“Net Neutrality”: all is not what it seems

I note that the FCC is considering abandoning Obama-era regulations preserving so-called “net neutrality”.  According to Wikipedia:

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating most of the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.  For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

That sounds admirable in principle . . . but there’s a hidden flaw that makes the entire argument specious.  The FCC made things worse, not better, for many consumers by enforcing net neutrality under the Obama administration.  Its present discussions may reverse that problem.

Karl Denninger explained it in a long submission to the FCC back in 2014.  I urge you to read his article in full, but for the sake of brevity, here’s a summary.  (He owned and ran an Internet service provider during the 1990’s, and has remained technologically current since then, so he knows whereof he speaks.)

He begins by describing the reality of service provision in almost any sector, including the Internet.

All providers of Internet service, for cost reasons, oversell.  That is, a service provider who has 100 Mbps of aggregate capacity in and out of his or her network will sell far more than 100 1Mbps connections to the public.  This is very similar to how roads, water, telephone and electrical systems work.  There were approximately 7 million people in the Chicago metropolitan area in the 1990s when I was operating my ISP, but all 7 million of them could not possibly travel on the freeways in the area at one time.  My home has 200 amp electrical service but there is not sufficient electrical power available from my power company for myself and all of the other people in my neighborhood to each consume all 200 amps of electrical power at once.  I have a connection to the water main at the street and nominally there is 40psi of pressure at my tap, but if myself and all of my neighbors open all of our taps at once the pressure will drop to nearly zero, because the main cannot serve every house in my neighborhood using its full capacity to deliver water at one time. And while we all have cell phones in our pocket these days, and used to have a phone on the wall or a desk in our homes, if everyone tried to make a call at the same time the majority of them would not go through as there is insufficient capacity for everyone to make a phone call at once.

. . .

Most Internet access at the consumer level, with the exception today of cellular phone delivery, is unmetered.  That is, I pay a flat price no matter how much I use.

. . .

As the Internet has developed there have been people who have sought to try to shift their cost of innovation and content delivery to others.  These people often couch their “innovation” in lofty terms, as if they are somehow providing a public service.  What they are actually doing is attempting to run a business at a profit.  Today’s pet example is Netflix but they are hardly the first.  Youtube, back in its early days, created somewhat-similar if less-severe issues of the same character we face today.

Mr. Denninger goes on to point out that Netflix is effectively dumping the cost of delivering its product onto every user of the Internet, whether or not they subscribe to Netflix.  Effectively, every subscriber to Netflix is using far more Internet bandwidth than his neighbors who are not, just as if he was using more water, or more electricity.  He’s “hogging” the capacity of his area, reducing its availability for other uses and users.  This is only possible because net neutrality prevents Internet service providers from charging Netflix for its excessive consumption of Internet bandwidth, relative to other services or consumer demands.

Netflix has developed what many view as a “disruptive technology” through on-demand delivery of movies to the consumer.  In order to perform that function they must deliver a multi-megabit/second uninterrupted stream of data to your computer that meets certain specifications.  Any failure to deliver this stream, even momentarily, results in your display “stuttering” or stopping entirely.

. . .

The problem Netflix and similar services produce is that the technical requirement to deliver their service on an acceptable performance basis to the end customer is dramatically more-stringent than existing requirements for other Internet services.  Netflix purports to sell their service to the end customer for $8 per month.

But this premise, and thus the entire business model Netflix is promoting, is a chimera and unfortunately the common law of business balance (which states that you cannot get something for nothing) has caught up with them.

. . .

If Facebook delivers a sufficiently-large number of video ads such that it begins to impact network performance and thus forces upgrades of the ISP’s infrastructure who should get the bill for that upgrade?

If the bill falls only on those who use Facebook and thus view their ads consumers may (rightfully) reject Facebook since the additional cost imposed on them is not present so they can look at a picture of their friend’s cat, but so companies can advertise to them!  It is thus strongly in the interest of Facebook to hide this cost from those users by trying to impose it on everyone across the Internet so it cannot be traced specifically to their commercial, for-profit activity.

The same applies to Netflix.  If a sufficient number of people subscribe to Netflix the stringent demands for delivery of Netflix bits to the consumer will force the ISP to upgrade their infrastructure.  Who should get the bill for that upgrade?

If the bill falls only on Netflix customers then their bill will likely more than double; suddenly that “$8/month all you can eat” video streaming service might cost $25 or even $50.

Mr. Denninger sums up:

If the “Net Neutrality” argument wins the day it will force ISPs to bill all customers at a higher rate to provision that level of service to them whether they want it or not.

Why should a customer who has no interest in having high-bandwidth advertising shoved down his throat pay a higher bill because Facebook has decided to force him to watch those ads in order to use their service?

Why should a customer who doesn’t want to watch Netflix pay a higher connection charge to an ISP because 20 of his neighbors do want to watch Netflix?

. . .

At the end of the day what those arguing for “Net Neutrality” in the context of today’s submissions are demanding is the ability to use government force to compel the subsidization of a private, for-profit business service.

I find it impossible to argue with his conclusions.  They’re factually correct.  What’s more, they directly impact me, and other Internet users like myself.  I don’t watch videos over the Internet very often, and certainly not through services like Netflix or YouTube or Hulu.  Nevertheless, almost every evening, I find my Internet access becoming slower and slower (despite paying a premium for fiber-optic, high-speed Internet service) because so many other customers are downloading and playing movies and TV shows over the same service.  Why should I be penalized for their pattern of entertainment consumption?  In a fair world, they’d be paying a higher price for their Internet service in relation to the amount of shared bandwidth they’re using.  I would be paying much less for mine, because I wouldn’t be using nearly the same amount of bandwidth that they are.

This is, in so many words, what’s at stake in the current FCC debate over “net neutrality”.  It’s simply, “Who’s going to pay for the infrastructure required to deliver Internet content to the consumer?”  I’m firmly on the side of those who say that the user should pay according to his consumption.

I note that we already do precisely that in terms of road maintenance taxes.  They’re usually built into the price of gasoline or diesel.  Those who travel more, consume more fuel;  and therefore, in buying more fuel, they pay a higher road tax than those of us who travel less.  No-one objects to that at all – it’s a fair way to distribute the cost burden of road maintenance.  Those who use them most, pay the most, and vice versa.  Why should the same principle of cost distribution not apply to the consumption of Internet bandwidth?

The problem from Netflix’s point of view, of course, is that if its customers have to pay a lot more to access its services, they may not remain its customers for very much longer.  Its survival as a business depends on consumers like me subsidizing the Internet access of its customers.  However, I don’t regard that as a feature.  It’s a bug – and I want it eliminated, no matter what it may cost Netflix.  Why should it – or any other company – get a free ride at my expense?

Peter

20 comments

  1. Denninger is right in what he says, but he doesn't address all the problems.

    The big one is that the House told the FCC they had no authority to enact Net Neutrality (NN) in 2011, but like all Obama administrators, they did it anyway. Like DACA, this is something that congress can legislate, but the executive branch can't just mandate on their own. The FCC dropping NN is like Trump telling congress Obama's executive order on DACA wasn't legal and congress needs to man up and handle it.

    The FCC also broke the law in how they implemented it (the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946). There's a very detailed set of steps they have to follow, gather public comments, reply to those comments, allow rebuttals, and reach a conclusion before they can issue a Report and Order. They never did those. They released an order without releasing the 300 pages of rules or public comment.

    Under NN "all bits are equal", but that works both ways. Denninger rightly points out that if one house on your block is streaming HD video, and the people sending out emails or banking or whatever are slowed down a little, it doesn't matter. If everyone is streaming HD video, everyone gets "buffering" messages and gets mad. With NN, when people are getting bad video service, the ISP can't assign lower priority to the email or other service that's not as critical.

    Under NN, it becomes illegal for things like when T-Mobile allowed free streaming of Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Video, like they've done. All bits are equal; either they make everything free or nothing. Allowing free streaming is a marketing gimmick. That becomes illegal.

    NN is one of those ideas that's so seductively named that people love it. Nobody has seen what it really comes down to. The providers have already started talking about ending "all you can eat" internet and moving to usage based ("pay per bit"). That's likely to become the norm in the next few years.

  2. "I note that we already do precisely that in terms of road maintenance taxes. They're usually built into the price of gasoline or diesel. Those who travel more, consume more fuel; and therefore, in buying more fuel, they pay a higher road tax than those of us who travel less. No-one objects to that at all – it's a fair way to distribute the cost burden of road maintenance. Those who use them most, pay the most, and vice versa. "

    With the exception of those who own hybrid and electric vehicles who use the roads but pay far less in road use taxes.

  3. This argument presumes that data hosts like Netflix are not also already paying for the connection of their service to the internet. The bandwidth they pay for would boggle the mind.

    But the real issue is, given the authority to pinch off the bandwidth from specific websites, would the ISPs use that power purely for reasonable network balancing, or given the political proclivities of Silicon Valley, would they use that to suppress sources from certain political sectors? There's plenty of precedent for that kind of thing on social media. And the potential for forms of payola, or outright extortion would be irresistible to monopoly ISPs.

    What would the effect be if you could stream CNN at 60 fps 1080p, but Fox News at 144p, with frequent buffering?

    The point is, at the final mile to my house, it doesn't matter if the data I'm using comes from YouTube, or Netflix, or some video site in China. It takes up the same amount of bandwidth. The bandwidth I'm paying for. (And as I pointed out, the sources of data are ALSO paying for their outgoing bandwidth. ISPs are being paid coming and going.)

  4. This post requires almost the same length in comments, but I've got kids to feed today, and some things are available elsewhere, once you look.

    TL:DR
    KD has an ax to grind and can't be completely trusted wrt NetFlix
    NetFlix pays their ISP for every single byte that leaves their servers and enters the internet
    NetFlix subscribers using any amount of bandwidth, up to their max allowance isn't "HOGGING" as they have paid for it
    "Last mile" ISPs based their pricing and provisioning on historical ideas and models that are no longer true, and changing THAT will come about as a normal business process, absent .gov interference
    We don't need to let the camel's nose into the tent

    Short version, in no coherent order…

    KD has Netflix as one of his personal bugabears, and he's not rational or honest (thru omission) when he rants about them. He NEVER mentions the flip side of the usage story- NETFLIX pays for ever byte that LEAVES their servers thru their own internet access agreement. They likely also pay services like Akamai to cache content closer to end users to decrease bandwidth and latency issues. If they don't pay for every byte, it's because some other company, acting of their own free will, chose to sell them the service at less than actual cost. That doesn't seem likely. So Netflix pays for every byte as it leaves, and the subscriber pays for some of the bytes as they arrive, which sounds like people getting paid twice for the same thing. (and I know that peering agreements make this a bit more complicated than stated, but this comment will already be too long.)

    Next: as SiG points out, there are legal issues. I'd add the issue of being defined as 'common carriers' which iirc is WHY they can't discriminate against traffic. This was a designation they FOUGHT for as it legally keeps them from being responsible for the CONTENT they carry. None of the carriers want to be sued for hate speech because of a comment on a blog that they transferred across state lines. Can't have it both ways boys….

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  5. Next: considering how quickly KD will call criminal fraud on others, it's amazing that he gives the issue of under-provisioning and over-selling a pass. On its face, selling something you KNOW you won't have when your customer wants it is fraud, pure and simple. Add insult to injury by marketing it as something YOU KNOW it's not (ie. "All you can eat" plans that are in fact limited or even throttled)and you should have the FTC filing suits too. All of the companies who provide net access want the MONEY, none wanted to build the capacity they thought they needed, let alone the capacity that they ACTUALLY needed once unknown things like streaming, FB, etc became commonplace. ATT is famous for this- they've resisted upgrading until the last round of upgrades was paid for.

    Next: there is a fundamental misunderstanding at work too, with the idea that high usage customers are somehow imposing costs on low usage customers. It completely ignores the reality that there are MANY different levels of service provided by MANY different providers. [complicating this issue is .gov interference in the marketplace as many of the end providers are regulated monopolies or near monopolies, and .gov has created barriers to entry]

    It doesn't matter to your neighbor on FTTH one bit if you max out your 1.5Mbps ADSL connection to the net watching Netflix. In fact ATT brags that their DSL services AREN'T shared. If you don't like high usage subs 'hogging' (ie. USING THE BANDWIDTH THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE PAYING FOR)a shared pipe, buy a dedicated service level like ADSL. You can bet money that users like high speed algo traders don't use shared pipes no matter what marketing promises the carriers made of capacity or speed. (there are still 2.1 MILLION people in the US using DIALUP access from AOL FFS!)

    In the 'last mile' space, the road metaphor fails in that some people are using helicopters, some star trek transporters, some footpaths, and SOME are using the roads. Want to avoid congestion on the shared roadway during high usage times? PAY to use the HOV lanes, or the toll road instead. (The electrical grid deals with this by encouraging off peak use with financial incentives, and faces its own issues with upgrading to accommodate high usage users like electric vehicle owners 'hogging' all the capacity)

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  6. In the backbone space, companies are lighting up dark fiber, pushing pipe, upgrading switches, etc as fast as they can because THEY THINK THEY CAN MAKE MONEY DOING SO. Global Crossing [whoops, L3] isn't pushing pipe because they feel bad for Netflix users whose video stutters….they think they will be able to make money selling their transport services, to people like NF for their local server farms, or Akamai, or google, or Comcast.

    Next: a bit more personal, not meant as a personal attack– I find several 'whiffy' thing is this paragraph : "Effectively, every subscriber to Netflix is using far more Internet bandwidth than his neighbors who are not, just as if he was using more water, or more electricity. He's "hogging" the capacity of his area, reducing its availability for other uses and users. This is only possible because net neutrality prevents Internet service providers from charging Netflix for its excessive consumption of Internet bandwidth, relative to other services or consumer demands."

    I find the idea that someone is "hogging" to be offensive, when in fact that person is just using the bandwidth they believed they were purchasing. They can't use more than their service plan level. The provider LIED to them telling them they were buying a 10Mbps download bandwidth service plan, when they KNEW they wouldn't be able to provide that.

    I object to the characterization of Netflix usage as "excessive consumption". WHO DETERMINES what is "excessive?" Is it excessive to have three guns instead of two? Would you tolerate the statement if it were FOOD, MONEY, or GUNS?

    Finally, NN doesn't prevent internet service providers from charging NetFlix for their use of internet bandwidth. Whoever provides NetFlix with connectivity surely knows that whatever level of service they provide will be completely saturated most of the time, and they charge appropriately. Remember that every byte that a subscriber gets from NetFlix is charged when it ENTERS the internet from Netflix servers. NN prevents internet service providers from charging Netflix subscribers more for NF bits than it does for bits from NBC/Universal(ie. comcast) or Hulu, or google. The fact that NF is more successful at providing the bytes people want is immaterial and probably time limited. No one seems to mind that Google has become the largest user of electricity in the US (and therefore their traffic must be a HUGE part of the overall use of the net) because they are so ubiquitous no one even notices them.

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  7. Moving on- "In a fair world, they'd be paying a higher price for their Internet service in relation to the amount of shared bandwidth they're using. I would be paying much less for mine, because I wouldn't be using nearly the same amount of bandwidth that they are."

    It's a truism that the world isn't fair. And who determines 'fair' anyway? In a 'fair' world, ISPs wouldn't be able to sell stuff they don't have, which would eliminate service plans based on 'shared' bandwidth. In a fair world, instead of paying for all that mostly unused capacity in your 'shared' plan, you'd be paying only for the bandwidth you need in your limited capacity plan– like DSL– which you could do NOW if you chose to, or if .gov interference in the market would allow competition in your market. You could live in a market with fixed wireless (WiMAX), satellite access, mobile hotspots (4G or LTE), copper wire (aDSL), fiber to the home, dial up, etc. and choose exactly what level of service you would like. This, BTW, is what business users have to do, as the ISPs assume that business users will actually USE what they are paying for. For years the ISP model assumed that users WOULD'T actually use what they were paying for. This is no longer a valid assumption.

    ANNNDDD.. this is long and we're getting near the end….

    You ask "Who's going to pay for the infrastructure required to deliver Internet content to the consumer?" The answer is … the companies that build that infrastructure and the banks that finance it, and their shareholders. They will then cover those costs and (hopefully) provide a return to the financiers by charging CUSTOMERS enough to cover those costs and some profit, JUST LIKE COMPANIES ALWAYS HAVE DONE. The internet isn't the end of history. If it turns out that the companies have been undercharging their customers they will either raise prices or go out of business ( or get taxpayers to make up the difference) like always.

    =====

  8. We don't need changes to NN to allow ISPs to raise their rates to reflect changes in customer behavior (ie actually using the bandwidth they paid for). We don't need metered access to the internet, and in fact that would stifle innovation and growth in one of the few remaining growth areas of the economy. We already have a metering method, in that customers are free to purchase the level of access they want, absent .gov interference.

    What we need is for ISPs to recognize that subscriber use patterns have changed (like asymmetrical provisioning- lots of people are uploading at high levels either for offsite storage, cloud based apps, security cams, or content creation) and change their charges and service plans to take those changes into account. Stop promising unrealistic speeds based on old models. Start guaranteeing minimum levels of service (as in the business world) and charging for guaranteed minimums rather than completely BS theoretical maximums.

    We need marketing changes, and time for the changing usage models to be reflected in pricing plans.

    What we absolutely DON'T need is 'fairness' or other squishy and un-definable requirements imposed by partisan activists, or worse, plodding and uncaring bureaucrats. We absolutely DON'T need a mechanism for ISPs to favor their own traffic over competitors (as this is the opposite of what allowed the internet to become what it is today, and will enable all the new things that will continue to be developed.) If they don't want to play on a level field, NO ONE is FORCING THEM to continue playing.

    And that's way more than I was going to write on the subject… thanks for the space.

    nick

    (couldn't help adding that this under-provisioning doesn't just happen for the internet. Many sectors have similar issues and have worked out their own solutions. See also airlines (overbooking), electricity distribution (off-peak rates, load shedding), shipping (LTL vs parcel vs Dedicated truck), etc. Look at the development of the Interstate Highway System, and its impact on railroads, and then how both trucking and Intermodal shipping have developed. Containerized shipping and Intermodal is the internet made of atoms…)

  9. I can't quite leave it alone.

    Look at the examples of metering that we already have.

    Long distance phone calling used to be metered. Now it is widely available either with VOIP or bundled cell plans as either so low cost it's essentially unmetered, or purely unmetered. Most people don't think twice about making long distance calls or even consider that a call might BE long distance.

    School lunch programs become unmetered when enough of the school's population qualifies as to make the accounting more expensive than the goods provided. 'Course someone else is paying which makes that call easier for administrations…

    The water use analogy falls apart because no single user has a pipe bigger than his neighbor. If he wants one, he has to pay more for the big pipe and his metered rate is different than his neighbors because of his potential disparate use. And he's unfairly charged for his SEWER fees (which are based on water usage) even though he uses his big pipe for watering his lawn or filling his pool and the water never enters a sewer.

    Lots of metered goods get CHEAPER the more you use as the cost is in the accounting more than the good itself, water and electricity are good examples, as is certain types of shipping (like amazon's low rates).

    The "metered" rate for parcels is MUCH higher than simply filling a trailer with the exact same boxes, because of the higher cost associated with handling all the parcels. LTL shipping takes advantage of the "excess capacity" on the trailers as they stick your shipment on whatever trailer is headed the right direction, and has room after all the other higher cost freight is loaded. The trailer is going anyway, so they fill the space at a discount. Hotels and airlines do this too.

    In other words, the problem of under-provisioning is not new or unique to the internet, and we have lots of models for ways to "solve" the "problem."

    We don't need more legislation from people we KNOW are corrupt and easily influenced creating all kinds of new issues that will divert productive work into legal and financial shenanigans. How much more productive would are economy be if we didn't have resource sponges like all the regulatory agencies?

    nick

    (and for laughs, look at the deployment adoption and cost of mobile phone services (high) and the subsequent development of texting in Europe (metered model) vs the US (tiered unmetered plans)) or metered 'internet' schemes like the french minitel system, or the various US versions of same…

  10. UGG, how could I forget the railroads???

    That is a direct analogy. They have/had differing rates depending on what you are shipping even if it is exactly the same shape and weight.

    This is what a net that wasn't neutral to content would be like eventually. Every type of traffic would have different QOS rates, and per unit rates, and a whole value-sucking industry would arise to squeeze the last penny from every one involved.

    nick

    Oh, and the cynic in me can't help but notice that most legislation ends up doing the exact opposite of what the title would lead you to believe, which scares me a great deal wrt "Net Neutrality" as LAW.

  11. I think the internet providers are going to say we can make a lot more money by charging more like cell providers do. You pay for the data you consume both sending and receiving. I'm okay with that model. What concerns me about this idea they want to take us away from is what's already been mentioned. Currently we can call out things like google when they deliberately manipulate data for things like searches to populate it with what they deem they want people to see. As it was pointed out above there is not many in the tech sector that is a friend of free or libertarian based thought. Internet infrastructure I believe has also gotten a lot of the grants and .gov loans to upgrade. What happens when these providers all decide similar to what happens with the Google monster. (google, youtube ) and say well we will not provide you the content from these websites because we don't want to? What happens when all the providers do the same thing? These are not hypothetical questions as I see it. I'm open for discussion on it, of course . But I have some real concerns about this NN going away.

  12. Others have already described what Ken was ignoring in his writing, and I thank them for that.

    I'll note that Netflix originally offered to put caching servers in the ISP end points so popular programs wouldn't need to go over the internet multiple times and the ISPs, notably Comcast, absolutely refused. Then Comcast started throttling traffic, and you could pay to get unthrottled access, or put another way, get the level you had already paid for. (Sounds a lot like cable bundling, doesn't it).

    Comcast, AT&T, TimeWarner, etc have a view of how the internet should look, and it's this. Just like the cable system, you'll end up buying multiple packages to get the single website you want to connect to. And as has been noted above, said website has already paid for its' access as well.

    For those who say it'll never happen, as noted above with the last mile, I note I have only 1 ISP choice, that offers reasonable internet access speed. Seeing a coworker try satellite convinced me that it would never work, until the access speeds & signal reliability improved. Now, if the gov't was to provide fiber to the home, as some city gov'ts have done, and then allow ISPs to bid for customers, this wouldn't be the case. But AT&T, TimeWarner, and others have sued in court, and/or lobbied legislators, to prevent this from happening, and in cities where it has occurred, to yank it out. Put bluntly, they don't want to give up the monopoly of the last mile.

    Comcast throttling various websites, and you having to pay an additional fee to get unthrottled access, is where the original NN came from, and again as noted above, the Cable providers (and some telephone providers as well) sued to have the original FCC NN rules declared illegal. So then the FCC changed its' rules, and we have the second NN rules.

    Now, putting the fox in charge of the chickens, or in this case, Ajit Pai, a former Verizon Associate General Counsel in as the head of the FCC, leads me to question how neutral the FCC's position on NN will be.

  13. I'm reading this on wireless dialup, because I'm on a boat and the shipowners won't pay for sat access for media. As we mostly work nearshore, we use a cell provider.

    Morning and night, bandwidth slows to a trickle as cell phone users just a couple miles away watch cat videos and Netflix. Same problem Peter deals with.

    To the man who just wants to wash the soap out of his butt crack, it doesn't matter what politically motivates those who work to increase the water pressure. Butts must be clean and well-rinsed before such things can be properly addressed.
    I get that the critique was biased and failed to address all concerns. Neither of those things make it wrong.

  14. Never forget that the road tax analogy is flawed becasue our various levels of government lied and continue to lie. Unless you're living in one of the States which require that gas taxes be spent on roads, you cna be certain that your money is going to prop up various social programs and/or filling some politician's pocket.

  15. https://www.fcc.gov/document/chairman-pai-proposes-restore-internet-freedom

    And from this:

    http://reason.com/blog/2017/11/21/ajit-pai-net-neutrality-podcast

    In an exclusive interview today just hours after announcing his plan to repeal "Net Neutrality" rules governing the actions of Internet-service providers (ISPs) and mobile carriers, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has an in-your-face prediction for his critics: "Over the coming years, we're going to see an explosion in the kinds of connectivity and the depth of that connectivity," he said this afternoon.

  16. I disagree with the proposition that one customer using the bandwidth that they contracted with the carrier causing a shortage to another customer to be the fault of anyone except the carrier that oversold their capacity.

    If the carrier can not provide their advertised capacity, it is their deficiency to correct; and if they are not providing you with your contracted capacity then you are due a refund or should switch carriers…. If switching carriers is a viable option. With the way the carriers have lobbied to prevent competition in the market switching is not usually a viable option for most people.

  17. If the problem is 'people using more than their share for the same price', the answer is to have different prices for different amounts of data.

    guess what, consumers have shown that they really hate data caps and getting cut off or charged for the overage, and would much rather have slightly higher prices and no caps.

    Why aren't you also fussing about telephone companies not charging per minute for local calls (actually, many don't charge per minute for long distance calls any more, only international calls)?

    it gets to the point that the overhead of measuring and tracking the fine details costs more than you can charge for the service compared to a competitor who doesn't spend the money to track the fine details.

    Allowing companies to charge websites more, after their customer's have already paid them for the bandwidth usage, is only going to end up with the websites charging the customers more to cover the costs.

    no, the net neutrality rules have not been perfect, but what the carriers have been trying to do that has been blocked by these rules is far worse than any damage from the rules.

    I don't work at an ISP, but I work in the tech field where I know the underlying technology here and see how badly the ISPs are trying to behave.

    The ISP arguments are nonsense (to put it politely)

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