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Net Neutrality And The End Of The Equal Internet

The uproar over net neutrality.  We’ll look at the new F.C.C. push that critics charge will kill it.

Members of global advocacy group Avaaz stand next to a digital counter showing the number of petition signatures calling for net neutrality outside the Federal Communication Commission in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Avaaz joined other US advocacy groups to deliver more than a million signatures for a free and democratic internet to the FCC. (AP)

Members of global advocacy group Avaaz stand next to a digital counter showing the number of petition signatures calling for net neutrality outside the Federal Communication Commission in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Avaaz joined other US advocacy groups to deliver more than a million signatures for a free and democratic internet to the FCC. (AP)

“Net neutrality” has long been a holy of holies in the Internet world.  The idea – and by in large the fact – that everyone on the web competed on the same field, the same plane, at more or less the same speed.  That there were not fast lanes for established giants and slow lanes for newcomers.  That innovators could, therefore, come onto the internet and give fat cats a run for their money.  A new push by the Federal Communications Commission to reset the rules has the Internet world in uproar.  It’s all hitting the fan right now.  This hour On Point:  the firestorm over net neutrality and the web.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

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

Siva Vaidhyanathan, chair of the department of media studies at the University of Virginia. Author of “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry),” “The Anarchist In the Library” and “Copyrights and Copywrongs.” (@sivavaid)

Kevin Werbach, associate professor of legal studies and business ethnics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Former counsel for new technology policy at the F.C.C. (@kwerb)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Mozilla joins Netflix in calling for stronger net neutrality — “In a filing to the Federal Communications Commission and a  companion blog post on Monday, Mozilla has become the second tech titan after Netflix to take a position on the FCC’s latest proposed rules for net neutrality, the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and not slowed or blocked. Mozilla argued that the commission should regulate a portion of what Internet service providers (ISPs) do under Title II of the Communications Act, the FCC’s congressional charter.”

The Atlantic: The Court’s Net-Neutrality Ruling Isn’t Actually That Bad – “Strangely, for a decision with supposedly huge business implications for a multi-centibillion-dollar sector at the heart of the Internet economy, the only ones who seemed to yawn were the traders on Wall Street. Stocks of both proponents and opponents of net neutrality hardly budged.  Maybe the traders know something the advocates don’t.”

Slate: The FCC Chairman’s Many Excuses — “Despite the outcry, Wheeler isn’t changing sides, he’s making excuses. In the past week, the chairman has published two blog posts and given one speech (at the cable lobbying association he used to head), while two law school professors, Kevin Werbach and Phil Weiser, have taken to the Huffington Post to defend him.”

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  • Yar

    Start by thinking of the internet as a neural network that connects communities together. This network is far from complete, and its growth will be influenced by current and future rules.
    I live in a county that has gaps in broadband service, I am working with a farmer who sells produce to Walmart. He lives in an area that doesn’t have any broadband access. Walmart wants him to do Farm to Fork documentation which requires every crate of produce be labeled with a barcode to indicate which field and time picked. Access is essential for his growing farming business.
    There is no “fast lane” there is only a single lane broad band in rural America. Passing any rules that gives priority to certain types of traffic is going to hurt rural areas. What it will do is cause broadband providers to cache expected traffic close to the rural homes, and leave the information pipes way too small. It is like building a water tower instead of building a bigger waterline. It will make rural internet access into a RedBox, sure, we will be able to get the latest movie just fine, but as for watching some obscure video on beekeeping for example will be slow or not even load. Rural America is feeding the world, cut us off at your own peril.

    • northeaster17

      Hopefully Wal-Mart and other consumer outlets that work with rural America will effectively lobby the FCC over the points you just brought up. One would think they would but that would also mean they would have to pay attention to this issue.

      • Yar

        Here is another take on what I am trying to say.
        Not only will it change what we see, it will change what is made.
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2014/05/02/what-net-neutrality-means-for-independent-film/

      • TFRX

        I would like to be hopeful.

        But the history of electrification and also ye olde landline doesn’t bode well for people in rural areas.

        • Yar

          RECC is 100 years old, our local co-op is 75, telcos are trying to get rid of requirements that require them to serve people with land-lines. The pure capitalistic model will never serve rural customers, the profit margin is much easier with dense populations. In Eastern Ky, the pay for service model may not work at all. Like a school lunch program where only 10% actually pay for their meal, it is far more efficient to give the lunch to everyone than to make those who can pay. The free for all model may be the only hope of getting high speed internet to Rural Kentucky.

          • TFRX

            Considering how much you rurals are loved by politicians and the media, you’d figured they’d get their acts together.

    • StilllHere

      What about cell or satellite?

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

        Not even close – much more expensive and much slower.

        • Yar

          And much less reliable. Cell service is spotty as well. UHF broadband may work in rural areas, but it takes investment.

          • Ray in VT

            And often such rural areas are deemed to be not profitable enough for companies to make that investment.

          • Steve__T

            Yes, that is the thing profit. Example: customer lives in rural mountain area, his existing service is a 2 1/2 mile copper cable put in place in the early 50′s. In order to get him the service he would like, the company would have to replace that cable and put in a local distribution station(3k a month up keep + land lease cost), all for about 2.5 million, with only three other possible customers within a mile of that station, you just don’t get it, there is no return on the investment.

          • Ray in VT

            Exactly, and I don’t blame companies for not wanting to make investments when they don’t see how they can make a profit, which is one of the problems with relying upon the private sector for certain things.

          • StilllHere

            So the government should build that bridge to nowhere.

          • Steve__T

            Why would you suggest that? Why should the Government want a person living on a mountain to have the same thing that is supplied (infrastructure ) to towns and city’s? I mean if you want it so bad pay for it. Or move closer to it, it ain’t coming to you.

          • nj_v2

            Imagine trying to implement rural electrification now.

          • Ray in VT

            I would be willing to bet that there would be cries of socialism from certain sectors.

          • StilllHere

            How about copper wire?

  • Shag_Wevera

    I’m a bit of a Ludite, and really don’t understand most of this. I am willing to bet that money will be the determining factor, though.

    • jefe68

      Yes, it’s all about money. The problem is it will be bad for non-profits, startups and small businesses.

      The simple answer is the US is now behind almost every other industrial nation in terms of speed and cost for broadband or DSL. To give you an idea, South Korea has a broadband speed that’s about 50 times faster than the anything we have here and costs about $30 per month or less. The average broadband cost about $90 in most cities. Forget about getting broadband if you live in a rural area.

      I have Verizon DSL, it’s awful. Everyday it cuts out and if I run a video online I can’t check email at the same time as the video stops. There are constant problems with Netflix streaming service. That’s due to the download speed which is not up to par. Latvia has faster and cheaper connection speeds than we do. Latvia.

      http://www.statista.com/topics/1145/internet-usage-worldwide/chart/1065/south-korea-and-japan-top-internet-speed-ranking/

      http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/17/former-fcc-commissioner-warns-of-internet-crisis/

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/business/media/comcast-vs-the-cord-cutters.html?_r=0

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/competition-and-the-internet/

      • Shag_Wevera

        Why are we so far behind on all the social and economic issues?

        • jefe68

          Good question.

        • AnneDH

          Sheer size, I would guess.

          • Don_B1

            The cable companies provide Internet service for those who can pay, and the cost per subscriber is much less in cities.

            But poor sections of the city do not yield enough subscribers to make the same huge profits that the wealthier sections do.

          • AnneDH

            Interesting. Am I paying a lot more, being in Vermont?

          • jefe68

            Not really true. It cost about $40 to $90 for broadband for Comcast’ Xfinity service.
            RCN, which an awful company, has the same type of packages.

            Verizon’s Fios is offering a 2 year fee of $70 per month. If you can get it in your neighborhood.

            In South Korea it costs about $30 per month for what is the equivalent of Comcast’s most expensive package and it’s 50 times faster.

      • jefe68

        I’ve read that Verizon is deliberately trying to weed out the DSL service as it’s not profitable enough. In Boston that means I can only get Comcast or RCN for cable.

        FIOS costs $75 to $85 per month depending on what speed I want.

  • Charles

    The head of the FCC who’s making the rules is a former head of a cable lobbying firm.
    That’s about all we need to know for this issue. Once again our government obeys its corporate sponsors and sticks it to the average person.

    • nj_v2

      “One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race – and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

      —Oily Bomber, 3 November 2007

      Over 100 lobbyists and counting. Meet the new boss. Placeholder for the corporatocracy.

      Where are the Obama apologists on this one?

      • nj_v2

        Later iteration:

        “We’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.”

        —Current Liar in Chief, 27 January, 2010

  • Bigtruck

    Seems to be another failed experiment in democracy.

    • Don_B1

      Make it a failed experiment in capitalism working for everyone rather than just the rich, at least without sufficient regulation that would require service in all areas at a price that would yield a smaller profit than “all the company can extract.”

  • JS

    It’s going to end up just like cable. And I remember when Cable was coming out and the deal was “You pay for cable, so no commercials!” That didn’t last long.

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

      I hope you’re wrong! It should be like telephones.

  • Scott B

    ISPs already charge users for faster connection. What good is that going to do the average user, paying that extra money, when what they want is getting bogged down on purpose because their ISP, site, or service hasn’t paid the competing company ransom for equal access?

    When did a lack of competition become a good thing?

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

      The problem is we pay for a maximum speed, and the ISP can choose to throttle it down.

      There is no real competition. That’s the problem – if your ISP slows you down for whatever reason, you have no recourse.

    • Don_B1

      The lack of competition is called a monopoly, and that has been with humans since the beginning of civilization, or maybe even earlier.

    • Kathy

      Honestly, the faster connections are kind of bogus anyway because Comcast has a 300GB limit per month.

  • Coastghost

    How would imposition of taxes on ALL internet commerce change the dynamics of regulation?
    The way the issue is being framed here today, this critical issue in democracy and civil rights seems to revolve around consumer preference and access to entertainment venues.
    (Do the geniuses with Avaaz REALLY think that trashing “net neutrality” is a power grab being waged by the 1%? Is the 1%’s reliance on internet speed REALLY at stake? Is Avaaz plugged into reality?)

    • Charles

      Perhaps, in the way that the issue is being framed today, you are correct.
      Perhaps the ‘geniuses with Avaaz’ are taking a longer view of this, and lamenting the impending loss of our last bastion of free information.
      Corporations control ‘traditional media’ like tv and newspapers already. When the 1% can control what we see on the internet, they effectively have control over what we think.
      So yeah, it’s not so far fetched to see this as a power grab by the 1% (more like the 0.1%).

      • Coastghost

        Charles: corporations have controlled internet service provision AND internet content for decades already. The 1% you cite (or any decimalization thereof) consists of Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg & Sandberg, the Google fraternity, et al.
        The internet has long since perfected TVs ability to enchant and mesmerize: it dependably conveys the illusion of two-way communication, conveys the illusion of promoting activity. I mean: it’s become impossible for most Americans to even DRIVE their cars without being entertained through whatever crash sequence their impaired attentions contribute to.
        If Americans exhibited the powerful thirst and hunger for knowledge, information, and education that you assert, the internet would be entirely superfluous, or no more than an adjunct to a thriving literate and numerate culture.

  • Scott B

    The Right shouts “Free
    market!” from the rooftops, while the “free market”, the lawmakers in
    Congress, and the Roberts court make it anything but free, in any sense of the word.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    COMCAST wants to merge with MSNBC. Maybe consumers should file protests with Eric Holder’s Do Nothing Department* and come out against this union of content provider and distribution net.

    * Justice. There’s certainly nothing stopping consumers from boycotting companies who would benefit by another turn of the blind eyes of government.

  • MrNutso

    Another step from Republicanism to Corporatism.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Another firm step towards the 3rd American revolution. {Texans would count it 4th} Hoober Doober

    • Jeff

      The big issue is that local governments set up a “franchise” or an exclusivity agreement with a single cable company so you only get once choice…that is a government created problem. In my area I only have 1 choice due to my city counsel…meanwhile a few miles south of here there are 2 or 3 choices because they have a more open minded local government. Watch out for government corruption on your local level.

      • MrNutso

        In PA, the franchise is set by the Township. The system was created in the infancy of cable, when it was just TV and maybe 50? channels. Now that the Comcast or and/or Verizon is established and services have expanded to hundreds of channels plus the internet, renewing the franchise is just a rubber stamp. No franchise to these 2 players means no service.

        • Kathy

          More or less, the only reason you can deny a franchise is if they don’t actually run a cable system. You can’t deny it based on them simply being crappy or overpriced. Another company could move in, but see above. It’s a natural monopoly and it’s hard to get people to switch once the box is in their living room, particularly as the cost increases are driven by then content providers, so most systems are going to be about the same price anwyay.

        • hennorama

          MrNutso — apropos of your comment, Twp (Township), and Tpke (Turnpike) are two of my favorite PA abbreviations.

          • MrNutso

            As an engineering consultant for local Townships, Twp gets used a lot by me.

          • Charles

            I like “penna” on the signs. I remember the first time I drove through the state, I did a double take.

          • MrNutso

            I miss the old state abbreviations like Penna. I hate that everything is reduced to 2 letters.

          • hennorama

            MrNutso — it seems you are not alone, as the The Associated Press Stylebook 2012 used non-USPS state abbreviations, such as:

            Ala., Ariz., Calif., etc. (alas, they use Pa., and not Penna.)

            See:
            https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/735/02/

            And it helps to know the old-style abbreviations when doing genealogy searches, etc.

            See also:
            http://www.searchforancestors.com/archives/oldstateabb.html

          • hennorama

            Charles — imagine if you were an ornithologist. You might think “What does a feather have to do with place names?”

      • Kathy

        As someone who’s been on a cable committee, this is simply not true. Exclusive franchises are and have been banned for decades and most governments would welcome more cable competition. The former Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino actually took to the press to shame and beg FIOS to move into Boston, but they weren’t interested. The reality is that cable tends to be a “natural monopoly” and the second company in usually has a hard to making money. The few “overbuilders” out there (FIOS, RCN, AT&T, Google Fiber) tend to cherry pick dense recently built wealthy regions that are easy to wire and have lots of high end “triple play with all the pay channels” customers.

        • Jeff

          So please explain why a cable company wouldn’t expand to a city of 80,000 people? I mean why does a cable company decide to stop expanding right at the city border? Seems a little suspect.

          • Kathy

            The infrastructure in Boston is centuries old. Some on poles. Some in aging conduits. Lots of old buildings that don’t have modern coinduits. You’ll see that Google Fiber is expanding mostly in cities that had their big growth spurt in the post-war period. Also, there’s a lot of poor neighborhoods and almost every municipality wants you to wire the entire city. One of the things Verizon was pushing for in the Mass legislature was a law that would turn licensing over to the state and and let them only wire parts of a particular town or city–you can make a guess that it won’t be the poor parts.

            Edit: Also, keep in mind that they have lots of places they can expand into. It’s not that Boston isn’t good, it’s that Boston isn’t as good as a rich suburb that was built mostly after the 50s and has modern infrastructure.

            http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/10/08/wahlberg-fios-commercial-missing-one-thing-fios-boston/QFGH3MmBU19XSZu826t2IN/story.html

          • Jeff

            I live in the Minneapolis area, Google Fiber is no where to be found.

          • jefe68

            Guess why. See the above comment.

          • jefe68

            Boston is awful for broadband. And by the way so is NY City.

    • OnPointComments

      Tom Wheeler is a Democrat, and was appointed as FCC chairman by President Obama, a Democrat.

      • MrNutso

        Republicanism is the ideology of governing a society or state as a republic (la. res publica), where the head of state is a representative of the people who hold popular sovereignty rather than the people being subjects of the head of state. The head of state is typically appointed by means other than heredity, often through elections.

  • Jeff

    We should look at creating a “fair use” system for cable businesses to create more competition. Allow any cable company to use existing infrastructure for a nominal fee per customer, that way we don’t have a problem with multiple cable lines going to each house. The companies that built the infrastructure still get paid a fair fee and a new cable company could offer up a la cart options without the massive infrastructure development costs.

    • MrNutso

      Electric power choice is a good model. I purchase my power generation from one company, but still pay a transmission charge to PECO.

      • Kathy

        That’s a really good point on the electric power thing. That would definitely work for internet. It doesn’t work as well for tv because you have channel selections, how much things are compressed digitally, and limited bandwidth.

        • MrNutso

          It could be an option. Different TV bundlers could provide package I could choose from. Better yet is to eliminate the “TV” component and package everything over broadband internet.

          • Steve__T

            That has been in place for a while.

          • Kathy

            Agree completely Nutso. We’re back to the importance of net neutrality. Right now, the cable companies are trying to stifle the technology that would allow us to escape from the natural monopoly they hold.

      • jefe68

        In my opinion broadband is a public utility of the 21st century and beyond.

    • Kathy

      That’s sort of how broadcast TV works in Britain–one tower built by the public BBC hosts multiple private stations (ITV, Ch4 etc.) and they have far more free tv and much better coverage as a result. The problem with this on the cable level is that it’s the cable company that installs those wires and they have a limited bandwidth. Municipalities could build the infrastructure, but the record there has been pretty bad with most systems collapsing before they’re completed. Plus, most local government is starved for money in the first place and building a cable tv system comes pretty far behind schools and public safety.

    • jefe68

      Good idea, now convince the cable companies.

      • Jeff

        No, convince local, state and federal governments…the cable companies will come out of the wood work if fair use pricing was allowed for existing infrastructure.

        • jefe68

          Except that’s not how it’s working out.
          And in the Massachusetts area there are only two cable companies. RCN and Comcast. RCN is so awful that there is really only one.

        • Don_B1

          Ah, a use for government regulation!

  • Bigtruck

    He was a top lobbyist for the cable companies, that is so dirty

  • Jacob Kraft

    Does anyone at all think it would be fair in any way for Ford motor company to pay a fee so that all drivers of Ford cars are exempt from speeding tickets? That is very similar to what we’re talking about here and it’s crazy that anyone other than Comcast, Verizon and other end-user ISPs would think it is fair.

    • Jacob Kraft

      Hmm…your guest says this isn’t an accurate analogy? I don’t buy it. The only reason why it might not be an accurate analogy is because in the case of highways, the government actually controls and regulates access. Seriously, we are talking about Comcast (the ‘owner’ of the end-user ‘road’) asking Netflix or Hulu or Amazon (the ‘car’ that the end-user’s are trying to ‘drive’) to pay more money so that the end-user is allowed to go faster when using that particular ‘car’. I’m paying for the ‘road’ and I want to ‘drive’ whatever car I choose on it.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    You can bet if there’s tons of $ to be made from screwing information consumers like the rest of us — retiring Congressmen {both temples} will fast pipe their way to helping these big outfits through lobbying, consulting, and direct employment with them.

  • Kathy

    This is yet another failure of the US government to do even the most basic regulation. This country is broken.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      It works just fine for Scrooge McDuck. Like it was designed that way! Hoober Doober

    • StilllHere

      There’s never enough regulation for the people who want something for nothing.

      • Ray in VT

        Really? So those who don’t want companies to be able to monkey with how the Internet has worked since it went public just want something for nothing? Interesting.

        • StilllHere

          Please, everything needs to be like it was in 1950 right? The Constitution is not a living document?

          • Ray in VT

            So the Internet went public in the 1950s?

          • StilllHere

            Oh, no, pick a date when time should stop and we’ll just leave everything like that. I figured a guy like you would pick the 50s.

          • Ray in VT

            Why, do you think that I am some sort of conservative? A lot of them seem to yearn for the good old days of the 1950s.

            I just think that the way that the Internet has worked is quite favorable, and I do not think that doing away with that is beneficial.

  • Mark Giese

    This story is an old one – Railroads tried to impose higher fees for carrying specific types of goods (that had nothing to do with the weight/volume). Common Carriage rules were imposed to fight the monopolistic tendencies of an organization that held the keys to critical “doorways” of commerce.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If I have to eat dust I’m going to be taking it out on my content & product providers: Ameritrade, Comcast, Amazon, TigerDirect, BBC America, Landsend, LL Bean, Pittsburgh Penguins*, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, National Public Radio. And by taking it out, I mean taking the money out. And spending it somewhere else: like my public library.
    * GO PENS!

  • http://www.ecoevolution.org/ Ian G

    Enough is enough, it’s time to start walking back the private interest controls that have been allowed to run the system up to now. Profit motive has gone too far and the public interest is suffering. These monopolistic communications companies have refused to invest infrastructure causing us to lag far behind in data transfer rates, they continue to charge more and more for less (apparently the thrust of these new changes to the rules being considered) and are using revolving door appointments to control the industry. Wheeler will go straight back into the industry fold as soon as he gives them the changes the cable giants want, and the public interest will suffer. Time to impose more restrictions and push for these companies to act like the de facto public utilities that they are.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Tom Wheeler* was appointed to the FCC by let’s see… the name is on the tip.. oh, that’s right: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, President. You got buyer’s remorse yet?

    * Former vulture capitalist. Surprised?

    • OnPointComments

      Not surprised that he’s a former vulture capitalist. Also not surprised that Tom Wheeler bundled more than $700,000 in political contributions for Obama’s two presidential election campaigns, and made personal political contributions of $38,500 to President Obama.

    • jimino

      Well what would you expect from a Marxist socialist commie?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    How would YOU know COMCAST was deliberately degrading the quality of your service? How would YOU know?

    • MrNutso

      You might know if it improved, but it would be hard to tell if it got worse. If the latter were even possible.

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

      When the video you are watching comes to a halt and/or drops to low quality.

  • DeJay79
  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    And what is Wheeler’s remedy if YOU are forced onto the dusty pothole road of internet access? And how would YOU prove YOU have been harmed? Financially – must show an economic loss for a court to consider you were harmed.

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

    Here in the US, we already are paying up to 17X more for speeds that are about 100X slower than in Europe.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Democracy – a system designed for the rats to boldly run in; gobble up the feast on the table; leave droppings all over the place when they exit. Leaving the taxpayer, ratepayer, and consumer to clean up after the party and foot the bill. Burp.

  • jltnol

    Please ask your guest about these extra fees… right now, it’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Level 3, but is there anything in this FCC proposal to prevent Comcast from going to the hosting company who handles my website(and ever other web hosting company) and demanding money from them to make sure my business website is always delivered?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Glad you mentioned that. I might have to pull all of my content off of GoDaddy – won’t have the bucks to maintain an internet presence. Paradise Lost. HD

      • jltnol

        Sadly, the best days of the internet are behind us.

        • MrNutso

          It’s only a matter of time.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    COMCAST = the Pac-Man model. GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE…

    • Yar

      They plan to spit out Kentucky, they want to spin TW KY properties off on Charter. We are too rural and too poor for their interest.

      • StilllHere

        I thought it was because you weren’t contiguous to existing franchises and they’ve got to shrink to get FTC clearance.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Does it harm competition? How many COMCASTs are there?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    In an ideal world we’d have a Congress.

    • Blue_To_Shoe

      Good Show…!

  • CQ

    The FCC could not enforce net neutrality months ago. What makes anyone think that they’ll be able to enforce these new rules? What happens when comcast/verizon decide they want to ratchet up their profit, and give us the “dirt roads” that Wheeler says won’t happen? Will the FCC actually be able to stop it?

    • DeJay79

      no

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Why? The commissioners will just get their big payday when they leave the commission & get their day jobs back. Lobbying, et al. HD

  • Coastghost

    What is “fair” about exempting internet commerce from taxation? How many brick-and-mortar businesses have died by the hundreds and thousands just so internet corporations and companies could proliferate at their expense?

    • jimino

      If I understand current so-called conservative thinking, expecting, let alone requiring, economic transactions to be “fair” is a totalitarian communist proposal. Does that accurately define your economic outlook?

      • Coastghost

        I’m not advocating “fairness” any more than I’m advocating taxation: but I also fail to see the rationale for privileging internet commerce with tax exemption, especially given how pernicious the effects have been in localities across the country.

        • jimino

          Here’s the rationale: They have the votes.

          You aren’t gullible enough to believe these sorts of matters are based on principle, are you?

          • Coastghost

            The governing principle indeed is one of political economy: the initial agreement to let internet commerce develop tax-free was doubtless viewed as a benign strategy for launching this new network in the hopes of achieving new economic efficiencies.

  • phk46

    The requirement that the expedited priority not degrade normal usage doesn’t work because currently customers have no real guarantee in their contract for what they get.

    All that is promised is a *maximum* transmission rate, not a *minimum* rate.

    End user contracts should actually promise something meaningful. If I buy a service that promises real-time video quality then I should get that from *any* source, even those who haven’t paid the extortion rates.

  • J__o__h__n

    We don’t even have choices in urban areas. I’m tired of not getting any savings and better service in urban areas where it is more cost effective to provide internet and also subsidizing it in rural areas.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Can you imagine COMCAST controlling the stream to our military communication and control systems? Just when you needed your defense systems to perform.

    “Pay us a fee now or the missile gyros tumble!”
    –COMCAST

  • Coastghost

    The manufacture of seven billion microphones and speaker systems for 24/7/365 dissemination is hardly fostering native abilities to hear, to analyze, to THINK.

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    It comes down to one thing – COMCAST just wants to be the Exxon of bandwidth!

    And, with our Country’s ‘Conservative’ notion – via the Supreme Court – of letting one company control and own everything, COMCAST will probably get it!

    • StilllHere

      Exxon is a bit player in oil production so try again.

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

        Huh? They are the second largest oil company, and the most profitable company in history.

        • StilllHere

          Wrong, there are six national oil companies that are at least twice as big. Their share of proven reserves is less than 5%.

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

            Which ones?

          • Blue_To_Shoe

            HA HA…!!

        • jefe68

          Still a troll is wrong. Exxon/Mobil is the nations largest energy company. They did not however have a good year in terms of earnings.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/05/01/exxon-mobile-earnings/8554033/

  • StilllHere

    .I don’t want to pay for some bandwidth hog down the street who’s up/downloading to bittorrent. Right now, I get the feeling I’m subsidizing the p_rn industry and immature video game players. You should pay for what you use.

    • Blue_To_Shoe

      Why do you know about ‘bittorrent’ and ‘p_rn’?

      Just sayin’….

    • phk46

      I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with you. Individuals already have options for higher or lower speeds and volume. But Comcast then wants to extort those who you request data from in order that they can send it to you using the capacity you already paid for.

      Unfortunately, while you typically have those options for higher or lower speeds, they are worded to they mean nothing. When you pay for extra speed, you are paying for extra *maximum* speed. But you aren’t getting any *guarantee* for the speed they will provide you. That is one of the missing pieces.

      • jefe68

        And there lies the rube.

      • StilllHere

        As noted above, speed seems to be a function of demands placed on the node. Guarantees would appear to be difficult with so many variables at play.

        • phk46

          There are multiple issues: speed on the access network (between you and your provider), capacity limits by the provider to the rest of the network, and speed in the rest of the network that is out of the control of the provider.

          The first two are under the control of the provider. He should be configuring sufficient capacity for the guarantees he is making. On the back end he should ensure that he isn’t the bottleneck for incoming traffic.

          This is a little bit like selling seats on an airline. When you buy a ticket you are buying a guarantee of a seat. The airline uses a bunch of strategies to ensure that it can meet those guarantees and still keep all the seats full. Sometimes if fails to meet the guarantee (because of overbooking). In that case it asks for volunteers, and pays penalties. Something similar could work for network service.

          Right now its like an airline that sells tickets without much regard for how many seats it has. And when it finds it is overbooked it simply re-books some people on later flights and pays no penalty at all.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Unfortunately, while I agree with your proposal on principle, that will do nothing to create fairness in business conducted online, between a standard non-fiber network, and Google fiber (for example).

            Why should the Austin’s and New York City’s of the world have an unfair business advantage over those who live in rural areas?

            Don’t they already have enough business advantages?

          • phk46

            I don’t understand what point you are trying to make. Are you saying that everyone must get the same speed of access?

          • StilllHere

            A chicken in every pot and a Ford in any color, as long as it’s black.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I’m saying its important for people to understand the ramifications so they can form an educated opinion on the matter.

    • CQ

      Completely different issue, which is already being addressed by a lot of the major ISPs, by enforcing data caps. Also your anger is misplaced, if you feel you are being slowed down by other people around you, it is most likely due your ISP oversubscribing your node and refusing to upgrade to handle usage rates. If anything you should be angry at your ISP for not giving you some sort of guaranteed minimum level of service.

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    This will be a test of that recent political study that stated, and showed, that America is NOW AN OLIGARCHY, and NOT A DEMOCRACY, because the will of the American people is almost NEVER acted upon; but the will of economic ruling elites almost ALWAYS is!

    • StilllHere

      Please, stop your all-caps whining. Americans have rejected your values with their votes.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        There is a big difference be tween being tricked into giving away power, and voting for something after you have all the facts.

        • StilllHere

          Americans aren’t stupid, I don’t know why you think they are.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Again, there is a difference between stupid and ignorant. Ignorance is not stupidity, but simply a lack of awareness of the facts.

            When Americans have the facts, they always act intelligently.

          • StilllHere

            Americans aren’t ignorant, I don’t know why you think they are.

          • Ray in VT

            15 percent of Americans surveyed say that the sun revolves around the Earth. And several polls indicate that somewhere around 1/4 of Americans think that the President was born somewhere outside of the United States. Those two findings, among others, certainly indicates to me that there is a substantial level of ignorance, generally speaking, in America.

          • jefe68

            Why bother even responding to this guy?
            He’s only looking for an argument and posting misinformation. It’s clear form the statements he has little understand that the market forces at work here are doing little to help with innovation or with any regard of what’s good for nation as a whole.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Actually, yes they are!

            Everyone is ignorant of certain things, and aware of others. The brain is structured such that you can’t be aware of everything at all times, even if you have all the facts.

            Being ignorant is not something to be ashamed of. Realizing it is the first step to not being ignorant.

          • StilllHere

            Actually you make it sound hopeless. It would probably be better if we were governed by the machines.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Well, the psychopaths certainly want you to feel hopeless.

            But we have an advantage. Love is stronger than fear. I don’t mean this as a platitude.

            I’m just saying fear is a lie.

          • StilllHere

            What if you’re too ignorant to be afraid?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            That could be a blessing in disguise. I guess that’s why they say the Fool is the highest trump card in the Tarot deck!

          • jimino

            With the high speed and computerized trading you so fervently defend, we already are in many significant respects. Are you ignorant of this fact?

          • StilllHere

            A. You’re in the wrong thread.
            B. I’m not defending hft.
            C. I’m pointing out that not all trades are open to skimming.
            D. What? I’m assuming you’re a postbot with programming issues.

          • jimino

            Thank you for showing that logic can lead to the wrong conclusion if one starts with inaccurate premises. Which pretty much explains almost all of your comments.

          • Steve__T

            In a forest far away a tree falls, their is no ear to hear, so it makes no sound, but it falls

          • Ray in VT

            Well, the waves that create what our ears interpret as the sound still exist, even if there is no ear to take those waves in.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — that assumes that anything actually exists, and is not merely a creation of your imagination.

            “You think, therefore we are?”

          • Ray in VT

            I did think of that after the fact, but thank you for addressing it. Indeed, I am working upon the assumption that we are all not brains in jars.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — well, you know that old saying about what happens when you assume …

            Amuse Us, Yo!

          • Ray in VT

            Word.

          • hennorama

            Last?

          • Ray in VT
          • hennorama

            Mais bien sur, monsieur.

          • Ray in VT

            I find such lines of philosophical argument regarding knowing and knowledge to be interesting in the classroom or around the table and such, but I find them to be of little practical value when carried to the lengths where nothing can be said to be truly proved. I did once spend most of a semester trying to get a couple of fellow students to buy into the argument that I might not exist, but they wouldn’t make the leap. I don’t think that they ended up doing too well in the class, but I did what I could. I just wanted them to be able to argue it. Believing it wasn’t required.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — agreed.

            Of course, I was far less than half-serious in making my original comment.

            As far as you (or any of us) know. ;-)

          • Steve__T

            After that thought I can’t get the picture out of my mind, and why do marines call themselves Jar Heads?

          • Ray in VT

            I always assumed that it was due to the hair cut perhaps. I have heard an explanation for leathernecks, but not for jar heads. The Dictionary of American Regional English shows it being first used for the Marines in World War II, and it was a derogatory usage that they took ownership of. It was also used as a derogatory term for black men, but it seems to have first been used (maybe in the 1910s) for a mule. Perhaps the application to the Marines was due to their perceived stubbornness and dogged determination. There may be other explanations, though.

          • notafeminista

            “Jarhead” originally referred to the high and tight haircut which makes ones head look like…well…a jar. The bit of hair left is the lid presumably.

          • Steve__T

            He feels the wind in his face he smells the salt of the sea, as his board races toward the beach, he crashes beneath the wave, and the sound is muted by the rushing pounding tide.

          • notafeminista

            Ok, you’ve lost me. I will stipulate to being both stupid and ignorant just to save the usual suspects from saying so.
            The claim is Americans act intelligently when they have the facts but you (presumably Americans) can’t be aware of everything at all times, even if you have all the facts.
            What?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Yeah, its ignorance on your part.
            It’s fairly obvious I’m talking about the facts “relevant” to a given situation.

          • notafeminista

            Whether or not it’s relevant is well…not relevant. Your statment was that a person cannot be aware of everything at all times, even if one has the facts. Which is it?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            But not ALL humans act counter to the facts. Now you are getting into statistics, and there are all sorts of humans that can be plotted on a chart.

            The answer to your question is, as I said before, one can be expected to act intelligently because one CAN be aware of ALL the facts pertaining to a particular situation within a limited scope, which obviously excludes many facts about the cosmos and existence…

            The brain is structured such that only facts that are relevant to a given situation are conscious, while other information and sensory data, is unconscious.

          • notafeminista

            But not if one cannot be aware of everything. There are things happening just on Earth every day we have no knowledge of – at least some of which could very well directly affect one’s individual circumstance. You make a decision in the morning based on the facts you are AWARE of – and change your mind 4 times before day’s end based on new facts made known to you. Not that the facts didn’t exist at the time of your initial decision – you simply weren’t aware of them.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            You bring up two points.
            1. New events that equate to new facts.
            2. Learning facts that already existed but you weren’t aware of.

            1. When a new event happens, you aren’t altering a decision you made previously, you are instead making an entirely new decision based on a new situation.

            2. As far as being made aware of information that was previously unknown to you, that only supports my original point, that people act intelligently when they have all the (relevant) facts.

            As I said originally, there is a difference between being tricked into giving away power, and voting ones conscience when one is fully informed.

            If there are facts that are being obfuscated by some malicious party who doesn’t want you to know, that is also different from simply not doing one’s due diligence to learn all facts relevant to a given situation. There are degrees of culpability.

            (if we are still talking about voting) Part of one’s civic duty is the due diligence required to be informed on an issue.

            Very few people actually do this, sadly.

            Still, this is not stupidity, as rationalization, cost/benefit analysis and neuro-economics are complex cognitive procedures requiring high intelligence.

            But one can be both intelligent and at the same time, ignorant.

            And obviously, intelligent people can be manipulated. The issue then becomes NOT that there are TOO MANY facts to be aware of, but rather, there are facts that are being obfuscated by those who don’t want you to be informed.

            When there are no facts being obfuscated, and you make a decison, only to realize later you didn’t have all the relevant information, that is a problem of laziness or not doing one’s due diligence.

            Decisions made in haste are NEVER good decisions.

            “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong, the amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Then you made the decision in haste.
            Never make a decision in haste.

            Slow down. Do your due diligence. Savor the moment. Then make the decision.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Not all humans act counter to the facts.

            One can be expected to act intelligently by focusing only on the facts that pertain to a given situation.

          • notafeminista

            Maybe, maybe not. But not all humans take facts into consideration either. In the case of the smokers, they are not focusing on the surgeon general but on the fact that whatever it is they are smoking provides them greater immediate pleasure. They are not unaware of the surgeon’s general warning(which would be pertinent to their given situation), but instead choose to ignore it.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            In the case of the smokers, you are correct that they are ignoring relevant facts, but I suspect they are also suspicious of the messenger.

            it has recently been proven that nicotine and nicotinic acid (niacin) can actually prevent the onset of alzheimer’s disease. I always wondered why elderly smokers were so quick witted. There is the answer. They may be poisoning their lungs, but they are also keeping their brains healthy. Will the surgeon general ever add these new facts to cigarette cartons? Hell no.

            You bring up two points.
            1. New events that equate to new facts.
            2. Learning facts that already existed but you weren’t aware of.

            1. When a new event happens, you aren’t altering a decision you made previously, you are instead making an entirely new decision based on a new situation.

            2. As far as being made aware of information that was previously unknown to you, that only supports my original point, that people act intelligently when they have all the (relevant) facts.

            As I said originally, there is a difference between being tricked into giving away power, and voting ones conscience when one is fully informed.

            If there are facts that are being obfuscated by some malicious party who doesn’t want you to know, that is also different from simply not doing one’s due diligence to learn all facts relevant to a given situation. There are degrees of culpability.

            (if we are still talking about voting) Part of one’s civic duty is the due diligence required to be informed on an issue.

            Very few people actually do this, sadly.

            Still, this is not stupidity, as rationalization, cost/benefit analysis and neuro-economics are complex cognitive procedures requiring high intelligence.

            But one can be both intelligent and at the same time, ignorant.

            And obviously, intelligent people can be manipulated. The issue then becomes NOT that there are TOO MANY facts to be aware of, but rather, there are facts that are being obfuscated by those who don’t want you to be informed.

            When there are no facts being obfuscated, and you make a decison, only to realize later you didn’t have all the relevant information, that is a problem of laziness or not doing one’s due diligence.

            Decisions made in haste are NEVER good decisions.

            “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong, the amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda.

            As far as new events happening WHILE you are making your decision,
            in such a situation, the wise thing is to meditate. Never make a decision in haste. The better you get at making decisions, the faster the process will become.

            Slow down. Give everything its due respect. Savor the moment.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            In the case of the smokers, you are correct that they are ignoring relevant facts, but I suspect they are also suspicious of the messenger.

            it has recently been proven that nicotine and nicotinic acid (niacin) can actually prevent the onset of alzheimer’s disease. I always wondered why elderly smokers were so quick witted. There is the answer. They may be poisoning their lungs, but they are also keeping their brains healthy. Will the surgeon general ever add these new facts to cigarette cartons? Hell no.

            You bring up two points.
            1. New events that equate to new facts.
            2. Learning facts that already existed but you weren’t aware of.

            1. When a new event happens, you aren’t altering a decision you made previously, you are instead making an entirely new decision based on a new situation.

            2. As far as being made aware of information that was previously unknown to you, that only supports my original point, that people act intelligently when they have all the (relevant) facts.

            As I said originally, there is a difference between being tricked into giving away power, and voting ones conscience when one is fully informed.

            If there are facts that are being obfuscated by some malicious party who doesn’t want you to know, that is also different from simply not doing one’s due diligence to learn all facts relevant to a given situation. There are degrees of culpability.

            (if we are still talking about voting) Part of one’s civic duty is the due diligence required to be informed on an issue.

            Very few people actually do this, sadly.

            Still, this is not stupidity, as rationalization, cost/benefit analysis and neuro-economics are complex cognitive procedures requiring high intelligence.

            But one can be both intelligent and at the same time, ignorant.

            And obviously, intelligent people can be manipulated. The issue then becomes NOT that there are TOO MANY facts to be aware of, but rather, there are facts that are being obfuscated by those who don’t want you to be informed.

            When there are no facts being obfuscated, and you make a decison, only to realize later you didn’t have all the relevant information, that is a problem of laziness or not doing one’s due diligence.

            Decisions made in haste are NEVER good decisions.

            “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong, the amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda.

            As far as new events happening WHILE you are making your decision,
            in such a situation, the wise thing is to meditate. Never make a decision in haste. The better you get at making decisions, the faster the process will become.

            Slow down. Give everything its due respect. Savor the moment.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            You’re wrong. I tried to post my reply five times and it wont go through. Rest assured it was VERY well thought out.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            You’re wrong.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            If one has the facts pertaining to a given situation one may act intelligently. The brain is designed to filter out unnecessary data into the unconscious anyway.

            Stop acting less intelligent than you are.

            As far as smokers and the death wish, and addiction, my original statement was referring to political action and civic duty. But, for the sake of argument, while smoking does increase the risk of cancer, there is AMPLE evidence that is ALSO radically reduces the risk of Alzheimers disease. Yes, this is science. Nicotinic Acid, similar to what is found in Niacin, is the compound found to produce these effects. Look it up.

            Ever notice elderly smokers may be cancer patients but they are still mentally sharp? It’s the Nicotine.

            While I don’t think that is an example of making an wise choice, it’s more of an unexpected emergent property, it does point to how complex human beings are. And intelligence is what causes such complexity.

            Acting intelligently doesn’t necessarily mean acting WISELY.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            If one has the facts pertaining to a given situation one may act intelligently. The brain is designed to filter out unnecessary data into the unconscious anyway.

            Stop acting less intelligent than you are.

            As far as smokers and the death wish, and addiction, my original statement was referring to political action and civic duty. But, for the sake of argument, while smoking does increase the risk of cancer, there is AMPLE evidence that is ALSO radically reduces the risk of Alzheimers disease. Yes, this is science. Nicotinic Acid, similar to what is found in Niacin, is the compound found to produce these effects. Look it up.

            Ever notice elderly smokers may be cancer patients but they are still mentally sharp? It’s the Nicotine.

            While I don’t think that is an example of making an wise choice, it’s more of an unexpected emergent property, it does point to how complex human beings are. And intelligence is what causes such complexity.

            Acting intelligently doesn’t necessarily mean acting WISELY.

          • Ray in VT

            Actually one recent poll puts the Sun revolving around the Earth view at 26%.

          • StilllHere

            Well that explains the votes for Obama.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. 51% of the other 74% voted for Obama. Most of the rest probably voted for Romney. See, not everyone who votes Republican is totally brain dead.

          • StilllHere

            A reading comprehension and math-fail all in one, quit while you’re ahead.

          • Ray in VT

            Nope, just rejecting your nonsense. It seems like those rejecting things like science are from groups that tend to vote GOP pretty heavy.

          • StilllHere

            I will chalk that up to your ignorance.

          • Ray in VT

            I will chalk your claim up to your ignorance.

          • jefe68

            You see, this guy is a joke. He can’t help being a troll and a bottom feeder.

          • jefe68

            Gee, I wonder why anyone would get the impression that some people are ignorant.
            Especially after reading the dribble posted above.

      • Blue_To_Shoe

        Uh….OK…?

      • jefe68

        Troll.

    • tbphkm33
  • Blue_To_Shoe

    Agreed…!

    But, I think both are of equal importance!

  • Alchemical Reaction

    The real story here is high-frequency trading firms and municipalities paying for fiber-rich infrastructure. If you can intercept someone’s buy order, buy the item first, and then sell it back to the original buyer at a higher price without them even knowing it, you have an unfair business advantage.

    You can’t pay for high speed fiber unless it is offered in your area.

    • StilllHere

      Use a limit order then.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        It’s not a profit of dollars, but fractions of a penny, that is skimmed off the top of EVERY order, like a tax, adding to hundreds of millions of dollars.

        This is only one example. What about all of the emergent properties the advantage of high speed networks have over those with slower “high speed” internet access? Those advantages that are unpredictable?

        • StilllHere

          How is it skimmed off my limit order?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Because when you set a price, it is usually a few dollars up or down, as a way of allowing for market fluctuations between the time you placed your order and when it is executed.

            In that time, your order has been intercepted, and the stock is bought by a high speed trader, and it is sold back to you at a few pennies higher. This is automated, and it is done with every single transaction coming from areas with slower speeds!

            Brave new world!

          • StilllHere

            If I believe $5 is a fair price and I pay $5, where’s the skim?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            The skim is that they tricked you into believing $5 is a fair price when the real value is $4.99.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-frequency_trading

          • StilllHere

            $5 was a price I came up with based on a discounted cash flow analysis, it had nothing to do with whatever the stock was trading for.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            If you are a big fish and you are moving the market, then high-frequency trading doesn’t apply to you.

            Although it does create more volatility.

          • StilllHere

            Why? If I determine a fair price independent of market levels and pay that price, I don’t see where the skim is.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I just said, if you are big enough to move the market it doesn’t apply to you.

          • StilllHere

            I don’t know what that means. I put a limit order out to buy 100 shares at $5, either it gets executed or not. I don’t have to be a big fish moving the market, all I need is one seller with 100 shares to agree that $5 is the fair price.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            If you don’t care, than it’s not an issue.
            But presumably, if a high-frequency firm saw your order, bought the stock for 4.98 from someone else, and sold it to you for 5.00, to me that constitutes an unfair advantage because it all happened in a fraction of a second, and they saw your order BEFORE they bought the stock. This is just an example and would require larger numbers of shares for them to turn a profit. It’s all automated.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            But this is just ONE example of how faster network speeds could create an unfair business advantage.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            They saw your order before they bought the stock. Then sold it to you for your price. At very high speeds.

    • phk46

      While the high-frequency trading scam is an important issue, it is in no way related to network neutrality.

      Switching from Comcast to FIOS or Google fiber internet will not put you in a position to compete with the high-frequency traders.

      • Alchemical Reaction

        No, but it perfectly illustrates, as an example, all of the ways high speed fiber networks (and being barred from them) can create unfair business advantages.

        Net neutrality is about creating a new form of controlled media where you can’t access certain sites unless they are approved by your provider.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Yes, we need fiber rich high speed networks. The internet needs to be a public trust or utility.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Forget net neutrality. There is a bigger issue here.

    Think about it this way. Those who live in Austin, for example, where there will soon be fiber-optic internet throughout the entire city, can intercept the internet activity of someone who lives in a rural area in REAL TIME.

    What unfair business advantages does this create?

    • TyroneJ

      Fiber has nothing to do with whether I can “intercept” your Internet activity in “real time”.

      As for “business advantages”, even if I were a High Frequency Trader, unless I’m parked in New Jersey next to the exchange serves, I’m hosed. (Assuming IEX hasn’t gotten all of the market, in which case even then I’d be hosed.)

      • Alchemical Reaction

        Faster access absolutely IS an imperative to being able to intercept someone’s internet activity in real time.

        Think about farming or some other industry and stop annoying me.

  • Eric G

    The best interests of companies/business and people are two different things. When we gave companies, and their money, more say than actual people we broke the government. NPR gets people well informed, but the root of the problem is that the government is not representing people anymore. The government is not held accountable for its actions at all. I do not believe the idea is revolution, but something drastic needs to happen with our elected officials and the power of money in our government.

    Otherwise things like Net Neutrality’s demise will continue to happen.

  • andic_epipedon

    Enough already. I pay 85 a month for 50mbps and am not recieving that much. Sometimes I can’t even get enough to stream. I am encouraged to work from home a few hours a week which is difficult to do in my current situation. I can’t get anything better in my area. Europe will be sprouting ahead of us and we will be stalled behind. This is a national crisis.

    • tbphkm33

      I used to have 40 mbps, then a friend told me to drop it to 7 mbps because there would be no difference – sure enough, for one person, I see no difference. It is what it is.

      Now when I am in Europe, I get jealous of the speeds over there. More than just the speeds, the edge faster speeds provides – like accessing documents and specialist sites. Such as engineering related sites for manufactured components in essentially 3D – here in the US you are hesitant to bog down the Internet connection with it, over there, you don’t think twice.

      American’s need to wake up – what this country is working the hardest on is to become the worlds leading 3rd world country. It is already the solid leader of 2nd world countries, but is hell bent to race to the bottom.

      • andic_epipedon

        That makes me feel better because I was thinking about going back to DSL for two people at 25mbps when I move next month.

        • tbphkm33

          I would. I had Comcast, but it was out at least once a month and took three to four days for those lazy bums to come fix. I went to DSL and never have had problems. Plus, if its Century Link, you do have the option to cancel within 30 days.

        • jefe68

          I have DLS, it’s not so good.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      Along with smart cards.

    • jefe68

      Forget Europe, some parts of Asia, South Korea and Japan are way ahead of Europe.

  • tbphkm33

    Seriously, you guys are a bunch of ungrateful indentured servants of your corporate masters. Wake up, unless you join the revolution, you are destined to survive from cradle to grave as an economic slave to big money and the oligarchy. Only having the illusion that things are getting better and you are getting ahead. The entire US has become a flashy facade covering a deep systemic societal cancer. Sweeping things under the rug. Knocking Europe for the past five years, not looking at your own situation. Bottom line, Europe is tackling their problems, here in the US the masses are either so uninformed or so indoctrinated in propaganda that they don’t even see the surface of the water.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    Tom Ashbrook, would it be possible (I know its a touchy subject) to have a show on UFOs, possibly bringing Steven Greer in as a guest?

    • tbphkm33

      Believe there was a show that somewhat touched on the topic – if I remember right, relating to things why so many American’s believe in angels.

      I like to hear a scientist explain the numerous reasons why it would be highly suspect that aliens are now or have ever visited Earth. The immense problems of traveling across the Universe – why would they then sneak around? Unless they are so advanced that they see us as simple life forms – in which case, why are they traveling in UFO’s?

      • Alchemical Reaction

        Yes! I agree. I would love to hear both sides of this. The implants found by Dr. Roger Leir are fascinating though. Hard to debunk those.

        • JS

          Hard to debunk if the samples are not given over to other scientist for investigation.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            They HAVE been given to numerous labs for testing. ALL of the labs came to the same conclusion. Carbon nanotubes in a matrix with compositions of metals found only in meteorites.

          • JS

            In which journal did he publish his findings?

            And there are no metals only found in meteorites, but perhaps you meant metals found on Earth from meteorites?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            You’ll have to ask him that question.
            Roger Leir.

            I meant what I said.

            Compositions of metals found only in meteorites. Meaning in amounts and combinations not found elsewhere besides a meteorite.

          • JS

            I would, but he’s dead.

            Meteorites fall to earth, so anything in a meteorite is found on earth.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            But over time the minerals become more dispersed. A “fresh” meteorite.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I’m not sure why this is difficult for you.
            It’s very simple. The ratios of minerals and elements found in a meteorite are very specific. Once they become dispersed into surrounding ground soil, the elements are still present, but not in the same ratios.

          • JS

            I understand fully what you are saying.
            My point is that the elements are still there on Earth, and can be configured back into the ratios of minerals and elements, and could be made into tiny scalpels, if one so desired.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Okay. Fair enough. Then i guess it was curious to the scientist that these ratios were typically found in meteorites.

            That may or may not have relevance, based on your true statement that those ratios could be recombined.

      • jefe68

        50% or more Americans seemingly believe in angels. Amazing and sad at the same time.

        • notafeminista

          Oh now its “50% or more”. Let’s assume it’s just the 50% you mentioned below. That means 50% of Americans don’t believe in angels so you can stop hyperventilating.
          Incidentally, upon what certainty do you bases your presumable disbelief in angels?

          • jefe68

            I’m not hyperventilating, I’m laughing at the childish nature that so many adults have. I don’t care about people who believe in superstitions or magical powers. I find it silly, absurd and sad. That you would ask such a idiotic question says a lot about who you are.
            Or is it just your attempt to start some lame argument about religion and peoples beliefs.

            It just a statistic that shows how childish some people are. Would that stat include you?

            As to the second question: science and the lack of any evidence that such creatures exist. They are nothing more than the passing phantoms of ones mind. Some of whom are demented.

          • notafeminista

            If you find it silly absurd and sad, you at least care enough to form that opinion. Presumably you don’t believe in angels. Specifically what sources did you use to arrive at that position?

          • Alchemical Reaction

            I’m not intending to attack either of you, but I will say that just because something hasn’t been discovered by science means very little. Think about the sheer size of the universe and what wonders could be out there somewhere.

          • notafeminista

            That’s the point. Acceptance of the lack of angels is based on faith. Hard to hold that position while deriding others for theirs.

          • JS

            Acceptance of the lack of angels is not based on faith. Yes, just because something hasn’t been discovered by science means little, and it certainly doesn’t mean angels exist. If that’s a reason to believe in angles than it’s a reason to believe in anything: unicorns, flying space monkeys, Godzilla, etc.

            I don’t believe in angles because I have seen no reason TO believe in them. I admit they could exist, but see no evidence of such and no reason to believe in them.

          • notafeminista

            You have faith there are no angels. Just as you have faith there are no flying space monkeys et al. There is nothing upon which to base the assertion (see above) that angels don’t exist.

          • JS

            I don’t have faith there are no angles. I just said they could exist in the above post, I just have no reason to believe in them.

            Please, if you are going to respond to what I have said, base it on what I have said.

            I never maintained angles don’t exist, only that I have seen no evidence that they do, and I don’t believe in them.

          • jefe68

            Where would they exist in the universe?
            How would there carbon be made up?

          • JS

            I have no idea, why would you even ask me after I said I don’t believe they exist?

          • jefe68

            Please, this entire back and forth is silly.
            You said in a comment below that they could exist, but you don’t believe they do.
            It’s not about faith, it’s about how the universe works and how things are made up.

          • HonestDebate1

            Fascinating takes, all. I’ll join you and Alchemical Reaction at this juncture.

            No one knows, we just don’t, but it’s more than that. I believe it is impossible to know exactly how the universe works or what’s just beyond the edge. I don’t think we mortals could comprehend the data if we had it. I look up and get dizzy. It all comes down to faith. Every bit of it, even if it’s faith in nothing.

          • jefe68

            And yet we are all carbon.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Sorry it took me a while to reply to this. I really like your perspective, but I have a different one.

            I am of the opinion the we could easily comprehend how the universe works and understand the data, maybe not all at once, but in large pieces like a puzzle.

            I do think faith plays a HUGE part, but I guess because I have studied Yoga and Buddhism in India for many years, I believe in the power of meditation.

            Even Stephen Hawking has said he is “free, in his mind”, despite being confined to a wheelchair without much physical movement.

            Modern human beings are mostly unaware of the power of meditation because they have been seduced by technology. Some of technology is absolutely great, but sometimes humans forget about the technology they already possess.

            I also think its interesting that the number of stars in the milky way is roughly equivalent to the number of neurons in the human brain.

          • jefe68

            Not telling you should not believe in them. Just that you offer no proof and yet demand that I prove there is not any.
            My proof is there is not one shred of evidence that proves the existence of such magical beings.

          • notafeminista

            You don’t offer any proof either – furthermore you aren’t able to articulate what sort of proof would be acceptable.

          • jefe68

            Proof that angels don’t exist?
            Are you for real?
            How about vampires and werewolves.
            Do they exist?

          • jefe68

            No, it’s science not faith.

          • jefe68

            The opinion is based on the absurdity that so many Americans harbor superstitious beliefs. Again the very idea that angels exist is absurd. So am I to take it you believe in such nonsense?

    • jefe68

      UFO’s? Really?

      • Alchemical Reaction

        We know about the aurora project. The government (military industrial complex) has its own “UFO”s. But there is the 1% of photo and video that defies conventional explanation.

        • JS

          I have total belief in UFO: a flying object that hasn’t been identified.

          • Alchemical Reaction

            Yes, the term is often a misnomer when it defaults to extraterrestrial or inter-dimensional spaceship.

        • jefe68

          Earth VS The Flying Saucers…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o4fdX8gUMY

    • HonestDebate1

      Hey, I’m with ya’, although I think we need a news event. I was 16 coming home from my first gig. I know what I saw.

  • jhayes017

    Tom,
    The issue and impact of net neutrality is widely misunderstood. The Internet is an immensely expensive, highly complex system started and controlled by the US government and over the last two decades turned over to private companies to run the Internet backbone and connect users. They now are responsible for expanding the Internet to support the demands of growing traffic.
    For the first few years, congestion was not an issue, then email spam became the dominant traffic source. Web browsing was not a big traffic issue until downloading and streaming video came along. Today, video represents more than 2/3 of all Internet traffic, and in the evening hours, Netflix represents about half of all the Video Internet traffic itself with YouTube being a distant second.
    Think about that a second. Netflix is using half the capacity of the Internet and not being charged for it. YouTube is less guilty since Google owns much of their own Internet backbone, but also clogs the capacity of ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
    Big ISPs like the telcos and CATV networks respond by “throttling” users and services although it is quasi-legal – it’s very hard to detect. Netflix has published statistics of their real bandwidth speed of user connections and it went up 50% after they agreed to pay extra for their services.
    All of this is dependent on economics. The old idea that ISPs not discriminate fails to allocate costs to those benefitting from the services. That idea came with the digital fiber optic telephone network that had excess bandwidth and voice only used 64kilobits/sec. Streaming video takes 2-8megabits/sec, 30-100 times more bandwidth. Internet video services have been working on a business model that assumes no delivery cost – sort of like Amazon expecting UPS, FedEx and the USPS to carry its packages for free and charging the customers a flat rate whether or not they do business with Amazon! Not a viable model.
    I’m involved in the fiber optic business as an educator, writer and lecturer and am well aware of the costs of the Internet. A viable Internet requires big investment and equitable cost allocation. Netflix paying for what bandwidth it uses and charging users a bit more to cover it looks equitable to me.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      NO. The internet is a public trust. Period. Congress will end up considering it a utility. I don’t mind paying for fiber optic cable infrastructure upgrades, as a consumer. But none of your witch doctor logic applies. Go away and go back to school. You are intentionally misleading people. And everyone sees through it.

      • jhayes017

        I understand your point of view; the telephone system used to be that way before divestiture. But the Internet came along in a time when big business lobbied for deregulation and privatization – remember how that was supposed to save us consumers lots of money? Your electrical power was once supplied by a utility too, but then ENRON lobbied for deregulation and then figured out how to game that system. (Interesting fact – ENRON was looking at the Internet biz when they went under).
        Highways? Out here in CA, we have “Lexus Lanes” – what used to be carpool lanes run by private businesses that charge very high tolls.
        No, I’m afraid the genie is already out of the bottle.
        My concern is that when I got one of the first cable modems in 1997, I paid $40/month for 2-4Mb/s service. Today in my home office, I have cable modem, DSL, satellite and LTE cellular service. All cost me ~$60/month and give me ~15-20Mb/s at 10AM and ~2Mb/s between 3PM and 1AM when everyone is downloading video. So most of the time, I am paying more for the Internet service than I was 17 years ago. There does not seem to be any “Moore’s Law” for Internet service, except for Google Fiber where you can get 1Gb/s for ~$70/month.

        • Alchemical Reaction

          Your logic is very well thought out and I really DO want you to have faster service at the times you want it.

          I just feel, if we don’t stand for something, we fall for everything. This is an issue I personally NEED to stand up for. The cat may be out of the bag, as you say, but that is not a reason to acquiesce, but a reason to stand up and say, “NO more.” And there is, as Eminem said, “an Army” of people who feel just like I do about this.

          • jhayes017

            Discussions similar to this are active on many forums – ironic the Internet facilitates discussions on its own fate!
            I have traveled to many countries (~15) to see how they handle Internet and phone services. Countries where the government successfully implemented fast, cheap Internet for all are basically benign dictatorships (oxymoron?) where they could afford to pay the cost without complaint. Australia tried to implement a government-dictated system (National Broadband Network – NBN) and it failed due to political dissent. Could you imagine what would happen in the US if such a project was proposed?
            Your best bet is to contact your Congressperson – although since lobbyists are spending more than $5million per congressperson to influence their position, I’m not sure any of us voters matter anymore.
            And you have the “Ted Stevens Syndrome” (remember ‘the Internet is a bunch of pipes…”) where most of our elected officials are totally ignorant of technology.
            See, I’m just as cynical as the rest of the world…

    • Kevin Burber

      What you are describing is akin to the pharmaceutical companies taking the fruit of long and expensive clinical trials at the NIH, testing it on 500 people and then selling it for $50/tablet.

      The internet IS a public trust and we did not sell that to anyone…period.

      • jhayes017

        No the Internet was not sold to anyone, more like it was given away and private investment has made it grow. And yes, Al Gore was behind the funding that made the commercialization of the Internet possible.
        The issue is now that the Internet has been opened to everyone, who pays for it, how does it’s cost get divided and how is cost allocation done equitably.
        In order for the Internet to survive the current glut of video it was never intended to carry, the backbone capacity must grow and ISPs must have money to invest in upgrading their connections to the backbone and their subscribers, preferably with fiber to the home and wireless upgrades. That’s expensive – the cheapest fiber to the home connections are probably Google Fiber in KC and Austin and they cost ~$600/subscriber. Multiply that by 100million households and you’re talking real money.
        Should a company like Netflix be allowed to use half the bandwidth without cost? Should everyone that subscribes to an ISP subsidize them or should their subscribers pay the extra cost? A similar argument is going on in CATV concerning a la carte programming, but there the providers pay for programming, the opposite of what Neflix is negotiation with Comcast. And what is the meaning of Netflix now becoming a “channel” like HBO on three CATV systems with 1/2million subscribers.

        • Kevin Burber

          “That’s expensive – the cheapest fiber to the home connections are probably Google Fiber in KC and Austin and they cost ~$600/subscriber. Multiply that by 100million households and you’re talking real money.”

          In ONE YEAR, a subscriber pays $2400 – that’s a pretty good return if you ask me.

  • Alchemical Reaction

    The internet is a public trust. Period. Congress will end up considering it a utility. I don’t mind paying for fiber optic cable high speed infrastructure upgrades, as a consumer. But NO MORE witch doctor logic!

  • HonestDebate1

    Suggestions for tomorrow’s news roundup:

    Special Committee for Benghazi passed in the House, Gowdy to chair.

    New revelations about Hillary refusing to put Boko Harem on the terrorist list for years.

    Lois Lerner held in contempt of Congress.

  • Kevin Burber

    This is beyond outrageous. It is in nobody’s best interest to do this…except the Cable companies. If that’s not not evidence of lobbyists buying access, I don’t know what is. To move from the status quo to something that benefits only corporations is….well, there are no words for it.

    The cable business model is outdated. They have priced their product so high and provide so little value that people have stopped buying. They failed to fix the cost equation (royalties paid for content…ie ESPN). Customers are fleeing faster than they ever dreamed so now they’re going after the revenue side of the equation and having tapped out their customers, they are going after internet content providers. AND all of this in the face of practically ZERO competition. I know that there are probably multiple cable providers in some markets, but where I live, it’s Time Warner or nothing. I chose nothing btw…

  • buddhaclown

    This is the true face of government regulation. Regulation is not about protecting the little guy, as they would have us believe, it is about ensuring powerful corporate interests are protected against competition and innovation.

    • Alchemical Reaction

      Not for long… There is a legal reckoning coming.

    • ExcellentNews

      This is the true face of our oligarchy, gutting America through their Republican shills in Congress and Senate. It has nothing to do with regulation.

  • jhayes017

    ISPs pay nothing for content and charge a flat rate supposedly based on connection speed. In fact most have been “throttling” big users who stream video like Netflix and charging everyone the same fee so the service for Netflix can be poor and everybody using the ISP sees the degraded service. (Netflix says it averages less than 2Mb/s download and I bet you are paying for 10-20Mb/s and don’t know you aren’t getting what you pay for. (Try internetfrog.com to test your speed – and try at 10AM and 8PM. I’ll be you will be surprised.)

    Compare the ISP to a CATV system. In the CATV model, the CATV provider pays the content provider for the programming and resells it to the subscriber. The FCC proposed solution means Netflix pays the ISP and charges it to their subscribers. That’s equivalent to unbundling which the CATV companies have been fighting for years.

  • ExcellentNews

    Like everything else, we will now have an internet for the 0.01%, and an internet for the 99.99%. Owned of course by trillion-dollar mega-corps. The latter will make sure the peons are up to date on the latest Nascar races and Kim K butt. And the NSA will keep an eye on the few deviants…

  • jhayes017

    Unfortunately, when billions of dollars and some very powerful companies with giant lobbying budget are involved, nothing is simple!

  • Regular_Listener

    OK, so instead of an open, neutral (or semi-neutral, as Vaidyanathan pointed out) internet, we might eventually have a system in which companies can bring a case to some sort of digital tribunal if they feel their internet providers are treating them unfairly. I’m sure the lawyers would be happy with that plan!

    How about this – what if the government were to go to Comcast and Time Warner and say, you can have your merger if you will agree to net neutrality now and forever. Just a thought.

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