Pros and Cons of Net Neutrality – They’re Lying to Us [As Heard on ROCK 101]
Today Craig talks about what are the pros and cons of Net Neutrality, considering the negative and positive effects. Effects on your business, as well as the general online world.
Is it going to be a better place or not with or without Net Neutrality?
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 11/29/2017
Greg And The Morning Buzz – Pros And Cons Of Net Neutrality – They’re Lying To Us
Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] I haven’t been on Rock 101 for quite a few years. But this morning I got to talk with Greg and the Morning Buzz a little bit about Net Neutrality. Now there is a lot of misinformation out there. Net Neutrality was one of candidate Obama’s primary campaign issues that he followed on. But we talked about what are the pros and cons. How might it affect you negatively, positively. How about business. How about the general online world. Is it going to be a better place or not with or without Net Neutrality. So here we go with Greg and the Morning Buzz.
Greg Kretschmar: [00:00:42] We live in a time when you know with social media you get bombarded with messages all the time. You’re getting news stories on social media that really aren’t news stories at all. There’s some sort of either fabrication or have some sort of angle to push some sort of either agenda or product. So it’s tough to know what’s what. You know, what’s real. But over the last week or so you probably been seeing more and more things and maybe hearing more and more things about this subject called Net Neutrality which is a law that was enacted back in the Obama administration which kind of made the Internet a free for all wide open space where you can get anything, I mean, any message and the methods of which you could get it. The speeds well which is all out there in the open space. Well now, they are actually talking about repealing Net Neutrality. And it’s got a huge backlash and people who don’t think changing that law is a good idea. But the FCC seems to indicate that yeah, it is a good idea and they’re going to move forward with it. So it’s kind of a, it’s a two sided subject and people are very, very passionate about it. And we’re joined on the phone this morning by Craig Peterson who does the show Tech Talk on our sister station. He’s actually heard on a bunch of places all around New England. And I thought I wanted to talk to someone who could kind of give us a little bit of his point of view but also kind of usher us through what this is because it’s going to one way or another have big ramifications for all of us who use the Internet. And other than that doctor in Concord everybody is using the internet so we say good morning to Craig Peterson who joins us now. Hey Craig.
Craig: [00:02:15] Hey good morning.
Greg: [00:02:17] How are you?
Craig: [00:02:18] I’m doing well and boy, what a topic you decide to pick. Are you sure we don’t have a few hours to cover this?
Greg: [00:02:24] I know. And that’s the thing. The more I started reading about it, because my first reaction was the, you know, the inflammatory. Oh absolutely not. I mean you know it can’t affect the freedom of the Internet. It should be free. It should be easy access for everybody which I do agree. But there’s also other sides of the argument which are, which make valid points. So can you break it down to layman’s terms so somebody who’s never heard about Net Neutrality, what it provides for people. Can we start there?
Craig: [00:02:53] Sure. Let’s give a little history here. Moving back about a hundred years we have telephone companies and those telephone companies were investing in infrastructure. They put in lines, you know, our countries held together by those copper lines the phone companies put in all of those years ago. And because of all of the expense the government granted them monopoly and said hey, listen. If we’re going to give you monopoly powers where you can now be the only provider of telephone service in America then we are going to regulate you and in comes the FCC with what’s called Title II. So it’s a public utility. It’s something you don’t have a choice over. And so the FCC said hey, listen. You have to come to us if you want to do something. And because of that we had major stagnation in the phone business. You and I are both old enough to remember phones back in the day. Things never really changed much while we got pushbutton phones at one point but there was not much innovation.
Then along comes the Internet. I’ve been on the internet since 1983. And the Internet changes everything and all of a sudden now there’s a free and open means of communication. You can go ahead and start a company. Do almost whatever you want to on the Internet starting in 1991, in September, when it became legal to do business online. So kind of fast forward here till about 2014, everything was going really well on the internet. Businesses were investing. New types of businesses were out there. You had Uber, who wasn’t quite sure if it was legal or not. And just all kinds of wonderful things. And the Obama administration decided to do something. Now, candidate Obama had been out campaigning on this whole idea of what they were calling at the time Net Neutrality. And that same name exists today. That’s what they’re calling it. And candidate Obama said hey, listen. It’s almost a civil right to have access to the internet. Everyone has to have access. I know a couple of people who say it’s a natural right. So you know I was born with that right to go online. So he was able to get things to through. Now the judge, a few different set of judges but one, in particular, have ruled on this and said it was illegal, that there was no law that allow the FCC to take the Internet and regulate it the same as it has regulated the phone companies for a hundred years.
Greg: [00:05:40] Basically they were saying it was an overreach. It was an overreach and the government didn’t have the power to do just to put regulations on the internet like that and make it like that. Because what that does, correct me if I’m wrong, is by putting it so that everybody gets the same thing all the time. Big companies are less likely to invest to make it better if they don’t get a chance to profit from that. Correct?
Craig: [00:06:00] Well yes. But what’s interesting is they haven’t been investing. And basically, the big companies are sitting on their laurels saying hey, we’re in a company here and we’re talking about Facebook and Twitter and other people. Big companies who are supporting Net Neutrality because you know what that does that makes it so you and I can’t compete against them. Because under Title II, the FCC basically has too much authority. We, if we want to do something different, if we wanted something neutral to call up the Internet, we have to go to the FCC on bended knee and get permission to change the way things are done on the Internet.
Greg: [00:06:39] Let me see if I can, can I just ask a question because I’m trying to put it in the layman’s terms for the person that is just thinking like how is this going to affect me at home. And if I understand it right, let’s say Scotty over here who loves to be on Facebook, he loves to be on YouTube and he’s using all that data. You know if Net Neutrality goes away then those places are going to have to compete for the amount of space that they use on the Internet what they called the pipe. The pipe is how data is transmitted. And correct me if I’m wrong, but it would be like an ala carte kind of system could happen. I don’t know if it’s going to. But it could where somebody like Facebook will say it was because we use so much, or YouTube because they use, or Netflix because they use so much in the pipeline. They have to charge more. And so you have to charge more.
Laura: [00:07:26] What about the speed. Like I heard that if you’re, if I’m just a homeowner that oh well, I don’t need a speed as all these businesses who are going to obviously come in and be able to afford that.
Greg: [00:07:38] Yeah. Was my description close Craig?
Craig: [00:07:40] Yeah. It’s interesting to look at that because here’s the bottom line. Should an old lady, my grandmother sitting at home who wants to send a couple of pictures of her grandkids be paying for the guy living next door who has Netflix running all of the time, who’s online playing online video games. And her bills supplement him because somehow it should all be “fair”. And the same things true with Netflix. If you look at any evening here in the United States of America, the majority of traffic on the Internet is Netflix and a couple of others. I’m trying to remember. YouTube is only 17 percent.
Greg: [00:08:25] Hulu.
Craig: [00:08:26] Yeah, Hulu is way up there. So let’s say Netflix, which is the biggest consumer of Internet traffic out there, should Netflix be charged by the people that own the pipes? That’s a big question because Netflix doesn’t own the infrastructure. They don’t own the pipes. They don’t own the delivery methods. All they have is content.
Greg: [00:08:35] Do you understand what he’s saying? Because what he’s saying is you’re using the same highway. If you’re driving with a truck, a trailer truck, the tollbooth is going to cost more than a car. It’s kind of the same analogy correct?
Craig: [00:09:06] Yeah, absolutely right. Absolutely. So, right now the big companies had stopped investing in internet infrastructure. But I want to pull up one more point here. You know I mentioned the hundred years of telephone wires bringing our phone system to a lot of homes. People now are using the Internet, they’re using fiber, they’re using cable. But now we’ve got 5G cellular service coming up, data service, which is going to be a hundred times faster. So now is that the Internet? That’s new technology that’s coming down. That’s new technology the FCC is not trying to regulate. How about in another ten years, what will we be using? Do we really want to lock in the business practices of today for the next 100 years?
Greg: [00:10:00] So that’s an argument that would get rid of, you know, Net Neutrality. The people that’s saying, and I know this is kind of like going to school and hearing this stuff but it’s important and it’s going to happen one way or the other. So you got to know about it. And one of the one of the complaints that people have about, if you do away with Net Neutrality, is let’s say I have that package that you know I’m paying extra for you know the providers can direct what you see. Let’s say you want to look up something, Scotty, you know that if you go to Bing, you get better dirty pictures of celebrities. They won’t let you go to Bing, they’ll direct you to somebody that uses their services and is involved with them on a business relationship. So they have a way of kind of directing content you know or directing you to the content they want you to see instead of the Internet being the wide open wild, wild, west that it is right now. That’s the argument against it.
Craig: [00:10:53] That’s a different argument though because what you’re talking about is already regulated by the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission. Because if you’re, if you have a business relationship with someone you have to disclose it. If they’re redirecting you somewhere because someone is paying them, it has to be disclosed. And now you have the ability to change. You can use your cell phone for data. You don’t have to use your cable TV provider or whoever. It’s not the same monopolistic thing that we had with the phone companies. But yeah I think the problem is we have big companies. You’ve started out this segment by talking about how Facebook, etcetera, they’re trying to block what they’re calling fake news. So they’re already blocking this access to information. They’re already blocking our ability to communicate and express ourselves under these Net Neutrality rules. They are also the people who are saying yeah, we’re pro-Net Neutrality. What’s the reason when you get behind the kimono, it looks like it’s because they don’t want any real competition out there.
Greg: [00:12:05] Yeah. It’s such a two-sided story and it is scary because we don’t.
Craig: [00:12:11] It’s neutral. Everybody wants it.
Greg: [00:12:12] We don’t want to trust any big companies. And this is Craig Peterson from Tech Talk talking about Net Neutrality which the FCC wants to do away with. You can feel either way. And if this conversation does anything it should make you read about it. Go find out about it and go read more about it so you can you know figure out where you want to fall on the subject. Did you have something for us?
Scotty: [00:12:34] Yeah. Am I going to notice any difference in the way I use my internet in the next couple of months?
Craig: [00:12:35] No. No. Before 2014 everything was fine. It was all hunky dory. The FCC overreach their authority and things actually got worse. So you can expect things to get better. They already have. Just on the rumors, we have the major phone companies, for instance, and cable companies, have already introduced new products to compete with each other now that they’re worried that they might have to compete. So if anything, at least in the short term, you’re going to see an improvement. But you know the bottom line is kind of what Greg was talking about, this basic concept of treat all data the same makes sense. The reality, however, is a lot different. That’s not how networks work.
Greg: [00:13:22] And as far as blocking websites and things like that even though it may not be happening now you don’t think that’s a concern from people that say that’s their number one concern about Net Neutrality is that somebody will limit what they can and can’t see.
Craig: [00:13:33] Well again that’s already happening when we’re talking about Facebook and YouTube and Twitter.
Greg: [00:13:40] Yeah, but I’m not. Yeah, I guess you’re right. I get your point. The Facebook thing, yeah.
Craig: [00:13:42] Yeah, but in addition, you have the ability to move. If you don’t like what your cable provider is providing, move to something else. And within the next two years, you’re going to be able to get it from multiple wireless carriers faster than you can get Internet right now. So you have that ability to vote with your dollar.
Greg: [00:14:01] What do you think. I mean, is that a foregone conclusion inside the tech world that that’s going to happen. They are going to repeal. Because the feeling is that that’s coming, right?
Craig: [00:14:12] Ajit Pai, who is the new chairman of the FCC says it’s absolutely happening. He wants to get more choice for consumers. And I think that’s what’ll happen ultimately. I understand people’s concerns but I think frankly they’re unfounded and will be much better off without the heavy handed regulation that’s in place right now.
Greg: [00:14:33] We’ll see what happens. I just I know it’s a big deal that is kind of going on and people kind of see it in their peripheral vision so I wanted to kind of give them at least a couple of questions that they could ask and maybe go read about it themselves. I’m not making the decision for anybody because it depends upon where you’re at. It depends on what you think. But Craig we appreciate it taking some time with us this morning. Craig Peterson from Tech Talk. And what time is the show on our sister station AM 610.
Craig: [00:15:03] Well, I’m on with Jack Heath at 7:30 every Monday morning. And I have my own show Saturdays at 11:00 AM.
Greg: [00:15:04] Alright. And he covers everything. He covers everything from, you know, phone stuff to anything technical at all. Obviously, that’s why they call it Tech Talk. So we’ll be definitely having you again Craig. Sounds good to talk to you man. Thanks for coming on with us today.
Craig: [00:15:14] Take care guys. Bye-bye.