Net losses?

Be wary of government on neutrality issue

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Large corporations can’t always be trusted to do the right thing. But neither can governments.

So when either considers tinkering with the Internet – our most pervasive information source and an increasingly indispensable part of our lives – we are naturally cautious.

You should be, too.

The Federal Communications Commission this year will make decisions with wide-ranging implications on how companies deliver web content to consumers.

The proposed “net neutrality” rules currently out for public comment will define what constitutes a “free market” on the Internet – and possibly open the door to increased governmental regulation.

The FCC’s previous regulations were struck down by a federal court earlier this year. Those rules prevented Internet service providers, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, from offering web-content producers, such as Netflix and Amazon, faster data-delivery speeds for a higher fee.

The practice finally would free the ISPs to create a tiered delivery system, with so-called “fast lane” service to those willing to pay premium prices to reach millions of households and businesses. It also would likely prompt ISPs to expand network capacities and invest in new technologies to better meet consumers’ insatiable appetite for data.

However, the tiered-system concept, which the FCC calls “paid prioritization,” goes against some people’s notion of a “free Internet,” where everyone is entitled to the same access and all data is equal. Hence, the “Net neutrality” debate.

The courts say the FCC can’t prohibit tiers as long as the Internet remains classified as an “information service.” So the danger is that the Democrat-controlled FCC, under the banner of net neutrality, will move to reclassify ISPs as “common carrier” telecommunications services, subjecting them to monopoly-style public utility rules, regulations and taxes.

That should make everyone cringe.

Do we want a vital segment of the economy that has flourished for two decades without significant government controls subjected to the bureaucratic whims of Washington? Do we want the nation’s 20th-century regulator of broadcasters and phone companies morphing into a 21st-century Internet traffic cop?

We don’t need a “Federal Internet Commission.”

In addition to the self- vs. government-regulation debate, the FCC will get to define what constitutes a “free market” in cyberspace. It boils down to this: Does free mean ISPs pushing all content equally through their pipes, or is free when ISPs can offer faster service to those willing to pay for it?

We believe it is the latter.

First, not all web content is equal, nor should it be treated as such. Even if you were to agree pornography and cat videos are as important as a telehealth company’s remote-video diagnosis – which they are not – why be upset the medical company pays a little extra to ensure its life-saving service has real-time connectivity on an ISP fast lane?

Shouldn’t a homeowner who pays for an alarm service have some assurances his service will not be disrupted on Friday nights because too many of his neighbors are streaming movies on Netflix?

Those seeking stricter Internet oversight appear to be anticipating that the free-market system will fail without FCC safeguards in place.

Pay-for-speed opponents, for example, argue that it would be unfair to smaller web ventures, and that it gives large ISPs – many of whom are sole providers in small- and midsized markets – the ability to turn the Internet into a sort of protection racket, where those who fail to “pay the price” are made to suffer.

But the FCC already prohibits ISPs from degrading baseline service, so companies can’t punish anyone by making the “slow lane” slower. And if they did, antitrust regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission could step in.

Some also fear that ISPs, such as Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, will show bias for their own products. Such inequities have not occurred, and if they did, they, too, could be addressed under existing laws.

If you doubt antitrust authorities are up to the task of cracking down on problems that don’t yet exist, what makes you think the FCC would do any better?

Keep in mind that “paid prioritization” is already a standard business practice. Do courier companies not charge a premium for overnight delivery? Do cellular companies not charge customers more for faster data speeds? Do airlines not charge first-class fliers pricier fares for more attentive service and better seats?

Why, then, is the practice suddenly considered predatory when it’s applied to Internet data?

If you’re really concerned about pricing, you should know that reclassifying ISPs as “common carriers” would expose broadband services to utility-style state and local taxes, effectively increasing your Internet costs.

In case you forgot how much of your telecommunications bill went to the government, you might want to look up the Heartland Institute study a few years ago that estimated about 17 percent of your bill was receipt-based service taxes and fees.

And if you need one more reason to be wary of increased regulation, the proposed FCCs rules give the government a say over content. The new rules include the well-intentioned

provision prohibiting ISPs from blocking “legal content.” But who defines what content is legal? Government regulators?

Everyone can agree on what constitutes “illegal” content when it comes to cut-and-dried matters such as child pornography. But what about Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Agency? Would the government consider that “legal content”? What about websites critical of the government?

We’ve seen enough meddling with the First Amendment on public airwaves. We don’t need bureaucrats intruding in the copper wires and fiber optic lines connecting our homes to the rest of the world.

Heavy regulation seldom benefits the marketplace, yet that’s what many people are asking be done to the country’s largest market.

The FCC public comment period closes in September. Those asking for a heavier government hand in the Internet should tread lightly, because they may get exactly what they wish for.

Comments (24) Add comment
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seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/20/14 - 06:41 am
7
1
We don’t need a “Federal Internet Commission.”

Exactly...we just don't need it!

RMSHEFF
16632
Points
RMSHEFF 07/20/14 - 07:24 am
8
0
More competition and less

More competition and less regulation is the answer. Keep the Federal government out !

myfather15
55764
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myfather15 07/20/14 - 07:57 am
7
2
Does the government not want

Does the government not want certain people to be informed??

Is this not the exact same thing Hitler and Mussolini did? In the early stages of their regimes, they completely took over all media and entertainment venues; basically banning ANYTHING that was critical of the government. Articles in print, or movies which were critical of government were NOT allowed, period!

This administration already has the VAST majority of the mainstream media and hollywood in their pockets, willfully!! Besides talk radio, the information American's get through the media, is already very limited!! But the internet is completely OPEN!!

Hmmmmm, very interesting!!

deestafford
28607
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deestafford 07/20/14 - 08:15 am
6
0
I am fed up!!!....

I am fed up with the unelected bureaucrats running the country and our lives.

No longer are we governed by our elected representatives. We are governed by a bunch of clerks and jerks.

The government has got so intrusive and so big that Congress can't even control it. Congress has abrogated its responsibilities to what has become known as the "Fifth Estate" ---the administrative bureaucrats. There are some who say this actually maybe unconstitutional in that nowhere in the Constitution does it allow for this shirking of Congressional duties and responsibilities.

It started under FDR and really went out of control under LBJ and has not slowed down at all. As one goes around DC, one sees newer and larger buildings to house more cubicles, which in turn are occupied by more bureaucrats, who in turn must justify their lives and positions by writing and promulgating more laws, which in turn take away our freedoms drip by drip.

One gets a job as a bureaucrat by your cousin knowing somebody who can get you a civil service exam slot or you get appointed to some commission by being a fat-cat donor or politically connected---no expertise in the area over which the commission has jurisdiction. This is a plague put on us by both parties.

What can be done to stop it? First, I don't think it will be because it takes guts and guts is as rare in DC as an ice cream cone in Hades. The only thing I could see is a strong Conservative President with overwhelming majorities of strong Conservative small government Congressmen and Senators in each chamber.

Another thing that would help is for the elimination of the Presidential Budget. Go back to the way it was for over a hundred years where the budget began in the House of Representatives as directed by the Constitution.

Folks, we are in a pickle as far as the bureaucrats go. The ship has left the dock, is leaking, we have no life boats, and it's too far to swim back to shore.

hoptoad
13529
Points
hoptoad 07/20/14 - 08:17 am
6
2
The left has been trying for

The left has been trying for years to get conservative talk shows off the air and, so far, have been unsuccessful. Our comments will be monitored and we will suffer the consequences of our political leanings.

Now they are trying very hard to push this through before the November election that may make it impossible for them to ever get this done.

It was reported that banks are now under scrutiny for not approving loans to conservative businesses. This was supposedly ordered by this administration.

If something doesn't happen soon, we will be living in a country like Russia or worse, Cuba or China.

deestafford
28607
Points
deestafford 07/20/14 - 11:08 am
6
1
Let's not forget...

Let's not forget that there are some in this administration who wish to turn over the control of the internet to the wise, fair, unbias, pro-American organization known as the United Nations.

jimmymac
42864
Points
jimmymac 07/20/14 - 08:45 am
1
1
2016
Unpublished

All this insanity must come to an end in the 2016 elections or our country will be doomed to a police state. Information will be controlled and free speech will be punished if it doesn't conform to policy. Whomever the Republican running for office is must win the White House. Whomever is running for the senate or house as a Republican must win. We have to kick Harry Reid out of the senate leadership. While I'm not a fan of Boehner and hope he's replaced as house speaker we have to maintain control of the house. If these things don't happen the decline of the America we all love will continue.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 07/20/14 - 09:12 am
6
1
Bottom line:

I'm getting sick and tired of hearing government say they must do this, or that; to protect me!! Keep your nose out of my business and I will protect myself!!! How about that????

Bodhisattva
6464
Points
Bodhisattva 07/20/14 - 09:22 am
5
11
More of the same from the Chronicle. Wrong as always
Unpublished

Do you want your favorite TV shows to be slowed down unless you pay more to your cable company? Do you want your phone calls to be garbled to certain phones unless you or they, or both of you pay to have extra speed added? I doubt it. That's what this country faces with its internet system. Net neutrality means exactly what it says, all information is transmitted at the same speed at the same price. A small company isn't wiped out of business because the giants price them out of the game. The internet is a system that can allow small buinesses all over the country, even in rural areas to thrive, IF we allow it. What's stopping it? Large corporations putting a lock on speed, overpricing it, and limiting coverage areas. The largest screw up we made was when the FCC reclassified broadband Internet service as an information service instead of a telecommunications service right after Michael Powell left as Chairman to work for the Rand Corporation (who supported the change) and later, in 2011 became President of National Cable & Telecommunications Association. No conflict of interest there. We already have the most expensive and slowest internet service in the free world. Our broadband is less than 1/2 the speed of South Korea and 4 times the price. Our broadband is slower and more expensive than the Sloval Republic, Hungary, Estonia, and Slovenia, not counting the more modern countries. These people have no clue what they're talking about. We're getting robbed, blocking the potential for all kinds of business that can't compete since the internet is being monopolized by a handful of companies. Monopolization used to be a big warning bell in this country. Even Republican Teddy Roosevelt saw it was destroying our country and our economy and started to put the kibosh on them. People now have lost their minds to the point they have developed such an irrational hatred of anything government they'll scream for things that are against their best interests. If you don't think corporations will step on you and abuse you faster and more than the government ever thought about without some sort of regulations keeping them in check I feel sorry for you. You obviously don't remember cities with air so bad you couldn't breathe, rivers catching fire, and we're still dealing with cleaning up Superfund sites that thanks to lack of enforcing regulations and lack of regulations we poisoned land and water and PEOPLE for years. The St. Joe Minerals Corp. in Missouri dumped it crap of waste and lead mine tailings from 1929 to 1958. The EPA found out about it in 1978. The junk had spred into the land and flowed into the waterways for all of those years. In 1997, they did a study and found that 17% of the children under 7 in the area still had unacceptable levels of lead in their system. Yeah, trust the corporations with no government oversight. We're a giant corporation here to make massive profits no matter what, and we're here to help you.

dichotomy
34335
Points
dichotomy 07/20/14 - 09:53 am
9
1
I do not believe in tiered

I do not believe in tiered service for residential customers nor do I believe in prioritization. I was disappointed that AT&T was allowed to get by with this with their DSL tiered service. I DO believe that all web content should be delivered equally. Giving companies the right to charge EXTRA to deliver some other's product, such as Netflix for example, is a built in government sanctioned reason for abuse.....particularly when high speed access in many, if not most areas is still a virtual monopoly. Especially when the industry is merging and consolidating and creating ACTUAL monopolies such as the recently announced intent of Comcast to buy Time Warner. How much EXTRA do you think that MONSTER will charge to deliver Netflix or Hulu content....after they raise their normal, already astronomical rates AGAIN. Of course, they will offer a "one year special introductory offer" on THEIR content.....and then the price will triple at the end of that one year.

I think Net Neutrality is the only way to go. We all know what happens when these companies are allowed to offer "basic cable"....but if you really want any stations to watch you have to pay for the package that costs QUADRUPLE the basic cable rates. Well, if you really want your web page to load you will have to pay for the "Super Duper High Speed Access" package that costs QUADRUPLE the "Basic Internet Service" rate. And you can't go anywhere else because THEY will be the only high speed provider in your neighborhood or development.

carcraft
26976
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carcraft 07/20/14 - 10:57 am
10
0
Bod, if you want an example

Bod, if you want an example of reality vs liberal think look at cell phones. No government control. Cell phones USED to charge for so many minuets, roaming fees, if you ran over your minuets the penalty was expensive.

carcraft
26976
Points
carcraft 07/20/14 - 11:04 am
7
1
Bod, if you want an example

Bod, if you want an example of reality vs liberal think look at cell phones. No government control. Cell phones USED to charge for so many minuets, roaming fees, if you ran over your minuets the penalty was expensive. Look at cell phones now because of the free market, unlimited minuets, no roaming charges and coverage better than ever, and cheap. Now consider things the government manages, Richmond county school system, VA, IRS and the political targeting, the Obama care web site.

carcraft
26976
Points
carcraft 07/20/14 - 11:04 am
2
1
Bod, if you want an example

Bod, if you want an example of reality vs liberal think look at cell phones. No government control. Cell phones USED to charge for so many minuets, roaming fees, if you ran over your minuets the penalty was expensive. Look at cell phones now because of the free market, unlimited minuets, no roaming charges and coverage better than ever, and cheap. Now consider things the government manages, Richmond county school system, VA, IRS and the political targeting, the Obama care web site.

dahreese
4743
Points
dahreese 07/20/14 - 11:34 am
0
1
We have, above, another case
Unpublished

We have, above, another case of one-sided information for which the AC, in my opinion, can't or simply won't, try to improve in its editorials.

We also have the case of the usual daily conservative commenters commenting on a topic not a single one of them has given any real study - not that they study the issues they comment on, anyway.

The fact is that they will ALL be on the slow track of delivery if the internet is not declared by the FCC to be a public utility as telephone service.

As to this, "Bod, if you want an example of reality vs liberal think look at cell phones. No government control.", we have a commenter who just loves to throw around the word "liberal" who doesn't know what he's talking about; rather is representative of those who share his views and does not, has not, and isn't going to give opposing, and better informed views, any consideration in his HASTE to comment without thinking.

One can honestly ask, when was the last time the AC printed a liberal view point that was contrary to its own views?

It's readers deserve better.

ralphinga
1354
Points
ralphinga 07/20/14 - 12:52 pm
4
0
We lost control years ago....

When the Confess stepped in and said local government would not be permitted to control local cable franchises, we lost. Control could have gone to regional authorities or to states but the Confess took control citing interstate commerce.

Bizkit
32852
Points
Bizkit 07/20/14 - 01:17 pm
6
2
Let's just start giving Bod

Let's just start giving Bod Pinnochios like the Washington Post.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 07/20/14 - 02:24 pm
5
2
Biz

There isn't enough room for Bod's Pinnochios!!

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 07/20/14 - 02:26 pm
4
1
Carcraft

Exactly!! Government get's out of the way, companies COMPETE and prices go down; because each company is trying to get your business; and how do you do that? Make YOUR service better, with competing or cheaper prices!!

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 07/20/14 - 02:30 pm
5
1
Also, it's government's fault, that we don't trust government!!

If we could be guaranteed that government would NEVER interfere and limit the information we get; this sounds reasonable and fair!! But as with everything else government; it starts out honorably (sometimes), looking out for the folks, then turns into just another government control grab!!

No, I certainly don't trust corporations and greedy businessmen who are looking to make maximum profit off each individual they "serve", but I certainly don't trust greedy, power addicted politicians either!!

Bizkit
32852
Points
Bizkit 07/20/14 - 02:43 pm
6
1
Well Internet is

Well Internet is infrastructure and Obama spent over 800 billion dollars on infrastructure with the stimulus- those shovel ready jobs he later laughed off because they never came to friction. So Paul Krugman was wrong about massive spending on infrastructure- another Keynesian failure. Still wants more to spend on infrastructure.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 07/20/14 - 03:26 pm
4
1
What I'm more ticked off

What I'm more ticked off about, is the NFL Sunday ticket only being available through Directv/AT&T!!

I have Directv, and have ordered Sunday ticket for the past several years. BUT, I would like to switch to dish network, because they have cheaper plans and from what I understand, their service is just as good as directv!!

But the Sunday ticket aspect is keeping me with directv; because I've GOT to watch my Carolina Panthers!! I want NFL games offered by ALL service providers!!

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 07/20/14 - 06:26 pm
4
3
I don't know ...
Unpublished

"Government get's out of the way, companies COMPETE and prices go down."

It seems that in this country, without government regulation and intervention, big companies gobble up little companies, they create monopolies, they spend millions of dollars putting in place politicians that do their bidding; eventually they write the very legislation that works to their advantage and keeps them a powerful corporate entity. You don't like it? Tough. Want government to stay out of it? Don't like prices going up? Live with it. And if you don't think history repeats itself, just take a look at what's going on in the airline industry today. Verizon or AT&T, which one do I pick? ... it doesn't matter, the way things are going it'll be one company anyway. In the cable/internet industry it'll be Comcast or ... Comcast.

Darby
26878
Points
Darby 07/20/14 - 07:19 pm
8
2
More of the same from Bod....

wrong AS ALWAYS!

Let me paraphrase......

Some liberal/progressive people now have lost their minds to the point they have developed such an irrational hatred of anything (NOT CONTROLLED BY) government they'll scream for things that are against their best interests.

We're a giant government, responsible to no one. We're here to make your life as we see it better, no matter what. Just give us all your freedom and all your assets.

Now, bend over and grasp your ankles. You're gonna love us.....

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/20/14 - 08:27 pm
6
1
fedex....unfortunately for
Unpublished

fedex....unfortunately for your argument, EVERY company you mentioned has competition that helps keep prices competitive. In the cable/internet industry it will be Comcast....or Verizon....or Hughesnet.....or Wildblue....or Exceed......etc. Sorry....but you are wrong.

corgimom
33963
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 08:34 pm
2
7
"The left has been trying for

"The left has been trying for years to get conservative talk shows off the air and, so far, have been unsuccessful."

No, they use them as comic relief.

Those "conservative" talk show hosts are entertainers, and are regarded as such. Reasonable, rational people don't take any of those talk shows seriously, they are about as credible as the National Enquirer.

They make their hosts lots of big bucks, and those hosts are laughing all the way to the bank.

When you consider the population of the US, very few people even listen to them.

corgimom
33963
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 08:39 pm
2
7
Carcraft, the FCC does, in

Carcraft, the FCC does, in fact, regulate cell phone carriers, and they have passed a number of laws designed to protect the consumer.

That is why now you have access to how many minutes you have used, how they must notify you if you are reaching your limit, and must clearly state what their additional fees are for roaming, etc.

There are still plenty of plans that only have a certain amount of minutes per month- we have one of them, we are grandfathered in and we pay a ridiculously low amount for two cell phones.

So your idea that cell phones are not regulated is absolutely false, and it wasn't competition that forced them to change, it was FCC regulations.

corgimom
33963
Points
corgimom 07/20/14 - 08:43 pm
2
7
myfather, don't people that

myfather, don't people that work in Hollywood get to decide for themselves what their beliefs are, and who they want to support?

There are still plenty of conservative Republicans in Hollywood, but the Democrats don't rant and rail about them- they don't care. So nobody knows that they are there.

But since many of the higher-profile people in Hollywood are gay and or Jewish, which tends to vote Democratic (but not always), doesn't it make sense? Do you think the anti-gay marriage law MIGHT have something to do with that, since so many actors and actresses are gay, or have friends that are?

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/20/14 - 08:46 pm
3
1
The left seems to take ALL of
Unpublished

The left seems to take ALL of the talk radio hosts seriously... If they didn't, then why do they always complain about those such as Rush, Beck, and Reilly? If they only regarded them as entertainers...then why do they take them so seriously?

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/20/14 - 08:47 pm
6
1
And for the record.....gay
Unpublished

And for the record.....gay people have the exact same restrictions as anyone else, in all 50 states.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 07/20/14 - 09:05 pm
6
1
Corgi....ever heard of the
Unpublished

Corgi....ever heard of the push for the fairness doctrine? Of course you have.

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