Net Neutrality Slipping Away

Discussion in 'Politics and other "Messy" Stuff' started by Nathan, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    This past Tuesday a federal appeals court ruled that regulators had limited power over Web traffic under current law. The decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver their content faster to users.

    A little background is probably in order here.

    Comcast brought the suit against the FCC asserting that it had the right to slow its customers’ access to BitTorrent.

    The "win" for Comcast is really on a technicality. The FCC currently does not treat internet access a utility, hence they lost the ability according to the courts to regulate access. This flies in the face of the the national broadband plan to shift billions of dollars in money from a fund to provide phone service in rural areas to one that helps pay for Internet access in those areas.

    We all pay fees on our phone services that subsidize rural phone service. Without these fees out telephone infrastructure never would have been fully built out to many small out of the way places. The new national broadband plan intends to bring broadband to many of these same small out of the way places the Rural Telephone and Electrification acts of the 1930's provided.

    Current opinion feels the FCC will go Congress to have broadband classified as a utility. In turn this will allow the FCC to regulate broadband. In my eyes this is a good thing as the FCC has stated time and time again they are in favor of Net Neutrality.

    How could this effect a site such as M/A?

    Imagine this...a big player in the forum realm such as Vertical Scope (owners of many forums including MINI2) could offer to pay providers, such as Comcast, a fee to provide greater bandwidth to the consumer or even to block sites. We as consumers may even be offered packages from ISP's at ever increasing cost levels that allow for access to various parts of the internet. As Comcast is in the process of purchasing NBC one can see a time where NBC shows are streamed over the web but a competing network is blocked unless the consumer pays more for access.

    This does not bode well for consumers. We need to keep unfettered access to the internet alive. Sure there are warts in the current system but I'd hate to see the day when a site owner would have to pay a fee to ISP's to have their traffic allowed on their network.
     
  2. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    I'm not going to argue against many benefits of Net Neutrality.

    But here's a thought experiment....

    How would you feel about the FCC telling you that you couldn't ban users from your site, because it's on the Internet? Or the FCC setting your advertising rates? Or dictating the terms of service your forum must operate under?
     
  3. KittyMini

    KittyMini Club Coordinator

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    Sounds like Comcast is just trying to suck more money out of everyone. :mad5:
     
  4. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    But these are all end use issues. Not user issues. Kinda like trying to tell someone they can't use caller ID to not answer the phone from someone they don't want to talk to. Or them dictating how much they can charge for the 900 numbers.
     
  5. goaljnky

    goaljnky New Member

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    What ever it means, I just hope I can still access all those wonderful .ru sites.
     
  6. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    That might become an issue. Comcast or another ISP could decide that since quite a bit of spam originates from .ru that all .ru traffic is blocked.
     
  7. nabeshin

    nabeshin New Member

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    There would be a huge outcry from people if ISP dudes started blocking sites from other countries. Something about censorship, and getting multiple news sources from unbiased places, outside observers & 3rd parties, I guess.
     
  8. Sideways

    Sideways New Member

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    Well if this happens, there are more than enough smart people on the web that someone will be able to hack around whatever blocks are put in place...even if all else fails, look for a digital revolution of epic proportions!!!
     
  9. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    FCC lays out its agenda for national broadband. If everything goes right, every American household will have high speed access a few days before the sun explodes

    "Our implementation plan lays out a road map for reforming universal service to connect all Americans to broadband, including in rural areas; unleashing spectrum, promoting competition and supporting small businesses; protecting and empowering consumers; safeguarding online privacy; increasing adoption in all communities and ensuring fair access for people with disabilities; protecting broadband networks against cyber-attack and other disasters; and ensuring that all users can reach 911 in an emergency," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.

    Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Action Agenda
     
  10. Robin Casady

    Robin Casady New Member
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    You are applying access provider rules to destinations. That is sort of like saying speed limit laws would lead to price regulation for hotel rooms.
     
  11. versus

    versus Active Member

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    Nathan, you said a lot of what I would in your original post. You'd think that with our internet speed, as a whole, being so slow compared to other areas of the globe that net neutrality would hold water simply because it would foster competition. Then again, if you don't consider it a necessity you probably don't think it's important that everyone have it.
     
  12. Jason Montague

    Jason Montague New Member
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    Big Brother

    :frown2: As a comparison; There's a huge out cry RIGHT NOW about what's going on in the White House and the Congress but, Nothing's being done!!! :frown2: Jason
     
  13. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    Hmmm. My point is that the access providers OWN THEIR NETWORKS. Just like homeowners own their front yard. And just like the cable and satellite companies own their content delivery networks.

    The thought experiment is this: at what point does a provider of access OR content become "so popular" or "so ubiquitous" that we deem that we must start to deny them control of their own products and services? If you owned the network, and had invested vast personal funds to develop it, would you welcome others to limit how you could recover that investment, by changing the rules AFTER you had made the investment and thus created a service that yielded both significant public value AND an ability to recover the investment via profit?

    And if that did happen, how would it influence your risk-taking and investment strategies in the future?

    I'm not saying there aren't thorny issues here. At what point does something become a utility? What responsibility does an investor have for anticipating that the government is going to slap "utility" regulation on them as soon as they finish building out their proprietary asset? What responsibility does an oil company have for anticipating that Hugo Chavez is going to nationalize the petroleum industry in Venezuela before they invest there? Maybe it's all the fault of the evil oil companies. If they hadn't built the assets, Hugo wouldn't have taken them.
     
  14. goaljnky

    goaljnky New Member

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    I still like that name, Hugo. Reminds me of an episode of The Jeffersons where George hired a body guard named Hugo Mojelewski. "High, remember me?":

    [​IMG]

    There is also a local place called Hugo's that has a taco stand next to the 101 freeway on Coldwater. Their tacos are sooooooo gooooooood.

    P.S. But the parent restaurant across the street does have free Wi-Fi.
     
  15. Robin Casady

    Robin Casady New Member
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    If you owned a company and invested personal wealth to make it a monopoly, how would you feel about the government busting it up? So sad for those robber barons of the 19th and 20th centuries...

    Internet providers such as Comcast and AT&T are very much like utilities for the following reasons:

    1. For economic viability, it is becoming necessary for the average citizen to have internet access.
    2. I requires considerable infrastructure. This limits competition.

    How would you feel if there were only two car companies, say Fiat and Toyota, to choose from, and you needed to have a car to get to work?
     
  16. goaljnky

    goaljnky New Member

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    Now that's just fear mongering. What if your choices where Porsche and a Honda? Not so bad anymore.
     
  17. Robin Casady

    Robin Casady New Member
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    It is doubtful they would resemble the Porsche and Honda we know today.
     
  18. Friskie

    Friskie Well-Known Member

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    November 2nd of this year and November 6th of '12 are when things should 'get done'. Getting 'things done' now smacks of anarchy.
     
  19. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    I wanted to bring this back up as lately there has been a lot more discussion in DC. I'll be the first to admit that I have an agenda here. As the owner of a site that in the grand scheme of things is very small I can easily see how this could pan out. The bigger players in the game such as Internet Brands and Vertical Scope, both of whom own 100's of forums, could afford to pay the ISP's to give their sites priority when it comes to bandwidth over smaller players such as little ole me.

    There are hundreds of articles on how this could stifle innovation. It's because of Net neutrality that great ideas like YouTube (which began in an office above a pizzeria in San Mateo) and Twitter (which grew out of a daylong brainstorming session among podcasters) blossomed to revolutionize how we connect and communicate with one another. The paid prioritization deal under consideration wouldn't allow for the next YouTube. And the next Twitter would likely never make it off the drawing board.

    I'm not one that jumps on any cause that happens by but this is one I'm starting to become passionate about. Check out Save the Internet | Join the fight for Internet Freedom and let your elected representatives and the FCC know you are for a free and open internet.
     
  20. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

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    Revisit and a Bump, important issue.
     

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