Regulating the Internet "Like a Utility" Won't Yield an Open Internet

in legal on (#2TGT)
Many of the millions of comments in the net neutrality proceeding, urge the FCC to impose net neutrality rules by regulating the Internet “like a utility.” It won’t work. Simply reclassifying ISPs as (Title II) common carriers will trigger a vast flood of litigation, but bring little relief to consumers who simply want unfettered access to the Internet. We can’t find a way to write a net neutrality rule in a manageable number of words, and still leave only minimal discretion to the ISP. An ISP with a good lawyer – and they all have good lawyers – could plausibly argue that the rule allows almost any activity at all.

There is a way to solve this problem: a rule that requires the ISP to open its channels (cable or phone line or fiber) to competing ISPs. Under this approach, a consumer dissatisfied with the performance of one ISP could easily switch to another with no change to the household wiring – an impossibility in today's system. We know this approach works because it did work, very well, all through the Internet’s dial-up days. A set of FCC rules called Computer III required just the kind of shared access to those lines that we propose here. That is the only practical way to bring about net neutrality.

In the early 2000s, following the advent of broadband, the FCC made a colossal two-part error. First, it declined to apply Title II and Computer III shared access requirements to cable broadband delivery. Second, a few years later, it removed those same existing requirements from telephone company DSL broadband. The result today is Internet monopolies, or duopolies at best, in nearly every U.S. market.

Re: Argument is Baloney (Score: 1)

by on 2014-10-22 21:11 (#2TKK)

The article serves as a perfectly good rebuttal to everything you've said. But I guess I could point-out a few specifics:
What, there was never a capacity limit on the ability of a local CO switch to handle voice traffic?
For phones, you either got a dial-tone and your call connected, or it didn't. There was no equivalent to throttling a phone call. You weren't placing hundreds of calls at once, to services of different quality and needs. So policing the equal access with telephones was vastly more obvious and straight-forward than with internet.
They should keep their network maintained and upgraded to allow the traffic that they are actively selling to business and consumer.
Your ISP doesn't run a line to Netflix. Netflix's ISP doesn't pay your ISP a standard amount for every packet "connected". There is no single ISP for each geographic area to take responsibility. etc. Peering arrangements are very complex, and aren't just a matter of your ISP expanding its capacity to deliver what they sold you.
You can tell it was written by lawyers and not technologists.
The topic is laws and FCC regulations. The lawyers (that deal with technology) are the only ones with any insights to the topic. A "technologist" doesn't know jack about Title II.
the miracle of competition will suddenly mean that congested hybrid coax-fiber infrastructure and leased lines will be able to deliver higher capacity just by changing a bill-to address.
The problems Netflix and others are having has NOTHING to do with congestion over the last-mile... Net neutrality in general, similarly has little or nothing to do with last-mile congestion. The problems to be addressed are all past that point, in the respective backhauls, and peering points onto each ISP's network. Those would be completely different if you switched your ISP. Presumably, with several ISPs competing for customers, the one that throttles something like Netflix the worst, will lose many customers to competitors, and will changes their behavior if they want to keep them.
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