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Network Neutrality

Hey Buzz Out Loud Community,
I am a student at Syracuse University for my final paper for Politics in the Cyber Age I am witting about Network Neutrality, specifically what it means to people whose livelihood is based on the internet. I would like to include real examples in the paper and so I am reaching out to a community that I feel like a part of by listening to the show every day on my way to class. Please feel free to respond in this thread, PM me, or e-mail me at, and include whether I am free to include your specifics in the paper and possible presentation to that class.

Thank you for all who will respond

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A suggestion to ALL users.

In reply to: Network Neutrality

When posting with your email address, you risk bots scanning them in and adding them to vast spam lists. There are a few ways to avoid this.
1. Use CNET's 'email this member' feature, by clicking to their profile and that link; however the person may not have enabled that.
2. If you still want to post your email address do it as engadget and others do: engadget ATT gmail DOTT com. While abstract and clearly not an email address, people understand.

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Neutral. Heck Yes.

In reply to: Network Neutrality

The internet should be considered basic infrastructure.

Everbody at all levels of society rely's on it so much that it's akin to the phone only more important now.

I'd not argue if they made it into a publicly regluated monopoly. (Or regional monopolies) That would not be such a bad thing since it started out as a Government Invention to begin with.

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Federal monopoly not good business plan

In reply to: Neutral. Heck Yes.

Look at the US Postal Service. They have a federally mandated monopoly and they're getting their butt served to them by the competition. Not a great deal of original innovation coming from the P.O., they just try to copy cat private shipping companies.

Minimize regulation, maximize property rights; allow messy, brutal and frightening competition. Some succeed by overcharging customers and investing in infrastructure. Some companies succeed at lobbying legislators to force the former to share with the latter. Government involvement should either be neutral or reward the former; by no means should it reward the latter unless your goal is to turn the internet into a cyber version of the postal service.

If there were a way to unionize the internet someone would be suggesting that, too.

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Too funny.

In reply to: Federal monopoly not good business plan

If the post office was a monopoly how could there even be competition to hand them their butts?

I like UPS. I like the USPS. The UPS is far more expensive for essentially the same parcel service. The USPS can deliver a letter for cheaper than UPS or Fed Ex ever could. They have the infrastructre. But that's a digression.

Water, Sewer, Power, Roads (and other utilities depending on location) all are either public or publicly regulated monopolies in most areas. There are times that the free market is not the most efficient means of doing the job. Plus some things are just not worth the risk of business failure.

Business fails at a 90%+ rate. Governments don't.

Internet is now so critical to most everthing we do. I think it deserves the same status as water and sewer and should not be subject to the 90% failure rate of business. Besides the government invented the internet. Not private business. It has a vital role to play in government as well that should not be subject to the messay, brutal, and often stupid methods of business.

Business is about money. Life isn't.

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Old thread from these boards

In reply to: Too funny.

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USPS is a monopoly

In reply to: Too funny.

...for the service of daily home delivery. No one else is allowed to do it by law. That's a monopoly. Only the USPS can use the infrastructure that's used for first class letters and BBM (bulk business mail) to also process packages, overnight deliveries, etc. The USPS (for the most part) shares transportation assets with their package/overnight delivery competitors. So I guess you could say that its a partial monopoly.

And yes, the revenues that USPS makes on letter delivery (monopoly part of the business) are used to partially defray the cost of package delivery. Theoretically that should be enough of an advantage to make direct competition in package delivery all but entirely impossible. But with superior management and innovation the private companies persevere against an entity that has, what should be, an unfair advantage.

What was "the internet" doing for me when it was still in the hands of governments and universities? Not much until its awesome potential was released into the jungle of 90% failure.

A monopoly is one of those seductive ideas, like socialism. No matter how many times it fails, no matter how miserably it fails, to those who fail to understand why they fail, it can always seem like its such a great idea.

Privatized solutions will A L W A Y S be superior to government solutions. The winner in a competitive market will work better than an entity that's guaranteed its funding regardless of its performance.

So, how are monopolies, oligopolies and central authority working out for any countries dominated by those systems right now? Even "Old Europe" is learning a lesson from, say, China, as certain countries are experiencing reversals of downward trends in direct relationship to the degree in which they privatize, deregulate and lower taxes.

Iceland and Sweden have hardly gone all Hong Kong, but they're moving in that direction. The US should take note and also start trending more in that direction, and less in the direction of France. Just taking note of what works.

It helps to look at how the US became the leader in technology over Japan through the 80s and 90s. The Japanese plan was more government funding of the technology sector. Such a seductive idea, and yet it failed to deliver. More innovation and advancement came from the country that had less government funding and less centralized control.

The fact that I am against government spending on developing alternative fuels is proof that I want those advancements to come faster, better and cheaper than environmentalist lobbyists demanding that "the government" "take the lead," as if they ever could.

Look around, see what works and what doesn't, then do the former.

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In reply to: USPS is a monopoly

Anyways, government control for public benefit should yield to private property rights. Its more moral and you get better results. Its the american way.

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis de Tocqueville

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In reply to: USPS is a monopoly

"Privatized solutions will A L W A Y S be superior to government solutions. The winner in a competitive market will work better than an entity that's guaranteed its funding regardless of its performance."

Overstatement, to the extreme. When profit motive is connected to utilities or necessities, the private solution is a failure. The private need to make money is at odds with the public need for adequate service.

Look at fire departments. Before they were made a government service, competing departments would sabotage each others' abilities to effectively fight fire, would start fires in others' "districts", and they would fight over the right to fight a fire without actually fighting the fire. The private system made it about who did better, rather than serving a need.

Look at the military. Billions have been lost and wasted in the Iraq War. Private companies charge troops $45 for a bottle of Coca-Cola, and these companies' private mercenary force are well-protected while the military does not have the funds for body-armor. Walter Reed was victim to profit-motive of the private administrators.

Look at healthcare. Americans pay more, per capita, than any other country. It's private insurance system is the most robust among western countries. This is not simply coincidence. It is because there isn't a centralized filter guaranteeing healthcare, aggregating costs, and setting minimums. This extreme expense includes the fact that over 45 million Americans are not covered, which means expense is spread among the remaining 250 million people, further raising the costs to those who pay in.

Healthcare companies, meanwhile, make money by laying off people, charging more for basic procedures while not paying doctors more, and raising rates. Each one operating independently means these money-making techniques are duplicated, thus adding to overall overhead costs of healthcare, and a race to the bottom line. So, even with mergers, overall costs are greater to all, service is worse, and people have no recourse.

Things like the military and healthcare (and education, and post) should NOT be put into a private system. Corporate monopolies are a significant threat in a truly private system, a bigger threat than a government monopoly. I would much rather a public (government) monopoly which is beholden to me, than private one beholden only to its large stock-holders.

The internet, as a utility, should be neutral. Let companies build on top of the open, fair, neutral system.

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Point by point

In reply to: Well...

Look at fire departments.
Weak example, from a hundred years ago. Today no fire department will sabotage another or commit arson. Plus, the current trend is for emergency services becoming increasingly privatized.

Look at the military.
There's lots wrong with govt contracts and procurement that has nothing to do with privatizing government services. The government isn't going to bottle its own cola, its always going to buy it. Private mercenaries do little more than watch their own backs, many of them are former military, and they can't hold a candle to the military elite forces, which is a more fair comparison. The troops will never have bleeding edge products in the field, there will always be something better available in the market than what they are currently using. I was in the army when I saw it whittled down due to budgetary cuts crammed through by Senators Gramm and Rudman; I saw a hurried and reckless Reduction In Forces implemented while Clinton was president; the plan was to rely more on Reserve forces, which subsequently got little extra funding. Then Bush made the mistake of thinking he was going to war with the same military his dad had for the liberation of Kuwait. Not sure how the administrators of Walter Reed had a profit motive (??). If you want to see what government administered healthcare looks like, Walter Reed is your answer.

Look at healthcare.
Americans pay more from private funding maybe, but not compared to how much socialized countries pay for health care through taxation. Free market forces are the best determinates for prices, costs, expenses; not some arcane bureaucratic formulations. Healthcare in the US is the most expensive because we're funding the majority of innovation (among countless other reasons having nothing to do with privitization) and I agree with some of your other points on this. But bottom line, I've lived in countries with socialized medicine and my opinion is: NOT FOR MY KIDS.

Things like the military and healthcare (and education, and post) should NOT be put into a private system. Corporate monopolies are a significant threat in a truly private system, a bigger threat than a government monopoly. I would much rather a public (government) monopoly which is beholden to me, than private one beholden only to its large stock-holders.

Oh lord, so much is wrong with that statement. Where does the government get its money and power from? You. Where do private corporations get their money and power from? You. Which one is far, far, far more beholden to you? The private corporation. Because the government always ultimately has recourse to the lawful use of force to make you do whatever it has currently set as law. Maybe you have a constitutional right to petition, grieve, lobby, vote, etc. But how quickly and how completely will it ever respond?

A free market responds to signals from its consumers way faster than a government responds to its constituents. The genius idea behind American Idol is that it speeds up that process even more. Pop music generally relies on this massively flawed system of signals from the consumers, in the form of record sales, and music marketeers made more of what sold better, and tried to anticipate the next trend. In a couple hours of voting AI marketeers have a clearer idea of what will sell, without back room deals and bjs mucking up the system.

The internet, as a utility, should be neutral. Let companies build on top of the open, fair, neutral system.

The government should be neutral. It should protect private property rights and allow companies to barter whatever deals they wish. They shouldn't try to steer the direction of commerce. That should be a private conversation between competing companies and their customers.

Japan has a reputation for being leaders in the area of tech. But the majority of the most elemental and important innovations rarely come out of Japan. They often put together technology in new and interesting ways, they do a great job of manufacturing. But they don't have an OS or chip design or significant software contributions. Where's the japanese Google, Napster, Youtube, IBM, AMD, Apple? For all their early adopters, how often does one of their unique creations reshape the global tech landscape? They make great products which compete with similar products from other places.

Cars are hardly worth talking about. The labor that goes into and profit that comes out of a Honda vehicle is nearly split equally between Japan and the US. American cars have foreign made parts so it works both ways. The socio-economic forces that led to more fuel efficient cars were in motion before the government got involved. An argument can be made that artificially heavy handed feel-good legislation cost car makers and consumers money unnecessarily and resulted in a rushed and inferior route to better fuel efficiency.

If the US citizenry desired less caffeine in Starbucks house blend they could get a faster, better, more efficient and cost effective change by voting with their cash dealings with Starbucks, rather than lobbying the government to eventually make a law with pages of justifications and regulations and implementations and forcing compliance from Starbucks.

No matter which way the net neutrality legislation goes, here's who WILL NOT pay for the result: The telcos/cable cos; the content providers; the government; Japan; Canadian drug companies; etc. You know who's going to pay: us.

That "us" is either: "us" as internet users; "us" as cable/telephone/internet users; or "us" as taxpayers; or any combination of the above. We will all pay for whatever it takes to keep the internet alive.

If you're a leftist, the best solution is to spread the costs to the largest number of people through taxes and regulations, regardless of an individual's personal use of or benefit from the internet; that is, tax individuals and corporations (thereby doubly taxing the consumer). In addition, may as well weaken property rights of the corporations that re-invested profits into infrastructure, by forcing them to now share their assets with start ups who haven't made those investments.

If you're on the right, the best solution is for the government to provide security, enforce contracts, and uphold property rights.

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General response...

In reply to: Point by point

Can't mount a full point-by-point at this time, but more general response.

Worshiping the free market is as dangerous as worshiping the government. Give me a fair market with true competition, and give me a government that serves the public good.

"Weak example, from a hundred years ago. Today no fire department will sabotage another or commit arson."

Here's a current one: After privatization, Enron purposely created energy scarcity in California to increase the value of the energy it serves, thus increasing profits and stock value. There are videos of the leadership laughing about old ladies who can't handle the heat. If you control enough of the market (in a free market), you can manipulate reality to make more.

Another current one: After deregulating radio markets, Clear Channel did not air crucial local tornado warnings because its radio stations were fully-automated. Neglect is as bad as maliciousness, when public good is in play.

Military: A private company that is not beholden to Congressional oversight can charge whatever they want for Coca-Cola, and troops cannot appeal to their Congresspeople. If a government agency charged that troop the same amount, that person would have recourse with the government. Slow is better than none.

Healthcare: Look up the stats. Americans pay more, period. Our healthcare is also inferior to a lot of northern Europe. And inferior to Canada's (propaganda aside).

"Which one is far, far, far more beholden to you? The private corporation. Because the government always ultimately has recourse to the lawful use of force to make you do whatever it has currently set as law. Maybe you have a constitutional right to petition, grieve, lobby, vote, etc. But how quickly and how completely will it ever respond?... A free market responds to signals from its consumers way faster than a government responds to its constituents."

Not so. The private corporation is beholden to my wallet. My wallet is beholden to my income. The more income I have, and the more power I have over them. The government is beholden to the sovereign right of power that I have an "inalienable right" to. I get that right whether I'm rich or poor, no matter what the need. Richard Branson's investment matters much more than mine does. My vote matters as much as a rich person's and as much as a poor person's.

Oil prices: Oil companies are making record profits, noting high gas prices in their financial reports as a source. People can't simply buy new fuel-efficient cars because the companies make more money on the gas-guzzlers (which means there is scarce supply), and it takes time to afford to get a new car. That means as a consumer, I'm locked into a closed system because of corporate profit motive. Are they acting maliciously? No. But their priorities are not the public good.

When the government mandated fuel efficiency standards, companies responded. When the government stopped mandating standards, companies stopped improving. When the government mandated rural electrification in the 30s and 40s, all rural areas actually got electricity. The Japanese and Korean governments mandate a single cellphone standard, as does the EU, and they have more and better/more cell phone innovation.

As for companies, Toyota and Honda might have labor in the US, but innovation and processes are carried out by the Japanese leadership. Sony is the standard-bearer in computers, phones, and computers in Japan.

Private corporations work in a very simple manner: produce/make/obtain the product as cheaply as possible, and sell it as expensively as possible. Even with a luxury product, you get the cheapest high-quality component to put into the product, to sell at the highest possible price. At the end of the day, when you strip away mission statements and quarterly reports, companies care about one thing: maximizing profits. I don't care if you're Wal-Mart, Google, or the local convenience store. None of these companies can continually operate at a loss or deficit. They do not operate for the public good at private expense. The specific role of government is to do that.

Government may be slow, but at least they work for me, and for the public good.

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Two more quick points...

In reply to: USPS is a monopoly

1) Who made the most reliable home electronics in the 1980's and 90's? Which (same) company has the best consumer association to quality in home electronics? What is the second most recognizable home-electronics brand? Who has the most successful brand of automobiles? Which companies innovated the now-common hybrid technology in cars? Who has the most reliable automobiles? Which cell phone company is the world's leading innovator? Who makes the most money on video game consoles? Which detector proved that neutrino's have mass? Where were VCRs, video recorders, CD's, Aibo, and ASIMO invented? (Answers below)

2) Gas mileages in cars improved when there was a US government mandate. Mileages haven't changed since the 1980's, since the government stopped mandating improved gas mileages. Whenever government mandates environmental improvements, it actually causes change. This is because when there is someone deciding that the playing field has changed, everyone lives within those new constraints. When only one company here or there does it, other companies can continue to make money the old way, diluting the positive effect, and making the possibility of failure by the innovator greater.

Answers: Sony, Sony, Panasonic, Toyota/Lexus, Toyota/Lexus, Toyota and Honda, NTTDoCoMo, Nintendo, Super-K, and Japan. All from Japan. It seems Japan succeeded.

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Oops... the correct answers

In reply to: Two more quick points...

Did an inversion... Correct answers...

Answers: Sony, Sony, Panasonic, Toyota/Lexus, Toyota and Honda, Toyota/Lexus, NTTDoCoMo, Nintendo, Super-K, and Japan. All from Japan. It seems Japan succeeded.

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Japan v US

In reply to: Oops... the correct answers

In his book, "Microcosm: The Quantum Revolution In Economics And Technology" George Gilder shows how an odd mix of different characters and forces came together in the US and achieved technological innovations better than Japan, despite Japan's success at market share in manufacturing and selling technology products. And Japan was struggling mightily to come up with something to show up the US.

All the US had was dozens or hundreds of unconnected individuals, each with conflicting or intersecting goals, and various agendas and theories. Many of them were oddballs, outcasts, a motley crew of counter cultural types. Often taking huge risks, spending and losing or earning large and small amounts of money. Failing, getting fired, forging friendships with former enemies, competing bitterly, spying, stealing intelligence and personnel.

In the 1830s French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville commented on the US (paraphrasing): When the Americans set their minds on a goal they seem to zig this way and zag that; there seems to be no order or planning, just chaos. And yet, they always seem to get to their destination quicker than anyone else can.

In the 80s Japan gathered up all of its best (discovered) scientific talent and put them together and gave them everything they needed, and mandated them to beat the US in the technology race. The US did the same, but little good came out of either governments' efforts. In the 80s and 90s the most significant, earth shattering, brand new inventions, creations and innovations came from neither government's bureaucratic creations.

Silicon Valley beat them both.

A Chicago street ruffian with a bad past sets out to California to become an actor. A Hungarian refugee escapes his country's communist dictatorship and comes to america. Other colorful characters flesh out Gilder's history of the development of the microchip. He illustrates how a physical asset, a few grams of product made from the most plentiful resource on the planet, sand, can hold so much economical value.

The true value of the chip is the information of how to make that chip useful. The total value of the physical stuff of a PC is only a few dollars. But knowledge has economic value in the computer. And computer code takes that effect to its ultimate end: software. Economic value on pure thought. The world is experiencing an economic revolution. The value of geographic location and physical assets for wealth is in decline, while the economic values of ideas and thoughts and information is increasing.

Its a revolution that only could've occurred in the US, just like jazz only could've come to life from this culture. And don't forget bourbon. And crawfish etouffe. Only in America.

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Partially Right

In reply to: USPS is a monopoly

The USPS is a monopoly on letters. Not on parcels. Call it a partial monopoly.

Government is Government. Business is Business. The two don't mix well. The problem is people who try to push government where it shouldnt' be and busines where it shouldn't be.

Monopoloys do work in the right place (that's true of anything) Those are government regulated monopolies such as power. Deregulation didn't work. Power costs didn't go down. More companies went bankrupt, more price volitility, rolling blackouts, brownouts. It makes no sence to have 3 power grids to offer 3 different power vendors to one house. Ditto, Watter, and other things.

What did the internet do for you when it was a government and university thing? For one thing it sparked the innovation that became the internet that you do find useful.

Like you say, look at what works then do that. What the USA is doing in a lot of areas isn't working.

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Do you think the internet would be what it is today

In reply to: Partially Right

If it were still under the ownership of the government?

The point is that empowering millions to take ownership of their destinies, and protecting their ownership of the benefits of their own labor and efforts, is way better than empowering a small number of persons to dictate to the masses.

In theory, with socialism, no one owns the land and everyone owns the land. In practice in the real world, pure socialism gives way to communism, whereby no one owns the land BUT the government "administers" over the "usage" of the land. Ergo, a small elite class dictates to an entire population how things are going to work.

In a republic of democratic states, the highest level of government is also the weakest. But the left wants to gravitate towards socialism, where increasingly larger degrees of responsibilities are put upon the highest level of government. It becomes "the (federal) government's job" to: provide for national defense and border security, courts, police, etc, but then also to provide every citizen with: healthcare, education, housing, food, jobs, childcare, retirement, funding for arts, subsidies, birth control, abortion on demand, help quitting smoking, methadone, smooth as well as chunky peanut butter in prisons, sex change operations, multi-cultural diversity training for pre-K, college education, a living wage, cell phones for drug dealers, protective warnings on product labels ("rat poison not for human consumption"), the IRS, postal services, broadband, safe rubber bands, moist towelettes, everclear, etc etc.

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That's a loaded question, so

In reply to: Do you think the internet would be what it is today

I'll give you a loaded answer.

The internet as we know it could have came from many different projects where people communicated online via any of several online services.

Compuserve. They could have evolved into the internet as we know it. They didn't and they failed. AOL could have evolved into the internet as we know it, they didnt, and they failed. Others could have evolved into the internet and failed.

That it was "The Internet" that grew up into what it is could only have come about by having government backing and then the government allowing people and business the freedom to go about their lives and business. To try ideas, fail, try again. In other words it's the very government view that the internet should be opened for all that let it become what it is. An idea alien to business.

The government makes the roads, GM, Ford, Toyota make the cars. The interen is the road. It's basic infrastructure. (And yes they have private roads and those do work but at more cost to the traveling public and it does get in the way of smooth flow of traffic).

The private efforts, one by one, failed. To take the government backing that keeps the playing field level for the vast majority of the people and companies that rely on the internet away, and put the internet under the control of a business is laughable. Business would at best do as good a job as the goverment has done. At worst the internet would fragment and become a bunch of quasi connected mini nets some of which would fail, but none of which would do the same job as the internet today.

Business backed and regulated internet? No thanks.

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