back to article SAVE NET NEUTRALITY, urges Steve Wozniak in open letter to bigwigs

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has waded into the net neutrality debate with an open letter calling for fair and equal internet access for all. Woz's missive to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a deeply personal note detailing his belief that the 'net should be free and unrestricted. He starts with the line …

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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    AKA LLU

    He wants to see ISPs rent out internet connections as if the customers "own those wires" and can do whatever they wish with them.

    I thought US commentards just liked to moan but that line succinctly illustrates for the rest of us just how behind the times the US is.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: AKA LLU

      There's a fun thing about the US: somethig akin to LLU was already in existence sometime around 2000, but a lazy version. A DSL line had to be served by three different companies by law; the telco, the ISP and... Can't remember what the other one did. Sometime during the last decade that changed, up to a point that your telco is your DSL ISP and you get no choice. The land of the free, and home of the guy who buys his way to a monopoly by filling the FCC's pockets!

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Why do the cable companies

    Think that they can charge Apple/Google/Microsoft/Netflix extra to ship their packets?

    Don't cable companies normally pay for content?

    Presumably when this goes through Apple/Microsoft etc will charge the Comcast the same as Fox/HBO/etc do for allowing them to show their content.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Why do the cable companies

      > Think that they can charge Apple/Google/Microsoft/Netflix extra to ship their packets?

      Because they already are. Net neutrality died two months ago.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Why do the cable companies

        That was before it started affecting the big boys.

        Demanding money from apple for access to iTunes is going to be like asking a Mr Putin to pay a parking ticket. A certain telco is going to end up in the corporate equivalent of a shallow hole in the desert

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why do the cable companies

          Unless Apple et.al. use the opportunity to strike a deal. Perhaps slowly making the way towards Itunes being the only allowed music delivery service on Comcast networks...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do the cable companies

      "Think that they can charge Apple/Google/Microsoft/Netflix extra to ship their packets?"

      Why shouldn't they? Such traffic puts a massive burden on the ISP for the users of those systems. This kind of burden is usually shared in some kind of reciprocal peering arrangement.

      That's not possible with some of services.

      So who does the ISP bill?

      1) Every customer whether or not they use those services? OR

      2) Any user it detects using those services? OR

      3) The services themselves, and then let them sort it out? OR

      4) Agree some up/down peering deal.

      Option 3) is the fairest one where 4) does not exist.

      With the likes of Google (a massive private network), 4) does exist. Netflix? Not so much.

      Those people screaming "Mah net newt-rally-tah!" are simply unthinking pawns playing into the hands of Facebook and Google. Those guys run massive private networks and want you in their walled gardens; where they can then charge content creators for access to the punters.

      Y'know; the kind of thing that you morons claim you are against.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Why do the cable companies

        > So who does the ISP bill?

        You missed the correct answer:

        5) Every customer whether or not they use those services AND any user it detects using those services AND the services themselves.

        The beauty of owning a tube is that you can bill things both going in, in transit, and going out. And there's bugger all anyone can do about it. Because you own the tube.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why do the cable companies

          > The beauty of owning a tube is that you can bill things both going in, in transit, and going out.

          If the bill ends up being too high, the customer can switch. I suggest they try @Uncle Ron ISP, he seems to think he can run the service for buttons.

          1. Vociferous

            Re: Why do the cable companies

            > If the bill ends up being too high, the customer can switch

            What a brilliant idea! Now you just have to get permission to build your own net against the lobbying of your very rich competitor, spend a couple of billion building your own net, and getting house owners already connected to your competitor's net to pay to be hooked up to your net!

            And then, when you've done that, you'll find that it's much more lucrative to make a deal with your competitor than to compete with him, getting more money for doing less.

            Roads, railroads, electricity mains, water pipes, sewage systems, and internet: services which are natural monopolies, and therefore have to be either very heavily regulated to avoid abuse, or, better still, state owned.

      2. Uncle Ron

        Re: Why do the cable companies

        Wrong. Internet service is not like groceries or gasoline or electricity. Multiple credible studies around the world have shown, over and over, that the incremental cost to the ISP for delivering a gigabit of data is almost nothing. Less that a penny. The basic fee charged to users covers 99.99% of the cost to the ISP--including a tidy profit. This is the $40 or $50 or $60 a month you pay for the basic service. That everybody up and down the street and in every apartment pays -every- month. The difference being for faster speed--which does cost the ISP and does have value. Charging for gigabytes is a complete rip-off.

        The Comcast CEO has publicly stated (to his INVESTORS' CONFERENCE) that he predicts everybody in the US will be paying for capped and metered internet in the next 5 years. Comcast's current fee structure (which they have "suspended" but which is on the record) is to charge $10 per 50 Gigabytes over a cap, or 2.5 cents per gigabit. That is something like a FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT PROFIT--for a regulated monopoly!

        This is what monopolies have done, throughout history: Create artificial scarcity to keep and raise high prices and to innovate as little as possible. They have NO INCENTIVE to innovate. Except in billing systems.

        Cable system monopolies have also spoken publicly to advertising conferences on the great things they are doing and plan to do in tailored, targeted advertising over their cables, and what a great platform they have to do even more wonderful things. WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY DOING IN THIS BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE. The monopoly franchises they have been awarded across the US are supposed to be for installing wires and servers in neighborhoods and apartment blocks. Period. Not be in the TV business or the "targeted advertising" business or in the metered internet business. They want to cap and meter service, throttle and block competitors, and set up toll booths for competitors. Believe me, Comcast wants to put Netflix out of business real soon: Watch for ComcastFlix, coming through a cable near you real soon. And not for $9 a month... Comcast already owns NBC, Universal Studios, Bravo, E! Network, USA Network and MORE, so ComcastFlix will have content which is totally free to them to use--NO COST, JUST PROFIT.

        This thing has got to be stopped. If your like freedom of choice, and hate unfair taxes (Comcast will be levying new "TAXES" on everybody--users and content providers--as soon as they possibly can) you have to speak up. This is the biggest rip-off in US history. And that's not hyperbole.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why do the cable companies

          > Multiple credible studies around the world

          I note the complete lack of citations.

          > That is something like a FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT PROFIT

          Well, there you go. You only need to make a 250% profit and you'll still be cheaper.

          > monopoly

          You use that word a lot. I don't think you know what it means.

          If it's making money as an ISP is sooooooo easy to do, just about any company/person would be doing it. The fact they aren't should tell you something. i.e. you are talking utter rot.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do the cable companies

      "Don't cable companies normally pay for content?"

      NO. The end user pays for the content, twice in fact, once via his subscription to the content provider - and again via his internet transit subscription to the telco/ISP.

      What ticks me off is that the telcos/ISPs are trying to get paid twice for the same thing - once by their end user subscribers, and again by the content providers.

      An argument for content providers paying the telcos does begin to arise in the horrifying world of pushed content however ...

  3. chuckufarley Silver badge

    Just like with everything else worth while in the US...

    ...The people's taxes paid for it to be researched and built, but now the corporations control it and will turn it into another monopoly by agreeing not to compete over it. Net Neutrality is just one part of the fight and even if the government decides to strike it down there are thousands of more ways to skin the cat. In the end, when every corporation in a given industry insists on acting against the public interest the only real solution is government regulation.

    Anyone betting on that happening? If so I want to talk to you about about some lake front property in Algiers. It's got the most beautiful lawn...

  4. phil dude
    FAIL

    google's 1Gb/s...

    I wish google offered the 1Gb/s where I live. It is laughable to imagine "paying for better access" when the base rate is so low. I understand 100 miles away in Chattanooga they cobbled together a deal, but locally next to one of the worlds fastest supercomputers, options are limited.

    I have used supercomputers where everything is dedicated and our algorithms compete for bandwith, but latency has not improved markedly.

    It would seem the net neutrality fight is really about how lazy the media providers can be. And I make reference to ATT buying DirectTV to suggest this is in response to the merging of Telcos and media providers.

    What can possibly go wrong?

    P.

    1. Uncle Ron

      Re: google's 1Gb/s...

      Please, please don't forget that speed and quantity are two different things. 1Gb/s is nearly meaningless to a home user. Only businesses with dozens or hundreds of cash registers or terminals or employees need that kind of speed. 20 or 30 or 40 Mb/s is plenty for multiple HD video streams and multiple people playing games simultaneously. No problem. 1Gb/s does you no good if you can't afford the metered billing--which is their real plan for the near future, and a complete rip-off.

      It doesn't matter how fast your internet connection is if you have to turn it off on the 12th or every month. The capped and metered plans put forth and "suspended" by Comcast will cost a home user $100 or $200 a month or more JUST FOR the Gigabytes. They have published and "suspended" their rate plans. I know this because I have a traffic meter on my router. I know how little the cap will cover and how much my "new" metered billing might be. This is not a joke.

  5. Alan Denman

    This new regime will be wonderful for the likes of A T & T

    Just think

    that 2GB contract you pay for will impact so much on their ability to stream the $20 a month TV stream they supply you will be down to dial up speeds once again.

    Result, A T & T double the cost of the 2GB to reduce congestion.

    A win win for both A T & T and their streaming partner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This new regime will be wonderful for the likes of A T & T

      You may have missed it, but as part of AT&T's purchase of Directv announced yesterday, they're committing to abide by net neutrality for three years, regardless of what actions the FCC may take.

      If in three years there is no net neutrality, Verizon, Comcast and everyone else will be charging so if AT&T goes along then it would be hard to point the finger of blame on them, rather than the FCC/congress.

  6. Vociferous

    I agree with Wozniak.

    And a fat load of good that will make as long as Comcast, Verizon & co. have the FCC in their pocket.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freight Companies

    Eighteen wheelers are taxed more since they take up more room and cause more "wear and tear" on the highways. With this comparison I believe companies who profit off of hogging up, (ahem) public resources, should be required to pay more. To who and how it is collected/distributed is another problem. One way or another, though, the consumer will end up paying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Freight Companies

      "since they take up more room and cause more "wear and tear" But they don't pay different rates when carrying crates of DVDs or bags of letters. Net neutrality is about services being trated equally, not the size of pipe (or truck) you want to buy.

    2. Uncle Ron

      Re: Freight Companies

      All the analogies that people use to compare other things to internet service are wrong. Internet service is -not- like groceries, or gasoline, or electricity or "road usage." The incremental cost to the provider of the above things is roughly equal to what they charge the user--plus some kind of profit. The incremental cost to the ISP for internet usage is nearly nothing. Multiple credible studies have shown this, around the world, for years.

      The basic fee everybody pays--everybody up and down the street and in every apartment--covers all the cheap commodity servers and the investment and maintenance of the wires and cable and maintenance. It amounts to $500 to $600 to $700 per year per user. And they make a tidy profit on that. Internet service is already the most profitable product the cable system monopolies sell--by far. But, like all monopolies, they aren't investing enough (or any) of those profits in infrastructure. Why should they? Causing or allowing artificial scarcity is what every monopoly has done--throughout history. It is all they are motivated to do. Not innovate.

      So don't compare things you buy or use up to internet service. It just doesn't compute.

  8. David Kelly 2

    The Left's "free" Is Not Free

    A free market means no government thumb on the balance scale.

    If I want to charge extra on my wires for content from certain providers then I must be allowed to dig my own grave or build my own mansion, whichever it happens to be.

    Based on Comcast's past history any decision which might require Comcast service gets a lot of black stars. We are fortunate at work to have options for two cable companies on the poles plus the phone company via DSL. Comcast was one, and didn't get our business.

    1. chuckufarley Silver badge

      Re: The Left's "free" Is Not Free and Neither is The Right's

      It's not about left or right. It's about what is good for the public, for society in general, and for the world as a whole.

      Have you ever tried to run *any* kind of internet server from your own hardware in your own home? If you do you are in violation of your ISP's Terms of Service and will be charged extra for the pleasure of having it shut down and your service terminated. Isn't that a violation a free speech? If the market were a free market wouldn't there be competition, not collusion and coercion? Have you ever tried to start your own ISP? No? Go ahead. I'll wait right here while you do the math and figure out just how much you would have to pay the goons to protect you from themselves.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge

        Re: The Left's "free" Is Not Free and Neither is The Right's

        "Have you ever tried to run *any* kind of internet server from your own hardware in your own home?"

        I take it you are in the US?

        Oh well at least we are a little ahead in the UK. One ISP (at least - AAISP) actively encourages this by not billing outbound traffic. Mind you they are a bit pricey otherwise. All ISPs apart from the usual suspects will provide you with a static IP(v4) address for little or nothing.

        For example Entanet charge around £15 one off fee for a block of 8. PlusNet, at least for business, will do a /29 for nowt (well they did a few years back - not sure now) once you've filled in the forms. AAISP gave me a /27 at work and a/29 at home - no questions asked. And so on.

        I have an ESXi in my attic with a fair few services running on it including my own public DNS ...

        Cheers

        Jon

    2. Uncle Ron

      Re: The Left's "free" Is Not Free

      Don't forget, and this is a well documented fact, that 70% of Americans have only -one- choice for high-speed internet service: Their local cable system monopoly. Not two choices, which of course would follow each other closely on pricing, but ONE choice. And -of course- DSL is no choice at all. DSL is not fast enough now and will -never- be fast enough.

      There may well be a time when Comcast will offer "bulk sales" to "billing services" at a discount and they will offer and bill internet service at a discount to the end user. That's no competition. It may "look" like competition, but it's just Comcast internet service billed by someone else. The electric utilities do this now for electricity service all over my state. A real phoney system.

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: -of course- DSL is no choice at all

        Uncle Ron, I chose (and continue to choose) DSL over my local cable monopoly. Pokey old DSL is fast enough for my needs. Different horses for different courses, and all that.

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