Congressman Who Was Against Protecting Net Neutrality Flips Sides After Realizing The Harm Broadband Giants Can Cause

from the nice-to-see dept

Over the last few weeks we've seen a number of politicians come out on one side or another concerning the FCC's net neutrality plans, but most of them were pretty much expected. It actually was nice to see some net neutrality supporters be quite explicit in their support for Title II reclassification (like Senator Chuck Schumer), but beyond that there weren't too many surprises. That's why it was actually great to see Rep. Gary Peters, who is currently running for the Senate in Michigan, come out in favor of net neutrality, warning of the harm that could be caused by the fast lanes and slow lanes as allowed by the current FCC proposal.
"If large corporations can pay more for faster service for their content, this effectively creates a 'slow lane' for everyone else."
This is notable, because four years ago, Peters was actually one of the group of Representatives who actively opposed strong net neutrality rules by the FCC. It appears that four years later he's changed his mind. In his new statement, he makes it clear that he now realizes how many entrepreneurs and innovators rely on an open internet:
"Startups and small businesses are the engines of job creation and economic growth in Michigan, and they rely on open access to the Internet to stay competitive. I have serious concerns that allowing large, established corporations to purchase faster services puts these startups and small businesses at a disadvantage and stifles innovation."
That's a far cry from the letter Peters signed four years ago, which was entirely focused on the question of how these rules might upset the big broadband access providers. It's good to see Peters has realized that the future is in innovative startups, not in protecting big cable and telco oligopolies.

Filed Under: gary peters, innovation, michigan, net neutrality, reclassification, switching sides, title ii


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2014 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: what is net neutrality really?

    "becoming a bandwidth hog application?"

    If people request that service and the ISP advertises that it can deliver it then Netflix being a 'bandwidth hog' is providing paying customers with the service customers request. It's not the fault of Netflix that customers demand more bandwidth. What does it matter to the ISP if the bandwidth it is delivering (from outside its network) is coming from Youtube, Netflix, or a combination of Netflix and Youtube. This is what the customers are requesting. It's not a matter of Netflix becoming a 'bandwidth hog', it's a matter of Netflix providing its customers with the service they are requesting. That's a good thing. More bandwidth being delivered through Netflix means customers are getting better served in getting what they want. Economically that's a good thing. If the ISP can't keep up with demand they should advertise a slower speed (and use the money they get from customers to upgrade their infrastructure instead of complaining about bandwidth hogs due to a lack of competition).

    "Until Netflix started widespread streaming, there wasn't that much of an issue."

    The issue is not Netflix it's the ISP's either false advertising what they can provide or them refusing to upgrade their infrastructure to meet increased demand. Netflix is a good thing because it provides customers with services they request. If the ISP can't deliver they need to advertise differently and use the money they make from customers to upgrade their infrastructure so that they can better meet the increases in demand instead of abusing the lack of competition they lobbied for (that they are not entitled to) to avoid having to invest.

    "The ISPs will never have 1:1 peak bandwidth for all customers at all time."

    But this isn't what Net Neutrality is requiring. Net neutrality isn't requiring them to provide peak bandwidth at all times. It simply requires them not to double dip by charging customers for access and then charging services for more bandwidth. To meet the increased demands of the Internet (including Netflix, Youtube, etc...) the ISP needs to upgrade their infrastructure. The issue isn't that Netflix is being a bandwidth hog it's that the ISP's customers are demanding more Internet bandwidth. Netflix is simply providing what its customers are demanding. and customers (over)paid the ISPs good money to provide that bandwidth. Just because ISPs have lobbied for less competition shouldn't mean the government should just allow them to charge more for less service and to double dip. The lack competition should be met with consumer protection laws like Net Neutrality to prevent ISP abuse.

    "They sell you a local connection speed, not guaranteed bandwidth to the internet after all."

    Which doesn't negate net neutrality principles. The ISP should not double dip and charge both services and customers to provide bandwidth. What they should do is use the money they make from customers to upgrade their infrastructure instead of complaining due to the fact that they can since they lobbied hard and paid good money to stifle competition.

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