Some pro net neutrality arguments that make no sense

Some pro net neutrality arguments that make no sense

Summary: I've been doing a lot of reading around this whole net neutrality debate, and what really surprises me are some of the strange, and ultimately bogus, arguments that are used to justify net neutrality.

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TOPICS: Browser
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I've been doing a lot of reading around this Add a cup of propaganda, a dash of FUD and a pinch of zealotry and WHOOMPH! The whole thing does up in flames.whole net neutrality debate, and what really surprises me are some of the strange, and ultimately bogus, arguments that are used to justify net neutrality.

To be fair, I don't blame anyone for having a view.  The problem with the whole net neutrality debate is that a small number of big corporations turned a technical issue into a political one.  Add a cup of propaganda, a dash of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) and a pinch of zealotry and WHOOMPH!  The whole thing does up in flames.

Let's take a look at some of these bogus arguments:

  • Content providers are already paying for bandwidth, why should they pay twice ...
    Who said that content providers aren't paying for bandwidth?  Yes, they pay for their bandwidth, but that doesn't take into account the huge impact that their ability to pay for their bandwidth has downstream. 
    The problem with keeping a system where net neutrality exists is that a small number of content providers are able to dominate, and degrade, user experience on the net downstream.  If someone had the cash to build a thousand mile long, five-lane highway, and that ended at your street, you'd feel it.
  • Prioritization of traffic is a bad thing
    It already exists.  If you don't like it, get off the Internet.
  • Prioritization of traffic would have a huge detrimental effect on the Internet
    Prioritization of, say, VoIP, would have no detrimental impact whatsoever on service.  If you're worried about detrimental impact, then worry about all your neighbors downloading beta copies of Windows Vista.
  • A tiered Internet would lead to censorship
    Rubbish.  Not only are there fines in place for such behavior, it doesn't make sense anyway.  In any case, the Internet is already tiered - compare the experience of a DSL user to that of someone on dial-up. 
  • The customer should have to pay more so that service providers can upgrade
    This is where the arguments fall down totally.  I'm always amazed that a few individuals are willing to say that because a small number of multi-billion dollar corporations have the cash to pay for their bandwidth, the little guy should pick up the tab downstream for upgrading the infrastructure.  Why is the consumer paying more for the fact that there's more content going over the Net?  What's this all about? 
    OK, I'm happy with the idea of charging the biggest users more, but charging everyone more amounts to nothing more than an Internet tax.   
  • Why should content providers have to pay more?
    Why should the customer pay more?

As I said before, the bottom line is that more content is going to mean that someone, somewhere, is going to have to pay for the growth in traffic.  There are also going to have to be ways to sensible prioritize traffic.  But even prioritization is only a small part of the answer.  I think that ISPs are also going to have to start being more transparent and publish more details on things such as subscriber ratios.  Companies that supply content are going to need to think about the impact this is having on the network as a whole and invest in technologies to counter the problem.  But one thing's for sure ... the end customer is already paying enough.

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  • Item 1, you are so far off base you can't even see it.

    "Content providers are already paying for bandwidth, why should they pay twice ?
    Who said that content providers aren't paying for bandwidth? Yes, they pay for their bandwidth, but that doesn't take into account the huge impact that their ability to pay for their bandwidth has downstream."

    How is thier impact any different than say 1000 new small businesses building a web site next week? (According the ICAN the number of new sites per week is MUCH higher than this.)

    As to your last mile statement, sorry but I don't get it. The copper in the ground has been paid for hundreds of times over. I bought and paid for my DSL modem, so exactlly where is this huge infastructure cost to the ISP you are talking about?

    Are you saying that there may need to be a price increase across the board for everyone to off set the cost of new infastructure? Sorry but that dog won't hunt either. Alternative technologies (wireless) are becoming hugely competitive and are driving consumer costs down, not up.

    It's the pipes that need expansion? Ummm, no not so, 80% of the pipes (fiber) in the ground is unlit and unused as is.

    So then I ask you, WHERE does this infastructure cost come from. We have established it doesn't come from the content provider (they pay just like everyone else), it's not the need for more/bigger pipes (80% remains unused), and it's not the last mile. So I ask you again, WHERE???
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • So, the network has infinite capacity?

      That's good to know. There's capacity for everything and anything. When we get more users downloading more rich content, there's going to be no problems. Amazing.

      Where do you get your stats on the 80% of the fiber being unused? I've not seen that.

      I also don't buy the 1,000 or 10,000 or whatever new websites either ... they're a drop in the ocean compared to CNN, ESPN, etc.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • That's a "straw man," Adrian.

        "No-Ax" did not say the 'net has infinite capacity. Stick to the facts please.
        JDThompson
        • According to what he said ...

          Everything is just fine as-is. No money needs to be spent ... there's no eye to the future.
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • He implied it though

          He did claim the copper is all laid and paid for so there will never be a need to upgrade. Wireless is all fine and good for the problem of the last mile but eventually that wireless connects to the big pipe somewhere. Eventually that pipe will need to be upgraded. Who should pay?

          No_Axe did make a good point. Up the charge for the conection that these big corporations have. As it is they pay per gigabyte so just up that price per gigabyte. Simple as that.
          voska
      • What a pathetic attempt at spin.

        "Where do you get your stats on the 80% of the fiber being unused? I've not seen that."

        How much unlit fiber is there? There is so much of it the Telcos are selling it off at BELOW cost of installtion to anyone they can. (They know they don't need it.)

        Universities are buying it, CLEC's are buying it, speculators are buying it. In fact one school just bought 10,000 miles of fiber because it was so cheap.

        "I also don't buy the 1,000 or 10,000 or whatever new websites either ... they're a drop in the ocean compared to CNN, ESPN, etc."

        So what? They PAY for every byte they send down the pipe. That seems to be what you are unable to grasp. These folks pay very large fees for those D-3 lines guy. If the Telcos have a problem with that, then they need to charge more for the connection.

        As to the last mile argument, I have already addressed it.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Spin the spin

          Ignorance definitely can lead to the perception of spin.

          Is it so hard to understand that CNN's site uses up more downstream bandwidth than 1,000 or even 10,000 low traffic sites? And even if those sites had a decent number of hits, most probably don't stream video to thousands of people everyday.

          Your last mile argument sucks. Copper telephone networks don't have the capacity to provide real broadband speeds (10 megabit +) to entire neighborhoods of people.

          And what about all the people who don't even have access to psuedo broadband services like DSL or Cable? Everything is just perfect for them right now, huh?
          ibabadur1
  • A pro net neutrality argument that does make sense

    [i]"If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level."
    --Tim Berners-Lee[/i]

    That's a good reason for network neutrality you didn't mention. Disintermediation.

    You say in your piece the ISPs won't do this nor that. What will they do in their role, not as packet deliverers anymore, but as actors, intermediaries? If they're going to act on ones's connection between ones self and a service on the net, as opposed to just route it, what is it going to be? Can you answer that?


    :)
    none none
    • I would hope ...

      That their job would grow to encompass maintaining a good level of service for all.

      Quality of service is something I'd like to see ISPs being more transparent about.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • So you haven't a clue, either.

        Nor do I, and because I know what net neutrality is but don't know what the ISPs are up to, I'm on the side of net neutrality.

        Makes perfect sense to me.


        [i]Quality of service is something I'd like to see ISPs being more transparent about.[/i]

        Me too, but I expect it will never happen.


        :)
        none none
  • Prioritization = Good Favoritism = Bad

    Should VoIP have a higher priority than say an email? Yes, and I don't think anyone would argue that point. Now when these bastages want to play favoritisim and call it prioritization, thinking people have a problem with it.

    Let me be very specific here.

    If the content providers ARE paying for access and every byte they send down the pipe, if there is more fiber in the ground than the telcos can even use, (and are selling off wholesale) and if I pay for the DSL modem for higher speeds, then there is NO LIMITATION other than the false ones put in place by the telcos. Where is this huge cost factor you and the telcos are going on about???

    Oh and by the way, there is no upgrade for the telcos to do QoS. It's built into IP 6. In most cases its a minor firmware patch on the routers.


    I'm going to give a perfect comparison of where the telcos have (and continue) to play games with how you and I are charged for thier so called "services".

    Do you have a touch tone phone in your home? Of course you do. Now look at your phone bill. In almost all areas of the country you pay an additional "service fee" for touch tone service. But the reality is, most areas of the country don't even have pulse dialing anymore because the telcos switched it all over for THEIR BENEFIT.

    I had this very thing in my own home when I moved here and had phone service connected. I said no, I don't want touch tone, I'll live with pulse dialing. The answer of course was that it didn't even exist anymore. I refused to agree to the touch tone fee and the local telco said they wouldn't install phone service. A call to the state utility commision quickly changed their minds and they installed touch tone service with no fee on my monthly account.

    Did they drop other peoples monthly fee? Not a chance, well not until I got the local paper to run a story and hundreds of people demanded pulse dialing and the local telco was forced to do away with the monthly fee.

    Seems there never really was any reason to force this fee on consumers after all...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • I agree

      I don't want to paint the telcos as whiter than white here ... they're not! Far from it, which is why I'm a supporter of tough penalties for those that muck about.

      I'm trying to take the longer view and look at ways to maintain a good level of service in the future.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • A lot would argue with that ...

      "Should VoIP have a higher priority than say an email? Yes, and I don't think anyone would argue that point."

      That's the problem, there are now people that argue this exact kind of point.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • I would..

        :)
        Patrick Jones
    • I would disagree...

      [i]Should VoIP have a higher priority than say an email? Yes, and I don't think anyone would argue that point.[/i]

      I would argue that. We use email ALOT for communication, send files, etc. We don't use VOIP. We would rather email have higher priority. There are many more companies that use email that VOIP. I bet they would feel the same way.

      [i]Did they drop other peoples monthly fee? Not a chance, well not until I got the local paper to run a story and hundreds of people demanded pulse dialing and the local telco was forced to do away with the monthly fee.[/i]
      If they did like our local BellSouth, they just rolled the fee into the monthly charge and removed the line item :)
      Patrick Jones
    • Your an inspiration...

      What No_Ax_to_Grind did was great. I would hope to have the tenacity to do the same.

      The goals of corporations are almost exclusively contrary to those of the consumer and naive people like Adrian are not helping by writing uninformed articles such as this one.
      jsharsky-3@...
  • Your final comment...

    "As I said before, the bottom line is that more content is going to mean that someone, somewhere, is going to have to pay for the growth in traffic."

    And they/we are!!! The providers buy bigger connections and PAY LARGER fees. I buy a faster connection (DSL vs Dial UP) and PAY LARGER fees. The ONLY thing left is the pipe in the middle (fiber) and there is so much of it in the ground the telcos are dumping it at fire sale prices.

    Bottom line, there is no need for bogus special "services" just to jack the costs up...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
  • One last thing, if the telcos can't, then I hope they get out.

    If the Telcos are telling the truth (they aren't) and they can't get the job done then I hope they go flat broke very quickly so the competition can get it done.

    Yes, there really is a reason so many towns, cities and campuses are building their own networks. There is a reason the wireless guys are stomping the crap outta the telcos in both performance and pricing.

    You see, the telcos are a government granted monopoly that has screwed the consumer every month for decades. People and the competition are waking up to it and that is why the telcos are filing law suits everywhere. They do NOT want people smart enough to say know or competition capable of beating them at every turn.

    I honestly hope they are telling the truth and due to lost income the competition hands them thier lunch, permently...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • I agree

      I have to admit that I don't think that the Telcos are the best people to control the networks. If you can get it, wireless is the way to go.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • OT: I just have to smile.

      > You see, the telcos are a government granted
      > monopoly that has screwed the consumer every month
      > for decades. People and the competition are waking
      > up to it and that is why the telcos are filing law
      > suits everywhere. They do NOT want people smart
      > enough to say know or competition capable of
      > beating them at every turn.

      OT: This is an interesting position coming from Ax... usually he loves monopolies that screw the consumer for decades. Not that there's anything wrong with his argument here... he should just apply it more generally.
      dave.leigh@...