“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.” - John Adams
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Categories Regulations Some Facts/Opinions about Net Neutrality (NN)
Being a person of some IT knowledge, it bugs me when non-technical people tell me how the internet works. On that topic, especially this week, I've heard from many on the pure evil of how NN rollback is about to destroy the world by taking away free internet, fair internet or something that prevents hard working folks from getting their fair share.

That's a bunch of crapola.

Net Neutrality isn't about the internet. It's not about neutrality.

I offer these facts and opinions:

Net Neutrality didn't take effect until 2015. It was suspended by Trump's FCC chair, Ajit Pai, earlier this year.

Most also don't know the roles of FTC vs FCC.

The purpose of Net Neutrality was to take regulatory oversight of the internet out of the FTC's hands and hand it over to the FCC.

The FCC is responsible for behaving as a moral authority, censoring and fining any entity in its jurisdiction pretty much whenever they feel like it.

The FCC does NOT have strict consumer privacy protection requirements.

The FTC does. This is important.

Not only that, but by considering the internet a "common carrier", the government gets to dictate how ISPs run their businesses and how they offer service to customers.

There never was, never has been, and never will be an issue of ISPs "deciding what sites you can visit".

That's not just a myth - it's a deliberate lie.

ISPs do manage bandwidth and network traffic, but that's not about capitulating to the highest bidder - it's about ensuring a minimum level of service for all subscribers.

If we needed Net Neutrality, Comcast wouldn't be *throttling* Netflix in the evening.

If anything, they'd be *prioritizing* Netflix traffic, because guess who has enough money to pay off Comcast for preferential treatment? Oh yeah...Netflix.

This isn't about protecting your actual rights.

It's not about "keeping the internet free and open".

The internet IS free and open.

You think Comcast is bad now, how do you think it will pan out if the government forces Comcast to treat all network traffic exactly the same?

Instead of parts of the internet sucking for a small subset of subscribers, the entire internet will suck for everyone! Why?

Because regulatory burden isn't going to force Comcast/Spectrum to upgrade their network infrastructure.

The only strategy that will actually have an impact on the ISP monopoly is deregulation.

It's become prohibitively expensive to start your own ISP, and now nobody is willing to stand up to the behemoths of Comcast, Time-Warner, AT&T and Verizon.

Except, that is, Google...and we all know why Google started its own fiber optic service.

Hint: it's not because they're such great guys.

If you still don't understand what I'm getting at, think of it this way: Heavy vehicles are treated differently from light vehicles on public roads.

Most (if not all) states have DOT laws prohibiting vehicles over 10,000 lbs GVW (gross vehicle weight), and slow-moving vehicles in the passing lane on highways with three or more lanes.

Additionally, heavy vehicles are generally required to pay higher tolls at toll roads, bridges, and interchanges.

Why is this? It's pretty simple.

Left lane restrictions on highways exist to keep the flow of traffic moving consistently and efficiently.

By prohibiting semis and trailers and slow traffic in the left lane, other drivers can pass through more quickly.

If these laws didn't exist, you'd see semis and dump trucks and RVs and whatnot in the left lane, holding up traffic for everyone else.

Kind of like what would happen if NN were enforced and Comcast couldn't manage their bandwidth to ensure the fast-moving traffic (like people checking email or ranting on Twitter) can get through without being held up by the bigger traffic (like you binging YOUR_SHOW_HERE in 4k).

What about tolls? It's the same idea - heavy vehicles cause more wear and damage to roadways.

Thus, when tolls are implemented with the goal being to augment funding for the toll's roadway, heavy vehicles have to pay more $$, because they impact roadways more than cars.

Kind of like how ISPs negotiate agreements with major bandwidth consumers (like Netflix and Hulu) to offset the significantly higher bandwidth consumption incurred by those services.

The world is not ending because Net Neutrality is going away.

NN didn't exist before 2016, and the internet was chugging along just fine without it.

We don't need more government regulation over the internet.

We need less.

For anyone facing arguments such as, "without NN, ISPs won't bother to upgrade their networks!", point them to the FCC's annual broadband report.

Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 98% increase in average speed across all broadband.

Compare this to data to the year before NN... a 36% increase.

Facts oppose the popular Net Neutrality narrative.

Before NN, broadband was quickly improving.

With NN, infrastructure investment slowed considerably.

You are not entitled to internet access unless you head over to the public library, but not all have them (public access internet devices) so you best call first. It is not the government's responsibility to ensure you have always-available internet access. It DEFINITELY isn't the federal government's responsibility to ensure you have internet access at some particular speed.

You aren't entitled to any of these things. At all. They are luxuries, not inalienable rights.

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