Fresno, CA
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  • FCC killed net neutrality. What does it mean for gamers?


    Big B = Byte
    little b = bit

    8 bits in a Byte

    so 8 Mbps = 1MBps

    ISPs almost always quote little b bits, because it's 8 times bigger. Apps can go either way, but it does seem most report in Big B bytes.

    I often wonder if ISPs don't pay the bigger speedtest sites... or if ISPs don't do some "traffic shaping and prioritization". I know I have a lot of issues with my ISP, I can go to speedtest.net, and it ~looks~ fine, and that's what the tech support will always steer me towards when I call to complain. But other many other sites will time out left and right.
  • FCC killed net neutrality. What does it mean for gamers?

    Quizzical said:

    There is an important difference between:

    1)  The government has granted some ISP an artificial monopoly.
    2)  An ISP has a monopoly in a particular area because they're the only one that has bothered to build a network.

    The former needs to be ended and quickly.  That's a completely unforced error and insane public policy.  The latter is perhaps undesirable, but the reality is that it's just not that profitable to build out networks in areas that aren't that heavily populated.

    There is also an important difference between:

    1)  There's only one way to get on the Internet at all from a particular area.
    2)  One ISP offers a massively better product (higher bandwidth, higher or no bandwidth caps, better ping, etc.) than any alternatives.

    The true monopoly of the first situation these days would require you to live in a really out of the way place.  But the second can also have a lot of the undesirable characteristics of a monopoly, depending on how bad the second best ISP in an area is.  If only one ISP offers anything better than dialup, then that's pretty much a monopoly.  If the second best ISP offers 5 Mbps without any data caps, or perhaps 4G LTE that caps you at 10 GB/month, that meaningfully restricts what the best ISP can do even if it's far from ideal.  If the second best ISP offers 50 Mbps without data caps, you've got good competition and shouldn't complain.

    I would submit that areas that have a competitive market in Internet access shouldn't have regulations designed under the assumption that all ISPs there simultaneously have a monopoly.  For areas that don't have much competition, getting more competition should be the primary focus, and treating the ISP there as a monopoly to be regulated should at most be a temporary thing with plans to drop it if more competition arrives.
    I do agree on the whole, particularly your second set of statements, but I take issue with "An ISP has a monopoly in a particular area because they're the only one that has bothered to build a network."

    Your making the assumption they just don't want to invest in infrastructure, or the hassle of dealing with local permitting.

    That is not the case. Take Google Fiber. They definitely had the cash to do it. They had the willingness to put up with local bureaucratic permitting. They even got it rolled out in a few select places. Why didn't they go wide open with installation and enrollment?

    Those "local monopolies" lobby very, very hard to keep local laws on the books that make it all but impossible to roll out a terrestrial network that could compete with local telecom/cable. It's a heck of a lot cheaper, a lot more effective, and generates a lot less headlines when you are doing it locally, rather than fighting a huge Federal battle on Headline News. Not many places have things like "One Touch Make Ready", and that right there alone is a huge stumbling block to being able to install another network in a city.

    I won't claim this is why Google Fiber stopped rolling out, there may be any number of reasons behind that. But I bet it sure didn't help. I know in our city, if Comcast, AT&T, or the electric company wants to run a new line, the permits are drawn and they are underground in less than 6 months. If anyone else wants to run a new line... you get stuck in a permitting hell, and you have to arrange for any interference to be handled safely - which means paying and scheduling AT&T, Comcast, and the electric company, individually, to come out and make their services ready for you to be able to add  yours. You might be able to get your cable in the ground in 2-3 years, and it will cost you 3-4x what it costs the other companies to do.

    Also, as an aside - what happened to ISPs in areas where Google actually came to town, or even threatened to come to town? And why doesn't that level of activity occur everywhere all the time, if companies really are interested in providing better service?
  • FCC killed net neutrality. What does it mean for gamers?

    Razzel333 said:

    If you have such insight of what is going to happen tomorrow. I want lotto numbers now. When is the world going to end? How? Is the world really going to run out of fossil fuels by the year 2000? Will Y2K really cause all the computers in the world to crash and never boot again?  Will the polar ice caps melt and flood half the world by 2012? Will Lassie save Timmy?

    Is the truth here...this is exactly what you would do if you were in charge and had the power? Are you projecting?

    One thing to think about: 

    Maybe if people hadn't made such a big deal about Y2K, fossil fuels, environmental impact, etc.... maybe all those bad things might have come to pass. Maybe we have avoided them (so far) because a few Cassandras did stand up and say the sky is falling.

    Just because they didn't come to pass doesn't necessarily mean they were wrong at the time.

  • FCC killed net neutrality. What does it mean for gamers?

    Daranar said:
    It's nice to hear some reasonable people talking about this.  The sky isn't falling, we've merely gone back to pre 2015 regulations, when the internet was....virtually the same it is today.  
    There's a difference between the Internet now, and the Internet of the 90's and early 00's.

    Technically - it's the same series of tubes that the late Ted Stevens famously described back in 2006 (which, ironically, was also a Net Neutrality discussion, back then).

    What has changed is the way society uses the Internet. This past Black Friday helps to illustrate that - Brick and Mortar stores saw sales fall from 2016, while online shopping exploded (and you saw nearly the same headline in 2016, and 2015 ecommerce reached parity with B&M).

    That's just one aspect, but a powerful one - the Internet has become a strong part of the US Economy.

    Then there are the day to day tools. A lot of phone service (maybe most of the land line, I don't have a statistic for that) has shifted to VOIP. Video conferencing has expanded into medical service for non-threatening followups and rural community care. Netflix and other streaming services have done for the TV & Movie industry what Spotify and Pandora did for the music industry. Gaming has gone online in a big way - so much so now that developers are emphasizing the online shared experience over (and at the expense of) the single player game. How many AAA games are shipped now (apart from Nintendo) that are not heavily online based, if not almost exclusively online based?

    And that list goes on.

    The Internet is now a part of life in America. It's like electricity and telephone were in the 1930s - not quite everyone has it yet, and you can live without it, but "living" takes on a whole new definition without having it available. Internet (while maybe not a utility) is reaching that level of impact, it's around the corner. It's become so deeply ingrained into people's lives that to not have it will alienate you from a large part of America (and the world).

    That is what has changed since "light touch" regulations allowed the Internet to thrive. Now, maybe the Internet would continue to thrive under light touch regulations for several more years. After all, Bell was founded in 1877, and the government didn't feel the need to step in and heavily regulate that until 1974 (and even then, the "breakup" wasn't official until 1982). And ironically, you could also very well say, Bell only became a monopoly in the first place because other government regulations discouraged competition. 

    But I'd like to think we learned some lessons from that, and could avoid some of that without taking 100 years to get there. Which is the real root of the issue - lack of competition. Net Neutrality is only needed when competition doesn't exist, and it's largely local laws that are preventing terrestrial ISPs from being able to compete. 
  • So, Where Are YOU on Net Neutrality?

    Net Neutality has nothing to do with censorship.

    It didn't give control of the internet to the government, it just made sure the ISPs didn't have control either.

    But, it's all history now.