The New York Times (Falsely) Informs Its 7 Million Readers Net Neutrality Is 'Pointless'

from the maybe-do-some-research-first dept

Let's be clear about something: the net neutrality fight has always really been about monopolization and a lack of broadband competition. Net neutrality violations, whether it's wireless carriers blocking competing mobile payment services or an ISP blocking competing voice services, are just symptoms of a lack of competition. If we had meaningful competition in broadband, we wouldn't need net neutrality rules because consumers would vote with their wallets and leave an ISP that behaved like an asshole.

But American broadband is dominated by just a handful of very politically powerful telecom giants fused to our national security infrastructure. Because of this, lawmakers and regulators routinely don't try very hard to fix the problem lest they upset a trusted partner of the FBI/NSA/CIA, or lose out on campaign contributions. As a result, US broadband is heavily monopolized, and in turn, mediocre in nearly every major metric that matters. US ISPs routinely, repeatedly engage in dodgy behavior that sees zero real penalty from our utterly captured regulators.

The net neutrality fight has always really been a proxy fight about whether we want functional government oversight of these monopolies. The monopolies, it should be said, would prefer it if there were absolutely none. It's why for the last 20 years or so they've been on a relentless tear to strip away all state and federal regulatory oversight of their broken business sector, culminating in 2018's repeal of net neutrality -- which not only (and this part is important) killed net neutrality rules, but gutted the FCC's consumer protection authority (right before a pandemic, as it turned out).

The repeal even attempted to ban states from being able to protect consumers from things like billing fraud, an effort the courts haven't looked kindly upon so far. But again, the goal here is clear: zero meaningful oversight of telecom monopolies.

So with that as background, imagine my surprise when New York Times columnist Shira Ovide, whose tech coverage is usually quite insightful, informed the paper's 7.5 million subscribers that this entire several decade quest to thwart corruption and monopolization is "pointless":

"People may scream at me for saying this, but net neutrality is one of America’s longest and now most pointless fights over technology."

Yeah I'm not going to scream (too worn out), but I will politely note that the paper of record has absolutely no idea what it's talking about.

Again, the net neutrality repeal didn't just kill net neutrality! It effectively gutted the FCC's consumer protection authority, shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC the broadband industry knew lacked the resources, authority, or staff to do a good job. That was the entire point. The repeal also tried to ban states from being able to stand up to companies like AT&T and Comcast. The goal: little to no real oversight of one of the more broken, monopolized markets in America. During a pandemic in which broadband is being showcased as essential to survival, healthcare, education, and employment. Anybody calling a fight on this subject "pointless" hasn't taken the time to understand what's actually at stake.

The whole story paints the effort to have some modest oversight of telecom monopolies as droll and pointless. At one point, the story (which is really just the New York Times interviewing itself) even oddly implies the debate over what to do about "big telecom" is irrelevant and that "big tech" is all we really need to worry about:

"However, the debate feels much less urgent now that we’re talking about threats of online disinformation about vaccine deployment and elections. The net neutrality debate focused on internet service providers as powerful gatekeepers of internet information. That term now seems better applied to Facebook, Google and Amazon."

This idea that "big tech" is the root of all of our problems, and that "big telecom" is not worth worrying about is a message AT&T and Comcast have been sending out for the better part of the last several years. Given how often I see this concept parroted by the press and lawmakers, it's been fairly effective. It's certainly been effective on GOP mainstays like Josh Hawley, who performatively insists he's an anti-monopolist, but has never had a single bad word to say about the nation's most obvious monopolistic market (telecom). This isn't some errant coincidence.

But here's the thing: the US is dominated by monopolies. They're everywhere (banking, airlines, telecom, advertising). Here's the crazy part: we can tackle the monopolization impacting numerous industries simultaneously. It's not some either-or proposition where you forget about telecom monopolization because Amazon or Google are also behaving badly. You can make sure the FCC has the authority and resources it needs to police telecom and focus on how to loosen Facebook and Google's dominance over the advertising market.

There are several other instances where the Times demonstrates it really doesn't understand the subject it's covering. Like here, where Ovide suggests that having net neutrality rules are pointless because... Google has undersea cables?:

"When Google has its own undersea internet cables, isn’t the reality that some internet services reach us faster no matter what the law says?"

People who don't understand net neutrality often over-simplify it down to something about how the rules "prevented ISPs from offering faster speeds for some services." But that's never been true. The rules only really care about if an ISP uses network management to harm competitors. The rules also had components that required ISPs be transparent about what kind of broadband connection you're buying so consumers could avoid getting ripped off with connections that promise 30 Mbps but come with all manner of hidden restrictions, throttling, or caveats.

There's one part the Times gets (sort of) right, and it's here:

"There probably isn’t much of a middle ground. There are either net neutrality rules or there aren’t. And the internet service providers see net neutrality as a slippery slope that leads to broader regulation of high-speed internet services or government-imposed limits on prices they can charge. They will fight any regulation. And that’s true, too, of the lobbyists who are hired to argue against anything."

The reason we can't find a middle ground is because the broadband industry refuses to meet anyone even a quarter of the way onto the playing field. When the FCC, in 2010, passed some utterly flimsy, loophole-filled net neutrality rules that didn't even cover wireless, Verizon sued anyway (Google, falsely cited as an advocate of net neutrality by many, even lent a hand, if you recall). Meanwhile the reason Congress can't pass even a modest net neutrality law isn't because there's no desire for a "middle ground," it's because lawmakers are utterly awash in AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Centurylink, Charter, and T-Mobile campaign contributions.

In reality, the broadband industry wants no state or federal oversight of its businesses. Particularly not any oversight that could meaningfully harm their regional monopolies, drive competition to market, and lower consumer rates. And while there are some free market policy folk who still like to pretend that removing regulation of natural monopolies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T somehow results in Utopia (a line they've been feeding the American public for 35 straight years now), that's not the case. When you kill oversight of natural monopolies, while simultaneously refusing to adopt pro-competition policies that seriously challenge them, they only double down on the same bad behaviors. It's a lesson the US seems bizarrely unwilling to learn.

Let's also be clear about something. To feebly justify this handout to industry (something surveys showed an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans opposed), the broadband sector used completely fabricated data. It hired firms that had to resort to using dead and fake people to pretend their policy proposal was a good idea. All to effectively lobotomize the nation's top telecom regulator, leaving it incapable of meaningfully holding telecom giants responsible for fraud and anticompetitive behavior right before a pandemic.

Imagine, for just a second, thinking that the quest for accountability, justice, and common sense on this subject is "pointless."

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Filed Under: broadband, competition, net neutrality


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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:32am

    "There probably isn’t much of a middle ground. There are either net neutrality rules or there aren’t"

    That's correct. However, the issue of whether or not ISPs treat packets equally regardless of their source or destination (a.k.a. net neutrality) has no place in an argument about platforms. You're trying to deflect from an argument about traffic capacity and tolls on the freeway by arguing that the local Target having the correct number of handicapped and family parking space is the real issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      Article is abit confusing.
      ISP = the company giving you access To the net.
      Then Big tech(?) bad word for it. Internet services(better)
      Then comes another. The consumer.
      Then Wireless?

      Why dont we add it all into 1 Big lump, with Cable/Sat TV and Anything that touches the backbone.

      1st problem is the ISP, NOT doing the job. But a Q: first. What do they get when they Buy out a company/service? Just the business, or all the infrastructure?
      IF they get it all, then everything on those POWER POLES is theirs, except the power. If that is an Expired expense, then they dont get all the cables. So Who can attach to them and NOT get in trouble? That will tell you if we can Have competition. If those wires have been Written off taxes, could it be assumed they were Paid Back for them in Taxes?

      Lets see. Services/internet corps. You cant be a competitor if you DONT jump into the battle and compete, so ISP's arent competing, they Arnt trying to fight or DEAL with the other services. They seem to be trying to Cheat the system of capitalism. Buy into it, not knowing the business, and Loosing out on the Concept and failing all in a hurry. NOT creating from scratch, and LEARNING the ropes of the internet.

      The Consumer. Confused as needed. trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Confusing by all the debates and lies. But does he know, that EVEN HE can create his own direct Internet connections? We used to have this option. But Im not sure of How to do it now. After the corps bought out the Tier 1 part of the internet.(and I still dont think the Current corps have upgraded any of the Tier 1 sections)

      Iv mentioned before. Wouldnt it be nice if all these PARTS became 1, insted of 4-5. Cable TV, internet, cell, phone, ???. 1 connection that can be used by all of them. lets really upset them. Force them to FIX IT.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:32am

    Gee I would have thought that the most pointless fight over technology would be these assholes screaming how the platforms are infringing on their 1st Amendment rights.

    But then that is only if one expected the paper of record to actually report facts & hold officials accountable for crying that FB was mean while 500K people died assisted by their inaction.

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    • icon
      Norahc (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 8:40am

      Re:

      But then that is only if one expected the paper of record to actually report facts

      It's sad that their reputation is such when I saw "New York Times falsely" I thought it was redundant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:52am

    Access to the internet has become a necessity of life. Internet Service Provision should be considered a utility and regulated in a similar fashion to what the copper phone system used to be.

    I recall, some time ago, discussion at the federal political level regarding access to emergency services which results in the 911 system. As I remember it, this emergency access was to be available without cost.

    Fast forward to today where many copper systems have been abandoned thus leaving people at the mercy of a for profit phone system that may not be capable of providing that promised emergency service access at no cost.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Mar 2021 @ 3:05am

      Re:

      "Access to the internet has become a necessity of life. Internet Service Provision should be considered a utility and regulated in a similar fashion to what the copper phone system used to be."

      The UN already has the official stance that internet access is a primary catalyst of freedom of speech, and in most european countries, such access already abides by utility regulations and/or enforced lease/share.

      In fact among the G20 the idea of ISP's becoming massive monopolies is yet one more case of "Only In America" bullshit, along with outright murderous law enforcement and a population where 50'% reject science, 30% approve of white supremacy, 450,000 more people died from a pandemic than would have been the case if the leadership was merely sitting on it's hands, and that failed leader losing an election then walks away a free man after organizing violent insurrection.

      The US is setting itself up for becoming the soviet Union v2.0, The poop smears left on the Capitol floor being a good indicator of the state of that union.

      "I recall, some time ago, discussion at the federal political level regarding access to emergency services which results in the 911 system. As I remember it, this emergency access was to be available without cost."

      As you note, today emergency services will have a price tag and rely on a broadband network which may or may not be falling apart.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TaboToka (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:56am

    The article in question

    For some reason the link to the article wasn't included. Here it is: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/25/technology/net-neutrality-explained.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 7:48am

    'Yes your arm's nearly severed, but look at that paper-cut!'

    Giving a pass to ISP's to set terms of how you can connect to the entire internet yet insisting that 'Something Must Be Done!' about individual platforms on the internet is like arguing that there's no need to ensure that those who run roads(assuming those were privatized) treat all drivers equally or don't engage in schemes to screw over businesses that may connect to the roads in order to squeeze more money out of those businesses while at the same time arguing that it's a travesty that certain shop owners connected to those roads have too much power within their individual shops.

    If you can't get to a platform because the one who controls your ability to connect to them has decided to apply the screws for whatever reason then it doesn't much matter how bad the platform might be, so if the concern is really that a company might have too much power then ISP's definitely are of more concern than the likes of Google and Facebook, such that anyone decrying the latter while shrugging off the former is either a deceiver or deceived.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 8:23am

    From a certain point of view, the fight itself really is pointless. As in, there should be no fight over this. There is absolutely no logical reason not to have net neutrality laws. It's all just corrupt politicians doing favors for their masters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Cary Atid, columnist, 2 Mar 2021 @ 9:33am

    So "freedom of association" doesn't apply to all corporations?

    the net neutrality fight has always really been about monopolization and a lack of broadband competition. Net neutrality violations, whether it's wireless carriers blocking competing mobile payment services or an ISP blocking competing voice services,

    Clearly, you wish the gov't to FORCE corporations to not only associate with their competitors but to allow them use their own networks!

    Why, then, does Techdirt / fanboys advocate that Facebook / Google / Twitter have unlimited control over their mere web-site hosting? To the detriment of the Free Speech Rights of hundreds of millions of persons? -- You're visibly here only sticking up for the rights of corporations!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Cary Atid, columnist, 2 Mar 2021 @ 9:34am

      Re: So "freedom of association" doesn't apply to all c

      And define "net neutrality" in terms of how benefits me. Again, you write that it's JUST for corporations to force carriers to be neutral.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 1:18pm

        define "net neutrality" in terms of how benefits me

        You get to keep coming to this site without interference instead of, say, your ISP getting to decide whether Techdirt is “too unreasonable” or “too low-traffic” — based on your comments and complaints and shit-flinging, natch — and ban the site from its network.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 11:27pm

        Re: Re: So "freedom of association" doesn't apply to a

        "And define "net neutrality" in terms of how benefits me"

        When you make a request for Techdirt, or any other site that you obsessively troll, your ISP does not treat your packets any differently to those from another source or destination, whereas without it they can alter your traffic in favour of people who pay them or they otherwise have a vested interest in promoting. Therefore, you have free and unrestricted access to the entire internet.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 3 Mar 2021 @ 1:48am

        Re: Re: So "freedom of association" doesn't ap

        And define "net neutrality" in terms of how benefits me

        You don't have to pay extra ransoms for your internet service due to the layers of fraud NN would be preventing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 3 Mar 2021 @ 2:08am

          Re: Re: Re: So "freedom of association" doesn'

          Well, it's not even about paying extra, at least not directly. It just means that your ISP can't get in bed with a particular news source / streaming service / whatever and profit from treating those favourably to the services you actually want to use.

          Which represents greater freedom and less corporate control over your internet activity, while retaining a free market for services on the internet in general, but our regular potato does like to argue against rights and freedom while pretending he's doing the opposite.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 6:41am

        Re: Re:

        Your boi Trump lost. Get over it or go fuck yourself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 3 Mar 2021 @ 8:42pm

          Which loss are we referring to? Is it…

          • his popular vote loss in 2016;

          • his popular vote and Electoral College loss in 2020;

          • his losing the House for Republicans;

          • his losing the Senate for Republicans;

          • his failed battle to dismantle the Affordable Care Act;

          • his twice-failed attempts to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.;

          • his inability to garner a majority approval rating for the entirety of his administration;

          • his being the first U.S. president to be impeached twice;

          • his failed attempt at an insurrection against the U.S. federal government;

          • his losses in over five dozen court cases related to the Big Lie about the 2020 election;

          • his loss at the Supreme Court vis-á-vis keeping his tax information out of the hands of New York prosecutors;

          • his multiple failed businesses (e.g., Trump University);

          • his multiple failures to turn a profit with a casino;

          • the multiple bankruptcies that have made him a huge credit risk; or

          • his numerous failed marriages?

          Please specify the loss to which you refer. After all, Donald Trump is one hell of a loser, so figuring out which loss you’re talking about can be a pain without context.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Mar 2021 @ 6:43am

            Re:

            "Please specify the loss to which you refer."

            I'm sure the AC in question just didn't have the stamina to fully describe the amount of losing Trump has done. There's been so much losing that people are getting sick of it, after all.

            To the Trumpists, of course, all of your examples look like solid wins, after their cognitive filters have been applied.
            I'm not really sure you can blame them much given that Trump did manage to proudly float himself into the oval office, like a rotund turd born on a flood of campaign funds courtesy of the russian state bank. "Self-funded", my ass...

            Wanna bet that come 2024 the 73 million benighted morons who voted for him last time will still faithfully try to push him into office so he can finally give it to the liberals and brown people good 'an 'ard - which is the only thing they really care about now.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 1:57pm

      Re: So "freedom of association" doesn't apply to all corporation

      Clearly, you wish the gov't to FORCE corporations to not only associate with their competitors but to allow them use their own networks!

      The networks all utilize public infrastructure. The nature of the internet is that it is an interconnected series of networks. If companies don't want to "associate" as you've decided to twist the usage of the word, then they need to not connect to the internet. They can try to be a 21st century AOL or Prodigy and see how that works out for them.

      Why, then, does Techdirt / fanboys advocate that Facebook / Google / Twitter have unlimited control over their mere web-site hosting?

      Website hosting? Google has Google Sites, which isn't used much, but those companies aren't primarily or dominant web hosts. Do you know what you're talking about?

      To the detriment of the Free Speech Rights of hundreds of millions of persons?

      The First Amendment only protects individuals from government interference in their speech. There is no legal right to use a social media platform anymore than Google has a right to send employees into your home to make speeches you disagree with. The 1st Amendment protects you exactly the same way. If you do away with this right and force corporations to carry your speech, then you likewise can be forced to carry the speech of others. You're actively arguing against freedom of speech while using freedom of speech as battlecry.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous asshat, 2 Mar 2021 @ 10:04am

    Natural monopoly???

    Back in aught eight when I still had dial up because Comcast's "high speed internet" was slower than a 56k modem I looked into setting up my own neighborhood ISP. From a technical standpoint there was nothing preventing me from running fiber from my house to the L3 hub a couple miles away. A survey of my neighbors indicated that there was more than enough demand for the business case to close. What stopped me was the fact that Comcast's minions in the government crafted regulations that made it virtually impossible to hang my fiber on the existing poles or install my own poles.

    This is an artificial monopoly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 11:01am

      Re: Natural monopoly???

      A natural monopoly means that the infrastructure will become single owner, (in an area) because it is not possible to maintain a competing infra structure when it becomes largely idle because most customers are using the competition. The modern example of this is the abandonment of copper phobe services where cable, whether over cable or fibre serve the same areas. Mobile is also beating out copper in remoter areas where it is very expensive to maintain copper.

      So maybe you could have run you fibre to serve you local community, but how long would you have kept it gong after a large company brought fibre into your area?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        anonymous asshat, 2 Mar 2021 @ 1:53pm

        Re:how long would you have kept it gong?

        Verizon installed Fios in my neighborhood in 2011(IIRC). After that Comcast finally upgraded their cable infrastructure. Now we have two ISPs offering decent speed. Both are more expensive than what I would have had to charge to close the business case. You've asked the wrong question. You should have asked how long could I have kept it growing into adjacent neighborhoods until the usual suspects would be forced to cut their prices.

        I wish I could answer that better question. There are 1.2 million people in Allegheny County(Pittsburgh, PA). I'd love to know how many of them I could be selling lower cost high speed internet to but alas, twas not to be. Not even Google can compete with the artificial monopoly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 2:36pm

          Re: Re:how long would you have kept it gong?

          With two networks serving the same area, a question of how much capacity does each install. Say both decide that they will install to be able to provide service to 75% of the premises, then there is 1/3 of the installed capacity left unused. If one is more popular, the other has the problem of up to 50% of their capacity is unused. This will be reflected in higher prices, or one of them going bankrupt.

          Also, with separate networks, switching providers will be expensive, as one provider has a connection into your building to remove, and the other one to Install.

          If both install for 100% service coverage, then 50% of installed capacity will remain unused. Also, the situation is unstable, as once one supplier gains the majority of the potential customers, the other will be making a significant loss to remain anywhere near on prices, and end up going out of business.

          A two provider situation in the US is a result of an era when phones and cable TV used very different technologies, and provided different services to the same customers. Now they are competing for the same customers, due to technology convergence, and cable is competing against online streaming services. With no effective regulation, things could get interesting for you in the next few years.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            anonymous asshat, 2 Mar 2021 @ 3:21pm

            Re: Re: Re:how long would you have kept it gong?

            I'll start with the easy point first. Comcast didn't remove anything. They said they were going to send me a box for the router but they didn't even to do that. Instead I had to drive to their office in McKees Rocks to return their kit.

            The capacity argument is a joke. Pre-pandemic both systems bogged down during evenings and weekends. With remote learning daytime is also bad now too. The notion that there is enough capacity to serve 75% of the premises is laughable.

            You seem to be woefully uniformed about the history of telecommunications in America. If you want to sound less uniformed then I suggest you do some reading. The Wikipedia article on the Kingsbury Commitment is a decent starting point.

            Disclaimer: I am what is described as a classical liberal. I don't know you're intent but it appears you are trying to talk down to me as if I were a bigger government socialist. Please stop. Arguments tailored to bigger government socialists are wasted on me.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 4:27pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:how long would you have kept it gong?

              The capacity argument is a joke.

              I was not discussing capacity of a connection, but rather the number of premises in an area that the infrastructure can serve. That is a cost consideration, as it decide the number of cables or fibres run to the roadside cabinets, and the number of connections that a cabinet can support. I.e, given a cluster of 100 homes, how many of those can each provider serve at the same time. If it is say 75, hard luck if you are the 76 person to ask for service from them, as they will not have the infrastructure to serve you and you will have to go with the other provider.. Also, the other provider has to stay in business with only 25 customers even if they can also serve 75. Long term that is why one company get driven out of an area.

              Comcast at least removed their router, and I presume Verizon, assuming you went with them, ran a connection into your house.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                anonymous asshat, 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:28pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:how long would you have kept it gong?

                Connections aren't the issue. The issue is oversubscribed bandwidth. As I said, I looked into setting up my own neighborhood ISP. Don't waste your time with arguments you know I am too well informed to fall for.

                Comcast didn't remove their router. They couldn't even send me a shipping box to send it back like they promised they would. I had to drive to their office to drop it off. That trip took me over two hours of my time.

                Once again I'd like to point out that I am not a socialist. Leninist corporate socialism arguments are wasted on me.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 8:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:how long would you have kept it gong?

                  Once again I'd like to point out that I am not a socialist. Leninist corporate socialism arguments are wasted on me.

                  Keep your fingers in your ears then, because I did not mention government interference once.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    anonymous asshat, 3 Mar 2021 @ 12:50pm

                    Re: because I did not mention government interference once.

                    You're trying to defend your claim that my neighborhood did not suffer under an artificial monopoly in 2008. This entire conversation is about government interference and how said interference has been abused.

                    I'm going to try this one more time. I am a classical liberal. Arguments crafted for the perspective of the central planner solving for the wrong problem in a Potemkin village are wasted on me. If you want to have any hope of swaying my opinion you need to argue from the perspective of the market capitalist solving for the actual problems in the existing marketplace.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 1:50pm

                      Re: Re: because I did not mention government interference once.

                      How many time are you prepared to pay for infrastructure. Unless infrastructure is regulated as a shared common resource, like has happened in Europe, competition requires duplication of that infrastructure, or dividing the market in local areas between competitors. Making the infrastructure common, including the exchange buildings, allow for competition at the ISP level.

                      You have seen what happened with the break up of AT&T, which just resulted in local monopolies which are rebuilding themselves in AT&T2. Why do you think that broadband competition would work any better.

                      Where the objective is to serve everybody involves a large infrastructure investment, local monopoly is the natural condition. Roads, electricity, mains gas, common sewage, and telecoms/broadband, all require expensive infrastructure, and should therefore be regulated as a natural monopoly.

                      US regulatory agencies are prone to capture, but that is a function of how they are set up, and in particular the political patronage and churn of top level management. You do not solve a political problem by deregulating an industry, but rather by working to remove the party politics from industrial regulation.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        anonymous asshat, 3 Mar 2021 @ 3:03pm

                        Re: and should therefore be regulated as a natural monopoly.

                        So you are in favor of properly regulating ISPs under Title II then?

                        That's fine but you aren't making the case that internet service in my neighborhood is a natural monopoly. The existing infrastructure could support at least six different providers. The only reason it doesn't is because regulations make it virtually impossible to access existing infrastructure(utility poles) or to install my own infrastructure in the existing right of way.

                        What I live with is an artificial monopoly.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 3:21pm

                          Re: Re: and should therefore be regulated as a natural monopoly.

                          Say you build your ISP, and the another company comes along and takes away half or more of you customers, how long would you survive. Not your infrastructure has little value to that company, because they have already duplicated it. More to the point, how many of those six providers that you propose will be able to remain in business if they have built a network capable of serving most of the available customers in the area.

                          A natural monopoly is not caused by physically limited resources, but rather by competition requiring that companies build build infrastructure with a high risk of a significant part of it remaining or becoming idle. When that happens competitors go out of business.

                          The copper telephone system is being abandoned, and not being replaced where cable already has the market, along with mobile taking the actual phone calls business away from copper. Market forces will not solve the monopoly problem with broadband, because economics are what create the monopoly.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • identicon
                            anonymous asshat, 3 Mar 2021 @ 6:58pm

                            Re: another company comes along and takes away half or more...

                            or more of you customers, how long would you survive.

                            I survive as long as I run my own business effectively. If I don't respond to changing market conditions and lose half or more of my customers that is my fault and I deserve to go out of business.

                            The reason market capitalism is worthwhile is that a supplier that can better serve the needs of the customer forces competitors to change or go out of business. This is a feature, not a bug.

                            Re: Not your infrastructure has little value to that company, because they have already duplicated it.

                            If Comcast had actually duplicated the necessary capacity then my goal, providing quality internet service, was accomplished. Sure, I and my investors would have lost our investment but that is how capitalism is supposed to work.

                            The reality is there currently isn't enough capacity to meet demand.

                            Re: how many of those six providers that you propose...

                            I didn't propose six providers. I said the existing infrastructure can support at least six providers. This is based on regulations for how far apart communications lines have to be spaced and how much space is available on the poles.

                            Note that I said at least six. This is because there are a few locations where either Comcast of Verizon would have to shift their lines by up to a few inches to support eight.

                            Re: will be able to remain in business if they have built a network capable of serving most of the available customers in the area.

                            There's a saying about what happens when you assume.

                            My initial roll out targeted up to 10% market share in my neighborhood. This was to be targeted at the section of my neighborhood nearest my house, or roughly a third of the geographical area. Further expansion would have been based on the response of the market. I never got that far because the government enforced artificial monopoly ensured I could not enter the market.

                            How many reasonably well run suppliers could stay in business? Well we know that number is greater than two given the fact that the two current suppliers aren't meeting the needs of the consumers. I don't know how much greater because regulations have created an artificial monopoly->duopoly which prevents new suppliers from entering the broadband market.

                            Re: The copper telephone system is being abandoned, and not being replaced, and not being replaced where cable already has the market

                            Have I not stated several times Verizon installed Fios in my neighborhood?

                            Copper isn't being replaced like-for-like because copper phone lines is an outdated technology. Fiber optics offer far better data rates per capital dollar invested. You might as well be defending buggy whip makers.

                            Re: along with mobile taking the actual phone calls business away from copper.

                            And?

                            For the most part mobile phone service is now at least as good as a landline, plus one doesn't have to be at home to make or receive calls. Sure, Superman no longer has phone booths to change in but the vast majority of Americans are much better off with just the mobile bill to pay.

                            Re: A natural monopoly is not caused by physically limited resources, but rather by competition requiring that companies build build infrastructure with a high risk of a significant part of it remaining or becoming idle. When that happens competitors go out of business.

                            OK, but we're not talking about a natural monopoly here. We're talking about an artificial monopoly enforced by big government. Remove the unfair advantage and competitors can begin entering the telecoms market again.

                            Re: Market forces will not solve the monopoly problem with broadband, because economics are what create the monopoly.

                            I already gave you a starting point, the Kingsbury Commitment. Learn how the US telecoms sector works or don't. It is your choice. Don't blame market forces that, with the exception of a brief period after the breakup of Ma Bell that ended with the W administration, haven't existed for over a century.

                            Please don't talk at me as if I'm a conservative Marxist. Despite the flaws market capitalism is a superior economic system. For evidence compare and contrast the economics of Vietnam and North Korea with special focus given to the period after the introduction of đổi mới. If you really have to argue from a socialist's standpoint at least go with a form of market socialism that allows inferior suppliers to fail.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2021 @ 4:48am

                              Re: Re: another company comes along and takes away half or more.

                              Remove the unfair advantage and competitors can begin entering the telecoms market again.

                              And just how well did breaking up AT&T work as a means of introducing competition? The only way a comp[any expanded into a neighbouring territory was by acquiring its neighbour.

                              My initial roll out targeted up to 10% market share in my neighborhood.

                              And that is how to fail at infrastructure projects. If you main fibre run from the exchange point to your cabinets has limited capacity, expanding capacity will be expensive, using another pole slot if available, otherwise by replacing the run you have installed, with all the disruption that involves. In practice the infrastructure is built to meet predicted future needs. Those pole slots disappear rapidly if one is used every time more capacity is required.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • identicon
                                anonymous asshat, 4 Mar 2021 @ 5:36pm

                                Re: And just how well did breaking up AT&T work

                                Other than the failure to break up the artificial monopolies I keep talking about the AT&T breakup worked out very well.

                                Re: If you main fibre run from the exchange point to your cabinets has limited capacity

                                You're assuming again.

                                In the real world the primary limiting factor is the cost of the electronics in the cabinets. The cost of the electronic is so high there is a potential business case for shipping ZBLAN preforms to orbit, drawing fiber, then returning the fiber for sale on Earth. There are multiple companies including Fiber Optics Manufacturing in Space (FOMS), Made In Space (MIS), and Physical Optics Corporation (POC) currently testing production prototypes on ISS. Here is an article which covers the critical points.

                                https://upward.issnationallab.org/the-race-to-manufacture-zblan/

                                My expansion plan including adding another run to the L3 hub. The reason wasn't due to limited capacity on the initial fiber run. The reason was a single run is a single point of failure. The second run would have followed a different route to allow redundancy so customers wouldn't lose service when the inevitable happened and the first run went down.

                                Look. I did the research that needed to be done to create what would have been a viable business plan if not for the artificial monopoly. Based on what you have said it appears you have not done the research needed to be able to speak from a position of authority. If you have any points that are actually valid please raise them. Otherwise I believe we are done here.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    dbrower (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 11:28am

    Please stop saying 'The [outlet] says' when it is a column

    It's not the view of the outlet, it's the view of the person that wrote it.

    Fair to complain about giving them space, but it's inflammatory to ascribe the opinions to the outlet itself.

    I just hate that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    dbrower (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 11:35am

    Please stop saying "The says" when it is some columnist

    Just because they published the opinion doesn't make it the view of the editorial board or the news department.

    I just hate this kind of headline.

    Fair to complain about giving somebody space, but ascribing the views to the outlet is just incorrect and inflammatory.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 2 Mar 2021 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Please stop saying "The says" when it is some columnist

      Just because they published the opinion doesn't make it the view of the editorial board or the news department.

      Both Shira Ovide AND Cecilia Kang work for the NYT and it was not an opinion piece from some third party, it was a newsletter. We must then assume that this is the view the NYT holds.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 12:27pm

      'We neither agree with or find value in this, but here it is.'

      Ignoring for a moment that we're not talking about some random yahoo but an employee of the paper if they're willing to publish it then it seems fair to assume that even if they don't agree with it they at least consider it valuable enough to share, and as such I see no problem in linking the two at least to that extent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Drew Wilson, 2 Mar 2021 @ 1:43pm

      Re: Please stop saying "The says" when it is some columnist

      Just because they published the opinion doesn't make it the view of the editorial board or the news department.

      This is a very common tactic for shady publications. They run boatloads of "opinion pieces" all pushing the same agenda. When they get called out on their lies, the publication responds (if they do) by saying, "well, that was just the opinion of that person. We're just an honest publication that runs opinions of people across the board" before dusting their hands of the complaints and continuing to spray the fire hose of misinformation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:54pm

      Re: Please stop saying "The says" when it is some columnist

      If the editorial board signed off on it that is what they wanted in the newspaper. It is their job to decide whst stories to include and how they are presented. If they publish a crazed murderer's manifesto to give insight as to what drove him and included it like a regular editorial column it is their own goddamn fault that people now think that they approve of a message that pacifists are the cause of all the worls wars and believe elbonians are worthless parasites who breed like flees on rabbits.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan Rayburn, 2 Mar 2021 @ 12:22pm

    "the net neutrality fight has always really been about monopolization and a lack of broadband competition."

    The FCC has no legal control over monopolization. That's the FTC that rules on those mergers. So Net Neutrality, from a legal standpoint, has nothing to do with "broadband" monopolies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 2 Mar 2021 @ 1:37pm

    Leopards eating faces party.

    This is a classic example of the story of the Leopards Eating Faces party.

    At no point does the author consider that a non-neutral Internet might discriminate against the NY Times. Why? Cluelessness or malice?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2021 @ 6:39pm

      Re: Leopards eating faces party.

      W
      What?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 7:04pm

        The phrase “Leopards Eating Faces Party” refers to a viral Twitter post. In Whoever’s callback to that tweet, “getting rid of Network Neutrality” represents the Leopards Eating Faces Party, and The New York Times represents the entity that will eventually regret voting for said party despite the obvious outcome/consequences thereof.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Mar 2021 @ 6:38am

          Re:

          Also known as the "Original Position Fallacy".

          In light of the last four years this would refer to the people most eager to vote for Trump, holler against net neutrality, or oppose section 230 all happening to be the people most likely to be directly harmed by the phenomenon they advocate.

          Exemplified in the OP by the NYT arguing for crippling the infrastructure on which they themselves rely extensively.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 10:04pm

          Re:

          That's an interesting formulation of "i so very regret that i am so stupid as to shoot my own foot that i will even admit to it". Had not been aware of that meme, thanks.

          But honestly my confusion more stemmed from the word "author”, the referent to which i likely misplaced in a brain fart.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 4:50am

        Re: Re: Leopards eating faces party.

        'I never thought leopards would eat MY face,' sobs person who voted for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2021 @ 10:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Leopards eating faces party.

          We in the WAAGNFN Party fully anticipate that for which we strive. Leopards sound awful.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Mar 2021 @ 12:25am

    Something something all in favor of turning the USF over entirely to Sonic to have them wire the nation & giving them special federal rights to do 1 touch make ready across the nation say
    Fuck the Times!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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