Telecom Sector Can't Stop Falsely Claiming That Net Neutrality Will Harm The Sick, Derail Smart Cars

from the just-can't-help-themslves dept

If you've paid attention to the net neutrality debate, you'll recall that large ISPs routinely threaten to hold back on network investment if governments pass rules protecting an open, healthy internet. They also routinely try to claim that the passage of such protections cause a massive slowdown in overall sector investment, something that simply isn't supported by actual facts (remember them?). Such rhetoric is fear mongering designed to scare regulators away from imposing "job killing regulations," even if those regulations make sense for a telecom market where limited competition fails to keep bad actors in check.

This hollow fear mongering has played a starring role as carriers worldwide begin to deploy faster fifth-generation wireless (5G) networks. You'll recall that both American and European telcos have routinely tried to claim that the deployment of these faster, more efficient wireless networks will be derailed by net neutrality.

Usually, this rhetoric is accompanied by claims that 5G will be the centerpiece of the smart cities of tomorrow, and that net neutrality rules will prevent ISPs from using these networks to provide prioritized connectivity for health and other related services. Ignored is the fact that this has never been a problem, since any well-crafted net neutrality rules carve out massive loopholes for all manner of essential services, especially on the medical front. Of course that doesn't stop ISPs from routinely claiming that net neutrality hurts sick people all the same.

With the Mobile World Congress trade show underway this week in Barcelona, all of this debunked rhetoric is being regurgitated like a bad hairball. Speaking at the trade show, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm tried to inform attendees that Europe's net neutrality rules must be weakened lest they derail Europe's efforts to build 5G Networks:

"The principle of net neutrality is not to discriminate [against], throttle or degrade based on content but not all traffic is created equally and we don't believe this will work in the 5G future," he told reporters and analysts. "There will be a need for a regulatory regime that allows service providers to create services that are differentiated based on user experience."

But that's not the principle of net neutrality. The principle of net neutrality is to not discriminate against traffic for anti-competitive reasons. Guys like Ekholm certainly realize they're being disingenuous here, they just hope their audience doesn't. As is industry tradition, Ekholm then tried to suggest that with net neutrality in place, carriers won't be able to provide access to essential, prioritized medical services:

"In relation to the hot topic of net neutrality, Ekholm said that while Ericsson believes in non-discriminatory access to information and data, he added that "not all traffic is created equal". Once remote surgery is being performed over 5G, for instance, it should be given priority over other traffic, he said."

Again, this is something carriers in both the United States and Europe like to parrot repeatedly despite not being true. Europe's rules, like the ones we're about to discard in the States, provided ample leeway for such services. But the idea that "government regulation" will harm the sick is apparently too enticing of a siren song for those looking to demonize protection of a healthy and competitive internet.

Not to be outdone, FCC boss Ajit Pai also parroted industry claims in a speech that net neutrality is a threat to the smart cities of tomorrow (pdf):

"We believe that our decision will give the private sector greater incentives to invest in the 5G networks of the future and bring greater digital opportunity to the American people. And we also believe that our decision is critical for another reason as well. To realize the promise of 5G, we will need smart networks, not dumb pipes. Dumb pipes won’t deliver smart cities. Dumb pipes won’t enable millions of connected, self-driving cars to navigate the roads safely at the same time. In short, dumb pipes won’t give us the networks needed to enable the 5G applications of the future."

Again, any idea that "net neutrality hurts the sick" or stops innovation (smart car or otherwise) dead in its tracks is aggressively misleading. Net neutrality rules almost always carve out ample exceptions to legitimate services, often to a fault. The only thing net neutrality rules traditionally harm is the entrenched telecom monopoly's ability to abuse the lack of industry competition for further anti-competitive gain -- the only thing this debate has ever truly been about. Net neutrality is only a "regulatory burden" if you're doing something anti-competitive. Since entrenched telecom operators can't candidly acknowledge this in the quest for fatter revenues, we're subject to a rotating crop of flimsy straw men instead.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 11:36am

    With blatantly ignorant people in key position of power, there will never be those cities of tomorrow.

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

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 1 Mar 2018 @ 11:47am

    The cities of tomorrow will be the cities of the new 19th century.

    We really need to implement the Ghengis form of regulations
    First offence like lying eould be a small fine and be chastised
    Second offence a gefty fine and a stern warning
    Third offence get called to the carpet stripped of everything and dragged out wrapped in the carpet ... head still attached optional.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 11:53am

    Sounds similar to the dire Y2K predictions ... airplanes will fall from the skies, cars will stop working and your bank account(s) will be zero - everyone panic!!111

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      To be fair, Y2K was a big problem and could have had dire consequences. However, it was identified far enough ahead of time that most places had time to develop and release fixes for their software. As such, when 1/1/2000 rolled around, it wasn't a big deal in practice.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 1:59pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, and there were plenty of carpet baggers selling survival products at above market because there were suckers to be had. At the time I wondered if these folk buried their gold inside their bomb shelters.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Y2K was only ever a disaster for older, not meant for your average user kinds of computers.

        Unfortunately, a lot of (probably kludgy) code had to be written for those dinosaurs, or their contents migrated to newer machines, IIRC.

        Not a problem for the average consumer, but a big problem for large companies with decades worth of records.

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

        • identicon
          PC LD LTR, 1 Mar 2018 @ 6:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you referring to cobol? Yes, it used two digits for a date. Most bank sw ran cobol - had to be fixed it did.

          Reminds me of the jingle from those days
          https://www.netjeff.com/humor/item.cgi?file=two.digits.txt

          There were very scared people saying all those micro controllers will fail and cause havoc because they are everywhere.

          The 2038 problem seems to be solved in that most machines now days are 64 bit.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 1 Mar 2018 @ 11:59am

    So far, I haven't seen a single example that disproves the rule of "saying NN is bad requires lying."

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Byzantine_General, 1 Mar 2018 @ 1:10pm

      NN is bad without lying.

      Read the Commerce Clause. Then read Wickard, which ushered in the regulatory state. NN is bad. It exposes the internet to tyrannical control.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 2:48pm

        Re: NN is bad without lying.

        How? Perhaps you should read the actual NN rules?

        Courts have already upheld that classification of ISPs falls SQUARELY within the FCC's authority and original mandate.

        In passing NN rules they didn't grab any additional power, they just changed the classification, told ISP's "stop being jerks", and then refused to enforce the majority of regulations under Title II.

        It also has jack all to do with the actual internet. FCC can't control that. All they can control is the ISPs that provide access connections to the internet.

        Stop lying.

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

      • identicon
        Thad, 1 Mar 2018 @ 3:00pm

        Re: NN is bad without lying.

        Good point. Toom1275 is wrong; the rule should be "saying NN is bad requires lying or being a gibbering moron."

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 3:44pm

        Re: NN is bad without lying.

        "It exposes the internet to tyrannical control."

        Too late

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 12:22pm

    What the telcos are saying is that we are building this awesome network, and reserving most of the capacity so that cars can spy on their owners, and the rest lie idle in case there is a medical emergency. But we will sell you a little bit at an inflated price because it would be so awesome if we let you use it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2018 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      What the telcos are saying is that we are building this awesome network, and reserving most of the capacity so that cars can spy on their owners, and the rest lie idle in case there is a medical emergency. But we will sell you a little bit at an inflated price because it would be so awesome if we let you use it.

      While at the same time saying to car manufacturers and hospitals: "We're building this awesome network, but most of the capacity is used by our subscribers for things like Netflix and Youtube. So we don't have alot to offer you right now, but we will still sell you what capacity we can scrape off the top for a super inflated price because you're a business that spies on it's consumers / can't be down or people die, and has no other choice because we have a regional monopoly in your area."

      Interestingly they will tell the government: "Yeah, there's no market out there for us to build our networks out any further, or to upgrade them. People just don't want it. We need subsidies to just keep us a float, let alone justify building out our infrastructure anymore. Also, we need protection from those bad local startups that threaten us."

      To which Pai will say: "You got it boss."

      To which the politicos will claim: "We're liberating the internet! Aren't we great?"

      To which we will say: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

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

  • identicon
    Valkor, 1 Mar 2018 @ 12:47pm

    I don't want that city of the future

    " millions of connected, self-driving cars to navigate"

    If my self driving car is trying to use a 5G uplink to negotiate split second timing with the car next to it, it's doing it wrong. I don't want to "drive" a dumb terminal. I want it to be acutely aware of maybe the 50 closest cars, peer to peer, and then generally aware of traffic that's happening 20 miles away. It doesn't need to happen all at once over the same connection!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 4:21pm

      Re: I don't want that city of the future

      Maybe it'll be like game console generations:

      They'll never have anything excellent and working well on them until their time is nearly over.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 6:48pm

      Re: I don't want that city of the future

      HAL? ... take me to the pub.

      I'm sorry Dave, I can not do that.

      Why not HAL?

      Because Dave - javascript is waiting on the ad server to play before map navigation can commence.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 12:54pm

    As someone that thinks NN is a waste of effort this article is on point for a change! Finally well done TD!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 2:05pm

    In the automobiles of the future, IOT will be an option - right?

    If not, it will be easily defeated - right?

    Defeating the vehicular IOT will not be illegal - right?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 4:53pm

    Obviously a case of sado-necro-beastialty ( Flogging a dead horse )

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2018 @ 5:53am

    the telecoms in the EU are as bad as those in the USA. however, had there been some guts shown in voting against what the various telecoms wanted (and achieved via bribery and corruption of politicians) in the USA, maybe those in the EU would have thought better. the problem, as usual, is that USA politicians are a gutless bunch of cunts who are only interested in lining their own bank accounts and keeping their positions, rather than doing what they were voted into office to do, protect their voters!!

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


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