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    The Lifeline example referenced by WSJ in its Pai profile published last May is pertinent: essentially the United States Government pays for and subsidizes basic Internet access rather than incentivizing ISPs to expand, build, improve, and develop their network.

    Ah, yes, which is why before the Lifeline program those places had easy access to broadband.

    Or why before the federal Rural Electrification program the power companies were just champing at the bit to run power lines to rural America. Oh wait, no, before that if you lived outside of a city you were lucky to have electrical power at all (90% of farms in 1936 did not have electricity). Six years after the Rural Electrification Act and the extensive federal loan and expertise-sharing program that it implemented, 50% of farms had electricity, and by 1952 essentially all of them did.

    Or like the time before the federal mandate to deliver telephone service meant that there were parts of the country that didn’t have any form of telephone service as recently as 2005. Telephone companies regularly skipped those communities because it wasn’t profitable to run lines to them. Only with the advent of the Universal Service Fund and enhanced 911 regulations did those places get telephone service.

    But no, the free market will totally get services to those places. The fact that they didn’t have telephone service 120 years after the founding of AT&T doesn’t mean anything…

    Here’s what happens when the free market serves the poor and remote: they are given the barest minimum of service, at dramatically higher unit cost, if they get service at all. If the voters in rural areas knew how much the rest of the country subsidized their basic lives (like we also do for the urban poor, much to those rural voters’ apparent anger) they’d be shocked.

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      This whole article is a trashfire.

      The author seems unable to grasp that, to the extent bandwidth-hungry services like Netflix tax an ISP’s infrastructure, it’s because the ISP’s subscribers are requesting those services, not because megabits are just getting thrown around by Netflix for no reason.

      There’s an unquestioned assumption of “competition’s” ability to drive “better” service, which flies in the face of history, namely that the telecom sector has been getting less competitive with less regulation.

      I had to quit reading after this gem:

      Second, the public, pro-net neutrality advocates, and other stakeholders should acknowledge and consider current alternative market-based practices on the local level. Throughout Europe and across parts of the US, folks enjoy high-speed, unrestricted, and low-cost Internet access via municipally or cooperatively owned carrier-neutral fiber.

      As if it weren’t the ISPs killing programs like these.

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        As if it weren’t the ISPs killing programs like these.

        You ain’t kidding. They are actively lobbying for local legislation to prevents municipal broadband. There are already laws on the books in several states. For a recent example, see: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/01/virginia-broadband-deployment-act-would-kill-municipal-broadband-deployment/

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        Meta discussion: what’s up with all these people advocating against Net Neutrality? Maybe I didn’t listen to too many different opinions a few years ago, but I’m fairly certain that if anyone wanted to try oppose NN, it was seeming obvious that they were a ISP shill. A few months I saw some looney Anarcho-Capitalist (ie. a radical right-wing (market) libertarian) advocate for it, which I belived to be a new low for their group, but since then I’ve been seeing more and more people popping out of seeming nowhere, trying to convince people that ISPs would still provide equal service to everyone (or “better”), even if the darn government wouldn’t make them do so (even if it weren’t profitable for them - but since when do private businesses care about that?).

        Is my perspective limited? Has this been a longer trend? If not, what is the cause for this recent shift?

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          Some people distrust the government so much, they argue against their own interests just to “keep the government out”

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            Your perspective is limited. An argument against “Net Neutrality” has existed for quite some time.

            [EDIT]: Source (note the blurb at the top though): https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/net-neutrality-fcc-perils-and-promise — As far as I can tell, it’s basically the same partisan argument (on both sides) that’s being repeated today. If I were a betting man, I’d say arguments against it go back even further, but I’ve spent enough time on it already.

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              I’m not doubting that there was an argument, the very concept of people supporting Net Neutrality without even an argument would be ludicrous. All I’m asking is why lately tere have been, or at least appear to have been, more prominent.

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                I’d say the EFF is pretty prominent.

                Anyway, it doesn’t seem more prominent to me than any other time this issue has come up (and it has, several times).

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                    That’s why I said

                    (note the blurb at the top though)

                    The EFF is a prominent organization. In 2009, they voiced a stance against “Net Neutrality.” You asked if your perspective was off. This is evidence, IMO, that it is. Feel free to dismiss it, but this niggling argument is just pointless.

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              I don’t argue against it, but I do think many of the hypothetical scenarios people come up with are far fetched and not representative of why ISPs are opposing net neutrality (and those falsely constructed hypothetical doomsday scenarios are why so many people care in the first place).

              NN is definitely better for the consumer, but if we don’t have it, we won’t lose our first amendment rights or have to pay extra for full speed access to lobste.rs. Realistically, the change will not be very drastic at all.

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                Realistically, the change will not be very drastic at all.

                This is a strangely confident assertion to make in the current political climate.

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                  I’m very confident about the goals behind corporate lobbying: create a friendly regulatory environment, then push profits right up to the line, but not so far as to create a public/regulatory backlash (because that ruins profits, temporarily).

                  It’s a game, and as long as they’re playing it, they’re not going to piss you off squabbling over kilo/mega/giga-bytes when the money is in video streaming (exa/zetta-bytes). Case in point: you really can’t hit Comcast’s data cap without streaming HD video – that’s on purpose.

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                    They’ve made crazy-high profits for decades using monopolistic tactics with poor service, high costs, and so on. Any public anger at their tactics had to be balanced against drawbacks of not having telecom service at all. So, they tolerated it for lack of other options. The telecoms reinforced that with consolidation that kept things bad until government action forced competition and/or speed increases.

                    With all evidence to contrary, I don’t know how you are talking like they’ll stop pushing profits at point where it creates backlash. The backlash alone won’t do anything given the public doesnt choose the FCC heads: politicians paid off by telecoms do. So, they keep trying to cause more profitable problems for consumers because executive incentives, barrier for competitors, lobbying, and weak regulations all let them do it.

                    And yes, they did piss me off with the caps that my non-HD, 2-person household ran through in a month on top of probably-intentionally, shitty meters that said I was using gigabytes of data when stuff was powered off. A strong backlash combined with a consumer-friendly regulator made them back off… not with admissions of wrongdoing… to simply raise the cap. The cap that they invented out of thin air to begin with. If new regulator changes things, they might try that stuff again or something worse like their plan to sell our info.