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Old 01-17-2014, 10:28 AM   #21
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Since Al Gore invented the internet, I think he should weigh in on this ruling
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:38 AM   #22
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Perhaps I'm being too optimistic but if this scenario began to play out I think the public outrage would force some legislative relief.
Only if people have to pay for their porn.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:50 AM   #23
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Only if people have to pay for their porn.
Yeah, them's fightin' words!
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:07 AM   #24
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The economics of internet services seem to indicate that the cost per Gigabyte delivered to a home or business is going down. A few years ago I paid $45 for 6 gigs down and 1 gig up service. This was maximum speed, in reality I was more like 4 down and 0.75 up. Today, I pay $40 for 25 gigs down and 10 up. And these speeds seem to be pretty close to what I experience daily.

Gigs are cheap. I see no reason to encourage the cable and telephone providers to charge us more for them. What I don't want is for them to decide what content I can watch at full speed, and content I can watch at throttled speed.
Don't confuse speed with amounts.

Someone might sign up for high-speed service, but only use it a few hours per month (but they want the speed when they do use it).

Another person might sign up for lower speed, but DL almost 24/7 between several family members. The second person will probably use a lot more data, and use more of the infrastructure.

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Old 01-17-2014, 11:14 AM   #25
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Nightmare coming true? There are even more hideous scenarios possible. Blocking sites entirely, provider controlled ad banners layered over existing sites, forced revenue sharing for commercially funded sites, providers blocking content they don't like or serving you content they favor. Hoping the courts get busy on this as the lobby to support the latest path is powerful and well funded (by our subscription fees)...
Some ISPs ( Uverse ) are already blocking some services such smtp on port 25.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:27 AM   #26
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Don't confuse speed with amounts.

Someone might sign up for high-speed service, but only use it a few hours per month (but they want the speed when they do use it).

Another person might sign up for lower speed, but DL almost 24/7 between several family members. The second person will probably use a lot more data, and use more of the infrastructure.

-ERD50
Very true. But, very few customers will be downloading 24/7 day after day after day. Here's an a thought: The car rental companies have been offering unlimited mileage on rentals for years. No doubt some people abuse the offer and can put 600+ miles or more a day on a car. So far the abusers have not caused them to stop renting cars with unlimited miles.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:45 AM   #27
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Very true. But, very few customers will be downloading 24/7 day after day after day. Here's an a thought: The car rental companies have been offering unlimited mileage on rentals for years. No doubt some people abuse the offer and can put 600+ miles or more a day on a car. So far the abusers have not caused them to stop renting cars with unlimited miles.
How many miles I drive a rental car during my rental period does not affect other customers' ability to drive their rental cars at the same time. On net very high volume users can sometimes tie up so much bandwidth that others are negatively affected.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:52 AM   #28
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How many miles I drive a rental car during my rental period does not affect other customers' ability to drive their rental cars at the same time. On net very high volume users can sometimes tie up so much bandwidth that others are negatively affected.
This is especially true for cable internet users, as I understand it. DSL and FIOS users are not as vulnerable to an abusive neighbor.

My fear is that it will be an excuse to raise rates on all of us. Maybe others have a lot of internet provider competition in their area, but in mine, there are two choices. Some people have one choice - cable. Period.

It is the lack of competition that is scary. If I go to BigBox Appliance store and they insist on selling me a clothes clothes dry I don't want because the manufacturer is giving them extra push money for each sale, I can go to dozens, probably hundreds of other retailers to buy the dryer I want. Not so with internet providers. If my provider decides to throttle Netflix while giving Hulu+ extra speed and quality, where do I go?
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:49 PM   #29
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Nightmare coming true? There are even more hideous scenarios possible. Blocking sites entirely, provider controlled ad banners layered over existing sites, forced revenue sharing for commercially funded sites, providers blocking content they don't like or serving you content they favor. Hoping the courts get busy on this as the lobby to support the latest path is powerful and well funded (by our subscription fees)...
These things have already happened, and will now become more common.

Internet providers already block some protocols. The local Comcast network blocked Virtual Private Network protocol for residential customers, preventing me from checking mail at work while at home. They would only let it through if I upgraded to their Business service tier. Many providers block BitTorrent. (I can see the argument for this, though, as torrent users are notorious bandwidth pigs.)

A number of web sites have been 'banned' by blocking DNS lookup used to map the web site name to an IP address. This has been used against sites infringing copyright, as well as against WikiLeaks. I don't know of any proven cases where an individual Internet Service Provider (ISP) has blocked a website yet. The DOCSIS cable system has provisions for this, as well as centralized systems like DSL and VDSL.

Some ISPs have meddled with content, using CSS scripting or stream edits to inject paid advertizing into content, along with exciting new vulnerabilities.

This is just going to become very common now.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:31 PM   #30
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Perhaps I'm being too optimistic but if this scenario began to play out I think the public outrage would force some legislative relief.
That should be true but...

Perhaps I'm being too pessimistic but if this scenario began to play out I think public outrage would amount to lots of very short lived smoke but no fire. And time and time again our legislators ignore overwhelmingly popular public POVs, they know where their re-election funds come from. We'd have a simplified tax code among a dozen other changes if public outrage was still a big factor.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:47 PM   #31
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I don't think it is about picking ONE at all. It is about a balance.
So you're saying that some regulation is good. There used to be much more regulation, so what you seem to be saying is that deregulation has gone way too far.

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A reasonable level of control, and a reasonable level of freedom for business and people. Am I childish for wanting the best of both worlds?
Wanting the equation tilted toward less regulation when you are the seller (or more generally, when less regulation benefits you), and wanting the equation tilted toward more regulation when you are the customer (or more generally, when more regulation benefits you), is childish. I don't know if that makes you childish because I don't know if you really want it both ways depending on which way is better for you in the moment.

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I don't appreciate your inference that I am childish, just because I don't agree with you.
What I wrote didn't mention you. You made it about you. What I wrote was about unreasonable - childish - expectations that many people, unnamed and unspecified, have and hold in our society.

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Isn't there a very simple solution to this, one with a precedent in almost every service we use? Pay for what you use.
Absolutely correct. Metered service is the answer. The aforementioned childish people want service unlimited, unmetered and cheap, and don't want to grant their service providers the right to take reasonable steps to restore the balance between the value the consumer derives from the service the consumer consumes and the price the consumer pays.


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What isn't clear to me, are the true costs of running fiber.
As our society is today, cost only matters if you're a municipality managing a utility, or if there is moral justification for depriving the supplier of the right to value-pricing because what they're selling is a necessity of life and therefore should be affordable to all without regard to value. Some folks make the argument that basic cable fits the bill, because it is the "only" way to access essential emergency information, such as in a hurricane or blizzard. That's why in many areas there is a special level of cable service that is very inexpensive, but only carries the local broadcast channels. However, even that is going away, as service providers have fought for the right to discontinue such discounted service if they have effective competition in the municipality. (I'm not sure how effective competition resolves the gap associated with essential need - it seems to me that the standard should have been the presence of affordable access, but of course that's what the original regulation ensured.) Originally, effective competition meant FiOS or U-Verse, but that's been broadened. As a matter of fact, I suspect that if it went in front of a judge today, the existence of more than one broadband Internet provider in a municipality would satisfy the requirements of effective competition (for cable television!), since local broadcast channels broadcast emergency information on their websites now.

Regardless, a case has never successfully been made that broadband Internet itself is an essential of life, so cost isn't going to matter.


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If these cable companies want to stop losing market share to people "cutting the cable," they can make cable-cutting less cost-effective by charging a lot more for the traffic from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon video services than for other traffic that doesn't compete with its content offerings (usually cable TV).
But why would they? I cannot think of anything that people are doing that requires the same kind of bandwidth as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon video services that consumers don't value as highly, and/or that ISPs would suffer significant risk of backlash if they were metered just like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon video services. Why would the ISPs risk the bad PR of singling out their competitors (and how that might prompt support for re-regulation) when they can just use a physical trait (bandwidth) to accomplish the same end?

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And that is where I am most concerned. Yes, it's fair to charge people more for using 100x as much bandwidth than someone else. What I find chilling is the idea that not only *how much* you use can determine your cost, but also the *source* of the content.
But we really have to ask how will service providers use that flexibility. I bet they're going to use it to support bundling services together as an incentive for the customer to patronize a business partner or another brand in the service provider's portfolio. "With the Gold level service, the customer gets XXX network and YYY network, and can stream from those websites without it being metered like other traffic." It is like going to a theme park during the day, and being able to use the ticket stub for a discount at a nearby nighttime entertainment area. They're not charging extra for going to some other nighttime entertainment area but rather providing a reward for patronizing the theme parks' business partner. Again, I don't see any reason for them to risk the PR backlash of using this flexibility in a blatantly anti-competitive manner, when they can just apply the heavier prices to everything except the few things that they want to favor.

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Perhaps I'm being too optimistic but if this scenario began to play out I think the public outrage would force some legislative relief.
Not optimistic: Realistic. And the service providers will be realistic too, and will deftly avoid inciting a "riot".


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Some ISPs ( Uverse ) are already blocking some services such smtp on port 25.
That's doing the opposite of what's being discussed here though: It's forcing customers to use the service provider's service, the price for which is already included in what the customer is paying, instead of paying more to use someone else's version of that same service. And the reason they're doing is different as well: It's to combat spam, which practically everyone favors. I can see service providers also blocking services that are determined to host illegal activities. I see that as a good thing as well.
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Old 01-17-2014, 04:30 PM   #32
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So you're saying that some regulation is good. There used to be much more regulation, so what you seem to be saying is that deregulation has gone way too far. ...
I was only speaking in generalities. There must be a balance.

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Wanting the equation tilted toward less regulation when you are the seller (or more generally, when less regulation benefits you), and wanting the equation tilted toward more regulation when you are the customer (or more generally, when more regulation benefits you), is childish.
Right, but you said "maturity requires that they learn how to to PICK ONE," - I'm saying the mature thing is to expect a balance, not one or the other. Isn't that what you mean?

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Absolutely correct. Metered service is the answer. The aforementioned childish people want service unlimited, unmetered and cheap, and don't want to grant their service providers the right to take reasonable steps to restore the balance between the value the consumer derives from the service the consumer consumes and the price the consumer pays.
That is worded better, IMO. That's the balance I speak of.

And the best approach, IMO, is for the govt to help assure there is real competition in these areas. That tends to eliminate many problems.

-ERD50
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:13 AM   #33
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I am happy about the ruling. I can't imagine a government agency being even remotely flexible or fast enough to keep up with rapidly changing internet infrastructure.

The only issue to me is their sufficient competition? In Honolulu, we have telecom company, and cable provider, and at least two wireless internet providers (probably more I am unaware of). That seems sufficient to keep any massive abuses in check.

I do remember years ago attending a talk by Vern Cerf, where he said that metering usage was more expensive than just providing it unlimited amounts for free. I wonder if that is still true.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:00 AM   #34
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The only issue to me is their sufficient competition? In Honolulu, we have telecom company, and cable provider, and at least two wireless internet providers (probably more I am unaware of). That seems sufficient to keep any massive abuses in check.
That, to me, is the main concern. Many places don't have real competition. The marketplace can self-regulate to a significant degree when there is sufficient competition. But in the absence of that competition it can get very abusive. That's why adding competition and deregulation have (historically) gone hand in hand, I think; you can't deregulate an increasingly essential monopoly and maintain the public interest, IMO.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:22 AM   #35
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If there isn't enough profit motive then expecting more competitors to enter a market is irrational. In cases like that, where people want and need competition but none is forthcoming from the private sector, they should put their money where their mouths are and make the investment themselves, as a municipal enterprise competing against the entrenched incumbent:
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Longmont residents approveda $45.3 million bond for full development of a city-wide fiber-to-the-premises broadband services network.
Colorado City to Build Broadband Network | Bet You Haven't Seen This content from TDWorld

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Communities invest in telecommunications networks for a variety of reasons - economic development, improving access to education and health care, price stabilization, etc. ... nearly 400 communities [have some sort of municipal investment in telecom networks] ...


Nineteen states have barriers in place that discourage or prevent local communities from deciding locally if such an investment is a wise decision.
Community Network Map | community broadband networks

Those nineteen states have got to be the first targets. It is one thing if a municipality refuses to pull up its own bootstraps by investing in a municipal competitor to the entrenched incumbent. That's on them, and they deserve full blame for their decision to remain "stuck" with the incumbent, where profit is all that matters. But when a state prohibits a municipality from taking steps to make things better for their citizens, that's got to be stopped.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:36 AM   #36
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Internet for all! It's just too important to not allow equal access. The government should take it over and dictate a fee structure based on income.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:57 AM   #37
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Internet for all! It's just too important to not allow equal access. The government should take it over and dictate a fee structure based on income.
There have been rumors suggesting (free) wifi access would become available (almost) everywhere, next best thing?
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:37 AM   #38
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Internet for all! It's just too important to not allow equal access. The government should take it over and dictate a fee structure based on income.
I'd much rather see a competitive environment than a government monopoly service, where possible.

Fee structure based on income? Do you mean personal/household income, or income to the provider? If the former, gee, we already have progressive (Federal) income tax, now the services should be weighted as well? That's doubling up on 'progressive'. We currently pay $29 for medium speed access (a local fixed-wireless provider ~ 1~3Mbps) - I think that is affordable if you want it. And there are libraries with free computers and access.

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Old 01-18-2014, 09:50 AM   #39
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I think that is affordable if you want it.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:56 AM   #40
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bUU - I'm not going to follow your trail into the whole income equality thing. That will get this thread shut down, and the overall net neutrality issue is worthy of discussion.

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