back to article You can thank Brit funnyman John Oliver for fixing US broadband policy, beams Netflix

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks Americans owe a debt to British satirist John Oliver for the FCC's tough stance this week on broadband monopolies in the US. Hastings said in a personal Facebook post on Thursday: FCC Chairman Wheeler talks about importance of gigabit for everyone and how fiber and cable can get us there. Much …

  1. asdf Silver badge

    the real problem

    Granted I am not a wonk on this topic and will probably get downvoted to heck but it doesn't seem like the solution is to tell ISP how to manage their traffic. The solution IMHO is to treat all ISPs as common carriers (especially cable) and eliminate this early 20th century commanding heights BS of cable companies having regional monopolies. Don't tend to sprout right winger ideals but regulation first and foremost should exist to make sure their is always a healthy and fair market because market forces can often do what regulations can't. People will naturally tend to choose the company that doesn't throttle their use cases if they have say a dozen different choices for ISP.

    1. karlp

      Re: the real problem

      Yes, but the complication is that wide-reaching physical infrastructure is a natural monopoly. There simply isn't any justification for duplication of resources on such a large scale as the Electric Grid, Water Works, Sewer Systems, or Datacom.

      Non-discrimination (or, inversely, non-preferential) treatment is a great, and needed, goal, but it isn't the end-goal.*

      What actually needs to happen is regional, if not a singular national, institution(s) that does all of the physical infrastructure. They deliver a link to your home/buisness/cell tower/etc, but not the the end user service. They are actually restricted from providing the end user service. They are also restricted from owning content, or participating in other competing markets.

      This doesn't have to be a state-owned entity, but it would certainly have very strong state-oversight/regulation.

      They would welcome any and all resellers / service providers equally, and leave it up to them to differentiate who throttles, who doesn't, who has value add services (website hosting, email hosting, etc) who uses static addresses, who uses dynamic, etc etc etc.

      Then we can actually have meaningful competition, while still maintaining the needed natural physical connectivity / infrastructure monopoly that allows you to keep the critical mass for sustainability.

      Karl P

      *Even here, I am using a broad brush. The networks should be allowed, if not mandated, to treat certain traffic differently. I think we can all agree that VoIP/MultiPartyGaming/Etc should be treated differently than web browsing, which should be treated differently than large bulk data transfers, etc. What we don't want is two different VoIP packets to be given differential treatment based on some other factor (money/service ownership/whim).

      We should be careful not to scream for equality to such a degree that we end up in a situation where someone can't make a phone call because someone else has decided a 4K video stream suits their fancy.

      1. petur

        Re: the real problem

        Funny, I've been saying this for 10+ years, yet every mobile company insists on planting its own masts with antennae...

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: the real problem

        I live in the UK, in an area that doesn't have Virgin Media, so I only have the choice of a BT Openreach connection between my home and the exchange, but nevertheless, I do have a choice of 6 different connections from the exchange to the internet, from ISPs with different traffic management policies, prices and so on, plus other ISPs that resell services on some of those connections, again with their own pricing and traffic management policies.

        That means that if one of those ISPs was to try making Netflix slow in order to try to shake them down for more cash, the ISP would lose their customers to competitors that offer a better Netflix performance.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: the real problem

          I am sure we will see some sucks to be you from the other side of the pond but after living in Germany and being forced to deal with Deutsch Telekom for telecom service (granted almost a decade ago) I can tell you the only company as painful to deal with financially I have seen in the US is Verizon and at least there is some choice there (then again probably is in Eastern Germany now too).

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: the real problem

          That means that if one of those ISPs was to try making Netflix slow in order to try to shake them down for more cash, the ISP would lose their customers to competitors that offer a better Netflix performance.

          That ISP would gain me as a customer. If I could get an ISP around here that blocked Netflix entirely I'd do it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the real problem

        The solution as you describe it is essentially equivalent to classifying ISPs as common carriers, which I think is an excellent idea if politically difficult. I second your comment that packets of different types (video vs SMTP, for example) should and must be treated differently for effective network management -- which is quite unlike the practice of lagging Netflix' video streams to give an advantage to your own streaming service (now who could I possibly be referring to??)

        1. gnarlymarley

          Re: the real problem

          This is interesting because we already have this speed thing defined in the US for years. We have business ISP accounts as well as consumer ISP accounts. The consumer ISP accounts are usually slower speeds, or have a CAP and drop when you reach the CAP. Same happens with mobile in the US. I am not sure why I would want to limit my connection any further than its pittance speed. I cannot afford netflix, so I believe this is something more than just netflix. The issue is that I do not want my packets slowed down any further because I am paying for the lower price, not the of cost of a stable connection rate of $73USD (£47GBP) per month or even a higher price.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the real problem

        That's almost exactly what we have here in Texas with the electricity market. There's a regulated transmission cost (the wires) and a cost for the actual energy that's coming across those wires. There are a LOT of choices, packaged a lot of different ways, with a website that allows you to see all the offers: www.powertochoose.org

        Bottom line is, you get to choose a plan and a commitment level that works for you, take pricing risk if you want to (or not), and find the best deal for YOUR needs and usage patterns. If only we had something close to this with Cable/ISPs. At this point I'd be thrilled just to get a la carte cable pricing!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the real problem

        "...VoIP/MultiPartyGaming/Etc should be treated differently than web browsing, which should be treated differently than large bulk data transfers, etc. What we don't want is two different VoIP packets to be given differential treatment based on some other factor..."

        Well, if you're going to throttle my streaming in favor of VoIP packets, then I'm just going to have to find a way to use VoIP to stream my data. Perhaps a device that converts digital signals into analog that the VoIP carries, which can then be converted back into digital signals on the far end. "Deconverted" as it were.

        It'd need a catchy name though. Shorter than "Converter / Deconverter; a CoDec perhaps? Maybe "modulation" would be a better word...

        1. elDog Silver badge

          Re: the real problem

          Hah - good idea but I sure don't want to lose my non-lossy signal inside some analog waves (altho 99.9% of my signal is noise.)

          Maybe we can hide our VOIP inside of streaming videos and just throw away all those images of throbbing bodies to get at the dulcet tones of our voices.

          Everytime some bureaucrat pretends to be a technocrat there is a loss of efficiency and an increase in entropy.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: the real problem

          Well, if you're going to throttle my streaming in favor of VoIP packets, then I'm just going to have to find a way to use VoIP to stream my data

          I don't think you understand Quality of Service. Prioritization doesn't mean "VoIP wins and your torrents of pirated movies lose". It means (in principle) that the carriers apply different rules to packets according to the needs of their applications.

          VoIP mostly needs low latency. It doesn't need a lot of bandwidth, and it doesn't need reliable delivery - in fact, you want to discard anything that's been delayed too long.

          That makes it really bad for tunneling large file transfers or video streams.

          Now, of course the Net Neutrality Brigade insists that if ISPs aren't required to treat every packet as sacred, they will perpetrate all sorts of evils upon the poor defenseless Internet users. And no doubt that in an environment where they often have local monopolies or duopolies, if there is no regulation at all, many will engage in bad behavior - that's what big companies do - such as favoring their own profit centers over those of third parties. But that doesn't mean the QoS baby needs to be thrown out with the unfair-practices dingo bathwater.

      6. Citizens untied

        Re: the real problem

        "They are also restricted from owning content, or participating in other competing markets"

        The real heart of the problem if you ask me. I cant help but ponder a thought expermient where by common carriers may not pervade content or other service areas and might have to invest their profits elsewhere? What actual innovations might actually arrive when the business mangler's (sic) are not in the driver's seat, rather the tech leaders.

        I'll be riding off into a rainbow sunset on my unicorn...

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: the real problem

      Treat them as common carriers?

      They ARE common carriers!

      The whole problem has been the same as the patent and copyright office affliction. It's must be new and special because because it says "on the Internet"!!

  2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge
    WTF?

    Wait, what?

    I am failing to see the connection between a comedian making a statement on Net Neutrality and that comedian being the primary force behind the policy change... I would think that all the other campaigning by the EFF, Open Rights Group and countless other organizations did many orders of magnitude more to pressure the FCC. So either Hastings wants to suck up to John Oliver (Oh and piss off everyone that actually did work towards this) or he is one hell of a deluded man.

    Ironically the only way to see John Oliver's show is to pay out the nose to a cable/SatTV company to get HBO....

    1. phil dude
      Pint

      Re: Wait, what?

      1) His "rant" caused the FCC website to crash. This was a direct effect.

      2) John Oliver's "Last Night" is on youtube. Yeah not the whole half hour, but he also does stuff on a podcast ( The Bugle)

      He may not have been the primary force, but it certainly *appears* like it helped tip the balance...

      P.

    2. fung0

      Re: Wait, what?

      Glad that somebody pointed this out. Oliver isn't that funny, his personality gets annoying over a full show, and he's been on the case with net neutrality for, what was it, five minutes?

      I tend to like Reed Hastings, but he's not being very bright, singling out one Johnny-come-lately celebrity endorser rather than the battalions of campaigners who've been fighting this fight on his behalf, day in and day out for years on end.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That is the problem...

    Consumers don't have a dozen choices for cable ISPs. The current industry monopoly allows the few existing cable companies to provide terrible service, use unscrupulous Biz practices and ignore customer complaints while charging top dollar for bad service.

    1. petur

      Re: That is the problem...

      Also, a duoploly isn't any better, here in Belgium we have two ISPs basically having a race 'who sucks most'. One runs all the cable and offers plenty of speed, but treats its customers like dirt (talking to you there, telenet), the other one runs on old copper, sucks at speed, used to treat its customers like dirt but got a bit better (no choice if you're the slowest).

      End result: crap choice == no choice

  4. Rick Giles
    WTF?

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    "ISPs and internet backbone providers argue large websites, such as Netflix, that make heavy use of the underlying network should pay towards the deployment and improvement of the web's infrastructure."

    Isn't that what we pay a monthly fee for?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Correct me if I'm wrong...

      Exactly. And Netflix also pays... already.

      1. td97402

        Re: Correct me if I'm wrong...

        Exactly, we are already paying Comcast for access to the Internet, they've no business complaining about Netflix hogging the bandwidth without paying. I paid. It's my bandwidth. I want to use my bandwidth to watch Netflix. End of story.

        I am sick of the disingenuous arguments and canards put forth by the cable internet industry. Netflix was already paying for transit across the Internet right up to Comcast's front door. I am already paying for access to Comcast's network. The only real deal here is that I don't want to pay for Comcast's expensive TV service too.

        Comcast is icing competitor's traffic unless they pay Comcast a toll and denying me the service I've paid for in the process. That should be actionable right there!

        1. ipghod

          Re: Correct me if I'm wrong...

          ok, your wrong.

          you don't pay comcast for access to netflix, you pay for internet access, which becomes best effort once you exit the comcast controlled part of the network.

          Netflix buying internet from someone who has a crap peering agreement with comcast means netflix made a mistake, if they were planning to have a lot of customers using comcast.

          that's just network design 101. if it's important, you make sure you have enough along the entire path. going with a bulk discount provider to get a better price per gig of internet, when you are pushing 30% of the Internets load in an evening, just means you have failed to appreciate the realities of your impact on the network. the fix is simple. bypass the middle man, and buy straight from the source. in fact, I'm pretty sure they got a better price per gig from comcast than the have in their long term agreement with the other guys... if their lawyers were good enough! I'll bet they have an out clause for non performance ;)

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Correct me if I'm wrong...

      Yes and no. Typically part of the cost of supplying the service (both the last mile part and the national backbone) had been covered by selling transit to companies at the other end. Large isp's per with each other as it is to their mutual benefit to do so but companies wanting to host websites etc either directly or indirectly pay a share. If this revenue stream is removed then that cost will fall on residential customers, the isp won't just make less money. I'm not in favor of them charging more based on the type of service or who they provide it to, but realistically we are going to pay it one way or another. If I could have had free transit (when I had servers) that would have been great in some respects but I respect that it allows them to place cost where it is incurred.

  5. petur

    Totaly unrelated

    Can somebody make John Oliver president? Or maybe ruler of the Earth for a while? I like funny common sense

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Totaly unrelated

      He wasn't born in the USA, so can't be President. However, his place of birth probably doesn't disqualify him for Ruler of Earth,

  6. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Poacher turned gamekeeper

    I know nothing about Wheeler, but to say he isn't appropriate for the position based on his past occupation is implying he's corrupt.

    Indeed, as the metaphorical 'poacher turned gamekeeper' he should be an ideal person for the job.

    1. PunkTiger

      Re: Poacher turned gamekeeper

      Tiger something something stripes... leopard something something spots... There's a reference in there somewhere.

      I won't doubt that a poacher could become a gamekeeper (it has been done before), but to put an awful lot of trust and faith into someone who has been responsible for getting Big Cable's way in legislation at the cost of the consumer is really very difficult. Time and time again, consumers in the US have been getting the short end of the stick when it comes to these matters. I think we were rightfully wary about his appointment at first. Proving us wrong will be a welcome change to the norm.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Poacher turned gamekeeper

        Fair points.

        However, the difference here is that he did what he did because he was paid to do it, not because it was some sort of hobby or general interest of his!

  7. Bakana

    RE: The Problem

    The actual problem is that the cable companies are Colluding to avoid any sort of Competition.

    Just as Jophn Oliver said: They do business like a bunch of Drug Cartels which agree not to "Trespass" on each other's "Turf".

    They don't regard subscribers as "Customers".

    The way people are treated makes it obvious the cable companies think they OWN the subscriber. IOW, they treat customers the same way Slaveowners have always treated slaves: With Utter Contempt.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: RE: The Problem

      Exactly, and mobile carriers demonstrate this quite vividly - I do NOT have access to multiple ISPs, but I DO have a choice of several carriers for my phone: except it makes not a damn bit of difference because what one does all do, and what one does not do, none of them do. And please don't even bother arguing there is any meaningful competition in action here - that's simply BS; it's the plain old "I don't need to provide a better service as long as you do the same, and that favours both of us".

  8. Paul E

    So

    If net neutrality is made law what happens when the networks get so busy that all packets, including netfix video ones, are being delayed? One aassumes netflix csnnot then pay the ISP to give their packets priority.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So

      That would imply that the network operators are being paid (both by whoever's connecting to their network to send the data and by the consumer of the data) to supply even more of their product - data transmission. In most other businesses that would be big smiles all around and the CEO crowing about how fast the market is growing, how fast revenues are growing, and how they're building more capacity to grab even more of that business.

    2. Gerhard Mack

      Re: So

      The bottleneck (and the monopoly) are the last mile. The actual routing of packets is the cheap part and in places where there is actual competition, traffic prices are falling sharply and there is no reason other than keeping an obscenely large profit margin that an ISP should be having congestion anywhere other than the last mile where the customer has control of what gets transferred anyhow.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fcc.gov/comments

    Comment must contain at least 5 words for acceptance into ECFS

  10. Lamb0
    Flame

    Don't forget...

    ... to separate the network backbone and last mile ISPs from CONTENT and breakup the bundling. By removing owner$hip of the content the from the ISPs, (Comcast & Time Warner in particular), ISPs have fewer rea$on$ to monopolize bandwidth for them$elve$. Meanwhile the content owner$ and provider$ have reason to squeal like stuck pigs by removing their bundling controls and enabling the endpoint content purcha$er$ to choose on their own. This will provoke BOTH providers AND consumers to all scream for MORE bandwidth, if only to benefit themselves!

    The situation WILL get worse. But by reclassifying ISPs as a utility it will get better eventually. POTS is doomed to be be replaced in the U.S.A. Real Soon Now... however, in many areas, (including mine), POTS is far more reliable than ANY ISP, but sometimes 19.2Kbaud (dial-up) is ALL there is, (T1 being unaffordable)! I have several friends near me who CANNOT get Cable, DSL, ground wireless, or reliable cellular signals; and the affordable satellite bandwidth is "Unavailable - Sold Out". Internet coverage is more than a head count - it also means DELIVERABLE COVERAGE AREA. There are coarse maps of cellular coverage that leave much to the imagination of the provider. Examine the best cellular coverage in Nebraska - Verizon's. I don't put much belief in G3 speed ratings but LTE is often little more than a wish. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile... check their coverage.

    Now try and get detailed coverage area maps for ALL broadband. Not so simple - except for select areas - and the providers LIE. More rural businesses still need communications, too. Relocating is often NOT a viable option. Farmers, mechanics, stores, banks, merchants and trades of all sorts, and yes... manufacturers, including the top 3 irrigation manufacturers in the World are located in "rural" Nebraska. Nebraska is just one state with many under-served areas, there are many more to be helped!

  11. NormDP

    It's net neutrality or a neutered net. Freedom has balls. Show them.

  12. IGnatius T Foobar
    Megaphone

    THE permanent solution

    It's time to break up the monopolies again, and this time here's how to do it right.

    One simple rule: anyone providing last mile connections, may not provide telecom services of any kind over those connections.

    This divides the industry neatly into two groups: those who provide the wire or fiber from the central office to your home or business, and those who provide services on those wires, whether they be for Internet, television, phone, private connections, or whatever.

    If it's done that way, the latter group doesn't have to be regulated at all. As long as they all have equal access to central offices, any telecom provider that gets as obnoxious as Comcast can easily be swapped out for another -- likely on the exact same wire.

    Eventually some companies would pop up to be wholesalers of wireline services: "we have a presence in thousands of central offices, sell your telecom services on our network" and that would be fine too.

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "ISPs and internet backbone providers argue large websites, such as Netflix, that make heavy use of the underlying network should pay towards the deployment and improvement of the web's infrastructure."

    Which they do. They pay standard rates at the internet exchange points they connect to based on the capacity of the connection they get, i.e. if they generate more traffic they buy more capacity and so are paying more.

    Fuck you to ISPs like AT&T and Verizon in particular... Firstly, for trying to make it out Netflix etc. are somehow freeloading when they pay a price based on capacity (mbps or gbps) of their connections just like everyone else -- in other words they ARE paying for their use by having to buy a high-gbps capacity connection. And secondly, for trying to "double dip" by wanting Netflix (etc.) to pay a second time when they are already paying the internet exchange point. These ISPs have been laughing all the way to the bank for years, reaping high profit margins from their very high prices while neglecting to upgrade their infrastructure enough to handle year-over-year increasing traffic (well not Verizon as much in their fiber-optic markets, but cable and DSL providers both big and small have run into this). This is simply not Netflix's problem, this is these ISPs choosing to put off capital expenditures in order to further increase profit margins, then expecting unrelated parties to provide them cash to spend on these expenditures they've put off.

    1. ipghod

      except, they don't, actually.

      exchanges are designed for traffic EXCHANGE. I.e., useful traffic for you, useful traffic for me, and we split the interface and cross connect fees. we both pay to be in the exchange space.

      when you don't have an exchange relationship, one side is now the provider, the other is the customer. which is the relationship the end carriers are demanding they should have with netflix (just like they have with all the other large content providers who want access).

      Netflix is bitching because their main ISPs exchange numbers go wonky once a certain amount of the traffic they present to their peers is netflix only. it skewers the exchange numbers against the 3rd party provider, and creates legal issues in their peering relationship.

      since exchange connections are meant for exchange, there is zero motivation to upgrade because a single end site is performing poorly across that link. how do we know it's the link? VPN out another link and run netflix from a carrier that has a better connection back to Netflix and it runs fine. bypass the congested link and there isn't a problem.

      why does it work this way? simple. once a single entity begins to impact a publicly shared connection due to it's volume, the traditional (and btw, technically sound) way to ensure that shared connection continues to perform well is to optimize the route for that single source, by putting it on it's own interface. since this is now a dedicated connection, standard transit rates apply.

      Netflix is objecting to paying the standard transit rates by calling out those carriers and pretending they are being asked to 'double dip' (which is something only someone with zero understanding of how things actually run on the network would say), Netflix et.al. is over simplifying a technical issue in order to use the standard class envy/hate to their advantage...

      people fall for it because they want to believe there is some all powerful evil corporate monopoly conspiring to put netflix out of business so they can 'force' you to buy their own streaming media service...

      but that really doesn't make much sense. they can't give that stuff away now. if you have cable service, they are already giving you as much 'free' media as you want via their standard broadcast packages.

      since the media streaming business, (technical challenges of network infrastructure aside) revolves around obtaining and maintaining licenses from the original content creators, the battle isn't in the access side, it's in the legal side. so long as netflix can maintain a library of content people want, esp when they lock it up for media streaming, they are effectively blocking everyone else from competing with them!

      but I'm sure that's 'ok'....

      1. Al Jones

        "Netflix is objecting to paying the standard transit rates by calling out those carriers and pretending they are being asked to 'double dip' (which is something only someone with zero understanding of how things actually run on the network would say), Netflix et.al. is over simplifying a technical issue in order to use the standard class envy/hate to their advantage..."

        Let me explain it to you in very simple terms:

        Verizon is charging end users who want to access Netflix.

        Verizon is charging Netflix to allow Netflix to deliver the content that Verizons customers are requesting.

        That's double-dipping.

        Verizon will always be a net-consumer of bandwidth, and it wants to be paid more the more it allows it's own paying customers to consume!

        1. ipghod

          verizon charges end users for access to it's network which includes using it's peering connections with other carriers to hit sites not directly on the verizon network. what those end users do is subject to it's terms and conditions, some of which make it very clear that once you leave the verizon network, there are no service guarantees, because it's outside Verizon's control.

          assuming a model where the carrier is providing dumb pipe (which they are) and said carrier manages resources in an even handed manner (which, considering they manage bandwidth, I'd have to say they are), the carriers job is to ensure no single entity can dominate what is a public shared connection. If that breaks netflix, that's on netflix, not on verizon. the easy fix is to buy a connection into Verizon. there is nothing new, revolutionary, or wrong with that, unless, apparently, you want to squint at it funny, demand that a carrier is responsible for end to end service, even if they don't own the entire path, and dream up some fantasy where 'evil corporate ISPs are out to ruin my business model by making me pay for access, when I already pay someone else for internet!'

          you don't buy a 'netflix' pipe from Verizon. Unless Verizon had some means of guaranteeing performance to Netflix, it would be legally questionable to describe their service using another company's brand.

          furthermore, Verizon's user base gives them some power over the negotiations with how to move netflix's product onto their infrastructure. being a 'net consumer' of bandwidth has zero to do with the infrastructure they have to maintain in order to support the eyeballs they feed. nobody gives them bandwidth to feed those eyeballs, they have to exchange or pay for it. why is netflix different?

          if netflix wants to do them a 'favor' by giving them something that is going to make their network management problems worse, as well as suck power and space in their data centers, Verizon has the power to say 'no', and netflix will feel it.

          put another way, you don't get to walk into my house, and demand I buy new furniture because you're dating my daughter. and you sure as hell don't demand I pay for the limo and hotel room every weekend so you can wine and dine her! and then having the balls to take an ad out in the paper telling the whole world I'm preventing my daughter from enjoying you're charms by not giving YOU everything you want for free? please.

          but again, miss understanding the role of the carrier here is the fundamental mistake this entire discussion makes.

          the only way you could accuse them of double dipping, is if they sold netflix a transit connection, and then made them pay extra to 'expose' them to their user base. which is NOT happening.

  14. johnwerneken

    thas funny

    Well what would that make his Boss, President Obummer? Ebola?

  15. W. Anderson

    Hat's off to John Oliver

    If John Oliver's TV segment on "Net Neutrality" and the exposed background of Tom Wheeler, chairman of FCC did in fact bring about enough awareness of the potential calamity of eliminating Net Neutrality,and thus proactive national comment, then my hat is off in praise to John Oliver.

    Very many experts on telecommunications and data communications who are not engaged by the large companies involved in the matter, has postulated that one of the best solutions to protect Net Neutrality is for all ISPs to be classified as Common Carriers as noted by early commenter, and thus regulated to prevent as much skulduggery as possible, .

    I suspect though that these behemoths of Comcast, Verizon , Time Warner Cable and others will find other ways to manipulate the US congress politicians in their pockets, for overcoming any hazards to their continued dominance.

    No matter any tactical changes in Internet governance here in America, the USA will remain behind other developed countries in providing efficient and reasonably cost use of Internet for their citizenry, due primarily to excessive greed, corruption and oppressive behavior of monopoly corporations that is an integral part of the national fabric.

    A baby devouring Dingo cannot become a cuddly Cocker Spaniel.

  16. Amplex

    So why do the content providers like ESPN get to discriminate against networks?

    Content providers like Netflix, Google, Facebook, etc. are all big fans of Network Neutrality and want the FCC to make sure that their traffic is treated equally as it crosses my network. I'm fine with that. What I want to know is as a last mile network operator why Disney ESPN gets to discriminate against my network and my customers. Unless the network operator agrees to pay Disney ESPN a fee for every customer on the system (not just the ones who want ESPN), the end users can not see ESPN or even purchase a subscription. This is blatant discrimination against a network, and a thinly veiled attempt to recreate the 'cable TV' model on the Internet.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playing devil's advocate for a moment...

    The established content providers (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, etc) have already invested massively in their own global fibre-optic networks in order to ensure that their content can be moved around the world at super-fast speeds. They also have multiple datacentres spread all over the globe in which they can cache data to ensure that it is always geographically close to the end-user. They don't need telcos to route their traffic—they only need them to deliver the last few hops to the consumer.

    Therefore the current situation is that new entrants can only compete with these established content providers if they invest billions in building their own infrastructure (or pay a content delivery network like Akamai to essentially do it for them). The anti-neutrality argument is that, if carriers could instead be paid to prioritise traffic, such newcomers would then be able to compete with the established providers with substantially reduced capital expenditure. The barriers to entry would be significantly reduced.

    THAT is the real reason that incumbent providers are pro-neutrality: sure, they also don't want to be held hostage over connection fees for the last few hops to the consumer—but that's something they would easily stomach if it weren't also for the very real competitive threats that could emerge.

  19. Sam Liddicott

    The scam is to make the customer pay twice

    Net neutrality means that because you paid for your internet connection and Netflix paid for their internet connection, Netflix don't need to pay your internet company extra for you to be able to watch Netflix movies.

    And if Netflix did have to pay extra, it would just raise the price to you, so you'd be paying your internet company twice: once for an internet connection and once to be able to use it.

    Internet companies like to be paid twice, which is why they don't like net neutrality.

    1. ipghod

      Re: The scam is to make the customer pay twice

      that is NOT what net neutrality is about, unless you are part of the mob of useful idiots being whipped into a fury over nothing.

      it's also not how things work on the internet.

      net neutrality is about maintaining the free flow of information across the internet, and is being dealt with very seriously by folks who actually understand the real issues.

      http://www.internetsociety.org/net-neutrality

      has some excellent information about it. watching some of the video there from this years discussion on the topic really brings it home when one delegate say quite archly that 'having enough bandwidth to watch netflix in HD is definitely a 'first world problem', and not something that should be distracting us from the real issues'

      there are also some good points about the exceptions to 'free flow' that are currently accepted, and why they are there (all of them have to do with protecting the integrity of the infrastructure), so rate limiting traffic that is from a single source, and burning through half of your bandwidth in a single link, is ok.

      again, unless you believe bandwidth is free, grows on trees, and people are just being selfish and trying to deny you your netflix 'because'

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