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  1. #1
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    Net neutrality: What it is, why you should care




    TOP STORY

    Net neutrality: What it is, why you should care


    By Woody Leonhard

    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has proposed a new set of rules that will change — some say kill — net neutrality.

    With regulations coming soon, Congress hunkered down; and with a brawl breaking out on a dozen different fronts, here's what you need to know about the FCC's proposal and how it will affect you.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/net-neutrality-what-it-is-why-you-should-care/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. #2
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    How would this affect other countries like the UK - where I am?

    BBC is reporting on this - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27326450

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    How would this affect other countries like the UK - where I am?

    BBC is reporting on this - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27326450
    If they open the door in the US, expect that everyone else will follow suit, although each country may have its own regulatory bodies, which can have their own decisions, I'd think.
    I think that what is truly dangerous is the acceptance of the breach of the net neutrality principle. If this is accepted, then there will be a net for the rich and a net for the poor. I really have no sympathy for the telcos, on this issue. They are just out to make as much money as they can and they are,very often, very profitable businesses. They don't need to charge specific content providers even more, to make even more money.
    Rui
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  5. #4
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Thanks Rui - I agree totally with you

  6. #5
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    I haven't joined the Forum before this because, frankly, it had more to do with hardware/software than with political positions. But this article is strictly a political positioning article.

    "Senator Al Franken fired off a two-page memo (PDF) that also takes exception to the FCC's proposal: "Struggling to craft a 'commercially reasonable' standard misses the point: Pay-to-play arrangements are inherently discriminatory and anticompetitive, and therefore should be prohibited as a matter of public policy. They increase costs for consumers and give ISPs a disincentive to improve their broadband networks — undermining the FCC's mission to protect the public interest and strengthen the nation's broadband infrastructure.""

    Based on this type of statement, maybe all autos (pay to play vehicles) also should be sold for the same price, regardless of their horsepower and/or speeds. Why is it that everyone wants to prevent a company from making whatever amount of profit it can "reasonably" make? If we as consumers are willing to pay more for a non-stop air flight instead of a one or two-stop flight(again a pay to play item), why can't we pay more for a faster internet speed? If we agree that the person making $250,000 per year can afford to pay more for his/her taxes, would these same nay-sayers want to reduce the tax burden to a flat rate that everyone pays, even if that means the poor pay a larger percentage than they do now?

    Net neutrality is a fiction imposed by government types to assuage their guilt over the fact that their constituents cannot afford to have internet without some form of government subsidy, either direct in the form of free cell phones or indirect in the form of restrictions on the providers.

    While Windows Secrets may be willing to allow its readers to peruse the newsletter without a payment, most publishers charge fees based on what the consumer is purchasing, whether it is a blog or a full newspaper or a book. And each of these "streams of information" has a different price. Why is the internet treated differently?
    Last edited by russoule; 2014-05-08 at 16:03.

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    Why isn't the solution "Correct the decision to classify the internet as an information service. Change the classification of the Internet to be a telecommunications service"? 15 years ago the decision was unclear. Now an internet connection is as necessary as a telephone for most business purposes, such as communicating with the government for submitting taxes. Give everyone a 3-year warning of the change. What would be the bad consequences? All pressure on the Net Neutrality debate should be directed to correcting this classification, not defining the word "unreasonable".
    Mark

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    In discussing quality of internet service, we probably need to distinguish between three types of internet speed:
    1) Upstream speed - the speed between the service and the Internet
    2) Midstream speed - the speed between the upstream connection and the downstream connection
    3) Downstream speed - the speed between the end user and the Internet

    As an enduser consumer, I have no control over #1 and #2. I will choose to pay whatever I can afford for #3, my connection to the Internet. But I want ALL my packets moving at the same downstream speed, unless I choose to implement QOS (quality of service) on my end, which I do to make sure my VOIP phone trumps all other use.

    I also hope that the webservice I am accessing (such as NetFlix) is paying enough for #1, his upstream speed. If not I will find another webservice to connect to. I expect that ALL packets have the same speed on the #1 leg as well.

    But the Net Neutrality debate is not about #1 or #3. It is about #2 - the speed with which the upstream and downstream connections are attached. As a consumer I have no control over this, other than being forced to pay a higher amount for a certain webservice, so they can pay for the fast lane.

    #2, the midstream speed should be considered a common good - everyone should get equal access to this resource. That is the only way small, innovative websites have any chance against big, established websites.

    If you believe that #2, the midsteam speed, should be allowed to change based on ability to pay for better quality, then the same should apply to telephone calls. You would then have perfectly clear reception to large corporations, and be barely able to hear your mother. That is the equivalent of losing the net neutrality debate.

    Mark

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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBC View Post
    In discussing quality of internet service, we probably need to distinguish between three types of internet speed:
    1) Upstream speed - the speed between the service and the Internet
    2) Midstream speed - the speed between the upstream connection and the downstream connection
    3) Downstream speed - the speed between the end user and the Internet

    As an enduser consumer, I have no control over #1 and #2. I will choose to pay whatever I can afford for #3, my connection to the Internet. But I want ALL my packets moving at the same downstream speed, unless I choose to implement QOS (quality of service) on my end, which I do to make sure my VOIP phone trumps all other use.

    I also hope that the webservice I am accessing (such as NetFlix) is paying enough for #1, his upstream speed. If not I will find another webservice to connect to. I expect that ALL packets have the same speed on the #1 leg as well.

    But the Net Neutrality debate is not about #1 or #3. It is about #2 - the speed with which the upstream and downstream connections are attached. As a consumer I have no control over this, other than being forced to pay a higher amount for a certain webservice, so they can pay for the fast lane.

    #2, the midstream speed should be considered a common good - everyone should get equal access to this resource. That is the only way small, innovative websites have any chance against big, established websites.

    If you believe that #2, the midsteam speed, should be allowed to change based on ability to pay for better quality, then the same should apply to telephone calls. You would then have perfectly clear reception to large corporations, and be barely able to hear your mother. That is the equivalent of losing the net neutrality debate.

    Mark
    That's a pretty good way to put things and describes what is at stake quite well. Thanks for that.
    Rui
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    Quote Originally Posted by russoule View Post
    ...But this article is strictly a political positioning article...
    This is got EVERYTHING to do with 'consumerism' more than politics but the two become almost inseparable. Because it is pitting the consumers against the interest of conglomerates, each with pursuits that are diametrically opposed.
    Oh yes! The mediator in the middle is supposed to be the civil servants that we pay for with our tax dollars. Unfortunately, consumers tax dollars are trumped by corporate donations.
    I may not agree with everything that the honorable Woody Leonhard may state but it goes without saying that this topic has been extremely well thought-out and very well explorered by him and we must all thank him for the gallant job that he has done in presenting it at a very level manner that he has been able to achieve.

    I had a professor that used to say "If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullsh*t".
    In the case of this extremely far reaching topic, which has implications for decades to come; the corporate honchos are attacking the consumers with the latter part of my professor's statement. Specifically, we (the consumers) have been so dazed-and-confused from so many angles with our telecommunication and entertainment needs (in the digital era of the 21st century) that we have practically given up the fight to defend our rights to privacy and freedoms, anymore. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day and 'they' know that we don't have the wherewithal to be able to fight them from every angle they keep throwing at us.
    For a simple summary (of what we are up against) you may want to watch this video!
    Last edited by pseudoid; 2014-05-08 at 20:16.

  12. #10
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    I think this will be nearly impossible to enact, it goes contrary to EU rules.
    Even if it became law in the US, they would then have to treat all EU traffic as outside that law.
    Then you have the laws in other areas & does it work in harmony with theirs.

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    Perhaps someone can help me with this. If I'm paying for a fast connection, would the slow lane be a percentage of that? And if I am paying for a slower speed, would the slow lane also be some percentage of that lesser speed? Either way, I was paying for a certain speed and now I am getting less overall. Seems like I'm getting ripped off.

    They are already getting paid on the consumer end for providing fast and slow service, so it makes no sense (besides the obvious that they can now get paid on both ends) to throttle speeds.

    As for the car analogy by the OP, I think it is a flawed analogy. If I want a more expensive car of course it will cost more to manufacture, but I am paying for that as a consumer. I think a better analogy would be one where manufacturers who are willing to pay a fee, their cars would be allowed to use the fast lanes on the freeway, while the rest would be relegated to the slow lanes.

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    A good article on this issue, with some info on the European scenario, as well: http://www.theatlantic.com/technolog...debate/361809/
    Rui
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    Broadly disagree with the perspective. Practically everything on the internet is unregulated and "free." All of that free stuff is underwritten by the content providers. Some content providers make greater use of the limited broadband than do others. The issue under "net neutrality" is whether those costs of limited broadband should continue to be underwritten by the biggest users - Google and Netflix - or whether (through the intervention of bureaucrats) those costs should be shifted to the end users, through higher fees to their Comcasts and Verizons. For me this is a no-brainer - make the providers continue to pay the load, and keep the bureaucrats out of the mix.

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    The car analogy is close. The broadband is a road, with limited capacity. The drivers pay a substantial amount for right to use the road, but the roads are going to have to be broadened, to accommodate the unexpected growth of the traffic. Currently the road owners have within their capacity the ability to make the drivers's destinations pay for all future costs of the road-widening. Net neutrality says, "no, those future costs should be borne entirely by the drivers, not by the people making money off the traffic."

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    A side-issue, the net neutrality is a distraction from a truly insidious element of the net - the geographical monopolies enjoyed by the ISPs. If we are to inflict more government onto ourselves, one potentially beneficial area would be to facilitate competition.

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