Get PJ Media on your Apple

VodkaPundit

The New Net Neutrality

April 24th, 2014 - 6:16 am

Net neutrality was probably as good as dead when Netflix and Comcast reached a deal for Netflix to pay the cable giant for high-speed access to its video streaming customers. (Full disclosure: Melissa and I are catching up on How I Met Your Mother by watching entire seasons on Netflix, just as quickly as the boys will let us, which isn’t very.) But now the FCC is getting into the game:

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called “last mile” connection to people’s homes, but enhance scrutiny of such deals so they don’t harm competition or limit free speech.

That’s according to a senior FCC official familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is to present the proposed rules to the other commissioners on Thursday.

So-called “net neutrality” rules are hotly debated because without them, consumers’ ability to freely access certain types of content could be constrained by giant conglomerates for business, political or other reasons.

That last bit is the worrisome thing, isn’t it? And it’s difficult to know where to take a stand, when the players include free-speech killers like the federal government and giant, monopolistic utilities like Comcast.

If we get into a situation where the content of my downloaded bits can be regulated or priced, then I’m worried. In fact, then it’s Game Over for the internet as we know it. But the old days of the internet, where all bits were created equal, was over when HD video streaming became a thing. Because now we’re in a new situation. It’s no longer just web surfers going to similar HTML-based pages whenever they happen to have a computer in front of them. Netflix streaming customers make up a small minority of web users in this country, but during primetime viewing hours they make up one-third or more of all internet traffic. In this country, that’s about ten percent of all internet users taking up 40% of the bandwidth. And they can do it from their desktops, their laptops, their tablets, their phones, or even from the bedroom TV.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Sorta-yes, sorta-no. So long as one can vote with their dollars and get a completely uncapped, carrier-grade connection to do whatever they please, I don't really have a huge problem with providers running el-cheapo products with various forms of rate massaging in place.

The real issue with cable providers like Comcast is their ridiculous bundling rules. All services should be available a la carte at any location it's technically possible to deliver said service, but that is rarely the case.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
۩۞۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۞­۩ஜ
Start making cash right now... Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8012 a month. I've started this job and I've never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here...
www.jobscs.com

۩۞۩ஜ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ஜ۩۞­۩ஜ
LET’S HAVE A PRODUCTIVE 2014
CLICK THE LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm still pissed at Glen Beck for misrepresenting Net Neutrality as some kind of Fairness Doctrine censorship thing.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Net neutrality" was a bad idea from the start. AOL made billions of dollars using the telco networks for free, while requiring the telcos to upgrade capacity constantly. Only semi-monopoly businesses could have put up with that for a second. Internet bandwidth is the same thing times a thousand. And because of net neutrality the carriers could not even *offer* "quality of service" (QoS) features, which gamers and others want desperately. You had to just buy bandwidth, and hope, and complain. If you want to buy response time, why not let someone sell it? Most bandwidth is installed and priced under the assumptions it will be used about 3% of the time overall with peaks up to 33%. If Netflix buys a big, expensive pipe and then dumps gigabits/second all day long, they have to be asked to pay for it, and might just be *happy* to pay a little extra so their bits get priority.

You don't want every web site to have to pay for a license to each network segment separately, THAT part of "net neutrality" we do need.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
They(AOL) never used the telco networks for free - BS! They paid for their bandwidth just like everybody else. You can still buy T1's today, why don't you price a few? Then consider how many of those T1's AOL paid for when a modem was the standard way of connecting to the internet. It isn't the content provider "plugging up the pipes", it is the end user who should be able to pay a fair rate for that. The telco's never lost money on the deal then, and they aren't losing money now. If, and only IF, the service providers can approach the customer and tell them we need to charge a higher rate to improve your bandwidth and latency issues should anything be done. If the end user, the paying customer, wants to spend extra to get better then have at it. If they don't won't to spend it then their free ride is over, not the content providers.

The reason why service providers don't like that is that they know the technology cost will continue to come down and the service quality will go up relative to the present. They can't justify a price increase for a set quantity and quality of service to end users because of that. So, they want to have content providers pay to build their infrastructure, then keep charging the same monthly rates to end users, even when their operating costs continue to drop. That will guarantee them huge profit margins!

But when that happens then content providers attempt to pass the cost on to customers(end users) who eventually balk, and demand then drops. What next? Well the telcos/ISPs are sitting fat and happy with great infrastructure, lower usage and operating costs, and that same old monthly income from frustrated end users. Back to pre-packaged content from the cable monopolies, news from the same producers, and telephone service from a single antiquated local exchange.

I don't want my service provider making deals with my content provider period! They don't get to choose what is good for me, I do. I'll pick the best service provider in a free market AND I'll pick the best content providers in a free market.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
My picture of AOL's infrastructure had them building huge banks of individual line modems for you to phone into, and none of the POTS service at that time was engineered to handle more than about 300 baud traffic. When AOL came along and (their customers) started running 2400 baud and above traffic, they were "abusing" the system. I'm not sure if they ever got the receiving end to use T1s or bigger pipes rather than banks of modems at that end, too.

We've gotten where we are today because bandwidth growth has been cheap, amazingly cheap, but cheap is not free, and bandwidth is not QoS. Consumers want QoS. So someone has to be in a position to *sell* them QoS.

So will today's QoS features raise the price to consumers? Possibly a buck or two, I don't think it will be more than that, at least as long as the carriers charge just at the Netflix end. If they also start charging at the consumer end - well, another few bucks, I guess. But it will get them a better product.

... as may be needed if higher resolution tvs become the norm, as might just be the case, 4K, 48fps, 24-bit color depth. That kind of stuff can't make it down the wires right now at all, yet another quantum leap in bandwidth will be needed and QoS management will help.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in K.C. Google is installing fiber there.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Net neutrality was probably as good as dead when Netflix and Comcast reached a deal for Netflix to pay the cable giant for high-speed access to its video streaming customers."

This is what I originally suggested when the debate over net neutrality was in its infancy. Large bandwidth users such as Netflix and Google should be negotiating directly with ISP providers over pricing. I'm pretty sure that Netflix is paying a much lower bit rate than we do in very much the same way that someone who orders a large soda pays a lower price per oz than the person who buys a smaller soda. If this is how it is going to be in the future I'm all for it. I just hope the FCC doesn't overstep its bounds and begin to think they know how to set rates. The internet does not need to become a utility.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bulk bandwidth has always been available, just ask MCI. Large service providers who have the most users wanting to stream the same bits over and over should have to negotiate with the big content providers to co-host the data and stop the amplification effect. It's the service providers business model and problem to figure out, not the content provider. That is why the internet access providers should be regulated like a utility. Just like water, they have to size the pipes right and build the treatment facilities to keep the quality high. Bits is bits.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something that is lost in discussions about net neutrality relate to quality of service. I have no problem with paying more for services that need to have a lot of packets processed at a regular interval. There is no reason that someone just using a browser or e-mail should need to pay as much as someone using Skype or Webex or even VoIP. This is not limited to the number of bits, but also how likely you are to get them in a useful time. Net neutrality basically says that all of those need to be treated equally. They are not equal. Why are we kidding ourselves? If you want to stop innovation that could use more bandwidth, then be all for net neutrality. If you want the next big thing, be willing to pay for extra services.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Latency and prioritization can be accommodated no matter who the content providers is. Net neutrality has never ignored that or left it out of the discussion. It is the service providers responsibility to reorganize their infrastructure and their pricing to customers to meet that. Since hardly any end user uses a modem for internet access today the argument that service providers hands are tied by regulations is a false one. They have been free to set their pricing for internet access via DSL, Coax, and many other means all along. Net neutrality demands that service providers not interfere with the relationship between content providers and end users by favoring one content provider over another. The service providers who connect the content providers need to figure out how to charge an equal but fair rate without favoring one or the other. Once those bits of content are on the internet they should be treated as the standard protocols dictate, and if a carrier along the way didn't get their business model right they will lose money. But when the carrier ends up being the same company from one end to the other, which is what the big carriers want, they can play both ends against each other. That is not an internet at that point but a private network.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can buffer netflix movies, but two-way communications require some ability to guarantee timely delivery of every packet. This is missing from the content/number of bits discussion.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The ISP needs to have some ability to do data shaping to prioritize packets that must arrive without noticeable delay. In my opinion, it would be good if the consumer saw prices that were proportional to their network usage. The current pricing model insulates the consumer from the costs of immediate video streaming in HD vs. allowing more buffering before the program starts to relax packet delivery time requirements. Honest pricing and markets do a better job than government regulators at matching internet capacity and service price to consumer demand.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem is that last-mile service runs into the same natural monopoly issues as any other utility. At least that gives us a template to work off of, the physical data fiber is run as a local utility (keep the FCC the heck out of it) and customers contract with providers to supply service over that connection.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorta-yes, sorta-no. So long as one can vote with their dollars and get a completely uncapped, carrier-grade connection to do whatever they please, I don't really have a huge problem with providers running el-cheapo products with various forms of rate massaging in place.

The real issue with cable providers like Comcast is their ridiculous bundling rules. All services should be available a la carte at any location it's technically possible to deliver said service, but that is rarely the case.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I called Comcast about just getting their Internet a year or so ago (I'm out of the country at the moment and would love to have internet that fast, sad to say) and they were more than happy to give me internet a la carte, but for something like 30 bucks more a month than it was to get "limited basic cable" and internet access. I understand why they do it, but I'm with you, it's ridiculous.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I prefer the gubment stay the hell of my internets, but until that last mile monopoly/duopoly is broken up by technical means, then legally-enforced a la carte should absolutely rule the day.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I smell slippery slope here.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something to hope for here is that it will begin a push within the different providers to start working towards higher and higher bandwidth capacity from one end to the other. The ISP that can provide enough bandwidth that they don't have to charge their customers based on the content of the bits while their competition does could have a winning hand in the market. Of course a lot of that depends on the delivery system (Phone line, coax, fiber, etc..) and what your ISP options are.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All