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Is Net Neutrality Dead?

Net neutrality and a fork in the road for the Internet. We’ll look at what the Internet is really going to be.

Netflix's Ted Sarandos seen at the Netflix Signature Gala at 2013 TIFF, on Sunday, Sep, 8, 2013 in Toronto. Netflix is one of many companies that could be affected by a court-ordered change in the F.C.C.'s 'net neutrality' policy, where Internet Service Providers can charge different rates for different quantities of available data downloads. The streaming movie and TV provider requires access to massive amounts of data streaming to play video. (AP)

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer  Ted Sarandos seen at the Netflix Signature Gala at 2013 TIFF, on Sunday, Sep, 8, 2013 in Toronto. Netflix is one of many companies that could be affected by a court-ordered change in the F.C.C.’s ‘net neutrality’ policy, where Internet Service Providers can charge different rates for different quantities of available data downloads. The streaming movie and TV provider requires access to massive amounts of data streaming to play video. (AP)

One week ago today came a court ruling in Washington that could change almost everything about the Internet. At least, everything important to a lot of people. A Federal appeals court struck down the F.C.C.’s requirement of “net neutrality.” Internet service providers — big phone and cable companies — had been required to treat everything equal on the web. Now they’re not. They can package and tier and privilege and block and charge for web content like cable TV charges for HBO. That is still sinking in. This hour On Point: what the Internet is going to be, and the fate of net neutrality.

– Tom Ashbrook


Brian Fung, technology policy reporter for The Washington Post. (@b_fung)

John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a not-for-profit public interest group. (@bergmayer)

Randolph May, President of the Free State Foundation. (@fsfthinktank)

Jennifer Rexford, professor of computer science at Princeton University. Serves on the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Advisory Committee. (@jrexnet)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: 11 questions you were too afraid to ask about net neutrality — “Running a network is expensive. Some believe that if you use more data, you should pay for it — in the same way that your utility company charges you for using more water or more electricity. And companies that operate the networks are always looking for new ways to bring in revenue so that they can make more upgrades — or, if you’re a cynic, so that they can line their pockets.”

Los Angeles Times:  ‘Net neutrality’ ruling could be costly for consumers, advocates say –”The agency will consider appealing the decision or taking other options, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said, ‘to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression and operate in the interest of all Americans.’ In the short term, the ruling left big telecom companies, small businesses, government agencies and consumers scrambling to understand its effect and making their cases about how they believe the FCC should proceed.”

The Atlantic: No, Netflix Is Not Doomed By the Net Neutrality Decision — “There is an even easier solution for net-neutrality fans. The FCC could decide it has the political cover and popular support to declare broadband providers utilities, like landline phones or roads. This would make Internet providers subject to so-called ‘common carrier’ rules, which would keep them from discriminating against certain services, such as Netflix.”

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  • 12Gary2

    The internet is slower in the USA and more expensive in the USA than many other first world countries. When these scum bag companies can give us the speed of Korea at their price I will talk. Until then these companies need to be heavily regulated to the point the CEO has to get permission to use the rest room.

    Deregulation=Decriminalization. (don’t believe me?-ask the folks who have their water ruined in WV.)

    • JobExperience

      It tastes terrible; and the portions are so small.

    • dfg

      Maybe its slow because it’s overwhelmed with junk email from retailers and private (not government) “spying” on our internet activity metadata. A model which forces them to pay for these activities instead of getting as much as they can consume for a flat price will discourage that (over)usage. Maybe it would actually speed things up and/or even brig your internet bill down. How much of the internet activity of corporate USA are we, the at-home consumers, subsidizing when we pay our ISP bills?
      Something to think about.

  • rich4321

    The ISPs already charge customers a hefty fee for using their service. Typical cooperates, they want more more and more, and they but they don’t invest invest more to improve the infrastructure. Look at the chart and you will see how behind we are in the globe. http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/ (we ranked 31) Even the tiny eastern European country Lithuania ranked at 7 and we call ourself the most technological advanced country and they want more money from us? Shame on them!
    The government should take over the internet just like it did with the highway system and the GPS system.

    • alsordi

      The government take over the internet ?? That is insane.

      The government at best should help assure that the internet remains FREE and not controlled by certain ideologies or corporate interests..

      • JobExperience

        When Government is the servant of Corporate Capitalism how can it be otherwise. Inyernet is becoming the hotwire of Fascism.

  • TFRX

    So, when are we gonna nationalize the pipeline? And when are we going to admit that letting corporations own the proverbial “last mile” was a mistake?

    Because it seems like private industry cannot be trusted with deciding who gets their content at what speed into the pipeline.

    I’m not (very) serious. But to analogize, my phone carrier treats my call the same as my next door neighbors. So if we each are calling WZYX to win Justin Beiber tickets*, it’s all up to fate, not some treatment I get for being a Kabletown customer while he’s a DirecTV guy.

    (*Hey, if I’m gonna make up a story, I’m going whole hog.)

    • JobExperience

      There is another way besides the Capitalism/State Capitalism duality. It should be a publicly owned utility. All bandwidth should be.

    • hennorama

      TFRX — thanks for the pre-defensive asterisk, and your entire post, for that matter.

  • alsordi

    I would rather have slow access to free flow of ALL information, opinions and ideology, rather than high speed access to spoon fed mainstream media propaganda and trailer park entertainment.

    • JobExperience

      Nice sentiment.
      Why don’t we do that?

  • JobExperience

    Even worse: The Internet has been killed by making commercial interests foremost and by Security State/Corporate use as a surveillance tool. Rather than the great property rights obsession being suspended for the sake of access and knowledge it is being intensified and used to shape public thinking. The Internet has gone the schlock way of radio and TV. It herds the 99% in service to the 1%. We are approaching a place where intelligent people will avoid it.

    • TFRX

      Part of me wonders if the only unsurveillable wireless communications remaining is my old spark-gap transmitter.

      • geraldfnord

        …and you said you weren’t sure about _that_ when you were using it last night—the ionosphere was strong and your keying distinctive.

        • TFRX

          I’m waiting for the sunspot cycle to pick up again.

  • JobExperience

    So Ireland could defeat us in Cyber Combat?
    Notice how security is used as an excuse to stifle consumer rights.

    • Don_B1

      it is not the security, except possibly as an excuse, that is keeping Internet speeds down.

      There is the legitimate problem of widely spaced customers in rural areas, but that is minor compared to the companies desire to extract high profits which is keeping speeds down as that costs money to build and replace infrastructure.

  • Fred Goldstein

    The Court’s ruling was mostly correct. The FCC designed its rules to fail. The Court made clear that the old “Computer II” rules, which required the telephone companies to allow any ISP to pay to ride their DSL, were legal, and the Brand X ruling, which exempted cable, was just barely so. Yet the FCC made DSL like cable, not the other way. That took away choice of ISP, creating the problem. The FCC could reimpose Title II common carriage on just the wire from the home to the ISP, not the Internet itself, but they’re afraid to take on Verizon and AT&T’s army of lobbyists.

    The term “Internet access” means two things, access *to* the ISP and service *by* the retail ISP. The former was taken away. The two are now sold together, but need not be. “Network neutrality” rules attacked the latter, literally regulating the Internet, and that would be a serious mistake. You should not use the term “Internet access” without clarifying which one you mean.

    Also, the Court’s ruling mistakenly said that the FCC had power to regulate the Internet under Section 706. They accepted the FCC’s cite to legislative history. But that cited Senate report was referring to a draft that *did not pass Congress*; it was changed in conference. The actual law left out the enabling language of the cited draft. Thus if the FCC tries to use 706, rather than Title II, it could easily fail on appeal of somebody bothers this time to point out that mistake.

  • Bluejay2fly

    I would like to thank Netflix for having such a lousy movie selection for streaming. Instead or re-watching Jaws or The Good, The Bad and The Ugly I was forced to start watching foreign films. Many German and Asian films are very well made and worth seeing. Sorry if this was a scad off topic.

    • J__o__h__n

      My library has a great selection.

    • hennorama

      Bluejay2fly — there is also some interesting original programming, British and Australian TV, Scandinavian films, classic movies, documentaries, etc. streaming on Netflix. And Amazon. And Cracker. And …

      • Bluejay2fly

        I used to watch a lot of BBC productions on PBS long before the internet. Foreign works used to be very difficult to watch because of either there poor production values or because they were avant guard “works of art” that I found too modernistic for my taste. Things have changed and many foreign films are as good or in some ways even better than what Hollywood is churning out. The Flame and The Citron (Danish Film) comes to mind. One major advantage of watching a foreign film is seeing the difference in perspective on how they view everything from relationships to world history. I am still angry at Netflix for having such a limited selection and then padding their numbers with crappy movies from the 30′s. Sorry, an average person is not going to want to sit down and watch “Birth Of a Nation” from 1915.

        • hennorama

          Bluejay2fly — TY for your response.

          As in most things, individual tastes and preferences vary considerably.

          I agree that Flame & Citron was very good. Mads Mikkelsen (from F&C), an excellent actor, is also in the Oscar-nominated “The Hunt,” which is streamable on Netflix.

          As we have veered off topic, I’ll close with a simple “Best wishes.”

  • SLABmedia

    This legalizes the extortion of server farms. Terrible ruling. There needs to be an appeal to prevent protection rackets on the part of the telecoms and cable companies. “That’s a nice website you have there, it would be a shame if no one could see it.” These server farms already pay for bandwidth and 1KB = 1KB period. Just because your blog is called “I hate Verizon” doesn’t make your data heavier than one that says “I love Verizon.” Even one that streams video still pays per Kilobyte. Verizon is not offering a High Speed lane for a price, they are offering to slow down everyone else unless they pay. There is a name for that (see above).

  • john bailey

    If we were to restart today our constitutional experiment with the original idea that we need a post office to subsidize the dispersion of public opinion, all these natural monopolies, land line, cable, wifi, stellite, newspapers, would be re-established as departments within the Post Office.

    • Fred Goldstein

      Many countries did have telephone as part of the Post Office; most have since been privatized. The Internet itself is private. Only the raw connection should be thought of as a post-like common carrier; the actual Internet service is naturally competitive and is a computer service, not carriage. That issue gets confused here. The Internet provider is a newspaper; the telephone company is the postal carrier.

  • Coastghost

    When does taxation of internet commerce commence in earnest?

  • northeaster17

    Most of us in Europe and North America try not think about how much we’re getting smoked by Asia in terms of internet speeds, but here’s another reminder: residents in South Korea will soon enjoy 300Mbps wireless on carriers SK Telecomand LG’s U+.


    While we pay our internet providers to pay lobbyists to pay lawmakers to control our internet.

  • J__o__h__n

    Cities should provide municipal internet. The current providers are more interested in keeping out competition than they in in providing service. The marketplace is not working. It is cheap to provide service in densely populated areas. Why should we have to subsidize rural internet but not get any of the savings from efficiency? And while the government is far from perfect at delivering services, I’d much rather deal with the Post Office than the cable company.

  • Bigtruck

    Ahhh greed. It is not surprising that it wins The people steam rolled again. Screw the people whats good for the shareholders is the American mantra.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    What if ALL the Internet providers do the same *wrong* thing? Net neutrality is to provide a baseline protection of access.

    • MrNutso

      Likely will be no if about it.

  • Yar

    What if Verizon could charge long distance rates on Skype, because it competes with their voice market? What is the byte charge for an text message? Data is Data, why allow the monopolies to control the market. In my area, I don’t have a choice of provider, I am 10 miles from the edge of broadband, I have friends that don’t have access. Competition is fiction for most of the US.

  • MrNutso

    Yes, I have alternatives to have costly, crappy service and waiting around all day for either Comcast, Verizon or the satellite guy to show up. I’m willing to pay, but once I have a provider, why do I have to pay even more to use services I choose (Netflix) or web sites I frequent?

  • TFRX

    Where does this guy May live?

    “If I have alternatives…”

    Please direct this guy to the history of geographical monopolies for: Electricity. Telephone service. Cable TV.

    “I think you’re assuming that consumers’ preferences are all the same…”


    Talk about the runon of talking points.

  • J__o__h__n

    Sponsored data – more ads! Thanks for providing more things the consumers don’t want in the name of choices.

  • Michiganjf

    I pay my internet service provider, Time Warner, for a home connection which they boast is 30 MBPS…

    I won’t get their advertised speed, FOR WHICH I PAY, if they squeeze the speed of all the the websites I want to access!!

    ISPs want consumers to pay for the speed of a home portal, but then force us all to pay again for the increased costs to the other portals we all use daily.

    How about a nation-wide class action suit, claiming we’re not getting the advertised speed for which we actually pay?

    Maybe something along those lines will make these rich, greedy weasels stand by the product they’re selling us all!

    • nj_v2

      I’m on Verizon DSL which has, generally, sucked since day 1. Not only is the advertised connection speed not what they advertise, but the connection used to regularly just drop out for a few seconds to a minute or two at at time. At times, it would do this many times in a few hour period, then would be fine for a day or two, then drop out again. Lately, it hasn’t been dropping out as it did for years, but the connection speed seems noticeably slower.

      Early calls to “customer service” resulted in me jumping through their standardized, diagnostic hoops, but after a while, even they seemed to realize that the problem was with their crappy infrastructure. It was so bad one month a year or so ago that i requested and received a refund for the month’s fee for DSL service.

      Their big push now is to covert everyone over to Fios, but i have no reason to think the problems wouldn’t just continue.

    • phk46

      Michiganjf – unfortunately what they boast of is “*up to* 30 MBPS”, which is no real promise to you. What they ought to be promising is “*at least* 30 MBPS” through the access network and their interface to the public internet. (Averaged over some reasonable period.)

      But otherwise I totally agree with your point. They want to charge twice for the same bandwidth.

  • phk46

    The internet service provider market is very far from a competitive environment from the point of view of individual subscribers. I only have choice of Comcast. I’ve been *hoping* that Fios would come to my area, but it isn’t happening. AFAIK this is true for many or most people.
    Even where there are two choices, that is far from competitive.

  • TFRX

    That May has to point to one company’s plan to say “This is gonna be great” is hilarious.

    “Randolph, I’ll come back to you…” says our host. Do we have to?

    Tom, is there anything this guy will say, should you come back to him, that I can’t get far too much of from Rick Santelli on CNBC?

  • adks12020

    Well, the first argument is already bogus. In my area there are no real choices for internet service providers. I imagine this is the case in many, many areas. Time Warner has a monopoly on broadband internet and cable in my area. There are literally no other choices for high speed internet here. Satellite is terrible and it’s against city code to have dishes on the front of a home in my city (which is the side I would need to place it on). Verizon fios isn’t available and won’t be any time soon. Time Warner has already been gouging people by raising fees every year on subscribers since they know we have no other choice. No they can do so more blatantly without any fear of repercussions.

  • Coastghost

    Is the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 in any threat of being repealed?

    • TFRX

      Yeah, I’m worried it might do so, and kill Internets commerce.

      (Totes sarcasm.)

  • phk46

    My main concern for net neutrality is that I already pay for two-way access. Why should the other end have to pay to access me? (They already pay for two-way access at their own end.)

  • northeaster17

    At 31 min…..It’s not government it’s called facism

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Mr May keeps reeling out the rope…

    • Labropotes

      He is loathsome. I wonder if he’d like to be in Congress.

      edit: He is purposely running out the clock. He just took 35 seconds to say that the court threw out net neutrality, but the FCC still retains regulatory authority.

    • Fred Goldstein

      His arguments are pretty bad — you don’t need Internet access because you have an iPad that can access little wireless apps? He hurts his side.

      If Mr. Bergmayer’s organization actually fought for what he asked for, it might have had more success. But they asked to regulate ISPs (NN), and the FCC obliged, when they should have regulated access *to* ISPs, which clearly can be regulated as common carriage.

  • geraldfnord

    As with health care, I think we want to believe we are the Chosen of the Most Holy Market (‘socialist’, ‘communist’, and ‘anarchist’ are snarl-words for Foreign Gods!) but are often find ourselves not tolerating some of its basic consequences: we want to say that we have a private healthcare system, but we (or at least the decent majority) don’t want people to die because they can’t afford basic health care; we want to say that we have private ownership of bandwidth and the infrastrucutre therefor, but aren’t willing, in many cases, to live with the preferential treatment of some parties that is inherent to private ownership.

    (See also: kosher [or organic] except for the Chinese restaurant, ‘technical’ virginity, ‘we don’t torture’, ‘they all were militants’.)(But it would be hypocritical for me to write as if I were never hypocritical myself, or as if the world didn’t seem to need a bit of the Tribute Vice Pays to Virtue, corrupting though it be….a Pathos of Distance thing, I think. )

    The only way I can see forward is for technical advances to render the issue moot for normal human internet uses (shopping and other forms of pornography, commenting on message-boards, accessing State and corporate information, looking up information of greater and lesser reliability…. Maybe The New Internet will show up, non-neutral ab initio, and at that point the big players will let the small fry access the Old Internet freely. I don’t expect publc ownership or real control here: you can’t argue effectively with religious faith.

  • Matthew Foster

    Ever hear of a little town called New Orleans? We only have ONE cable ISP, (Cox Cable)

  • Cynthia

    I teach online courses for a small regional college in southwest NM, and
    am very concerned about how any changes to net neutrality would affect
    online education. Many of my students are low-income and live in
    isolated rural areas. I see companies like Verizon, ATT, TIme Warner and
    Comcast potentially raising the cost of access to online education
    portals – similar to the way publishers gouge students on textbook
    prices – making access to college education even more out of reach for
    our students. Ending net neutrality, like so many other policies of
    late, is great for a handful of execs and their shareholders. Terrible
    for the rest of us.

    • JGC

      How does the Universal Service Fee play into this? This is supposed to provide discounted service to public schools and libraries. Can it be “attached” to online courses to continue to provide discounts for educational services?

  • Yar

    What if the electric company charged more for the electricity used to power your TV than your cook stove?

    • phk46

      What if the electric company charged Comcast for the electricity it takes to run your TV when watching via Comcast?

      • TFRX

        This is sorta off-topic, but back when it was just Ma Bell, didn’t the phone company used to separately charge for the electricity used to backlight dials on the “fancy phones” (compared to the brick-spithouse Old Black Unbreakable ones I grew up with)?

  • nj_v2

    Ha ha!

    Guest Mr May sez the Internet service providers are in business to satisfy customers. Gotta love these Free Marketeers.

    “The social responsibility of business is profit.” (Milton Friedman.

    These companies will do and spend as little as possible to maximize their profits.

    Who the heck does Mr. May think he’s fooling?

    • TFRX

      May needs to go to East Noplace, Ruritania, and sign a long-term contract, then see what happens when his service sucks, and how much of a hassle and a cost it is to change.

      I’ve got it pretty good, compared to many. I live in a town where the Fiber Gods (the communications kind, not the dietary kind) have been for more than a few years, and yet it’s not all Eden here.

  • Bill Bailey

    So I pay for my connectivity into the internet, the content providers pay for there connectivity into the providers, Sponsored Data Seems like another way to for the ISP to make additional revenue from a network that hasn’t been upgraded for many years. Comcast has just implement metered service with no regard to the plan I have. If I want to access ESPN on my mobile device and I have a data plan then I should be smart enough to know that it impacts my data plan ESPN shouldn’t have to pay additional charges to the ISP for what they already pay for

  • phk46

    Apparently part of our competitive choice is to use the wireless network as an alternative to the wired network. Or DSL. What a joke.

  • John_in_VT

    As others below have pointed out, cable and land line phone companies have been granted exclusive territories, that they fought for. This alone limits choice since satellite service is expensive and not very good. In rural area choice is even more limited. Consumers need protection from the FCC in the systems that they oversee since it is essentially a closed system.

    • Steve__T

      The court ruled in a lawsuit filed by Verizon that “the FCC cannot subject companies that provide Internet service to the same type of regulation that the agency imposes on phone companies,” The New York Times reported. “It cited the FCC’s own decision in 2002 that Internet service was not a telecommunications service – like telephone or telegraph – but an information service, a classification that limits the FCC’s authority.”

  • Karen

    This is absolutely terrible for the consumer! The internet has always been a place where consumers can have some control, some say in what data they want to access. And how much they have to PAY for it. With little or NO COMPETITION with ISPs, we are doomed to be controlled by these big companies and be forced to pay what they tell us to pay.

    The internet will end up just like Cable TV and cell phones. There are a couple big companies that monopolize everything and set the rules and the costs! There are different plans designed to confuse the consumer and make you pay as much as possible.

    So discouraging! And so wrong!

  • dt03044

    What competition?? I have a choice between Comcast, or Comcast. Your guest says customers will rise up in protest if they are unhappy. And go where?

    • Labropotes

      Agreed, I’ve had access to one provider for, ummm, ten years.

  • Labropotes

    I learned in corporate finance that any option granted to a counterparty cedes value. Giving ISP’s the option is giving them economic value that was not assumed up to now in their financials. I.e.: Windfall!!!!!

  • Fred Goldstein

    Tom keeps saying that NN is going away. IT NEVER EXISTED. Before 2006, there was open access, meaning you could switch ISPs across the same telco DSL. That’s gone. But almost all ISPs manage their networks in ways that violate strict neutrality. They have to, to keep the stuff people want from being blocked by junk people don’t want. Actual NN rules would break that and really jam things up.

  • J__o__h__n

    Will they bundle espn.com into the internet service and charge everyone for that whether they want it or not like they do with cable?

  • Cary

    This is a golden opportunity for someone with enough capitol to start the definitive Internet Service Provider… one reasonable flat rate with full, non-tiered access to all content. They would get everyone to sign up and the competition would be destroyed.

  • Dave Verhagen

    John does not get it. It is not the government (China not withstanding) that censors media in the USA. Just look at AM radio. In states that vote overwhelmingly for Obama and a Democratic leadership, you cannot find anything but conservative talk and opinion. It is a corporate censorship that will be extended to the internet.
    I can only hear Ed Schultz, for example, because of the internet. That will likely be restricted financially and otherwise with the loss of net neutrality.

  • maraith

    So soon I will get basic internet access or speed or, if I’m a business or willing to pay more, premium access or speed. Or perhaps it will be packaged so I can, at the low end, use the internet between 9pm and midnight but not in the daytime when businesses use it.

  • Laura Irenze

    1. Censorship isn’t going to be a matter of redirection from Papa John’s to Domino’s. It’ll look more like PayPal, MasterCard & Visa blocking Wikileaks,
    2. Sponsored content is going to be like bundling on cable. The big guys will negotiate deals, then serve up service in a way that benefits them, not consumers. E.g., I don’t want sports channels, but I have to take them in order to get what I do want.
    3. I’m not just a consumer in real life or on the internet!

    • TFRX

      For you first point, I can envision both of these methods happening.

      Haven’t you ever gone to a business, news or recrational website which just acted up like crap, then said to yourself “crummy website design”, and took your eyeballs elsewhere?

      Now imagine if that’s kept secret from you. How would you know? (More importantly, one of the guests today said “Well, it really doesn’t happen”. If it’s so little done, where’s the corporate interest in the “trust but verify” step of writing it into law that “ISP X or Y is barred from playing favorites with vendor Z over vendor A”?

      • Steve__T

        In an official statement, Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media reform group Free Press added, “[The court’s] ruling means that Internet users will be pitted against the biggest phone and cable companies — and in the absence of any oversight, these companies can now block and discriminate against their customers’ communications at will… They’ll establish fast lanes for the few giant companies that can afford to pay exorbitant tolls and reserve the slow lanes for everyone else.”

        Nonetheless, the court’s decision could be reversed, either on appeal to the Supreme Court or by the FCC backing away from decisions it made during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations and taking a stronger stand on behalf of the American people instead of the Verizon’s and AT&T’s. In an article for The Huffington Post, Craig Aaron notes:

        New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently stated that the FCC must be able to protect broadband users and preserve the Internet’s fundamental open architecture. Now he has no other choice but to restore and reassert the FCC’s clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure.

        … Now the free and open Internet is flat-lining. But Wheeler has the paddles in his hands and the power to resuscitate Net Neutrality. We’ll know soon if he has the political guts to use them.

        Wheeler, after the court’s decision was announced, said, “We will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans.”

        But there will be congressional opposition. And the FCC has a long, sad track record of spinning pro-industry positions to make them sound good and good for you. It’s too soon to tell on which side Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the mobile phone and cable TV industries, ultimately will come down. Which means that once again, as has been the case so many times since this fight began, people have to stand up and be heard.

        You can start by contacting the FCC chairman’s office and demanding that he and his colleagues stand resolute and forthright in favor of net neutrality, an Internet open to all.

        Send an e-mail at the FCC’s website. Or tweet @TomWheelerFCC.


  • maraith

    Verizon has fought every effort by Boston and other municipalities to set up a government wifi. So clearly they are looking to regulate access.

    • J__o__h__n

      Yet they don’t offer service in Boston despite running ads showing Boston sites. Any urban market without three providers as a choice for every household, should not be able to oppose municipal internet.

    • jefe68


  • Labropotes

    Half a billion? The feds just spent $168mm installing fiber in less than half of VT alone. Half a billion capital invested? That is less than a day of the cable/telecom revenues in the USA.

  • phk46


    • maraith

      God help us, not Google please.

  • Taylor

    I live in Nashville and, until my last move across town, had access to only one wired ISP that provides sufficient connectivity to do my work or even to relax by streaming video. I now have two choices- which can hardly be defined as “competition.” The argument that wireless data plans (which are slower, more expensive and bound by data restrictions) simply is not valid- this is not an equivalent substitute. I, personally, am less concerned that I will not have theoretical access to all data- I am concerned that it will be tiered and that price will prohibit me from actually accessing the websites that I want. The argument that “I dont think thinks will change” does not suffice- the problem is that this lowers one of the few barriers between the consumer and the far better funded (and represented) carriers. Self regulation, we have seen, does not work.

    Finally, if I am not mistaken, Mr Bergamyer’s example of how net neutrality harms the consumer (re: ESPN subsidized access on the consumers wireless plan) he explicitly said was not actually a true issue of net neutrality . I still do not understand the argument against a system that, for the vast majority, is working! Why not clarify that issues such as the ESPN contract do not fall under net neutrality rather than getting rid of the entire policy?

  • DeJay79

    Randolph May is a friking greed hound moron. Sounds like an idiot. “Sure they make some profit but hrumph hrumph” They need more! More money for fat cats is better for us all Tom!

  • Bill Bailey

    I guess I am confused. Netflix pays for an Internet connection,Youtube pays for an internet connection. Why should they have to pay again for a service they already pay for.

    • Fred Goldstein

      Netflix may pay a different ISP, not yours. Since they account for the largest share of traffic on your ISP, there’s perfectly good reason for your ISP to ask for some kind of compensation. That part of the Internet business only works when it’s a free market. The troublesome monopoly is the local wire to your home. That should be a separate product, so you can choose a broadband ISP, the way you used to be able to dial up an ISP of your choice.

      • jefe68

        No there is not. We are already paying for the service from Verizon or AT&T or Comcast as well as paying for a subscription from Neflix.

      • dirtyMAF

        No, this is absolutely wrong. Consumers currently [over]pay for internet service precisely so they can access content from sites like Netflix. I pay may ISP for that. Companies like Verizon and ATT want to be able to charge both the consumer and the content provider for the data to increase their profits and have plenty of cash on hand right now to buy all of the congressmen they need. Also, I would point out that there is no question about being able to handle the bandwidth for Netflix and other services. Randolph May says that at night Netflix and Youtube account for 50% of all traffic. I didn’t hear him say how much capacity is being used though. In places where Google Fiber is rolling out the other ISPs are suddenly offering big discounts to keep customers along with faster service. How could they possibly afford this when the infrastructure supposedly cost them so much? If TWC, ATT or Verizon could charge $100 / Mo. for a 1Mbps connection, they wouldn’t hesitate to do so.

      • Bill Bailey

        the confusion was intended to be sarcasim. I understand that in most cases these large Internet corporations pay access to a different provider. My point was how can a large ISP charge for Netflick or ESPN.Com to stream across there network. I am making the request for the content and I am paying for my connection. It’s another fee Telcoms get to charge, Serious investment has not taken place in many cases in over 5 years. Its just silly to me. More choices do need to be provided to the local user and a better understanding of how networking works to fit pricing models. Currently I have a flat data cap on my services. No matter what speed I pay for I only get a set amount of data before I am charged an overage fee, regardless if I have the fastest package or the slowest package. I just don’t think that makes any sense what so ever.

  • TFRX

    May says “Oh boy, over a half billion (nominal) dollars invested in a dozen years!” Or at least that’s the way I heard it.

    Big whoop. It’s their job. People have contracts to pay them to do so.

    Whenever someone says “You want low prices, dontcha? We can’t regulate that to happen–it’ll cost you more”, my bullflop alarm goes off. It’s been ringing on May’s behalf for most of this hour.

    Extra hahaha points for his gambit of “Perhaps it’s (Tom’s) position that the ISPs are making too much money“. Ooh, snap. He got you, Tom!

    • Ruben_in_Nashville

      I don’t think that was Tom’s point at all, and to suggest that and then respond to it in such a way seems to be a straw man argument!

      • TFRX

        (I was deadpanning May’s attitude, which seemed like “ooh, the public radio guy’s showing Socialism!” as the ultimate applause line, like May had this zinger in his quiver and all he needed to do was bring itn out and wait for the laughs to follow. Perhaps May has been spending too much time in industiral conferences among his own kind to survive an appearance on public radio.)

  • John_in_VT

    Yes, let’s put capitalism to work on the Internet, have Netflix bid for bandwidth with Amazon and Pandora compete with Spotify, Amazon and other music services. This will certainly keep down rates for Internet access – and, of course, what we pay for those services. Remember the old adage – follow the money.

  • Coastghost

    Since opinions are being solicited left and right, what does Mr. Jeff Bezos (sometime NPR underwriter) think of the status of net neutrality? (or repeal of the 1998 ITFA, for that matter?)

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Are the ISP’s paying for the backbone of the Internet?

    • Bill Bailey

      The backbone is a myth anymore. 1999 -2003 there were some very distinct backbone providers, Those have been pretty much absorbed but the only really major one that I can think of is Cox that controls major portions of the dark fiber network. and Ya ISP/Telco’s Cable providers pay Cox for access and utilization of their dark fiber

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        So, do Verizon and Comcast et al pay for the backbone?

        • Bill Bailey

          They all pay access fees to the “backbone”

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            And are those fees enough to (more than) cover the expenses of the common “backbone”?

    • Fred Goldstein

      Small ISPs pay backbone ISPs for upstream service. Level 3 is the big daddy of the worldwide backbone nowadays. Comcast has its own, at least in the US. Verizon bought one with MCI. AT&T has its own, and there are several others. The backbone is competitive between major cities; getting to them is the hard part.

  • jpolock

    Investment by the corps?! I remind everyone to look at their statements and note all the taxes and fees…
    They MORE than recoup the output with these inputs, paid by US, most notably the “Federal Universal Service Charge”!

  • jefe68

    Verizon reported a third-quarter profit of $2.23 billion in the third quarter of 2013.

    At&T reported profit of $3.8 billion in the third quarter, up from $3.6 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

    These are two of the largest carriers in the US.

    Randolph May is is wrong, period.
    I would also add it’s in their interest to invest the infrastructure.
    It’s clear to me that that these two large corporations made enough profit in the third quarter of 2013 alone to pay for the investment in infrastructure.

    • J__o__h__n

      Thanks, I was just going to look that up.

    • OnPointComments

      Verizon reported that during the nine months ended September 30, 2013, it spent $11.8 billion on new construction and capital expenditures.

      AT&T reported that during the nine months ended September 30, 2013, it spent $15.8 billion on new construction and capital expenditures.

      Do you suppose these companies will continue to make these significant investments if there’s an inadequate return on their investments?

      • jefe68

        Verizon’s total operating revenues in third-quarter 2013 were $30.3 billion, a 4.4 percent increase compared with third-quarter 2012. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue growth of more than 4 percent.

        Wireless Financial Highlights:
        Total revenues were $20.4 billion in third-quarter 2013, up 7.2 percent year over year.
        Service revenues in the quarter totaled $17.5 billion, up 8.4 percent.

        Source: http://www.verizon.com/investor/DocServlet?doc=3q_13_vz_bulletin.pdf

        Seems they are doing pretty well and are getting that return on investment.

        • OnPointComments

          What do you think is a fair rate of return for these companies to earn on the investments they make? Remember, the risk-free rate of return on 10-year to 30-year US Treasury bills is 3%-4%, and the only think they’d have to do is collect the interest; but instead these companies are investing in technology that may have a lifespan of 10 years, if they’re lucky, and if technological advances don’t render their investments obsolete. The companies also face the risk that other market forces could make their investments unprofitable. Rate of return on a sure thing: 4%. Rate of return on a risky investment: ? What’s the answer?

          • Labropotes

            I think you’re right, OPC. But the Industry Rep was whinging at $500mm in capital expenditure among the whole industry. This thread started to put that number in perspective.

            When the FED is printing money at 7% of GDP per year, a 30-year t-bill is hardly a sure thing. Should rates go up to 6%, the price of the bond goes down by 35.4%.

            But you know what is a sure thing? AT&T’s $66mm in campaign contributions since 1990 and $284mm in lobbying congress since 1998.

          • jefe68

            These huge corporations are making out quite well. Eventually fiber-optics is going to be akin to electricity in terms of home usage, jobs and so on.

            I see a similarity in the internet infrastructure needed for our 21′s century needs and the electric grid, or lack there of, in the 30′s. In 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt first took office, nine out of every ten farms in rural America were without electricity. That translates into 90% of all farm families had no electricity in that time.

            FDR saw this for what it was, a obstacle to economic growth. He was right.
            One could add that we need to have a fast reliable pipeline for all online activity.
            We are currently the most expensive and on the way to be the slowest in terms of internet service. That’s something that needs to be addressed, not how much profit Verizon or AT&T is going to make out all of this.

          • jefe68

            Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, claims it’s capable of providing 3Gbps broadband — but its fastest service currently on the market is $320 a month for 305Mbps. Verizon, meanwhile, has just announced its fastest FiOS ever, 500Mbps for $310 a month.

            Compare that to Hong Kong, where consumers can get 500Mbps for $25 a month, or Seoul, where the same speed is priced at $30 a month. Only Google Fiber’s broadband plan seems competitive with those of other tech-savvy nations: It offers 1Gbps for $70 a month, which is only outpaced by Japan’s proposed Nuro network with speeds of up to 2Gbps for $51 a month.

          • OnPointComments

            I sometimes get the impression, perhaps erroneously, that some liberals believe there should be a cap on earnings, whether $10 million, $1 billion, or $50 billion, or some other maximum amount where a company would be required to lower its prices or pay taxes to stay below the minimum. As I said, maybe I’m wrong. If I’m right, a cap on earnings is an absolutely foolish, nonsensical belief, and would have disastrous consequences.

            Return on Assets 2.87%
            Return on Equity 8.01%
            Return on Inves. Capital 3.28%

            Return on Assets 5.40%
            Return on Equity 6.06%
            Return on Inves. Capital 8.10%

            Personally, I don’t find their rates of return to be at all excessive, and perhaps a little low.

          • jefe68

            I don’t care if they earn a lot but I want to be some return on my investment. Paying for a the service that enables them to gain 20%+ returns. Right now we are not getting very good service for what we are paying for. I feel ripped off quite frankly.

          • OnPointComments

            I don’t know of a telecom company that is earning 20%.

            Return on Assets 4.37%
            Return on Equity 13.02%
            Return on Inves. Capital 5.27%

            But I can understand feeling ripped off. I’ve had a great experience with Comcast, but my previous experience with Time Warner Cable could not have been worse. I started every email I sent to them with Time Warner Cable=TWC=The Worst Company.

          • jefe68

            Add up all the returns and you get a total return of over 20% in Comcast’s case.

          • OnPointComments

            The returns are not additive, i.e., they cannot be added together to arrive at total return. Each is a separate and distinct calculation.

          • FrankensteinDragon

            off point again

  • maraith

    My town has two providers…but not all of the town has it. One provider decided it was too expensive to run cable into my condo. So, I have no choice. And what about all the new housing developments all around the country that cut deals with one provider and there is no choice for the residents? There is no added competition for them or me.

  • Ruben_in_Nashville

    I just moved from El Paso Texas where AT&T would limit my internet usage and make me pay per gigabyte after my limit. Isn’t this a good model for an open market where net neutrality is preserved. In this case I am able to access any website I wish and cannot force other customers to pay for my unlimited use of Netflix, Youtube, or any other video site.This maintains a profit for the ISP doesn’t it?

  • hellokitty0580

    I’ve listened for a while and I find this disturbing. Ultimately, the whole point of eradicating net neutrality is to make more money. And this is going to fall on the shoulders of consumers. I’m not saying that internet carriers shouldn’t make money for the services they provide, but they already ARE making money, lots of money. Furthermore, net neutrality leveled the playing field for new, individual entrepreneurs.

    It’s wrong because it eliminates choice, the bedrock of human freedom and a vibrant democracy. Additionally, it’s not good for a capitalist democracy that needs true competition. I mean, what happened to our laws against monopolies? I don’t care whether it’s government or corporations determining what the public can see or research or investigate or whatever, it’s wrong and it will be the ruin of our democracy.

    But then again, the irony is many Americans are too buried in things like Netflix to actively participate in our democracy, so maybe we’re getting exactly what we deserve.

  • TFRX

    “I expect there are 100 emails corporate retailers send out as sales
    pitches. Maybe my bill is high because I’m subsidizing private business
    use of the internet in some sort of “shared the cost” pricing model.”

    If only it were so. The nominal cost, the minute demand, it takes to send an email, is tiny. And there’s plenty of room to store them.

    That’s why there are so many of them, and many common ISPs don’t care how many commercial emails I have sitting, unread, in my inbox, from (say) three years ago. There is enough “cloud” storage for that to not even make a dent in my cheap, limited email service.

    (Disclaimer: I don’t attach huge files to a lot of emails. Those who are into video or audio editing or serious photography will likely have a different experience than I do.)

    Not to geek out, cos there are many better than I at it, but the real issue of abusing resources are the illegal spammers who infect unsuspecting computers and turn them into bots. This is the kind of thing that would never be achievable in the 9600 baud world, because ever bit per second you or I could manage on our computers was needed for our CompuServe or “Plodigy” stuff.

    But nowadays there is so much “leftover” bandwith with broadband that many people don’t notice when their system’s become infected and turned into a bot.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kyle.rose Kyle Rose

    At its core, net neutrality is not the issue: only from the tint of government-granted monopolies and corporate rent-seeking is FCC regulation in favor of net neutrality anything like a solution to the problem of ISP abuse.

    The real issue is the lack of competition in the last mile. If you want to see prices plummet and speeds and service increase dramatically, let any person with a truck and a spool hang cable from telephone poles. Until that happens, most localities will be stuck with one cable provider and vastly inferior DSL and satellite service, and the consequent stranglehold on choice and consumer activity.

  • Allie E

    Ending net neutrality is moving toward further monopolization, more profit and control for the big corporations, and much less freedom for the rest of us. I listened to the following talk from Oct. 2013, by Robert McChesney on the radio last weekend, which brilliantly addresses all of this. Here’s a link to his talk, titled: The Internet, Democracy and Capitalism. It’s eye opening! http://www.alternativeradio.org/collections/latest-programs/products/mccr010

  • tbphkm33

    I am all for these barriers coming down – let crony capitalism flourish!!! It is after all what The People have been arguing for.

    The American people have been on a 20+ year campaign against government and market regulations. The free market will work it out!!! Yea for the crony capitalism.

    It has gotten the US a second rate cell phone industry, where the focus is on charging as much as possible while providing as low a service as possible. Or providing 200 cable TV channels where people still surf around to see if there is anything worth watching.

    We could easily branch these failings of the crony capitalist system across the board to other consumer markets. Look at choice at grocery stores. Or healthcare choice. Look at how wonderful air travel in the US is.

    No, the American people have gotten exactly what they deserve. Until they straighten out their own house, the US consumer should get used to be taken advantage of by the corporations. It is a docile and increasingly ignorant population, that has stood by while the country has regressed into a 2nd world nation.

    If you never clean your house, don’t come crying when it is filthy and full of rats.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    Seems to me that if this ruling makes it possible for big time telco’s to boost their profits at the expense of everyone else, then they should really, I mean really, have to pay for it.

    The problem is these companies are so rich they can buy what they want from Congress.

  • John_Hamilton

    The Internet hasn’t been with us for very long, the World Wide Web (remember that name?) a mere 22+ years old. It has become a monstrosity. Even this very site has obnoxious pop-ups, distractions to entice you to do something else while you are reading or typing (keying) a comment. On other sites it is relentless, the desperation to increase page views or advertise products so intense that it makes for an annoying and stressful experience.

    The overall experience of the Internet is symbolic of the malaise that plagues American society. We have a legalized bribe-dependent Congress, made legal by a Supreme Court that itself was appointed by bribe-enabled presidents. We have a corporate-dominated economic system that, through institutionalized bribery, is able to engage in corrupt and harmful practices, including destruction of the ecosystem. We have a mass communications industry that is focused on arousal of various kinds – emotional, sexual, tribal – in order to make more money.

    This of course exists in a context of an unsustainable infinite-growth economic system in a condition of increasingly severe symptoms of global climate change. As a constant in this increasingly severe dynamic, corporate greed can only accelerate the process. As it currently exists, our socio-political system is incapable of solving its serious problems. It can’t even solve easy ones.

  • MJ Green

    The bottom line is: Who is going to pay for the infrastructure (lines, servers, wireless spots) that it takes to handle ever-growing Internet use? Do you spread the cost across all users or do you have users who consume more bandwidth pay more (or be subsidized by content providers)? My 85-year-old mother who emails and visits Facebook pays the same as someone who watches Netflix every day or streams sports. Is that fair? The providers don’t care where you go on the Internet. They just want the people who use more to pay more for an infrastructure that isn’t infinite and constantly needs to be expanded.

  • Kyle

    I find it comical that a listener called in to raise fears of Chinese style authoritarian censorship coming from ISP’s who are in private competition. If you are afraid of Chinese style censorship, then giving the FCC even more purview over the ISP’s is the last thing you want. If you want even less competition and even less incentive to innovate and create faster internet, then the FCC is your guy.

    I find if strange that so much fear mongering is going on to scare us away from the more competitive option and into giving better access and control over to the same federal government that gave us the NSA, the TSA and SOPA.

  • marygrav

    Beware and don’t be misled: George Orwell’s 1984 has come into full bloom. It was not possible with co-axel cable because it is a one-way system. Big Brother has finally reached maturity and now he is taking over the Internet in the name of profit and prophet. He has sent talking head to tell US or WE THE PEOPLE THAT ALL IS WELL. Don’t go for his BS.

    As Tom has guessed, it is a Party-Line, the T-Party/Neo-conservative agenda. To fully understand this one must read Halpher and Clarke’s America Alone. And remember it was part of Irving Kristol’s advice to the AEI to take over the Courts and have the Courts on the US Chamber of Commerce side.
    Read Kim Phillips-Fein’s The Invisible Hands.

    But be sure to re-read 1984 and stop thinking like the average American: that this is happening to someone else when it is happening to US. And if we don’t fight back against the FCC, we are just the a***es they take the masses to be!

  • art brodsky

    Net Neutrality protected startups and entrepreneurs. The problem is the politics of getting it back are daunting. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-brodsky/net-neutrality-is-dead_b_4597310.html

  • PSG, me

    I would have loved to understand your discussion today, but using abbreviations, alphabet soup, in language, really makes me lose interest, I feel left out of the conversation.

    • andic_epipedon

      Ask your grand kids for the summary.

  • hypocracy1

    I can see it now… Calling up Verizon/AT&T to get the list of websites covered under their “Internet Basics” plan.

    • Steve__T

      Stop giving them ideas!

  • andic_epipedon

    This is very disturbing. There is a war going on between consumers and telecommunications companies. I work for an electronics retailer and I see it everyday. I sell streaming players such as Roku and Apple TV, antennas, cable and satellite service. I think each person has a different entertainment need (Sports, movies, shows, international, music etc.) that requires a different content solution.

    I have only paid for cable for one year in my life, but have maintained internet service wherever I am. My needs are simple music, regular tv channels and the ScyFy channel. And believe me, I’m not paying that much money for three science fiction shows. Comcast is the only internet carrier where I live. As the number of people cut cable and move towards Netflix and alternative providers, I have seen a drop in the quality of my cable service over the last two years during peak hours (6pm to 12am). This is because Comcast has one feed through a neighborhood and everyone is drawing heavier on that feed. I may pay for 50mbps, but what I get during peak hours is something lower.

    Plus half the people who come into my store are unhappy with Roku boxes and antennas. When I discover what their desires are and tell them cable is their best option they get angry. Or worse, they try to get me to show them how to watch illegally downloaded material.

    Comcast has created a mess for itself by overcharging for cable and now its internet service is being overloaded. Not to mention that its internet service is too high to begin with. If I lived four blocks away where there was competition I would be paying $20 less for the same level of internet service. Comcast is offering lower cable plans with additional benefits at this point to first time customers to try and resolve the mess. The telecommunications industry needs to figure out a way to meet their customers half-way or I am going to be out of a job, because people will stop buying televisions and I’m going to be out of internet service, which is my main outlet.

  • andic_epipedon

    NPR reported a while back that half your cable bill goes to support ESPN. NPR also reported back a ways that the average cable bill is about $70 a month. Do we have to have ESPN attached to every cable package? Why can’t people who are addicted to football pay $30 a month for their stupid channel and leave the rest of us be. This is coming from the mouth of someone who played collegiate softball. NBC ruined the Olympics as far as I’m concerned with their shoddy broadcasting too.

    I watch a total of 3 cable channel shows, all on ScyFy. There is speculation that the ScyFy channel dropped Warehouse 13 because Defiance cost so much money to make. I’m a fan of both shows, but I feel Warehouse 13 may have run it’s course. There isn’t anything cool planned to replace Warehouse 13. So after Warehouse 13 goes after this next season, I will have two ScyFy shows left that I like to watch, unless the Canadians stop making Lost Girl, then I will only have one. Why can’t they spend that stupid football money on making quality television shows. Netflix has been able to put on a great show called, “Orange is the New Black” for much less of my money. Granted, science fiction shows are more expensive to make, but there is a huge gap between cable and Netflix cost.

    Comcast may not be able to mess with my Netflix till 2018, but if Verizon tries something weird on my smart phone T-mobile will buy my contract. Let’s hope T-mobile has some brains.

    • andic_epipedon

      If only they would make more Firefly…

  • Chuck Sherwood

    Just listened to the repeat, folks need to know that NN is not a reality in the Developing World. The EU is in the process of implementing stronger NN rules. Check this out!

  • tao101

    Verizon and AT&T are well known to nickel-and-dime their existing customers (why I use T-Mobile), and I’m sure are salivating at the new possibilities. If it isn’t the millionaires and billionaires using special interest groups in a bid to take over the government, it’s the megacorporations scheming for new ways to turn American consumers upside down by their ankles and shake them to see how much money falls from their pockets. This is while countries in Europe and the Far East get many times the average Internet speed and at a fraction of the cost. And many politicians still tout “American Exceptionalism”. (At least we now have a health care system.) One day, greed is going to destroy this country.

    But as the FCC has yet to even respond to the court’s decision, there will be a whole lot more to this story before it’s settled. The fight isn’t over.

  • M. Elaine

    Whew, it’s tough to listen to Randolph May. The man keeps swallowing and licking his lips. His nervousness does not help his case at all.

  • FrankensteinDragon

    why was my comment censored? i said nothing offensive. You just didn’t like hearing that american media is rubbish. well, thats totalitarian isn’t it?

  • Jasoturner

    Wow, I just streamed this on my commute this morning. Horrible development. The disingenuousness of Randolph May is impressive. Let’s cut to the chase: Why do the carriers want to “fix” something that works? Money. Right now, the internet has no content “middleman”, but that’s exactly what the carriers want to become. Show me one transaction where the introduction of a middleman makes it easier, cheaper or more private.

    The plutocrats run the show, the politicians serve those who pay them with donations, and the working Joes get screwed again.

    I don’t know exactly how other countries view America right now, but I can’t imagine we’re much of a role model to others.

  • omgbacon

    It was either on this show or Forum where the anti-net neutrality person
    claimed that ISPs have never attempted to block content and force
    companies to pay.

    This link has a timeline of that happening: http://kotaku.com/net-neutrality-and-gaming-things-can-get-a-lot-worse-1507677978

    it’s not just about accessing web sites or streamng video. It’s also
    about VOIP (Skype, Google hangouts, Apple Facetime, etc.), VPN (allowing
    workers to connect remotely to work), bittorrent (used for more than
    piracy – the World of Warcraft updater uses the bittorrent protocol),
    instant messenger protocols, and so on.

  • bobbyriled

    If you’re a libertarian then you hold that you are personally responsible for taking your rights and you believe that the corporations must be freed to do as they will.Under current law the corporations are people too and the community has no right to assert its rights.

    If you want US to stop corporations from shaking you down then you have to sign on to the idea that the community of citizens, the community of consumers has a right that overrides the right of corporations.

    The internet is a communication utility in the same way that the highways are a transportation utility. Is it socialist to assert the right to drive to the grocery store without paying a toll, without having to subscribe to a transportation provider? To expect government to maintain the highways?


    Is it socialist to hold that the government is responsible to provide smart phones or cars? No.

    That is just stupid. Just as stupid as the idea that we are all best served by a communication highway designed to extract wealth from the community into private profit.

  • Regular_Listener

    Bring on the middlemen, looking to add costs and cash in on something that is – at this time anyway – still reasonably priced.

    Now it could be that ISPs provide an information service and not just an information highway, and that there could be some interesting options for consumers in the works. The internet however, IS a common carrier, built by the US government. If I’m not happy with my local service, where do I go? If I decide I want net-neutral service, will it be possible for me to find it? The cable is provided by a local monopoly, the same way my electricity is, and therefore should be regulated by the government. Some people I know have purchased wireless hotspot service and seem to be pretty happy with it – is this a direction things will be moving in?

    People like Mr. May say don’t worry, the FCC can still regulate, the technology will continue to get better for us all, there will be many options for consumers. But I worry….

  • Gabrielle

    What the internet providers don’t seem to get is that many people are simply broke. We are the middle class people that are struggling to hold on and not sink back into the lower income tiers that we spent years trying to escape. But prices are skyrocketing. TV was free when I was young. When I was in my early 20s it was $30 a month for basic expanded cable. It’s now $60-100 a month. Phone bills, electric bills, gas bills, food, and housing have more than doubled in the 30 years I have been out of college – while our incomes slide backwards in many cases. It’s not that we want to “stick” it to the man by watching free programming online. Many of us simply have no choice. Net neutrality going away means that it will be even harder to escape the bonds of poverty. Previously, we were all on a level playing field. If you wanted to research, read, learn, or watch more power to you. You could also work from home without huge penalties by providers. But now if you are not lucky enough to have been born solidly into an upper middle class family this one decision is going to make it much harder for you to escape. Those of us that are struggling to hold on to our independence will be shut out even more, isolated and often not even aware of what might be an emergency situation. Many budding small businesses will be nipped in the bud. This is a sad day and the long reaching ramifications will be felt for many years. I truly hope this is lost at the appeal level. Sorry to bring it to a “how this affects me” level but I don’t think most people are watching free programming because of the convenience, as I know quite a few who have had to unplug their cable because of costs. Some are my age and many are in their 20′s. It’s all about the money or in this case – the lack of it. We may try to act cool and talk about convenience and choice (and I’ve done it) but the reality is…we can’t afford cable if we want to keep our homes and apartments.

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In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

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