The Big Con: The Truth Behind Net Neutrality and Why the Sky Is Not Falling

Via The Daily Bell

December 14th marked the end of the internet. At least, that is what the media, social networks… and lobbyists would have you believe.

Net neutrality has dominated the media cycle lately.

But why? Why would the repeal of a rather freshly formed regulation garner all this attention, and anger?

Taking a step towards a freer marketplace should be celebrated. Right?

But to hear internet activists and the millions taking to social media complain, this step is a death blow to the internet.

Now, without the government protecting us from ISPs, we will be forced into paying for subpar services. We will be forced to deal with ISPs throttling our connections while watching small internet based businesses slowly bleed out of existence.

Except, we won’t be forced to do any of those things. That’s not what last week’s repeal was about.

Americans will not be forced to purchase services they don’t want. Instead, an Obama era regulation which attempted to police businesses was repealed, paving the way for the free market to run its course.

So why the outcry?

People misunderstand net neutrality and what it actually did. As usual, the mainstream media worked in a concerted effort to push a narrative while banking on decent people’s emotional reactions. They pushed a story with the full intention of manufacturing a specific response. Nothing new there.

That response was anger directed at the FCC’s decision to scale back a set of regulations. That response included threats against the Commissioner and a bomb threat against the FCC.

But that curated anger did nothing in terms of fixing the real problem facing our ability to connect to the world around us. And this is a problem that extends much further than cat memes and the trolling online.

An attempt to clear the smoke while ignoring the fire…

The net neutrality regulations were typical restrictions. They were an attempt for the US government to control various aspects of the telecom industry.

Net neutrality made the internet regulated like a public utility. You know, like “the water company” and “the electric company”. It’s no wonder the few choices we have seem all too often like, “the internet company.”

Now, telecommunications companies have more freedom to offer different services at different prices. And yes, this includes the possibility that they throttle internet to certain sites and users.

Net neutrality was the government’s response to an actual problem. As usual, their response ignored the problem completely.

The problem wasn’t the way in which ISPs conducted business. The problem was the consolidation of power among ISPs. They influence legislation and regulation so that the government protects ISPs from competition.

How did ISPs gain that ability? Through politicians’ favorite personal path to riches, lobbying.

In fact, the FCC Chairman who presided over the implementation of net neutrality was Tom Wheeler. He was a lobbyist for the telcom industry who raised about a million dollars for Obama during the 2008 and 2012 elections. Obama nominated him in 2013.

Lobbying, as it exists today, is nothing more than glorified bribery. Those with money cozy up to those with influence and engage in quid pro quo deals. From those deals, businesses and industries purchase the ability to sway laws.

Wouldn’t you know, Obama was golf buddies with Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts. Comcast owns NBC and MSNBC. These mainstream media outlets protest net neutralityby claiming it will give their parent company too much power. Hmm…

The power the telecom industry gained through lobbying was used to build small scale monopolies across the entire country.

They purchased influence which created laws that prevented individuals from creating private networks. They prohibited local governments from breaking up regional monopolies. They even allowed telecom representatives to author a North Carolina bill without politicians. This became apparent when politicians turned to telecom lawyers to explain their bill because they didn’t understand it themselves!

The telecom industry has lobbied 21 states to enact legislation aimed at reducing competition within the industry. Not every piece of legislation outright banned competition within the market. But they all created a legal maze that effectively shut out new businesses. If you don’t have an army of lawyers, forget about competing in the industry.

This led to the creation of regional monopolies across the country, creating a problem net neutrality did nothing to solve.

FCC Repeal is Rare Move Against Lobbyists…

Lobbyists wine, dine, and buy politician’s influence. They sway laws in their favor.

So where is the outcry to stop this legal form of bribery? Why are social media activists not taking to Instagram to post memes about the stifling effects lobbying has on healthy competition within a market? Where are the celebrities tweeting about how lobbying diminishes the ability of the individual to shape policy?

When we allow the government to dictate how a business can be run, lobbyists for the biggest businesses inevitably have their way. Regulation they claim will prevent monopolies always creates them.

So perhaps instead of trying to fight for the government’s ability to regulate private industries, people should focus on setting their sights on the bigger problem.

In the meantime you have to admit that the phrase: “Hold your politicians accountable for accepting large scale bribery while selling away our country to the powerful few and destroying a competitive marketplace,” is not quite as catchy as: “Save the Net.”

Comments

gmrpeabody williambanzai7 Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:32 Permalink

I'd rather pay for what I use, and just for what I use, and let everyone else pay for what they use. As it is now, I pay for 210 channels (I realize most of the people at ZH don't watch any TV and haven't for years) of which only about 10 or 12 are every watched in our home. But if I want to watch fishing shows on Sunday morning, I have to pay for BET every month. BTW.., of that 210 channels 150 of them are infomercials trying to sell me shit.

In reply to by williambanzai7

roadhazard gmrpeabody Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:34 Permalink

"And if i watch fishing shows ...",  what do you think is going to happen now with the internet. They will figure out what you want and make you pay for it AND infomercials.. It's called bundling just like satellite TV. You will be paying moar for your internet one way or the other. It will all become clear to you soon. You are going to be getting exactly what you now hate about your TV provider.

In reply to by gmrpeabody

jeff montanye roadhazard Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:34 Permalink

it's not true that government can't effectively regulate business.  the glass steagall act did precisely that and well until bill clinton and some republicans repealed it.  ditto on anti monopoly in media; the zionists didn't wield unchecked media power until then (they certainly paid hillary clinton back with 425 to 26, including the kkk rag, in endorsements).look at what enron did to california when it could get around public regulation of utility rates.  not all government regulation is good but some of it is.  the pure food and drug acts cleaned up a major problem that was killing u.s. citizens.  but in the last say forty years much of government has been taken over by lobbyists/bribers and we still have regulations but ones these mendacious thieves write.  good government is possible, howevermuch bush and obama make it look not.but citizens have to stay on top of it.  the horrible citizens united vs. the fec makes this hard since corporate campaign contributions are now (thanks scalia et. al.) considered protected free speech by citizens.  this must go.  we need a constitutional amendment.  like i voted for trump to drain the swamp and stop the wars, i'd vote for a president to reverse this decision.

In reply to by roadhazard

nicktd jeff montanye Sun, 12/17/2017 - 14:13 Permalink

Regulation itself cannot be regulated. You might have a view of what regulation should be and others will have another view of what regulation should be. Whose view of regulation should we follow? Which regulation will work? None! Let free market choose the regulation.

The repeal of glass steagall act resulted in allowing banks to become over leverage. Which from free market pov is fine. The problem is due to bank regulation overseen by FDIC (formed during Great Depression) and Fed Reserve (formed in 1913) was shown as a farce since nearly all of banking system was bankrupt. So instead of blaming existing goverment and non-goverment (ie Federal Reserve) entities not regulating banks as they should (ie too much leverage) the answer was more regulation ie Dodd-Frank bill. Do we think this final regulation will prevent another GFC? Nope!

In Enron's case which was part of an already heavily regulated energy sector became bigger when they started trading energy futures. Why were they allowed to backstop abut $350billion of energy trades at the time? These bets spans over a number of regulations and government regulatory agencies, specifically DOE and SEC (SEC was formed during Great Depression). Again instead of blaming government agencies for lack of oversight or enforcement, new regulation is the answer. They blame accounting standards. So now accounting needs more regulation. Hence came the Sarbanes-Oxley Act! Did this prevent 2008 GFC? Nope!

The pattern seems clear. Government and their regulatory agencies are never accountable. And take a blind eye when enforcing EXISTING regulations to a "select few" (So SEC can go after Martha Stewert and Mark Cuban but do not know when Eron backstops nearly every energy trace?)

Regulation on top of regulation is not the answer. Regulation promotes a "select few" to game laws to their advantage. This has been ongoing on for quite some time. I blame 1913 Federal Reserve Act as the panacea.

Free markets would not allow "select few" to exist. Once an profitable idea sets foot in a free market another person/company will come along and challenge with a new/better idea. "select few" hate this! So they scream we need regulation!

In reply to by jeff montanye

Ex-Oligarch jeff montanye Sun, 12/17/2017 - 16:52 Permalink

Your suggestion that Enron and the California power crisis are an example of legally circumventing regulation is totally false.(1) Califiornia's "deregulation" of the wholesale electricity market substituted one highly regulated government regime for another.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) continued to regulate wholesale rates via extensive and detailed tariffs for the market (CalPX) and system operator (CalISO).(2) California's "deregulation" did not extend to retail consumer rates, which continued to be set by California's PUC.(3) Enron (and other generators selling into the market) blatantly violated the law and manipulated the CalPX market pricing regulations, and CalPX and the FERC failed to take enforcement action until the system failed. (4) California has three main quasi-monopoly investor owned utilities (SCE, PG&E and SDG&E) that purchased energy from the wholesale market and resold it to consumers. They pushed for "deregulation" of the wholesale market because the deal permitted them to raise rates to include certain types of costs that would have dramatically reduced investor profits under the old structure (notably, the billions of excess costs of building, operating and decommissioning their nuclear power plants). (5) The utilities did little to push for enforcement of the CalPX regulations until the illegal market manipulation by the likes of Enron got wildly out of control. So long as CPUC permitted them to raise rates, everyone was happy with expanded revenue streams. When consumer rate increases became untenable, the utilities defaulted on payments to the exchange required under the tariffs. (6) Following default, a host of regulatory proceedings were launched at FERC and in the CPUC.  CalPX filed a bankruptcy case. Assets in the clearinghouse were frozen.  Eventually the regulators got their act together and the situation was resolved.  (Traders that had manipulated the CalPX markets moved on to jobs manipulating the wholesale oil and gas markets.)The Califoirnia power fiasco was a product of a new complex regulatory structure that was exploited by all elements of the industry.  Lack of enforcement was the root of the problem, not the elimination of regulation.

In reply to by jeff montanye

GoinFawr williambanzai7 Sun, 12/17/2017 - 13:25 Permalink

"At this point I am happy to thumb my nose at anything the cucks, libtards, snowflakes, flake news and PC morons get wound up about. fuck em."Even if they are getting 'wound up' about someone pissing in WB7's face and telling him it's raining!Geez, now that's 'Loyalty to a Principle' regardless of reality (or something equally stupid)"The enemy of my friend is my enemy, even if my so-called 'friend' is laughing up his sleeve at me."80% wanted NN WB7, 80%: you may be running out of 'friends'Bonne chance avec c'est!

In reply to by williambanzai7

roadhazard Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:17 Permalink

Bundling has already started in other countries. Within a couple of years Americans will start being charged for what is now free. Don't believe me but it will happen. I will go ahead and say I told you so now.

koan Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:25 Permalink

Never ever is it a good thing for corporations to be unregulated.I'll give you an example; to implement cable TV in my area they promised TV with no ads.This was their selling point for pay TV over cable when people asked "why should I pay for something I get for free?".In the end what do we have? Over 1/3 the screen time is ads, and even when your show is on they stream ribbon ads across the screen, I won't bother mentioning how the prices have increased over the years.Net Neutrality was a good thing, anyone saying different is a shill. Edit: Some of you may have noticed a certain type of crypto currency called BAT "Basic Attention Token" so now you can spend some BAT to get ad free Internet (I shit you not) expect this scam to grow.We are entering the era of micro charges for surfing the web, not only will you pay outrageous fees to be connected you now to get to pay for content as well.

Cursive koan Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:18 Permalink

Too many ads?  Turn the shit off.  Damn, this world is full of weak-willed whiny ass bitches wittingly or unwittingly trying to ruin everything for everyone. Commit this to memory:   Government is always and everywhere the problem.  Regulation is the fascist approach to consolidating corporate power.

In reply to by koan

Retired Guy Cursive Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:20 Permalink

Before ABC, NBC etal, the airwaves belonged to the people. The US government auctioned off those rights for a few bucks. We the people got nothing. I feel the airwaves still belong to us. There is no reason it is so used for advertisements a sane man can't sit for long and watch it. Why can't we reduce the ad time allowed on OUR airwaves?Regulation was once used for the people. It could be again if the same crooks weren't sent to congress every election. We would be better off if the government was chosen from the people by a lottery.

In reply to by Cursive

Ex-Oligarch koan Sun, 12/17/2017 - 19:27 Permalink

"Never ever is it a good thing for corporations to be unregulated.I'll give you an example; to implement cable TV ..." The cable TV industry is regulated by the FCC.  It is also regulated by local governments that grant limited monopolies (franchises) to providers.It is not an example of an "unregulated" business.   

In reply to by koan

Ex-Oligarch koan Mon, 12/18/2017 - 21:51 Permalink

Bullshit.Here is a nice long summary of the federal cable regulations.  If you read it critically, you will see that notwithstanding the ballyhoo, "deregulation" has only shifted some regulatory power from the FCC to state and local authorities, while adding new areas of federal regulation.  https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/cable-televisionOf course, this summary does not describe the state and local regulations, which vary by jurisdiction, though you will be hard pressed to find a place in the US that does not have them.You can't possibly review the federal regulations, let alone the state and local regulations, and tell anyone with a straight face that cable television is unregulated or even underregulated.  It just is not true.

In reply to by koan

Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:29 Permalink

The Daily Bell just ruined whatever reputation it had with this article full of lies.  ZH will be out of business as a result of the repeal so it's curious why they would choose to even post tbis.

GeezerGeek Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 15:00 Permalink

On 26 February 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of a set of rules they called net neutrality in response to a request from Barry. This is the 'Net Neutrality' that was repealed.You have been very inexact in your usage of the term 'net neutrality' and by failing to distinguish between the concept and the set of rules passed by the FCC you appear to be indulging in subterfuge.The term itself was about a dozen years older, and had originally been applied to phone networks if I recall correctly. So you are correct that it was established - as a concept only - before Obama. It gradually came to expand into the area of the internet. The rules passed by the FCC under the term 'Net Neutrality' went far beyond merely regulating ISPs and their ability to charge edge providers. Please stop being so FactPhobic when you make comments like this.

In reply to by Xena fobe

Boubou Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:36 Permalink

Corporations are predatory and will roll all over you. They are contained only by regulation, which they lobby continually to get withdrawn. Now we have a government which concerns itself only with corporations, and we sit around waiting for 'trickle down' or crumbs from the table.

Xena fobe Cursive Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:36 Permalink

Some regulation is mecessary.  Yes, they go way too far and harm small business.  But there must be limits. You accept limits on your actions as a citizen and a consumer.  Irresponsible or criminal corporations also need to be accountable.  Free market principles failed when we started allowing monopolies.

In reply to by Cursive

Cursive Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:49 Permalink

How do you think we "started allowing monopolies?"  By regulation.  Wake up.  You are part of the problem.  A stooge in the plan.  BTW, I like your neolistic fail "mecessary." mecessary (adj.) The promotion of ideas which are branded as "necessary" but which are simply perfunctory or, more likely, insidious and which said ideas only serve to exacerbate the extant problem, i.e. mess.

In reply to by Xena fobe

Xena fobe Cursive Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:22 Permalink

You mean regulation allows govt to select winners and losers?  Yes, can't argue there.  The only answer seems to be small populations with minimal govt. The fact remains, monopolies exist and nothing they propose is in the interest of the consumer. Edit: likewise nothing govt proposes is in the interest of the citizen. 

In reply to by Cursive

GeezerGeek Cursive Sun, 12/17/2017 - 14:48 Permalink

Congratulations on exposing me to two new words in one sentence, neolistic and mecessary (okay, you copied that from elsewhere). Since I cannot find definitions for either, I'll go with yours for 'mecessary'; it seems appropriate, a word whose time has come.The comment to which you responded contained the original 'mecessary', which I thought really should have been spelled 'messessary'. Either way, your definition would still apply.

In reply to by Cursive

GeezerGeek Boubou Sun, 12/17/2017 - 14:38 Permalink

From a higher altitude, corporations can be predators because government regulations favor some and hinder others. Recall, if you will, the battles between railroad giants in the 1800s. They fought each other by buying legislative and regulatory favors, not on the field of actual product/service competition. Government should get out of the business of favoring those best at bribery, er, I mean lobbying.Or do you think all those Goolag people visiting Barry in the White House prior to his getting the FCC to implement Net Neutrality were just there for the free drugs and to be sociable?

In reply to by Boubou

demsrdumb Sun, 12/17/2017 - 09:42 Permalink

Anything to keep government out of the equation is a good thing in my book. Laws and regulations, the only problem they are implemented by "humans" and I have yet to meet a un corruptable person. Throw enough money at someone and it is amazing how certain laws are implemented, and enforcement of them/ or lack thereof. Go figure.

Xena fobe demsrdumb Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:05 Permalink

Corporate monopolies are accountable to noone but share holders.  A politician can be voted out. Why would anyone think a monopoly corporation would do anything in the public interest?  Monopoly ISPs want to repeal NN so they can charge you more and provide you with less.Let's stop shooting ourselves in the foot by blindly adhering to ideologies.  Think it through.  Yes, govt is just as evil.  But there is no advantage for the consumer from repeal of NN. 

In reply to by demsrdumb

Retired Guy Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 10:53 Permalink

When 80% of people say they want NN and the FCC does otherwise it sounds like the monopoly bribes are winning. The article did not explain to my satisfaction why they think the FCC is right and most of the people are wrong. I feel the ISP's are acting like monopolies. They charge too much and raise the price every year. The quality is getting worse. The electric and water companies do much better than that.I'm not a fan of government but everybody who has played monopoly the game knows almost everybody gets screwed. Monopoly break up is the best. Failing that, government regulation is required.

In reply to by Xena fobe

GeezerGeek Retired Guy Sun, 12/17/2017 - 14:30 Permalink

What average consumers think of when they say 'net neutrality' is but one part of the regulations that came as part of the Net Neutrality package two years ago. At least that's what I've read and heard. Perhaps some parts should have been thrown out and others kept. The real problem - to me at least - is that Congress has failed to put this crap into legislation and instead relied on nameless, faceless bureaucrats to create rules. Granted, what Congress might come up with could be better or worse, but at least we'd have more responsive persons to whom we could complain.The issue, perhaps, should be this: what is the real role of an ISP? Do they themselves provide content? Or do they simply maintain the infrastructure and provide a physical connection, and perhaps DNS services, to the rest of the internet? I don't recall any broadband services that were added by Comcast to the infrastructure connection I mentioned. (I no longer have Comcast for several reasons, but they pissed me off when their website required the latest Flash software and it was not available for Linus systems. Anyone using Flash in this day and age is asking for trouble.) What did Comcast provide beyond the broadband/internet connection? They provided a television service, with channels they chose, in several tiers. They provided communications services too - digital broadband-based phone service as well as wireless - in various flavors. All came over Comcast's physical network. To the best of my knowledge, no competing TV or phone service was available. (I'm not talking about streaming video services, Skype-like voice services, etc. Just plain old TV packages, POTS and such.)I suggest that, since Comcast, AT&T and others rely on physical networks that run over public rights-or-way, we need to replace ISPs as currently constituted with something more like the electrical power distribution network. Whether these digital networks were local, regional or state level organizations is beyond the point. Make the physical networks and connections to the internet a public utility. Regulate it. Florida Power and Light doesn't limit how much electricity I use (within certain limits based on the wiring coming to my house), although they do have a tiered rate system based on consumption. Let the public ISPs I suggest run on the same pattern. Let them have tiered rates or packages based on utilization. Let them allow consumers to get whatever internet services, entertainment services (streaming or entire TV packages), communicaitons services, etc.) without limiting where those services come from. Regulators could set up Service Level Agreements, require fiber everywhere, and so on.I believe this would be the best path forward. It should provide competition from bundled providers, allow individuals to get whatever they want while paying for however much they want, and would require only a single entity to maintain the physical infrastructure. Has anyone ever seen those pictures from the past where there were dozens or hundreds of power and phone lines on every utility pole? Buy going digital with high bandwidth fiber there could be one fiber cable (or bundle of fiber cables). I imagine they would be easier to protect from EMP (if that is even a real problem) than all the copper wire still in use. But what do I know? After all, I grew up in the days when phone services were shared by several neighbors. I think they called them party lines.Now if only .gov really cared about We the People.... 

In reply to by Retired Guy

RubyPetunia Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 13:30 Permalink

There is not now a lot of competition among ISP. I can't get AT&T broadband nor can I get RCN. I'm stuck with either Verizon or Comcast. Verizon is barely tolerable whereas Comcast is intolerable. I only see the end of net neutrality improving things. If Google/Amazon/Facebook find they are being treated unfairly they have more than enough resoucres to create competition.

In reply to by Xena fobe

FrankDrakman Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:27 Permalink

I did some telecom engineering. Here's an analogy: think of the Internet like a food court with waiters. You purchase a connection (tray) of a certain speed (size) that you can fill with all the content (food) that fits from any website or streaming service (food court vendor). In the food court, the waiters don't care if they're bringing you beluga or burritos; if it fits on the tray, they bring it. That's "food neutrality". Now, imagine that the waiters got together and said "OK, let's charge the people who want beluga extra to bring it to them". If that was accepted, in short order boeuf bourgignogne, Bordeaux, and blueberries would follow, leaving only baloney and Beef-a-roni to be included in your 'basic service'. That's what you get without "food neutrality". And so, that's what will happen with ISP's, who are the waiters in this case. They'll begin charging for some premium stuff first, or to get a non-throttled connection, or whatever else they can dream up. But once the concept is accepted, the pricing will be forced down to all but the most basic access. The good news is arbitrage possibilities will exist, the size of which depends on the ISP's rate rapaciousness, equipment costs, and wide area network restrictions. Already, some consumers are banding together to create neighbourhood level ISP's, and latching directly onto the Internet backbone. If ISP's get really greedy, creating a big economic incentive for arbs, there will be a lot of these in the future. 

In reply to by Xena fobe

crazzziecanuck FrankDrakman Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:49 Permalink

Don't delude yourself here.  Municipal and "neighborhood" ISPs will soon find themselves regulated out of existence by this very same FCC.  That's the role Ajit Pai is there to do: to do the bidding of his old employer, Verizon, and for his likely future employer, Comcast.   In the long term, it didn't really matter if the FCC repealed NN because the utter lack of market forces and monumental corruption at the regulatory level was going to do this anyways.    This repeal just helps them accelerate the inevitable.Expect Soros-stylized groups to use ALEC to push various state laws to all but bar municipalities or "neighbourhoods" from setting up their own competitive service.  They'll likely use "ease of use" or "cybsersecurity" concerns to throw up regulatory hurdle after regulatory hurdle for the little guy (and the monopolies can use the repeal to charge the little guy way more for connection and data rates).  We've seen historically that cable telecoms lavished money and positions to local bureaucrats to cement their monopoly status in areas.  They'll just do that again.  They have the deep pockets, monopoly power, and MBA indoctrination to convince them that "the market" is working.There were dozens of examples of corporations violating the 2015 NN rules and OBAMA'S FCC did absolutely nothing.  So, if the Democratic Socio-Marxists Transgender Anticorporate cronies wouldn't stop abusive practices towards consumers and Internet companies, what did you think a GOP administration would do?  If the FCC wasn't going to enforce the law, then why have it?I supported the continuation of Net Neutrality because I understand the nature of the corporate beast.  All we have to do is look at their past behaviors to understand the direction they want to go.  After all, a leopard can't change its spots. 

In reply to by FrankDrakman

Xena fobe FrankDrakman Sun, 12/17/2017 - 14:12 Permalink

I imagine it will be similar to cable fee structures.  "for access to xyz, you must be a subscriber at level 4".  Frustrating as hell and will nake the internet unusable.  Forget doing research for school or following a link. Even worse, the power to arbitrarily exclude sites for ideological reasons.Those of us not hooked on facebook probably will have no reason to subscribe at all.   Companies will have to hire phone reps because their customers will be cancelling internet.  The post office will see an uptick in snail mail too.

In reply to by FrankDrakman