Friday, March 6, 2015

Net Neutrality and me.

So many people barking about the FCC, Net Neutrality and the Internet Freedom Act that makes it impossible to tell what is really going on.

Very few people read the regulations in their entirety (including myself) except for ISP's, their lawyers and the people that wrote them.

Some of us read enough to know that the FCC's regulations may (some day) fundamentally change how we as consumers get and use the Internet especially those services that use a lot of bandwidth ( NetFlix, Hulu,etc... )

Another portion of people have read the 5 page document highlighting the 300sum pages which does a fair job (found here )

Most of the population that are barking on this only go what the others are saying and is often just not true.

First the ISPs complaint.

They should be able to manage and use their network that they laid down and spent enormous amounts of money on how they choose.  If that means charging Netflix and extra 10% for their bloated videos that is saturating the network at peak times then that should be fine.  If that means blocking malicious packets from entering its network and protecting its users that should be fine.  If it means  slowing down Netflix during peak times so that the rest of its users can check their email in a reasonable fashion that should be fine.

That is not totally unreasonable.  companies like Comcast and Verizon spent Billions on Billions of us dollars to build the network they have and also spend billions to maintain it.  They might be very profitable companies but they also need to stay that way in order to provide and upgrade services in the future.

The Consumer complaint.

Pretty much boils down we want what we pay for.  We don't want to pay more for Netflix because Comcast wants to charge Netflix a little more for their data.  We want to get the things we want on the service we pay for and not have to worry it will be blocked.  Not really unreasonable.

What the highlight document says

  • ISP's cannot charge content providers extra for higher priority data.
  • ISP's cannot "UNREASONABLY" slow data based on its type 
  • ISPs cannot block access to any legal and non-harmful data.
  • ISP's still CAN prioritize data in order to maintain their network.
  • ISPs must be more transparent on what they are blocking and prioritizing.
  • And of course Title II.

For example.  During peak times Comcast can still slow down video feeds to make sure other services work properly.  Pretty much which ever service Comcast feels is more important they can give a higher priority.  Email, basic web access for example will get a high priority.  While Netflix may get a lower priority.   BUT instead of just complaining about it, you will know this is the case before hand because you will get to see what is going on because Comcast must be more transparent.  Then you can 'switch' providers if you so choose.

What does Title II mean for ISPs?
Well it is only a partial Title II, I don't work for the FCC and I am not a lawyer but it seems the FCC did not put some things from Title II in these regulations.

  • No new taxes on broadband
  • No new fees to ISP
  • No restrictions on pricing.
  • Does not add Broadband to the Universal Service Fund

  • Provides fair and better access to poles
  • Protections for consumers for discrimination or disabilities
  • Provides a forum to handle complaints
  • Expands the Universal Service Fund so it can eventually apply to broadband and that fund will not be paid into by the ISP at this time.  ( So where does the funds for this expansion come from? )

So other than Title II the average consumer will not notice a real difference now.  Your Comcast and Netflix bill probably will not go down. ( Rule of Acquisition number 1 : Once you have their money never give it back ).  Once it is fought through the courts and eventually the ISP lose you may see some increased buffering until technology catches up (Netflix becoming for efficient for example)

Sooner or later we will also see ISPs selling plans with limited amount of transfer similar to mobile data plans.  This would be for those users who just use facebook check email and such.    You may also see more cable companies offering their own Netflix type service so to keep the high usage traffic internal

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