Wednesday September 1, 2010 | Net Neutrality Update

August 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 7 Comments

The internet has been something of a wild west frontier for years but the very openness that defined the internet could be changing. Leading the change is Google and Verizon wireless; two huge internet players. They are debating a deal that advocates say will make the internet a more fair marketplace for those who provide access to users. Opponents of the deal say that, without more federal regulation to control internet providers, users will pay higher fees and have less access to the internet than ever before. We update the issue of net neutrality and how to keep the internet open for all.
Guests
Andrew McDiarmid
– Policy Analyst, Center for Technology and Democracy
Scott Cleland – President, Precursor LLC and Chairman, NetCompetition.org

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  1. Mike,
    could you talk about current billing tiers…it seems to me if you need more bandwidth you get the 18 mgbs plan, if you need 6, you get 6, If you only need to check email and pay bills go DSL!…Each of these ‘usage’ tiers has a different price point under current system.

    Ryan

  2. If ISP’s want to have sweet deals for content, form another network and charge what you want. The present network covers everything from medical support to jobs and other things. Take money making applications to another network. Net 2 maybe.

  3. If all the cities take away the public franchise rights granted to the cable companies and telephone companies, and if all the millions of miles of public rights of way are no longer given to those same companies then they would go away. If the public removes it’s vast support for these companies they would die instantly. So, how is the internet a “private” network?

    – Justin

  4. Scott says he’s not a lobbyist…

    From precursor.com:
    “Scott Cleland… serves as Chairman of NetCompetition.org, a pro-competition e-forum __supported by broadband interests__.”

    From Wikipedia:
    “A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby.”

    “Broadband interests” are the “special interest” and Scott showing up on this radio program is “trying to influence.” How is Scott not a lobbyist?!

    – Justin

  5. I realize that the average user of the Internet doesn’t understand all the details about how it works, but I’m dismayed that Scott Cleland would be taken as a serious member of the discussion, as he said almost nothing true, accurate, or valuable. His assertion that currently, subscribers to service from ISPs are paying all the costs for the maintaining the network and service providers are getting a free ride is utterly false. His assertion that it was only the private sector that built the Internet is utterly false. His assertion that to support net neutrality is to support government takeover of the Internet is utterly false. His repeated complaint that the Internet is being used for things it wasn’t designed for is a totally useless and misleading statement, since most of the services we use the Internet for today were not anticipated by the original designers. If the Internet were only used for the types of services for which it was designed, we would have no World Wide Web, audio, video, chat, social networking, or blogs. Those were able to develop on the Internet and didn’t develop on proprietary communications networks such as telephone and cable networks because their designers didn’t have to get permission from a network executive but were able to provide their new services in the same way as the original services like email and file transfer.

    I think that much of the confusion persists because many people many not understand that unlike telephone, cable TV, and other communications networks, the Internet has never been under the control of one or a small number of entities. It was created by a collaboration between the Federal Government, universities, and corporations. When it was privatized, the basic principles that all users had the same ability to use and provide services was preserved, and still persists today. That is the single most important reason for the success of the Internet and the way it has revolutionized so much.

    To give one example, Google uses IP addresses and domain names that are fundamentally similar to those accessible to any individual subscriber to ISP service. Google has many IP addresses and many domains and uses very large amounts of traffic, all of which they have to pay for. They did not gain their position as a provider of very popular services by building a proprietary network from scratch as telephone companies and cable companies have, but by using the existing Internet which was a level playing field for any service provider.

    I’m not defending any particular action by Google, especially not their recent deal with Verizon. In fact, the reason I think that the neutral use of the Internet must be preserved to prevent powerful companies like Google from being able to lock out future potential competitors.

    I’m also not sure how much the FCC or congress should regulate the Internet. I think we’ve been very fortunate so far that very little regulation has been needed. However, I think there are far too many examples of corporations such as Comcast, Google, and Verizon that are trying to gain an unfair advantage in using the Internet, so some level of regulation will be necessary.

  6. I wonder if the ISP’s could come up with a a demand meter like the electric power companies use; i.e., charge for maximum load rate required to furnish total use.

    • I wonder if the ISP’s could come up with a a demand meter like the electric power companies use; i.e., charge for maximum load rate required to furnish total use.

      Mike,
      could you talk about current billing tiers…it seems to me if you need more bandwidth you get the 18 mgbs plan, if you need 6, you get 6, If you only need to check email and pay bills go DSL!…Each of these ‘usage’ tiers has a different price point under current system.

      There are a number of ways ISPs can and do determine charges based on usage, including the amount of data transferred and rate of transfer. Using those variables to determine charges is valid and has little to do with net neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle that your ISP can’t decide which services to allow or disallow (or promote or demote) you to use with the transfer amount and/or rate you pay them for. It is analogous to the idea that when you pay for traditional telephone service, you expect to be able to call Pizza Hut just as easily as you can call Dominoes, assuming they both have nearby locations.


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