Killing Net Neutrality Will Be A Death Blow For Innovation Or Something

Which is why all the really big tech/Internet companies who already have all their own power and stuff really, really want to keep Net Neutrality around. This comes from the insane people at Salon who are oh-so-supportive of the free market, you know

Killing net neutrality is a death blow for innovation

On Cyber Monday more than 200 internet companies and businesses including Twitter, Reddit, AirBnB and Tumblr sent a letter to the FCC imploring them to keep net neutrality intact. It stated, “An internet without net neutrality protections would be the opposite of the open market, with a few powerful cable and phone companies picking winners and losers instead of consumers.” This followed Pai’s release of a plan to kill the Obama era rules if he gets the support of the rest of the commission in a vote that is scheduled for December 14.

Net neutrality is an attempt to keep the internet on a level playing field. Without the rules, advocates worry that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) will use tricks like paid prioritization, charging websites and companies more for speed and essentially creating fast and slow lanes online.

And, that’s pretty much their entire case. Which is surprising, since Salon articles tend to go on and on and on and on and on. But, then, Lefties have been given their marching orders, so, they really do not need any pesky details. Just slogans to screech in the streets and on Facebook and Twitter.

There’s really just one question they need to answer: how did the Internet innovate all those years prior to 2015, when there was no NN?

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27 Responses to “Killing Net Neutrality Will Be A Death Blow For Innovation Or Something”

  1. Zachriel says:

    William Teach: There’s really just one question they need to answer: how did the Internet innovate all those years prior to 2015, when there was no NN?

    There has been net neutrality since the inception of the Internet. Vertical integration and consolidation has led to a situation where a few players can now exert undue control. For instance, your ISP might bundle Netflix with your Internet package, slow or block feeds from competitors, and therefore stifle up-start businesses.

    • Except, the current form of NN as passed by the unelected, un-accountable FCC in 2015 will protect the big players at the expense of start ups.

      Let me ask: do you pay for using more electricity and water? If you’re using 5x more water than your neighbor, should you pay more? Or pay the same?

      • Zachriel says:

        William Teach: If you’re using 5x more water than your neighbor, should you pay more? Or pay the same?

        This is a common misconception of net neutrality. Under net neutrality, ISPs can charge for the amount or speed of data. It just can’t discriminate on the source or content of that data. If you want to browse CNN or that upstart Pirate’s Cove, it’s none of your ISP’s business.

        Given your previous misunderstanding of the issue, do you now modify your position?

        • gitarcarver says:

          The misconception is yours, Zach.

          ISP’s can, do and arguably should charge for different sites right now with the regulations in place.

          Right now AT&T gives you access to DirectTV on your phone without charging you for the data. T-Mobile’s Binge service allows access to YouTube, Netflix, HBO NOW, and many more without being charged for the data used.

          In both cases, there are different rates being charged for different sites being visited.

          Also, ISP’s already give faster speeds to the biggest and most popular sites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube etc. They not only give different speeds, but in some cases actually provide and maintain the servers for the sites in order to give their customers the fastest access to those sites.

          Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already ruled that the internet is a “information service” and not a “telecommunications service” which means the FCC has no control over the internet. In fact two previous versions of “net neutrality” bills have been struck down by courts and the only reason the current version has not been struck down is that the FCC has been promising to remove the regulation.

          Finally, since 2005 and 2015 (when the Net Neutrality regulations were introduced) speeds on the internet grew by 1150% while prices remained flat when adjusted for inflation. At the same time, penetration of broadband into US homes increased from 30% to 80%.

          Why? Because when companies are left to innovate and compete, consumers benefit.

          All this time the internet was fine and under Obama, the government stepped in and created a solution that doesn’t work for a problem that doesn’t exist.

          • drowningpuppies says:

            Thanks Git.

            The slow pace of innovation wasn’t just the result of AT&T being a big, complacent, government-protected monopoly. It was specifically a result of the proto-“net neutrality” requirements of universality and equality. AT&T couldn’t introduce a new service unless it could introduce it for everyone, equally.

            http://thefederalist.com/2017/11/29/atts-monopoly-offers-cautionary-tale-net-neutrality/

          • Zachriel says:

            gitarcarver: Right now AT&T gives you access to DirectTV on your phone without charging you for the data.

            The FCC found that AT&T is in violation of FCC net neutrality rules. However, with the election of Trump, may have become a moot issue. The revocation of net neutrality rules will probably lead to court.

            It does give you an idea of a world without net neutrality. Services will be bundled like cable, and upstarts will be seriously disadvantaged.

            gitarcarver: the Supreme Court has already ruled that the internet is a “information service” and not a “telecommunications service” which means the FCC has no control over the internet.

            The DC Circuit Court upheld the FCC’s net neutrality rules. It is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court.

            gitarcarver: Finally, since 2005 and 2015 …

            The Internet has been largely neutral with regards to content until recently. Your ISP didn’t intrude into your decision to browse Pirate’s Cove rather than CNN.

          • gitarcarver says:

            The FCC found that AT&T is in violation of FCC net neutrality rules. However, with the election of Trump, may have become a moot issue. The revocation of net neutrality rules will probably lead to court.

            It’s a preliminary finding Zach. However, it does show that companies want to be able to provide services for customers without government regulations.

            It also shows the fallacy of the FCC’s argument. In saying AT&T may be outside of the rules, the FCC offered that if customers had to pay for the data used in the DirectTV service, it would cost them more and therefore it is illegal.

            In other words, the FCC and since you agree, you, believe that tree things are horrible. By definition, if you get something for free, you aren’t paying for it yet the FCC based its (wrongful) decision on the idea that you are paying for it.

            It does give you an idea of a world without net neutrality. Services will be bundled like cable, and upstarts will be seriously disadvantaged.

            You have it backwards. Net neutrality is akin to bundled services where people must pay for access to sites even if they don’t use those sites and have no desire to use them. The current system allows ala carte shopping which lower costs to consumers.

            Furthermore, you may be correct when you say that “services will be bundled like cable.” That’s what net neutrality does – it bundles all the internet together rather than allowing consumers make choices of what they want ala carte.

            As for upstarts being severely disadvantaged, you must be joking, What if a new company wanted to give you super fast access to three of your favorite sites (because of deals with the content providers) and then offer slower speeds for other data. The price for that service would be lower and yet you think it is right that it be illegal.

            The Internet has been largely neutral with regards to content until recently.

            That’s just not true Zach. In the early days of the internet ISP’s slowed data transmission rates to certain sites.

            Your ISP didn’t intrude into your decision to browse Pirate’s Cove rather than CNN.

            How is it an intrusion if I can pick the sites I want to visit and the ISP supports my choices?

            Of course, you still don’t address how the internet was built out, increased speed and options without the regulations. In fact, some studies show that since the regulations went into effect, investment into the infrastructure of the internet has dropped by 5%. Government regulations hurt consumers and always have.

            Finally, please explain this anomaly.

            Companies like NetFlix are for the net neutrality rules yet they themselves offer different pricing tiers for the level of service provided. (higher prices for higher resolutions.) They offer the reason for the pricing difference is the strain on their servers is greater with HD and Ultra HD data.

            That’s the exact same reason why ISP’s want to be able to offer ala carte services for customers. If I don’t want or need Netflix, please explain why the ISP cannot be allowed to do the same thing NetFlix is by charging more for more speed and higher data rates?

            Why should the content provide be able to charge more for a service but the ISP not be able to do the same?

          • Zachriel says:

            Please see reply below.

  2. david7134 says:

    Z,
    So why don’t you enlighten us as to what net neutrality is, with the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal?

    • Zachriel says:

      Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”

      As noted, net neutrality has been the basis of the Internet since its inception. If you wanted to browse CNN or Pirate’s Cove, your ISP would deliver the product regardless of the source or content. Vertical integration has led to some abuses, such as Comcast throttling of P2P applications, or other ISPs throttling competitors to their own products. The FCC addressed this problem by reclassifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II.

      Net neutrality is important, but the reclassification allows for broad regulatory authority. The FCC promised to use a light regulatory touch under Title II, but this has led to uncertainty in the industry.

      As we noted on another forum, there are pluses and minuses to regulation. Too broad of regulation could stifle innovation. Regulation, if any, should be consistently applied and predictable over time. By classifying the Internet under Title II, the result may be to create an unstable regulatory environment. Legislation to address the issue would be best, but the U.S. legislative process has been dysfunctional for quite some time.

      • drowningpuppies says:

        Legislation to address the issue would be best, but the U.S. legislative process has been dysfunctional for quite some time.

        Yep, ever since they did such a bangup job with Obamacare.

  3. david7134 says:

    Z,
    As I understand it, there is a net neutrality bill before congress, that is what I am referring to. You addressed the utopia of internet, which is fine, but to hope that the FCC does something is dreaming. So what is the bill?

    • Zachriel says:

      david7134: As I understand it, there is a net neutrality bill before congress, that is what I am referring to.

      There’s been a number of proposals, some to preserve net neutrality, and some to end FCC regulations that require net neutrality. None of them ever got very far due to the current highly partisan makeup of the U.S. legislature.

      david7134: to hope that the FCC does something is dreaming

      Actually, the FCC implemented rules to preserve net neutrality. Now, the FCC is probably going to revoke those rules. They are preserving the requirement for transparency, but that will most likely be as useful as the “click to agree” forms that no one reads. The problem isn’t that the FCC doesn’t “do something”, but that there is no consistency, a requirement for long-term investment in infrastructure.

  4. rotterdam says:

    Net neutrality does not exist. Most of the internet providers throttle the internet usage while claiming they do not do so.

    A classic example of this is every cell phone company that makes you pay exorbitant fees to use your phone because people are stupid enough to pay this. Secondly almost every provider throttles you at 22 GB. I would argue that even unlimited plans are being throttled.

    It is not uncommon to see speeds slow way down the more usuage you use not to mention peak hour rolling windows in which demand exceeds supply and thus even cable and DSL companies do not treat people equally.

    • Zachriel says:

      rotterdam: almost every provider throttles you at 22 GB. I would argue that even unlimited plans are being throttled.

      While a related problem, that is not an issue of net neutrality, as long as the throttling does not discriminate on the source or content of the data. However, the lack of transparency concerning throttling is a problem that also should be addressed.

      • david7134 says:

        Z,
        But you said the FCC had control of the situation.

        • Zachriel says:

          david7134: But you said the FCC had control of the situation.

          david7134: to hope that the FCC does something is dreaming

          Zachriel: Actually, the FCC implemented rules to preserve net neutrality. Now, the FCC is probably going to revoke those rules. They are preserving the requirement for transparency, but that will most likely be as useful as the “click to agree” forms that no one reads. The problem isn’t that the FCC doesn’t “do something”, but that there is no consistency, a requirement for long-term investment in infrastructure.

          • david7134 says:

            But then in your statement above you said the FCC would decide issues independent of law. Please, help me understand.

  5. Zachriel says:

    gitarcarver: However, it does show that companies want to be able to provide services for customers without government regulations.

    Of course they do. That’s how they make money.

    gitarcarver: In saying AT&T may be outside of the rules, the FCC offered that if customers had to pay for the data used in the DirectTV service, it would cost them more and therefore it is illegal.

    By providing preferences to DirecTV, AT&T effectively stifles competition to DirecTV. In other words, your ISP gives preference to CNN, but makes Pirate’s Cove hard to view.

    gitarcarver: you aren’t paying for it yet the FCC based its (wrongful) decision on the idea that you are paying for it.

    Of course you’re paying for it. It’s a bundle price, and effectively stifles competitors to DirecTV.

    Him: Let’s try out that new Pirate’s Cove service!
    Her: We might have to pay extra for data. Let’s stick with CNN.
    Him: I read Pirate’s Cove has some great new content. Let’s get it a try …

    Her: It’s glitchy. And we have to pay extra!
    Him: Sorry, Honey. Guess you were right. We’ll just stick with CNN then.

    gitarcarver: it bundles all the internet together rather than allowing consumers make choices of what they want ala carte.

    No. It means you put in the web address or app, and the ISP delivers the product without regard to source or content. Without net neutrality, AT&T decides that DirecTV will be your preferred provider.

    gitarcarver: some studies show that since the regulations went into effect, investment into the infrastructure of the internet has dropped by 5%.

    That’s not accurate. Investment has actually increased since the FCC reclassified broadband under Title II, and major players say they will continue to invest regardless of what happens with net neutrality. However, a stable regulatory environment would be conducive to long-term planning.

    gitarcarver: Companies like NetFlix are for the net neutrality rules yet they themselves offer different pricing tiers for the level of service provided.

    That’s consistent with net neutrality. You don’t seem to understand the subject.

  6. gitarcarver says:

    Of course they do. That’s how they make money.

    Clearly you don’\t understand the market Choices, innovation, and meeting consumers needs is a better driver of the market than one size fits all.

    If you think Net Neutrality is so great, why not push the government to mandate the design of cars? Why not require all cars to be the same? No compact cars, no mid sized, no luxury cars, no SUV’s, etc. One car for all. Period.

    People would revolt and yet the “one size fits all” is exactly what net neutrality is.

    By providing preferences to DirecTV, AT&T effectively stifles competition to DirecTV.

    Of course it doesn’t. What it does is offer consumers choices and allows competition within the marketplace.

    Is it really your silly contention that if AT&T offers something that doesn’t meet a consumer’s needs, that the consumer is forced to go with AT&T?

    In other words, your ISP gives preference to CNN, but makes Pirate’s Cove hard to view.

    I just want to make sure that I understand your lack of logic here. Providing a free service to someone makes it harder to view other sites? Is that really where you are going?

    Secondly, what if I don’t want access to CNN? If the company says “CNN is a data hog and if you don’t use it, you won’t get charged as much,” how is that a bad thing?

    Of course you’re paying for it. It’s a bundle price, and effectively stifles competitors to DirecTV.

    Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that other ISP’s were unable to make deals with DirecTV or other services. Silly me.

    Secondly, “net neutrality” is the epitome of a “bundled price.” People have to pay for everything whether they want it or need it. Ala carte selection and choices within the market allows for competition and lower prices for consumers.

    Which leads to the question, “why are you for higher pricing and less competition?”.

    Without net neutrality, AT&T decides that DirecTV will be your preferred provider.

    Factually false. If I have AT&T, I still have the option of using their servers to look at other sites. If I don’t like AT&T’s offer of DirecTV but do like the idea of T-Mobile’s Binge service, why can’t I choose to go that route if I want?

    Oh nevermind.

    I can’t go that route because you and regulators want to say that choice in the marketplace is bad and hurts consumers when the exact opposite is true.

    AT&T isn’t deciding anything.

    I am deciding and you and people of your ilk hate that.

    Please enlighten us all as to why an ISP that blocked access to Hulu, Netflix, etc would be bad for consumers like my mother who never visits those sites and therefore such a plan would offer her lower prices while meeting her needs?

    Please explain to us all how companies actually meeting the needs of customers rather than saying one size fits all is a bad thing?

    That’s not accurate.

    It is accurate. Perhaps you don’t understand that dropping investment levels by 5% means that companies are still investing, just at a lower pace / rate.

    However, a stable regulatory environment would be conducive to long-term planning.

    That would be the stable regulatory environment without net neutrality, right?

    Maybe you can try to figure out which is more stable: no regulations, or allowing the government to shift regulations from time to time at the whim of a small group of unelected people?

    That’s consistent with net neutrality. You don’t seem to understand the subject.

    No, you are missing the point. Companies like NetFlix want to have tiered pricing for their offerings but are against the companies who carry their offerings from having the same tiered pricing structure. Even you should see the hypocrisy there.

    But you won’t. .

    • Zachriel says:

      gitarcaver: If you think Net Neutrality is so great, why not push the government to mandate the design of cars?

      That makes no sense at all. There is nothing in net neutrality that says ISPs can’t charge for larger bandwidths or data usage.

      gitarcaver: Is it really your silly contention that if AT&T offers something that doesn’t meet a consumer’s needs, that the consumer is forced to go with AT&T?

      There’s a great deal of consolidation within the ISP market, as well as vertical integration.

      gitarcaver: Providing a free service to someone makes it harder to view other sites?

      First, it’s not free, but bundled. And it is obviously correct that providing CNN in the bundle, and charging extra for the upstart Pirate’s Cove makes it much more difficult for the upstart. Furthermore, upstarts would have to try and make deals with each ISP, and probably doesn’t have the ability to pay what the established players do.

      gitarcaver: Secondly, what if I don’t want access to CNN?

      With net neutrality, just don’t go there. However, if your ISP is bundling CNN, then you are paying for it whether you want it or not — just like cable.

      gitarcaver: I didn’t realize that other ISP’s were unable to make deals with DirecTV or other services.

      Under net neutrality, the ISP has to treat all traffic the same. If the user wants CNN or Pirate’s Cove, it is none of the ISP’s business.

      gitarcaver: People have to pay for everything whether they want it or need it.

      That is exactly wrong. They pay for data, and the content providers only get paid when the user decides to pay.

      gitarcaver: If I have AT&T, I still have the option of using their servers to look at other sites.

      Without net neutrality, AT&T is free to throttle other content providers.

      gitarcaver: Perhaps you don’t understand that dropping investment levels by 5% means that companies are still investing, just at a lower pace / rate.

      Investment increased by 5% for the two years after the FCC decided to enact net neutrality rules compared to the two years before the decision.

      gitarcaver: That would be the stable regulatory environment without net neutrality, right?

      Business prefers stability. Stable net neutrality would be best for consumers and to promote innovation.

      gitarcaver: Companies like NetFlix want to have tiered pricing for their offerings but are against the companies who carry their offerings from having the same tiered pricing structure.

      That’s not net neutrality, and not what you said.

      gitarcarver: Companies like NetFlix are for the net neutrality rules yet they themselves offer different pricing tiers for the level of service provided.

      Zachriel: That’s consistent with net neutrality. You don’t seem to understand the subject.

      Netflix can offer anything they want under net neutrality, but the ISP can’t discriminate for or against Netflix or any other source of content.

      • That makes no sense at all. There is nothing in net neutrality that says ISPs can’t charge for larger bandwidths or data usage.

        Actually, that is one of the main things that the FCC’s NN was about. Take 2 people. The first is a grandma who essentially sends some emails, peruses a few websites, and really doesn’t use a whole lot of bandwith.

        The second streams the hell out movies, tv shows, and sports. This person is just blowing up bandwith.

        Is it fair that Grandma pays the same? Of course not. NN wants to force a one size fits all, and, guess who will pay more? Grandma.

        Without net neutrality, AT&T is free to throttle other content providers.

        And? Your local supermarket is allowed to decide the products they sell. Don’t have the coffee you like? Tough.

        Don’t like that AT&T throttles (which almost never happens from any web provider)? Go elsewhere. That’s called consumer choice. Rather than Government choice. But, with NN, competition is reduced.

      • gitarcarver says:

        NOTE: I damaged my hands in a woodworking accident so my typing is going to be even worse than it normally is. I apologize that before hand.

        .That makes no sense at all.

        I agree. It makes no sense that the government to control the market. Thanks for agreeing with me. So why are you for something that you admit is non-nonsensical?

        There’s a great deal of consolidation within the ISP market, as well as vertical integration.

        Which has nothing to do with Net Neutrality. But I appreciate you dodging the question.

        First, it’s not free, but bundled.

        Actually, it is not bundled. This is an argument that you keep making showing a ignorance of terms. AT&T is offering DirecTV at no additional cost. That’s free.

        And it is obviously correct that providing CNN in the bundle,……

        Which would allow the market to say “we don’t want to go with that ISP that doesn’t connect to a certain site.

        Once again, you want to control everything and leave out consumer choices.

        Furthermore, you are ignoring that the onerous net neutrality laws hurt competition and start ups in the ISP industry.

        With net neutrality, just don’t go there.

        So you want to force people to be paying for things they don’t use? Not much on markets and people deciding, are you Comrade?

        Under net neutrality, the ISP has to treat all traffic the same. If the user wants CNN or Pirate’s Cove, it is none of the ISP’s business.

        Another dodge that doesn’t address the question.

        However, to address your illogical point, assuming that it is no business of the ISP where people go, it logically follows that it is no business of the government. Furthermore, that also means that the ISP should not have to keep records on users’ activities for the government, right? Not only that, while it might not be any business to the ISP where the user goes, it is the user’s business and net neutrality restricts the user and ISP’s from entering into agreement to exercise those choices.

        Without net neutrality, AT&T is free to throttle other content providers.

        And if that throttling (which is a scare tactic of people of you ilk use and not likely) were to happen, people would have the right to walk away from AT&T or any other company that doesn’t meet their needs.

        Once again, you hate people being able to make choices and enter into agreements with ISPs that are economically viable for the consumer.

        Business prefers stability.

        Agreed. Net neutrality adds uncertainty for businesses.

        Stable net neutrality would be best for consumers and to promote innovation.

        You keep saying this but it has already been shown to be false.

        That’s not net neutrality, and not what you said.

        It is what I said. Sorry that you don’t understand it.

        Netflix can offer anything they want under net neutrality, but the ISP can’t discriminate for or against Netflix or any other source of content.

        Which is wrong. Net neutrality increases consumer rates, locks ISPs into services without being able to innovate or fight for customers based on services. In the end, customers are hurt by higher costs.

        I am still at a loss as to why you want to have less choice and higher prices within the marketplace.

  7. Zachriel says:

    William Teach: Is it fair that Grandma pays the same? Of course not. NN wants to force a one size fits all, and, guess who will pay more? Grandma.

    Which just shows you don’t understand net neutrality, which allows ISPs to charge for bandwidth and data usage.

    gitarcarver: AT&T is offering DirecTV at no additional cost. That’s free.

    Bundle AT&T Internet and DIRECTV to save $10/mo. on Internet. You’ll enjoy 99% Internet reliability when you stream TV.”

    You both need to get your facts straight.

    • gitarcarver says:

      Which just shows you don’t understand net neutrality, which allows ISPs to charge for bandwidth and data usage.

      We understand net neutrality Zach. Your protestations to the contrary, we get it. The point that is being argues is that if a person doesn;t want or need to go to a site, why are they paying for others to go to those sites?

      There is a fundamental question here that you never seem to address which is “if two private interests want to make a deal on something, why should the government interfere?”

      In Teach’s example, if a start up ISP wanted to offer basic internet services without access to high content sites, and there was a market for that site, why shouldn’t that ISP be allowed to make an agreement with someone for that service?

      Net Neutrality prevents that ISP and any agreement for existing and yet you argue that Net Neutrality does stifle innovation of start ups.

      This is not the first time that you have shown a deep ignorance of how business work and should work and I doubt that you will ever take the time to learn.

      You both need to get your facts straight.

      And you need to try and understand what is being argued rather than just saying “this is the law.”

  8. Fargo says:

    Get used to 100 dollar a month internet fees. As everything goes to streaming the big cable companies are going to be nothing but internet providers. This is going to drive up the cost of the internet. In fact 100 dollars might be cheap considering you can make phone calls, surf the internet, stream TV all for 50 bucks right now or less. With the demand for cable services dwindling the huge corporations are going to inflate the prices of their internet fees to compensate.

    Is that fair? I would argue yes even though I don’t like it. Why is it fair? Because they have spent 100’s of billions of dollars on the infrastructure to enable screaming fast internet.

  9. Zachriel says:

    gitarcarver: We understand net neutrality

    You made a factual misstatement, saying “Actually, it is not bundled.” In fact, when provided free with purchase, then it is bundled. In this case, AT&T actually uses the word bundled.

    gitarcarver: The point that is being argues is that if a person doesn;t want or need to go to a site, why are they paying for others to go to those sites?

    No money goes to a site unless the person downloads the ads by browsing the site, or pays a fee.

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