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Net Neutrality and Zero Rating

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The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a major reform to the policies allowing giant corporations to buy up thousands of media companies around the world.  This was all bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies with 97% support from the house and congress.

In 2002 President George W. Bush’s FCC decided that Internet providers are not common carriers and that the FCC has authority over the ISP’s.  

In 2008, the FCC found that Comcast had violated the agencies net neutrality policy statement by slowing bitTorrent traffic but the FCC lacked the authority to enforce changes. President George W Bush enforced the Net Neutrality regulation on Comcast.

In 2010 the FCC introduced the Open Internet Order which re-interprets section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act allowing broad sweeping authority.  This was tied up in litigation with Verizon until courts dis-approved it in 2014.

In early 2015 the FCC approved a Net Neutrality Rule for Open Internet which is often credited to then president Barack Obama.  The FCC now reclassify Internet Service Providers as carriers under Title II of the telecommunications Act, which treats them as public utilities.  The FCC can now set rates, open access to any other competitor and become more involved in regulating the industry.

Ajit Pai the new chairman of the FCC under the Trump administration was nominated by Barack Obama to the FCC in 2011 and reconfirmed by the Senate in 2012.

He has now decided to overturn the 2015 Net Neutrality Rule for Open Internet and replace them with guidelines.
Pai believes that regulation is unnecessary and will slow investment and prevent innovation.

Over-regulation has already happened to net neutrality in Canada.  Canada prohibits and enforces carriers from giving free data to their customers for specific content because it violates net neutrality by giving favors to certain services.

If the ISP gives away a subscription to Netflix but charges for the data, this is okay but if they give you Netflix and don’t charge data, then this is in violation of net neutrality.

When Canada banned zero rating, USA did not.  Instead T-Mobile began giving priority for their video services and to compete, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint responded with unlimited data plans. Now USA has unlimited data plans and Canada does not.  This over-regulation could have unintended consequences.

 

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Are you talking about internet service or cell phone data? We have unlimited internet bandwidth in Canada, it just costs extra. We get hosed on cellphone data though. The US does as well compared to Europe. You can get 4GB of 4G data, unlimited minutes and text withing the country, and 100 minutes of talk time to a bunch of other countries for 20 Euros a month.

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The cheapest cellphone plan where I live is $30.00 month with 200 daytime minutes unlimited text and unlimited evening and weekend.  For $40.00 month you get unlimited picture and video messaging unlimited local and long distance which is what I have.

If you want internet access on your phone, they are sold to us in "buckets" in a manner akin to trough feeding for hogs.

1 GB / $15
5GB / $20
10GB / $30
15GB / $40
20GB / $60
35GB / $110
50GB / $160

 

The cheapest home fiber internet package available to me offers 800 GB month at 20 MB down 2 MB up and costs is $63 per month.

 

The US cellular carriers at the moment offer unlimited data which depending on the carrier, offers between 23 and 28 GB's per month before getting bumped to the lowest data priority on the tower and suffering 3G speeds (850 KB/s) during peak hours. (between dinner time and midnight)  They also limit tethering to 10 GB / month before being reduced to 3G speed.

Verizon Wireless, besides being hated for customer service and unpopular business practices, offers a plan called Beyond Unlimited which allows 15 GB of tethering at 4G and unlimited at 3G and is the only carrier with a plan allowing the connection of a laptop to it's 4g network.  With a laptop on 4G for 28 GB and at least 3G unlimited after that it becomes an interesting deal.

This would be my choice as a cord cutter.
$85 US Beyond Unlimited plan
$20 US Laptop fee

Instead of

$75 Cad My home internet

$75 Cad cellular data plan

In US currency I pay $118 dollars for cell phone and home internet compared to $105 for Verizon Beyond unlimited cellular plan.  As cell phones get better I would imagine the $20 laptop fee will be eliminated by competition or the hotspot tethering rules will change in favor of the customer.

 

The problem in Canada if you want to "cut the cord" is that rather than paying the cable company $200 bucks a month for channels, you instead have to pay multiple other content providers such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, black market IPTV and face the  increasing cost of internet while more and more popular shows like Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and the Americans are prohibited from streaming services in Canada.  In the case of HBO shows such as Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley, I would need to subscribe to a cable company's CRTC mandated $25 "skinny package" for basic programming as well as the $20 Movie Network which includes HBO Canada.

 

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Good lord, where would I be without unlimited home internet data (for about $35 per month)?  I've already filled 5.5TB of an 8TB drive I bought just 2 months ago. :lol:

As for my phone, all I use it for is navigation and web browsing, so I've never gone over the limit at which point "unlimited" becomes throttled.

And I haven't had a TV in over 10 years.  I can't stand Japanese TV for the most part, and English programs are as scarce as unicorns, so I have to download anything I want to watch (part of why unlimited internet is so useful).

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I have unlimited gigabit fiber at home here in NZ. Speeds on Speedtest.net on weekday is usually 900+ m/bit down/450 m/bit upstream. That runs me $149 per month.

I could opt for the next speed down but that is ONLY 100 m/bit down & 20 upstream for $40 less. Ugh!!!

I am running my website on a dedicated PC on my connection along with two Plex  media servers for my brother in UK and daughter to access, um, Linux iso's remotely.

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12 hours ago, jdjenkins83 said:

Has anybody tried calling Congress about it?

I have been an active supporter of change.org who advocate against governments and telecommunications making misinformed decisions regarding fair use of internet infrastructure on behalf of citizens.  I’ve learned through this organization that the only way to have you’re voice heard in Canada and USA regarding the FCC and CRTC is to have money as well as signatures when you go up against opposing lobbyists.

I feel like most people for lack of a better description are ignorant towards topics including internet service providers, telecommunications, cable/satellite providers, copper wire, fiber optic, 4G and everything else that is a derivative to this technology.

It’s easy to look at you’re cable bill and cellphone bill and internet bill and say this is highway robbery, these guys are crooks, we pay a premium invoice and in return get inferior service.  

I don’t have all the answers.  How the hell would I know what the results are going to be in however many years?  If I had to guess, I would say political parties will continue to spread misconceptions about each other based on what side of the spectrum you are on and everyone in between will continue to get wiped out.

In all honesty, I don’t believe calling congress will have any useful affect.  We are going to have to step forward whether we like it or not and in the future we will arrive at another crossroad, being wiser then we were before.

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I've written letters to both my congressmen. Unfortunately, both of them seem to be firmly in the pockets of the telecom industry, so they won't hear my views over the dollars stuffed into their ears.

 

Historically speaking, anything that is truly beneficial to the US people, that wouldn't cost someone else the fruit of their labor (NOT talking about "potential profits" here), is swept under the rug or legislated out. The repeal of the Title II regulations of 2015 is nothing short of a handout to the ISPs and will result in worse service, higher costs, and a poorer user experience. Ajit Pai is a lawyer, he's not dumb. He is however, doing this for his former employer, Verizon. Whose interests do you REALLY think he has in mind here?  I'll give you a hint... if you can't figure that riddle out, you're about to get screwed. ;)

 

Two things ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT happen in regards to the internet:

-ISP throttling speeds to ANY website. It is censorship, a violation of our first amendment right to free speech. No matter how disgusting or vile my beliefs may seem, I have a right to them, as do you. I may disagree with what you have to say or what you choose to believe, but I WILL support your right to your beliefs.

-Selective treatment of ANY website. This is simply unethical business practice, and will stifle innovation. If I want to start a website or streaming service, but can't compete with existing major players because of shady business practices, that is not due to a lack of merit on my part. My website may be fantastic, but you'll never bother with it if it takes too long to load...

 

ISPs must act as a maintainer of the lines, NOT as a gatekeeper of information.  Normally I'm not a big supporter of government regulation, but in the case of the telecom industry, there is a disturbing lack of competition. Lack of competition is bad for the consumer. Again, whose interests are really at the forefront of this argument?

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56 minutes ago, te72 said:

I've written letters to both my congressmen. Unfortunately, both of them seem to be firmly in the pockets of the telecom industry, so they won't hear my views over the dollars stuffed into their ears.

 

Historically speaking, anything that is truly beneficial to the US people, that wouldn't cost someone else the fruit of their labor (NOT talking about "potential profits" here), is swept under the rug or legislated out. The repeal of the Title II regulations of 2015 is nothing short of a handout to the ISPs and will result in worse service, higher costs, and a poorer user experience. Ajit Pai is a lawyer, he's not dumb. He is however, doing this for his former employer, Verizon. Whose interests do you REALLY think he has in mind here?  I'll give you a hint... if you can't figure that riddle out, you're about to get screwed. ;)

 

Two things ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT happen in regards to the internet:

-ISP throttling speeds to ANY website. It is censorship, a violation of our first amendment right to free speech. No matter how disgusting or vile my beliefs may seem, I have a right to them, as do you. I may disagree with what you have to say or what you choose to believe, but I WILL support your right to your beliefs.

-Selective treatment of ANY website. This is simply unethical business practice, and will stifle innovation. If I want to start a website or streaming service, but can't compete with existing major players because of shady business practices, that is not due to a lack of merit on my part. My website may be fantastic, but you'll never bother with it if it takes too long to load...

 

ISPs must act as a maintainer of the lines, NOT as a gatekeeper of information.  Normally I'm not a big supporter of government regulation, but in the case of the telecom industry, there is a disturbing lack of competition. Lack of competition is bad for the consumer. Again, whose interests are really at the forefront of this argument?

If they couldn't answer your read your letters, well...

What if you tried seeing your congressmen in person if they couldn't do neither?

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2 hours ago, jdjenkins83 said:

If they couldn't answer your read your letters, well...

What if you tried seeing your congressmen in person if they couldn't do neither?

Sometimes they (or more likely, their interns) would reply, but as has been the case with nearly every reply on any topic I get from them, they are VERY non-committal. Not sure who your congressional representatives are, but I suspect they're likely the same way. Congress (and most politicians, in my experience) don't want to be held accountable, so they rarely take a concrete stance. If they DO... you're not likely to sway their opinion, especially as a normal person. Social elite or very wealthy? You might have a shot. Guy like me? Not likely.

 

To answer your question about seeing them in person, I'm not sure where you live, but I live in a rather large state. Unfortunately, taking a day off from work to drive eight hours through what most would see as a desolate hellscape for an audience with someone isn't what I call a productive use of my time. If they were significantly closer, or held town halls near me? Sure, I'd be there. That said, I'm MUCH better at writing out my thoughts than I am debating them in person. In this sense, so were our founders... they wrote a LOT of letters in shaping our constitution. :)

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7 hours ago, te72 said:

I've written letters to both my congressmen. Unfortunately, both of them seem to be firmly in the pockets of the telecom industry, so they won't hear my views over the dollars stuffed into their ears.

 

Historically speaking, anything that is truly beneficial to the US people, that wouldn't cost someone else the fruit of their labor (NOT talking about "potential profits" here), is swept under the rug or legislated out. The repeal of the Title II regulations of 2015 is nothing short of a handout to the ISPs and will result in worse service, higher costs, and a poorer user experience. Ajit Pai is a lawyer, he's not dumb. He is however, doing this for his former employer, Verizon. Whose interests do you REALLY think he has in mind here?  I'll give you a hint... if you can't figure that riddle out, you're about to get screwed. ;)

 

Two things ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT happen in regards to the internet:

-ISP throttling speeds to ANY website. It is censorship, a violation of our first amendment right to free speech. No matter how disgusting or vile my beliefs may seem, I have a right to them, as do you. I may disagree with what you have to say or what you choose to believe, but I WILL support your right to your beliefs.

-Selective treatment of ANY website. This is simply unethical business practice, and will stifle innovation. If I want to start a website or streaming service, but can't compete with existing major players because of shady business practices, that is not due to a lack of merit on my part. My website may be fantastic, but you'll never bother with it if it takes too long to load...

 

ISPs must act as a maintainer of the lines, NOT as a gatekeeper of information.  Normally I'm not a big supporter of government regulation, but in the case of the telecom industry, there is a disturbing lack of competition. Lack of competition is bad for the consumer. Again, whose interests are really at the forefront of this argument?

The repeal of Title II regulations in 2015 was not a handout to ISP's.  It was set into motion in the 30's to regulate Bell telephones from controlling the entire market.  It was also a law designed for public utilities such as electricity, railroads and water and never designed for something dynamic as broadband internet.  In fact the Obama era FCC decided to classify broadband as common carriers in 2015 so as to simplify the means of enacting net neutrality which resulted in regulation becoming worse rather than better.  It also had the unintended consequence of shielding broadband providers from the FTC's authority over online privacy.

Futhermore, implying that chairman Pai has colluded and conspired for what I would assume in you're mind would be power and financial rewards is a baseless claim.  

Pai has consistently supported the basic principles of net neutrality:  ISPs should not be allowed to block specific legal websites or devices, intentionally slow some traffic to benefit others, misrepresent their network management practices or otherwise behave in conduct long-considered anti-competitive in American law.

 

Right now 6 companies own about 90% of the media business in US: News Corp, Disney, Viacom, CBS, Time Warner and Comcast.  Only 7 companies own the internet backbone in the US.  They are UUNET, Level 3, Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, Sprint and IBM.  Many people purchase their internet access from smaller ISP's who purchase their bandwidth from the larger companies.

I have long supported change.org's goal of keeping the larger companies from dictating to these smaller ISP's how much speed, how many gigabytes of data they allow and most importantly how much they have to charge.  These have been long hard battles through the years and alot of them have been won although it is not over.

 

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8 hours ago, Data said:

Right now 6 companies own about 90% of the media business in US: News Corp, Disney, Viacom, CBS, Time Warner and Comcast.  Only 7 companies own the internet backbone in the US.  They are UUNET, Level 3, Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, Sprint and IBM.  Many people purchase their internet access from smaller ISP's who purchase their bandwidth from the larger companies.

I think it's worse in Canada. Not including public broadcasters like CBC and Radio-Canada, individual provincial public channels, and APTN, almost all the television and radio stations are owned by Bell Media, Rogers Communications, and Corus Entertainment. And I think Internet is even less, with Bell and Rogers being the two major "owners (having invested the most), though Vidéotron basically replaces Rogers in Quebec as the major player, and out west Telus has a large presence.

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19 hours ago, Data said:

The repeal of Title II regulations in 2015 was not a handout to ISP's.  It was set into motion in the 30's to regulate Bell telephones from controlling the entire market.  It was also a law designed for public utilities such as electricity, railroads and water and never designed for something dynamic as broadband internet.  In fact the Obama era FCC decided to classify broadband as common carriers in 2015 so as to simplify the means of enacting net neutrality which resulted in regulation becoming worse rather than better.  It also had the unintended consequence of shielding broadband providers from the FTC's authority over online privacy.

Futhermore, implying that chairman Pai has colluded and conspired for what I would assume in you're mind would be power and financial rewards is a baseless claim.  

Pai has consistently supported the basic principles of net neutrality:  ISPs should not be allowed to block specific legal websites or devices, intentionally slow some traffic to benefit others, misrepresent their network management practices or otherwise behave in conduct long-considered anti-competitive in American law.

 

Right now 6 companies own about 90% of the media business in US: News Corp, Disney, Viacom, CBS, Time Warner and Comcast.  Only 7 companies own the internet backbone in the US.  They are UUNET, Level 3, Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, Sprint and IBM.  Many people purchase their internet access from smaller ISP's who purchase their bandwidth from the larger companies.

I have long supported change.org's goal of keeping the larger companies from dictating to these smaller ISP's how much speed, how many gigabytes of data they allow and most importantly how much they have to charge.  These have been long hard battles through the years and alot of them have been won although it is not over.

 

Title II regulations was applied to broadband service providers in 2015. The discussion at hand, at least initially it seemed, was on the subject of Pai's attempt to repeal those regulations. To my understanding, this would prevent the FCC from exercising any authority over your ISP (well, my ISP anyway) if they chose to really put the screws to their customers.

 

I could spend a LOT of time looking into the finer points of this discussion, but when you have the telecom industry on one side of the argument, and everyone from content producers, to non-profits, to open source developers, to civil rights advocates, on the other side of the argument, it's pretty obvious to me which side of the argument is motivated by profit, and which is motivated by free speech and the exercise of it. I have nothing against the free market, I'm actually a huge supporter of it, as I stated in my last post. That said, I don't believe the internet is something that belongs to a select few companies either, no matter how much they may invest in infrastructure.

 

Let's address one of my main points, that the ISP has no right to modify bandwidth to any particular website. Forgive me if I'm misunderstood here, but this is Zero Rating, in a nutshell: ISP provides access to X page, with no impact on your bandwidth allowance, while accessing Y page does have an impact on your allowance. This will have the result of the majority of the ISP's customers accessing X page rather than Y page. To me, this is an anti-competitive practice. I'm not fond of such large companies having such control over what is available to the user. To be both gate keeper and producer / provider of content seems an ethical conflict of interest, as you will use your ability to direct as much traffic as you can to sites you own, and hinder traffic headed to sites you don't own.

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10 hours ago, te72 said:

Title II regulations was applied to broadband service providers in 2015. The discussion at hand, at least initially it seemed, was on the subject of Pai's attempt to repeal those regulations. To my understanding, this would prevent the FCC from exercising any authority over your ISP (well, my ISP anyway) if they chose to really put the screws to their customers.

 

I could spend a LOT of time looking into the finer points of this discussion, but when you have the telecom industry on one side of the argument, and everyone from content producers, to non-profits, to open source developers, to civil rights advocates, on the other side of the argument, it's pretty obvious to me which side of the argument is motivated by profit, and which is motivated by free speech and the exercise of it. I have nothing against the free market, I'm actually a huge supporter of it, as I stated in my last post. That said, I don't believe the internet is something that belongs to a select few companies either, no matter how much they may invest in infrastructure.

 

Let's address one of my main points, that the ISP has no right to modify bandwidth to any particular website. Forgive me if I'm misunderstood here, but this is Zero Rating, in a nutshell: ISP provides access to X page, with no impact on your bandwidth allowance, while accessing Y page does have an impact on your allowance. This will have the result of the majority of the ISP's customers accessing X page rather than Y page. To me, this is an anti-competitive practice. I'm not fond of such large companies having such control over what is available to the user. To be both gate keeper and producer / provider of content seems an ethical conflict of interest, as you will use your ability to direct as much traffic as you can to sites you own, and hinder traffic headed to sites you don't own.

 

Yes Pai wants to repeal the 2015 reclassification applied to broadband providers because it is based off of legislation from the 1930's which were never intended for modern day broadband and internet providers.  Added to this, the pile of new regulations added in the 80's, 90's and 2000's only complicate the process of regulating the industry effectively.


The real issue here is not about whether the FCC wins or loses rather, the FCC could use the same power to regulate internet service beyond broadband.  The new goal of the FCC is to take a different approach to regulating providers and internet in America by focusing on actual abuses of market power while continuing to support the basic principles of net neutrality.


One particular issue in court right now is the AT&T / Time Warner merger.  AT&T being the owner of DirecTV while also being one of the largest fiber optic providers and Time Warner owning some of the largest content studios including Turner Broadcasting.

So far the justice department has said that AT&T/ Time Warner will need to sell DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting before this deal can go through, something both companies don't want.  I think these companies need to be broken up in this case because if this new conglomerate  owns both the fiber optic cable as well as controlling the media content being created, this will negatively affect the industry and the users. 

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Fundamentally, we are on the same side, as far as ideals go. Remember that although a law may be old in origin, it may often still be relevant far into the future. Reaching way back here, the Magna Carta is still VERY valid in terms of human rights, and it is nearly a thousand years old.

 

I agree that the market needs more competition when it comes to broadband providers, as well as content producers. Personally, I have little use for cable makers and the like, I rarely watch TV in general anymore. BUT, I understand that a lot of us do, and don't want to see corporations abuse their customers.

 

I don't believe Pai has our best interests in mind, truthfully. Taking a lawyer who worked for the very industry he is now supposed to regulate? Have you ever heard the phrase about not letting the fox guard the hen house? Very much applies here, and is a large part of what is wrong with Washington, it's a revolving door between lobbyists and the white house. Either way, we will find out soon enough, as there is a proposal presentation in congress for next week, the week before Thanksgiving. If you pay attention to history, a lot of shady policy tends to get passed during times that folks aren't always paying attention to what their representatives are doing...

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When 4K resolution becomes the standard just as 1080 did before it and as new generations begin to favor the convenience of on-demand streaming services, it is safe to assume that the current infrastructure in the US is woefully inadequate for this application.

I also think it is safe to assume that there are still alot of rural areas and small towns which don’t even have the infrastructure to provide DSL speeds at 10Mb down 0.6 Up.  There is no reason to compel the companies to invest billions of dollars into expanding their networks or improving and repairing the ones they currently have when they won’t see a tangible return on investment.  

Net Neutrality in the US is a wonderful sentiment.  It promises equal access to all.  I agree completely with this sentiment but I also believe it to be fairly short sighted.  The 2015 ruling to  classify broadband providers as a public utility would do nothing tangible for the consumer; 

-Access and speeds available to the public would continue to grow at the same rate
-Tier pricing to match needs of the consumer
-As the industries demand for high bitrate video streaming explodes, the choice for the consumer will be to either pay for a higher tier, live with lower bitrate video or find some other means to enjoy their favorite shows
-As written by Bruce Henderson “The Rule of Three and Four” ‘A  stable  competitive  market  never  has more than three significant competitors, the largest of which has no more than four times the market share of the smallest.’
-As the largest broadband internet home providers begin to reach their maximum subscriber potential, the only thing left to do now is either drive innovation or buyout the regional ISP’s which leads to my final point
-There is not much incentive for any company to try competing in a market where they are guaranteed to  hemorrhage cash for many years to be rewarded with 4th or 5th place.

 

Comparatively, Canada in the eyes of civil law since 1993 have labeled broadband providers as common carriers which by nature of the definition, restricts ISPs from discriminating between content providers aimed at the consumer but there is no "Net Neutrality" law on the books singling out the practice of favoring one service for another.  This is merely noise being created by our current government media in Canada with the goal of protesting the election of the current U.S. president but let it be known that the spirit of Net Neutrality is a common goal for our policies on all fronts and not necessarily by more regulation.  Canada has an advantage in that there is only one major highway that goes from coast to coast.  This has eased the upgrade of T1 lines making it less expensive because it was on a massive scale and the contracts to install the line were left to the private industry, not the government or the regulators.

The largest problem Canadians are facing is the cost of service.  There will soon be only 3 major broadband providers in Canada and they are content with not competing with each other too much.  Bell, Telus and Rogers are well established in Canada and there are major restrictions for new providers to start.  One is that the stakeholders need to be 80% Canadian and Two is the same reason small ISP can't compete in the U.S. and that is because the start up cost and the debt you need to pile on for years is not worth up to 10% of roughly 20 million total eligible subscribers. 

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Data, I see your business case, but what I'm most concerned with is the potential for abuse. We've already seen throttling, blocking, and other restrictions in the telecom industries. I'd be happy to pay a bit more for a service anywhere near as fast as you guys get. For reference, the best I can get is 12mbps down / 0.9 up. That costs me $70 / month. Logistically speaking, if I want high quality entertainment, I'm literally forced to "find some other means" as you put it.

 

If ISP's are common carriers in Canada, then you have a leg up on us in the US. There are no such restrictions preventing customer abuse currently in place here. If regulation wasn't necessary, that would be fantastic. If the ISP's cared about customer service before profit, that would be fantastic. However, ethics often get thrown out the window when money is the primary driving factor, as it is in most businesses.

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7 hours ago, te72 said:

Data, I see your business case, but what I'm most concerned with is the potential for abuse. We've already seen throttling, blocking, and other restrictions in the telecom industries. I'd be happy to pay a bit more for a service anywhere near as fast as you guys get. For reference, the best I can get is 12mbps down / 0.9 up. That costs me $70 / month. Logistically speaking, if I want high quality entertainment, I'm literally forced to "find some other means" as you put it.

 

If ISP's are common carriers in Canada, then you have a leg up on us in the US. There are no such restrictions preventing customer abuse currently in place here. If regulation wasn't necessary, that would be fantastic. If the ISP's cared about customer service before profit, that would be fantastic. However, ethics often get thrown out the window when money is the primary driving factor, as it is in most businesses.

Well to be honest I lived with dial up internet up until 2009 and I’ll tell you what, I feel as though I wasted a decade of my free time listening to the sound of that computer modem squeaking and squawking just so as I can enable the paltry connection speed of 0.056 down 0.016 up. and I’ll tell you another thing, I had it all figured out too.  If I wanted a 4:20 mp3 it would take 16 minutes and if I wanted a 32 megabyte N64 rom it would take 4 hours.  Careful you don't stay on longer than 60 hours a month cause it will be $5 an hour over the $55

Living in a rural area in Canada is still terrible in 2018. Most places outside of a major city or on a tangent from the trans Canada highway you have a choice of dial up, satellite or microwave.  If you are lucky enough to be within 15 kilometers of the microwave then you can get 5 down 2 up.  These speeds are inadequate for streaming anything more than modified 720P videos but with this rural provider they would not count the gigabytes you use which even when I let torrents run day and night, I never got more than 400 gigabytes in a month.   

The only reason I enjoy the modern speeds of internet access is because I moved out of the country and into some crap hole room in a dumpy little town.  There’s no work and the city is like something you’d find on Hee Haw but the Internet is fast because it's on the Trans Can.  If I could move back to the country and keep my independence I would just make more practical use of the bandwidth which nowadays has been upgraded to 10 down 3.5 up.  Same cost though and it will be capped if it's not microwave.

Canada and U.S. are taking different paths to innovating the way we use media.  We are fundamentally different in many ways.  Canada’s broadband provider’s have monopolies in their respective provinces along the Trans Canada Highway and they also have come to a dead end as far as growth is concerned.  Anything that is worth doing on the internet as far as media is concerned are picked to pieces by these same companies, re-packaged and sold back to us.  In most cases the U.S. creates the content and our companies buy the rights and prevent us from watching it unless we sign up for another monthly service.  This is all done while they are supposed to be common carriers.

We are also not immune to abuses by these companies, in fact our companies have committed just as many abuses as the U.S. broadband providers but we overcame these incidents just as Americans did by writing or calling or emailing our FCC or CRTC and complaining.  If the FCC decided to keep their “Net Neutrality” legislation, the first thing to happen would be to scrap infrastructure improvements indefinitely and hold it up in the Supreme Court.  Next would be to continue competing with each other with better offers and bundles which is a phenomenon to a Canadian to see telecoms competing, especially the baby bells.

As far as Netflix, or Youtube or Joe Blow’s Video Countdown, we will have to be diligent when it comes to enforcing the spirit of Net Neutrality.

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It would seem that I misspoke, and that perhaps the grass isn't much greener up there. I've always found data caps to be a ridiculous notion. If I want to stream high bandwidth content all day every day, is there some technical reason that I should have to pay more? An adequate infrastructure would be able to handle all that traffic and then some. Given that the number of people on the internet has substantially increased since the spread of phone users, yet the experience isn't much different from before, I can't see any technical hurdle?

 

I might be led to believe that things are kept artificially slow... oh wait. Kinda another one of those neutrality principles that is on the table haha.

 

You touched on an important point, that telecoms don't often compete. THAT, and frankly, that alone, is what keeps innovation and investment stagnant, not some regulation. It's a point of basic economics, if you have competition, you have to be on top of your game. If you don't have competition, you have no incentive to make or sell a better product or service. Sure, there's only so much juice to squeeze, but if you're the only game in town, the lemons tend to be even more sour.

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I've not commented here because I have so little invested in the argument.  But I must say that even back when I lived in the countryside in Japan, I never had problems with internet speed.  I think it's due to the way cities and even small towns are constructed here.  Residential areas are generally clustered together even in small towns, so the infrastructure doesn't have to make allowances for homes being spread out over wide expanses.  I suppose if I had lived tucked away in the middle of a giant rice paddy on the side of a mountain outside of town I might have had issues, but as I said, my internet has always been fast and cheap, despite Japan generally being WAY behind the curve where computer technology is concerned.

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54 minutes ago, te72 said:

It would seem that I misspoke, and that perhaps the grass isn't much greener up there. I've always found data caps to be a ridiculous notion. If I want to stream high bandwidth content all day every day, is there some technical reason that I should have to pay more? An adequate infrastructure would be able to handle all that traffic and then some. Given that the number of people on the internet has substantially increased since the spread of phone users, yet the experience isn't much different from before, I can't see any technical hurdle?

 

I might be led to believe that things are kept artificially slow... oh wait. Kinda another one of those neutrality principles that is on the table haha.

 

You touched on an important point, that telecoms don't often compete. THAT, and frankly, that alone, is what keeps innovation and investment stagnant, not some regulation. It's a point of basic economics, if you have competition, you have to be on top of your game. If you don't have competition, you have no incentive to make or sell a better product or service. Sure, there's only so much juice to squeeze, but if you're the only game in town, the lemons tend to be even more sour.

Data caps can be explained with a simple analogy like the cable company Mediacom did when they sent the FCC this letter.

"Imagine you are out for a walk and experience a sudden, irresistible craving for Oreo® cookies. You only want to spend two dollars, which means that you will be able to buy a two-pack or maybe even a four-pack but for sure you cannot get the family size of over 40 cookies. For that many, you have to spend more. Of course, it would be nice if your two dollars bought you the right to eat an unlimited number of cookies, but you know that is not the way our economy works."

There have always been limitations to the bandwidth for as long as it has been evolving.  You’re limited by many different things like total simultaneous connections which are a known way to cause denial of service attacks. The other common restrictions are the total speed and finally the amount of gigabytes.

The total speed I can get with my service provider will decrease as more people are using it.  When I moved to my current place a local ISP offered 250 down 50 up and I tried it out.  I could torrent at somewhere around 2 gigabytes a minute provided it was seeded enough but this was also $240 month.  I canceled a year later and recently asked them if this offer was still available but they said they didn’t offer it anymore because of the population growth in my area and they couldn’t meet that speed.

This reminds me of when T-mobile began offering large amounts of bandwidth to watch their video services on their wireless network.  The surprise was that all of a sudden after years of being told that wireless networks are stressed enough and bandwidth is limited then one day they proved this wasn’t so true because this new offer was using 5 or 6 times the volume of data.

Then the other wireless carriers responded to this by offering 28 gigs at LTE and unlimited at 3G.

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48 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

I've not commented here because I have so little invested in the argument.  But I must say that even back when I lived in the countryside in Japan, I never had problems with internet speed.  I think it's due to the way cities and even small towns are constructed here.  Residential areas are generally clustered together even in small towns, so the infrastructure doesn't have to make allowances for homes being spread out over wide expanses.  I suppose if I had lived tucked away in the middle of a giant rice paddy on the side of a mountain outside of town I might have had issues, but as I said, my internet has always been fast and cheap, despite Japan generally being WAY behind the curve where computer technology is concerned.

In the Prairie Provinces in Canada, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba their are many hamlets and villages sprawled throughout the countryside sometimes with only 3 families living in each one.  They are generally farmer communities which haven't changed since the early 1900's and their only option is satellite which is expensive, laggy, slow and data capped.  I knew one guy who lived in the middle of nowhere and he used the barbed wire fence which ran into town 20 miles away as a telephone line and he logged into the town's access point.  That's practical use although it is obsolete now. 

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I understand that the more people on a network, the slower it goes, but what physically is capping data? My computer doesn't run any slower if it's constantly running at full capacity to download, if torrenting? If all of a sudden, I have transferred 50gb that month, oops, internet is full, shut down my connection..? Really? Oreos? Money, is the only reason I can see behind data caps, nothing technical. As is, they feel entirely arbitrary and artificial.

 

Not sure I understand your "total simultaneous connections" comment though, is that where you have more than one internet line plugged into the same house?

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1 hour ago, te72 said:

I understand that the more people on a network, the slower it goes, but what physically is capping data? My computer doesn't run any slower if it's constantly running at full capacity to download, if torrenting? If all of a sudden, I have transferred 50gb that month, oops, internet is full, shut down my connection..? Really? Oreos? Money, is the only reason I can see behind data caps, nothing technical. As is, they feel entirely arbitrary and artificial.

 

Not sure I understand your "total simultaneous connections" comment though, is that where you have more than one internet line plugged into the same house?

In the case of satellite internet, they can only handle between 30 and 100 gigabytes per month.  For cable internet there is no maximum volume of data you can theoretically download.  Once the infrastructure is in place meaning the cables that run from city to city and house to house and the buildings that house the switches and servers, it is estimated to only cost 2% of a large cable companies revenue to upgrade their equipment.   This cost can be higher though if a large city is only using copper lines instead of fiber.  They should be offering roughly at least twice the speed and or twice the data on a fiber network than a copper line.

The reason they have data caps instead of allowing you to download unlimited during  offpeak hours is for three reasons;

-They fear that encroaching video streaming services will get a free ride on the network

-They want to protect themselves from cord cutters if they also offer cable or their own streaming services

-They want to have tier pricing so guys like me will pay 60 or 70 dollars for 1 Terabyte at 75 down 10 up and a senior citizen can pay $40 for 300 Gigs at 20 down 5 up. 

 

Total simultaneous connections is how I look at a wide area network such as my city or a major hub or just one server.  It's like when Trump announced his fake news award and millions of people waited for his twitter account.  As soon as he tweeted, the server locked up because it couldn't handle so many requests.  In this case the server failed not because of a data load but because of so many requests.  This is what script kitties often do to game servers so people can't play for hours.

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Suppose I could understand the technical limitations of satellite, but cable, dsl, fiber, no reason for caps there. If anything, if you, as an ISP, limit my bandwidth, I'm likely to find a new provider if possible. It's just like text messaging to me, I know damn well the networks can handle the traffic, but to have "limited" plans where I'm charged by unit of data sent on the network? This isn't the 90's anymore...

 

An analogous comparison for this forum would be the system of "lives" in video games. It's a relic from the arcade days, where the motivation for the designers was money. It's just bad design these days, same as data caps are a silly idea when storage space and network speeds have outpaced user needs.

 

I get how DNS attacks work, and frankly, I find those silly as well. If your idea of a good time in life is to disrupt other's lives, then you really should find a productive hobby, ya know?

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