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[PASSED] Repeal "Internet Net Neutrality Act"

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[PASSED] Repeal "Internet Net Neutrality Act"

Postby Auralia » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:49 pm

Repeal "Internet Net Neutrality Act"
Category: Repeal | Resolution: GAR #89

Affirming the importance of network neutrality and regulating Internet service providers to prevent content discrimination and other anti-competitive business practices,

Regretting that the flaws present in GAR #89, "Internet Net Neutrality Act", necessitate its repeal,

Recognizing that the target resolution prohibits Internet service providers from engaging in "network discrimination", defined in part as "intentionally blocking, interfering with, discriminating against, impairing, or degrading the ability of any person to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet,"

Alarmed that many standard, common sense Internet pricing models, such as charging more for faster speeds, greater usage, and higher quality of service, are prohibited by the target resolution because they technically constitute "interfer[ence] with...the ability of [a] person to access...the Internet" as well as "discriminat[ion] against...person[s]" based on price paid,

Stunned that this restriction effectively requires Internet service providers to charge a person with very high levels of Internet usage the same amount for Internet access as a person with very low levels of Internet usage, which is ridiculous,

Concerned that this restriction harms both consumers and Internet service providers by preventing the former from purchasing an Internet plan appropriate to their needs and income while precluding the latter from recouping the costs of their substantial investments in network infrastructure,

Emphasizing that these pricing models are considered to be perfectly legitimate in virtually all other industries and markets, and there is no rational basis for singling out Internet service providers for special treatment,

Troubled by the redundancy in the target resolution's title ("Internet Net Neutrality Act"),

Hoping that a replacement network neutrality resolution will soon be passed without these flaws,

The General Assembly,

Repeals GAR #89, "Internet Net Neutrality Act".



What is tiered service?

Tiered service is the practice of varying the quality of a service with the price paid for that service. For instance, when you visit the post office, you are given the choice between regular and express mail service. Express mail service is faster but more expensive.

Tiered service is good for consumers because it allows them to purchase a service appropriate to what they need and what they can afford. For instance, if the post office only offered regular mail service, customers would not be able to send mail quicker than usual when necessary. Similarly, if the post office only offered express mail service, poorer customers wouldn't be able to afford sending mail. Tiered service is also good for businesses because it allows them to capture a larger customer base.

Tiered service is common sense. It is the norm in every industry and every market.

Does the target resolution prohibit Internet service providers from offering tiered services?

Yes. The target resolution bans "network discrimination", which is defined as "intentionally blocking, interfering with, discriminating against, impairing, or degrading the ability of any person to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet or imposing a fee beyond the end user fees associated with providing the content, service, or application to the consumer."

Restrictions on Internet speed and usage are artificially imposed by Internet service providers, which means that they constitute "intentionally blocking, interfering with...impairing, or degrading the ability of any person to access...the Internet." This interference is obviously justified, but it is nevertheless illegal under the target resolution.

In addition, since different customers will have different Internet plans, they also constitute "discriminating against" different customers based on the price they paid for their respective services. This interpretation of the resolution is confirmed by the condemnation of "discriminatory pricing schemes" in the target resolution's preamble. Again, this "discrimination" is obviously justified, but it is nevertheless illegal under the target resolution.

Please note that while tiered service does not constitute "imposing a fee beyond the end user fees associated with providing the content, service, or application to the consumer," it is still considered "network discrimination" under the target resolution because it falls under the first part of that definition.

Is there a replacement in the works?

I have written a replacement for the target resolution, which is available here.

Have you previously attempted to repeal this resolution?

Yes. In fact, the very first proposal I wrote was a repeal of the Internet Net Neutrality Act. For more information, see here.
Last edited by Auralia on Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:04 pm, edited 26 times in total.
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Postby Araraukar » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:33 pm

Maybe you should stick to one repeal at a time, rather than try to repeal all the resolutions by people you have a grudge with (or whatever that OOC chatter in your other thread is).

EDIT: Maybe you should still stick to one repeal at a time, especially when the other resolution you're trying to repeal is GA#2?
Last edited by Araraukar on Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Auralia » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:39 pm

Araraukar wrote:Maybe you should stick to one repeal at a time, rather than try to repeal all the resolutions by people you have a grudge with (or whatever that OOC chatter in your other thread is).


I don't have a grudge with the author of this resolution. I don't even know who they are, and they don't even exist anymore.
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Postby Linux and the X » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:46 pm

Didn't you try to do this already?
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Postby Sovreignry » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:48 pm

Linux and the X wrote:Didn't you try to do this already?


That's what I was thinking.
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Postby Auralia » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:49 pm

Sovreignry wrote:
Linux and the X wrote:Didn't you try to do this already?


That's what I was thinking.


Yes. I'm trying again.
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Postby Linux and the X » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:59 pm

Auralia wrote:
Sovreignry wrote:
That's what I was thinking.


Yes. I'm trying again.

You think it'll go any better this time? I suppose that's why you decided to make a new thread; you didn't want to have all the arguments against it so readily accessible. I guess the failure to even link to the prior thread — as WA tradition expects — was simply an oversight. Or perhaps just an expression of your dislike for how the WA works.
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Postby Auralia » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:02 pm

Linux and the X wrote:I suppose that's why you decided to make a new thread; you didn't want to have all the arguments against it so readily accessible.


The previous thread is in the WA Archives.

Linux and the X wrote:I guess the failure to even link to the prior thread — as WA tradition expects — was simply an oversight.


It was. I've made the appropriate change to the OP.
Last edited by Auralia on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Araraukar » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:48 am

Auralia wrote:The previous thread is in the WA Archives.

Link, please?

Auralia wrote:It's in the OP.

Now it is. Ty, but for others to need to point it out to you isn't the best way to present yourself as an honest person with nothing to hide. :P
Last edited by Araraukar on Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Auralia » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:21 am

Araraukar wrote:
Auralia wrote:The previous thread is in the WA Archives.

Link, please?

It's in the OP.
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Postby Auralia » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:47 pm

Araraukar wrote:Now it is. Ty, but for others to need to point it out to you isn't the best way to present yourself as an honest person with nothing to hide. :P


Look at the OP's edit date; I added the link before you asked for it.
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Postby The Scientific States » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:13 pm

Strongly opposed, there is no good reason to repeal the resolution and your arguments provided in your resolution fail to point out any real flaws in the original resolution.
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Postby Auralia » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:25 pm

The Scientific States wrote:Strongly opposed, there is no good reason to repeal the resolution and your arguments provided in your resolution fail to point out any real flaws in the original resolution.


An unjust ban on tiered service isn't a "real flaw"?
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Postby Linux and the X » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:20 pm

Auralia wrote:
The Scientific States wrote:Strongly opposed, there is no good reason to repeal the resolution and your arguments provided in your resolution fail to point out any real flaws in the original resolution.


An unjust ban on tiered service isn't a "real flaw"?

It wasn't six months ago either.
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Postby Atest » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:10 am

Auralia wrote:An unjust ban on tiered service isn't a "real flaw"?


Demonstrate that the abolition is a flaw. Tiered service significantly reduces the quality of service. You have yet to establish how the Net Neutrality Act harms the consumers, or that intercontinental networks should not be regulated by anything other than a global entity.
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Dont worry mate, strongly approved.
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Postby Auralia » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:23 am

Atest wrote:Tiered service significantly reduces the quality of service.


What are you talking about? Tiered service allows consumers to purchase a plan appropriate to their needs. Your quality of service will vary based on the price you paid. Overall quality of service will likely increase because tiered service is a mechanism for companies to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Atest wrote:You have yet to establish how the Net Neutrality Act harms the consumers


It effectively requires that all consumers purchase an unlimited Internet plan. Many consumers won't be able to access the Internet because the only plan available is too expensive.

Atest wrote:...that intercontinental networks should not be regulated by anything other than a global entity.


What are you talking about?
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Postby Mousebumples » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:08 am

Auralia wrote:
Atest wrote:You have yet to establish how the Net Neutrality Act harms the consumers

It effectively requires that all consumers purchase an unlimited Internet plan. Many consumers won't be able to access the Internet because the only plan available is too expensive.

*scratches head* Does the principle of Supply and Demand not work here? If the price for the only plan available is "too expensive" for "many consumers," wouldn't the companies drop their prices so that more consumers could partake?
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Postby Hittanryan » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:22 am

You already tried this Auralia. It didn't make sense then, and it doesn't make sense now. I suppose I'll copy and paste my arguments from the last one, seeing how you never responded to this point:

In practice, there is not enough competition between ISPs to prevent the abuses that net neutrality seeks to control. Due to the aforementioned expense of building suitable infrastructure, many rural and developing areas may have no competition at all, with a single provider offering service. This is to be expected in sparsely populated or impoverished areas; if in a given area there are only a handful of customers who can afford the monthly access charges, a lack of demand deters additional ISPs from investing in an effectively saturated market.

This problem is not limited to rural or poor communities. Many sizable cities and suburbs only sport two ISPs, typically large telecom firms with revenue from other subsidiaries such as cable TV and phone service. Consumer choice remains limited enough that ISPs would essentially be able to "get away with" the abuses previously outlined. Small startup companies are essentially dependent on government assistance according to your idea, which is an unsustainable and politically infeasible model in many locales.

At present, an environment competitive enough to deter ISPs does not exist outside of very large cities in the richest countries. Add in globalization and the growth of multinational business, and there is a need for GAR #89 or something like it.
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Postby Auralia » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:28 pm

Mousebumples wrote:
Auralia wrote:It effectively requires that all consumers purchase an unlimited Internet plan. Many consumers won't be able to access the Internet because the only plan available is too expensive.

*scratches head* Does the principle of Supply and Demand not work here? If the price for the only plan available is "too expensive" for "many consumers," wouldn't the companies drop their prices so that more consumers could partake?


Most businesses would offer multiple plans at different prices and allow consumers to choose the plan most appropriate to their needs, thereby maximizing their customer base. Unfortunately, GAR #89 bans this practice.

Hittanryan wrote:snip


You cannot assume that the market for Internet service providers is equally uncompetitive in all nations. Further, I don't see how anything you've said justifies a ban on tiered service.
Last edited by Auralia on Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Mousebumples » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:38 am

Auralia wrote:
Mousebumples wrote:*scratches head* Does the principle of Supply and Demand not work here? If the price for the only plan available is "too expensive" for "many consumers," wouldn't the companies drop their prices so that more consumers could partake?


Most businesses would offer multiple plans at different prices and allow consumers to choose the plan most appropriate to their needs, thereby maximizing their customer base. Unfortunately, GAR #89 bans this practice.


I am aware of that. However, are you saying that supply and demand need not apply with this resolution in place? :eyebrow:
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Postby Atest » Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:25 am

Auralia wrote:What are you talking about? Tiered service allows consumers to purchase a plan appropriate to their needs. Your quality of service will vary based on the price you paid. Overall quality of service will likely increase because tiered service is a mechanism for companies to distinguish themselves from their competitors.


Tiered service plans that the telecom industry implement marginalize low-income individuals by setting priority on those who pay for a premium service. Your fallacious statement regarding industry competition lacks a full assessment of a market economy.

Auralia wrote:It effectively requires that all consumers purchase an unlimited Internet plan. Many consumers won't be able to access the Internet because the only plan available is too expensive.


Incorrect assumption. If internet service providers are forced to sell a single, unthrottled connection, said market will reduce prices due to corporate competition.

Auralia wrote:What are you talking about?


I would have thought what I said was rather evident. Internet should not be regulated by individual countries or their ISPs.
Last edited by Atest on Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hittanryan » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:13 pm

Auralia wrote:
Hittanryan wrote:snip


You cannot assume that the market for Internet service providers is equally uncompetitive in all nations. Further, I don't see how anything you've said justifies a ban on tiered service.

And you cannot assume the market for ISPs is equally competitive enough everywhere to mitigate the negatives of non-net neutrality. You're always in theoreticals, Auralia, never looking how it works in practice. Exactly how many ISPs do you think service areas outside major metropolitan regions? How many companies can afford to build and maintain the necessary network infrastructure without that high volume of consumers? If the solution is more competition, how do you promote that? Government handouts to the private sector?

A ban on tiered service closes one avenue for content discrimination by ISPs in WA member states. Net neutrality means you access the same Internet content at comparable speeds for the same type of connection. Users don't have to use the ISP's lousy search engine because Google gets throttled down to 4 kbps. Users can access news articles that criticize their ISP, its subsidiaries, or its parent company. Web designers don't have to be affiliated with an ISP to avoid having their website throttled, promoting entrepreneurship.

If you're really worried about competitiveness, bandwidth throttling is a way of enforcing uncompetitive practices on the Internet. ISPs who run online services could selectively throttle bandwidth to their competitors' websites, leading users to make use of what might otherwise be uncompetitive services. It would stifle diversity and competition within the IT sector, with independent startups unable to make headway against the ISPs even if they're producing a superior product.
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Postby Auralia » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:43 pm

Hittanryan wrote:And you cannot assume the market for ISPs is equally competitive enough everywhere to mitigate the negatives of non-net neutrality.


I reject the notion that states with a thriving and competitive yet minimally-regulated market for ISPs should have to suffer from broad net neutrality mandates from the World Assembly, simply because those mandates have the potential to benefit other states. World Assembly resolutions should have a positive impact on all member states.

Hittanryan wrote:You're always in theoreticals, Auralia, never looking how it works in practice. Exactly how many ISPs do you think service areas outside major metropolitan regions? How many companies can afford to build and maintain the necessary network infrastructure without that high volume of consumers? If the solution is more competition, how do you promote that? Government handouts to the private sector?


In practice, small, densely populated nations do not have the problems you describe, as the cost of network infrastructure is relatively small and customer bases are large.

But even in larger, more sparsely populated countries, there are ways to ensure market competitiveness without net neutrality regulation. In Canada, where I live, larger ISPs like Rogers and Bell are required to sell wholesale Internet access to smaller ISPs like Teksavvy at prices monitored by the CRTC, Canada's telecom regulator. At the same time, net neutrality in Canada is limited to ex post investigations of unjust (read: anti-competitive) discrimination prompted by consumer complaints to the CRTC.

Hittanryan wrote:A ban on tiered service closes one avenue for content discrimination by ISPs in WA member states. Net neutrality means you access the same Internet content at comparable speeds for the same type of connection. Users don't have to use the ISP's lousy search engine because Google gets throttled down to 4 kbps. Users can access news articles that criticize their ISP, its subsidiaries, or its parent company. Web designers don't have to be affiliated with an ISP to avoid having their website throttled, promoting entrepreneurship.

If you're really worried about competitiveness, bandwidth throttling is a way of enforcing uncompetitive practices on the Internet. ISPs who run online services could selectively throttle bandwidth to their competitors' websites, leading users to make use of what might otherwise be uncompetitive services. It would stifle diversity and competition within the IT sector, with independent startups unable to make headway against the ISPs even if they're producing a superior product.


I don't see how your argument is relevant to your repeal, as tiered service is not about content discrimination. In the context of this repeal, tiered service refers to ISPs charging more for higher speeds, higher bandwidth or higher general quality of service.

Nevertheless, I think it is important to point out that what you describe virtually never happens in real life, and when it does, it is quickly stopped once consumers discover what's happening. As far as I know, no ISP has restricted access to Google, news articles criticizing ISPs, or the like, as that would be suicide. Comcast was throttling P2P file sharing a while back, but they stopped once consumers threatened to boycott the company.

I should add that I am not uniformly opposed to telecommunications regulation. I strongly support transparency requirements for ISPs, as customers have a right to know exactly what Internet traffic management practices are being used by their ISP. I also support a ban on content discrimination when it has an anti-competitive effect. I would even be willing to collaborate with you on a replacement for GAR #89 that includes these elements.
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Postby Auralia » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:50 pm

Mousebumples wrote:I am aware of that. However, are you saying that supply and demand need not apply with this resolution in place? :eyebrow:


I'm not sure what you're asking. Yes, supply and demand should ensure that the single plan offered by ISPs is optimally priced. That doesn't change the fact that many consumers won't be able to afford it.

Atest wrote:Tiered service plans that the telecom industry implement marginalize low-income individuals by setting priority on those who pay for a premium service. Your fallacious statement regarding industry competition lacks a full assessment of a market economy.

[...]

Incorrect assumption. If internet service providers are forced to sell a single, unthrottled connection, said market will reduce prices due to corporate competition.


I think it is you that doesn't understand free-market economics. You'll have to clarify how a restriction on a practice that allows ISPs to differentiate themselves from their competitors somehow increases competition within the industry, and how forcing all consumers to purchase the same Internet plan, regardless of their needs or their income, is somehow a good thing.

Atest wrote:I would have thought what I said was rather evident. Internet should not be regulated by individual countries or their ISPs.


The Internet is merely a collection of interconnected networks, each located in individual nations. National governments have every right to regulate networks on their soil.
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