neutrality info and disinfo

Lauren Weinstein analyzes some disingenuous publicrelationsspeak about the FCC vote on net neutrality in a run-of-the-mill press release that he found from a maker of "packet inspection" apparatus for internet service providers.

Supposedly offering a straightforward, unbiased report on the vote allowing "tiered services," the release implies that broadband providers can't currently offer limited internet plans to low income customers (they can) and also that high-volume users "negatively impact other users" (they don't). The press release compares cable companies to power or water utilities, implying cable should be charged at a higher rate during times of peak use, even though fuel and drinkable water are limited commodities (unlike data), and someone using twice the data as another internet user isn't using twice the electricity, in any "meaningfully measurable" sense. Moreover, governments regulate power and water, while cable companies have been lobbying hard to limit regulation.

Also, power and water companies don't have the inherent conflict of interest of being a common carrier (like phone lines) while at the same time trying to steer you to higher-priced crappy content they are providing.

In a related topic, some back and forth discussion about "netflix neutrality."