New York Law School claims devastating job losses as result of Net Neutrality

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mkrishnan, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    We've had a few net neutrality threads, but none of them have been active for a long time....

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...lity-could-lead-to-devastating-job-losses.ars

    The study methodology seems a little... tenuous. On the other hand, net neutrality would be a major undertaking and it's likely to have unintended consequences....
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #2
    I guess I am having a hard time seeing what problems the FCC thinks we are facing that we need to implement laws. All I want is an open gateway to the internet and no restrictions.
     
  3. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #3
    yep

    The only restrictions on the internet should be the restrictions the internet providers place on them.
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #4
    Follow the money. That's what it's always about.
     
  5. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #5
    Then what you need to understand is you support Net Neutrality.

    The problem the FCC doesn't think but recognizes we are facing is that the carriers want to deprive you of exactly that.

    This "analysis" is a hatchet job propagating exactly the black-is-white, up-is-down marketing campaign the major carriers are hoping you'll be dumb enough to buy into so that they can remake the Internet in the model of cable TV, narrowing your choices to those who the carriers themselves name as "winners."

    You just want a wire coming out of the wall with the open Internet on the other end. That's what we all want, like the telephone network, but for data. You pay your bill, get your bits. It's what we've become accustomed to. It's why we're talking about this on this board now instead of being shut down by moderators for daring to talk about it on a board owned by AT&T or their content affiliate. The carriers' intent here is to leverage a natural monopoly on the channel into an artificial monopoly over content.

    Anybody who thinks AT&T will actually dial back on projects that make them money is smoking crack. This same weak "corporate strike" line is pulled by every wannabe monopolist hoping to sucker politicians into giving them the farm. They won't do it: their shareholders would crucify them. But there are a lot of stupid and whorish politicians out there, and a lot of gullible people.

    What we really need to be concerned about is the loss of innovation that is the inevitable result of this scheme. Have you any idea how many services you take for granted today would have been complete non-starters in the startup phase if they'd had to beg AT&T to approve their access to the Internet? If AT&T could have set whatever price it wanted or refused them altogether?

    Do you give a flying f*** about AT&T's crappy "U-Verse" project if the cost of it is that you'd never have had YouTube, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Wikipedia and so many other things you take for granted? The carriers aren't just threatened by these things; they are jealous of them. It isn't enough for them to be raking in the dollars from bandwidth alone. They see things like those and think they could have done them. They think it's not fair that somebody else can use their relatively modestly priced service to make themselves a boatload of money, or that they'll cut big-time deals with entertainment partners only to have us go and burn up bandwidth looking at funny pictures of cats instead. It's as if the telephone company believed it was entitled to a cut of a multimillion dollar stock deal you just conducted over the telephone and tried to cut off your telephone service until you agreed.

    And more to the point, if the carrier didn't invent it, can't buy it, thinks it will cannibalize an existing business interest of theirs, doesn't know how to make money off it, or just plain doesn't want you to have it, it won't exist. They want you to shut up and be happy with what they spoon-feed you.

    Innovation, dead. Everything that made the Internet a boon to all of us, over. Paywalls in front of everything that's left. The Internet minus openness is America Online for everybody, forever. That's the future the carriers are hoping for: that nothing goes on on the Internet that they aren't squeezing a dollar out of it. And not the dollar they're already getting, because that one's not good enough.

    A quite sensible solution goes the other way completely: if you want to build a data network, build the best damned data network you can and charge us what it costs, but for you to ever make a buck over the content that travels over that network sets up a conflict of interest that undermines the freedom of that content market by giving you an unfair artificial advantage. Allowing network operators to continue owning or partnering with content providers so as to derive profit from the content traveling over their networks, but only restricting them from taking unfair advantage of that position, is actually the more moderate position. The more extreme, but hardly unprecedented position would forbid any overlap at all.
     
  6. catfish743 macrumors 6502

    catfish743

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    #6
    Well said.
     
  7. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #7
    I agree, well stated.

    The New York Law School study cited by Ars Technica reads like hi-tech melodrama. It lacks only a John Williams score to go along with its self-serving exaggerated projections of catastrophe. It's really too bad Irwin Allen is dead, because he could probably make a movie out of it.

    Although really it's less like a disaster movie and more like a cheesy gangster flick. "You got a nice little internet here. Be a shame if something 'happened' to it."

    As Gelfin said, they're not gonna pick up their marbles and go home just because of a net neutrality law. They're around to make money, it's just that they'd be making less money than they'd make if they had unlimited power to screw the customer.

    If you need anything to tell you that megacorps are getting too goddam big for their britches, this is it.
     
  8. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #8
    Start here to get an idea what it might be like without net neutrality:

    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Six-UK-ISPs-Block-Access-To-Wikipedia-99540

    Now imagine if some geek designed an inexpensive RF relay for extended range wireless bridging, so that you could spend a couple hundred dollars to link into the unregulated mesh network. No ISP, no monthly fees, just a small HD in the relay unit to cache traffic and serve up you personal site, and everyone contributes (by piping packets along to the next relay). At the risk of being called a commie, I think that is how it ought to be done, rather than relying on a few fat trunk lines. Just a fantasy. I rather detest telecoms.
     
  9. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #9
    The lack of net neutrality is scary as hell.
    It's sad that it's even open for debate.
     
  10. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #10
    Please tell me that the massive job losses will disproportionately hit AT&T management ...
     
  11. gotzero macrumors 68040

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    #11
    I cannot think of a field generally less qualified to have an opinion about the Internet.

    If I thought that I could stand law school for one second, I would go and pledge from day one only to work in software litigation as someone who actually understands how software works.

    I would get kicked out the first semester for showing that ExamSoft does not in fact completely take over a system. Not to cheat, just to point out the absurdity of future software litigators thinking that their computer is completely "secure".
     
  12. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    Gelfin makes a good point -- "you" clearly do not have this now, at least by my notion of what an "open gateway" is (prominent examples would be things like being blocked from using a wide variety of services over a cellular data connection on a phone with an "unlimited" data plan, a number of ISPs who meter traffic using systems like bittorrent, etc, etc).

    I'm not saying that I definitely think we should have a completely open gateway (I can see arguments, for instance, that if VOIP allows a few people to save a little money but results in a lot of other people being unable to get maps for navigation on their cell phones, send out e-mails successfully, etc, etc, then in that hypothetical situation I can see the greater good being done to block or meter the "offending" traffic).

    But... assume for the moment that I want an open gateway. If what we have now constitutes an open gateway, what do you mean by an open gateway?

    See, I'm not so sure about this. Again, I can see times when a compelling interest prevails. A comparable example is that telephone systems are designed to preferentially route emergency (911, etc) calls over other traffic. I think this is good and right, but it (in the equivalent) is clearly contrary to a strict concept of net neutrality. In the same way, I think it may be appropriate to look at mean experience quality (as well as "critical" traffic) and allow for some kinds of metering systems, that violate a strict sense of net neutrality, but ensure that users on average get a good experience.

    To be clear, I absolutely do not want the kind of situation where AT&T is telling me which VOIP service I can and cannot use, or where my ISP is deciding that I can look at videos on Vimeo but not Youtube, or that I can look at Youtube at 5% of max bandwidth but Vimeo at 95% of max bandwidth.
     
  13. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #13
    Currently I haven't had any problems like that with my ISP, but if I did I would definitely be pissed off, no doubt. I haven't ever had Internet on my phone either so I haven't really had to deal with those issues. I guess if companies are trying to head that way then I am all for net neutrality legislation. I think ISPs are going to be met with real opposition if they try to choke off the internet like they have in other areas of telecom though.
     
  14. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #14
    I have no "compelling interest" in paying AT&T five bucks every time I want to watch a video on Youtube.

    Gee, they can't make money the way they did fifty years ago? Technology has left them behind? Sucks to be them. I'm not obligated and neither is the nation to turn back the clock for their benefit or any other company. Adapt or die.
     
  15. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #15
    Look at the power a non-neutral 'net offers telecoms. First, they can collect a small profit-protection fee from the major labels and studios on the promise of throttling or choking off Gnutella, Torrent and any other file-sharing services. They could, in theory, collect a fee from you for every Mb of data that goes to or comes from a VOIP service, effectively taxing Skype and the like to death. There might be postage on e-mail and surcharges on services like twitter that compete with text messaging. Finally, they can get revenue from any site that wants traffic priority, so that every little domain that pops up and does not pay the ISP will be slow or inaccessible.

    With all this revenue, they will be able to basically buy the FCC to keep their grip on network traffic. And there will be no competition, to speak of, because the telecoms will be able to buy up any wildcat ISPs or simply throttle or block traffic to the backbones they own.

    Control of information flow is crucial to big business, for all aspects of revenue generation. Net neutrality makes that more difficult. I mean, if a site has real, valid information that seriously damages the standing of a telecom, how do you think they feel about being forced to carry traffic from that site?
     
  16. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #16
    What do the current proposed net neutrality laws look like (in layman's terms?).

    I have been a little bit skeptical of any new laws because a law called the net neutrality act (or equivalent) might have the exact opposite effect thanks to our asinine system of bill naming.

    For example the clean air act which actually weakened environmental law.
     
  17. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Net neutrality is just another way for the government to control someone's legitimate product.

    Forcing a provider to allocate bandwidth equally is like forcing a restaurant to offer a hotdog and a premium steak at the same cost!!!
     
  18. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #18
    You really think the cases are parallel? That it costs your ISP measurably more if you go to Youtube than to Macrumors? Yes, it's more bandwidth, but how much does that really cost? Can you really track it to the byte? I doubt it.
     
  19. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #19
    It's more bandwidth, but you're already paying for the bandwidth. So is YouTube, and far more so. What the carriers want is not the equivalent of preferring 911 calls to ordinary telephone calls, but to privilege themselves and their business partners, and to degrade connections for competitors, for financial advantage.
     
  20. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #20
    The bandwidth issue is a interesting question. Should you pay extra if you are a huge bandwidth hog and download 20 full length movies a day vs a normal internet user that just surfs the net and reads emails. I don't want my service to suffer because some kid in his parents basement is downloading everything under the sun and slowing my speeds. The other side is if I am paying for internet I would want be able to download what ever I want. How does an ISP keep the network running smoothly without allowing the bandwidth to be drained.
     
  21. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #21
    Two Mb for one cent?
     
  22. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #22
    The idea of pay by the bit has been brought up. Not sure how well it would go over.
     
  23. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #23
    The people pushing the bits in large volume are by and large already paying by the bit, and it isn't cheap.

    We've actually now got a pretty good and reasonable system for handling this. Customers pay for a bit rate, not a bit count, but the bit rates may be somewhat slower for the money than people in some other countries may get. Customers can pay more to get a faster rate, but their service is predictable and does not burden them.

    The trick is, every bit you download is a bit somebody else uploaded. Peer-to-peer is somewhat self-limited by asynchronous connection speeds. A peer-to-peer network can at worst only saturate the network according to its participants' much lower upload rates. Large corporate services, on the other hand, already do pay for bandwidth by volume. This puts the burden for efficient resource management where it belongs, on the engineering teams designing the services. And when you sit around all day streaming movies off Netflix (as I often do), the volumetric cost of that data is borne by Netflix on behalf of you both. If their service is profitable enough to afford that cost, then there's no problem, and the carrier, who sets that bandwidth price according to his own business demands, which include capacity intelligence, is thus making enough money to expand their network.

    The net effect is encouragement of innovation. For the most part small-time startups have small user bases. As they grow, presuming they have a sustainable business model, their ability to afford increased bandwidth grows along with them. Customers don't have to think or worry about what services they try, or how much it's costing them to do so. Very small-scale operators, like a blog run on a $5.99/mo shared host, are managed effectively by the hosting provider itself. If your blog gets unexpectedly Slashdotted, your account is temporarily suspended, which is annoying, but not the end of the world, and probably simply accompanied by a suggestion you upgrade to a slightly less modestly priced virtual private hosting plan.

    On the other hand, more and more of those sorts of hosts are offering "unlimited" bandwidth, subject to certain ill-defined "reasonable" limits, and the reason they are doing this simply must be that the bandwidth itself is becoming cheaper, which it wouldn't be if the scarcity problem you are worried about was actually an issue. It can still be quite costly to host a top-tier Internet service, and it's still possible for the occasional unexpected burst of popularity (and resulting bill) to happen, but by this time it's a relatively well-understood issue, which makes it easier to avoid.
     
  24. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #24
    The carriers are undergoing the most fundamental transition in the last several decades. The traditional telephony services, as well as the pre-IP data services such as Frame Relay and ATM, were providing them with very substantial profit margins. The IP services are not nearly as profitable as the pre-IP services. The environment is changing dramatically and the carriers are trying to do whatever they can to establish new and profitable revenue streams. The transition to a single, IP based and service agnostic network presents the carriers with an opportunity to lower their OpEx - and they're all hard at work addressing that. But it is only natural for them to try to wring out as much revenue out of their networks as possible. It is really up to us, the consumers, to stand up and fight for what we believe are our rights...before we lose them.
     
  25. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

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    #25
    If you don't like a product, don't make it successful by using your money on it. That's what a "free-market" is.
     

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