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Re: Net Neutrality

Okay, now I start getting where you're coming from. Still disagree though :)
Flatfingers wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:21 am
"They use more data" was the justification given by ISPs, but let's say your accusation is correct.
They already charge based on data use and always have (even with net neutrality being mandated), as ar the people who use netflix (we pay more for 750 GB of data than we did for 250, for example), because that's the basis of how it works, so their argument doesn't really make sense. They're already being paid more on both ends for having to transmit more data.
If so, it's not a serious justification for regulatory intervention. As you've expressed it, it's virtually tautological; darn near anything any business does for any reason would be an adequate excuse for nationalizing everything. That can't possibly be a good idea, or Venezuela would be the economic envy of the world.
How is a regulation forbidding price discrimination for this specific service nationalisation? The government isn't taking over the ISP's - only laying down market rules, just like there are plenty for physical goods.
In fact, you have ignored the core argument I made, but I wrote a lot and maybe I still somehow wasn't clear enough. So to put it more briefly: If Internet service providers want to charge any customer more or less than another customer, for any reason, then as long as that exchange is voluntary (not literally coerced or fraudulent) they should be free to do so. And -- completely in line with Pai's call for transparency -- that fact of different charging ought to be public knowledge.
How is "you don't get the service you already pay for unless you pay even more" not coerced if there is no other option than using their service?
The general principle here is that consumers are almost always going to be made worse off when an entity with power but no skin in the game -- a central government -- interferes with the market's ability to encourage people to create and sell desirable goods and services at acceptable prices. Some busybody will always have some reason for meddling with the free negotiation between producer and consumer, but that effort to get in between people negotiating with each other ought to be resisted as strongly as possible because every interference distorts the market's ability to maximize useful economic activity (because no one has more to gain or lose than the producer and consumer).
I generally agree with this statement, but I think (and history has proven) that a completely free market without any playing rules doesn't work. There are cases in which a completely unregulated market can slide or be pushed into a ad status quo that is inherently bad. For example, a company with larger funds can buy or put out of business all its competitors, resulting in a monopoly. This negates the normal capitalistic principle of "if you don't like the offer, you can go get your product or service somewhere else and this competition keeps prices reasonable". And that's why there are antimonopoly laws.
Similarly, there is the Robinson-Patman act which forbids price discrimination for physical goods, because price discrimination means the price is not about selling goods at acceptable prices, but about getting as much profit out of consumers as they can get.
(Note that net neutrality means forbidding price discrimination for the service of providing internet connectivity)
It's not about direct government interference. It's about setting up rules about what you can and cannot do.
The point I'm actually arguing is that any such interventions as these ought to be very clearly defined exceptions to a general preference to letting free and transparent markets work to reward consumer-friendly behavior. And -- relevant to our conversation here -- solid facts and reasoning must be provided by whoever it is that favors interfering with the market before allowing those exceptions.
So: what is the defense for the belief that "everyone [should pay] the same price for the same data with the same bandwidth from the same ISP"? Why?
-Providing the same service does not cost them more. What validation do they have for charging more? Unless a specific customer has special requirements that means extra costs have to be made, the normal thing to do if you are losing money is raising prices of services overall. Using more data does not fall under this if you already charge per data (which they do)
-For the same reason doing charging different customers different prices for the same physical product is illegal.
-Unlike what is supposed to happen in a capitalised system, a lot of the ISP's have no local competitors and have basically a monopoly, which means you don't have the option to pick the more competitive offer their competitor offers. This means there's no system to keep prices in check - if they want you to pay extra, you can either pay up or... not have any internet. There is nothing that keeps the prices fair for the customers. So either there needs to be honest competition, or there needs to be regulation, or there is nothing stopping them from screwing over customers for money.
Capitalism only works if the customer actually has the option to not buy the service from a specific company.
In this case, there is no, as you said "creating and selling desirable goods and services at acceptable prices" or "free negotiation between producer and consumer" - there are demands from the producer and the option to accept them or have no service.
-Conflict of interest: a lot of the ISP's have subsidiaries that are direct competitors to their own clients. If price discrimination of their service is legal, they can (and have proven that they will) increase prices for those clients, leading to monopolisation and stiffling of startups, which is against the spirit of anti-monopolisation and free competition.
Also (one of my points you ignored), what's to stop federal regulators from being even more invasive with the content of online traffic than ISPs? Once you've succeeded in putting the feds in charge of Internet data, how do you plan to prevent them from abusing that power more than ISPs did?
How does a regulation on the price of a service give the government any access to the content of the data in the first place? I really don't see what they have to do with one another... Our national post is even owned by the government, but that still doesn't mean they can legally open my mail.
Also, they would not be in charge of the price - you would just be able to rightfully sue if they price discriminated you (just like you already can for physical goods)
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Re: Net Neutrality

ISPs charge their clients for putting data into the network, or for pulling data from the network. In a neutral network, the ISP does not discriminate between a given source or destination for that data; the price has already been paid by the bandwidth fee. In a… polar? charged? network, the ISP might throttle data related to one client (e.g. Netflix) on the other client's end.
The neutral network charges for data in and data out, without changing behavior based on the origin, destination, or kind of the data. The other one does change its behavior.

Interestingly, a neutral ISP has no reason to examine your data except to route it. A non-neutral ISP could argue for inspection to, for example, ascertain whether your data is from Netflix and thus decide whether to throttle or charge. So, in a way, net neutrality could have some security arguments in its favor.

Also, I am somewhat concerned regarding the possible repercussions to users running home services. I don't think I could justify a domain name for the stuff I run, let alone a spot on my ISP's whitelist, but my little game server and IRC bouncer might suffer from arbitrarily-severe throttling or even blockage. You might argue that I'm a cheapskate, but I've already paid for my connection to the internet.

Re: Net Neutrality

Flatfingers wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:21 am
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:08 am
Net neutrality isnt about setting the prices in stone for everyone.
but that everyone can talk to everyone else on the internet without additional barriers or limitations.
And that's the part I'm trying to get clarified: how is moving control of pricing -- as an important means by which people talking to everyone else is either encouraged or discouraged -- from the people who paid to build the pipes to people who have no liability for being wrong (but who do have a history of using power to accumulate more power) supposed to accomplish the stated goal?

because ISPs have no stake in playing fair.
and letting them play with no rules wont foster innovation.
because they already tried to cut down services that competed with their own. ... ef-history

which definitely
Flatfingers wrote: interferes with the market's ability to encourage people to create and sell desirable goods and services at acceptable prices. Some busybody will always have some reason for meddling with the free negotiation between producer and consumer
namely that the ISP is the busybody interfering with my negotiation with netflix or youtube or whoever

"hey that special doesnthavewhatyouwant video service (which totally doesnt belong to us by the way) is cheaper than netflix with the additional fees we put on netflix!"

edit: also what narwhalz said. allowing and mandating deep inspection of packets wont increase speed nor safety of the service.
and if at all will slow down services in general (or make them more expensive) and will stifle encryption and data compression efforts.
because every packet that the ISPs cant inspect is going to be throttled.
and the mandatory inspection will also open up govt intrusion like the NSA incident because they dont have to set up infra for themself anymore but just tap into the ISP infrastructure to monitor what packets and content is going from a to b

Re: Net Neutrality

Flatfingers wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:54 am
To try to pull back a bit from the emotion, I've carefully read a number of the "net neutrality" arguments, and I think I can see how it emerges from several beliefs:
  • It is impossible for new and more responsive ISPs to emerge who can compete with the current big (and abusive) ISPs.
I honestly did not read the whole argumentations, but I think this is the key.

Indeed, as a libertarian, I am on principle against any regulation. A law (thus a limit to freedom) should only exist if its absence has more risk to infringe our freedom. As an example, a law against thieving (limiting my options!) is acceptable, because otherwise I could not enjoy the freedom to have property in peace. From this perspective you can go more or less far (i need roads to have freedom of movement, I need police... so some form of tax is legitimate... and so on; but we should always keep in mind that any law is an aggression against our freedom).
So if the market would be fully open, net neutrality would not be important, because if any ISP go against it and angers its customers, another ISP would launch on the market to profit of the opportunity to get all those unhappy customers; thus an equilibrium would be reached with some people being in neutral internet, and some people on a controlled one (probably for less costs, or with a more attractive interface, but with less options). So we would not risk loosing freedom... this is why, for example, there is no need for a law forbidding radio that receive only selected FM frequencies - thousands of companies provide radios, so if a company build a limited model, this does not threaten our freedom.

But the market is not so open. It requires billions of investment to build up an infrastructure allowing to have a coverage and a size that make you a reasonable competition to established ISP. So basically, like it has been for operating systems (Microsoft) or energy (Standard Oil) before, we have a situation closer to an oligopoly than a free market. And in such a situation, laws are required to avoid that companies misuse their dominant position on a market. Because it is a logical economic behaviour to misuse of your power - in order to maximise earnings (it's actually something you MUST do for your shareholders!), and in order to grow in new markets: as the pure ISP market has limited growth (everybody is connected, where do you want to grow?), controlling content (paid or as a platform for ad revenue) is a logical way to grow. And how to make sure your content (your ad platform) gets lot's of users? The difficult way is to offer a superior service; but the cheap easy way is just to slow down, decrease the ease of use or increase the access cost for your competitors!
Logical evolution of the system: I have a choice of few ISP each with its (not my) preferred services, so I lost my liberty to do what I want online.

So based on this situation (if you agree the market is not so open as it has huge barrier of entry for new players, and that it is the duty of a CEO to maximise revenue for the shareholder, not to be nice), it comes logically that some regulation is required. It can be of different nature:
* Net neutrality: forbidding to throttle bandwidth or block communication depending on the service and the provider,
* Enforcing a separation of infrastructure (ISP) and content provider, thus breaking the big companies and removing this temptation,
* Forcing infrastructure owner to let (for a fair fee) other ISP use their infrastructure to offer their own service,
* Building a neutral infrastructure with government money to act as neutral competition (I shiver at the idea)
Those solutions have been tried in different situations, as far as I know; the first one seem to be the least damage to entrepreneurial freedom.

Re: Net Neutrality

Ajit just doesn't care. Polls show 83% of the US population in favor of keeping the internet as a utility. I imagine Pai is making far too much money off of this to care about the American people. I can only hope congress steps in to do something... but that's seeming like it'll be difficult to make happen.
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Re: Net Neutrality

N810 wrote:Welcome to 2015...
cause this is what 2015 was like...
Actually, no, it's not. There were net neutrality rules in place then, too. They only rebranded it as "Net Neutrality" (capitalized) in 2015, but net neutrality (lowercase) laws have been around since 2005, and before that it was lumped in with telephone laws. In essence, this is the first time in its history the Internet in the US has ever not been neutral. I can fetch sources if you'd like, too.

As to whether the US is a republic, ideally, yes, the US is a republic/democracy. However, in reality, politicians are given "donations" by the wealthy to enact laws and bills. No politician would (or could) refuse to accept donations because the system isn't set up for them to make much money otherwise. They are for sale to the highest bidder, provided they can still get re-elected afterwards. Functionally, the US is an oligarchy: the wealthy hold the power, and the politicians are just puppets.
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Re: Net Neutrality

The US is a republic. Though you can reasonably posit that the political system (or process) is dysfunctional and corrupt, that does not negate what it is.

As far as Net neutrality, I was and am wholeheartedly for it.

In my view, the negative effects of its repeal will overwhelmingly fall on smaller and more marginal content providers. Amazon, Apple, and Google all have larger market caps than AT&T and Verizon put together. Disney and Netflix are significantly larger than all of the other telecoms. Google has already rolled out Google Fiber in a number of markets. If push came to shove Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Disney et al. could follow suit. They could just as easily buy a carrier (some of which are financially distressed) or, more likely, form a strategic partnership with one. As an example, CenturyLink has one of the largest fiber networks in the world. It's stock has been under duress during one of the biggest bull runs in the history of US markets. It would be a perfect candidate for a 'strategic' partnership (investment, bailout, call it what you will).

This does not make me feel any better about the fallout from the repeal of Net neutrality in the US. I doubt, however, that we need to worry too much about Amazon or Netflix, they'll be just fine.
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Re: Net Neutrality

It's sort of a done deal now -- until/unless Congress does what it actually should have done and encode a choice as explicit legislation -- but I hope a couple additional points are OK. (I can't stand people who spike the ball after a goal; I'm not doing that here. These are just a few last thoughts.)

I don't think it's correct to say that some "net neutrality" regulations meaningfully similar to those applied over the past 2 years were in effect earlier. If that were true, then there would have been even less justification for the FCC to impose 1934 POTS-era rules on Internet providers.

What did exist prior to 2015, and what will exist now, is regulation by the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit deceptive practices and to penalize anti-competitive ISP actions, encouraging both new content providers and more responsive ISPs to enter the market to the benefit of consumers. This system worked well enough to enable content providers -- Netflix, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, and many others -- to be created and to thrive prior to 2015. There is no hard or even persuasive evidence to support declaring with certainty that these providers will now be put out of business (or some of the crazier things that were said today) just because the rules go back to what they were when these businesses were growing.

Asking those who use more of a finite service to pay more is a good policy. When those who want more pay more, they help to keep prices down for everybody else. If you've ever used a toll road, if you've ever used an express mail service instead of regular shipping, then you have supported this "use more, pay more" policy. Today's rule change allows Internet providers to be able to once again apply this sensible policy.

I understand if some still choose to believe that today's action will make things worse. I guess we'll see.

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