Government // Leadership
News
2/20/2014
09:06 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail

FCC: We're Not Done With Net Neutrality

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler challenges last month's court ruling, moves forward with plans to create a new version of rules promoting an open Internet.

US Air Force technicians splice fiber optic cable. (Source: Kenny Holston, Flickr)
US Air Force technicians splice fiber optic cable.
(Source: Kenny Holston, Flickr)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
asksqn
50%
50%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
2/21/2014 | 4:19:38 PM
Much Ado About Nothing
The FCC has traditionally been in the back pocket of the telcoes so all the noisemaking RE reclassification into common carrier is so much hot air to fool consumers into thinking Tom Wheeler will actually dare to interfere with the profit margins of VZ et al. Hint: He won't and biz as usual will continue.
jupiter
50%
50%
jupiter,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/21/2014 | 4:12:26 PM
Re: Smaller ISPs the future?
I think you're forgetting that companies like Verizon and Comcast already provide ISP services that are separate from their cable TV services. The ISP parts already function as you are suggesting that they should, which is that they are generic data pipes through which the consumers can choose their content providers. Plus, many consumers already live in markets where they have at least two ISPs to choose from.

I'm not sure how your suggestion that bandwidth costs be shared with content providers can be feasible -- you certainly wouldn't want the government dictating that -- or whether it will make any real difference to the consumers. In the end, all costs will be passed down to the consumers in some way, whether by the ISP or the content provider, such as Netflix. The main point is that FCC regulation is still needed because current market forces alone will not prevent companies like Verizon or Comcast from restricting consumers' online access to try to boost their cable TV businesses.
moarsauce123
0%
100%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
2/21/2014 | 7:43:04 AM
Re: Smaller ISPs the future?
The problem is that almost all ISPs are also content providers and / or have exclusive deals with content providers. It is typical business practice to favor yourself and your customers over competition. Best example is Netflix, direct competition to ISPs that are also TV providers and often have exclusive deals with Disney (ESPN) for distributing online content. Netflix uses more and more of the ISPs infrastructure without compensating the ISPs for their expense. One option would be for ISPs to roll that expense to the consumers, but higher prices or metered access is a no go.

One solution would be to follow the electricity market although there grid operators can still be selling content (electricity), but are not allowed to generate it. The goal is to have multiple ISPs marketing data connections to consumers. Consumers then can use that data connection to subscribe to any amount of services. Service providers are allowed access to any of the data networks, but have to pay for submitting data into the network. That means a small email service provider pays by far less overall as a big online video streaming service, but the cost per transferring 1 MB of data is the same for all. The streaming services and other big bandwidth consumers then need to model their pricing to match that expense. Further, discounts are given for short range distribution. If a content provider has the source close to the end user the data traffic can be routed predominantly over the local network segments if not even give direct access. That would help making distributing digital TV services less expensive, but the providers need to operate multiple regional service points. So a Netflix might need to run a number of data centers rather than one or two big ones to keep distribution cost down. That will then also give more incentives to ISPs to expand their networks, the more bandwidth they can offer the more services they can handle and get a quicker return on their investment.
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
2/20/2014 | 11:10:08 PM
Time for FCC to reclassify ISPs
It makes sense for the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as "common carriers."  If upheld, it would give the FCC a distinct set of regulatory tools to promote net neutrality and ensure the Internet stays free and open, something the White House supports.
Gary_EL
50%
50%
Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2014 | 11:04:17 PM
Re: Smaller ISPs the future?
Right Jupiter. And, even if they could get the money, where would they put the cable? There isn't any room left on that poor, overburdened telephone pole outside my window as it is.  My neighborhood already looks like the inside of a PC, with wires, cables, pipes, subway lines, gas mains and everything else even now. I believe internet infrastructure is every bit the "natural monopoly" that POTS (plain old telephone service) used to be. I still don't understand why internet service isn't defined as a common carrier.
marcelbrown
50%
50%
marcelbrown,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/20/2014 | 4:10:18 PM
Re: Smaller ISPs the future?
This is a problem brought about by government involvement. If cable companies didn't have legalized monopolies in their areas, then there could be a lot more competition. Imagine Comcast, Charter, Verizon, and whatever other companies exist that could compete across the country. Throw in the telcos that already compete with the cable companies, not to mention satellite providers (latency issues notwithstanding).

With healthier competition, I guarantee that neutrality would be a competitive factor. We don't need government to get involved in telling free market companies how to operate. While they use the excuse it's for the "good of the people", we are opening the door for further inteference in the future. Once they've stepped in for "net neutrality", who's to say they won't step in again for some other "crisis" that requires some cencorship like they do now for TV and radio? There goes true neutrality.

If you are at all concerned about net neutrality, the worst thing that can happen is for the government to get involved. Business is ultimately accountable to their customers. Big government is accountable to no one.
jupiter
50%
50%
jupiter,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/20/2014 | 12:54:22 PM
Re: Smaller ISPs the future?
But where would those startups get their cabling infrastructure? Unless they get the necessary billions of dollars from investors, the current ISPs can crush them in different ways before they can become financially viable companies.And which investors would be willing to pony up their billions knowing these risks? This is why we need FCC regulations NOW to ensure that the ISPs will not unfairly restrict their customers' internet access, rather than hope for a solution in startup competitors that may never come.
Whoopty
50%
50%
Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2014 | 10:16:44 AM
Smaller ISPs the future?
I get the feeling that with big ISPs rolling over on court ordered site blocks, implementing filters and looking to limit certain traffic, the market is ripe for some new, startup ISPs with a focus on customer satisifaction and (more importantly) protection of their rights. 
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.