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News Net Neutrality, the FCC, and you wake up

  1. Oct 3, 2011 #1

    rhody

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    http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2011/0923/Net-neutrality-rules-are-coming.-Here-s-why-they-matter" [Broken].
    and
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393442,00.asp" [Broken]
    and
    and
    If you are alseep under a rock, this is a wake up call...

    Rhody... :frown:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2011 #2

    russ_watters

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    You didn't say much beyond just posting quotes, so I'm actually not clear on what your concern is.... some of the rules I'm in favor of, some not.
     
  4. Oct 3, 2011 #3

    rhody

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    My point is that that stuff like this creeps in on people, then boom, they are at the mercy of the FCC. I believe people need to debate the pro's and con's before it does then decide for themselves. I would prefer to not see it pass, I have this nagging feeling this is one of those, "foot in the door", types of legislation, that could lead to even more restrictive use of the internet.

    This is an aside by Rhode Island is collecting seven percent sales tax on all software purchased on the internet as of October 1st, except by not for profit organizations. I bought software online last week before the tax law went into effect.

    Rhody...
     
  5. Oct 3, 2011 #4
    Which rules are you and russ opposed to?
     
  6. Oct 3, 2011 #5
    Unfortunately, we only notice regulations of this type when they are important to us personally.
     
  7. Oct 3, 2011 #6

    rhody

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    WhoWee,

    Bingo...

    skeptic,

    I don't believe the FCC has better insight as to how control bandwidth issues than the ISP Provider's themselves. I don't on-line game for hours or use bit torrent. It has no impact on how I spend my free time or benefit from it. If the providers want to limit bandwidth after quota, or charge extra fees for "internet bandwidth hogs" I have no problem with that either, let the consumer decide which ISP's to reward or punish based on the laws of supply and demand and fee for service. The FCC acting as watchdog and intermediary offers no bang for my buck IMHO.

    Rhody...
     
  8. Oct 3, 2011 #7
    If an IP such as a cable company, were to have a financial interest in a VOIP company or a streaming video company, should it be legal for them to block a competitor's product or limit usage or charge excess fees for delivering that content?

    With a limited number of IPs, the laws of supply and demand don't always apply. Rural users may have only one IP to choose from. If the majority of IPs or at least the large ones adopt the policy of blocking competitor's content, is that not the purview of the FCC?
     
  9. Oct 3, 2011 #8

    rhody

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    skeptic,

    Agreed, your post illustrates there are a tangle of legal issues that muddy the waters, unfair competition, etc... etc... I stated my beliefs "in principle". I don't care to discuss individual test cases on a case by case basis. I don't have the time or energy.

    Rhody...
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  10. Oct 3, 2011 #9

    Evo

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    What this law is going to do is throttle down all of the personal *consumer* users, because the law isn only to protect *competitors*. We've already seen the largest cell carriers replace their unlimited plans with metered ones.

    I'm not a big bandwidth user, but people that download a lot of movies and play games are going to get hit.

     
  11. Oct 3, 2011 #10

    turbo

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    Unfortunately, that is not a viable option for many lightly-populated areas. We can't use the "free market" to choose which ISP to use when there are no options. For instance, there is only one phone carrier in this town, so that's where you get DSL if you want it. There is no cable in this part of town, so no options there, either. It's possible to subscribe to Hughesnet or some other satellite service, but even their most basic plan is $60/month+. Plus, I have read some very bad reviews about their support and service, and it appears that the company throttles users and caps your daily traffic. No thanks.

    If somebody doesn't keep the ISPs honest (FCC) we're screwed.
     
  12. Oct 3, 2011 #11

    russ_watters

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    Actually, I'm a little confused as to why the net neutrality issue even exists, as I would have expected the laws already covering the phone companies to apply here. But regardless of that, the model already applied to the phone and power companies should be easily applicable here:

    1. The ISP owns the connection and pipeline, but not necessarily the content. They are responsible for keeping the connection functioning, regardless of who'se content flows over it. This is similar to the local power company being responsible for fixing a local power outage regardless of if the customer has a 3rd party providing the generation.

    2. Non-discrimination over source of content. This is already required of both phone and power companies. It is related to #1, but goes a step further for telecom: AT&T can't block calls to/from a Verizon cell phone, for example. Where it can get sticky, though, is different rates for different companies. We're all used to this for phone service though, aren't we? It would be perfectly reasonable for a company to charge more to download content from a 3rd party than from their own server. The one thing they would have to avoid, though, is discrimination against specific content providers. The rate structure would just need to be the same as "local" and "long distance" phone service.

    3. Bandwidth games? There isn't even a little bit wrong with that. Actually, imo it has nothing whatsoever to do with "net neutrality" - it's just something consumers raise a stink over, so it makes it into the debate. Similar to the Netflix thing, consumers get upset over price increases, particularly if they aren't well explained, but in a still-evolving market, changing price structures to handle new realities is perfectly fine. Example: Verizon has a navigation program with a $10 a month subscriber fee that I used for a little while on my Blackberry Storm, before I got a Garmin for xmas two years ago. So I cancelled it. Now I have a Droid X (8 months old) and Verizon still has that $10 a month Nav program, but Google has it's own Nav program that is free. Not only is it free, but it is linked to Google maps and downloads satellite photos as you drive (optional, but that's the view I choose). Not only that, but I've gotten into Pandora and other streaming radio options in the past year. So I have the same $30 a month unlimited data plan I had 2 years ago, but download vastly more data and if you include the Verizon GPS program I'm not using anymore, pay 25% less for data than I did two years ago. Is that fair? Of course not. So Verizon is joining other companies in eliminating unlimited data plans and charging tiered rates. Will I be happy if my rates go up because of this change in price structure? Of course not - but I'm a reasonable person and don't complain when an unfair (in my favor) deal goes away.
     
  13. Oct 3, 2011 #12
    The problem is that the ISPs themselves often have conflicts of interest. Consider that the largest (by far) ISP in the US is Comcast, which has an extremely strong vested interest in protecting their cable television and conventional telephone services. One of the things this regulation is intended to prevent is for Comcast to begin slowing down bandwidth for things like streaming video or VOIP, in order to protect their existing investments. This is especially important, since in many areas of the country there is only one choice for ISP.

    Another issue is one of fairness. Some ISPs sold unlimited plans, offering certain speeds, but then began throttling speeds on the heaviest users. What the regulation basically does is make sure this doesn't happen. If an ISP offers unlimited data, they're not allowed to slow down your access once you use some amount, which effectively puts a limit on how much data you can download.
     
  14. Oct 3, 2011 #13
    The original article gets it a bit wrong. Read here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality#FCC_broadband_policy_statement

    The point of the rules is that Verizon or your cable company cannot selectively throttle netflix, or hulu, or any other website. The worry is that your cable or DSL company will use its last mile service to make netflix or hulu streaming basically unwatchable to avoid competition with their television service.

    These rules have nothing much to say about bandwidth caps or bandwidth tiered fees for heavy users, which are still ok under FCC rules, as long as all websites are treated equally.

    It does have something to say about bait-and-switch advertising/fairness. i.e. a signed a year long contract with AT&T for DSL service, but halfway through, AT&T introduced bandwidth caps. I wasn't getting the service I signed up for, and had no recourse.
     
  15. Oct 3, 2011 #14

    Evo

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    You got it right. What kills me over the past couple of years is that some of the people and politicians had no idea what they were talking about.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  16. Oct 3, 2011 #15
  17. Oct 3, 2011 #16
    I'm pretty sure it specifically stated that the ISP cannot block "lawful" content. It sounds innocent enough, I mean, who "doesn't" want to be lawful right? Who decides what is lawful though? Anyone have any idea?
     
  18. Oct 4, 2011 #17
    For unlawful content, think child porn, copyrighted material in torrent, etc. And obviously, what is and is not lawful is decided by the US legal system, as these are FCC (US) guidelines.
     
  19. Oct 4, 2011 #18
    So then everyone has to suffer? What is going to happen isn't 'max bandwidth for everyone!', instead it's going to be 'really poor internet' for everyone over time under the Net neutrality regulations. There becomes no incentive for the telecomm companies to provide any palpable service, they can now do the minimum and get away with it for everyone.

    There's also lots of other services that may not be directly available at the best quality when living in the country - I don't think that's a justification for the net neutrality rules. 'Keeping them honest' isn't really in the text of the bill.



    Also, I think something that is missing from the conversation: Why do the wireless/ISP companies want to throttle service? This is a concept that I think is missing from most discussion is the rationale behind WHY ISP/Wireless providers are starting to change their policies.

    Lastly, has there been any examples of a large scale ISP totally cutting off a competing service? So, why is this such a worry other than someone spouting random anti-corporatist conspiracies? In fact, I can think of some examples of the opposite - when Comcast started offering TV-over-web for their cable customers, you could only access it from Comcast's internet service (this was an internal-Comcast restriction, not a banning by other providers).


    This all just feels like another FCC power grab: well intentioned, but not well thought through.
     
  20. Oct 4, 2011 #19
    Well that's not quite what I was referring to, but that definitely goes without saying. Suppose we were in a situation like Egypt earlier this year. Would it then be lawful to block content deemed inappropriate for the "good of the nation"?
     
  21. Oct 4, 2011 #20
    Where is it stated? Employers can block lawful content to their employees. Schools can block lawful content to their students. My daughter's school was so restrictive there was a short list of sites they were permitted to access. What is the legal difference between an ISP and an employer or a school?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
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