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  • Geebo 9:00 am on May 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ISPs,   

    Is net neutrality dead? 

    Is net neutrality dead?

    Yesterday, the President Trump-backed FCC voted 2-1 to overturn the net neutrality regulations the Obama administration had put in place in 2015. Net neutrality basically states all internet traffic should be treated equally and internet service providers should not charge consumers extra for prioritized traffic.

    FCC chairman Ajit Pai has stated he believes overturning net neutrality will promote competition between ISPs and will result in more choices for consumers, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In most US markets, consumers only have a choice between either their local cable company or their local phone company. In most cases those companies are part of larger conglomerates like Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T. So if anything, these companies will more than likely offer less actual choice to consumers while raising prices. Instead they will offer tiered services offering faster traffic to popular sites for more money, disguising that option as choice.

    Net neutrality isn’t dead just yet, but it’s on life support. The public has 90 days from yesterday to respond to the FCC’s actions, but no matter how rose-colored your glasses may be, it’s unlikely they will reverse their decision to kill net neutrality.

     
  • Geebo 3:36 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , data caps, , ISPs,   

    Netflix wants ISPs to chill on data caps 

    Netflix wants ISPs to chill on data caps

    Whether you realize it or not, your internet service provider (ISP) may have a cap on how much data you can use. They usually don’t talk about it and they make it almost impossible to find if they have one, and if they do have one they make it difficult to find how much data you have used. While most users never reach their limit, there are many power users who do, and a lot of them reach their limit by streaming video over services like Netflix.

    Because of that, Netfilx is petitioning the FCC to make data caps illegal. In their argument, Netflix says that data caps are arbitrary and are only used for ISPs to be able to squeeze more money out of their customers, and they’re not wrong. Most ISPs are run by cable companies. Even the ones that are run by phone companies, like AT&T, usually have some kind of deal with satellite TV. So in either case they really don’t want to see their services used for things like Netflix since that cuts into their business model. By instilling data caps, there’s an air of intimidation to those who use their internet to stream their entertainment rather than paying an expensive cable bill, so in that way data caps can also be seen as anti-competitive. Data caps are also a throwback to the early days of the internet when dial-up providers like AOL charged by the minute.

    This is just another example of the cable companies refusing to innovate and desperately clinging to their decades old business model that doesn’t fit into modern demands. However, if the cable TV side of their business collapses where do you think they’ll try to make up the difference? That would raise the prices for internet services into the realms of what cable bills are today. That also could be rectified if there weren’t so many municipal monopolies for cable companies and ISPs, but that’s another rant for another day.

     
  • Geebo 4:03 pm on August 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Comcast, , ISPs,   

    Comcast wants to charge for privacy 

    Comcast wants to charge for privacy

    If there’s one inherent truth to the internet it’s that someone is selling your data. I’m not talking about malicious hackers selling your personal information to identity thieves, but the Facebooks and Googles who sell your browsing habits to advertisers. They do this, they say, in order to show you advertising tailored more to your likes. Now, one of the country’s largest internet providers wants to charge you extra to not sell your data.

    Comcast has petitioned the FCC to allow ISPs to charge their customers extra for not selling their browsing habits. If Comcast had its way the ISPs could charge you an extra fee to not sell your data to advertisers. That sounds a lot like a protection racket from an old black and white gangster movie with Comcast playing the heavy that says “That’s some real nice privacy you’ve got here. It’d be a shame if something happened to it.”

    What’s worse is that Comcast acts like they’re doing customers a favor…

    Comcast said in its filing that “such a prohibition would harm consumers by, among other things, depriving them of lower-priced offerings, and as FTC Commissioner [Maureen] Ohlhausen points out, ‘such a ban may prohibit ad-supported broadband services and thereby eliminate a way to increase broadband adoption.’

    What’s really depriving consumers of lower-priced offerings for broadband is the lack of competition between ISPs. In most markets you can either choose the cable company or the phone company for internet service. A duopoly doesn’t encourage much competition and without competition prices not only stagnate, but they tend to rise because who else are you going to use? If you’ve ever been in an area that offers the upstart Google Fiber you’ll see the incumbent providers start slashing their prices in order to compete.

    So instead of trying to extort customers over their privacy, maybe the ISPs should start offering better services in order to make more money.

     
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