever torrented free software distros, nerd that I am.

24 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Oh by the way, if you are a freedom dude, note that torrents, merely a way to share “files” was blocked by some ISPs (not mine) on a presumption of guilt.

That you were downloading Star Wars, not Debian.

25 Troll Me December 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm

There are many legitimate and 100% legal uses of p2p file sharing protocols, that operate very easily via torrents, that many ISPs would also like to do away with. Ensuring that these uses are protected is a major reason that many governments are basically unwilling, or politically unable, to do much on the matter (not to mention privacy issues implicit in hypothetical enforcement, which prevents most decent governments from having much concern).

26 apso December 3, 2017 at 11:12 pm

You’re saying it was all about crappy contracts? Even simple retail electricity deals contemplate a variation in quantity and how to deal with it. I’m not calling your acquaintance a liar, but there has to have been other things going on . . .

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27 Ralt Ight December 3, 2017 at 10:23 am

5. It’s an interesting these kinds of articles, people who kinda sorta see their own cognitive dissonance:

“I should just come out and say it:  When we talk about parenting teenage girls and risk, we’re talking, to no small degree, about sex. I worry about Hannah getting hit by a bus. I worry about Hannah feeling alone. But when I consider what truly worries me, I worry about her getting hurt through sex. Bad sex she doesn’t want. Sex with people who trample her heart. What I’ve got to offer as a parent on this front is pathetically scattered. Own your body but don’t flaunt it. Be brave but don’t be reckless. Love fiercely but keep boundaries. You’re wearing that crop top? You’re wearing that crop top. OK, you look cute.”

6. I’m never going to see the value in something that doesn’t have any actual value.

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28 Moo cow December 3, 2017 at 10:45 am

5. What do I know. But my observation, from watching my mother’s relationship with my sister, and my sister’s relationship with her daughter, is that it’s not sex, it’s getting pregnant. If that happens at 15, everything goes to hell. It’s not the trampled heart. It’s much worse.

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29 Moo cow December 3, 2017 at 10:45 am

Meant as a response to Ralt.

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30 Ralt Ight December 3, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Yes, but wasn’t birth control and abortion supposed to kill that? See the last post:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/12/power-abortion-policy.html

I doubt the author has any moral scruples about abortion, given the “resist” poster in her daughter’s room. Of course the recent invention of birth control and abortion aren’t going to convince people to be fined with their teen-aged daughters having sex anymore than it convinces men to let their wives have sex with other men, the instinct is still there. Hence the cognitive dissonance.

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31 Moo cow December 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Because birth control is failsafe and abortion is an easy decision?

Ya I though a bit about that last post. I guess I’m talking “premium economy” here. Might be different.

Also too…recent invention? Heh.

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32 Potato December 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Women who are fertile and active eventually get pregnant. Bryan Caplan wrote this up a long time ago in a great post about self reported statistics.

We know the odds given the type of bc used. We know the self reported activity statistics. We know the bc method statistics.

It does not add up, even remotely. TC had a post about this not too long ago, heterosexual people are engaging in this activity much less than the self reported statistics indicate. By orders of magnitude. A bit depressing when you think about the ramifications for average people.

The male gay community statistics seem correct given our knowledge about STD transmission. So as usual they’re living life and enjoying it, albeit more responsibly now than in the past.

Anyways, I’m a social liberal and I agree. Talk to your daughters about an IUD when they are teenagers. It’s awkward and terrible (conversation wise) but guarantees them a lifetime of choice. You’re putting the ball in their court forever. It’s one of the greatest things you can do for their life quality as young independent women just starting out in life.

They decide, period. And as a parent it’s a no brainer.

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33 AlanW December 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

#1 appears to be unhinged. Given her background in the music industry, I really want to know if she also felt payola and Clear Channel and Ticket master were good for artists. Google and it’s net neutrality enabled brethren blew up those old monopolies – and the old payment models that benefitted a few successful artists at the expense of the many. Maybe that’s what she’s really upset about.

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34 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Well, profoundly misinformed is likely better than unhinged.

But google (particularly youtube) has truly run roughshod over independent artists, so her focus is understandable enough. That she thinks google is the somehow the Internet is wrong, of course, and anything she writes using that assumption thus runs the gamut from flawed to utterly wrong.

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35 apso December 3, 2017 at 11:37 pm

There are rumblings of payola in streaming music though. Worth keeping an eye on. I agree with the larger point: the lady sounds nutty.

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36 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 12:04 pm

1 is almost completely unhinged, but what’s in there as a matter of policy (as opposed to namecalling and villain-hunting) is almost entirely correct. (a) The FTC will be better at this than the FCC, and ex post is hugely better than ex ante in a highly dynamic industry. (What is ignored in this is that the bulk of FCC enforcement would have been ex post, as the “bright line” rules were nothing of the sort. But at the FCC it would have been ex post by people with no economic expertise.) (b) The OIO was a disaster of regulatory overreach. This is almost independent of wether net neutrality rules are a good idea in the abstract or not. (c) This all about forcing ISPs to cross-subsidize — they have to pay to deliver high-quality service to their customers (or lose share, no matter what people say about their monopoly position) and have to pass along those costs to all customers, not the subset who use those services. And CDNs only make this problem worse. (d) The French Revolution model is entirely apt here — an attempt to cabin this to ISPs will not work; FB and Google will be next and, like Robespierre, they will come to regret the forces they have unleashed. OK… now *I* seem unhinged… Something about net neutrality seems to do that.

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37 Peter December 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm

The name calling really damages her article, and her complaints at the end are obviously personal bitterness (although in the case of the massive profits Google takes constantly from copyright-infringed uploads it’s a pretty legitimate complaint), but that bitterness also does cue her in to the fact that everybody attributes way more honor to Googles motives than they ever deserved.

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38 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm

‘The FTC will be better at this than the FCC’

Except that common carrier as a regulatory concept developed in relation to telecommunication networks. On the other hand, the sort of deceptive advertising routinely engaged in by ISPs having people pay for a service that the ISP was clearly not fit to provide is certainly the sort of thing the FTC has a lot of experience in punishing and shutting down.

‘This all about forcing ISPs to cross-subsidize’

No, this is all about forcing ISPs to provide the service that their customers assumed they were paying for. ISPs being unwilling (and more than occasionally over the past couple of decades actively engaging in practices to prevent their customers from using) to actually provide the service that their customers are paying for. If I am paying for a 10/100 mps connection, that is what the ISP is being paid to provide after all – or they are engaging in deceptive advertising, though fraud is certainly not out of bounds as a term to describe their business model.

‘not the subset who use those services’

This is turning things upside down, you know. If all customers are paying for 10/100 mps service, then that is what all customers are entitled to, obviously. Any other model being used by the ISP is either deceptive or fraudulent.

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39 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

I disagree and this statement massively misunderstands the economics. The speed of the pipe doesn’t begin to get at what customers want. And net neutrality has little to do with that problem. ISPs cannot promise to reliably deliver services whose bandwidth needs and location in the network topology are entirely out of their control. But of course *that’s* what customers want and what they’re rightfully upset if they can’t get. And if an ISP is required to smooth the path for *any* edge provider, not matter how it much costs them to get that service there, the costs of doing so will inevitably be passed on to all customers, not just those demanding this service. Analogies in this space are never quite right, but it’s as if I want to want to go to Burger King, but Burger King is really far away and occasionally I get in traffic jams. One solution is to bring Burger King closer to me, but that’s expensive, and the government put in rules forbidding Burger King to pay to move the store closer nor to let the customer be charged for the move, but instead the charge is put on the road builder to recover from everyone. That’s dumb. I understand the objection, which is that the road builder will say: “Forget BK. Use my restaurant that’s way closer.” and use their roads to make the BK option even more unappealing. That’s a potential problem… but not nearly as bad as the problem of socializing the cost of investments over non-BK users and furthermore using the power of the regulatory apparatus to ensure that BK never pays any of these costs under any circumstances.

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40 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

‘The speed of the pipe doesn’t begin to get at what customers want.’

In which case the customer was deceptively sold something that was never intended to be provided – which can also called fraud. As pointed out in several other of these threads, in Germany, if one has a contract for a 10/100 mps Internet connection, that is what the ISP has to provide. Otherwise, the ISP is engaging in deceptive practices that will be punished.

‘ISPs cannot promise to reliably deliver services whose bandwidth needs and location in the network topology are entirely out of their control.’

To be honest, that is simply BS. Having the capacity to deliver 10/100 mps service to every customer paying for it is a matter of having the infrastructure to deliver it on the part of the ISP. Any attempt to argue that the ISP was actually only selling an ‘average’ 1/10 mps service is just proof that the ISP was engaging in deceptive practices. Please, read the decade old article about bittorrent, where instead of upgrading their actual network to reflect their commitment to the service their actual customers had paid for, forging data packets was considered a cheaper alternative by one ISP.

‘And if an ISP is required to smooth the path for *any* edge provider, not matter how it much costs them to get that service there’

That is not how the Internet, a packet switched network essentially based on TCP/IP, works. And of course I expect my IP address connected digital device to connect to any other IP address connected device to exchange data packets, at the rate I have paid my ISP to provide. Any thing less is deceptive marketing, to be charitable.

Leaving aside that your analogy is truly at Prof. Cowen levels of relevance, this is simply wrong – ‘as the problem of socializing the cost of investments.’ If I pay my ISP to provide 10/100 mps service, no investment is being socialized for what I am already paying for. And it is not for my ISP to decide what I am doing with the 10/100 mps data packet exchange performance that I am paying for.- unless, of course, they never actually intended to deliver the performance I am already paying for.

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41 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

I’ve been following what you’ve said in this torrent of threads, but you seem to have confused 10/100 service with the ability to deliver particular bits with particular latency from particular edge providers with the generic ability to deliver bits at particular speeds. Now maybe consumers have this confused as well, but as the second-order linked piece from Maureen Ohlhausen points out (linked in the somewhat unhinged post Tyler linked to) that’s the FTC’s strong suit, not the FCC. But at any case, customers not getting what they expected is not even close to the same as fraud. As to the analogy, you dislike it. (That doesn’t make it inapt, but fine.)

42 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 2:49 pm

‘with the ability to deliver particular bits with particular latency from particular edge providers with the generic ability to deliver bits at particular speeds’

Finally, latency, an actual concept. Yes, latency is the sort of technical concern that really caused problems – back in the mid-90s. Since then, latency is not really a problem for anything streamed, unless of course your ISP never actually intended to provide 10/100 mps service to all its customers at the same time..And real time communications just don’t consume that much bandwidth, to be honest. Along with the fact that SIP is how that area is handled, for the last decade and a half or so – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_Initiation_Protocol

‘But at any case, customers not getting what they expected is not even close to the same as fraud.’

Getting what they expected is a matter of opinion. Getting the service they have ostensibly paid for is not a matter of opinion, it is empirically measurable. And when they don’t get the contractually paid for service due to the ISP actually never intending to deliver it, fraud is not an inaccurate term.

43 Troll Me December 3, 2017 at 4:41 pm

This Burger King can be at your doorstep even after travelling around the world several times, in under a second. You’re trying too hard to legitimize something.

Consumers have paid for a certain service, which is access to bandwidth at a certain speed. It is understandable that at peak times, somewhat slower than advetised access may occur sometimes.

Taking the Burger King analogy, this would be more like selling all the roads to a monopolist or some form of cartel, and then only allowing you to drive in the fast lane if you’re going to one of the restaurants that paid the cartel enough money to obtain this preferential acess for their clients. This is more likely to result in higher prices and slower innovation, and in the long run is good for no one but wannabe fascists.

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44 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Except that there are no monopolies or cartels, I agree – which is to say I find your analogy as stupid as you find mine.

45 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm

“have to pass along those costs to all customers, not the subset who use those services”

As near as I can remember, I got my first home broadband in 2000. It was very much different from today. Any baseline of expected use would be very different from today (I used, if I recall correctly, more USENET than World Wide Web).

The fact is we have *all* made little choices, adopted new uses week by week, which were entirely supported by the architecture of the internet. Change was always intended to be a constant. It certainly has been for the last 20 years.

So you know, try not to be impressed when a mere ISP, a “connection” in a much bigger, older, and more dynamic internet says “we didn’t expect you to do that!”

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46 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Sure, but what is the principle in which investments directly made to benefit specific edge providers are socialized by a private entity? If we want to socialize these investments (and BTW I think that would be a horrible idea) why not have the edge providers at least kick in with some of their incremental profits from the investment?

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47 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Starting now, with smart and metered. cable connections, the ISPs can present not just top speeds, but managed tiers of service. I would consider that neutral, if no packets or competitors we’re penalized below tier/terms of service.

I have no problem with ISPs offering value added, above and beyond basic delivery, to business partners.

The baby being thrown out with the bathwater in non-net-neutrality is that a generic tier of service loses protection.

Any ISP becomes free to cry “not fair” for packets which impact, not even network, but business model.

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48 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm

“I have no problem with ISPs offering value added, above and beyond basic delivery, to business partners.”

You may not, but the Wheeler FCC definitely did, and wuold have dragged any attempt to do so through years of hearings where “flexible” principles would yield erratic and unprincipled results — like the one investigation they did pursue, the zero-rating fiasco in which two deals were deemed outside the pale while another two were OK based on a list of qualitative nonexclusive criteria.
Characterizing this as “the baby thrown out with the bathwater” is a charitable interpretation, but Title II regulation, the chosen venue for the NN rules, guarantees that the regulated entity, the ISP, have their business model upheld as a matter of right. Then customers have to pay what they have to pay. There are two problems with the “bright line rules.” (a) They weren’t all that bright line, since there “network management” was excluded and needed to be litigated on a case by case basis; (b) the agency implementing them had already decided that economics didn’t matter, as their chief economist at the time memorable remarked.

49 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

The first thing to remember with Net Neutrality, caps, is that someone wants you to think it is one thing. One good choice they are for, or one terrible thing they are avoiding.

I like to think I support a technically and economically balanced net neutrality, no caps, but it is a hard conversation to have in this environment.

And to be honest, my vision, where the ISP honors their agreement with you for certain speeds and monthly use, and at the same time rents a closet for Netflix to use as they will, would take some policing.

You may find that your torrent packets aren’t going through.

50 Potato December 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

What people want in essence is the same as healthcare.

They want to pay a flat fee and forget about it, and use as much as they want.

The truth is with metered data pricing most consumers would see their bills go down by a large percentage.

Do you all want to pay a flat fee for electricity? I work for a company that uses a massive percentage of the entire states’ electricity. Should you all pay for a slice of that?

If I want to leave my shower running 100% of the time, should you all pay for it?

Maybe we can have a water and electricity tax. We all pay a flat fee and use as much as we want….

But this is clearly insane. We should all pay a rate based on our data usage, just like cell phones.

51 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

I am old enough to remember a claim about the original unmetered contracts. It was “the computation to total every byte up and downstream costs more than the communication.”

The argument was that it was vastly cheaper for ISPs to provide unmetered internet because they could use dumber pipes, and no accounting software.

I think two things have happened since then. Computation is much cheaper, and the exposure they have with unmetered contracts is better understood.

52 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm

‘They want to pay a flat fee and forget about it, and use as much as they want. ‘

To think that they actually thought their contract with their ISP guaranteed them that (depending on the contract, of course). My contract with my ISP certainly does, but then, in Germany, when someone offers to sell you a flat fee service, they have to provide it. Otherwise, they are engaged in deceptive business practices, and will be punished.

‘The truth is with metered data pricing most consumers would see their bills go down by a large percentage.’

Maybe – or maybe, at least in a free ISP market, they will switch to another provider that does not meter, yet has invested enough in its infrastructure to provide what its customers are actually paying for. The history of the last 20 years seems to suggest that, by the way.

‘Do you all want to pay a flat fee for electricity?’

Well, at least in Germany, I already do – that flat fee is to the company that provides the infrastructure for the actual electricity producer I have a contract with to provide electricity. Lots of details skipped (obviously, and the analogy is not perfect) , but essentially, I pay a flat fee for electricity access, then am f free to contract with any provider of electricity I wish – however, my flat fee electricity provider is not allowed to say that I am using too much power, so they will now cap my usage at a level under what I have paid for. In other words, you can actually separate the infrastructure, and yes, everyone pays a flat fee to maintain it, regardless of how much or how little electricity any of us use. (Again, simplified.)

But why do you keep insisting in your examples that everyone has to pay for your electricity or water? I already pay my ISP, they merely have to deliver on what is contractually agreed to and paid for.

53 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Would you care to explain what an ‘edge provider’ is?

Because as someone who has been using the Internet for a couple of decades, I expect my ISP to provide a single service – to allow the exchange of data packets between my IP address connected digital device(s) and any other public IP address connected digital device at the rate paid for and that is set in the contract between us. To use a concrete example, there is no such thing as an ‘edge provider’ (at least by any definition that would reasonably arise from those two words) when talking about bittorrent, a truly peer to peer protocol.

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54 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 2:34 pm

In the most general terms, an edge provider network provides a set of distributed (perhaps globally distributed) servers which hold copies of content close to customers. The NY Times might do that so that readers hit servers in their city rather than all hammer NY for the latest Brooks column.

The edge servers started out as regional, but migrated towards colocation with large ISPs. It can be a natural fit. Time Warner having copies of Stranger Things makes their and Netflix networks run smoother.

But it got messy when ISPs tried to claim they “had” to charge Netflix for that value added. They didn’t really. Netflix could use another edge provider “quite close” to the ISP.

55 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm

You are correct that I am giving short shrift to P2P protocols which I largely regard as of little interest, and which I guarantee are of little interest to the FCC or the FTC. I was trying to keep the discussion to those issues which were guiding the debate, not bittorrent. To the extent that these aren’t your issues, I again apologize. But implementing the specific rules of the 2015 Order to protect P2P bitstreams is a little overkill, don’t you think?

56 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I am personally fine with an imperfect Net Neutrality that can be negotiated and improved over time.

The “anti” position is a dangerous vacuum.

The best “antis” can say is “hey, things might be fine!” which is not exactly a mission statement.

57 clockwork_prior December 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

‘an edge provider network provides a set of distributed .. servers’ – Wait, you are talking about Akamai, a 20 year old company, for example? Really? They exist to reduce the amount of data being piped, as I’m sure people here realize.

They are generally called a CDN – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_delivery_network

‘The edge servers started out as regional, but migrated towards colocation with large ISPs’ – That really does not accurately describe two decade old Akamai’s history – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akamai_Technologies

58 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm

‘The best “antis” can say is “hey, things might be fine!” which is not exactly a mission statement.’

No. The best antis can say is that already have well-established regulatory regimes at the FTC and DOJ to deal with problems as they arise. While not perfect, perfection is unfortunately unattainable is an industry as dynamic as this one. And the addition of new rules that even sensible advocates like yourself admit will require adjustment, and perhaps draconian adjustment, represent a real cost today which can be avoided,

That’s a mission statement.

59 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm

You asked, I answered, and yes Akamai likes the term.

https://developer.akamai.com/learn/Overview/Client_Edge_Servers_Origin.html

But we should focus on the important distinction. Distributed servers do not have to be within ISPs to be effective. They have to be near end users. Next door to the ISP may be fine, assuming they are not blocking packets.

60 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 3:27 pm

“No. The best antis can say is that already have well-established regulatory regimes at the FTC and DOJ to deal with problems as they arise. ”

Unacceptable, because it makes no network guarantees.

It expects to redress problems later, as business practices.

61 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 3:33 pm

If you want to avoid government, bounce it back to the IETF, but recognize the importance of a uniform global computer network.

62 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I’m not sure how we went from “use the FTC and DOJ” to “if you want to avoid government?” I don’t want to avoid government. What I do want is a healthy recognition of the cognitive limitations of governments to set up ex ante rules that don’t do more harm than good. And I’m not sure why preserving all the efficient economic uses of the network doesn’t protect the network itself, but that may be just some failure of my understanding.

63 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

“I’m not sure why preserving all the efficient economic uses of the network doesn’t protect the network itself, but that may be just some failure of my understanding.”

Seriously?

The history of the internet from ARPA through IETF was about open protocols at the low level creating unlimited opportunities at higher levels.

“Anti” responds that unlimited is too hard, and you respond “let them sue.”

That is too weak and too late. Protect the low level protocols that brought us this bounty, and you will continue to have unlimited growth and opportunity.

Respect the architecture that brought all this to you.

64 Jonathan December 3, 2017 at 4:38 pm

I’ll agree to respect the architecture if you agree to respect the fact that the transfer of the construction and expansion of that architecture is now in the hands of for-profit entities and the decision to do that actually led to gigantic proportions of the Internet bounty. And that therefore you have to respect regulatory institutions that respect that underlying for-profit construct, with associated business models, or you’ll still have a bunch of universities and the Defense Department strung together with some rented T1 lines.

65 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I think you are wrong in historical and contractual terms. The backbones were originally taxpayer funded to do “internet” per IETF specification. Everybody connecting to a backbone would get a contract to do the same, right down to the last mile ISPs.

It was *never* a wild west of private companies building whatever they want. Private companies who wanted change joined the IETF and worked within it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_backbone

The risk now is that companies “disagree” with the IETF as some ISPs have done, and we have to redress until an antitrust takes decades to work it’s way through the courts.

But maybe that is what you want, no practical protection for the IETF standards.

66 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 3, 2017 at 5:04 pm

I guess to thumbnail the irony here, some ISPs want to be “Internet Service Providers” without honoring the standards of the Internet Engineering Task Force.

67 clockwork_prior December 4, 2017 at 4:49 am

Here is a bit more information from Akamai – ‘A content distribution network—also known as a content delivery network—is a large, geographically distributed network of specialized servers that accelerate the delivery of web content and rich media to internet-connected devices. The world’s largest content distribution network, owned and operated by Akamai, spans more than 216,000 servers in over 120 countries and within more than 1,500 networks around the world.

The primary technique that a content distribution network (CDN) uses to speed the delivery of web content to end users is edge caching, which entails storing replicas of static text, image, audio, and video content in multiple servers around the “edges” of the internet, so that user requests can be served by a nearby edge server rather than by a far-off origin server. To also accelerate the delivery of dynamically generated web content that’s difficult or impossible to cache, an advanced content distribution network such as Akamai’s uses a range of techniques such as: route optimization, TCP connection optimization, and pre-fetching.’ https://www.akamai.com/us/en/resources/content-distribution-network.jsp

I would have just called them Akamai servers, as the ‘edge’ part is really a matter of perspective – especially when the entire idea surrounding the ‘edge server’ is to reduce the actual amount of data being distributed.

68 Transnational Pants Machine December 3, 2017 at 12:05 pm

You know who I want to hear from when it comes to the complex legal and technical issues that surround net neutrality? Musicians, that’s who!

First, we need to identify a villain.

> a Dick Cheney colleague named Kevin Martin

Excellent. Now, most readers of this site are too young to have heard of Dick Cheney, but I assure you, back in the day this was the lefty media’s way of writing “Satan.” Is it because he supported gay marriage decades before anyone else, while being Republican? Possibly. Does he have anything to do with this topic? No.

But our villain was Cheney’s COLLEAGUE. Do you know what that specifically means, in terms of an actual dictionary and everything? It means that they PROBABLY HAVE MET. So we need to shred this guy!!!

He’s evil anyway, check it out….

>who Congress investigated

Hmm. This is pretty vague. He was head of the FCC, and it’s actually the job of Congress to oversee the FCC. I notice they specifically do not say it was a criminal investigation, or any other kind of investigation. Hmm. You might as well say that customs investigated him for crossing the border. Odd. They also specifically don’t say that Congress found anything bad, so we can be sure they didn’t find anything bad. Well, who cares? All that matters is that they were investigating him for something awful and clearly in violation of specific statutes, right?

> for misconduct

Oh. Crap. Jesus, musician, give me something prison-worthy to work with here….

>and poor leadership

Mother%#^&$%

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69 Troll Me December 3, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Because Iraq was not only a trillion dollar mistake, it resulted from what was very likely intentionally false or misrepresented intelligence to justify the invasion.

And, there was the matter of Cheney’s previous role with Haliburton, which profited greatly from some of the contracts awarded after the main hostilities were over after the 2003 invasion. This led some people to believe that a susipicious attitude was reasonable.

Cheney’s association with that is important in understanding how he became somewhat of a ‘satan’ in some quarters.

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70 Al December 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

#2 — Brilliant way to start the thread, parroting back what every VC will tell you, in response the luminaries will +1 your thread.

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71 MKT42 December 4, 2017 at 2:01 am

But were his claims inaccurate or misleading? If they’re legit, then that’s exactly what he said he was doing: repeating the obvious statements that are obvious only to those who already know them.

If his statements are inaccurate (I’m not enough of an expert to know) then which ones, and in what way?

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72 BenK December 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Grammy winning jazz is a coal mine?

Cambridge MA communism…

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73 ChrisA December 4, 2017 at 12:52 am

Seems to me the situation is simple. If ISPs are a monopoly then they will charge what they want anyway. Is there any legal restriction on an ISP charging say $300/month for basic cable speeds? But they don’t so probably they are not monopolies. If they are not a monopoly then why not let them innovate in the way the charge for their services? If people don’t like it then they can go to another provider.

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74 MKT42 December 4, 2017 at 2:10 am

4: I’m reminded of this article on BBC radio a few days ago, about how Nigerian cuisine features stockfish, dried cod from Sweden. They’re one of the major importers of Swedish stockfish — because Sweden shipped large quantities to Biafra in the wake of the mass starvation caused by the civil war in the late 1960s. As a well-preserved source of protein, it’s been a mainstay of Nigerian cuisine for so long that many Nigerians think of it as Nigerian food instead of Swedish. For awhile it had negative connotations in Nigeria as a food for the impoverished and needy, but it no longer has those.
http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-42149492

Scrabble and stockfish, two things that I would not have expected to be popular in Nigeria.

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75 anon December 4, 2017 at 8:11 am

1. Almost all of the musicians writing about technology could be summarized as: “I’m not getting as much money as I think I should.”

The internet changed the music game forever. Music is not almost a public good and extracting money every time someone as much as hums your songs is now just anti-social rent-seeking. Everyone else except you is better off this way. Just deal with it.

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