Appeals Court strikes down FCC "net neutrality" rules - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting article that came up on CNBC today.
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The Federal Communications Commission may appeal the ruling by a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday that struck down the agency's so-called net neutrality rules, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler . . .

The FCC's 2011 open Internet rules require Internet providers to treat all Web traffic equally and give consumers equal access to all lawful content but were challenged by Verizon Communications as excessive.

The FCC did not have the legal authority to enact the regulations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in its ruling.

"Even though the commission has general authority to regulate in this arena, it may not impose requirements that contravene express statutory mandates,'' Judge David Tatel said . . .

The eventual outcome of the dispute may determine whether Internet providers can restrict some content by, for instance, blocking or slowing down access to particular sites or charging websites to deliver their content faster.

If you do a little digging into the dispute, what it boils down to is ISP's want, and can now, charge streaming sites like Netflix extra for all the bandwidth they suck up with their streaming. I don't profess to understand it because I would have thought that heavy commercial use sites like Netflix already pay a lot for their Internet pipe. But anyway, this would probably mean higher subscriber rates as the costs are passed along. Click the CNBC link above and watch the video.

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post #2 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 12:43 PM
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Great!!!! I hope this doesn't turn into the who cell phone pricing structure in the long run.


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post #3 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 01:33 PM
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I would also not pretend to be privy to and certainly not understand all the dynamics at play here, but I would assert that- nearly universally within the vast majority of markets- if there is a finite amount of "x" an entity using more (or less) of it will necessarily see a fluctuation in the price it will pay ...the "flat rates" of early electronic commerce so to speak have all but vanquished as far as I can tell and especially so in the last decade or so.

If you can accept that premise (or at least allow it to be plausible), it's easy to see why this is and will be an ongoing issue, and why, in my estimation, this will NOT be the final word on the matter.

thanks for the link, YMMV.

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post #4 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Great!!!! I hope this doesn't turn into the who cell phone pricing structure in the long run.
I have long been of the opinion that it is only a matter of time before Internet access in the US is treated like a utility and sold with the utility pricing model of gas and electric and water -- you'll pay a "delivery fee" to cover the pipes/wires going to your house and you'll pay a unit charge for the bandwidth you consume. Everybody would pay for exactly what they use and tiered speeds would be eliminated so everybody could get the maximum speed possible to facilitate their bandwidth consumption. In addition to those Kill-A-Watt meters that seem to be popular around here to help manage electricity usage, we'll probably have Kill-A-Byte meters to help manage bandwidth consumption. rolleyes.gif

I am also of the opinion that such a model would only put us, as a country, further behind the rest of the developed world.

Buried in the link I provided above is a link to another recent article about ATT's new pricing model for mobile phones that enables a website to cover the customer’s costs for accessing that company’s content. This will help steer business to large company sites and knock out the little guys who would no longer be able to compete. Although it is not mentioned in that article, there was another article that reported the major driver recently for cell phone data usage is not video streaming but Internet music streaming -- the average data usage has climbed to 6GB/month which is not cheap for wireless. Subscription music sites could cover the data costs for their subscribers and gain more business. There's a lot of clever people out there trying to figure out how to get more of your money in a saturated market place.

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post #5 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 03:14 PM
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If by clever you mean greedy, conniving, rich, bastards...then yes, plenty of them! Bandwidth is NOT a commodity. Once the physical lines and hardware to switch/route is in place, the only ongoing costs to make the bandwidth available are that required to maintain said hardware and lines. This is *not* the same as electric/gas companies which need to generate/deliver an actual PRODUCT! Bytes are not a product! Capitalist greed and marketing prowess, however, will likely combine to convince our continually-declining-in-intelligence populace that "if you want your Youtube, then you'll need to pay per byte delivered!" And, well, we want, NO WE NEED, our Youtube!

Anyway, /rant

edit: and by maintain -- one can presume I mean to power the equipment, replace and service, etc. All costs that can be covered by delivery fees without the need to introduce bandwidth into the picture.
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post #6 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 03:31 PM
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This will be resolved to the satisfaction of the consumer, Net Neutrality is not dead yet. A good bit of the issue is that during the Bush administration the FCC reclassified the internet as being less important than dial tone, and in doing so lessened their influence. This was a huge blunder, but I have to think that it was a political decision - we must remember that this lobby in Washington is a big one, and many Republicans have sided with the carriers.

While it's not exactly sufficient for a church sermon, this article pretty much sums it up, and my view.

THE WRONG WORDS: HOW THE FCC LOST NET NEUTRALITY AND COULD KILL THE INTERNET

Honestly, I don't think it will get too bad before it gets better. This costs money, and I'm sure that service providers realize that this victory may well be temporary.

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post #7 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

If by clever you mean greedy, conniving, rich, bastards...then yes, plenty of them! Bandwidth is NOT a commodity. Once the physical lines and hardware to switch/route is in place, the only ongoing costs to make the bandwidth available are that required to maintain said hardware and lines. This is *not* the same as electric/gas companies which need to generate/deliver an actual PRODUCT! Bytes are not a product! Capitalist greed and marketing prowess, however, will likely combine to convince our continually-declining-in-intelligence populace that "if you want your Youtube, then you'll need to pay per byte delivered!" And, well, we want, NO WE NEED, our Youtube!

Anyway, /rant

edit: and by maintain -- one can presume I mean to power the equipment, replace and service, etc. All costs that can be covered by delivery fees without the need to introduce bandwidth into the picture.

Well, while I am a huge proponent of the open internet, this is not true. As subscriber growth and new content reaches the internet it's a major expense for carriers to upgrade equipment in order to keep up, and the upgrade cycle is constant - it never ends. Not only hardware costs, but it takes a lot of people and planning to replace one box, and the major carriers have hundreds of them.

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post #8 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 04:06 PM
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Well, while I am a huge proponent of the open internet, this is not true. As subscriber growth and new content reaches the internet it's a major expense for carriers to upgrade equipment in order to keep up, and the upgrade cycle is constant - it never ends. Not only hardware costs, but it takes a lot of people and planning to replace one box, and the major carriers have hundreds of them.
Did I have to specify that maintaining also means upgrading? If three more housing developments are added to my area, does my electric costs go up because those developments are going to need more power? Maybe I'm taking a myopic view, but I just cannot justify ever needing to charge by the byte, EVER! Does your home network cost you more if you transfer 10 GB a day versus 5? Let's not get into "green" switching technology and stuff please, I'm fully aware, and IMO it's not relevant -- bigger corps will be closer to full throttle more often, the tech is probably vastly less useful in those domains. The only time your home network costs you more is if you find out that 100 MB is insufficient and you need to upgrade to GB. Ok, one time cost -- upgraded, and done. Should that cost have been subsidized by per byte ongoing charges? Not in my opinion....
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-16-2014, 09:02 PM
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I haven't been able to stream netflix with any success since this decision came down. I'm sure it's just a coincidence....
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 12:30 PM
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If these carriers would have thought about long term future planning and investment we would all have GB fiber networks at least. Instead of paying tons more band aid fixing this old POS "network" we got.
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by speavler View Post

I haven't been able to stream netflix with any success since this decision came down. I'm sure it's just a coincidence....
I can only imagine how much slower my DirecTV VOD downloads are going to be. They are already bandwidth limited, but I can't prove whether it's on Comcast's or DirecTV's end. I have my guess, and it forces me to believe it's only going to get worse.
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post #12 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 12:50 PM
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What they should do is offer discounts to those who don't use anywhere near what we streaming video people use and just keep our rates the (or less since they make a bundle off us anyway). As I've always said the wrong people run the telecoms and if you've ever rubbed elbows with them you would know what I'm talking about.
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 01:11 PM
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proof is the hard part. I have 56 MBS download speeds, but can't even stream netflix at all now.
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post #14 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I think Netflix will be the primary target here. If it is true that 1/3 of US evening broadband traffic is due to Netflix streaming then Netflix presents itself as a huge Godzilla of a target they could easily go after with the promise of a huge payback. They will probably look to put a surcharge on Netflix (or limit their bandwidth) rather than go after their customers directly by raising broadband rates. If the surcharge is large enough, Netflix will pass it along to customers by raising the monthly rate for streaming. That would be the most fair.

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post #15 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

I can only imagine how much slower my DirecTV VOD downloads are going to be. They are already bandwidth limited, but I can't prove whether it's on Comcast's or DirecTV's end. I have my guess, and it forces me to believe it's only going to get worse.

(as I posted in the Netflix Streaming thread) Comcast is still bound by the conditions to get approval for its NBCUniversal purchase ' Comcast agreed not to interfere with subscribers’ Web traffic regardless of legal challenges to the open-Internet, or net-neutrality,'

Some more detail here http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/01/18/comcast-nbc-merger-read-the-fcc-approval-letter/

'Among other things, the Commission requires that Comcast and/or Comcast-NBCU:

Does not disadvantage rival online video distribution through its broadband Internet access services and/or set-top boxes.'

If anyone could actually show that Comcast was deliberately interfering with traffic from other video service providers they would be in a world of legal hurt.

Of course none of this may apply to other ISPs after the recent court ruling - but Comcast for one is still bound by their agreement with the FCC
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post #16 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by speavler View Post

proof is the hard part. I have 56 MBS download speeds, but can't even stream netflix at all now.
So, hit your provider where it hurts. Tell them if you can't stream Netflix, then you'll cancel and go with someone else or downgrade to the slower service. At the very least, let them know you're unhappy.
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I think Netflix will be the primary target here. If it is true that 1/3 of US evening broadband traffic is due to Netflix streaming then Netflix presents itself as a huge Godzilla of a target they could easily go after with the promise of a huge payback. They will probably look to put a surcharge on Netflix (or limit their bandwidth) rather than go after their customers directly by raising broadband rates. If the surcharge is large enough, Netflix will pass it along to customers by raising the monthly rate for streaming. That would be the most fair.
Which is crazy that the providers can surcharge Netflix.... And, the providers come out smelling like a rose, "hey, we're not increasing your rates." So...certainly they'll love that. This whole thing is an absolute mess...it's like corporate socialism + greed + insanity, lol.
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post #17 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 02:06 PM
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(as I posted in the Netflix Streaming thread) Comcast is still bound by the conditions to get approval for its NBCUniversal purchase ' Comcast agreed not to interfere with subscribers’ Web traffic regardless of legal challenges to the open-Internet, or net-neutrality,'

Some more detail here http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/01/18/comcast-nbc-merger-read-the-fcc-approval-letter/

'Among other things, the Commission requires that Comcast and/or Comcast-NBCU:

Does not disadvantage rival online video distribution through its broadband Internet access services and/or set-top boxes.'

If anyone could actually show that Comcast was deliberately interfering with traffic from other video service providers they would be in a world of legal hurt.

Of course none of this may apply to other ISPs after the recent court ruling - but Comcast for one is still bound by their agreement with the FCC
Don't know how I could go about proving anything. I call and say, "my VOD streaming for DirecTV is very slow, and it takes nearly an hour to buffer enough that I watch the film to its entirely without interruptions" they say, "it's DirecTV". I say, that's probably bull$hit, I pay you for high bandwidth, I expect it! They say, "sorry sir, nothing we can do."

I've since dropped my services back to the slower speed bundles because I couldn't care less how fast normal downloads go, they are fast enough, and typical web browsing is good...so.... But, it's a joke.

I suppose without hacking in and seeing how the QOS settings are configured (which I'm not exactly equipped to do), there's really no way to prove it. And DirecTV doesn't care enough to help.... I've called them and let them know, too. So, I suppose it'd be on DirecTV to see a pattern emerging where Comcast people are saying the VOD service is slow and then getting to the bottom of it.

My sister has the same problem with Dish and Comcast.... I'd really bet that Comcast is limiting VOD download limits. I can tell you my overall bandwidth is certainly not saturated, because I can be downloading multiple VOD files on multiple boxes and downloading other things and experience no loss of speed, so each runs up to its cap. But, the cap on the VOD isn't high enough that I can real-time stream it, and I'm quite sure Comcast likes it that way, because it annoys me, and is a selling point to leave DirecTV for Comcast's TV services, where VOD will certainly stream supremely, lol.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

Don't know how I could go about proving anything. I call and say, "my VOD streaming for DirecTV is very slow, and it takes nearly an hour to buffer enough that I watch the film to its entirely without interruptions" they say, "it's DirecTV". I say, that's probably bull$hit, I pay you for high bandwidth, I expect it! They say, "sorry sir, nothing we can do."

You know I don't even try downloading DirecTV VOD as it is sooo slow - but I was suspecting my 6+ year HD DVRs rather than any Network issue.

I think most people are bothered by possible effects on Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon, YouTube etc.

These all contine to work well for me for now on 16 Mbps Comcast connection.
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post #19 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 03:06 PM
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You know I don't even try downloading DirecTV VOD as it is sooo slow - but I was suspecting my 6+ year HD DVRs rather than any Network issue.

I think most people are bothered by possible effects on Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon, YouTube etc.

These all contine to work well for me for now on 16 Mbps Comcast connection.
Yeah, my boxes are newer, still slow. But, like I said, it's hard to prove whose fault it is that the download rate is so slow. I do know, when I had Netflix, it did not suffer the same issue. So, it certainly could be in DirecTV's court.
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 03:24 PM
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We were thinking about Getting Netflix, is this a daily issue? I don't want to pay for something that's just going to look worse than cable on a bad day.

I remember when products were built to last.
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post #21 of 33 Old 01-17-2014, 03:57 PM
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We were thinking about Getting Netflix, is this a daily issue? I don't want to pay for something that's just going to look worse than cable on a bad day.

Your millage may vary.

Lots of complaints here from people seeing issues with Netflix - however many others (myself included) have no issues.

Netflix subsrcriber levels continue to grow rapidly (now ~ 30M in the US) so (presumably) a large portion of this is happy with their service. Super HD for me is at least as good as DirecTV - perhaps a litttle better. Not Blu-Ray or Vudu HDX - but not bad.

Try a 30 day free tial and see what it is like in your location.
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post #22 of 33 Old 01-18-2014, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

Which is crazy that the providers can surcharge Netflix.... And, the providers come out smelling like a rose, "hey, we're not increasing your rates." So...certainly they'll love that. This whole thing is an absolute mess...it's like corporate socialism + greed + insanity, lol.
As I said, it is all very confusing to me. I'm sure Netflix already pays a premium for their high bandwidth pipes. I guess if you are a smaller ISP serving a smaller community and not getting any revenue from Netflix, you could have a beef if 1/3rd of your bandwidth is being chewed up by your subscribers streaming Netflix. So, I guess under the court decision, you could either throttle the speed down for access to Netflix, charge your subscribers a surcharge for Netflix or charge Netflix a surcharge.

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post #23 of 33 Old 01-18-2014, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by undecided View Post

Your millage may vary.

Lots of complaints here from people seeing issues with Netflix - however many others (myself included) have no issues.

Netflix subsrcriber levels continue to grow rapidly (now ~ 30M in the US) so (presumably) a large portion of this is happy with their service. Super HD for me is at least as good as DirecTV - perhaps a litttle better. Not Blu-Ray or Vudu HDX - but not bad.

Try a 30 day free tial and see what it is like in your location.
Ok gotcha. We most likely will be running Twc internet, not sure what speed yet. I'll ask them if they are getting any complaints and make sure we can cancel if it doesn't work right. Thanks

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post #24 of 33 Old 01-18-2014, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Well, while I am a huge proponent of the open internet, this is not true. As subscriber growth and new content reaches the internet it's a major expense for carriers to upgrade equipment in order to keep up, and the upgrade cycle is constant - it never ends. Not only hardware costs, but it takes a lot of people and planning to replace one box, and the major carriers have hundreds of them.

Have you seen the profits of verizon, comast, time warner e.t.c.? Especially their internet division? How can ISPs in other countries afford the "major expense" of upgrading yet provide a better/faster service for less money than Verizon/Comcast/Time Warner e.t.c? When will people stop feeding on the BS of these corps?

USA has gotten to be too greedy of a country. Very sad. You are providing a service to customers, yet customer service isn't the priority (thanks govt for virtual monopolies). Well done "free market".... rolleyes.gif
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-19-2014, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post

So, hit your provider where it hurts. Tell them if you can't stream Netflix, then you'll cancel and go with someone else or downgrade to the slower service. At the very least, let them know you're unhappy.

The options for many are severly limited as far as ISP choices are concerned.
I have either AT&T or Comacast. No other cable providers are avaliable in my area. No WOW, nothing.
I have been pretty happy with AT&T for the 5-6 years I have had them after switching from Comcast, but I would like to have faster speeds with the teleco, and I can only get that if I subscribe to their UVERSE tv service, which I will NEVER do for various reasons.

Thank you free market!
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post #26 of 33 Old 01-21-2014, 08:33 AM
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As I said, it is all very confusing to me. I'm sure Netflix already pays a premium for their high bandwidth pipes. I guess if you are a smaller ISP serving a smaller community and not getting any revenue from Netflix, you could have a beef if 1/3rd of your bandwidth is being chewed up by your subscribers streaming Netflix. So, I guess under the court decision, you could either throttle the speed down for access to Netflix, charge your subscribers a surcharge for Netflix or charge Netflix a surcharge.
Of course, here's the problem with each of those solutions:

1) throttle the speed down for access to Netflix -- annoy your customers using Netflix, they leave, you lose revenue because of a lowered customer base.
2) charge your subscribers a surcharge for Netflix -- price of your service may become non competitive with the "big boys", which then leads to the same problem as above.
3) charge Netflix a surcharge -- this is corporate socialism, and Netflix isn't going to be a fan. They'll certainly pass those charges on to all their customers, though, and if you open those floodgates then Netflix will probably end up failing, too.

I don't know what the real solution is, and it's probably part of the reason smaller ISPs don't exist any more. At the end of the day, though, Netflix already pays for their bandwidth and hosting (or leased lines, or whatever they have to facilitate their bandwidth needs).
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Have you seen the profits of verizon, comast, time warner e.t.c.? Especially their internet division? How can ISPs in other countries afford the "major expense" of upgrading yet provide a better/faster service for less money than Verizon/Comcast/Time Warner e.t.c? When will people stop feeding on the BS of these corps?

USA has gotten to be too greedy of a country. Very sad. You are providing a service to customers, yet customer service isn't the priority (thanks govt for virtual monopolies). Well done "free market".... rolleyes.gif
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The options for many are severly limited as far as ISP choices are concerned.
I have either AT&T or Comacast. No other cable providers are avaliable in my area. No WOW, nothing.
I have been pretty happy with AT&T for the 5-6 years I have had them after switching from Comcast, but I would like to have faster speeds with the teleco, and I can only get that if I subscribe to their UVERSE tv service, which I will NEVER do for various reasons.

Thank you free market!
ditto, but...see above, it's getting harder for alternate choices to exist. Don't know what the solution there is.... I wonder, though, do other country's governments help subsidize the network like they do rail/roads? I mean, I'm not a big fan of big government, but...if it's "the people's network" then it goes a long way towards getting "the people" what they want through it instead of "the corporations...." Of course, well all know the people mean squat in the U.S. anymore, this country has favored corporations for quite a while.
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post #27 of 33 Old 01-21-2014, 09:14 AM
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Have you seen the profits of verizon, comast, time warner e.t.c.? Especially their internet division? How can ISPs in other countries afford the "major expense" of upgrading yet provide a better/faster service for less money than Verizon/Comcast/Time Warner e.t.c? When will people stop feeding on the BS of these corps?

USA has gotten to be too greedy of a country. Very sad. You are providing a service to customers, yet customer service isn't the priority (thanks govt for virtual monopolies). Well done "free market".... rolleyes.gif

I'm not arguing business model and the need for profits, I am merely correcting the notion that infrastructure and operations for major ISPs is static. It's a big expense keeping up with new services and subscribers. Myself and my company sell services and hardware to these people, and we are at the forefront of the battle for Net Neutrality. Try to keep an open viewpoint.

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post #28 of 33 Old 01-21-2014, 09:46 AM
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I'm not arguing business model and the need for profits, I am merely correcting the notion that infrastructure and operations for major ISPs is static. It's a big expense keeping up with new services and subscribers. Myself and my company sell services and hardware to these people, and we are at the forefront of the battle for Net Neutrality. Try to keep an open viewpoint.

You are setting up a strawman. Nobody is saying that infrastructure is static and we all know it is an expense. However, given the profitability of US ISPs, and given that other global companies can make these investments and still be profitable means that our ISPs CAN HANDLE THE EXPENSE. That's the point you are missing. They can do it, but choose not to.

Maybe you should try to keep an open viewpoint.
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post #29 of 33 Old 01-21-2014, 09:49 AM
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I'm fully aware, and IMO it's not relevant -- bigger corps will be closer to full throttle more often, the tech is probably vastly less useful in those domains. The only time your home network costs you more is if you find out that 100 MB is insufficient and you need to upgrade to GB. Ok, one time cost -- upgraded, and done. Should that cost have been subsidized by per byte ongoing charges? Not in my opinion....

If infrastructure upgrade is not relevant to you, then you don't deserve a decent ISP. It is NOT a one time cost, not by a long shot. Study the business model and come back, you will understand why constant growth is necessary (it's the crux of the whole issue).

No, the cost should not be subsidized at the byte level, I've made my point known in support of Net Neutrality. We share that opinion.

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post #30 of 33 Old 01-21-2014, 09:57 AM
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You are setting up a strawman. Nobody is saying that infrastructure is static and we all know it is an expense. However, given the profitability of US ISPs, and given that other global companies can make these investments and still be profitable means that our ISPs CAN HANDLE THE EXPENSE. That's the point you are missing. They can do it, but choose not to.

Maybe you should try to keep an open viewpoint.

You're missing the big picture though. Sure, they can handle the expense, but for how long? As publicly traded companies they have an obligation to their business plan and shareholders. Halt growth, see how quickly that profitability tumbles, and along with it investors.

Again, I'm not arguing against Net Neutrality, but it's much bigger than your ability to watch Netflix in your basement.

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