Views on current issues with "Net Neutrality"?

Currently media has been on fire with the Title II proposition and the arguments for and against it. I understand why people can see it as a necessary bill to fix the issues with current ISP abuse, but I feel like it does more harm than it does improvements. It's funny to think that people are still willing to allow the government in MORE aspects of their life. Bringing the FCC in to regulate will only make another form of power grabbing over the internet. Personally, I think the issue with ISP abuse is in the fact that there is a clear oligopoly in the market. Instead of the government fixing the anti-competitiveness of the market they decided it to join in and use it as a funnel to probably steal more private information? Comcast and Time Warner have come at and CLEARLY stated that they "do not compete" and "have clear zones" where they separate their businesses to avoid competition. What do you think? Do you believe this is an issue with a lack of government regulation, or a lack of punishment in business practices?

I think "net neutrality" sucks ass and isn't the right answer for our problem, but the public is too misinformed to realize that. What do you think? 

I Swear this is NOT a flame or insult. Just one subject that in my humble opinion the tek continues to talk about. Its almost to the point I won't watch the video's anymore because it seems they just continue to go on and on about the subject. 

Its no secret that cable companies continue to put it to the subscriber. Until they have some competition, that will continue. In the end, Not much or anything will change.  

Has there ever been a time the Government got involved with something, and it turned out Well??? I mean goodness, When Katrina hit, it took our government WAY to long to get water to the super dome. Yea, Government involvement with our internet access, I don't see that turning out well.    

Well I like to listen as they describe the latest crazy ways the US Telcos are trying to destroy the internet and screw over as many people as they can. I am waiting for them to make their new plans available, where you pay a certain amount of money so that features like netflix can be even faster! :p

Just glad I am not in america, things are really getting bad there, like everything.

Every time there is a new form of transportation this stuff happens. This is because transportation allows us to become specialized as individuals, such as computer programmers, farmers, etc. Everyone is dependent on transportation to survive. Transportation companies know that they hold our lives in their hands, and they know they can charge heavily for it. The railroad companies did the same thing in the "Trust Busting" era. Those laws from way back then should still apply, but it always takes a while to apply them to a new medium (railroads->phone->cable->internet->entangled particles).

The reason it takes a while to apply and use these laws is because most people are reactive instead of proactive. Now that we have people voicing their opinions, we are on our way to progress and change. 

There are also reasons why it has taken longer to get support. Lobbyists work best when they are making technical deals that the public doesn't understand. Since the public does not understand it, the media will not cover it. I know that a lot of people just do not understand the internet, some people do not even know what a "packet" is. This knowledge barrier makes it hard to get the word out about net neutrality. I believe we are now winning the fight against these trusts because discussion on backroom technical forums has been consolidated to "Comcast is making the internet slow because they are too large".

Even though I like people being well informed, sometimes it is hard to tell them every detail.


Also I do not think that "America is going downhill" cause if we are going downhill, we're taking you with us ;)

Its simple really, its the golden rule. The people with the most gold make all the rules.

My entry on the entire subject of Net Neutrality

Seems to me that we are divided, and that's just poo. 

I hear a fair amount of people saying that government should step in and do something about the unfair business practices of our major ISPs.

I hear another group saying that big ($) government is the problem in the first place, and that supporting legislation is akin to supporting political deviance. 

Can we find a common ground...I mean, I just want a free fucking internet (liberated, not without cost), and everybody can go pick sides again after we've managed that. 

I know there are some learned, some skilled, and even some intelligent folks in this community....what is our rally point?  What is the next step toward de-funking this mess?  Because I'm either too stupid, too ignorant, or too lost in a two-sided (read: American) argument full of finger-pointing and shit-throwing to figure it out for myself.

That is right, big government came in and provided funding and legal monopolies on the rights to provide services within areas to well established telecommunication companies, who then received decades of tax breaks. Now these companies are very heavily entrenched, and undoubtably there are many areas where big government has mandated cabling underground aswell, which is effectively a ban on entry into the market because it is so expensive, and because in some cases the entrenchment of cables is subsidized by big government.

So essentially big government has eliminated competition, and it has eliminated much of the potential for new market entrants. What needs to happened is that big government needs to step in and reverse the effects of their market intervention and reset the clock, they need to seize the large US Telcos, split them up into dozens of smaller Telcos ans sell them, annul the local municipality monopolies, and bulldoze all regulatory impedment, except for the ULL provisions in title 2.

The only reason that these big companies can get away with providing the level of service they offer, and the only reason why internet is so good in say japan for example is competition. That is all, you can not get away with 50year old infrastructure when everyone is competing for a share of the market pie. Without that, there is no financial incentive to improve infrastructure, no competition to ensure efficiency.

I'm a bit late to the party but I wanted to sort of do a different tack on this. The bottom line is that all this was talked about, by smart people, in the years leading up to the 1996 telecommunications act. People far smarter than us hashed all this out and every argument here was repeated there.

"The Plan" -- the core of "The Plan" -- then was to decouple infrastructure from services. At the time, the oligopoly of telcos and media companies still thought their cloud was enough to maintain their strategic advantage (or anti-competitive advantage) and one of the big concessions offered by the government, beyond just public funding for private infrastructure, was access to more wireless bandwidth.

They even talked about how we should have wireless phones that could do many many different frequencies and how awesome it would be if we decoupled the wireless infrastructure from wireless providers.

From a strictly utilitarian point of view, it DOES make sense that municipalities only build one set of wired infrastructure.

It might be fun to have cities that ran fiber and see how the different companies doing different services over the same fiber could get along.


Instead of 'inventing' new things.. My view is that we ought to move backwards along the timeline since this path is broken. Backtrack in other words. Make no mistake -- Title II's provisions are onerous. But that's the great thing and the point everyone is missing. The FCC can say 'hey, we're not going to hold everyone to X' And that's legal. What's not legal is for the FCC to say 'hey, follow rule X we just made up' -- that's why Comcast/Verizon sued. And won. The FCC has no power to make laws.. only to enforce them. Title II is a super minor blip 'backwards' on this timeline that might, maybe, make these companies say 'oh crap, we'd better do as they ask or they're going to turn the screws'


If someone looked at this with a 10 or 20 year perspective, one would find the level of manipulation and subterfuge from these entities goes well beyond any antitrust or anticompetitive behavior. That's the problem -- this debate is not reasonable. 

the move from title II to title I about 10-15 years ago was 30 minutes of paperwork. Ostensibly, the move back is 30 minutes of paperwork, too. Once that's done it's what the FCC elects to enforce that determines the level of screw-turning that happens on these companies. Right now, essentially, they're squealing like a stuck pig over what is essentially not even a direct threat -- it's merely the threat of threats that actually carry some weight. 

Consider that tomorrow the entire cable industry could die. Overnight HBO and every other content creator switches to a direct-to-consumer model. That cuts out cable companies as middlemen and that, truly, is the reason these companies are so terrified and are acting in such bad faith.

When you look at it from this perspective and you realize that distribution of things like "Jersey Shore" has resulted in so much profit for these companies that they are terrified of losing that revenue stream, you will weep for society. 


Keep in mind that the 1996 Telecommunications act was an act of de-regulation (limiting government involvement in the market) and it's what caused the situation we are in now with these ISP oligopolies. I don't think continuing that policy would be a terribly good idea and is akin to putting our hands together and praying for more competition in a market that is an economy-of-scale and with significant barriers to entry. Common carrier status is where it's at with these telecommunications companies or at least a start.

"Has there ever been a time the Government got involved with something, and it turned out Well???"

mandatory public education. This is actually government involvement in how people raise their children btw. If you really don't want a government, then you're either an anarchist, someone who doesn't want any government, or a libertarian, someone okay with a voluntary government. I happen to like public education and what it has done for society overall. Are you against socialist education?

I am not sure you understand, it seems that you are saying that because a piece of regulation exists, that the problem is we don't have enough regulation. And all the troubles exist because of that one piece of regulation.

That is simply not true, the problem is under the current regulation competition is pretty much illegal. Why would a ccompany sink more shareholder profits in new infrastructure when the existing infrastructure is just as good at extracting revenue from the public.

The USA need to make competition legal again and undo the consolidation that there government backed monopolies created.

That's the distinction between the intent and result. The result of the '96 communications act is what we see but how it was enforced and how it was enacted are two different things. Part of the intent was to decouple infrastructure and services. That didn't happen. It started to, and the big companies found that small 'mom and pop' ISPs could absolutely destroy them on services offered, packages provided and servicing the general needs of the customer. I believe Qwest (?) or one of those actually sued, and then pulled every trick in the book to keep the court case tied up for years. The whole reason worldcom went under was because of this kind of shenanigans. They made big investments to go from a 'carrier' to 'direct to consumer' but ended up being trapped in molasses. 

Imho the least bad thing to do now is reclassify as title two and then the threats of punishment for misbehavior will carry some weight.


It is times like these that I start wishing we could wind up with another Teddy Roosevelt. Too bad that the stuff he did wouldn't really fly anymore. Here's hoping we get an Oligarchy Busting president or something sometime soon.

I don't think we are understanding each other at all Jacobite. I don't get how you got that from what I wrote.

Competition is legal right now, but it's a market where there are too many barriers to entry for it to realistically offer more than 2-3 providers even if the '96 was carried out as intended. A new isp servicing a block or two is difficult, but it's a non-issue for the big ones or already established ones. This is a market that lends itself well to a one or a few providers for each home, as opposed to infinite number of players and unlimited consumer choice that capitalism requires for effective markets, so compare wanting dramatically more competition will ultimately be futile. I'd rather regulate it by making them hold title II status since the de-coupling of infrastructure from services experiment didn't work out when their requirements to adhere to government standards (listen to the FCC) were relaxed.

If competition is illegal then Google fiber can't exist, and yet it does. It is not the case that "under the current regulation competition is pretty much illegal", instead the issue is something else. Hint: Read what wendell wrote.

Well I agree with everything past "Part of the intent..."  The part before, I don't understand. Would you mind explaining that more?

The '96 act was an act that had, in part, the intent of allowing infrastructure to decouple from services, as you say, and that was done through deregulation. 

When I say deregulate, I mean limit government involvement, not necessarily eliminate. And when I say "done through deregulation" I mean that the FCC would be less picky about telecoms following strict rules (T II) and instead have them follow other rules that are not as strict (T I). In general, I see government involvement as spectrum, not binary, with different markets having different ideal amounts.


My understanding of this ULL was to force private companies to provide both wholesale and retail services, to offer use of their network at a wholesale level on the same terms and at the same price that they would offer it to a retail division which would comprise the ISP as opposed to the Telco.

This allows for competition in at least part of the supply chain, even in areas where there may be a physical infrastructure monopoly. This is a good regulatory framework which promotes competition and innovation rather than protecting monopolies from competition. But instead it ended up the other way, tons of local government backed monopolies (because of local regulation), entrenched by large federal tax-breaks, without ULL.

What needs to happen is to go back in time, to set back the clock so to say, and undo the consolidation and entrenchment that resulted from all this bad regulation, and the bad regulation itself, therebye bringing back competition under a newer less intrusive regulatory framework that promotes competition rather than making it illegal and giving financial assistance to established companies.

And FYI wouldn't call T1 or T2 deregulation. US teclo industry is hardly deregulated, infact it is probably one of the most regulated in the world. Its proposetrous in this day and age that government makes competition illegal. This isn't fuedal Europe..

You know at B-school one of the required texts was Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage. It's basically a blue print for how to analyse an industry and then put a strategy in place to AVOID competition and exploit any structural factors to do so. It's worth reading by anyone to understand the corporate rationale.

Thats what a 20 something year old noob business student learns in his second year. So, you can imagine how a 35 year veteran of the cable industry would think and what they would be able to do.

If you had no regulations, then whomever owns the infrastructure (or wireless spectrum) could engage in rent seeking behaviour, i.e. the economist word for super normal profits under monopoly or oligopoly, something akin to extortion (they can force you to pay whatever they want as you have no alternative to what they own).

Competition, Adam Smith's invisible hand, none of that factors in because any connection is owned by effectively a local monopolist, or by several firms acting in concert*.

So regulation is necessary to introduce competition and some semblance of pricing that is normal, i.e. to reduce rent seeking behaviour. Any economist will tell you that. That's why there are such things as anti-trust laws and such.

The question then is how does the state regulate in the interest of the citizen as opposed to the corporation. This is a political question, one of governance and social values. So reclassifying these companies under title II is a step in the right direction. Maybe anti-trust and de-consolidating them will be further step.


* This doesn't have to be outright collusion or a cartel, game theory teaches us that it can arise from players who experience the same scenario repeatedly. Remember that movie A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe. Remember the bar scene with the blonde and brunettes. Yeah, that kind of theory.

That is not the case, without exclusive legal monopolies being granted to these companies one can not charge excessive prices because new firms will enter into the market if profits become excessive (or supernormal), because investors seeking to maximize the return on their private capital will spot opportunities to earn above market rates of return for their capital, and business owners will want to reduce this expense. The idea that you can only support one connection to each house is absurd, in Japan there are many different telecom companies for instance.

Below is an example of a Japanese utility pole:

This idea of government regulation that you have, that some people seem to defer to, its silly because the same argument could be made for everything. That it would be better if government made these cars, or that toothbrush, or this or that or at least told them how to do it. Its simply not true, its not better for society to have any private monopoly, even a government owned one provide a service over a competitive free-market. To have zero choice, infact to have no money left over to choose anyway because the government already took it by force and coercion.

Its all about competition, think about it, if Nvidia or AMD stopped releasing better products, why would the other company invest in new architectures, or increase transistor counts? The only incentive is that they have to compete with their second hand products to sell new ones. You don't even have that issue though in a service sector though do you?