Tuesday, December 18, 2018

After A Year Without Net Neutrality

One year after the end of the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai ended the Obama-era Commission's (illegal, IMO) power grab of implementing "net neutrality" after being ordered by congress not to do so, we were supposed to have seen the end of internet.  We were supposed to be sitting in dirt-floored hovels reminiscing about how there used to be this marvelous thing called "the Internet" where we could get the answer to any question we ever had, buy any exotic oddity we might ever want, and watch all the pirated movies cat videos we could ever want.  Internet use was going to collapse to zero because the Evil Corporations were going charge by the Megabyte, and data plans were going to be priced where only tech titans and billionaires could afford them.

In reality: not so much.  The typical internet speeds have actually gone up in the last year, according to an article in Wired, highlighted in the Washington Examiner.
The Internet is actually faster in the United States. A new report by Ookla, a sister company to PC Magazine, shows that download speeds have increased 35.8 percent across the country.
For the technophiles, note this is for fixed downloads.  Mobile devices tend to be slower.   The fastest Internet was reported in in Kansas City, Mo., where Google Fiber is concentrated.

The outrage expressed last year over net neutrality being revoked is almost comical - as are most of the "outrage of the week" stories, when we can look in hindsight. 
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., warned that losing net neutrality would threaten representative government.

GLAAD feared gays and lesbians would be targeted.

Planned Parenthood weighed in for whatever reason.

For their part, Wired has basically changed from saying, "the sky will fall!" before the Net Neutrality rules were revoked to saying "the sky hasn't fallen yet" implying they expect it to fall once the Evil Internet Providers figure out how to screw everyone without losing too many customers.  What they neglect in this analysis is that the largest providers were behind the Net Neutrality laws - they probably wrote most of it, in a true cronyism deal like most of the Obama years.  If the laws are going to keep those Evil Providers from making big profits, why would they be behind it?  Could it be to block competitors from getting started?

Another reality they don't talk about is that with the exception of the original ARPANET predecessor to the internet, which was largely paid for by the DARPA, (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the vast majority of the internet was built out by those same providers.  Providers are trying to keep up with exploding demand for their product.  There's an insatiable thirst for more bandwidth, but providers have to make a profit on what they're doing to invest in the future.  Their problem is that some services overwhelm all the others.  

Borepatch, who I consider a rather well-informed guy, said that fully 50% of traffic on the 'net is from two services: Google (mostly YouTube) and Netflix.   If Net Neutrality's "all bits are equal" is law, that means that when the service is busy, providers will have to throttle Netflix and YouTube to allow email to get through, and other low criticality services like writing blogs or swapping recipes. 

See, back to cat videos after all that.

Average download speeds across the US, from OOKLA, via PC.


  1. The best rule of thumb is that if the progs are in favor of it, I'm opposed to it. The very concept runs foul of my basic default setting to explore everything before arriving at a decision. However, the "best rule of thumb" seems to work these days.

    1. The Obama admin was so full of actual, full tilt communists it's still shocking. While writing that last night, I looked up some of the stuff I've written on Net Neutrality since 2010. Obama had this guy in the FCC named Robert McChesney who founded something called "Free Press". Like all Marxist organizations, the name is exactly opposite of what it wants. "Free Press" wants government control of of the press - think Pravda and Izvestia from the Soviet days.

      In the buildup to getting Net Neutrality passed this guy actually said, "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

      And this was before the openly, adamantly socialist types like Sanders and Occasional Cortex.

    2. That was quoted here but anyone can enter Net Neutrality in the search box in the upper left of the title bar and get everything I wrote, going back to 2010.

  2. Any time someone objects to a "threat to our democracy" that is a sure marker that they are some kind of pinko crook.

  3. +1 to LL.

    We get something like 250MB speeds here. I used to really care about stuff like that, but not so much anymore.....

  4. "Cat videos"???

    Come on now. Surely you realize that is NOT what drives the Internet these days...

  5. I haven't noticed much difference. Of course, the response from this editor window allows me to type ahead by 20 words or so, and I can only make 40 wpm on my best days, but still... there isn't that much difference.

    I've given up on waiting for the world to end. It's taking too damned long, and we still have global warming to look forward to - if it ever gets here. Meantime, I'm going back to buying green bananas.

    Nice article Greybeard. It's a timely, enjoyable read.

  6. ANYONE who understands how network traffic was controlled prior to"neutrality" knew that implementing it was a POLITICAL move that
    had NOTHING to do with making the net more efficient. The rules
    were promulated for the ONLY reason a politician creates rules....CONTROL.
    Removing the stupid controls impose by the FCC et.al makes it possible
    for those who insure that the electrons flow to make them flow most efficiently.

  7. I have always thought that 'Net Neutrality" was a cloak for YouTube, Netflix, and other high bandwidth websites to pass their costs to others and that they were behind all the high sounding activists...