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FCC Net Neutrality Flap: Fast Lanes Don't Scare Me
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datadoctor
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datadoctor,
User Rank: Strategist
5/19/2014 | 3:33:09 PM
Monopoly doesn't pay to break speed limits
I don't believe that multi-tiered service levels for content providers will necessarily mean innovation and faster internet speeds. Telecom providers that manage our backbone internet services are virtual monopolies. I don't know of a single market where there are more than two choices of provider, playing a back-and-forth game of raising prices and giving low rates to those who switch. In our market the two providers are also the biggest provider of content, because they deliver television as well as internet service. As television and internet services merge into "on-demand" content, there is surely an incentive to speed up the telecom's internal network. If telecom provider content streams better, than why would you subscribe to anyone else's service. The owners of the pipes get the upgraded service for free, and the idea of free market competition goes out the window. It's bad enough already - this is just one way to shut independent competitors out of the market. The only possible challenger is Google, who is buying up fiber to offer true high-speed internet which magically comes without speed checks for content providers.

If telecoms provide a true, alternate network for high-speed delivery than they can probably avoid regulation, because it will operate as a separate service. As a technician, I know that to tier service, you must set specific speed caps for your pipes, and tiers are typically described by the telecoms as "up to" such-and-such a speed. The FCC will have a great deal of difficulty regulating the speed of the slow lane, but would have much less difficulty maintaining a level playing field for content providers, where any slow-downs would be a violation.

Let's say the Federal government steps in to break up the telecom / cable monopolies, separating content from delivery - then we might see true competition and fair markets - but who expects any anti-monopoly action these days? There's too much money to be made raking the consumer over the coals for the slowest internet on the block.
tbuds
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tbuds,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 3:26:48 PM
Re: Postal Service
The problem is who will set the baseline service standard? Internet speeds are already listed as "up to XMbps" so they can justify their slower speeds. Do you think it will be hard for them to "justify" even slower speeds?
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 3:25:46 PM
Encourage munis
I'd be more comfortable with allowing pay for priority if the FCC also made it easier for municipalities to stand up services -- and lo and behold, that seems to be happening: http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/state-laws-that-ban-municipal-internet-will-be-invalidated-fcc-chair-says/

"In a footnote, Silberman wrote that "[a]n example of a paradigmatic barrier to infrastructure investment would be state laws that prohibit municipalities from creating their own broadband infrastructure to compete against private companies."

 The Internet is infrastructure. Let's treat it as such. 
ThouhtW
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ThouhtW,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 3:20:20 PM
Re: Postal Service
Exactly! The argumet he is making is that the content providers are somehow the customers of the ISPs and that's not correct! We are already paying through the nose to get high speed access to the internet. What they want to do is make us pay for high speed access to their, practically worthless (by itself) network and then for the people on the other end to have to pay for high speed access so we can connect to them. That, quite frankly, is BS.

IF my ISP wants to cut my service charges to a quater of what I'm paying now or wants to offer my end for free, I'm all ears about what they're doing but I as the paying customer locked into a near monopoly ISP in my area should be able to get the full speed access that I'm paying for for EVERY site passing through the ISPs systems. If they aren't offering the full bandwith I'm paying for to all of the content i'm requesting, they're screwing me as their direct paying customer over which is the whole issue with fast lanes...

The ONLY way I see this as being a legitimate offer is that if I'm paying for 5mbs and someone like Netflix or Google wants to pay more so that their streams can come through at a rate higher than I'm paying for - maybe guaranteed 10mbs, for instance.

Since it's mostly cable providers, I'll provide another anology that make more sense. Right now, cable companies like Comcast pay network TV provders as well as cable channel providers to send their singals to me. What you are proposing would be the equvelant of them charging ESPN as well as me to get that ESPN content. Maybe that business model would work out for ESPN if they had 100% control over selling and profiting from all advertising on their channel but I doubt it... Now when you consider that I pay almost as much for internet access as standard cable and for all practical intents and purposes, the internet service they are providing me function mustly as dumb pipes, I see no reason they should be getting a bigger slice of anything.

 

 
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 3:13:23 PM
Re: Postal Service
That's a good point, but Netflix doesn't have to pay more -- it can stay with the standard baseline service. Under the most recent FCC regs, the carriers must provide the same level of baseline service as they have been--the FCC has said it won't abide a degradation of service. If we don't trust the FCC to enforce that stipulation, why would we trust the FCC to enforce net neutrality?
aredditor
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aredditor,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 3:11:45 PM
Airline companies... poor analogy

The airlines charge customers more for classes of service that usher them through check-in, security, and boarding faster.

Airlines today degrade "economy" class seats by reducing legroom and seat width, skipping meals, and adding baggage fees. Then they crowd out "economy" seats with "economy plus" seats that, for a price, restore a few of economy's old conveniences.

And they do this while (occasionally) facing competition for major destinations! Improvements in their service quality is somewhat driven by competition. ISPs have no such problem - in most towns it's one broadband provider or nothing, and so companies like Comcast can use their captive subscribers as bargaining chips.

Einstein Jr.
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Einstein Jr.,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 3:11:34 PM
the corruption of the net and first amend for profit
 Youve got to be kidding...your argument is precisely what the argument against the FCC's proposals isall about. With all the billions that have been reaped from the net you think it NEEDS to be exploited further?I would argue that the infrastructure needs updating in that bandwidth should be well increased for all.That would of course need to happen in time and now. And that should satisfy all. But to prioritize trafficfor what would ultimately be for sheer profit sets not only a dangerous precident but in and of itself is selfishwill not help the broad spectrum of net users and further corrupts freedom of speech as it applies to the net whether or not you understand that. Are you suggesting specifically that this corruption is the only way to upgrade the net? You sound as if we sudddenly need fast lanes. The net has done just fine so far and will continue to as a free unencunbered entity as it is.
tbuds
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tbuds,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 3:06:06 PM
Slow already!
Your argument that "That's only a problem if the supplier degrades baseline service" doesn't hold any water when the US basically already has the slowest internet speeds of any industrialized nation on earth! Isn't it funny when Google Fiber comes in to a new town with faster internet and then companies like ATT and Comcast can "magically" compete with faster speeds all of a sudden? We're already paying for the slow lane and now the ISPs want to double dip.
miteycasey
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miteycasey,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 3:03:00 PM
Re: Postal Service
To use your USPS example I already pay the delivery company extra. I pay for 20Mbs instead of 5Mbs for the exta speedy service.

For my ISP to charge Netflix as well that's like me paying the USPS to send the mail AND the USPS charging the reciver to recive the mail. They want to charge the send and reciever.
geofspkr
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geofspkr,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 2:57:26 PM
Really?
While I can understand it, your view that "Overregulation is a pervasive problem for businesses"  only goes so far. All you have to do is look at the airline industry and see what underregulation has done for us all. I'm for a free market economy as much as the next businessman but with what is basically a utility that so many rely on  already I am unable to be so trusting.
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