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Cable Industry: Don't Worry About Neutrality Case, Trust Us!
by Karl Bode 12:12PM Tuesday Sep 10 2013
In a blog post the cable industry's chief trade group the NCTA promises that no matter how the Verizon and FCC net neutrality case turns out, cable broadband customers should have confidence that "they will continue to enjoy the same fast and open Internet experience that millions of Americans cherish every day." Denying they have any interest in harming Internet video competitors, the industry (now led by ex-FCC boss Michael Powell) first promises they simply love net neutrality:
quote:
"The cable industry has consistently endorsed – and fostered the development of – an open Internet," said the NCTA. "Long before the FCC’s adoption of net neutrality rules, the cable industry made clear that it does not – and would not – block our customers’ ability to access lawful Internet content, applications or services."
Except for that time when Comcast was caught throttling BitTorrent traffic by a user in our forums using the protocol for entirely legal reasons, resulting in a massive country-wide media firestorm as the public realized carriers were engaging in rather clumsy and ham-fisted traffic discrimination, right? The public outcry from that incident forced the cable industry to implement more intelligent and nuanced forms of traffic management. But I digress, and the NCTA continues:
quote:
"Critics have argued that cable has the incentive to limit access to online video," said the NCTA. "In fact, cable has invested over $200 billion in upgrading our broadband networks that have enabled streaming video services to succeed and grow. Consumers now expect the ability to enjoy online video and cable has consistently provided a robust nationwide platform that allows it."
Well, as long as you ignore the caps and overages put in place specifically to limit access to Internet video. While the government pretends caps are the height of pricing innovation, most users realize they're put in place for two reasons: to jack up the price of an already-expensive service and to both hinder and cash in on Internet video. Said caps were imposed under the pretense of being necessary due to congestion, something even the NCTA had to recently admit wasn't true.
...if instances of anticompetitive conduct do occur, agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have the necessary authority to police it.
-The NCTA


From there, the NCTA promises that nobody should worry because government will step in whenever abuses occur:
quote:
And if instances of anticompetitive conduct do occur, agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have the necessary authority to police it. Thus, even if the FCC loses today’s case and its rules are overturned, one thing that will not change is consumers’ access to an open, growing and vibrant Internet.
So the government will come to your rescue. Except for the fact that government has repeatedly shown (in AT&T's blocking of Facetime, CBS's recent blocking of Online content and other examples), it has no real interest in standing up for consumers the vast majority of the time. When they occasionally do try, they get sued and blasted for over-reach as the FCC can attest.

If the FCC loses they won't have the ability to protect consumers from gatekeeper abuses, unless the FCC tries to reclassify ISPs as common carriers -- or a heavily-lobbied Congress passes new laws. Neither of those are remotely likely, in part because the NCTA will spend countless millions and fight tooth and nail to stop them. Top that off with the fact that incoming new FCC boss is a former cable industry lobbyist, and the NCTA's gushing optimism rings hollower still.

Free marketeers and Libertarians would profess the solution to network neutrality is improved competition, but as we've seen time and time again, most Americans are lucky to have the choice of one or two uncompetitive, expensive carriers. When this lack of competition is brought up as something that simply needs discussion, groups like the NCTA are first in line to pretend there's absolutely no problem.

But yes, aside from virtually nothing the NCTA is saying being particularly honest, you can trust the cable industry when it comes to network neutrality.

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whiteshp

join:2002-03-05
Xenia, OH

1 recommendation

Caps

If they can't kill network neutrality they will keep increasing revenues over current levels by increasing internet fees and prices. They win via monopoly regardless. I'm still waiting for our fiber/Ethernet 1Gbps internet with a 5GB cap for $150/month. If its your only choice it's your only choice. Others will say it's simple vote with your wallet and live without decent internet at all. Which isn't even a choice most can make for such a important communication medium(utility) needed to keep in touch with family/work/school.
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A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the corporations discover that money can elect representatives to vote themselves a monopoly, buy media to blame 'The Godless' and forced price inflation on the public.
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

Re: Caps

what about meters that are like the gas, power, and water ones?

lifebound

@amazon.com

Re: Caps

You mean the well-regulated public utilities, some of which are capped/subsidized by local or state government?

Good luck with that.
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

Look at what happens to "Net Neutrality" from the other side

While we see incumbents try to skew things their way, they aren't the only ones.

Look at how Google is offering ISPs to host cache nodes for Youtube and their other popular services or how Netflix requires that ISP join their CDN network to allow their subscribers to access higher bitrate content.

As more high-bandwidth stuff goes online, I would not be surprised to see more over-the-top service providers offer more network integration solutions for ISPs to reduce their mutual transit costs and improve latency.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

1 recommendation

How many times

should an company be able to charge for bandwidth. I connect to Netflix, I pay for using the bandwidth to me, Netflix pays for the bandwidth to me. Double dipping. It should be illegal, as there isn't twice as much bandwidth being used.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Re: How many times

So which one of you do you think should get the $0/mo connection?
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

1 edit

Re: How many times

I think what he was going after is he pays for his connection to the Internet, and Netflix pays for their connection to the Internet.

As for the Super HD offerings, that is a grey area. Most ISPs would not be happy if Netflix caused their customers to increase usage by 60%.

Netflix also has to foot the bill, and I'm sure at their volumes, it would be expensive.

It saves both Netflix and ISPs money to peer or using caching devices.

edit: In 2-3 years, Super HD may be standard, but right now, that's a big jump.
MrP0

join:2013-06-07
Picton, ON

1 recommendation

Trust Us?

What they say:

"The cable industry has consistently endorsed – and fostered the development of – an open Internet," said the NCTA. "Long before the FCC’s adoption of net neutrality rules, the cable industry made clear that it does not – and would not – block our customers’ ability to access lawful Internet content, applications or services."

What they really mean:

"The cable industry has consistently endorsed – and fostered the development of – an open Internet," said the NCTA. "Long before the FCC’s adoption of net neutrality rules, the cable industry made clear that it does not – and would not – block our customers’ ability to access lawful Internet content, applications or services, (cough) provided you pay us extra fees each month (cough)"

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Except

Except BitTorrent is responsible for a lot of pirated content. The key to net neutrality should be to preserving the transfer of lawfully obtained content. I think ISPs (even if the cable/telco monopolies are eventually broken up) shall have a responsibility to ensure that only lawful content goes over their networks and they should have a duty to cooperate with authorities/law enforcement when laws are broken using the Internet, particularly when those are crimes involving children/teen victims.

I do support net neutrality but only for 100 percent lawful content.
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I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

Re: Except

said by IowaCowboy:

I do support net neutrality but only for 100 percent lawful content.

Free speech does not work like that. It is either a matter of net neutrality or not. You can't pick and choose what you like or do not like.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:44
Well and IIRC the guy who started the firestorm in our forums about Comcast crushing BitTorrent traffic was uploading barbershop quartet music he himself had created. Perfectly legal.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

1 recommendation

Re: Except

said by Karl Bode:

Perfectly legal.

And against the 'no servers' clause that was doubtless in his customer agreement. Residential connections were never intended to be used for content distribution, legal, illegal, centralized, or peer to peer....

Didn't Comcast's system simply prevent seeding after your download had been completed? One wonders why they didn't pass it off as enforcing the 'no servers' clause instead of trying to wave the traffic management flag.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

Re: Except

said by Crookshanks:

And against the 'no servers' clause that was doubtless in his customer agreement. Residential connections were never intended to be used for content distribution, legal, illegal, centralized, or peer to peer....

Residential connections don't seem to be intended to be used for much of anything. If these ISPs got what they wanted people literally wouldn't be doing anything but checking e-mail.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
You're post here is content distribution. Actually, all communications is just content and you're distributing it.

Might as well just block upload bandwidth completely.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

WTF?!

"In fact, cable has invested over $200 billion in upgrading our broadband networks that have enabled streaming video services to succeed and grow. Consumers now expect the ability to enjoy online video and cable has consistently provided a robust nationwide platform that allows it."

For $140bil, they could have covered the entire country with 1gb Google Fiber.

How is this "good" by any measure?

So for 30% less cost, they could be selling us all 1gb dedicated fiber with no caps for $70/m.

Thanks.... Thanks a lot.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: WTF?!

Because spending $200 billion to limit it and keep the prices high will net them a lot more cash in the end then doing as Google has.

They will spend 10x's more to make 2x's more regardless of what is best.

fg8578

join:2009-04-26
Salem, OR
quote:
For $140bil, they could have covered the entire country with 1gb Google Fiber.
Broadband providers will spend that much on network expansion and upgrades every two years:

»www.ustelecom.org/broadband-indu ··· er-capex

I believe the chart includes wireless expenditures, but the point is, broadband capex is a VERY expensive proposition and the idea that $140B could fiber the entire U.S. in one year is simply naïve.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Re: WTF?!

Not that it could be done in one year. We don't have the man-power for that nor would be want to create that big of a job bubble.

I would be interesting to see how those costs are broken up. Like you said, wireless would fit in there somewhere. And the title said cap-ex for broadband providers, which also includes subsidizing their TV infrastructure since it rides on the same.

And how much of that cost i inflated because of expensive and limited technology to work with copper vs just using fast fiber?

The $140b estimate was I think to cover probably only the 80% of USA in metro areas and that was based on the estimated per-house-pass cost that Google Fiber has in Kansas City.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

In other words....

"The public outcry from that incident forced the cable industry to implement more intelligent and nuanced forms of traffic management."

In other words, shadier ways to implement stuff!
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»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonk ··· amonkey/