Letter: Reclassify ISPs as common carriers

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  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:20 p.m.

    RE: J Thompson "How many of the posters are willing to assign all rights to the government in exchange for an Internet movie without paying the full price of that service?"

    How many of us will stand for an ISP charging much more than the cost of providing that movie? Are you familiar with the term "market power?" In economics it means a provider can dictate price. Firms have market power when there is insufficient competition. That is what we are into with ISP's. Other countries are getting much better deals, because of more competition or better regulation.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 5, 2014 6:43 p.m.

    to J Thompson

    Paraphrasing the Bard; whose giving away their kingdom for a horse?

    Seriously (?), They (Gov't & Global Corps) are slowly reassembling another Ma Bell like Leviathan. Can't stop it. Might as well be entertained.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    March 5, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    How many of the posters are willing to assign all rights to the government in exchange for an Internet movie without paying the full price of that service? That is opposite to what our Country stands for. We are free citizens who tell the government what it can do, but too many are demanding that the government intervene when they don't want to pay their fair share for bandwidth on the Internet. They want unlimited access without paying for that access. They think that somehow they own the connections between their homes, the ISPs that serve them and their favorite service. They are just like labor unions who demand that the owners give them equity in the business because they were hired to do a job - without ever risking a nickle to build that company or ever taking a risk.

    Shame on those who are so willing to give away their freedoms for a movie. Is that all that freedom means to them? They want government censorship so that they can watch their movies at a price that they are unwilling to pay. How foolish. How childish.

  • stuff Provo, UT
    March 5, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    On one side, the argument is that private business is becoming monopolistic, needs controlling and the government should control the private businesses, the infrastructure and the terms of service offered to the consumers.

    On the other side, the argument is that the government is, or quickly becomes, too controlling, restricts market freedoms and that private businesses should be free of government regulation and be able to do as they see fit with their own property and services.

    Neither one is right, at least, not completely.

    The ideal choice is for business to just do what's right - is fair to consumers, allows for technological advancement and does not restrict competition. If men and women running the businesses did that, there would be no need for any gov't intervention. Since these people do not always choose what is right and fair, etc., then gov't needs to step in to ensure that newcomers can enter the market, that consumer choices are maintained and that consumers are not gouged or taken advantage of financially, etc. The gov't, imho, should rarely, if ever, control what is currently private infrastructure, its content or terms of service.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 5, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    And I hope it’s clear from some of the other comments that ideology gets us nowhere as it provides “answers” before we examine the facts & evidence (boy, is this applicable across a wide range of current political debates).

    I reject the unanalytical maxim that “government never helps” as much as I reject its evil twin “government always helps.” Both positions are IMO held strongly by those who are too lazy to think through situations where each may apply depending on circumstances.

    In this case, it should not be a preconceived ideology that drives the decision, but rather an agreed to outcome of results (i.e., a more free and competitive online environment).

    It should go without saying that scare tactics like “our government wants to be like China” are not only not helpful but display a prideful fascination with media tactics (meant to bypass the frontal cortex and go straight to the limbic brain) that hopefully our society is growing tired of and will soon reject en masse.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 5, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    Mr. Richards - I find it alarming that when you are addressing the monopolization of ISPs you only respond in a manner pertaining to yourself. This may come as a shock but just because Mike Richards of South Jordan does not have Comcast does not mean that Comcast's market share is not charting at dangerously high levels. And that isn't even necessarily the heart of the issue, the problem is that if a company with a dominant market share such as Comcast has the ability to dictate download speeds, content costs, etc... then we have a less free, less informed society.

    Further, if you see net neutrality as a means of controlling the internet and the content produced thereon then either you have egregiously misunderstood the very premise of this issue or are so far out of touch you're beyond saving.

    Finally, given Comcast and other major ISPs' progressive slant, get ready to pay a premium if you want to read anything on the Blaze or DesNews. I certainly hope you're ready to live in a world where all online content is actually controlled by the liberal media.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 5, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    My knowledge on this topic is limited so appreciate any information people are willing to provide. Although as a caution, if you are going to educate us please remember the (hilarious) dictum – eschew obfuscation (i.e., no ubiquitous name dropping… if you have a point to make, just make it).

    That said, with ISP’s consolidating and more importantly buying content, they appear to be moving in monopolistic directions, so let’s not assume that just because this is the private sector it is a competitive utopia.

    Also, with the infrastructure needed to provide cable services to individuals, cable companies typically fall under the definition of a “natural monopoly” which is only partially mitigated by dish providers.

    Bottom line – anything that makes this industry more competitive will be good for consumers.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    Who needs censorship when some people already think that the government paid for the Internet? ARPANET was taken down in 1990. The military created its own "internet" independent of the Internet. ARPANET was a small project that is to the Internet what smoke-signals are to TV broadcasting. Four universities were connected, including the University of Utah. Speed was extremely slow. Can anyone remember 300-baud modems? The only concept that is still being used is packet-switching. Before packet switching was developed by BBN, only one conversation at a time could travel over any two-wired connection between phones or other electronic devices. Packet switching allowed data to be broken up into small numbered packets. Even if the packets traveled different routes or arrived at different times, the numbering allowed the data to be "put back together".

    The Government wants to control the Internet, just like China controls the Internet in China. Government want to limit what is tranmitted. As usual, they are using dupes to rile up the masses, demanding "government help". When will we ever learn that government does not "help" us.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    As you may recall, Mike, the Carter and Reagan administrations saw fit to break up AT&T (a good idea in my opinion). I assume you were against that, and that you would be perfectly happy with an AT&T monopoly.

    From the very beginning we have practiced varying brands of socialism - private and public working together, and then contesting, back and forth. This has been especially true in Utah where are pioneer agriculture was communistic (yes it was).

    The interesting thing about America is the intervention by government to CREATE self-regulating markets. That's what the AT&T breakup was about.

    In this regard, if ISP's have too much market power, government must step in to restore a competitive market - assuming you believe in self-regulating markets. Labyrinthian isn't it?

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 5, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    per Stalwart Sentinel

    Agreed. Name dropping with a side of alphabet soup.

    Mike; Arapnet was funded by Arpa later Darpa i.e. the Dept of Defense. So, it was (gasp) a partnership between the public & private sectors.

    This "conversation" is already devolving like in the 1st Iron Man where RDJ is teeing off on the reporter who criticizes Stark Industries.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 5, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    Stalwart Sentinel,

    I don't have Comcast. I won't have Comcast. I don't need Comcast. If you've hired Comcast, then YOU are responsible for that decision. No one forced you to select Comcast from all of the providers. No one gave Comcast a monopoly. If the government intervenes, then your choice will be limited to hiring the company that they chose or to do without. When you understand that simple concept, you'll understand why no regulation is needed or wanted.

    America was not built by the government; it was built by the people. The taxes paid by private enterprise has made this country what it is. Government can do nothing until it first takes something from those who produce. America has been the home of almost all computer/Internet innovation. That happened because we have a free market where people are rewarded for taking a risk. Government takes from those who have taken a risk. Now, it's trying to gain control of the Internet. Can anyone say "censorship"?

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2014 6:15 p.m.

    Mr. Richards - You have demonstrated you can google things, well done. Please google the "united states of comcast" and tell us again that "[t]here is enough competition that no one company can have a monopoly." I like fiction.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 4, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    Those who never knew J. C. R. Licklider, Paul Baran, Donald Davies, Robert Taylor, Vint Cerf and most importantly, Tim Berners-Lee, who never understood PSINet, UUNET, Netcom, and Portal Software, who don't understand or know about InterNIC, Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, and ICANN will jump on the bandwagon led by those in the government who claim that THEY invented the Internet. That is pure hogwash. The government needed a secure method for the military to communicate when telephone service was disrupted by war. The government paid a few people to look at the possibilities and a few Universities to experiment with some protocols. That was not the Internet. That would be the same as saying that the Ox Cart is today's automobile. ARPANET is not the Internet, no matter how those in politics claim. Anyone who has studied the history of computers knows that conniving politicians have always laid claim to the Internet, but they will also know that those conniving politicians have lied and have taken credit for things that PRIVATE COMPANIES developed.

    We all drink water. Should the ICC tell us how much water should cost or where we have to buy it?

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    But, Mike... The Gov't should have no say over something it (for all intents) created?

    Something used by the masses that definitely falls under the interstate commerce aegis, really?

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    Mr. Richards - "If you understood how the Internet operates..." - Based on your "explanation" above, I cannot convey how hilarious it is to hear you accuse me of not understanding the functionality of the internet.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 4, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    Never gonna happen. Too much lobbying money to buy too many legislators.

    What this country really needs right now is good ol' Teddy and his monopoly busting big stick.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 4, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    Stalwart Sentinel,

    You've jumped to conclusions. I object to government control of the Internet. Private companies own and operate the DNS servers. Private companies own the infrastructure. Private companies can control what goes over their private infrastructure. There is enough competition that no one company can have a monopoly. If government intervenes, government will dictate who provides what, at what cost and what content can be sent of that infrastructure.

    What is being proposed in the letter is the opposite of a free market. If you understood how the Internet operates, you would know why your assumption is exactly opposite of what you should have assumed.

    The only thing that government did was to allow the Internet to contain commercial content. Before that was changed, the Internet was a place to share ideas. It still is a place to share ideas, but it also allows commerce.

    I support a free Internet market WITHOUT government licensing and interference.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Mr. Richards - Given your apparent opposition to net neutrality, it is safe to say that you, in no way, support a free market.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 4, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    What is the difference between a Radio or TV network and the Internet? There is a limited amount of "bandwidth" available for Radio and TV. In other words, if 10,000 p;eople wanted to own a radio station, there would not be enough frequencies available to satisfy all of their "wants". On the other hand, there is no practical limit on ISPs. Sure, some ISPs use radio type signals as part of their service, but most operate on a physical cable or set of wires that go directly to the customer. As long as those carriers are willing to lay more wire or cable, they can expand forever. The backbone between ISPs can also be extended, although at much greater expense.

    The backbone is becoming the problem. With many of us using Netflix or some other streaming video service, those backbones are being heavily used. The solution is simple. If Netflix can make a profit with one-million customers at $8 per month, they can afford to pay to beef up the backbone routes that they need to grow their business to one-hundred million customers.