'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

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Djehutynakht
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'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:40 am UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/techn ... tml?ref=us

http://www.yahoo.com/tech/the-fccs-net- ... 16389.html


In essence, the ruling states that, so far as I can understand, FCC rules requiring internet providers to, more or less, treat different content on the web "equally" in terms of providing them to consumers, have been struck down. Such a ruling would allow internet providers to decide whose websites are faster and whose websites are slower (to their customers) and, potentially, who doesn't even show up at all.

So, thoughts? Good for the market or bringing an end to the free web as we know it?

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:40 am UTC

The free market will prevail, as the competition will mean the people choose. People didn't like the services provided by cable companies, so they switched to Netflix. The cable companies, in order to compete, then force people to pay extra for Netflix, or force them to use their services that aren't as good. Those users who are unhappy are free to switch to one of the other one or two service providers in the area, who also force them to pay extra for Netflix or use a crappy service. The end result being everyone wins, because freedom...


I mean, it's not like ISPs are natural monopolies or anything...

EDIT: What's interesting is that if you read comments on Fox News about this, the conservatives that want net neutrality are blaming this ruling on Obama and liberal judges, which I find hilarious.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:53 pm UTC

The free market would be frigging awesome if I had a choice between more than Verizon and Comcast.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:26 pm UTC

Wait, how did the cable companies force you to pay more for Netflix? I don't have cable or Netflix so I don't know the whole story.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby ojno » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:54 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Wait, how did the cable companies force you to pay more for Netflix? I don't have cable or Netflix so I don't know the whole story.


The rule that's just been struck down is the one that stops them doing that.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:02 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Wait, how did the cable companies force you to pay more for Netflix? I don't have cable or Netflix so I don't know the whole story.


They aren't now, but this ruling allows them to. Companies like Verizon want to throttle bandwidth for (or possibly completely block) services like Netflix unless you buy premium plans for internet service with Netflix, or charge Netflix directly if they want to deliver to Verizon subscribers. Cable TV subscriptions started slowing, and are now declining in favor of services like Netflix and Hulu, so to gain more revenue, Verizon and other providers want to control internet content.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Mutex » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:38 pm UTC

Is it possible to get around the traffic shaping using encryption? So they can't tell what kind of data you're receiving and from where?

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:54 pm UTC

Ok, yeah, this ruling would suck more than I thought.

Personally I think the cable companies should NOT be allowed to own the cable channels themselves. Wasn't there already some bullshit a while back about a cable company dropping a channel that was direct competition to their own channel they just launched?

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby sardia » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:18 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Ok, yeah, this ruling would suck more than I thought.

Personally I think the cable companies should NOT be allowed to own the cable channels themselves. Wasn't there already some bullshit a while back about a cable company dropping a channel that was direct competition to their own channel they just launched?

The alternatives are to appeal to SCOTUS, pull the nuclear option common carrier, and have congress pass new legislation. The first has a 4/9 chance, the FCC is gunshy about the last time they tried common carrier, and Congress is deadlocked.

FYI, common carrier is a service deemed essential and is strictly regulated, like a phone service. The FCC has much more power over common carrier and has the power to redefine the internet as common carrier. But, the last time they tried, they backed down in the face of intense lobbying.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Diadem » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:31 pm UTC

Internet absolutely should be regarded as an essential service though. That seems the obvious and correct solution to this legal deficiency.

Of course, good luck getting that passed.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:35 pm UTC

Write a letter to your congresscritter? No mass mailed crap; handwritten.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Diadem » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:38 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Write a letter to your congresscritter? No mass mailed crap; handwritten.

We already have net neutrality over here.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:41 pm UTC

Yeah, but you guys have socialism. You have to pay taxes and care for poor people and stuff. Americans want nothing to do with that.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:43 pm UTC

Yeah, we just like paying all the same costs but not calling them taxes or getting any of the benefits.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby sardia » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:11 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Internet absolutely should be regarded as an essential service though. That seems the obvious and correct solution to this legal deficiency.

Of course, good luck getting that passed.

The FCC already has the power to redefine the internet as a common carrier. They are just afraid of the backlash because they did state their intention to do so, and got screamed at til they backed down.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby PeteP » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:07 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Is it possible to get around the traffic shaping using encryption? So they can't tell what kind of data you're receiving and from where?

Encryption hides what you are receiving, but sadly not from where.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:12 am UTC

This is just an astonishingly stupid and ignorant decision made by people who cannot relate at all to the consumers this stands to negatively effect. In essence, their argument is that if you don't like your ISP blocking your service, you are free to switch to another provider. That's a stupid argument even if it is true, but it's not true at all, making it even more amazingly clueless.

From this Washington Post blog, here are two maps; the first shows portions of the United States with access to wireline broadband, the second shows parts of the country with access to at least two wireline broadband providers:

Image

Image

So clearly most of the country does not, in fact, have the means to switch providers. And just as importantly, is having two options even really much of a choice anyway? If you have two providers available to you, what are the odds that one of them is going to be any better than the other, in this regard? Totally unrealistic, in my opinion. There are also the costs and inconveniences associated with switching Internet providers, the contracts some service providers require...

And don't get any crazy ideas like creating locally owned and operated networks: The Telcoms have made sure the state governments one by one have seen how dangerous THAT is, and gotten laws passed to protect their monopolies - even in areas that the Telcoms do not or cannot provide service.
http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/doc/2011/05/17/keep-north-carolinas-broadband-market-free/
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-15/the-case-for-publicly-owned-internet-service-commentary-by-susan-crawford.html

Just an embarrassing decision all around.
Last edited by blowfishhootie on Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:14 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:17 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:And just as importantly, is having two options even really much of a choice anyway? If you have two providers available to you, what are the odds that one of them is going to be any better than the other, in this regard?


Very likely.

I lived in Albany, NY, when Verizon moved into Comcast territory (I think it was those two). Virtually everyone switched from $75/month with Comcast to $30/month with Verizon. Plenty of people basically flipped the bird when Comcast offered to merely match Verizon's rates.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:21 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:And just as importantly, is having two options even really much of a choice anyway? If you have two providers available to you, what are the odds that one of them is going to be any better than the other, in this regard?


Very likely.

I lived in Albany, NY, when Verizon moved into Comcast territory (I think it was those two). Virtually everyone switched from $75/month with Comcast to $30/month with Verizon. Plenty of people basically flipped the bird when Comcast offered to merely match Verizon's rates.


Eh. I lived in Tampa for years and our options were Brighthouse and Verizon, and both were shit, albeit in different areas. Brighthouse had faster Internet, but the worst customer service of any utilities company I've ever dealth with, while Verizon were more accessible, but offered much less reliable Internet service. I believe the prices for both were comparable; maybe Verizon was slightly cheaper, but not enough to make much of a difference.

And I doubt, in areas with two service providers, one is going to charge the way this ruling allows them to, and one won't. Maybe I'm cynical, we'll see, but I highly doubt any of the major telcoms will pass on the ability. And that's all that I was talking about with the line you quoted.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby PeteP » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:49 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
(I have no idea how to get the images to post to the page, rather than as links; not being able to just enter the html coding myself is really annoying. I don't know shit about coding, or if coding is even the right word; I've just learned the magic little letters to type in to make urls and images appear the way I want on other forums, and the coding options available to me here are very confusing. For instance, I want to type in this for the blog link: <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/14/the-terrible-argument-the-court-used-to-strike-down-net-neutrality/">this Washington Post blog</a> ... I have no idea how to enact the same effect using the buttons at my disposal here.)

The line breaks are messing up your img and url tags, just remove them and it works. As for the href thing you do it like this [url=http://www.somepage.com]Washington Post blog

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:12 am UTC

PeteP wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
(I have no idea how to get the images to post to the page, rather than as links; not being able to just enter the html coding myself is really annoying. I don't know shit about coding, or if coding is even the right word; I've just learned the magic little letters to type in to make urls and images appear the way I want on other forums, and the coding options available to me here are very confusing. For instance, I want to type in this for the blog link: <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/01/14/the-terrible-argument-the-court-used-to-strike-down-net-neutrality/">this Washington Post blog</a> ... I have no idea how to enact the same effect using the buttons at my disposal here.)

The line breaks are messing up your img and url tags, just remove them and it works. As for the href thing you do it like this [url=http://www.somepage.com]Washington Post blog


Thank you so much.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Magnanimous » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:27 am UTC

Screw it, I'm starting my own internet via crowdfunding. Do any of you have a few thousand miles of fiber optic cable?

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:33 am UTC

That depends. Will it have hookers and blackjack?

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby WibblyWobbly » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:50 am UTC

On topic (sort of): Why does it look like North Dakota has a vastly higher broadband density than most other states?

Off topic:
CorruptUser wrote:That depends. Will it have hookers and blackjack?

Can we combine the two? Hooker Blackjack?

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby blowfishhootie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:55 am UTC

WibblyWobbly wrote:On topic (sort of): Why does it look like North Dakota has a vastly higher broadband density than most other states?


That also surprised me.

Also, on the first map, if you look at the Idaho/Montana border, the white space makes a shape that could be a bear, or a rhinoceros, or some other kind of animal. I assume this was intentional on the part of the service providers in the region.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Steax » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:28 am UTC

sardia wrote: But, the last time they tried, they backed down in the face of intense lobbying.



I'm not entirely familiar with how the US government works, but... Isn't "lobbying" just another way of saying "companies throwing money at politicians", as in, you know, bribery? Wouldn't this make it nearly impossible for the 'people' to influence important laws like net neutrality, given the cable companies have little to lose and all to gain by chucking money at the problem?

I mean, what the hell? I didn't think lobbying in the US had that much of an impact.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Thesh » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:43 am UTC

Really, lobbies are just groups of people that have a common interest, that work together to lean on politicians to accomplish their goals. Lobbying is actually a really important part of any process, and it's more than throwing money at politicians. AARP, NAACP, and the ACLU have all played huge roles in getting incredibly good and important bills passed, while representing large groups of individuals.

The problem is the power of corporate lobbies; money really is power, and corporate lobbies tend to have a lot of money to hire the best lobbyists, hire the most lobbyists, put together the best presentations, and yes, promise the best campaign contributions. This means that a lobby representing a few well funded interests can get a disproportional say compared to a bunch of disorganized individuals without much money. Other problems exist, however, in that these businesses often write bills themselves, and hand it to congressman who then put it up for vote without even reading it themselves, which I think we should outlaw (the actual author of the bill should be required to have their name on it).

Net neutrality is a good example of an issue where some very rich corporations have a really good understanding of an issues, and you have a handful of disorganized people in the public (although Netflix and Hulu probably have a lobby of their own, but not nearly as well funded), while most of the people are confused about the issue ("Do you want government to regulate the internet? If not, write your congressman today!").
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:47 am UTC

Why can't we have a rule that corporate funds may not be used for lobbying? Like, all lobbyists may only receive their funds from people, not corps. If the CEO of Comcast wants to lobby, he can do it with his own money of course, just not out of his/her corporate budget with pre-tax dollars.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Thesh » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:55 am UTC

There are problems with that, and very good reasons not to make that rule. For example, let's say you are a congressman and you do vote for the bill; the most powerful lobbies are now going to be campaigning against you. I'm sure if I had time to think about it, I could probably come up with another reason.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:59 am UTC

I mean, I would love it if the NRA could only get funds from the people it's supposed to represent -gun owners- rather than the manufacturers.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Djehutynakht » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:31 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Like, all lobbyists may only receive their funds from people, not corps.



Have you forgotten the Citizens United case man? Corporations are people, and you should not threaten their rights.


(In reality, I can see a decent argument why Corporations should be able to use some of their budget to address a significant legal issue on the basis that that legal issue is going to affect them as a whole entity. But some sort of rules have to be put in place to prevent them from essentially buying their way as opposed to those who cannot sum up thunderstorms of cash to command their will).


sardia wrote:The FCC already has the power to redefine the internet as a common carrier. They are just afraid of the backlash because they did state their intention to do so, and got screamed at til they backed down.


I do have to wonder though... why did they back down? The FCC is not an elected body, like, say, Congress. Isn't the point of these appointed positions (similar to, say, Judges with a shorter term) so that they're able to do their necessary thing absolutely immune to the penalties of being yelled at?

It should be mentioned that numerous articles point out that the old FCC chairman (two reincarnations or so ago) is now the chief lobbyist of these corporate entities in Washington. Me sees issues here.

But in all seriousness, someone regulate this.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:45 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:
sardia wrote:The FCC already has the power to redefine the internet as a common carrier. They are just afraid of the backlash because they did state their intention to do so, and got screamed at til they backed down.


I do have to wonder though... why did they back down? The FCC is not an elected body, like, say, Congress. Isn't the point of these appointed positions (similar to, say, Judges with a shorter term) so that they're able to do their necessary thing absolutely immune to the penalties of being yelled at?


But are they appointed for life? They may not have to run for office but they can't piss off the people who do.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:04 am UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:This is just an astonishingly stupid and ignorant decision made by people who cannot relate at all to the consumers this stands to negatively effect. In essence, their argument is that if you don't like your ISP blocking your service, you are free to switch to another provider. That's a stupid argument even if it is true, but it's not true at all, making it even more amazingly clueless.

My understanding is that that is not the rationale of the opinion at all, though it has been reporded as such by some lazy journalists who have attributed to the majority lines that are actually from the dissent. The majority in fact spends several pages acknowledging that ISPs have the market power to place restrictions on traffic without losing users. See for example page 38, "Moreover, as the Commission found, broadband providers have the technical and economic ability to impose such restrictions. Verizon does not seriously contend otherwise. ... The Commission also convincingly detailed how broadband providers’ position in the market gives them the economic power to restrict edge-provider traffic and charge for the services they furnish edge providers."
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Djehutynakht » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:25 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But are they appointed for life? They may not have to run for office but they can't piss off the people who do.


True, but if they stand united what's the President/Congress going to do? Refuse to reappoint any of them? (and honestly I'm not sure Commissioners (of which there are 5) tend to view this as a lifelong career)

Especially if this is a popular decision.

Even if they are "fired", I'd say they could find decent work with sympathizers. Just as certain ex-chairmen can get powerful lobbyist jobs for their work, I'm sure providers of web content could find some place in the board for their saviors.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby PeteP » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:41 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:But are they appointed for life? They may not have to run for office but they can't piss off the people who do.


True, but if they stand united what's the President/Congress going to do? Refuse to reappoint any of them? (and honestly I'm not sure Commissioners (of which there are 5) tend to view this as a lifelong career)

Especially if this is a popular decision.

Even if they are "fired", I'd say they could find decent work with sympathizers. Just as certain ex-chairmen can get powerful lobbyist jobs for their work, I'm sure providers of web content could find some place in the board for their saviors.

Ah but if they wait until providers actually abuse their powers, they will get much more credit for stopping it!

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Diadem » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:34 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:This is just an astonishingly stupid and ignorant decision made by people who cannot relate at all to the consumers this stands to negatively effect. In essence, their argument is that if you don't like your ISP blocking your service, you are free to switch to another provider. That's a stupid argument even if it is true, but it's not true at all, making it even more amazingly clueless.

My understanding is that that is not the rationale of the opinion at all, though it has been reporded as such by some lazy journalists who have attributed to the majority lines that are actually from the dissent. The majority in fact spends several pages acknowledging that ISPs have the market power to place restrictions on traffic without losing users. See for example page 38, "Moreover, as the Commission found, broadband providers have the technical and economic ability to impose such restrictions. Verizon does not seriously contend otherwise. ... The Commission also convincingly detailed how broadband providers’ position in the market gives them the economic power to restrict edge-provider traffic and charge for the services they furnish edge providers."

Ehm... ok? So, if the majority agreed that ISPs are monopolists who can can screw customers with impunity, why did they allow it?
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Zamfir » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:13 pm UTC

From skimming the introduction, it looks like a negative result: it's up to the FCC to show that their existing mandate allows them to regulate the ISPs in this particular way, and they have failed to show this convicingly.

Presumably, the US congress could make law about net neutrality, or change the statute of the FCC explicitly to give them that power. That's what happened in the Netherlands. But the FCC claims that they can enforce net neutrality based on its existing statute, which only explicitly gives them that power for 'common carriers', and which excludes ISPs from that category.

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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:53 pm UTC

From what I understand, the FCC would also have the power to designate ISPs as common carriers itself, and attempted to do so in the past before caving to political pressure. It's just that they can't do what they wanted to do without designating them as common carriers.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Ormurinn » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:03 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The free market will prevail, as the competition will mean the people choose.


I love it when people blame the big bad free market for things...

blowfishhootie wrote:And don't get any crazy ideas like creating locally owned and operated networks: The Telcoms have made sure the state governments one by one have seen how dangerous THAT is, and gotten laws passed to protect their monopolies - even in areas that the Telcoms do not or cannot provide service.
http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/doc/2011/05/17/keep-north-carolinas-broadband-market-free/
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-15/the-case-for-publicly-owned-internet-service-commentary-by-susan-crawford.html
.


And then it turns out they don't know what they're talking about.
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Re: 'Net Neutrality' Struck Down

Postby Thesh » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:07 pm UTC

The free market is the argument conservatives and telecoms are using against net neutrality.
Summum ius, summa iniuria.


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