Culture FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler aims to reclassify the Internet as a utility, huge win for net neutrality

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Several commentators here appear to be opposed to the proposal, but no one has said why. What is everyone afraid of?
The govt is pulling a fast one on you. You want Net Neutrality... so you would be in favor of a bill that would guarantee Net Neutrality. So why doesn't the govt just pass a bill that says everyone operates at the same speed. Done!.
But they're not doing that... they're classifying the internet as a utility instead under the guise of NN. The point is, being a utility means they can tax the crap out of the ISPs and the customers at the same time. Remember the Obamaphone? Now we'll have ObamaNet.
We get extra fees on our bill and the ISPs have extra regulation, which actually makes it HARDER for new companies to start up because they have more rules to follow. When you have regulation you have to hire people to comply with it. Only the big companies can afford that, so the little ones get screwed.
This just happened in the banking industry... Financial Crisis regulations (Dodd Frank law) and small banks get bought by the big ones because they can't comply and stay in business.

From a story on the washington post.
More than a dozen Washington area banks and credit unions have merged with one another in recent years, citing heightened regulation as a factor. Others have done away with mortgage divisions and clamped down on consumer loans. At least one local bank has expanded its compliance team seven-fold to 35 full-time employees in four years.
Regulation hurts competition and the consumer all the time.
 
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Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
Increased regulation has never, NEVER made it easier for small startups to enter the market, never mind for public utilities. There's a reason that even after the FCC broke up AT&T and then forced them to open up their lines to CLECs (Competitive local exchange carrier) the Ma Bells still retained tremendous market power.
I would say that regulation has made it 'possible' for small startups to enter a market - if the market has been monopolistic and anti-competitive.
I would say that the Ma Bells still retained tremendous market power due to inertia arising from the huge advantage that owning all of the customers gives any business - and that the
anti-trust prosecutions were necessary and will be again.
I would not say that the government 'does it right' - it muddles badly and a great expense. However, I can imagine worse things. If AT&T had not gone through the anti-trust prosecution, it could be we would be using AT&T computers and AT&T modems on AT&T copper - and DARPA would still be fostering the 'Advanced Communications Net' (ACNE).
 

thorpj

TS Enthusiast
Yes, this is definitely the right move. Well done Mr Wheeler, this is an important milestone, on the road to saving the internet!
 

cmbjive

TS Booster
I would say that regulation has made it 'possible' for small startups to enter a market - if the market has been monopolistic and anti-competitive.
I would say that the Ma Bells still retained tremendous market power due to inertia arising from the huge advantage that owning all of the customers gives any business - and that the
anti-trust prosecutions were necessary and will be again.
I would not say that the government 'does it right' - it muddles badly and a great expense. However, I can imagine worse things. If AT&T had not gone through the anti-trust prosecution, it could be we would be using AT&T computers and AT&T modems on AT&T copper - and DARPA would still be fostering the 'Advanced Communications Net' (ACNE).
No, regulation has not made it possible for startups to enter the market. And the Ma Bells did NOT own all the customers within a given area - that's why AT&T was broken up to begin with.

And I don't deal in hypotheticals because AT&T was broken up, but I do know one thing: All of the innovations that you are referring to came into being while AT&T was still the sole provider of telephony. Also, you will notice that in countries where there is only one telephony provider (think Deutsche Telekom or NTT DoCoMo), the internet has not been burdened by a single provider...even when those telephony providers are essentially state run entities.
 

insect

TS Evangelist
The govt is pulling a fast one on you. You want Net Neutrality... so you would be in favor of a bill that would guarantee Net Neutrality. So why doesn't the govt just pass a bill that says everyone operates at the same speed. Done!.
But they're not doing that... they're classifying the internet as a utility instead under the guise of NN. The point is, being a utility means they can tax the crap out of the ISPs and the customers at the same time. Remember the Obamaphone? Now we'll have ObamaNet.
We get extra fees on our bill and the ISPs have extra regulation, which actually makes it HARDER for new companies to start up because they have more rules to follow. When you have regulation you have to hire people to comply with it. Only the big companies can afford that, so the little ones get screwed.
This just happened in the banking industry... Financial Crisis regulations (Dodd Frank law) and small banks get bought by the big ones because they can't comply and stay in business.

From a story on the washington post. Regulation hurts competition and the consumer all the time.

I would say that regulation was necessary for the banks - consumers were being hurt so badly by banks giving out money to anyone that asked, whether or not they could pay it back. A narrow mindset would be "oh, well, just that person goes bankrupt for failing to pay" when the real implications of this are that the bank still has to get that money back somehow, so they raise rates on everyone else, excluding more people from the market and being able to pay... and so the cycle begins where only the very rich would have ever been able to deal with it. That was the reason for the massive bubble of 2008 (free money) and then the collapse when a lot of people had to foreclose and go bankrupt. The counter of-course is that people should just make smart financial decisions and not take money they can't pay back, but if I've learned anything it's that most people couldn't do those calculations and wouldn't ask/learn how to, so.... money! Thus, the government had to step in immediately while we try to educate people in the long term.

Regulation of who gets money, the level of scrutiny banks have to do to an applicant, and rate controls have helped us get back on our feet (economically).

Also, I doubt you'd say the same about regulation of wastes, water, food, etc. Yes, it costs more... but we're not having kids get cancer from chemicals, poop laying in the street, garbage piling up wherever people decide to throw it, etc.

Without the proposed rule, ISPs become the gate-keepers and free-speech in the modern world becomes dead. The internet would become "pay-for-play" to companies - Pay up or else we don't send your data. So then what? The internet just becomes mega-corporation after mega-corporation.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
To anyone who thinks regulation of the Internet as a public utility is a good idea:

Pull out your telephone bill, electricity bill, cable bill, or any other utilities bill, and look at all the Universal Access, Low Income Subsidy, etc., fees. That's what will be coming to your Internet service bills if the Government takes over and regulates your ISP as a public utility.
Like it or not, there will be negatives to whatever method is finally adopted.

For me, I would rather pay a few trivial charges on my bill than let some almighty ISP control what I get on the internet and who I get it from. People here P&M about a few extra $$$$ on their bill, but I bet those who are P&Ming about that would scream bloody murder and go postal to the extreme if they are unable to get to their favorite destinations because that favorite destination cannot afford to pay their ISP the extortion charges their ISP levies on them so that they can have equal access to the net. As I see it, that is what it could come down to and is happening right now in at least the situation with Netflix.

My area is monopolized by TW right now, and TW knows that they have our area by the balls to the point where they are abusive to their customers. Calls to their customer service dept to complain about bad service basically get you a "we might take care of that response" and are followed up with a "since you are so pleased with our pi$$-poor service, would you like to subscribe to more pi$$-poor service?" sales pitch.

There is NO incentive for any ISP in any area like ours to provide better service or faster speeds simply because of the fact that these monopolized areas exist, and are a cash cow for companies like TW since they have infrastructure in place that they do not want to invest in to upgrade because of the fact that refraining from investing in upgrades makes them the most money.

And to top if off, it is my understanding that these ISPs have abused 100+ year old and now archaic laws that were initially conceived for telcos and allow them to build monopolies, yet they P&M and insist that they should not be regulated as telcos.

If you have gotten this far, an interesting thing that I heard about the FCC Chairman's decision is that the proposal received four million comments on the public comment web site and three million of those were in favor of reclassifying ISPs as telcos. I think that those of you who are sobbing about the fact that you might pay a few dollars more on your bill because of the reclassification are in a distinct minority whether you like it or not.

As for my opinion, well, I am sure you can already tell that from what I have written, but I hope that the FCC finds a way to make it stick this time. I am fed up with getting crap service and disrespectful treatment from Thugs Warner, and I will gladly pay a few dollars more each month on my bill if it liberates me from the stranglehold of their monopolies. The way things are, as I see it, is that the current laws allow these monopolies to exist creating, in essence, a monarchy for these companies. In NO WAY should laws in a democratic society exist that allow such monopolies.
 

Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
No, regulation has not made it possible for startups to enter the market. And the Ma Bells did NOT own all the customers within a given area - that's why AT&T was broken up to begin with.

And I don't deal in hypotheticals because AT&T was broken up, but I do know one thing: All of the innovations that you are referring to came into being while AT&T was still the sole provider of telephony. Also, you will notice that in countries where there is only one telephony provider (think Deutsche Telekom or NTT DoCoMo), the internet has not been burdened by a single provider...even when those telephony providers are essentially state run entities.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 increased competition and reduced costs for consumers .. look at RBOCs which entered the Long Distance market ... at the CLECs which started up and entered the market providing local telephony as well. They could not have entered the market beforehand.

I will grant you that the legislation and resulting regulation was not very good in several aspects, but I believe that the result was a net benefit to consumers and to the country as a whole.

The monopolistic heritage of the "Bell" industry is regarded by many as a necessary step to establish and expand this activity to a national level. Perhaps letting AT&T dictate its own consent decree (giving rise to the baby Bells) can be regarded as a step toward disabling the monopoly by replacing it with an oligopoly (and between 1982 and 1996, the baby Bells did own the customer base and continued to limit equipment manufacturing). I think the 1996 was necessary to increase competition.

As to hypotheticals, sorry - was trying to 'lighten up'. As to other countries, I do believe that the number of competing ISPs correlates to something other than the number of telecom providers.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
I would say that regulation was necessary for the banks - .
that's a vast over-simplification and a good example of the problem of NN and regulation as a utility. Dodd Frank is not just 'bank regulation' there are hundreds of pieces, hundreds of effect, and many pluses and minuses. You can't say 'we need regulation' and just take the entire pile of it the govt hands out. In Dodd Frank for example, Swap exchanges are necessary and a good piece of legislation, but they applied their capital requirements on money managers as a 'one-size-fits-all' and any company running a variable annuity fund has capital requirements that are exactly backward from what prevents insolvency.

This same thing will happen with NN. Why not just pass a law that says preference in traffic is illegal? Why the huge regulatory burden of being labeled a utility, with all the restrictions and taxes that'll go with it? The answer of course is, they don't care about NN, they care about taxes, power and control. The govt wants control of the internet, and that's what they just got.

From the wall street journal
the Federal Trade Commission already has authority to punish companies that discriminate against consumers, and Congressional Republicans have already expressed their willingness to enact a law preventing the specific abuses Mr. Wheeler claims he wants to prevent.
and
Reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service would expose it to rate regulation by the FCC and new Universal Service taxes
The more I read about this, the more it sound like an FCC power grab. They're 'fixing' a problem that doesn't even exist.
 
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Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
Republicans? over last 5 years I have come to wonder if they aren't 'all hat and no cattle' (if they could have passed NN legislation, why didn't they?).
 
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cmbjive

TS Booster
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 increased competition and reduced costs for consumers .. look at RBOCs which entered the Long Distance market ... at the CLECs which started up and entered the market providing local telephony as well. They could not have entered the market beforehand.

I will grant you that the legislation and resulting regulation was not very good in several aspects, but I believe that the result was a net benefit to consumers and to the country as a whole.

The monopolistic heritage of the "Bell" industry is regarded by many as a necessary step to establish and expand this activity to a national level. Perhaps letting AT&T dictate its own consent decree (giving rise to the baby Bells) can be regarded as a step toward disabling the monopoly by replacing it with an oligopoly (and between 1982 and 1996, the baby Bells did own the customer base and continued to limit equipment manufacturing). I think the 1996 was necessary to increase competition.

As to hypotheticals, sorry - was trying to 'lighten up'. As to other countries, I do believe that the number of competing ISPs correlates to something other than the number of telecom providers.
As a former employee of US West/Qwest before going to Centurylink, the Telecom Act of 1996 may have allowed for more long distance carriers and CLECs to operate on the backs of the Ma Bells, but it did not "increase" competition. When it came to long distance carriers, I was responsible for selling all services (one of the requirements of the Act was that the Ma Bell had to equally sell all carriers when it came to long distance service); in almost every instance the company the consumer chose was to go with the Bell. I believe there were only two times I selected a competitor and that was because the consumer was already familiar with their products. In addition, the competitors were not some small operation, but instead were already giants in the industry, such as Global Crossing, (then) MCI, Sprint, and others.

And no CLEC ever came close to our service because even though they promised they could offer service for a cheaper price, when it came to repair and technical support they always fell short and usually contacted the Ma Bell anyway. So, again, the idea that regulation opened up "competition" with the Bells is preposterous and only cemented their dominance prior to the advent of wireless.
 

Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
As a former employee of US West/Qwest before going to Centurylink, the Telecom Act of 1996 may have allowed for more long distance carriers and CLECs to operate on the backs of the Ma Bells, but it did not "increase" competition. When it came to long distance carriers, I was responsible for selling all services (one of the requirements of the Act was that the Ma Bell had to equally sell all carriers when it came to long distance service); in almost every instance the company the consumer chose was to go with the Bell. I believe there were only two times I selected a competitor and that was because the consumer was already familiar with their products. In addition, the competitors were not some small operation, but instead were already giants in the industry, such as Global Crossing, (then) MCI, Sprint, and others.

And no CLEC ever came close to our service because even though they promised they could offer service for a cheaper price, when it came to repair and technical support they always fell short and usually contacted the Ma Bell anyway. So, again, the idea that regulation opened up "competition" with the Bells is preposterous and only cemented their dominance prior to the advent of wireless.
Back then I was running a small leasing company ($40 million or so) and we got into supporting the activity of several smaller competitors delivering business systems. Yes, the overwhelming presence of the Bell giants (even when cut down to baby Bell size) defeated most. Monopolies can be 'ok' when they result in a desirable massive accomplishment (like the Bell System of 1930s-1960s). Standard Oil was one of those 'ok' monopolies. US Steel - almost so - as it failed to have vision.

However, there comes a time when a monopoly becomes opposed to the public interest. The tech is understood, developed and delivered. The infrastructure is built out. Waiting for creative destruction is probably out of the picture as the very successful entity is resting on laurels, overcharging for sloppy service (Comcast, TW?), taking predatory steps to prevent competition. Wireless really was a gamechanger for telephony, but only because of pressure from regulation. I hope it can serve similarly with access to internet if FIOS fails to be realized.

It will be interesting.
 

Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
Abusing the open internet. Talk about a loaded comment. The net neuts will soon realize how much of a fool they have been played for as this so-called "paid prioritization" will have to be metered somehow so that the FCC can ensure it is not occurring.
Alarmist rubbish. It's pretty easy to prove and doesn't need proactive monitoring.

Net neutrality is a great thing for the internet unless you are big business and want to squeeze customers for things they want to use. Here... have internet access. Oh by the way, you only paid access for *some* of the internet. If you want access to Netflix or whatever we feel like blocking, that'll cost you extra...

the Federal Trade Commission already has authority to punish companies that discriminate against consumers, and Congressional Republicans have already expressed their willingness to enact a law preventing the specific abuses Mr. Wheeler claims he wants to prevent.
and
Reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service would expose it to rate regulation by the FCC and new Universal Service taxes
The more I read about this, the more it sound like an FCC power grab. They're 'fixing' a problem that doesn't even exist.
Doesn't even exist? So what? Did:
1) http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/28/5662580/netflix-signs-traffic-deal-with-verizon
2) http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/10/since-netflix-paid-verizon-video-speed-on-fios-has-doubled/
3) http://www.savetheinternet.com/att-facetime
never happen? Let's just stand back for a second and rewrite history.

Net neutrality is required because the telcos have already abused their power. That is the precise reason why regulation exists. That is precisely what the FCC's function is in introducing net neutrality - to stop this crap.
 
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cmbjive

TS Booster
Alarmist rubbish. It's pretty easy to prove and doesn't need proactive monitoring.

Net neutrality is a great thing for the internet unless you are big business and want to squeeze customers for things they want to use. Here... have internet access. Oh by the way, you only paid access for *some* of the internet. If you want access to Netflix or whatever we feel like blocking, that'll cost you extra...


Doesn't even exist? So what? Did:
1) http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/28/5662580/netflix-signs-traffic-deal-with-verizon
2) http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/10/since-netflix-paid-verizon-video-speed-on-fios-has-doubled/
3) http://www.savetheinternet.com/att-facetime
never happen? Let's just stand back for a second and rewrite history.

Net neutrality is required because the telcos have already abused their power. That is the precise reason why regulation exists. That is precisely what the FCC's function is in introducing net neutrality - to stop this crap.
The Internet was just fine, but because we have aggrieved techies who are also liberal made a big stink about Telcom abusing their power, even though the examples provided to prior this abusetc is so infinitesimal and slight that the entire Internet must be regulated as a utility. There is no blocking of Netflix. Period. There is no blocking of any website. Period. Does your access slow. Yes, but that's because broadband is finite. But no, we now must have regulation of the Internet because of the delusions of people about the so called abuse by the telcos that is absolutely non existent.

And don't accuse me of being alarmist when the entire permits for net neutrality is based on an alarmist view about the telcos. My concern about government power grabs and incompetence is based on the government's actual behavior.
 
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Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
Yes, but that's because broadband is finite. But no, we now must have regulation of the Internet because of the delusions of people about the so called abuse by the telcos that is absolutely non existent.
Are there paid agreements between ISPs and Netflix to allow users to use Netflix without artificially introduced bandwidth restrictions. Resounding YES. That is precisely the principal at stake here. There is no alarmist propaganda from that side as it is a fact.

If I choose to download at 5MB/s from my work VPN or 5MB/s from Netflix, that is my choice for the internet connection I pay for. There shouldn't be some seedy under the covers bandwidth shaping. For an ISP to decide "You know we could make a few $$$ here by making Netflix a 'premium' connection", that's a crock. If that sort of connectivity is costing them more, factor that into the plan costs.

It comes down to utilisation. With video streaming services, utilisation going up, ISP costs going up. Well the proper way to deal with this is by costing that in your plans, not retroactively hitting consumers who have already negotiated their deal for internet connections with bandwidth filters. The ISPs have stuffed up in their projections and are trying to short change the customers to make up for it. Net neutrality keeps the playing field level so they can't get away with that.
 

cmbjive

TS Booster
Are there paid agreements between ISPs and Netflix to allow users to use Netflix without artificially introduced bandwidth restrictions. Resounding YES. That is precisely the principal at stake here. There is no alarmist propaganda from that side as it is a fact.

If I choose to download at 5MB/s from my work VPN or 5MB/s from Netflix, that is my choice for the internet connection I pay for. There shouldn't be some seedy under the covers bandwidth shaping. For an ISP to decide "You know we could make a few $$$ here by making Netflix a 'premium' connection", that's a crock. If that sort of connectivity is costing them more, factor that into the plan costs.

It comes down to utilisation. With video streaming services, utilisation going up, ISP costs going up. Well the proper way to deal with this is by costing that in your plans, not retroactively hitting consumers who have already negotiated their deal for internet connections with bandwidth filters. The ISPs have stuffed up in their projections and are trying to short change the customers to make up for it. Net neutrality keeps the playing field level so they can't get away with that.
So what if there are paid agreements between Netflix and the ISPs? THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD BE. Netflix wants to deliver the greatest experience to its consumers are willing to pay a higher price to ensure that happens. Newsflash: The same thing happens with the large corporations and the telcos, the former which buys up large trunks of lines from the latter to ensure that its companies have the best in telephony and not experience large outages.

And no, the bandwidth that you think you are entitled is a privilege, not your right. If the file you are trying to download is too large and is a tax on the network, then it is within the power of the ISP to throttle. Do not think for a second that the FCC will do anything to stop that.

You net neuts have been alarmist about this entire ordeal. You worries are exactly infinitesimal, but because the President also happens to share your political viewpoint on this issue he had to force through this issue, even though it will solve no problem that is nowhere (and the net neut's figment of imagination is not proof that there is a problem) but it most certainly will cause problems as the FCC begins to start demanding internet companies meter their service in order to ensure "fairness" and "neutrality" is occurring.
 

insect

TS Evangelist
So what if there are paid agreements between Netflix and the ISPs? THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD BE.
Woah!! Sorry, but I don't want my internet to be nothing but Netflix, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook 'cause they are the only ones that can afford it. Besides, weren't you the one de-riding increased costs? I'm pretty sure these ISP fees would be passed along for using those services too (I.e., want to check g-mail - yea, that's going to be 10-cents each time..).

There is no blocking of Netflix. Period. There is no blocking of any website. Period.
And yes, access to Netflix was effectively being blocked, which is why Netflix entered the deal. Could I stream a movie before the deal? Yes, but it buffered every 10s because Verizon artificially limited that traffic to extort fees from Netflix. And yes, I could access a website, but waiting a few hours to load because the ISP wants more fees from that domain is unacceptable.

Does your access slow. Yes, but that's because broadband is finite.
Bandwidth right now is no where near it's peak and can always be added (with another line). I believe current research shows one fiber line can transmit 255 terabytes a second - or download the ENTIRE INTERNET is about a day (http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/192929-255tbps-worlds-fastest-network-could-carry-all-the-internet-traffic-single-fiber). So, yea... A ways to go before bandwidth becomes an issue. The slowing is usually the result of a server being unable to handle the traffic or ISPs deliberately limiting it for fees (see the examples from Darth Shiv).[/quote]
 
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cmbjive

TS Booster
Woah!! Sorry, but I don't want my internet to be nothing but Netflix, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook 'cause they are the only ones that can afford it. Besides, weren't you the one de-riding increased costs? I'm pretty sure these ISP fees would be passed along for using those services too (I.e., want to check g-mail - yea, that's going to be 10-cents each time..).


And yes, access to Netflix was effectively being blocked, which is why Netflix entered the deal. Could I stream a movie before the deal? Yes, but it buffered every 10s because Verizon artificially limited that traffic to extort fees from Netflix. And yes, I could access a website, but waiting a few hours to load because the ISP wants more fees from that domain is unacceptable.



Bandwidth right now is no where near it's peak and can always be added (with another line). I believe current research shows one fiber line can transmit 255 terabytes a second - or download the ENTIRE INTERNET is about a day (http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/192929-255tbps-worlds-fastest-network-could-carry-all-the-internet-traffic-single-fiber). So, yea... A ways to go before bandwidth becomes an issue. The slowing is usually the result of a server being unable to handle the traffic or ISPs deliberately limiting it for fees (see the examples from Darth Shiv).
[/QUOTE]

Your internet is not nothing because Google and Netflix. Pay more. Stop with the hyperbole. And no, Netflix was not effectively being blocked. You are either blocked or not. Netflix did the right thing in paying more to provide its consumers with more. That's how it works in a free market economy.

And bandwidth can certainly be added...if you are willing to pay for the infrastructure to lay it. Engaging in reductio ad absurdum arguments as your link does is a fallacy. Of course there is the possibility of doing 255 tbps downloads, but it is wholly unrealistic and wholly unnecessary for what people are currently doing with the internet. I am fine with people having to pay more to get more. This will not go away if the FCC is successful in reclassifying the internet as a utility.

And innovation will slow because the FCC is going to regulate the internet tightly. I'm still in awe that you guys don't even realize the strides made in the internet from when it Al Gore so-called "discovered" it to today.

But I've said my piece and you net neuts got your way. Now, we'll get to experience how wrong you were together.
 
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patsays

TS Rookie
"What is everyone afraid of?"

Change?

For some reason I think people automatically think that any change our government makes must have some "hidden agenda" attached to it. So any change (as good as it might look at first) must have some nasty side to it.

Personally, I'm looking forward to what happens.
Let me ask you a question...

Do you know any good lawyer jokes?
What do you have when you have a lawyer up to their neck in cement? Not enough cement.
 

patsays

TS Rookie
But seriously, folks. Since few things are ever perfectly good or perfectly bad - it would seem net neutrality is more good than bad.
 
D

davislane1

But seriously, folks. Since few things are ever perfectly good or perfectly bad - it would seem net neutrality is more good than bad.
All reasonable analysis of the situation suggests the opposite. Net neutrality proponents are willing to take "equal delivery" of data for complete government oversight. Effectively, it is like making a down payment for a car with the deed to your home. I don't care if you're getting a slash rate on a M5 and an extended warrantee, it's a bad trade.
 
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