Net Reality of Net Neutrality

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 03 Mar 2007 12:07:39 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

Chuck Muth at The Hawaii Reporter - why "net neutrality" is bad news, for everyone who uses the internet. Make laws forbidding internet service providers from charging what it costs to provide service, and you'll destroy the internet. But hey, that's what governments do. Steal and destroy. And that's why they need to be told, loudly, to keep their bloody hands off of the internet. [root]

But the reality of net neutrality is this simple: New government regulation of the Internet. Net neutrality, in essence, says that someone who uses a lot more of a service only has to pay the same amount as someone who uses a minimal amount. Think of an all-you-can-eat buffet where "Large Marge" loads up her plate three stories high and pays the same amount as the person who just grabs a small salad.

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Submitted by LookMaNoHands on Sun, 04 Mar 2007 22:30:40 GMT

My coalition has been keeping up a blog on the net neutrality fight since last year. We're at -- worth a look if it's a subject you're interested in.

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Net Neutrality

Submitted by Ed Hand on Mon, 05 Mar 2007 22:34:55 GMT

While I've heard Net Neutrality described as it is in your quote, if you peruse some of the Net Neutrality from last year, you'll see that it doesn't bar charging different amounts for different levels of service. What Net Neutrality may provide:

1. The ability to use your bandwidth the way that you wish with the devices you want. No forcing consumers to buy an IP address for each device or messing with NAT type address mapping.

2. The ability to use services outside your provider's network without the provider degrading the performance. For example, if you have Comcast as your ISP, Comcast would be unable to degrade the performance of other voice over IP services, such as Vonage, to the benefit of its own services.

3. An internet provider cannot block access to legal web sites, even if the provider disagrees with the content. For example, a Canadian telecom company TELUS, blocked access to a union site while it was having labor problems. (link)

I believe this talk of forcing all consumers to have the same bandwidth may be a ploy by the industry to get consumers on their side. If you go to Thomas and look at S215 "Internet Freedom Preservation Act" you'll see the points I made above but not the idea of all users having the same bandwidth. The bandwidth issues discussed in the bill have to do with the freedom to do what one wants with the bandwidth you have. For example, outside content should be delivered, as much as technically possible, at the same speed as the ISP's own. If you are paying for 3Mbps, then your performance should be the same regardless of what content you're viewing. And likewise, if your neighbor is paying for 1.5Mbps, then she'll get the same performance regardless of the services she uses, albeit always half your speed.

All in all, it's an interesting debate.

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I suppose if you believe

Submitted by on Tue, 06 Mar 2007 02:19:30 GMT

I suppose if you believe government can touch anything without destroying it, if you believe that centralized control, at gunpoint, can ever work better than the market, I can see that you might think there's something to debate here. I don't.

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Net Neutrality

Submitted by Ed Hand on Tue, 06 Mar 2007 02:45:43 GMT

I don't think it's that simple. Cable and Telephone companies have been given natural monopolies in the communities we live in. As part of these agreements, they submit to regulation. They agree to be regulated and are given the ability to be the sole provider of a service, and they get to dig up streets and run cables through common areas to deliver that service. They are also generally monitored so that they provide a fair service at a fair price.

And while I agree with you in strongly supporting free markets, there is generally no free markets in this case to work their magic. Most communities are served by one cable company and one phone company.

To sum it up, communities give sole rights to provide services, such as power, water, phone, cable, etc., and the companies offering these services agree to not take undue advantage of their monopoly position by being regulated. Should the communities not offer natural monopolies to companies? Should the companies not accept them? Isn't this a case of two parties entering into a mutually beneficial agreement? Couldn't net neutrality be looked at as a negotiation of the terms of the agreement?

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