Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:00 pm

The Good

There's lot of misinformation floating around about this so I'll go over some of the points. The basic principal of Net Neutrality is that a company like a ISP is not going to discriminate or prioritize the traffic across it's networks. This for the most part is the status quo and has been, the government is acting now because recently some ISP's have shown interest in prioritizing traffic. One example is interfering with P2P traffic, granted this is mostly illegitimate traffic and is burdensome to the ISP but that's for another topic.

Why it's important that traffic remains neutral is many ISP's hold monopolies in many of the areas they serve. What the ISP's would like to do is offer tiered services (note that there is two types of tiering and I'll explain the second shortly). As it stands now you can connect to this site just as fast as you can connect to any other site. If we take Coalcast for example that would require some significant bandwidth overall if a lot of people connected the only limit is how much my server can handle which I'm paying for. The tiers the ISP's would not be on the users end necessarily but on the content providers end which could prevent you from getting access to content on many sites like this one.

Let's say the ISP launches their own service to compete with the service I provide. What they would do is throttle the bandwidth to my site and other lower tiered sites which could squeeze me out of the picture. If you the user come to my site and it takes forever to download or you simply don't have the bandwidth available and there is an alternative that loads instantly which service are you going to choose?

Small potato sites and many of the other smaller nooks and crannies that really make the internet what it is could disappear as the ISP's leverage their control of the bandwidth to take market share. Other third party services that are not peering with them like VOIP, Video, Audio, YouTube...etc or anything that requires a lot of bandwidth could be squeezed out. Another thing they wish to do is charge the content provider for more bandwidth. A large company like CNN, Disney or whoever may be easily able to afford such costs and would probably invite it as they will then be able to also leverage the increased bandwidth to squeeze out the competition.

If you want to see a similar example of what the internet might look like if the ISPs were allowed to do this you only have to go as far as your television set if you have cable, expensive and limited choices. The internet has flourished for almost 2 decades under Net Neutrality as have the ISP's and that is why it is important the basic principals of Net Neutrality continue.


The Bad

The ISP's argument is that they will lose control of their networks and to some degree they have a point. If you have someone using P2P software and it's running 24/7 is their a reason why we should all be paying for it? Certainly not and that's why it's also important the ISP's are allowed to offer tiered but neutral services to their customers.

As long as the cap is imposed on the customer and not the content or services the ISP's can maintain control of their network and content providers will remain on a level playing field. They do have to be compensated which leads to the downside which is services may cost more as they will not be able to rely on revenue generated by their own services since there will be a lot of competition. This could be a good thing or bad thing depending on you perspective. Additionally lower income people may not be able to afford the costs of higher bandwidth plans but like with everything else... too damn bad.


The Ugly

I've seen many equating this to the "Fairness Doctrine" which to this point I have not seen anything resembling that. One thing I will say if any legislation comes to light that even remotely resembles the "Fairness Doctrine" it has to be stamped out immediately. It could certainly carry over to that.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: ErikLaurence On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:06 pm

That's a really good write up.
ErikLaurence
 
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:19 pm

I think what it boils down to is they should never be allowed to prioritize bandwidth, their other service like VOIP and content need to fall under the same bandwidth caps any site would have but most certainly they should be able tier service to the end consumer. I know there is lot of people that would like to force them to provide the same bandwidth to everyone but that idea is asinine. You can't have both as it would stall development, people simply need to pay for what they use. It's the only viable solution IMO.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: ErikLaurence On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:29 pm

Where this will get really interesting is in the mobile space where bandwidth is tighter. The all you can eat unlimited mobile data plan is going away. While the whole smartphone market is exploding (and Android is going to explode this year), the carriers have no where near the capital required to expand the mobile data network adequately. Your average cell tower only has a DS1 connection (1.544 Mb/s). That bandwidth is shared amongst all the phones that see that tower.
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: Black_And_Blue On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:58 pm

It's all about media control, you'll see.

"In Venezuela, with Chavez, really an incredible revolution, a democratic revolution to begin to put in place saying that we are going to have impact on the people of Venezuela. The property owners and the folks who were then controlling the media in Venezuela rebelled [...] folks here in the U.S. government worked to oust him and came back and had another revolution and Chavez then started to take seriously the media in this country."

FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd

ETA : another gem

In 2006 while at the liberal Center for American Progress Lloyd wrote a book entitled, Prologue to a Farce: Communications and Democracy in America. In the book he presents the idea the private broadcasters (private business) should pay a licensing fees which equals their total operating costs so that public broadcasting station can spend the same on their operations as the private companies do. By doing so he hopes to improve the Corporation for Public Broadcasting currently at $400 Million.

ETA : and another

"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.

"The purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: ErikLaurence On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:15 pm

Black_And_Blue wrote:It's all about media control, you'll see.


Please read Richard's excellent overview and explain how this leads to media control.

If anything net neutrality leads to MORE openness in media with more channels available to more news outlets.
ErikLaurence
 
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:12 pm

Black_And_Blue wrote:It's all about media control, you'll see.


It's possible it could morph into that but as of right now there isn't anything in these proposals that resemble it that I'm aware of, we do need to be vigil and make sure things such as the "Fairness doctrine" are not slipped into any legislation.

As I already stated what they are proposing now is pretty much a formalization of the status quo. The basic principals of net neutrality is what has governed it from the beginning and one of the reasons it has flourished because people such as myself have not had to labor under distribution limitations. As we move forward everything you get will be delivered over the internet including video entertainment, news, music, communication including mail and voice and video conferencing. The basics of Net Neutrality insure that those services cannot be dominated by those that control the bandwidth.

You're suggesting it's about media control but I would suggest it's the opposite. Think about this for second, 20 years ago if you had a band and wanted to distribute your music you really had little chance of ever getting it out without a lot of capital. You're only choice which really wasn't a choice was to hopefully get noticed and get a contract where you signed your life away. Right now you can distribute it to the entire world and do it for free via some web service like youtube or if you wanted to pay a small monthly fee you could get your own hosting and completely control the content distribution yourself. If Net Neutrality is thrown aside you may not be able to do that.

This is the fundamental thing that large media corporations fear the most because control of distribution of content itself and the profits this control generates is their bread and butter, the internet is slowly eroding that. 20 years from as long as Net Neutrality remains in place organizations like the MPAA, RIAA and other things such as where news distribution is concentrated in the hands of a few will be a thing of the past.

I will reiterate that it's important that ISP's be able to provide tiered service at whatever cost they deem necessary so it can remain a free market.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:10 pm

This doesn't sound like "neutrality" to me.

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/03/se ... t-tre.html

The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:

* * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* * That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

* * That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

* * Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)


http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4510/125/

http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4516/125/
jpete
 
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:29 pm

jpete wrote:This doesn't sound like "neutrality" to me.


That's because it has nothing to do with net neutrality, that article is about copyright.

* * That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.


Depends on how an ISP is defined, they may just be referring to the service provider and not the content provider. As of right now providers such as myself fall under what is called the "Safe Harbor" provision in the DMCA which holds that the ISP will not be held accountable for how their services are used. e.g if someone uploads infringing material here it is their responsibility and not mine. My responsibility begins and ends with removing the infringing material when and if I become aware of it.

This is a double edged sword though as many site owners are reluctant to actively pursue it, the lawyer will argue since they were actively engaged in policing the site the owner should have known his/her service could be used for infringement. I believe that was successfully used as argument hence the reason sites are reluctant to actively get involved.

Any change in that could have vast consequences for sites like this. Even if I put everything that was to be uploaded here in a moderation queue before it goes public determing if something is copyrighted is impossible. A popular song or movie is no brainer however if it's some obscure text the resources needed to determine if it were copyrighted may not even be available.

* * That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.


I wouldn't call it a disaster, the person that requests the take down better have firm ground to stand on as they can be held responsible if its bogus claim.

* * Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)


This I can absolutely agree with, how the auhtor decides to distribute and protect his/her materiel is completely up to them. I certainly don't agree with many of the ways it used but that's the way it is. If you don;t agree with the terms they have set down for the use of the content don't buy it.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Net Neutrality: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

PostBy: jpete On: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:20 pm

But it mandates what ISP's or content providers must do on the internet. That's not my idea of "neutrality".

Some states are figuring out ways to tax internet sales. So called "Amazon laws". And as usual, they aren't getting the expected results.

Any time government puts it's thumb on the scale, the idea of "neutrality" starts going away.
jpete
 
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