Third Party & Independents Archives

House GOP votes to rescind "net neutrality"

It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with creating jobs or cutting specific spending, but hey, it looks like House Republicans are finally doing something that actually accomplishes something beneficial and isn’t just an obstruction ploy.

House Republicans passed a bill Friday to repeal federal rules barring Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on their networks.

http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=technology&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=118335

Republicans, in voting to repeal rules on "network neutrality" set down by the Federal Communications Commission, said the FCC lacked the authority to promulgate the rules. They disputed the need to intervene in an already open Internet and warned that the rules would stifle investment in broadband systems.

Although, I'm sure the fear that Twitter and Facebook bandwidth might be regulated - and therefore interfere with some candidates and not-declared-myself-a-candidate-yets use of social media to spread their li ... er ... words - also played some part in the decision to pass a "Hands off the Internet" bill.

Bravo, GOP. You actually *CAN* do something that isn't totally transparent, obvious and self-serving.

Posted by Gary St. Lawrence at April 11, 2011 1:55 PM
Comments
Comment #321510

Sorry you didn’t get comments. You are right and this is an important topic, but it is probably too arcane for most of us. I talked to my daughter re and I was not sure which side I was on until she explained it to me a couple times. I agree with you on this, because my daughter told me it was good, but I cannot argue either way.

Posted by: C&J at April 12, 2011 5:31 PM
Comment #321518

I tend to disagree. I don’t think it’s a good thing. We will see.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 12, 2011 6:26 PM
Comment #321540

I am also a supporter of net neutrality. GSL, I’m glad you brought up this topic.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 13, 2011 12:42 AM
Comment #321541

Gary

Did you read the article you cited? This is a classic example of regulation versus deregulation? The FCC was putting in place regulations to protect the freedom of the Internet. While the Republican, as they often do, say trust “big business”. In this case big business are the ISP’s who control the bandwidth.

Posted by: Cube at April 13, 2011 2:14 AM
Comment #321554

Cube:

Its not about ‘trust “big business”’, its about trust yourself. There are hundreds, if not thousands of ISP’s out there. If the one you have limits the content or connection you want more than you are willing to put up with—find a new one. In essence, quit relying on government to do things for you. Why should these business’s be forced to do anything that isn’t in their best interest? They are, after all, a business. They are there to provide a service in exchange for a fee. If their service is unsatisfactory: go somewhere else. If many others feel as strongly as you, they will be forced to either change their practices, or lose a large portion of customers (and possibly go under).


Posted by: adam at April 13, 2011 10:44 AM
Comment #321557

“They [ISPs] are there to provide a service in exchange for a fee. If their service is unsatisfactory: go somewhere else.”

Go where? Most high speed broadband ISPs are now cable or DSL through existing telephone lines. The cable and telephone companies have a virtual monopoly in most areas on the use of those lines. So, where do I go if I don’t like the service or pricing of my Comcast cable broadband service?

Posted by: Rich at April 13, 2011 11:23 AM
Comment #321560

Rich,

Who says you have to use Comcast, or even broadband? Acouple of years ago I couldn’t afford broadband and had to use dial-up. My daughter still uses it. You sound like having high speed is a right. It isn’t, It’s an option open to most people if they are willing to pay for it and want it enough to pay the price.

Posted by: tdobson at April 13, 2011 1:29 PM
Comment #321569

My wife and I travel a lot and are gone for months at a time. Although I use cable high speed at home, I’m also able to set my cell as a wifi connection for our laptops. It is 3G speed, but works fine. My aunt, who lives in a rural farming area, had only dial up, but recently paid to have Hughnet satellite system set up. It cost, but she is willing to pay.

Posted by: 1776 at April 13, 2011 3:37 PM
Comment #321571

Hughsnet

Posted by: 1776 at April 13, 2011 3:38 PM
Comment #321576

“Why should these business’s be forced to do anything that isn’t in their best interest? They are, after all, a business.”

So just because they are a business that puts them above reproach? When one business does something that saves them a buck they cause others to follow suit or lose out. Eventually they merge and their is no real choice in the market place.

Can a business decide to shoot someone because it has determined it is in the best interest of the business and expect a free ride from the rest of us or are their some rules that business is expected to follow?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 13, 2011 4:18 PM
Comment #321578

High speed is not a right, as 1776 says.

As I see this debate developing, I understand better that it seems to be a debate between those who want to make business give them something free or at special low costs and those who are willing to make choices that make sense for them and others.

Posted by: C&J at April 13, 2011 5:01 PM
Comment #321587


It is called a service economy. Make the gadgets cheap and charge as much as possible for the services.

Posted by: jlw at April 13, 2011 6:12 PM
Comment #321593

tdobson,

When a monopoly provider of a communication channel (e.g., cable broadband) can control access to the communications transmitted, it is a problem in my humble opinion.

You say, so what? Get dial up. That is hardly the answer that I expected from a person who originally contended that there would be competitive ISP alternatives in the marketplace for the same quality service.

Posted by: Rich at April 13, 2011 7:34 PM
Comment #321603
As I see this debate developing, I understand better that it seems to be a debate between those who want to make business give them something free or at special low costs and those who are willing to make choices that make sense for them and others.

This is defiantly not what the net neutrality debate is about. Net neutrality is about treating every transmitted byte like every other transmitted byte. As has already been pointed out, the infrastructure costs of providing broadband internet service mean that it will by necessity by a natural monopoly or natural duopoly. When private interests control a monopoly, duopoly or oligopoly, they wield the power of government, as they have the ability to govern quite a large sector of the economy. There is a reason most public utilities are tightly regulated and this is it. While I’m not currently an advocate of government operation of ISPs, enforcing net neutrality rules is a must if our economy is function freely.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 14, 2011 12:51 AM
Comment #321604

I need to stop commenting with less than 5 hours of sleep over the last 36 hours: defiantly should have be definitely.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 14, 2011 12:54 AM
Comment #321607

“You say, so what? Get dial up. That is hardly the answer that I expected from a person who originally contended that there would be competitive ISP alternatives in the marketplace for the same quality service.

Posted by: Rich at April 13, 2011 07:34 PM

Can you point out where I contended this?
I never said there would be competitive ISP alternatives for the same quality service. I wouldn’t expect to get the quality of a Rolls Royce for the price of a Yugo. I believe you should get the quality of service that you are willing to pay for. Do you think differently?

Posted by: tdobson at April 14, 2011 6:38 AM
Comment #321608

tdobson,

My apology. I was referring to comments made by Adam that if one was dissatisfied with an ISP’s service or access restrictions that there were “hundreds, if not thousands” of alternatives. In response to your basic question, I am willing to pay a reasonable price for broadband service. However, I object to a service provider being able to limit my access to content transmitted through the service, particularly those that have monopolistic status. As Warped put it: “Net neutrality is about treating every transmitted byte like every other transmitted byte.”

Posted by: Rich at April 14, 2011 9:20 AM
Comment #321610

Rich,

“I am willing to pay a reasonable price for broadband service. However, I object to a service provider being able to limit my access to content transmitted through the service, particularly those that have monopolistic status.”

I like to drive off road and get to places to hunt and fish.

I am willing to pay a reasonable price for a vehicle. Should I have to pay more for a vehicle that will take me off road?

I don’t accept the premise that ISPs are monopolistic. There are several ISP providers avaliable from which to choose.

Posted by: tdobson at April 14, 2011 10:51 AM
Comment #321611

Rich,

A quick google search turned up these broadband ISP providers all from one site.

AT&T
Quest
Verizon
Charter Communications
Comcast
Cox Communications
Time Warner
Hughsnet
Skyway USA
Starband
Wildblue

I hardly think it’s a monoply.

Beyont that are the dial-ups.
I’ll ask again, Do you think high speed is a right?

Posted by: tdobson at April 14, 2011 11:00 AM
Comment #321614

tdobson

For most locations, there are only two choices for a broadband ISP, either the local cable provider or the local telephone/DSL provider. For example, in the Boston area the choices are Verizon or Comcast. There are also satellite broadband providers, but they only make sense if you live in a rural area without cable broadband or DSL broadband; because the service is more expensive and generally inferior. Most of the ISPs you listed above do not compete with one another because they operate in different geographic regions.

I like to drive off road and get to places to hunt and fish.

I am willing to pay a reasonable price for a vehicle. Should I have to pay more for a vehicle that will take me off road?

Bad analogy! There is nothing on the internet analagous to off-road vehicles. More apropriate would be this: A privately owned highway is tolled. The owners charge a higher toll if your automobile has a bumper sticker with a political message the highway owners disagree with.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 14, 2011 11:49 AM
Comment #321621

Warped,
I did a quick search of high speed internet providers for Boston just now and came up with the following (this is one page of three)

Access Northeast DSL
American Digital Tech T1
Blaze ISP.com Broadband
Century Link High Speed Internet
Copper.Net, Inc Broadband
CPU-Net.com, Inc 56K
DSLi DSL


Dial up service is also an option. we don’t HAVE to have high speed.

I think my analogy is correct. I (the consumer) want to drive The vehicle manufacturers offer different options (2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive). ISP service providers offer different options also (Broadband, dial-up, or DSL). I choose the options that suit my needs best according to my budget. I also choose my internet access based on my needs and according to my budget. I have the option of walking into the woods to hunt if I can’t afford a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I also have the option of using dial-up if I can’t afford high speed.

Rich’s comments mentioned nothing about politics, so I’m trying to keep it out of my response to him, hense I reject your anology.

Posted by: tdobson at April 14, 2011 1:16 PM
Comment #321623

I have a friend living in a somewhat remote mountain area north of Sacramento, so his only available “choice” is Wildblue. His signal actually comes from Portland, and his response is s l o w…while paying a premium price. Those premium prices don’t always produce like quality. And Wildblue is Hughsnet.

Posted by: jane doe at April 14, 2011 2:24 PM
Comment #321625

tdobson,

Source?

Are those dial-up or broadband ISPs?

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 14, 2011 3:51 PM
Comment #321626

I googled hi speed internet providers in Boston.
2 are broadband, 2 are DSL, 1 is T1, the other 2 are probably dial-up.

The point is there is competition for internet service. Why are we insisting on broadband or dsl? Sure dial-up is slower, but so is a Prius compared to a Mercedes.

Internet access is not a right. You are entitled to what you can afford and are willing to pay.

Posted by: tdobson at April 14, 2011 4:05 PM
Comment #321627

The bottom line for me is that I am willing to pay a competitive price for a communication channel, i.e. broadband cable or DSL. However, I don’t want the operator of that channel limiting my access to information carried on that channel. Period. It would be like the telephone companies deciding to limit the ability to make certain calls to certain people, businesses, etc.

This is an issue about freedom of expression and equal access for internet based businesses. It is a real consumer issue that has been under the radar. Warped’s analogy is apt. How can one disagree with the premise that it would be fundamentally wrong to deny access to certain cars or trucks on a publicly licensed private toll road serving a major population area? That is essentially what can happen without a public policy guaranteeing net neutrality for ISPs.

tdobson,

Please read Warped’s comments about high speed internet access in the Boston area. He lives there. Also, take my word, where I live (major southern metropolitan area), there are only two options. I suspect that there are multiple providers (cable) in each of the general areas, but they serve different sections.

Posted by: Rich at April 14, 2011 8:08 PM
Comment #321633

Instead of telling me what you googled, why don’t you give me a hyperlink?
Using HTML to format a link isn’t that hard and there is a little cheat sheet above the comment box. Dial-up is to broadband like candles are to light bulbs; the presence of a wide variety of companies manufacturing candles does not mean that the average electricity company is anything other than a monopoly.

I never said internet access is a right. It doesn’t make sense for it to be a right. Most rights are negative rights (things the government is prohibited from doing). If internet access were a right it would a positive right, which has serious consequences for individual liberty.

The point is that internet access is a natural monopoly just like most other public utilities and deserves to be treated just like those public utilities. Of course people shouldn’t get electricity unless they pay their electric bill; likewise people shouldn’t get broadband internet unless they pay for it.

In any case, this is not what net neutrality is about. Net neutrality isn’t about making broadband internet affordable. Net neutrality is about forbidding ISPs from discriminating one byte of data from another based off of what that byte contains. Companies in control over these information pathways should not wield their monopolistic power to influence public opinions or censor “objectionable” materials; nor should they charge someone a different price based off of the content of that person’s website.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 14, 2011 10:28 PM
Comment #321636

Rich,

“I am willing to pay a competitive price for a communication channel, i.e. broadband cable or DSL. However, I don’t want the operator of that channel limiting my access to information carried on that channel. Period.”

What’s the difference in what they are doing and what cable companies are doing all over America? I live in The Virginia Beach area and the major cable company here is Cox Communication. Like all cable companies, they have different levels of service at different prices. A couple of my favorite programs are only avaliable with their “premium” package which costs more. After a little research, I found out that Verizon FIOS carried the programs I wanted in their basic package, although they don’t carry all the programs I like. I decided to change.
You have the same choice as far as ISPs are concerned.

“It would be like the telephone companies deciding to limit the ability to make certain calls to certain people, businesses, etc.”

I would have no problem with that as long as it is disclosed before I sign the contract. If one company limited my calls, (some do to some extent by charging long distance fees), I would shop for a company that better suited my needs.


This is not an issue about freedom of expression and equal access for internet based businesses. This is an issue about the freedom of businesses to make choices to run their business. You have the freedom to seek services elsewhere if you don’t like their service. No one is limiting your freedoms.

“How can one disagree with the premise that it would be fundamentally wrong to deny access to certain cars or trucks on a publicly licensed private toll road serving a major population area?”

Have you ever driven in New York or Maryland? They have PUBLIC parkways that only allow passenger cars to travel on. How about the HOV lanes in major cities? In Virginia, you can obtain a “clean fuel” license plate that allows you to drive on some HOV lanes without having the requisite number of passengers, If you have the correct hybred car.All don’t qualify.

I demonstrated for warped the options for access to the internet. There are several to choose from. All are not high speed, but you sometimes have to give up some things you want to get some other things that are more important.

My daughter lives in a small town in North Ga, Dahlonega, to be exact. I am very familiar with her choices. If she can find what she needs in that little mountain town, I’m sure it’s avaliable in major metropolitan areas in the south.

Posted by: tdobson at April 15, 2011 8:58 AM
Comment #321637

Warped,

I don’t know enough about HTML to use it proficiently. also, I illistrated the information from only one site from the search. If you google it, you will see many pages of similar sites. Choose any one you like to find multiple choices.

“Dial-up is to broadband like candles are to light bulbs; the presence of a wide variety of companies manufacturing candles does not mean that the average electricity company is anything other than a monopoly.”

I will agree to this to a degree. Electric companies do have a virtual monopaly on electricty, although there is nothing I’m aware of that stops you from producing your own electricity if you can afford to do so. Having said that, the electric companies do not have a monopaly on light. I have the option of the candles you mentioned or perhaps a generator or even an old “hurricane” lamp that burns oil.
I agree that broadband is infinately better for my needs, but not for every purpose. Electric heating is avaliable to me as well as electricity for cooking. I choose to use electricity to cook my food, but I use natural gas to heat my home. Bottom line is it is MY choice.

I’m glad we agree that internet access is not a right.
If it is not a right, what right do we have to force them abide by our wishes?

As I’ve illistrated several times above, I disagree that ISPs are a monoply. If you don’t like what one company offers, you have the option of changing companys.


Posted by: tdobson at April 15, 2011 9:22 AM
Comment #321644
I don’t know enough about HTML to use it proficiently. also, I illistrated the information from only one site from the search. If you google it, you will see many pages of similar sites. Choose any one you like to find multiple choices.

All you need to do is copy and paste the text above the comment box under the heading “HTML Formatting Tips”. One of the lines will look like this:
{a href=”http://domain.com/link”}link text{/a}. (I changed the to {,} to avoid creating a link). replace the text in the “” with the URL and put what you want to say where it says link text. If you are really lazy, you can also just copy & paste the URL into the comment box. I already followed your instructions to search on google, but I can’t find the page you are referring to. ISPs have just as much a monopoly as electric power companies; we heavily regulate the electric power companies because of this. ISPs should play by similar rules; otherwise they can use their power to control the flow of information and censor things.

What’s the difference in what they are doing and what cable companies are doing all over America? I live in The Virginia Beach area and the major cable company here is Cox Communication. Like all cable companies, they have different levels of service at different prices. A couple of my favorite programs are only avaliable with their “premium” package which costs more. After a little research, I found out that Verizon FIOS carried the programs I wanted in their basic package, although they don’t carry all the programs I like. I decided to change. You have the same choice as far as ISPs are concerned.
This is possible because the producers of television content sign contracts with the cable companies to make sure consumers pay to view content. Net neutrality is not about limiting content providers from doing this on the internet as well, for example the NY Times is now charging frequent users of their website; there’s nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned. What is a problem is when an ISP unilaterally makes consumers pay extra to view the NY Times without the NY Times’s permission.
This is an issue about the freedom of businesses to make choices to run their business.
No it isn’t about businesses making choices about how to run their business. This about a private interest becoming a de facto unelected government, with the ability to dish out punishments on people without any due process.
They have PUBLIC parkways that only allow passenger cars to travel on. How about the HOV lanes in major cities? In Virginia, you can obtain a “clean fuel” license plate that allows you to drive on some HOV lanes without having the requisite number of passengers, If you have the correct hybrid car.All don’t qualify.
Those are public roads; voters decide how they are run and operated. My example was private roads, which are are run by unelected interests. Also, those parkways in the northeast exclude those types of vehicles because the roads were built before 1956 and weren’t designed to carry other vehicles. Even despite the restrictions, a few times a year some idiot manages to drive a truck on Storrow Drive and gets it wedged under a bridge, backing traffic up for hours.
As I’ve illistrated several times above, I disagree that ISPs are a monoply. If you don’t like what one company offers, you have the option of changing companys.
You have not shown a single location with multiple DSL providers or multiple cable broadband providers. All you’ve show are a hodgepodge of dial-up and satellite broadband providers. I concede that it’s actually as duopoly instead of a monopoly, but the effect is the same. My ISP can charge me based upon the number of bytes I consume and the speed at which I want those bytes. My ISP should not be able to discriminate based upon the information that those bytes contain. In Massachusetts, if Comcast and Verizon decide to do this, I have no other options for comparable service. As I said before, dial-up is the equivalent to candles in a discussion about electrical companies; the presence of candle manufacturers doesn’t mean electrical power companies have anything other than a monopoly. The presence of bottled water manufacturers doesn’t mean the local water supplier is anything other than a monopoly. Public utilities will always create natural monopolies, the high costs of building infrastructure serve as a barrier for competition. The only recourse we have is governmental regulation. Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 12:10 PM
Comment #321654

I’ll be on vacation in West Virginia for a few days, so I probably won’t be able to respond to any more comments until then.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 15, 2011 3:31 PM
Comment #321675

The internet would not exist without government subsidies and government supplied infrastructure which we still pay for.

There is no difference between dialups and broadband, they access the same internet. So differentiating between the companies that allow you access is moot. There are only a handful of true ISP’s. Most of the ones mentioned here lease their access from true ISP’s.

The backbone of the internet is controlled by these handful of companies.

While I agree that there are some rules that can be put in place by ISP’s that make “sense”. I can also think of many rules that I would think would change the concept of the internet or how we view it.

Meanwhile, I just received an email this morning from one of my ISP’s, reserving the right to implement rules “to protect their network”. I haven’t read the fine print yet.

Posted by: Cube at April 15, 2011 8:24 PM
Comment #322169

Net Neutrality is about your ISP getting to determine what you can and can’t view on the internet. So the Wal-Marts of the world with bottomless pockets get to be the websites that pop-up when you need services, but the local businesses that can’t afford to buy “airtime” on the ISP’s channel bandwidth don’t get found or seen. Net Neutrality is about recreating the Yellow Page Cash Cow for ISP’s and the internet. The same company’s in your area that put out phone books tend to also to often be your ISP. Yellow page profits are in a freefall because of the internet so with Net Neutrality they can now say to us business owners:

“If you want to be seen on searches in your local area, pay us a boatload of money and we’ll “allow” your site to be seen by your neighbors.”

Net Neutrality is complete bulls*&! and three cheers to anyone and everyone that sees it for what it is.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at April 23, 2011 6:29 PM
Comment #322273

I’m back, but I’m surprised there haven’t been that many comments since I left.

Earlier, I used the analogy of a private highway. This editorial in Scientific American Magazine makes a similar argument and is well worth a read.

YJ,
I’m confused by your comment. I think it’s because you have accidentally reversed what it means to support or oppose net neutrality. Supporters of net neutrality, such as myself, advocate that the government regulate ISPs to prevent the behavior you describe. Net neutrality supporters believe that it is fair for ISP to charge customers for the quantitiy of bandwith they consume as well as the rate at which they consume it, but that charging consumers (or content providers) differently based upon the qualities of those consumed bytes should be prohibited.

On the other hand, opponents of net neutrality think ISPs should have free reign to charge differently depending on the content of the bytes transmitted. For example, Comcast now owns a majority stake in NBC. Under a regime without net neutrality rules, it would be profitable if Comcast started charging internet service customers more for accessing NBC’s competitors than for accessing NBC’s website, thereby increasing NBC’s viewership. Alternatively, an ISP may be able to extract more revenue from content providers by threatening to slow the connection speeds of their customers unless the content provider pays up.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 26, 2011 12:29 PM
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