Net Neutrality Stirs Debate, Coffee

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

Net Neutrality Stirs Debate, Coffee

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Joe Jackson's Night and Day album:

First Coffee's 30 June piece on net neutrality generated a bit of reaction, we'll take the good, the bad and the ugly here. It really needs all the italics and bold text, so hit the link at the bottom if you're reading this off the First Coffee blog page.

From Ron:

I really enjoyed your TMCnet article on Net Neutrality. Two observations:

["Anyway, UPI quotes Cleland as saying that Net-neutrality legislation would hinder broadband access providers' ability to offer more than one service. "How does a new entrant succeed? You differentiate and you innovate," he said. "(Net neutrality) is saying you have to have the same price, and the same terms and conditions."

[I have no idea what the hell he's talking about, do you?"]

Unfortunately, the double talk you so rightly point out seems to be the norm rather than the exception these days. That is why I do not listen to or read mainstream news anymore.

Oh it's good to scan the MSM news media once in a while to see what the liberals are up to. And as Anne Coulter correctly points out, it makes a lot of people's jobs a lot easier, if you happen to be the al-Qaeda director of counterintelligence all you have to do is read The New York Times, and you're done by 10:00 a.m.

"If anybody should rightfully get to cash in off today's Internet it's the government, specifically the Department of Defense, not the Johnny- come- lately phone companies."

It is not the government who should cash-in, but the taxpayers who fund government activities through taxes. Instead of getting a return-on-investment, we are the ones that will pay more.

Keep up the insightful reporting.

Thanks Ron. Oh don't worry, not everyone was so nice, here's Mailbox 99 writing in:

David you are a caricature of America's fast-growing whiny entitlement culture.

That's a relief, I'm glad I'm not a representative example of it.

Your argument is essentially this:

"I really like the internet and those guys make a lot of money so I should get whatever I want however I want it."

How about this David- THEY built the networks- THEY own them. I am sure if someone came to you decided they knew best how to manage a personal possession of yours you would throw a temper tantrum. But when it is to your supposed benefit you are all for it! If only we could all be so ignorant and hypocritical.

If I were renting out my "personal possession" to someone who was paying me money to use it, as the phone companies are doing, I guess I'd have to at least listen to their opinion on it, wouldn't I? And I'd certainly expect them to want some sort of "benefit" from it, whether it was in my power to grant it or not I wouldn't think it unreasonable for them to want some benefit from something they're paying to use, it'd be rather "ignorant" and" hypocritical" not to, wouldn't it?

Putting aside the fact they OWN the networks, how about this: The solution you support will put a bunch of half-wit government bureaucrats in charge.

Is that as opposed to the fully-witted ones or the quarter-wits? Or the half-wit government bureaucrats who enabled the birth of the Internet in the first place?

The internet can be run like your local DMV- wouldn't that be great!! Not to mention the enormous corruption that will certainly follow in its wake.

Leaving aside the fact that my DMV doesn't have two lines, a fast one for those who pay more and a slow one for those who pay less, how does "enormous corruption" follow from not allowing rich sites to bribe service providers to slow down their competitors? I guess I'm not following the logic on that one.

Lastly, once it is established that whiney, entitled US citizens such as yourself can, on a whim, take the property of others or at least make significant restrictions on how others may run their business, NO ONE will ever invest 10 cents in another project, let alone $10 BILLLION dollars. Why take the risk?

Why take the risk? Why not ask those who did -- the very service providers who are spending billions, they claim, to build bandwidth they demonstrably don't need; who are, in other words, doing exactly what you say they're not doing? Must be hard to defend an argument that's being disproved in reality even as it's being made, I'd have thought.

Try to look past your own selfish entitlements and put a little thought into this issue-- or maybe move to Russia, they ran their entire nation in a manner you propose and look how well-off they are.

Sorry, that was gratuitous, but sometimes simply quoting someone's own words is the best argument you can make against them. Just ask John Kerry.

Benjamin writes:

I liked your article about net neutrality. But what can be done about it? I'm in a state with all democratic congressmen, and I think I read that every Democratic Congressman voted in favor of Net Neutrality. Is my only option to sit back and see what happens, or is there more I can do?

Good question. As far as what can be done about it, I honestly don't know. I guess if enough people felt as you did it could become a hot button issue, but I don't sense there's the groundswell out there right now.

Mekav writes:

The whole issue is confusing, at best, and dishonest at the worse. Reading the list of proponents of this bill is certainly enough, at least for me, to kill the whole idea of Net Neutrality: Daily Kos, People for the American Way, and on and on of nearly 100% Leftist/ Socialists.

How did the net get this far without a laundry list of laws and regulations coming out of Washington? You want a "level playing field", as the liberals constantly whine about, go to an ice rink!

That's the one thing that worries me about my supporting net neutrality -- if it puts me on the side of the Democrats in Congress and RINOs like Snowe, not to mention the truly brain-dead wingnuts like Daily Kos and, I have this nagging feeling there's something grossly wrong about it I'm missing. All I can figure is that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and even a blind hog gets a few acorns.

Brady writes in response to Mailbox 99:

C'mon man, get a grip. The amount of bandwidth one gets one pays for today via ones service provider, yes? That is what the phone companies should charge you for, whatever link speed you wish to pay for. Period. Done. They are making money, plenty of it. But you want to give them control way beyond that... full control over the traffic on the net. That gives them the ability to throttle any competitive traffic... hey, Skype... no, they don't pay us so even though you have a 6 Meg DSL connection we'll throttle that Skype traffic to an unusable speed... and since it doesn't then work well at that speed we'll raise our regular phone rates because we know you have to use regular phone service again. Monopoly time.

That's well said. In other words, my service provider isn't being paid to decide which sites are more attractive to me and which aren't, it's being paid to bring me all the sites and let me choose for myself. I mean, that's how they did it in Russia, isn't it?

Please please read up on this my friend... David is pretty much right in that our politicians are bought and fairly useless and that this could destroy a great deal of innovation on the net. It would be no less than tragic.

That's what keeps nagging guiltily at me, libertarian that I am: I like the fact that I get to decide which sites I can hit, I don't want my service provider to make that choice for me.

And Daniel writes:

Really sharp article, David.

I was reading about the 11/11 tie in committee, and it sounded surreal, with some 70 telecom reps in the room furiously passing talking points up to the speakers so that at times our congressional representatives were nothing more than readers for the lobbyists.

And Olympia Snowe, whom I find both admirable and frustrating in equal measure, does pin the issue down neatly. There's an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" angle to the argument, but you correctly raise the larger issue of this being a rider on an omnibus bill, of the sort that tend to get passed.

Good reporting on this – keep us informed.

Maybe it's my jaded past as an MSM reporter myself -- I'm not proud of it, I have repented -- but the tableau of the telecom reps pulling the strings of the congressmen strikes me as maybe a bit more gauche than normal, but accurate.

As a confirmed libertarian I'm opposed to government regulation and corporate monopoly in equal measure, so when they collide, as they do in net neutrality, it's kind of like a team from Texas playing a team from California, you wish there were a way they could both lose. But if I have to pick a "winner," I'll go for the one that doesn't screw up what's admittedly a good thing.

And finally Scott had a pretty good observation I hope turns out to be more accurate than my feeling about how things are going:

"Innovation is rarely the province of large corporations, it's almost always the little guys."

Which is why the whole "OMG! Google is going to load slower!" is a red herring. Network providers and operators aren't that stupid. They know they can't predict the next big site, so why risk losing subscribers by slowing down sites? 

I don't think the plan is to differentiate at that fine of a grain. I can see providers wishing to do it at the protocol level - VoIP gets a larger "chunk" of bandwidth than say web traffic. That can be made into a selling point, but saying some random website loads faster than with the other guy's network isn't. 

Here's hoping your scenario is the result if net neutrality fails, Scott, I'm happy to stand you a beer if it does -- living in Istanbul I can say things like that, of course -- especially the part about the granularity of control. That quote by Smith in my original article, however, gives me the willies.

Thanks for all comments, more are always welcome.

If read off-site hit for the fully-linked version. First CoffeeSM accepts no sponsored content.

Featured Events