Skip to comments.Net Neutrality Hypocrisy
Posted on 10/19/2009 8:28:10 AM PDT by Shout Bits
In the great tradition of Washington's solving vaporous problems, Congress is moving on Net Neutrality legislation, while the FCC is also working on the very same issue with an eye to regulate and eventually strangle free speech on the internet. Net Neutrality, for those who have better things to worry about, is a proposal for the government to regulate internet service providers to force them to give the same priority to all types of data (i.e. an email transmission must be treated the same as a song download). The battle lines are drawn according to self-interest: content providers such as Google support Net Neutrality, while service providers like AT&T oppose being told how to run their networks. Considering the telecom industry's record of self-serving lobbying and inappropriately close ties to its regulators, the fact that AT&T opposes Net Neutrality is no medal of valor.
While the cry to regulate the internet has come from Silicon Valley leftists for years, the movement crystalized in 2007 when Comcast internet customers reported that certain downloads were being slowed or blocked. Comcast denied all allegations, but it was later proven that Comcast was actively blocking certain software commonly used to share very large files. Silicon Valley leftists like Google's Eric Schmidt demanded new regulation. With less fanfare, the FCC later found that Comcast had violated existing rules by not disclosing its filtering program.
Comcast blocked traffic because its bandwidth is shared among its customers. The incremental cost to transmit an extra packet of data is extremely small, but not zero. If a customer were to continuously upload or download huge files, he would reduce the service quality for regular users. Comcast clumsily blocked people who exchange movie files that can be several gigabytes long. Comcast's error was in its method, not its intention to protect average customers from bandwidth hogs. With ever expanding applications for bandwidth, service providers cannot profitably offer unchecked access.
Why would Google advocate for Net Neutrality? Google is much more than a search engine. Google is seeking to dominate all aspects of internet content, including the high bandwidth applications of the future. Google wants a free media through which it can provide its high value content. Any restrictions on internet use, even if based on reasonable operating costs and the desire to provide good service, are a road block to content providers like Google.
For the vast majority of internet users, this is much ado about nothing. Only a tiny fraction of internet users consumes bandwidth like movie sharers. Many service providers cap their customers' monthly data usage at 250GB, about ten times the usage of a typical heavy user, or 100 times that of a casual web browser and email sender. In short, the internet is already fully open without regulation. Google acknowledges that there is no current problem, but still seeks government intervention.
Aside from self-interest, why are giants like Google lobbying for Net Neutrality? Contrary to the spirit of Silicon Valley's legacy of individualism and capitalism, the industry's dominant players are lefties. They reflexively reach for government regulation and support at every turn. Even Microsoft's leaders are lefties, and they were put through the screws by government prosecutors over purely partisan attacks by their competitors. As always, the well connected seek government protection from competition through 'reform' and 'consumer protection.'
Worse still, Net Neutrality is a backdoor to regulating internet content. By establishing the FCC's right to force the carry of certain content, Washington will open the door to regulating the priority of content (in the name of service quality). That is a slippery slope to regulation of all types of content, including videos of ACORN stings and Presidents screwing up their lines without teleprompters. Spkr. Pelosi is pushing her fairness doctrine to regulate the radio, the FTC has regulated blogs that seek to state certain opinions, and now the FCC is on the path to regulate video content on the internet. The Constitution is hanging by a thread from left wing attacks on the very liberties Democrats claim to support.
Just as socialized medicine will force healthy people to subsidize the sick, Net Neutrality will force reasonable internet users to subsidize those who wish to transmit terabytes of data. The end result for both industries will be mediocre service because service providers will be disincented to invest and innovate. Considering the internet works well for nearly every American, and many access channels are actually free, voters should reject yet another heavy handed government program that can only do harm.
Because privileged government-created monopolies are trying to shake them down, and they are quite correctly petitioning the government to protect their property rights.
Dunno how much the government monopolies paid the author to churn out this tripe, but I hope it was a fair price in exchange for the sacrifice of his dignity and reputation.
What, may I ask, is “hyporcacy?” Possibly “hypocrisy”? The dictionary or a thesaurus is our friend.
Nonsense. Most ISPs in Europe and East Asia -- operating under higher taxes and stricter regulation than the US -- do that just fine. Maybe the executives have to get by with just a half-dozen Lexii, but their customers actually get the service they bought and paid for.
Fixed it for you.
I'm paying for internet bits, not bits excluding those which compete with my internet provider's paid services. It shouldn't matter to the cable company's ISP division whether I'm receiving a gigabyte of a television show so I don't have to bother with my cable subscription or getting a gigabyte from Windows for the latest upgrade. The bandwidth costs them the same no matter the source. But they have, and without net neutrality will start doing much more, stomped on competitor's data.
Net neutrality ... same crappy service for all. One of the consequences will be, you will not be able to buy better, faster service, you will use and pay for the same crap for all.
No, you can still have tiered service under net neutrality. The ISP can sell 128kbps & 1GB/month at a different price from 10Mbps & 1 TB/month service. They just can't decide that some packets' sources are either competitive with their paid services so get downgraded/lost or provide a kickback to the ISP to get higher priority.
I consider the lack of net neutrality to be like Microsoft Internet Explorer preventing downloads of a Linux distribution or a copy of Firefox or even looking at Apple websites because they are competitors.
“Hyporcacy”?? Sounds like a serious condition, but I have no idea what it is.
THis was a great article to explain what “net neutrality” really means.
I had mistakenly thought it just meant that service providers had to give other internet information providers equal access to their networks, so Comcast for example couldn’t provide it’s own high-bandwidth movie downloads but block movie downloads from Netflix.
A service provider aught to be allowed to enter into freely agreed-to contracts with their customers. If I want to pay less for my service, and am willing to exchange download bandwidth, I should be able to do so, and if Comcast wants to limit my neighbor to the contractually specified bandwidth so that my downloads aren’t held up, more power to them.
If I don’t like them, I can switch to FIOS, or have a T-1 line run to my house. And if Comcast illegally blocks me when my contract doesn’t allow it, the government can support me by enforcing my contract, not buy increasing regulation and interfering with my right to freely associate with private business in the manner I choose.
The answer to excessive regulation is not MORE regulation, but less.
I see no reason why any ISP would improve their system under net neutrality ... same crappy service, get same money from all customers.
Internet innovation goes out the window ... net neutrality is government run internet, and intentionally rationed.
Internet providers have the right to do with their property (networks, routers, switches etc) what they want. However, full disclosure should be required.
What is the point of Net Neutrality? Seriously, I’ve never heard anyone tell me why. Why bother? Unless, of course, it’s a Trojan horse. Which no doubt it is. But at least the Greeks gave the Trojans a reason to accept the horse. What the heckfire is the rationale for this garbage?
ISPs are talking about charging web sites (more) money in order for their sites to be "fast" to the customer (that's you).
Net Neutrality is pending legislation (I think), or at least the concept, to ensure that ISPs cannot block, or slow down packets from other ISPs, or web sites that have not paid them payola to keep the sites fast.
Net Neutrality will ensure that Comcast will continue to allow dishnetwork.com to be responsive to customers who may be shopping for an alternative to cable TV, for instance.
Fixed it for you.
To prevent politically-favored industries from leveraging their government-granted monopolies in order to impose even greater government-enforced strangleholds on their competitors.
Basically, the situation ISPs would like to create is equivalent to Ford buying a monopoly right-of-way with a few strategically-placed campaign contributions and then imposing higher tolls and lower speed limits on non-Ford vehicles.
You should stick to writing your own opinions, rather than embarrasing yourself by “fixing” other people’s clearly articulated opinions.
That way you wouldn’t look like such a arrogant, self-absorbed jerk. Unless that’s what you are going for, in which case I congratulate you on doing it so well.
If I'm paying a company for 7 Gb/s, 24/7, I reserve the right to use 7 Gb/s, 24/7. If the company cannot handle that, then it needs to rethink its rate structure. It should not penalize or demonize me for *gasp* actually using what I paid for.
You'd think those who support contracts and truthful advertising would understand that simple concept.
The dirty secret is that although the ISPs advertise those high bandwidths, they don't have the infrastructure to actually handle everybody using that bandwidth. In short, they overpromised. Think of the cable company saying, "You can't watch TV right now because we didn't consider that everybody would be watching TV at the same time."
Google wants a free media through which it can provide its high value content.
Wrong. Google already pays dearly for its bandwidth. I could live well for the rest of my life on what they pay for a week's bandwidth. Plus, Google has itself invested millions in telecommunications infrastructure.
As far as the last mile into the home, consumers already pay tens of billions in ISP fees per year. The ISPs are getting paid.
That is a slippery slope to regulation of all types of content, including videos of ACORN stings and Presidents screwing up their lines without teleprompters.
Actually, part of Net Neutrality is to keep the leftist-run companies from censoring this content.
They'd have to improve overall service instead of just blaming those who use what they pay for when things slow down.
There are various aspects to Net Neutrality, mostly interrelated. Instead of going technical, I’ll just list a possible scenario.
Let’s say Sprint doesn’t like you using Skype because Sprint wants to push its own VOIP solution. Sprint degrades Skype connections, but offers to stop doing it if Skype will pay them money. They say Skype is “getting bandwidth for free” but that’s wrong. Skype pays for bandwidth, and each user already pays for bandwidth to his ISP. Sprint just wants to get paid no matter what VOIP solution is used.
In addition, this puts up an artificial barrier to entry in the VOIP market. Skype might be able to afford to pay, but any startup is going to be screwed. In the end, the VOIP that anyone used to be able to set up is now reserved to a few large companies.
Net Neutrality wants all content to be transmitted without regard to origin, just like your old phone company didn’t care about what you said or who you talked to over the phone. Now, some traffic shaping is a good thing in routing this traffic. You want low latency for VOIP, but not high bandwidth. You want high bandwidth for video, but not necessarily low latency. You really don’t care about bandwidth or latency for email. Why push an email through with the same priority low latency as a phone call? It would be a waste of resources. Traffic shaping makes sure all this happens well.
The problem is that the same tools and techniques for traffic shaping can be used for anti-competitive ends, such as giving a higher latency to your competitor’s VOIP offering. Net Neutrality wants to disallow that.
Now that you’ve digested all that, translate the concept to other services. Microsoft has to pay for 360 gamers to get good latency for online play, Netflix has to pay for its movies to get through, Apple has to pay for iTunes to work well, Free Republic has to pay for us to be reading this.
So all of these services will get more expensive for us, and all the money ends up in the pockets of the ISPs — in addition to the money we already pay them for our Internet connections.
Speaking of that, this whole issue of some people using too much bandwidth is a red herring. It is only a problem with the pricing structure the ISPs use. Thinking rationally, if someone’s using more of your resources, then charge them more. But they want to offer this massive 24/7 bandwidth at a fixed rate across the board without regard to amount transferred, and then complain when some people actually use it. The simple solution is to change the rate structure rather than complaining.
Please forgive an ignorant question, but is there any realistic way to just untangle the government from this entire mess? It seems like that would be a better solution as opposed to piling one instance of government interference on top of another.
It’s okay. I was just teasing. But it seems the Mods have fixed it now.
At a minimum, it would require abolishing all incumbent monopoly cable/phone line franchises. Even then, the enormous intertia created by decades of government-granted monopolies would probably take decades to untangle.
Realistic? No. First you'd have to remove the government monopolies for telcos and ISPs that give them so much leverage over their customers.