Net Neutrality

dilemmaToday, the FCC voted along party lines to end Net Neutrality, scrapping regulations meant to keep the Internet fair and open to all. This decision re-categorizes the Internet as an information service instead of a utility. The FCC’s decision was not a surprise, despite widespread opposition from consumers.--Tracy Mitrano

I don’t understand the internet. I know I pay Time Warner Cable for internet service. I suppose their revenue pays for maintaining local cable connections, for computer equipment, and for access to the internet backbone of tier 1 carriers like ATT and Verizon. Whether internet communications are profitable for tier 1 carriers or not, I have no idea.

The basic idea of net neutrality is equal service for all internet users. I don’t know if the net neutrality regulation affected business practices, or whether the repeal of these regulations will spark change. Some fear that providers will sell premium service to some to the detriment of others.

In The Atlantic, Ian Bogost writes:

In truth, nobody yet knows how the net-neutrality rollback will affect anyone—consumers, telcos, big tech, or start-ups. Internet zealots warn of widespread blocking and throttling, not to mention pay-for-play fast lanes that might benefit big companies like Netflix and Google and prevent upstarts from enjoying innovation and growth. ISPs, aware of how hot the issue is, will likely take no immediate action.

There is much more to digest in this article.

Leonid Bershidsky, writing in Bloomberg, notes:

 If current market participants get too greedy and start doing things that displease customers, they will create an opportunity for new entrants who won’t do that. I doubt the repeal of the 2015 rules will boost the number of internet providers in middle America — but it’s possible that the threat of disruption will stop existing ISPs from worsening their current offerings.

My conclusion is that the question of net neutrality is complicated, that public vigilance is vital in protecting the public interest, and that the matter is too important to be determined by industry lobbyists.

The article on Estonia explains what might be a better way forward.


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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10 Responses to Net Neutrality

  1. Rynstone says:

    After Al Gore invented the internet it has done just fine growing and improving on it’s own without government interference or bureaucracy up until 2015 when big government decided to get involved.
    We had great leaps in new and advanced technology and a big reduction in costs and competition when MA Bell was finally broken up offering consumers choices.


  2. pystew says:

    That was then, this is now.

    The FCC’s Orwellian double-speak told me the the Internet Service Providers monopoly is “Freedom” and that regulations protecting the consumers is Anti-American. Where’s Republican Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?


  3. whungerford says:

    “Reed was also questioned about the repealing of “Net Neutrality” by the Federal Communication Commission this week. He said the former law that regulated the internet was outdated. Reed also said he doesn’t view the internet as a utility and rather something else entirely.”

    Is the “something else” a cash cow?


  4. whungerford says:

    Marten Kaevats, Estonia’s national digital adviser, made a few interesting remarks about the United States:

    • A technical mess.
    • Data architecture too centralized.
    • Citizens don’t control their own data; it is sold, instead, by brokers.
    • Basic security lax. “I can tell you my I.D. number. You have a Social Security number, which is, like, a big secret. This does not work!”
    • The U.S. has backward notions of protection, and as a result a systemic loss of community and trust.

    Estonia has on-line voting, which seems like a very good thing. Why must we drive to the poll and stand in line?


  5. Rynstone says:

    I do not want to have another big Government bureaucracy controlling the internet. It has done fine in the free market all by itself. I am all for letting the free market control it and seeing what happens.

    As for voting: we must prevent voter fraud. Traveling to the polls and presenting a valid government ID to vote is the least we can do. For those who cannot attend to vote there is the Absentee ballot process and you can also travel to the County BOE office to vote a week or so before the election to vote.


  6. Joseph Urban says:

    I guess some people don’t know that the taxpayers funded the creation of the internet. created with tax dollars and now turned over to the private interests. They call is a “free market” AFTER the taxpayer has spent billions developing the initial system. They seem to think that infrastructure is somehow “free”.
    Also, some folks don’t understand that paying a fee to vote is a “poll tax” and is not Constitutional. Only if a state gives easy access and free photo IDs would there be a fair voting system. Even states (like Kansas) which claim to give “free” birth certificates demand that people pay a fee just to “apply” for a certificate. Only by suppressing the vote can the conservatives win elections.


  7. Rynstone says:

    Joseph, can you tell me the names of any individuals who are US citizens who were not allowed to vote because they do not have a photo ID ?
    A Government approved photo ID is necessary to keep illegal immigrants from voting and also to prevent voter fraud. Using today’s campaign software it is incredibly easy to commit voter fraud by voting many times in one election.
    In this day and age it is hard to believe that there are people without a Government ID. You need this to into any Federal buildings, to fly on an airplane, to purchase alcohol, to purchase cigarettes, to adopt an animal from an animal shelter, to purchase a firearm, to purchase a fishing and /or hunting license, to get public benefits, to attend college, to seek healthcare under the ACA at all hospitals, to open any bank accounts, to apply for a license to drive an automobile or motorcycle, to travel outside the country, to gain access to any military installations, to apply for a job & gain employment, to collect unemployment, to collect Medicaid and Social Security, to drive purchase or rent a car, to get married, rent a hotel room, purchase a cell phone, enter a casino, pick up a prescription, to apply for a loan, apply for a permit to hold a demonstration or protest, give blood, rent or purchase an M rated video game, rent or purchase an R or higher rated movie, purchase certain cold medications at a pharmacy or grocery store and last but not least, to enter the country legally.
    You can’t tell me with a straight face that a photo ID should not be required to vote. The majority of Americans demand Voter ID.


  8. josephurban says:

    We don’t know the names of people who are purged because they are purged. But Margie and Alvin Mueller are two examples.

    But here is an example of how voter suppression worked in Wisconsin, where 300,000 voters were turned away for not having a “valid ID” and where Trump won by 27,000. It worked.

    “Margie and Alvin Mueller of Plymouth, Wisconsin, have been married for 64 years and have lived at the same house and voted at the same location since then. But when the Muellers went to vote early this election, they were told that Margie’s expired driver’s license was not an acceptable form of voter ID. The poll workers told her to go to the DMV in Sheboygan, 25 minutes away, to get a new ID.
    But Margie was in between radiation treatments for cancer and wasn’t up for the trip. Her husband Alvin was so mad, he decided not to vote either, in solidarity with his wife. ….”
    “In the final weeks leading up to the election, voting rights groups discovered that Wisconsin officials at local DMV offices were giving false information to voters attempting to get the proper ID, putting those officials in violation of a federal court order….”

    “In other states, like North Carolina, black turnout plunged because early voting hours were cut by Republicans and the number of polling places reduced….”

    The voter ID “controversy” is simply a voter suppression plan, which worked quite well. It has focused on Dem voters..the poor, blacks and urban populations. While on the surface it seems “reasonable” to require ID, the suppression is in the details. For example most poor people, especially in urban areas do not own cars. No drivers licenses. They cannot afford to take a dayoff work to get one they don’t need. In addition, requiring someone to pay for the right to vote is called a “poll tax”. It has long been a technique to keep the poor from voting.
    Second, in some states, like Kansas, you can get a free birth certificate …At least they say it is free. Until you read the fine print. While the birth certificate is “free” the “application fee”.

    But as you probably know, the more insidious voter suppression takes place by making it difficualt for certain “types” of [people to cast ballots. One example is by not providing adequate polling places. No one should have to wait in line for hours just to vote. Resticting voter registration drives is another way to keep new voters from voting.
    I read about the Florida law that made it a CRIME to register voters and not submit to the Board of Elections in less than 2 days form the start of the drive.
    “The state’s new elections law — which requires groups that register voters to turn in completed forms within 48 hours or risk fines, among other things — has led the state’s League of Women Voters to halt its efforts this year. Rock the Vote, a national organization that encourages young people to vote, began an effort last week to register high school students around the nation — but not in Florida, over fears that teachers could face fines. And on college campuses, the once-ubiquitous folding tables piled high with voter registration forms are now a rarer sight.”

    Contrast this with NY, where the Board of Elections are EAGER toregister new voters. I, myslef, have registered hundreds of students in NY in cooperation with the Board of Elections.

    The bottom line is simple. If the GOP, which controls all three branches of government, wanted people to vote they would produce a FREE, NATIONAL ID that would allow any citizen to vote in the national elections. Why haven’t they done so? Because they don’t believe in the concept of “We, the People…”


  9. josephurban says:



  10. whungerford says:

    “Test” needed approval; it wasn’t flagged as spam.


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