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  1. #1
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    Default The FCC and the Net Neutrality Fight

    I hesitate to make this topic, because I A. the topic itself really freaks me out (I've lost sleep over it, and that's rare) and B. I cop out of political debates quickly under most circumstances and don't know how long I'd end up participating. Nevertheless, this is something that has gained a lot of attention in recent weeks, and has been in the works for a while now. It really deserves a topic for its own discussion.

    For those unfamiliar, the FCC was sued by major telecommunication companies (comcast, verizon, etc.) for enforcing "net neutrality" rules, and they won the case. It was mostly on a technicality since the FCC did not label internet and data service as a "common carrier" aka a utility like electricity. As it stands, the FCC will likely be voting to permit internet service providers (ISP's) to regulate the speed and traffic of websites and data as they see fit, and potentially allowing people to "pay more or pay less" for better and worse service for content providers. On one side of the argument, opponents of this new proposed rule say it will stifle innovation and open the door to unfair limitations on who can see what. Essentially, they want the net to be "neutral" meaning everyone can access everything at the same rate and same price (more or less); aka like a utility such as electricity. Proponents of the new rule say it's rediculous to think that ISP's would behave in such a way, and that net neutrality would actually stifle innovation instead, arguing that net neutrality significant limits the net's usefulness, reduce investment in competitive ISP's, and setting the precendent for more potentially unfair regulation of the internet, in particular from the governemnnt.

    For more information see here.

    Where do people stand on this?


    I'll be up front with this though: I am HEAVILY against the FCC's intended plans to allow for a tiered internet. I do not trust the private industry and see it as nothing more than corporate groups grabbing at more power/control. I'm absolutely vehemently against it, and I quite honestly want to rip the head off of anyone who supports their plans. I am in full support of net neutrality and feel very very strongly that it is needed and required. I'll try and be civil with those who disagree, but I can't make any promises that I won't get emotional.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    It sounds very egalitarian to be on the side of Net Neutrality and my first instinct was to join that side, but after learning more about the issue, I'm not really sure which path is best. The reason is, I don't think we've ever actually had Net Neutrality. It's always been possible for companies to pay for better access and that has gotten us the internet that we have today. That money has been used to pay for infrastructure upgrades that have benefited everyone. It's not as black and white of an issue as the Net Neutrality side makes it out to be.

    I think a bigger issue is the duopoly that providers have in almost every city. If we had more competition, Net Neutrality wouldn't even be an issue because you could just switch providers to one that wasn't throttling the sites you like.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    It sounds very egalitarian to be on the side of Net Neutrality and my first instinct was to join that side, but after learning more about the issue, I'm not really sure which path is best. The reason is, I don't think we've ever actually had Net Neutrality. It's always been possible for companies to pay for better access and that has gotten us the internet that we have today. That money has been used to pay for infrastructure upgrades that has benefited everyone. It's not as black and white of an issue as the Net Neutrality side makes it out to be.

    I think a bigger issue is the duopoly that providers have in almost every city. If we had more competition, Net Neutrality wouldn't even be an issue because you could just switch providers to one that wasn't throttling the sites you like.
    Part of the reason I am on that side, is to me it seems painfully obvious at what Comcast and Verison are attempting to do; price gouge, control information, and it could easily become corrupt in calooodles with all different types of people.

    I agree we never really had net neutrality. The internet was kind of left to be its own thing, and you can and do pay for different internet speeds. In a perfect world, we should all have the most advanced technology can afford to provide; there are other countries that have superior internet than we do. We do pay more here than elsewhere in the world, but I did some research on it when this debate picked up, and we actually don't pay that much more. At worst about 2x from what I could tell. You are absolutely right the duopoly is a huge part of the problem. Where I live there's actually about 4 different providers to choose from, but due to the sheer force of will of Comcast and CenturyLink in this area, the alternatives are somewhat limited on what they can do and who they can reach; lack of infratructure. I wish there was a way to help stop or fix this limited competition, but to my knowledge there really isn't much of a way.

    The issue at hand, is this lawsuit has forced a change, and both are not ideal. The reason I strongly support Net Neutrality is because I see it as far lesser of the two evils. Comcast and Verizon arguing it will limit competition? HA! That's a load of baloney, they don't want that at all.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    These aren't my words. Someone else wrote this, but this guy framed the issue pretty well, IMO.

    I would agree that they need to be very careful in what the rule because it is not black and white and there are going to be very large unintended consequences if they get it wrong.

    The battle ground is actually over network interconnects between companies and has very little to do with the last mile to your house as it is constantly portrayed. If you take giant companies like Verizon and Comcast they send huge amounts of traffic between each other. More importantly they are sending roughly the same amount to each other and will jointly agree to build the interconnections between each other as large as they need to be to support the traffic between them because they both benefit.

    Where problems are now cropping up are with companies like Netflix. The company that is the primary host for Netflix had interconnection agreements with the Verizons and Comcast of the world. When they signed on Netflix as a customer suddenly instead of the 1 to 1 traffic patterns they were pushing traffic at 30 or 40 to 1, the interconnection was not big enough to push all the traffic and the end user starts getting choppy video.

    The problem is Netflix then goes to Verizon and says you need to build an interconnect to us 40 times bigger than what we agreed to. You need to foot the bill for the entire thing and no, you are not going to make any money from it. Not surprisingly Verizon says No, Netflix starts making claims of Verizon "throttling traffic" and the whole thing turns into a pissing match.

    So Net Neutrality means everybody gets the same treatment. So Verizon builds 100G interconnects with everybody. 75% of the ISPs have no issues, but huge traffic generators like Netflix will still have an issues. So make Verizon build 10Tb interconnects with everybody. Now it is overkill for 90% of the people that interconnect and who is going to pay for it?

    So I think the idea where they set a floor of how big an interconnect has to be and allowing companies to pay for an even larger amount over that to support their needs is probably the best decision they could come up with under the circumstances.

    If you wanted things to be completely fair, the internet would be like any other utility and you would pay for what you use. If network providers were making money on every packet that went through their network they would build the entire things as big as they needed to be.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    These aren't my words. Someone else wrote this, but this guy framed the issue pretty well, IMO.
    This gives me a bit of a different prospective on this issue. Thanks for posting this!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #7
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    7 billion people on the planet. yes, let's be neutral..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    It sounds very egalitarian to be on the side of Net Neutrality and my first instinct was to join that side, but after learning more about the issue, I'm not really sure which path is best. The reason is, I don't think we've ever actually had Net Neutrality. It's always been possible for companies to pay for better access and that has gotten us the internet that we have today. That money has been used to pay for infrastructure upgrades that have benefited everyone. It's not as black and white of an issue as the Net Neutrality side makes it out to be.

    I think a bigger issue is the duopoly that providers have in almost every city. If we had more competition, Net Neutrality wouldn't even be an issue because you could just switch providers to one that wasn't throttling the sites you like.
    THIS.

    This is the exact same conclusion I've come to. I was initially very much on the side of keeping net neutrality, but I've always had a subpar, expensive connection with a limited choice of providers (Verizon or Comcast in my region).

    Let's have a true free market when it comes to internet service.

    I feel similarly about electricity. We have one power company (Virginia Power) where I live; because there is no competition, they can charge exorbitant rates and provide substandard customer service. The lack of competition means such corporations fail to innovate and focus most of their energy on merely upkeeping the current, outdated infrastructure and maximizing their short term profits. It's a joke, really. Only not that funny.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy Conduit View Post
    THIS.

    This is the exact same conclusion I've come to. I was initially very much on the side of keeping net neutrality, but I've always had a subpar, expensive connection with a limited choice of providers (Verizon or Comcast in my region).

    Let's have a true free market when it comes to internet service.

    I feel similarly about electricity. We have one power company (Virginia Power) where I live; because there is no competition, they can charge exorbitant rates and provide substandard customer service. The lack of competition means such corporations fail to innovate and focus most of their energy on merely upkeeping the current, outdated infrastructure and maximizing their short term profits. It's a joke, really. Only not that funny.
    Electrical power distribution doesn't really compare well to telecommunications in this respect. Telecommunications infrastructure is low power and doesn't take up much space compared to electricity distribution. Multiple companies could run cable/fiber/etc in a city and it wouldn't be a problem, but it's just not feasible to have multiple electricity infrastructures in place. There was a time when multiple companies did build electrical infrastructure in cities and it was a god awful mess. If you want to get out from under the boot of the electrical utilities, go off-grid (solar/wind/etc).
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    If you want to get out from under the boot of the electrical utilities, go off-grid (solar/wind/etc).
    That's not feasible unless you have the budget. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to have solar panels installed? Or a wind turbine? Plus, many localities are beginning to make it illegal to live off the grid. Anyway, until we buy our own home which we can self-power, the point is moot.

    Sorry to go off topic.

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