Move Over, Series Of Tubes, The Internet Is Now A Bridge Over A Creek For A Dozen People?

from the senators-say-the-darnest-things dept

What is it about Senators and their awful internet analogies around net neutrality? It's been just over a decade since the late Senator Ted Stevens gave his infamous "series of tubes" analogy in which he tried to explain the internet and net neutrality. Remember?

"I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially... They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

Given how viral that went, and how widely mocked Stevens was, you'd think that any competent Senate staffer would prepare their bosses not to make a similarly idiotic statement. But, no. Not the staffers of Senator Ron Johnson. They sent him out to a hearing with the current FCC commissioners... and had him say that the internet is like a bridge between neighbors. Or something. I've watched this clip over and over again and I'm still trying to figure this one out:

Let's break this down, because the level of wackiness is hard to comprehend without exploring each and every beautiful inane thing said. First, the transcript of Johnson's key "analogy":

We all agree that we want greater innovation. We want expansion and greater access to high speed broadband. I think one of the things that inhibits that is all the rhetoric and slogans and buzzwords and I want to cut through a little bit. I know net neutrality sounds great. And in trying to convey why that harms investment and innovation, I've come up with analogy. I kinda want to run this by you and see if this is pretty accurate.

Let's say a group of neighbors want to build a bridge over a creek so they can cross over and talk to each other a lot, so it's really for a neighborhood, maybe a dozen people. But then they find out that the local government is going to require that that bridge is open to the entire community of a million people, no prioritization whatsoever. They don't get to cross first to go see their neighbor. A million people can come onto their property, ruin their lawns, and walk over that bridge.

Isn't that kind of a similar analogy, is that a pretty good analogy in terms of what net neutrality is all about, not allowing for example a company that is going to invest billions of dollars in the pipeline, not allow them to sell a prioritized lane, for, oh, I don't know, doctors who want to prioritize distant diagnostics? They're going to have to share that same pipeline, no prioritization, with for example people streaming illegal content or pornography? Tell me where that analogy is maybe not accurate.

Whoo boy. For someone who wants to "cut through" the "rhetoric and slogans and buzzwords" he sure chose to come up with what may be the dumbest analogy for the internet so far. It actively makes people less informed on the issues. It's that bad. Literally nothing about the analogy is even remotely accurate. This isn't a situation where a small community is building a tiny community bridge and is suddenly overwhelmed with millions of people "ruining their lawns" without allowing the little community over the bridge. None of that makes any sense at all.

Net neutrality is about how massive, giant internet access providing monopolists and duopolists want to double dip and double charge for the value provided at the endpoints, rather than being satisfied with getting paid for the value they provide in connecting the end points. The issue has nothing to do with millions of people rushing through a "pipeline" that was built for "maybe a dozen people" and somehow "ruining lawns" (?!?) while doing so. Nothing in net neutrality has anything to do with over-clogging local pipes. In fact, it allows for standard network management. And again, going back years and years and years, internet backbone experts have pointed out that there's capacity to spare. There are no ruined lawns. There are no distraught home owners wishing to "talk a lot" to their 11 closest neighbors, dismayed that a million people are trampling their lawns.

A more correct analogy is that the government granted some private companies land and rights of way and massive subsidies in terms of grants and tax rebates to build giant highways. And to pay for those roads, they could charge tolls to get on the road. So far, so good. But then, after the highways were built, the corporate owners of these highways saw that others were using the roads themselves to make money. They saw lots of UPS trucks and FedEx trucks. And they decided that it "wasn't fair" that UPS and FedEx got to make money by delivering stuff, even though each UPS and FedEx truck was paying the proper toll to enter the road. So they decided that from now on they'd cut deals. Maybe, FedEx would have to pay double. Or maybe FedEx would have to cough up a piece of the cost of every package delivered to the road company -- let's call it the American Road and Runway company (AR&R for short). Or, maybe, AR&R would decide to just buy up one of those companies, like UPS, and allow it to travel on the roads for free, while telling FedEx, it couldn't travel along those roads at all. Or maybe it wouldn't let FedEx off the road at prime locations where most of its deliveries were targeted. Or maybe it would let UPS use faster lanes while telling FedEx it could only ride on the shoulder.

All net neutrality did was say, "hey, you can't do that." If you're building a road, especially, with all this government support, you have to provide it equally to everyone. You can't pick and choose which companies to favor. And you can't block some companies from getting on the road because they compete with some other business you have.

As for the whole telemedicine vs. pornography thing, that's just pure bullshit. Someone fed Senator Johnson that line and him repeating it is basically proof he has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. Because the very FCC net neutrality rules that he's attacking, explicitly say he's wrong. As Jon Brodkin over at Ars Technica points out:

there is a way for telemedicine offerings to get paid prioritization under the FCC’s existing rules. The FCC distinguishes between “Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS),” the usual type in which all Internet content shares the same network capacity and “Non-BIAS data services,” which are given isolated capacity to ensure greater speed and reliability. VoIP phone offerings, heart monitors, and energy consumption sensors qualify for this category, which is exempt from net neutrality rules. Telemedicine (another word for remote medical diagnosis) can also be exempt if it’s delivered over the network in the same way.

“We note that telemedicine services might alternatively be structured as ‘non-BIAS data services,’ which are beyond the reach of the open Internet rules,” the FCC’s net neutrality order said. The FCC reserved the right to scrutinize non-BIAS services to ensure that they don't harm competition, but the specific reference to telemedicine indicates that the FCC would not oppose isolated network capacity for remote medical diagnosis. The FCC did not provide any similar allowance for pornography.

Isn't this the kind of thing that a sitting Senator discussing net neutrality is supposed to know? Or is quoting from the actual FCC order that "rhetoric, slogans and buzzwords" Johnson was talking about?

Now, here, was a point in which FCC Chair Ajit Pai had the chance to show some intellectual honesty. I know that we've criticized Pai a lot in the past, but I genuinely think that he's a smart and knowledgeable guy who isn't some clueless drone. I've met him a few times and always found the conversations thoughtful and enlightening. But he blew it here. Big time. He could have, and should have, noted that while he dislikes the current net neutrality rules, the analogy presented is not an accurate description of the issue at all. Instead, he says:

I think you put your finger on one of the core concerns...

But, uh, he didn't. He made up a silly analogy that has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the debate at hand. But, okay, go on...

... which is that all of us favor a free and open internet, where consumers can access lawful content of their choice.

And what does that have to do with the inane analogy that Johnson put forth? Absolutely nothing. Yes, I know, Pai is being political here and it's not a good idea to tell a sitting Senator who has oversight powers that his analogy may be the dumbest thing you've ever heard about net neutrality. But, we're not done yet. Pai jumps to his easily debunked talking points about net neutrality decreasing investment:

We also want to incentive the construction of these networks, which requires massive capital expenditures -- especially as we go into the future with 5G networks and the like. How to balance those concerns is something I think people of goodwill can disagree on. But our goal is obviously, to make sure -- to use your analogy -- that those bridges continue to be built. That they continue to be maintained and upgraded as traffic modernizes over time.

Except that wasn't Johnson's analogy. In Johnsonland, twelve neighbors get together to build a bridge, and net neutrality brings a horde of millions to trample their lawn. That's not about getting more bridges built or maintaining them. These things have nothing to do with one another.

But Johnson's not done yet:

Yeah, in my example, I don't think too many neighbors would chip in to build that bridge, when they realize, we're not ever going to be able to use it, or certainly not get priority on it.

(That last half of the sentence didn't make it into the video clip above, but that's what he said). But, that's... just wrong. Again. First of all, nothing about net neutrality says that the people building the network can't use it. What the hell does that even mean? I mean, you could just as easily turn much of this analogy around on Johnson and argue that it's him expressing strong support for municipal broadband -- something I'd almost guarantee he's against. Indeed, Johnson signed a letter slamming municipal broadband not too long ago. And that's even though it's basically what he's describing: a group of neighbors getting together to build their own bridges to the internet.

But getting back to the net neutrality argument, Johnson's statements are ludicrous. The "bridges" he's discussing aren't being built among neighbors. What's happening is that the giant companies (AR&R from above) have already built the bridges, and are telling the neighbors that FedEx won't be able to deliver to them any more in a convenient, timely or cost effective way... unless FedEx agrees to pay up (meaning that the community will have to pay more since the costs will be passed on). And, again, his claim that investment would go down under his analogy that has nothing to do with net neutrality is just... factually wrong because all of the big broadband providers are public companies where their capital expenditure data is public. And it shows that they've increased spending on their networks with the open internet rules, rather than the opposite.

How is it that a sitting Senator can make statements so ridiculously wrong and no one calls him on it?


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  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 3:56am

    Net Neutrality... and regulation

    The esteemed congressman doesn't get it, which means the aide whose job it is to brief him didn't, and the congressman whose job it is to be informed isn't. That's not very unusual, but it is highly disenheartening and disappointing. Still, in today's pile of Republican-party senators it's not far outside the curve.

    Worse yet, these are the same people who want to regulate what they don't control, de-regulate what they do-control, and have no common thematic presence as to how regulation (and de-regulation) play into closing or opening markets (or Internet provider behavior).

    Net Neutrality is a good thing because it allows equal access without extra pay.

    This senator is a joke... but my saying so won't get him less votes by his p.o.s. constituents (whom he doesn't "represent") voting him into office again.

    E

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:46am

      Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

      "The esteemed congressman doesn't get it, which means the aide whose job it is to brief him didn't, and the congressman whose job it is to be informed isn't."

      It's funny you think that this is all from them not getting it. They get it, in fact they already got it, it just you not getting it.

      "have no common thematic presence as to how regulation (and de-regulation) play into closing or opening markets"

      Can we say "buzzword bingo"? This means nothing, since how they will play depends heavily upon so many factors that only a fool would claim to understand them fully and requires a sheep willing to believe the fool to gain traction.

      "This senator is a joke... but my saying so won't get him less votes by his p.o.s. constituents (whom he doesn't "represent") voting him into office again."

      If there was only some way to deal with this problem...

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      • icon
        Ehud Gavron (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

        I'm sorry you're lacking in comprehension and wish to paint words you don't like as "buzzword bingo".

        Regulation: That's when the government passes laws or regulations (see that word!) which mandate things. For example, the requirement to have health insurance is regulation. It requires the purchasing of a product without regulating its price.

        De-regulation: That's when the government removes its rules. For example, the time when the FCC said not to worry about zero rating content let alone VZW's and AT&T's own content.

        "If there was only some way to deal with this problem."

        Perhaps if you understood the problem instead of being rude and condescending, and THEN even offered a solution, someone would listen.

        But... then... you don't even have the gumption to sign your own name. The right to speak anonymously IS guaranteed, but that doesn't mean anyone has to take a coward's word to mean anything.

        Best

        E

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 2:54pm

      Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

      This senator is a joke... but my saying so won't get him less votes by his p.o.s. constituents (whom he doesn't "represent") voting him into office again.

      Available evidence suggests that it doesn't matter one single whit how citizens vote as to which person is enthroned as their "elected representative".

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      • identicon
        Thad, 13 Mar 2017 @ 4:10pm

        Re: Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

        Are you talking about gerrymandering?

        Because we're talking about a Senator, not a representative. I suppose you could argue that the Senate itself is a form of gerrymandering, but...the Senate is one of those cases where the person with the most votes wins. No electoral college, and the only district lines are the ones around the state.

        There are certainly some issues with who's allowed to vote and who chooses to vote, and with campaign finance, advertising, etc. But I don't think it's really accurate to say "it doesn't matter one single whit how citizens vote" when it comes to Senate seats.

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        • icon
          Ehud Gavron (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 4:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

          In principle, perhaps. In reality gerrymandering is so prevasive that redistricting somewhere is always on the agenda. If it's actually fair (representative of the people) then one party or another tries to change it. If it's not fair, the other party tries to change it, usually with a court's aegis.

          Anecdotal example: In Arizona the Republicans have less than 1/3 of the vote but the senators are always republican, chosen by the voters of Maricopa County (Phoenix).

          The United States was never meant nor designed to be a true democracy. The House and Senate and "The Grand Compromise" of the electoral college were thought out as a method to prevent hysteresis. Clearly this election has shown us that some loud mouths are too hysterical to dampen.

          E
          E

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          • identicon
            Thad, 13 Mar 2017 @ 5:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

            Anecdotal example: In Arizona the Republicans have less than 1/3 of the vote but the senators are always republican, chosen by the voters of Maricopa County (Phoenix).

            I happen to know a thing or two about Maricopa County; I've lived here all my life.

            While it's accurate to say that only about 1/3 of people in Arizona are Republicans, another 1/3 are independents. Given that there's no viable third party in the US, it's misleading to suggest that the 1/3 of the state that is registered Republican decides to vote for Republicans. Most registered independents vote Republican here as well. Some registered Democrats do too -- John McCain beat Ann Kirkpatrick by 12 points last year.

            I'm an independent and I voted Kirkpatrick, but I'm in the minority. Obviously.

            What you're describing is not gerrymandering; it's the opposite of gerrymandering. In a gerrymandered system, other counties with smaller populations would have disproportionate influence in elections. Maricopa County doesn't have the most influence in Arizona elections because of gerrymandering, it has the most influence in Arizona elections because it has the most people in Arizona. That's not gerrymandering; it's electing by popular vote.

            Even if you were to talk about the House, or the state House and Senate, Arizona is a terrible example of a state to criticize for gerrymandering. We have an independent redistricting committee. Our district lines are not drawn by people who have already been elected and have a vested interest in staying in office; they're drawn by a bipartisan group.

            Yes, we mostly end up electing Republicans. But that's because most people in Arizona vote Republican.

            (And for the record, our representation in the US House is actually pretty close; 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Does that sound like 1/3 of registered voters are controlling all the elections to you?)

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            • icon
              Ehud Gavron (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

              Welcome to my northern neighbor. As you point out, the House more accurately represents the voters. The Senate (as I pointed out) is *always* two Republicans. The governor (with the minor exception of the Lt Gov being promoted, good job, Janet Napolitano) is also a Republican.

              About 1/3 of Arizona is Republicans, and mostly in Maricopa County. The 1/3 that is independent has its votes diminished due to the districting. That is exactly gerrymandering.

              Best wishes,

              Ehud
              Tucson, Pima County, AZ US SOL-3 MW-1

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              • identicon
                Thad, 14 Mar 2017 @ 10:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality... and regulation

                About 1/3 of Arizona is Republicans, and mostly in Maricopa County. The 1/3 that is independent has its votes diminished due to the districting. That is exactly gerrymandering.

                But it's not due to districting! The governor and the (US) senators aren't elected by districts, they're elected by popular vote!

                Maricopa County doesn't have more influence because of district lines, it has more influence because it has more people! That's not gerrymandering!

                Gerrymandering is when a geographic region is given electoral influence that is disproportionate to its population. Maricopa County's electoral influence is not disproportionate to its population; its electoral influence is exactly proportionate to its population.

                Ducey, McCain, and Flake won their seats because most people voted for them. I don't like it either, but that's not what gerrymandering is.

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  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:18am

    Let's explain it to him in his terms.

    It would be more like a 10-mile long bridge, built by one shipping company - the bridge is perfectly level, smooth, and 6-lanes wide, arranged in 3 pairs for travel in each direction. The first 2 lanes are restricted to the company that built the bridge and their vehicles are allowed to do 100 MPH across the bridge.

    All other shipping companies must use the next 2 lanes. However, there is a $10 toll to enter the bridge where the driver must turn his truck off, place it in neutral, get out, and push it the 10 miles across the bridge. At the other end is another $10 toll.

    All other traffic must use the final 2 lanes, which are restricted to 1 MPH.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:27am

    ruin their lawns

    this guy knows what's important to the people he's hoping to reach.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:32am

    Suddenly the fact I couldn't just pour water into the internet and get it somewhere else makes a lot of sense. Not that I tried....

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  • identicon
    John Cressman, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:42am

    Said it before...

    I've said it before, I'll say it again.

    You get elected, you take a test. Depending on your score on things like farming, technology, etc., you are allowed to speak and vote on those areas, otherwise you get no say because you are too stupid.

    If the constituents complain, tell them to elect someone smarter, who understands the issues.

    Same thing with judges. You get appointed or elected to a bench, you take a test. If you make a certain grade, you can take technology cases, IP cases, etc. Otherwise, you can't.

    How simple is that?

    But no. Allowing only people who understand issues to make decisions on those issues seems to be beyond common sense.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:57am

      Re: Said it before...

      But who do you think will be the ones in charge of coming up with the questions on said test and the ones grading the test?

      Question 1:
      The internet is ...
      A) An interconnected network of computers owned by many people and many companies that is used by myriad people in myriad ways.
      B) A series of tubes.
      C) A bridge that lets people trample your lawn.
      D) best in America and anyone who says otherwise is a traitor.

      Hint: The correct answer isn't A).

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:54am

        Re: Re: Said it before...

        That is the problem with testing.

        You can write such ambiguous bullshit in a test to facilitate certain outcomes. Not only that, but even the professionals and experts argue and disagree. I have personally taken more than enough tests where the questions themselves are just wrong.

        Stuff along the lines of... "what road do you take to drive from Africa to Australia?" and "none of the above" is missing from the multiple choice answers.

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      • icon
        John85851 (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re: Said it before...

        The obvious answer is D. My opponent said another answer, which obviously means he's a traitor and shouldn't be elected since he doesn't believe America is the best.

        That was sarcasm by the way. ;)

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:51am

      Re: Said it before...

      We live, especially in the last few months, in a Kakistocracy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakistocracy

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    • identicon
      Thad, 13 Mar 2017 @ 4:17pm

      Re: Said it before...

      This is one of those things that sounds like a great idea in theory but is ripe for abuse in practice.

      Standardized tests have well-established implicit biases. And your idea sounds too close to the "intelligence tests" that southern states used to prevent minorities from registering to vote.

      That's before we get into how basic scientific facts (like evolution) are considered politically charged, and there are major regions of the country that consider those facts to be subject to debate. You want a standardized test for elected officials? Great. Who gets to write it, and who gets to decide what the right answers are?

      How simple is that?

      A lot less simple than you think it is.

      But no. Allowing only people who understand issues to make decisions on those issues seems to be beyond common sense.

      I hope the irony that you don't seem to know much about the controversies surrounding standardized tests and are nonetheless proposing their use as a fundamental instrument of lawmaking is not lost on you.

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  • identicon
    David, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:44am

    Aha.

    Isn't that kind of a similar analogy, is that a pretty good analogy in terms of what net neutrality is all about, not allowing for example a company that is going to invest billions of dollars in the pipeline, not allow them to sell a prioritized lane, for, oh, I don't know, doctors who want to prioritize distant diagnostics? They're going to have to share that same pipeline, no prioritization, with for example people streaming illegal content or pornography? Tell me where that analogy is maybe not accurate.

    So the case against net neutrality is that disbarring net neutrality allows carriers to bill doctors extra when they want their traffic to make it through streams of pornography that clog the connections because the Internet Service Providers are selling more capacity than they actually provide?

    So what keeps the pornography streamers from paying extra to drown out the doctors again?

    I mean, is there any more compelling case for net neutrality than this dimwit makes? The scary thing is that he is supposed to be a representative of his constituents and I half fear that this is exactly what he is.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:03am

      Re: Aha.

      The lawns, think of the lawns!

      In retrospect, if this analogy could be applied, the ISPs would be the ones charging tolls not to screw the lawns themselves.


      "We-promise-we-won't-mess-with-your-lawn" fee: $30. (From Comcast billing)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:45am

    To be fair a "series of tubes" isn't the worlds worst analogy. Not if you consider the tubes as conduits that information flows down.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      Like the pneumatic tubes that were used to exchange physical packets of information inside a building before fax machines made them obsolete.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:59am

    AR&R

    *Giggles*

    Like Roadcast and Veriroad?

    How would that road work?

    - You'd have to pay hidden tolls every now and then.
    - You'd have to pay big money to have the highway connected to your home even though it's 50 meters away from an access
    - You'd be limited in how many kilometers you could run unless you coughed more money because the road might be congested
    - The road would still be congested at peak times because everybody would be using their kms to use the road at the same time (except not, there is plenty of spare capacity)
    - You already paid for the road and your toll, FedEx already paid for their toll but it would still have to pay a second toll because it was going to deliver to you effectively making you pay an extra toll (because Fedex isn't stupid and it's going to pass the cost to you)
    - UPS would be forced to use a lane that's congested because fedex paid for priority
    - Fedstarter could offer much cheaper delivery services but it would be killed in the craddle because it wouldn't be able to pay the double toll and people wouldn't use it because Fedex is so much faster
    - You'd be unable to get your car in the highway for days because the company couldn't care less with the maintenance of your access. But you'd still have to pay.
    - You'd be forced to rent the gate to the highway from the company even though your gate is better and more secure


    Whew. I probably forgot something.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:03am

      Re: AR&R

      - The toll booths would say $5, but when you got there they'd take $5 for the toll, $3.30 as a "compliance fee," $2.93 as a "road maintenance fee," $1.94 as a "in person billing fee" and $0.35 as a "toll fee."

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 1:26pm

      Re: AR&R

      Ooooo important additions:

      - Your car would be monitored and the data about your GPS and if possible the contents, people and other details from inside would be sold for whoever for money. Without your knowledge.
      - If you didn't secure your car with encrypted signal, your radio would have advertisement injected into it. Or plastered on your windshield Acme style.
      - They'd give your toll fancy names like Xfinity and pretend it's 'moar awesomer' than the G road that's coming to town that does nothing of the above.

      Along with Mike and others above. So much good about this road eh?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:00am

    neighbors aren't allowed to build their bridge

    Republicans made sure of that by letting big business write the laws.

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    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:32am

      Re: neighbors aren't allowed to build their bridge

      Now, now, if Government ruins everything it touches, this includes legislation at state level, AC. It therefore behooves us to get it out of the way so private enterprise can do its thing in the free market, or something. /sarc

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:09am

    Re: We all agree that we want greater innovation.

    No we don't. In fact most of the campaign contributors want to extend the market life of deprecated technologies.

    "Tell me where that analogy is maybe not accurate."

    You are wrong in the same way that almost every regulator has always been wrong. Which is that speech is NOT a commodity, it is a natural right.

    Regulators look at social concepts and demand that technology emulate social structures that THEY use. The thing is that almost every facet of social interaction is already emulated within the technology. So they are demanding things that are already there.

    It breaks down like this. If you deliniate transport, and composition, you will find that the technology already has natural boundaries to attach regulation to. But they don't want to look at it that way.

    Because if they did their benefactors wouldn't be able to keep the idea alive, that all of this mayhem is accidental, and too complicated for people to understand. Which is how they extend the market life of deprecated technologies.

    Transport ends at OSI layer 3. Composition begins at OSI layer 4. Bits are speech. It is that simple.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:13am

    Internet Analogies

    I like this game. I'll give it shot.

    The internet is like a muffin with a series of pulleys attached to its gooey center. And at the end of these pulleys are antarctic monkeys eating your Cheetos. These Cheetos determine who gets what and where with the monkeys, and data makes laps around the muffin, but only two times, so it doesn't get bunched up, because there's only one muffin to do laps around. There's also a crocodile somewhere.

    How'd I do?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:14am

    I was talking to my father about this, he pretty much watches Fox News 24/7. He'd never heard of net neutrality. This dumbass senator isn't the problem, it's the people who have no idea what it is that are the problem.

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

  • identicon
    Dreddsnik, 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:25am

    *sigh* ... If he really wants to use a bridge as a very simple analogy it would be correct to say that Net Neutrality eliminates the toll taking 'Troll' ( who only makes certain people pay )under the bridge. Since he works for the Troll he can't be taken seriously.

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

  • icon
    JonC (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:26am

    If AR&R wants to make money off everyone else using its roads, why aren't they trying to charge the National Take-A-Look Association (the NTA) for all the use they make of AR&R's roads?

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

  • icon
    timmaguire42 (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:38am

    I don't know that I've heard the double-dipping explanation anywhere other than on Techdirt. Which is too bad because it's the best, most understandable, explanation I've come across as to what Net Neutrality is all about and why it's important.

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 13 Mar 2017 @ 7:58am

    That's why I send all my internets before rush hour, when the tubes are empty and there are no trucks on the bridge.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:05am

    The Internet Is Now A Bridge Over A Creek...

    ...and Senator Ron Johnson is Daffy Duck as Robin Hood from the classic Warner Brothers cartoon.

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

  • icon
    MDT (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:19am

    I think you need a new department...

    ...called Senators-say-the-stupidest-things.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:24am

    the problem here, more than anything, is that everyone will take notice of what Johnson says because he is a Senator and Senators, not only do they do nothing wrong, never lie and always know what they are talking about, he is being not just questioned but told he is a total fucking idiot because he hasn't got a clue what he is talking about and that will be challenged everywhere, multiple times, until people get fed up with reading just how stupid he is and just how stupid they were for voting the fucking plum into office!! that will mean that the asshole who gave him this information to spout, probably someone from the likes of Comcast or Hollywood, will have achieved exactly what they set out to do, add more doubt over 'net neutrality' and when you have someone who is as big if not bigger liar as Pai in charge of the FCC, who wants to do whatever possible to screw the people while doing whatever possible to aid the telcos etc, they will get what they aimed for!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:25am

    Never thought I'd long for the days where senators were calling the internet a series of tubes. It looks like master level comprehension next to Johnson's understanding.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:41am

    I'm confused

    Is The Bridge inside The Tubes?

    Are The Tubes below The Bridge, above it, off to the side?

    Or is The Bridge made of The Tubes?

    With so many simple yet elegant terms being used it's hard to tell just what's being said by the masters of oratory skill in politics. Their explanations are so nuanced and complex it almost gives the illusion that they have no gorram clue what they're saying, and they're just repeating the talking points given them, but I'm sure that can't be the case as their pride and self-respect would ensure that they would carefully study an issue before making any statements on the subject at hand that might make them look foolish and the focus of widespread and well deserved mockery.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 10:21am

      Re: I'm confused

      The Bridge _and_ the Tubes are all on the Information Superhighway. The one lane covered bridge was annexed through Immanent Domain, but by golly GTF off my lawn! Especially you Pokey-wotsits.

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

  • icon
    Capt ICE Enforcer (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:53am

    Porn speed

    I don't know about you, but porn seems to be the only thing I get high speed these days. Maybe all websites should swap to the porn mode in order to ensure high speeds.

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

  • icon
    Capt ICE Enforcer (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:56am

    Bridge anology

    Actually this makes perfect sense. A neighborhood builds a bridge to communicate with each other. But then the NSA, CIA, FBI, 5 Eyes, Samsung refrigerators, law enforcement, and teenagers wanting to tweet clog it up. Hence why I haven't built a bridge in my back yard.

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

  • identicon
    Just a dude, 13 Mar 2017 @ 8:59am

    regarding the last comment

    Regarding the last comment, do you know who our current president is?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:02am

    How is it that a sitting Senator can make statements so ridiculously wrong...

    Because Senators have access to the really high-quality stupid and can expense the volume purchase?

    ..and no one calls him on it?

    He gets called on it. His constituents, making do with the run-of-the-mill basic-quality stupid, read the press releases on how he fought for keeping the little guy's lawns from being trampled by the internet masses, and see how he pork-barreled Federal projects into his district, and keep re-electing him because he's the familiar name on the ballot.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:29am

    Wow, just wow

    Did Senator Ron Johnson essentially say he wants to tell people "Get off my (internet) lawn!"

    You can't make this shit up.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 10:06am

    ..

    nobody rebutted because the ignorance is fucking stunning.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 10:27am

    He forgot to say, "No Emails, Please!". Possibly in all-caps.

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

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 10:29am

    Tell me where that analogy is maybe not accurate.

    I would have found it hilarious is Ajit Pai actually had the guts to reply: "where should I start? I have trouble finding even one place where it's at least nearly right."

    He starts with "Let's say a group of neighbors", and that's a pretty bad start. It goes downhill after that.

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

  • identicon
    Chris, 13 Mar 2017 @ 10:47am

    In the news today, cranky old man yells at young start-up internet companies to keep off his internet-lawn.

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

  • identicon
    Judd Sandage, 13 Mar 2017 @ 11:26am

    ...

    kinda reminds me of this quote... granted it was found on the internet and may or may not be true, but still like it.

    "On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    -- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

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

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 11:42am

    Internet for the Rich

    "so it's really for a neighborhood, maybe a dozen people"

    A neighborhood of a dozen people that can build its own bridge over a creek just so they can talk is one rich neighborhood.

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

  • identicon
    David, 13 Mar 2017 @ 3:24pm

    I like the tube analogy.

    So your water company should not just be allowed to fraudulently sell a lot more water than it actually can provide, but it should also additionally be allowed to decide just which of its customers actually gets which fraction of the water they paid for, based on additional payments.

    This is ... U.S.A.

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

  • icon
    microface (profile), 13 Mar 2017 @ 4:16pm

    A Description from a 9 year old

    This is a description from a 9 year old
    https://np.reddit.com/r/daddit/comments/2yi6xu/heres_how_my_9year_explained_net_neutrality_to/

    My 9-year old son spends a lot of time online and recently came to me asking what Net Neutrality meant. I explained it the best I could. I just okay with current political events and he had a lot of questions. Had to actually look up some answers.
    I recently overheard him explaining it to one of his friends, much better than I could, like this:
    Pretend ice cream stores gave away free milkshakes. But you had to buy a straw to drink them. But that's okay, because you still get free milkshakes. One day you're drinking a free milkshake and you look down and the guy that sold you the straw is pinching it almost shut. You can still get your milkshake, but it's really hard and takes a lot longer.
    So you say, "Hey! Stop that!" And the straw guy says, "NO! Not until the ice cream store pays me money." And you say, "But I already paid you money for the straw." And the straw guy says, "I don't care. I just want more money."
    I think he nailed it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 5:55pm

      Re: A Description from a 9 year old

      Much better than the nonsense any of the trolls around here come up with. Or any of the politicians.

      It should also be noted that in actuality the government is only allowing a select few to build this 'bridge' and to charge whatever they want to use it. So, yes, if the government wants to limit competition it should set regulations.

      "But then they find out that the local government is going to require that that bridge is open to the entire community of a million people, no prioritization whatsoever. They don't get to cross first to go see their neighbor. A million people can come onto their property, ruin their lawns, and walk over that bridge. "

      When I buy Internet service I prioritize my own traffic based on my surfing habits. The bridge belongs to those paying for Internet service, I am paying my ISP to prioritize the traffic I want.

      The bridge is not just freely open to a community of a million people. It's open to those that pay for access. I want to be able to go where I pay to go.

      An analogy is that we pay for public roads through taxes. Or I pay for use of a private road or for an express lane. Now imagine if the government or those that own private roads or control express lanes told me that those that are going to a specific destination based on the businesses that pay them extra get priority over those that are going home or are going to a friend's house or are going to a business that doesn't pay a premium. That's nonsense. I want to be be able to use those public roads I paid for to go wherever I want with equal priority (other than, say, emergency vehicles) because I already paid for those roads to be build and used by me.

      The bridge is open to everyone that wants to pay and they should be able to go wherever they please with equal priority because that's what they paid for.

      and this whole thing wouldn't even matter if there was more competition. Because then I can just go to a competitor. But if the government wants to set monopolies they should regulate them.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 4:20am

      Re: A Description from a 9 year old

      Can we vote for your son for Senate?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2017 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re: A Description from a 9 year old

        He's too intelligent to be a politician. One of the requirements is that you must be a brain dead puppet.

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

  • identicon
    itsallbs, 13 Mar 2017 @ 6:06pm

    Its all bs anyway

    when a company like ATT can gobble up a media company - they merge into their own services. say This service does NOT count towards your monthly cap - but if you use HULU or netflix - your on your own.

    While they may not be "billing you extra" if you stay under your cap - your choices are SEVERELY limited.

    I see nothing in NET NEUTRALITY that even remotely tries to fix this..

    Ah but it's not about that is it?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 5:48am

      Re: Its all bs anyway

      Yeah, the FCC really screwed up when they refused to outright ban zero-rating, and decided instead to take it on a 'case by case' basis, which just opens the door for inventive violations.

      The general gist was good, but they botched it on that particular aspect, I think most people would agree on that point.

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

      • icon
        Ehud Gavron (profile), 14 Mar 2017 @ 6:08am

        Re: Re: Its all bs anyway

        When a federal regulatory agency says they'll review something "on a case by case basis" that means they will never do that. The FCC failed the US by failing to regulate (or ask for legislation) against zero-rating.

        Net neutrality is a concept... and it's either a good one or a bad one depending on who is lining your pockets. The FCC is ENTRUSTED with not having its pocket lined and in finding the greater good for the greater number.

        Ajit Pai is a demagogue pandering to his lobbying masters. He does not represent anything good for the United States. Just like his orange master.

        E

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2017 @ 9:58pm

    We need a way to be able to effortless lee send all these great post to our elected officials to be able to call them out on their bullshit easier

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


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