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. icon
    Whatever (profile), 17 Jul 2014 @ 11:36am

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

    I agree. However, we already have cases (unpaid) where certain companies are pushing to peer directly with ISPs to improve the speed at which people can reach the and thus create a two tier system. It is discrimination without pay, as Google most certainly makes sure they have enough bandwidth into the ISP, but others who must rely on the other peering sources don't have such control.

    Is "pay" the only measure of net neutrality? That Google doesn't pay for this directly to the ISP make it somehow all okay?

    Net neutrality is fine with natural topological discrimination across a network. It's not fine with an ISP double dipping by charging the customers to provide service and then charging a service provider to improve their service. See the difference?

    Two issues. Google (and netflix) are changing that topography to favor themselves and disadvantage others by direct peering with ISPs on what amounts to a private line.

    Moreover, much of the peering in the world is "pay for connection" type stuff, not done just out of the kindness of their hearts. Even in "free" scenerios there are often interconnect fees between different parts of a NOC, so every connection you add costs. That an ISP peers direct with Google but not direct with Yahoo, and they peer direct with Netflix but not with pandora creates an uneven system.

    The thing you are missing is the ISPs didn't suddenly get 50% more revenue when netflix came along and started clogging up the system, if anything they got more grief from consumers who wanted even more bandwidth - all at the same time too. It's incredibly expensive to keep adding bandwidth with no additional income, especially when it may also mean improvements all through the network to make more bandwidth available to end users. Who pays for it all? Is it truly fair for the ISP to be required to build to absolute peak bandwidth to satisfy a third party company who's business model is predicated on using a lot of resources?

    Yes, I understand, most ISPs are underbuilt. That is the nature of how the internet has worked. There is no 1-1 buy in of connectivity, no 1 to 1 network build out. There have been assumptions made over the years of ratios, how much bandwidth you need for each consumer on average. Some ISPs are better, some are worse. But Netflix and other streaming services shift that entirely and have done so in a manner that nobody could respond quickly enough to. In a business where technology is on a 5 to 10 year cycle, asking them to entirely re-do their networks from end to end in less than 2 years is off the charts. There isn't enough money to pull it off.

    What do you suggest? Should the ISPs all just give up?

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