Andrew Auernheimer (weev) wrote,
Andrew Auernheimer

The reality of debates on #netneutrality

Like most Americans, I fucking despise major communications service providers. Unlike most Americans, I have actually been maliciously placed into prison in retaliation for lawfully criticizing a major telecommunications provider too effectively. Let's place my current feelings towards the various companies in this space somewhere in the realm of a blood feud. So with all the net neutrality debates going on, people ask me why I refuse to support all the campaigning going on for it.

The answer is twofold. Firstly, the campaigns are utterly infantile and have reduced gigantic and complex issues of law and market freedoms into entirely masturbatory webcomics. Secondly, and far more importantly, the current legislative atmosphere to enforce net neutrality is entirely good for the telecommunications oligopoly.

Now, the current campaign centers around companies like Comcast having no competition and providing not enough bandwidth. People think of their negative experiences with Comcast and think that net neutrality will do something to fix this. Net neutrality in its current form will do nothing to fix this, and will actually increase the likelihood that you will never be able to do business with anyone other than Comcast ever again. Designating ISPs as common carriers legally introduces new regulatory burdens and gives the FCC veto power over pricing schemes. Nothing could be more discouraging to new investment and innovation in the sector, and doing so will ensure that Comcast never sees competition. The problem with the current system is not a lack of government. It's the government's involvement in the first place. So many local municipalities entered into agreements with various companies giving them complete control over the last mile of Internet service delivery that competition is already hampered. Comcast knows that if they lose the net neutrality debate as it stands, the temporary rise in cost will be offset by the fact that you will now remain their customer forever.

Innovation is still happening at a furious pace in bandwidth delivery. I know a company, Windy Apple Technologies, that built the lowest latency radios in the history of man. It's all in FPGA and to the limit of physics you cannot have a faster radio. They did this to shave a tiny fraction of a millisecond off of packet latencies. These radios are so good that one day they will send data through space. You cannot see a product like that and think the industry that spawned it is equivalent to power or water. The Internet is brand new and still being defined. Just because it is commonly used doesn't mean we can start pretending like it's just another utility. QoS is complex stuff. It is the hardest part of networking. Figuring out how to best divide up limited resources has always been one of the hard parts of computer science and engineering. What's disgusting is that the people arguing otherwise know better, and are just feigning ignorance for their own benefit.

Now the reason net neutrality is being presented to (rightfully furious) consumers as a solution to telecommunications company abuse is not because those consumers are being safeguarded. In fact, those consumers are not only going to get fucked once via less competition, but fucked twice due to new taxation. Netflix does not care if you are a captive customer of Comcast or not. They do not care how much you pay for your broadband. They care if they have to pay extra to deliver their content. They are not here to free you from the grip of Comcast. They are willing to subject you to Comcast eternally just so that they don't have to pay an extra nickel. The fact that they are willing to destroy the market freedoms that pushed the Internet forward until today over a bunch of TV shows makes me sick to my stomach. At this point, these debates are over which gigantic company is going to pay for a tiny bandwidth bill, and I have very little sympathy for it all.

Don't ever let anybody tell you that regulators are there to help you. They are a bunch of fucking liars.
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