Jesse Jackson Insists He's Lobbying For Weaker Net Neutrality Rules To Help Protect The Poor

from the with-friends-like-these dept

We've talked more than a few times about the telecom industry's favored tactic of paying minority groups to parrot bad telecom policies, even if said policies actually harm these groups' constituents. Whether it's AT&T paying the The Hispanic Institute to support AT&T's failed bid for T-Mobile (a deal that would have raised rates for wireless users) or Comcast paying The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to support their acquisition of Time Warner Cable (a deal that will likely only make bad customer service at both companies worse), combining these groups with the existing payroll of fauxcademics, consultants, think tankers and other sockpuppets helps create the illusion of broad support for anti-consumer policies.

It's a parlor trick that has seen endless implementation in the net neutrality debate. The latest example is the Minority Media and Telecom Council (pdf), which alongside a laundry list of diversity and minority groups (pdf) has been lobbying the FCC with net neutrality talking points that (surely coincidentally) mirror the broadband industry's. Namely, that weaker Section 706 rules are the best path forward (ignoring they do nothing and likely won't survive another legal challenge) and that tougher rules under Title II will kill network investment (which, as we've noted repeatedly, is also bunk).

At the front of this disingenuous diversity army appears to be Jesse Jackson, who, the Washington Post states, spent some time recently lobbying the FCC for weaker net neutrality protections. Why? Apparently Jackson believes that carrying the water for lumbering duopolies somehow will magically create jobs:
"Jackson "was unequivocal in voicing his opposition to Title II because of its effects on investment in broadband and because of the ultimate impact on minority communities and job creation," said Berin Szoka, another participant in the meeting with Wheeler who has also argued for Section 706."
Szoka is the same individual who has repeatedly tried to argue that killing off net neutrality will be a great thing for startups, so if anything, this latest FCC meeting must have at least had great entertainment value. As for the claim that Title II will kill investment (and therefore jobs), this has been debunked time and time and time again. When parts of Verizon's FiOS network were classified under Title II (mostly to net tax breaks for Verizon), you'll be pleased to learn that the sky didn't fall. Meanwhile, after a decade of deregulation companies like AT&T and Verizon have made it clear they're never going to upgrade many poor areas. In fact, they intend to back away from many of the communities they do serve.

Shockingly, neither Jackson nor any of the lobbying groups listed in "united" support seem aware of these realities in the slightest:
"Civil rights and diversity organizations are largely united in their support for Section 706, Jackson said in an interview Monday. He added that no matter which legal approach the FCC chooses, the agency's net neutrality rules should not end up marginalizing minorities and the poor. "We got a lot of poor folks who don't have broadband," said Jackson. "If you create something where, for the poor, the lane is slower and the cost is more, you can't survive."
Of course if you've been playing along at home you know that the entire concept of net neutrality revolves around protecting everyone (including the poor) from the nation's broadband duopoly, and the price hikes and assorted gatekeeper shenanigans they've been experimenting with for the better part of a decade. Yet somehow in Jackson's head, protecting the incumbent ISP's right to engage in anti-competitive pricing models will be a good thing for less affluent areas:
"Jackson raised substantive concerns Thursday about the ability of low-income Americans and minority communities to afford bandwidth-hogging Internet services, according to someone who attended the FCC meeting and had lunch with Jackson beforehand but who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private. Internet plans that exempt some applications from consumers' monthly data caps are one way to make data more affordable, and the tactic has become a popular business strategy in developing countries. But the practice also cuts against the principle of "strong" net neutrality because exempting some services from the cap necessarily means giving them special treatment over others. "[Jackson] immediately glommed on to this," said the person. "There are some strands of net neutrality … that are in direct conflict with low-income Americans."
Plans that "exempt some applications from consumers monthly data caps" sounds a lot like AT&T's misguided "Sponsored Data" efforts, which involve companies paying AT&T a fee for their content to bypass the company's usage caps. It's an idea that's solely about creating a new revenue stream for AT&T, but has the potential to hurt small companies and non profits that may not be able to pay AT&T's troll toll (how exactly would that help the poor?). And while there are some international examples of cap-exempt services being experimented with in developing nations where infrastructure barely exists (see 0.facebook.com and Google Free Zone), we're talking about the United States.

And here in the United States, our friendly neighborhood duopoly giants are looking for any opportunity to jack up what are already some of the highest prices in the developing world. If Jackson and friends really want to help their constituents, these diversity and minority groups could focus on things like fighting state laws that ban communities from improving their own broadband. I'll go out on a limb and guess that these groups' obfuscated financial donors would prefer that doesn't happen. Instead, by supporting the status quo and ensuring we take the weakest path possible on net neutrality, Jackson and friends are fighting against the best interests of the very same people they claim to be supporting.
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Filed Under: astroturfing, broadband, fcc, jesse jackson, jobs, lobbying, net neutrality


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  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 11:26am

    It seems I've been waiting my whole life for Jessie Jackson to finally step out of the shadows and claim his birth-rite as Champion of the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TruthHurts, 19 Nov 2014 @ 11:55am

    Jesse, if you don't know, keep quiet..

    Jesse, in this case, you are absolutely clueless.

    Keep quiet, you're doing it wrong.

    You're making things worse for the poor with your decisions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:47pm

      Re: Jesse, if you don't know, keep quiet..

      You're making things worse for the poor with your decisions.

      This is pretty much true with all of his decisions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 11:56am

    Just remember, Jesse Jackson is not the emperor of black people. Or Net Neutrality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:07pm

    Jesse Jackson finally got something right

    I almost never agree with Jesse Jackson but he is right on this. While I don't think is motivation is a free market free of regulation - he rarely shys away from regulation - the net effect is joining the fight for that free market. It is not he place of the FCC to interfere with the market and protect certain competitors. For web companies, the Internet is effectively part of their supply chain. Companies in all industries can afford or not afford differing levels in those supplies chains. Bypassing caps or paying for fastlanes is just that. The fact that some competitors can't afford such amenities does not mean that those that can should be prohibited from having access to them. And that is what net neutrality does by interfering with ISPs ability to offer certain value propositions to the market. The government should ensure a fair playing field with equality of opportunity, NOT equality of outcome.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

      There is no fair playing field the big isps swallow up the smaller destroy all pricing create a heap of lies and why nots while being systematic about not upgrading anything so the consumer is left with 1 major isp and it just happens to be the walmart of isps.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

        To the degree that there is not competition, that is an issue. But that is not to be addressed by regulating those market participants that do compete in that space. The proper venue to address any monopolistic practice and increase competition is antitrust. I would welcome more competition in the ISP space but the lack of competitors in an oligopoly doesn't justify excessive regulation that interferes with the free practice of that business. If there was not a market for fast lanes, web companies like Netflix would not pay for them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 5:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

          If there wasn't a market for "protection" people with broken limbs wouldn't pay for it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:26pm

      Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

      "It is not he place of the FCC to interfere with the market and protect certain competitors."

      Which is not what net neutrality does.

      Regardless, though, your comments assume that there exists some sort of free market in the ISP space. There does not -- if there was such a thing, then the need for a regulatory resolution would be a lot lower.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:37pm

        Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

        See my above comment. To the degree there should be more competition - and I am welcome to that should the market conditions result in that - that is something to be handled via anti-trust. Having the government come in and tell businesses how to run themselves does not create the environment to attract competition.

        As for protecting competitors that is the argument that pro-net neutrality advocates provide: smaller web company cannot afford the "fast lanes" that Netflix can. Maybe, maybe not, but it is not the government's place to protect those competitors who cannot via net neutrality.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

          You're thinking that a 'fast lane' is a competitive, market-shaped innovative product. It is not. It is the natural state of the internet. 'Slow lanes' are the result of deliberate throttling at the network edge. Please educate yourself before speaking.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

            Perhaps you should educate yourself before suggesting that to others.

            Networks slow down when under congestion. The fast lane Comcast offered - and was accepted by Netflix - provided additional service over and above the slow natural state. There was no throttling undertaken by Comcast. The enhanced service got around that natural state.

            Consumerist: Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast To End Slowdown

            Note, ceasing to perform services that were previously done as a courtesy is not throttling. It is allowing the natural state under congestion to take its course.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              JEDIDIAH, 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:32pm

              Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

              If the network is genuinely overloaded then ALL packets of a particular type should be degraded than just the ones from Netflix. ISPs are being allowed to abuse their position as common carriers to blackmail service providers and favor their own.

              The problem with your argument is how do Netflix speeds magically improve upon payment? Either the network can handle the traffic or it can't. Throwing money at the ISP really doesn't alter the situation.

              If this were really a network overload problem, there would be no amount of money that Netflix could pay to solve the problem.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:46pm

                Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                This sounds more like conspiracy theory. Where is your evidence? The Consumerist is hardly a rabid free-market blog and they acknowledge there was nothing untoward done by Comcast.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 9:12pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                  And that sounds like dodging the point being made and trying to discredit it by attempting to spin it as a 'conspiracy theory', without actually presenting counter evidence.

                  As for evidence in favor, have a look at this article, and in particular the charts shown.

                  Detailed Report Shows How ISPs Are Making 'Business Choice' To Make Your Internet Connection Terrible
                  https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutrality/articles/20141029/06551128976/detailed-report-sh ows-how-isps-are-making-business-choice-to-make-your-internet-connection-terrible.shtml

                  Months of 'network congestion' between three of the ISP's(Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon) in the area and and Congent('congestion' not shared by a fourth ISP in the area, so Congent wasn't the source of the problem), that 'miraculously' went away just as soon as Netflix folded and started paying out.

                  Either the network connections were intentionally allowed to become congested, when fixing the issue is apparently a trivial, and relatively cheap matter, or the networks really were unable to cope with the traffic before, and yet those three ISP's managed to upgrade their entire networks in the area, practically overnight, once Netflix was 'convinced' to pay them more.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 9:25pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                    ISPS "abuse" position.
                    "Blackmail" service providers.
                    That is silly and outlandish hyperbole. No one at Comcast, AT&T, etc. is "blackmailing" anyone. I don't waste time responding to nonsense like that. Call it what you want, but when you have a substantive point, even if different from mine, I am happy to discuss. But when you start from a place like you did, the odds of reasonable discussion are slim.

                    Furthermore, your assertions that there is no way Netflix could pay for a service upgrade show a lack of technical acumen. I was a wireless engineer, so I am not an IP networking expert but I know there are techniques to improve service quality, whether it be to install new equipment that serves certain customers, etc. And why do we know? It happened in the Netflix-Comcast case so your assertions are without merit as a result. And if that is what you base your suppositions of "magical" performance on, that too is without merit. Going back to my previous point, I am not going to engage in discussion when the basic foundations of a point are so weak.

                    Finally, as to your example, did you read the article I posted? It explains what happened, at last with Comcast. Comcast had been performing certain network services AS A COURTESY. In the midst of negotiations, they ceased performing those services. You may not like it, but since they are not obligated to perform those services and there were making available a premium service offering to Netflix, it was entirely appropriate to suspend those courtesy services to highlight the value that Comcast was receiving but, to that point, was not paying for. That is not "throttling" or limiting bandwidth. It was simply only doing what they were paid to do...and it highlighted the problem of the proposed net neutrality regulations.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      That One Guy (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 10:06pm

                      A field's worth of strawmen...

                      ISPS "abuse" position.
                      "Blackmail" service providers.


                      Yeah, might want to check the names of the posters, I am not the one who used those words, though 'blackmail' and 'abuse' do fit the situation, when the ISP's intentionally let the connections get congested in order to squeeze more money out of a company.

                      Furthermore, your assertions that there is no way Netflix could pay for a service upgrade show a lack of technical acumen.

                      [CITATION NEEDED], in particular, point to where I made any such claim.

                      but I know there are techniques to improve service quality, whether it be to install new equipment that serves certain customers, etc. And why do we know? It happened in the Netflix-Comcast case so your assertions are without merit as a result.

                      Strawman argument, the argument presented isn't that there's no way to improve the connections, it's that there is, and the ISP's intentionally didn't do so.

                      Comcast had been performing certain network services AS A COURTESY.

                      'Certain network services'? You make it sound like they were doing something beyond what they were already being paid to do, namely deliver the content that their customers had already paid for. Customers of Comcast(and the other ISPs) had paid for connections at certain speeds. It shouldn't have mattered whether the content being delivered was from Netflix, Amazon, Google, or some random site on the internet, because the customer didn't pay the ISP's for content, they paid them for connectivity.

                      If the ISP's couldn't handle the content that Netflix was sending them sufficient to meet their customers' demands, then it was their responsibility, not Netflix, to fix whatever problem was causing the congestion. Instead, they refused to do so, intentionally letting the problem fester, in an attempt to sour relations between Netflix and it's customers, in a (sadly successful) attempt to force Netflix to pay the ISP's to deliver content that had already been paid for.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:03am

                        Re: A field's worth of strawmen...

                        YOU said I was dodging. I was showing how that was not a dodge and why I refuse to give credence to such terms. You made the accusation, whether you made the original point or not. I stand by my response. The citation was provided in another post. And NOT going above and beyond what you are paid to do is NOT blackmail. Since when is a company EXPECTED to provide free premium service? They can, but they are free to stop at any point. There may be PR blowback but they are not obligated to continue.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:13pm

                          Re: Re: A field's worth of strawmen...

                          And NOT going above and beyond what you are paid to do is NOT blackmail.

                          Which is great, since they weren't. The customers of the ISP's paid for certain amounts of data at certain speeds. Sending the customers the data they have paid for is not 'going above and beyond', if the ISP's can't handle the traffic that they sold, then that's their problem, not Netlix's.

                          The ISP's refusing to perform simple maintenance to their connection points in order to handle Netlix traffic, traffic that again, had already been paid for, until Netflix paid for the 'privilege' of being able to send it, is absolutely blackmail.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            FinanceBuzz (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 7:39am

                            Re: Re: Re: A field's worth of strawmen...

                            Sorry, but you are simply wrong in this case:

                            Much like Netflix’s ongoing standoff with Verizon FiOS, the drop in speeds wasn’t an issue of the ISP throttling or blocking service to Netflix. Rather, the ISPs were allowing for Netflix traffic to bottleneck at what’s known as “peering ports,” the connection between Netflix’s bandwidth provider and the ISPs.
                            Until recently, if peering ports became congested with downstream traffic, it was common practice for an ISP to temporarily open up new ports to maintain the flow of data. This was not a business arrangement; just something that had been done as a courtesy.
                            ...
                            The congestion at peering ports occurs further upstream and is a matter of capacity.

                            source:Consumerist:Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast To End Slowdown

                            This is NOT blackmail and it was NOT anything Comcast was obligated to do (i.e., it was not a business arrangement). The rules the net neutrality proponents advocate would prohibit the consumer-friendly solution that alleviated this problem. This is, frankly, without dispute in this case.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      techflaws (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 10:20pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                      I don't waste time responding to nonsense like that.

                      Thanks for proving his point, shill.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:06am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                        What is more of an appropriate response? Not giving credence to hyperbole and outlandish claims or calling anyone who disagrees with your position, while giving rational reasons for that disagreement, a "shill." You may as well, but I can assure you I think and analyze for myself from a free market perspective and I speak for nor take guidance from anyone.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          techflaws (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:55pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                          The free market perspective is no value in and off itself. As the telcos so nicelcy demonstrate every day, they need to be regulated to stop them ripping off everyone with unjustified rents.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

          "that is something to be handled via anti-trust"

          I agree, I would love to see that happen. But it won't, because the telecoms are paying good money to make sure it won't.

          Regardless, how is anti-trust action not a case of the government coming in and telling businesses how to run themselves? It's exactly that, but in a way that is a lot more heavy-handed than title 2 reclassification. If your concern is government interference, I would think that you would prefer reclassification over antitrust actions.

          "that is the argument that pro-net neutrality advocates provide: smaller web company cannot afford the "fast lanes" that Netflix can"

          No, that's not the argument at all. That's brought up as an additional unwanted effect, but it's not at all the core argument. The core argument is one of freedom.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

            To be sure anti-trust regulation is government interference in the marketplace but capitalism works best when there is competition. It is that principle on which anti-trust regulations exist. Net neutrality does not inherent stoke competition, it merely places limits on what their business model can be. Two very different types of regulation.

            As for antitrust, if Microsoft's was not ruled a monopoly, there is no way Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc. would meet the definition. They are hardly the old AT&T (pre-breakup) or Standard Oil. Those markets may be oligopolistic, but those are not illegal. And if those markets are legal, then it is not the place of government to regulate business models.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:51pm

        Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

        Regardless, though, your comments assume that there exists some sort of free market in the ISP space. There does not -- if there was such a thing, then the need for a regulatory resolution would be a lot lower.

        Exactly. Free market principles are wonderful, but we must always remember that they are only valid when conditions of freedom exist in the marketplace. And for that, there must be strong competition. Otherwise, you don't have a free market; you have a monopoly, and free market economic principles break down.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

          But the reality is that we do not have monopolies. We have, at best/worst, an oligopoly and that is not illegal.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 2:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

            Monopolies are not illegal either. They are also just as bad as oligopolies, so I'm not sure what your point is.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

              They aren't but they are regulated. Not sure how that applies given that we don't have monopolies in the ISP space.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                JEDIDIAH, 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:34pm

                Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                "we don't have monopolies in the ISP space"

                Is that you Ted? I didn't think you were smart enough to use a computer.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                They aren't regulated any more or less than any other companies, except for the special case of government enforced monopolies.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TruthHurts, 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:53pm

      Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

      @FinanceBuzz Either you're being facetious or sarcastic, or else you are as clueless as Jesse Jackson is.

      Switching to title II isn't about regulating who can and cannot do things on the Internet, it's about preventing corporations from saying who can and cannot do things on the Internet.

      It's about preventing corporations from blackmailing customers or content providers into paying two or more times to get the same content through that they've already paid for.

      All of your rhetoric about value proposition is meaningless garbage. It comes down to one word for the corporations spewing that garbage - PROFIT.

      They want to illegally profit off of other people's work.
      They want to illegally profit off of another company's product.
      They want to illegally profit by making people pay 2 or 3 times to receive or transmit content they've already paid the "toll-booth" fees for.

      Once a customer pays their ISP for xyz download bandwidth, they get xyz bandwidth, regardless of source or else it's a contract violation.

      Once a customer pays their ISP for xyz upload bandwidth, they get xyz upload bandwidth, regardless of who's downloading it, or else it's a contract violation.

      Data transferring between backbone operators is supposed to be transparent with no controls in place to limit speed or throughput, and places where there are insufficient resources to transmit the full capacity, then capacity has to be expanded, that's part of the cost of doing business as a backbone operator.

      So please, just be quiet, your rantings are all wrong and you're just trying to make things worse for the American people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 1:18pm

        Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

        Let me let you in on a little secret. Companies exist to earn a...profit. They aren't charities or non-profits, but they are there to take in more than spend. You act as if that is a dirty word, but it's at the root of basic economics and business. All this "illegal" allegations you are making are baseless so I won't waste any time on them.

        You say "where there are insufficient resources to transmit the full capacity, then capacity has to be expanded, that's part of the cost of doing business as a backbone operator."

        Do you understand how investment decisions like these are made? They look at the financial return on these projects. Now, under your scenario of net neutrality, where they cannot offer premium services to web companies, services that generate higher margins (i.e. profits) that makes achieving those hurdle rates that much more difficult. Sure, they could pass on those costs to the individual end user, but how much do you want to pay per month for service? Granted, it is not that simple, but you get the gist of market economics. And all that aside...why should the government go in and interfere with doing business? How does that encourage innovative market value propositions? Scoff at that all you want, but that is basic business.

        Finally, please tell me where my ISP is telling anyone what they can and cannot say? Prove that because that is a ridiculous claim.

        It's laughable that you want to silence a voice that disagrees with you when you base your arguments on ludicrous agenda-fueled talking points of "criminality." I know such people do not like to be called out and challenged, but that's too bad. I will not stop speaking out against attacks on free markets and voices advocating infringing on freedom with government regulation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          jjmsan (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 2:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

          As far as I know most homes have phone lines. This happened because of government incentives. Most if not all of the current lines used by ISP's run through government right of way. Given all this it is disingenuous to talk about ISP's being the result of free market forces.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 2:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

            So the fact that a business touches on any public space means they should have unreasonable regulation placed on them? Roads are government property. Should businesses have their business models regulated because they transport goods over roads? That's why we pay taxes but it does not justify government regulation that discourages innovation.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 5:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

              OK, now you're just being flat-out disingenuous. There's a difference between businesses that use the roads and the entity that administers them. Comcast isn't a company that "transports goods over roads;" it's the one building and maintaining them (or at least nominally doing so.)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 6:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                Comcast's network is NOT public property. Honestly, I am not sure exactly what you are getting at though I have an idea and that is what I am trying to address. Comcast has invested the capital to build out their network, just as UPS has invested to build a fleet of vehicles to transport goods. Some of that transport is done over public roads and other infrastructure (e.g. airports). But that does not mean that the government should tightly control the UPS business model. That is why UPS pays taxes. Not being disingenous, just trying to address your analogy as best as I can.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 2:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

          Let me let you in on a little secret. Companies exist to earn a...profit. They aren't charities or non-profits, but they are there to take in more than spend. You act as if that is a dirty word, but it's at the root of basic economics and business.

          There's nothing wrong with making a profit. There is, however, something very wrong with making a profit abusively.

          And all that aside...why should the government go in and interfere with doing business? How does that encourage innovative market value propositions? Scoff at that all you want, but that is basic business.

          Here's some slightly more advanced business: some things provide far greater value when their nominal value is decreased.

          I've mentioned the history of steel before on here. It's kind of long, and I won't get into it too deeply, but suffice it to say that steel has been around since approximately the 14th century BC. It was always rare, difficult to produce, and valuable. I'm sure ancient smiths came up with many innovative ways to extract market value from it.

          Then along came the Industrial Revolution, and a few guys worked out the secret to industrial steelmaking, the mass production of cheap steel. and it revolutionized society itself in a way that few technological advances in the history of our world have. Fire, agriculture, electronics and the printing press are some of the few that come to mind. Today, steel costs well under $1000/ton, less than $50/pound. Making it that cheap has enabled people to easily build stuff from it that resulted in the creation of enormous amounts of wealth!

          Infrastructure isn't meant to be a high profit margin industry. It's meant to be a foundation to build on, and the lower the prices for basic infrastructure, the more accessible it becomes and the more wealth gets created. The Internet is a pillar of today's basic infrastructure, and just look at how much wealth it's created in society since the 90s. This is only possible when the infrastructure costs remain low, predictable, and as boring and "un-innovative" as possible.

          That's what Title II is all about.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 2:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

            Ugh, that should have been "steel costs well under $1000/ton, less than $0.50/pound."

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          • icon
            FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

            You may some valid points. The problem is they don't really apply to net neutrality. Steel prices have come down over the years due to technological innovation spurred by market competition. None of that innovation was dictated by government regulation and certainly was not impeded by that. In fact, one reason steel is so cheap now is international competition. If those who generally favor net neutrality got the tariffs to protect US steel production, those prices would be a good bit higher due to limited competition. So the low steel prices are a function, in part, to lower government regulation...which is the polar opposite of net neutrality.

            It may be best that infrastructure be cheap but that should be driven by the market - and ultimately will if there are not barriers to competition and innovation - rather than trying to be forced into that market by the government. It would be one thing if net neutrality regulations fostered competition in the ISP space, but there is no rational reason to see that occurring, not as the regulations are proposed.

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            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

              The problem is, due to the massive investment costs required to even get into the business, providing broadband connectivity services is an industry that is highly prone to consolidation and natural monopolies, the very antithesis of competition and free markets, and that's exactly what we're seeing going on, complete with collusion (whether formal or simply "understood", it's still collusion) between major players to divide up the market into local monopolies that do not compete with one another.

              I agree, having competition brought about by the free market would be an ideal situation, but that's a highly ideaslistic situation in this case. Title II recognizes the situation for what it is, and essentially says "if it looks like a utility company and quacks like a utility company, regulate it like a utility company." Because that's what we've learned is the most efficient way to deal with utilities that provide basic infrastructure and are prone to natural monopolies.

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                FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 3:55pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                But as I said elsewhere, we don't have monopoly. Where I live, I can choose between AT&T and Comcast at home or I could use wireless (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile). Granted, wireless isn't yet cost effective and on par with the land-based options, but that will come in time...if they are not choked off by regulation.

                How much innovation have we seen in landline? The home phone is virtually no different now than it was when I was a kid 35 years. Same dial tone, same dialing sequence. Yes, we have a few more innovations than back then like call-waiting, three-way calling, etc. But these are clunky, user-unfriendly, etc. Compare that to your cell and how wireless networks have transformed by leaps and bounds in a decade. I used to be a wireless RF engineer. Back then, data was a non-issue. All of our engineering was based on voice capacity. Now...data is the bottleneck. The network today is so drastically different than the ones I worked on that, even if I wanted to go back to that job, I would be obsolete. Only a small part would be the same. Contrast that to POTS and I know for a fact that AT&T has telephone infrastructure out there, still in use, that is a century old. Is that what you want for the internet? Because, intended or not, that, or something similar would be the side effect of government meddling in the market. What we have may have shortcomings, but what we have is far more dynamic than POTS. To me, it is crystal clear.

                Finally, lost of industries are prone to consolidation. Do we put in place onerous regulations in every industry? The airline industry has consolidated a lot and some would argue it has not all benefited the consumer. But it sure is a lot more consumer friendly and cost effective than back in the days of regulation. When I was a kid, airline travel was perceived as the luxury of rich or well off people. Now, everyone flies for far lower fares than decades past.

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                • icon
                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 5:06pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                  Where I live, I can choose between AT&T and Comcast at home

                  Then you've got better service than most people in the USA. The majority of citizens have one (or zero) 'choices' for residential broadband access, especially if you define broadband as a band that's actually broad enough to stream high quality video.

                  How much innovation have we seen in landline? The home phone is virtually no different now than it was when I was a kid 35 years.

                  Yeah, that's the mark of a mature product, particularly a basic utility. It doesn't change because it doesn't have to; it does what it needs to do and does it well. How much innovation have you seen over the same 35 years in power lines, gas, or water?

                  Compare that to your cell and how wireless networks have transformed by leaps and bounds in a decade.

                  Yes, because these are not yet mature products. As in biology, children grow much faster than adults.

                  When I was a kid, airline travel was perceived as the luxury of rich or well off people. Now, everyone flies for far lower fares than decades past.

                  I'm not that much younger than you, and when I was a kid I did some flying of my own, and my family was never rich. Two points worth raising, though:

                  1) Internet access is a basic utility, a necessity of modern life. Air travel is not, thus comparing them is less than perfectly fair.

                  2) More cost effective? You gotta be kidding me. Airlines these days are nickel-and-diming you for every little thing, squeezing the seats further together, and actively working to make the flights uncomfortable so you'll shell out extra for upgrades. Over the last few decades, technological advances have improved nearly every aspect of our lives... but air travel has somehow gotten worse! Raising it in support of your perspective really does nothing to help your case.

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                  • icon
                    FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 5:57pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                    Then you've got better service than most people in the USA. The majority of citizens have one (or zero) 'choices' for residential broadband access, especially if you define broadband as a band that's actually broad enough to stream high quality video.


                    Sorry but that simply is not true:

                    According the data from the national broadband map, more than 95 percent of Americans now have access to fixed broadband and 88 percent of households can choose from two or more fixed providers.

                    88% of households having a choice of fixed broadband providers (not to count wireless) is rather a supermajority.

                    Airline fare, even post-deregulation have fallen about 15% in the last 19 years and, going back nearly 30 years into the regulation era, they have fallen by approximately half. Whether it was a luxury is a matter of opinion, but the data show clearly that getting rid of excessive government regulation has been consumer friendly.

                    To your points:

                    1. I do not agree whatsoever that internet is in the same category - yet - as power, water, gas, etc. Furthermore, while it has grown largely commoditized, it is not quite to level of pure commodity as are those services. This is evidenced by the enhanced level of internet transport service Comcast was able to offer Netflix. We may get there - and no doubt the Internet has become very important to modern life - it is not yet to the point that you simply cannot live without it. Whether it is a perfect comparison to airline travel or not, the fact that regulation fostered competition, innovation and lower costs in the airline industry is an apt comparison to the Internet as we are discussing the impact of regulation in a competitive market.

                    2. No, I am not kidding you. I have already offered the data. As far as nickel-and-diming, you could argue that decoupling services and allowing for a la carte selection has enabled cheaper basic fares. In the past, whether or not you checked a bag - a service provided by the airline - you paid the same fare as the guy besides (all the variables of airline pricing notwithstanding, but prior to recent years, those variables did not include opting out of checking luggage). That is hardly a service that everyone uses. Many swear by NOT checking a bag. Now, if you don't wish to check a bag, you pay less. That gives the consumer more choice. For those of us that check - I am one of them - it is annoying, but I cannot argue against the fairness of paying for what you get. The same could be said for other services that used to be offered uniformly to all passengers.

                    As for making the planes more uncomfortable, I again strongly dispute this. I took my first flight in 1996 and coach seats are no less comfortable now than then. They have been cramped for a very long time. However, Delta (my preferred carrier) has leather (or leatherette! :) ) seating in the entire plane. I have the option to purchase an enhanced service offering - not unlike an ISP "fast lane" - if I want more space and comfort (and I do). Movies are no longer one-size-fits-all with one screen playing one movie. Many aircraft, even domestically offer seatback video giving you choice of what to watch. The flying experience now is much more comfortable and friendly than even 20 years ago. You may have a different opinion, you cannot deny that some of these amenities, whether you value them as a passenger or not, were not available. I would contend that competition has ushered these in. If Delta does not offer them, I can go to American or Southwest. True, the hub and spoke system strongly favors one carrier per market, but that is not the same as a monopoly.

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                    • icon
                      That One Guy (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 9:35pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                      88% of households having a choice of fixed broadband providers (not to count wireless) is rather a supermajority.

                      Depending on how you define 'broadband' anyway.

                      Another article you should read:

                      FCC's Tom Wheeler Admits There Isn't Really Broadband Competition
                      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140904/11454828417/fccs-tom-wheeler-admits-there-isnt -really-broadband-competition.shtml

                      'The bar on the left reflects the availability of wired broadband using the FCC’s current broadband definition of 4 Mbps. But let’s be clear, this is “yesterday’s broadband.” Four megabits per second isn’t adequate when a single HD video delivered to home or classroom requires 5 Mbps of capacity. This is why we have proposed updating the broadband speed required for universal service support to 10 Mbps.

                      But even 10 Mbps doesn’t fully capture the increasing demand for better wired broadband, of which downstream speed is, of course, only one component. It’s not uncommon for a U.S. Internet-connected household to have six or more connected devices – including televisions, desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. When these devices are used at the same time, as they often are in the evenings, it’s not hard to overwhelm 10 Mbps of bandwidth.
                      '

                      Going off of that, where even 10 Mbps doesn't really cut it, you've got the following:

                      25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up
                      2.4% - 3 or more providers available
                      22.9% - 2 providers available
                      55.3% - 1 provider available
                      19.4% - 0 providers available

                      50 Mbps down/3 Mbps up
                      1.6% - 3 or more providers available
                      16% - 2 providers available
                      61.4% - 1 provider available
                      21% - 0 providers available

                      As for the 'competition' and 'multiple choices available' idea...

                      'But even two “competitors” overstates the case. Counting the number of choices the consumer has on the day before their Internet service is installed does not measure their competitive alternatives the day after. Once consumers choose a broadband provider, they face high switching costs that include early-termination fees, and equipment rental fees. And, if those disincentives to competition weren’t enough, the media is full of stories of consumers’ struggles to get ISPs to allow them to drop service.'

                      And of course can't miss the followup article, where the major ISP's completely flip over the proposal to update the definition for 'broadband' above the current paltry 4Mbps. Truly, comedy gold in that one.

                      Big Broadband Begs FCC Not To Expose Their Lies By Defining Broadband Accurately
                      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140908/16295828456/big-broadband-begs-fcc-not-to-expos e-their-lies-defining-broadband-accurately.shtml

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                      • icon
                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:57am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                        I welcome more competition. And I welcome faster bandwidth at lower prices. While I am more internet active than most people I know, I certainly don't NEED 25Mbps now and I can live without 10Mbps. That's not to say we should not foster growth of these networks and competition to provide it. I don't disagree that in that sense, there is limited competition...now. And putting in place onerous rules for net neutrality is not how you encourage providers to enter that market space. They may still do it, but at a slower pace because if you effectively lock in the existing duopoly there is less outside motivation via new competition to spur these carriers to fast track the development. Since broadband is nearly a commodity, once I left AT&T as an employee, I jumped to Comcast for a fatter pipe within weeks. I am so far from the CO that I can only get mid-tier DSL speeds - no UVerse and I am on the edge of metro Atlanta - and that wasn't always reliable. I am not wed to Comcast and if a new provider that has reliability and speed comes along, I would switch. But if you effectively lock out new entrants and build barriers even higher than there are, where is that competitive pressure going to come from?

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                      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:50am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                      Wait, you're seriously arguing that broadband is a competitive marketplace? Really?? You're even using a well-debunked, heavily flawed study to suppose this?

                      "According the data from the national broadband map, more than 95 percent of Americans now have access to fixed broadband and 88 percent of households can choose from two or more fixed providers."

                      Even if we accept the study's figures (which we should not, because they're bogus), this is not exactly a redeeming statement right here. If you live in an area where you can choose between two ISPs, that is not a competitive market. That's oligopoly.

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                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:13am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                        Every study that doesn't agree with a position is "debunked." And yes...I stand by that contention. Not geographically, but in terms of users and households, most people have a duopoly at least. VERY few places don't have both a wireline phone company and a cable provider. Yes, there are some rural communities that don't but this is not the majority of the population.

                        And oligopoly signifies two or more limited competitors. Oligopolies are not highly competitive but they are NOT monopolistic. We have oligopolies in many markets: wireless mobile service, automobiles, etc.

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                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:15am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                        And I would note, as I did above, excessive regulation does NOT encourage more competition. It stifles it. Why not expend all this effort to undermine a free market on efforts to foster competition rather than discourage it? Even if you are right that there is no competition, the degree of competition - and innovation in turn - can be improved. (Though the reality of a capital intensive business such of this is a move toward consolidation. The ISP space will never be purely competitive.)

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                          Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:59am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                          So what's your position, then? You freely admit that it won't and essentially can't ever be a free market with healthy competition, so what is the objection towards regulations that would stifle healthy competition in a free market, seeing as how none exists in this space?

                          Title II is the best way to handle this particular situation, where a free market simply has no chance anyway.

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                            FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:03am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                            Simple. Only the barest minimum of regulation that is required (like the example of Comcast blocking Netflix to be anti-competitive). The default should not be "regulate" it should be "regulate only if absolutely necessary." Regulations that aren't warranted almost never turn out well. There are unintended consequences and burdensome restrictions on economic liberty. I still fail to see what benefit Title II would provide given that no one has cited a specific instance of something it would have prevented, that needed to have been prevented.

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                    FinanceBuzz (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 6:17pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                    Sorry I did not touch on the part about the mature product.

                    If I understand you, you are saying that a mature product is ok to regulate since there is little innovation to be done. Then you imply that broadband is not mature because of its fast - and I would argue - continuing growth. So which is it? You are kinda arguing against yourself here.

                    Who is to say when innovation has peaked? How far have we come since IBM posited there was a market for five computers? Or when DEC couldn't see people wanting a computer in their home? Sure, POTS delivers very basic voice and does it reliably. But is that all we need now? Doesn't matter consumers demand so much more in the way of telecommunications than merely voice? Yet, despite that, POTS still, despite being very reliable, only provides voice. In fact, how many people are ditching voice though they are hardly communicating less?

                    Now, you could argue that telephony had truly become a utility service. But, per my other post, while I do not think data networks to the home are there yet, their uses go far beyond basic utility. The question we must ask is are we satisfied with being mere pipes for bits or can they do more? I contend that digital technology can empower them to do far more, probably things we have not even thought of yet. Certainly, faster speeds can be utilized beyond what we think now is even remotely need. I would not want to stymie that future of innovation by effectively freezing in place the status quo. And that is a very real risk of the proposed net neutrality regulation. Right now we have effectively a duopoly but even plodding, mature industries can be disrupted - many, many have been but not when that duopoly is effectively cemented in place by bureaucratic, short-sighted regulation.

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                    • icon
                      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:53am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                      "The question we must ask is are we satisfied with being mere pipes for bits or can they do more?"

                      The physical infrastructure is, and should be, merely a pipe for bits, yes. And a neutral one, so that any company can provide internet (or other) services over them.

                      That's where we need the competitive market, and that's where we have the exact opposite.

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                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:19am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                        Conceptually I agree. But I also have no problem with ISPs providing premium services such as fast lanes and "cap bypasses" where Netflix could pick up the tab for my bandwidth and it not count against any cap I may have. That would violate the definition some people use for net neutrality. I consider that free market capitalism for the service provider and should not be prohibited. In fact, I consider that consumer friendly. So long as it is available to all potential web companies, that is fair, i.e., it is not done underhandedly and via backroom, opaque dealings.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:37am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                          But I also have no problem with ISPs providing premium services such as fast lanes and "cap bypasses" where Netflix could pick up the tab for my bandwidth and it not count against any cap I may have.

                          What you are saying is that you are happy that your ISP determines which services you will have to pay a premium for, either directly to the ISP, or directly to the the service, or via the goods that you buy. (Hint, the cost of advertising is built into the cost of goods.)

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                          • icon
                            FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:16am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                            Hmmm...no...where did I say that? And how is the ISP deciding? The ISP is making a service tier available. The web companies choose whether or not to purchase that. That's a free market. The ISP is not deciding anything. Netflix decided to opt for the premium service with Comcast and guess who benefited? Us customers. I don't anywhere near the delays streaming Netflix at home that I did before. Before, it was nearly unusuable because, since I watch on a big screen, the video quality it would settle down to was unacceptable. Now, it is just fine. Failing to see where that is a bad thing.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:01am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                              Before, it was nearly unusuable because, since I watch on a big screen, the video quality it would settle down to was unacceptable. Now, it is just fine. Failing to see where that is a bad thing.

                              All that has happened is that the ISP has extracted more money from your wallet to allow you to get a decent bandwidth to Netflix. As Netflix is dependent on them to reach their Audience, they had to give in to what was effectively blackmail. As widely reported, ISPs were deliberately causing congestion at border routers, and refusing all offer from Netflix to help ease the problem that did not increase their income. Note that they did not upgrade their network, other than plug in a few more port cards to carry Netflix traffic.
                              Also, due to most ISPs also providing cable television service, expect them to increase their fast lane prices as their cable business contracts.

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                              • icon
                                FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:27am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                Wow...imagine that...not doing something without increasing that income. They are a business. A for-profit entity. Why should they not seek to maximize revenue? That's basic business and market power. Whatever they did, they did an extra service for which Netflix paid them. I am still trying to find what is so egregious about that.

                                As for my rates, I am paying the same to Comcast and to Netflix that I was before. Comcast may have a bit more pricing power due to the duopoly but why would they raise my rates because they offered a premium service to Netflix? Those two are largely unrelated. Now, Netflix may want to pass along that cost in terms of increased rates - and depending on the hike, it might be worth it - but they have less pricing power due to greater competition among streaming providers. Sure, I would lose some exclusive Netflix content but that is part of having a competitive advantage.

                                All in all...still trying to find what is bad here given that this is a free market at work.

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:09am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                  If it was a free market, you could contact a service from Netflix that was independent of Comcast, but as its is Comcast controls your access to Netflix. If Comcast decides tomorrow to charge Netflix 10 times as much, and Netflix refuse to pay, you will lose you Netflix service, and be totally reliant on the dispute being solved to get it back, if ever.
                                  Also, what will you do if Comcast decides to bundle Netflix in an expensive Cable TV package, which in an unregulated market they could decide to do. The whole problem is that without regulation, Comcast can decide whether or not you can use Netflix and under what terms. As Netflix is a competitor to its cable TV business they will possibly try and charge Netflix and other video services so as to replace the income from cord cutters.
                                  From the customer perspective, it is anything but a free market, as ISPs sit between them and the services on the Internet that they wish to use, and they can control access to those services, or force charges onto those services, which the customer will end up paying. (Premium number are decided by a business not the phone company, which only supports their use). The Comcast station is like you phone company also running a takeaway food business, and restricting connection to competitors to keep their phones idle for long period, unless they paid them extra to deliver call if one of their lines was available. That is effectively what Comcast was doing to Netflix by not adding ports to their routers, until Netflix paid them for access to their own customers.
                                  Netflix may be able to charge the same for now, but as their costs go up they will pass them on to their customers, plus a little bit more for profit, as that is what businesses do.

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                                  • icon
                                    FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:55am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                    Sorry but this logic fails:

                                    If it was a free market, you could contact a service from Netflix that was independent of Comcast, but as its is Comcast controls your access to Netflix. If Comcast decides tomorrow to charge Netflix 10 times as much, and Netflix refuse to pay, you will lose you Netflix service, and be totally reliant on the dispute being solved to get it back, if ever.


                                    There are lots of products that reside in different places on a supply chain and where I can't buy directly from the manufacturer/provider of the end product. If i want to buy Tide, I can't buy it directly from P&G, I have to go to Target or Walmart. If I shop at Amazon, I can't get my merchandise directly from them (a few limited forays into delivery notwithstanding) - I have to rely on UPS, FedEx or USPS (and other than selecting delivery times, I generally don't get to pick which company does the delivery. Sorry, but this argument fails because many free markets do not offer what you are suggesting.

                                    As for bundling Netflix with Comcast, etc. that is a giant strawman. I suppose they could technically do that but to think that is even a remote possibility is nonsensical. Now, the point about intentionally slowing down a competitive service, that is more possible and I do agree that that should NOT be allowed. But you don't have to have a broad, one-size-fits all net neutrality regulation to prohibit anti-competitive behavior where you compete in the service you are interfering with. Net neutrality is a sledgehammer trying to hammer the nail that is your example. It's overkill and the downsides are far worse than the upside. You speak of regulation like it is a good thing absent real threats and historical evidence that it is needed. Except for the limited regulation above, all these things you suggest are possibilities, some not even realistic. Why risk harming the Internet based on unlikely "what ifs?"

                                    And you keep coming back to the Netflix example but you miss the key point. They did NOT fail to provide the service for which Netflix was already paying. They were NOT failing to live up to that. They simply stopped doing things that they were not obligated nor compensated to do. If they had done the former, you would have a point, but that simply is not what happened. You can call it dirty dealing if you want, but that is capitalism. It's not always warm and fuzzy. It can rough and tumble and brutal but that is preferable to the chilling effect of unnecessary regulation.

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:44am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                      Why risk harming the Internet based on unlikely "what ifs?"

                                      While sites like Netflix can deal with ISPs, if they have to, there are many smaller streaming sites on the Internet serving a widely distributed audience that could be killed if fast lane became necessary to stream video, and possibly audio. Unless the ISPs remain neutral, it will become almost impossible for the individual, or small community to set up a site that requires higher peak speeds, although their total bandwidth may be low. There are reason why such people do not wish to use a service like YouTube, DMCA take-downs, and comment spam being two of them.

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                      • icon
                                        FinanceBuzz (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 7:31am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                        And where is it the function of government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace? It is not the role of government of protect small competitors or, conversely, limit the legal competitive advantage of larger companies. I see the your point that smaller competitors may find it tougher to compete and that may well be true - and that is not something the government should interfere with. Has Walmart been banned because they make it tougher for small business to compete? Has Amazon been hampered by regulation because they have put scores of small booksellers out of business? No. Not only is this not a valid argument for government regulation it something that argues against net neutrality because it interferes with the operations of a free market.

                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                        • identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 9:53am

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                          Has Amazon been hampered by regulation because they have put scores of small booksellers out of business?

                                          Not a valid comparison, as Amazon does not sit directly between the smaller booksellers and their customers. Also, Amazon has impacted the small bookeller, while providing a new outlet to authors and publishers. An ISP on the other hand sits between the web sites and their audience. Because the audience normally only uses on ISP, they are controlling the sites ability to reach an audience. The site cannot choose one Verizon, AT&T, Comcast etc. to reach their audience, but have to deal with all of them.
                                          By enabling fast lanes, ISPs become gate keepers to the Internet, rather than neutral bit carriers. Web sites with high data rate requirements not only have to select and pay for the connection from their servers through the backbone, but now have to negotiate with all the ISPs that control access to their audience. This hurts the small and startup sites, especially if they are not based in the US.
                                          If the idea of fast lanes becomes world wide it will fragment the Internet for small and start up sites, because only large sites can employ people to negotiate with the ISPs in every country.

                                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                          • icon
                                            FinanceBuzz (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 12:48pm

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                            Valid point on the applicability of the Amazon comparison. A better comparison would be UPS/FedEx/USPS/etc. They are conduits between the end customer and number remote sellers, online and off, for physical goods. They offer various tiers of service at various pricess - overnight to ground. There are no prohibitions on this.

                                            And that still does not answer the question, despite the validity of your point that there could be difficulties for start up web companies. Where is it the place of government to be sure that these new startups have as easy access to the customer as the more established players, absent monopoly in that business, of course? That is the key point here. Protecting smaller or new competitors, aside from prohibiting fraud or monopoly is not the role of government. That puts government in the role of picking winners and losers in the broader marketplace and that is in an inappropriate use of their powers.

                                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                            • identicon
                                              Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 1:30pm

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                              A better comparison would be UPS/FedEx/USPS/etc

                                              That is still a weak comparison, as with the parcel services you can choose a different one for each parcel you send, at the level of service you desire. Most sellers offer their buyers a choice of service level and possible services, and put the cost on the bill. Also it is easy for a customer to go elsewhere, and this keeps their service reasonable.
                                              With the Internet neither you or the web site can make a choice as to who will deliver their packets when you connect them, further the ISP you choose is the one that the service packets have to come through to reach you. Some some of their user will be on a different ISP. Therefore if fast lanes impact them, they have to deal with every ISP, or some of their potential users will not have a decent service. That is they are stuck with dealing with all ISPs if they wish to ensure that all potential users get a d3ecent service.
                                              Treating ISPs as common carriers, so that they have to treat all traffic equally is the only way of preventing them from deciding winners and losers on the Internet. The big sites can also be impacted if an ISP decides that they are competing with their cable service at a level likely to destroy it, they will simply increase the price of the fast lane, or throttle the service to make it less attractive to users.
                                              Just a hypothetical question, but a possible future, what do you do if one ISP offers a decent Netflix experience, and the other offers a decent Amazon prime experience, and both throttle the other service to an unacceptable level?

                                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                              • icon
                                                FinanceBuzz (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                                Let's just stipulate there are no perfect comparisons. All industries are different. But I still contend that the UPS, etc. example is not entirely without value. As for choosing, no typically you do not get to choose your carrier. You can choose service tier as to delivery time, but I can't tell Amazon to ship it via FedEx if they have agreements in place for that tier with UPS or the Postal Service.

                                                Nevertheless, you are still not answering the main question. Despite difficulty for certain competitors, where is it the role of the government to effectively infringe on the economic and property rights of the ISPs in order to protect certain classes or competitors using their service? In a general sense, broadband delivery is part of their factors of productions. In all industries, though these factors and the details may vary, some competitors can afford "higher quality" factors than others. This is the nature of a capitalistic free market. The fact that a small web company can only afford isn't reason to limit the business models of the ISPs. Perhaps in this environment that opens opportunity for some sort of aggregator or agent that handles the interfacing to the various ISPs on behalf of small client. (Speculating there...there may be such companies for all I know, but the concept does occurs in other industries.) This prohibition would limit this opportunity for those such companies. There are many ripple effects of onerous regulations.

                                                Another factors to consider in strict definition of "all bits are created equal" is QoS. If all bits must be created equal, then how can an ISP different based on QoS? Regulations could permit that you might say. I would say the same to the hypothesis of throttling - if that throttling violates the contractual obligations of the ISP to Netflix, Amazon, etc. then that can be dealt with via other methods and specific regulations without a one-size-fits-all net neutrality. I would in no way advocate such fraud in contractual obligations but net neutrality goes way beyond fraudulent behavior. If you are familiar with the "This Week in Tech" podcast by Leo Laporte. check out episode 484 from a week or so ago. They had two small ISPs on both sides of the issues discuss this in depth and raised many points on both sides, to the degree that all agreed there was no easy solution.

                                                As for what I would do in your scenario, negating the throttling aspects? If the service quality of my preferred service was unacceptable, I would change ISPs. That simple. Our economic decisions are all about tradeoffs and that would be one of many.

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                                                • identicon
                                                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:05pm

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                                  where is it the role of the government to effectively infringe on the economic and property rights of the ISPs in order to protect certain classes or competitors using their service?

                                                  and
                                                  You can choose service tier as to delivery time, but I can't tell Amazon to ship it via FedEx if they have agreements in place for that tier with UPS or the Postal Service.

                                                  Amazon can change who they use to deliver their parcel is their current deliver service is giving them poor service. A web site has no control over who delivers their data to you, and can do nothing if it is a lousy service, other than pay whatever the ISP demands, or say sorry your ISP is preventing us from giving you what you want.
                                                  An ISP is like a phone provider, and should therefore have no active role in deciding what quality of service you get when ringing someone on a different network, especially if this make the connection unusable. With data delivery they should make best effort to deliver the data, which may include short term data management to everybody a fair crack through a congested node, like the phone company can fail a connection if all their capacity is in use.

                                                  If ISPs are allowed to decide which websites get a decent service from them they will be actively fragmenting the Internet, and/or trying to protect their cable TV business.

                                                  The other possibility without a neutral ISP, is that they put together packages of websites, just like they put together packages of TV channels, and maximize their income by putting the popular sites in different packages.

                                                  Also with a non neutral Internet, there is no guarantee that you can follow a link off of any site, or send a link to someone else and be sure that they could follow it. How much use would Reddit be if the ability to follow links was dependent on them going to a site that you ISP provided a decent bandwidth for. The basic structure of the Internet assumes that any person can follow any link from any site, and without net neutrality at the ISP level that structure is damaged.

                                                  If the service quality of my preferred service was unacceptable, I would change ISPs. That simple.

                                                  For most people that is simply not possible. they have one supplier available, and if that supplier limits certain websites their is nothing they can do about it.

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                                                  • icon
                                                    FinanceBuzz (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 8:06pm

                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                                    You keep inventing problems that don't exist and seem pretty outlandish, certainly enough to not warrant the type of excessive regulation you are advocating. Where is there evidence of the major ISPs "bundling web sites?" Technologically feasible? Yes. Outlandishly unlikely? Yes. And given that, why in the world should that be the basis for regulation?

                                                    But first..you keep ignoring the central question:

                                                    where is it the role of the government to effectively infringe on the economic and property rights of the ISPs in order to protect certain classes or competitors using their service?

                                                    Why should certain competitors be favored by the government? Forget why because that can be highly opinionated. How about the justification and how is that fair to all participants in the marketplace of web companies? Everything else is largely fluff and irrelevant in light of this central, major issue. And to the degree that there is fraudulent behavior, that does not require the full net neutrality be advocated. And if the only point of net neutrality is some hypothetical favoritism for a certain class of competitor how can these regulations be remotely justified? Is that their only benefit, because such favoritism if a huge detriment to a free market.

                                                    For most people that is simply not possible. they have one supplier available, and if that supplier limits certain websites their is nothing they can do about it.


                                                    Sorry, but, per my previous post, this is simply not true. The VAST majority of Americans have at least two broadband providers to choose from. (I have posted on this previously.)

                                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • icon
                                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:02am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                  But you just admitted a few posts up that there isn't and probably never will be a free market in this space.

                                  Turn down the ideology a few notches and have a look at the facts, and all this makes a lot more sense.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • icon
                                    FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:18am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                    As I said...where is the compelling case for net neutrality? I have yet to see a single compelling case for a broad, overarching law. And while we may well have a duopoly now, I have not ruled that someone, at some point could well disrupt this space...if regulations don't make that highly unlikey. But setting aside the potential disruptor, when someone wants to push regulation, they need to make the case for such change compelling. And that is missing here.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                    • identicon
                                      Pragmatic, 24 Nov 2014 @ 8:04am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

                                      There's no such thing as a free market. Your arguments suggest that you believe that we can boycott or trade our way to a fairer, freer, more open market. We can't.

                                      Ergo, anti-trust laws are necessary and should be applied to break up duopolies, etc.

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:28am

      Re: Jesse Jackson finally got something right

      Without net neutrality, ISPs can decide what services you can get over the Internet, and that is like the phone company deciding what businesses you can ring using their phone. Tittle is a means of preventing this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Live Free or Don't

    Is anyone else having flashbacks to that Futurama episode where Captain Brannigan declares war on the "evil forces of neutrality?"

    Zapp: I hate these filthy Neutrals, Kif. With enemies you know where they stand but with Neutrals, who knows? It sickens me.

    Obama's tepid support of net neutrality doesn't help:

    Neutral President: All I know is, my gut says maybe.

    Neutral President: If I don't survive, tell my wife 'Hello.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 2:09pm

    Jesse Jackson is an idiot and a real-life troll.
    What he does never surprises me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:33am

    Jesse thinks Al gore invented the internet, abandon all hope

    Jesse wouldn't understand a network even if you wrapped it around his neck and pulled it tight.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DpwnShift, 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:14am

    Net Neutrality=Equality

    He's got it wrong. Reclassifying internet traffic under Title II is designed to keep the playing field level, so companies like Comcast/Time Warner/Verizon (who are simply a pipe) can't play favorites. In other words, data will be treated equally whether it's from a man, woman, poor person, or giant corporation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      FinanceBuzz (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:19am

      Re: Net Neutrality=Equality

      Equal for whom? And where is it unequal now?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:39am

        Re: Re: Net Neutrality=Equality

        Equal for all ISPs. No slow lanes, no fast lanes for internet traffic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          FinanceBuzz (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:20am

          Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality=Equality

          Better yet let the market decide. If the ISPs offer this service and no one buys it, then no fast lanes. If certain content providers buy it, there is a market for it and it should exist. Let the market decide, not the one-size-fits-all government bureaucrats.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:02pm

    New rule, if your over 45 your not allowed to talk about the internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:06pm

    The reason why he is doing this is because he will get the ISP to give out very low price plans to people who can not afford more than 10-20 a month.
    That is how bad American poverty really is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:38pm

    Jesse Jackson is a scumbag, but I find it amusing that the people who run this site seem to believe that ANYONE opposed to so-called "net neutrality" is not acting in good faith and must have an ulterior motive, usually related to money, for opposing "net neutrality".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:53pm

    "...combining these groups with the existing payroll of fauxcademics, consultants, think tankers and other sockpuppets helps create the illusion of broad support for anti-consumer policies."

    Again, here we go with the bullshit that no decent person can possibly disagree with so-called "net neutrality" laws.


    All those well-reasoned pieces I have read in opposition to "net neutrality"? They were actually written by someone channeling Adolf Hitler, because you have to be that evil to oppose "net neutrality".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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