Opinion

The Great Debate

Net neutrality: A web of deceit

By Steve Forbes
June 9, 2014

Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the FCC on Capitol Hill in Washington

Special-interest groups are calling for public-utility regulations to be placed on the Internet — the most innovative and society-shaping deregulatory success story of our time. These people are trying to exert control over the Internet through “net neutrality” regulations that will likely benefit only a few huge Internet companies and the top 1 percent of Internet users.

Net neutrality was developed to ensure that Internet users had the freedom to view all the legal content they wanted. Recently, however, there has been a shift in focus:  Some of the largest Internet companies are citing “net neutrality” as a reason to enshrine specific privileges that largely benefit them.

If these content companies get their way — and the Federal Communications Commission is now deliberating this — Americans will be forced to shoulder the costs for the high-speed networks and infrastructure upgrades needed to support high-volume Internet traffic generators, such as Netflix.

The Netflix logo is is shown on an ipad in Encinitas, CaliforniaWhether they use those services or not.

The math is simple. As a network carries more traffic, it has to grow or it will become congested. To expand a network requires significant investment and expense — tens of billions of dollars a year in the case of Internet service providers (ISPs).

These costs can be recovered in two ways: Either by charging all consumers equally or by having the large companies that use far more of the network resources pay their fair share.

In the real world it is reasonable and even expected that people pay more for a resource they use more than others. Under the guise of net neutrality, however, the large companies want everyone to pay more so that they and their users — the people consuming the bulk of the resources — do not have to.

Net neutrality advocates claim they are doing this for the good of the Internet and to protect future startups. But neither claim stands up to even the faintest scrutiny.  They are both a cover for a bold-faced attempt to force the many to subsidize the powerful few.

The only way the Internet can thrive is if all parties have incentives to improve — and more efficiently use — our high-speed networks. If Internet service providers are forced to serve as mere intermediaries, carrying content for other large companies, there will be little motivation for them to invest in their networks and foster innovation. Similarly, there will be no incentive for the heavy-traffic-generating companies to develop new ways to reach their consumers.

An eBay sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, CaliforniaAs for the small companies and startups that the proponents of Internet regulation are allegedly trying to protect, they are the ones who benefit from the kinds of creative network arrangements now available in the absence of Internet regulations. These arrangements differentiate them from the larger, more established companies who have developed their own ways to provide faster service to their consumers built on existing service provider networks.

No startup or new-market entrant can afford to spend considerable resources on their own global networks. That’s why the arguments from the large-content providers are self-serving: They have preferred access to consumers and want to keep it that way.

Contrary to the claims from those who are now most vocal in calling for 1930s “common carrier” regulations — dating from the age of the telephone-monopoly — be placed on the modern Internet, their true aim is to ensure that a small handful of companies do not pay their share.

Though that may be a successful, if questionable, business model for them, they risk subjecting the Internet to stifling regulations that will deter the long-term investments needed to power our Internet economy.

Regulators at the FCC and those on Capitol Hill who support the large content companies should be able to recognize this masquerade — and abandon any effort to impose public utility regulations on the Internet.

 

PHOTO (TOP): Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce, Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

PHOTO (INSERT 1): The Netflix logo is shown on an iPad in Encinitas, California, April 19,2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

PHOTO (INSERT 2): An eBay sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California, May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

 

Comments
25 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

It is the height of intellectual fraud when slivers of a discussion are presented as the entire discussion. Without net neutrality, internet providers can shakedown any content provider they see fit for additional cash. If there is an issue funding the infrastructure their customers need, they should adjust pricing to THEIR OWN customers accordingly. The reality is that these internet providers know that billing companies behind the scenes ultimately costs their customers through higher bills from content providers.

I expect to pay content providers for content and internet providers for the cost to deliver my content. If one of them costs too much I will adjust my consumption accordingly.

With all of that said, it is complete intellectual fraud to have this discussion in an opinion piece without bringing up the issues of de facto censorship. Without net neutrality, ISPs can slow down or even block content they choose. That is ridiculous and a much more significant danger for innovation on the internet.

Finally, Netflix has around 30 Million domestic subscribers so this is not an issue of 1% of the population. Streaming video is the most important application for the average consumer.

Shame on you for such a one-sided op piece.

Posted by handsaw | Report as abusive
 

Ever since 2000,or so, consumers have paid for the width and breadth of the bandwidth they desire. If you needed DSL, you ordered and paid for DSL, or any part of T1 and higher; that is bandwidth for the sake of usage. Under cable, if you wanted the greater up and download, you ordered and paid for the larger package. Under cell phones/smart phones; the more you intended to use, the larger the package and price you paid. Under WIFI from Clear or Sprint or anyone else; the larger the package you wanted, the more you paid. Someone, apparently, is already paying for these things. So where is the money going? Internet service providers, apparently, pay for the huge link capabilities to their server farms. Should things change? For what the consumer demands, the consumer should be paying and the companies should be using the increased payments from the consumer for the maintenance and upgrade of their infrastructure; not paying it out is exorbitant dividends to someone who really isn’t adding any value to the infrastructure.

Posted by SixthRomeo | Report as abusive
 

The consumers are already paying for the Internet in the USA and getting less bandwidth for more money than in other developed countries. Too little of that money, or the data fees that you pay on your smart phone, are going into supplying the bandwidth for which you are paying. The megacorporations now want more, more, more, and the ability to treat small, innovative business owners like serfs. Internet is now a utility and should be regulated like one. In case you are completely ignorant of the world outside the USA, let me repeat:

Consumers are already paying for the Internet in the USA and getting less bandwidth for more money than in other developed countries.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive
 

Steve, I don’t think you understand the internet infrastructure, Netflix buys bandwidth now, they pay for every bit to be transfered on networks. Consumers pay for access to internet sites. Both parties are already paying, what Comcast wants to do is charge Netflix for access to its subscribers. This has nothing to do with infrastructure as Comcast and other last mile providers buy that infrastructure just like Netflix buys bandwidth. Please research a topic before posting on it. You are mix informing people.

Posted by MichaelPahl | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Forbes has managed to add more FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) to the conversation. Many of his corporate buddies are doing the same thing. This is not a battle being held in Washington by politician. Not academics. Not engineers. Those people are just added for FUD. This is a battle between very large corporations for future billions of dollars. Once they settle it, the politicians will do as they are told. They already placed a lobbyist at the head of the FCC just for this reason. I assure you that the people will not be severed by either party winning.
@QuietThinker is right. We pay far ore than any country and this whole thing will do nothing but make us pay even more. Rational thinking would indicate that if it was a public utility it would be “for the people”, but we are an oligarchy so no matter what is for the corporation.
Welcome to the United States of Corporate America (The USCA).

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

*The math is simple. As a network carries more traffic, it has to grow or it will become congested. To expand a network requires significant investment and expense — tens of billions of dollars a year in the case of Internet service providers (ISPs).*

The answer is simple too – those are infrastructure costs, AKA the cost of doing their business. Does the public have to shoulder the costs when Wal-Mart wants to update their stores or McDonalds installs new cooking equipment? Does the public have to shoulder the costs when a paper company updates their paper machines or when a doctor’s office updates their officers? No, of course not – at least not directly. If these businesses increase the cost of goods to the consumer; then it may impact their ability to compete with other similar businesses.

This whole deal is basically like – Wendy’s updating their deep fryers and costs across the board in fast food go up – so Wendy’s can do that.

But the greedy socialists in government has been giving this ‘cop out’ to energy companies and some others for a long time – so now internet service companies want to be able to screw the public with the same.

Posted by Overcast451 | Report as abusive
 

Yeah, I’m going to listen to Steve friggin’ Forbes about Net Neutrality. Why would I trust a billionaire to self-regulate? Their track record has not been stellar.

Posted by AlkalineState | Report as abusive
 

Not sure if it’s our modern American insularity… but it seems all the blogs and reports and discussions focus only domestically — and thus the endless “what if’s” and “maybe’s” and threats of dire consequences going both directions. In short, nobody here really knows simply because it’s a new fork on the road for us.

But America doesn’t live in a vacuum! Reuters (and others) — how about doing some real investigative work and see how other advanced countries tackle similar issues? South Korea, citing just one example, is much more connected than we are. How do they tackle “pay for usage” vs. “treating all users the same”?

Posted by ReadandShare | Report as abusive
 

Respectfully, I disagree with many of the points made in this opinion piece. They are often misleading, when they are not simply incorrect. Reuters does its readers a very real disservice by presenting this material without analysis or official comment.

Mr. Forbes claims that the fees being assessed to content providers are necessary in order to allow networks to grow. He declines to mention that this isn’t in fact how the fees have been used thus far. Netflix’s recent deal with Comcast is most instructive. During negotiations with Comcast, the speed at which Comcast’s customers accessed Netflix’s content dropped at a progressive amount, spiking only as the deal between them was sealed. No additional engineering was performed. Comcast’s network remained exactly the same. Instead, an artificial bandwidth throttle was removed.

Under normal circumstances this would have been a blatant violation of the Net Neutrality agreement which Comcast agreed to in order to buy NBC. However, thanks to a bit of legal chicanery, Comcast managed to get a carve out for specifically this kind of throttling.

Personally, I’m all for network growth. I think it shameful that the American consumer pays the most in the world for internet service which, on average, is of lesser quality than the average service in Estonia.

If only the ISPs had the money to make the necessary upgrades. Well, wait a second, what about the money I and millions of others pay them for service. In fact, the very content providers Mr. Forbes decries are among their number, and not surprisingly they tend to already pay their ISP based on how much bandwidth they are using.

In fact, generally speaking, the ISPs do have the money for infrastructure upgrades. However, since many of them enjoy effective local monopolies and thus have no competition, there is no incentive to make the very improvements Mr. Forbes claims that fees will pay for. Let’s look at Comcast again. They’ve paid a quarterly dividend since 2008, but somehow lacked the cash to improve their network infrastructure? They spent over $18 million lobbying in 2013, more than anyone except a defense contractor. Such a shame that they can’t find the cash to make needed upgrades. Mind you, Mr. Forbes appears to be defending the very regulation Comcast spent so much money trying to get passed.

Posted by minigendo | Report as abusive
 

I agree with ‘ReadandShare.’ It is a “new fork in the road,”
and I don’t think it is well-handled in this short article.
Naturally, the big corporations want to make more money; they are never satisfied! Where do they go to get it? To all of us. The whole thing looks very dicey to me.

Hope there’s more thought than this before final decisions are taken.

Posted by dwilliams3 | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Forbes, you seem to imply that applying the common carrier regulations to the phone system in the 1930s is not an appropriate model to apply now to the internet, your reason apparently being that the concept of equal service has gone out of date. I wonder what you think of the Constitution, considering that it is now over 200 years old.

Posted by bcrawf | Report as abusive
 

The only deception here is by Mr. Forbes, who completely ignores major parts of the argument to focus on a tiny fraction. One wonders exactly how much Mr. Forbes has invested in Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, and Cox Communications.

Posted by Burns0011 | Report as abusive
 

“These costs can be recovered in two ways: Either by charging all consumers equally or by having the large companies that use far more of the network resources pay their fair share.”

A fallacy of false choices.

Posted by FuegoDiego | Report as abusive
 

Where to begin? The previous commentators have it just about right. Forbes is simply acting as a shill for his 1% corporate cabal buddies here.

We Americans now live in an oligarchic corporatocracy, of, by, and for them alone. The American Dream has been reduced to an exclusionary exclusivity wherein these industrial cabals act as gate-keepers while tilting the playing field only in their own directions. These ‘trade associations’ with their K-Street bagmen make certain to stack the deck (shape and write the laws and regulations), in all cases, against We the People at every level in every walk of life. I’d ask what in hell ever happened to our anti-trust laws, but the answer is that our corporate congress will not act against their cabal-istic owners.

Now, let’s say I am the guy who is going to outsmart Netflix and HBO, etc, and do to them what they are now doing to the previous status quo. I want onto the playing field, but these cabals have now made the price of entry onto that field exorbitant. This is what I mean by an exclusionary exclusivity; it’s like cultural incest. They just keep it in the family; making sure that only their corrupt crony capitalist buddies are allowed onto the field with them alone. I have spent decades preparing the next entertainment system, and I do not want to have to immediately assign a portion of my profits to the corrupt corporate cabals as the price for my entry into the playing field we all used to know as the American Dream.

We must settle for nothing less than absolute net neutrality. Bring US next-gen compression technologies that utilize the bandwidth we now have, like 10 times better (ala Silicon Valley’s “Pied Piper” concept – yes, I know it’s just a TV show . . . so was Star Trek). Demand that the qualification for ‘broadband’ is a minimum of 25 gigs per second. And for right now, regulate this cabal as a common carrier. Please, dear God!!!

And let us not overlook the fact that the present day content creation and distribution system is doing to itself exactly what the music industry did to itself prior to Napster. Remember Payola? Running double books so the artists could never get ahead? In Hollywood, it’s the talent agencies ‘packaging’ EVERYTHING! Useless! Self-serving garbage-mongers. Clones. Keep the lowest common denominator dumbed down. Feed the divide and conquer diversion. Make sure the red (right-wing) and blue (left-wing) are screaming at each other so they are not paying attention to what the white (1%) old men are doing. Get them to vote for people who are going to screw them. The 4th estate has betrayed We the People. They sold their soul to the cabal masters. And how often does Hollywood produce (and foist onto the top of the mountain) something meant to foster cultural evolution and enlightenment? 1 in 1,000? 1 in 10,000?

And let us not for one minute forget the advertising industry that demanded all our info from Google, Facebook, etc. It is the advertising industry that laid the groundwork for the NSA to capitalize on in it’s ‘new’ role as rampant big-brother unleashed. Einstein’s wife used to complain about his messy appearance. He said to her, (and I paraphrase) “Madam, it would be a terrible thing if the package were more valuable than its contents.” Welcome to the advertising industry. Meaningless! Valueless! Just like Facebook. Or any of the other 140 character comic strips. Pointless! Diversionary apathy. Value-less!

Then there is the insurance industry writing more laws than any other cabal (hell, all the other cabals combined); stealing our personal freedoms and individual liberties just to protect its corporate bottom line. And for what? To reduce you to a merely average equation, and deny you your life (number). It’s not healthcare. It’s sick-care. It’s profits at all costs. To them, we are meaningless. You wanna make life in America better? Get rid of both the advertising and insurance industries. There are two industrial cabals that will not be missed in the least. You have the internet, right? You don’t need commercials. You want something, you research it online, and then buy it online. You find the best of what you want at the best price, without wasting a single moment, or drop of precious gasoline. I suppose we could relegate all tv commercials to the “commercial channel” . . . Just so they will stop interupting us and insulting us with their ‘packaging’. I hate commercials and never buy anything that is advertised. I am not a sheep! Are you?

Make no mistake, these are the industrial cabals and their corporate congress meat puppets who are excluding all but their tight-knit buddies in their closeted reach-around circle-jerk of endless profits at all costs against the American public.

These industrial cabals are now the untouchable gangsters at the very top, and they want to shake US all down before we are allowed into their rarefied sphere of existence (onto THEIR playing field). Hell, they simply want to exclude US all. They are all royalty and we are their consumer peons, only. Nothing more. We are those ‘merely average’ Americans way down there below their . . . private jets.

And what in the hell was Obama ‘thinking’ when he appointed that corporatist to the FCC? I mean, I used to love the guy, but I can’t wait until 2016. Hey BO: Check these guys before they wreck what little is left of US; check the NSA before they complete their Orwellian dystopia nightmare. Oh wait! That’s above your pay grade.

Enough is enough! (like Forbes’ bank accounts)!!! There is no mistaking exactly why he wrote this load of disinformation. It’s where he lives.

Wake up America! It is way past time to put an absolute end to the Corporate Congress and the stranglehold these industrial cabals have on all of US; all the time now! Occupy liberty!!! Occupy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Fire them all and vote with your wallets. Stop giving your money to these criminals. Stop paying for (financing) the erosion of our Constitution in service to a few sociopathic paranoid control freaks. And seriously, fire everyone who has been in office for more than 2 terms. We do not need a constitutional convention, or amendments to get this done, we just need to limit all politicians to ten years, and then they can go and get a real job. No million dollar golden parachutes (socialism forever with gilded retirement and healthcare) for these people. They are just American citizens; not royalty. They are elected to serve, and all they do is serve themselves, forever! Why reelect someone who looks at you as nothing more than a merely average cog in his/her machinery for self-glorification ad infinitum? Why give money to corporations who are denying you your freedoms and liberties (and health and choice), and access to the playing field? Why honor the honor-less?

You can not shame the shameless into behaving, or serving you. You can only fire them all! Deny any and all of them any more than a single decade of service. It’s simple. Just do it. As a matter of cultural consistency. It’s that easy. Do not give your money to fat cats. Think globally; act locally. Keep your money in your home towns and counties.

And step away from that screen! Life is outdoors. In the garden with your pets . . .

My dear Mr. Forbes, you do not fool any of US for a single moment. You and the rest of the 1% are just entitled bullies; consolidating all the wealth into as few pockets as you can dream of getting away with. Give all your money away and serve the least of these. And don’t worry about Hollywood. Like ideologue politicians, they are committing suicide right before our very weary eyes.

Note: You can not call yourself a libertarian if you are serving the sanctimonious Dominionists (corporate religion of politics) on bended knee. True Libertarianism comes directly from Liberalism: “a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ liberalism?s=t)

I do not remember anywhere in the Sermon on the Mount about a corporate congress serving only the greediest and most power-lusting. I don’t remember him (Jesus/Yeshua) saying anything about trashing the planet at all costs for a very few with zero conscience. But I do remember him railing at the Pharisees; the hypocrites of his time; in bed with the corrupt politicians in service to only themselves (in the guise of sanctity). And though I believe Jesus was the first (small ‘s’) socialist, I do not remember him saying anything about corporate welfare. I guess socialism is open to definition. It’s okay for Multinational Corporations, the Military Industrial Complex, and politicians (forever), but just not for anyone else (despite the fact that the Baby Boom Generation was built on the GI Bill).

And let US never forget how supply-side economics (trickle down – shifts the weight of valuation from Main Street to Wall Street) led directly to the Crash of 1929. That and all that easy money from the Fed after world war one. History is now repeating itself, not because we didn’t learn from it, but exactly because you and your fellow crony (“long lasting”) capitalists want it to. Boom and bust. Manufactured crises. Make a bundle on the way up, burst the bubble and make even more on the way down. Buy low; sell high. Rinse. Repeat. The game is rigged, and always has been. Short term gain trumps long-term value creation every time. Who needs substance with meaning anymore? Who needs solidity in a world of vaporware?

Is it any wonder we have a corporate congress? And you wanted to be POTUS? You are most definitely NOT We the People! You are just one of the few members of your exclusionary exclusivity. But then, you were just preaching to the tiny (tinny?) choir here anyway, right?

Posted by KKMcK | Report as abusive
 

The current day business model is to socialize the cost of doing business onto others.

This is wrong, and people need to speak out.

What ever is resolved with net neutrality, capitalism must be protected so that companies are responsible for their own cost of doing business.

Posted by Flash1022 | Report as abusive
 

Overcast, you ask, “Does the public have to shoulder the costs when Wal-Mart wants to update their stores or McDonalds installs new cooking equipment? Does the public have to shoulder the costs when a paper company updates their paper machines or when a doctor’s office updates their officers?” Yes, we do because companies write all these expenses off their taxes and businesses like Wal Mart – and Boeing – get huge tax incentives to locate in a certain market. That’s the game – we “little people” pay for it all. The internet is a utility and should be regulated as one. When AT&T was the only telephone provider we all had regulated, same time access to telephone use and costs. Of course, the idea then was that government-backed business was to serve the public – not investors aka the top 1% global financial elite like Mr. Forbes.

Posted by njglea | Report as abusive
 

Google/Netflix “hogging bandwidth” = people going to those sites more = people’s choice

If people get dissatisfied with Google/Netflix, something newer, better, and cheaper will come along that displaces them, as long as startup costs aren’t prohibitive (which they probably would be under the proposed rule). Shouldn’t we allow the people to choose which service is better? We already have one monopoly at the ISP level. Should we really have another one, where Google, Netflix, etc. are de facto monopolies because startup companies can’t pay the “pizzo” or mafia protection tax to bring competition and innovation to the industry?

Even though you gloss over the stifling effect the proposed rule would have on everyone besides ISPs, you talk about stifling investment in networks. Do you think keeping cable company profits at around 90% of revenue or perhaps a slight reduction will really affect investment in this field? Economics 101 says no.

Posted by ThommyG | Report as abusive
 

Hey money has changed hands campaign checks have been signed…and now that bribery in washington has been all but made legal…I would say the fix is already in..the rest is just a dog and pony show to appear like they really care…yeah rightttt…

Posted by akita96th | Report as abusive
 

It seems to me Forbes is for maintaining net neutrality. It’s the proposed net neutrality regulations that are going to hurt the average user and benefit the big companies. I mean that is what he is saying. These companies are saying in order to maintain net neutrality they need to implement these new rules. Which is bogus, and I that’s what I got from this article

Posted by CosmikDebris | Report as abusive
 

So companies like Netflix(and their customers) are soaking up all the bandwidth. Companies like Time Warner and Comcast need to spend money to upgrade their infrastructure so they can deliver the content. With the new proposed regs, the cost, I assume, would be passed on to the consumer. Nothing has been decided, yet Time Warner keeps jacking up my internet bill. Why is that?

Posted by CosmikDebris | Report as abusive
 

Shame on you, Reuters, for printing this propaganda.

Why anyone would believe a single word from this self-serving clown is beyond me. He manages to get this exactly backwards while pretending that large corporations are the only ones pulling for net neutrality…they are not!

I am sure this obfuscation on this crook’s party is no accident, but rather is calculated to confuse people who he condescendingly assumes to be even more stupid than he is. He owns media companies for Christ’s sake! This is not some neutral party

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive
 

I agree with many on who have made comments

Posted by elutheria | Report as abusive
 

WOW!!! I amazed at how little Mr. Forbes understands about Net Neutrality but yet seems able to make such an “informed” article. 1. What is an “Internet” company. Is it a company that provides carrier service to access Internet services; does he mean companies that sell merchandise on the Internet like ?Best Buy? or ?EBay? which is an intermediary between people selling goods; Mr. Forbes had a picture of Netflix does he realize Netflix is a streaming video company not an ?Internet? company; does Mr. Forbes mean companies that have web pages like churches and non-profits ? Maybe he should have started their, defining what he means by ?Internet? companies. 2. The basis of “Net Neutrality” insures that any Internet based service (Internet based services are but not relegated to: http, vpn (private tunnels to your corporate or home network), H.323/SIP (common VTC protocols like Skype), VoIP (Vonage, MagicJack), streaming media (iTunes, Youtube, etc?)) is delivered at the same speed no matter what or who the company is or what they believe in. To understand what ?Net Neutrality? protects we need to understand how and what the Internet is comprised of. A very brief summary is the Internet is an umbrella of different protocols that help to deliver desired services. Web pages and other sites that use the top level domain (WWW) are a gateway to those services that flow over those protocols. So an example is lets say you use a VPN to log on to your corporate network to work, without ?Net Neutrality? I can charge more or completely block VPN protocol. Within the VPN protocol you can block ?http? protocol, ?ssh? if you use that or other services so I can grant one and not the other or, deny both or, charge you and your company and exorbitant fee to use a vpn connection. ?Net Neutrality? keeps a company from blocking content based on political views or other beliefs but without it companies can block, not just slow down access to content based on belief. 3. ?Net Neutality? prevents the opposite from happening as well. Let?s use Netflix as an example since Mr. Forbes has done so. Maybe Mr. Forbes does not realize how much bandwidth, how many OC (?Optical Carrier?, information over fiber optic lines and ?fiber optics? are physical cables made of thin glass thousandth?s of millimeters thick which send information by reflecting light allowing for speeds that have yet to maxed out by current networking devices) 192, OC292, or gigabit ether lines Netflix has to lease, how many servers they have to buy to provide streaming video service. So let say Netflix decides to start buying up networks and decides they will only stream Netflix movies (i.e movies they make themselves) or Google buys up networks (which it more than has the ability to do) and only allows content to companies and sites they own, that would be about 10% of most Internet usage. ?Net Neutrality? prevents this from happening. It allows writers like Mr. Forbes to make unintelligible comments like this without being discriminated against just because an ISP does not like Reuters or Forbes. 4. Does Mr. Forbes actually think it cost $100 a month to deliver 50mb of bandwidth. That $100 pays for installation of media as well as networking equipment that has already been in place for years maybe even a decade. 5. Lastly ?Net Neutrality? prevents a Gestapo media. We have seen in the news, whether you agree or not, how the government or particular intelligence agencies have targeted ISP?s. Now imagine an ISP that can block content at will based on it?s own desires but these companies are under government pressure to give up information on users and users search habits. What stops them now. I can block content based on search habits when in actuality it is the government directing these companies to do so. We need to think about the far reaching effects of removing ?Net Neutrality? especially since individual ISP?s are increasingly being eaten up by major network corporations . Maybe Mr. Forbes would do well to research in detail such an important subject before he decides to comment on it for his constituents.

Posted by thilips | Report as abusive
 

What a load of FUD!

Mr. Forbes either know next to nothing about the internet, or is invested heavily in Comcast.

If net-neutrality is killed by corporate interests, the US will slip further behind in connectivity and smaller entrants into the market will be effectively blocked by the large monopolies currently running the industry.

Shame on you, Mr. Forbes!

Posted by MacMan | Report as abusive
 

What nonsense! Content providers pay network providers to upload content to the internet. Consumers pay their ISP to receive content. In the middle, interconnect agreements between major network providers allow them to pass each other’s traffic back and forth for free. Otherwise, accounting for it alone would be a nightmare.

It’s no more complicated than that.

If network providers want to raise their rates to recover costs, they are free to do so at any time. But hiding it by trying to introduce a third payment to the equation is disingenuous. They’re essentially extorting money from content providers like Netflix, etc. by threatening, and in Netflix’s case, actually slowing down their content delivery.

There’s a growing amount of propaganda, like this article, out there.

Major network providers (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) had record profits this year. Google it. But this type of article is designed for people who don’t understand how internet plumbing actually works. Don’t fall for it!

Posted by DW6 | Report as abusive
 

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