Net Neutrality News

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Free Press policy director Ben Scott and Wall Street Journal columnist Amy Schatz discuss yesterday's court ruling about the FCC and its ability to regulate the internet, what it means for net neutrality, and implications for widespread broadband access.

Comments [34]

jinefizzh from dc

How can the reporter for the WSJ not understand what Bit Torrent is?

Apr. 12 2010 08:50 AM

What happened to the segment downloads?
I see you are in beta and have a new page
layout, when will the page be finished?
Alanya, Turkey
p.s. it would be wise to put the info
on the beta page.

Apr. 07 2010 07:39 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

I would like to have the Internet in my own home again. Because it is so expensive, I have to rely on the public library and, while I love the library, there is a time constraint. There is no reason why companies cannot make a profit, but it should be made accessible to all. The caller Salvatore said that we don’t live in a society where money is free or cheap. That is only too true, but the Internet, in my case (and I know I am not alone) has become indispensible and I would like to have it full time. If companies can make a profit, they can also find a way for all people to have it. I need the Internet to look for a job and often at the public library, there isn’t enough time to do everything I need to do. Eugenia Renskoff

Apr. 07 2010 02:01 PM

Yup, tnx Joe that nyt piece puts it well. Now is that argument "liberal" or "conservative"?

Apr. 07 2010 11:12 AM
JoePlotkin from soho

Terrific NYT op-ed by Yochai Benkler cogently explained this market problem:

----------> Joe

Apr. 07 2010 10:47 AM
N Ruskin from NY

That venture capitalist that called in is either a paid flack or sadly misinformed. In a nutshell, nothing about net neutrality prevents carriers from charging higher fees for greater usage. In fact, the pricing model ISPs employ on the content provider end is typically based on a sustained throughput (max allowed speed) AND metered usage (amount of data pushed over the pipe in a given period of time). There's no reason this same model can't be applied at the content consumption end (i.e. consumers). Anyone with a telephone understands this model -- pay a fee for access and a metered rate for usage. If carriers were really worried about utilization they can charge for it, bringing an economic balance to supply and demand. What Comcast really wants to do is control _content_ either for economic (extorting fees from content providers) or editorial (discriminating against certain points of view) reasons.

Apr. 07 2010 10:37 AM
JoePlotkin from Soho

Monopoly (or duopoly) is sure a profitable biz model for those companies. But it harms the public good.

We have a market failure in broadband internet access. Solve that, by increasing independent ISPs access to these networks, and consumers will choose providers who practice net neutrality.

------> JoePlotkin
Marketing Director

Apr. 07 2010 10:37 AM

That analogy about trucks made no sense. It sounded like Ben Scott was avoiding the question about investors having any democratic values when they are trying to make money. Well done Brian!

Apr. 07 2010 10:28 AM
RJ from brooklyn

Can we have a bit of history? There was a public interest determination years ago that broadcast airwaves were considered public space that the public--government--had a responsibility to make sure that the public is served by it. The networks paid to use their positions on the spectrum and earned their profits by competing for viewers and ads.

These don't seem to be inapplicable to the net. We as a public agree that children should be shielded from sites where pedophiles attempt to seduce them; we agree that the "public"--the FCC--should be able to provide oversight.

Will there be an appeal?

Apr. 07 2010 10:26 AM
Aliou from NJ

I have a question to Salvador?

Why not stop this monopolistic way of controlling the internet by cablevision. The internet should be open to other companies and expand competition.

Apr. 07 2010 10:26 AM

Can't the FCC regulate broadband under Title II of the law without going to congress?

Apr. 07 2010 10:25 AM
licnyc from queens

I am all for net neutrality. But its comcasts equipment, its their business. If you don't agree to their term, don't use them. There is too much of people who assume they are entitled to services business provide. Surprise- they are not

Apr. 07 2010 10:25 AM

Let the gov. lay down the infrastructure and then let the free market take over.

I would happily pay a Chinese company less each month rather than to verizon or comcast, who have a vested interest in keeping the infrastructure costs as HIGH as possible in order to protect the one barrier of entry to this market they have left.

If entrepreneurs want to do something useful they can pursue a way to deliver so called broadband outside the present infrastructure (after all, 30 years ago, who could have imagined that cell phones would have leapfrogged phone infrastructure?)

Apr. 07 2010 10:23 AM
RLewis from Bowery

So, if we give providers the ability to restrict access, what reason would they have to build bigger pipes and expand data flow? It totally goes against the laws of Supply and Demand.

Apr. 07 2010 10:23 AM
hjs from 11211

the internet should be seen as any other utility. the cities and states should build the infrastructure

Apr. 07 2010 10:23 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

One assumes this will be appealed. Although I wouldn't hold out much hope for an enlightened decision from the Supremes.

Apr. 07 2010 10:23 AM
RLewis from Bowery

Oh, we're crying like an aligator for this caller!!!

If laying the pipe was soooo expensive, this guy would not be venturing capital and he'd be out of a job.

boo hoo.

Apr. 07 2010 10:21 AM

Contrary to the caller's claim, ComCast is NOT laying fibre-optic cable. The US government (meaning us) has already subsidized a HUGE percentage of private internet expansion.

Apr. 07 2010 10:20 AM
Rebecca from New Haven

Can your guests explain the court's logic behind this decision? Why would the FCC have thought that they had authority over the internet when they didn't?

Apr. 07 2010 10:20 AM

Unfortunately, more and more frequently it is harder to access my email, wnyc, etc., etc, because of more and more people using the web. There is not enough capacity for the all of the users.

Apr. 07 2010 10:19 AM
Annette from Rahway

So, is the court saying that Comcast is too big to file?

Apr. 07 2010 10:18 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Comcast has a right to manage its own service.

We, the public have the right to demand via public/private means to have alternate access to the internet.

By an accident of history, cable companies provide & charge for content delivery (cable) and the means to deliver access to the internet. Of course it's a conflict of interest. It is in their interest to keep it so.

In 5 years, hopefully with 5,6,7G wireless networks in existence, cable companies will be made redundant anyway.

Apr. 07 2010 10:17 AM
Nick from NYC

It would be brilliant if the Republicans become the party that's against equal internet access... it will doom them.

Apr. 07 2010 10:17 AM
Ben from Brooklyn, NY


Please do'nt frame this as something of import to "media geeks" but not to the general public.

I'm in the technology business, not the media business. There are a lot of companies (Boxee, Netflix, Roku) trying to come up with ways to help average people watch what they want in their own home. This would matter greatly to people like me, who pay $100 per month to Time Warner for really terrible service.

I would like people to innovate as to how they might deliver media into my home for $40 per month. Comcast and Time Warner would like to stop them and keep all of NYC paying high cable rates.

It is in the interest of all New Yorkers to stop them and to support innovation.


Apr. 07 2010 10:17 AM
HJS from 11211

what the fix brian. how does the FCC get oversight over the net?

Apr. 07 2010 10:16 AM
2000aq from Manhattan

YouTube might not have ever been allowed to grow if companies like Comcast can pick and choose websites based on their best interests.

The cable industry is afraid of video content in the same way that the music industry was caught unawares.

Apr. 07 2010 10:16 AM

Most likely, they would slow down hulu and youtube, so that you must pay for their on-demand TV stations.

Apr. 07 2010 10:14 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham, NY

Apparently this decision is aimed at preventing abuse.
When we revisit this issue in a year or two, will we find out that the abuses have been perpetrated by the many Comcasts?
Of late how many corporations have proved to be more ethical than individuals?

Apr. 07 2010 10:14 AM
Tara from Midtown, NY

The real reason they’re slowing down bit torrent is because bit torrent is the fastest way to pirate almost anything. Regardless, this decision upholds censorship. It’s a slippery slope. What if Comcast slows my connection to WNYC? How am I supposed to enjoy the Brian Lehrer Show!?

Apr. 07 2010 10:13 AM
Moshe Feder from Flushing, NY

Brian needs to clarify (by correction) that Bit Torrent isn't a web site but a file-sharing protocol.

Net neutrality is important, and it should be be discussed (and defended) accurately.

Apr. 07 2010 10:10 AM
JB from Brooklyn

quick sidenote: BitTorrent is not a website, its a protocol. In this case, the difference is quite important, because it threatens the end-to-end principle in a more general way.

Apr. 07 2010 10:09 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I support net neutrality, but misinformation and scare tactics like “your favorite sites can be blocked” as mentioned in today’s promo don’t help. That is unless it was meant to provoke and not inform, which most likely was the case.
The ruling said Comcast can give bandwidth priority or slow one’s connection and that the federal government does not currently have the authority to enforce net neutrality, but I don’t recall anything about Comcast being allowed to go China, Iran, or North Korea on consumers’ internet service and ban or censor the internet.

Apr. 07 2010 10:07 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn, NY

Another note: The Court of Appeals for the DC circuit is one of the most conservative in the country.

Apr. 07 2010 10:07 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn, NY

Does the court ruling restrict limitations to ones that are exclusively aimed at profit? Not as far as I know.

1. Access providers could now block access on the basis political content.

2. Comcast does not provide its own backbone. It is still dependent on facilities provided by the US government and by other private companies. So what right does it have to profit off others' services?

3. What happens when a Comcast / Time Warner type dispute arises?

4. Access providers to phone lines (wired or wireless) have no right to restrict access on the basis of content. Why would net access providers?

Apr. 07 2010 10:05 AM

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