A Different View of Net Neutrality


I have a different view of Net Neutrality than most based on what I have read.  That being said I am always open to additional info to sway me back to the masses belief that what the FCC has been proposing of late and the deal between Netflix and Comcast is completely bad for the internet as a whole.  But first of course I find that with all the discussion around the topic, the person you don’t hear from is President Obama who in 2008 stated:

“I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to net neutrality.”

That prompted today’s editorial cartoon as it seems everyone is driving the conversation around Net Neutrality with the exception of the President.

I could write a huge diatribe about my feelings about the Netflix/Comcast deal but I found an article by Maggie Reardon of CNET that helped explain some things better for me so it may help others as well.  Check out her article here.  This portion was particularly helpful:

“The other thing to realize about the Internet is that the network itself is a shared medium. Information is chopped into packets that traverse the Internet separately and are reassembled at their destinations. Packets from your email or a video you selected from Netflix travel alongside packets for everyone else’s data. Just like a highway where all cars are subject to the same speed limit, but still travel at different speeds due to the congested road, some packets arrive at their destination sooner than others.

For some forms of communication it doesn’t matter much if the packets arrive in order or if some arrive a little later than others. This is true of most text-based communications, such as text-based websites or email. But for other forms of communication, such as audio or video, it’s crucial that all packets arrive in order and in close succession. If some packets are delayed or dropped, the experience of the video or audio once the packets are reassembled is not pleasant. There’s often buffering, pixelation, and/or jitter.”

How I explain it:

Here is how I explained it to my wife and figure it worked for her that others might find it beneficial.  Think of the internet like Amazon.  You order from many manufacturers but the processing and delivery are all handled by an Amazon warehouse (let’s ignore the vendors that drop ship directly for this example).   Let’s say Amazon has 100 bays to process items into the warehouse and 100 more to process items out of it.  Everything flows well until too many manufacturers are trying to unload their items at the same time.  It causes slow downs much like on the net.

With a company like Google (YouTube) or Netflix they are sending an abundance of trucks to the warehouse at any given time.   This causes delays in them getting their items into the warehouse and therefore delays it getting out.  This is what causes dithering or delays in video at times.  So Amazon either has to build more bays or enlarge the ones they have to accommodate Netflix traffic.  The question becomes who should pay for that?  Should all Amazon customers pay for it or just the ones getting items from Netflix?  Well one way to do that is to have Netflix pay for the upgrades and then Netflix can choose to eat the cost or pass it on only to their own customers.

But if everyone pays for faster access, won’t it hurt those without means to pay?:

One of the arguments I consistently read about the issue are from those that take the information highway analogy and liken it to ISPs creating a toll road.   Right now they have the incentive to continue to expand and speed up all the roads.  But what happens if they create a toll road for companies to gain faster access.  Then ISP’s like Comcast will begin spending money only on infrastructure to make the toll roads faster and therefore leaving the “free roads” to maintain same speeds and service levels as today, never to increase again.

This is where I think the FCC and the President should be taking a stand.  I don’t think it should be an open access to allow payments for every large company to take advantage of to the detriment of smaller companies.  Rather I look at there being a download percentage limit.  Right now YouTube and Netflix each account for over 10% of the total internet traffic.  So let’s say the FCC rules state that any company with over 10% of the download traffic on the web can at their discretion enter into a mutually benefiting agreement with ISP’s to deliver the same uninterrupted service that others who don’t carry as large of data can enjoy.  Notice I didn’t say faster.

To me the biggest hassle in traveling is dealing with the WIDE LOAD trucks that slow traffic for miles and impede my own travel.  If the government created wide load lanes that the trucking companies had to pay to use but I didn’t get access to, I would be happy with the arrangement.  They get a special lane and I my speed is not degraded to get to my destination at all.

So what do you think?  Am I missing anything?


Charity Challenge Update

Week 2 let me know if I missed anyone.

Including Bearman in a Cartoon ($10):

Blogging about the Challenge ($5):

Adding me to Circles on Google Plus ($1):

  • 483 People added me in this week.

Dollar for Dollar Match for Contributions to Crayons 2 Computers:

For a week two total of $1033 and meaning I went over the $2000 goal.  HOWEVER:

I have made a decision that if we hit the limit of $1500 that I will still pay cartoonists for adding Bearman to their webcomic through the end of the month as well as match to the $500 limit.  So I am adding the three toons from this week and I am going to keep matching even though I hit the 500 limit.   So with the 1500 hit plus the $30 in webcomics from this week and the total of $620 in matching donations

I have committed to donating $2120 so far.

So no more payouts for blogging or adding me on G+ but if you are interested in getting involved with your webcomic or matching donation?  See this post.  And

Best way I can ask you to support those who support me is to visit their websites and check out the amazing work they are doing.

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37 Responses to “A Different View of Net Neutrality”

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  1. George Ford says:

    I don’t know much about this issue other than it appears to me to be a “pay-to-play” strategy. Big companies can afford to “pave their internet highway” whereas I’m lucky to pay my web bill each month.

    The greatest thing about the internet used to be that any and everyone had a chance to prosper thru it. A lil’ guy from the middle of nowhere now had a showcase for his product and actually had a chance to succeed in selling it. There was finally elbow space next to the huge corporate behemoths.

    Now I’m afraid that we will all get “put back into our place” again if we’re not careful. I’m already weary of my ISP going back to a “power meter” payment system for my internet.

    How are you gonna go from buffet-style to charging me for each wingette now? Plus, my ISP doesn’t mind if I go over my internet-usage allotment. They’ll just tack more onto my next bill. It ain’t right, Mr. Bearman.

    • I think that is different. I pay for my download speeds. There should be no reasonable limit to what I download. The issue will become greater when all the cable companies just end up streaming all their video content anyway. I don’t want to be charged for them changing how they handle my tv services

  2. Comedy Plus says:

    What George said. I was thinking the very same thing. It’s a shame indeed. Things keep getting set back decades and I’m not liking it one bit. This post is a great example of a huge setback.

    Have a fabulous day. 🙂

  3. Tim Green says:

    You explained that very well, Bearman, I guess that’s why you’re in the driver’s seat!

  4. Binky says:

    I think the biggest problem will not be what is initially agreed upon, but what will come later. And I do think it could lead to the big companies with big money dominating the internet and impairing the free flow of ideas and information from others who are not well funded.

    • Agreed. That is why I think the limits I suggest keep the ISP’s from ignoring the majority of their traffic in favor of the few that could be subject to payment.

  5. Christina says:

    We are hosed on this issue-too poor to have any say…

    The Amazon analogy is an interesting one especially in light of the Hachette/Amazon dispute:


    I agree with George,.

  6. lisleman says:

    Good explanation and I applaud you for taking a position that might not be the popular one. Jumping on the big corporations are evil bandwagon without looking into the actual issue is the easy way to go. Those big corporations are focused on making money but they do provide useful services.
    One fear I have with this is the lack of transparency in knowing how the arrangements are being made. Big company A makes a secret deal with big company B without telling anyone. Company B pays enough to make the deal exclusive. All the companies trying to compete with big B don’t stand a chance. Big B keeps growing and charges more for its products because there is little competition. I know this is not directly related to anti-trust issues but it seems very close.

    • Agree however I see it as there will be competition. For the most part I have no issues with streaming video from HBO or Showtime streaming services. So I don’t see them being prohibited from growing to the size of Netflix relative to downloads size. If somehow they would be throttled instead then I would see the problem.

  7. lisleman says:

    OH one more thought/suggestion – (I have not done this yet but I plan to) Go to fcc.gov and provide them an official comment. They have an open public comment period going on right now.

  8. Mark Stokes says:

    Haha, NAILED it, Bearman!

  9. Kari Tedrick says:

    Actually, yes. I think you are missing something. Lets go back to your Amazon shipping warehouse analogy.
    In it, you imply that Amazon would build/create additional and larger bays for the companies clogging up the regular bays.
    That’s where you went wrong. You see, the building is already as big as it’s gonna be. So, in order for them to give the big guys, like Netflix and YouTube the larger bays and shorter lines, they have to instead remodel. Take those 100 bays that everyone uses, make them one huge bay for the big guys and have 50 normal sized bays for the little guys.
    The big guys are happy, they have their own little line and are fast-tracked right out of there. But the little guys, like schools, now only have 50 lines where there used to be 100.
    The same thinking applies to your highway scenario. It’s a 6 lane highway. If you take two of those to make an extra wide lane that only wide-loads can use, you now have the bulk of the traffic restricted to just the 4 lanes and a relatively small percentage enjoying their own lane.
    Network Infrastructure can’t be changed just because someone signed a contract. Like Roads and Buildings the infrastructure already exists. Replacing them, adding to them, expanding them is not just a matter of cost that can be pawned off on the privileged. And improving the actually lines is not in the plan.
    So if you live in an area already restricted by the lines in the ground to a certain bandwidth, and suddenly the big guys say, I’m taking 40% of this bandwidth, the rest of you have to share the rest, there’s a problem.
    {{all the percentages used were for example only and are not in anyway representative of actual percentages allowed}}

    • Kari great points. You are correct in where my analogy fails. I was saying adding additional lanes for wide loads not replace existing.

      And the benefit that ISP’s have over Walmart is that they can take the same size infrastructure and make it faster. The fear is that they will spend all the time and money on the “high speed paying lanes” and I am suggesting that if it is limited by a certain percentage of traffic then they will by nature continue to improve all lanes.

      • Kari Tedrick says:

        If they were going to make additional lanes it might not be that bad. But they aren’t going to. They are only going to use the existing lanes. It makes the deal a whole lot different.
        And why aren’t they going to make additional lanes?
        because that highway that gets the new extra wide lane, doesn’t just go from point A to B. That extra wide lane would need ot be added to each off-ramp, side road, dirt lane, round-about, country road, rural route, and up each and every driveway of each and every single house, and business n the world.
        If it isn’t, then somewhere, those big trucks are merging back with the little guys.

        • But don’t they make additional lanes already by being able to transmit more and more data using the same cable line?

          • Kari Tedrick says:

            No. Each and every link in the line has it’s own maximum capacity. If you set aside a portion of that capacity the general public is left with a smaller portion. The link’s total capacity has not changed. Neither has the switches, or routers they pass through along the route.
            In order for switches to direct the privileged packets through at the highest possible speed, they’ll need to Que other packets or re-route them. . Data packets will pile up at the switches like cars leaving Disney at closing time. Packets will be re-routed, arrive at their intended destination ahead of the rest of their group and some will get dropped completely.
            It already happens thousands of times a minute.
            Restricting the already clogged network will only make things worse.
            {{BTW,I’m in your g+circles if you’d rather not continue this conversation on your blog. }}

          • Discussing here is great.

            I have the same cable line coming into my house that I had when it was first installed, however over the years the download speeds have significantly increased. So not sure what you mean by every link has it’s own maximum capacity.

  10. Bill Murphy says:

    I’m not a very political person but I need to say this…
    Bearman, that is one awesome title for this comic! 😀

  11. jynksie says:

    I may be the village idiot on this subject, but I’m not really understanding the hoopla. It seems to me businesses who use a lot of bandwidth, like Netflix, are complaining they don’t want to have to pay additional fee’s to internet providers, like Comcast, to move their content through at higher rates of speed. Where as, people like Comcast believe that they should be able to charge them more because of the additional loads to capacity that they create. I’d rather see these costs pushed onto the businesses in need of more bandwidth and then pass those costs onto consumers who use that product, than to have the internet provider be forced to cover the costs and we are ALL forced to pay for it. So, if Net Neutrality means what I think it does, it means Netflix wants me to pay for their bloated bandwidth needs, even though I am not a consumer of theirs?

    This is where you step in and whip me with a pretty stick and set me straight! [and go…]

    • I am with you and I understand the other side of letting ISPs start charging on both ends. That is why I suggest it is in a very limited way for the biggest data hogs.

      • Nef says:

        I may be the village idiot’s dumber brother… What Jynksie says is similar to what I thought, but better explained…

        I don’t think the President himself needs to be the one to intervene, but I see the need for the regulatory agencies to have a look at the deal and ensure that it meets muster, and if it doesn’t, to exercise their regulatory authority to stop it of making it change. The Internet is ultimately a public place, not owned by Comcast, so the government has jurisdiction.

        On another, less political matter, I commend you on your charity work!

  12. Gruhn says:

    It’s definitely like the speed pass at the amusement park. If you can afford it why not!? It’s going to be more of the haves and have nots.

  13. David Hurley says:

    Nice way to explain things, bearman. I just hope the little guys can keep up, the web is a huge place.

  14. Joseph says:

    I agree with George’s view on this issue.

  15. Tony McGurk says:

    My biggest concern is how will this affect things if I want to change URL’s???
    I was confused but your Trucks explanation made it easier. Well done

  16. Jason Salas says:

    The system is ripe for monopolization, and that’s not a good thing. The book “Ready Player One” gives a dark view into a possible future if that were to happen.

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