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Dueling Network Neutrality Commentary on NPR

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the cue-the-banjo-soundtrack dept.

390

cube farmer writes Wednesday National Public Radio featured a commentary by telecom representative Scott Cleland in opposition to Network Neutrality legislation. Thursday Craig Newmark, the Craig behind craigslist, countered that Network Neutrality is essential for consumers. Who made the stronger case?

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390 comments

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Who is driving? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590508)

Bear is driving!
how can that be (first post)?!

Re:Who is driving? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590594)

Who's house?

Run's House?

I said, who's house?

RUN'S HOWSE!

keep it neutral (4, Interesting)

trazom28 (134909) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590520)

I feel Craig made the stronger argument - as it was plain and simple. Although I found it interesting that both referred to how the net is *now* as being what they believe it should be. Craig believes it's free now and should remain so. Scott Cleland seemed to say that it's open now, and to keep it open, close it down. Odd that..

Re:keep it neutral (5, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590604)

It's one of the logical fallacies to present two sides to a question that has more than two answers. Federal regulation requiring net neutrality vs. Telcos charging certain users more. Other options could include, for example, telcos can charge what they want but lose their monopoly on providing service. They would have to provide access to the home for any competitor on their wires at a rate no higher than they charge to their own internet business.

Re:keep it neutral (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590914)

They would have to provide access to the home for any competitor on their wires at a rate no higher than they charge to their own internet business.

Wasn't this the way it was for a while here in the US? I tried to look this up in google, but failed to find anything relevant. Yet I am sure this was the law a few years back, and I remember a big stink in the tech community when it was changed. Anyone have some references on this?

Re:keep it neutral (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590935)

I agree with you about that approach, but if it's taken, we should be on our toes.

Remember that this is exactly what telecom "deregulation" was supposed to do -- but in the end, the old monopolies used dirty tricks like providing poor service and broken business protocols for competitors, so we're back where we were in the beginning. The monopolies were able to trick us out of billions of dollars in tax cuts, and also tricked us into giving up some of the anti-monopoly measures under the guise of introducing fake competition; they never delivered the open systems that were promised in return.

Re:keep it neutral (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590937)

Great- they charge their own internet buisness $1million per MB, run it at a loss, and make insane profits on the phone half.

Games like that don't take away a monopoly and monopoly power. Only true regulation or a new technology can do that.

Re:keep it neutral (4, Insightful)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590975)

for example, telcos can charge what they want but lose their monopoly on providing service. They would have to provide access to the home for any competitor on their wires at a rate no higher than they charge to their own internet business.

Extend this to alternative voice services providers, and you basicly end upsplitting off the local loop and turning it into a seperate business. A bit of regulation and oversight is required it seems, but for what I can tell, such a setup is doing wonders for competition in both telephony and internet access markets in Europe.

This however has little to do with network neutrality. Network neutrality in the context of the internet is about transport providers not creating barriers for content providers regardless of whom those content providers are. It has NOTHING to do with what a transport provider charges its end-user (please note that content providers are paying their own transport providers already and as a rule of thumb they are not customers of the ISP that you get your dsl/cable/dial-in connection from.

At best one can say that the kind of competition allowed by unbundling the local loop is likely to result in better alternatives, some of which may offer an 'open' internet.

Issue at hand is imho that transport services should by definition be content neutral. This is better for them and for the customer because it makes content purely a responsibility of the content provider, or in other words, doign away with network neutrality results in transport providers becomming (partially) responsible for the content they carry. I leave it to your imagination what the result of that will be.

For as far as the ISP argument goes.. yes, Google is making money thanks to your users, but realize you wouldn't have paying users without such content services, in other words, YOU ARE BEING PAYED FOR IT ALREADY by your own customers which you would not have without said content providers.

Re:keep it neutral (1)

teasea (11940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590889)

Craig's argument was better presented but, admittedly, I already agreed with him. I'd like to wait and see who tries what and see if it can't be handled when we actually know what it is the owners of the pipes are trying to do, rather than guessing what they might or could do. Laws made don't go generally go away. It's why we have too many laws, most of which are rarely if ever enforced.

We can make a law if we need it in the future.

Re:keep it neutral (3, Interesting)

Sabaki (531686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590904)

I do wish Craig hadn't ended his commentary with "keep it free", since that plays into the impression the telcos are trying to give that people aren't already paying for network access.

I did find it intreresting that the anit-neutrality viewpoint was someone actually being paid to be a spokesperson against neutrality, not someone who decided on their own. I don't know that I would have made that choice for an oposing view.

I wish they could have been back to back. Cleland's arguments definitely deserved to be refuted directly. I did notice that apprent contradiction in his argument about keeping it open, too.

That's a tough one! (2, Funny)

7macaw (933316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590529)

>Who made the stronger case?

If you thought reading TFA was hard, how about listening to TFR broadcast two days ago!

Re:That's a tough one! (1)

cube farmer (240151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590800)

If you thought reading TFA was hard, how about listening to TFR broadcast two days ago!

Sorry about that. I submitted the Cleland commentary almost immediately after it was broadcast; but the editors saw fit to reject the story.

Not having heard the arguments (2, Funny)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590533)

...I would have to say Craig made the strongest case.

okay having read the arguments (2, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590687)

I think Craig makes the strongest case.

But seriously does anyone believe that other guy when he says:

So, because google wants to be treated like everyone else, they are actually asking to be treated special?

And the boiler plate argument on the side is now that it is just some "fear" that we all have about the big bad telecoms... of course that fear isn't based on statements by their CEOs that it is their intention to start charging for lower latency as well as more bandwidth. I mean it is just a fear until they actually start doing it... even though they said they are going to do it. I mean how do you know someone is going to pull the trigger, until they actually do. And just because google and other companies have already said that the telecoms have approached them with these threats, I'm sure the telecoms where just kidding around. Those kidders.

Just wait, when the telecoms roll out their new hidden fees, they will just start calling it something else and tell us that all our "fears" where just irrational. And all that lack of choice we are left with is just "the market" and has nothing to do with their legitamite business practices.

Re:Not having heard the arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590725)

Why is this guy a troll? Because he disagreed with the moderator's opinion? Mod points are being handed out to too many idiots. I hope I get this post in meta mod today.

Re:Not having heard the arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590803)

Read the title of the GP. A poster who has not RTFA and posts an opinion about who made a better argument is a Troll.

If a post pisses me off I will not moderate it (because it would not be impartial). If I disagree with the opinion of a post I will not moderate it. But if a post states clearly that the author did not RTFA, then he or she deserves to be moderated down.

Re:Not having heard the arguments (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590952)

if a post states clearly that the author did not RTFA, then he or she deserves to be moderated down

Since when has RTFAing been a prerequisite here at Slashdot? Part of the reason I come here is to read the diverse commentary on the subject. I rarely read the articles, and I really don't care if the posters read the articles either. However with that said, my personal opinion is that the post in question is not worthy of moderation either direction because its author didn't put any effort into the post.

-

Now to get back to the topic: I did read the articles. If I had to rate the pieces as essays, I would give Cleland an A- and Newmark an D. Clealand makes a very concise point and summarizes his position, while Newmark stumbles along aimlessly and concludes with a statement of his opponents' viewpoint. If you don't read Newmark's piece carefully, you'll think he agrees with Cleland.

Personally, I think we probably need a bit of regulation, but I think it's too early to write the legislation. I really don't trust Congress to get it right, especially when we haven't yet seen anyone do the things the bill is supposed to address.

Countered? (3, Funny)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590539)

One guy says that net neutrality is bad. Another guy counters(?) that net neutrality is bad. I thought I was getting an argument, not two different statements of the same opinion.

Re:Countered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590563)

Another guy counters(?) that net neutrality is bad.

RTFS.

I heard this... (4, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590546)

Except I only heard the commentary from Scott Cleland. It was chock full of misinformation and outright lies. I have never been even remotely "upset" after listening to a story on NPR, and after having heard this, I was incensed and immediately wrote an angry feedback message to NPR about it.

Point and counterpoint debate is good, but they need to air them both back-to-back, lest they let the lobbyist get away with the utter crap he was spewing.

I even tuned into Morning Edition yesterday morning specifically to hear the counterpoint argument, and it didn't air at the same time of day.

Lies from Scott Cleland (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590582)

How about this doozy:
Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth.

Re:Lies from Scott Cleland (3, Funny)

fnord_uk (842775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590739)

Out of curiosity, who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?

Re:Lies from Scott Cleland (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590767)

It's probably better (for them) that they pay for the bandwidth than to get sued for putting shoddy, insecure, bug-laden software.

Re:Lies from Scott Cleland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590936)

It's probably better that they pay for the bandwidth than to get
sued for putting shoddy, insecure, bug-laden software.


Correct, if you sue M$, they simply appeal, to a clue less court and
the case is dismissed. The cost is minimal.

Re:Lies from Scott Cleland (4, Informative)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590845)

Out of curiosity, who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?

Unless you don't think they pay for their datacenters' bandwidth, they, uh... do.

Re:Lies from Scott Cleland (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590893)

who thinks that Microsoft should pay for the traffic caused by millions of people downloading security patches for Windows?

I hope you're not insinuating that they are not paying. Because they do. They buy internet access, and thats how the files get to you, when you download them using the internet access you paid for. Both ends of this transaction are already paid for.

You know, you remind me of a roommate I had in college who asked me if he could put a webpage up on his windows 98 computer. I showed him microsoft's Personal Web Server, and he went about getting a website up on his computer. A few weeks later, he asked me why nobody could get to his website when his computer was turned off. You see, he thought the internet was this magical place where websites just floated free in the ether until someone wanted to visit them. He had no idea that the stuff he downloaded on the internet was coming from another computer uploading it somewhere else.

Re:Lies from Scott Cleland (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590922)

I think hes implying that Microsoft should be responsible for providing for both ends of the transmission for essential patches, basically Microsoft reimbursing me for the data they have used from my connection for having to download the entirety of service pack 2.

Think of it like them providing an 800 number for you to call to get the update.

Re:I heard this... (1)

Grrr (16449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590683)

Thank you thank you! My thoughts exactly. Cleland built such an elaborate castle-in-the-air of what could happen, all but ignoring past history and present-day shackles on the free market, that I couldn't understand why this scaremongering from an entirely different reality was aired at all...

<grrr />

Re:I heard this... (2, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590874)

Yeah, I was really bothered by it. Heard it while driving and was saying out loud 'lie... lie... wow, that's misleading... another lie... already happens...'

Ugh.

both commentators... (2, Interesting)

Chimera512 (910750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590548)

seemed to be about equally persuasive. The internet has been a level playing feild (or close to one) for a long time which is what makes it so interesting, is net neutrality going to give the gov't license to unlevel it how they see fit or will the goverment protect us from the big nasty tel-cos?

How About Wharton's Case? (5, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590559)

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=vi ewfeature&id=1497 [upenn.edu]

Lawmakers don't know enough technically to make a law that wouldn't have unforeseen and damaging consequences, even if they supported net neutrality.

Re:How About Wharton's Case? (1)

wiz31337 (154231) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590796)

The government has their spats with technology law but as they get into it they realize it is really more technical than they originally thought and it just fades away.

For example they tried to implement a tax on VoIP services but nothing came of that as they realized it would be harder than calculating sales tax on a tangible object (e.g., computer, car, etc.).

True, this may be easier than adding a "packet based" tax, but actually writing the policy for net neutrality would be complex.

This too shall pass.
 

Re:How About Wharton's Case? (0)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590872)

Simple regulation... You start offering special QOS options you loose common carrier status in regards to that traffic!

i dont get the whole debate. (1)

thc4k (951561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590573)

Without net neutrality, each ISP's "internet" would just be a huge billboard with some websites between. I dont see whats the problem for the ISPs with the current internet model. If the costs are too high, here is a hint: people already pay for internet access.

Re:i dont get the whole debate. (2, Interesting)

wiz31337 (154231) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590856)

We can get this law thrown out too... Just point out that the only internet companies that make enough money to pay for the top speed packages are pr0n sites. Just think how much more people would pay if they could get access to their quality pr0n even faster!

That will shut the conservative majority right up!

From Cleland's commentary (5, Insightful)

LochNess (239443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590579)

First, net neutrality is really a misnomer. It's really just special interest legislation, dressed up to sound less self-serving. Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me.

This guy deserves some sort of prize for shameless, bald-faced lying.

Re:From Cleland's commentary (5, Insightful)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590737)

I wasn't particularly fussed about net neutrality. If the carriers think they can get away charging more, let them try it. I'm far from convinced that government intervention is going to improve things.

But if the carriers are promoting this type of self-serving bullshit, then they've pushed me into the enemy camp. Let them rot.

Re:From Cleland's commentary (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590928)

You said "carriers", as if there are more than one. Are you familiar with the notion of a cartel?

Re:From Cleland's commentary (5, Insightful)

Sunny7L (980920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590850)

Cleland's commentary sounds completely made up, if not slightly delusional. As if Google, Microsoft and Yahoo send the same chills down your spine as AT&T and Comcast.

How does net neutrality translate into government surveillance? This sounds like someone trying to mottle the issue. Why lie unless your view is faulty?

He's totally misrepresenting the issue, as though publishers are trying to get a free pass while in reality all they're trying to do is avoid being double charged for simply existing--providing the very services that lure us to the Internet.

The whole issue is rather or not the telecoms should be allowed to charge web publishers for access to their subscribers (who already pay $40-50+ for their service).

There was a time when ISPs were seen as gateways to the Internet. Now they want to redefine themselves as stewards. I think they need a reality check. If it wasn't for those big name publishers few of us would have any interest in the Internet.

Perhaps Google and Yahoo should start charging them? (Regardless of the outcome.) They certainly have the influence. How many would stay with a provider if they couldn't get to their favorite websites?

Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And... (5, Insightful)

Liza (97242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590580)

I blogged about this yesterday (http://lizawashere.typepad.com/liza_was_here/2006 /06/net_neutrality_.html [typepad.com] ), but in a nutshell, when a group of incredibly smart people like Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Gigi Sohn, Larry Lessig, Danny Wietzner, Susan Crawford, and others all agree...

AND they are joined by groups as diverse as Consumers Union, Gun Owners of America, Feminist Majority Foundation, the Christian Coalition, and MoveOn.org...

AND they're opposed by traditional telcos and cable companies...

Who do you think is right?

Re:Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And. (2, Interesting)

A-Z0-9$_.+!*'(),-, p (982701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590664)

BANDWAGON = RIGHT

?

Re:Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And. (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590807)

If AT&T and Verizon are NOT on that bandwagon then it's very probable that that wagon is traveling in the right direction or the band is playing the correct tune or whatever stretched metaphore is correct in this context.

Re:Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And. (2, Interesting)

A-Z0-9$_.+!*'(),-, p (982701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590853)

I disagree with your thinking and wish to unsubscribe from your mailing list.

I like making choices based on the relative merits of the options and not so much on the people/organizations/entities tied to the options. But hey, I guess I'm just not a typical knee-jerk reactionary /.er
:-)

Re:Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And. (4, Funny)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590742)

Who do you think is right?

<sarcasm>Only the market can be right !</sarcasm>

Re:Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590841)

Who do you think is right?
The same person I always think is right...me.

What...you allow others to think for you? Even when those others are well-intentioned and incredibly bright individuals, it's still a dangerous proposition. It's that kind of thinking that has us stuck in the "Republican v. Democrat" team competition that's destroying our country.

Think for yourself. Make up your own mind.

Re:Craig. And Tim Berners-Lee. And Vint Cerf. And. (2, Insightful)

JoeStreet (113907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590870)

when a group of incredibly smart people like Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Gigi Sohn, Larry Lessig, Danny Wietzner, Susan Crawford, and others all agree...

AND they are joined by groups as diverse as Consumers Union, Gun Owners of America, Feminist Majority Foundation, the Christian Coalition, and MoveOn.org...


Not to mention that they speak of their own volition while Scott Cleland is getting paid for espousing his (the telcos?) so-called opinion.

My favorite part (5, Insightful)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590586)

...was when the telcom shill tried to make it seem like neutrality would be harming the ISPs, when in truth it would only harm their ability to extort money from internet based services.

ISPs already get money for bandwidth usage from sites they host AND their CUSTOMERS. How much more can they go for with a straight face?

Re:My favorite part (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590704)

No no. Mom and Pop ISPs will fall by the wayside, in favor of the evil Verizon overlords. Most of the money an ISP gets, goes directly to Verizon, since they own the lines. They pay Verizon to reach their customers, and they pay Verizon for the outbound pipe. In essence, Verizon gets paid TWICE for every Internet connection. If they had their way, they'd charge us four times or more. ...and people keep buying $29.99 phone plans from them in droves. I have screaming arguments with my mom, where she insists I just go sign-up with Verizon. Ugh!

Re:My favorite part (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590927)

Screaming matches?

Hey Mom, can you hear me now?

Gotta love this line... (4, Insightful)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590607)

Scott Cleland: Amazingly, the proponents of this radical change in policy don't even have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstantiated assertions about hypothetical problems.

It's called a concern. If I hand some firecrackers and some matches to my 6-year-old and turn him loose, I don't have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstatiated assertions about hypothetical problems.

It's tough to say (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590613)

To me, it seems like they are both on the same side.
The one guy says,

In short, don't be fooled by the superficial appeal of the net neutrality legislation. The idea is rotten to the core because it's a heavy-handed fix to a nonexistent problem, and it's a lousy cost-benefit trade off for consumers.


While the other guy says,
They say that keeping the net neutral, as it is now, involves more government intervention and regulation, but really the opposite is true. Let's keep the net as it is now: neutral, fair and free.


If the opposite is true, then we shouldn't enact a new law to fix what isn't broken. No?

At first I was all for some kind of "Net Nuetrality" law, but I do agree that really any new "internet regulation" law that is passed regardless of who it favours is going to have long reaching effects. The solution? Keep your damn paws off my Internet, politicos!

Re:It's tough to say (2, Informative)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590679)

You're not grasping what's happening. Right now, things are the way they are because Congress agreed to net neutrality during the Clinton Administration. It's actually law that a telco cannot be preferential in how it directs traffic. However, the bill only included a temporary provision for net neutrality, and now its time is running out. The entire point of net neutrality is to keep the status quo, and therefore renew net neutrality.

Re:It's tough to say (1)

fohat (168135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590820)

Thanks, you know in all that I've read about this subject I was not aware of the current law. If this is the case they should simply remove the time limit.

Re:It's tough to say (3, Informative)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590895)

I should actually expound a little bit. What really happened is that last year, the FCC reclassified DSL from "telecommunications transfer" to "information transfer." The regulations surrounding telecommunications are extensive (probably too extensive, considering how terrible our phone system is) but one of the enforceable provisions therein is the idea that packets cannot be prioritized; the telcoms have to let whatever comes through keep going, and cannot modify it. Once the FCC changed DSL's classification, the rules changed, and the regulations surrounding "information transfer" are much less clear about the extent to which telcoms can interfere with the content. This current bill essentially lays the groundwork for how information technology is going to be handled in the foreseeable future--it is the guideline for how things are going to run. (So the idea that the govt. should stay out of the market is a moot point, because with or without the amendment for net neutrality, the telco bill is going to pass in Congress.) If that bill does not include provisions for network neutrality, you can bet your ass that our ability to retrieve content is going to be affected almost immediately. I have no problems with prioritizing certain packets over others, as long as no one stands to profit from it. You want to make 911 VoIP calls take preference over everything else? Great, sounds like a plan. But if you want to make sure Verizon's business partner's website comes up faster than Google, then I'm not buying it.

Re:It's tough to say (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590890)

Keep your damn paws off my Internet, politicos!

It's a good general slogan, but I don't think it's quite nuanced enough for this issue. One could just as easily respond with "Keep your damn paws off my Internet, monopolistic execs!".

Of course the libertarian gut reaction of slashdotters says "don't trust the government! regulation = bad", which is also a very respectable general principle or slogan, but sometimes we run into scenarios where we have to choose between government regulation and monopolistic corporate regulation. I claim that although government usually operates against the interests of people, it's not as bad as a profit-seeking monopolistic mega-corp.

Whether or not you believe in the inherent justice of the free market, I don't think anyone can claim that a monopolistic (or duopolistic) corporation can be coerced to play fairly. There are, however, certain (admittedly very flawed) provisions for coercing and overseeing government. You know, things like voting. It's depressing to have to trust the government to handle this issue for us, but until we have a truly decentralized, civilian/small-business maintained internet, there doesn't seem to be a better option.

Anybody else think Clelands statements are BS ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590617)

And I mean TOTAL BS ?

cleland wins (2, Insightful)

slo_learner (729232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590622)

I felt he had the more persuasive arguments, which is a shame since so many of them were utter bullocks. I feel like Craig should have answered more directly the issue of the backbone networks which are "privately" owned, but really represent a public trust.

Oh well, I guess I just need to resign myself to playing a rigged game.

Scott Cleland all hat and no cattle (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590623)

And it wasn't just that I disagreed with him over net neutrality. He couldn't make a case that letting telco's balkanize the internet was in the interests of the consumer.

The way I see it this is nothing more than pure greed from AT&T (we know how much they look out for consumer interests), Bellsouth and handful of other companies all of which got a sweet deal when the internet was privatized. But in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately corporate handout game, that history doesn't seem to matter now. There's a reason Bellsouth has a thirty person lobbying office on K Street. They spend millions on the hill and wouldn't be doing it if they didn't think there were billions waiting at the other end of this sweetheart legislation.

If internet traffic is such a burden, sell of those assets and move into another line of business. If it's such a loser, get of the business. Because I'm all a flutter over poor, poor Bellsouth not being able to set up toll booths on the net so they can charge at both ends of the pipe.

What's new and interesting to me is how special interest legislation is now connected to massive PR campaigns. The RIAA's launch to equate copyright infringement with theft, even though they are very different issues. The TV commercials touting tons of CO2 as a good thing for the environment. I'm just getting sick of corporate interests propagandizing TV and the mainstream media for political issues.

I want my government back, I want my news to be written by real journalists, not PR staff angling for a press hit, I want my privacy back and I want to own the data about me. Why is that asking so much?

Telecoms don't know what their getting into (2, Interesting)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590624)

Once people start thinking of making the Internet ready for VOIP 911 calls and other emergency traffic, without 'net neutrality' safeguards in place, the government will have to take on the task of architecting and enforcing standards to make sure that emergency traffic is tagged and treated right. If the telcos are uncomfortable with net neutrality legislation, I wonder how they feel about having the government telling them exactly how to do QOS/diffserv. The sheer size of such a regulatory task would easily dwarf any kind of net neutrality bill. They're actually asking to be regulated even more than under net neutrality.

Some groups are already raising the issue of whether or not the Internet should be capable of providing prioritization for emergencies [usnewswire.com]

Worse still, in the end, if the telcos end up selling prioritization to content providers, those content providers, once they measure what they get, will find it poor and inconsistent anyway. QOS/diffserv pretty much needs end-to-end compliance to really make a consistent difference, especially at the ends (local ISP) where traffic loads are more variable and fanned out. Backbone setups won't matter nearly as much as last mile setups because the loads are static.

I cannot understand the opposition. (2, Insightful)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590633)

One thing that has continually confused me in this debate is the idea that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo aren't already paying for their bandwidth. The telcos lay the wire, sell it to ISPs, and the ISPs sell bandwidth, plain and simple. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but what the telcos WANT to do is find some way of charging the big companies MORE because they use bandwidth--but they already pay for it. It's not like Google is holding a gun to AT&T's head, here--Google has to pay for the hundreds upon hundreds of terabytes of traffic they generate. So what the hell is the problem? All network neutrality is saying is that you can't make someone pay more for their bandwidth if they happen to actually use it. Am I misunderstanding this? Where, in any of the amendments (the current being the Snow-Morgan) trying to force net neutrality into the telco bill, do they mention price fixing?

The internet is for consumer level production too! (2, Interesting)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590640)

The congresscritters claim to be examining this issue fairly on behalf of the consumer. Here's the response from my representative after signing the google petition:

Dear Mr. xxxxxx:

                    Thank you for contacting my office regarding the issue of internet neutrality. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject and the opportunity to respond to you.

                    Net neutrality is the philosophy that internet service providers (ISP's) should not be allowed to prioritize content and services (particularly video) that come across their "pipes". I believe there is a need to strike a balance between preventing interference with internet traffic, while allowing the ISP's to continue to invest in this nation's internet and telecom infrastructure. Ultimately, I think it is important to provide equal access for these consumers and a balanced playing field for all involved. I appreciate your thoughts on this subject and will keep them in mind as legislation comes before the Senate for consideration.

                    Thank you again for contacting me. Please visit my webpage at http://isakson.senate.gov/ [senate.gov] for more information on the issues important to you and to sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my web site at
http://isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm [senate.gov]


This same argument was used to deregulate [wikipedia.org] california power companies in the 90s so they would have incentives to build more power stations, it didn't work. Rolling blackouts(or in this case poor service based on your packet identity) on the internet will not 'benefit consumers'.

The government should rigorously regulate the telecoms to _ensure_ best access for _all_ consumers, as well as allowing new technologies like youtube.com a chance to grow. I'd much rather see my tax dollars subsidizating of faster routers than supporting more bloodshed in Iraq.

Similar Exchange on NewsHour (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590646)

On the NewsHour on PBS, there was a similar exchange yesterday or the day before. The pro-telecom guy sounded a lot weaker, because he resorted to more big and mis-applied words in trying look somewhat smart while jabbing the rep from Amazon.com. The rep from Amazon.com was able to look straight at the moderator/camera and say (paraphrasing) "we already pay more for more bandwidth" and "there isn't enough competition among ISPs to ensure the tiering won't be abused."

I don't know, but one side just sounded like a much simpler and more direct argument that made more sense. The other side involved more dancing and verbal acrobatics to make it seem like an argument was being made, but it wasn't convincing.

Also, they did not discuss that allowing the tiered-pricing model would need extra regulation and monitoring (not less) to ensure educational, non-profit, and community service organizations aren't penalized.

Quoth Cleland (2, Insightful)

Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590651)

"Net neutrality proponents worry that telecom, wireless and cable companies might one day favor their own content and applications over others."

He says this, but nowhere does he say that the ISPs won't do it. Normally when I make arguments, I try to refute the opposition's points, especially when I myself bring them up. Then he goes on to try to scare his audience about Big Bad Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo supporting net neutrality and then making up something about them getting a cut-rate deal while consumers pay a "competitive" price. Wait, didn't he just say he's "net competition" proponent?

Besides, if anyone has questions about net neutrality, they should just ask a ninja [askaninja.com] about it.

Your kidding me! (1)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590655)

from Craig interview " The telecom execs tell us they can be trusted to play fair

The telecom execs claim they need lots of cash to build an infrastructure

The telecoms want to replace Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and You. And will when they extract usage tariffs on the order of long distance charges. What will be left is a broadcast Media not unlike TV. We will not be online but rather we will watch the people the telecoms pick to entertain us.

Scott Cleland chairman of NetCompetition.org, said
" Second, net neutrality would be a 180 degree reversal of the government's highly successful policy to promote competition and not regulate the Internet.".

That's and out right lie. The telecoms will have the power shut out all of what the Internet should be, by simply controlling cost. There brodcast offerings can be cashed at there POP sight and not even need an Internet. At that point the new printing press will be effetely be dead. And an real Internet usage will be added to your long distance bill. Scott confuses broadband with extreme offering TV over your phone lines. With the sort of relativity low bandwidth usage we get from Google and Slashdot.

Can someone explain something to me (2, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590675)

I have repeatedly asked this on forums where the consensus is largely pro-net-neutral, and never get a good answer. I'll try again.

If creating a tiered internet:
1. does not worsen my connection *at all*
2. does not cost me *any* more money (assuming I am not benefiting from it), either directly or indirectly
3. is *entirely* paid for by people or companies that can benefit from it

why should I care? It seems almost as if tiered internet could be a good thing because it would allow many applications of the internet, such as VOIP and video over IP (which were promised to us a long time ago but still not delivered in a good way) to function better.

I would appreciate a well thought out response from someone who is educated in this well enough to not start with "I think..." or "maybe this will happen..." I have, time and time again, seen people make vague claims (eg. "you can't trust the telco companies, anything they do is bad") and repeating what the corporations that will not benefit from this say (eg. google and amazon). But can someone please tell me WHY net neutrality is such a good thing?!?

Re:Can someone explain something to me (1)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590826)

Asking for a fact-based response in a debate that is entirely circled around whether or not we can trust telecommunications companies isn't really going to get you anywhere, is it?

Re:Can someone explain something to me (3, Insightful)

woodsrunner (746751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590831)

1. It does worsen your connection. Your side of the connection will be the same, but the service side will be diminished so overall your connection will be degraded. It's like construction around where you work won't affect your driveway, but it could add considerable time to your commute.

2. It does cost you more money. If the services you use are paying extortion they will pass the cost on to you. Additionally the telcos will shut down VoIP so one of the huge cost savings benefit of having broadband is gone.

3. As above, the companies that can benefit from the charge will pay the fee, but it will be passed on to the consumer.

Why should you care? Well your tax dollars paid for the bulk of the infrastructure the telcos are trying to steal. Additionally they were given huge government payouts to improve the infrastructure and they haven't. So in effect you will be paying more for getting less and told to like it.

The biggest threat of tiered internet is censorship. Removing the egalitarian nature of the internet will allow for huge scale censorship. Additionally, the censorship is not just limited to thoughts but to business. The leveling field that was the promise of the internet will be removed and small businesses will be censored from doing business thus the large companies will keep advantage. Innovation will be victim. Would you want to live in a world that couldn't have given us amazon, ebay or slashdot?

No they are probably not going to completely censor porn or anything but be assured the only porn you will have access to will be AT&T porn. It will be Potterville all over again.

Re:Can someone explain something to me (3, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590858)

If creating a tiered internet: 1. does not worsen my connection *at all* 2. does not cost me *any* more money (assuming I am not benefiting from it), either directly or indirectly 3. is *entirely* paid for by people or companies that can benefit from it why should I care?

Rather like asking, "If I am immune to nuclear explosions, why should I care if Iran gets the bomb?" The conditions posed in your query do not apply.

The sort of "tiered internet" desired by "big telecom" would worsen your connection if you weren't visiting their or their partner's sites. The whole idea is that your ISP - call them "VerEvilCast" - makes a deal with some content provider - call them "CMM" - to prioritize access to CMM.com over FauxNews.com. If you're a VerEvilCast customer who perfers FauxNews.com, this has a definite negative impact on your connection.

And if you're running a small website CMMSucks.com, wherein you detail the evil doings of CMM, it sucks to be you when VerEvilCast customers suddenly get slowed - or perhaps nonexistant - access to your site.

The reason this hasn't happened (much) to date is because of old regluation requiring telephone lines (including DSL) to be "common carriers", that take a neutral stance on content. The question now is whether this should be continued and expanded to cable, fiber, etc. ISPs, or whether big telecom and big media should be set free to capture the dollars, eyeballs, hearts, and minds of Americans by any means necessary (necessary to the bottom line, that is).

If VerEvilCast was one of a half-dozen providers available, and if consumers understood the basics of how the net works, then perhaps the vaunted "free market" could sort this out. Again, neither of these conditions apply.

Re:Can someone explain something to me (3, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590933)

If creating a tiered internet: 1. does not worsen my connection *at all* 2. does not cost me *any* more money (assuming I am not benefiting from it), either directly or indirectly 3. is *entirely* paid for by people or companies that can benefit from it

And if you could shit gold bars, you'd be rich.

Let's break it down.

1. It does. If you have Verizon, and Google refuses to pay Verizon, and you like Google, your access to Google isn't as zippy as it would otherwise be - they've slowed it down.

2. Sure it will. Companies that have to pay these extortion fees will pass on their costs to you - more advertising on their sites instead of content, higher fees for their paid content and services, etc.

3. There is no benefit other than to the ISPs. "You can now pay us money to get the same service you used to get!" is not a benefit.

Re:Can someone explain something to me (1)

rblum (211213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590982)

The problem is in your premises. It's the same as asking "If I get free money, why would I work?".

The basic assumption of pro-net-neutrality is that ISPs will not create the tiers by providing better level of service to the people who pay extra - they will provide lesser service to those who don't pay extra. In other words, it will worsen your connection, or money will be paid. And that money will come at least partially out of your pocket.

Furthermore, without net neutrality, the actual quality of your service is completely beyond your control. Even if you paid your ISP for excellent service, if *any* of the hops on the way didn't pay for that level of service, you're toast.

Apart from that, most telco's are bandwidth *and* content providers. There is a huge potential for conflict of interest.

This all wouldn't be a problem if there was a free market on connectivity, but at least for end users, there isn't. Most of us, at least in the US, get to pick between ONE cable company and ONE DSL company. (At least in terms of physical lines). If the telco argument is "it's a free market", let's really make it one.

There's also the point to be made that telco's already make a lot of money off public property. They get for example "eminent domain" rights when they have to string new lines. They get use of the publicly owned airwaves. So at some point, they need to share. Either we guarantee net neutrality, or they need to guarantee other companies access to the same lines at cost.

Re:Can someone explain something to me (1)

Monkeyboy4 (789832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15591000)

You should worry beacuse point number 1 and 3 are unable to occur. (Unable in the 'free market' that will exist) First, your connection will suffer because not everyone will pay the extortion. So you may want ot go to the website for your aunt becuase the family reunion is coming up. Oh No! its taking 3 minutes to open the page (I guess you could go to the Johnson family reunion page, they payed the extortion fee and are easier to access. Free Market family Reunions!!) Second, when, when, when did companies ever eat a cost they couldn't pass on to thier customers? This process would be the bullet-to-the-heart for free website access and applications. Youtube would be $1 for crappy videos of kids lip-synching, google would be $.25 per search, blogs would charge monthly subscriptions. The companies would have to do it, in order to not go under. Stakeholders would have a fit if companies just ate thier cost like that. So, the problem is that the vision you put forward is the telco's lie that consumers will not be hit, but rather a utopia of access, speed and content will rain down upon us for the colluded prices they see fit.

It isn't about the Internet (3, Informative)

jhines (82154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590684)

This argument isn't so much over the internet, as it is about AT&T wanting to get into the video business, without having to pay franchise fees, or being locked out by existing monopolies granted the cable companies.

T is running ads in my area promising this will bring lower prices for existing video sources via competition with the cable providers.

Not the Industry-Paid Shill (3, Insightful)

akpoff (683177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590708)

Scott Cleland didn't offer commentary. Start to finish it was FUD, misdirection and bad rhetoric. His "argument" boiled down to the gross exaggeration that Google and Microsoft want special prices to access the internet, enshrined in law, and that the rest of us pay market rates. The amazing part is that he had an argument buried in the fluff, that once you get government involved in legislating access to the internet you'll have that involvement forever (ignoring, of course, that the government is already ivolved).

I haven't heard Craig's yet but have no doubt that it will be brimming with all sincerity that Cleland's lacked (regardless whether he's right).

If the ISP's really believe they have the better argument then I suggest one of their CEO's step up to the plate and explain to us why. Leave the shilling to the lobbyists and their paid minions in DC to buy the laws.

Lastly, shame on NPR for letting the ISPs place a paid spokesmouth to argue their case!

regulation is bad (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590722)

I am very much in favor of net neutrality, but this may be opening pandora's box. Once the government is regulating something, it is extremely difficult to stop; the nasty tenticals of government meddling just expand. Furthermore, as another post mentions, our congressmen are not technical experts, and it will be difficult for them to draft a bill which doesn't have bad side effects. Especially with lobbyists trying to stick loopholes in the bill.

Furthermore, I am not convinced that a bill is necessary to maintain net neutrality. I for one will definitely vote with my dollars: as soon as some ISP keeps me from going to websites, I move to the next one. The only question is if there is enough competition for me to find somewhere else to go.

Re:regulation is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590882)

However, without net neutrality, more regulation would be needed to ensure 911 calls get through, people can do distance learning from a university without roadblocks, people can make donations to non-profits, people can access critical news sites during emergencies without problems, etc.

Talk about a pandora's box!

Re:regulation is bad (1, Insightful)

jeffc128ca (449295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590888)

Furthermore, I am not convinced that a bill is necessary to maintain net neutrality. I for one will definitely vote with my dollars: as soon as some ISP keeps me from going to websites, I move to the next one. The only question is if there is enough competition for me to find somewhere else to go.

As it stands now there isn't. Which is why government needs to step in with regulation in the absence of free markets . If we have a free market with many sellers and buyers forgoing regulation would be fine. The market would take care of it. But we don't. At best in most regions you have a duopoly, for many more a monopoly, and for those that live in rural areas it's nothing. The hope that new players can come into the market is pretty limited because behind the scenes any new player will have to buy bandwidth from these same telco's to resell.

I have mentioned before a real possible solution to this is to give the telco's what the want on the condition they loose the "common carrier" status. They treat traffic differently, but if any of their customers downloads child porn or carries out other illegal activities they are held liable for it. For those that stick to net nuetrality, they can keep the "common carrier" status.

What the hell is he talking about? (2, Insightful)

rantingkitten (938138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590728)

Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth.

Is he saying that only those businesses lobbying for net neutrality will get it? Because here, he's saying "everyone else", including businesses, will have to pay "a competitive price" (whatever that means). Are Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo not businesses? What the hell is this idiot talking about?

I was of the impression that net neutrality had to do with, among other things, the idea that if it isn't "neutral", then, say, Comcast could partner with, say, Amazon, and give priority to Amazon traffic to the end-user. If said user tries to visit, say, Barnes & Noble, the site will be much slower than Amazon, because Barnes & Noble isn't partered with his ISP. (Same with game servers, VoIP providers, etc.)

This is more or less what he says here:
Net neutrality proponents worry that telecom, wireless and cable companies might one day favor their own content and applications over others. They want Congress to pass a new law to ban that practice by regulating the price of broadband service and the way it's sold.
Uh, who said anything about pricing? All I want is for the law to say "ISPs are not allowed to prioritize packets based on business agreements or partnerships or whatever else. The user pays for a 6 meg pipe and gets to send and receive whatever bits he wants, period."

You know.. sort of the way it is now.

Since I can't read Craig's argument, I can't say who "won", but from this, the guy is alternating between babbling and outright lying.

And of course, consider the question another way: "Two men debate net neutrality. One would stand to directly profit from preventing net neutrality, while to the other, it wouldn't make much of a difference. Who do you think is more honest and objective?"

If by "who made the stronger case," you mean... (0, Troll)

klenwell (960296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590735)

who sounded less like a total douchebag, I'd have to give the nod myself to Craig.

NPR??? (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590736)

I'm shocked that NPR aired this. I understand giving airing sides of an argument, but this is nothing but lies. I don't mean that I don't like it, or I disagree - I mean that factually this is nothing but lies. NPR needs to do a little bit of fact checking before airing something so inaccurate. Usually I like NPR, but this is abhorrent.

Worse yet, is that this isn't new: These guys are winning this battle because they are putting out so much misinformation.

This surprises you? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590945)

You must have been under a rock since 1999..

The news has been nothing but misinformation and propaganda for almost 7 years now.. anyone who hasnt noticed has to be either republican or comatose.

Re:NPR??? (5, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590960)

I'm shocked that NPR aired this. I understand giving airing sides of an argument, but this is nothing but lies.

NPR's segments like this (they have one every few weeks) always have one (or both) sides lying out their ass. You probably just noticed this time because you actually have a deep understanding of the issue. I listen to NPR news pretty much constantly, and I'm frequently bothered by what they try to pass as 'balance'. They go so far out of their way to present 'both sides' of an issue that they frequently fail to realize that one side is either completely full of crap, or a total crackpot.

Perhaps they think that airing this guy's lies will let people see that he's full of it... But I don't think enough people are knowledgeable enough about the subject to realize it.

Re:NPR??? The network that kissed Bill O'Reilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15590999)

Wait ... is this NPR you're talking about? The same NPR that reprimanded someone for upsetting Bill "I raped an assistant and got away with it" O'Reilly? Or is this a different NPR? Because I would never expect them to roll over for some dirtbag ... except maybe now and then ...

Opposing Net Neutrality (3, Informative)

mjh (57755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590745)

Prior to reading a few articles on the subject, I had taken the assumption that network neutrality was a good thing. It didn't cross my mind to question whether or not it was actually good. But then I read this article [telepocalypse.net] and it tweaked my desire to have the government leave me alone to negotiate my own private decisions.

But, of course, I'm frustrated by this. I'm really nervous about the ability of the telco and the cableco to take away my easy access to vonage (or any other 3rd party service that I might like). Both of those companies offer competing voice services at a higher price. So they have incentive to make it hard for me to use a more efficient and cheaper solution. I don't know how to resolve this because I feel like I have very little choice in the matter and I can't effectively make use of an alternative high speed broadband provider.

That is, until I read this article [mises.org] which argued that the entire problem starts with government regulation of telco and cableco providers. We have very little choice because the government came in and granted exclusive monopolies. Do we really think the solution to the problems created by government regulation is more government regulation? For my part, I don't.

I now think that the best solution is to get the regulating bodies out of the way so that competition can be employed. As soon as there's a competitive marketplace for last mile high speed connectivity, if the cableco restricts my access to vonage, there's lots of other choices. They'll lose market share and the benefits of network neutrality will be achieved without all of the heavy handed (and ineffective) government oversite.

My current stance is: have patience. It might just work itself out on it's own. It might not and at that time the argument in favor of network neutrality might have more weight. But for now, I'm not convinced. And if you're certain that we need to "do something" then the thing we should do is release the restrictions on who can and can't provide last mile service to my house.

But, of course, I'm willing to be wrong on this one. Anyone care to educate me?

Oh... and here's [mises.org] a pretty good compilation of opinions on the subject.

Re:Opposing Net Neutrality (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590855)

I think your comments are insightful. Bandwidth is not free. If this is a bandwidth issue, then charging a high bandwidth person more seems to be a good thing, becuase lower bandwidth folks might pay less. If it is netral the question is if lower bandwidth folks will subsidize higher bandwidth folks. I know there is more to it than that, but the line is not all that clear to me.

Here is a good article. [yahoo.com]

Re:Opposing Net Neutrality (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590977)

You forgot your salt shaker. The Ed V. Mises institute is for complete deregulation and privitization of everything. They'd have you believe there could be competition regarding water delivery/sewers/etc. Some things are simply natural monopolies. Last mile ISPs are.

The telco camp is a type of BSD freedom where the Internet would be completely free to the point that powerful people can make it non-free. The "net neutrality" type of freedom is a GPL stance (sort of). It puts more restrictions on what can be done, but in an effort to preserve freedom for everyone.

If this were telephone service, no one would stand for it. Lets say Company X did a lot of business over the phone. Of course, you pay for your phone line (AT&T), they pay for theirs (Sprint). Imagine if AT&T tried to start charging company X because company X is using AT&T's lines. AT&T's CEO would cry about how much Company X is making off of their lucrative business, without so much as a dollar thrown in AT&T's direction. Now AT&T says they need to be able to prioritize the quality of calls and charge or outright block their customers from calling Company X or else they won't have any profit motive to upgrade the network. If anyone would have tried that, they would have been laughed out of town.

Now, with cable lines, I think its a different story. That stuff is private, but ran on the public's right of way. The locals should regulate that as they see fit, just as they do with cable franchises these days. DSL is different because much of the infrastructure was paid for by the tax payer.

Arguments? Where? (1)

nsmike (920396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590751)

I would say that neither made a very strong case for their respective sides, but Craig did the best job.

The Telco guy said, "Net Neutrality is bad." But failed to supply a good, factual "why". Instead, he promoted what services could potentially be offered if "government regulation" is prevented. He tosses in buzz-words with negative connotations (e.g. "government-monitored," "socialized," "special interest") , along side good-sounding ideas, but fails to offer anything of substance. It made me laugh when he tried to describe Net Neutrality in the same terms that Net Neutrality proponents describe telco regulation.

Craig's reply lacks factual references as well, but provides some good examples. Basically, it points out all of the bad things that the telcos could do if net neutrality wasn't preserved. I rather like the telephone analogy. But this isn't the most convincing argument against the telcos I've seen.

I may have been a bit unfair, considering there were probably size constraints on both. I doubt, however, more room to write would've improved the Telco's argument.

Where's the poll (1)

solipsist0x01 (887281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590753)

Hey slashdot, I'd love to see a poll on this.

Loaded question? (2, Funny)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590770)

Who made the stronger case?

Hmmm...I predict a lot of healthy discussion and changed minds on this one.

Re:Loaded question? (1)

cube farmer (240151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590902)

Who made the stronger case?

Hmmm...I predict a lot of healthy discussion and changed minds on this one.

Yeah, when I submitted just the Clelan commentary on the morning it aired, I was a little more opinionated about the lack of logical thought and strong emotional arguments he made. Unfortunately, the editors chose to reject that submission.

Poor argument support (2, Insightful)

john82 (68332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590805)

Two things stuck out at me wrt Cleland's position.

While Cleland wants to make sure you know exactly who's behind "net neutrality" (Microsoft, Google and Yahoo), he's standing in front of the anonymous NetCompetition.org. That would be the US telcos, cable companies, lobbyists and trade groups. Surely they are the bastions of fairness, light, hope and the American Way.

Then there's the issue of painting the other camp as describing some unknown phantom:
Amazingly, the proponents of this radical change in policy don't even have any real evidence of a problem, only unsubstantiated assertions about hypothetical problems.

Then he lands several unsustantiated assertions himself (somewhat edited):
high cost to consumers, slower Internet, higher prices, less choice, less privacy, more government surveillance

Gee, no Global Warming and Avian Flu?

The logically consistent one, of course (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590809)

Who made the stronger case?

Well, Cleland claimed both that:

  1. Legislation is unnecessary because telecoms would never engage in the kind of activity it would restrict, and
  2. Legislation would harm competition.

All else aside, if a law wouldn't limit their behavior, how would it limit their behavior? I only heard a few minutes of the interview on my way to work, but Cleland immediately lost based on logical faults alone.

before the net neutrality debate (1)

thc4k (951561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590818)

Here in germany, we had a somewhat similar debate about the net long before it really became an issue on the web: In germany, it is forbidden to show images or text a racist background. So basically, after a author wrote an essay about how ridiculus a neo-nazi website (which was located in the USA and untouchable by german law) was, and linked to it, he got sued because of this link. He won the trail, because the judgde decided that he clearly wasn't linking to the website to promote it, but to make fun of the idiots behind it. But now politicans steped in, with their funny views on how the web works, and demanded ISP to make the webiste and other unacessible to users from germany ( yes germany, not china), therefore giving up their neutrality. That is the main point why we must have net neutrality: Nobody would care about a website being pulled down, but where do you draw the line? Sure, there is a big gap between making some racist idiots website unaccessible and doing the same to the opposing political party or information about humans right like china. But its a small step in this very direction. "Wehret den Anfängen"

My position on net neutrality... (3, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590848)

My position on Net Neutrality is very simple. If someone provides Internet service to me, they are providing the service of routing my Internet packets to and from the Internet. Nothing else. If they have email service, or Usenet, or VoIP, it is on the Internet, and should be treated like any other Internet host. Nobody gets special treatment.

It's not fair to Internet-based companies to allow network providers to charge both consumers and producers when only the consumers have an account with them. Take the telephone system as an analogy. Similarly, it's been subsidized by the government, and is almost ubiquitous. When I make a long-distance call, it's charged at the same rate once it's outside a certain area. The person receiving the call doesn't get charged (because the caller paid for the call, and the recipient already pays for the physical connection). If network neutrality didn't exist, it would be like allowing each switching office that my call goes through to charge another fee, or rather if the phone company charged large companies to receive calls from consumers, even though the large company has already paid for phone service. The company may have to pay more for a high-volume connection, just as an Internet company pays more for a bigger pipe, and they might have to pay per-minute, just as many larger connections charge per byte, but once the connection is paid for, it's paid for.

I Run an ISP (1)

gcottay (157656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590891)

I run an ISP. From my perspective, our customers are already paying us for the service they receive. If we wish to make more money, we earn it by offering more and/or improved services at a higher price. If we were to generate outside cash by making some packets more equal than others, we should rightly suffer the consequences. Our customers, however, not the government, should (and would) be imposing the penalties.

On the scale of the (we own your data) AT$Ts, however, customer revolts are more readily contained. The proven ability of the telecommunications industry to prosper at the expense of the customer does make neutrality legislation attractive. Until, of course, the AT$T legislative army manages to make net neutrality equal whatever they may please.

trust me (1)

r1_97 (462992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590911)

"The telecom execs tell us they can be trusted to play fair and not extend privileges unfairly."

My first job out of college was as an accountant in a Jewish CPA firm. After making some dumb mistake my supervisor called me "schmuck." I asked what that meant. He replied. "Trust me."

the fox should be trusted to play fair with hens (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590985)

"The telecom execs tell us they can be trusted to play fair and not extend privileges unfairly."

and the fox tells me they can be trusted to play fair and not extend privileges unfairly with the hens.

Remember kids, corporations are benevolent, holy, and blameless creatures. We should be honored by their presence and feel glad they wish us to provide them money.

FUD (3, Insightful)

gspeare (470147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590938)

Mr. Cleland says...

They want Congress to pass a new law to ban that practice by regulating the price of broadband service and the way it's sold.

Technically true -- for the history of the Internet, this was enforced by agency regulation and not Congressional law. Now it's about to change, unless a law requires it to stay the same.

Now, net competition proponents, like me, believe that the best way to guard a free and open Internet is to maintain the free and open competition that exists today, not create a new government-monitored, socialized Internet.

"Maintain" is a falsity. "Socialized", yeah, the Internet had no government support in the past.

First, net neutrality is really a misnomer. It's really just special interest legislation, dressed up to sound less self-serving. Did you know Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are lobbying for net neutrality? If they're successful, they'll get a special, low-government-set price for the bandwidth they use, while everyone else -- consumers, businesses and government -- will have to pay a competitive price for bandwidth. [It] doesn't sound very neutral to me.

This paragraph implies that the above companies would get a special price mandated by the legislation, which is a lie.

Right now, you pay as a consumer to connect your PC to the Internet. You pay as a provider to connect to the Internet. These prices are (generally) based on bandwidth -- regardless of what you are doing with that bandwidth. Of course this works great for Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo -- they are the most popular. If prices suddenly doubled for them, maybe they wouldn't be able to afford the quality that makes them so popular.

Second, net neutrality would be a 180 degree reversal of the government's highly successful policy to promote competition and not regulate the Internet.

False. As stated above, "net neutrality" has been the status quo on the Internet, it just didn't need to be a law because no one was trying to change it.

Finally, net neutrality legislation would be a lousy trade off for consumers. The consumer benefits would be small, but the cost to consumers would be huge. Price regulation would destroy any economic incentive to innovate and invest in the private networks that make up the Internet. Over time, we would end up with a slower Internet and higher broadband prices and taxes for consumers, less broadband choice and slower broadband deployment to all Americans. And it would also mean less privacy for all Americans, as net neutrality would require more government monitoring and surveillance of Internet traffic.

Given that "net neutrality" is the current state of affairs, I'd say the Internet is doing pretty well from a business perspective.

Since virtually every paragraph in this commentary includes a misleading or false statement, I'll go with the other one, thanks. I hope most listeners knew enough to do the same.

What is net neutrality? (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590965)

I see these anti-network neutrality articles, and they all seem to be talking about something completely different. This one, for example:

They want Congress to pass a new law to ban that practice by regulating the price of broadband service and the way it's sold.
1) Who is they?
2) AFAIK, network neutrality has nothing to do with regulating the prices or how it is sold.

Are there multiple things going under the name of network neutrality? Network neutrality, as I know it, is codifying into law the existing way the internet already works. It involves no new regulations, no special agencies, nothing about prices, or sales, etc. Am I wrong? Or are these guys making up FUD to confuse the issue?

On the other hand... (1)

Efialtis (777851) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590976)

With Telcos jacking up prices on everything, and buying up all the competition, we will soon be back at MaBell...but VoIP is the way of the future, so I have moved in that direction...I don't think AT&T or Verizon need my money.
Here in Utah, we have a project going called UTOPIA (http://www.utopianet.org/) which can be used in municipalities to give everyone a low cost "fiber to house" solution for Data and VoIP.
Like our garbage, recycling, and other "out-sourced" services that are provided us in the city, we would pay the internet bill with our city water bill. Then something like "net neutrality" don't even come into play, as UTOPIA is putting in their own lines.

Doesn't Google have the power here? (1)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15590983)

Couldn't Google (and/or a coalition of web content companies in favor of network neutrality) simply use the same tactics against the ISPs? For instance, Google could say that it deserves a fee from an ISP to guarantee access to any of its users of the Google website. If the ISP doesn't agree to pay, then all requests originating from that ISPs network will not be accepted. However, Google would be willing to offer free access to any users on ISPs with neutral networks. ;-)
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