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Fast Lanes Saved the Internet (Net Neutrality)
The Wall Street Journal ^ | August 3, 2014 | Gordon Crovitz

Posted on 08/04/2014 4:32:25 AM PDT by abb

If you're confused by the "net neutrality" debate roiling Washington, you're in good company. The editors of Wired magazine realized that even their high-tech readers needed help understanding what passes for political debate on the topic. They published a graphic in June with the heading "What you think the Internet looks like" alongside "What the Internet really looks like." It debunked the key claim of net-neutrality lobbyists that allowing "fast lanes" would undermine the open Internet. The Wired graphic shows that the Internet is already full of fast lanes.

snip

If it weren't for these fast lanes, the Web would have screeched to a halt when photos and video began to supplement text-based traffic. At peak times, Netflix alone accounts for one-third of all Internet traffic. If it weren't using its own network to cache video locally around the world, other traffic on the Web would get hung up or delayed.

"Net neutrality" has become a meaningless plaint of "Unfair!" Activist groups in Washington with benign names like Free Press and Public Knowledge want the Internet reclassified as a public utility, subject to the sort of regulations that micromanaged railroad monopolies in the late 19th century and the phone monopoly in the 20th.

That would spell the end of permissionless innovation on the Internet. Bureaucrats would have authority to dictate how networks operate, which technologies can be used, and what prices can be charged. Regulators would approve or disapprove innovation in business terms as well as in technology. If Netflix wanted to charge ISPs for the right to carry its video, regulators and not the market would decide. Regulators could limit the number of photos individuals can post to Facebook FB +0.53% or order the deletion of Uber apps on mobile phones in cities where taxi regulators oppose the service.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: fcc; internet; netneutrality
Of interest to FR
1 posted on 08/04/2014 4:32:26 AM PDT by abb
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To: 04-Bravo; aimhigh; andyandval; Arizona Carolyn; Bahbah; bert; bilhosty; Caipirabob; carmenbmw; ...

ping


2 posted on 08/04/2014 4:33:34 AM PDT by abb ("News reporting is too important to be left to the journalists." Walter Abbott (1950 -))
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To: abb
”Net neutrality” certainly has all the wrong friends . . .

3 posted on 08/04/2014 4:36:53 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: abb
I don't have to penetrate into the labyrinthine fever-swamps of bureaucratese that no doubt swirl around this debate to know exactly what will be its outcome:

  1. a tax on internet traffic,
  2. control of political speech on the internet,

Each will start off very small, but within five or ten years will become the dominant characteristics of the internet ecosystem.

4 posted on 08/04/2014 4:43:34 AM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

There’s nothing new under the sun.

http://www.amazon.com/Government-Control-Telegraph-Telephone-Systems/dp/1278766464

Government Control Of The Telegraph And Telephone Systems: Hearings On H.j.res. 368 Before The Committee On The Post Office And Post Roads, House Of ... 3d Session, January 23-28, 1919


5 posted on 08/04/2014 4:45:20 AM PDT by abb ("News reporting is too important to be left to the journalists." Walter Abbott (1950 -))
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To: Steely Tom

Another key graf from the article.

“Net-neutrality advocates demanding to have the Internet regulated as a public utility should explain the source of their faith in big government. The rest of us understand the clear lesson of history: Granting bureaucrats control over the Internet would undermine the world’s greatest engine of innovation.”


6 posted on 08/04/2014 4:47:11 AM PDT by abb ("News reporting is too important to be left to the journalists." Walter Abbott (1950 -))
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To: abb

The term “net neutrality” tells me all I want to know about this issue now coming to the fore before the Congress and the federal gubmint.

I’ve become an expert on leftist codespeak.

“Net neutrality” is codespeak if I’ve ever seen or heard it. We can always assume any phrase coined by the left means exactly the opposite of what it says.

Kinda like “planned withdrawal”.....or “affirmative action”.

“Net neutrality” rests upon the fallacy that infrastructure and content companies are naturally at odds; that competition and customer service require political force.

“Net neutrality” is like requiring grocery stores to charge all customers by the grocery cart rather than by the items in the cart. So customers with a cart full of steaks and and those buying a quart of milk and a loaf of bread pay exactly the same price. Ain’t socialism grand?


7 posted on 08/04/2014 5:01:48 AM PDT by TurboZamboni (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.-JFK)
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To: abb

The “sausage” aspect of the Internet is everything beyond the last-mile providers that we all connect to. Sausage is pretty good, but the process of making it happen is ugly. The peering system is working sufficiently well, although there are some problems - just ask Verizon customers about Netflix performance.

Where net neutrality is needed is for the last-mile providers like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. Until their monopoly is broken, which doesn’t look to be happening so far, they have potentially far too much power over our Internet experience. The real crisis for them is customers finding enough video content on the Internet to “cut the cable” and stop paying for cable TV.

In a perfect world, there would be ISP competition here as there is (ironically) in Europe. Then, if you didn’t like the way Verizon is “shaping” your traffic, you could just switch providers. I hope something changes to allow this (airborne wireless might be one way) but it looks like it’ll be quite a while before it happens.

We’re all paying good money to access the Internet, enough so the “last mile” providers make a handsome product. We need some kind of club to make sure they provide equal (neutral) access to the entire Internet. It should be up to us how we use it, not them.


8 posted on 08/04/2014 5:03:26 AM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
"Net neutrality" certainly has all the wrong friends...

Indeed. In Washington "the coin of the realm" is "Access." Outside the Beltway, however, a man's credit is his credibility.

9 posted on 08/04/2014 5:14:04 AM PDT by Prospero (Si Deus trucido mihi, ego etiam fides Deus.)
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To: PreciousLiberty

Sorry, that should have of course been “handsome profit”...more coffee indicated!


10 posted on 08/04/2014 5:22:34 AM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: abb

I remember well the days of government regulated phone service...

Everything farther than 2 blocks away was ‘long distance’, charged by the min.

You were charged extra for extension phones in your home.

Basic service was a ‘party line’, a private phone line was extra.

You had to rent a phone from the service company, owning a phone was illegal.

You had no choice in service providers, just one very expensive company.

There was no ‘911’, if you didn’t have emergency numbers handy you were screwed.

Storms would knock out service for days, even weeks.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the wonderful things about fully regulated phone service.


11 posted on 08/04/2014 5:33:28 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Unions are an Affirmative Action program for Slackers! .)
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To: abb; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...

12 posted on 08/04/2014 5:41:19 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: abb
There is nothing wrong or "unfair" in ISP's partitioning the available bandwidth so that the system runs smoothly, or prioritizing different kinds of traffic for the same reason.
There is plenty wrong in government bureaucrats micromanaging technology.
It's a solution looking to create problems to justify the government solution.
Once you start to enforce "equality" or "access" based on political considerations it's going to be miserable for everyone.

13 posted on 08/04/2014 5:42:10 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: PreciousLiberty
There is already an entire generation that has "cut the cable" and get whatever content they want whenever they want it via their ISP or wireless provider. The cable/satellite business model should be required to make their business case based on the free market - provide what the customers want or go the way of the buggy whip manufacturers.

The other thing rarely mentioned in the net neutrality debate is the role of private property rights. The companies that own the infrastructure should be free to charge whatever the market will bear so long as we permit a free market.

People are also not entitled to multiple times more of a product or service for the same price. If you want more, you have to be willing to pay more.

14 posted on 08/04/2014 7:12:20 AM PDT by molewhacka
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To: molewhacka
The companies that own the infrastructure should be free to charge whatever the market will bear so long as we permit a free market.

Role of property rights? That's hilarious. Wasn't most of that infrastructure built benefit of monopoly deals? What free market?

15 posted on 08/04/2014 8:05:29 AM PDT by Stentor (Maybe the Goldman Sachs thing is just a coincidence. /S)
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To: Stentor
Role of property rights? That's hilarious. Wasn't most of that infrastructure built benefit of monopoly deals? What free market?

Hence the caveat, "so long as we permit a free market." The point is that, in the long run, a truly free market delivers better products and services at better prices than a market with government interference.

'If you don't like it, don't buy it' is far superior to 'if you don't like or aren't even going to use it, you still have to pay for it.'

16 posted on 08/04/2014 9:24:39 AM PDT by molewhacka
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To: Stentor

I always found it funny that AT&T built the infrastructure and after their break-up they were forced to allow others to use what they did not have to lay, the cable so to speak.


17 posted on 08/04/2014 9:39:39 AM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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"Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish?
Nothing else."

~Epictetus




God bless this site, this Free Republic.
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18 posted on 08/04/2014 9:40:15 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: abb
There are a couple of things going on with this 'net neutrality' crap.

First, the internet at the level of the interaction between consumers and ISP is built on the same concept as fractional banking. You may well be paying for 10 mbps downloads, but if you actually have the audacity to actually use that bandwidth on a regular basis, the ISP believes you are 'abusing' your bandwidth. I'm quite sure that the Zeugma household is ranked among these, because my wife pretty much lives on Netflicks, and I do a bit of bittorrent to support the distribution of Linux distributions. The ISPs are still pissed off about losing per-byte charging back in the day. They had to give it up, because some ISPs were offering "unlimited" downloads, and otherwise they couldn't compete. However, because they are basically over-subscribing their customers, they are seeing pressure because people are actually starting to use the bandwidth they are paying for. Used to be, the average person would use a small fraction of that bandwidth. Every year the per-person data usage increases, and thus eats into their cushion, and forces them to add/upgrade hardware to keep up.

They really prefer things the way they were, but there really isn't any going back.

Another issue is that you have a few high-bandwith applications that are consuming a 'disproportionate' amount of bandwidth, like the aforementioned Netflicks. The ISPs would really like to be able to charge more for that, as this would have a two-fold benefit to them. It would depress, to a certain extent, requests for that bandwidth as it costs more, and they'd also be generating additional revenue.

The problem with this, is that Netflicks is already paying for its bandwidth.  Anyone who doesn't think so needs to clue me into the bandwidth fairy that magically provides OC48+ links for free.  If they weren't paying to transmit whatever bandwidth it is that they actually use, I can guarantee you that wouldn't be getting it. The ISPs are essentially wanting to resurrect the good old days of the cellphone carriers, back when they got to charge both sides of the call for the same conversation. That was a sweet deal for both telco and cell carriers.

Yet another issue here is that there are some rather huge ISPs like comcast and ATT that would love to be the ones generating the content  and collecting the eyeball revenue instead of Netflicks and Youtube (Google). The confilct of interest here is plain.

Finally, many of the ISPs also have more or less a monopoly position in many markets. I know that where I live, Verizon would really love to be able to roll out FIOS to our town, but because of monopoly arrangements, they are not able to. This is actually a relic of both the old telco and cable monopolies, so the playing fields as far as the "free market" is far from level in many, if not most instances. That's not to mention the monopoly positions that exist at the big POPs like MAE and MAW

Net neutrality is basically the way the internet was designed, and peering agreements reflect this. It has worked pretty well so far. I say we keep it as it is.

 

 

 

19 posted on 08/04/2014 11:17:06 AM PDT by zeugma (Islam: The Antidote for civilization)
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To: molewhacka
Sadly, the critical portions of that “infrastructure” you describe are under true monopolies. The way to get beyond that might include cities or non-profits buying that “last mile” to allow “truer” competition.

Competition does not thrive when broadband is offered by only a single cable company and a single DSL company. No phone provider has the bandwidth to supply broadband to all for an economical price to compete.

20 posted on 08/04/2014 12:54:38 PM PDT by ConservativeMind ("Humane" = "Don't pen up pets or eat meat, but allow infanticide, abortion, and euthanasia.")
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bkmk


21 posted on 08/05/2014 9:18:35 AM PDT by AllAmericanGirl44
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