Free Minds & Free Markets

Everyone Should Be Getting Wikipedia for Free

Confusion over net neutrality rules has internet providers too scared to offer freebies, even though it’s legal.

Wikimedia FoundationWikimedia FoundationInternet providers should be able to experiment with giving subscribers free stuff, such as access to Wikipedia and other public information and services on their smartphones. Unfortunately, confusion about whether today's net neutrality regulations allow U.S. providers to make content available without it counting against your data plan—a practice called "zero-rating"—has discouraged many companies from doing so, even though zero-rating experiments are presumptively legal under today's net neutrality regulations.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already taken steps to clear away the discouragement of such experiments. After Ajit Pai took over as FCC chairman in January, he moved to end the investigations, begun under his predecessor, into companies that have tried to go down that path. And of course Chairman Pai also opened a rulemaking proceeding in April aimed at rolling back those rules, which invited and allowed the FCC's Wireline Bureau to start those investigations. But these steps alone haven't sent the kind of staunch, affirmative encouragement that's really needed.

The lack of clarity about zero-rating could change overnight, however, and it wouldn't require any new laws, any new regulations, any new quasi-formal inquiries from the commissioners—or even Pai's proposed rollback of the 2015 regulatory order. All it would take would be for Pai to call openly (in speeches or interviews, say, or other public appearances) and frequently for internet providers to experiment with adding zero-rated public information to their offerings.

Zero-rating experiments can be a win-win-win: Customers get access to more useful content for the same price; companies have more options for attracting users and expanding their business; and society at large benefits when greater numbers of people are exposed to valuable resources such as Wikipedia, public-health information, and other non-commercial apps and websites.

But the big fear among some net neutrality activists is that commercial zero-rating will favor well-heeled incumbents over lean new innovators. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) put it in 2016, "The most dangerous of these plans, such as the AT&T and Verizon offerings, only offer their users zero-rated data from content providers who pay the carriers money to do so. Such 'pay for play' arrangements favor big content providers who can afford to pay for access to users' eyeballs, and marginalize those who can't, such as nonprofits, startups, and fellow users." Even non-commercial zero-rated offerings may a problem, EFF argued. These include the risk of "distorting" content consumption in favor of already-popular non-subscription services (think Google's search engine or Facebook) or the "walled garden effect"—i.e., that some price-sensitive customers may choose never to venture outside of the zero-rated services sponsored by the internet provider.

But what evidence we do have suggests that zero rating enables net new traffic, because people visit destinations that they would not otherwise. Roslyn Layton of Aalborg University has shown that at least 10 million people in developing countries use free data to access pregnancy and AIDS information.

The fact is, information sources like Wikipedia regularly drive traffic to the larger internet. A zero-rated, stripped-down, low-bandwidth version of the free online encyclopedia, called Wikipedia Zero, is already offered in dozens of developing countries around the world, which actually makes it easier to find relevant information and services on the non-zero-rated web. For instance, the Wikipedia entry for "Wikipedia Zero" includes links pointing users to both nonprofit sites and for-profit, advertising-supported sites—including many sources that are themselves critical of the Wikipedia Zero platform for being "inconsistent" with certain conceptions of network neutrality.

As I've written here before, I favor both net neutrality as a general principle, understood as an evolution of the common-carriage rules that have long governed telephone service and traditional mail as well as an evolution of the internet's history as an open platform that anybody can provide new content or services for. But I've also written in favor of a zero-rating as a tool (though hardly the only one) that I believe could help bring the rest of the world online in my lifetime.

I can hold both positions because I reject the prevalent view that "net neutrality" means internet providers have to treat different types of web content absolutely identically—especially if it stops someone from giving free but limited web access to those who wouldn't otherwise have internet access at all—and who could learn about the larger internet through the external links embedded in free, open resources like Wikipedia.

The digital divide isn't just a global problem. It's also an issue much closer to home: Pew Research Center data indicate that Americans who rely on their mobile devices for their sole or primary source of internet access are disproportionately from the lowest income groups. Pew identifies a broad group of Americans (about 15 percent) as "smartphone dependent," and concluded in a comprehensive 2015 paper that "even as a substantial minority of Americans indicate that their phone plays a central role in their ability to access digital services and online content, for many users this access is often intermittent due to a combination of financial stresses and technical constraints."

Editing or otherwise contributing to Wikipedia may crowd your data cap, because if you write or edit an entry, you typically have to reload (and maybe keep reloading) it to see how the changes look. This can require two or more orders of magnitude more bandwidth than just consulting Wikipedia does. But Wikipedia as an informational resource depends on ongoing contributions from everyone—not just users who can afford to pay for "unlimited" data.

The best-case scenario is a world in which every American is motivated to take advantage of the internet, in which we all have access to the whole internet, and in which internet providers can afford to offer that level of service to everyone. The best way to get to that point in a hurry, though, is to get more people online and sampling what the web has to offer. Encouraging non-commercial services like Wikipedia Zero and Facebook's Free Basics can help make that happen.

Pai and, ideally, other commissioners should come out strongly and expressly—via speeches and other non-regulatory forums, including responses to press inquiries—in favor of internet providers offering zero-rated services, especially those that aren't pay-for-play. Repeatedly sending the right message can do as much as deregulation to encourage innovation of this sort.

I'd also want the commissioners to urge U.S. internet providers to share their data about whether zero-rated services improve internet adoption, both among smartphone-only users and in general. With more information, the FCC can make more informed decisions going forward about what kinds of open-internet regulations to adopt—or to remove.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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  • Longtobefree||

    The only problem is if we let the government decide what is 'good' and should be free, and what is 'ungood', they may not choose Wikipedia free. They may determine NPR and the DNC are the ones to be spread far and wide.
    What then?

  • Shirley Knott||

    Pitchforks and torches.
    Then guillotines.

  • croaker||

    Too quick.


  • SomeGuy||

    To hep out the idiots here are two good articles to help you understand the real cost of data and these are pessimistic in in being generous on the ISP side of costs. It is unlikely that it is even $1 per GB for cell phone data. I would wager it is more like 10-50 cents per GB.

    Land lines are sub 1 cent at most these days.

  • SomeGuy||

    its probably 10-50 cents per GB for 4G data. It also depends on what band you are using. Data on Sprints band 41 is very cheap because there is large amounts of cheap spectrum but data on 700mhz is substantially more expensive.

    So maybe data on 700mhz is $.50-1 but band 41 is like 10 cents.

  • Just the Tip||

    Net neutrality seems like something a National Socialist Party leader from the mid 20th century would have supported...

  • cthulhu||

    Damn, that's perilously close to Godwin-ing a comment thread for an article by...Mike Godwin, the originator of Godwin's Law.

    (BTW, I generally reject "net neutrality" as usually defined, but am in favor of some things that sometimes travel under the same label.)

  • Robbzilla||

    That's pretty awesome!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The purpose of an Open Internet is to let the market/me decide which sites to visit - not the ISP or government. How "libertarians" now favor the latter proves "libertarians" can be brainwashed too.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Please elaborate, liar.

    Have you paid up yet? -- No , of course not.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is simple. You favor the closed Cable TV model for the internet - where your cable provider chooses your programming array and provides "options" for you to choose from.

    I favor an open neutral internet where I choose my programming.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I wut?

    You are more delusional than normal today. Good luck with your meds.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That is the essence of what this debate is about.

    I favor an open and neutral internet - you do not.

  • esteve7||

    you seem like the type of guy who would support the fairness doctrine because you don't understand how markets work.

    I'm confused --- there wasn't an open and neutral internet before 2016?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Of course not! It was full of bog posts asking if he'd paid up yet. How can that be neutral or fair and balanced,especially without a government forcing him to answer? By definition, because he hasn't answered, it is not fair and balanced, and thus was not neutral.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Actually, net neutrality whiners are even more delusional than normal, since the previous net neutrality regs never went into force -- all that happened is preventing them from coming into force later.

    NOTHING HAS CHANGED, yet the world is turned upside down.

  • Sevo||

    "NOTHING HAS CHANGED, yet the world is turned upside down."

    Sorta like the screamers:
    'Trump is a big meanie. He's gonna make the air black!'

  • Sevo||

    "I favor an open and neutral internet - you do not."

    Turd, here, favors a government-regulated internet and is either too stupid to understand or an outright liar.
    Yes, both.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Access is what we pay for, and the primary reason we don't have choice is because government grants monopolies. Then deluded fools like you come along and claim only government can solve the problem, by substituting its rules for teh rules iththrew out when it granted the monopoly.

    That's fuckin statist logic for ya.

  • Greg F||

    A single monthly cost for unlimited bandwidth has been obsolete for years...

    There has never been unlimited bandwidth and never will be.

  • Greg F||

    Check any provider website.

    You don't know the difference between bandwidth and data.

  • Greg F||

    (lol) See my own providers rates just below.

    See how they COMBINE data and speed?
    Anything else?

    What you apparently don't understand is the difference between data rate and quantity. So let me put it in a way you might understand.

    7.0 Mbps is a rate. It is 7 million bits per second.

    300GB is 300 billion bytes. It is a quantity.

    An analogy would be miles per hour and miles.

  • Greg F||

    Why is bits/second not the same as bits/month -- just more seconds!!!

    You still don't get dumb ass. 300 GB is bytes, not bits and has nothing to do with the transmission rate. 300 GB is 2.4 Tb (terra bits). At 7 Mb/s it would take roughly 4 days to transfer 300 GB.

  • Greg F||


    Check my Centurylink here. Click "How much data does my Internet plan allow me to use?"
    Depends on the plan. Here are the answers for ya
    7.0 Mbps and lower = 300GB
    7.0 Mbps - I Gig = 600 GB
    1 gig = unlimited

    7.0 Mbps is your bandwidth, it isn't unlimited. It's 7.0 Mbps. There has never been unlimited bandwidth and never will be.

  • Greg F||

    My link proves you're full of shit, Mr, Trump. Repeating for psychos

    Your link proves you have no idea what you are talking about.

    At 7 Mbps you run out of data in 4 days.

    1 gig = unlimited
    which is really = (1Gb x 60 (sec) x 60 (min) x 24 (hours) x number days in a month)/8.

  • SomeGuy||

    christ hihn your stupid.

    My internet bandwidth is:

    180Mbps down and 25 Mbps up.

    I have a choice of either 1TB of data or unlimited data (whatever i can do with my limited bandwidth).

    Which is like ~50TB download if i downloaded 24/7 in a month.

    I have unlimited data and bandwidth assuming my ISP over provisions the network correctly.

    The more each person uses the bigger and faster the network needs to be which drives up cost and increases rates.

    If every house used 100Mbps 24/7 our rates would be about 300 dollars per month per person to allow enough BW in the network to handle that demand.

  • SomeGuy||

    yep as intellectually dishonest as always. I clearly explained it but you can't ever bother be honest.

    Your as bad as palin buttplug

  • SomeGuy|| can't read or are beyond intellectually dishonest...can you shill more?

    I was explaining how internet works for you and how it costs but your too fucking stupid to understand.

    Please keep posting this is hilarious.

  • SomeGuy||

    keeping selectively quoting lol.

    I said;

    I have unlimited data and bandwidth assuming my ISP over provisions the network correctly.

    I can use 180Mbps 24/7 if my ISP over provisions properly. I dont have unlimited BW. I have 180Mbps. Christ your dishonest.

  • SomeGuy||

    you really have no idea what your talking about.

    It is not economically practical, environmentally reasonable, or technically feasible to provide dedicated access for every service to every customer. A well-engineered oversubscribed service appears to function as a dedicated service to a subscriber.

    the action of providing or supplying something for use.
    "new contracts for the provision of services"
    synonyms: supplying, supply, providing, giving, presentation, donation; More
    an amount or thing supplied or provided.
    "low levels of social provision"
    synonyms: facilities, services, amenities, resource(s), arrangements; More

    A good ISP over provisions nodes or peer sites so that there is never any bottleneck so every line appears to be a dedicated connection.

    christ your an idiot.

  • Sevo||

    Michael Hihn|6.4.17 @ 12:09PM|#
    "(laughing) Sevo wants GUBMINT to force most users to subsidize the ultra-high bandwidth usage of a minority of users who stream content from sites like Netflix. In the retarded world of anti-gubmint goobers, bandwidth is FREE -- which is why nobody pays for Internet access. (lol)"

    (Howling with laughter!)
    Fuck off, you imbecile.

  • Robbzilla||

    An open, neutral internet can't be government controlled. If it is, it is neither open nor neutral, by definition.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What internet service are you using that doesn't allow you to choose what internet sites you go to?

  • Greg F||

    Try streaming Netflix videos on a 2GB monthly plan.

    That is enough for about an hour of HD at 5Mb/sec from Netflix.

  • Greg F||

    That makes four totally useless screwups on this page. That I know of.

    Do the math. 5 MB x 60 seconds x 60 minutes = 18,000 MB per hour = 18 GB in that hour -- versus 2GB for an entire month!

    Keep digging.

    MB is megabytes. Mb is megabits. There are 8 bits in a byte and a megabyte is actually 1,048,576 bytes (2^20).

    Data is always specified in bytes. Transmission rates are always specified in bits.

  • Greg F||

    Do the math. 5 MB x 60 seconds x 60 minutes = 18,000 MB per hour = 18 GB in that hour

    I will do the math correctly for you

    Please note lower case b denotes bits:

    (5Mb x 60 x 60) = 18,000 Mb/hour

    Please note upper case B denotes bytes:
    Convert bits to bytes divide by 8

    18,000 Mb/8 = 2,250 MB.

    2GB is really 2^31 = 2,147,483,648 Bytes

    That is enough for about an hour of HD at 5Mb/sec from Netflix.

  • Dizzle||

    Seriously stop.

    Your fucking embarrassing yourself. Greg f has been right every single time.

  • Greg F||

    Are you counting when he said "There has never been unlimited bandwidth, and there never will be."
    Until he said HE HAS IT ... after I linked to proof that he was full of shit?

    Okay ass hole show me where I said I had unlimited bandwidth? And that link you provided doesn't have unlimited bandwidth either. Unlimited bandwidth is a physical impossibility.

  • SomeGuy||

    The sad thing hihn is my mom could even understand this and she couldnt even use email until a year or two ago. She can only use an ipad but she could still understand this.

  • Greg F||

    Here's the link again AND THE DETAILS (fourth time)
    Note that it's in the section that DEFINES the legal maximums at three different levels.
    It's only unlimited at 1 GB speeds, which ... ummm .... cost a lot more per month than

    What a dumb ass. It isn't 1GB (giga byte), it's 1 Gb (giga bit). Dumb ass can't even grasp the difference between bits and bytes. The bandwidth is 1 Gb/sec which obviously isn't unlimited.

  • Robbzilla||

    Try buying a better plan, you cheapskate.

    Or, move somewhere that doesn't suck, just in case you want to come back with "But I caaaaan't! The providers won't leeeeeet me!"

  • Brian||

    Because what kind of libertarian would leave market suppliers free to make decisions about what they supply?

  • Brendan||

    That, and package neutrality.

    All packages should be treated the same - two thousand .5lb packages should cost the same as a single 1000lb package or ten 100lb packages.

    There shouldn't be any sort of fast lanes or companies having to pay a "toll" to get their package to someone faster.

  • Brendan||

    It was sarcasm.

    It's sad that things have gotten so crazy my response could actually be looked at something a person would say with a straight face.

    I've argued heavily against NN here and elsewhere for a variety of reason, including defending cable companies that blocked or throttle bittorrent-it's a lot like trying to ship 1,000,000 .01lb packages through a normal post office and wondering they they're pissed.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Peter Caca,

    The purpose of an Open Internet is to let the market/me decide which sites to visit

    No, the purpose of a so-called "Open Internet" is to turn what is a privately-owned and managed service into a commons with the resulting price and use discrepancies prevalent in all commons.

    If the idea of paying for access like one pays for seats in a baseball game doesn't please you, you can always try going back to reaading books from the public library, if you can find those titles you fancy.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I thought calling them "radical Islamists" was supposed to end these terror attacks. That is what every wingnut/GOP type said would happen if Obama would just courageous enough to use those words.

    How could you Trumptards be so wrong (again)?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You should remember from my many posts here that I hate all religion and despise Islam the most by far (as it is the most vile form of conservatism).

    So Trump fucked up the one thing he promised to do that I wanted for him to do.

  • Sevo||

    "You should remember from my many posts here that I hate all religion and despise Islam the most by far (as it is the most vile form of conservatism)."

    Turd, here, worships the government and finds it is a jealous god.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    "deal with"

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    Re: Peter Caca,

    I thought calling them "radical Islamists" was supposed to end these terror attacks.

    By the same token, calling them simply "violent extremists" was supposed to appease radical Islamisms by making an implicit statement that there's no war against Islam. Seems like nothing is working one way or the other, is it?

    But at least by calling them "radical Islamists", the point is made that these radicals are not ex-college students who have gone underground but are, in fact, motivated by different ideas. Correct?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Net Neutrality is such a poorly defined concept that even its proponents don't really know what it is, other than "not letting corporationz ruin the internet" or "having the government save the internet", both of which are ludicrous. When they get down to the nitty gritty of complaining that "pay to play" is immoral and biased, they forget that it frees up the remaining paid bandwidth for other uses. The bandwidth used for free no longer counts against the paid bandwith; isn't that good? A naive questioner might think the answer obvious, but the typical statist refuses to admit any benefit from private shenanigans, and refuses to admit that government can do any evil.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Yeah, in my experience the argument for "net neutrality" always comes down to motive - preventing corporations from adopting hypothetical unfair practices - and not details about what the actual regulations will be, how they will be enforced, what the trade-offs might be. It's a prime example of vague feel-good do-somethingism.

  • Robbzilla||

    Well.... that's the line they sell anyway.

    The real argument is that government needs to control everything everywhere all the time.

  • SomeGuy||

    It has been stated on here several times basic anti monopoly practices/net neutrality would prevent that have happened in the past.

    Comcast vs netflix
    comcast vs P2P
    Sprint vs VPN
    Verizon/AT@T/Tmobile throttling
    Comcast Throttling

    those are the only ones i know off my head but there are many more exist and many people dont know about because it isn't like a company is going to actively talk about its shady practices.

  • Bubba Jones||

    the dispute between Netflix and Comcast is not a Net neutrality issue because it does not have to do with how Comcast is treating Netflix's traffic once it's on the Comcast broadband network. Instead, it stems from a business dispute the two companies have over how Netflix is connecting to Comcast's network.

  • SomeGuy||

    The issue is with ISPs charging extra fees for companies they dont like or they can get away with extorting extra money.

    Comcast knew they had the ability to extort extra money from netflix. It has nothing to do with the amount of data netflix causes. If anything pornhub, Steam, GOG cause more peak bandwidth issues.

    They saw a chance to get greedy so they used their ridiculous market/monopoly control to charge a single company extra.

  • SomeGuy||

    I explained it you just refuse to read and be intellectually honest.

    Downloads max out an internet connection.

    streaming does not. pornhub allows you to stream and download (movie files) porn at once. Assuming porenhub has good enough servers i can download 180Mbps aka 22.5MBps

    Netflix streams at ~5Mbps aka 600KBps

    Downloading a game from steam or GOG results in 22.5MBps which is 36 times great demand and is inconsistent and cant be easily planned. Netflix streaming is consistent and regular and can be properly planned as i stated before dumbass.

  • Robbzilla||

    Ugh... Intellectually honest? You really shouldn't type those words after the post you just left. It shows that you're either fundamentally dishonest, or dumber than a sack of stupid.

    Guess how many people download those games from GOG, vs the number of people who use Netlflix?

    Netflix had over 50 million US subscribers in the first quarter of 2017. They consume around 35% of all bandwidth used in the US. Number two is Youtube at around 15%. Between the two of them, 50% of the bandwidth in the USA is consumed.

    GoG doesn't even make the list. Neither does Steam, a company that has a MUCH larger footprint than GoG.

    So quit lying. It really makes you look pathetic.

  • SomeGuy||

    only 10-500 people are on a node. So using 36x amount of BW as a netflix user is much harder to plan for.

    This specifically relates to a node bottleneck vs peering site but again using 36 or more times amount of BW at once is more likely to cause congestion and can't easily be planned for.

    So yes i am right and i know what i am talking about.

    Also ISPs have always claimed its only 2% of users that cause network congestion.

    That comes from ISPs but we know thats a bald face lie as i have explained.

  • SomeGuy||

    It isn't about overall data it is about causing peak congestion and netflix is not something that will cause peak congestion like downloading will.

    Peak congestion is what is most expensive and netflix is a regular type of data stream that is easy to plan for.

  • SomeGuy||

    I explained it you just refuse to read and be intellectually honest.

    Downloads max out an internet connection.

    streaming does not. pornhub allows you to stream and download (movie files) porn at once. Assuming porenhub has good enough servers i can download 180Mbps aka 22.5MBps

    Netflix streams at ~5Mbps aka 600KBps

    Downloading a game from steam or GOG results in 22.5MBps which is 36 times great demand and is inconsistent and cant be easily planned. Netflix streaming is consistent and regular and can be properly planned as i stated before dumbass.

  • SomeGuy||

    Netflix causes a very consistent and easily planned for stream of data.

    Places that have 10-100GB of 100% maxed out speed cause inconsistent usage and high peak usage that actually clogs networks.

    If i stream netflix i am using 5Mbps and thats easy to plan for.

    If i download 100GB of games that is 180Mbps that is inconsistent and can not easily be planned for.

    That is 36 times more data at a given time and is the type of data that causes congestion.

    The issue here was monopoly business practices.

  • SomeGuy||

    as usual your to fucking full of yourself to understand basic math.

  • Brendan||

    Steam and others are not irresponsible idiots buying transit from shitty tier1 providers that abuse peer links.

    They use CDNs and caching servers inside the networks of large residential/business providers.

  • SomeGuy||

    level3 is

  • Robbzilla||

    Multiply that by 50 million users, dumb ass.

  • Brendan||

    Comcast vs Netflix was a peering congestion problem that Netflix transit provider (Cogent) wasn't properly addressing. There's a reason why Cogent had a problem with AT&T, Verizon, Level 3, and Sprint as well. They were imbalancing settlement free peer links and saw their link throttled into compliance OR shut down.

    Comcast vs P2P was about the performance degrading aspects of Bittorrent. Like it or not, torrent wreak havoc on networks, and can cause noticeable performance problems on CMTS (Cable modem termination system) nodes.

    Both of these would fall under network management and were explicitly allowed by net neutrality.

    What throttling did AT&T, Verizon, and Tmobile engage in?

  • SomeGuy||

    The point is if I pay for a network connection I should receive what I pay for and not have my data fiddled with.

    Allowing ISPs to play favorites or block certain types of activity on a network connection is a bad thing no matter how you spin it.

    You know you could just google these things. There are plenty of cases about this stuff and EFF is a good start. So are tech forums.

  • Brendan||

    You pay for a connection to your ISPs network, but you are not the only customer.

    Much the same way a person pays for a meal in a restaurant and is not the only customer. If your behavior or demands impact the experience of other customers, the restaurant has a right to ask you to curb said behavior or leave.

    Things like Bittorrent are hard on the network and insanely disruptive on wireless links. Try running a nice torrent session over wifi and see what it does to everyone else on that connection. Cell phone carriers are well within their rights to block that sort of thing due to the detrimental effect it would on everyone else's connection.

    You could just prove these things with links.

  • fafalone||

    That only sounds reasonable to people ignorant of how things actually work. The marginal cost of bandwidth accounts for pennies of your bill, and a tiny fraction of ISP bills. Peak capacity is the largest cost. A bunch of people all streaming Netflix at 8pm increases the backbone bandwidth requirements; but large file downloads at off-peak hours do not, particularly as most of this goes over peering rather than transit. And that is far better addressed by methods other than monthly bandwidth caps. Metering bandwidth like electricity is nothing but a profit grab that bears little relation to marginal cost. You're either an industry shill yourself or have been brainwashed by one.

  • SomeGuy||


  • Bubba Jones||

    So, they should charge more for Netflix traffic?

  • SomeGuy||

    If you read the last net neutrality post you would have understand how the internet works.

    Netflix pays Level3 for its network

    I pay Comcast to use its network.

    I pay for my own home network.

    It is level3's responsibility to have a large enough peering site on their side
    It is Comcast's responsibility to have a large enough peering site on their side.
    Just as it is my responsibility to have a large enough peering site on my side (router/switch)

    If I am requesting so much data from Level3 comcasts network is not able to keep up its Comcast responsibility to keep its network up to snuff. Not Netflix or level3.

    Is it comcasts responsibility to put in a 1GbE network in my house so I can use my 180Mbps cable line?

    No it isn't. My network is my problem like comcast network is their problem (mine since i am a subscriber/stakeholder). Comcast isn't responsible to install 1GbE in my house like Level3 and netflix isn't responsible for Comcast peering site.

    Christ this isn't complicated.

  • SomeGuy||

    just like Comcast isn't responsible for Level3 peering site if Comcast was the one with the most data hungry users.

    Should comcast pay level3 for their peering site if Comcast users use more data than Surewest and AT&T?

    Fuck no!

  • Brendan||


    If Level3 is sending more data towards Comcast than Comcast is sending towards Level3, then Level3 is the one who needs to mitigate this. Either by limiting their traffic to maintain the balance OR paying for the excess.

    It does not matter who requests the data, only who sends it.

    In your scenario, a Tier1 ISP that has settlement free peering with residential ISPs could provider cut rate transit to large traffic generators like Netflix, etc. and then demand that the residential ISP continually upgrade the peer links and tolerate more and more traffic towards their network for free.

    In the long run, there would be ISPs with nothing but 'eyeballs' and ISPs with nothing but content providers, with the content providers getting virtually unlimited access to the eyeball providers network.

    If you want rigid data caps, slow speeds, and/or high residential internet costs, this is the way to do it.

  • SomeGuy||

    If comcast subscribers want the data on level3 or any other network than they should pay for their own really is that simple.

  • Brendan||

    Sounds like you want data caps.

  • SomeGuy||

    christ everything you just spewed is false. What he said is actually accurate. Go learn how the internet works and how networks and data transfers work.

  • fafalone||

    Sorry I called you a shill. Mentally ill shill is far more accurate. You clearly have no idea about bandwidth cost structures for last mile providers.

  • SomeGuy||

    its called an evenly distributed cost fee system.

    The cost of data is not every much and the bullshit math these ISPs claim is hilarious.

    They state on 2% of users use more than 300GB per month and they are the sole reason why internet is so expensive. That is patently fail and has been called out many times.

    It is impossible for 2% of uses to crash a network.

    Data is not every expensive. I forget the price but I think it is less than a penny per GB.

  • Louis Lucky||

    "Zero-rating" huh. So after Mr. Godwin decides how much of its product ISPs are forced to give away for nothing, can we "zero-rate" Godwin's column so that Reason does not compensate him for his labor here?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||


  • Mike Godwin||

    Wait--Reason's going to pay me for this?

  • GILMORE™||


  • AdamJ||

    So you want the government to regulate it so average users are not "forced" (by private actors) to subsidize the rest? Or should consumers (the market) just be able to demand low-cost low-data plans?

  • Greg F||

    Measured data plans are based on the cost of bandwidth.

    Measured data plans are based on bytes. Bandwidth is measured in bits/second.

  • Greg F||

    Measured data plans are PRICED by both speed AND data transfers! I keep TRYING to clarify your confusion ..

    Let us know when the difference between bits (lower case b) and bytes (upper case B) has sunk in to that thick skull of yours. Let me spell this out for you again.

    1. Transmission rates are always in bits
    2. File size is always specified in bytes.
    3. There are 8 bits to a byte.
    4. Quit making a fool of yourself by confusing bits with bytes.

  • Greg F||

    Actually. your bullshit was TOTALLY ridiculed here, chump.

    Actually all you have shown is you don't know the definition of bandwidth. Still waiting for that "unlimited bandwidth" plan.

  • SomeGuy||

    read this thread its hilarious. Hihn is a dumbass

  • Dizzle||

    Lol, again.

    You don't get the difference between bytes and bits over time.

    So everyone here knows, Greg F has had this correct the entire thread. Michael's being a tard bucket, aka a bucket full of tard.

  • Greg F||

    It's the MATH you two keep fucking up!

    Your the one who fucked up the math not knowing the difference between bits and bytes. Your also the one who thinks there is such a thing as 'unlimited bandwidth' due to the fact you don't understand that the bytes in a data plan are not bandwidth. You think they are both the same thing.

    For your assignment show us someone ... anyone ... who offers "unlimited bandwidth".

  • SomeGuy||

    his cockiness is hilarious. Shows how much of a retard he is because he keeps making an ass of himself while thinking he knows what he is saying but doesnt.

  • Greg F||

    Measured data plans are PRICED by both speed AND data transfers!

    On Verizon the speed (bandwidth) is the same for all data plans. Doesn't matter if you have 2GB or unlimited they all run at the same speed.

  • mtrueman||

    "the relative few who stream movies and music"

    Yeah, a question, relative to what? I don't think I know a single user who doesn't stream movies and/or music. How is limited bandwidth a good thing? Limiting bandwidth is not the goal in Korea, it's providing everyone with super fast Internet, and they're pretty successful.

  • mtrueman||

    "So, you pulled this out of your ass?"

    I don't seem to have made myself clear. Where did you come up with the assertion that streaming music and movies is restricted to 'a relative few?'

    And why discourage internet use by limiting bandwidth? Most other countries I'm familiar with do their best to incentivize usage over fast connections.

  • fafalone||

    How many ignorant ass shill comments are you going to post in this thread? You're the one doing the manipulating here. Fine, you can have you metered data, but on the condition it represents the actual marginal costs. So my 200TB of off-peak bandwidth will only add a few cents to my bill. Stop shilling.

  • SomeGuy||

    glad to see one informed person on here on how the internet works. I was the only one explaining the internet on one of the net neutrality pages.....

  • SomeGuy||

    please keep posting because the illogical shit you post is making my night.

    I wish i had some cider or korean wine to drink as i read this.

  • fafalone||

    lol i think i broke him, he's just spewing gibberish now.

  • Greg F||

    lol i think i broke him, he's just spewing gibberish now.

    LOL ... that is what he always does. Nothing new.

  • SomeGuy||

    never seen it this bad lol

  • AdamJ||

    I'm starting to get confused about who is on what side of the net neutrality issue. But as a libertarian, how about the ISPs and content providers are free to make whatever deals and offer whatever "free" products they like and consumers are free to react with their wallets? Then if a provider is found to be in violation of antitrust laws, it gets dealt with at that time.

    I have not heard a compelling argument (especially a libertarian or free market one) for creating new government regulations to solve a problem that has not occurred yet.

  • SomeGuy||

    The problem are monopolies. Comcast and other ISPs have the ability to force business out of the market and distort pricing.

    It happens often and is getting worse as certain ISPs own more and more of the market with too large of a barrier to enter.

  • jdgalt1||

    Wikipedia is so statist-biased that it's been superseded. Everyone should use instead.

    Of course, if Mr. Godwin got his way, doing so would mean we have to pay more to receive it.

  • fafalone||

    Progressive teat-sucker is better than anti-consumer industry shill spreading manipulative misinformation to try to extract 100,000% profit margins on something because most people don't understand the actual cost structure and what does and does not increase capital and marginal costs.

  • Sevo||

    fafalone|6.4.17 @ 8:17PM|#
    "Progressive teat-sucker is better than anti-consumer industry shill spreading manipulative misinformation to try to extract 100,000% profit margins on something because most people don't understand the actual cost structure and what does and does not increase capital and marginal costs."

    Sniff, sniff: Slaver stink!
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • SomeGuy||

    fafalone has a point. He isn't supporting social prog methods he is simply pointing out its not as bad as monopolies. He never said it was the best solution

  • SomeGuy||

    yep still intellectually dishonest...your point?

  • SomeGuy||

    If you read my 2 links above you would understand his point.

  • fafalone||

    You favor being enslaved by the corporations. I don't favor being enslaved by the government, I favor being enslaved by neither.

  • fafalone||

    If something costs you $1 and you charge $100,001 for it, that's a 100,000% profit margin. You can't even handle basic math, no wonder you have so little understanding of how bandwidth costs are incurred.

  • Mark22||

    As I've written here before, I favor both net neutrality as a general principle... But I've also written in favor of a zero-rating as a tool...

    So, you're the typical statist, progressive prick: you signal your good intentions and demand that people respect you for it, but in reality, all you deliver is shitty regulations and crony capitalism.

  • fafalone||

    Wow, you're really vicious about spreading misinformation aren't you. With zero-rating it's just free extra money, since never in the history of zero-rating has it meant anything other than just collecting additional profits where you already made a substantial profit from just the end-users bill, which entirely covered all bandwidth costs to begin with. Just shut up please, you're deliberately ignorant on this entire subject.

  • Mark22||

    Where did he say as a mandate

    He didn't say zero-rating was a mandate, he implied that a tightly regulated market should be loosened up and permit certain forms of zero-rated services in cases in which central economic planners like him deem it beneficial to society, i.e., the typical progressive delusion.

    What he didn't say is what a free market advocate should say, namely "I have no idea what market structure would be beneficial. The FCC should STFU about all this and let market participants work it out among themselves through economic interactions."

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Libertarians hate the concept of "public" (even though libertarian scholars have shown that it is consistent with the framework of libertarianism), but this is a clear case of a public utility. It is illegal for me to string wires across town to offer a competing service. And it's not just because I'm not in the internet game; companies with the overwhelming influence and money of Verizon aren't even allowed to do it in a lot of places.

    So as long as it's a public utility, there's no reason we should expect that people have the power to vote with their feet. And as long as that's true, there's ample reason why there should be sufficient oversight and regulation. Comcast is going to just have to find a way to live with being a public utility company and be thankful that they don't have to be a non-profit to be in that role.

  • colorblindkid||

    Satellite internet services do exist, and will be getting better in the future.


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