Net Neutrality – What a Closed Internet Means – Extra Credits

Net Neutrality – What a Closed Internet Means – Extra Credits


(Theme song) Today we’re going to talk about Net Neutrality. It’s a concept that affects the game industry deeply and yet it’s often reduced to a vague term thrown around by people to defend or attack a dozen different concepts. So what does Net Neutrality mean? In the broadest sense, it simply means internet service providers can’t discriminate in how they allocate bandwidth to sites. For example, right now, how fast you can access content is limited by the location and capacity of the content provider’s servers, because we functionally exist in a net-neutral environment. But if you took away Net Neutrality, internet service providers could slow your service to a crawl for sites like Youtube or Netflix Sites that require vast amounts of streaming data and so, in effect, cost the ISP more. Now, this if often raised as a civil liberties concern, It’s often brought up that in a world where we do away with Net Neutrality it would be very easy to restrict access to content that the government or major corporations don’t want you to have access to. And while I will fight every day to retain what liberties we still have, I’m actually not sure that’s where the real threat comes here. I think it comes in a much more banal insipid form: simple greed. In a non-net neutral environment, it makes no sense for internet service providers not to basically charge a toll for access to content. You want to watch Youtube videos at a better speed than a 56k modem? Well that’s going to be five extra dollars a month for the special Youtube package. You want to play World of Warcraft? Well, now in addition to paying 15 dollars to Blizzard, you also better pay an extra 10 bucks a month to Comcast to not restrict your bandwidth. And what about competition? I mean, NBC is owned by Comcast. NBC competes with services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Why wouldn’t they make access to those sites laggy and cumbersome while giving full blazing bandwidth to their own products? Or, in terms of games, vivendi still owns millions of dollars worth of Activision Blizzard stock, and various ISPs around the world. Why wouldn’t they make World of Warcraft easy to play, and Guild Wars slow and laggy? But why talk about this now? Well, until recently, Net Neutrality in the United States was guarded by the FCC But in January, a circuit court ruled that this was not part of the Federal Communications Commission’s jurisdiction and, since we have no laws in place addressing Net Neutrality, this sort of opened the flood gates on the issue. For a while, there was some question as to exactly what effect this ruling would have, but, in the last few months, we’ve already seen companies like AT&T file patents for bandwidth discrimination technology. For a gaming world which is ever more dependent on high-speed access and unrestricted bandwidth usage, this sort of thing means higher cost for less service. If you’d like to keep getting a megabyte or more a second while downloading a steam game, you can bet that’s gonna be a premium. More still, what’s to keep companies from making deals with the ISP directly? What if Valve pays your ISP to limit your access to Good Old Games? Sound ridiculous? Maybe so in that case, but Sony or Microsoft paying your ISP to restrict access to the other’s network? EA paying to slow down everyone’s access to Steam in order to make Origin more appealing? Alright, you get the idea. The internet as we know it was built around the idea that content would live or die based around the competition between services offered, which led to the rough and tumble rapidly evolving Web we know today. But imagine if MySpace could’ve paid to limit access to Facebook, or Encyclopedia Britannica could’ve put in money to slow Wikipedia use to a crawl. While many opponents of Net Neutrality say that it goes against the free markets to mandate a net-neutral environment, truth be told, as far as I can tell, a non-net neutral Web is one that stifles competition, and encourages stagnation. It entrenches existing corporations, rather than forcing them to actually compete on the value of their services. Now, we at Extra Credits usually try to understand the argument from both sides of an issue, but, no matter how much digging we’ve done on this one we can’t really find a compelling argument for eliminating Net Neutrality. The vast majority of the proponents of this idea seem to be ISPs or people working fairly directly with them. The best counter argument to a net-neutral environment that I’ve heard is the suggestion that the free market compensates for a non-net neutral environment, by allowing you to change ISPs if the one you’re with right now limits your access in ways you don’t like. And a non-net neutral environment will provide ISPs savings that they can then use to provide you with better service for the content you do want. But, I don’t know how it is where you live, but I don’t have a lot of options as far as ISPs go if I want high speed service where I live. Shopping around for the best service isn’t really possible. The only really strong argument I’ve heard against legislating Net Neutrality is that making Net Neutrality law might be too restrictive. There actually is stuff that the ISPs already filter access to that’s probably beneficial to all of us: Spam bots, potential threats, et cetera, and the argument goes, that any law you put in place wouldn’t be flexible enough to adjust to the ever changing environment of the Internet. This is why allowing the FCC to maintain a policy of Net Neutrality while reviewing things on a case by case basis seems like an eminently workable system to me, but if we can’t have that, there are countries who have mandated forms of Net Neutrality, such as Chile, Japan, and the Netherlands, without stopping ISPs from doing some beneficial filtering. So if legislators would work with experts in the area, I’m sure we could find a solution. But, whatever side of this you fall on, it’s being decided now. Right now, here in America. This is something that will affect how we use the Internet, and how we game for decades to come. How we act here, what we say and where we stand will determine whether future generations get to experience the net-neutral Web we’ve grown up with. We are very much pro-Net Neutrality on E.C., but we believe in democracy even more, so whatever your beliefs on how the Internet should evolve, we encourage you to contact your representative about it. We’ve put a link down below that will easily allow you to find out who represents you in the House and the Senate if you live in the U.S. so you can reach out to them. I’ll see you next week. (Outro Music)

100 thoughts on “Net Neutrality – What a Closed Internet Means – Extra Credits

  1. The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on net neutrality on April 3. If you live in the EU, contact your MEP here: http://savetheinternet.eu/

  2. If net neutrality is important to keep because if not jobs like yours, a you tuber could be harder to make profit on, if net providers choose to slow down websites like you tube then less people would use it and leave you out of a job, and honestly this is a good channel

  3. This video was made in 2014
    Its 2018 now and this video is still relevant becauae the shut government we have right now is trying to take net neutrality away.

  4. but another flaw with the anti-net neutrality free market change-service argument is that there simply aren't a lot of ISP's out there. Digging and placing undersea cables is expensive, as they acknowledge trying to destroy net neutrality. which means there will never be a large ISP market because you either need huge loans a small company would be crushed by, or an incredibly philanthropic venture capitalist. and those guys aren't that common either. The only way I could think that'd work would be creating a nationalised competitor, but governments probably don't want the unneeded extra spending when the very solution already exists and has been used

  5. Well it’s been a fue months since it was repealed and nothing’s changes lol. Also no net neutrality is good do you really want someone saying you only have one option? If i want faster internet ill pay for faster internet with net neutrality theres only 1 speed.

  6. im happy i live in the netherlands, i saw the neterlands come by and was onfused. I started googling, apparently im safe 😉
    i was really worried this thing would blow over to europe, but now im not scared anymore for my country….
    but why, really why, is this such a problem in America etc, it has no real benefit for anybody except the already big companies……

  7. 20mb- basic with 150 websites–80$
    20mb- basic plus 300 websites -100$
    20mb- basic plus gold 500 websites – 150 $
    30mb-basic 600 websites – 200$
    …….
    150mb optic 1- 1000 websites 500$ month

  8. I’m American, our “Federal communications commission” (regulates net neutrality) took NN away a couple months ago.

    I have seen no difference.

  9. It seems to me that a lack of competition a.k.a. a "monopoly" violates anti-trust laws which [[ is ]] in the federal governments jurisdiction. Enforcing [[ that ]] (anti-trust laws) would bring the free market choice to you solving a problem that I think we can all agree was in fact a problem regardless of your pro or anti net neutrality leanings.

  10. Watching this in febuary of 2018: nothing happened, it turns out that the ISP monopoly isn't as supreme as assumed. Local monopolies exist based on contracts between ISP's and local governments. Also, myspace existed long before net neutrality was encoded in law

  11. Yeah the problem with "If you don't like your ISP then you can change it" doesn't work for everywhere. We only have two options here; either use the crappy podunk ISP based here in town or pay out the wazoo for a satellite internet service with a low data cap. So if either of them start tacking on fees I either have to pay it or not have internet period…

  12. I'm a bit saddened by the one-sidedness of this video. I'm a believer in the free market and some people want/need the top speed available. Others can get by on that 56k modem speed. Net Neutrality prevents a lot of those sort of packages from being sold. We need to get rid of the current regional monopoly setup many ISPs have and invite more competition.

  13. I'm a little confused, what I'd think would be a good idea would be "if you want fast internet: pay for it— if you're fine with slow internet: it's free carry on with whatever

  14. Heck. Where I live, there are 3 actual broadband carriers; 2 cable and one fiber.
    …but you don't have a choice between them. They TRADE townships with one another every so often, but have agreements to never operate in the same township at the same time.

  15. I just now realize my country has a law to protect Net Neutrality, and I wasn't expecting to be the first example, let alone mentioned at all 😛

  16. The thing is, when one company acts scummy, another pops up saying "hey you guys! We give the same product but we aren't scumballs!". Some people say that all the ISPs will band together and create a pseudo-monopoly, but that can only work if they hire soldiers to stop anybody from creating a new ISP (or convince politicians to do it for them). The way to improve internet speeds and lower costs is to fully embrace the free market system.

  17. I'm hella pro net neutrality and have let my votes try to do the talking. Where I live, I don't have much choice in ISP. I've got:
    Turd A – slower maximum speeds (like 20 Mbps tops), no data caps, expensive to the point I can't afford it.
    Turd M – Really fast when it works, unreliable, low data caps, not too expensive. Currently subscribed.
    Shiny Turd W – Fast, reliable, no data caps, more expensive than turd A.
    In all fairness, Shiny Turd W isn't really crap other than the price. I've heard it can be negotiated down, but you've got to get your TV and home phone from them to get at most of those discounts and that doesn't work for me.
    In this situation, I'm basically stuck with Turd M. If I go with Turd A, I'll have more reliable internet, but it will be slower in daily usage. And I'll go broke unless I get a raise at my brand new job. Unlikely. If I go with Shiny Turd W, I'll be even worse off, financially, but hey! at least I'll have fast internet :/

  18. I live in the middle of nowhere, I get 10 free gb of hotspot per line a month thru Sprint and that is the only way I can use a laptop or computer, I mostly play offline steam games and watch youtube. And now Sprint is merging with t mobile, which I can't get at my address, I might have to start going to the local library, but I assume their Wi-Fi will be effected too.

  19. Why is it now, where net neutrality actualy is in real danger no body seams to have the energy to talk about it for more then a month? But hey, I guess the Kardashians did…..something again…….

  20. The internet should be free! If it cost money than why use the internet anyway? We would just buy a lot more local and single player games. If most of the games its features is online and if online cost money as well as the game, why even bother? (Im looking at you Nintendo: The same people who made splatoon.).

  21. Jesus fucking christ… you think we should actively pass laws to prevent the mitigation of a tragedy of the commons? YES YOU HAVE TO PAY IF YOUR ACTIONS ARE IMPACTING OTHER PEOPLE

  22. "I don't have a lot of options where I live"
    Umm… Have you seen the government red tape involved in starting an ISP? Holy crap, I could tell you some horror stories.
    Long story short… Net Neutrality supporters would be far better off cutting the red tape to competition rather than adding an additional layer of bureaucracy to the Leviathan.

  23. Not caring at all cause India has net neutrality. But some corporation did try to block it though. Facebook bought full page ads nearly everyday to have people sign against net neutrality.

  24. Do you happen to have the sources for this video on hand? I'm writing a paper and would rather not sift through 1200+ pages of FCC garbage to maybe someday find what I'm looking for

  25. If we had a mesh network instead of going through ISPs, throttling or blocking data would be much more difficult and using the internet would basically be free of charge. Sounds much better than the current system.

  26. I hope you read this, EC.

    I don't agree that there's no good argument for eliminating net neutrality.

    Right now, a granny that checks her email once a week pays the same money for internet in her house as her gamer grandson pays for internet in his apartment.

    That is intrinsically unfair and definitely blocks out many people who would otherwise be internet users, specifically the elderly and most-of-all the poor.

    And most people who are pro-NN also care about the elderly and the poor, feeling they should be given some advantages, to offset he unfairness we know exists: fairness is really what all this is about.

    Free internet frees people.

    So wouldn't it be wonderful for grandma to have the ability to call up her ISP and say, "You know, this $50/mo is really rough on me, and I really just need Gmail and Facebook: do you have a plan for $10/mo for just that?"

    With net neutrality, that's an impossibility.

    But without net neutrality, smaller ISPs with limited bandwidth could offer programs like that, which would actually be a wonderful thing in an age when internet is so vital to every element in life.

    A person making minimum wage, struggling just to keep the lights on, might not be able to afford $50/mo for internet, but they could afford $10/mo to at least have access to email and social media.

    Not having email access is like not having transportation access: if you want employment, you need these things.

    So why not create small (or even free-through-subsidization) programs – whether it's some tiny ISP or just a greedy super-corporation who sees a way to squeeze a little more money out of the market – that would allow low-income people access to some kind of limited internet?

    Email – $5
    Social – $5
    YouTube – $5

    If that's all they ever use it for, they might prefer to pay $15/mo for severely-limited internet, same as some people choose to have unlimited plans on their phones and some people use prepaid.

    In fact, if you go to poorer countries, they offer services like these, especially for phones – email/social packages are common for people who don't need more than that.

    And maybe – possibly – the people using heavy bandwidth to stream video or online game all day long might have been taking advantage of the system in place for quite a long time.

    Maybe they've been happy to screw over grandma, as they underpay for their usage, happy to see The Evil Corporation siphon-off some of her payment to offset the costs they incur from this type of non-usage-based billing.

    I mean, why is it that way?

    It's not like everyone pays the same amount for electricity, water, or gas, regardless of how much they use or don't use.

    So why is internet that way?

    It's not like transferring 1GB uses the same resources as transferring 1000GB.

    Why isn't it billed like we bill everything else: per CCF, per kW, per GB?

    Maybe, when we're talking about people and greed, it's not just corporations who are the problem.

    Maybe we're all trying to take advantage and we should care more about the people already getting screwed, more than focusing so much on the ones we worry might get screwed.

    Anyway – five years later from this video and over a year since net neutrality has been trashed.

    What do we think of the results?

    I'm sad that what I wrote above hasn't come to pass, but I'm happy that the fears in the video haven't, either.

    Thanks for your videos, EC: you always make me think!

  27. That video didn t age well. Since the repeal, internet speed increased faster than before. Billions have been invested. And only one argument is enough to invalidate net neutrality: isps have a right to use their own property as they see fit.

  28. Reporting from the future: Turns out ISPs do not conduct business in the way people in this time thought they would. Makes sense as that would be corporate suicide. So Net Nuetrality, while sounded like a good thing, had underlining consequences that had real world effects. It stiffled competition, heavily regulated ISPs to the point where there was no longer investment in infrastructure (the world moved on to gigabit speeds while we lagged behind), and closed out smaller 3G ISPs that were more local and considerably cheaper then what the big boys were charging as they could not co trol the price they charged for their service. We also saw the disapearence of unlimited data plans when NN went i to effect. Now that NN is gone, smaller ISPs have returned, Unlimited plans are back, and my comcast speed has tripled while staying the same price.

  29. There's a much deeper problem behind net neutrality and free markets etc. For infrastructure the free market isn't really working in my opinion. Let's take public transport as a further example: Are you really able to choose the train or bus you're using based on comfort, prize or reliability? No! You choose it because of its route. And for a route there is mostly only one carrier. For ISPs, medical care, streets, electricity, water and similar ones it's basically the same: You choose them beacause they are already there.

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