Net Neutrality

| | Comments (0)
There was a fascinating discussion about Net Neutrality on NewsHour the other night. There was a spokesman for, and another for the telcom industry.

Some of the things the telcom spokesman said were just ... bizarre.

.. the net neutrality folks say, "Let's bring the government back in, after commercializing and having the Internet not be regulated for 13 years, and bringing it back and saying that we need the government to be the policeman of this." And what we believe is, is that competition and the way the Internet has been running for the last 13 years is what's best for the Internet.

Um ... the way the Internet's been running for years is under a nondiscrimination rule that the FCC lifted last year. If you want to argue that the way we got here is what's worked best, fine, let's put that rule back into place.

I mean, everybody out there knows there's dial-up, which is the slow lane, or there is broadband. And if you pay one price, you get certain speed, and if you pay more for another speed.

So the Internet has been tiered, and it allows you to have different services. It's consumer-driven, and it's market-driven. And what we're concerned about is, if you have the government come in with its heavy hand and says, "No, I want prices to be one way, with one price and one terms and conditions."

This is a total straw man. No one's asking for this.

The facts and the process are on our side. The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Justice, they're the experts that determine the facts on the ground.

They both have ruled that there is sufficient broadband competition, that it doesn't require regulation. That went to the Supreme Court last summer. And the Supreme Court affirmed it.

Just wow. Last things first: the Supreme Court affirmed no such thing. It does not (normally) rule on such findings of fact, and did not so in this case. He's simply wrong.

And since when is the DOJ an expert -- on the ground, or anywhere else -- on broadband competition? And even if the FCC is, why should I take their word for it, when I know as a matter of fact that I have no other viable option for broadband? I am entirely locked in to the cable company.

Now, other people who should know, the House of Representatives took this issue up last -- a couple weeks ago, and voted resoundingly, 269 to 152 against net neutrality regulation, against regulating the net.

First, who cares if they did? Congress never gets things wrong? Second, this is extremely deceptive, because they did not vote against Net Neutrality, but a specific form of it.

This isn't about the consumer. This is about big companies. There are about 20 companies and about five or six on their side, and they want a special deal.

So big companies want a special deal. Well, your big companies -- which are far more numerous -- also want a special deal, which is why they lobbied to remove the nondiscrimination rule. And there is not a single consumer or citizen group on your side, while there are scores of them on their side. If this is companies versus consumers, so far, the consumers have been unanimously against your companies.

Oh, the First Amendment question is completely misplaced here. If you go back to the Founding Fathers and read the Constitution, it was to defend citizens about the tyranny of government restricting their speech.

The irony here is, is that the net neutrality folks want the government to come in and protect free speech. They have the U.S. Constitution upside down.

I got it. So the fact that the First Amendment is about government not restricting free speech means that anyone else can restrict free speech, and that you can't lobby the government about it. Sure, that makes perfect nonsense!

Yes, a good way to look at this is, is that today the Internet handles e-mails and it handles Web surfing. Now, if you put a two-hour high-definition video over the Internet, it represents 35,000 e-mails. So it's like sending a tank or sending a piano rather than a letter over the Internet.

And the provider of the information, already, is paying a lot more for that tank or piano.

When you see a big truck on the highway that's carrying heavy equipment, you better believe they get weighed and they pay more because they're going to do more damage and use more of the facility.

Right. And so too do providers of video pay more. And then, in response to the claim that they already pay more, and that the consumer is the one specifically requesting the data transfer, he adds:

And that's a specious argument, because they're the ones -- it's like saying, you know, "I didn't mean for all of these trucks to go over the Internet. I just had them all parked in my garage over there, and somebody else called up and dispatched them to me." I mean, it's not a -- it's a spurious argument.

Got it? So it's a bad thing to provide online video, and the consumers should not pay for what they specifically request (except, of course, the consumers always do pay in the end, for everything).

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on June 24, 2006 7:10 AM.

YAPC Slides was the previous entry in this site.

Ask Pudge is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.