Net Neutrality: Comcast Blocking Netflix


#323

Presumably, he’s thinking the actions by ATT etc. against competitors were okay and justifiable, not that they didn’t happen.


#324

Which is my default view of the world as well, but it obviously doesn’t work when you have so little competition.

Why do we have so little competition? Well, let’s just ignore the incredible expense to run a cable literally everywhere in the US. Instead, let’s focus on how it’s so fucking hard to get approval to run wire due to all the regulations, whether underground or on poles.

Just trying to figure out who owns that pole, let alone getting permission can be a nightmare of permits and time. Then you typically have to hire that owner’s crew to perform the work, and haha, good luck they don’t fuck it up because they actively don’t care, don’t understand your systems, and don’t want your shit on their pole anyways.

The answer is of course to get rid of those regulations. Then we can have a true free market and oh… now cable infrastructure looks like this:

I am sure there is a balance out there somewhere that would work, but in the meantime I would like to keep my net neutrality.


#325

Someone pointed out that the real danger is not that broadcasters will start blocking stuff, or charging more.

The much more likely scenario, which we literally already see in some other countries, is that they start selling tiny packages like “Facebook” for small amounts.

The effect of this is that some large chunk of the market will simply be confined, by choice, to a walled garden of internet content.

This won’t necessarily damage their current experience. They’ll get what they currently use.

But it will absolutely stifle innovation on the internet. You will dramatically limit the ability for new startups to get a foothold, because no one will have an internet connection that connects to their stuff… since no one will pay for “internet site which I don’t even know exists, but may have something cool.”

Things like Netflix, or Amazon, or YouTube, or (insert literally ANY internet service you use) would never have been able to come into existence in that kind of environment. You wouldn’t have ANY of them.

That is why the removal of net neutrality will harm us. Not even due to some direct malfeasance on the part of the internet providers… but merely an unintended consequence of an ala carte internet content offering.


#326

Especially when Netflix and the like are killing cable subscriptions, you can almost guarantee a “Streaming Video” package is going to have a hefty fee associated with it. If you make it expensive enough, cable TV suddenly becomes more competitive again.


#327

Over time, I’m becoming convinced that this sort of market failure mode is responsible for a lot of shitty things. Sort of indirect effects that create coordination problems that end up entrenching existing players. It would be great if government acted to break up this sort of thing, but it is usually working on the other direction.


#328

And, again I’ll point out that folks are focusing a lot on the ISP end of things and missing the fact that the hardcore fuckery will happen at the carrier/backbone level.

In a perfect world there would be tons of competition at the ISP level which would check some of the worst price gouging and blocking/shaping/prioritizing abuses directly affecting consumers but, even then, it wouldn’t matter because everyone’s traffic ultimately rides the same network once it leaves your ISP’s network. (I’m speaking broadly when I say the same network. There are many backbone providers and many routes for your data to take but everything is connected and interdependent. That is the nature of the Internet)

The great examples of past anti-competitive abuse posted above get to the heart of the sort of conflicts that arise when you set aside net neutrality and if this sort of abuse occurs at the backbone level, it ends up affecting everyone, not just people who get their access through a specific provider. So if AT&T wakes up one day and decides to kill Netflix, It’s easily done and would affect everyone


#329

…and of course the other unintended consequence of all this is that all those startups that are happening today are helping drive the actual economy. Stop them from starting up and you have economic downturn and all those tax plan dollars that are supposed to suddenly appear to counter the deficit never show up, etc., etc.

These people are just dumb.


#330

Working as designed. It’s harder to rally against the government when your population is spoon fed messages only the government wants them to hear.


#331

People are focusing on the ISP’s mostly due to the fact that … well, there is only one in most locations, and that is all they see: a monthly bill with a tally of options. If I had to explain to my family how the carrier side of the internet worked, I’m pretty sure there would be people dozing off in a few minutes. Yep, there will be stuff going on there, but it will be out of sight, out of mind.

I guess we will find out what happens soon enough, but I can’t see much being done to enterprise customers, but I could see a LOT of fuckery being done at the consumer level.


#332

Well, people aren’t wrong to focus on the ISPs. I get exactly what you’re saying, but it’s easier for Joe America to understand “Comcast would likely raise your bill by doing X”.

Most people have no idea how the internet works.People’s eyes are going to glaze over when you start talking about backbones and peering port bottlenecks. For the majority of people, the internet is just magic. They understand their monthly payment to Comcast, though.


#333

I use both when I explain to people how abolishing Net Neutrality is a Really Bad Thing.

I start by comparing what will likely happen to their “internet bill” as akin to what happened to their cable bills in the 90’s and 00’s. Want to use Netflix? Pay extra, want Hulu? Extra. Youtube? Extra. Are you or your kids online gamers? WAY Extra. That 50Mbps connection you have now that meets all the needs of your busy electronic household for a flat $60 per month…kiss it goodbye. Say hello instead to 10Mbps “Basic Service” for $30 a month. Then add tiers and speed in increments of $10 to $20 a month, or just opt for our “Unlimited” package with 100Mbps and access to all online content for only $120 a month. If you already have TV with us we’ll knock $20 off that! So amazing!

Then, should that uppity Netflix get ideas about paying us their “access fee”, we can shut off access to them during the dispute, for however long that takes, and you still pay the same amount on your bill, just like what happens with cable companies and network carriage fees now. If we really get into a furball with Netflix, we will simply use the power we hold over internet traffic routing to block access to them for anyone that travels through connections we control, effective holding them hostage until they pay up or go under.

This is the internet of the future. And unlike TV, there will be no way to cut the cord and find an alternative.


#334

I wonder if they’ll create a separate service for “International” sites, like phone calls? Gotta nip that “Globalism” problem in the bud!


#335

Imagine if electric companies could charge different rates for different appliances.

It’s not that, “of course they’ll charge you more if you use more electricity.”

It’s more like, “they’ll charge you 3x as much if you use brand X washing machine than if use brand Y, with whom they have a deal with.”


#336

Maybe the net can be more like TV and just have random blackouts from specific sites when the ISP argues with them over rates!


#337

The funny thing is that folks like klaatu can’t articulate even one tiny example of how net neutrality is detrimental. How it would actually harm him as a consumer.

No one is able to articulate such a point, because there is not one to be made.


#338

In a sense, isn’t this the case?

If your isp and YouTube get in to a fight, you might find YouTube unusable, with both sides blaming the other.


#339

That’s what we’re heading for, yeah.


#340

Probably a year ago I had century Link and suddenly YouTube videos no longer loaded during prime time, like at all, but if I used a VPN, or my phone, everything was perfect. This mysteriously started happening for no reason I could tell and lasted a couple months, with each side blaming the other. Nothing but YouTube was affected.

I was not alone in experiencing this.

My feeling is that this was likely an intentional act by my isp during a dispute with YouTube. Obviously it is hard to tell though.


#341

I’m sure there’s also a political dimension to net neutrality - “FoxNews.com is free but if you want fake news CNN.com, you have to pay more”.


#342

For the people you need to convince, make sure you’re saying “Cnn.com is free but foxnews and infowars could be blocked without paying extra”