Thu 15 May 2014 9:57PM

Net Neutrality

AB Adam Bullen Public Seen by 179

With the FCC in the US voting on net neutrality and the Europe recently voting to protect net neutrality. This is a timely issue.

What is the current state of net neutrality in NZ?

I assume all PPNZ members support net neutrality.


Adam Bullen Thu 15 May 2014 10:03PM

After reading some articles, basically the ISP's in the US are fighting to not be classed as "dumb pipes", which would effectively prevent them from offering priority to those that pay.

If they are allowed to prioritise their traffic, this reduces competition by making it harder for small companies to compete. Many services that we have today may never have grown if larger businesses that are already established are paying for all the bandwidth.

I for one fully support a neutral internet! Weather it is a blog I will never visit or a service I use all the time, such as google search. The ISP should not prioritise traffic.


Adam Bullen Thu 15 May 2014 10:04PM

Also if my assumption about all PPNZ members supporting net neutrality is false, please state your reasons for not supporting it.


David Peterson Thu 15 May 2014 11:22PM

Excuse me... I'm going off to start a petition to ban couriers such as DHL & Sub60. Because paying extra for priority service is crazy talk!


Peter Cummuskey Thu 15 May 2014 11:51PM

While I'm sure you could have presented your argument in a less inflammatory manner, @davidpeterson, I agree that it's valid.

If we're going to argue for net neutrality, we need to be able to clearly explain how and why internet vs. post is different in this case, and how express service for one is beneficial, while for the other it is anti-competitive.

My initial thoughts on the matter revolve around question of available capacity. If you're spiting your lower-paying content providers in favour of high-paying ones, and that causes the available bandwidth for lower-paying providers to go below a technically-acceptable level (stuttering video, etc), then that's a problem. If you guarantee decent bandwidth, but then add additional capacity for premium subscribers, that seems more like the courier model.

However, one of the main problems that's being brought up isn't specifically what happens to bandwidth pipes, but how you can gain an unfair monopoly of choice by paying for your customer's data, so it doesn't count against their caps. Why would you use Quickflix, if Netflix is "free"?

Of course, then you have free shipping and Amazon Prime, etc...


Adam Bullen Fri 16 May 2014 12:18AM

@davidpeterson the internet infrastructure is less like the mail / courier services and more like the roads.

Yes you pay for road user charges / fuel tax. But no one gets priority service on the road, driving up SH1 you don't have a special fast lane for those that pay higher charges.

The fact that everybody that everybody has equal access to the infrastructure of the roads allows services like courier companies to exist in the first place.

The big content providers make some persuasive arguments against net neutrality. But consider the next google/twitter/xero/facebook startup, with not enough money and the big boys already paying for priority bandwidth so their services always seem "fast" anything new will always seem "slow", and on the internet slow = fail.


Adam Bullen Fri 16 May 2014 12:22AM

@petercummuskey @davidpeterson

I am coming at this from a infrastructure point of view, ISP's should not get to offer companies priority service for money.

This will reduce competition. e.g. Telecom gets an exclusive contract with Netflix, therefore if you want high speed Netflix or more likely non-crippled service from Netflix you go with Telecom.


David Peterson Fri 16 May 2014 2:01AM

Peter: wasn't meant to be inflammatory at all, was just a light hearted joke :-)

Anyway, for both of you this here goes into a little more detail than I did:


Adam Bullen Fri 16 May 2014 3:03AM

@davidpeterson I read the story that you linked to, it brings up a few good points but it is biased. The NZ Herald and Wikipedia have a pretty good write up with pros/cons.


Call me cynical but most of the opponents of net neutrality are big businesses that have vested interest in splitting the internet into little fiefdoms over which they have control.

Most of the proponents of net neutrality are internet based services, which rely on an unimpeded internet where access to their services can not be discriminated against.


Adam Bullen Fri 16 May 2014 3:23AM

For a much more one sided pro neutrality stance http://www.dailydot.com/esports/net-neutrality-esports-twitch/

Many of the opposing view points to net neutrality state that due to investment by the paying companies the ISP's will be able to spend more on the infrastructure, this is essentially "trickle down economics" on the internet.

As many of the 1%'ers can tell you trickle down economics totally works. Assuming by "works" you mean "works in the favour of the already rich".


Andrew Reitemeyer Fri 16 May 2014 10:56PM

"People exercise their fundamental rights through the net today. Therefore, the net is as fundamental a right itself as the rights that are exercised through it.
Therefore, I have to conclude that libertarians who think that property rights dictate that The Agreement can be violated at will as an exercise of property rights are, well, wrong. The Agreement supersedes property rights as Free Speech today depends on The Agreement, and as demonstrated, Free Speech is more important than property rights." Rick Falkvinge (http://falkvinge.net/2011/08/02/net-neutrality-and-censorship-its-not-about-property-its-about-the-agreement/)
The Internet itself is a fundamental right and as such, is a part of the commons. It does not need to be balkanized in order to satisfy the "tragedy of the commons" myth or neo-liberal theology.

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