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Net Neutrality Dealt Death Blow in Appeals Court; ISPs Attempt to Reassure Consumers

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    Late yesterday one of the big news items that we didn't quite get to was that Net Neutrality (and especially the FCC) was dealt a serious blow by a U.S. Appeals Court. Originally, the FCC ruled that wireline ISPs ”shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management” while also mandating that ISPs “shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.”

    Of course, the ISPs, telecoms and cable companies were not happy with this, so many of them, including leaders like Comcast and Verizon, took this fight to the U.S. Court system. Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the FCC. Their ruling may have effectively killed Net Neutrality completely. Here's a quote with the details of the U.S. Appeals Court decision,

    This basically means that any ISP will now have the power to selectively limit the content you receive across your internet connection. For example, an ISP can now reduce your bandwidth if you use a lot of Netflix, or alternatively, they might go to Hulu and demand an extra charge for services across their network. Even worse than this, they could start playing favorites with different companies and limit access to selective services. A prime example which is ripe for abuse is that Verizon now has a deal with RedBox Streaming. If they wanted to, they could effectively cut off access to Netflix for any customer on their wired internet service to favor their RedBox deal.

    Please be clear, we aren't saying that they would or plan to do this, only that they now have the power to do so. In fact, many of the big ISPs are acutely aware that consumers might be concerned about this ruling. Because of this, several of them just shared public statements designed to alleviate any fears consumers might have regarding these issues. Of course, there are now no regulations in place to hold them to these statements, and many of them are vague to begin with. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if their words are hollow or ring true. Here's a few quotes from ISPs below:

    Share your perspective on this complex topic.

    Source: BGR (1) & (2)
  2. leeshor
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    leeshor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No amount of reassurance is going to make me feel any better. It's just a matter of time.
    2 people like this.
  3. cereal killer
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    cereal killer Administrator Staff Member

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    The fundamental change has begun......very sad
    2 people like this.
  4. Droid-Xer
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    Droid-Xer Super Moderator Premium Member

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  5. MotoXGirl
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    MotoXGirl New Member

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    I am having a hard time understanding all of this... From what I do understand it's not good.
  6. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    You got that right... not good at all... :(
  7. jspradling7
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    jspradling7 Active Member

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    So Verizon "could" decide to not allow streaming video from Netflix, Amazon, and Red Box, unless they paid a fee. Netflix would pay and in turn raise your streaming bill from 8 bucks to 10 bucks to pay the fee. We lose, Verizon wins, everybody gets mad at Netflix for raising their prices. Peachy.
  8. wagman67
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    wagman67 New Member

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    Okay, so All of the big ISPs are jumping up and shouting...."Don't worry, we were the leader in making sure Net Neutrality happened, and made sure it did......but, we also had to lobby to make sure it did not happen. So, just sit back and get comfortable. Nothing is going to change....until you dose off...that's when we make the changes."

    Mighty nice of them.

    Not to be overly pessimistic, because a couple of them might have actually done both so they weren't mandated to not restrict traffic....but if their competition does, then they can market that until the cows come home.

    Wow, I guess I am a bit pessimistic about it all.
  9. trabical
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    trabical New Member

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    We recently "cut the cord" and switched to exclusively stream Hulu and Netflix to our internet ready TV and Roku. I still pay Comcast for internet but not cable TV. If I understand this correctly. Comcast could up the cost or limit me to stream Netflix or Hulu so that in the end I wouldn't save any money by cutting the cord at all... They would make their money one way or the other...
  10. RETG
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    RETG Member

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    It might not be over; yet. This was a decision by a three court panel of the DC court, so the FCC has a few options:
    Appeal the three court panel to a full panel in the DC court of appeals
    Appeal directly to SCOTUS
    Or, get busy and rewrite the regulations to satisfy the court.

    So, give it a few weeks before everyone starts crying in their beers.
    2 people like this.
  11. nickster1
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    Comcast can't do anything until 2018. That was the agreement under their purchase of NBC Universal
  12. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    Just another weapon in the tool box with more and more people cutting the cord....you didn't think the cable companies were just going to sit back and watch all that revenue get siphoned off by Netflx, Hulu, etc..?
  13. cobravnm13
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    cobravnm13 Well-Known Member

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    They go to court to have the power to limit what you use, but reassure us that they won't use that power? Why go to court in the first place?


    I smell a giant outhouse around here.
  14. Hugh Jass
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    Hugh Jass Well-Known Member

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    It's the cable providers who were just handed a gatlin gun. As soon as they were finally challenged by the likes of Netflix with original award winning programing A la carte style, it's all been reversed. Instead here we are, screwed as customers. If I were a Netflix exec I'd double or triple the subscription price starting today in order to incite the kind of outrage that SHOULD be happening right now. They're heading there anyway, if not more than triple. May as well be up front about it and show customers WHY this is happening, not 3 years from now when they'll not understand why they're getting ripped.

    The only bright side to any of this is that Google Fiber finally has it's calling. And we need it NOW, ubiquitously. Screw self driving cars, you want my money, give me a reason to destroy Comcast and the like, and I'd gladly pay a premium to destroy their greedy ways.
  15. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    Content costs what content is going to cost.

    This is an argument about distribution costs/profit. If you have less customers, then your per subscriber distribution costs are going to increase. Unless competition or technology reduces those distribution costs, one way or another they are going to have to get their money. It's neither evil nor greedy to raise the distribution costs for companies that piggy-back off your distribution to siphon away your profits.

    A far simper solution is simply to raise the prices of home broadband services. Or more likely we'll see data tiers in addition to the already prevalent speed tiers. So long as they control the pipes, they're going to get an return on their investment. One could argue charging Netflix more or throttling/capping that stream actually benefits more consumers than it harms - if you want to cut the cord and use Netflix or Hulu instead, then your costs should go up, not mine.
  16. eagle1967
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    eagle1967 Developer Developer

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    agree that those that use something should pay not others. But you and i both know that is not how it will work we will all pay more.
  17. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about that....Granted I've moved a few times and competition matters, but my bundle (cable/internet) rates have been mostly flat for like 10 years...and my service has improved (faster internet, more OnDemand options).

    That's because the big cities have some degree of competition. If you really open things up, then it will get interesting. That's the only thing that will deliver value to consumers - otherwise most of the "solutions" being floated always have winners and losers. And the winners love it, but usually the losers (who far outnumber the winners) get very upset once they realize they got the shaft.

    I just SMH because a good number of people are always upset if it isn't basically free. There's no winning with those types.
  18. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    I'm not sure I buy your argument kodiak799, although I appreciate your point of view and ability to show "the other side." I think that your analogy of ISPs as a distribution system falls flat. Ultimately, the internet is simply an access point. If I want a faster pipeline to get my data, then the ISPs can charge me more for a faster internet connection than the next guy (and they already do that). They shouldn't have the power to selectively choose what "type" of data I consume across that pipeline, which is what this new ruling would allow.

    Furthermore, the other problem with killing Net Neutrality is that it will severely stifle innovation and technological evolution. Yes, it sucks that a new idea has come along (like Netflix) that consumes a great deal of bandwidth across a data pipe at the expense of the Cable TV. However, the cable companies can provide internet access so they are already in that market too. Really, cable TV and internet are two different markets with a little bit of overlap.

    There are other industries in which new advancements and new ideas are hurting the ability of companies to make profit. A good current example is Amazon. They have practically killed Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. Does that mean we should penalize Amazon to make it more fair for the other guys?

    By killing Net Neutrality (unless it is revived by further appeals), our courts have effectively given the ISPs the ability to penalize Neftlix and Hulu for coming up with a better business model. Yes, Netflix is using your ISP to provide that service, but you still pay the ISP for that service. The cable companies don't have an inherent "right" to keep you as a cable TV customer, and they can still make money off of you buy providing the pipe.

    Finally, killing Net Neutrality will ultimately stifle innovation and slow down the evolution of technology related to the internet. In the long run, it's smaller startups that will have a harder time with this new ruling than companies like Netflix. Here's another decent example to illustrate: Net neutrality ruling analysis: Tech startups have most to lose | BGR

    Ultimately, this ruling gives too much power to the ISPs. The whole point of an "internet connection" is to connect people to information and each other. Allowing corporations, whose soul motivation is profit, to control what, how, when, where, and why you get access to that data (or other person), is a very bad idea no matter how you slice it. It won't create competition, it will neuter it.
    4 people like this.
  19. Narsil
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  20. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    There's a ton of overlap - even DISH offers broadband service. I don't know a major cable company that doesn't offer broadband internet - Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, RCN, TimeWarner. And if I'm paying $80 for a bundled cable/internet package, but then me and everyone else drops cable....guess how much internet my internet price is going up to.

    Now I agree that they shouldn't really be able to block sites you visit, but I do think they have a right to block sites that deal in pirated content - which is probably the main intent behind this. Otherwise they don't have to block or throttle Netflix - plenty of ways for them to recover that lost revenue through various pricing models (a.k.a. profit maximization).
    1 person likes this.
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