When it comes to net neutrality, either the FCC thinks we’re idiots, or it just doesn’t care

60 Comments

With its latest plan to twist the concept of network neutrality into something that appears to be the opposite of neutral, the Federal Communications Commission has revealed that it believes the public can’t understand the issues — or that it is so in thrall of the companies it regulates that it doesn’t care what ordinary people think.

The FCC’s plans for implementing network neutrality came to light Wednesday in a Wall Street Journal article. The plans took the hallmark of network neutrality — the notion that ISP shouldn’t discriminate between the traffic flowing over their networks — and turned it on its head. Under the proposed framework for so-called net neutrality, the FCC does away with the concept of non discrimination and instead offers up a new standard designed to prohibit “commercially unreasonable” practices.

Is this the pay-to-play internet model?

Tom Wheeler, pictured standing to the right of the president.

Tom Wheeler, pictured standing to the right of the president.

Most net neutrality advocates have understood the FCC’s decision to mean that the agency will allow ISPs to charge content companies for better traffic flow provided it isn’t “commercially unreasonable.”

It’s important to note that the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler came out a few hours after the Journal article (and others) appeared to respond that the media has his policy plans “flat out wrong.” The statement, offered below, neglects to address the crucial aspect of his proposed change: the idea that there’s room for any commercial practices in delivering a customer’s network packets.

Here’s Wheeler’s statement:

“There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court’s ruling in January. There is no ‘turnaround in policy.’ The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.”

Whether or not you think this is a good idea, inserting any sort of commercial relationship into delivering last mile web content –outside of what the end-consumer pays the ISP — is not network neutrality. So let’s stop calling it that.

Turning a technical argument into a commercial one

The FCC should man up and say exactly what it is doing here: It is implementing a double-sided market for the internet that could allow businesses to enter into commercial relationships with ISPs — who do not operate in a competitive market in the U.S. — for faster delivery of their content. And because capacity on broadband networks is limited, the flip side is that companies that don’t pay will see their content delivered more slowly.

Many will see this as a battle between the Netflix’s of the world and the smaller video providers who might not be able to pay. But this is actually about differentiating between different classes of content. For example, if you are a streaming video provider, those faster speeds will probably affect the user experience. You’ll need to pay up, because your competitors certainly will and eventually the best effort access isn’t going to cut it — especially as traffic on networks increase.

Photo by Thinkstock/wx-bradwang

Photo by Thinkstock/wx-bradwang

However, if you are a backup company like Dropbox or Carbonite that can train users to send their files overnight, then you may not care about slower speeds. Because this is true: Not all web content is created equal. As we put more content online, many people knowledgeable about network infrastructure point out the ridiculousness of trying to build out an ever-expanding network that’s capable of handling Netflix traffic as if it were the same as a downloading software.

It’s like trying to build a highway that can handle Lamborghinis, Chevy Volts and bicycles all driving in the same lane. Instead, these network experts argue that we need to figure out how to divide the lanes of traffic while ensuring that all vehicles can travel on the road without discrimination. That’s actually a completely fair and legitimate debate to have, but I’m not sure that is the debate we’re going to be having if the FCC’s plans go through.

Where is the burden of proof in this standard?

That’s because instead of discussing the real challenges of managing the growing amount of traffic on the web that has different delivery requirements, the FCC is going to let the ISPs decide — not just how those lanes are divided, but also the rules that govern who can travel where and how much they should pay. It has said it will not allow blocking and that ISPs must be transparent, but this “commercially unreasonable” framework strikes me as putting the burden of proof on the consumer or injured party to complain to the FCC long after the horse has left the barn — or their packets have failed to reach the user.

I don’t think that’s the way this conversation should play out. The FCC and ISPs may argue that because the ISPs built the original roads (their underlying network infrastructure) that it is the ISP’s right to decide the rules of that road and how much people will pay to access it. But at some point since the FCC first declared that broadband was an information product and not subject to the common carrier rules at the heart of today’s network neutrality fight, broadband has become a utility for consumers and businesses.

The idea that we would let ISPs make decisions that could lead to ISPs setting commercial terms that would impose taxes on startups and existing companies all without ensuring any sort of lowered price for consumers or network upgrades from the ISPs, is ridiculous. Broadband networks are not a public utility, but they are the foundation for our economy.

And as such we owe it to all participants to have a real debate about how we’re going to deliver the exponential increase in network traffic over our private networks. That’s a debate that the FCC must referee, not after the damage has been done, but in advance. Instead of calling its efforts net neutrality when they clearly aren’t, it should be honest and point out that it thinks neutral networks won’t work given the technical demands we’re placing on the internet. Then we can have a conversation about if that’s the case, and then what we should do about it.

We can’t let ISPs operating in a duopoly just set the rules for us.

Absent competition, the proposed rules look like a way for ISPs to get more money, set rules that will affect the shape of what is developed on the internet, and do all of these things with no guarantees that consumers or the broadband economy get anything in return. I don’t find that reasonable at all.

60 Comments

William Heiland

The internet should be open and fair. The state of the technology today, is that broadband is the standard for transmitting information. For ISP providers to self regulate what information is important to transmit at what time and what speed is totally unfair. These companies have received your tax dollars to expand these networks. You should not be cut out because you do not spend millions on service contracts with the ISP. The cost of transmitting information over broadband networks should be regulated and the same for all customers. We all must remember that our tax dollars went to assist these companies in developing and installing their networks!

Rob Miller

“It’s like trying to build a highway that can handle Lamborghinis, Chevy Volts and bicycles all driving in the same lane. Instead, these network experts argue that we need to figure out how to divide the lanes of traffic while ensuring that all vehicles can travel on the road without discrimination. That’s actually a completely fair and legitimate debate to have, but I’m not sure that is the debate we’re going to be having if the FCC’s plans go through.”

This is a good analogy. But what I would say is that, ok, if you are going to build/add capacity specifically/special to handle the Lamborghinis, who is going to _PAY_ for that? Shouldn’t the people driving the Lamborghinis pay for it? After all, they’re the ones who benefit from that added capacity, they’re the ones who incur the need for the cost of that added capacity. So why shouldn’t they be the ones to pay for it? Why should the bicyclists and everyone else pay for the added cost to support the Lamborghinis in the name of “road neutrality”?

So the question then becomes, how do you levy that cost? Do you charge the high bandwidth users more? That would certainly be fair. (Yet they argue that they are being singled out fro they video streams, rather than own up to the fact that they are creating a cost of having to deploy equipment to handle _their_ load that is heavier than people checking email). Do you charge the providers of the content. That would be fair – they are the ones providing the content that creates that heavy load. They could pass the cost onto the consumers if it becomes a business financial model issue for them.

It’s not unlike parcel delivery. You ship heavier packages you _expect_ to pay higher cost. The question is who pays the shipping cost – the seller or the buyer? People _get_ that. The can touch and feel that the package they ordered weighs a lot. But internet packets are more abstract. People can’t touch or feel their internet data. They don’t _get_ the impact their data has on the network. They don’t get that “shipping” a video stream is not no different than “shipping” an email or a program/file download. They don’t get that there IS a difference because they can’t touch or feel it. They don’t get it because they have absolutely no concept of how networks and networking equipment works – and how much it costs to deliver that network to them.

Tim

This is one of the few sensible comments here. And, the reason you charge the originator of a package rather than the recipient, is the originator has the actual control over whether it is shipped. Parcels can also be shipped “COD” but that is more expensive, because it needs to cover losses associated with delivering packages that recipients refuse to pay for. That’s the same reason it is more efficient to charge Netflix for injecting traffic into the network rather than accepting arbitrary volumes of traffic from anywhere and charging the recipients for whatever packets are dumped on their doorsteps.

The key phrase here is “commercially reasonable.” In my mind, this means the terms must be related to the actual cost of delivering the packets, which can have nothing to do with the pattern of bits within them, only parameters like distance, volume, and latency. E.g., it would not be reasonable to charge a stock alert business more because they are delivering extremely valuable content to their customers. Charging Netflix per gigabyte is extremely reasonable, and is pretty much the way the Internet has always worked and will continue to work. This ruling is just removing any regulatory ambiguity around those kind of relations.

Bob Jacobson

Good luck interposing your concept of “commercially reasonable” with the telecom industry’s. Its concept is anything the market will bear, or that can be extorted. And yours is…?

JG

Actually, I do pay more for my AMC Gremlin-level use of the Lamborghini lane. That’s why the cable companies (the most common ISP for the vast majority, or so I believe) sell bandwidth tiers. I pay top tier for unlimited data at their highest throughput and never come close to using it.

Unless they are following the Airline model and deliberately “overbooking their flights” (Nah… they’s NEVER do that, would they?) , the bandwidth that I and tons of other people are leaving on the table completely undercuts their argument of a need to prioritize.

SMARTNET

Really cool articile always good to see how the rules are used to, as always “protect private enterprise”… clearly the corperate network engineers and network economic gate keepers have now fiqured out that they have no “economic span of control” over traffic on the network (surprised?) … what do you do? ..
I know get the governing body …you know the ones that only represent us (the people) when they are running for office..
get them to create new rules (something they are good at) that allow for “traffic segragation” yeah thats the ticket …metering didnt work… equipment is getting cheaper..then there those google guys making us compete and build faster networks not to mention Netflix and of course Aereo maybe we outsmarted ourselves? …oh whats a boy to do?..
I know get the Head governing guy (one of us) …to create new rules and along the way tell everyone … “they wouldnt understand” the movie Blankman comes to mind ….

When all along, you are doing what you always do for “private enterprise” continuing our “unfair advantage” and making people think you are doing it for their own good..how smart our we? (you know us the guys that contribute ) the only interst/people who matter REALLY?

it says here the author got it right ..They think we all are stupid thats why they are so blatant they dont have to care the rule makers do the heavy lifting when it comes to that (for those keeping score) However and maybe more alarming is they think/believe they are not
“STUPID”….the term (quisleing) comes to mind

Crispy

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is enough understanding amongst the general public to realize what is going on to the point that there will be a sufficiently significant public outcry for some time; the only people who seem to truly be vocal at this point are those of us in the tech community and those who are directly involved (regulators and cable company employees). My assumption, considering the way things have gone so far, is that the regulators and the cable companies (or perhaps we’ll refer to them as THE cable company in the not-so-distant future), and the other major telcos involved, will continue to move and accelerate onward with this and similar initiatives until the situation is next to intolerable–let alone unaffordable–for the typical consumer. Things may very well get as bad as (or worse than) the Bell/AT&T monopoly endured by consumers decades ago before they start to truly get better.

Of course, there are many variables, such as the administration and other political structures in Washington, but at this time, I fail to foresee a significantly better scenario playing out for those who rely on the major telcos involved in this fight.

One small glimmer of light–at least in my area and some others around the US–is the smaller telcos (and perhaps some of the bigger ones, like Google Fiber) who are developing fiber networks. One small phone/DSL provider in my area (somewhere in New England) is stringing a new fiber network as part of a cooperative initiative with a local university. They claim that it will provide up to 120/120 Mbps throughput (keyword being claim) to enterprise organizations and homes, and that it will be open to access by other broadband providers. yes, the claims are lofty, but I think it does sound at least somewhat promising. Could such initiatives be the part of the sword that ultimately slays this dragon?

Preston Padden

I respect Ms. Higginbotham, but as an excellent journalist she should not have been surprised by the FCC Chairman’s intention to allow the emergence of a two-sided market. The Chairman clearly signaled this intent in multiple hearings before Congress. This eminently reasonable policy is entirely consistent with not allowing blocking or degrading of any site.

Franklin Pierce

Lets crowdsource ideas how to stop this. Then, for ideas on how to actually move forward. Smart people on this board. Most here agree that this is a corrupt, regressive system. Ideas, people!

Bob The Builder

The carriers paid for and built these networks, taking the risk that they would never make a capital return. Now, their risk is paying off and you want to take their reward. It IS their infrastructure and they should be able to do what they want with it. This is the problem with liberal America – do a good job, but don’t do to well because if you do, they government will come take their share. Sorry carriers, you built something that was just too good, and now we are going to tell you what to do with it.

Evan Waters

They’re already taking their reward. They are, as the saying goes, in the money. They have done extremely well for themselves under Net Neutrality, and if Net Neutrality were kept in place they would lose nothing. This is not the government passing some sweeping “We keep 99% of telecom profits” tax, this is “Maybe you could consider continuing to play by the rules you played by earlier?”

jimpasquale

Great insightful article Stacey that leads to a simple conclusion, a massive MPLS global Network of multiple lanes that are able to offramp in that last mile. Which, may also heat up the efforts of finally upgrading that last mile to something more usable. Especially as we’re entering into the era of the Internet of Everything, or as some refer The Internet of My Stuff. The era of a DigitalMe

Rob58

They are still holding out for preferred stock to make a deal happen.

Jeff Sussna

I would submit that it may be harder than you think to separate classes of traffic based on their impact on user experience. First of all, “training users to send their files overnight” is backwards from a user-centered design perspective. Second, users have increasing expectations for speed of delivery of non-realtime data. Take iCloud as an example. If I save a Pages file on my iPad, then switch to my Macbook a few minutes later, I expect to see the updated file. If I don’t, I get confused and concerned. While it’s true that file backups don’t require nearly the continuous bandwidth levels as video, I still think it’s worrisome to expect users to understand the relationship between tiered bandwidth and their experience.

R4G3

If Comcast wasn’t such crap and wasn’t trying to become a monopoly in the US for all intents and purposes then I could see their point in needing the bandwidth to be paid for. What they are doing is passing the cost of their bandwidth limitations from an aging infrastructure off onto someone else. If they were actively upgrading their infrastructure to meet demands now and going into the future by laying out fiber-optic cable it would be a different story. But instead they just want to get more money from an outdated transmission medium that can’t meet bandwidth demands. To sum it up, Comcast is just flat-out greedy. This country’s “government” has simply become an extension of major-corporations desires for being able to grow unchecked and without competition while ripping off their customers. Major corporations like Comcast, EA, and Walmart to name a few are what we have to look forward to, trying to monopolize their markets and make American citizens of lower than rich status into wage-slaves.

dennisheffernan385910304

Reblogged this on Cretaceous Comments and commented:
This article sums up the current issue fairly well,I think. If add that beyond the economic and technical concerns the internet has become far too important to the prices w of public discourse essential to democracy to allow corporations the kind of control Wheeler soars to be comfortable with.

Franklin Pierce

This is one of the most serious issues America faces. If the internet starts to flicker and go dark, a few huge companies will own what information we get, and what entertainment we watch. And these monopolies be able to charge whatever they can get away with. They’ll have such huge profit for lobbying clout that they’ll even be able to elect our representatives. It’s not right.

John Hopkins

Internet via any telco is so much slower than cable broadband as to be a different product, not a competitive one. And speaking of speeds, in the absence of regulation our broadband providers have no reason to build faster networks. As someone else wrote here, broadband is now so important to daily commerce and communication that it’s become a utility. It ought to be regulated as a utility.

Bob Jacobson

Not true in AZ. Qwest now offers 40Mbps service — not sterling by international standards, but twice what cable seems to manage — for less money in Tucson. This is a change. But why if we regulate Qwest as a telecom and it provides great service should we not regulate cable and require the same?

Herbert Riley

Mignon Clyburn should have been allowed to retain her position as Chairperson of the FCC. Actions speak volumes over words and her actions and the productive accomplishments during her tenure as acting chairperson proved that she promoted a positive and profitable balance between the public and business communities. Unfortunately it appears that the drivers which motivate Mr. Wheeler may incline him to set a different agenda.

Austin

Our government is soooooooo broken. It is run by crooks and deceitful leaders. We as Americans deserve all the grief we get we elected to those crooks. Shame Shame

Kyle Schoff

Well written article. Interesting to see how this plays out.

lloydp53@gmail.com

Another sellout. The statement about the ISP’s building the original roads is not entirely correct. Taxpayers have paid fees that with every bill that helped expand the internet system to what it is today. We all have a buck or two in this race.

Bob Jacobson

In fact, the largest component of the backbone service was federal spending.

Bob Jacobson

In fact, the largest component of the backbone service was funded with federal spending.

dudicle

What a stupid analogy. I cant believe you compared internet traffic with a freeway wherr fast cars and bicycles have to share the road. You are ignorant on the subject.

Austin

The author is entirely right with his anology. Clearly you have no idea what he meant. You should not comment on something you do not understand. The internet has these things sent across the internet called packets. These packets are the cars on the interstate. These packets are like cars Volkswagen and Porsche for instance. The Volkswagen is a http packet, the Porsche is a video packet. Clearly these 2 packets are entirely different the only similarity is both packets carry data. The Volkswagen http packet requires minimal overhead and sends across the internet at fairly fast speeds. However the Porsche packet travels at the same speed but video packets require no traffic ahead of it’s packet IE the cars in the same lane. Video can not tolerate slow downs or the video will jump, skip and otherwise be un-watchable. So the reference to cars on the highway is spot on. QOS is what he means which is Quality of Service. GO look it up.

keninca

Everyone has equal access to the Internet, but some (the pigs) are more equal.

MJ Darling

This is only the first step to decimating information transfer amongst the sheeples…us. There will be many steps, just as there has been to corporatizing America, stealing our land, and eventually our constitution. “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” , geoengineeringwatch.org , Monsanto gmo spermicidal corn , fluoridated water , vaccines that paralyze, sterilize and murder, and on and on and on — How many bees have to forget where home is before a majority asks, CUI BONO? CUI BONO?

pete

First, if this broke in the WSJ, you wonder how much insider trading occurred prior to the news. Second, so I guess now they have weaseled out a way to censor certain content via more of the sleaze capitalizm that has become a hallmark for the times. Regime change here!

Steve

What the — FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards — will actually result in, will be the local consumer paying multiple times for a bandwidth rate that they are already paying the local internet provider to have available (local internet providers already charge different amounts for the size of bandwidth that the customer wants to have available). If the new FCC proposal goes through, each time the local internet provider charges an internet content provider for a bandwidth rate (that they are already being paid for by the local customer), the local customer will pay again. The content provider will just pass along the fee as is only logical for a businesses to do. Either charge the provider or charge the local customer, not both.

horatio fisk

Its a good thing there were no lobbyists getting hefty fees chasing the FCC around on this. Whew. (heavy sarcasm).

Jonhy

The sad part is that, is actually true they’re not chasing nobody since now they run the FCC. Once this passes the head of the FCC will get a nice promotion and go back to the private sector with a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

Micky Salsberg

Looks like the FCC is just another corrupt govt group on the corporations payroll. Real Surprise!

Dr. DarkCloud

If the net was truly neutral, the cost of supporting the additional bandwidth explosion due to services like Netflix and so forth would otherwise drive up the general cost of internet access for the rest of us.
So if you don’t watch Netflix, you would still end up paying for the masses of others who do, which is the crux of this problem. It would be like healthcare…
It’s a question of, who is going to pay for this bandwidth?
Internet providers know they are expensive enough as is it.. customers would balk of they peanut buttered 100% of that cost to all of them with their monthly bill.
Upgrading infrastructure is expensive. Plus, they also make money from wholesaling bandwidth to various sectors. Online media streaming has crossed the threshold for its intended domain for the pricing model, and they need to find a solution.
Aren’t you glad they are just not billing you for that extra bandwidth use?
Effectively, they put the ball in the Netflix of the world’s hands to decide whether or not they should now charge you for more, because they are fronting the cost of that bandwidth.
That I think is the intent of this transaction.

casterle

“So if you don’t watch Netflix, you would still end up paying for the masses of others who do, which is the crux of this problem.”

I must respectfully disagree. If I don’t watch streaming video I’ll pay for a slower connection. Since I do watch streaming video, I pay a premium to my ISP for the bandwidth I require to do so.

If the ISP’s have to pay for more infrastructure it’s only because they’ve been charging their premium customers like me for something they’ve never been able to deliver. Now they’re afraid that they’ll be required to deliver what they’ve been charging for all along and they’re unhappy. For some reason I don’t feel sorry for them in the least.

(If this appears twice I apologize – it looks like my first attempt didn’t take.)

Jon Christensen

I think the lack of choice is well documented for the large majority of the US population — its cable. The major/minor league baseball analogy is apt. Internet is a utility and should be treated as such. If I am paying for a certain amount of bandwidth, I should be able to get the amount I’m paying for, regardless of where I choose to get it. If this model is troublesome, I would also be willing to pay a fair price based on the amount I use, e.g., if I use Netflix or streaming video regularly, I’ll pay for that, you don’t have to. In either case, everyone should have internet access and a system that allows them to freely choose the content of their choice.

Franklin Pierce

You would be correct if internet service was like groceries or gasoline or electricity–in other words, the more you use, the more it costs the supplier. It is not like that. Multiple credible studies have shown that the incremental cost to deliver a gigabit of data is nearly nothing–less than a penny. The real cost to the provider is the basic system–the cable and cheap commodity hardware in the centers–which they have spent relatively little on in the last decades, despite their claims. And you pay for that “capacity” with your basic monthly fee, say, $450 to $750 a year paid by every house up and down your street, and every apartment in your building. Very profitable to the cable monopolies. Internet service is the most profitable product the cable monopolies sell–by far.

The cable industry has made breathless claims that “House of Cards” made the lights dim at their data centers and put such a load on their systems that they have to charge us more. Monopolies throughout history create artificial scarcity in order to keep prices high and increase prices to make more profit. They do NOT innovate or do new things–except in billing systems.

We now have to think of something ordinary people can do to stop this disaster. Law suits? Huge organized public outcry? The rest of the world is laughing at us because of, among other things, our corrupt communications systems. We’re not leading anymore.

wscaddie56

If the issue is ISPs bandwidth being maxed out, how is it that comcast was able to neatly instantly increase Netflix’s streaming speed after being paid? Hardly seems like there was time for them to deploy the capacity upgrades you suggest are necessary.

Evan Waters

This may have been a valid argument some years ago, when high-quality video on demand was some rare and bizarre thing, but nowadays you have millions of people streaming video online at 780/1080 levels, and the system seems to at worst have the occasional hiccup or low-quality buffer. There’s no sign of this obvious bottleneck that will happen if we don’t throttle things right away. We may see what challenges lie down the road as high-speed internet expands to more remote areas, but I would imagine even in those cases it would be a case of the local infrastructure strength.

We’re actually getting pretty good at transmitting data back and forth these days.

Alice Redfield

Using healthcare as analogy is poor logic.
People can survive without Netflix or internet. Seniors normally don’t care about the internet.
If you feel healthcare and internet users are taking advantage of you. You are free to give up both.

Scott Brownstein

Of course, you are assuming that there is no competition in the ISP market. In most places there are at least 2 providers (cable and phone) who provide access. If that is not the case then I would disagree that in those areas, the ISP has actually become a public utility and should be treated as such.

Ken Burk

Phone based broadband is about as competitive as having a minor league baseball team compete in the baseball playoffs. Competition implies a level playing field or one that is regulated to allow for a level playing field. This decision is not made in a vacuum, one only needs to look at the actual competition available in the UK to understand the FCC has completely folded to the cable companies instead of protecting citizens from price gouging.

Hunter

Same here in the states. Sure in KC we have 2-3 providers for every area, but they don’t offer the same services or level of service. Each one fills in where the other leaves off so either you pay the rate or you do without.

Franklin Pierce

By numerous credible studies, 70% of Americans have only one choice for high-speed internet service: Their local cable system monopoly. Twisted-pair copper cable (the phone company) cannot deliver the 10’s of Mbps required for multiple HD video streams. Only coax cable (or fiber) can do that. AT&T and the other phone companies have shown over and over that they simply won’t invest. Satellites would have to be as big as battleships to be able to carry 100’s of thousands or millions of simultaneous high-speed streams. Never happen.

So, assuming that there is no competition in the ISP market is the correct assumption.

What other countries have done (and are laughing at us because we haven’t) works: Break off the “last mile” of coax (or fiber or whatever) and make that a carefully regulated utility–with no other businesses–no “ComcastFlix” or NBC. Then, allow -any- player to “hook” on and provide competitive services that users can choose from. In countries where this has been done, there are LOWER prices, higher speeds, much more choice, and the technology is advancing beyond us. This is in countries where the cable companies don’t own the FCC.

Mcbeese

Americans aren’t interested in what other countries do, otherwise we would also have affordable health care and sensible gun controls,

Shannon

You nicely summarize the current challenge. Undoubtedly, the smaller companies do not have the same lobby so their voices are likely not even being heard by decision makers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out; and more importantly, what the real implications will be for small and mid-sized companies.

Shannon Harmon

Digital Pants

Wheeler, a career lobbyist for the cable TV and wireless carrier industry and big-time campaign contribution bundler is no different than any other politician.

You can bank on the fact that no matter what Wheeler and his political and business pals claim to be their motivation and proposed outcomes, the EXACT OPPOSITE will happen.

Tim

Amazing how many people have been duped into believing this is all about protecting the little guy. Yet, who is leading the charge for “network neutrality?” Netflix, which consumes about 1/3rd of all Internet traffic, and earns $2 million in profit per employee. If this ruling is going to help well established businesses lock out the small startups, wouldn’t Netflix, Google, Facebook, etc. be big proponents? You figure they are good guys that just want to see a democratic network? No, this is all about trying to strengthen their bargaining positions with the ISP’s. With all of its monopoly power, Comcast is worth only 7 time as much as Netflix, while employing 50 times as many people.

Jon

The ONLY opponents to net neutrality are ISP’s, arguably much bigger than Google, Netflix, or Facebook, combined. You really know nothing if you think those who support net neutrality are out to “strengthen their bargaining positions with ISPs.”

You gave absolutely no evidence why net neutrality proponents have some kind of secret agenda to gain more power over ISPs other than the number of employees two arbitrary companies have. That’s all.

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