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Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

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Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby spacefem » Sat May 7, 7:08 2011

This week the FCC Chairman made more statements today in defense of Network Neutrality (http://bit.ly/iWOFi9). This is a good thing.

The bad thing is that not everyone understands what net neutrality is, or what it's important. So here's a breakdown:

In the beginning, there were telephone lines. The government told phone companies, "We're not going to make the phone lines public, like highways. You companies can own them, and charge people for phone service, but as long as you own these lines, you have to let them say whatever they want. You can't discriminate against what's going on the lines. Just make sure the content gets from one end of the line to the other, don't dictate anything, be neutral."

Then the Internet came. The neutrality concept lived on.

Service providers started getting kind of upset. They said, "Google is being seen by a bazillion users a day, they're all getting rich! It's such a great site, aren't we doing a good thing by delivering Google? Can't we tell our customers, 'If you want google, you have to sign up for the special bonus search engine package' and 'if you want facebook, you have to subscribe to the social networking tier'? It's not fair that Google makes all the money... change things so we can get rich too?"

Everyone thought that was an awful idea.

So they said, "But at least let us charge people more for video data, those people use lots of bandwidth. And can't we block stuff like Netflix? It's hard to sell cable TV when people are streaming television over our lines."

Most people said, "Data is data. You still can't discriminate."

So they said, "But look how few internet companies there are... it's because our industry isn't that profitable. If we could get rid of net neutrality, we bet there'd be more internet companies, even in small towns that only have one. Besides, what's government doing, messing around in our business models anyway? Good capitalists would just let us do what we want!"

Some people said, "Well maybe you have a point."

And that's why network neutrality is in danger.

It matters to me, spacefem, because I don't want to have to CONVINCE your internet service provider that I'm a site worth delivering. Right now if you request a page on spacefem.com, they have to show it to you. I like that. I don't have to pay your service provider to get my website onto their grand master plan of what the internet should look like. I like that too.

So, support network neutrality! Tell your friends it's cool, tell your government representatives we still need it. It's just a good idea!
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby DruidX » Sat May 7, 7:39 2011

That is probably the best explanation I've heard of net neutrality. Dark tried explaining it to me with tech-speak and most of it went over my head, and until this pint in time I wasn't sure if it was a good or bad thing. Are the telecom companies started pushing for an end to neutrality again then? If so, unfortunately, most of the world's 'net servers are in the US aren't they? What then can I, in the UK all across the ocean, do to influence US government and tell them not to be wankers? (especially as we saw how well that worked with the UK's Digital Economy Bill....)
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby SakuraSong » Sat May 7, 11:54 2011

I know this post was put in as simple as possible terms already, but can anyone explain how, exactly, would network neutrality control data? With so much of it being passed around day to day, how will they (they being the internet providers) determine which is acceptable and which is not? I'm having a hard idea wrapping my head around the concept, but I do agree it's a bad idea. There's no point to communication if the ideas behind it are being manipulated by money making schemes. =\
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby Aum » Sat May 7, 14:57 2011

SakuraSong wrote:I know this post was put in as simple as possible terms already, but can anyone explain how, exactly, would network neutrality control data? With so much of it being passed around day to day, how will they (they being the internet providers) determine which is acceptable and which is not? I'm having a hard idea wrapping my head around the concept, but I do agree it's a bad idea. There's no point to communication if the ideas behind it are being manipulated by money making schemes. =\


It's simple to attach a filter to their network so that certain sites can get visited while others can't. Same goes for data types, like avi vs. mp3, etc.

The simple answer to your question is that: they would have to invade our privacy and see what we are trying to access.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby monk » Sat May 7, 15:33 2011

SakuraSong wrote:I know this post was put in as simple as possible terms already, but can anyone explain how, exactly, would network neutrality control data? With so much of it being passed around day to day, how will they (they being the internet providers) determine which is acceptable and which is not?


You know that you've heard that nothing on the internet is private? It's true if you're in the right spot with the right equipment.

Just like your cell phone when you connect to the internet you do so through a provider,(AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, Verizon, Southwester Bell, Quest, RoadRunner etc. etc.), that provider does basically only one thing, provide you a connection at Xspeed for Xdollars. Even free Wifi at a school or starbucks or whatever is being provided by someone at Xspeed for Xdollars.

Anything you send from your computer or that is sent to your computer could be identified and intercepted by your provider if they had the need or will. That especially includes the discrimination of video vs. text which is really easy to filter.

What would give them the will would be for example if Network Neutrality was trashed.
Example.
You have AT&T providing your telephone and internet, with that internet connection you can also get netflix, hulu and many many TV shows. Because of this many people I know have canceled their cable because they dont' really watch TV anymore. If net neutrality was gone, AT&T could charge you extra for visiting those sites enough to make you have to hook up cable tv again.

The big media companies really want to basically squeeze more money out of the internet through the customers (US)nose directly instead of finding something we like enough to voluntarily give it to them.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby helium » Sun May 8, 11:57 2011

Slovakia just "erected a paywall" that makes users have to pay for access to nine media sites:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/c ... 476374.stm

I kind of think of it in terms of porn, only instead of porn companies it's the internet providers charging you, and instead of naked women doing things with horses it's a news site, or a social networking site, or Spacefem that they're charging you to see.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby Sonic# » Sun May 8, 19:23 2011

I've long been for net neutrality. If we're going to hold it as a truth (or at least a pretended truth) that people will have equal access to information without privileging some forms of information over others, then it ought to stand. Otherwise, you have a system that is even more prone to monitoring and censorship than it already is. (Yes, I know that it already is, but it's the difference between making such activities possible and making them compulsory.)

The other issue is that when a different economic model is applied to a system, some people win and some people lose. I don't think that most people will benefit from eliminating net neutrality.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby kelsa » Mon May 9, 1:58 2011

Could websites eventually be completely blocked without net neutrality? Like wikileaks, could internet providers decide they just don't want to allow people to access wikileaks and just plain out block it? I'm seeing a lot of potential danger here, if three or four big providers decide not to allow site X, it could pretty much effectively be blocked for tons and tons of people.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby edit the sad parts » Mon May 9, 8:59 2011

kelsa wrote:Could websites eventually be completely blocked without net neutrality? Like wikileaks, could internet providers decide they just don't want to allow people to access wikileaks and just plain out block it? I'm seeing a lot of potential danger here, if three or four big providers decide not to allow site X, it could pretty much effectively be blocked for tons and tons of people.


In a situation like this I would really like to think that politically motivated hackers would fight back on behalf of the people. When Mastercard stopped allowing donations to wikileaks through them, Anonymous got pissed and struck back.

It sickens me how much profit factors into everything. Netflix Canada is currently going through a kind of related battle, against the major broadcasting companies in Canada(who also all happen to be telecom giants as well - Rogers, Bell, Telus, Shaw). They are trying to argue with the CRTC that Netflix is acting unfairly as it does not have to adhere to the standards that all broadcasters do in Canada(producing Canadian content, making sure a certain percentage of content will always be Canadian, and maintaining all kinds of expensive licenses with the CRTC). So they want it to have to register as a broadcaster and act accordingly(putting it out of business in Canada, basically), even though it is an INTERNET SERVICE and the CRTC will not interfere with any internet service, as they have deemed it will not profit the consumer. These companies have called for a review on this policy, which the CRTC is currently doing. They are basically crying to mommy that someone has come up with a much better service than they have ever offered, and will ever offer(not enough profit in a flat rate service), and they're losing money because of it. They also are trying to petition the CRTC to charge much more for "large" bandwidth consumers(ie. individuals who stream content with services like netflix). This idea is also currently under review.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby Aum » Sun May 15, 15:10 2011

^ In a nutshell, the Canadian telecoms think they have a right to profit without having to innovate or compete with newcomers. I hate how corporations now use government to enforce their bottom line, when business USED to be about supply and demand vs. competition.

These same crooks will argue for free market principles when anyone tries to regulate THEM, but as soon as a competitor threatens their profit margins they think it's okay to lobby government to destroy an up and coming business sector.

It sickens me greatly the state of the economy. Corporatism will be the death of us all, and the death of all innovation.
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Re: Network Neutrality in a Nutshell

Postby metawidget » Mon May 16, 9:03 2011

DruidX wrote:That is probably the best explanation I've heard of net neutrality. Dark tried explaining it to me with tech-speak and most of it went over my head, and until this pint in time I wasn't sure if it was a good or bad thing. Are the telecom companies started pushing for an end to neutrality again then? If so, unfortunately, most of the world's 'net servers are in the US aren't they? What then can I, in the UK all across the ocean, do to influence US government and tell them not to be wankers? (especially as we saw how well that worked with the UK's Digital Economy Bill....)

It's sort of true that a lot of the Internet is run in some way in the US, but for Net neutrality, it is really important that the company providing the last mile — generally a local or at least domestic one — not be wankers as well. In Canada, we're sorting out what sort of traffic shaping and bandwidth capping can go on at that last-mile stretch: we have providers leasing cable from phone and cable companies (and our biggest phone company owns a lot of TV properties), and strangely the owners of the wires (and TV stations and services) would like to strangle high-bandwidth video (including legitimate, royalty-paying services like Netflix) by charging for bandwidth over certain low caps and being allowed to prioritize certain sorts of traffic (i.e. non-video traffic and their video traffic) over others (i.e. their competitors' ). It's worthwhile to get worked up over Net neutrality in places other than the US because so much can happen at the consumer ISP level, and because consumer ISPs are often owned by folks for whom efficient, flexible Internet connectivity isn't actually priority #1.
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