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October 28, 2009

A world without Net neutrality?

Posted: 06:34 PM ET
*click to view full chart

Net neutrality is a complex issue, but this user-generated chart posted on Reddit does a great example of illustrating a worst-case scenario.

The chart envisions a future without Net neutrality, where Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are allowed to adopt pricing models similar to cable television. Consumers pay subscription fees for individual slices of the internet that ISPs package into tiered pricing plans.

This pricing model is a far cry from the freedom most ISPs currently offer. Rather than charging for individual Web sites you probably purchase a "dumb pipe" of information from your ISP, and are free to use this data however you wish. But Net neutrality supporters claim without strong neutrality regulation ISPs could change their behavior and consumers will suffer.

Do you believe Net neutrality regulation is required to prevent this chart from becoming a reality or is free-market competition enough to ensure consumers' best interests?

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Filed under: computers • Internet • online news • technology

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Franko   October 28th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

Emperor Obama campaigned on the impossible; net neutrality
Will he veto IPV6 ?

Wayne Riker   October 28th, 2009 8:45 pm ET

I personally do not subscribe to any TV cable or satellite service because of the tiered layers. I want about 12 channels, but to order them with the tiered method would cost about $80.00 per month and give me some 300 useless channels. I'll stick with local free HD channels until they clean this up.

By the way lose the extra cost to get HD! Broadcasters must supply it FREE by law. Cabel can lose it to remain competetive.

Sophomorocat   October 28th, 2009 8:52 pm ET

If big business could boil their customers down for their oil and sell it on the open market they would! Regulate, regulate, regulate! And regulate low, they might be crawling.

Marcus   October 29th, 2009 12:09 am ET

We need regulation. We did not regulate banks and we almost had another depression. We do not regulate health care properly and we have people who have had cancer who cannot get up follow-up care because they are seen as pariahs, or women who cannot get health insurance because of a pap smear, domestic abuse or yeast infections. We have to start doing what is right for people, because people are what makes these companies rich. Free-market competition has killed our manufacturing sector, health insurance, and almost killed our economy. We need net neutrality, because it is just part of all the things we need. The internet is full of information and used for everything nowadays. You can't even apply at jobs on location anymore. All in all, yes we need internet regulation because these companies are forgetting that greed will be their demise.

David Wall   October 29th, 2009 4:01 am ET

The Internet world (those who use it) will find ways to marginalise the providers; who only look to commercial gain,

George   October 29th, 2009 6:34 am ET

I believe if this were to happen only the very rich would have internet access, I know I would be canning mine. Not sure how ISP would stay in the biz under something like this. Internet prices would escalate beyond control.

joe   October 29th, 2009 8:10 am ET

Where is DSL and rural internet? Obamamaa said we was ALL going to get this down to the lowest end user during election. ATT in my area says U never going to get DSL or cable TV in your lifetime. Oh oh how am I going to order my viagra pills now? Read CNN webpages on dialup......dont think it will display in my lifetime with blotted ads and animated gifs/jpgs !!!

Nick   October 29th, 2009 10:24 am ET

The idea that ISPs shouldn't block legal access to anything, I can agree with. My concern is that net neutrality might end up limiting ISPs ability to offer quality of service and tiers. ISPs make a lot of money from businesses that need uptime and quality of service guarantees. If they become so regulated that they can no longer do that, either everyone will have to pay a lot more for Internet or ISPs will not make enough money to invest in network upgrades.

Lee   October 29th, 2009 11:51 am ET

Regulation please. Don't let the ISP's screw up the Internet like the way cable did with television.

Matt   October 29th, 2009 12:34 pm ET

Let's not get carried away. We don't need to regulate everything now. If they do move to a tiered program and people hate it, there will be a competing provider that does not have a tiered program, and if people really hate the tiered method the non-tiered competitor will find success.

While regulation is required in some circumstances, we are a capitalist nation so we're not going to have government regulation of everything. All you cynical college liberals who post here need something better to do...

Domenic   October 29th, 2009 2:18 pm ET

I'm a freelance web programmer, I'd hate to see the major ISPs do what they want with the internet. It would destroy one of the most important things that has happened to mankind. I'm glad this is finally being covered on CNN because so far only grassroots organizations have been getting the word out relying on people like me to spread the message. As for Matt's comment, every major ISP currently has a desire to move things in this direction and rely on people like you with little understanding of what exactly that would mean for your end-user experience.

Glenn   October 29th, 2009 2:41 pm ET

Matt is right ! Don't regulate before the need to. Let the market do its thing. There will be plenty of time to regulate if supply and demand fails to work.

Devryn   October 29th, 2009 2:45 pm ET

With energy futures OBVIOUSLY being controlled by speculators and a lack of regulation they decide to focus on THIS? Did I miss the indicators that my ISP was going to start offering a plan that WASN'T based on bandwidth and was instead based on a tiered package?

Zac   October 29th, 2009 2:46 pm ET

Re – Marcus:

We need regulation? What you fail to see is that the government DID reguate banks. But in the wrong way. It was the government that regulated the banks and told them that a certian percentage of their mortages had to be sub-prime so that everyone could have "the american dream" and the government encouraged people to go out and take those risky mortages. The more a government steps into a private sector of the economy the only thing it can do is to negatively impact it in the long run.

Franko   October 29th, 2009 3:36 pm ET

IPV6 has 8 priority bits -
pay for the priority bits, an enhanced flexible version of pay TV

Top priority will be national security then Obama, bankers, military
VOIP, Sports and other pay per view services
The bottom of the priority list will be free - the poor and homeless

Bob Billa   October 29th, 2009 3:37 pm ET

Isn't an internet without net neutrality AOL?

Seems to be the way AOL was envisioned to charge for parts of the internet and control the surfers every move.

Bob Billa   October 29th, 2009 3:41 pm ET

I can see the bigwigs at AOl getting excited about tiered internet. AOL will be rebranded and suck consumers in again for complete control.

Adaradrian   October 29th, 2009 4:51 pm ET

As far as I can see it has come down to ISPs and the elected officials they support, and the "don't regulate anything" group vs the rest of the people who know about the net neutrality debate.
Corporate America will do what they can to increase profits, that is the nature of the beast and is why we have to have regulations.

confused   October 29th, 2009 5:12 pm ET

Marcus you have it all wrong. Free market capitalism is what we need. Regulations will do nothing but hurt businesses and consumers in the end. If you want to have to pay for tiered internet so you can make your socialist comments on a news site and then pay more to go to a sports site then go ahead. There are probably hundreds of thousands of small businesses that rely on the internet for a majority of their business, some probably do all their business on the web. Regulations would kill these companies, and destroy lives of those who rely on internet businesses. Is that what you want regulations to do? Stop small business? That is even more important then big business which I am sure you want to go down with more government regulations because we can't have companies making a profit, thats not fair, they need to give a share of their profits to you...right?

Paul   October 29th, 2009 5:43 pm ET

Net neutrality needs to be protected. This will not happen without regulation. Without regulation the providers will seek to squeeeze as much out of the consumer as they can get away with.

After all, they are not there to provide the best service possible to you, they are there to provide the most cost effective (for them) service to you and to charge you for as much as you are willing to pay for.

Trevor Gehman   October 29th, 2009 5:54 pm ET

Net Neutrality is definitely necessary!

Do you really want your internet to be like your cable TV is now?

$100/month, and we decide what websites you can visit. And there is no one else in town who can offer you service if you want to switch.

Brandon   October 29th, 2009 6:49 pm ET

This would not be good for any of the companies for them to do this. People would just boycott the internet untill the businesses almost go bankrupt.

On a Brighter note, Obama says "The internet is perhaps the most open network in history and we have to keep it that way" so hopefully he will follow up with this =D.

Franko   October 29th, 2009 9:43 pm ET

Going to be an interesting priority bit roll out
The content provider pays for higher priority from advertising ?
Or you pay to remove the advertising ?

Ralf The Dog   October 30th, 2009 12:48 am ET

With Net neutrality the ISPs will be able to manage network loads. They will not be able to limit the types of service you get. They will not be able to limit the sites that you go to. They will be able to limit bandwidth and they will be able to limit your total download and upload.

Why should AT&T care if the packets you get come from CNN or KAZA? Why should they be able to decide if you can use VOIP or look at another phone companies website? Should Comcast be allowed to block you from YouTube? How about the DNC website?

Many places have no competition for high speed Internet access. You take what company A gives you or you use dialup.

XXXXX XXXXXXX   October 30th, 2009 7:30 am ET

I like what some of you are saying. I think net neutrality is something that should go into law. Why should one company tell me what I can view on the internet? What makes them think they can treat me like I am their child? I could maybe see this if I was like six years old and they where my parents.

Without net neutrality, your ISP could just block access to anything it didn't like or agree with. They could block social networking sites because they say "it's not safe". Or block everything except their own content, and have no competition.

And they would. Cox Communications is the ONLY internet provider in my zip code. If I want internet I have to go through them, or set up my own ISP network, witch is not logically possible.

It is clear to me that net neutrality is something we need in the digital age. ISPs are already showing signs of controlling our internet. I use Torrent software legally, but they slow it down to 5 bits a second, a speed that virtually kills the connection.

I hope our congress agrees with me on this one. I know net neutrality is important to me.

Franko   October 30th, 2009 7:58 am ET

Wall street will create all kinds of priority bit derivatives
In addition speculating on Pork Bellies, Oil or Gold
You will be able to speculate on the delivery of priority packets

Smokey   October 30th, 2009 8:20 am ET

It seems to a way to obtain extra tax money on the city, county, state and federal level by the government.
Before the internet there was the bulletin board systems (BBS's) over the telephone land lines. There was a time that they were free except for the monthly dues to the BBS operator. Then the local and state governments in different areas decided to tax the amount of useage.
Thus the BBS's died off.

Dave   October 30th, 2009 9:50 am ET

Zac, wrong, very wrong. The banks had regulations, but over the last decade or so, almost all of that regulation was peeled back. The banks complained about overregulation, the GOP complained about government interference, the Dems didn't see an obvious need for the continued regulation. The end result of the reduced regulations is the economic crisis we are in now. The sad part is the very people that are so supportive of capitalism and talk about how evil socialism is are the first people in line when it comes to government handouts. The GOP came up with the idea of the bailouts and the big companies ate them about being hypocritical.
The anti net nuetrality group that talk about how capitalism is the answer have part of the picture. Companies will bend us over backwards, and then other companies will step in to offer different solutions....the problem is that the overall effect will be more expensive internet than what we have now.
Companies will offer different tiers of internet access with different fact in some places they are already trying this idea out. To get the same service you are used to, you end up paying 3-4 times as much as you do now. You live with that for a few years, then some other company steps in and offers you unlimited service for twice as much as you are paying now and you are right....capitalism regulated the price, but you still end up paying more than you do now. The other thing you may want to think of is that unless you live in a major city, most of the company only has 1 provider for high speed internet right now, and without populations large enough to draw in new companies, this wouldn't change. Those companies offering good prices in large cities can subsidize those lower prices by ripping off the customers with no choice.
Ralf, they will be able to limit where you go. They can shut down sites on their networks very easily. On another level, they can make your ability to visit CNN faster than your ability to visit MSNBC. This opens up not only ways to charge customers different rates based ont he service they want, but also to charge companies and websites based on which package deal they want to be in. A basic package could offer better service for some websites than others pushing consumers to view certain content.

Government control at least tries to be fair and equal. Yes, regulation can sometimes supress progress, but uncontrolled progress tends to cause more problems than it solves (stock market crashes, housing bubbles, etc). Why would companies that only care about the bottom line care about your internet access? Did AIG care about your taxes being used to bail them out? Did the banks that give out toxic loans care about what could happen to the economy? No, they care only about lining their pockets at any cost.

Plain and simple, the internet works now. It's cheap, fast, and fair. Why risk giving that up? Even if true capitalism does fix the problems that would arise, why mess up the internet for a decade to get to that point?

Secdave   October 30th, 2009 9:53 am ET

Sorry confused, I have to disagree with you. Small businesses would be hurt just as much as helped. Without net neutrality, when a small business discovered that it needed additional access it is logical to assume they would be obliged to follow the currently existing processes for adding access as they do now. Lead times of up to 30 days for implementation and prohibitive costs. Unless of course, you are referring to mom and pop businesses who access the net using standard home user accounts.

Beemer   October 30th, 2009 12:09 pm ET

@those who say we shouldn't regulate

I see several posts that say we shouldn't regulate ISP's and that the market will take care of itself. The part you're not seeing is "what market?".

In my market, I have two providers, cable and dsl. There are also many markets where there's only one provider. They are government mandate monopolies. *Without* regulation, they can and will run rampant.

Unfettered internet access has become a utility now at least on par with a phone – you don't *have* to have it, but it makes life much easier/nicer.

Just like electric/gas/water/phone, this industry needs to be regulated as well. All net neutrality says is that if you provide internet access, you must treat all legal traffic the same. So you monopoly cable provider in your area, which also does broadband, can't limit (or block) your access to Hulu (a potential competitor).

It *does not* stop an access provider from managing traffic – i.e. a single user on a node is using up most of the bandwidth for that node, degrading everyone else's, so the access provider can throttle *that user* to ensure fair traffic flow for everyone.

Alex R.   October 30th, 2009 5:21 pm ET

Net neutrality is essential. It would be disastrous if companies were to begin charging for different sections of the internert. I consider myself to be moderately conservative; I don't usually like the idea of government intervention in the private sector. However, I think that the government MUST step in and stop businesses from putting a road block on the wide-open information highway.

Franko   October 30th, 2009 7:05 pm ET

Trails in the forest have little regulation, but on a highway, there are tolls, weigh scales, speed limits, traffic police. Regulations to increase traffic capacity

Bob   October 30th, 2009 8:13 pm ET

If there is no regulation, even if you have smaller companies that will pop up to offer a better service they will be bought or run out of business by the big boys. It will be like big oil, the few major isp's will get together and price fix and stick it to the consumer. You need oversite because these companies are not honest enough to do what is best for both them and the consumer.

dr. 650   October 30th, 2009 11:32 pm ET

I think network neutrality will put a stop to selective interference with protocols (what comcast does or tried to do with p2p traffic). If I pass a total transfer cap and they throttle my bandwidth, or offer to charge me a fee for more, I'm okay with that. But don't interfere with network traffic at the protocol level.

mookie   October 30th, 2009 11:49 pm ET

Wayne Riker, broadcaster are not required to broadcast HD. I think you are confused with the requirement to broadcast digitally which is very different from HD.

Corwin7   October 31st, 2009 9:52 am ET

Good GOD how on earth can the same people that brought you $4.00 a gallon gas, a home loan that's twice what your home is worth, and crashed the WORLD economy still convince so many of you idiots that "capitalism" still works? While we are at it why not just auction off electricity to the highest bidder too? After all, it's free market right? I understand it's hard to admit you have done something as stupid as being a conservative but admitting you have a problem is the first step in getting better. Also, it might not have occured to you that not admitting you are an idiot is NOT the same as not being one. The rest of us still know you are, and deep down inside you know you are.

leftcoastblue   October 31st, 2009 10:30 am ET

Anyone who thinks a "cable-model" is a better idea than Net neutrality owns a cable TV company.

Because cable TV providers hold their markets exclusively, they raise prices whenever they want, and feel no pressure to provide a quality service. Using their approach, the Net would from a single ocean of information into millions of ISP-gated ponds, each charging through the nose for a dip in the pool.

If the specter of spiraling costs for information access isn't enough, consider that the quality of cable TV service - or lack thereof - has been the single most effective sales tool for satellite providers. DirecTV and DishNetwork owe their success to widespread and growing consumer hatred for the abomination that is cable.

Jack   October 31st, 2009 12:39 pm ET

Doesn't anyone remember Comp-U-Serve?

When they were practically the only ISP in the country they had tiered pricing and it cost $6/hr on an average to be online. That was when all access was by 2400 and 9600 BAUD modems. Naturally just using the 9600 access numbers involved a surcharge. It seemed like everything beyond logging on had an additional surcharge.

There is NO need to speculate what it might be like without Net Neutrality simply remember the way it was and refuse to be abused like that again.

Tim Lister   October 31st, 2009 12:40 pm ET

As much as I hate to admit it, yes, the internet MUST remain free for all...if government is the way to do it, then pass those laws, keep the internet FREE!!!!!!

ISPs are corporations which are meant to make money. They are serving their best interests, not the average person!

Isabel   October 31st, 2009 4:54 pm ET

Think cancer for example.
Could it be that we are still dealing with its sufferers and departed because somehow, somewhere, sometime, somebody decided:
“Let it be. If it doesn’t work science will find a cure for it!”
Think alcoholism for example.
We are still dealing with its sufferers and departed, in spite of the entire how, where, time and bodies trying to regulated.

I see, smell, taste, hear and pinch my skin!
It assures me that it is nearly the end of 2009...
Earth houses a large educated, varied and engaged human population.

Can we form a working coalition made up of end-users, businesses, and why not, government? Can they come together to dialogue about upgradable properties for all the parties involved?
Can they create a setting where the ISP provides what is “now needed” – the USER suggests needed changes and options – and the GOVERNMENT provides insight regarding potential irregularities?

Money cannot continue to be the driving force.
Businesses need to make it – Users need to pay it – Government needs to collect its share
That is so old – it bears no new wrinkles!
The quality – usability – reliability of products and services must become the "measurable values" in the exchange of said products and/or services.

Really, how long will it take humans to behave like grown-ups?
You know – the type that can talk, imagine, plan, share and act accordingly, thus creating optimal environments to live in and enjoy.

Scorpian   October 31st, 2009 7:26 pm ET

I agree with Beemer
That type of regulation would solve all complaints here
I live in a very small town i only have ONE count em on one hand 1 provider and to be honest i hate it its slow and every one (up to about 250 people on 1 node) sucks but if we had to pay for teir this town would not have internet at all that i can Guarantee
so as i am saying LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE and put laws inplace to protect the consumer...............

Pete   October 31st, 2009 8:33 pm ET

God, if after all we have gone through since last year you STILL believe we do not need regulations and "the invisible hand of the markets" will take care of everything then I sure would like to show you a fine red bridge I am selling in SF. Yours for a hundred bucks! :-))

If we do not regulate ISPs they will charge as much as the users may possibly pay and I suspect it would be far more than what you pay today. Just check prices in chaotic "free" markets in Latin America.

Ken R   November 1st, 2009 3:32 pm ET

WAHHHH don't regulate... obviously you loosers don't see how this could affect poor people... poor people cant pay an extra 5 dollars for news sites.


Why? beacuse there is no such thing as market forces with this. Many places are lucky to have one high speed ISP. If all the sudden they can charge like this than everyone in that area is forced to pony up extra for "premium websites" NO THANK YOU!

-   November 2nd, 2009 1:31 am ET

Net Neutrality is increased government regulation to fix a problem that, even as this article states, does not even exist yet. Have you ever heard the saying 'if its not broke, don't fix it'? This is a perfect example.

If Net Neutrality is passed expect bandwidth caps along with an increase in fees. It is crucial that the internet remain unregulated, or we could very well open the flood gates which could lead to a similar situation to that of china.

-   November 2nd, 2009 1:37 am ET

I've seen multiple comments in regards to "I don't want my ISP to tell me what I can and can not view", and then in the same breath ask for regulation. If the government can regulate it so your ISP can't "screw you over", then government can regulate it so that they can benefit. If the government is benefiting that implies they're making money from you...

If you think the free-market system does not work and that we need more regulation then I pity you for giving up your independence. Pathetic really.

zenn from Poland   November 2nd, 2009 8:45 am ET

So many commies on the forum. Regulate all! The state should tell what we can do! yeah...
Why do not regulate the bread market? In every single shop and every single bakery all bread should be the same for the same price.
You all should live for some years in any communist country, where the state decided what is good to consumers.

David Rhee   November 2nd, 2009 9:18 am ET

I am an IT Consultant who have read the concerns for many and want to clarify a lot of misconception of the Internet. Currently, the Internet is kind of "Net neutral" with the exception of P2P connection and certain services which cable companies are "throttling down". This means, I could go any site or any place without being charged extra than the broadband connection that I pay monthly. So currently, broadband companies are "regulating" your connection in terms of certain services but do not regulate where you want to go. If you want to go to adult sites, you can. If you want to go to fox, cnn, or MSNBC, you can because it is a website and registered domain. So those who are online, should be thankful that the Internet is net neutral. What ISPs are demanding is that they are given the rights to control how the traffic is flowing, where you can go, and charge you extra if you need to go other sites (let alone services you might be currently running that they might regulate). Again, this means, you do not have choice what is considered Internet neutral and if it does not fall into their category of normal service, it will be an extra charge for it. What it ends up being is you are more or less restricted where you want to go. It is an oxymoron for those who do not want government involve in this because Net neutrality is the deregulation of how the users could use their Internet access. So the gov't stepping in to ensure that users have their free reign of how they use the bandwidth is well.. What most people WANT! This is not regulation by the gov't but the privileges WE PAY FOR with the internet being a free information highway. People say we pay toll for the roads.. What you do think your monthly bill is for? This would be an addition for everything at the discretion of the ISP.. How would you like that? People need to take note that this is not just the cable companies. It would be DSL and fiber companies (more or less anyone that offers ISP services). That is a clear distinction I bring up. Lastly, small business will hurt more from the lack of Net Neutrality. Being a that I am a partner of a small consulting IT company, I would have to pay extra for services I use constantly for free (terminal services could be regulated for me to access my data remotely). Also, it could my website has to be registered and I have to pay extra to "publicize" my website as part of the tiered services to be seen at. Again, the Internet allows people to see my website for free as long as I have a domain and it is registered (Lack of net neutrality will bring with it filters on many websites including personal websites, blogs, etc.)..

Someone wrote that it will hurt business if we have government regulation.. Are you insane? All the meltdowns in financial crisis was the DEREGULATION of the government laws that "suppossively" hampered business. In reality, regulations were check and balances to ensure extreme greed do not happen (and see how it turned out now). So stop with your socialist agenda BS to many people who knows what it is really going on. I am a conservative and I laugh how this has to do with socialism? Do you know that socialism exist in this country even before Obama that happens as we speak today. Socialism is not communism and it sure do not make sense to vilify it when you do not know what it is. Take it based on pure ideology and you find it to be very common in the US than most people think. I could go into but I rather now because it is another level of explanation that most people refuse to read.. At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with socialism but the freedom of where I want to go and when with my monthly broadband service I pay monthly to my ISP...

Mat   November 2nd, 2009 2:39 pm ET

It seems that many people think regulation is bad word. However, when it comes to net neutrality regulation means that ISPs cannot change how the internet works today. Do you like how the internet works today?

Michael   November 2nd, 2009 4:12 pm ET

Only greed would want net neutrality defeated. GREED GREED GREED!!! When big business controls the ebb and flow of the internet, shoot me in the face with your constitutionally held fire arm.

isp   November 2nd, 2009 4:23 pm ET

Just leave it alone.. Why we always got to change things 4 the worst i know everybodys money hungry 4 more $$ but come on man internet should be free for everyone..

Rey   November 2nd, 2009 4:35 pm ET

Cable must provide HD for free? what law is that? How would ESPN and other HD channels make any money by providing HD for free? That's right, the cable service makes little to no money with Cable TV, they make a majority of their profit through side services like Phone and Internet. It's so sad how spoiled we are... we want to have every channel and all the movies, but we don't want to pay extra... buy what you can afford. Keep it simple.

Floirda   November 3rd, 2009 2:30 am ET

Whatever its called Net Neutrality is wrong. If you pay for Internet you should get Internet. If you pay for phone you get phone. Until the Cable Companies came on the scene, TV was free. Now the Cable Companies make deals and sign contracts with the local County Governments so they have no price regulation. If someone wants 12 channels it shouldn't cost them $80 a month. I don't know about anyone else, but the service isn't always the best. What if your cable company failed or your area was hit by a terrible storm? TV, phone, Internet all gone.Talking about to big to fail, sounds like monopoly to me! When oil prices broke our wallets you remember how prices dropped because we stopped buying as much gas. The problem begins with the contract the cable company signs with the local government. As your them for a copy! In my town, the cable company paid $50,000 and supplied three buildings with Internet.

There are all kinds of inexpensive commercial type wireless Access Points availible to suit almost any area. All your community needs is an interprising individual to start up a wireless Internet company, it won't be long before the cable company moves in and tries to put him out of business.

We are nickled and dimed to death in this country. We can't take our kids to the park without paying, yet the guy learning to fly can do all the touch and goes he wants for free.

Any publicly traded company should have its salaries capped to a reasonable percent of the company profit. It's only fair, its the share holders that own the company or did someone forget.

The Truth   November 3rd, 2009 11:15 am ET

You are all so widely misinformed it’s almost laughable. If you think capitalism is so bad, just think about what made America the biggest powerhouse in the world for the last 200 years. It was capitalism that made our country great, and it’s government regulations that nickel and dime us all to death. I am guessing that the individuals who think everyone is entitled to free Internet access also think that everyone is entitled to a free computer as well? Americans have gotten so damn lazy it’s pathetic, always wanting government handouts. How about your become self sufficient, and work for what you deserve even if that requires you to work two jobs.

The great thing about capitalism is the fact that you can shop around for the better deal. Do you all remember AOL charging by the hour for Internet access when the Internet was in its infancy? That business model quickly disappeared when other providers started to offer unlimited access for a fixed monthly amount. You now have the option to pick from many Internet service providers, most with great rates, and with FULL access to an unregulated Internet.

The current ISP’s show no sign of pricing our Internet in the way the cable companies package and price cable television. The great thing about capitalism is that EVEN IF one company tried to package the Internet as cable companies do presently, the free market consumer would quickly turn away from that model and the company would fail. The consumers in a capitalistic nation pick and choose what companies make it or don’t so why would you want to change that?

The minute you allow the Government to regulate our Internet, is the minute you open up the possibility of them regulating the content of the Internet as well. Look at how the current administration waged war on FOX news for their opinion, imagine that war being waged on Internet bloggers or web sites. I don’t care if you agree with FOX or not, they have a constitutional right to voice an opinions as they see fit. If you don’t agree you have the option to change the channel to another news outlet.

The Internet is great as it is now and we don’t need the government interfering with our progress. The government can’t even manage the post office, medicare, and medicade efficiently what makes you think they can run any other aspect of our lives without corruption and waste? We need less Government and more true American spirit, the same spirit that made America the greatest country this entire world. Capitalism works, but only when you don’t regulate it to death.

Tony B   November 3rd, 2009 1:01 pm ET

I have owned a small ISP since 1996. It sends cold chills down my spine to think of the government getting involved in any way with the Internet. As "The Truth" pointed out, the internet providers are constantly finding ways to provide more for less i.e. the AOL example. The internet is one of the few places where capitalism is allowed to operate and I would contend that the results have been spectacular. Keep the government out.

iambaker   November 3rd, 2009 4:44 pm ET

Everybody just needs to invest in becoming a hacker. So either way, we can crush the system. Anarchy rules.

Jamie   November 3rd, 2009 7:49 pm ET

Free market competition huh? You mean like Microsoft? Or maybe like Wal-Mart?

Competition died a long time ago. If the big 3 ISP's got together and decided they wanted vastly more money from you they'd get it. .because what could you do about it? You could pay them their astronomical fees for access to 5 websites. .or not have the internet.

Unless ofcourse it were illegal to do this. If you dont keep these blood thirsty greed obsessed CEO's in check they will become more powerful and more oppressive than the worst government could ever be. These people would gladly devour babies for higher profits.

Floirda   November 3rd, 2009 7:57 pm ET

It's Greed! How much profit does a company have to make for us to wake up to the rip off? We don't make more salary every year, yet there is always something else we are getting charged for.

Insurance companies have split up their bills too. Charge for this, charge for that. I will go without when and it becomes that big of a game with the Internet. It's nothing to deliver internet. Just get the connection to the customer, phone line, wireless connection, add a few computers and a router and there you go. It's just a portal. Maintenance is low and basically runs by itself most of the time. One good tech can do it all with no problem. If we are charged for content, It would be like charging you for every road you go down. The websites the ISP's are providing a path too should get a cut too since without them the ISP couldn't have charged for content in the first place. Kind of like sales tax works across the country, collect it and send it in. They should like that. 🙂 It will cut business on the web, halt free flowing information and it will drive people underground. There’s more than one way to do things. If you think about it, the infrastructure going to our homes should be shared by competing companies; otherwise we would have too many wires everywhere. One big coax offers tons of competitors, now that’s free choice.

Lee   November 3rd, 2009 8:09 pm ET

If this happens I'm setting up a proxy server and charging a mere 10 cents a month. You could browse whatever you want through my server for pennies. There is always a way around this unless they completely lock down the internet to only allow you to go to a small number of sites. ..which would pretty much be the destruction of the internet. So obviously this has to be illegal.

Luis   November 4th, 2009 3:53 pm ET

we shouldn't need to wait for companies to start making ISP packages, because by then they will be lobbying against Net Neutrality. Its crazy that its not the government that is threatening censorship, its Corporations. They are already charging crazy amounts just for internet speeds, and restricting how far they want their service to go.

Jeff   November 4th, 2009 4:25 pm ET

The biggest concern is not just to the customer. The ISP's want to be able to go to businesses and make them pay to be in the "Top Tier".

It is another revenue stream, period.

Pure greed.

RALPH BARNETT   November 4th, 2009 5:48 pm ET

If it's not broke don't fix it.......

Mark Claudius Png   November 4th, 2009 11:42 pm ET

As if dealing with Internet Explorer 6 was bad enough, soon developers are going to have to look at district maps and say to their clients, "Oh these people here won't be able to see your website". Zzzzz

Roman Geyzer   November 5th, 2009 2:14 am ET

Something's got to give....
1) Every year, ISPs make less $ per Mbit/s sold.
2) Usage of high-bandwidth sites is skyrocketing (think Hulu!)
3) Cable/DSL lines are supporting an ever increasing diverse and demanding array of traffic (Voip calling, working from home, streaming Netflix, gaming, etc.)

ISP's overprovision bandwidth which is fine when you're looking at web pages because not everyone is downloading content simultaneously and web pages are fairly lightweight (200kb). But when a bunch of people on the same street are all streaming movies at 6Mbit/s, its going to crush the throughput.

So what will happen is that traffic will be doled out on a first-come, first-served basis because that's how IP works. My email will crawl because my neighbors are streaming movies. The ISP's will do nothing about this until CONSUMERS themselves DEMAND THE ABANDONMENT OF NET NEUTRALITY so that the additional revenue from higher-tiered web-sites can subsidize the significant investments the ISP's need to make in order to support the high-bandwidth web sites of the world.

I don't work for an ISP. I hate them all with a passion, but this is my prediction of where things are headed.

InSight   November 5th, 2009 6:44 am ET

Wake up people! Your loosing touch with reality. The internet was created open, unrestricted, global and free. ISPs came along AFTER the net was "privatized" and "commercialized". They are cutting up and repackaging a net that we all already paid for, hiding its unrestricted access behind a layer of "service plans". I mean really people, would you put up with someone walking up and knocking on the door of a house you bought to demand rent????

mkal   November 6th, 2009 5:17 am ET

This is scary! Pay attention folks, these politicians and lobbyists are sneaky. We all need to ensure in neutrality.

MrOrange   November 6th, 2009 11:16 am ET

To compare a free internet (one without government-enforced net neutrality) to the current American cable TV system is foolish. It is net neutrality, not a free internet, that will result in a consumer-unfriendly result such as American cable TV.

Government regulation drives the market away from satisfying the consumer and toward satisfying the government and special interests (including big "businesses"). Government regulation will result in a strange, unsatisfying tier-system or something similar on the internet.

If net neutrality passes, in ten years everyone will be saying, "Oh, it was inevitable that the internet would turn out this way." It's not inevitable. Stop net neutrality, keep the internet free, and avoid turning it into something like the current cable TV system.

MrOrange   November 6th, 2009 11:20 am ET

Tony B and The Truth are right.

Chad Boudreau   November 7th, 2009 12:42 pm ET

Roman Geyzer, are you daft?

Please people, we've already given an astronomical amount of money to the major ISPs (tax breaks/grants) for the express purpose of upgrading their networks to the point where there would be no incentive for them to mess with an open and free internet.

What did they do? Dividends.

That's right. YOU, by paying your taxes, gave your ISPs money to create fiber optics networks the envy of the free world...
and they gave it away.

So now the ISPs are saying "but the network is limited! We can't keep up with demand! We need to charge you more and restrict access! (both plans the FCC has killed in the last 5 years)" WTF?

I understand that some people believe that any government regulation is bad, that all regulation kills free enterprise, and that only without regulation can people be protected... I really ask that you guys get educated before you open your mouths. OR give me some of what you're smoking, I really really want your rosy world-view.

The internet is for the free exchange of information and ideas. Where those ideas and information are proprietary, companies charge money, and Keynesian economics take over. The ISPs aren't part of that system. They are the way with which you access this greatest generator of wealth our world has seen. They want to screw with it to make more money.

The government in large part has kept out of the internet, as it should have after creating it. However, when oligopolies at large move to damage something worldwide, really only the plenipotentiary power of government may stop it.

It's sad, but that's the world you live in.

John Kantor   November 8th, 2009 7:34 pm ET

"free-market competition enough to ensure consumers' best interests?"

That's hilarious. Just like Microsoft, perhaps?

Nate   November 9th, 2009 5:20 pm ET

Television broadcasters are NOT required to transmit in HD. They ARE required to transmit a DIGITAL signal. Just because it is DIGITAL doesn't mean it's HD.

Wayne Riker October 28th, 2009 8:45 pm ET

I personally do not subscribe to any TV cable or satellite service because of the tiered layers. I want about 12 channels, but to order them with the tiered method would cost about $80.00 per month and give me some 300 useless channels. I'll stick with local free HD channels until they clean this up.

By the way lose the extra cost to get HD! Broadcasters must supply it FREE by law. Cabel can lose it to remain competetive.

adunn   November 10th, 2009 2:20 am ET

Give me free porn or give me death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a-mused   November 11th, 2009 1:06 pm ET

Reality check. At the ISP level, any provider attempting to carve up the internet in such a manner will either a) price themselves squarely out of the market in nothing flat, b) not change their pricing and declare bankruptcy, or c) have their customers jump ship to the next provider that doesn't do this.

Can the internet be split up like this? Sure. It only takes money. Money the shareholders of an ISP aren't going to be keen on their company spending because one way or another, it'll kill their profits on a product with already exceptionally tight margins. Are the upstream providers going to do this? As a core engineer on a Tier 1 carrier, uhmm.. no, it's not likely at all. First, there's the whole cost issue. Second, it's not like this is an incredibly profitable business when customers are paying peanuts for 10Gbps ports.

Yes, Net Neutrality is a must. But left to its own devices, neutrality will remain.

HS   November 16th, 2009 9:11 pm ET

This is just ridiculous. Most of the net neutrality concerns involve the ISP blocking results on searches so that if you're looking to, say, buy something, the ISP's partners will either show up as the top hits, the competitors not with the ISP are not shown or a mixture of both.

It would also allow blockups to be tailored to you and advertise ISP partners.

To basically block off parts of the internet is preposteruous...there's too many sites that would have to step on board to get 'picked up' and distributed through this and certainly would cause quite an uproar, especially since it'd be essentially censoring the entire world with a single blow.

Wilmer   March 13th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

This is the main reason I love Nice post.

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Cable television is a system of distributing television programs to subscribers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables or light pulses through fiber-optic cables. This contrasts with traditional broadcast television (terrestrial television) in which the television signal is transmitted over the air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television. FM radio programming, high-speed Internet, telephone service, and similar non-television services may also be provided through these cables.:

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