Network Neutrality Actually Benefits Telcos

from the preach-it dept

In the ongoing argument about network neutrality, it’s been pointed out that the telcos have abused the public benefits they’ve received, but Daniel Berninger, points out another public resource they’ve been given that they’d rather we all overlook: tremendous amounts of state-owned right-of-way across the country. The real meat of Berninger’s argument, though, is that in many cases, the state laws giving telcos this right-of-way access require them to act as common carriers — meaning that they can’t discriminate against content, and that net neutrality may already be enshrined in local laws. What’s interesting here is that this isn’t just the blatherings of a net hippie up on their soapbox, but that common carrier status also offers benefits for the telcos, like being relieved of liability for the content that travels over their network. So once the telcos lose that common carrier statues, parents angry over MySpace could represent a real problem. Knowing the carriers, though, the solution would be just to eliminate access to anything but pre-approved (and pre-paid) content — in short, doing away with the internet. One other note from the post: Berninger points out that cable companies don’t get the same free right-of-way access, and are required to pay local franchise fees. For all the telco whining about a level playing field, that’s a pretty big advantage. No wonder then, they don’t want to play by the same rules, and do their best to get franchising requirements to disappear for their entry into the cable TV business.

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Comments on “Network Neutrality Actually Benefits Telcos”

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Bassmaster9000 says:

What is or isn't unregulated?

I’m interested in this debate because there are two sides that both have a lot of solid arguments. If Net Neutrality is beat in congress, then it opens up opportunities for the Telcos make more money for essentially just doing their job. There are always legal grey areas that lead to bulling servers and censoring content. The Telcos alrady have a pretty nice racket setup, so they could easily increase servers’ charges if they’re strapped for cash.

On the other hand, if Net Neutrality is upheld, that gives all websites equal access to public surfing. This means your search engine might link you to a site to buy a new set of golf clubs, only to find out in a week that you credit card has been maxed out in Singapore. Or what about sites serving up kiddie porn from Czechoslovakia. Without proper safeguards on internet content, the web would be tainted with thieves and conmen. It Sounds like a very farmiliar debate between Freedom and Security.

Stating the obvious: why would the Bush Administration want to completely give up control of online content? Um..wait..uh..I dunno, why? Because they don’t need any more money, they can just print some up. At&t is probably CCing this to the NSA right now. Maybe we all should just find a happy compromise. Just thinking out loud…

whatever says:

RE: What is or isn't unregulated?

Obiously you are doing SOMETHING out loud but thinking is apparently not it. If the “Bush administration” were to actually print up more money to cover debt and defecit it would completely ruin the economy. Our american dollar would then be worth less than the kleenex your mom uses to wipe your nose.

The rest of your post seems like nonsensical rambling as well. Please, for the love of God, at least attempt to complete a thought before you start spamming at online articles.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Nice rant, but you gave no thoughts either

So you go out and tell someone to stop “spamming” online artices with pointless ramblings, when in fact that is exactly what you just did.

Although not concise or concluded, his general direction was somewhat correct. There ARE two sides to this debate. There is no doubt that the gov’t subsidized lines should alwasy be neutral. However, for infrastructure that is paid for by the individual companies why should they be forced to follow the same rules?

In the spirit of freedom and all that good stuff, why should you be allowed to FORCE your thoughts on the companies that are paying for additional infrastructure?

Here is a little analogy…Say some person builds a private highway across the US, 12 lanes wide. Should the people that can afford sportscars be slowed because it is unfair that they are capable of purchasing faster vehicles? Should the owner of the highway be able to set arbitrary speed limits?

If this highway were to just magically appear, then I believe that the owner should be able to run HOWEVER they see fit. If they only want their friends and family to use it, or they charge you $/speed restriction then that should be ok. The flipside is that even if the highway was purchased completly with private funds, if the original means of collecting those funds were due to a gov’t sanctioned monopoly, then it starts to get a little grayer…however, I may still lean a little towards the restrictied side…honestly don’t know exactly where I stand.

Jonathon says:

Re: Re: On that topic

What if we gov’t subsidized the rollout of infrastructure to, say everyone. Then there would be a nominal charge for “best effort” access (10-20/month). However, you could purchase SLA’s from the providers for additional performance/services.

Not only would we take a step towards closing the digitial divie (at least here in America), but we would still allow the fairest form of discrimination, price discrimination.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Nice rant, but you gave no thoughts either

“…for infrastructure that is paid for by the individual companies why should they be forced to follow the same rules?”

Because ownership of this infrastructure grants extraordinary powers. Like, you can’t own all of the radio/TV stations in a given area, because then you’d control the flow of information for that region.

Don’t think that’s an advantage? Read up on how LBJ parlayed ownership/interest in AM radio stations in 1960s Texas into a Senatorial career, then the office of VP, and eventually President.

(nothing partisan intended, that’s just the first example I could think of)

Laissez-faire would be great–if only owners of property and infrastructure could keep from trying to control, you know, everything else. Like the law.

Your highway analogy is interesting. Sounds great, unless that’s the only highway. Then the builder has to share. Not just a good idea. The law.

Think about how things were 100 years ago. You know, robber barons, industrial trusts, no labor protection… that’s where these laws originated.

Isn’t it interesting how they’ve been taken apart–and where we find ourselves again?

Look into the Fairness Act and the Telecommunications Act of 1988. The repeal of the former and the passage of the latter enabled Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: just let the telcos go under, and give them to us

the university of cincinnati has a huge 100mbit ethernet nework and internet2 connectivity. gobs of bandwidth and connections to it for a fraction of the cost of DSL from cincinnati bell.

offices and departments pay monthly for connections and to have cables run, just like any small business.

how is this service so much faster and cheaper than offerings from the phone company even though they have a very natural monopoly?

because why would a university monopolize itself?

the simple truth is that internet access is the future of communications. affordable communications are essential for businesses, big and small, to remain competitive and reduce costs.

successful businesses produce more taxes than unsuccessful ones, something the government should be all over.

the sooner the telcos go out of business and municipalities can buy their infrastructure the better off we will all be.

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