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Bill to give FTC power to veto broadband capsFollow

#1 Jun 18 2009 at 10:33 AM Rating: Good
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http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/06/congressman-has-a-bill-ready-to-combat-usage-caps.ars

Seems like a good idea to me, but I'm not very imaginative in thinking of any repercussions this could have.
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#2 Jun 18 2009 at 12:02 PM Rating: Decent
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Bad idea. If you don't like the service your provider gives you don't have to use them. This is like forcing a restaurant to make all dishes all you can eat.
#3 Jun 18 2009 at 12:03 PM Rating: Good
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Except when it's the only restaurant in town.
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#4 Jun 18 2009 at 12:07 PM Rating: Decent
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Dwizardx wrote:
Except when it's the only restaurant in town.


That doesn't give the government the right to tell it how to price its product.
#5 Jun 18 2009 at 12:07 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yodabunny wrote:
Bad idea. If you don't like the service your provider gives you don't have to use them. This is like forcing a restaurant to make all dishes all you can eat.


So who should I go to for my broadband? We have exactly one cable company in town. DSL is NOT a replacement.
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#6 Jun 18 2009 at 12:08 PM Rating: Good
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In fact, Time Warner is suing a community in SC I think it is for starting their own municipal cable provider, says they can't compete with their pricing. So even that isn't an option, unless you want to deal with litigation.
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#7Yodabunny, Posted: Jun 18 2009 at 12:11 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Not important. The people who run the company decide what they want to charge for their services, just like I decide what I'm willing to work for. You don't have to use their service you choose to. Internet is not an essential service, you will not die if you don't have it. It does not need to be regulated.
#8 Jun 18 2009 at 12:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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Wint wrote:
In fact, Time Warner is suing a community in SC I think it is for starting their own municipal cable provider, says they can't compete with their pricing. So even that isn't an option, unless you want to deal with litigation.


That's what your government should be regulating, ridiculous lawsuits.
#9 Jun 18 2009 at 12:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yodabunny wrote:
Wint wrote:
So who should I go to for my broadband? We have exactly one cable company in town. DSL is NOT a replacement.


Not important. The people who run the company decide what they want to charge for their services, just like I decide what I'm willing to work for. You don't have to use their service you choose to. Internet is not an essential service, you will not die if you don't have it. It does not need to be regulated.


Actually, the argument is that it IS an essential service.
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#10 Jun 18 2009 at 12:16 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Not important. The people who run the company decide what they want to charge for their services, just like I decide what I'm willing to work for. You don't have to use their service you choose to. Internet is not an essential service, you will not die if you don't have it. It does not need to be regulated.


So television doesn't need to be regulated either?

Besides that, many people DO need it to do their jobs.

Edited, Jun 18th 2009 4:16pm by Dwizardx
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#11 Jun 18 2009 at 12:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Dwizardx wrote:
So television doesn't need to be regulated either?


No, it shouldn't be. Very few things should be regulated.
#12 Jun 18 2009 at 12:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yodabunny wrote:
Dwizardx wrote:
So television doesn't need to be regulated either?


No, it shouldn't be. Very few things should be regulated.


Not saying I don't agree, I'm undecided. I don't want too much government, but in this case I would definitely benefit from the regulation by not having caps imposed. However, I'm not sure what effects this would have elsewhere. I seriously doubt Time Warner is hurting from the exorbitant amount they charge me monthly.
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#13 Jun 18 2009 at 12:29 PM Rating: Default
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Wint wrote:
Not saying I don't agree, I'm undecided. I don't want too much government, but in this case I would definitely benefit from the regulation by not having caps imposed. However, I'm not sure what effects this would have elsewhere. I seriously doubt Time Warner is hurting from the exorbitant amount they charge me monthly.


There's no question that the average Joe would save some money, but it's morally wrong to take away an entities choice. I'm pro-choice, you have the right to choose to use their service or not, they have the right to choose how to price it. If you have a choice they should have a choice.

Electricity should be regulated, you must have electricity to survive these days (a lot of people would freeze/starve to death otherwise). You have to have it to survive so you have no choice, it needs to be regulated because you have no choice in whether you pay for it or not.
#14 Jun 18 2009 at 12:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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If broadband (especially cable) was opened to honest competition where the market allowed switching providers once one decided to do something retarded, I might feel worse for them. Given that they have instead tried their damnedest to maintain monopolies, or at best corporate oligarchies, I can't cry too many tears if the government steps in.
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#15 Jun 18 2009 at 1:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Internet is not an essential service, you will not die if you don't have it.


You won't die without electricity, but it sure as **** is an essential service.

And please, before you say that not having electricity puts you in mortal peril, please, think for a moment.

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My bad, you already demonstrated a total lack of thought in that regard.

Edited, Jun 18th 2009 5:04pm by Pensive
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#16 Jun 18 2009 at 1:03 PM Rating: Good
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What Joph said.
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#17 Jun 18 2009 at 1:10 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Electricity should be regulated, you must have electricity to survive these days (a lot of people would freeze/starve to death otherwise). You have to have it to survive so you have no choice, it needs to be regulated because you have no choice in whether you pay for it or not.


You are totally free and able to generate heat in a fireplace and open the @#%^ing window. This isn't something out of the 18th century; my grandparents did it. My parents didn't even grow up with modern centralized air and heating; that's why shotgun houses still exist in the middle of the **** city.

Food preservation? You're totally free to invest in an icebox. Again, grandparents did it. My grandmother even still has one in a house that she rents out. You don't have to eat perishables; my late aunt's house still has two walk in pantries completely stuffed to the brim with canned goods and dry food.

Light? Go to bed when it's dark or get some candles. That's not even a hard one.

I can't think of anything else powered by electricity that is not an obvious and total luxury.

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We need more regulation of the market, especially when the internet is no more a luxury than the freaking electrical company. **** I can't even turn in papers sometimes without email. It would be impossible to go to university without it.

As long as they don't regulate content, and stick purely to regulating price, I think it's wonderful.

Edited, Jun 18th 2009 5:14pm by Pensive
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#18 Jun 18 2009 at 1:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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TirithRR wrote:
What Joph said.


Agreed. Telecommunication companies have feigned 'competition' between each other for decades now. Most parts of the country only have one company that offers broadband to people. Where there's more than one company to choose from, they all offer the same service at the same prices.

When I lived in Shreveport, LA, there were two companies to choose from. Their standard broadband plans were 4 or 5mbs; one company's plan was $39.99, the other company offered it for $34.99. The only difference was the cheaper company had a $5/month 'damage protection fee'. I have no clue what a damage protection fee is, but as far as I can tell the only purpose it served was to bring the total cost to be in line with the other company while giving the appearance of being five bucks a month cheaper.
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#19 Jun 18 2009 at 1:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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Tzemesce wrote:
Most parts of the country only have one company that offers broadband to people. Where there's more than one company to choose from, they all offer the same service at the same prices.
It's classic behavior in a limited market.

You have Company A and Company B both selling essentially the same product. Let's say both sell it for $30. If Company B lowers their price to $25, the result will simply be that Company A lowers their price to $25 and both companies are out $5 a unit. Both companies are losers. As a result, what happens is neither company actually acts competitively against the other when it comes to prices. They instead "compete" via advertising to try to gain customers without adjusting their price.
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#20 Jun 18 2009 at 3:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yodabunny wrote:
Bad idea. If you don't like the service your provider gives you don't have to use them. This is like forcing a restaurant to make all dishes all you can eat.
Unfortunately you can only choose between McDonald's and Wendy's. Dial-up is the little taco truck.
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#21 Jun 18 2009 at 3:13 PM Rating: Decent
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Pensive wrote:
You are totally free and able to generate heat in a fireplace


Maybe we should regulate the firewood industry too then.
#22 Jun 18 2009 at 3:38 PM Rating: Decent
Yodabunny wrote:
Pensive wrote:
You are totally free and able to generate heat in a fireplace


Maybe we should regulate the firewood industry too then.


There's a distinct inarguable difference between a man made service and living off the land.
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You guys keep tossing facts out there like they mean something.


#23 Jun 18 2009 at 4:08 PM Rating: Default
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While there's certainly limited competition to consider, I think putting a government agency "in charge" is the wrong approach. I'm not to thrilled with bandwidth caps, but I don't see how they violate any sort of "emergency service" requirement. Certainly not to the extent to which we need the government to step in. How many people rush to their computer to report a break-in, or a fire, or that they're having a heart attack? An internet connection is still a luxury, and I think we should leave the market up to coming up with the prices and rules.

Having only two major competitors does limit competition in terms of getting a "great" price, but it's sufficient to prevent "unfair" prices IMO. What I'm getting at is that while having more competitors will benefit consumers by lowering prices, you're not going to see ridiculous prices and service as long as you have two competitors.

Most areas do have at least two competitors in the market. And if a company attempts to take ridiculous advantage of being the only one, it will drive someone else to compete with them. At a minimum, every home is wired for telephone and usually cable. Certainly in any area where we'd even be worried about bandwidth restrictions, there's going to be both available. If the cable company offers broadband, but the phone company doesn't, it's a good bet that if the cable company is bad enough, the phone company will step up to take the unhappy customers away from them. Barring some wacky local regulations preventing this (or even just inhibiting it), there's no reason why both can't compete and customers can use this to prevent problems.


If such regulation is in place, the proper approach is for the folks in that locality to change their laws to remove whatever is preventing competition, not "solve" that problem with another layer of government control.


I just don't see that the need is sufficient to justify this sort of action.
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#24 Jun 18 2009 at 4:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Most areas do have at least two competitors in the market. And if a company attempts to take ridiculous advantage of being the only one, it will drive someone else to compete with them. At a minimum, every home is wired for telephone and usually cable. Certainly in any area where we'd even be worried about bandwidth restrictions, there's going to be both available. If the cable company offers broadband, but the phone company doesn't, it's a good bet that if the cable company is bad enough, the phone company will step up to take the unhappy customers away from them. Barring some wacky local regulations preventing this (or even just inhibiting it), there's no reason why both can't compete and customers can use this to prevent problems.


I disagree, the phone company can't provide anything anywhere near comparable to my internet connection via cable. It's apples and oranges here.


gbaji wrote:
If such regulation is in place, the proper approach is for the folks in that locality to change their laws to remove whatever is preventing competition, not "solve" that problem with another layer of government control.


Again, I would like to cite that community in NC that is being sued for setting up their own alternative.
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#25 Jun 18 2009 at 4:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
If such regulation is in place, the proper approach is for the folks in that locality to change their laws to remove whatever is preventing competition, not "solve" that problem with another layer of government control.
What's prohibiting competition is infrastructure and start-up costs. The cable companies have hundreds of thousands of miles of cable running through easements or strung from lines with the government's blessing since the 1970's. The only way a new competing cable service could break into the market is to either be allowed use of that infrastructure or to tear up easements and bore under roads, sidewalks, driveways, etc throughout their entire operating area.

For prices to be realistically controlled, either the government should treat the service as a utility (which is fair in my opinion as they use the same real estate the other utilities do in order to operate) or to allow open usage of their infrastructure without any leasing fees that would prevent the other company from financially competing. It's not as simple as just changing some laws.

As an amusing side note on this issue, back when Flea moved in I didn't have either cable nor satellite. Flea wanted to get satellite TV and cable internet. The satellite guy came first and, a few days later, the cable guy came. When the cable left, we noticed the satellite no longer worked. So we called the satellite guy again, he came back out and found out that the cable guy had disconnected all of the satellite coaxial and tosses it aside in hooking up the cable. We called the cable company to tell them to come out and install it the right way and they insisted that all the coaxial on the property was their property. We told them to either come out and install it without disconnecting the satellite or to cancel the service and that finally got them out, ******** the whole time about how someone else was using their hookups.
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#26 Jun 19 2009 at 2:27 AM Rating: Good
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I don't know if this is the solution or not, but honestly, something needs to be done. In the area I live, we have Verizon DSL or Comcast cable to choose from. Where my house is, I can't get the DSL, I apparently live too far out in the middle of nowhere. That means if I want a fast internet connection, I have to get Comcast, there is no choice in the matter. Now, my Comcast connection is very good, there is really no downtime and I get fantastic speeds, but I have to pay whatever Comcast decides they want me to pay, and I have to put up with the newly introduced bandwidth cap, or go back to dial-up. Which honestly, isn't an option for my needs.
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