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President and CEO of NCTA Michael Powell waves to the audience as he takes the stage to deliver the keynote address at The Cable Show in Boston, Massachusetts May 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS) - RTR32EZD
Right, we can trust this guy on net neutrality.

Former Federal Communciations Chair and current National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell, signals one of the ways the telecoms and cable companies are going to attack on net neutrality: the whole thing boils down just to Netflix, an evil corporation only looking to boost its own bottom line.
As the FCC looks to follow the D.C. Circuit’s invitation to restore net-neutrality rules, one might think that the task before us is simple. But alas, nothing in this debate ever is.

Sadly, other Internet players — most notably, Netflix — are now seeking to leverage this proceeding to serve their own particular corporate ends. They do not seek to restore prior rules; they seek to “move the goal posts” and dramatically expand what net neutrality means. They want to protect their profits by ensuring that the disproportionate impact caused by delivering traffic to their customers is spread across all broadband subscribers and not just those who actually use the service. In other words, if there is any additional cost to accommodating Netflix traffic, everyone’s broadband bill should go up rather than increase the price of the Netflix subscription. Why should everyone subsidize fans of House of Cards? They are not seeking “strong” net neutrality; they are seeking to “strong-arm” net neutrality into satisfying a separate and distinct objective. […]

Allowing the net-neutrality conversation to be hijacked into a peering debate is a mistake that will only cloud the commission’s ability to move forward in the Open Internet proceeding. Netflix’s peering gambit is primarily about improving its own economics and says more about Netflix’s power than about any ISPs. We should stay focused on the last-mile issues that gave rise to the Open Internet rules in the first place, and ensure a clear path forward to reinstate new rules in line with the court’s direction.

What Netflix is looking for, what millions of ordinary people out here using the internet every day for information, education, communication, and entertainment is not "moving the goal posts" or changing the definition of net neutrality. While Netflix may or many not be looking out for its best interests, so what? The telecoms are also looking out for their best interests. The difference here is that what Netflix is fighting for will benefit all internet users. What the telecoms and cable companies are fighting for will benefit only telecoms and cable companies. And their shareholders.

Netflix is not hijacking this debate, making it all about them. Opposition to a two-tiered internet such as the FCC is considering has been as long-standing as the notion of net neutrality, and has been central to the grassroots fight to preserve it. The only hijacking going on here is this fundamentally dishonest piece by Powell, trying to pretend that this is only about Netflix having a tantrum.

Broadband internet service is a public utility that benefits everyone, including Netflix. It's time that the FCC recognize it as such.

If you haven't already, send your comments supporting net neutrality. You can use the FCC comments page; the inbox they set up specifically for this issue,; and with a petition from Daily Kos.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:35:51 PM PDT

  •  Screw this guy, plus I love Netflix, they're the (9+ / 0-)

    good guys here in this debate.

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:40:42 PM PDT

  •  Wrong (6+ / 0-)

    It is about keeping the internet free of big business, idiot politicians who sell themselves cheaply and the filthy rich.  It is about disseminating information that would not otherwise be disseminated.  It is about providing connectivity to everyone at a cost that is reasonable.  It is about security our freedom through transparency.

  •  If Michael Powell says it (10+ / 0-)

    That's reason enough not to believe it.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:41:29 PM PDT

  •  be you big, or be you small, (3+ / 0-)

    have one netrality
    Netrality For All!.

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:42:12 PM PDT

  •  The revolving door bullshit must end. (11+ / 0-)

    I mean, WTF? Really?

    Former Federal Communciations Chair and current National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:44:31 PM PDT

  •  s this the same guy (8+ / 0-)

    who ruled in favor of some cable company(I'm hazy on the details) and then immediately resigned and went to work for the selfsame company he ruled in favor of?

    Yes.  He is a real paragon of integrity.  We should trust him implicitly?

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:55:09 PM PDT

  •  Powell is another one born (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, cybrestrike, stevemb

    on third base who thinks he deserves a hand for getting a triple.  The ugly side of nepotism.

  •  It's All Between Corporations. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can we sue the estates of Madison and Jefferson for false advertising in that line "We the people?"

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 01:03:09 PM PDT

  •  The stopped clock is right for once (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mikey screwed things up big time.  The whole NN mess developed because he, at the FCC, saw to it that telephone companies did not have to provide access to their networks to competing ISPs any more.  That reduced the usual choice of ISP from "any ISP who wants to hook up to the phone company wire" to two.  So he's certainly no angel.

    HOWEVER, in this case, he's 100% right.  Netflix is taking advantage of a system not designed for them.  The amount of network capacity they use per hour of eyeball is many times what any other application (besides watching TV; even YouTube doesn't come close) uses.  This imposes a cost on ISPs.  The cost of every other application is so near zero that it never comes up, but Netflix essentially drives an 18-wheeler down a garden path, insisting that there was never a "no trucks" sign.

    The Internet's rules -- which are NOT well known, as they're a set of private agreements, not government regulations, thank the FSM -- have always been that connection prices are negotiated privately, based on mutual value.  If you impose cost on me, you pay me; if you bring me benefits, I pay you.  If it's mutually beneficial roughly the same, neither pays (hence "peering"). Netflix uses the Internet and doesn't want to pay.  If you called up your local ISP and demanded a 10 Gbps connection for free because, well, you write such great diaries and comments on DK, then they'd laugh at you.  Netflix however thinks they can get away with it, and is making up stories about "neutrality" to try to get the government, and misguided consumers, to go along with it.  Sorry, I want the rest of my garden not to be ruined by freeloading interlopers.

    •  Nonsense (6+ / 0-)

      The amount of network capacity they use per hour of eyeball is obviously not greater than the bandwidth the eyeball owner purchased from the ISP -- otherwise, it would be impossible to play the video.

      The ISPs have pulled a Max Bialystock scam, selling far more bandwidth than they are prepared to deliver, and Netfix is the surprise-hit Springtime For Hitler that burst the balloon.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 02:53:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. (5+ / 0-)

        Customers pay their ISP for 100% of whatever bandwidth they use, whether it's Netflix or porn or bible studies. The composition of the traffic is immaterial.

        In fact, ISPs have gotten a free ride for years because the majority of Internet users NEVER use 100% of the bandwidth their contract specifies.

        Obi Ben Ghazi to House Republicans: "Use the Farce."

        by edg on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 04:14:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, they don't (0+ / 0-)

          Customers purchase ISP service for an access rate "up to" the peak speed.  That's what makes the economics work.  The price of upstream service at major data centers in NFL cities has fallen over time and was about $3/Mbps (in 10,000 Mbps quantities) about 3 years ago; it is down to around $1 now.  But even at that low price, a 100 Mbps service fully utilized would cost $100/month, at the data center.

          It's like a buffet restaurant. They don't charge by the amount you eat but if everyone from the competitive eating league showed up every night, something would have to give.

          What you're asking for, and what's probably coming, is measured service, like most cell phones have.

          •  Not likely. (0+ / 0-)

            Most cell phones have unlimited usage plans now. Most ISPs have unlimited data volume now. Both, of course, are speed limited by the available equipment and, to a lesser extent, the service plan.

            Obi Ben Ghazi to House Republicans: "Use the Farce."

            by edg on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:54:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  One of your assertions is false. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb, TexasTom, Urban Space Cowboy

      Netflix uses 32% of bandwidth. Google uses 22%. So your assertion that "The amount of network capacity they use per hour of eyeball is many times what any other application ... uses" is false.

      See: Top 10 sites consuming the most Internet bandwidth

      Obi Ben Ghazi to House Republicans: "Use the Farce."

      by edg on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 04:08:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a question for you about the amount of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urban Space Cowboy, stevemb

      bandwidth that is the basis for the argument against Netflix, and that is, that they are utilizing a disproportionate percentage of available bandwidth to sell their products to their customers.  

      I have read in this thread the suggestion that they are using 32% of available bandwidth, and my question is what is the claim about the TOTAL amount of bandwidth available?  

      The measure of percent used would be different, no?, depending on the delivery method? DSL would have less than fiber optic?  Satellite would have another amount?  Most of the nation's landbased networks are still copper cable DSL based.  Is this discussion about how much bandwidth available based on the sum total of all delivery systems - satellite, dsl, fiber optic?  And how much is that bandwidth?  What is the actual sum total? or of a particular subset of delivery methods.  Verizon, where I live, sells DSL as their primary internet delivery method, through their own existing copper wiring that is affected by impedance (friction) which limits the distance they can effectively carry a DSL signal and is slowed by an increasing number of users or their increasing use while the issue of impedance is non-existent in fiber optic cable because light (as a delivery method) has little or no discernible impedance.

      My understanding is that depending on the type of delivery system that you use, the same movie from Netflix could use a very different percentage of "available bandwidth" - in one system, it can consume a greater amount and in another a lesser amount of the available whole.  

      There has been a counter-incentive for ISPs like Verizon to upgrade their delivery systems to the more efficient fiber optic cabling, and Netflix has put its finger on it, in my view.  Verizon has picked off all the low hanging fruit and failed to invest fiber optic because it hasn't had to respond to its customers increasing demand for the kinds of speeds ("high speed") internet service they sell.  Frankly most people actually have low speed internet service in the US, and we are light years (no pun intended) behind the fiber optic networks available to citizens in Scandinavia and Japan.  This is ultimately a question about our future educational ,economic, and national security and global competitiveness, as long as corporations refuse to spend profits to invest in truly "high speed" internet physical networks where if every house was watching Netflix at the same time it wouldn't significantly impact total bandwidth.  

      This is my understanding and you appear to be quite informed about this issue, so I am curious.

      I have been involved in a local effort of small towns to create our own fiber optic municipally owned system (based on early 20th century rural electrification models) because Verizon refuses to provide universal DSL access because they create an inflated per mile cost to justify their selective service.  So I've had to learn a lot about the capacity and actual costs of fiber optic cabling to the towns that will own the system, and the actual delivery costs (recovery of bond payments and actual maintenance) to each home.  

      In the meantime, I pay for limited satellite service (so I never watch videos of any kind) so the Netflix question is theoretical for me (as is any youtube question).

      I look forward to your response on total actual amount of bandwidth this whole discussion of use  (who is using "too much" of how much) is predicated on.

      "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

      by Uncle Moji on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:13:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is no one total (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uncle Moji

        An internet is a lot of separate networks with traffic exchange points here and there.  There are a lot of hops between the typical pair of endpoints. Any one of them can be a bottleneck. The DSL itself, for instance, might be up to 6 Mbps to each user, with say 500 users on the DSLAM, and a shared 100 Mbps link upstream.  Or a shared 1000 Mbps link, which would be better.  Or a shared 45 Mbps link, which would be worse, and not atypical.  The actual geography matters, and how much "middle mile" capacity is available.  Once you reach one of the major NFL city data centers, there's a holotta capacity for sale.  It's typically sold in 10 Gbps pipes.

        In practice a major bottleneck is the local connection to the end user, so building a municipal fiber system can substantially improve things.  The economics are tricky -- there have been many failures, as well as some successes -- but it can provide much better service than creaky old DSL, let alone satellite.

    •  What naivete and right-wing bias. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urban Space Cowboy, stevemb
      The Internet's rules -- which are NOT well known, as they're a set of private agreements, not government regulations, thank the FSM -- have always been that connection prices are negotiated privately, based on mutual value.  If you impose cost on me, you pay me; if you bring me benefits, I pay you.  If it's mutually beneficial roughly the same, neither pays (hence "peering").
      And you believe that these agreements will continue to be negotiated "based on mutual value", even when one side has a monopoly on the infrastructure.  That Verizon and Comcast would not demand more money,simply because they can.

      The reason the phone system has government regulations controlling access charge rates is precisely because monopoly power is inevitably abused to benefit the monopoly.  If the incumbent carriers could have charged whatever they wanted over the last few decades  - always claiming that it was based on "mutual value," of course - there would have been no competition for telephone service (probably meaning no cable tripe-play, or even cable Internet.)

      •  The Internet is not the infrastructure (0+ / 0-)

        I fully support regulation of the ingfrastrutural portion -- the wire itself, the basic bit transport from subscriber to ISP. Verizon and Comcast collude to monpolize that, which is frankly good economics, and precisely what regulation exists for.

        It is the Internet itself -- the worldwide internetwork of computers exchanging content -- that makes use of that infrastructure and which should not be regulated.  Content (Internet) is not carriage (the wire).  That is the fallacy that the Bush FCC imposed and that neutralists fall for.

  •  NO more FCC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    chairmans that are/havebeen/will be working for cable. It's disgusting how one sided this regulatory agency is

  •  "Only". Huh. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To a point, the guy's right. The unrestricted internet is an entrepreneur's dream. It let's little guys slug it out with behemoths and bypass the middleperson to customers.

    So -- sure.

    Of course that's only one facet of the internet, but I'm OK with that.  It's an argument for neutrality, not against.

    The funny thing is cable companies calling anybody greedy.
    That's not the pot calling the kettle black, it's freakin' Evil Incarnate, Inc. questioning your table manners.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:14:42 PM PDT

  •  It's a devilishly clever pitch (0+ / 0-)

    and perfectly calculated to be heard and repeated by its target audience of  low-information citizens.  

     "Making YOU subsidize THEM ... strong-ARM ..."  It's really very snappy, very glib.  My hat is off to their marketing group.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:16:22 PM PDT

  •  This guy is the son of Colin Powell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    American Republican former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and current president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). He was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Bill Clinton on 3 November 1997. President George W. Bush designated him chairman of the commission on January 22, 2001. Powell is the son of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife Alma Powell.
    And Bill Clinton got him started in the FCC.  Wonderful!

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:16:45 PM PDT

  •  "Former FCC Chair and current NC&TA CEO" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tells you everything you need to know about how the FCC doesn't work.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:20:12 PM PDT

  •  I've been sending my comments directly to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Chairman Tom Wheeler, via Twitter:

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:21:26 PM PDT

  •  The Net Neutrality debate is actually about DINGOS (0+ / 0-)

    We want answers, Wheeler!

  •  No, it's not about Netflix protecting their profit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, stevemb

    It's about the ability of ISPs to extort more money from content providers.

    "Nice little business plan you got there, Netflix... Be a shame if anything happened to it..."

    Back in the days of Ma Bell, only one subscriber paid the cost of the call. Usually it was whoever made the call, unless you called "collect" and the person answering the phone agreed to pay for it instead. The ISPs want to sell the same bandwidth at both ends: I pay to recieve, content providers pay to send.

    The phone company was a public utility: they couldn't charge you for someone else's call to you. I'm sure they would have loved to: just think, every call you get from a telemarketer shows up on your phone bill! Call your Aunt Milly in Kansas, both of you get charged long distance!

    Utilities are regulated. They can't do that.

    The internet needs a big dose of "You can't do that" called make them a public utility.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:07:44 PM PDT

  •  Capitalism, Republican style (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Netflix is the moral equivalent of ComcastwarnerizonATT!!!!

    The former are long standing companies who live and die on their political connections and legal monopoly (an unregulated legal monopoly at that).  They are pure rent seeking corporations who invest as little as possible in their networks.

    Netflix is in a very competitive business.  Absent network un-neutrality, Amazon, Google, and Apple, and any number of prospective start ups, would eat their lunch if they fuck up.  (When Netflix tried to split itself up, that almost happened.)

  •  he is right of course... (0+ / 0-)

    Netflix accounts for upwards of 20-30% of peak demand in every network I have worked with...Netflix wants access for free.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:19:56 PM PDT

  •  I have no problem with Netflix getting charged (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    by the ISP to share the cost of the increase in bandwidth caused by their customers. The question is how it's done. The bandwidth should be there for all users and content providers. Netflix should NOT be getting special access with that cost passed on to all users.

    If Netflix customers get charged more for the service, that's fine with me. What I don't want to see is non-Netflix customers paying for Netflix users.

    The problem is that Netflix customers account for 1/3 of all network traffic in the 9 to 12 peak hours.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:39:44 PM PDT

  •  Nepotism Incarnate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thy name is Powell

  •  Like Father, Like Son (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This Powell's grasp on facts about net neutrality is apparently as tenuous as his dad's facts on WMD in Iraq.

  •  Netflix always treated me fairly, the cable did (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the fuckery they are so famous for. They want to make it internet fuckery.

    Don't send a teddy bear to the Martinez family, they don't want you to intrude on their grief - send a postcard to a politician Not One More

    by 88kathy on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:15:20 PM PDT

  •  Netflix, and every possible competitor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sure, net neutrality could benefit Netflix, but there are competitors to Netflix out there, and I'm sure there will be more in the future, and net neutrality benefits every one of them. The most effective way for Netflix to protect itself, given its current dominant position, would be to fight against net neutrality, in favor of a system where they could make a sweet deal to ensure millions of high bandwidth connections for themselves while squeezing out anyone else who doesn't have their clout.

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