It's Monday morning here in the U.S., and so it's perhaps a little early in the week (to say nothing about being early in the day) for politics. But net neutrality is that important. And besides, John Oliver is British. Which means ... something.

Anyhoo. If you don't have HBO and don't "borrow" someone's HBO Go login, you need to watch this. It's our online future at stake, and it's worth fighting for. You can leave the FCC a comment here.


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Watch this: John Oliver on net neutrality


Saw this last night. Hilarious and true. I felt like he may have been specifically talking to some people here...
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John is great on 'Community' and just as great here. Definitely worth a listen.

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Unfortunately the net neutrality issue has another side unmentioned in this clip, namely that the Evil Hated Telecoms whom are portrayed as the greedy bastards they are in this clip (and by the Internet in general because rabble) have an interest in making a return on their investments in wiring the country for services. The reason there are monopolies is because municipalities traded exclusivity for service; "You come in and hook up our city and you get to be the only game in town." (That the politicians probably pocketed some grift is another factor.)

Should we be paying less for more service? Absolutely. The corrupt government-industrial cartel arrangement we have is ridonkulous, BUT it still costs something to wire up a country the size and population of America. Estonia has a population of only 1.3 million, which would make it #41 or #42 in American states with Maine or New Hampshire and it's the 132nd largest country in the world (we're #4 behind Russia, Canada and China) which would rank #42, between West Virginia and Maryland, if it was an American state. Comparing America and Estonia on this subject isn't apples and oranges, it's apples and aircraft carriers.

I'm sure I'll get a ton of nasty replies from the entitled brats who get their information from The Weekly Show or whatever this thing is called, but complex issues don't become simpler when you omit the side of the story that you don't like.

The sad part is that you're not exactly wrong on the issue. The problem is that governmental incompetence, greed and apathy don't get to f**k us for the rest of eternity for the sake of "return of investment." Those deals you're talking about were a result of a bunch of corrupt officials taking a bribe or two without regard to problems down the road from people that were hoping for these very problems. And with these companies posting record profits every year and progressively getting worse and worse service for the money, I don't think letting them continue to write their own laws to protect their investment is the right answer.

Ultimately, Comcast has already won the monopoly game. The whole thing is setup so that the cartels stay in their own territory and they'll get to farm that forever because it's too expensive to lay down new fiber. That's literally all they need to protect their investment. Now it's time to label them common carriers and finally protect our interests.

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How sad the corporations want to make a profit on the internet that was funded and built with The Citizens of The United States' Taxes

Most people don't actually understand how the Internet works. They think traffic shaping and what Netflix did are the same thing. It is not! What Netflix did is what has been done forever. Yahoo! did it years ago. I remember reading an article stating that Yahoo! only payed for half of their total bandwidth requirements because of all the peering they were doing with ISP's. They bypassed the Internet backbone with their own national network and brought content directly to large ISP's. This is what Netflix is doing. The difference is bandwidth requirements. Netflix requires quite a bit more data. So why should Netflix pay? Why shouldn't they pay? We live in a country where the market determins pricing, not the government. Netflix determined that they received better bang for buck and customer satisfaction by connecting to ISP's directly. Remember not all of Netflix's data is transferred over the peering connections. Smaller ISP's get Netflix over their transit. By sending data directly to some ISP's, Netflix may save on transit costs.

As far as traffic shaping goes, is this really a problem? A lot of people *thought* cable companies were degrading Netflix with shaping, but it turned out that peering was the problem. Cogent didn't have any incentive to fix their settlement-free peering links, so Netflix did it directly (standard peering, not settlement-free). It was a business contract/relationship problem, not a traffic shaping problem.

You're right about the cost of wiring up a city. That takes a huge amount of time, effort, and money. Verizon tried to wire up cities with fiber and they ran out of steam.

For the people complaining about net neutrality, why don't you do something about it yourself? Why don't you try to wire up your block? Beam in high speed Internet via wireless and link the houses together. I've done it with large condo buildings. It takes work. If my cousins, out in the middle of no-where, have metro fiber (actually rural fiber) so can anyone that wants it.

Thank You. These are the most intelligent comments I've seen on the whole issue. I've worked in Telecom for the better part of 2 decades so I've seen all the logistics that goes into providing basic service. Its not pretty or cheap and takes a lot of people and resources all of which the Pro-Net Nuetrality folks just graciously overlook. Folks call in literally crying when we have an outage cause they cant stream or play some online game but never consider that the reason our Gateway router died is because its been running above capacity due to all that streaming. Folks literally think that data gets to them by magic its sad

Agreed, there are so many people completely clueless on how things work including Phil. I wish this site stopped pushing the net neutrality agenda. I know it seems like a great idea but the issue is much deeper than popular opinion.

Unfortunately, more people are swayed by funny pictures and jokes (which they accept as fact and as presenting all the relevant information) than by a sober examination of the issue.

This is the main reason why these shows are so insidious.

The issue really isn't deeper. We've had net neutrality for years, it's what makes the internet what it is. Isps still make a fuck ton of money, and they still make a hefty return on their investment. An investment, by the way, that was heavily subsidized by taxes. This is not a complicated issue.

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Say you order from a takeaway, you want a large pizza and a bottle of Pepsi. The store informs you delivery will be an hour, but if you order coca cola instead delivery is just thirty minutes! Is this reasonable?

They have both in stock, they're the same distance to your house. But coke pay the pizza place to wait half an hour on orders which include Pepsi. Again, is this reasonable?

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It's more like one guy ordering a hundred pizzas and another ordering one, and the government saying they both have to be delivered at the same time.

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No, I it's not. TCP/IP protocols ensure that data packets are treated equally by default, the government has nothing to do with that.

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Actually, no, not equally. IP has ToS flags:

Like the wiki article says, ToS was originally proposed in 1981. The reason is simple, some things are timing sensitive and other things are not. You *want* VoIP to go into a priority queue so the packets get through in time. For a large file download, you don't care about timing, just throughput. The Linux kernel's pfifo_fast scheduler honors the ToS bits by default. So I guess Linux, by some definitions, is not compliant with Net Neutrality.

For the pizza example, we would take the large order of 100 pizzas as bulk and the other orders as time sensitive. That way the small orders don't have to wait for the large order to be delivered. I guess pizza joints are not Net Neutrality compliant!

That's correct, but twolastnames analogy was flawed. That's not what network neutrality is about. As I said it's coke vs Pepsi, 1 pineapple pizza vs 1 pepperoni pizza, 100 chicken pizzas vs 100 steak pizzas.

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Two pizza stores. One has Pepsi, the other Coke. They are about the same distance away. To get to you they have take the same entrance to your community. Some days, getting into the community, it gets pretty congested. So one pizza joint air drops your pizza to your house (or uses drones). It might cost more, but if you really need a pizza you'll do it even if you get a Pepsi instead of a Coke.

edit -- oh...almost forgot: AND Pepsi is paying for the drones to get you fast delivery.

Again though, that's a poor analogy. They're not creating an innovative new way to deliver data or even expanding potential network throughput. They're just closing the gates on the other guy.

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They are expanding network through put. They are taking traffic off the ISP's transit connections. They are actually *helping* potential competition by freeing up the main links.

Think of it this way. Stats show that Netflix takes between 25% to 50% of all Internet traffic. That is like the pizza joint putting all those cars onto the road and causing congestion for the other smaller pizza companies. Everyone is slowed down because one in two cars is a big pizza car. If big pizza builds a railroad into the community that by passes the choke point, the other smaller pizza companies can get into the community much faster.

No one was closing the gates on anyone. No one was pulling anyone over to slow them down. Not in the case of the Netflix deal.

This is closer, and I do admit my first analogy a bit flawed, but no more than the original comment. All analogies are flawed because they don't talk about the actual means of getting things from one place to another, ie roads, waterways, railroads, etc. Roads + railroads are the best analogy imo, as their are many ways of getting cars (packets) from one place to another.

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Part of my issue with the carriers are that they are using public right of way, meaning they get to negotiate with the government to use property that may have been claimed via imminent domain rather than go "free market" and have to deal with the individual land owners. As such, they are beholden to be benefiting the public good.

And to your point about doing something yourself, the big telecom companies are actively fighting it by having it made illegal for small groups or municipalities go it alone. Currently 19 states have laws that in some way prevent competition from co-ops, non-profits, public utilities, and/or small municipalities.

I also feel they are "double dipping" by building the infrastructure under one legal framework and then offering services under another. I.e. the POTS system was given various protections, exceptions, etc. that allowed it to be built cheaper in return for "common carrier" access of services but they only want that to apply to voice, not DSL or FIOS.

And for the record, I worked at a local ISP that went national in the mid 90s when xDSL was new and unproven and dual-channel bonded ISDN was the best you could get for home internet. We had a lot of discussions about this back then and all the little guys pretty much saw this coming.

edit to fix broken link.

kigmatzomat, those are laws about the municipality building out (or subbing out the building out) broadband so the private is competing with the public. What I was advocating is that municipalities allow competition for broadband by allowing and making it easier for private companies to get right of way. I don't think it is fair for the cable company to compete with the government and therefore I don't have a beef with laws preventing that. The competition should be Google Fiber vs. phone company vs. cable company vs. WISP, etc.

The best way for that to happen to complain to your local government, not to the FCC. The FCC is just going to screw it all up by concentrating power which channels *more* money and lobbying to D.C.

Oh look, it's a new political opinion show masquerading as a fake comedy news show.

I'm not watching a 13 minute video of this garbage, even if I may agree with the core argument presented here.

Wow. Another smug jerk who thinks he's smarter than others cause he watches hip progressive funny news.

I don't want you to stop enjoying your tv show, just don't pretend that this is somehow "intelligent" television.

You're acting like your comments are "intelligent" even though they aren't so what's the difference?

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+1. And it's amazing how these fake comedy news shows always have the same political opinions as each other. That much is not fake. Regarding net neutrality, I question how many visitors here--heck, even the staff--really know what they're arguing for or against. If you think there currently are no quality-of-service controls on internet traffic, you're mistaken. If you're browsing this site at work or watching a YouTube video at work, guess what: you can bet that this traffic is given a lower priority than your company's Exchange traffic. At home, your telco/ISP likely implements some degree of QoS or optimizations to try and ensure a minimum SLA for each of its customers. Those who want more bandwidth can pay to upgrade their plans to a higher tier. What the telcos/ISPs are now trying to do is offer a similar type of option to other businesses who send traffic over their circuits.

Telcos are not charities and the initial infrastructure investment to connect even one user is significant. Now whether connectivity should be a privately or publicly provided utility is debatable, but the suggestions that sometimes are made are not viable business models. As MikeY says above, comparing Estonia to the U.S. is far from apples-to-apples.

The Internet Protocol has a built in traffic shaping feature called ToS. People, you *want* routers to have this turned on. This way your torrent's get lower priority than your VoIP calls. Is ToS a violation of Net Neutrality?

So the cable companies shouldn't have to invest in infrastructure? A retail store has to pay rent or purchase a building in order to set up shop and that costs them money that they may not have had. Saying that telcos are not charities and then going on to say that the infrastructure is expensive is the same as letting best buy purchase all of the electronics retail stores in the country and saying it's okay because they have to pay rent and rent is expensive.

I'm not sure I understand the point you're making or the Best Buy example. What I'm saying is that many "arguments" I see around net neutrality have one thing in common: they lack, or marginalize, financial viability for the telcos. The telcos invest in communication infrastructure in order to make money--not because of some altruistic goal of ensuring everyone is connected. The reason they can be granted monopoly status is to ensure they can recoup the high upfront cost of their investment. Otherwise, if they had to invest in all the infrastructure but then any competitor could just come and piggy-back off that infrastructure, they likely wouldn't make that initial investment.

How about telecos also pay more than 0-2% in taxes, when earning record profits and taking in 30 Billion a quarter too

Funny enough, all the nerds turn on QoS on their own router to give gaming traffic priority, and they are the seemingly loudest for net neutrality.

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Traffic shaping has nothing to do with net neutrality. Net neutrality ensures that all video streaming (for example) is given the same priority. It's ok to prior certain types of traffic, but you cannot favor one service over another. So Comcast would have to give the same bandwidth to vudu as the do to Netflix as they do to their own xfinity streaming service. This is what net neutrality is.

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No, I don't need to watch this. Most people advocating for so-called net neutrality don't even understand it.

I doubt you do.

It's pretty simple. Edge providers should pay their ISPs for the bandwidth they require and that's it. There should not be middle men gatekeepers who charge additional tolls.

The only people who are confusing the issue are the folks who benefit from obfuscating what is really a simple issue.

That is not what Net Neutrality was when it first came up. Net Neutrality was simply treating all packets the same without any traffic shaping. Since the Netflix thing happened, people are now changing the definition of Net Neutrality. I predicted this would happen once people figuring out peering. Peering is not shaping! The cost of peering is driven by market forces. That is the way it should be.

I pointed out a long time ago that peering could be a violation of what people perceive as neutrality. The fact is, peering is how the Internet works, no matter where it happens. Stop asking the government to get in the middle of peering! If you don't like it, build out your own ISP and compete. There are ways to do it, but it ain't easy.

One way to screw up peering is to have the government get involved with it. I can see it now, only politically connected companies get preferred peering. Yeah, no need to worry, the government will "fix" it all up for us.

Too funny and sooo true at the same time. There is more to it but still enjoyed it.

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Ugh, I can't believe this is still an issue. Network neutrality should of been written into law ten years ago. This "issue" is like a hydra!

Fix your stuff 'murica.

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I'll admit, I didn't expect this comprehensive overview of the Net neutrality issue when I clicked the link. However explained it better than almost anyone else, employing enough humour to keep you paying attention the entire way.

Absolutely excellent.

Just a thought, what if ISP companies start throttling the FCC website and all traffic to the FCC in order to prevent the public from filing complaints?

But the ISP's where not throttling Netflix. There was no Net Neutrality violation as it was originally defined.

Funny thing, if Netflix removed their "fast lane" they *were* buying from Cogent, they may have had better service to their customers on cable networks. The reason is that Netflix's data would have had to go over the cable's transit links just like every other company out there. This probably would have saturated the cable company's transit links. People would have complained about how bad their service is to *all* web sites. It would have also caused Netflix's transit costs to skyrocket.

See the situation here? It actually helps everyone for large ISP's to have directly peered connections to Netflix. Netflix had to pay. I, for one, would rather have the market figure this out than the government. The video decries lobbying and cronyism, when the proposed solution will only provoke *more*, not less, lobbying.

The Internet and the interstate system is in my opinion, almost the same, except who funded it. Private companies built the Internet, and the government built the interstate. It's fine for the government to treat traffic different on the interstate and not for Isp's to treat traffic different on their "highways" according to all this.

Semi trucks cause way more damage to roads than cars, so they get taxes at every state's port of entry, fine. That means giant companies like Walmart pay more for roads, because they have more trucks than Hardware Hank. Seems fair, I guess. But Netflix alone is soaking up upwards of 40% of available bandwidth, but get charged the same as your sisters blog about smoking meth by Isp's, zero dollars.

Seems weird to me. The company I work for has spent millions just in one city, pretty much just to make sure Netflix works, no other reason, well, maybe YouTube. Normal non video streaming Web surfing requires very little bandwidth, but Netflix, like ESPN does to cable TV, is single handedly raising everyone's Internet bill.

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Well if they didn't over charge for cable TV in the first place I wouldn't have to stream everything

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That is all you got out of my statement? Everything about getting tv and Internet to your house is expensive. It's amazing it's as cheap as it is.

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"Expensive" is relative. A company that spends 18 million on lobbying ain't pinching pennies. Granted, it isn't cheap. Your not starting a telecom business out of your basement. However, I live in an area where we actually have a local alternative named, Eatel. Only available in our parish/county. Their pricing is competitive with the big dog Cox communications. But there service is much better
Once the infrastructure is in place, it's straight profit minus some overhead. Other than maintenance and employees what other expense do they have?

Again, if they can't handle the bandwidth, don't monopolize the area
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Retransmission rights, plus constant upgrades. I work for Cox, since I've been a tech, we ha e gone from single channels docsis 1 modems that downloaded at 1.5mps and now in Omaha we just announced 1gps service to come out in a few months. The entire city will get the service, not just a few neighborhoods. Fiber use to just go to the 6 hubs in town, now fiber goes to each of several hundred nodes, and those nodes are serving fewer and fewer customers. Those upgrades are millions of dollars, and we have done quite a few over the years, as can actually be seen in the Netflix download speed chart in the video. Let's not talk about the upgrade to hundreds of HD channels and the $5 million dollar fine the city of Omaha levied against Cox for no particular reason. We are not the government, we don't build something and let it go down the crapper and then sound alarmist bells about the world ending because our infrastructure is crumbling, which will be the case if the common carrier distinction is placed on ISP's.

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Yes, but the trucks can all use the road at the same speed. Ups doesn't get to drive faster than fed ex.

What you're describing is already in place. Netflix, vudu, or whomever pay their isp for uplink. They are charged according to the bandwidth they need (truck weight in your analogy). They should then be able to use the road.

But what happens when ups tries to pass through roads operated by FedEx? They have to pay more to travel and they are subjected to heavier fines for violating a reduced speed limit that doesn't apply to the competition. Welcome to roads without net neutrality type principles.

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Oddly enough my internet has slowed down only when I try to watch this video...I think Comcast is slowing down anyone who attempts to watch it.

Brilliant video, he was excellent last summer when he stood in for Jon Stewart in the Daily Show, it didn't matter whether someone was on the left or the right, John Oliver went after both sides in brilliantly funny ways. Still miss all the Carlos Danger/Anthony Wiener stuff, Jon Stewart was really good friends with Wiener and never went after him, whereas John Oliver doesn't really have any friends in politics so everyone's fair game which is the way it should be

A completely one sided, like all net neutrality discussions are, view. The delivery company analogy fails hard, because that has actually played out, and non of that has happened (amazon, fed ex, ups, usps). Roads to and from Amazon warehouses are a better example, and in reality, that works more like all the gloom and doom guys say. The more traffic a company puts on the road, the more taxes they pay the government, who built the roads. Wanna get somewhere in a big city faster? Take the toll road, every state has a port of entry that levies another tax on semi trucks. That was set up by the government.

Everyone flips out about the Comcast and Netflix thing, Netflix essentially put a railroad from their office to comcast's office, going around all the highway traffic. What's wrong with that exactly? The last mile to your house works just the same as always, but getting HD video across the maze of servers that is the Internet is hard. Bypassing all that is much better for consumers, and Netflix, at least in part, agreed.

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So then explain the argument for not treating the ISP's as Common Carriers (which by every definition I've been able to find they completely are).

The Netflix issue is, at least in part, a distraction. The problem isn't that isps want more money to build a faster road, it's that they want to slow certain traffic so they don't have to build a faster road; and to charge more for it. A carpool Lane is a good example. Let's say you have a 5 Lane Highway. If you take the left lane and make it only accessible to 10 percent of the cars, then that Lane will speed up, but only at the expense of the 4 other lanes.

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I don't buy the whole "bandwidth demands are just so high now we have to do this". That's what happens when u have a monopoly. There is no competition so ALL the demand for bandwidth falls on one company. Sound like they created there own problem and now want to make more money by fixing it.

I've heard it before. Just like when I had to pay for minutes and text messages on my cell. It's all free now. What happened? Oh that's right, you were screwing me in the first place.

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Bandwidth is growing, the problem was pre 2009 the Internet was used for low quality porn. Now it's hd Netflix streaming. It took everyone by surprise, and it took some time to make things right. But really one company, Netflix can be to blame for the shortfall in the first place, and everyone wants to blow up a perfectly fine system for one company, that's just insane. The peering network was/is going to work just fine, let's let it play out before the fake work ends.

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The internet wasn't ready for IPTV or pseudo implementations of it (Netflix). Hell, Netflix wasn't ready for Netflix streaming, which is why they're now getting squeezed by studios from all sides (cause they saw the writing on the wall with Apple and online music distribution)... The whole issue boils down to too much TV watching. :P Whether you think the industry would auto correct or the government can help is another story, frankly I don't have much faith in either.

Honestly the best 13 minutes you could take away from my day. I didn't really understand or care about net neutrality before this. This is a great way to be informed on the issue as well as being fairly entertained

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