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Can somebody please explain "net neutrality" to me?

kaya'08

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Wikipedia said:
Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.[1][2][3]

Meaning? What sort of content, why would it be restricted, what sort of equipment and platforms?
As in, one internet subscription may not allow for 3D gaming or internet on the PS3 while another might? :confused:

The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.

huh? Im stumped, somebody explain.
 

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Well you see, the internet is like a series of tubes...
 

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Meaning? What sort of content, why would it be restricted, what sort of equipment and platforms?
As in, one internet subscription may not allow for 3D gaming or internet on the PS3 while another might? :confused:

huh? Im stumped, somebody explain.

Here's the issue as I understand it. I admit, however, that I know nothing but the technical subtleties of the issue, and that I know nothing regarding the technical aspects of computers or the internet. So if I misspeak somewhere, I would appreciate it if someone more knowledgeable in that arena correct my statement.

The amount of data an internet user can use from his internet service provided is currently pretty unregulated by laws. What this means is that ISPs can determine any rules concerning access to the internet that they provide. This is a concern to some advocates because there are no protections for ISP customers.

What this means is that ISP could pursue (arguably) unethical business practices. One such example is throttling internet access based on how much a customer pays for it. For instance, a customer could pay for the cheapest plan but will have slow internet speed, or pay for a more expensive plan which will provide faster internet speed, but only the most expensive plans will allow the fastest internet speeds for their customers.

This is why online gaming will be affected. If such a practice is allowed, then either 1) game designers will have to take such tiered speeds into account when creating video games so as to allow more people to play them or 2) the poor will be cut out from playing the newest video games if they cannot afford to get the level of internet speed to play those games. This is why the video game industry will be affected.

Another (and much more serious) aspect of net neutrality is corporate censorship of sites done by ISPs.

By corporate censorship I mean that ISPs could charge websites for how fast they will allow people to access their site. This could cause competition between websites and ISPs.

For instance, Burger King could strike a deal with Comcast so that Comcast will slow the speed at which webistes affiliated with McDonald’s load for browsers in order to give Burger King an edge unless McDonald’s pay Comcast not to do so.

This will affect non-corporate, independent, and personal websites who wouldn’t be able to afford such a service.

That, as I understand it, are the fears of net neutrality advocates.
 

tacomancer

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Basically the debate boils down to whether certain transmissions over the internet get a priority over another.

Both sides claim to be on the side of the free market.

The pro net neutrality side wants the net to be free of prioritizing so that all comers have an equal chance to market their services (this is the side I am on).
The anti net neutrality side wants the ISPs to be free of these sorts of restrictions because they think that this sort of regulation interferes with the free market.

There are some subissues involved as well, such as peering agreements, the role of packet prioritization/filtering, the common carrier status, and some other stuff.
 

kaya'08

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Basically the debate boils down to whether certain transmissions over the internet get a priority over another.

Both sides claim to be on the side of the free market.

The pro net neutrality side wants the net to be free of prioritizing so that all comers have an equal chance to market their services (this is the side I am on).
The anti net neutrality side wants the ISPs to be free of these sorts of restrictions because they think that this sort of regulation interferes with the free market.

There are some subissues involved as well, such as peering agreements, the role of packet prioritization/filtering, the common carrier status, and some other stuff.

It sounds very anti-competitive to me. Unfettered access to information is a human right, and it is violated when corporations misuse there authority to deny us access to certain information on the internet. It is a form of corporate/ISP sponsered propaganda, to block sites or deliberately sabotage material by placing nerve rackingly low speeds for that paticular source. And whats to say they will keep it specific to other company websites? Maybe it will place speed restrictions on a website it does not like because it spreads information that criticises them, like Wikipedia or so on, or maybe news outlets for whatever political reason. If this law ever see's the light of day the ISP's will be on par with the federal government/central government and then capitalism, and the worlds most important technological feat, will have failed us.
 

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It sounds very anti-competitive to me. Unfettered access to information is a human right, and it is violated when corporations misuse there authority to deny us access to certain information on the internet. It is a form of corporate/ISP sponsered propaganda, to block sites or deliberately sabotage material by placing nerve rackingly low speeds for that paticular source. And whats to say they will keep it specific to other company websites? Maybe it will place speed restrictions on a website it does not like because it spreads information that criticises them, like Wikipedia or so on, or maybe news outlets for whatever political reason. If this law ever see's the light of day the ISP's will be on par with the federal government/central government and then capitalism, and the worlds most important technological feat, will have failed us.

I pretty much agree. It basically creates a ministry of media in the private sector and does not good for our society.
 

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It sounds very anti-competitive to me. Unfettered access to information is a human right, and it is violated when corporations misuse there authority to deny us access to certain information on the internet. It is a form of corporate/ISP sponsered propaganda, to block sites or deliberately sabotage material by placing nerve rackingly low speeds for that paticular source. And whats to say they will keep it specific to other company websites? Maybe it will place speed restrictions on a website it does not like because it spreads information that criticises them, like Wikipedia or so on, or maybe news outlets for whatever political reason. If this law ever see's the light of day the ISP's will be on par with the federal government/central government and then capitalism, and the worlds most important technological feat, will have failed us.

It is heavily anti competitive because most ISP's have a monopoly and they are subsidized by the feds.
 

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It sounds very anti-competitive to me. Unfettered access to information is a human right, and it is violated when corporations misuse there authority to deny us access to certain information on the internet. It is a form of corporate/ISP sponsered propaganda, to block sites or deliberately sabotage material by placing nerve rackingly low speeds for that paticular source.

In the US, there is no filtering of free and legal "information" being done by ISP's, so using a censorship argument in support of net neutrality laws is a false argument. The only filtering they do, is in the area of email spam, harmful content (viruses) and DOS (denial of service) attacks that crash internet servers.

Some cable ISP's do however, limit the bandwidth (aka slow down transfer speeds) on certain applications, like P2P/FTP programs (music and video sharing) and some high bandwidth online game servers. The reason they do that is "quality of service" concerns, since internet speeds for their customers are based on the internet usage in their particular neighborhood or area. If they didn't limit the bandwidth used by those programs, it could screw the majority of their customers out of the high speed internet they paid for. DSL, dial up and satellite ISP's don't have to do this, because their customers don't have to share bandwidth.



And whats to say they will keep it specific to other company websites? Maybe it will place speed restrictions on a website it does not like because it spreads information that criticizes them, like Wikipedia or so on, or maybe news outlets for whatever political reason.

Why would you want the government to get involved and pass laws to fix a problem that doesn't exist? If the day ever comes that it becomes common practice for ISP's to block legal websites based solely on their content, then you would have an argument.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


If this law ever see's the light of day the ISP's will be on par with the federal government/central government and then capitalism, and the worlds most important technological feat, will have failed us.

I don't follow you here? You seemed to be in support of net neutrality laws throughout your entire post, until this last sentence.

Anyway, I'm opposed to the government getting involved here and passing net neutrality laws, because there's nothing going on that needs to be regulated thus far. So I guess that means I agree with your last sentence, with one notable exception. You seem to equate "capitalism" with "more government", which I couldn't disagree more with. Capitalism is freedom, and the basis for our economic system... It simply exists. When the government gets involved in private business, especially in this case, they do so to regulate how a company conducts their business. They do not pass laws to enable capitalism, they do so to control or restrict it.
 

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Anyway, I'm opposed to the government getting involved here and passing net neutrality laws, because there's nothing going on that needs to be regulated thus far. So I guess that means I agree with your last sentence, with one notable exception. You seem to equate "capitalism" with "more government", which I couldn't disagree more with. Capitalism is freedom, and the basis for our economic system... It simply exists. When the government gets involved in private business, especially in this case, they do so to regulate how a company conducts their business. They do not pass laws to enable capitalism, they do so to control or restrict it.

The ISP industry is not a free market.

It is a monopoly based industry, that is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
When they can all compete with each other and can pay the entire cost of installing cable, telephone, etc lines, then can they be able to throttle individual site speeds.

This isn't free market by any means.
 

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This is a good video on the subject. It explains it in clear and simple language.

Support net neutrality
 

Grim17

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This is a good video on the subject. It explains it in clear and simple language.

Support net neutrality

Dude, that video is based entirely on supposition, not reality.

What if your isp....
Then they might....
Possibly because....

"What will you do... What will you do?"
Karl Malden, spokesman for American Express

Why would you, or anyone in their right mind, want the government to step in with a bunch of unnecessary rules and regulations, to address a problem that doesn't even exist? If it ain't broke, don't fix it... Like I said before, if such a scenario ever plays out and ISP's do start censoring content, or blocking public websites for financial gain, then the government stepping in might be appropriate.

When you have a choice, less government is always better than more government is.
 
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Hoplite

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Dude, that video is based entirely on supposition, not reality.

What if your isp....
Then they might....
Possibly because....

"What will you do... What will you do?"
Karl Malden, spokesman for American Express

Why would you, or anyone in their right mind, want the government to step in with a bunch of unnecessary rules and regulations, to address a problem that doesn't even exist? If it ain't broke, don't fix it... Like I said before, if such a scenario ever plays out and ISP's do start censoring content, or blocking public websites for financial gain, then the government stepping in might be appropriate.

When you have a choice, less government is always better than more government is.
Network neutrality in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many of those "ifs" are starting to come to pass
 

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I think the point of net neutrality is to preserve what we have today, because today, the internet is pretty net neutral. There are proposals within companies and ideas are floating around to start prioritizing internet traffic and charging for it.

It's like the airline companies, once in the day they used to allow checking up to two baggage for free with your ticket, they gave you drinks and a snack, and even on long flights they sometimes gave you a meal. Slowly and slowly, they started charging for everything piece meal. A similar thing is likely to happen with the internet. They might start charging just to get your traffic into a different country. Right now you don't have to worry where your data traffic goes, its very convenient and its the best for consumers.
 

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Please elaborate... List some of them for me please.
The link contains a large list of proposals that support net neutrality that have been killed in Congress.

Comcast and Time Warner both have been long standing opposition to net neutrality.

Deals are currently being made to essentially divvy up internet traffic
UPDATE: AT&T Pleased With Verizon-Google Net-Traffic Proposal - WSJ.com

Google and other internet giants currently have plans in place for a privatized system
 

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The link contains a large list of proposals that support net neutrality that have been killed in Congress.

Comcast and Time Warner both have been long standing opposition to net neutrality.

Deals are currently being made to essentially divvy up internet traffic
UPDATE: AT&T Pleased With Verizon-Google Net-Traffic Proposal - WSJ.com

Google and other internet giants currently have plans in place for a privatized system

You have posted nothing here that supports your statement that many of those "ifs" are coming to pass.

My part in this discussion has centered mainly around the gripe from others, that without net neutrality laws, ISP's would censor content and block access to certain websites for political or financial gain. Something that I contend, is not taking place. ISP's have been around as long as the internet, and to my knowledge, their has never been an issue of censorship, nor is there any indication that their might be.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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You have posted nothing here that supports your statement that many of those "ifs" are coming to pass.

My part in this discussion has centered mainly around the gripe from others, that without net neutrality laws, ISP's would censor content and block access to certain websites for political or financial gain. Something that I contend, is not taking place. ISP's have been around as long as the internet, and to my knowledge, their has never been an issue of censorship, nor is there any indication that their might be.

ISP's are already setting up licensing potential licensing agreement with specific websites and search indexes from what I've read.

This isn't a free market approach and there is no reason for you support monopoly abuse.
 

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Net neutrality is a good idea that has been twisted yet again into a corporate money making machine. I believe the original idea was to protect the user against the very thing it is turning into.. a two or more tiered internet. Now it is being used to protect the ISP monopolies instead of their customers... classic American political crap.

Basically it is the US ISPs that refuse to invest money in their infrastructure and are trying to get as much money out of people while giving less and less service. That the US ISPs are refusing to invest in their infrastructure is seen in high prices and slow speeds (relative to the rest of the world) and now also limited services.. unless you want to pay for it of course.. at a premium. The US may have invented the Internet, but as it stands now the US is going backwards while the rest of the civilized world is already far ahead and pressing even more on.

Thank god I live in Europe where such a system would be illegal due to EU rules and the very fact that many European countries see fast unlimited uncensored internet access as a right. And thank god I have a choice between 5+ different ISPs even if I dont have a phone line or cable tv (the joy of Spanish bureaucracy). If I had a phone line, then my choice would triple as a minimum. And Spain is a freaking 3rd world country when it comes to the Internet and yet the average speed here is about 6 mbit. One thing the EU did do right, was to push through telecommunications liberalization against the wishes of governments and the industry.

My recommendation to American's... demand much more competition in your telecommunications market, break up your monopolies or force them to share their infrastructure with other new ISPs like we do in Europe. Or you could let in us Euros and we can teach you a few things... :).. as of now it is illegal for non US citizens to own US telecommunications companies.. go figure.
 

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Net neutrality is a good idea that has been twisted yet again into a corporate money making machine. I believe the original idea was to protect the user against the very thing it is turning into.. a two or more tiered internet. Now it is being used to protect the ISP monopolies instead of their customers... classic American political crap.

Basically it is the US ISPs that refuse to invest money in their infrastructure and are trying to get as much money out of people while giving less and less service. That the US ISPs are refusing to invest in their infrastructure is seen in high prices and slow speeds (relative to the rest of the world) and now also limited services.. unless you want to pay for it of course.. at a premium. The US may have invented the Internet, but as it stands now the US is going backwards while the rest of the civilized world is already far ahead and pressing even more on.

Thank god I live in Europe where such a system would be illegal due to EU rules and the very fact that many European countries see fast unlimited uncensored internet access as a right. And thank god I have a choice between 5+ different ISPs even if I dont have a phone line or cable tv (the joy of Spanish bureaucracy). If I had a phone line, then my choice would triple as a minimum. And Spain is a freaking 3rd world country when it comes to the Internet and yet the average speed here is about 6 mbit. One thing the EU did do right, was to push through telecommunications liberalization against the wishes of governments and the industry.

My recommendation to American's... demand much more competition in your telecommunications market, break up your monopolies or force them to share their infrastructure with other new ISPs like we do in Europe. Or you could let in us Euros and we can teach you a few things... :).. as of now it is illegal for non US citizens to own US telecommunications companies.. go figure.

The only thing I've found about the system in the EU that sucks is the download limits.
Do they really need to limit how much you can download?
 

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The only thing I've found about the system in the EU that sucks is the download limits.
Do they really need to limit how much you can download?

What download limits? A huge majority have no download limits. I know of one in Spain (a local wireless company, and the limit is pretty generous.. you need to download like over 1 GB a day to even come close to the monthly limit) and one in Belgium (also with a very high monthly limit). I too find them stupid and out of date.. most ISPs use to have download limits 15+ years ago, but those days are long gone and personally I would never choose such an ISP unless there was no alternative.

Oh and 3G mobile networks here in Spain have limits per month at max speed and after that it is turned down to 256kb/s.

Now saying that, most companies have standard fair usage policies in their contracts, that state that they can limit ones speed or access if they deem your usage to be a detriment to the stability of the network and other users. I know BT in the UK have used this rule to hit down on mass downloader/uploaders.. we are talking many hundred GB a month up and down. And we are only talking about a handful of file sharers that got a letter about having to cut their usage or pay more. But such fair usage policies are almost universal even in the US, since I know of Comcast and others hitting down on people for using too much Youtube and such..
 

Harry Guerrilla

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What download limits? A huge majority have no download limits. I know of one in Spain (a local wireless company, and the limit is pretty generous.. you need to download like over 1 GB a day to even come close to the monthly limit) and one in Belgium (also with a very high monthly limit). I too find them stupid and out of date.. most ISPs use to have download limits 15+ years ago, but those days are long gone and personally I would never choose such an ISP unless there was no alternative.

Oh and 3G mobile networks here in Spain have limits per month at max speed and after that it is turned down to 256kb/s.

Now saying that, most companies have standard fair usage policies in their contracts, that state that they can limit ones speed or access if they deem your usage to be a detriment to the stability of the network and other users. I know BT in the UK have used this rule to hit down on mass downloader/uploaders.. we are talking many hundred GB a month up and down. And we are only talking about a handful of file sharers that got a letter about having to cut their usage or pay more. But such fair usage policies are almost universal even in the US, since I know of Comcast and others hitting down on people for using too much Youtube and such..

A few people I talked to said they had download limits.

Only so much can be dl'd a month.
 

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If the US was offering download rates we seen in other first world countries, I wouldn't have a problem with no net neutrality. Some places in Japan have rates well over 200 mb a second. Not kidding. Mine on GOOD days when no one is using the internet in my neighborhood is 4 mb.

So no net neutrality with crappy speed rates. Not acceptable.
 

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The only thing I've found about the system in the EU that sucks is the download limits.
Do they really need to limit how much you can download?

Only area's in Internet "hot spots" have download limits. If the Internet provided in said area is usually strained, a cap on monthly downloads is placed. In general though, the Internet in Europe is neutral and you pay for what you get.

I think American ISP's have perverted the definition of free Internet access just because there lazy corporate a holes who can't be bothered to pay for infrastructure. Japan is a good example of ISP's who are responsible and who practice ethical business standards, and much of Europe is good too.
 
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