Today is a big day for the Internet as we know it. The FCC will meet today to consider a proposed notice of rulemaking that could, if adopted, change some fundamental rules about how the last mile of the Internet works.
I’ve written about this issue a lot here at AVC, but if you are new to it, please read this post and this post. That should get you up to speed (no pun intended) on what is going on.
So I am participating in a virtual protest movement called #StopTheSlowLane today.
You probably got an annoying interstitial when you came to AVC this morning that made you wait and wait while AVC loaded.
I’ve seen this widget at a few places around the Internet over the past 24 hours. I am hoping this spreads to other bloggers and ideally mainstream websites. If the mainstream Internet user can see what a slow lane really looks like, I think this issue will be clarified for everyone and the FCC will do the right thing. Which is to reclassify last mile Internet as a telecommunications service that is regulated under Title II. Last mile Internet is like water and electricity and should be regulated as such.
Keep fighting the good fight
Thank you, Fred, for all your diligent work.
Fred, if we are overseas but want to support the cause, does our vote count through the widget or is it a USA thing only (ie. zipcodes only relevant if in USA)?
i say go for it — there are global ramifications of this, though of course US congress will listen harder to US citizens and their own constituents
good things are worth waiting for
.Haha, Fred, you clever bastard.Well played.There is nothing better to persuade than a taste of that particular poison.Very clever and well played.JLM.
i like this one even better http://fredwilson.vc/post/8…
.On. A. Freakin’. Roll. Our. Fred. Is.Well played.JLM.
That is awesome.
This is so effective, I can’t even get past it on my phone. No AVC over mobile.
HmmI thought I took down the mobile widget
i thought so to — will check
Agree! I took a screenshot to tweet it out. Very clever indeed!
I share Andy’s distrust in government’s ability to effectively regulate anything. It typically devolves into the Big Business + Big Government cartel, with big business using their lobbyists to prop themselves up with rules designed to “protect consumers” (aka kill my competition).I’ve become convinced this is quite different. The cost of building last mile infrastructure is hugely prohibitive. Wireless alternatives suck. I technically have two options at my house but one can’t even stream Netflix effectively, so I’m really in a monopoly situation.And I want freedom.I don’t want my internet provider having the ability to tell me what I’m doing with my bits any more than my power company should be able to tell me the socially acceptable uses for my electrons, or my water company telling me the party-approved uses for my H2O atoms.In the absence of a true market, this is a necessary evil. Roll out Google Fiber in a community and watch the magic of competition eliminate the need. Then we can get the same level of freedom without the clear and present danger of this devolving into government collusion with big business.
And the REASON Google Fiber will roll out slowly or not at all?Because Fred agitates the FCC into classifying broadband as a utility.The mind boggles.
Explain that logic. Title II should help Google with their rollout.
Right now when Google shows up, they make city bend over, and then Google moves slowly.If FCC turns Comcast into utility, City has even less reason to bend over, and Google has even less reason to move fast.What we want is citizens screaming about broadband at city officials, and google spending their last dollar building a new Comcast.
“Let’s ensure there is hell on earth so that people will not want hell” is not a proposition that has ever won many hearts and minds.
Necessity is mother of invention. 🙂
I think invention is the necessity of mothers. #breitbart #suicide #etc
They are rolling it out regardless
If you believed that you wouldn’t be worried about slow lane.
Then why do you think there will be a slow lane? You think Google is going into the utility business??!?!
They will roll it out because it is a moat.
Helps Google if this passes, they’ll be best, cheapest option + have all that data.
I don’t buy the assumption that physical pipes in the ground are the future.Once again we are over-regulating the present at the expense of the future, and because of gov’t regulations of the past.
I hope you’re right but the physics of delivering the needed bandwidth over wireless do not seem to be in our favor.
15 years ago I was dialing up and electric cars were a complete joke
Regulation is an inherent characteristic in everything that is more complex in its intent than a stone.Your crusade against “REGULATION” is a simplistic straw-man augment.The question is not whether to regulate or not !The only question is who controls the regulation processes, our collective interests via democratic-governance(flawed-yes) or corporations via commercial toured-de-force(also-flawed)?It is a complex weave with no simple black/white solutions.If you buy into the idea that good design, which includes social policy, should be fine tuned around intent, then we might be well served to acknowledge that the “INTERNET” is simply the ultimate UNIVERSAL-UTILITY. Go ahead, make the case against that !The “INTERNET” as utility may be even more fundamental to human organizational success than water, roads and sewer utilities combined as those fundamental utilities become a managed subset of the internet of things/processes ?Fundamental utilities have a long and positive history as regulator exceptions.
Did I just hear Aaron Klein say that because gov’t has restricted a true market, gov’t intervention is a necessary evil….and that he expects gov’t intervention to decrease over time?
The closest thing to eternal life that we’ll ever see on this earth is a government program, so no, I didn’t say I expected a decrease.Government isn’t restricting the broadband market. Look at Google Fiber — anyone can enter.But any student of Peter Thiel sees the problem. Why would capital flow to a business with MASSIVE initial and fixed capital costs, only to find oneself in a bloody red ocean of competition with Comcast and AT&T?Google is throwing hundreds of millions at this problem and has entered three cities. THREE.I think it’s a very unfortunate, necessary evil that the dynamics of building broadband create monopolies and duopolies, and thus, require some basic level of regulation.I hope to God that you’re right and wireless can create real competition.Edit: Three cities, not two.
the transit market is already competitive. that it is not is the great fallacy being perpetrated in this beef.
This is the place of governments in markets – not too much regulation, but not enough leads to a monopoly or duopoly of other sorts
That’s too broad of a statement.I’m with @andyswan:disqus on this 90% of the time. You don’t need regulation for competition to flourish the vast majority of the time.And more often than not, regulation STOPS competition on behalf of the big businesses and their lobbyists.Where you have billions of dollars in capital infrastructure to build…that’s where you can see monopolies and duopolies grow.
There are other places where I want regulation – particularly when external costs are not priced into the marketplace (think superfund sites) Where you have billions of dollars in capital infrastructure to build…that’s where you can see monopolies and duopolies grow.what about search engines in the US? To really grow a search engine you do need large capital investments. DuckDuckGo is not a real competitor right now to google, for example
One look at DDG’s growth chart disproves that statement.
i’ve seen the charts, it is still minuscule compared to google
yes, of coursebut 5mm searches a day is not a small number or a small achievementit may put them past AOL soon
i’m actually happy about the AOL thing. Its good to have a private search engine become competitive.
Government’s ability to be influenced perpetually influenced by business interests is why I am a fan of the idea of the Good Dictator.
A yes, the Benign Dictator. It’s very seductive, no?
I have a feeling that the more fluid of a capitalist system that exists, the more likely this will come to be on its own – as money is voting power – so as long as there are good people with enough money/resources then things can change for the better.
How about allowing municipal broadband services as well. Why should it be only private enterprises that can compete. If a town wants to build out its own broadband service and run it at cost that should be their prerogative, sadly though we squash those kinds of municipal broadband services most recently in Philadelphia PA.Should not for profit companies be allowed to compete in the market place? Oh blimey that would not be good for big business nor big government, ould it?
So there you are!
Who is the bastard again?
This does not seem correct. Preferential speed does not block sites, it just makes your download slower and mine faster, no?
does the outcome have global implications, or is it just an American domestic issue?
It’s domestic, but it could be argued it has global implications. What business doesn’t utilize the internet? America is the economic engine of the world.
Depends a bit, doesn’t it? I can choose from one of nearly 20 providers using the infrastructure of three wholesalers. By contrast our cousins over there appear to have painted themselves into a corner.
it has global impacts insofar as american consumers want to visit foreign-based websites (for example, soundcloud). those websites need to be able to reach american consumers just like anyone else
I’m scared to put the script on my eCommerce website, but I think this just might be important enough…
Hopefully your customers respect you more for it.
We’ve placed this image on all pages at Shapeways (an Ecommerce site). Hopefully, it will make an impact. We’re happy to lose a few potential sales today to fight for a cause we believe in.To be honest, I don’t think the interstitial is enough to get people’s to care about the problem and take action notices. The most effective online protest I’ve ever seen is wikipedia’a sopa blackout. Unfortunately we most companies/platforms/communities are not willing to take this risk, which says something about how much we all really care about this issue!
i would wager ecom sites that put this up will see a significant loss of revenue. exceptions might be if you are selling to a crowd that understands NN and thinks it is advantageous. not all tech people are NN fanboys/girls.
Then it will be priced as such, no? The more you use in a month, the more you pay.
We, the consumers, already have that pricing scheme. I pay more for more bandwidth.
Not I that I noticed.You pick the speed, you pay the same each month.
Well, that’s what I meant. I choose upfront, from a menu of different speeds/prices. Ergo, the more I use, the more I pay. But upon re-reading swanie’s comment, I see he might be referring to a metered approach, like electricity or water.
I read metered although not all utilities are. Electricity yes, water no.
Depends where you live. My water usage is metered and billed according to usage.
Water is in some places and should be everywhere
I’m all in on paying for what I use across the board.
Did you just admit to water boarding?
Except, if you put a meter on it, I bet you don’t get for what you pay for. I know in the trading industry, latency is a huge issue. Companies exist just to fix latency problems.
I already don’t get what I pay for!
https://www.youtube.com/wat… You can’t always get what you want.
“I went down to the demonstrationTo get my fair share of abuseSinging, “We’re gonna vent our frustrationIf we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”
Kind of. Well at least here its pipe width not total moved
Agree Andy. But, the FCC created this mess. We all would be better off if somehow all the rules of the FCC were burned and their offices mysteriously locked for eternity so the employees of the FCC couldn’t do their jobs. Then let the private sector sort everything out-including what you can say on TV and who gets what bandwidth. Coase rules and Coase works.Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen-so we are stuck lobbying them and making everyone in Washington feel important.
Amazing to watch people beg same org that fucks things up to fix things. Welfare Healthcare Internet on and on.Not sure if idealists, masochists or just uncreative
Can I get a “Yuppppp”? Yuppp
uncreative, short-sighted, and mis-informed. everyone is already paying. everyone needs to continue to pay. the US still has some of the fastest internet in the world and in general it is getting faster (in instances when it is not, i would argue that has more to do with spectrum than NN). there are car lines and bike lines in the real world, and everyone sees how that is optimal for all parties. this is no different.
“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” — Clay Shirky
That’s not true. Right now, the FCC is feeling its oats to reclassify as utility, BECAUSE of this agitation.
Absolutely. But receiver pays. No sender pays
Ok still don’t know why gov’t involved I that decision but I guess if they gonna heavy hand it I’d prefer it to be your way than Verizons way
Sender pays is crucial. it’s the future. HOW are we going to offer free services to people, without it? I’m really amazed how little concern everyone has for this.I’ve waited and waited for Google and Apple and MSFT to be forced to blow their cash wads to build out broadband blimps here is states, and now it’s like this teeny tiny asset class of VC is getting in the way of Google Fiber having to be their single biggest priority.There has to be a way to keep you satisfied that startups are safe, and focus on getting MORE PIPE laid.Are you really going to be OK with this, if it ends up with broadband being turned into a utility? You think Google Fiber will still get done?If we get Ma Bell back, you’ll say “well, it was worth it”Seriously?
def siding with morgan in this beef. sender is already paying (voluntarily) and needs to continue.
they are both paying now, and they both need to continue paying. i would argue sender paying is the real opportunity for innovation.ya’ll are worried you will be priced out because of increases in sender paying. these fears lack supporting evidence, but more importantly, sender paying is vital to get to a world with 10X broadband capacity and all that enables. virtual reality apps in particular will need considerably more broadband. for you to get the most out of those opportunities — and i promise they will be opportunities you want to be a part of — sender paying is a vital and natural part of the competitive process.
T Mobile has tossed the rules in their game with other carriers. We need someone (desparate enough) to do that with the last mile
Mobile service has competitors. Last mile, not so much.
Google. But digging up the streets is so expensive that it will take decades and may never happen
1. Google, Apple, MSFT has how much cash?2. Why is digging up streets expensive? Why do you accept this?3. BLIMPS.This thing reeks of Netscape suing MSFT over browser.
2 – because I need to use them at the same time to get around town. The bakery near me would lose a lot of money if they lost foot traffic. Ect.
The real reason is cost of public sector labor and regulations.The big guys have the money to do massive rollouts if price is right, the cities have the ability to get the price right, if they are willing to cut thru red tape, and forget about union demands.
Why do you assume streets will need to be dug up in order to provide streaming internet access?
Fred have you looked at any biz plans for HAV blimps? What didn’t you like about them?
The FCC is between a rock and a hard place. Courts have ruled against NN twice. Reclassifying as a utility does not incent investment. However the “option” of reclassification has brought ISP’s to table to negotiate. ISP’s have already created three lanes for consumers in their broadband package pricing. What incentives does ISP’s need to bring improved QOS while as same time FCC creating competitive marketplace? This is a high stakes chess match, not a simple game of Go Fish.
The Disqus wheel spinning thus morning — is that a government protest, or just business as usual?
A beautiful thing about the tech/web space is its ability to come together in mild demonstration.Small acts like placing a widget or making a design change to a front page can create a very emotional experience for millions of people turning what might look on the surface to be a sector specific issue into a mainstream one.Acts like Fred’s widget or what Google did during SOPA show our collective ability to voice dissent.It is nice to see the First Amendment still works. Hopefully after this is settled it will be nice to see constituents still affect policy.
that is our hope. we need to play the hand we’ve got, which is less on the inside, more on the outside
You got me, I thought my browser was high jacked when I the comcast image poppedWe done, I signed up againThank you for doing this
I tried to tip the slow lane loader using bitcoin to let me through faster but the toll booth was closed. 😉
Let’s all cross our fingers.
That’s a really smart campaign.
Very effective. If I was Comcast I would sue the shit out of any company that put it up though….
???? You want no government intervention and then you would use the court system???
Yes…that’s the funny thing… government has a few very legitimate roles. Settling disputes is one of them, deciding which side of a transaction has to pay for the transport of bits is not.
You know I agree that some huge percentage of the government should be removed.There are some areas it is needed and many of those are around enforcing to prevent the tragedy of the commons when there is a shared resource. This is one area, the environment is another, the public stock markets is a third, we could add roads, etc.Now the problem is the government loves to get in an try to over-reach its bounds and not just act like a “cop”.This is one area they need to act like a “cop”.Also for the billing for these services. Over the years I have found dozens of “mistakes” in my bills. The funny part of these “mistakes” however is that never once were they in my favor. I think that prevents them from being called mistakes.
In order for this to work we’d have to rejigger the contract system. Right now, for example, you can’t get custom terms and conditions from google as an individual – your right to contract is abrogated. (I think lawyers would find that ironically funny, because reforming the system might make people as a group pay more in legal fees)
PR dream come true!
Saw this widget yesterday on AVC and LOL’d at its communications genius — just as we were discussing Firebase’s positive word of mouth and speed.The wit was too much :)!
Get me some fiber in my gas pipes…that’ll speed things up.(And yes, I’m still talkin’ broadband for realz; not my digestive system).
You are incorrigible.
I’ll take that as a compliment.Seriously, gas companies have been delivering broadband for years by running fiber through their existing pipes. So, no big digs necessary.
I was taking it as one of your puns.It is true…using existing infrastructure is a great idea.
I don’t know about the “big digs”. The US brought electric power to the rural areas, in part, via the Rural Electric Membership Cooperatives (REMC) with some Federal loans. And the same houses and farms also had voice telephone. So just why do we have to accept that putting in much higher capacity cables, wrieless, or whatever has to be too expensive?Heck, the commercial Internet itself quickly enough found rights of way — pipelines, electric power lines, rivers, oceans, roads, railroads — to lay cables of optical fibers for the Internet ‘backbone’.E.g., there is a tool that will dig a narrow, shallow trench in a road, lay a cable, and cover over the cut, quickly. And there is a similar tool that will cut a trench from a road to a house. And there have to be a lot of short range wireless opportunities.
You’re well versed in this I see. I suppose the huge cost is just the scale of things… even with the efficient tools you mention.
Last mile Internet is not like water or electricity. It is not a limited resource and shouldn’t be treated as such. The ISP’s charge their customers to download bits and they charge content providers to upload their bits. At no point should the ISP’s charge content providers a second time to allow their customers quality access to their content. That is the only regulation required and should be handled appropriately.
love the widget, awesome!!
such over-hype. for all the NN fanboys/girls fear-mongering today, here are some links to consider:http://www.aei.org/article/…http://blog.streamingmedia….http://blog.streamingmedia….http://gigaom.com/2014/02/2…#slowlanepride
Okay, I readhttp://www.aei.org/article/…with”Net neutrality advocates need to get their facts straight”Richard Bennett | ‘US News & World Report’May 01, 2014I saw some setting up of straw men to be knocked down e.g., that the net neutrality (NN) desires are for the US to ‘catch up’ with Korea, Latvia, etc.More specifically the article has”Advocates who buy this notion believe that network price and quality can only be improved by regulatory action that forces providers to make uneconomic investments.”No, as far as I can tell, for people concerned about what the FCC might do, these claims are just straw men setup just to be knocked down.Also there is:”The most common complaint emanating from the fainting couches occupied by (the mainly far left) net neutrality advocates is that the proposed regulations don’t go far enough to preserve the Internet as it has always been.”Straw man.Special case of how to win an argument with a one sided communication: Give a weak statement of the opposing view and then shoot that down.Otherwise the article was vague.Maybe in a fight like this, the first casualty is the truth.”Before we can have a rational discussion about network policy, we need to get the facts straight.”Yup, but am I to be so gullible that I am to assume that the rest of the article will do that?So, for this issue, soon we get to:”The Internet as we know it is still dominated by the Web, the one big application that brought most of us to the Internet. The Web is a content-oriented system that supports limited interpersonal interaction and mild use of video streaming. The Internet of the future will be different: it will enable broader forms of interaction, more intense use of audio/video conferencing and streaming, and an “Internet of Things” in which machines interact with other machines without direct human involvement.”Essentially just sewage, 99 44/100% toxic effluent, dirtier than the mud puddles in medieval European cities.’The Internet’ is just one ‘internet’ as in the design of ‘internet protocol’ (IP) complete with the ‘end-to-end’ error detection and correction of the ‘transmission control protocol’ (TCP), the ‘domain name system’ (DNS), etc. The Web is just a simple, straightforward, routine application of TCP/IP, DNS, etc. but mostly for just ‘the Internet’, that is, the big one instead of, say, just two computers in my house.But the Web is not the only major application because there is also Skype.Also mobile commonly makes use of the Internet with ‘apps’ that are not really like the Web, i.e., do not use HTTP, HTML, CSS, or Web browsers.For the future, that there may be some new ‘applications’ comparable with the Web, e.g,, ‘internet of things’, is mostly not a biggie or a reason for the FCC to stir the pot; the quote just above from the article seemed to say that for the progress mentioned the FCC should consider stirring the pot.Indeed, in my project, I have several separate programs in my ‘server farm’ all running autonomously and communicating via TCP/IP, that is, over an ‘internet’, that is, program to program communications or, in time, computer to computer communications. Such usages of the Internet are common now, likely, e.g., Firebase of yesterday, Redis, and, of course, Mongo DB, SQL Server, and much more.I don’t know what the facts are and am trying to find out. I can easily be concerned about what Comcast, Time-Warner, or the FCC might do.
I would love to see a virtual panel discussion between Fred, Brad and Marc Andreessen given their different takes on this topic. cc @nickgrossman:disqus Moderated by JLM (for quick wit) and include Kid Mercury to stir the pot 🙂
Though not a perfect analogy, I can’t hope think back to my early days as a radio broadcaster. For 60 or 70 years the FCC regulated our industry to ensure best service to the consumer, not the broadcast industry. Regulations should always be to protect the average man, and not the corporation.Changes in regulations resulted in the elimination of the small station owner, and instead replaced it with our current system where a relatively small number of people control the vast majority of radio airwaves.Small communities have lost their local voice. will we we now see a similar thing happen to the Internet?
“The government wants to allow big corporations to discriminate against your personal preferences.” – That’s how the Slow Lane Proposal should be summed up. Netflix? Google? Comcast? Their content will all come right to you, but those few sites you use all the time that are sort of niche? Forget it. To the slow lane for you, citizen; despite the fact that you’re paying for access to The Internet.That should get just about every one of every political persuasion pretty riled up.
You know who this will really hurt – small business/freelancers who cobble services together. Particularly those who are remote workers.I can’t imagine what the cost would be if AVC was actually like that and there were paid community managers. It would actually become impossible to do the job…
If it were possible, I would go out and buy my own last mile of fiber optic cable, dig the ditch, and take control of my own destiny. That was my initial reaction to the announcement of Comcast’s intent to merge with TWC. And it’s my reaction today.Wish it were that simple.
everyone is overacting. I already pay for faster internet. it’s not a big deal.
For the hypothetical example by Comcast and Time-Warner:(1) What is to keep them from doing such things now?(2) My ISP says that I get 15 Mbps download speed, and with a speed test that is what I’m getting now. If they deliberately cut me back to less than 15 Mbps, then theyare violating what they promised me when they sold me. Of course, if I have relatively little for alternatives I may have to put up with that.(3) My ISP is local, Upstate NY, but big Web sites are all over. So, my ISP wants to cut deals with individual Web sites all over? The Web sites would be willing to pay up? I doubt it.But maybe for a big ISP, they could be selling ISP services both to Web sites and to consumers and, thus, ‘owning both ends of the wire’ and might be able to get away with this scam?(4) If an ISP also ran an on-line movie site, then they might send me bits from their movie site and not count the bits in the 15 Mbps or whatever it was that I am paying for? The ISP might deliberately slow the bits from Netflix?(5) This matter of ‘slowing the data’, is the claim that that also applies for data on ‘the Internet backbone’? I can see how this might work given the old considerations of ‘quality of service’ (QoS) and ‘class of service’ (CoS), but is there any chance the backbone operators would play such games?(6) Is this subject really mostly just an old game that the rules of a ‘common carrier’ were created for trains, truck, barges, etc. to stop?
That was pretty good but they should geo the ISP cause I’m the other evil, Verizon.
http://www.wired.com/2013/0…Interesting take on the situationHere’s a quote from it: “Deploying broadband infrastructure isn’t as simple as merely laying wires underground: that’s the easy part. The hard part — and the reason it often doesn’t happen — is the pre-deployment barriers, which local governments and public utilities make unnecessarily expensive and difficult.Before building out new networks, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must negotiate with local governments for access to publicly owned “rights of way” so they can place their wires above and below both public and private property. ISPs also need “pole attachment” contracts with public utilities so they can rent space on utility poles for above-ground wires, or in ducts and conduits for wires laid underground.The problem? Local governments and their public utilities charge ISPs far more than these things actually cost. For example, rights of way and pole attachments fees can double the cost of network construction.”