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  • Even if this is just a little true, it's pretty scary.

    So, I'm sure that most of you have heard of NN. For those who haven't, here's a link to Wikipedia on the topic. The US Congress is presently in the process of deciding on a variety of bills as they relate to NN.

    First up is a bill which seeks to allow networks to discriminate against content as they see fit. Two highlights include barring the FCC from creating any rules regarding NN and limiting them from investigating any blocking until after the fact. The most talked about scenario is where content providers (such as Google) are required to pay in order for their product to reach consumers. Of course, the immediate question is raised regarding favoured content providers. As an example, suppose that Verizon decides to launch its own free e-mail service. In order to artificially inflate the value of their Verizon e-mail (vmail?), they either jack the rates on gmail, or block it altogether. Now Google's profit margins fall, and in order to still turn a profit, Google would need to show more ads, thus further denigrating the value of gmail.

    Second up is a provision of a second bill still wending its way through Committee. Rather tamer in its objective, the provision states that consumers are entitled to broadband access and competition. Fears from NN opponents include over-zealous regulators who would take that language as a green light to introduce all kinds of new regulation in this market.

    A condensed list might look something like this then:
    For Network Neutrality:
    • Ensure that players in an under competetive market (Service Providers) do not get to apply that leverage to other, freer markets (Content Providers).
    • The best technologies rise to the top, because there is no cost associated using, say, Yahoo over Google or vice versa.
    • Discourages large content providers (Microsoft, Google, Disney) from building their own networks, in order to move content at fair rates. This is turn would prevent consumers from needing to purchase multiple network connections to get the current level of content delivery.

    Against Network Neutrality:
    • Blocks access to new technologies that require service guarantees,because the networks are already operating at capacity.
    • Could potentially act as a natural spam barrier, with spammer's costs inflating far beyond what is cost-effective as their content moves across discriminating networks. (this item is conceived of my own ideas, and is perhaps jumping to conclusions)


    So, finally I am asking what you guys think of all this. NN is something I've been thinking about for a while, trying to come up with an opinion on - incidentally, the more I think about it, the more I think NN is a good thing - but I would still consider myself to be undecided; if there were compelling arguments to be made by the NN opponents, I would listen closely to what they say.

    So? Are you for it or against it? Why? Are there any alternatives we should be considering instead? How would NN rules (for or against) affect the way that you use the internet? What about Internet2 and the technologies derived from that project? Will less latency and more bandwidth cure our network congestion woes, to the point that NN rules seem quaint (I doubt it, but you never know...)?

    [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
    [ma-c2][taw-c1]

    Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
    Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

    Treat others as you would have them treat you

  • #2
    Re: Network Neutrality

    Been thinking alot about this. I don't know what can feasibly be done..on the one side you have BIG CORP, on the other, a bunch of people that will be branded as hippies and pirates. Money will win, and we all will be the loser.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Network Neutrality

      The Net Neutrality fight stems from the Telcos' desire to double dip for ISP costs. They want to be able to charge content providers extra for high-speed service which is currently available equally to all content.

      Think of it this way. A content provider, such as Google or Tactical Gamer, has a product which they would like to sell to you, the consumer. They use Telco Delivery Service to ship that product to you. You pay for shipping via your ISP, and that level of payment determines the delivery method (DSL/Cable = same-day service). Well, let's say the delivery company takes a look over at Google and says, "Hey, you're doing a lot of business there. Tell you what, you pay us a little and we'll make sure the package gets there on time. If we like you."

      "But," says Google, "aren't our customers already paying you for that service?"

      "Yeah," says Telco, "but we own the trucks, and you're dependent on us, so we think you should pay us too. Unless you'd rather your package get 'lost' along the highway. Catch my drift?"

      Allowing telcos blanket ability to throttle Internet traffic undercuts the basis of the Internet's benefit to business. Infrastructure costs go up, competition goes down. And as a provider you no longer have control over your supply chain - you are at the whim of another company that may not want to deal fairly with you. We already apply the concept of common carrier to phone transmission, why deny that to data?

      Practically, that means higher ISP costs, higher Internet service costs across the board, rampant advertising blitzing to make up for lost revenue, and slower traffic for things (like forums, blogs, online video, and photo sharing) that we currently take for granted.
      In game handle: Steel Scion
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Network Neutrality

        I think the term "Network Neutrality" tends to set up that kind of dichotomy - Money vs. People - but I'm not sure its that simple in reality. After all, some major players, content-wise, are talking about taking action to build their own networks should the current crop of service providers charge extortionate rates, or otherwise engage in anti-competetive behaviour.

        Still, I only see a multiplicity of networks leading to the computer version of TV channels; ie. Do you want the new Disney movie? Better get DisneyNet, because no one else offers it. Furthermore, it generates the question of which lines do these networks run on, and who owns those? Are those lines currently regulated? What if the line owners are allowed to discriminate against whose signal to carry? Will homes need 5, 6, 7+ data lines coming into their home, just to get the same choice of content they have today? Would not the huge cost associated with needing to build your own physical network be a massive barrier to entry on that market, restricting access to all but the richest copmanies?

        On the other hand, what incentive do the current service providers have for restricting access to the web? It seems counter-intuitive that a network would restrict the content-receivers from picking and choosing among the content that they want. After all, suppose that my ISP, for whatever reason, suddenly started blocking Tactical Gamer, I would likely change ISPs. So why would they block those services?

        I think it was Steeler who said that, as free markets go, price and convenience will trump quality - I agree with this. I also think that The Powers That Be are always very willing to let people do what they choose, so long as they control the context of the choices. See The Onion's Weekly Radio Address for a tongue-in-cheek example of what I mean here. This relates to NN as follows: if my ISP was blocking TG before I ever heard of TG, then how would I be able to make an informed choice about whether or not my ISP is meeting my gaming needs as efficiently as a competitor could? It seems to me that all I could do was wait until a different market player chose to define themselves as an Internet Gaming Provider or something to that effect. In the interim however, before that competitor arrived on the scene, I would be stuck with an ISP who was artificially causing a market demand to not be met. What about all the other niches that are out there? Will there be sufficient market force to server these varied and diverse interests?

        You know, it looks like the debate can be originally framed as content-providers (for NN) vs. service providers (against NN). If the service providers win, then the incentive is in place for the content providers to become service providers themselves - effectively becoming mirror images of the Old Media networks (ABC, NBC, etc) in that they will become both content and service providers. I think, along with that transformation, we would see the same discussions on the merits and failings of the New Media networks as we have had for a long time on the Old Media networks. And we're back to Money vs People. Interesting.

        [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
        [ma-c2][taw-c1]

        Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
        Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

        Treat others as you would have them treat you

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Network Neutrality

          Do ISP's have a monopoly within each area - such as that which the land-line phone companies have?
          A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

          "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Network Neutrality

            Not a regulated monopoly, as far as I'm aware - but there is the massive cost of building your own physical network which would be a practical barrier of such effectiveness as to likely make the market monopolistic in nature.

            Also, it depends on the geography of the question. In Yellowknife, we effectively have a regulated monopoly. Only one company is allowed to use the phone and cable lines. My internet access is provided through Cable, and there is no ADSL offering (well there is, but only to business, and it's crazy expensive). There is one other ISP in town, besides a couple of dial-up ISPs, and they use a wireless system to provide high-speed. I imagine it is based on the same technology as 1X systems further south, but I don't really know much about it.

            [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
            [ma-c2][taw-c1]

            Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
            Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

            Treat others as you would have them treat you

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Network Neutrality

              I recently gave a presentation on this. Basically I think if the telcos get their way, this will hurt our country's internet infastructure and allow other countries to move ahead of us in that category.

              Almost every other developed country has made it one of their priorities to develop internet bandwidth throughout their country... except for ours, because of the telcos (and a bigcorp-friendly admin).

              Although I don't think this will pan out because there seems to be a lot of outrage on the internet & the dems I think will make a big fuss about it.

              Originally posted by Diceman
              Not a regulated monopoly, as far as I'm aware - but there is the massive cost of building your own physical network which would be a practical barrier of such effectiveness as to likely make the market monopolistic in nature.

              Also, it depends on the geography of the question. In Yellowknife, we effectively have a regulated monopoly. Only one company is allowed to use the phone and cable lines. My internet access is provided through Cable, and there is no ADSL offering (well there is, but only to business, and it's crazy expensive). There is one other ISP in town, besides a couple of dial-up ISPs, and they use a wireless system to provide high-speed. I imagine it is based on the same technology as 1X systems further south, but I don't really know much about it.
              I think it might actually be near a monopoly, at least close. The most recent merger has made the 7 companies that were created in 1984 or whatever, now there is only 3 of them due to mergers. Those 7 companies did construct the majority of the fiberoptics , but it is now a problem because they have merged. The new AT&T is twice as big as their nearest competitor. It's similar to whenever bell constructed all the copper lines in the early 1900s, but not on such an obvious scale.

              All you gotta do is compare what we're offered here in the US, then look at countries like china/malaysia etc, there is something funny going on when the world's only superpower has the same or worse internet infastructure as weaker countries.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Network Neutrality

                Doesn't google simply have to completely boycott the first provider that tries this? They could direct all http requests from the provider to an explanation page. Sure it would cost google money, but it would cost the provider customers. After that who would dare try it again?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Network Neutrality

                  This is throttling at the transmission level. Google is just as dependent on the phone lines as we are. Under the proposed legislation a telco without any business connection to Google could throttle all google traffic within their network unless Google paid them not to. Google could not boycott that network without cutting off the consumers within that network. Obviously if that happened the telco's own customers would riot, but that's because it's Google. What it if were something smaller like TG? TG can't afford to spend hundreds of thousands just to ensure safe passage of its data everywhere in the US.
                  In game handle: Steel Scion
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Network Neutrality

                    So, it's a bit more complicated. Removing dialup and satellite ISPs from the equation (let's do high speed, low ping connections only), we are left with DSL, cable, and wireless. It's fair to say that each of these three options provide similar speeds and performance. In many metropolitan areas two of the three are available - that's DSL and cable. In many rural areas, only one option is available, be it DSL or wireless; where I live right now, in suburban San Diego, we only have DSL, whilst my previous home in Wyoming had only wireless service.

                    So it seems to be a quasi monopoly. Additionally, in the case of cable and DSL, it's my understanding that the government did not lay the wire, the companies (or their predecessors) did. If I pay big bucks to lay massive infrastructure, I want my dividends - and big time. This is getting to look like less of a monopoly the more I think about this. Additionally, where I live, I can get DSL from a few different companies - but the lines are all shared. Does this mean that, if NN were to go, that my service would be without NN no matter which DSL company I purchase my service through?

                    This is looking less like a monopolistic situation the more I look at it. Here are the pertinent questions:
                    1. Does the government block new entrants to the field?
                    2. Do different DSL and wireless carriers have the ability to offer different services regarding NN over the same physical lines?
                    3. Did the government finance laying the infrastructure?


                    If the government either (1) blocks new entrants or (2) different DSL and wireless carriers can offer different services regarding NN, continue to question (3). If (3) is affirmative, do not permit NN to go away.

                    If neither (1) nor (2) are met, do not permit NN to go away.
                    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Network Neutrality

                      I'm not sure what you are arguing Tybalt. The existence or lack of a monopoly is ancillary to Network Neutrality. Currently networks are not permitted to discriminate against third party content but they are also protected (nominally) from prosecution stemming from that content. They are a neutral party. The telcos are currently vying to be allowed to discriminate based on fees while maintaining their third party immunity. There is really no market solution to that situation, IMO.
                      In game handle: Steel Scion
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                      • #12
                        Re: Network Neutrality

                        Originally posted by Steeler
                        I'm not sure what you are arguing Tybalt.
                        I don't believe I've presented an argument yet.

                        Originally posted by Steeler
                        There is really no market solution to that situation, IMO.
                        Solution? That implies the existence of a problem.
                        A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                        "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Network Neutrality

                          Well, worst case scenario if they allow the telcos to throttle based on content:

                          - Infrastructure costs of any company or organization with Internet access goes up.
                          - Free online services dwindle or get gobbled up by larger companies that can fund them.
                          - Costs of new business entering the market skyrocket, reducing competition.
                          - Cost of online services, like games and telephony, go way way up.
                          - Telcos have the ability to deny service to competitors, allowing for the formation of future monopolies.
                          - You will have to pay more for e-mail. Spam filtering and quality of service will not improve.

                          Plus, the entire basis for the argument that the telcos should be able to do this hinges on the idea that they "own" all the transmission lines. They do not. The Internet's infrastructure is a conglomerate of data centers, transmission lines, and individual processors with many different owners and builders. Are we going to allow ALL of them to start charging for the fractional use of their circuits? The entire web would collapse. That's the whole point of the common carrier concept.
                          In game handle: Steel Scion
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                          • #14
                            Re: Network Neutrality

                            Compelling points. Does anyone here have a viewpoint that is against NN? Or is it a foregone conclusion that NN is good for all but the super-rich?

                            Alternatively, suppose the US presses ahead in the content discrimination direction. What would be the warning signs that things are getting out of control? What natural market forces would temper the presented worst-case scenario?

                            [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
                            [ma-c2][taw-c1]

                            Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
                            Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

                            Treat others as you would have them treat you

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Network Neutrality

                              Okay folks. Time for another Econ 101 course.

                              Let's play a game. I am the owner of big-bad Time Warner. (Yes, I know it's a public company owned by normal people like you and me, but let's just forget that little piece of reality for the moment.). I want to pick everyone's pockets. So I begin charging Google, Yahoo, and yes, even Microsoft (but not AOL! lol) extra to get "preferred" service. What's preferred service? Well, it's kind of like mafia "protection." If they don't pay for preferred service, I'll throttle their packets nice and slow.

                              So they pay! Hurray! I get to line my pockets with gold and buy another fleet of yachts. (or, in reality, the stock price increases and normal people such as us get better retirement benefits/stock portfolios because our mutual funds hold Time Warner. Or maybe yours doesn't. Sucks for you!).

                              My competitors catch on and they also cash in! Free money for everyone! It's like the lottery!

                              Oh, wait. Back to reality again. I hate reality. In reality, my DSL competitor (I, Time-Warner, offer cable internet), Verizon, decides to drop their rates and attract more customers. You see, since Verizon is getting all that sweet sweet cashola from the big content providers, it can afford to offer lower fees to the customer. So it drops rates and steals my customers! The cheap bastards!

                              Now I can't afford the payments on my yachts. I have to sell them. People laugh at me at dinner parties. Where am I? I'm right back where I started! But what has really changed? End users are getting cheaper internet because I dropped my rates to match Verizon. Content providers are charging more for their services because they have to pay me.

                              Catastrophe? You decide.

                              Moral dilemma? Depends on the facts involved. Read my previous post to get started on this aspect.

                              Lining the pockets of the super rich? Only Ms. Dowd would believe such nonsense.
                              A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                              "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                              Comment

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