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NeoNotes — net neutrality

Okay, multiple issues.

First, the new rules were approved in 2015, but have not yet taken effect. So technically removing the net neutrality rules doesn't change anything that you have right now.

Second, going back through cable TV and then back to the telephone companies, state and local jurisdictions allowed and encouraged monopolies. If effect, there was only one telephone company that provided the wiring and network in a given area, there was only one cable company that provided the cable TV connections. These existing wires provided the "last mile" connections for the always-on internet. Things got better in high-demand metro areas, but less desirable neighborhoods and rural locations usually got marginal service.

Third, back in the 90s (I think) the FedGov passed a set of laws that said if an existing network has X percentage of "unused capacity," it had to make most of that capacity available at below cost to competitors. That's where we got phone companies that didn't actually own their networks. It also slowed down new network construction. Businesses couldn't offer an exclusive connection, extra capacity could easily cost more than it returned.

Fourth, due to existing (and often contradictory) regulations, it's very hard to start a new telecom network. Many companies just bought existing networks, upgraded the profitable parts and let the rest slide.

Fifth, the best known way to get better, faster, and cheaper product is competition. In this case, it would probably remove most of the restrictions on things like minority religions, political opinions, sex, gender, etc. But as it exists right now, local, state, and Federal governments allow and protect area specific telecommunications monopolies. This is the core problem. Without competition, there's no incentive to make things better. You take what's available or you do without.

Remember, the "silos" are already happening. Facebook's content isn't available to the open web. Google's search results are tweaked to exclude topics and sites considered controversial. Twitter has announced that they will be monitoring the other online activity of their verified members. Net neutrality won't change any of that.

Just thought I'd point out a couple more things.

The FCC announced cellular technology in 1945. In 1947, Bell Labs proposed the hexagonal cells for phones in vehicles. It wouldn't move beyond the proposal stage until the 1960s. It wasn't until 1970 that someone worked out the "handoff" so a cell phone could move from one cell to another. But all of this was theoretical. A 1980 McKinsey study commissioned by AT&T said that there would only be 900,000 cellular subscribers in 2000. This study was off by only 108 million. Apple (love them or hate them) broke all the accepted cell phone rules in 2007 with the iPhone and pretty much redefined what a smartphone was and what it could do.

What does all this have to do with the internet and net neutrality? All of this happened despite Federal regulation and massive pressure by industry leaders to restrict cell phones to something that could be easily controlled. No one except maybe some Star Trek fans expected anything like a massive planetary cell network where most humans were only a phone number away.

It got done by breaking the rules a little bit at a time.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.
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