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FCC Net Neutrality Flap: Fast Lanes Don't Scare Me
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fancycwabs
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fancycwabs,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2014 | 2:45:27 PM
Postal Service
You realize that the Postal Service charges more for the little guy than it does for the big players, right? Which is why it costs more to pay your bill with a check than it does to send the bill (or a mailbox full of junk) to you in the first place.
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.
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?
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?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/19/2014 | 7:27:02 PM
Re: Postal Service
My worry about antitrust law is that it only considers consumer harm. If telecom giant X owns video company Y and then decides to charge competing video company Z twice as much as it charges its own subsidiary, that may not trigger antitrust intervention.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2014 | 9:44:39 AM
Re: Postal Service
@Thomas, that is an excellent thought provoking example. My take is that telecom giant X is subsidizing its own subsidiary (company Y) because the market has demonstrated that company Z can sustain a service by paying higher for the telecom's infrastructure. If this continues, then I would imagine that shareholders would want to liquidate the subsidiary or allocate a higher cost to it, so that profits can be written to the parents company's account.
anon9675841497
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anon9675841497,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/20/2014 | 12:36:38 AM
Re: Postal Service
"That's a good point, but Netflix doesn't have to pay more -- it can stay with the standard baseline service."

That's a very strange way to look at it considering Netflix is (was) not buying service from Comcast, et all. I am paying (Verizon).

Please explain how me paying Verizon for 75 Mbps Internet service should require Netflix paying Verizon to deliver a 2 Mbps stream to me?
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2014 | 10:05:35 AM
Re: Postal Service
One scenario that comes to mind is that, the consumer should end up paying slightly lower for their 75MB connection and the differences would be picked by the video provider -- the video provider needs the consumer, not the other way around.
micjustin33
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micjustin33,
User Rank: Moderator
5/22/2014 | 7:12:36 AM
Re: Postal Service
I really need to read up on the whole Net Neutrality deal.  So far I've seen people's understanding range from cost neutrality, traffic neutrality, to alien invasions.  If it is traffic neutrality then wouldn't that pave the way to dropping QOS?  If it is cost neutrality then I have no idea what people are comparing it to.

This Short youtube Video also giving a concept of Net Neutrality and What should we do to save them..

Youtube Video:  What is Net Neutrality
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/20/2014 | 1:04:46 PM
Re: Postal Service
Netflix shouldn't have to pay *more* as they have already paid for their connection. And my ISP has already been well paid to deliver *whatever* data I pick, be it Netflix, a buddy's home video they are self-serving, or a zillion e-mails.

But, you do make a good point about trusting the FCC at all. However, at least with the ISPs classified as utilities, it becomes more obvious when the law is being broken... it isn't just this vague 'consumer's interest' stuff. But ultimately, no, so long as the FCC is in pay of lobbiests, we can't fully trust them. We'll need regulation on lobbying efforts to fix that, but that's a whole other broader problem.

And, we don't need more investment, we just need ISPs to actually invest in the infrastructure, rather than just pocketing obscene profits. For example, I pay my ISP over $80/mo and the amount of data I typically transfer (and I'm a fairly heavy user) costs them under $0.50, all costs included. They can take a bit of that $79.50 in profits and there should be plenty to re-invest.
ThouhtW
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ThouhtW,
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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,
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5/20/2014 | 9:24:27 AM
Re: Postal Service
The content providers aren't the customers of the network operators unless they choose to be. No one is forcing the content providers to pay up. And not all the network operators even want to get into the paid prioritization business. The CEO of Comcast has said he's not interested, because, he says, setting up these arrangements would be too complicated. 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/20/2014 | 1:10:28 PM
Re: Postal Service
And you actually believe that? Can you spell naive? How about hoodwinked? Sheesh, learn some critical thinking skills dude.

I wonder why they are fighting so hard to keep the regulation in a state of allowing them to do so? Hmm... Oh, yea, I forgot, the poor ISPs are just struggling to survive, given the evil users that just use *so* much data they can't take it any longer. Their networks are going to break under the load, and they just have no money to improve them unless, maybe they could trick us all into given them a few hundred more billion in tax incentives? Yea, that might work. ;)
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
5/21/2014 | 1:10:30 PM
Re: Postal Service
Come on, stevew98. You question my critical thinking? I can't even follow your argument. You "wonder why they are fighting so hard to keep the regulation in a state of allowing them to do so"? What does that even mean? The network operators want more freedom to create fast lanes because they want to make money from them. Plain and simple. No one is being duped here. It's quite transparent. Regulation of those operators still exists. The FCC, which was the overseer of net neutrality, has said it will ensure that baseline service is preserved. If carriers look to slow down the traffic of certain content providers or competitors, the FCC is sill there to make sure that doesn't happen. Should it happen anyway under the FCC's watch, there's the hue and cry of the public to also keep the carriers in check. No one is saying the operators can do as they please.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 3:55:42 AM
Re: Postal Service
OK, so lets take a look at what you said.... re: "The content providers aren't the customers of the network operators unless they choose to be. No one is forcing the content providers to pay up."

Like with a gun to the head? I suppose not, but that kind of misses the point. When Guido comes down to your deli, you can opt out of paying the 'protection fee' but you might end up with broken knees too. You end up with one content provider able to pay, and another not able to pay. What do you think might be the outcome of that?

re: "The CEO of Comcast has said he's not interested, because, he says, setting up these arrangements would be too complicated." I could have sworn Netflix paid Comcast for some fast lanes already... maybe it was their evil twin Domcast?

re: "The network operators want more freedom to create fast lanes because they want to make money from them." Duh! What's in question here is whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, whether you've enough foresight to see the outcomes, and if you've enough critical thinking skills to see through their propaganda.

re: "The FCC, which was the overseer of net neutrality, has said it will ensure that baseline service is preserved." You mean the non-existent net-neutrality they oversaw? You mean the same FCC that doesn't have the guts to reclassify the Internet? The same FCC that will allow for 'commercially reasonable' traffic management? The same FCC who is going to guarantee a 'baseline' performance. Critical thinking skills here dude! Did you possibly buy that whole thing about Eich being forced out because Mozilla supports 'diversity.' Hey, I've got a bridge for sale... no really... ;)

re: "If carriers look to slow down the traffic of certain content providers or competitors, the FCC is sill there to make sure that doesn't happen." And, of course we trust them because of their previously excellent track record, and lack of government corruption from lobbying. Yup.

re: "Should it happen anyway under the FCC's watch, there's the hue and cry of the public to also keep the carriers in check." Because the government listens to the people. ;) Do you want me to dig up that study released a few days back about the USA government essentially being an oligarchy?

re: "No one is saying the operators can do as they please." Oh, of course not, they'll have to pay the right people some money for that to happen.... Um, earth to Rob, they've already been doing that for decades!
AmmarNaeem
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AmmarNaeem,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2014 | 6:01:47 AM
Re: Postal Service
The FCC is a commissioned body that creates rules on how various industries (such as telecom) operate.

An ISP provides internet services to users via cable or wireless connections. A content provider is anyone who has a website that delivers content to internet users.

Net neutrality is when an ISP treats all content on the internet neutrally, and does not prioritize one over the other.

Not sure why everybody is hyped up about Net Neutrality and how it affects you? Here is a rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly about Net Neutrality.

Source: The Truth about Net Neutrality & How it affects YOU
dan.euritt
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dan.euritt,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/25/2014 | 1:23:49 AM
Re: Postal Service
Comparing net neutrality to post office rates doesn't work, because the post office only increases the price for people who actually want to pay for, and receive, faster delivery.

Unlike the post office, companies like Netflix don't have tiered pricing structures that are based on CDN speeds; customers all pay the same prices, regardless of who they get their Internet service from.

Netflix isn't about to pay for faster delivery pipes out of their own pocket, they'll just raise the monthly fee that all customers pay. That means that if I don't use Comcast as an internet provider, I'm paying Netflix for faster pipes that I'm not using.

Why should I pay Netflix to give better streaming service to Comcast customers? That's like asking me to pay the post office for your overnight delivery letter.

The only way that this can be fixed is by instituting laws that protect the customer. Claiming that the FCC is going to keep things fair because people are complaining is like saying that there is no need to have laws against theft, because victim complaints are enough to guarantee that thieves will go to jail.
Brian.Dean
IW Pick
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2014 | 9:14:35 AM
Re: Postal Service
That's a very real factor that plays out in the real world, but it is because of economies of scale -- retailers get a lower price on products because they buy in quantity and if a customer begins to buy products in frequent intervals, then they too get discounts, an example that comes to mind is Amazon's premium accounts that offer discounts on shipping to frequent buyers.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2014 | 7:33:56 AM
Re: Postal Service
The Postal Service may foolishly discount junk mail, but this discussion isn't so much about content, but about speed of delivery and in that case the Postal Service delivers a standard letter as fast as junk mail AND that at a guaranteed speed!!! That is the sole point of debate here because ISPs could do absolutely nothing as far as network investment goes, but sell 'fast lanes' that are not faster than what we have today, but in order to justify it slow everything else down intentionally. ISPs and network giants will not create fast lanes. What they will do is create slow lanes and then jack up the price for what we have today already.

The problem with Wheeler's big business friendly proposal is that there are no protections for current service levels. That aside, is the status quo broken? Would there be a discussion if instead of two or three big players generating half of the traffic a few dozen would do so?

How about entry to market? If big bubbas like Google or Netflix can pay to basically keep any competition out how does that jive with open markets and level playing fields?

Lastly, why do consumers, ISPs, and content providers in Europe not have this 'problem'? How come that you can get Gigabit fiber in Romania for 15$ a month? Or the same for not that much more in Germany, but tremendously less than slowpoke service in the US? The reason is that the formerly government owned telcos were forced to sell their services to anyone and charge each the same price. Service providers know what their access fee will be and can model their business based on that. Also, entry to market is much easier. As far as the telcos goes, the more providers the better because they each have to pay and the more bandwidth available the more providers can join in. The telco itself can offer services as well, but preferring its own service over others is not only illegal, it is strictly controlled.

The US Internet/Phone/TV market is totally destroyed because we have very few players and they do everything from content creation, to major networking, and the last mile. That needs to be broken up. Either you create content, you run major networks, or you do the last mile, but only one of these things. This is how the US electricity market was set up and it includes strict controls for at least one provider. The local and regional power companies are no longer allowed to generate electricity, the major distribution network is run independently, and producers can access both and sell their service to consumers. It is an effective scheme and it does not allow for cutting one short while benefiting the other. The result is that electricity in the US is fairly cheap.

Whatever it will be, any provider and consumer has to be charged the same price for the same service and that service has to come with guaranteed quality. That is not too much to ask, especially not when companies like AT&T can easily pony up 50 billion to buy another company. Yet we are left to believe they cannot invest just one billion into making its networks better???

Speaking of which...satelite TV market in the US is broken as well. Look at Europe, the content providers (TV stations) pay the bill and consumers only need to pay for the equipment. Over 600 TV channels and thousands of radio channels for basically free in top quality via the Astra / Eutelsat systems...wow, THAT is service...not that cheapo DirecTV dish that stops working when a bird flies by.

 
geofspkr
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geofspkr,
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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.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/20/2014 | 1:13:03 PM
Re: Really?
I think many are fooled by the term free-market. Free doesn't mean 'anything goes.' Free means free from forces which unbalance the system. You need properly regulation to acheive that, given human nature.
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.
Einstein Jr.
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Einstein Jr.,
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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.
aredditor
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aredditor,
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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.

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. 
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.
JohnM818
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JohnM818,
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5/19/2014 | 3:40:16 PM
Network 'Providers' are Unnecessary
The problem I have with the advocates of fast lanes is that the people advocating them have mainly one interest: To use something that they didn't build to extort money from those who did. The so called 'providers' have wedged their businesses between the end users and organizations to act like turnstiles to something they don't own. And they count on users to not question it. But why? Infrastructure could just as easily allow an open, first come, first serve traffic operation like that enjoyed by billions of users of roads and bridges. They get away with avoiding such an infrastructure because the users play along by (in the words of Neil Young) "singing songs for pimps with tailors who charge ten dollars at the door...for the turnstiles." ISPs are a useless commodity that the users don't need. They just have not yet realized that Net Neutrality isn't just possible, it's good...and it's the natural order of things. 
datadoctor
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datadoctor,
User Rank: Strategist
5/19/2014 | 3:44:40 PM
Re: Network 'Providers' are Unnecessary
The highway metphor would go something like this: You get on the highway and pay a toll - if you drive free you can drive 40mph, if you pay $10, you can drive 55mph, and if you pay $45 you can drive 95mph.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/20/2014 | 1:51:49 PM
Re: Network 'Providers' are Unnecessary
It's actually worse than that. It's more like, you pay $1000/month to drive on the freeway, which is a lot of money, but hey, you need to travel. And, quite possibly, you have to commute to work and buy groceries as well. You wish you could find a route that was a bit cheaper and with less potholes, but HighwayCo owns all the roads, and has little incentive to fix the potholes. Cost analysis has shown that it only costs HighwayCo about $5-$10 to let you drive on their roads, but they constantly complain that if you want better roads, they need more money to invest.

Then a new thing starts to happen. HighwayCo decides it might be a good idea if they could get the cities you travel to to chip in on the roads, so they can afford to improve them. Chicago and LA have some money, and while they don't really want to pay HighwayCo, they need to get people to their cities to work and buy things. So, they start paying HighwayCo extra to fix some potholes on those routes. Fort Bend and Modesto, on the other hand, can't really afford to pay HighwayCo, so the roads keep deteriorating.

The HTC (Highway Travel Commission) has been getting pressure to reclassify highways to be handled more like utilities, as they realize everyone needs them including the drivers and the cities, but there is a lot of monetary pressure to just tweak the rules a bit and hopefully fool the people into believeing that a tiered solution that leaves HighwayCo with no competion is the best solution. So, to try and placate the people, they make a rule that it's OK for HighwayCo to continue to improve routes to Chicago and LA, so long as they provide a 'reasonable' service to Fort Bend and Modesto as well. Pot holes really aren't all that unreasonable though, as people can always buy 4x4s. They might fix a really bad one here and there. And, they won't ever really widen those roads, and probably won't mow the ditches. And, they do put some money into improving the roads to Chicago and LA, even though it's a tiny percentage, it looks like progress (especially compared to Fort Bend and Modesto).

But HighwayCo doesn't just do roads. They are trying to start their own city, HighwayTown. They have realized that they can make even more money if they control both the highways and the destination. They keep raising the prices to fix and improve the roads, while they make a spectacular road to HighwayTown.

This trend continues, as the road to HighwayTown starts to make the roads to Chicago and LA seem poor. And, hardly anyone goes to Fort Bend and Modesto anymore as it's pretty risky and you take damage to your vehicle. But, hey, the roads are still there, as promised. They did fix a huge pothole that caused a 20 car pile-up outside Modesto a few weeks back, good-ol' HighwayCo.... always taking care of their customers.

The next year, DrEvil came to power in the country to establish his EvilKindgom. LA went along with the plan, but Chicago was quite opposed to DrEvil's plan. DrEvil had a solution though. He gave HighwayCo a tax incentive far greater than Chicago was paying to keep their medium level roads. HighwayCo stopped improving the roads to Chicago, so they drifted towards the state of the roads of Modesto and South Bend. Fortunately the HTC had that little line in place that they *had* to provide a minimal level of roads... so Chicago at least knew people *could* get there if they absolutely needed to. Pshew! But most people went to HighwayTown and some even still went to LA. Chicago also became a ghost-town over time, and had little influence on DrEvil's plans any longer.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 7:42:55 PM
We have the tools...
We have independent Internet monitoring services with different areas of focus. Compuware and Cedexis are capable of measuring ongoing performance of particular sites; AppNeta can measure performance of individual Internet network segments. AppDynamics and New Relic can measure specific app performance over the Web. With such tools, the FCC should be able to monitor that there's no deterioration of general traffic lanes as fast lanes get implemented.
Nahla77
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Nahla77,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/13/2014 | 1:45:47 AM
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