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Response to Ron Wyden Net Neutrality chat

Our response to US Senator Ron Wyden’s top 5 quotes as decided by Oregon Live, from an interview about Net Neutrality that was on Reddit on May 13th 2014.
See the original article Here
Ron: “…Without rules to guarantee all web traffic travels on the same track the economic might of big corporations will shove out competition from start-ups and disruptive technologies, depriving Americans of the next wave of innovative services and products…”
Portlandia: This is incorrect and shows a lack of basic understanding of how traffic on the Internet operates. Innovators like us have small traffic flows because we are small and don’t have a lot of customers compared to the titans like Google. Our small traffic flows cannot saturate most Internet pipes. But, large traffic flows from companies like Netflix can easily saturate many of the pipes that comprise the Internet. These flows need to be throttled from time to time by the major networks that make up the Internet. If the government forces the networks to leave large traffic sources alone then they can easily swamp parts of the Internet.
Ron: “…A lot of progress is being made, but it wasn’t very long ago that the Internet was referred to up here as a series of tubes…”
Portlandia: That is exactly what it is. The Internet is not Netflix or Reddit. It is a series of tubes and the Net Neutrality is attempting to regulate traffic on those tubes. (the actual physical composition is mostly glass fiber but the analogy to tubes works well). A comment like that almost seems as though they HAD a clearer understanding of the Internet not very long ago that’s being erased by the lobby of the large titans.
Ron: “…The only way to address threats to net neutrality now is with enforceable rules, but in the long run, what would be best for the Internet and best for consumers is more competition…”
Portlandia: You can only look at what the FCC is doing to see that the government’s view of competition is “Clash of the Titans”. There is no desire or room or interest in supporting the smaller ISPs that is why so many of them have gone out of business, or become application service providers. Google and ATT are not interested in going head to head against each other or against providers like Comcast with higher speed service. That would just cause a price war which would reduce their profits. Instead they will make a point to only overlap each other’s networks in the most densely populated business areas.
Ron: “…PIPA/SOPA wasn’t a big topic until millions of Americans stood up and made themselves heard…”
Portlandia: PIPA and SOPA are horses that died 2 years ago and are still being beaten to somehow make the case the government understands the Internet. Complaints against PIPA and SOPA got traction because those were easy to understand issues. But Net Neutrality is a complex subject and would better be served by the Senators bringing in companies like us that build and troubleshoot the technology used on the Internet. We feel that users who do not know what protocols like (for example) Netflow are used for probably don’t have a good enough grasp of the technology to really understand the implications. As long as Senators like Wyden are going directly to non-technical users on this topic instead of the technical people, it seems apparent their real interest is positive publicity and not solving the actual issues.
Ron: “…With net neutrality, the government is being drawn in by the effect that the monopoly ISPs are having on innovation and competition on the net…At the same time we must be vigilant about the ways Internet surveillance can undermine democracy….”
Portlandia: The worlds governments are getting involved with the Internet because governments understand that unless they have the support of the majority of their citizens, they will be ex-governments. Their main interest is, in effect, dissemination of pro-government communications, which is basically what this interview is. While some government communication over the Internet is good, much of it is essentially propaganda. We only need to look at the whitewashing and lack of ownership of the CRC debacle and the Cover Oregon debacle to see what the government’s real interest in the Internet is…if they cared a whit about the taxpayer’s opinions the people responsible would make themselves available for online response instead of just posting whitewashing.
We welcome anyone like Ron to contact us with questions about the Internet and Net Neutrality. We would be happy to post them here along with our responses.