None Of The Claimed Benefits Of Killing Net Neutrality Ever Arrived

from the fluff-and-nonsense dept

So just over a year ago the FCC quickly rushed to kill net neutrality at telecom lobbyists’ behest. As we noted last week, the repeal did far more than just kill net neutrality protections; it effectively freed uncompetitive telecom providers from most meaningful oversight. With a few notable exceptions, most ISPs have tried to remain on their best behavior for two reasons: one, they’re worried about the ongoing lawsuit from 23 State AGs that could potentially restore the rules any day now. And two, they don’t want to run afoul of the nearly two dozen states that passed their own net neutrality rules in the wake of the repeal.

Of course this all occurred because of the Ajit Pai FCC claim that killing the rules would result in amazing broadband growth, competition, and investment. But as people keep digging into the numbers, they’ve (surprise!) increasingly realized that absolutely none of those promises ever materialized (and aren’t likely to without more competition). The latest case in point comes courtesy of longtime journalist Rob Pegoraro, who again noted how that supposed investment boon never happened, and in fact many ISPs are already pulling back on investment thanks to limited competition and tepid regulatory oversight:

“Figures USTelecom posted in February, for example, show Verizon cutting its investment by 3.4% from 2017 to 2018. And the 3.9% increase shown for AT&T (T) vanishes if you subtract the $1.2 billion the firm spent in 2018 on the government-backed FirstNet emergency-responder network. And last week, AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan told attendees at an investor conference that the firm would slow its fiber build-out.”

Funny, that.

Pegoraro also spoke to a number of small ISPs Ajit Pai said would be particularly aided by the gutting of popular consumer protections. They similarly couldn’t actually provide any concrete examples of how the killing of net neutrality aided them, outside of some vague, unsubstantiated claims that it was harder to get a bank loan with the rules in place. Before the repeal, Pai had circulated all manner of massaged data trying to suggest that small ISPs had been harmed by the fairly modest (by international standards) neutrality protections, something the FCC’s own data disproved.

And while the Pai FCC has been trying in recent weeks to suggest that the net neutrality rules resulted in a huge boost in investment and broadband speed, that too is based on flimsy, massaged data. For example the FCC has tried to claim that killing net neutrality resulted in historic fiber deployment, but at least half of last year’s fiber growth was actually thanks to fiber build out conditions affixed by the previous FCC to AT&T’s 2015 merger with DirecTV. And much of the data cited by the FCC showing broadband speed and coverage improvement was collected before net neutrality was even formally repealed. Go figure.

On the flip side, Pegoraro notes that none of the doomsday scenarios portrayed by net neutrality advocates really occurred either. But he fails to note that’s not because ISPs didn’t want to. ISPs didn’t want to dramatically shift their business models only to have the AG lawsuit restore the FCC’s 2015 rules, making them suddenly out of compliance. And they didn’t want to violate numerous state net neutrality laws that popped up in the wake of the repeal, several of which (like in Washington State) actually go a bit further than the original FCC rules did.

Should the AG lawsuit against the FCC be victorious (a ruling should drop any day now), the FCC’s 2015 rules could be restored, likely triggering an appeal and possible Supreme Court challenge. Should the AG lawsuit fail, it’s likely ISPs will start being far less subtle about their efforts to abuse the lack of competition to nickel-and-dime you in creative new ways. But again, those claiming that net neutrality didn’t matter because it’s been a year and the internet didn’t implode are really only advertising that they have no real idea what they’re talking about.

More importantly, a year’s hindsight has made it clear none of the repeal’s purported benefits were actually real. And they weren’t real because the repeal had only one real purpose: to help entrenched telecom monopolies make more money on the back of a captive customer base. That tends to get lost in the verbose discussion about policy, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

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Comments on “None Of The Claimed Benefits Of Killing Net Neutrality Ever Arrived”

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50 Comments
PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

What he means is that he’s been fed the "logic" that Netflix et al somehow freeload off ISPs because they won’t pay a 3rd time for the same bandwidth that both they and their end users have already paid for.

Basically, anyone anti-NN either has no idea what it means, or has a vested interest in the internet becoming a one-way broadcast medium.

nSpectresays:

Re: Re: free bandwidth!!!

No, these morons are trying to make the case that an ISP’s subscribers are only paying for their OUTBOUND traffic, not the RETURN traffic coming back into the ISP, back to the subscriber, in response to the subscriber’s request. So SOMEONE has to pay for that "free bandwidth".

They seem utterly oblivious to the fact that the inbound traffic would not be there if the ISP’s paying subscribers hadn’t requested the data first. Netflix and other content providers on the Internet do not greedily SHOVE traffic onto an ISP’s network unbidden and "for free". It is not "Free Bandwidth!!!"

The traffic BOTH ways has already been paid for by the ISP’s subscriber.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Net Neutrality should also include content, i.e., censorship.

No it should not, because we are talking about things at infrastructure level, levels 1, 2, 3, and maybe 4 of the OSI level. Not level 7, the user/application level.

ISPs should not be forced to give free bandwidth to anyone.

They aren’t and never were. Where do you get your delusions anyway?

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ha ha, you think that anyone dumb enough to make these arguments would be technical enough to understand the basic OSI model? Please…

"Where do you get your delusions anyway?"

The ISPs that were trying to get NN protections removed claimed that they needed to be paid a 3rd time for the bandwidth he uses – and he believed them!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices, effectively forcing it to host content it doesn’t want to (at that price).

For Twitter, the public-square/common-carrier arguments that apply to the postal service and phone company would be the justification, though many pretend not to understand that concept.

ECAsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

UM…
we are talking about ISP, the People who put things on Poles..
NOW if you want net Neutrality..
they are Talking about 3rd party companies that want Access to the Main hub, that the ISP is in control of. Smaller companies that will hit the outlying areas..
YEP, they will probably want to advert and have backers…THATS THEIR SERVICE.. Even the BIG ISP’s advert, even to customers..

Its already been suggested that the BIG ISP’s want what the BIG internet concerns have. Those that arnt really selling access.
But the ISP’s dont understand what it takes to Survive out in the WILD of the internet…
AND as google proved, those out in the Wild internet, Dont understand what it takes to Install NEW LINES, UPDATE OLD SYSTEMS, CREATE a NEW service…

But the ISP’s dont want to update anything EITHER.. They wish to hit ONLY the High population areas, in DOWNTOWN, to the Companies and corps, that Pay GREAT amounts of money for the service. its the residential areas that are going to suffer, with this logic.

Understnad HOW/WHEN the Cable system was installed. Start in the 60’s and Keep adding updates to an old system, and expanding the area, over and over every few years.. Between all the Patches, and changes and NEW/OLd wires… This is about as Bad as being a Plumber, and wondering whats in this OLD building you just got a call from..Lead pipes/steel/black pipe, Soldered all in 1 pipes, Addins, that WENT someplace but have been changed with something else, Plastic, copper…What is going to be here..
If no one EVER paid attention to the old and new, and updated the OLD….its going to be a War trying to FIX all of it..OR, forget the old, and JUST install over it..Which means tearing up the walls/ceiling/and Every thing to replace what was there…
The NEXT WORST format is electrical wiring that been around since the 1800’s. When you had 2 BARE wires running Separated by 18-35 inches..Outlets Stuck in walls, and the walls are Slowly crumbling, BECAUSE they are old..

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices, effectively forcing it to host content it doesn’t want to (at that price).

Data transmission, which is the job of the ISPs has nothing to do with hosting, but only in connecting you to the host. Besides which Twitter et all pay handsomely to connect from their data centres to your local ISP, who you pay handsomely to carry the data both ways over the last mile.

Also, you ISP should come under common carrier rules, as they sit between you and every site porn the Internet that you wish to use. Twitter et al. on the other hand do not, as they are just sites that you can visit or ignore as you wish, and you do not use their services to get to other sites, nor are they the only way you can communicate with other people over the Internet. Your local ISP on the other hand is the only way you can communicate over the Internet.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices

No it doesn’t. Please note that the net neutrality rules of 2015 specifically DID NOT regulate prices and explicitly said they were not going to regulate prices.

effectively forcing it to host content

ISP bandwidth hosts nothing, it’s a transmission medium, not a hosting server.

it doesn’t want to (at that price)

Again, it doesn’t host anything and should never be anything more than a dumb pipe. If someone they don’t like wants to buy access to the internet to run a site they don’t like, they are free not to sell them that access. Problem solved. Net neutrality also did not force ISPs to sell access to everyone no matter what.

For Twitter, the public-square/common-carrier arguments that apply to the postal service and phone company would be the justification

Twitter is not a public square nor a common carrier. It’s no different than a private corporation renting out a building for parties and events. They are free to do business with whomever they wish and kick out whomever they wish for violating their rules of using said building. Additionally, Twitter doesn’t transmit anything or "carry" anything, especially across state lines. They HOST content. It sits static on their servers and people use applications to view it.

A public square is, by definition, run by some level of government, Twitter is not, therefore it is not a public square. A common-carrier is:

a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport.

Twitter transports nothing.

though many pretend not to understand that concept

Considering you just misstated how net neutrality and what rules private companies are bound by, that would actually be you who doesn’t understand the concepts being discussed.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Net Neutrality should also include content, i.e., censorship.
Lol. This is like saying black should also include white.
ISPs should not be forced to give free bandwidth to anyone.
There is no free bandwidth is already paid by the consumer. What ISPs want to do is have both parties pays. So it would be like the mailman has your mail. It already is fully paid for by the sender. But you are forced to pay for it again.
Personally once ISPs start causing issues with my bandwidth, I will spin up a VPS and have the data encrypted.

Anonymoussays:

instead of investment, the likes of AT&T have actually cut 25k jobs! how the fuck has that been allowed when the promise of removing ‘net neutrality’ and giving further tax breaks would increase investment and jobs? the American telecoms industry along with the broadband side is a total disaster, a fucking joke to almost every other country in the ‘developed world’, mostly because of the complete lack of competition which is stopped by politicians interested in lining their own pockets only! representing the people who voted for them is never in their minds but with the likes of two-faced cunts such as Mitch McConnell doing whatever they can to make sure of their kickbacks, there isn’t a hope in hell of anything changing. not, that is, unless the public actually grows a pair and kicks these fuckers out of office!!

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re:

If Trump is so horrible, why do you want to give his gov more control over the internet?

LOL wut?

Net neutrality isn’t giving the government control over the internet (don’t believe all of Ted Cruz’s talking points, it’ll make you dumb). It just is detailing a short list of bad behavior that is not allowed if you’re an internet access provider.

Do you believe that the 1st Amendment is "giving the government contol over speech"?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Nor has it killed the internet

Net Neutrality Death toll: Still 0

Maybe you should RTFA!!!

On the flip side, Pegoraro notes that none of the doomsday scenarios portrayed by net neutrality advocates really occurred either. But he fails to note that’s not because ISPs didn’t want to. ISPs didn’t want to dramatically shift their business models only to have the AG lawsuit restore the FCC’s 2015 rules, making them suddenly out of compliance. And they didn’t want to violate numerous state net neutrality laws that popped up in the wake of the repeal, several of which (like in Washington State) actually go a bit further than the original FCC rules did.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

Anyone who actually thinks that needs a good slap – there have been tens of thousands of deaths from measles this year alone (but not in the US so they somehow doesn’t count, of course), and I believe that the last known death in the US from the disease was in 2015.

I just hope those morons are eradicated before they do any further damage, but their stupidity seems more contagious than the disease is currently.

That One Guysays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

Unfortunately for the idea of anti-vaxxers all earning Darwin Awards and making the world a better place by their absence, most of them probably did get vaccinated as children, and as such will have at least some resistance to the diseases they’re trying to bring back.

Where it gets really nasty however is that the kids of plague protectionists(among other innocents) are the ones in the metaphorical line of fire, as thanks to their idiot parents they aren’t likely to be vaccinated and are therefore completely vulnerable if an infected individual happens to get close enough, meaning they get to risk suffering if not death thanks to their parents’ monumental stupidity/gullibility.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

Yes, it definitely is a problem because it will affect both the kids of those people and the people who currently depend on herd immunity, and not the idiots themselves. I just hope the numbers of kids who needlessly die from measles, get crippled by polio, etc. are still lower when they finally realise what they’ve demanded.

Anonymoussays:

My cable internet bill went up 25% in the first four months of the year. In August they get their equipment back. I can get internet at work and the library and she only wants 3 or 4 channels, and we are paying for a lot more. I don’t watch television. See Ya in the dog days of summer Comcast. Sad that AT&T will get the TV money though.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

Well, the silver lining of the pandemic might be that in the years since I made my original comment, the ability of measles to mutate and grow to more deadly strains has been delayed by a decade or two. Maybe the anti-vaxxers’ offspring will not go down that road themselves after seeing first hand how vaccination managed to get the world back to normal after a real outbreak of a disease.

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