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The "Fast Lane" of the Internet is Bad For Us All

Posted by - 03:14 PM on 04/24/14
Things are not looking good on the net neutrality front. According to several sources the FCC is set to propose new net neutrality rules "that would allow broadband providers to charge companies a premium for access to their fastest lanes." Or, as Tim Wu in The New Yorker so eloquently put it: "It threatens to make the Internet just like everything else in American society: unequal in a way that deeply threatens our long-term prosperity."
 
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03:16 PM on 04/24/14
#2
Jason Tate
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More reading on this topic:
Everyone in this discussion has been led, most likely by talking-points marketing by the FCC and ISPs, to describe the destruction of net neutrality as allowing ISPs to “create fast lanes”.

This language was carefully constructed to sound like a positive, additive move: It’s building, not destroying or restricting. They want to offer faster service, not reduce the speed or priority of all existing traffic. Who could possibly be against that? They’re building fast lanes, like a highway! Everyone loves fast lanes! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Naturally, this doesn’t reflect reality at all. Only a fool would believe that the ISPs would actually create any new capacity, higher speeds, or consumer value in this process, leaving their existing service untouched. Yet that’s exactly the future you’re suggesting by using the “building fast lanes” metaphor.

Be honest.

This is not building anything new — it’s discriminating and restricting what we already have.
03:19 PM on 04/24/14
#3
popdisaster00
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Yeah, it's ridiculous. I really want the major tech companies to band together and do something about this.
03:35 PM on 04/24/14
#4
caveBEAR
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Yeah, it's ridiculous. I really want the major tech companies to band together and do something about this.

they won't.
04:00 PM on 04/24/14
#5
joealabaster
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It would take a simple act of Congress to add ISPs to the list of common carriers, but in this era, nothing is simple with Congress. Post Citizen's United et al, how many congresspersons are now in the pocket of Comcast?
04:07 PM on 04/24/14
#6
Spencer Control
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This is really serious and, frankly, disgusting.
04:10 PM on 04/24/14
#7
Amongster
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It would take a simple act of Congress to add ISPs to the list of common carriers, but in this era, nothing is simple with Congress. Post Citizen's United et al, how many congresspersons are now in the pocket of Comcast?

It's not necessarily even about any congressperson possibly being in bed with an ISP. More simply, they would all be able to afford top-tier access speed, so why would they give a shit?
04:26 PM on 04/24/14
#8
CluckyB
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It's not necessarily even about any congressperson possibly being in bed with an ISP. More simply, they would all be able to afford top-tier access speed, so why would they give a shit?
As far as I understand, this is more "Comcast can force Netflix to give it more money in order to make Netflix run faster" rather than "Comcast can make you pay $50 extra if you want Netflix to run faster"

Still sketchy because it could make it harder for competitors to gain footing if they can't afford the fast lane,
04:29 PM on 04/24/14
#9
joealabaster
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You don't think netflix, Amazon, Hulu won't pass that cost onto the consumer?

Here's hoping google fiber comes to seattle.

https://fiber.google.com/cities/
05:28 PM on 04/24/14
Arry
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You don't think netflix, Amazon, Hulu won't pass that cost onto the consumer?

Here's hoping google fiber comes to seattle.

https://fiber.google.com/cities/
it'll be a while until fiber comes to seattle. thanks to the city and comcast
07:01 PM on 04/24/14
Tony
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You don't think netflix, Amazon, Hulu won't pass that cost onto the consumer?

Here's hoping google fiber comes to seattle.

https://fiber.google.com/cities/

it'll be a while until fiber comes to seattle. thanks to the city and comcast

There's been talk that we might set up our own municipal network, with the idea that it could be rolled in with the smart electric meters that Seattle City Light will installing in every building over the next few years. It's absurd how much money a company like Comcast can make while making so little investment in the cities they serve. I don't know how it is citywide, but I can't get more than 50 Mbps where I live, and as I understand it broadband still isn't even an option in many parts of the city.
08:12 PM on 04/24/14
yeahtheocean
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One day technology, food, goods, etc. will all have to be free. Money is not a part of our natural evolution, it's just an easy way for the printers of money to gain an illusion of power over the ones actually creating the technology and producing the goods. All technology should be meant for the good of the planet. If we as a species do not start giving away our brilliant society-altering inventions instead of trying to make money off of one another, our inventions will only end up being bought by the people who print our money and will not be free to the world. This is the only way to fix society, the only way to allow progress, and the only way to create free energy. Free energy cannot be owned by anyone, and neither can the internet (free information).
08:13 PM on 04/24/14
caffeinateme
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I think this totally sucks and is a prime example of how badly Washington/corporate crony-ism affects us. But I'm hopeful that there's a way to beat it. Right now, the cable and telephone companies own us because they own the content and data delivery systems. Their infrastructure from days gone bye made it that way. I'd love to see a startup develop a way to deliver over the air the same speed and quality internet service that we're used to with cable so that the companies that own physical lines no longer control the price.
08:50 PM on 04/24/14
Amongster
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One day technology, food, goods, etc. will all have to be free. Money is not a part of our natural evolution, it's just an easy way for the printers of money to gain an illusion of power over the ones actually creating the technology and producing the goods. All technology should be meant for the good of the planet. If we as a species do not start giving away our brilliant society-altering inventions instead of trying to make money off of one another, our inventions will only end up being bought by the people who print our money and will not be free to the world. This is the only way to fix society, the only way to allow progress, and the only way to create free energy. Free energy cannot be owned by anyone, and neither can the internet (free information).
I'd be surprised if capitalism dies out before civilization.
08:53 PM on 04/24/14
rsk423
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While we all wait for Google Fiber here in Seattle, I've got ReallyFast.net at my place. It's local and it's.....well really fast. I'm stuck with Comcast Cable till I die though.

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