Inside The Beltway Newspapers Lying About Net Neutrality? What A Surprise

from the inside-the-beltway-logic dept

Two separate editorials from DC newspapers both oppose net neutrality efforts — and yet, both seem to be filled with outright lies or misleading half-truths. As we’ve said repeatedly, the real issue with net neutrality is that there isn’t enough competition in the broadband space. If there were real competition, network neutrality wouldn’t even be on the table for discussion. The Washington Post tries to get by this point by claiming that there is real competition in the broadband space, stating that 60% of all zip codes have four or more choices. Of course, reading that language, you can tell immediately that it’s coming from the FCC’s discredited broadband penetration numbers. The FCC counts on a per zip code basis — so if a broadband provider offers broadband to a single house in that zip code, the entire zip code is considered covered by that provider. The General Accounting Office’s own study found much, much lower broadband penetration than the FCC numbers suggest. Laying wires should represent a natural monopoly. It simply doesn’t make economic sense to lay too many identical sets of wires (it would be like building many competing, privately owned, highway systems: it’s wasteful) — which is why the government went around and granted many of these firms monopoly rights of way in the first place, with the promise of creating competition within the network, rather than between networks. When true wireless systems come along, then perhaps there will be the necessary competition, but don’t buy the hype that cellular wireless, WiMax or satellite broadband are anywhere near being true competitors to fiber, let alone DSL or cable. We’re still probably a decade away from seeing real competition from those quarters (though, reformed spectrum allocation policy could help there as well…).

Then, the Washington Times chimes in with its own anti-network neutrality screed, saying that we shouldn’t worry about network neutrality because there’s no problem yet. This, of course, has been the argument that the telcos have raised for many years, just more vocally these days. As we’ve noted, there is some truth to this — but that doesn’t mean network neutrality issues deserve to be ignored. As some have pointed out there are plenty of “speculative” dangers that the government decides are worth paying attention to, such as potential terrorist attacks or bird flu. And, in the case of network neutrality, the executives of AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have all stated very publicly that they would like to break the basic concepts of network neutrality, and make Google pay again for the part of the internet you already pay for. The Washington Times piece also totally mischaracterizes the debate, claiming that network neutrality means the telcos can’t charge sites like Google more for the bandwidth they use. This is flat out false. The high bandwidth users online, such as Google, Yahoo, Vonage and others are already paying for their bandwidth. What the telcos are trying to get them to do is pay double for your bandwidth as well. The current network neutrality proposals in Congress are really a side issue that completely ignores the real issue (the lack of competition). It’s no secret that some of the proposals in Congress have problems as well, but that doesn’t mean the issue of network neutrality should be brushed aside. Of course, instead of getting any serious debate, we’re getting soundbites, lies, misleading arguments, propaganda and celebrity endorsements. The whole debate, on both sides, has become a joke.

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Comments on “Inside The Beltway Newspapers Lying About Net Neutrality? What A Surprise”

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Steve says:

Chilling Internet Startups?

Should we be worried about the following posture if the Telco/Cable providers win?

“As providers of first round funding to internet start ups, without the guarantee of net neutrality (NN) we have no idea what risks our USD5MM to USD15MM investment could suffer. Now that the HR has passed the HR5252 bill without language guaranteeing NN the risk weighting on our present investments has gone through the roof. Given the time frame on the Senate decision we will make no further internet start up investments until after the decision. If the decision is against NN, then no longer will we fund internet start ups. What the lack of neutrality does is shift the build out cost of (previously incentivised) high speed networks to investors such as we. However, unlike the reasonably calculable costs of network build out, the costs our internet start up investments may face can’t be calculated for the forseeable future. We do not require “FREE” broadband access, rather we require “NEUTRAL” access. Otherwise we just can’t calculate the risks of investing in the internet start up class.”

Doug G. says:

If, as you say, the real issue is the lack of competition, then we need to address that issue, not its symptoms. What can we do to encourage more competition? Surely government regulation (mandatory net neutrality) will only discourage any new companies from jumping in.

The natural monopoly argument is outdated. With things like fiber optic cable, there’s no reason you can’t have four, or twenty, or a hundred different companies each with their own strand of fiber coming into a neighborhood.

gkdada says:

Re: Re:

No Doug,

The issue is NOT competition. The issue is double charging. The issue is freedom on the net. Telcos want to charge the websites YOU access.

For example, you have an SBC (I mean AT&T) DSL connection for which you pay some money every month. Meanwhile, TechDirt or Google or Amazon or your neighborhood landscaping service maintain THEIR internet connection by paying whoever provides access to them. So far so good. Now, the big telcos are saying: “Hey, we see that 40% of the traffic going out from our clients to internet is going to google/amazon/yahoo/microsoft. If we just blackmail those few giants into submission, we can charge everybody for ACCESS TO OUR CLIENTS. So, they are slowly talking up a scenario where if you don’t pay them money, at worst they will cut off your access to their clients, or at best they will degrade the access severely.

The term ‘net neutrality’ for this debate is misleading and very convenient for telcos. The real term of discussion here should be whether to keep the net free of their insidious influence. From the customer perspective, it should mean: If I pay for a DSL/Cable internet connection, I should be able to access ALL CONTENT AND SERVICES (as limited by my bandwidth) on the internet without selective degrading or blocking by my ISP. Plain and simple.

Don S. says:

Re: Re: Re:

Exactly correct, gkdada!

The telcos are basically asking for permission to set up their own version of a ‘protection’ scheme by nixing Net Neutrality language from the telecommunications bills. The worst part is that each and every telco can do this to each and every website operator! That’s like paying ‘protection’ to several different Mob families so that people from different neighborhoods would be allowed to visit your store.

What the telcos do not seem to understand is that the only reason people use the Internet in the first place is due, in large part, to the very sites they (the telcos) would like to extort money from! If it weren’t for the Googles, Amazons and Yahoos of the world, the Internet would still be nothing more than a curiosity that some people dabbled in, rather than the economic force it has become. The proverb about the goose that lays golden eggs seems to be very appropriate here.

Jon Strayer (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“The issue is NOT competition. The issue is double charging. The issue is freedom on the net. Telcos want to charge the websites YOU access.”

So? Google tells them to stuff it. They block access to Google. We go get different ISPs.

Assuming there is competition. If there is no competition then we are stuck.

ndm says:

Re: Re: Re: RE: Jon Strayer

One issue is the lack of competition. Since the choices of high speed internet providers is extremely limited to a small number of franchises there are only so many options. The other issue is the idea of a market trend. If suddenly all the big internet providers realize they will be able to charge giants such as google and the like extra money then they will. That is why having the words in telecommunication legislation is very important. If we change the rules and allow these companies the chance to even consider taking a course of action that would end net neutrality then they would. Additionally they most likely wouldn’t out and out block access, but they may limit bandwidth considerably to the point that it greatly effects a sites ability to deliver content. It would be very obvious if Google stopped working for us all together, but if it were to just start to slowly lag more and more then most of us wouldn’t even feel the impact. However, Google most definately would.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

Re: Re: by gkdada on Jun 13th, 2006 @ 7:03am

Yep. People are missing the point. Telco’s are being paid for access to the internet to for access to sites. They should NEVER be able to extort money from the people YOU like to frequent on the internet. It’s liek this. We all pay taxes which pay for the roads we drive on every day. We drive on them to go wherever we like. Now take gas stations. 100% of people that drive on the roads we pay for drive to them. Would it be ok for the gov to say to the gas stations “We’ve noticed that our customers (Joe Public) use the roads they pay us for to access your establishment. We want you to pay us for making that access possible on top of the taxes you already pay us. If you do not pay we will keep our customers (Joe Public) from being able to reach you.” LOL How the hell is this OK?

David Levinson (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: by gkdada on Jun 13th, 2006 @ 7:03am

But we do tax property owners for access, though it is indirect and hidden. Most “access” roads (e.g. county, city, or township roads) (as opposed to “movement” roads like interstate and state highways) are in fact financed by property taxes. Don’t pay your taxes, the government not only doesn’t let traffic turn in, it confiscates your property.

— David Levinson (aka The Transportationist)

srgtick says:

The telcos, get paid. They are upset they aren’t getting paid more. They looked at adwords, etc. and saw companies making money and thought how can we get a piece. I don’t know about you but I pay my $25 a month for access equal access to the internet. Not the pieces of the internet that the telcos are extorting money from. Also, not everyone has $200 to throw away breaking their contract everytime another provider decides they want to limit or slow access. I’m quite sure google and microsoft pay a couple bucks to be online already. Don S. is right, this is a “protection scheme”.

Anonymous Coward says:

You Lefties Crack Me Up!!! 🙂

I used to believe the ILECs were the issue too… when I was selling IP/MPLS into the CLEC space.

But, I finally listened to people with half a brain, ala Tom Nolle, and decided to invest in these guys rather than fight them. And, BTW, these guys are a heck of a lot smarter than what I get from your ACLU’ish posts… not only regarding technology but business too.

Mr VC, you ever heard of a “mote”? That’s the last mile baby. Forget about your five-and-dime internet startups that will crash and burn in 2 years due to no barrier to entry… invest some real capital in upgrading the network. BTW, good luck with WiMax and these ridiculous Metro WiFi Mesh networks. I can begin to see how you pro-government/democrats are going to manage these once you waist our tax dollars… you’ll run them into the ground. That is after you’ve jumped to an 802.11/16 vendor to pad your own pockets.

In regards to the internet being free, again… you lefties crack me up!!! Who is going to dump $5bn into capex? Annually? Not to mention all the opex costs. You think this green stuff grows on trees because your Mommies & Daddies paid for you to waist 6 years getting your BA?

Lastly, anyone ever heard of QoS/DiffServ? What did you think the diffserv bit would be used for? Your simplistic “best effort” thoughts may have synched up with the Yipes of the world, but, they lack real-world logic.

–open source is a hobby… get a real job and contribute to society in a positive manner–

Scott says:

Re: Re:

What glaring intellect…

I pay to access Google, Google pays so that I can access google. You see the payments here are income to the telco’s, and those payments are used to maintain and upgrade the networks.

Sorry wait, those payments are used to pay lawyers and CEO’s outrageous salaries and whine they don’t have enough money.

You need to implement a side supply mathematics formula here to pay for the network.

Are you ready? I pay to access Google, Google pays so that I can access Google, now if I want to access Google like I used to, Google has to pay for me to access Google, and I have to pay for Google to be available to me.

The telco’s are already throwing around charging their customers more, as well as the Googles, Amazons and such. Believe me it will happen, they will realize they can double charge both ends, the CEO takes his Golden Parachute with massive bonuses, and the cycle starts with a new CEO.

shane says:

Re: Re: Re:

the money for network repairs and maintence in the hurricane zones comes from insurance, the telco only pays up to the premium then insurance pays for everything else, so there is a list of everything broken but may need to be repaired that just waits for hurricane insurance money to come and then tada everything in the network is fixed plus some. most of the aerial utility companys do that. the underground they just say it was a fault bc of lightning or something. it’s all paid for down south. so for us it’s all about extra money.

and for anybody with no options try some satelite (sp) internet. i don’t know much about it but it is an alternative.

good says:

i'll be waiting

When the draconian nn proposals fail, and the telco’s go ahead with their plans, and the sky doesn’t fall, and the internet continues to flourish, I hope that the pro-nn folks will admit that they were wrong.

More importantly, however, is that they actually give the issue some thought and see how and why they were wrong, so they don’t fly off the handle the next time an issue comes up that really isn’t that big of a deal.

Vonnie Sheadel says:

broadband access

My zip code is 98642. I live just a 5 miles from Vancouver Washington and 13 miles from Portland Oregon, yet I have 0 broadband options. None. Comcast cable is the only thing that I can get outside of dial-up. That doesn’t look like competition to me! Many zips in my area have no options beyond dial-up at all: 98601, 98672, 98629…The list goes on. Maybe they are talking about only zip codes within huge city limits having 4 options.

Anonymous Coward says:

Vonnie, guess it sucks to live in an area that no one wants to serve. Limiting the profit with net neutrality won’t encourage anyone to send a wire your way though.

Do people really think that things like Hotmail or googlemail or regular websites are what the telco’s have in mind in terms of limiting bandwidth? Get real. The telco’s have watched voice trend to zero, and they want to make sure that doesn’t happen to video also. AT&T could care less about your stupid emails or websites you go to, but they do want to be able to charge you $100 for your TV/Data/Phone service.

Answer me this with all these people talking about limited broadband access. Why should Verizon take heat from Wall Street for going Fiber to the Home if they can’t be assured of selling their service over their own pipe? Why should they invest $10 billion dollars now to be able to provide IPTV in the future?

Another issue here is if net neutrality laws are passed, are you sure that since the pipeowner can’t prioritize traffic, could they ensure that e911 calls go through? Could your emergency call not go through because your neighbor is downloading a movie?

Everyone is talking about how the telco’s are changing the game, but on the internet, the game is changing. Video was never delivered over the Internet (not programmed video at least) HDTV was never delivered over the net, so the game is changing. Cable companies will face problems because their pipe isn’t big enough to provide VOD or HDTV to multiple TV sets in a house, so the whole ballgame is changing.

Get over it people, change is good.

Oh, and the consumer will pay for it, one way or another, either by paying for higher access charges or for higher product costs.

Searcher619 (profile) says:

Re: Anonymous Coward on Jun 13th, 2006 @ 9:01am

1st IP telephoney is in it’s infancy. LOL you’d have to be a fool to rely on it. I used to work for TWC on their broadband service. When they rolled out IP Telephone we all braced for the complaints. Let’s face it. When your internet service goes down you will loose your phone. You should ALWAYS have a back up. I would stay with regular old phone service if phone service was that critical to you. The rest is also BS. Sorry but no company should be allowed to double charge it’s customers. That power is reserved for local and federal governments. LOL The prices for broadband/TV will be set by the public not the companies if there is true competition. I for one do not want my access to the internet to be limited in ANY way by the telco. I pay them for internet access not for content. Businesses already PAY for their bandwidth. Don’t fool yourself they don’t give away high bandwidth lines. They should not be charged 2x. It’s kinda like paying a remote storage company for x amount of space then having them want to charge you again for actually USING the space you paid for. It’s pretty crystal clear. Anyone with half a brian can see how wrong that is. And why do you post as Anonymous Coward if you have so much to say? It only takes a few extra seconds to come up with a screen name and an email address. Maybe AC pretty much describes the poster. Oh well.

SirTimothy says:

Simple Economics

This is a simple economic decision from the telephone companies. They are looking at the demand curve for Google, Amazon, and EBay and deciding it’s in their interest to raise prices. Demand for those services appears pretty inelastic, so an increase in price should result in increased revenue. They already exist in a monopolistic competition environment so they are getting real economic profits, this just gets them more.

The capital invested in network infrastructure can be considered a sunk cost. The marginal cost per subscriber is technical support and maintenance. While it seems counterintuitive, the actual network cost becomes small compared to the large technical support structure the telephone companies must maintain (which is why there is so much fiber that’s sitting dormant – it costs too much to operate it). Therefore, it’s in their interest to actually decrease the number of customers (assuming they are already producing beyond where MR=MC) if revenues can stay the same, because that reduced total cost, which is the other half of the profit equation (P = TR-TC).

However, nobody in Washington is going to be comfortable with a scheme to limit access by the public to the Internet (by raising the price of the service to the consumers, thus pricing some out of the market). There’s a lot of political weight given to the idea that everyone should get cheap broadband. So, the telephone companies are looking at the politically viable target – the deep pocket firms that make people want to get online.

In the end, the users will end up paying the cost through increased fees, more ads, and less freely available content, but those aren’t direct costs (i.e. you can’t point it out on your monthly ISP bill). So the telephone companies get to look like heroes for keeping the net “affordable” while still collecting the extra revenue they want.

Dell says:

Unbelievable ingnorance

Anonymous Coward…

Baloney.. Where were the telco’s in 1995 when we brought this shit to them in the first place. When I installed the first Internet Coffee House in Minnesota I couldn’t get a Telco to even entertain a T1 line… It was simple hardwired POTS to the router at the local Unviersity, then a Cisco 3000 at 56K. Fine, we did it, and we made it work. Some people made alot of money on new business models… The network that runs the Internet (Arpa and DNS) is not free… It has already been paid for by the tax payer. That is the only reasons it is there… The telco’s are a bunch of fat cat johnny come lately’s and want all of it because now they actually see what the small inventor has seen for years… The potential of a level playing field on the net.

If Google has a billion people come to their site, they need, and pay for the bandwidth to fullfill the requirement, or by natural selection of the dollar, they will fail. The ISP still sells Google a OC3 pipe… Google pays for it. Just like Mapquest has paid Inflow so they have great services to every city.

Now the telco’s want a model like the cell phone… You call me, you pay for the call… I answer I pay for the call, we both pay. BUT on a land line the caller is the one whom pays, the other fee is collected via a service (phone hookup) fee. But both parites are not paying for the same call.

It is not thier network to do that with.

The phone companies are a convenient connection point and if they play nice they get a piece of the pie… But phones are not the only way. To that end they are exactly like google… They give there product like they are supposed to… a good clean connection… and they get the connection fee in a phone line… They build an ISP, fine they get that fee as well… but the connections possible between the phone companies are still in the University, and end user, connection line, Municipal FDDI rings are paid for by the taxpayers dollar. USWEST in Minneapolis had nothing to do with the FDDI ring around downtown Minneapolis. It was grant money and private businesses that cooperated to place this amazing tool around the city before the Telco’s would even look at playing ISP…

If they start backwards blacklist and extorting grifts than maybe the public will have to shut down Arpa…

Let the asshole telco’s build another AOL.

Phones are on the way out. Lines are on the way out. These guys want to keep there power and they are scared of loosing everything in the next 10 years.

You don’t need a phone line… You just need a wire.

Power grid for the people.

You get it. I bet you worked for Global Crossing… too bad.

Mousky (user link) says:

It’s interesting to see Mike write about newspapers lying, when his position on net neutrality is based on some false proposition that no net neutrality legislation will minimize or reduce local ISP competition. Net neutrality has absolutely nothing to do with local competition. The only reason Mike supports net neutrality legislation is because he sees it as a way of sticking it to the telcos and cablecos. I’ve said it before, but two wrongs never ever make a right. Fix the problem not the symptoms.

Here is some food for thought: Heavily regulated companies like the telcos and cablecos – companies who know how to work a regulated system to their advantage – are opposed to net neutrality legislation, while unregulated (for lack of a better word) companies, like Google, Yahoo and eBay, are in favor of net neutrality legislation.

In the end, net neutrality will be maintained because it is a sound business decision, all ranting from certain telco CEOs aside.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:


I’m confused by some of your statements.

It’s interesting to see Mike write about newspapers lying, when his position on net neutrality is based on some false proposition that no net neutrality legislation will minimize or reduce local ISP competition.

I’m not quite sure if I’m parsing the above statement correctly, but I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say here. I haven’t taken a stand on network neutrality legislation at all. My point on competition is that if there were real competition, net neutrality wouldn’t be an issue. I don’t think having or not having net neutrality legislation will impact competition at all. My point is that there isn’t real competition. If there were, we wouldn’t be talking about this.

In the end, net neutrality will be maintained because it is a sound business decision, all ranting from certain telco CEOs aside.

I wish I could believe that. I do agree that it is a good business decision, but I don’t believe the telcos see it that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

If there were competition, if there were choice I wouldn’t care. I would say “Go ahead telcos, charge anything you want, it is your business,” and I would no longer be their customer. It is the fact that I have only one choice that I worry.

The internet is like the wild west once was, few laws and a lot of opportunities, as it becomes more “settled” it may be the natural result to have more laws and regulations in order for a society to be buit on it.

I currently feel that the price of my broadband internet connection is inflated. Similar to the price of shovels in the gold rush. I would hope that as more people come to the internet that the price would drop to a more reasonable cost. Any talk of raising the price directly by limiting content, or indirectly by charging the sites I visit (which in turn would need to charge me) concerns me. Why do they need more money?

Regardless of what laws are passed we need a way to monitor the companies we entrust with the internet. It is not enough to have a law, we need a way to determine if it is being kept, and a punishment if it is not.

anonymous coward says:

i firmly support the telco push opposing net neutrality because when their plan works, at least one ISP will be smart enough NOT to charge for access and that is the ISP I will choose. So will about 99% of businesses and consumers. This will effectively destroy telcos as ISPs and we can go back to business as usual without them.

They are holding a gun to their own heads and threatening to shoot, but the problem is that they don’t realize that I want them dead anyway…

John Marshall says:

Re: Re:

Ignorance may be bliss for you. But those of us who know what m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y spells are far more concerned. There is no way in

hell that there will be any viable competitor because the telcos

own all the wires in the ground, and the FCC lets them do whatever they want with them, including jack the price up for

any competitor.

Brandon (user link) says:


I won’t bother going over the reasons that trying to double-charge is wrong. Anyone who can think for themselves without needing to look at a check that tells them what to say is going to know it’s wrong.

As I recall, wern’t the telco’s given BILLIONS of dollars in previous years to help expand/build fiber cable & broadband to ALL customers throughout the US? As I recall, that money was given, but nothing was ever shown in return. Except some CEO with afew extra bonuses. That was paid by YOU and ME, from Tax money. I’d look up the articles to provide a link, but I’m sure you any of you can google just as well as I can.

PixelBrain (profile) says:

It's all about the video and nothing but video

Sheesh, so many of these comments are tilting at windmills…

Bottom-line: Anonymous Coward has it right – pipeline providers don’t want to put a tollbooth on Google or EBay. They want to build a levee against the digital video tsunami and, of course, monetize that flow.

Sure, I’d like video-on-demand for free as much as the next guy but the bandwidth growth curve of all the somebodies like me could choke the Internet.

Neither do I like the idea of a two-tier Internet but that might be preferable to having my Google or EBay or podcast feed hung up while ten thousand idiots download the latest Paris Hilton sex video at the same instant.

If the “digital broadcasters” or “digital consumers” have to pay for truly excessive bandwidth (like the sex video de jeur or pirated movies) that will allow market forces to apply.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: It's all about the video and nothing but video

Anonymous Coward has it right – pipeline providers don’t want to put a tollbooth on Google or EBay. They want to build a levee against the digital video tsunami and, of course, monetize that flow.

Except that… no. The telcos have all made it clear that they do want to put a tollbooth on eBay and Google (above and beyond what they already pay, obviously). So, that is part of it.

And, as has been pointed out a million times already, they already charge for bandwidth, so they ALREADY monetize the flow of high bandwidth applications.

Neither do I like the idea of a two-tier Internet but that might be preferable to having my Google or EBay or podcast feed hung up while ten thousand idiots download the latest Paris Hilton sex video at the same instant.

Ridiculous argument, which David Isenberg rips apart nicely. Don’t buy the myth that you video is somehow at risk.

PixelBrain (profile) says:

Re: Re: It's all about the video and nothing but v

Mike, thanks for the good links. Isenberg’s argument that “bandwidth is so cheap it might as well be free” definitely leads to the conclusion that the Telcos have created artificial scarcity so that they can exploit us.

However, I’d like to see the data supporting that claim. What’s the ratio of dark to lit fiber and does peak traffic ever approach capacity? I don’t know.

In theory, I can believe that virtually unlimited bandwidth will be available everywhere. But, in practice, won’t there be costs and inertia (political, regulartory, economic) that prevent GigE from being everywhere all at once?

If so, won’t that create an interim condition where my cheap GigE connection will inspire me to download the collected video works of Stanley Kubrick (in HighDef) thus clogging all the less-than-state-of-the-art routers and pathways between me and my content?

I know physical analogies are flawed when talking about digital domains, but… What you seem to be saying is that we all should be able to commute cross-country in personal airliners every day because there is plenty of empty air along the route. True, but won’t travel times (throughput) then be highly dependendent on how smoothly takeoffs and landings for thousands of airliners go in every cornfield airport in-between?

In short, I’m not convinced that 1) bandwidth is as plentiful as you claim and 2) even if it is plentiful to me locally, my IP packets still compete for space wiith yours on every node of the network they pass through.

So, unless you can tell me that the capacity of every router, bridge and relay can handle universal GigE usage patterns, I’ll be a reluctant skepic of your impending bandwidth utopia.

Besides, we have two-tier systems for a lot of things (cars, restaurants, colleges, and athletic clubs). These work because there is competition within and between the tiers keeping innovation up and prices down.

I’d worry that if we artificially dictate a bandwidth monoculture we’d end up with the network equivalent of Soviet-era cars, backlogged and crappy.

Anonymous Coward says:


I’m surprised that nobody has brought up the base fact that if the telecos and ISPs jack up the price with the double hit, then the INNOVATION of wanting to create on the internet will be extremely stifled.

Now add that to the fact that Asia is fast becoming a hotspot of broadband activity. Singapore and Korea have on average 75-100 Mb/s as speed for LESS that what we currently pay for 300k speed.

If net neutrality does not come to pass and the telecos get their way, you can kiss the “technology lead” that America has over the rest of the world (which is already happening, the proof being cheaper and faster internet that is available to most of the population in Asia).

And just like Brandon said above (at least within California) we have been taxed for the last 5-7(?) years every month to help pay for the fiber-optic wire upgrades that will never come through. So please, excuse me if I cancel my internet to save up enough to go to Korea where I can get something faster and better. If America doesn’t shape up and embrace the ideal of technology being very easily accessable (meaning I don’t have to spend $300 to set up the internet and $75/month) to our younger generations so that we can stay the technological leader of the world, America won’t even be “the place” to have the dream… Asia will.

james says:

The point is simple will we have to replace telco

The way I feel is that if a telco decied that they wanted to try something like charging extra for acces to specific sites, then what would stop somthing sites like google or and other website from disconnecting the telco access to these sites? Then reconnecting using a diffrent route, by either changing their ip address or domain name and redirect all in coming traffic, to by pass there restriction. The internet functions through cooperation, so if they trying anything that stupid google or yahoo and the other major internet sites can cut the cord to that telco. Who would buy internet access if they did not get access to site like myspace or google? Or if you try to access google and a page comes up that say “access to this website is being slowed by you isp” what would happen? They fact is that they the telco have to make a choice of either we sell bandwith or content. If they start to charge more for specific content then they are going into the content market. Look at satilite, it has forced cable companies to have to realize that they will never be a pure monopoly any more. Content providers only care about having access to the customer not how they gain access. If they feel like they can do stupid things like try to give people a reason to find another way to access the internet using diffrent methods or not is their choice. If they feel like they can some how be able to keep services such as voice or video from competion they have only one hope. Illegalize any other provider from giving that service. The last mile is what they have, as long as they do not give people a good reason to take it from them. Cell phone companies are already starting to cut into both voice and video services that where once the only provided by one company in many areas. Because they where able to do something that they telco could not do, provide mobile phone service Want phone service you can choice between, verison, sprint, cingular, local telco, and some version of VoIP. Dial-up is at most ten a month so the cost to have a vpn from point to point then run some verision of VoIP over it and you have an unlimited office to office phone line, even if the two offices are located in diffrent countries for under 30 a month plus phone taxes and connection fees, and the knowledge to implement it. The skills need create infostructure to move data, the ablity to transport diffrent types of data over over that infostructure, and the ablity to create data that has value to be transport over a that same infostructure, are all diffrent. The frist two are what must telco belive that they have a born right to do. The problem is that they belive that the frist two things are the same thing. A car is not the road and the road is not a car. So the question is will they play nice or do they have to be replaced?

Anonymous Coward says:

The cost of bandwidth has nothing to do with the cost of buying access.

How much do you think it costs Pfizer to manufacture a Lipitor pill? Maybe 4 cents? McDonalds charges you $1.49 for a Pepsi yet the cost of the cup costs more than the Pepsi in it.

Telco’s care about charging Google and Yahoo and others like them more because those companies are getting into Video, and that eats up bandwidth and threatens their model.

Do you really believe that Verizon should spend $10 billion dollars to run fiber to the home just to have their customers pay only for the access and buy other companies voice/video? If you think that should happen, you should go out and short VZ stock.

One way to ensure that remote areas will not have broadband access is to force free access to all in terms of content over the pipes. Why the hell would anyone spend billions of dollars to let competitors sell services? Would you do that? Would TechDirt allow me to place ads on this site?

How much do you think it costs a telco to run fiber to the home? $1K? Thats about right. You want cheap broadband, so you want to pay say $20 a month for unlimited broadband. If you don’t buy any services, it takes a little over 4 years for that pipe owner to break even figuring no additional operating expenses (which is not realistic.) Who likes that business model? That is not a company I would invest in.

The telco’s are in a fight to the death with cable, and while cable’s infrastructure isn’t equal to fiber, they have one big advantage. The telco’s have union installers, while cable is not saddled with those same high cost employees because they mostly subcontract it out.

Would it be OK for a provider to offer tiers of service? $10 bucks for slow DSL, $20 bucks for a little faster DSL, so on and so on? Is that OK? Whats the difference with that and Verizon charging $10 but getting money from Google to speed up the service for Verizon customers? That seems fair to me. Its all a matter of who charges the higher prices, and who receives money from whom.

Wayne Caswell (user link) says:

Re: Re:

It sounds like AC is a telco plant, dutifully echoing their messages. Why spend billions to run fiber? Get real. The Bells are actually pulling more money out of their networks through depreciation than they are investing, per their own annual reports.

We, the consumers, through miscellaneous fees, are funding the investments they are making. Over the last 10 years, these subsidies have totaled over $200 Billion, or $2,000 per household – for fiber networks that were promised in the early 1990’s for regulatory concessions and public subsidies but never delivered.

In 1992, the Bells scorned DSL as way too slow and harmful to the economy. They promised open access fiber networks at 45 Mbps in both directions, deployed equally in urban, suburban, rural, and low-income communities. According to Bruce Kushnick’s “The $200 Broadband Scandal,” some 84 million US homes should already have fiber with these capabilities. We paid for it, but we never got it, and now the Bells are crying that they can’t afford to upgrade the networks? Give me a break. We all need a break. And we need to hold their feet to the fire.

The economic impact of having a glut of long-haul fiber capacity (94% of fiber is dark * DWDM for increasingly more colors * Moore’s Law for faster laser pulsing) in an information superhighway with rutty, dirt road onramps is well over $5 Trillion, based on a conservative estimate of $500B per year over 10 years. Most of the ISPs and CLECs were driven out of business. The entire IT sector fell apart. Businesses moved their operations offshore. And millions of Americans lost their jobs and retirement funds.

Since the Bells lied to us before, how can we trust them now? Might it be that these latest promises are just a ploy to get regulated approval of additional mergers? Fiber deployment plans were cancelled and workers were laid off after each previous merger, and we don’t think that will happen again?

Each merger has left us with fewer competitive choices, and now there’s just a cozy duopoly of incumbent cable and incumbent phone company, which serves 98% of households. AT&T (now a combination of SBC, PacBell, Ameritech, SNET, Cingular, and soon Bell South) does not compete with Verizon (which acquired Bell Atlantic, NYNEX, GTE, and soon MCI) since it’s too expensive for either company to build an overlay network and then fight for only a portion of the subscribers.

So, it all comes down to competition. About 94% of households have two or less broadband choices, and 10% have no broadband access at all. What angers me is that the same companies with market power that refuse to bring broadband to underserved communities have been fighting to block the communities from doing it themselves, and some 14 states now have laws banning municipal networks.

Bob Neumann says:

Free Market

“Net Neutrality” is over-hyped propaganda, as far as I can see. Here’s what I know: I DON’T want the government running my: healthcare, education, groceries, gasoline, or internet. Government Go Away.

The free market works. If your ISP limits your access to somebody, then drop them and choose another. You don’t have another? If there’s a market for unrestricted access, then someone will sell it. That’s how the free market works. Unlike highways, railroads, etc., there are no practical limits to how many network pipes can be laid to provide a service. If people are willing to pay for them, the “pipes” will magically appear.

Are you still convinced that the “Big Boys” will make a killing off a monopolistic advantage? I bet you think that about the oil companies too, don’t you? So: how much AT&T/Comcast/Exxon/Etc. stock have you bought to cash in on these obscene profits that you are so certain of? NONE? Oh. So you’re not that sure after all….

The free market works. Government may be a necessary evil, but it should be used sparingly. The internet has become what it is precisely BECAUSE the government has stayed out of it.

That’s my two cents. Yes, I’m a tech guy. No, I’m not rich. No, I don’t own any stock – – In case you’re wondering….

Scott says:

Re: Free Market

HAHAHAHAHA….it has become what it is because gov’t has stayed out of it?

Except for creating the precursor to the internet, except funding the schools and R&D labs where most of the breakthroughs have occurred, except the $200 Billion given to the Telco’s to build out those networks(which are far short of what was expected), the gov’t has stayed out of it.

SomeLlama says:

let's clear up some misconceptions

“If your ISP limits your access to somebody, then drop them and choose another. You don’t have another? ”

The point is that no matter what ISP you use, the telcos own the pipe that the ISPs plug into, so they have no voice in deciding what the telcos will limit in terms of connectivity.

“Why the hell would anyone spend billions of dollars to let competitors sell services?”

Because they made that choice when they accepted billions of dollars in subsidys from the government (read people’s taxes paying for this infrastructure) and agreed to lay fiber down to everyone’s house.

Why should we allow them to not fufill their part of the deal?

Every other country has faster access than we do for less cost. We are getting ripped off already and now they want to pad their bottom lines even more by double charging us?!?

The bottom line is we paid for this infrastructure and access, we should be able to go where ever we want at the speeds we pay for.

The real truth isn’t about limiting access in order to charge more money, it is about being able to squeeze out the little guys, once net neutrality is dead the telcos can deploy their own IP based commodities and block access to any competitor.

e.g. Verizon and Comcast deploying their own VOIP products while at the same time blocking or bandwidth starving Vonage… it’s already happening, let’s stop it.

Sunny7L says:

If all I wanted was to “read my mail” I wouldn’t need broadband access. People pay $40-50/month so that they can enjoy all of the benefits of the net–including video, file sharing and voip services.

If it wasn’t for these content-rich services there would really be no need for 6mb (or 16mb) per second downloads. Why when you’re only reading text and loading a few images?

If general browsing starts reminding me of dial-up (which is fairly easy when you’re used to high speed) I will start wondering why I’m paying nearly 50 bucks when I can get the same thing for $10.

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