Friday, May 16, 2014

FCC Let's Us Down Again

"The Federal Communication Commission voted Thursday morning to move forward with proposed rules for net neutrality that may affect the concept of an open internet as it exists today," writes RT. It was a 3-2 vote again, which means no consensus at the commission either. The public is furious. But Comcast and VZ are pretty happy; their lobby power will now kick in full steam ahead.

I wrote briefly about this issue before the vote. Go back as far as Powell as FCC Chair to see that the consumer and the independent company had no voice at the FCC. None. It's all about politics, big campaign donations and that is it.

Amidst the whole Net Neutrality debate is a very simple thought: our economy is tied to the Internet. Period.

If you mess with an open Internet, our economy will shrink. Google, Amazon, Netflix -- all started as Internet start-ups in a garage. All the new jobs in America come from small business. That's right. Despite what the politicians would have you believe, all job growth comes from small business. (Think about the layoffs, down-sizing, synergies that large corporations do - before or after mergers. That isn't job growth.)

The taxes that pay for all government programs come from SMB. Verizon hasn't paid taxes in years. Yet VZ gets hundreds of millions in subsidy dollars and federal contracts. That doesn't seem fair, does it? The tax dollars are spent on lobbying and campaign donations instead. This system is screwed up.

Once Comcast was able to charge Netflix for the access, the game was over. (Think about Cogent - cut out of the picture.)

There is going to be a 4 month comment period about what an Open Internet means. I know what it means to me: it means one Internet pipe as originally designed for ARPANET.

The Venture Capital (VC) community is worried [StopTheSlowLane], because now there will be more hurdles for the next billion dollar payoff. But think about that in smaller terms: now any small business will have to pay for better packet delivery as it gets bigger. As ISP's that may sound nice, but the downside is that consumers will only be able to effectively use a few websites. (Consumers won't wait more than 8 seconds for a webpage to load.) How will non-priority traffic work for sites running SSL or anything with a time-out?

What if Vonage and RingCentral pay for priority access? The other 998 VoIP providers sound like crap. Who wins?

Amazon pays for access, then Walmart, but Best Buy doesn't have the cash, so its online efforts suffer. Bang!

"Companies such as Netflix, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all come out against the creation of fast lanes. Under a fast-lane system, companies would pay Internet service providers to accelerate the delivery of their content to users. On the other hand, the content of those who can't pay the fee would reach users slower." [DW]

Etsy doesn't buy priority access, so its marketplace of indie artists and craftmen are unable to sell goods. That is a lot of people. Etsy and eBay allow many thousands of people to make a living.

USA Today has a simplistic view of the 2 sides: regulate the Net or not. Recode has a nice Q&A about Net Neutrality. Recode even explains Title II -- one of the FCC options is to reclassify Internet as a Title II service , which would require Internet packets to be treated like voice packets - uninterrupted (except by the NSA) and equally.

Peering has worked since the dawn of the Internet. Just 2 greedy assholes have tried to disrupt it - Verizon and Comcast. And Comcast is a late comer to the ISP game. I agree with some analysts that maybe if you don't peer properly you should be kicked out of the peering points - all of them!

It's important to note that none of this concerns wireless (cellular) networks, despite the Open provision in the 700 MHz auction.

"To be very direct, the proposal would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted,” he wrote on his official FCC blog last month." [RT] Let's not forget that Wheeler was with both NCTA and CTIA before the FCC. You can't expect much with that background. It was like Obama saying that the trade organizations can now run the FCC, much like the head of the FDA is the former legal counsel at Monsanto. I can't even get mad. I expect that DC will screw the voter in favor of Big Corp because it is in their best interests.

The LA Times has an op-ed piece calling the opposition nuts. It's not a bad read that the big guys already have an advantage over any start-up due to networks that FB, AMZ, GOOG have built for themselves. Also, CDNs help them to get priority access too. [I think they are wrong about that assessment of CDNs.]

Read the ruling yourself here. Read the NPRM here. Thanks for reading.

Email your thoughts about what an open Internet means to the @FCC at FCC 14-61 Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet = GN Docket No. 14-28

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