Goodbye Net Neutrality?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The FCC proposed new rules that would leave the concept of net neutrality all but dead. David Carr, media columnist and culture reporter for the New York Times and Nancy Scola, a reporter who covers the intersections of technology, politics, and policy for publications like Reuters, the Washingtonian, and, discuss this and the case Aereo is making before the Supreme Court.


David Carr and Nancy Scola

Comments [27]

Olivia from NYC

I don't know why people aren't "mad as heck" and not taking it anymore. Not that long ago one could buy a TV, plug it in and watch - for free. Then came cable, for those in remote areas with no receptiong (good thing) - but in exchange for paying there was the promise of no commercials and the cable companies got government support. Well, now not only are people paying hundreds for their cable service, there are more ads than on network TV. We are forced to pay for programming we never watch. We've been "taken." I use a special antenna and get more than enough programming in a room that gets the reception, and in the other room I only pay for "antenna" TV from my cable company - limited channels, but more than enough for me at a very nominal fee. Now they get this bonus from the FCC. Would we put up with private highways where for a stiff fee you have little traffic and the rest of us can sit in non-moving traffic? The artistocracy and the peasants! I would hope not, though it's been tried. People need to cancel their cable contracts and get the attention of these companies.

Apr. 24 2014 01:10 PM

Premium costs for slower internet than Latvia. The telecoms should have been slapped down by the FCC, but now all the regulatory agencies are industry captives.

Obama really knows how to discourage voters of many opinions. Another F for him.

Apr. 24 2014 11:45 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@JM, that's what Aereo wants you to believe. Aereo, is really selling network's content, not unlike a music streaming service.

I don't feel sorry for content providers, if they were not so greedy of off the re-transmission fees they get from big cable and made their content with its ads, easily available online and on mobile devices, there would be no need for Aereo.

Apr. 24 2014 11:10 AM
Robyn Berland from Crown Heights, Brooklyn

I gave up my cable service because it became unaffordable even at it lowest package prices. There was very little worth watching. I am over 60, educated, and in today's lingo a progressive (a David Brooks progressive). I am also on a fixed income and the rising cost of living made it impossible to continue, rent, electric, and gas being more important. I continue my internet service because it is a utility -- school, healthcare, news, business communications, job hunting take place on the web. I am dependent on it to conduct my life activities. As these prices rise, as they will with corporate interests trumping all other interests, more and more people will fall off this grid.
I can use a Digital Antenna, a f$20 investment, digital rabbit ears, to watch Charlie Rose and the News Hour. Cable News does not provide information that is required for a Democracy to function, if anything it diverts peoples attention from the real issues that affect their, my quality of life. The breath of the internet provides information from an infinite number of perspectives. Citizens can use it to fact check.
Controlling access through quality of service provided does reduce the quality of our democracy, control of information to the citizenry (we can see this in the loss of a belief in science and education in this country).
The FCC's decision does impact our Democracy. Not accepting the fact that the connection to the internet is now equivalent to the importance of being connected to the power grid is not accepting reality and therefore irrational if one considers its role is to safe guard its citizens access to information. It's rational if one is helping monopolies prosper and grow.

Apr. 24 2014 10:43 AM
Jeff from East Village

Re: Aereo. NY listeners probably already know thaw can receive a strong HD signal with "new" rabbit ears, an antenna such as the bat-wing from RCA that's under $20. Aereo as it is now is unnecessary. (Dropped Time Warner entertainment cable with that and streaming.)

Apr. 24 2014 10:28 AM

I read that it costs the telecoms pennies on the dollar to provide internet service yet charge $35 or more for mediocre service. Where is the money going? Apparently not in upgrading the infrastructure.

Apr. 24 2014 10:26 AM

No Sheldon, Aereo is antenna rental. They're not selling content.

Apr. 24 2014 10:26 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

If Aereo simply sold a one off antenna, this would not be an issue. The fact that they sell a subscription service with other people's content, is a huge problem. Even though, this content is broadcast over the air "for free" by its owners, the content is still copyrighted, not unlike music.

Apr. 24 2014 10:24 AM

So now Netflix is in the position of being required to sue its future competitors for NOT being excessively charged by Verizon and Comcast .

Apr. 24 2014 10:21 AM

jgarbuz, I agree with Justin and have to add that Netflix has serious gaps in its SciFi collection including some Star Trek movies.

Apr. 24 2014 10:21 AM
BK from Hoboken

This already happens. A couple years ago I went to watch my alma mater football game online when I heard it was on an espn website online known as ESPN3. Cablevision blocked my access to that website. It happens already.
Cable companies are in the same bucket as insurance companies for me. F#%k them both.

Apr. 24 2014 10:19 AM
Guest from Jersey

Your guest just said we live in a democracy. I find any argument that rests on that assumption to be highly suspect. Hasn't he heard? We're an oligarchy, and it's not exactly 'breaking news'.

Apr. 24 2014 10:18 AM

WalMart, in a comparable situation, recently did what Netflix didn't do.

They brought a $5 billion suit against Mastercard Visa for charging too much for highway tolls:

Apr. 24 2014 10:18 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

What a Joke. So, the cable companies' argument is that broadband huggers like Netflix, are slowing things down for everyone - but if the likes of Netflix, Amazon pay them more, magical gates will open up on Cable's supposedly overburdened networks.

It doesn't matter that broadband end users already pay for unlimited access and the technology exist to make this possible, if only Cable invested and upgraded their networks. And oh, by the way, it's just a coincidence that streaming companies are an existential a la carte threat to cable's antiquated and over-priced "bundle" business model.

Apr. 24 2014 10:17 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Comcast is already enjoined from 'throttling' by consent decree...I don't think this prevents them from 'paying' for NetFlix to get a bigger on-ramp.

Apr. 24 2014 10:16 AM
Guest from North Jersey

What is there to keep my Internet Service Provider from turning my now adequate service into a "premium" level of service, and charging me more for it--all while delivering sub-standard, intentionally throttled service for the current price. They already do this, to some extent. What's to keep it from becoming a business strategy to increase higher price subscriptions?

Apr. 24 2014 10:15 AM

@Bobby G You are correct. The infrastructure is dated in comparison to other countries. Yes we are a larger country but with the high costs we pay for internet access we should be able to have better quality service.

Apr. 24 2014 10:14 AM
BK from Hoboken

While normally I would be annoyed at a few users taking up the vast majority of the bandwidth, I am more concerned about the slippery slope here.
I compare this to the changes in buying a container of ice cream. A couple years ago, instead of transparently raising prices, all of a sudden when you went to the grocery store the ice cream was the same price but no longer a half gallon.
I can see Cablevision telling me that now I can pay more for "Super Internet" or some BS to basically maintain what I already have, or if I want the basic package I am now taking a slower connection.
Lastly, in what world does the SEC/FCC live that they don't see the Comcast merger as bad for consumers? Cable companies are already the worst, we have almost no choice inmost markets, and now they are going to let the two biggest merge?! Terrible!

Apr. 24 2014 10:13 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Netflix is great because of it wide diversity of documentaries, foreign movies and I have also caught many recent movies as well, though they have to be cauoght while availabe, so I check their "recent arrivals" daily. But in addition Netflix has the best streaming capabilities, the most user-friendly interface, NO ADVERTIZING, and is still pretty cheap though it will be going up soon. I have seen all of the others and overall Netflix is still the best deal. There are many free movie streaming services but with very limited and second class inventory and usually use advertizing or dubscription fees as well. Through my Roku I have many such services but Netlfix still remains the backbone in what I choose to watch.

Apr. 24 2014 10:12 AM
DC from Brooklyn, NY

If the telecoms actually did their jobs and improved their infrastructure like those in other countries, we wouldn't care about "net neutrality." Internet speeds in this country are pitifully slow and overpriced, and for major cities this is just egregious.

Apr. 24 2014 10:10 AM
Jim from NJ

This leads to eventual incompatiblity and eventual forced obselesence of
the "slower" internet. All new innovation and fucntionality will be developed for the "fast" internet.

Apr. 24 2014 10:10 AM

please note this morning's article in the times about the huge political influence of Comcast on Philadelphia. We are entering a vicious cycle of oligarchy, sadly similar to the vicious cycle of climate change…is the tipping point near?

Apr. 24 2014 10:09 AM

Does the loss of net neutrality mean that internet providers can potentially discriminate about who gets through at all? Will they be free to pick and choose what content users see altogether?

Apr. 24 2014 10:08 AM
Bobby G from Bobby G

Isn't it the case that the broadband speed we have now is much slower than South Korea and many other countries? Maybe we faster need speed overall.

Apr. 24 2014 10:06 AM
Justin from NYC

Netflix doesn't have anything on it worth watching even if it arrives faster. ;-) It's all old TV shows and series mostly. It doesn't even have classic comedies like Mel Brook's Frankenstein!

Apr. 24 2014 10:05 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

The 'last' mile is not the issue here rather the 'first mile'. Who pays for fatter pipes for Netflix to put data on the 'net, not to take it off.

If Time-Warner subscribers or Comcast or whomever wants to get data to THEIR subscribers faster, let them build their own infrastructure, NOT the commons.

Apr. 24 2014 10:05 AM

Big mistake. Just another example of exploitation of the commons for private gain. The Internet was developed through research funded by U.S. citizens. No single entity should have the right (or the power) to 'charge extra' for use of the commons. Cable companies are seeking to protect their fictional monopolies. Nothing more.

Apr. 24 2014 08:55 AM

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