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Tech Talk (Vol 15)

Net Neutrality ruled void

In 2010, the FCC created the Net Neutrality rules that basically states that no Internet Provider can block, slow down or favor traffic from any one place or source over another. Verizon challenged it in 2011 claiming they had no authority to make or enforce the rule. In January 2014, the DC Circuit Court ruled in Verizon's favor voiding the FCC's Net Neutrality rule.

ISPs can now treat different types of traffic, video, P2P, www, email, VoIP, etc, differently and give priorities over each other, including the source of, for example, video from Amazon vs video from Netflix.

Why is this important to the ISP? Let's go back in the days of dialup, modems needed shared. ISPs did not have a modem sitting there waiting for every dialup customer. They normally had a ratio of at least 4 to 1. Every 4 customers shared 1 modem. The ISP, you see, could not afford to pay for Internet backbone and the modem line for each person and still charge you $20. There just wouldn't be any ISPs left if that were the case. They'd all be bankrupt. Let's use other examples of sharing... What would happen to your water pressure if everyone, at once, turned on their water? It would drop to almost nothing. What would happen if everyone starting using a lot of electricity (summertime, air conditioners)? Rolling blackouts, rationing. What would happen if everyone jumped in there car at the same time? Traffic jams. Before every major storm, go to the grocery story. What, no milk or bread? Internet traffic is no different. The Internet was not designed and built to be running full blast to each and every end user, and that is what video services like Netflix are doing. It took a service that was designed to be a cheaper shared service into a more expensive service that is 'dedicated', at the cheaper price.

Now we have a lot of infrastructure that needs rebuilt. Fast. Who is going to pay for that? You? You think you are already paying to much. Netflix? They don't want to pay, they have stockholders to answer to. They are selling a service without having to pay for any transport. Did you know electric rates are going up 30%+ in the next 10 years to build more "infrastructure"? A special charge added to your bill to pay for it. Your taxes go up to pay for those new roads because of all the traffic jams. Cry about it all you want, but, it doesn't matter what pocket it comes out of, the end user/consumer/tax payer ends up footing the bill. Now Comcast tells Netflix that they are eating up all their bandwidth, so, without Net Neutrality, they tell them to pony up the bucks or we'll keep you slowed down. Netflix agrees and just announced they are going to raise everyone's rates 'by a couple dollars'.

Am I picking on Netflix? Absolutely. They are creating this mess. You don't care because you are getting dirt cheap video service. Statistics say they are now eating up a third of all Internet traffic, more than all the giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook combined. They should be paying for some of the transport. Now let's say all the ISPs make Netflix start paying so they can rebuild their networks to support the increased traffic load, caused by them. Netflix is going to pass that cost on to you, the consumer, and eventually that dirt cheap video service won't be so dirt cheap anymore. Sorry.

Don't get me wrong. Some of the reasons behind Net Neutrality were good. Like a Service Provider that offers a similar service, blocking or slowing down a competitor soley for the purpose of eliminating their competition. What may end up happening is everyone is on a pay-what-you-use, like cell phones, with a 'tier' plan, which would give higher tiers more priority over lower ones. Sort of like tiered "QoS", Quality-of-Service. The Internet is relatively new technology still, growing faster than anyone can keep up with. The entire design is flawed is so many really bad ways... if you knew how services such as E-mail, DNS, TCP/IP etc actually worked, and the crooks that are taking advantage of those flaws to hurt innocent people... oh well, I digress, that's for another day.