Join Us in the Fight For Net Neutrality

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“Net Neutrality” is the simple but powerful principle that cable and broadband providers must treat all internet traffic equally. Whether you’re loading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming House of Cards on Netflix, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your internet provider can’t degrade your connection speed, block sites, or charge a toll based on the content that you’re viewing.

Net neutrality has defined the internet since its inception, and it’s hard to argue with the results: the internet is the most powerful engine of economic growth and free expression in history. Most importantly, the open internet is characterized by companies, products, and ideas that survive or fail depending on their own merit — not on whether they have preferred deals in place with a broadband service provider. Unfortunately, the principle of net neutrality, and the open internet that we know and love, is under attack.

Net Neutrality under…

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10 responses to “Join Us in the Fight For Net Neutrality

  1. rainabba

    It’s NOT net neutrality though. I don’t understand how people miss the glaring flaw in this argument. The INTERNET is an Inter-connected network of privately owned networks. If the owners cannot see to their best interest because of goverment regulation, the best case is they lose profits that motivate them to continue to improve and maintain their services. In a worse case, that regulation destroys them.

    Also, where then do we draw the line on what the Internet is and is not? For example, if I have roommates that I charge for access to the services I buy from Cox cable, how am I different from Cox cable? My network connects to theirs, connects to some other privately owned network.

    This is insanity and if you people get your wish, you’re going to be very sorry, very quickly. What if you couldn’t get that HD stream you paid for on [pick your content service] because this law forced your ISP to deprioritize your traffic to give the rest a “fair shot”?

    I can’t help but hear Atlas Shrugged and think of all those years the US fought “Communism” and how it’s now invading every facet of our lives. FAIR must be determined by the dollars we vote with because otherwise the “little guys” will vote every resource left to themselves and everybody will lose.

    • We already have a working system that exists on the phone networks and it is simple. You (the consumer) pay for the amount of content that you consume. End of story.

      Using that model the cable companies make their money (more bandwidth = more money), the innovation that is a crucial part of the Internet is not stifled (if people want your product they won’t mind paying for the bandwidth it consumes) and net neutrality is maintained.

      This is not communism, it is capitalism in it’s purest form. People will pay for things they value and ditch things that take up more bandwidth (cost) than they are worth.

      Either way the cable companies get their pound of flesh but the advantage of the net neutrality version is that consumers retain control over what they want to see.

      If the “fast lane” goes in what do you think is going to happen to news outlets/blogs that are broadcasting a message that the cable companies don’t like? You’re just going to see a loading symbol and nothing else.

      • rainabba

        “You (the consumer) pay for the amount of content that you consume. End of story.” Except that it’s not the end. One human can only consume a very finite and predictable about of resource with a phone call. One house can even be well predicted and the maximum amount of resource is still insignificant compared to averages. This is not the case with bandwidth which is a highly demanded and extremely finite resource.

        Capitalism in the purest form doesn’t need government regulation. They are quite contrary subjects and Net Neutrality proposes the worst kind of government regulation, one that dictates market costs and behaviors.

        The “fast lane” IS in and that’s the scam that so many are falling for. The fast lane has been there since I was dialing in with a 1,200baud modem. Those with the money get the best connections, whether you’re on the providing end (like a Netflix) or a consuming end like the end-users. Everyone in between has to pay also.

        I WON’T just see a loading symbol because I pay for premium service. If ISPs want to charge more to providers and those providers decide to pass the cost on to consumers who then decide they don’t like their ISP’s behavior, they have a choice. THAT is capitalism.

        If a bunch of uninformed consumers vote a law into existence that tells an ISP that they have no choice but to charge the same to provide connectivity between you and twitter as you and Amazon Video streaming 4k, they will have no choice except to raise your rates across the board to continue providing your service so they can TRY to expand theirs (which is difficult thanks to other legal barriers put into place by municipalities) OR they can go under and then that “one ISP” you claim to only have access to, becomes NO ISP.

        Someone is going to have to pay. If the ISP can’t manage that on a micro level where it needs to happen, it’s going to happen on a macro level and THEN people will have a real reason to get bent out of shape. The standard model that’s been in place since the beginning for EVERYONE (consumers and providers alike) is pay-per-use and Net Neutrality is a silly initiative to try and break the system in the name of “everyone”. THAT is socialism at it’s best.

  2. rainabba – We are talking about bandwidth being limited at source, not how much can be charged for that bandwidth.
    Bandwidth is finite agreed. But that doesn’t mean that cable companies can’t charge a higher rate to a household that uses 50GB per month compared to one that uses 2GB. That is fair.
    But I don’t want cable (which already owns news channels) deciding what I can watch and what I can’t which is the power they will have if this law passes.
    I’ll choose the content I want to pay for thank you very much. You should do the same.

    I agree that someone has to pay, so let it be the consumer. Pay for the bandwidth you use. Doesn’t sound like socialism to me.

    • rainabba

      Perhaps I’m the one that’s entirely confused, but I still feel like you’re missing the real issue, which is exactly what someone promoting the “fight for net neutrality” would want. It doesn’t matter whether you talk about throughput, total bandwidth or specific content. The issue is the same.

      If laws are created that dictate how someone on the Internet MUST or CANNOT manage their network, the result will be bad news. Right now, our ISPs COULD block a site entirely if they choose. It’s their network and they need the right to do that in order to maintain quality for everyone else.

      I also agree to metered costs and would in fact prefer it so that I don’t pay as much for my bursts of speed as my neighbor who likes to maintain IRC bots and abuses the hell out of usenets to download/share console video games.

      In any case, I DO NOT want the government making the decisions on how that’s dealt with. They aren’t qualified to even run one website, let alone manage the Internet as a whole.

      • So…
        We both agree that someone needs pay for bandwidth.

        You don’t want Government getting involved which I can well understand, I’m not a big fan of Governments getting involved for the most part. But I will allow them to stick their nose in where monopolies are concerned, and that is what we have here.

        I don’t want big business making the decisions about what content I’m allowed to see and this would give them that right. Big business already have way too much power what with control of the media and the huge sums they spend on lobbyists.

        With very few exceptions ISPs should not be allowed to block anything (see above).

        Losing net neutrality will kill many innovative ideas. Case in point, Youtube was a small company with a big idea once. Without Net Neutrality they would simply never have been able to afford the sort of bandwidth their product consumes and would have died on the vine.

        Thanks for the thoughts. Hope that clears things up a little.

      • rainabba

        “Without Net Neutrality they would simply never have been able to ” So you’re saying that some law existed at the time which ensured that end-users had access to YouTube without regard to the bandwidth they were paying for at the time and without regard to what Youtube was paying for?

        Do you realize what you’re suggesting? You’re saying that a law existed which guaranteed free, and unlimited network pipes between youtube servers and end-users.

        We may be agreeing on some points, but from my perspective, you are still thoroughly lost on the so-called idea of “Net Neutrality”. It can’t exist, least of all by some law. ISP’s charge money for access and for bandwidth. You and I must pay for it and the providing service must also pay for it. ANY attempt to block that model will bring the system down.

        There is no “fast” lane, only those lanes that we pay for and which are throttled according to all the agreements involved in between. There is NO way around that and those lanes are subject to change by the packet because the whole point of the internet was a network which could deal with dynamic conditions.

        Take this the other way around. If you ONLY pay for dial-up, are you going to be able to watch Amazon 4k? No, you must pay for it. If amazon does not pay their ISP(s) (likely the main telecommunications backbone providers in most cases), can THEY provide a service to you?

        Should either your ISP or theirs have any obligation to provide specific pricing based on anything other than the agreements made?

        Shouldn’t the networks in between be allowed to manage their finite resources and charge accordingly?

        I don’t see where this idea of the “net being neutral” has any place whatsoever. The moment you tell the ISPs that they “must always” or “can never”, we are done.

        Also, the talk about monopolies is bullshit plain and simple. There is NOWHERE on this planet where someone has only one choice for an ISP and even if you could find some edge case, it would be just that. In a matter of seconds I was able to confirm 2 satellite based providers; HugesNet and Exede. If you’re somewhere that dial-up isn’t an option, then you’ve got major issues. Even smaller cities these days generally have at LEAST t-mobile, att and verizon wireless providers. THEN there is DSL and cable in most major cities and I think someone would be hard pressed to say that’s not true of even most “cities” which cover the VAST majority of users. Lastly, many towns also provide various line-of-sight ISP using technology such as microwave.

        To say that there is only one cable or DSL provider is true, but that’s not the claim and anyone that backtracks here is suspicious in my mind because they’re trying the first approach with maximum weight rather than being clear to begin with (which weakens their argument) and in any case, the debate isn’t valid if there IS only one broadband provider because then it’s THAT MUCH MORE important that they have full ability to manage their traffic to ensure that a minority of users don’t saturate the majority of their bandwidth without sufficient compensation. Whether those ISPs want pressure from their users directly by trying to hike prices for infrastructure, or indirectly when providers can’t serve end-users because they’ve been blocked for failure to pay again (as has happened even here with Youtube and Cox), they should have the choice and their customers should vote with their dollars.

        Anyone that feels they cannot live without internet access AND had only one ISP to choose from AND was getting abused by that ISP, has made some poor choices and needs to relocate or change their perceived dependency on the internet.

        If I haven’t been able to make my point by now, I have to believe it’s because it doesn’t want to be heard OR because there is ignorance in play that’s not being acknowledged and it pains me to even imply that because I’ve been following your blog for some time and generally find it very enlightening and demonstrating the ability to see the bigger picture.

        To me, “Net Neutrality” is the biggest lie I’ve seen so in my life and has suckered the greatest numbers of people yet. It’s even understandable considering that very few people have any idea how a single bit gets to them from a server or back. The raw number of technologies involved in simple data transfers is mind-boggling. When you start talking CDNs, edge servers and streaming, the complexity goes up another few factors and anyone without a full understanding really has no place even suggesting laws that regulate the systems, let alone voting on them.

        Just go imagine yourself implementing the least complex solution you could (even if it’s not feasible, just technically possible such as a massively long wifi-mesh network). Now imagine trying to put a provider such as Amazon on one end and selling them access then selling a dozen people on your block access to the other end THEN being told that you’re not allowed to manage that network as needed without creating custom agreements and pricing for everyone (the ONLY way around the NN laws if they went into effect), that must account for every possible use case going forward. Would you dare try?

  3. OK. Last comment.
    I get what you are saying. But I feel you are missing my point.

    Yes, someone always pays for bandwidth. And they pay at each end. I’m sure Netflix’s “cable bill” is huge in comparison to mine.

    What I don’t want is cable (or any other ISP) deciding what gets priority. I’ll pay their bill and if I need more bandwidth because I like watching cat videos in high def on my huge TV then I’ll pay more – my company already has a premium service where I get more bandwidth for extra $$$.

    If the ISP can choose who goes fast and who doesn’t they can quite literally control which companies fail and which succeed. If your company can’t pay their exorbitant rates for access to your clients well…too bad…someone else will. It just puts far too much power in the hands of the ISPs.

    Want proof that they can force companies to pay whatever they want? Check this graph out:
    http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/this-hilarious-graph-of-netflix-speeds-shows-the-importance-of-net-neutrality/

    And if that doesn’t convince you that we need to have SOME sort of rule in place to stop that sort of nonsense then I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

    • rainabba

      I think that distills it down well. I KNOW they can charge what they want, always have been able to, have ALWAYS done what was needed to keep customers happy, but where we disagree is that I believe fully that they will continue to because that will maximize their profit and that we that not only should rules NOT be put into place to dictate those choices, but that such rules would ultimately back-fire and do more harm than good.

      A difference of opinion on that point, with that clarity is something I’m content to leave it at. I do hope you understand that my position is made BOTH as a consumer (Cox Ultimate x2, that is, I pay twice, for the ability to max out two modems) AND as someone that manages multi-million dollar infrastructure in the enterprise.

      I do appreciate a constructive, mature conversation on the internet. They are FAR to hard to come by and as such, I remain a subscriber to your blog which I enjoy nearly every single post of.

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