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Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49341989) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

It is a monopoly based on market forces, not government intervention

It is a physical monopoly based on wires. In general, we don't want lots of companies building out cable and telephone wires. The government has acknowledged that, and established a system to decide who gets to control the wires. There is a way to fix that regulatory framework and separate the ISPs from the telcos. That would be awesome, but it isn't how things are today.

You're telling me there is a statewide exclusive franchise agreement for "Comcast of Maryland" covering the entire state of Maryland, for both cable service and ISP

No, I'm telling you that if you look at the municipalities in Maryland, you will find many counties and cities that exclusively contracted with Comcast. Using the Baltimore City example: since there is only one franchise, and the local government has not granted a second license for at least 35 years, that's what we call "exclusive."

It doesn't matter why it needed to be written...

Ahhh, but knowing this is important! These laws were written to try and combat monopolies.

, the fact that it exists is sufficient proof that no monopoly for the ISP service was granted to Verizon or any other telco.

Actually, the fact that it exists is a consequence of the presence of monopolies.

It prevents them from ACTING like they had a monopoly, which it a clear sign that they do NOT have such a monopoly --

It tries to prevent them from acting like a monopoly, because without the existence of this document they are one. But it failed, because they really are a monopoly, and merely saying "you have to play fair" didn't really work out. :-(

I can name at least one ISP in this town that will sell me their services using the local telco wires.

That's good: the law we are discussing is what makes that possible. Before that law existed, the telcos often refused to allow other companies to use those wires. When a company controls a physical resource, via government granted franchise agreement, and refuses to allow other companies in, we have a term for that... :-)

Just don't make the mistake of assuming that, because you have such an ISP, the 15 year history of consolidation, buyouts, and bankruptcies didn't happen.

Trying to use a law that is explicit in stopping a company from acting as a monopoly as proof that the monopoly was granted to them is, well,

Logic!

I'll stop replying because this has just gotten silly. Originally, I thought you had some good points about Alamo and I thought I could fill in some details and expand on it. When it turned to disagreement I thought maybe I could figure out where the miscommunication or misunderstanding is. But an argument over whether or not these companies are monopolies is pointless. That is a matter of fact, law, and a consequence of history. This topic is not something with 2 sides that can be debated. It is well understood by most Americans since they live it. Nobody likes their cable company or telephone company, and very few people have ISPs other than those two.

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49339273) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

The telco has a monopoly. The cable company, however, most often does not.

That's not true, go ahead and google "cable monopolies" or something like that. If you live in an area where you have more than one cable company, you are in an unusual situation. If you want just one example: Comcast in Maryland. They are a monopoly. If you want other examples, just google "cable monopolies." Here's a map of them around the US.

No, in fact, the telco laws say that Verizon must allow OTHER ISPs to use their wires to provide ISP service. How can a law that MANDATES access to the telco hardware for other ISPs be considered to be granting a monopoly to the telco for ISP service?

Why do you think that law needed to be written?

The law that mandates access to the telco hardware for other ISPs isn't granting them the monopoly: it is trying to prevent the monopoly. It would be circular to say "since there is a law that tries to prevent the monopoly from taking over, therefore, there is not a monopoly." Especially since the law didn't work.

Comment: This is the dumbest research I've seen this year (Score 5, Informative) 482

by MobyDisk (#49336081) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

This is the dumbest research I've seen in 2015. There was actually no computation involved -- they just wanted to write a long string to disk. They concluded that adding the superfluous step of concatenating strings in memory, then writing to disk, was slower. Well duh! That's not what memory is for!

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49333293) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

Fixed wireless broadband provider?

Wireless? I see nothing on Alamo's site indicates that they are a wireless broadband provider. If they are wireless, much of this entire discussion goes out the window. :-)

The franchise that creates the telco monopoly

I can only guess that you are using the word "franchise" to mean something different. The word doesn't mean the same thing in this context as it does with fast food restaurants.

In this context, "franchise" means "license." A local public service commission grants a "franchise license" to a company like Verizon. It's one company: Verizon in Maryland is the same Verizon that is in Ohio and Virginia. That franchise license means that the company receiving it is a monopoly, and is subject to monopoly regulation. That one monopoly company provides both ISP and telecom service. Each "franchise" isn't a separate company like a McDonald's "franchise" where each one is independently owned. And the ISP and the telco aren't separate companies.

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49331991) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

Except Verizon the ISP is not a monopoly just because Verizon the telephone company is.

It's one company.

The customer signal has nothing to do with Verizon, so I don't see how Verizon can stonewall anything in that instance.

Verizon is providing the wires that it runs over. (In our example Verizon = the hypothetical telco for Alamo.) I already explained how the telcos can and did stonewall, and provided examples. It's history. It already happened.

There is no monopoly power with respect to being an ISP.

True. The monopoly power comes from being a telco.

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49331263) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

I have no idea who they buy their upstream connections from, but if it is the telco they are certainly not being put out of business by the telco -- the telco is making money from selling the service.

Read the history on this. The ILECs put the ISPs out of business. It already happened. Covad, Rhythms, CavTel, Erols, ... history is littered with thousands of companies like Alamo that were pushed out of business or bought-out by the telco because the telco didn't want to compete. The only reason they allow Alamo to exist is because the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (I think that is the one) requires them to lease them the lines.

Take a meander through history with me:
First the telcos were not ISPs and everyone used dial-up. The telcos are "neutral" to the ISPs at this point. This is before 1996. Then broadband came. The ISPs started leasing DSL and ISDN lines from the telcos. Telcos are still "neutral." Then the telcos start becoming ISPs directly, which presents a conflict of interest between them and the ISP. Why should they allow an ISP to use their lines? So they simply refused to allow the ISPs access to the lines at all. Then the law changed to require them to lease the lines (when this happened varied based on local laws), but at end-user prices, not wholesale prices. Over the next 10 years, the remaining ISPs died off. First it was consolidation, then the telcos bought them. That takes us to today, where almost everyone uses the telco or cable provider as their ISP.

Alamo is one of a few who are left. It might be that Alamo exists only exist because the telco doesn't want to provide ISP service in rural areas, and Alamo does that for them.

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49331147) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

The ISP is not granted a monopoly of any kind, and no such monopoly exists in practice.

This is the point where we are disagreeing.

That statement is not true because they aren't two separate companies. Verizon, the ISP, does not pay Verizon, the telephone company, for leased access to the lines. It gets them for free. Alamo, the ISP, does pay Verizon, the telephone company, for access to the lines. Verizon, the ISP, will get impeccable service from Verizon, the telephone company, when a customer cannot get a good signal. Alamo, the ISP, will get stonewalled by Verizon, the telephone company, when a customer cannot get a good signal.

This happens because Alamo, the ISP, is not legally permitted to install wires in the ground or on the telephone poles. Verizon, the ISP, is allowed to do that. Alamo cannot fairly compete with a company that has been granted that monopoly power.

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49329145) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

Comcast is not a defacto monopoly because it is an ISP, it is because it started that way as a cable television provider, and the ISP service is carried on the same hardware. Ditto for the telco ISPs.

Bingo. And that is the real underlying problem.

You're mixing the different parts of the business together.

I'm not mixing them together. The local government and PSC is mixing them together. :-( I want to fix that problem too.

A franchise is not a monopoly unless it is explicitly made that way.

True, but that is what they are doing. :-( I hear you when you say "They aren't a monopoly, they are just a franchise! There could be other franchises!" The problem is the governments only grant one franchise license because they don't want more than one group building out infrastructure. (A similar thing happens with electric utilities.) There is a fix for this, but there is political pressure in the way... we will get to that in the end.

It is tough to compete with any larger provider. That's life. Mom and Pop grocery stores have a problem competing with the large chains, even if the chain is only a dozen stores.

It's not like that. Imagine if the chain grocery store owned the roads that lead to the stores. That is more or less what happens here. For example, I have lived in Baltimore City and the suburbs, and I chose to use Cavalier Telephone (AKA "CavTel") as my DSL provider. CavTel, like almost every other ISP that was not a franchise monopoly, is out of business. Why did they all die out?

The law requires that Verizon (the local telecom franchise monopoly) must lease their lines to CavTel. But wait... is Verizon really going to want a company competing with them? Is legally forcing them to allow competition going to really work? Well, it didn't. One reason was price. The law allowed Verizon to do lease lines to CavTel so at the same rate they offered DSL+ISP services to me. So that makes Cavtel more expensive right away. CavTel couldn't t service the lines themselves. Just like me, they had to call Verizon. And what are the odds that Verizon is going to provide CavTel good response time when CavTel is competing with them? There were lots of other problems, which is why most of those those ISPs were either bought-out or went out of business.

That is ultimately the problem, it is why your point about ISPs is valid. Those two parts should not be mixed, and thus the FCC should not need to pass Network Neutrality rules. Instead, we should bust the monopolies, split them ISPs out from the cable/telecom franchise monopolies, and life will be good.

Is Alamo somehow different?

Let me Google that for you. Alamo is neither a cable television nor telephone provider. It is a broadband internet service.

Exactly, Alamo is no different. That's what I was trying to say. Sorry for being unclear. They are the same as CavTel was. They must be licensing lines from a local telecom. Good luck with that, everybody else who tries that dies off. Let's dig into that:

Your only options are to use VPN, or lease lines from the local telephone monopoly.

Whose only option? The ISP? Yes, the ISP has to pay for it's connection to the Internet. The customer? No, there are other options. In fact, Alamo Broadband is a perfect example of one.

Again, sorry for the confusion. We are missing each other here. By "VPN" I meant an ISP who offers service to anyone over VPN. There are very few of them (Earthlink?) and that's not what Alamo is so nevermind that direction.

So yes, the ISP has to pay for it's connection to the Internet, just like the telecom or cable company. But if they are not a telecom/cable company, then they need some indirect way to get to the customer. When they lease lines from the telephone company, we often call that DSL. But that lease is where it turns into the funky regulatory situation I described above. If they do that, they are at the mercy of the telephone company who will try to find ways to push them out of business.

You mean where the FCC net neutrality rules apply to ISPs and not just cable TV or telco operations?

No, that isn't what I meant. Sorry for being unclear. I meant "Is Alamo somwhere that the regulatory structure is different from what I described above?"

Ultimately, the story of the late 90s and early 2000s is that almost every "ISP" who was not a telephone company or a cable company died. The solution to this is to do as you seem to be suggesting: Have ISPs that are not franchise monopolies. But for those ISPs to succeed, we must also bar the franchise monopolies from being ISPs. They need to go back to what they were around 1995: telecom infrastructure providers. Then the customer will use those lines along with PPP or PPPoE to connect to an ISP. That is why we had thousands of ISPs back then. The phone companies weren't getting trying to be ISPs as well, and getting in the way.

Go ahead and support Alamo the same way I supported Cavtel. I hope they survive. It would be really fun to chat about this some time with someone who knows the scenario. I'm not hard to find. Call me. :-)

Comment: Re:Only Republicans are stupid enough... (Score 1) 314

by MobyDisk (#49327035) Attached to: First Lawsuits Challenging FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules Arrive

I know of no government granted monopoly status to ISPs.

Most ISPs are either cable companies or telephone companies, who are granted their monopoly status by the local public service commission (PSC). The PSC will decide which companies can bury wires and/or place wires on the utility poles. (Those poles are often called "telephone" poles which gives you an idea of the monopoly mindset.)

Technically, anyone can be an ISP, but that is really tough to compete when the local monopoly is providing ISP service as well. Your only options are to use VPN, or lease lines from the local telephone monopoly. I could go into why that doesn't really work out most of the time.

Do the FCC net neutrality rules actually limit themselves to places where there are actually defacto or dejure monopolies, or do they apply to every ISP? If they apply to every ISP, then they are not regulating the actions of monopolies, they are regulating many non-monopolies as well.

Hmmm, fair point. Do you know of any place in the US where that situation exists? Is Alamo somehow different?

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