[discuss] African take on Net Neutrality

Barry Shein bzs at world.std.com
Fri May 16 18:19:46 UTC 2014

Seun Ojedeji responding to me...

>> Others argued that Comcast charges their last-mile customers for
>> connections and, implicitly, bandwidth and those customers pay them so they
>> can get to services like Netflix.
>This is valid, however if demand from users of netflix runs to say 2gbps
>concurrently and netflix only have a 1gb connection from its ISP then it
>will just make sense for netflix to upgrade its bandwidth to 2gb
>(especially the upload)

Well, this is the old roll out more hose or stand closer to the fire
one often hears in men's rooms.

Should Netflix pay for more bandwidth to provide for their customers'
demands, or should Comcast provide more bandwidth to provide for THEIR
customers' demands. Who all happen to be the exact same people.

But to clarify I think Netflix is happy to pay for whatever bandwidth
is needed for their service, that's not the issue.

It's that Comcast at first refused to sell it to them (I'm sure
Comcast corporate would word that differently.)

So the issue of whether this was anti-competitive arose since both
Comcast and Netflix are content (mostly professional video) providers.

Then Comcast said ok we'll sell it to you but you have to pay us a
premium because you're making all this money off our last-mile

And in there somewhere (January 2014) the FCC lost a case to Verizon
(I believe the largest phone/mobile/internet company in the US.)

The fairly high court (D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) said the FCC did
not have the legal authority to enforce the "network neutrality" rules
it had issued.

So probably not coincidental that this all arose a few weeks later.

>> That is, Comcast is double-dipping, charging their customer for the
>> bandwidth and again charging Netflix for that bandwidth. Comcast can do
>> this, the argument continues, because of their dominance in the
>> last-mile market. The bandwidth argument was just an excuse made possible
>> by market inefficiencies.
>For me i think its just a coincidence that netflix happen to be on comcast
>network. What if they were not on that network, will they not have upgraded
>their bandwidth once they notice they were hitting threshold?

Well, this speaks to anti-trust and all that. Comcast is the largest
home internet service provider in the US. They are trying to buy
Time-Warner, the second largest.

Much of that is built out of government protected monopolies and very
small-N oligopolies.

If these were fruit stands in the local market we'd just say let the
market sort it all out.

But it isn't so it's reasonable to raise issues of anti-trust, unfair
competition, etc.

>> This has broader implications for the entire internet, particularly in
>> terms of regulatory frameworks.
>IMO If this is an issue then everything about internet business is also
>PS: Open to hear where i may have missed it.

The anti-trust / market power issue and govt subsidy (in the form of
protected markets.)

        -Barry Shein

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