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September 17, 2006

The Net @ Risk: Net Neutrality

What principles should drive our policies regarding technology?

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Backgrounder: Net Neutrality
The debate is hot, the language heady, the metaphors many. Op-ed pages alternately bemoan "The End of the Internet" or curse "Net Neutrality Nonsense." Allegations fly about the stifling of free speech, the holding back of progress, corporate hegemony. Indeed, network neutrality has become something of a cause celebre in the digital world, pitting a slew of high-profile Internet content providers and consumer-advocacy groups against major phone and cable companies, and federal lawmakers against each other ... [more]

Class Is in Session...
Remember dial-up access? The buzz on the telephone line and then the long wait for the Web page to load? Today the mere memory of that slowness seems painful. Yet even with new technology and high-speed access, many of us still find our patience tested when we have to wait more than a few seconds for sites to load.

But the large cable and phone companies who provide broadband access say that unless there is major change in the capacity of their networks and the way in which data is transmitted, long waits will be the order of the day. The growing number of Web sites and bandwidth-heavy content on the Internet, they say, threatens to clog the entire system, making everything load more slowly.

So they want to upgrade the system. Good news, right? Well, not to everyone. Upgrading the system is an expensive proposition, and who will pay for it-and how they will pay-has divided Internet users and forced the battle into the national political spotlight. The telecom companies want Web sites that send large packages of data-generally sites that include video, audio, and other multimedia applications-to pay more. That, they insist, is how they'll finance a more robust Internet system.

So what if some sites take longer to load than others because they didn't pay a premium for the network operator to put their data in the fast lane? Would consumers have the patience to wait it out, or would they jump ship for the faster loading competitor's site? What would this new tiered system do to sites that don't have the resources to play ball? Would the telephone and cable companies play fair and charge every site the same fee, or would they slap exorbitant tolls on sites whose content they don't like? What's more, the companies that deliver internet connections to most homes are increasingly in the business of generating content, as well, so supporters of neutrality worry that they'll be in a position to privilege their own content over competitors. For example, if AT&T decided to start its own online auction site, neutrality supporters say, the firm's customers might find themselves unable to use eBay -- unless Congress protects net neutrality. Get a brief introduction to the debate from the video.

Watch the video



These are the issues being debated by Congress and these are the issues we will consider in this session of the MOYERS ON AMERICA Citizens Class. It is an important and contentious issue. And there is much at stake.

In this Citizens Class, you will learn more about the issues at the heart of this debate, and have an opportunity to contribute your ideas about what should be considered in a sound telecommunications policy. In addition to this discussion guide, we encourage you to read Net Neutrality: Background and Issues, a report to Congress prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the office which provides information on important issues to representatives and senators. (Read Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues)(PDF)

We also have invited two guest bloggers who are telecommunications experts with different ideas on what they think our telecommunications policy should be. Just as Congress does when it invites experts to testify on pending legislation, this class is your opportunity to pose questions to further your understanding of the issues and possible consequences of various policy options. Much like they would do in giving testimony on the Hill, our guest bloggers will be monitoring the questions you pose at the end of this page and will respond].

Read through this brief guide and think about the questions you would need answered before developing new telecommunications policy. Some of the questions you will want to consider:
  • Is regulation needed to guarantee that all data sent over the Internet is given equal access and nondiscriminatory treatment-that is, net neutrality?
  • Should network operators be allowed to charge higher rates for Web sites that use heavy bandwidth technology, like voice and video?
  • Who should bear the cost of overhauling the Internet infrastructure to meet the growing demand for high-speed, reliable data transfer?
  • Is the Internet so indispensable to the success of our economy, our culture, and our nation that it should not discriminate or be regulated in the same manner as other utilities?


In order to understand this issue, we need to back up and understand how the Internet works how content on the Internet is developed and delivered.

Telecommunications companies are the network operators that carry online content (Web sites, data, video, VOiP) to Internet users. Content is created by big companies like Google, Amazon and eBay, as well as by small retail businesses, artists and musicians, news organizations, nonprofits, educational institutions and individuals with something to say-basically, any Web site can be considered a content creator. Currently, Internet traffic is delivered on an equal basis. That is, a family Web site where members can download video of the last reunion picnic is treated the same as a newspaper site or any other data streaming down the information superhighway.

This system of delivery is called net neutrality - no one gets special preference and it's the Internet version of the legal concept of "common carriage" or that no customer seeking reasonable service - and able to pay a competitive price - would be denied lawful use of a transportation service or would otherwise be discriminated against. Net neutrality was the rule until recently because the Federal Communications Commission had enforced that system. But, in 2002, the FCC decided that neutrality didn't apply to cable internet. And in the summer of 2005, the FCC replaced them the net neutrality rules suggested "principles" for an open internet. (Glossary of net neutrality terms)

At the core of the net neutrality debate is whether or not network operators-those who control the lanes on the superhighway-should be allowed to charge higher rates for large Internet packet streams being sent by content providers. The telephone and cable companies want the high-bandwidth data users to pay. As AT&T Chairman Edward Whitacre Jr. told Business Week, "Why should they be allowed to use my pipes [i.e., my network]? The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment, and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use the pipes [for] free is nuts."

The ways that network operators might put this system into operation are to selectively block packets of data, adjust the quality of service (speed, for example), or adjust prices so that larger packets that include multimedia applications would pay more. Some critics of this system like Columbia Law professor Timothy Wu say it in effect adds up to paying twice. "The Bell companies want the opportunity to charge twice. They want to charge for Google to connect to the network at all, and then they want to charge another price to reach their consumers."

Other critics say that this move by the telecom companies violates a core principle of the Internet. They propose restrictions on the owners of the networks, to ensure equal access and nondiscriminatory treatment. "Owners of the networks that compose and provide access to the Internet should not control how consumers lawfully use that network; and should not be able to discriminate against content provider access to that network" wrote the Congressional Research Service in its report to Congress. Still others are concerned that the plethora of voices now available online might be reduced - or rendered less effective - because those who could pay for faster travel would most likely win out for users. Some neutrality supporters say the "pipes" don't even belong to the telephone and cable companies -- that they're not Ed Whitacre's pipes at all -- because tax breaks and government subsidies helped pay for the network.

(Read the Congressional Research Service report) (PDF)

Issues that are driving this debate:
  • Some contend that the consolidation and diversification of broadband providers into content providers has the potential to lead to discriminatory behaviors which conflict with net neutrality principles.
  • The increase in the number of packets going out will eventually exceed the limitation of the existing networks. The telecom industry says it will invest — if there's no neutrality — in a multibillion dollar overhaul of the Internet infrastructure to accommodate the growing demands on its pipes, raising the question of who should pay.
  • The technology has changed in such a way that it is possible for network operators to treat some classes of traffic differently from others.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the agency that regulates the nation's telecommunication's infrastructure. Two actions in 2005 fueled the net neutrality debate. The details of these actions are included in the Congressional Research Service's report on net neutrality. In the Brand X Case, the Supreme Court upheld an FCC decision to define broadband services provided by cable companies as "information services" under Title I regulations. These regulations are less strict than Title II regulations which impose the kind of rigorous anti-discrimination, interconnection, and access requirements that are consistent with the principles of net neutrality. Then, the FCC decided to extend those same privileges to telephone companies involved in providing Internet access services. As a result, cable operators and telephone Internet service providers no longer fall under the strict Title II. These two actions raised concerns in the net neutrality community. Arguments by those who support net neutrality:
  • The only way to maintain the Internet as the open and free space we have come to appreciate is for government to prevent telecommunications companies from charging extra fees to heavy users.
  • More specific regulatory guidelines may be necessary to protect the marketplace from potential abuses which could threaten the net neutrality concept.
  • Some people fear that discriminatory practices would be the result if broadband providers become content providers or have the option to control how the content is delivered.
  • The two-tiered system proposed by the network operators would violate their First Amendment rights because those who could pay would get preferential treatment.
  • A tiered pricing system could pose a barrier for people who are developing new Web sites, or offering new services, or providing other content for download. They might have to pay more to get the top-level access to the broadband pipes, and that could limit the possibilities for new companies and individuals who want to develop more sites and services online.
  • There is little competition in the broadband market since most consumers have limited options. At best, consumers in larger markets can choose between cable or telephone connections. In smaller markets, there may only be one choice. This removes the incentive for the network operator to avoid discriminatory practices that harm consumers or aggressively seek to benefit consumers. Since network operators don't have competition, they could engage in discriminatory practices that increase profits but harm consumers. Without the option to take their business elsewhere, the consumer would be at the mercy of the network operator.
Arguments by those who oppose net neutrality regulation:
  • In an article in the National Law Journal, Randolph J. May, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation in Washington, DC, argues that net neutrality legislation would violate the First Amendment rights of network service providers like Verizon and Comcast because it would restrict them from exercising their own right to free speech.
  • Action to ensure unfettered access to the Internet is unnecessary. To date, neither the cable operators nor the telephone companies providing broadband Internet services have blocked, impaired, or otherwise restricted subscriber access to the content of unaffiliated entities. Passing net neutrality laws would be just blind response to a harm that may never materialize.
  • Existing laws and FCC policies are sufficient to deal with potential anti-competitive behavior.
  • Net neutrality regulations would have negative effects on the expansion and future development of the Internet.
  • Telecommunications companies should have the right to charge heavy users more to offset the costs of building greater broadband capacity. They own the means of transmission.
  • They should be allowed to charge data-heavy sites more than others so that those of us who don't download lots of data don't get socked with higher user fees? Heavy sites cause traffic congestion that affects the ability of others to use the Internet and should therefore pay more.
  • Data-heavy content providers or Web sites should have to pay more to use the cyber-highways just as commercial transporters pay more for trucks that do more damage to the highways than regular vehicles.
(Additional voices from the debate)

Discussion
  • What principles should drive our policies regarding technology in this country and how do those principles support our technological position in the world?

  • Read the Congressional Research Service report "Net Neutrality: Background and Issues." What additional facts do you need to know or questions do you have for our guest bloggers?

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Comments

What principles should drive our policies regarding technology in this country and how do those principles support our technological position in the world?


Read the Congressional Research Service report "Net Neutrality: Background and Issues." What additional facts do you need to know or questions do you have for our guest bloggers?

If the rules are changed to favor the dualopoly, they will certainly restrict free access (except for a fee which most won't be able to pay). It is in the best interests of the powers that be to stifle free interchange of ideas via the internet - just look at China. As to the argument about First Ammendment rights, putting aside whether coporations should considered persons, the rights of real, breathing persons must always take precedence over artificial persons and our "representatives" need to get that message crystal clear.

The advocates of network neutrality have become distressingly, stridently apocalyptic, rallying all good liberals against “those with the deepest pockets…corporations, special-interest groups, and major advertisers, who decide what you get to see and how much it costs,” and especially “the billion-dollar telephone and cable companies that now dominate the business of providing broadband connections to the public—who want to control what you read, see or hear online….Major corporate sites would be able to pay the new fees, while little-guy sites could be shut out.” That’s a fair composite quote.

Now wait just a minute.

I consider myself a good liberal Democrat. I played a leading role in the deregulation of the airlines (as Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board) and trucking (as Advisor to President Carter on Inflation), against the almost unanimous opposition of the major airlines and trucking companies. Our strongest sponsors and supporters at that time were President Carter, Senator Ted Kennedy, Stephen (now Supreme Court Justice) Breyer, and such organizations as Common Cause, Public Citizen, the Consumer Federation of America…and Southwest Airlines.

This is not the place to argue about the consequences of those deregulations. What is unarguable is that airline deregulation has saved travelers billions of dollars annually and made air travel affordable for people with modest means, just as we intended.

I have played an active role also—as Chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission and consistently, both before and after—opposing the efforts of AT&T to induce the FCC and Congress to protect its historical monopoly. I have also been a consistent public advocate of strong antitrust policy over the last half century.

Our premise—in opposition to reactionaries and to the indifference or scorn of radicals—was that wherever it is feasible, competition is a far better protector of the interest of both consumers and content providers (think radio, television, motion pictures and the Internet) than government ownership or regulation. In telecommunications, cable and telephone companies compete increasingly with one another, and while the two largest wireless companies—Cingular and Verizon—are affiliated with AT&T and Verizon, respectively, some 97 percent of the population has at least a third one competing for their business as well; and Sprint and Intel have recently announced their plan to spend 3 billion dollars on mobile Wi-Max facilities nationwide. Scores of municipalities—led by Philadelphia and San Francisco—are building their own Wi-Fi networks. And on the horizon are the electric companies, already beginning to use their ubiquitous power lines to offer broadband—to content providers on the one side and consumers, on the other.

By far the most promising intensification of that competition is the tens of billions of dollars that the phone companies themselves are spending converting copper to fiber, which will enable them to offer video programming pervasively in direct competition with the cable companies. Can anyone seriously believe that competition would be forthcoming if those incumbents were still subject to public utility-type regulation? Or prevented from surcharging the heaviest content suppliers—the ones demanding the speediest possible access to subscribers that those telco investments will make possible?

In describing the danger that the telephone and/or cable companies will, as the preponderant suppliers of broadband access, discriminate against competitive providers of service or programming, every single network neutrality advocate, to my knowledge, cites the case of the Madison River Communications (telephone) Company’s refusal to carry the messages of Vonage, the leading independent provider of telephone service via the Internet. Not one of them mentions the fact that the FCC promptly stepped in to prohibit that obvious violation of antitrust principles—as did the Canadian Radio-television Regulatory Commission in exactly the same situation. It is unthinkable that the regulatory or antitrust agencies would not strike down any other such discrimination by the telephone or cable companies against competing providers of content in favor of their own.

As for the fear that those companies will, as one net-net advocate predicted, “create different tiers of online service…sell access to the express lane to deep-pocketed corporations and relegate everyone else to the digital equivalent of the winding dirt road”—it is difficult to understand why if, as a New Republic editorial supporting a Congressional mandate of network neutrality points out, without apparent disapproval, “content providers from Google and Amazon to Daily Kos…currently pay web-hosting companies to put their content on the Internet [and] still make money,” its editors should consider it objectionable that the providers of broadband Internet access “will be able to charge content providers a fee to deliver their content to consumers and, in particular, an additional surcharge to deliver their content…more quickly….” Newspapers charge advertisers for access to their readers—more for big ads than small ones— television and cable companies charge similarly for access to their audiences; and the charges vary widely depending upon the anticipated size of the audience. Why is that any different from the proposed additional fees for guarantees of the unusually rapid rates of transmission required for some content with its greater claim on the broadband facilities?

Some 25 years ago, I thought it was logical to try to prevent cable television companies, as beneficiaries of exclusive territorial franchises, from discriminating against unaffiliated suppliers of programming in favor of their own by prohibiting broadcasters holding a financial interest in the programs they carried. I eventually recognized, however, the public benefits from the especial incentives of the several broadcasters to produce programming of their own, as well as to bid for independent programming, in competition with one another; and that that competition sufficiently protects independent providers from discrimination or exploitation. If Google and eBay depend upon the telephone and cable companies for reaching their audiences, that dependence is mutual: what would happen to the willingness of subscribers to sign up for DSL or cable modem service if one or the other of those suppliers decided not to carry Google or eBay?

Demonstrably, those broadband facilities have to be created by investments—especially huge ones by the telephone companies— and applications requiring priority transmission can entail lower priority transmission of others. Except as broadband service is subsidized by governments—a possibility I do not exclude—those costs must be collected from users—subscribers to broadband services, on the one side, providers of programming or content on the other, or some combination of the two—just as in the case of newspapers or television stations.

Why all the hysteria? There is nothing “liberal” about the government rushing in to regulate these wonderfully promising turbulent developments.

Neutrality on the Internet matters because, in our highly connected and information-based global economy, communications matters. Community and personal communications capacity and capability may be more critical to human endeavors and to competitiveness than at any time in human history. Everything - information, education, health, entertainment, financial capacity, security, relationships, opportunity – is either advantaged or constrained by disparities in access to reasonably priced communications. For most of the 20th century what we experienced in communications capability was the result of careful, negotiated deployments of modest technological enhancements managed to sustain and not disrupt the established industry and business model. This business model was organized around two applications – the telephone and the television. The emergence of the Internet and the extraordinary revolution in computational capacity has exploded that model. We need a new model for communications infrastructure, one that enables and leverages the latest technological advances; one in which experimentation with potentially disruptive technologies and experimentation is possible; one which matches the pace of change in, instead of constraining, computing and information technology. From my perspective, this is what net neutrality is about.

The question everyone needs to ask themself is “whom do you trust?” Those favoring some degree of government definition and regulation ensuring “net neutrality” tend to see the market for last mile telecommunications services as non-competitive, or at best, as a “highly integrated and vertical duopoly.” Those opposed to net neutrality tend to accept at face value claims by the provider industry that the market, unfettered by government regulation, will ensure the appropriate level of investment in innovative infrastructure and services. In my work with communities and regions throughout the United States that are struggling to achieve competitive advantages in access to the networked world, we rarely witness such innovation in the offerings of the incumbent cable tv or the telephone system provider.

The Internet has always been neutral in terms of the way that content is distributed and made available to end users. Michael Bookey uses the analogy of the power companies to illustrate what is meant by the term “neutral”. Power companies distribute commodity electrons just like the telephone companies deliver commodity data packets. Power companies do not base the price of an electron on its value to the end user, nor on the type of use it is intended to serve. Similarly, the power company does not expect to control or dictate the appliances in your home that use the electricity. For example, the power company does not charge more for electrons to heat water compared to electrons to run an alarm clock. Nor does the power company require you to purchase water heaters and clocks from them instead of from their competitors. Value is added at the ends of the electrical wire. Everyone is free to develop new and innovative devices and services that use electricity without being charged higher prices by the power company. Likewise with telecommunications, network neutrality promotes competition at the end-points of the network with innovation in services flourishing because of the ability to have unconstrained access.

Our experience working with advanced networks has shown that value and efficiency is optimized when users, not network owners and operators, decide what content they receive over the network and at what bandwidth. Users should be the ones to choose how much bandwidth they wish to pay for on a wide-ranging and unencumbered continuum, ranging from rates of kilobits per second up to multiple megabits per second and beyond. Once the user has paid for the bandwidth of their choice, they should be able to fully utilize that bandwidth to access any web page, use any lawful application, equipment or service, and send any lawful content without risk of being discriminated against on the part of the network operator or Internet Service Provider.

The internet was a wonderful world as it was then AOL and MSN and others started hoarding content then Google and Yahoo began by tying searches to revenue limiting first placements. Push technology has innundated the web and SPAM is totally unchecked. The internet is no longer getting better it's just getting worse. Like water that used to be free the net will end up in someone's revenue stream if we cannot get it clear in our minds that everyone should have access who wants it and information should not be restricted.

A New Republic quote taken from Mr. Kahn's comment:

“content providers from Google and Amazon to Daily Kos…currently pay web-hosting companies to put their content on the Internet [and] still make money,”

False. Content providers pay web hosting companies for storage space. The web hosting company in turn pays the ISP/broadband provider for address space and internet access.

Again I quote Mr. Kahn:

"If Google and eBay depend upon the telephone and cable companies for reaching their audiences, that dependence is mutual: what would happen to the willingness of subscribers to sign up for DSL or cable modem service if one or the other of those suppliers decided not to carry Google or eBay?"

It's not about willingness. It's about choice. I have one choice of ISP, Time Warner. One. If Google decides they don't want to pay Time Warner's costs, I don't have access to Google. Period. I'd venture a guess that Time Warner would be ecstatic if Google and every other search engine took their business elsewhere. In fact, I suspect Time Warner would intentionally price them out. The result is a search engine which only brings results from content providers that have paid to be indexed in the Time Warner search engine.

Consider what this means in terms of access to news and educational material.

Yet another quote from Mr. Kahn:

"Newspapers charge advertisers for access to their readers—more for big ads than small ones— television and cable companies charge similarly for access to their audiences; and the charges vary widely depending upon the anticipated size of the audience. Why is that any different from the proposed additional fees for guarantees of the unusually rapid rates of transmission required for some content with its greater claim on the broadband facilities?"

Newspapers charge advertisers, not content providers. (As an aside, as a small business start-up i was unable to afford any form of print advertising.)

There is a significant difference between an advertiser paying for access and an information provider paying for access. What if newspapers charged reporters to have their stories published? Would that be fine and dandy? No need for all the hysteria?

Only those conent providers that can afford to pay the rates will have the ability to disseminate news, information, and educational material. If we continue down this path, the same information may someday only be available to those who can afford to pay for access to the higher speed network.

This is one of the biggest threats to Democracy I can envision!

Hence the reason for "all the hysteria."

Paul Viel writes above: "The internet was a wonderful world as it was then AOL and MSN and others started hoarding content then Google and Yahoo began by tying searches to revenue limiting first placements. Push technology has innundated the web and SPAM is totally unchecked."

And how is AOL or MSN doing now? (And how do you hoard content that you create?) And how troubled can we really be by Google's paid placements -- their normal search is unaffected. These kinds of overinflated fears have characterized the net neutrality debate so far. I work with the Hands Off the Internet team at http://handsoff.org, and I've seen these straw men thrown out there time and time again. The optimism vs. pessimism is striking, and Alfred Kahn is in touch reality when he points out there is "nothing 'liberal' about the government rushing in to regulate these wonderfully promising turbulent developments."

But the discussion question is a good one: "What principles should drive our policies regarding technology in this country and how do those principles support our technological position in the world?"

It's no secret, and it is implied by the question, that U.S. broadband speeds lag well behind other developed countries. Therefore, the animating principle should be delivering the best access to as many people as possible. The reason we lag behind other countriesis simple: There are many more of us across vastly more space than Korea or Europe.

What's ironic is that net neutrality advocates may think this is what they are doing by supporting new regulations. (Many of them don't even realize they are supporting Internet regulation.) In fact, the revenues earned from access tiering will give telecom companies the capital to invest in bringing broadband to consumers living outside of major cities. New regulations would freeze the Internet in place, and consign Internet consumers to permanent second-class status.

We hope Mr. Moyers will include these points in his upcoming program.

hmm ATT thinks of them as "their" pipes. Well, what about the govt granted monopoly and taxes dollars granted to them.

WE HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR THOSE PIPES THEY "OWN."

http://www.muniwireless.com/community/1023

From the above:

"What's ironic is that net neutrality advocates may think this is what they are doing by supporting new regulations. (Many of them don't even realize they are supporting Internet regulation.) In fact, the revenues earned from access tiering will give telecom companies the capital to invest in bringing broadband to consumers living outside of major cities. New regulations would freeze the Internet in place, and consign Internet consumers to permanent second-class status."

The telecom industry was already "trusted" to bring said broadband to consumers and given bucketloads of cash and tax break incentives to achieve this... and what did the do? They used this fiscal advantage to squeeze out competition, run disinformation campaigns, and ship jobs overseas.

The ILEC fundamental thinking of NOT embracing competition has lead to our dire infrastructure problems. (and this thinking still is present in the current net neutrality debate) The Internet is already frozen in place... thus why we lost in the world wide lead in our infrastructure while countries that had significant choice and low barriers to entry for new information services companies took over our lead. Telecoms realize this and that is why they are forging ahead with the build out of bigger "pipes"... but they have already suffered a great deal in the court of public opinion.

This is an excellent discussion. I'm not a partisan (yet) in the net neutrality war, and it appears to me that both sides have good points to make. A few observations:
1) We are moving toward ubiquitous high speed networks, though a lot slower than if we actually had a real policy behind the goal of doing so. The network owners are not under any net neutrality constraints now, are they? Yet we're still way behind most of the industrialized world in deployment. Why is this?
2) At the core of the net neut debate is the question of how we will pay for the new networks -- through higher end-user charges, or through new charges to content providers? Wouldn't economists tell us that fixed costs should be recovered through fixed charges?
3) But isn't there a growing gap in the bandwidth needs of different content? If I want to download 10 movies a week in 10 seconds each, or do online gaming for hours, it seems reasonable that I should pay more for that than my neighbor who just wants to web surf and use email. And it makes sense that the content provider would charge me for the content and pay the network owner to deliver it.
4) But it seems clearly anti-competitive to allow discrimination by network owners in favor of their own content. With current technology, isn't there at least a whiff of natural monopoly in fiber networks? If so, net neut regulation may be about as light-handed as you can get.
5) So, doesn't it all come down to whether in fact we have effective competition in broadband? Until they come up with 1 gig wireless (and they will, won't they?)isn't the answer no?

Not a partisan?

read this and you will be

http://www.muniwireless.com/community/1023

If we start at today, I can understand the ILEC's argument... but I'm not willing to just let go of the 200 billion we already handed them.

Does anyone remember the travel industry deregulation. Your previouse blog seems to forget the computer and reservation bias that now causes considerable investment of time and effort. They rigged the system then and they are trying to rig it now.

Does anyone remember the travel industry deregulation. Your previouse blog seems to forget the computer and reservation bias that now causes considerable investment of time and effort. They rigged the system then and they are trying to rig it now.

Lost somewhere in this debate is the fundamental idea that public communications channels are public assets and not private. Traditionally, these assets have been managed to ensure the public's best interest, and not that of private entities already extracting monoply rents for their use. If a shift to privatization is to occur, then let it occur by encouraging innovations that serve the public. If telemedicine, distance learning, equal access to high-speed connectivity, community portals and e-government are best served by private sector management of these precious resources, then lets be on with it. If not, then lets stop this experiment now.

Regulation created this duopoly mess in the first place, with "common carrier" privileges. Do the Net Neutrality advocates not also remember how much the FCC is despised for censorship (e.g. "obscenity"), and regulatory capture of colors of light by the highest corporate bidder, not to mention the broadcast flag?!

Net Neutrality is just QoS by another means... by an even more bureaucratic committee than even the most blithe corporation.

Net Neutrality is almost as ridiculous as people who STILL complain about the spam "problem". Get a clue: install a naive Bayesian filter and you'll never see spam for the rest of your life.

Neither government regulation NOR tiered Internet are acceptable to the consumers. The solution is, and always has been, to OVERPROVISION THE NETWORK!

It's not consumers' fault if Verizon and Comcast made bad business plans and couldn't see the OBVIOUSNESS that customers will want ever more bandwidth unto infinity for flat-rate fees. It's only the complacency of privileged regulated businesses who could remain so obtuse to the market demands of customers.

If Verizon and Comcast can't afford to continue overprovisioning the network because of their own mis-management, we can all just buy GNUradio devices and use spread-spectrime WIRELESS to transfer P2P at speeds approaching gigabytes-per-second. Then we won't need upstream providers at all; we'll have wideband mesh networking.

http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuradio/
http://www.comsec.com/wiki?UniversalSoftwareRadioPeripheral

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/12/spectrum/

s/spread-spectrime/spread-spectrum

Additionally, that is we *could* all just buy GNUradio devices for wireless broadband mesh-networks, if the FCC didn't hand out MONOPOLIES on colors of light.

Leon:

You make a great point. (about overprovisioning of the network) That government regulation HAS to step in because businesses cannot be trusted to keep their contractual obligations is a symptom of a failed "free market" and our loss of integrity and ethics in the marketplace. I do not wish to cry over spilled milk, but we cannot just "sweep things under the rug" either.

Businesses which fail to fulfill their contractual obligations are not a "market failure", it's just plain fraud and fraud is already illegal.

Both tiered Internet AND Net Neutrality fail to meet the end-to-end principle (aka P2P), because they both rely on a centralized service for enforcement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-to-end_principle

The solution must be a technical/market one from END-USERS. For example, if everyone waving the banner of "Net Neutrality" today instead took the time to install an I2P proxy on their computer (or between their LAN and their upstream provider), the anonymization of packet pushing would render QoS (i.e. tiered Internet) unfeasible.

http://www.i2p.net/

The solution requires DIRECT ACTION.
Appeals to GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE IT WORSE.

I understand you wanting to push your idea of the i2p deal, but IMO that is just "swatting the flies instead of removing the crap"

Also, net neutrality does NOT fail to meet the P2P principle rather, it ensures that the points in between the end points are neutral and invisible. If net neutrality were not to exist... P2p would then become impossible (with the exception of "hiding" the data as you describe)

Re: Tom Baker
"net neutrality does NOT fail to meet the P2P principle rather, it ensures that the points in between the end points are neutral and invisible."


You are forgetting to include the FCC into this model of a network which includes "Net Neutrality". The FCC is a centralized locale of enforcement, as OPPOSED to a voluntary consensus among peers.

You're making the same fallacy as Maxwell's Daemon hypothesis:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell%27s_daemon

This is also the same failure with MAPS RBL and the so-called spam "problem". Again, the solution there is for everyone (who doesn't like spam) to install naive Bayesian filters in their mail user agent (MUA); *not* to pass legislation such as the CAN-SPAM Act.

To quote Brad Templeton:
"This [End-to-End] principle says that internet applications should work directly, from user to user, without requiring special smart gateways in the center of the network. End-to-end systems scale and foster innovation."

Innovation such as I2P, rather than government bureaucracy.

See also:
http://web.mit.edu/Saltzer/www/publications/endtoend/endtoend.txt

zuzu:

Take a step back from the argument for a second and look at what you propose. (thanks for the links by the way although Maxwells daemon does not apply)

we are not introducing a trap door... we are monitoring the path to make sure the door is not put in place.

You do not want government regulation (which I understand), but ultimately businesses cannot be trusted (and are not responsible for) doing what is in the best interest of society. There has to be an arbiter to help sift fiction (marketing) and spin (expensive dis-information campaigns) from truth and the public interest.

Again, I point to swatting the flies instead of removing the dung. If you would put YOUR energy into activisim instead of pimping your own product people would listen (I can tell by your well thought out explainations)

Tom:

1.) Maxwell's Daemon applies precisely because the argument hinges on how the hypothetical "demon" can sort out heat to reverse entropy. It's a cornerstone of information theory and computing, vis-a-vis thermodynamics. The metaphor fits because you propose to use the FCC as just such a demon for network management -- somehow only a part of the system for the "positive" aspects yet outside the system for the "negative" ones.

The point is that if you are modeling the Internet with Net Neutrality regulations in place, then the regulating body is henceforth part of the Internet infrastructure (by definition) and thus violates the End-to-End Principle.

2.) I am not "pimping my product". Software lacks the qualities necessary to honestly be referred to as a "product". Software is knowledge. Moreover, I2P specifically is Free Software / open-source licensed software. It's free (as in gratuity) to download and install, and it's free (as in liberty) to examine and improve.

I mention I2P because in an argument, when criticizing a course of action, it is often helpful and necessary to provide a VIABLE ALTERNATIVE, no matter how awful the original proposal.

Thus, I reference I2P as an alternative TECHNICAL solution to the QoS problem, which anyone can use RIGHT NOW, that DOESN'T violate the End-to-End Principle (as Net Neutrality does).

3.) Government cannot be trusted either. That's the Catch-22 of this situation. It's an argument of excluded middle to assert that the only options on the table are to accept censorship via QoS or begin regulating the Internet through the FCC. I have provided one example of a third option.

I have no formal affiliation with I2P, and I have no means to directly profit by it ala "follow the money". My investment in advocating for its use is to popularize a better solution than either censorship by megacorporations OR censorship by government will enact.

zuzu says:
The point is that if you are modeling the Internet with Net Neutrality regulations in place, then the regulating body is henceforth part of the Internet infrastructure (by definition) and thus violates the End-to-End Principle.

zuzu, the entire point is that THE END-TO-END PRINCIPLE IS ALREADY UNDER ATTACK. If the broadband companies can assert ownership of their infrastructure and leverage that with quality-of-service tweaks, they will kill end-to-end as surely as if it had never existed. That is the present danger. The ONLY means of regulating corporate behavior is via legislation. The FCC can make rules but in court those rules will fall unless backed by legislation. So we MUST have legislation that declares the sanctity of net neutrality in order to prevent the telecoms from taking over the U.S. Internet and ordering it to suit themselves (and that means, squeezing maximum profits from it).

Your I2P solution is moot; the broadband companies can simply deny your anonymized packets access to their networks, if net neutrality is not enforced. The issue here is not technology, it is rights. Do the telecoms own the Internet, or is it a public service?

I am a Lebanese researcher in Agricultural Engineering, working in the US. I am also an activist (through peaceful means), focussed on many issues including Lebanon's revival as a fair and modern society and also developing a robust organic farming systems, to use the world's natural resources more responsibly. As a Lebanese citizen i woudl like to emphasize that the free internet have been a safehaven from opressors in the middle east. It's been a platform for a Lebanese Patriotic Movement that eventually led to the exit of Syrian occupation forces from Lebanon. It's nowadays also the media for those who campaign against the senseless death of civilians in any country in the middle east. The same applied for causes related to Organic Farming. Through US NGO's and their website one can get informed on the political manipulations behind GMO's, and some legislations on organic farming standards designed to allow industrial farms to cut corners. I think the internet must remain free because that's what allowed it to end oppressive situations so far, and to bring the world's attention to injustices that must end.

Net Neutrality is a hard problem to solve. Really hard. Really, really hard. Politicians have little hope of even understanding the solution, let alone coming up with it. So, if it is such a hard problem, who can find a solution?

Well, it depends on what kind of solution you are looking for. Any solution by a company is going to be a solution to making as much money on the internet as possible. Talk of "free market pressures" and the like are just ways of making capatalism sound democratic.

We need a solution to the problem of how to provide an important (if not the MOST important) medium of communication to both providers and consumers of all sizes and incomes in an efficient and economically sound fashion. The only organizations in a position to be able to do this are non-profit organiztions with significant expertise in Internet technology. Organizations like W3C and IETF should form the core of a working group. A select few representatives from the business side and from orgs like FreePress.net and EFF should also be included to advocate for their interests.

The document such a group produces should be accepted by congress and the president without alteration of any kind. Because, frankly, they think the Internet is made of pipes.

The long winded and convoluted hyperbole of David Rich is exactly the type of verbage that has muddied the waters of this debate. Put simply, Huge Telecom companies on the Right backing wealthy Republican politicians want to control the internet, not to mention try to clean it up, ie force everyone to follow their morals. While liberal and citizen rights conscious organizations want to keep the internet open and free for all. As a little guy that puts me on the side of Net Neutrality. Personally I think the internet works great the way it is and should be left as it is, and if it takes the government to ensure that then so be it!

Some comments on what Alfred Kahn posted:

"What is unarguable is that airline deregulation has saved travelers billions of dollars annually and made air travel affordable for people with modest means, just as we intended."

What you apparently do not understand is that there are such things as beneficial regulations. As a good liberal Democrat, you should acknowledge that government has a duty to promote the public interest. That's at the core of Liberalism. Deregulation of the airline and trucking industries may have resulted in lower direct costs to the consumer, but indirect costs such as depressed wages for truckers and airline employees, relaxed enviromental standards and reduced competition (though mergers and acquisitions) have offset at least some if not all of that benefit. Deregulation cannot be proven to be a cure for all that ails.

In this case, the regulation in question (if I understand it correctly) is to require the telecom industry to carry communications traffic through their infrastructure without bias. The telecom industry naturally opposes this regulation as it would prevent them from establishing new services from which to extract rents on infrastructure already in existence, as well as infrastructure they might or might not create in the future. Let's be clear on that point: there is nothing I am aware of that prevents the telecom companies from setting up their tiered service and quality of service schemes on their existing infrastructure. There is nothing other than market demand that would cause them to improve their service.

The telecom companies' contention is that without the ability to extract these rents, there is no incentive for them to build the additional infrastructure necessary to deliver enhanced services. In other words, they are holding consumers at gunpoint and demanding increased rents in exchange for these services. If you don't pay more, you don't get the services.

But that's not all. They are also asking for the right to squash their competition by extracting rents from their competitors in order for those competitors' services to travel unhindered through their infrastructure. This clearly hinders competition, and deserves regulation on that basis. In this case, we are not requiring them to engage in a behavior or provide a service, we are requiring them to REFRAIN from engaging in anticompetitive behavior. So this is not like the regulation of the airline or trucking industries, as I see it, at all.

"Our premise—in opposition to reactionaries and to the indifference or scorn of radicals—was that wherever it is feasible, competition is a far better protector of the interest of both consumers and content providers (think radio, television, motion pictures and the Internet) than government ownership or regulation."

That's a great premise, if in fact competition exists. Failing to ensure Net Neutrality practically mandates that competition for provision of Internet services be reduced. In the absence of regulation, laissez-faire principles dictate that content providers must maximize their profits by all means necessary; that means reducing competition as well as increasing their own sales. In the case of the Internet, we have a situation where some of the largest content owners are also owners of the delivery services; much like when Standard Oil owned railroads and pipelines in the early 1900's. Deregulation of the telecom industry has encouraged concentration of ownership into fewer and fewer hands; and in the meantime local monopolies in cable and telephone service provision have all but eliminated competition in the delivery of services, even though there are still several service delivery companies in existence. Consumers have little or no choice when it comes to cable service or telephone-line based broadband Internet access.

In this environment, the ONLY guarantor of the consumer interest is government regulation. I think your own premise implies that. As good liberal Democrats we MUST use the power of government to regulate these delivery monopolies; otherwise the content providers who largely own them cannot help but leverage their power of ownership to their own advantage.

"It is unthinkable that the regulatory or antitrust agencies would not strike down any other such discrimination by the telephone or cable companies against competing providers of content in favor of their own."

It is not unthinkable to me. And it is similarly not unthinkable that the telecom companies might get legislation passed that AUTHORIZES them to provide quality of service "enhancements" and tiered pricing schemes for content providers despite their anticompetitive nature. This needs to be stopped NOW. There is a clear public interest in unbiased service provision. If the telecom industry is incapable of providing it economically, then perhaps the public sector should do so. I would have no objection to my tax dollars going towards provision of fiber or wireless access to every home in America.

"If Google and eBay depend upon the telephone and cable companies for reaching their audiences, that dependence is mutual: what would happen to the willingness of subscribers to sign up for DSL or cable modem service if one or the other of those suppliers decided not to carry Google or eBay?"

This demonstrates your unfortunate misunderstanding of the competitive realities in Internet service provision. I will say it again: for most consumers, there is NO choice of cable or telephone company for broadband service. I live in Richardson, Texas, located in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Richardson prides itself on its "telecom corridor" of global telecommunications companies that are based here or have major offices here. In Richardson, there is ONE cable access provider and ONE telephone broadband provider. If both of those providers elect to restrict access, you have NO alternative but to accept their restriction or do without the service.

"Why all the hysteria? There is nothing “liberal” about the government rushing in to regulate these wonderfully promising turbulent developments."

As I have explained, there is everything "liberal" about protecting competition and serving the public interest. The "hysteria" is in fact indignation of yet another handing over of resources that could serve the public interest to the vicissitudes of crass commercial concerns. Government regulation in the public interest is simply the only possible course of action with a realistic hope of retaining the vibrant, innovative character of the Internet and its role as the new public square.

What can I say? I'm an American citizen but I live abroad - in Europe. Considering that oligarchy is about to take over the US, and most people don't seem to mind the incursions on the US Constitution and what it originally stood for, well, perhaps that's the way the US is going. Turning the internet into a privately based privileged "highway" in the US isn't going to probably impact us much in Europe. Too bad for Americans who lose yet another freedom, but frankly, they don't seem to care all that much.

cheers,

ncm

Re: Rob Woodland
What you apparently do not understand is that there are such things as beneficial regulations.

What you apparently do not understand is that this is a lie. All regulations are ultimately subverted by corporations for their benefit. Here's how:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

It happened with the CAB (Pan-Am). It happened with the FDA (big pharma). It happened with the USDA (agribsuiness). And it happened with the FCC (mass-media).

The Internet is anarchy. It's the "wild west". If you don't understand this, please read:

* Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias edited by Peter Ludlow; ISBN 0262621517
* High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual issues in Cyberspace edited by Peter Ludlow; ISBN 0262621037


That's a great premise, if in fact competition exists.

I would not argue that perfect competition exists. But competition will necessarily exist as long as people have varied wants and Free Entry exists. Regulation of industry in all cases creates a barrier to entry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjective_theory_of_value


In Richardson, there is ONE cable access provider and ONE telephone broadband provider. If both of those providers elect to restrict access, you have NO alternative but to accept their restriction or do without the service.

But this rests on an assumption that this state of affiars always has been and always will be the case. Let us not forget that this duopoly was created in the first place because of government intervention through well-intended common carrier grants of monopoly. If private enterprise had to compete without government assistance "for the public good", the competitive market would be vastly more heterogeneous. Likewise, without government regulations of telecoms, we will see competitors offering "Net Neutral" alternatives to the "big boys" who instituted QoS.

For example, if QoS existed today and I didn't have the wherewithal to install I2P, I could pay one of the numerous Internet hosting companies to supply me with a shell account and 100GB/month of neutral bandwidth. You could then circumvent QoS between this hosted server and your residence as a proxy for neutral content access. Since you say you live in Texas, may I suggest EV1servers:

http://www.ev1servers.com/


Another possibility could be to use the eminent release of 802.11n wireless routers to create a mesh-network between you and geographically distant but competitive bandwidth providers. Again, for those lacking computer expertise, a competitive market will induce entrepreneurs to provide these for you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_mesh_network
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_community_network


My point remains that there are more and better ways to use market feedback to signal to the telecoms that QoS is not acceptable to its customers, than to appeal to government coercion -- which will become even more corrupt anyway.

Correction:
s/Woodland/Woodard

Sorry Rob! :-)

Re: Rob Woodard:
zuzu, the entire point is that THE END-TO-END PRINCIPLE IS ALREADY UNDER ATTACK.

So the solution is to kill it before they do? That doesn't solve the problem.


Your I2P solution is moot; the broadband companies can simply deny your anonymized packets access to their networks, if net neutrality is not enforced. The issue here is not technology, it is rights. Do the telecoms own the Internet, or is it a public service?

http://www.i2p.net/

Take a serious look at how it works. The packets appear as normal "browsing the web" packets. You couldn't filter these without filtering people's access to the WWW in general, and no one would pay for Internet access that doesn't include the Web.

The issue here is technology. The idea that the telecoms ever were or ever could be a collective public good is a dangerous myth!

It was that "common carrier" myth that created the duopoly. The End-to-End Principle explicitly states that the Internet consists of a private consensus network of peers.

Hmm, personaly, all I want is the ability to get whatever I want, on the net, Id be ticked if, I was trying to get to a certine page, and it was cencored due to some big company not makeing it accessable. Sure if it was a movie, or music, then one should have to pay. News access should be free, and direct communications. Like right now, I have dialup, and couldn't download a movie, Im mostly relegated to text, due connection speed. Point is Im already being left out, till they can get highspeed net connection out here, thats affordable as my dialup account. So companies are already pushing content that is basicly made for broadband only, forcing people like me to buy highspeed. Like I said, I want free raign on the net, if Im paying for the connection. If I need information to do something, no one has the right to block that. Its the 21st century, we don't need any more greed, or profiteering.

Correction:
It happened with the USDA (agribsuiness).

s/agribsuiness/agribusiness
(e.g. Monsanto, ConAgra, ADM, et. al.)


Re: Bushman:
Point is Im already being left out, till they can get highspeed net connection out here, thats affordable as my dialup account. So companies are already pushing content that is basicly made for broadband only, forcing people like me to buy highspeed.

But this is by your choice. According to opportunity cost and your personal hierarchy of values, you believe that spending your money on other things (including savings) is better for you than paying more for faster Internet access. If you didn't, you'd pay for faster access. In a world of scarcity, you cannot have your cake and eat it too, unfortunately.

However, more than 50% of people in the USA have access to "broadband" speeds of Internet. I myself pay $50/month for 15Mbps (download) and 2Mbps (upload). However, I don't subscribe to pay television. (Why should I, when I can download content ala carte, such as from the iTunes Store? or I wait until television seasons are released on DVD.)

No one is "forcing" you to pay for high speed, anymore than you're "forced" to pay for cable if you like to watch Daily Show on Comedy Central. You can choose not to watch, if you'd rather spend your money on other things.

Net neutrality is a false notion. The internet already has a slow and fast lane. The fastest portion of any network is that which is closest to you. There is no incentive for companies to invest in a faster public internet if they can't recoup their investment. If you think they have to use the public internet and therefore have to invest in it anyway you are wrong. There is enough money for them to simply build another completely private network where they own all the fast lanes and the slow ones.
I asked ebay who contacted me for support for net neutrality how much they have and plan to spend investing in a new faster internet that can support the new services that people want to use. They thanked me for my reply but of course didn't offer any answer because the amount is ZERO. They just like the large communications companies are simply trying to protect the bottom line. If we don't allow the big communications companies to recoup their investment in the public internet we will turn the public internet into the next US Post Service. OK for letters but call FedEx or UPS for your pacjages. The public internet will be ok for email but when you want something big like a movie or music you'll choose to use the private networks because they will perform much faster and more reliably. Consumers will choose them and so will businesses and then the public internet will die.

I've just watched the show.. Thanks for putting in all the time & research.. The WWweb is the one place where Americans can put their feelings forward any more, and that is way to important a thing to give to the big media companies & tell-cos.

Thanks again for the show. I hope most of America can view your program.

We must convince our legislators and all politicians that we will not tolerate the corruption of the internet, as they have allowed to occur to the public airwaves. This is the last chance for true open democracy that we have seen in this century or the last.

David L. Maron

Definately the network neutrality rules should stay in place and our government should REPRESENT the American people, not corporations and their interests. And what about the FCC? What are they doing? Folks, what will it take to regain a say in our government. I think we need to demand that our elected officials NOT TAKE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM LOBBIESTS. I am tired of the people that are supposed to be represent mine and my families interests being bought by corporations. I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!!!!

I am a little disappointed with your feature on network neutrality. You have Mark Cooper on there, why not someone from the other side of the argument. You ask him a very important question. Do the telecos not have the right to earn a return on investment? and he does not really answer the question. You miss some very big pieces of the argument. (1) what about all the voice revenues that Internet companies like Vonage and potentially even companies like Google are taking from the telephone companies? These are the revenues that the telecos used to earn their return on investment. Should they not find new ways to earn more money off their networks to make up for losses and to pay for all the billions of new network investment required to pay for all the upgrades required to bring more bandwidth into the local loop? and (2) is it fair that Companies like YouTube are chewing up all the bandwidth and are paying relatively very little for it, while making the owners rich with multi billion dollar valutions? Should not the Companies that are using all the bandwidth pay significantly more, as they may create massive bottenecks in the local access networks? Just wait until high definition video begins to be downloaded in massive quantiies. Who is going to pay for upgrading the network when all the bottlenecks occur? Shouldn't those that benefit the most? Your $25-40 per monthly DSL or cable modem fee will not likely generate enough revenue to justify the investments by the telecos, particularly if their voice revenues are going away. The answer is that there has to be a new commercial aggrement between those that own the networks, those that use the network, and content providers. The answer is not necessarily network neutrality law based on some censorship problem that does not even exist. There has to be a real conversation that takes into account everyones interests. It can't be just about bashing big telecos or cable and fear mongreing about censorship. It is a much more complicated issue.

We must convince our legislators and all politicians that we will not tolerate the corruption of the internet, as they have allowed to occur to the public airwaves. This is the last chance for true open democracy that we have seen in this century or the last.

By which you mean not allowing the FCC to regulate the Internet in the same way that they regulate colors of light for radio and television?

Again, please read The Myth of Interference to understand why the concept of "public airwaves" is misleading in the extreme. There is no scarcity on colors of light! (We're not running out of FM or UHF frequencies any more than we're running out of the colors blue and red.) The FCC serves no beneficial function.
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/12/spectrum/

We already pay to access the Internet. People and companies who have web sites already pay hosting companies to make their web sites accessible on the Internet. There is no reason for the telcos and cable companies to collect a toll.

The telcos and cable companies want to be able to censor those who criticize them, and many other corporations want them to be able to choke out their critics and small competitors.

Bush & company want to be able to silence political opposition.

It's easy to silence individuals, small nonprofits, and grassroots political groups if you make their web sites so slow as to be almost inaccessible.

Welcome to the corporate state.

Re: Phillip
is it fair that Companies like YouTube are chewing up all the bandwidth and are paying relatively very little for it

This argument from the "Hands Off the Internet" crowd (who quite likely are astroturfing), also rings false, however.

YouTube has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with their upstream provider, and almost certainly pay several times more per Mbps than residential users do, to which their provider has agreed to (or else they wouldn't provide access). In other words, the bandwidth provider for YouTube considers the arrangement as "both benefit" or else it would not happen. So stop spreading FUD that content providers aren't paying (enough) for bandwidth.

I do, however, certainly concur that this issue is far more complicated than shows such of this have communicated. (Though worthwhile that it has been discussed on-air at all!)

Thank you for your important show!! Tell me how I can help net netrality become the standard. We also need local radio. We must deconsolidate the air waves and all news media. I am often grateful to Moyers for his brave & ethical reporting. I was surprised and outraged that NPR was a participant in halving the local radio stations. Thank you for trying to restore democracy in our diseased country.

I did an analysis of Senate candidates' advertised positions regarding Net Neutrality. My discoveries are posted at
http://pagenotes.com/blogs/NetNeutrality.htm.

Then I went looking for a good way to donate to candidates in tight campaigns who actively support Net Neutrality. Since all but one of the candidates were Democrats, I settled for an Act Blue page:
http://www.actblue.com/page/savetheinternet

I encourage everyone to use these pages as tools for active support. I also invite constructive feedback in helping me maintain the accuracy and utililty of these pages.

A time-out error message of tomorrow: "This comment could not be posted because the user could not afford the bandwidth".

If you think by corruption I am speaking of bawdy language, you have taken too narrow a view - by corruption I mean the substitution of mind-numbing pap and endless commercials in lieu of thought and free speech.
Many thanks to Bill Moyers and PBS for this fine work
D.L. MARON

Is there a website that allows us to sign a petition that will be automatically faxed and emailed to our Congressmen? I've participated in these before, where I choose my State and sign the petition. This is a great way to get our viewpoints to them. Please post it here if you know of one.
Thanks,
JW in NC

Kathleen Gresham:
Bush & company want to be able to silence political opposition.

...because Bush & Co. couldn't merely subvert the FCC regulations vis-a-vis Net Neutrality for the same purpose?

Does no one else see the sad irony of "oh, the complicity between government and corporations is so thick, if only government could control everything even more!"???

Corporations are so powerful because government is so powerful. Government is the vehicle by which corporations dominate the public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_welfare

The Bill of Rights guarentees all Americans the Freedom of Speech. The Internet is one of the last places where this ideal is truly excercised. By imposing a fee on sites to place their data in the "fast lane" and leaving those who do not or cannot pay the fee in traffic they limit this right and so go against the Constitution.

All the blogs, MySpaces, and Live Journals on the Internet will be forced to pay this fee. Considering that many of these are run by independents, lone American citizens, it is reasonable to think that many cannot pay this fee. The flow of information and expression through these sites would be virtually halted. That is why legislation must be passed allowing for the survival of net neutrality. The survival of Freedom of Expression depends on it.

I can't think of anything more important at this time than net neutrality. It's a chance to add balance in an incredibe imbalance to access of information. The net is NOT just YOU TUBE. It is THE forum for ideas and thought. Few opportunities of this magnitude have ever been at stake. I really hope people GET it!!

I am a small brick and mortar business with an Internet presence. And...if the internet gets regulated by who can pay then it leaves all of us "mom and pops" out of the ability to become big business.
The opportunity to broaden our horizon is so important to all small businesses. Anyway we can keep our doors open is a blessing.
Do NOT make the internet the gateway only to those who have money.
Arlene

Zuzu,

There is no way that YouTube pays anywhere close to what is proportionally required to pay for all the bandwidth that that site is eating up. I think the argument is precisely that, to get YouTube to pay more for its SLA. If you do not what it to take +8 hours in the future to download a high definition movie, then who is going to pay for the upgrade of your local loop? Will the telecos with the limited revenue that they get from YouTube today, while losing their legacy voice revenues?

When/Where is the discussion between Mike McCurry and Ben Scott? I can't seem to find it...

Thanks for someone's help in advance.

Nico

Who do I contact and by what means (the internet, the phone - or the old fashioned way by horse and buggy) to support Net Neutrality?

There is a reason opponents of the demise of net neutrality are apocalyptic. When America's media and informations systems are in danger of
becoming an entirely controlled information system the most important guarantee of being an American is about to bite the dust. That in case you are wondering is freedom of speech. The consequences of this are far reaching. The American people are now subject to a controlled flow of information and are being lied to. (Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq anyone?) Fox network for example has completely discarded any concept of journalism to become a government propaganda, opinion control machine.
Yes, when Government and Big Money are in control of the US information network Americans will be highway robbed of a free information network.
It will be something like cable television 64 channels and nothing to watch. Don't forget the Bush administration has waged war on the internet. Ask yourself, why? It is not simply a monetary profit/loss question. It is a question of who will profit from putting blindfolds on the American people and who will lose their lives as a result.

Without net neutrality there will be no internet.

what if we had a site where we sign up for an issue. This site would be a flood site. If a bill or amendment was being rushed through congress the site would flood congress with all the written opinion. Therefore we would not have to monitor or be somewhere else and not get the message this is happening, could represent you?

I worked in the Tel-com Industry for over a decade. And one thing I would expect everyone to know is that they have no interest in community Service, or The safeguard of Democracy. Like most Corporate
Giants they are only interested in sqashing competition, and making the highest profit possibly. The FCC is biased towards Big Money or Corporate Power, take your pick. These are the folks that are placed there to protect the citizens from the Monopoly's. That want to Control internet spead and content. Get active or loose what you take for granted.

SavetheInternet.com has links to information about the senators & congressmen in all the districts so that people can contact them urging them to support Net Neutrality.

In response to Zuzu's question, the telcos should be expected to pay for the broadband upgrades for which they were given the tax credits 10 years ago. Unlimited profits over the last decade have enabled AT&T (my ISP) to purchase Bell South for $17 billion - that's a substantial amount of money that should have been spent on giving me my improved service, not reinstating its former status as Ma Bell.

This is a class issue as well. Worldwide the haves and have nots will be further tiered by the continueed monopolization of media.

And if you think that control, both commercial and political isn't an issue consider this:In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme. How did I know that? Yes, free access to information and organizations on the Internet.
Moyers and company did it again, letting us know the danger that lurks.
Now it's in our court. Get out there and call your rep, email friends, have them watch repeats of the show, attend a FCC hearing in your area if possible. And watch out for that lame duck session.

The FCC (and the FDA for that matter) and questionable government tactics..... So many lobbyists and so many lawyers getting rich from the many "big bullys". There needs to be a change to get things moving. Just wish I had the answer.


what if we had a site where we sign up for an issue. This site would be a flood site. If a bill or amendment was being rushed through congress the site would flood congress with all the written opinion. Therefore we would not have to monitor or be somewhere else and not get the message this is happening, could represent you?

THERE IS ITS CALLED SAVETHEINTERNET.ORG

Net Neutralily should be the only way the system continues. The principle guiding it should be freedom from the restricitons of big business. The Internet founder saw it as a system where each person would have complete access and no one bigger would deterimine what and when you see it. To allow this to change now is unethical.

No, no this is my response. It was put under someone else's name:

This is a class issue as well. Worldwide the haves and have nots will be further tiered by the continueed monopolization of media.

And if you think that control, both commercial and political isn't an issue consider this:In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme. How did I know that? Yes, free access to information and organizations on the Internet.
Moyers and company did it again, letting us know the danger that lurks.
Now it's in our court. Get out there and call your rep, email friends, have them watch repeats of the show, attend a FCC hearing in your area if possible. And watch out for that lame duck session.

Who paid for the superior infrastructure and internet connections found in the 10 or so countries of the world whose connections are so much faster than our own? Do they have net neutrality? If so is it guaranteed, and by whom?

zuzu, Im comfortable with the 49 bucks a month for highspeed, and Qwest has it for 21.95, we still have to pay for the installation of infastructure, we don't even have cable access. But we do have wireless LAN available, it finaly made it up to our area. Its 149.00 + whatever routers and recivers/transmiters. Thats a big cost, and then end up not getting access to what you want unless you have a credit card. It wouldn't be right if we had to pay to see Hubble pictures, although I supose we wouldn't have to pay for .gov addresses. :}

Phillip:
There is no way that YouTube pays anywhere close to what is proportionally required to pay for all the bandwidth that that site is eating up.

WTF does "proportionally required to pay" mean?! YouTube has an SLA, the upstream provider agrees with that contract, both YouTube and their ISP win. Where's the problem?


I think the argument is precisely that, to get YouTube to pay more for its SLA. If you do not what it to take +8 hours in the future to download a high definition movie, then who is going to pay for the upgrade of your local loop?

How about the people on the local loop? I pay 5x more now for FTTC than I did for dial-up.

Nevermind the fact that it's not my job to tell Verizon and Comcast how to have a sustainable business model. They knew from the outset of providing Internet access that all customers are starving for ever more bandwidth. The need to lay fiber was known to them since 1996 (when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed -- a decade ago!). What ever happened to all that "dark fiber"? Where is it now?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_fiber


Will the telecos with the limited revenue that they get from YouTube today, while losing their legacy voice revenues?

Maybe that means the telcos will fail as an enterprise, and competitive businesses who can implement sustainable business models will take their place. Either way, as long as customers get what they want without government interference.

There is a reason opponents of the demise of net neutrality are apocalyptic. When America's media and informations systems are in danger of
becoming an entirely controlled information system the most important guarantee of being an American is about to bite the dust. That in case you are wondering is freedom of speech. The consequences of this are far reaching. The American people are now subject to a controlled flow of information and are being lied to. (Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq anyone?) Fox network for example has completely discarded any concept of journalism to become a government propaganda, opinion control machine.
Yes, when Government and Big Money are in control of the US information network Americans will be highway robbed of a free information network.
It will be something like cable television 64 channels and nothing to watch. Don't forget the Bush administration has waged war on the internet. Ask yourself, why? It is not simply a monetary profit/loss question. It is a question of who will profit from putting blindfolds on the American people and who will lose their lives as a result.

There is a reason opponents of the demise of net neutrality are apocalyptic. When America's media and informations systems are in danger of
becoming an entirely controlled information system the most important guarantee of being an American is about to bite the dust. That in case you are wondering is freedom of speech. The consequences of this are far reaching. The American people are now subject to a controlled flow of information and are being lied to. (Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq anyone?) Fox network for example has completely discarded any concept of journalism to become a government propaganda, opinion control machine.
Yes, when Government and Big Money are in control of the US information network Americans will be highway robbed of a free information network.
It will be something like cable television 64 channels and nothing to watch. Don't forget the Bush administration has waged war on the internet. Ask yourself, why? It is not simply a monetary profit/loss question. It is a question of who will profit from putting blindfolds on the American people and who will lose their lives as a result.

Just want to make sure you all know that there's a live discussion going on right now with Mike McCurry of Hands off the Internet and Ben Scott of Save The Internet representing both sides of the debate - http://www.pbs.org/moyers/citizensclass/2006/10/post.html

So get your questions in there!

"Who do I contact and by what means (the internet, the phone - or the old fashioned way by horse and buggy) to support Net Neutrality?"

Try this:

http://action.freepress.net/ct/LdsaLDp1LcKN/



Let us please remember the intent of the Declaration of Independence,



"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the GOVERNED, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their SAFETY and HAPPINESS."

--Declaration of Independence, 1776--

Excerpted from:
http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2003/03/12/spectrum/index.html

David Reed is many things, but crackpot is not one of them. He was a professor of computer science at MIT, then chief scientist at Software Arts during its VisiCalc days, and then the chief scientist at Lotus during its 1-2-3 days. But he is probably best known as a coauthor of the paper that got the Internet's architecture right: " End-to-End Arguments in System Design. "

http://www.reed.com/papers/endtoend.html


"Interference is a metaphor that paints an old limitation of technology as a fact of nature." So says David P. Reed, electrical engineer, computer scientist, and one of the architects of the Internet. If he's right, then spectrum isn't a resource to be divvied up like gold or parceled out like land. It's not even a set of pipes with their capacity limited by how wide they are or an aerial highway with white lines to maintain order.

Spectrum is more like the colors of the rainbow, including the ones our eyes can't discern. Says Reed: "There's no scarcity of spectrum any more than there's a scarcity of the color green. We could instantly hook up to the Internet everyone who can pick up a radio signal, and they could pump through as many bits as they could ever want. We'd go from an economy of digital scarcity to an economy of digital abundance."

So throw out the rulebook on what should be regulated and what shouldn't. Rethink completely the role of the Federal Communications Commission in deciding who gets allocated what. If Reed is right, nearly a century of government policy on how to best administer the airwaves needs to be reconfigured, from the bottom up.

I just sent the following blurb (compiled from http://action.freepress.net/campaign/savethenet) to my NC Senators, as well as to my district Rep. Price via Congress.org (http://www.congress.org). You enter your zipcode, then click through to send them your message.

"Save Network Neutrality:
Please act immediately to save the Internet. Congress must preserve a free and open Internet. Please vote for enforceable network neutrality and keep tollbooths, gatekeepers, and discrimination off my Internet.

I urge N.C. Congressmen (and woman) to protect Net Neutrality, which prevents the largest phone and cable companies from controlling the Internet. *VOTE NO* on Senator Stevens' telecommunications bill (H.R. 5252 / S. 2686) unless real Net Neutrality language is added that prohibits network operators from discriminating against content and creating a tiered Internet."


JW in Cary

zuzu

Of course YouTube pays to get on the Internet, but that is not the problem. The problem is that their site is creating bottlenecks in the last mile, which is what is required to be upgraded. The idea is to get them to pay more to justify more investment in the local loop. Sure consumers can also pay more as you do for FTTC, but the idea is that it is not only the consumer that pay, but also the content providers who benefit from all the network upgrades.

The telecos or cable companies will not fail they just will not be able to invest in the network.

I don't think that in 1996 anyone saw the potential loss in legacy revenues from VoIP. And the reason there is no fiber to every house is that these companies at the time could not justify the investment. Verizon has made the bet, but it is being heavily debated right now if they are going to earn a return on their massive investment without new sources of revenue.

There really is a very simple solution to all the fear about censorship. Why don't you just take your tax dollars and privatize the network infrastructure,like the roads and highways. Then you can have a commons that everyone can then say they have the right to use for what they want as much as possilble for very little cost. Tax payers can also continuous pay to upgrade the network. Perfect solution, but I am not sure what happens to innovation in this system.

I cannot but wonder how did the telecom companies finance the intercontinental fiber optic links that made the job outsourcing possible ?! I have serious doubts that India and China were major contributors. But they are not the only beneficiaries of that kind of investment. Big corporations were then able to ... cut costs by empowering people on other continents to the detriment of the local guy. Thus the score became Corporate America 1 - American Public 0.

So, we're off to the races, competing with more briliant minds accross the globe. Great! Competition is a very good thing, because it forces (that's why we don't like it) us to be creative in order to succeed.

If the telecoms are having their way with the FCC and the Congress, access to the internet resources that allow you to put up a decent fight against a competition that they created in the first place, will become more difficult. Thus the score could become Corporate America 2 - American Public (-1).

Stay informed, stay awake!

more FUD from zuzu:
"What you apparently do not understand is that this is a lie. All regulations are ultimately subverted by corporations for their benefit. Here's how:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture"

But this isn't a case of "regulatory capture;" it is an attempt at LEGISLATION by CONGRESS, not a regulatory organization like the FCC, to prevent anti-competitive behavior on the part of the big telecom companies. While FCC regulations would be nice, they are not as immutable as a law on the books.

"The Internet is anarchy. It's the "wild west"."

So? Unlike the Wild West, there are not gangs of outlaws terrorizing the citizenry. I don't understand your point, nor do I see how this relates to net neutrality.

:I would not argue that perfect competition exists."

That's good, because as I have explained, it does not exist here.

"But competition will necessarily exist as long as people have varied wants and Free Entry exists. Regulation of industry in all cases creates a barrier to entry."

Not in this case. Enforcement of net neutrality does not create a barrier to entry to anything. It merely prevents access providers from extracting additional rents from content providers and picking and choosing which content providers will get preferential treatment. You can't sit there and tell me that Time/Warner is not going to enjoy an advantage in delivering the content they themselves create over that of some third party. And as an end-user with no competitive choices of service provider, I cannot use my market power to force them to compete fairly. The two go hand-in-hand; the lack of competition at the delivery end means that without net neutrality, there is no "free entry" in content provision. You are hoist on your own petard, my friend.

"But this rests on an assumption that this state of affiars [lack of competition in access provision] always has been and always will be the case."

Oh please. I have lived in Richardson for over 8 years, through the heights of the internet boom and the depths of the telecom bust. NOTHING has changed in that time. Sure, it could all change tomorrow; but I'm not holding my breath. And as long as the law allows broadband service providers to negotiate exclusive service provision contracts with cities, it will NOT change. I can't do very much about the lack of competition; but I can fight hard to save net neutrality.

"Likewise, without government regulations of telecoms, we will see competitors offering "Net Neutral" alternatives to the "big boys" who instituted QoS."

Oh really? Well, there is only ONE cable wire going to my house, and it's owned by Time/Warner. I don't see them letting another company use that wire anytime soon. So please explain to me how I will be able to connect to this new competitor.

"I could pay one of the numerous Internet hosting companies to supply me with a shell account and 100GB/month of neutral bandwidth. You could then circumvent QoS between this hosted server and your residence as a proxy for neutral content access."

In other words, I could pay Time/Warner for access to the Internet so I could get to my nifty new shell account, and then pay AGAIN for neutral access. That's much better than the current situation, where I just pay Time/Warner and they give me neutral access. Brilliant!

"My point remains that there are more and better ways to use market feedback to signal to the telecoms that QoS is not acceptable to its customers, than to appeal to government coercion"

And my point remains that the access providers will simply ignore my market feedback, because since they have a monopoly on my access I in fact have no market feedback to provide.

I don't think you've thought this through very well.

Adrian:
made the job outsourcing possible ?!

I'm really really disgusted by the jingoist xenophobia that's coming from both the religious right and the labor union left.


Manuel Castells, a sociologist, complains that “elites are cosmopolitan, people are local”. Samuel Huntington, a political scientist, argues that “ a major gap is growing in America between its increasingly denationalised elites and its ‘thank God for America' public.” On American television personalities such as Lou Dobbs and Bill O'Reilly beat the populist drum against those cosmopolitan elites.

Source: http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_SJGTJGN

Rob Woodard:
I don't understand your point,

My point is stop bringing the G-men onto the otherwise anarchistic Internet!!!


And as an end-user with no competitive choices of service provider,

Repeal the "common carrier" status and you will see droves of entrepreneurs trying to compete for your benefit.


Well, there is only ONE cable wire going to my house, and it's owned by Time/Warner. I don't see them letting another company use that wire anytime soon. So please explain to me how I will be able to connect to this new competitor.

Gee, how about a second wire?

Or wireless mesh-networking, or ultra-wide band wireless...


I could pay Time/Warner for access to the Internet so I could get to my nifty new shell account, and then pay AGAIN for neutral access.

If the total cost is the same, what's the difference?


Or, and I know this may sound strange, you could move to somewhere else that has more choices! (You don't see people in Texas complaining that they cannot see Niagra Falls from their back yard, do you?)


because since they have a monopoly on my access I in fact have no market feedback to provide.

Ask aloud the diagnostic question of how did they get a monopoly in the first place?

Phillip:
Sure consumers can also pay more as you do for FTTC, but the idea is that it is not only the consumer that pay, but also the content providers who benefit from all the network upgrades.

This puts the cart before the horse. People don't visit YouTube to benefit YouTube, people visit YouTube because they like it -- they benefit themselves!

So, I don't see what all the fuss is about people paying more so that they can download terabytes of information every month.


If Verizon's FiOS offered 100Mbps up and down, which could then support IPTV from anyone anywhere in the world, I bet most current customers would pay $100-150/month for that. Hell, Comcast's opening price is $100/month.

There's no technical reason why if Verizon is investing in laying fiber, they couldn't do it with the expectation of 100Mbps or even 1000Mbps to every household. That's basically what UTOPIA did.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Telecommunication_Open_Infrastructure_Agency

This is what I mean by overprovisioning the network.

every person on the planet has the right to seek out and find the truth about that which is important to them. the internet, for the first time in history has made it possible for the uneducated to save themselves from those that would otherwise obstruct the knowledge they seek.

this is a gift everyone has the right to and the importance of which can not be overstated.

Shawn Clarkson:

With vague truisms like that, you have the makings of a politician!

Lest we forget, capitalism and democracy aren't synonyms.

I just left www.savetheinternet.com

The Senate tracker which shows us how they plan to vote is as follows:
For 29
Against 14
Waffling 4
Unknown 53

I am curious to know how that will change after Mr. Moyer's on America broadcast fallout. I started making calls 15 minutes after watching it on TV.

Since this is such a clear issue, I was able to go back and see who the 29 that voted for are. Reading their views restored some of my faith in politics....

As to the 14 who voted against? Well it puts them in another category!
And, at least now we know who they are and can weed them out!

Thank you PBS for all that you do.


Challen:
Lest we forget, capitalism and democracy aren't synonyms.

Lest we forget, the Founding Fathers didn't seek democracy they sought Liberty!

if, as a web site owner, i buy hosting services for my site, and sufficient bandwith to handle the types of content i post on my site, why should i have to pay extra to speedily provide that content to the audience who ALSO pays for access to the 'net so they can click into my site? why is the speedy delivery of my content a THIRD charge that the 'net gatekeepers get to levy, into the bargain squeezing out anyone who can't pony up the third charge for speedy delivery on a really busy site?
i do have a little site. it has a bunch of still pictures on it at present. maybe some day my son's movies will be on there. maybe my own. i don't ever expect to be able to pay premium surcharges for high-speed delivery.
i do have dsl (need it for my work) but not everyone does. still, i'd like to think that anyone with broadband could access my site to see what i have to share or say about things i care to comment on.
it would be very easy to shut me up. just charge me extra. i'm already maxed out.
someone above here said something about newspapers charging for advertising, higher fees for larger ads, somehow suggesting that the metaphor extends to charging for higher speed delivery. not so. the thinking there is muddled.
consider: right now, web sites pay for additional bandwith (much like "larger ads")-- more people clicking in, more content going out -- but they don't pay extra for speed. "bigger ad" newspaper advertisers don't pay for their papers to be delivered faster, either. once the ad's in the paper, it gets delivered just as fast for the big ads as for the little ads. that's the metaphor that counts -- you paid for your ad to go out -- big or little -- so it goes out, at the same time, same speed, as all the other ads.

see?

I find it hard to understand how limiting access or censorship by commercial entities can be looked at as anything less than limiting free speech and a promotion of a monopoly. The constitution also “protects the right to assembly”. If the Internet is the medium that millions of us use to assemble and share our free speech, how could these limitations on equal access be consistent with constitutional rights and serve the public interest?



Small businesses will suffer, if big corporate competitors can afford to pay for the "fast lane," and they cannot. The Internet leveled the playing field, which is critical to a "free and open market" as promised by Congress in the Small Business Act.



What good is a government that ignores the best interests of its people? What good is a government that does not keep its promises like the promise made by Congress to Small Businesses, through the Small Business Act, in which small businesses were promised a "free and open market." A small business cannot grow without a "free and open market" and the threat to Net Neutrality would erase the last ray of hope against large conglomerate competitors.



What good are federal "watchdogs" that act like corporate "lapdogs?"



Conglomerate corporations and federal agencies do not fear the dissent of the people, it's time to change this!



They must be made accountable for their actions. They must answer to us for the wrong they are still scrambling to do.



Comcast's telephone service blocks calls to Qwest's DSL sales office!

Comcast's high speed internet service increases its packet latency inproportion to the number of open TCP connections you have! Simply run Bittorrent or Azureus and see ALL of your traffic slow down to 5000 millisecond response, but with no loss. This implies sophistication, and can only be deliberate. You may pay for 4 megabits, but you'll only get 500 kilobits.

In other words, we DO have a problem today. Some form of regulation should be imposed. We can't have ISP's deciding what phone numbers I can call, which they really are currently doing.

Please act immediately to save the internet. If for no other reason than to consider it your last cry for hope in an attempt for maintaining the survival of democracy that is left in this country.

Re: zuzu, "the jingoist xenophobia"

I do understand that outsourcing is a sensitive issue. This might explain why you missed my point in the second paragraph where I thought was praising the open competition.

My point was to keep it open, hence the net neutrality, as opposed to a telecom-gated and content-controlled version.

Stop for a moment and think about this: without the net neutrality, this discussion would not even take place.

I find it odd that a publicly funded broadcast uses proprietary file formats to deliver their FREE content.

Given the subject of the show I would have hoped the PBS would be offering their FREE videos in a standard MPEG format which would allow the user to decide what player they wish to use.

Given the two choices of REAL or MS Media player is like given a choice between a punch in the gut or a poke in the eye.

Software and content companies have been using proprietary file formats that require their proprietary players for years trying to lock users in to "their" products. PBS should NOT be in the business to feed this shading practice and should be presenting every stitch of their PUBLICALLY FUNDED material using open, non-proprietary and free products, file formats, etc.

mliving:
I find it odd that a publicly funded broadcast uses proprietary file formats to deliver their FREE content.

Hear! Hear!

I have always found this to be a bitter irony as well!

If the videos were encoded in MPEG-4, it's an open format that anyone can implement, and everyone who has Quicktime installed can play.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuickTime

Why PBS chooses to continue using proprietary Real format is an exercise in hipocricy.

Adrian:
Stop for a moment and think about this: without the net neutrality, this discussion would not even take place.

Without the FCC, it could be taking place at broadband speeds, essentially free, for everyone.


http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/12/spectrum/

David Reed is many things, but crackpot is not one of them. He was a professor of computer science at MIT, then chief scientist at Software Arts during its VisiCalc days, and then the chief scientist at Lotus during its 1-2-3 days. But he is probably best known as a coauthor of the paper that got the Internet's architecture right: " End-to-End Arguments in System Design. "

Says Reed: "There's no scarcity of spectrum any more than there's a scarcity of the color green. We could instantly hook up to the Internet everyone who can pick up a radio signal, and they could pump through as many bits as they could ever want. We'd go from an economy of digital scarcity to an economy of digital abundance."

I had no idea this was going on and I think we need to urgently act as Americans on this issue.To the point that maybe even an urgent session should be called to not only to protect this highway and declare it a strategic national resource, but to place it firmly under Federal protection. Surely I'm not the only person in this country that can see the future of a true democracy in America where people will actually be able to participate in our government affairs. It should be just like the national highway act. Not to mention the social impact of a free and government provided system where all can have access to an education. The benefits are so overwelming that I am appalled that our government listens to corporations who have no citizenship or voting rights...Proof that our Government is of Corporations, by Corporations for Corporations. I see this debate as evil capitalism verses a free democracy. For God's and America's sake. Get this word out quickly! It is far more important right now than a war we got ourselves into based on speculation that "Something might happen in the future"

The internet was created by the free speech movment from the college communication net by independent inventers.

If the goverment and telcoms would stay out of the way and not mess up free enterprise- then who knows where we can be in the future.

We can compete if the goverment regulators would stay out of the way and not create restrictions

There has been wars on this very topic. Freedom. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to help make the ideals, virtues and characteristics that the word "freedom" exposes a reality for us all. We have dedicated the symbol of the eagle as display on our money and on our government to represent the symbolic thing we as Americans hold dear, freedom. I would continue to further say the Internet too, is the other symbol of the American Eagle that is currently being threatened by the profits of cable and phone companies with a two tier system. As Americans, the Internet is the last feather of freedom that we really cannot afford to lose.

Someone has to pay for maintaining the high-speed experience online. The more bandwidth-hungry the download, the more robust the network needs to be -- and that takes money. If a shipping company wanted to drive a six-lane-wide truck down a four-lane highway, would we ask every taxpayer to pay for adding two more lanes, to prevent traffic jams, or would we expect the shipping company to pony up for at least part (if not all) of the expense? This is not rocket science -- it's a logical, fundamental debate. Freedom of speech is already guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. What's not guaranteed is the right to drive a six-lane-wide truck down a four-lane highway.

The internet was actually created by the US military.

The companies controlling the physical lines are looking to increase revenue. They are seeing the money made by Ebay, Skype, Google, and other service providers and are looking to get a piece of the pie. As such they would like to charge more for select services that user currently get for free with their internet connection. In addition, the US government has already provided funding to the phone and cable companies for upgrading the infrastructure. Several of the companies have not meet the requirements for receiving this funding. Why should the average citizen pay more for their existing services? Why should these companies be rewarded for not meeting their current obligations?

To Pete Abel:

I pay for my ISP. I pay for my phone line. If I call and order a pizza from Domino's I don't want my phone company slowing down my call or directing it to Pizza Hut. Neither do I want my ISP to alter my choices online. If they need more money to operate - raise my ISP charge. Otherwise leave me alone.

I have been trying to determine what should be done with the concept of common carrier. Common carriers are really services, but can look like products. Microsoft has gotten into trouble over this. Because Windows, the operating system of Microsoft, is needed to run many software products, if Windows suddenly vanished, the software products could not work at all. This would be as if the government demolished all roads. Your car still exists, but you can't go anywhere. Due to requirements of software and patents on how the underlying software works, the software cannot compete on other systems.

Some problems have been solved with open standards. The internet can travel over different kinds of carriers and software for Windows can run on other systems with API emulation software, such as WINE (http://www.winehq.com/).

Frank Suarez:
I think the key phrase you're looking for is "resource dependency". You might also find of tangential interest, "asset specificity".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_%28project_management%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset_specificity

Pete Abel said: Someone has to pay for maintaining the high-speed experience online. >>>

Oh, please ... someone does! We all do. And the Web sites pay based on how much bandwidth they use. But they all get to download as fast as technology will let them, if the user at the other end PAYS for a high speed connection.
If I get the issue correctly, it's not bandwidth they want to parcel out to the highest bidder, it's the technology of delivery -- getting faster and better almost by the minute. We are already charged more money for more bandwidth. Now they want to use "old slow" technology for some of us. Make us drive Model T's on the highway unless we pay an extra toll to bring Mack Trucks on.

Pete said: ... Freedom of speech is already guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. What's not guaranteed is the right to drive a six-lane-wide truck down a four-lane highway. >>>

First of all, our money was used to design and create the highway, no matter how many lanes it has. I resent turning it over to private companies to reap now what public seed money has sowed. Yes, private money is taking it farther, but that doesn't negate who ponied up to make it happen in the first place. We have a stake, this is infrastructure that our entire culture and economy is now based on, and it's not up to private corporations to run it without some limitations placed there by US.
You can bet the company with the fat trucks will try to get public money to subsidize wider roads, claiming the economy requires use of fat trucks, so if we want the jobs, the goods, the money to circulate, we'd better pay for the wide roads. Corporations are NEVER too shy to go to the public trough. They do it all the time.
I think they should have to pay back, not just to their shareholders, but to the culture and society that gives rise to them.
It ain't rocket science. If I have a car, I get to drive it on the road just as fast as the speedlimit allows, same as everybody else. Nobody tells me I have to ride in a horse-drawn buggy unless I pay extra -- and nobody tells me the road belongs to a private company, and I can't get on and off whichever exit I choose, but must go where they point me.
Regulations aren't bad things. Some regulations are good things. Notice how we all drive on the right side of the road, and don't go the wrong way on one way streets. Notice how the ingredients are printed on our food so we don't accidentally eat peanuts if we're allergic to them. Notice a hell of a lot of regulations that serve us well. We need a regulation (a LAW), that says the Internet must be considered public infrastructure, and be treated like common carrier, and can't discriminate.
We need that.

Can someone explain the "wisdom" off allowing the Internet network providers - i.e., the owners of the "last mile" - in the Internet content business? That in itself is an inherent conflict. And I believe one can find numerous economic studies to support that thesis. In other words, Verizon can supply the network but it cannot also be involved in the provision of what travels on that network.

pat goudey obrien:
Regulations aren't bad things. Some regulations are good things. Notice how we all drive on the right side of the road, and don't go the wrong way on one way streets.

But we all speed. :-)

People drive on one side of the road or the other because of consensus (and private desire to actually get somewhere without smashing our cars), not because we're told to.

Derek Denmark:
Can someone explain the "wisdom" off allowing the Internet network providers - i.e., the owners of the "last mile" - in the Internet content business? That in itself is an inherent conflict

You've framed the question backwards. We the people do not seek government permission to earn a living, we demand government have some extraordinarily compelling reason to deny us.

I agree a conflict of interest exists as you've described, from a consumer perspective. However, the question that must also be asked: What barriers to entry exist for 3rd parties competing with cable and phone companies for providing the "last mile"?

We cannot assume that only these two institutions will be the only ones able to bring a wire (or wireless) to your home.

Ah, zuzu, I thought I'd get a rise out of someone. Ironically since posting that comment I happened upon an expose' discussing Russia's progression toward becoming a "corporate state". As I was listening it occurred to me that they could just as well have been describing the US. Has anyone listened to the radio lately? Is there anyone reading this post willing to step up to the plate and champion Clear Channel's contribution to American culture? Free press my ass! Obligations are a two way street when lobbying in Washington. I agree that legislation is problematic. Who's gonna police the police-the FCC has standards comparable to FEMA. But at least legislation would open up the judiciary.

Challen:
Lest we forget, capitalism and democracy aren't synonyms.

zuzu:
Lest we forget, the Founding Fathers didn't seek democracy they sought Liberty!

challen:
Ah, zuzu, I thought I'd get a rise out of someone.

Mostly I hope that the "liberals" and the "Left" will wake up and pay attention to the way Bush & Co. and mass-media throw around the word "democracy" as if it's something one cannot argue against. If you are "liberal" as in seeking liberty, I dare you to challenge this meme of "democracy" and respond with LIBERTY!


Who's gonna police the police-the FCC

We must scrap the FCC now!
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/12/spectrum/

The problem isn't with the radio waves. It's with the receivers: "Interference cannot be defined as a meaningful concept until a receiver tries to separate the signal. It's the processing that gets confused, and the confusion is highly specific to the particular detector," Reed says. Interference isn't a fact of nature. It's an artifact of particular technologies. This should be obvious to anyone who has upgraded a radio receiver and discovered that the interference has gone away: The signal hasn't changed, so it has to be the processing of the signal that's improved. The interference was in the eye of the beholder all along. Or, as Reed says, "Interference is what we call the information that a particular receiver is unable to separate."

But, Reed says, "I can't sign on to 'It's the receiver, stupid.'" We have stupid radios not because we haven't figured out how to make them smart but because there's been little reason to make them smart. They're designed to expect signal to be whatever comes in on a particular frequency, and noise to be everything on other frequencies. "The problem is more complex than just making smart radios, because some of the techniques for un-confusing the receiver are best implemented at the transmitter, or in a network of cooperating transmitters and receivers. It's not simply the radios. It's the systems architecture, stupid!"

Please don't forget that we have a large national debt, and that growth has always been the way to eliminate debt (as in the growth of tech in the 90's), or growing our way out as they say. Most growth still takes place in the tech industry, and not large IBM like companies, but in start-ups-like-google. Therefor, the idea of making big companies huge amounts to national economic suicide, by killing the goose that layed the golden egg (so to speak) making debt recovery unlikely, and recession likely. If this legislation goes through it may be a good idea to hold a lot of cash (CD's) which is likely to inflate. Remember that advances in fuel cell technology stands poised to knock the stuffings out of 40% of the oil market, so that sector is no help.

I'm pretty sure we should be spending our time getting the hobos off the street instead of posting on this site, or, starting up a restaurant chain that doesn't charge excessively huge amounts of cash for food.

Peace out.

The problem is we have all 'peaced out' when it comes to government corruption and complicity with furthering the grasp of big business and standing idly by...by not being involved, accepting the deplorable quality of network 'news' (ie: pretty talking heads talking in sound bytes about real news and in-depth about Hollywood figures for example) we have earned the government and big business we've got.

One definition of fascism is the collusion between government and corporations to control and restrain the populace for maximum benefit of the (you guessed it) corporations and the government. We have moved more and more in that direction in the last 30 years.

"Oh, but we can vote to change that, so it isn't like fascism...", you might say- can we really? Does it really make any difference who we vote for- Democrat or Republican? Has either party had a significant POSITIVE effect on out of control health-care costs, anti-trust issues, taxation, envronment, corporate fraud and theft from employees, or freedom of speech and debate in the last 20 years? Under fascism one can usually vote, but it really doesn't matter- the outcome is the same. Sounds a lot like America today to me.

The Internet is far from the only issue, but it is important NOW- while a lame duck Congress with nothing to lose seems intent on giving away what has created the best platform for unfettered access free speech, open debate and free market forum ever known to mankind. We need open access to identify and solve problems as well as to keep a close rein on what our elected representatives are giving away without our knowledge and consent. Well, not exactly 'giving away'- more like trading it for massive campaign contributions and otherwise lining their pockets.

We have an opportunity to wake up and and stand together to ensure our representatives are working for our benefit rather than allowing their votes to be bought by insanely greedy corporations and special interests. One battle at a time, today's being Net Neutrality. Without an open 'Net, we won't have any place left to discuss and act on real issues.

The FCC should place restrictions and regulatory guidelines that will prohibit the phone and cable companies like AT&T and Bellsouth from limiting internet access to all individuals. Without Net Neutrality small businesses and non-profit organizations may find it difficult to compete and may not be able to continue offering internet or web based services under a tiered system of content delivery.

For example 2-1-1 which is a free community service that is funded by the United Way and the CT Dept of Social Services may not be able to continue providing the comprehensive internet services that they are currently offering to the public, because they may not be able to afford to pay the fees that may be imposed by the phone and cable companies without the protection of Net Neutrality regulations.

Without Net Neutrality the phone and cable companies will gain control of how, when, and where we access internet services in the future. Therefore discriminating against the companies and consumers who cannot afford to pay the price associated with the implementation of a broadband system.

For this reason I believe that all citizen's in support of Net Neutrality must advocate and support the few allies that we have within the FCC in order to ensure that Net Neutrality regulations such as the ones outlined in the Title II regulations are imposed and applied to protect us from the cable and phone companies that are trying to violate our First Amendment rights.

LET'S ALL TRUST THE FCC???
ALERT! ALERT!ALERT! ALERT!

Posted on Thu, Nov. 16, 2006
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Lobbyist for FCC hired by Comcast
A public-interest law firm said her hiring appeared to comply with ethics rules.
By Miriam Hill
Inquirer Staff Writer
Mary McManus, Comcast Corp.'s newest Federal Communications Commission lobbyist, will be on familiar territory.
Before joining the Philadelphia cable company this month, she worked in the FCC's Office of General Counsel, in a bureau that focuses on competition in the telecommunications industry, according to an announcement from Comcast yesterday.
McManus, who has an English degree from Trinity College and a law degree from Georgetown University, has worked on many issues, including auctions of wireless frequencies. Comcast recently was the lead investor in a consortium that bought $2.37 billion of wireless spectrum in one of those auctions. The company said it planned to use the frequencies to develop new services.
Federal ethics rules restrict former government employees from lobbying on some issues in which they were directly involved. In some cases, however, the restrictions apply only for a "cooling-off period" of up to two years. The rules vary depending on the seniority of the government position and on the specific issues involved. Conflicts are usually considered as they arise.
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, a public-interest law firm, said McManus' hiring appeared to comply with ethics rules.
"This is consistent with Comcast's operating a highly regarded, very well-qualified public-policy operation," he said. "She's a really high-quality draft choice, and her background suggests that Comcast's future is much more than cable."
But Celia Wexler, vice president for advocacy at Common Cause, which lobbies on a host of issues, including media power, expressed concern about McManus' quick move from government regulator to telecommunications lobbyist.
"What we don't want to see," she said, "is people in public service building up expertise and then immediately cashing in on it."
A Comcast representative responded: "Mary McManus will of course abide by all rules governing former federal employees."

Contact staff writer Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520 or hillmb@phillynews.com.



M O R E N E W S F R O M 
• Telecom
• Federal Communications Commission
• Discuss Federal Communications Commission




Mr. Moyer et. al.,

I feel you have done a great service to illustrate the ‘symptoms of the digital age’ we live within.

The real question with the Internet is whether the Internet becomes ‘aware’ of itself and We become be Constitutionally responsible for it, as opposed to being passive participants to the Greenbelt’s political agendas.

The UN’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) opened the possibilities to actively change the course We as Americans are currently on. The IGF [Internet Governance Forum] has furthered governance matter on too the International stage, wherein the global community can collectively participate.

The ‘Revolution’ is Live and Online, a Constitutional Convention for an Independent Internet is already underway. The Working Group on Constitutional Internet Governance has already scheduled hearing debates for Articles of the Constitution with completion estimated in 2009 (an Internet Constitution).

[http://www.wgcig.com/] Convention Forum
[http://www.wgcig.org/] R&D Labs

Anonymous

There is a lot to this debate that I do not understand. What I do understand is that when I read that the larger companies that use the interenet may have to pay for a fee(larger fee), what I understand is that in the end, it is my money, and your money that is going to fund this extra fee. When a baseball ball franchise pays millions of dollars for a player, it does not come out of their pockets, it comes from the fans and Advertisers. When it comes to the almighty dollar being paid out, remember no matter what "they" say, it IS your money. I would also like to know in technical terms, what constitutes a large user of the internet. If I send Grandma pictures of the grandkids, am I now up there with the big boys?

The segment on Brice and WQRZ was very good. Hope it will help him survive on the air. IF you would like to see more of the damage endured by the people of the MS Gulf Coast check out my website at www.wilkersonphotography.com

The free market, and the free market only ! ! !

COME ON, this should be basic economics 101. We have 100 years of documented PROOF that GOVERNMENT REGULATION DOES NOT WORK. Milton Friedman, the greatest economist of the 20th century, said, "The society that puts equality before freedom, will have neither. But the society that puts freedom before equality will enjoy a great degree of both."

In the early days of socialism, it was argued constnatly that capitalism and free markets would stifle freedom, and that the only way to preserve it was with government regulation. Now, 100 years later, we see the opposite is true.

That government regulation fails miserably.

Of course, notice the ones promoting government regulation of the Internet...comapnies like Google (a very liberal company), Democrats, etc...those always in favor of socialist programs.

If net neutrality is made law, we will see exactly what happened with the Soviet Union: despite the claims by many that government regulation will preserve Internet freedom, it will in fact stifle it and stop it.

If net neutrality loses (which I doubt it will, considering Congress is so Democratic now), we will see the net neutrality proponents were wrong.

Very wrong.

This should be basic economics, but socialistic people still refuse to accept that their socialism idealogies have failed miserably, constantly. Government regulation just doesn't work. Never has, never will.

The society that puts Internet equality before Internet freedom will create an Internet with neither. But the society that puts Internet freedom before Internet equality will enjoy a great degree of both.

You are a typical Republican Prentice, instead of concentrating on just the issue, you try to belittle your opponents. You Try to make them feel stupid ("COME ON, this should be basic economics 101").
By the way Milton Friedman also said "...do (corporate executives)have
responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as
much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to
that is, no they do not” Unlike you and Mr. Friedman, I dont belive that we can just let the businesses handle this. They dont do whats best for us all, just whats best for there stockholders.

I believe the government should protect the internet and keep net neutrality. I do not believe certain websites should have to pay more for how much data they send and receive over the internet. If that was the case the phone companies could favor certain businesses over others which makes unfair competition.

Net neutrality is about trust. Do you trust big buisness? It has been proven time and time again that you cannot. One example is the Telecom Act of 1996 when the telephone companies got 25 billion dollars in tax breaks and raised the prices on residental services. They were supposed to build a fiberoptic network. Where's the network? I paid. You paid too. We got nothing. No network and no explanation. We are in 10th place in the world technology wise. And now they want to control the internet; with more promises that they won't keep. Without a law do you really believe you can trust the phone or cable co. to have the best interest of the average person in mind. It's about making money, satifying stock holders(with money), and dominating the industry. It's not about you or me. The internet must remain neutral. No beauracracy here,resonable prices,open media, and the exchange of ideas between people. People who deserve to make policy for their country.

I hate slow iternet service I have DSL AT&T/SWB the yahoo brower loads slow. The point I am tring to make is it always somethig with internet. It go from how many people in your area have the some ISP or how far you are from ISP.
The phone company were suppose to supply fiberoptic but they didn't. The fiberoptic network would be better and faster. The phone company and the goverment are working together, that is why we did not get fiberoptic. We are in 10th place in the world for techology.
It is no ones business what you browse on yhe Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet.

The companies that are not for net neutrality do not consider their consumers they want to manapolize thje internet sector and their is a possibilty that they will have high charges imposed on the internet services that they do not want therefore making it hard for the minority that will be out there trying to get around with their businessand the fact that they will have control this then creates an ultimatum to other users

I am for net neutrality. I am a business major, so of course I am in favor of businesses having advanced technology and high speed internet access. I am also an average citizen, that would also like to have the opportunity to have the same high speed internet without having to rediculously high prices. I think everyone should have an equal opportunity to receive high speed internet access.

The principles that I hope would drive our policies regarding technology is equalness and fairness. Everyone, whether it is a individual at home or a large corporation, should be treated by internet providers as a consumer. If internet service providers are allowing huge sums of money provided by large corporations influence their productivity, I feel this is an illegal crime.

I believe that we should not be "neutral" when it comes to Net Neutrality. I feel that we as a nation should absolutely not allow any more intrusion into our lives than we already have. The "little guy" in business has been sent into near extinction because of Big Business. And Big Brother keeps a tight rein on us all. We are given promise after promise from politicians, and in this case, from big businesses, such as the telephone company promising to further technology by installing the equipment we would need to use the internet with reasonable expectations. Asking for tax breaks, and approval to hike prices up in order to supply what they've promised, and then pocketing it instead. Government has failed us in this respect and just stood by as we were being vandalized. Very shameful.

I believe net neutrality has pros and cons. the question is do the pros outway the cons. The answer for me is no. Net neutrality would take the internet away from the small business. Larger companies that can afford to pay the prices would dominate what we find on the internet. Business should not be able to buy the speed that ordinary people cant afford. If the phone companies would have just built the super highway they had promised years ago we would not even be having this problem. They are only worried about making money and not our future.

I'm in between on my decision because there are ups and downs with net neutrality being equal. I agree because I'm a business major ut I don't have a business yet so I don't agree. It shouldn't be about who ever have a business should have faster sevices. I know from experiience I hate a slow computer and Iwuld be upset if there were a faster service that I couldn't use because I don't have a business. I also don't agree woth the fact that companies are thinking about rising the prices on something that we were promised to recieve to us many years ago.

I believe that everyone should have eqaul speeds on the internet. That's what America is all about. Right? I mean if we should all be looked at as equals and have equal rights to vote and work in certain places. It will only help benefit us if we continue to be treated as equals. This will help the little guys in business to get big too. What if a really small site that has something great to offer never blows up because their speed isn't as fast because that couldn't afford it. We could be missing out on a lot.

I believe there should be two differnt speeds of internet because everybody can't afford dsl and have to use the dial connection but it is all the internet. But the extra fine that the telephone is trying to off on use is crazy. What is the point of the fine? The telephone company's are going to get there money no matter what either it is by people paying what they for internet now are what they to talk on telephone. They are jusing to get us out of extra money they dont need and money that we do need.

This is an issue of how we want our laws to work and whom they are intended to benefit.

Laws and regulations will be involved in either case -- whether net neutral or not. It's a fallacy to call Net Neutrality regulation and not call the cost structure proposed by the telecoms regulation as well.

Personally, I would like our laws to benefit the public. I don't want Verizon and AT&T controlling my access to information. And I think their profit margins are adequately healthy.

To me, it's a simple question: Laws for public benefit, or laws for profit. I choose the public.

I strongly believe that if someone can afford a faster connection why would you make them have the same speed as someone who cannot afford it. That's just like if someone bought a mansion and paid alot of money and another person paying the same thing just to live in an apartment or just a regular house.

I would love to experience a faster internet connection for I have and have always had dial-up, but if I were going to be charged twice for something that was supposed to be made accessible for everyone then it looks like I would always have the lesser of two. I don't think that the companies like AT&T and Verizon should be able to charge anyone twice for Internet usage. The internet was set up so that everyone had a place to communicate and so that not one single person can "own" it. Internet is one of our last freedom fronteirs, sure there are some regulations, but atleast we have a say so in what goes on or atleast we should. Why shouldn't everyone receive the benefits that come with a faster Internet connection without any conditions, do we have to pay the price for everything?

I think we have a serious problem on our hands. Some years ago(cant remember exactly how many), we were promised faster, better, service from our phone companies and internet providers. I must say we have come a long way from rotary phones and Beta Max computers.However, we have so much futher to go. Fiber optics. Anyone familiar?? Japan and China are..Dont we acquire MOST of our technological ideas from them?? Why not pilfer this idea and run with it?? I mean isnt that what this country was built on?!?! Hardwork, Enginuity, and stealing others ideas??? LOL And from my understanding we were supposed to go to fiber optic some years ago when AT&T/BellSouth rasied telephone
prices clamming that the revenue were going to fiber optic lines.

Both sides of the net neutrality issue have very strong opinions. In order for progress to be made, the two sides need to compromise or come up with a third option.

On the issue of net neutrality, if we could count on the large corporations-cable and phone companies in this case to act ethically, and with compassion and respect for all involved then we would not be in this debate. However, corprations think profit and most of the time are not concerned with who may get hurt in the name of profit.
We can see where the quest for profits at all costs has gotten us. For example, an unbelievable toll to the environment, the wildlife and their habitats. On the front page last week in an issue of USA oday, they stated that we don't just have a serious worry about Global Warming, but a dire warning...much worse than first thought. That is just one consequence of profit and power driven living.
It is clear that if these very large corporations get an open door all will suffer. I am so glad and encouraged to see many people speaking out and saying "wait one minute" we will not let you run over us.
I just pray that we would find our voice and work for justice, peace and compassion in all needed areas of our societies and our world.

I am for net neutrality. I don't think that it's fair for the telecommunicators to charge websites that send larger amounts of data additional money. I think that all sites should have equal speeds no matter how much content is available on their sites. I also think that there would be no exposure to the smaller sites who may not be able to afford paying extra for faster speeds.

I'm not really sure how I should decide on this one way or the other because in my opinion both sides have good points. The only thing I wouldn't want to happen is the govenorment taking over the internet. They are always wanting their hands in something.

I don't know much about Net Neutrality but, if the goverment is able to take over the internet world it would become just like everything else. Some people wouldn't be able to afford the resources of the web. So they would miss out on a lot of things that would be benifical to their lives.

I am not sure if i got it right and how it all works, but people or "users" won't like to wait at the computer more then they should...I mean it's not fair for us to wait more and for some websites that will be charged extra money. Many families have internet...I would not even need a computer these days if i wouldn't have an access to an internet. However, I don't think it will affect rich people somehow to pay extra, but most of the internet users are not like that...so, there will be a problem...Also, i don't think it would be a good idea if goverment takes over the internet.

HI i`m a college student from my oppeniu it not rigth . net neutrality is something that people have to think about it and it will be wanderful if governmen make a decition. In U.S.A verything works with internet like school hospitals etc. but i can`t understanet why government can`t or don`t wont think about it .

Government regulation of and interference in the lives of the public has never been something I have taken lightly. Unfortunately this country is being taken over by the big corporations through the use of lobbyists and campaign donations. I feel that this is a situation in which we must choose the lesser of two evils; if we don’t get the government to regulate the internet the corporations will. While we all know that there is corruption on every level of our government, there are more checks and balances than with a mon- or du- opoly. And for the people who think that regulation this time, out of the goodness of thier hearts, the companies involved will put the extra billions of dollars in revenue into the fiber network instead of putting it in thier pockets; you fail to understand how this capitalistic, materialistic society works.

This debate seems to be over before it could ever begin. My cable company (COX) is already offerring services for additional fees including increased speed and several 'premium channels'. The speed of my cable has dropped since this started.

The FCC is still taking public comments on the issue. Does Cox know more?

One thing I know without a doubt is that Cox has done a poor job of understanding what I want to see on cable TV. Judging by their offers of premium internet channels, that's not likely to change - the content was virtually the same.

I have trouble watching videos on UTube or anywhere else and half the time my bill pay times out on me before the page can load.

There is no competition in sight. Cox could charge me thousands and I'd have to pay to maintain any functionality at all with the internet.

so,fios is coming to our town.fibre to my door. and i'm slogging through the cable franchise agreement tendered by verizon to be voted on by our city concil on aug.2nd. offered for my purusal online from my city gov't. and i'm trying to figure out if this is a good thing, or not. how does it square with the principles of net neutrality? are there "model" agreements or relationships with the provider companies that i can direct my representatives to "model" our agreement after?

If the jerks that owned web pages would quit autoloading video using java script maybe the big telecomm guys wouldn't have to rewire the entire internet and OH! Incidentally, take over our telecomm like they have our radio, TV, newspapers, and just about anything else they can grab up.

What I'm saying is this: Web designers could make their pages loaded quickly if they wanted to.

And if that's not the bottleneck what is?

Could it be...

We haven't calculated in the loop time for NSA to spy on us yet. That could be part of it. If that's the big drag on our surfing speed it would be like billeting soldiers (between amendment 2 and amendment 4), so why the heck should we pay for them to spy on us unless what? We're the enemy?

Well, hang on a sec, because that's kind of a reciprocal arrangement, isn't it? Can one be a friend and the other an enemy?

Bottom line: Anybody having trouble downloading? If not, there's no problem or the problem is artificial.

How so? Because it's either about bits per second or it's not. And if it's not, maybe someone has some explaining to do, as in, maybe, how rewiring the internet could possibly help do *anything* except make internet more expensive.

I.E., How do the Danish folks manage? How about Italians?

And I'd like them to rewire the entire cable network and all phone lines while they are at it. And there's the electical power and gas lines to do as well. Maybe Halliburton could do it for us.

Whatever happened to the land of the free? We the people are not free if we are allowing congress to control the cites we can and cannot vist.

I believe we should just leave things the way they are. Internet already is pretty costly. If America has to pay more for internet than they already do it could really create a problem especially for people who just above poverty or below it.

Too many problems, and America's internet is still below the food chain, compared to all the other fast connections one can get at a fair price in other parts of the world... Paying double for a resource such as the internet would really cause some problems. There has to be a way to solve the conflict, but otherwise, they (the government) should leave the internet alone for the public.

This whole issue, especially considering the recent microsoft-yahoo thing has got me worried about the fate of the internet as we know it. Net neutrality is vital for the future of america but also the world, because if it isn't withheld in the states, it could easily spread elsewhere.

Follow the money and you will find the truth. Ed Markey, the dude behind the Net Neutrality bill, keeps trying to get this thing passed under the banner of "sticking it to the broadband networks." Yet who put this guy in office in 2006? Have a look:

http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.asp?cycle=2006&cid=N00000270

#3 Sprint Nextel - $13,000
#4 AT&T - $11,500
#5 Comcast - $10,000
#5 National Assn of Broadcasters - $10,000
#5 National Cable & Telecommunications Assn - $10,000
#5 T-Mobile - $10,000

This is all a cleverly marketed campaign to socialize broadband costs, fortify existing monopolies by creating higher barrier to entry to less funded players, and put more control in the government's pockets. The ultimate goal is not to protect freedom of speech or make us safe from the boogieman. Most people are too ignorant to understand that that's the way the corporate/government machine works - they sell things to the people that have what you might call a "higher purpose" than most people, including the educated middle class, are capable of comprehending. You're getting conned yet again.

Net Neutrality will not work, as it will be a form of price controls for the Internet.

There is not one piece of legislation in history that sought to "enforce equality" that actually did so. All such legislation means creating inequality in some way or another.

Much of this is just because big bandwidth users, like Google, Yahoo!, Ebay, and Amazon, do not want to have to pay huge sums of money for bandwidth. So they under the guise of "making things fair," they say they want Net Neutrality. All this will really do is mean a price ceiling, which will create a shortage of bandwidth, because the largest users of it won't be paying their way.

All of these companies are in it for the reasons stated by the above poster, to monopolize the industry.

That is what regulations of industry do. The computer, electronic, software, technology industries overall have seen such incredible progress over such a short period of time precisely because there is virtually NO regulation.

You cannot regulate bandwidth costs and the telecom companies can't "discriminate" in what they charge. The market determines that.

If you want to guarantee monopolies, and the possible creation of a bureaucracy which will only be doomed to grow larger and larger and more and more instrusive, and destroy the innovation of the computer industry, support Net Neutrality.

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The US government is proposing broad new regulations for telecommunications and cable internet service providers.

The new proposals appear to target specific providers for regulation and government oversight. Specifically, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has proposed the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009, or the “Net Neutrality” bill, outlining government policies to impose new governance and restrictions targeting telecommunications and cable providers AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast.

The proposed is based on the unfounded fear that service providers will “control who can and cannot offer content, services and applications over the Internet utilizing such networks.”

The Markey bill indicates the vast majority of consumers receive services from only one or two dominant internet service providers. And, the bill says the national economy could be harmed “if” these providers interfered with access to internet applications.

The bill proposes regulations imposing equal treatment (eg price/performance) of all internet traffic and content, regardless of content type and delivery costs. Specifically, the legislation proposes internet service providers could not sell prioritized internet applications or services.

One of the main problems with the proposed legislation is the lack of recognition of costs to provide internet services. Some applications, such as video are bandwidth hogs and require significantly greater network infrastructure and associated costs to deliver when compared to the network infrastructure costs to deliver email access. Under the proposed legislation, services providers would have to charge the low bandwidth users (casual browsers and email readers) more to offset for the higher costs of the video users. One result of the proposed legislation would be less consumer choice and a hidden “bandwidth hog tax”. Today, most service providers offer tiered products and pricing to consumers and businesses to account for the additional costs to deliver bandwidth intensive applications. You pay more if you use more under the tiered pricing model. These are not “discriminatory” practices. Rather, tiered pricing and application prioritization are sound business models delivering reliable, profitable product choices and unburdened internet ecommerce. Consumers and businesses currently have choices. The proposed legislation takes away choice and increases costs to consumers and businesses.

Another problem with the legislation is, certain applications such as voice and video over the internet require prioritization and special treatment to work properly. The proposed legislation makes existing application prioritization products and networking practices illegal. Internet service providers would have to dismantle these services to make all internet applications “equal” with no prioritization schema. The new legislation would kill off reliable voice and video over the internet as we know it.

The other problem with the Net Neutrality legislation is anti-trust and federal trade regulations are already in place to protect consumers and business from monopolistic practices and unfair trade. For example, when AT&T disconnected MCI customers in 1974, MCI filed and won a successful anti-trust lawsuit resulting in breakup of the AT&T monopoly. Another example is, the Federal Trade Commission recently investigated possible antitrust violations caused by the Apple and Google sharing two board directors. Arthur Levinson has since stepped down from both Apple and Google boards.

The US government would better use taxpayer dollars and valuable legislation time by asking two questions:

Which companies are hiring lobbyists and launching advertising campaigns promoting Net Neutrality legislation?

What is their agenda?

Net Neutrality legislation is not needed. Consumers would have less choice and higher costs. Internet service providers would incur additional costs and compliance overhead. Taxpayers would pay higher taxes to create and support additional government oversight organizations.

What business and consumers need is effective interpretation, oversight and enforcement of existing laws and regulations.

Disclosure – Joe Tighe has no paid relationships, products or endorsements from any company, political or government organization cited in this article.

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