And Now For Something Completely Different... Net Neutrality!

JayMysterio

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In between all the denials, name calling, & deflections going on lately here in PRSI, you may have heard about the fight over net neutrality. If you aren't aware of the net neutrality situation here's a quick refresher over what the fighting is about...


The lack of competition in the broadband access market is so acute that it doesn’t matter if Comcast is still the most-hated company in America, or that Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) has the worst customer service: you don’t have a choice, so you just have to pay them anyway. Consumers and tech publications can review and argue and debate the merits of products from Apple, Google, and Microsoft, but you just have to take what you get from your ISP.
In fact, the lack of broadband competition means that Americans pay more for slower internet access than in most other developed nations. We are not in the top 10 when it comes to average speeds. We are not in the top 10 when it comes to lowest prices. You can argue that the geography of the United States is such that covering the entire country with fiber is difficult, or that Europeans actually pay more because of VAT. At the end of the day, however, the question is simple: why don’t people in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago have more options for faster, cheaper internet than Seoul or London?
By reversing net neutrality and giving internet providers the ability to sell fast lanes, Pai will allow those providers to make more money from their existing networks — money he’s presumably hoping they will then spend on infrastructure investment. It makes a certain kind of sense, but absent any real competition, it’s hard to see why these companies or their shareholders will want to do anything except collect profits.

Call it trickle-down broadband: Pai’s arguing that making rich ISPs richer will somehow benefit everyone. Of course, just like trickle-down economics, the mechanism by which this will actually happen is completely unclear. And until Pai can articulate a specific set of causes and effects that will make his ideas work the way he says they will, the burden lies on him to prove it out.
Because while it’s useful for the ISPs to frame all those companies as “the internet,” it’s obviously not correct. Americans value — even love — the content and services they get on the internet, and do not want them meddled with. They do not, however, love their internet service providers. The conflation of internet access with the internet is dangerous and misleading, and it is a fundamental feature of the ISP lobbying platform.

This is a point that tech reviewers make repeatedly. I made it in 2014. My colleague Walt Mossberg has been making it since 2007, when he referred to wireless carriers as “Soviet Ministries.” In 2009 David Pogue caught Verizon inflating bills by silently charging users a tiny fee if they pressed the wrong button on their phones. Real tech companies are often aggressive to the point of self-destruction but few of them would venture that far.

Why? Because if Apple pulled that stunt, people could switch to Google or Microsoft. If Amazon starts cheating you, you can buy stuff from Walmart. If you hate Uber, you can take a Lyft. And on and on. The idea of tech companies getting too big to feel competitive pressure is an obvious problem to those of us who routinely cover the industry. Mossberg warned against growing oligopoly in his final column, while The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo is writing a book called The Frightful Five that considers the growing influence of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/12/15715030/what-is-net-neutrality-fcc-ajit-pai-bill-rules-repealed

I've highlighted a few points if you can't check out the vid or if long detailed articles aren't your thing.

If you're a consumer of Twitch you've noticed by now they've joined in on a day of action to help with sharing your voice about any concerns with repealing net neutrality. If you're not a Twitch viewer here's the link to making your voice heard, and avoid Twitch.

https://netneutrality.internetassociation.org/action/

Just something I think people should be aware of, in between arguing over emails, legal definitions of collusion, bakery cakes, opinions on someone else's sex life, and whatever else. After all your ability to argue over these things here maybe impacted in the future.
 

chagla

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Mar 21, 2008
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this is some serious stuff. what a douche ajit pai is. isn't FCC supposed to protect ordinary citizens rights?
 

chagla

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That's communist. Freedom requires allowing Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to squeeze out competition by prioritize their own services or the services of whoever is paying them the most.
sounds like it it will create more jobs than you can count. no?
 
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LizKat

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Unfortunately priorities change along with administrations.
Only because we have tolerated that state of affairs, eh? The government does always still belong to all of us no matter which party is in power. But, we let K street run it for us and both parties long since cater to someone besides ordinary citizens. The GOP is more blatant about it...

I keep getting "deal" offers from Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable). I resist. I am not going to shift up in terms of rated speed (which would be nice as I have DSL now) and then find that the price for it keeps going up and up and the speed declines over time due to their failure to expand infrastructure appropriately in these rural areas.

It was the same back in the day of party lines with POTS, you could't get a private telco line until 8 more people wanted one, etc. Even if they had strung the feeder line for it.

Right now if the power goes out, which is fairly common in the boondocks, I almost always still have functional landline phone service. Would not be the case if I went to cable. I don't care about the TV piece either, and the deal-priced bundles usually include that.

So I keep saying no, no, no. It can only get worse if net neutrality goes, though, at least with DSL. Ironically if net neutrality croaks then I might have to switch to Spectrum to get any speed at all on content provision that's not the provider's idea of what to consume. DSL on the less favored stuff would crawl or time out.
 

blackfox

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Odd that this thread has so few posts. Net neutrality seems like a no-brainer. ISPs already have a near-or-total monopoly. A "free" Internet generates tonnes of income, and is almost perceived as a "right" by most these days. Classic story of short-term gains, long-term headache...whatever happens, it is not final.
 

DearthnVader

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Why don't we make the left lane on all major highways the "Fast Lane™" and allow motorist that can afford a special plate to go unto 25 MPH over the posted speed limit. There are all sorts of applications for unequal justice, or "Better Justice™" for those that can afford it.

No really, I took my youngest son to Carowinds amusement park near Charlotte the other day, m"ainly because my credit union had good prices on tickets. When I get there, I haven't been there in 15 years, they charge me $20 to park, but for $30 I can get "V.I.P." parking.

So we get in, and it's really hot, the first thing we want to do is ride a water ride to cool off. There we are standing in line for 45 min. and I look over and people are going right up and getting on the ride, with no waiting, extending our wait time, because Carowinds sells a "Fast Pass™" that allows those that can afford the privilege of paying for it to use a separate line, and cut in front of everyone that only paid the regular price of admission.

https://www.carowinds.com/tickets-passes/fast-lane
 

tgara

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Jul 17, 2012
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Why don't we make the left lane on all major highways the "Fast Lane™" and allow motorist that can afford a special plate to go unto 25 MPH over the posted speed limit. There are all sorts of applications for unequal justice, or "Better Justice™" for those that can afford it.

No really, I took my youngest son to Carowinds amusement park near Charlotte the other day, m"ainly because my credit union had good prices on tickets. When I get there, I haven't been there in 15 years, they charge me $20 to park, but for $30 I can get "V.I.P." parking.

So we get in, and it's really hot, the first thing we want to do is ride a water ride to cool off. There we are standing in line for 45 min. and I look over and people are going right up and getting on the ride, with no waiting, extending our wait time, because Carowinds sells a "Fast Pass™" that allows those that can afford the privilege of paying for it to use a separate line, and cut in front of everyone that only paid the regular price of admission.

https://www.carowinds.com/tickets-passes/fast-lane
To be honest, there is nothing wrong with this. You have the choice to purchase the pass, or not, but you have the choice instead of the government imposing a one size fits all regime for everyone.

In order to bolster its service, FedEx lets its customers decide whether they want same-day, one-day, or two-day delivery, and then charges them in accordance with their preferences, with rate differentials that it sets for itself. The upshot is a wide array of services in a competitive market that is only possible when government does not stand between the conception and execution of a planned program, as would happen with "Net Neutrality" where everyone gets the same government imposed speeds and caps. If you're an individual, as many elderly and retirees are for example, with simple internet needs (i.e., no need for streaming, only doing email, browsing the web, etc.), having a lower cost option with a lower data cap would be desirable, rather than paying for more service than you need. On the other hand, if you are a business where rapid speeds and high throughput are crucial (e.g., a stock trading company like AmeriTrade or Fidelity for example), having those fast speeds could mean the difference in buying a stock at $10 and buying it at $12, so paying for the higher speed is worth it. The choice lets the customer pick the service that best fits their needs.

Product and price differentiation improve consumer welfare through competition. The nerds in tech all bloviate over net neutrality, without really understanding what it is and how it works from an economic or consumer welfare standpoint. The biggest irony is that they want government out of the internet business, but with net neutrality, the exact opposite will happen.
 
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Rhonindk

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Net Neutrality ....
Did my post, sent letter, etc....
Couple of things do bother me though...

@LizKat - DSL (AT&T) for me is 3-5 :eek: Went Spectrum and average around 150 for the same price. Work a lot from home, stream, and a gamer kid ... Never could get a decent answer from AT&T on why DSL was so poor.

@tgara - you did a nice job of pointing that out. My other side concern is using this to push folks into a higher tier. That has always been the method. FedEx, UPS, and USPS offer me options but don't push me to take the next price point. They actually help me decide based on my needs. Had Verizon, then AT&T then TWC and they all kept pushing or stuffing. So far Spectrum no contract pricing has been good.

Personally I think a bit of competition is good. It is the local "monopoly" that stifles this and neither the FCC nor Net Neutrality can address that problem.
 

LordVic

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Sep 7, 2011
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We often talk about net neutrality and try and apply what we see as consumers, but Net neutrality is bigger than just what we see.

a Lack of net neutrality creates an un-even playing field for businesses to compete in, because it gives preferences to established large businesses.

Unfortunately, our TelCo's are oligopolies, and do not exist in a rational free market. Because of this, those Oligopolies can effectively force out new competition.

For example in Canada, there are really only 3 internet providers that own 95% of all of the copper. without net neutrality, they would have the power to charge ridiculous rates to 3rd party resellers and force them out of business. Or provide additional "fast lanes" or "services" for free to their users while still charging the resellers for the same data they provide for free to users.

this utlimately ends up giving dominant control of all infrastructure to a few companies, and actively blocks competition in the space (and competition is what helps keep prices reasonable)

it's incredibly nuanced. All i'm glad is that the CRTC up here recently upheld and made Net Neutrality the law, putting all ISP's on the same playing field, regardless of size or infrastructure.
 

LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
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Net Neutrality ....
Did my post, sent letter, etc....
Couple of things do bother me though...

@LizKat - DSL (AT&T) for me is 3-5 :eek: Went Spectrum and average around 150 for the same price. Work a lot from home, stream, and a gamer kid ... Never could get a decent answer from AT&T on why DSL was so poor.

@tgara - you did a nice job of pointing that out. My other side concern is using this to push folks into a higher tier. That has always been the method. FedEx, UPS, and USPS offer me options but don't push me to take the next price point. They actually help me decide based on my needs. Had Verizon, then AT&T then TWC and they all kept pushing or stuffing. So far Spectrum no contract pricing has been good.

Personally I think a bit of competition is good. It is the local "monopoly" that stifles this and neither the FCC nor Net Neutrality can address that problem.
In the USA the problem is our great expanse of rural areas dotted with large cities to which people commute for work and expect but don't get great service in their residential areas. The competition to serve the rural areas is practically nonexistent.

It's a lucky bunch of sticks dwellers to have one DSL and one cable provider in an area. Here it's Frontier or Spectrum. Both generate complaints about slow response to overload in particular neighborhoods over time. Since that's true, there's less churn (but more entreaties to switch from the two marketers, duh).

There is an independent telco in the vicinity but its DSL doesn't reach out past the township around its mostly village-living customers. The DSL offered by two former resellers and an actual competitor in the past around here are long gone since the late 90s.

If the USA expects to end up in the top 10 for speed or coverage then it probably has to treat internet service like an electric utility, to which there is great resistance. It's too bad, since lack of high speed internet deprives rural kids of access they need to compete with their own fellow citizens from urban areas. Or it makes their parents jump through hoops driving them to libraries or back to schools to do their homework in evening hours. Yet it's the rural kids who often have some of the attributes future employers are looking for: well developed spatial handling skills, disciplined work ethic etc.

I don't know what all the answers are, or even what all the questions might be in trying to resolve unequal access. This country often overlooks some advantages in moving light industry including tech design and assembly to the boondocks, on the unproven assumption that if you build it, no one will come because it's not near 24/7 entertainment and ethnic foods. D'oh, maybe the foods and fun would follow the jobs.... But, it's definitely not just about caving in to more deregulation and letting private companies decide how to allocate access to content of the internet.
 
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Rhonindk

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We often talk about net neutrality and try and apply what we see as consumers, but Net neutrality is bigger than just what we see.

a Lack of net neutrality creates an un-even playing field for businesses to compete in, because it gives preferences to established large businesses.

Unfortunately, our TelCo's are oligopolies, and do not exist in a rational free market. Because of this, those Oligopolies can effectively force out new competition.

For example in Canada, there are really only 3 internet providers that own 95% of all of the copper. without net neutrality, they would have the power to charge ridiculous rates to 3rd party resellers and force them out of business. Or provide additional "fast lanes" or "services" for free to their users while still charging the resellers for the same data they provide for free to users.

this utlimately ends up giving dominant control of all infrastructure to a few companies, and actively blocks competition in the space (and competition is what helps keep prices reasonable)

it's incredibly nuanced. All i'm glad is that the CRTC up here recently upheld and made Net Neutrality the law, putting all ISP's on the same playing field, regardless of size or infrastructure.
Unfortunately down here in the USA we still have that issue. "We own the poles and you can't string new wire...." or you get blocked by local zoning which is backed by the current entrenched service. If you do get through prepare for lawsuits to impede your progress. Google and local city owned startups are good examples.

Even with Net Neutrality where I live I have AT&T DSL, Spectrum Cable, or Hughes satellite. Irrespective of NN that won't be changing anytime in the next decade or more. Too many roadblocks.
 

DearthnVader

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Dec 17, 2015
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To be honest, there is nothing wrong with this. You have the choice to purchase the pass, or not, but you have the choice instead of the government imposing a one size fits all regime for everyone.

In order to bolster its service, FedEx lets its customers decide whether they want same-day, one-day, or two-day delivery, and then charges them in accordance with their preferences, with rate differentials that it sets for itself. The upshot is a wide array of services in a competitive market that is only possible when government does not stand between the conception and execution of a planned program, as would happen with "Net Neutrality" where everyone gets the same government imposed speeds and caps. If you're an individual, as many elderly and retirees are for example, with simple internet needs (i.e., no need for streaming, only doing email, browsing the web, etc.), having a lower cost option with a lower data cap would be desirable, rather than paying for more service than you need. On the other hand, if you are a business where rapid speeds and high throughput are crucial (e.g., a stock trading company like AmeriTrade or Fidelity for example), having those fast speeds could mean the difference in buying a stock at $10 and buying it at $12, so paying for the higher speed is worth it. The choice lets the customer pick the service that best fits their needs.

Product and price differentiation improve consumer welfare through competition. The nerds in tech all bloviate over net neutrality, without really understanding what it is and how it works from an economic or consumer welfare standpoint. The biggest irony is that they want government out of the internet business, but with net neutrality, the exact opposite will happen.
Nice try, but Fed-ex doesn't slow down my 3 day package to deliver a next day package. It's ok, they don't need to make a law against Carowinds trying to squeeze more profit out of everyone, but I won't be spending $250 there again, until they realize this is a stupid practice.
 

Tech198

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Why is lack of competition relevant to slow speeds? I thought is was just about how much bandwidth an ISP buys. You can have not much competition and have an ISP as fast as ever.
 
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Rhonindk

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Why is lack of competition relevant to slow speeds? I thought is was just about how much bandwidth an ISP buys. You can have not much competition and have an ISP as fast as ever.
Cost savings over time.
Depends on what you want to spend in infrastructure support, upgrades, and expansion. Why go top of the line or cutting edge if you have no competitors? Put in just what is needed and minimal support.
 
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tgara

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Nice try, but Fed-ex doesn't slow down my 3 day package to deliver a next day package. It's ok, they don't need to make a law against Carowinds trying to squeeze more profit out of everyone, but I won't be spending $250 there again, until they realize this is a stupid practice.
They don't have to because it will get there in 3 days regardless. But you're missing the point. You paid for a 3 day package at a discounted rate, and that's what you'll get. If you paid extra for a next day package service, you'll get that. The argument is to let the ISPs provide tiers at varying price points so the customer has a choice and can fit the service that meets their needs. This lets them serve a wider array of customers and still make a profit.

No offense, but your problem with Carowinds is that you are not willing to pay the premium for faster access to rides, VIP parking, etc. but feel you are entitled to them with your standard pass. You essentially want all those premium things for free. Well, that's not how it works. Hey, I want a air conditioned skybox at Yankee stadium with a private bar and a waitress in a skimpy blouse. I can have that but it's going to cost. If I'm not willing to pay, I get bleacher seats outside, a bag of peanuts, and a cold beer in a cup from a fat dude walking with a beer tray in the aisle. Dream on.
 
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Tech198

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Cost savings over time.
Depends on what you want to spend in infrastructure support, upgrades, and expansion. Why go top of the line or cutting edge if you have no competitors? Put in just what is needed and minimal support.
I always figured even in the lack of competition, you would still want please your customers. After all customer complains will be no different,,, In fact, with less competition, more will be complain at slow speeds. vs more ISP's to just "go to" and not bother.. It would still come down to value you give customers in the end...
 

eatrains

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Is there any sense of how much impact the day of action had? Hopefully we can save net neutrality from conservative Republicans.
 

Rhonindk

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They don't have to because it will get there in 3 days regardless. But you're missing the point. You paid for a 3 day package at a discounted rate, and that's what you'll get. If you paid extra for a next day package service, you'll get that. The argument is to let the ISPs provide tiers at varying price points so the customer has a choice and can fit the service that meets their needs. This lets them serve a wider array of customers and still make a profit.

No offense, but your problem with Carowinds is that you are not willing to pay the premium for faster access to rides, VIP parking, etc. but feel you are entitled to them with your standard pass. You essentially want all those premium things for free. Well, that's not how it works. Hey, I want a air conditioned skybox at Yankee stadium with a private bar and a waitress in a skimpy blouse. I can have that but it's going to cost. If I'm not willing to pay, I get bleacher seats outside, a bag of peanuts, and a cold beer in a cup from a fat dude walking with a beer tray in the aisle. Dream on.
There are times when a cold cup and a Dodger Dog are mighty tasty! Yum!
[doublepost=1499990187][/doublepost]
I always figured even in the lack of competition, you would still want please your customers. After all customer complains will be no different,,, In fact, with less competition, more will be complain at slow speeds. vs more ISP's to just "go to" and not bother.. It would still come down to value you give customers in the end...
That's true if you have any competition.
I need 50mbps or higher. I want 100 mbps or higher.
My only choice is Spectrum or move somewhere else that has another option.
Customer Service doesn't really enter into this once you are a customer.
 

DearthnVader

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Dec 17, 2015
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They don't have to because it will get there in 3 days regardless. But you're missing the point. You paid for a 3 day package at a discounted rate, and that's what you'll get. If you paid extra for a next day package service, you'll get that. The argument is to let the ISPs provide tiers at varying price points so the customer has a choice and can fit the service that meets their needs. This lets them serve a wider array of customers and still make a profit.

No offense, but your problem with Carowinds is that you are not willing to pay the premium for faster access to rides, VIP parking, etc. but feel you are entitled to them with your standard pass. You essentially want all those premium things for free. Well, that's not how it works. Hey, I want a air conditioned skybox at Yankee stadium with a private bar and a waitress in a skimpy blouse. I can have that but it's going to cost. If I'm not willing to pay, I get bleacher seats outside, a bag of peanuts, and a cold beer in a cup from a fat dude walking with a beer tray in the aisle. Dream on.
Now you're putting words in my mouth, I bought a ticket, thinking it provided me access to the park, the same access everyone else got, only to find, after I paid, that it was a second class ticket.

Sure, lots of other companies use the tiered pricing. Now I know, and I will never be giving Carowinds my money again for unequal access. Wait times in line can add up, less rides I get to enjoy, in the given day I paid for access. It's not like a jetliner, where first class enjoys more leg room, they don't drop coach off 100 miles out over the ocean.
 

tgara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
993
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Connecticut, USA
Now you're putting words in my mouth, I bought a ticket, thinking it provided me access to the park, the same access everyone else got, only to find, after I paid, that it was a second class ticket.

Sure, lots of other companies use the tiered pricing. Now I know, and I will never be giving Carowinds my money again for unequal access. Wait times in line can add up, less rides I get to enjoy, in the given day I paid for access. It's not like a jetliner, where first class enjoys more leg room, they don't drop coach off 100 miles out over the ocean.
Whatever dude. All the info is on their website for the fast lane upgrade. Disney and many other parks do the same thing. Just sayin.

https://www.carowinds.com/tickets-passes/fast-lane
 
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