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#1133743 - 12/16/17 11:02 AM Daily Distractions 12-15-2017 (Net Neutrality)  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,026
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,026
Indianapolis, IN USA
Ahhhhh... Net Neutrality....sigh....

All I can say is that after more than 10 years of working to pass Net Neutrality is that things have changed significantly since I first met with Senators and Congresspeople about it in DC, since the white papers and long research nights, or writing dozens of articles about it in the JPF newsletter and since we celebrated finally getting it passed. Even I can barely say what the net gain or loss is in the undoing. Much of what you've read has been falsely reported by both the left and the right to the point that I don't believe either side's pleadings on face value.

From what I know (and you'd be surprised how much this requires me to say "wow... we didn't see this coming" was the the framework that was passed by Obama would have completely killed any prospects to enter into new underserved markets (think small companies serving rural areas) because no investment banks would give out a dime because it was so open ended for new Government controls and legislation ALWAYS favors big pocketed special interest (i.e. the monolithic ISP's we all see on TV). Most people now get most of their internet via their cellphones and with 5G that will just continue. However with NN in place, even the leaders in ISP had stopped investing in upgrades and expansions until they saw inevitable legislation come down the pike. In truth, under the 2 years NN was in place, ISP tech and expansion and start-ups had regressed significantly in fear of what other special interests (mainly via the Google's, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter and massive cable company Comcast and massive fiber optic company (soon to own Time Warner Cable) AT&T would instruct their minions in congress to do next. Their abuse of the bandwidth usage (Netflix get's a free ride on ISP's backs and uses upwards of 40% of the entire bandwidth) would also keep any competition out of their marketplace. Where we made our biggest mistake was underestimating (frankly, never DREAMING) that the services would cease to be competition out there and a tiny number of monopolies would rule dominion so quickly over the entire internet. Take those entities out of the bandwidth and everything else makes up a single digit number combined. They had already monopolized the internet under NN. That's a fact and in truth as things stand no one can compete effectively with any of them in their areas of dominance. We saw that with Vidme shutting down just today and realize no one else is in line to compete with any of the above companies, not even in an effective fringe way. Ironically, sites such as YouTube and Twitten hemorrhage money on levels preventing anyone else from attempting to compete making them both, in my view, subject to becoming Utilities rather than free standing companies. Only the likes of Google can realistically afford the massive losses and keep on going. Twitter is likely to be swallowed by a larger company with deeper pockets, or to simply collapse under it's own weight if it doesn't figure out how to make money, something it has never once done.

Beyond the above, conditions under NN which expedited the monopolistic process also kept any investors or bankers from funding upstarts due to the lack of money these companies are making and the tremendous long term losses their own growth cause. Not only that, but Twitter in particular is shrinking already because, as a monopoly, and as an absolute power in the space, it has been corrupted by it's political views and has strayed into heavy handed censorship based on vague policies that are only enforced against the half of the country they disagree with. That is not a rosy long term prospective from which to grow your business. Start Up's like Patreon are learning these same harsh lesson's themselves right now and are still small enough to likely be challenged and defeated by the upstarts it is competing with which assure both sides Free Speech. Sadly, no such alternative options exist for YouTube or Twitter which is again why they should be turned into utilities where the laws governing free speech go into effect. Bringing Govt. in has it's own downfalls however, so it may be a net loss to consumers no matter what happens. Govt. is trying to penetrate free speech protections all the time so giving it one more tool in which to slip into the practices is risky to say the least.

Under NN, one side would be able to abuse the other. When we first launched into NN, the cable companies and a few digital ISPs seemed destined to own the market quickly, but we didn't anticipate the uprise of Cell Phone delivery circumventing cables and optical wires which dominated at the time. Currently we have over a dozen capable players providing internet rather than the 3 dominant one we saw with Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T. That transition alone would have made us rethink NN from the inception.

So that is the anti-NN reality. Theoretically, competition from the 12 major competitors will result in ONLY the content providers paying the costs to those ISP's for their bandwidth rather than increased rates for consumers. Cell service will continue to improve and costs will go down, especially when Netflix and others must compete in the free market and pay the ISP's for hogging bandwidth.

Here's a video that shows both arguments you may want to consider: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G35g5HQVjpU

This is the rare topic where both sides have valid points, but neither side is well understood or represented in the media. After spending more than a dozen years on this (even before it was called net neutrality) my bottom line is that we are likely screwed either way. Disney just bought Fox further combining all those assets into one monolithic monstrosity. We are SO screwed.....


Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#1133753 - 12/16/17 04:40 PM Re: Daily Distractions 12-16-2017 (Net Neutrality) [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,909
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,909
Saint Petersburg. FL
Well presented information, Brian. I am new to this having never given it any thought until the present NN discussions came up. But it seems to me that the internet can be viewed as a utility or as a business. I think I am favoring the utility side since the ISPs are in a way so powerful as to be able to cut off an essential pipeline if they choose......not so much Netflix, etc. but important communications between business entities that need the internet to operate. Not counting phones, there are only two ISPs here that I can choose from and some adjacent towns here have only one. That's a lot of eggs in one basket. Many of us lost the internet during the aftermath of hurricane Irma and it was a huge problem for some.

I had a thought during one of our overseas skirmishes that we should cut off the internet access to a certain country that was communicating with their bad guys via Twitter.....but I don't know that we, or anyone else, knows where to pull the plug out or if it's even possible. I wonder how the internet reaches a small middle eastern country? Is it via telephone lines, cables, over the airwaves, or what? Who even knows?

Anyway, much as I hate governments meddling in our lives, this might be a case for making more like a utility which I guess would have net neutrality.


I try to critique as if you mean business.....



#1133754 - 12/16/17 06:09 PM Re: Daily Distractions 12-16-2017 (Net Neutrality) [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,026
Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,026
Indianapolis, IN USA
I took your side (and part of me still does) but one par that worries me is how easy our government slips into authoritarianism. In fact, by nature, ALL governments with even a fraction of the power ours has in my view leans that way at best and even with good intentions falls into that abyss, not to mention those with bad intentions (insert both political parties). Plus do we want the government to be on one side or the other OR our side? The only way it can do that is to remove its control of the entire thing because then it is either their side of the square, or on side or the other, but always against our side of the square where we have no individual power at all.

Like I said, it is complicated. I do know the fastest path to a single choice only is government where it become their choice. If they set the rules for your one provider like pricing, then their only strategy is to give you as little for that set price as possible rather than the most for the price they choose based on competition and being awesome. It is a race to the bottom like socialized medicine which is awesome if you need a bandaid, terrible if you have a child with cancer or let's say something as important as free speech.

Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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