Tag Archives: Comcast

Why would we care?

New York is all up in sixes and sevens, even as they aren’t really confused, some are not seeing the steps that are following and at this point giving $65 billion for 21st Century Fox is not seen in the proper light. You see, Comcast has figured something out, it did so a little late (an assumption), but there is no replacement for experience I reckon. Yet, they are still on time to make the changes and it seems that this is the path they will be walking on. So when we see ‘Comcast launches $65bn bid to steal Murdoch’s Fox away from Disney‘, there are actually two parties to consider. The first one is Disney. Do they realise what they are walking away from? Do they realise the value they are letting go? Perhaps they do and they have decided not to walk that path, which is perfectly valid. The second is the path that Comcast is implied to be walking on. Is it the path that they are planning to hike on, or are they merely setting the path for facilitation and selling it in 6-7 years for no less than 300% of what it is now? Both perfectly valid steps and I wonder which trajectory is planned, because the shift is going to be massive.

To get to this, I will have to admit my own weakness here, because we all have filters and ignoring them is not only folly, it tends to be an anchor that never allows us to go forward. You see, in my view the bulk of the media is a collection of prostitutes. They cater in the first to their shareholders, then there stakeholders and lastly their advertisers. After that, if there are no clashes, the audience is given consideration. That has been the cornerstone of the media for at least 15 years. Media revolves around circulation, revenue and visibility, whatever is left is ‘pro’ reader, this is why you see the public ‘appeal’ to be so emotionally smitten, because when it is about emotion, we look away, we ignore or we agree. That is the setting we all face. So when a step like this is taken, it will be about the shareholders, which grows when the proper stakeholders are found, which now leads to advertising and visibility. Yet, how is this a given and why does it matters? The bottom dollar will forever be profit. Now from a business sense that is not something to argue with, this world can only work on the foundation of profit, we get that, yet newspapers and journalism should be about proper informing the people, and when did that stop? Nearly every paper has investigative journalism, the how many part is more interesting. I personally belief that Andrew Jennings might be one of the last great investigative journalists. It is the other side of the coin that we see ignored, it is the one that matters. The BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tkl9d) gives us: “Reporter Andrew Jennings has been investigating corruption in world football for the past 15 years“, the question we should ask is how long and how many parties have tried to stop this from becoming public, and how long did it take Andrew Jennings to finally win and this is just ONE issue. How many do not see the light of day? We look at the Microsoft licensing corruption scandal and we think it is a small thing. It is not, it was a lot larger. Here I have a memory that I cannot prove, it was in the newspapers in the Netherlands. On one day there was a small piece regarding the Buma/Stemra and the setting of accountancy reports on the overuse of Microsoft licenses in governments and municipality buildings and something on large penalty fees (it would have been astronomical). Two days later another piece was given that the matter had been resolved. The question becomes was it really? I believe that someone at Microsoft figured out that this was the one moment where on a national level a shift to Linux would have been a logical step, something Microsoft feared very very much. Yet the papers were utterly silent on many levels and true investigation never took place and after the second part, some large emotional piece would have followed.

That is the issue that I have seen and we all have seen these events, we merely wiped it from our minds as other issues mattered more (which is valid). So I have no grate faith (pun intended) into the events of ‘exposure‘ from the media. Here it is not about that part, but the parts that are to come. Comcast has figured out a few things and 21st Century Fox is essential to that. To see that picture, we need to look at another one, so it is a little more transparent. It also shows where IBM, Google, Apple and some telecom companies are tinkering now.

To see this we need to look at this first image and see what there is, it is all tag based, all data and all via mobile and wireless communication. Consider these elements; over 90% of car owners will have them: ‘Smart Mobility, Smart Parking and Traffic priority‘. Now consider the people who are not homeless: ‘Smart grids, Utility management, hose management like smart fridges, smart TV and data based entertainment (Netflix)‘ and all those having smart house devices running on what is currently labelled as Domotics, it adds up to Megabytes of data per household per day. There will be a run on that data from large supermarket to Netflix providers. Now consider the mix between Comcast and 21 Century Fox. Breaking news, new products and new solutions to issues you do not even realise in matters of eHealth, road (traffic) management and the EU set 5G Joint-Declarations in 2015, with Japan, China, Korea and Brazil. The entire Neom setup in Saudi Arabia gives way that they will soon want to join all this, or whoever facilitates for the Middle East and Saudi Arabia will. In all this with all this technology, America is not mentioned, is that not a little too strange? Consider that the given 5G vision is to give ‘Full commercial 5G infrastructure deployment after 2020‘ (expected 2020-2023).

With a 740 million people deployed, and all that data, do you really think the US is not wanting a slice of data that is three times the American population? This is no longer about billions, this will be about trillions, data will become the new corporate and governmental currency and all the larger players want to be on board. So is Disney on the moral high path, or are the requirements just too far from their own business scope? It is perhaps a much older setting that we see when it is about consumer versus supplier. We all want to consume milk, yet most of us are not in a setting where we can be the supplier of milk, having a cow on the 14th floor of an apartment tends to be not too realistic in the end. We might think that it is early days, yet systems like that require large funds and years to get properly set towards the right approach for deployment and implementation. In this an American multinational mass media corporation would fit nicely in getting a chunk of that infrastructure resolved. consider a news media tagging all the watchers on data that passes them by and more importantly the data that they shy away from, it is a founding setting in growing a much larger AI, as every AI is founded on the data it has and more important the evolving data as interaction changes and in this 5G will have close to 20 times the options that 4G has now and in all this we will (for the most) merely blindly accept data used, given and ignored. We saw this earlier this year when we learned that “Facebook’s daily active user base in the U.S. and Canada fell for the first time ever in the fourth quarter, dropping to 184 million from 185 million in the previous quarter“, yet the quarter that followed the usage was back to 185 million users a day. So the people ended up being ‘very’ forgiving, it could be stated that they basically did not care. Knowing this setting where the bump on the largest social media data owner was a mere 0.5405%; how is this path anything but a winning path with an optional foundation of trillions in revenue? There is no way that the US, India, Russia and the commonwealth nations are not part of this. Perhaps not in some 5G Joint-Declarations, but they are there and the one thing Facebook clearly taught them was to be first, and that is what they are all fighting for. The question is who will set the stage by being ahead of schedule with the infrastructure in place and as I see it, Comcast is making an initial open move to get into this field right and quick. Did you think that Google was merely opening 6 data centres, each one large enough to service the European population for close to 10 years? And from the Wall Street journal we got: “Google’s parent company Alphabet is eyeing up a partnership with one of the world’s largest oil companies, Aramco, to aid in the erection of several data centres across the Middle Eastern kingdom“, if one should be large enough to service 2300% of the Saudi Arabian population for a decade, the word ‘several‘ should have been a clear indication that this is about something a lot larger. Did no one catch up on that small little detail?

In that case, I have a lovely bridge for sale, going cheap at $25 million with a great view of Balmain, first come, first serve, and all responsibilities will be transferred to you the new predilector at the moment of payment. #ASuckerIsBornEachMinute

Oh, and this is not me making some ‘this evil Google‘ statement, because they are not. Microsoft, IBM, and several others are all in that race; the AI is merely the front of something a lot larger. Especially when you realise that data in evolution (read: in real-time motion) is the foundation of its optional cognitive abilities. The data that is updated in real-time, that is the missing gem and 5G is the first setting where that is the set reality where it all becomes feasible.

So why would we care? We might not, but we should care because we are the foundation of all that IP and it will no longer be us. It gives value to the users and consumes, whilst those who are not are no longer deemed of any value, that is not the future, it is the near future and the founding steps for this becoming an actual reality is less than 60 months away.

In the end we might have merely cared too late, how is that for the obituary of any individual?

 

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Prognosticated WaterhouseCoopers

I forgot what fun it is to go up against PwC, I missed slapping them around and the article ‘Netflix and Amazon ‘will overtake UK cinema box office spending by 2020’‘ was a mighty fine reason. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/14/netflix-amazon-uk-cinema-box-office-film-dvd-blu-ray-pwc) gives us a few things. The title is fine, I have no issue with that and there is every reason to believe that this is true. I always prefer and love to watch the big screen, but I know that I am a majority here. It is the subtitle that got me. With “Film industry will remain ‘pretty healthy’ but DVD and Blu-ray sales will go into ‘terminal collapse’, says PwC” they gave me a reason to have a go at them. As I search deeper and deeper, we are confronted with a wave of titles that have been released on Blu-Ray and DVD, yet there is no Netflix date, they do not seem to have any titles released to disc from 2017. So that is the first group. I reckon the Marvel fans would race to the shop to pick up Logan as soon as Wolverinely possible. The second thing I found is that a decent list of TV series is absent. This is a lot harder to predict, yet Grimm, Lucifer, Sleepy Hollow, Battlestar Galactica and a list of others do not even show on Netflix. This makes the need of Blu-ray consistently there. There is no doubt that those with really good bandwidth will prefer Netflix, so there will be an impact, yet the size of that impact is not a given for now. You see, as Net neutrality becomes more and more endangered, we will see shifts. We saw President Trump put Jessica Rosenworcel in the FCC seat and she apparently champions net neutrality, yet there is a rustling in some bushes, especially the adult entertainment bush. What people ignore, or like me do not care about is that certain ‘settings’ is seen in International Business Times (at http://www.ibtimes.com/july-12-net-neutrality-day-action-will-slow-down-your-pornhub-videos-2552375). It is a place like ‘Pornhub’ that brings the news. The quote “Pai’s proposal would remove the FCC’s authority to enforce net neutrality and other consumer protections while simultaneously allowing companies including Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to create “slow lanes” that force consumers to pay more for certain sites or as a competitive move among corporate telecom rivals“, is one thing, the second quote from a related article gives us “The Washington Examiner reported Trump deliberately withdrew her nomination when he took office. That move temporarily gave Republicans a majority in the FCC. Since then, the FCC has voted to revoke net neutrality regulations. If Trump’s renewed nomination leads to her confirmation, as is expected, then this idealist could return to take on the telecom industry head on.“, these quotes give only an indication of what will happen next, it is seen a little better when we consider the Law Times (at http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201706126217/focus-on/focus-u-s-and-canada-diverge-on-net-neutrality), which is 3 days old. Here we see: “With the possibility of broadband rate regulation looming on the horizon, companies investing in next-generation networks hesitated to build or expand networks, unsure of whether the government would let them compete in the free market,” he wrote, advocating for a return to a “light-touch” approach to Internet regulation“. This is now the indication, as the FCC rolled back a few things, they leave it with the providers and a ‘free market’ to offer ISP packages, which of course comes at different prices. So, as net neutrality comes back, it comes with the option that is linked to a Service Level Agreement and they tend to come with $$$ labels attached. In addition we see “The CRTC’s decision and policy position on “differential pricing” arose out of Videotron’s 2015 launch of Unlimited Music, a premium service that allowed customers to stream as much music as they liked on services such as Spotify without having the data use count against their monthly allowance“, so as we get premium ISP options, how do you think that this will impact the Netflix use? Are you sure that this billion user service will not come with nails attached? You see, the issue is no longer mere net neutrality in speed; it is now ‘the elimination of data caps for home and mobile Internet use for Canadians?‘ This implies not just Canada; it is merely a stepping stone for America as they use Canada as a show case, what will happen when the gamers are added? This is a simple math part. Assassins Creed Unity sold over 2 million copies (exact number unknown), now in December 2014, the owners had to download a patch that was 34GB in size. So consider 2 million downloads of that patch, how congested will the internet get? As the number was global, there is no way to tell how the patch impacted on areas, yet as caps are removed, we will see more and more shabby developers getting new patches out ‘as soon as possible’ making us download patches more and more. So as there are globally well over 105 million Consoles (next Generation only), the millions of Gaming PC’s, now consider the amount of patches and the impact on the internetworking’s, as well as the Internet of Things, because bandwidth hits all options. Now consider 3 massive games released per month, game download and patches and now consider how Netflix is impacted, because it will. I am putting those two groups together because they get their ‘net mobility’ from the very same fuel tank. Now add Spotify and a few other players in this domain. There was never any question that there was a need for net neutrality, yet in all this it goes via an ISP and that player is greedy, so if the cap cannot be pushed in place, or when it is removed, why do you think will happen next? There will be an impact on speed.

This is set in an easy equation (not an accurate one, but it shows certain factors). Fuel = data_amount * speed * users, so if data_amount is infinite, how will that impact speed? The same we see when the user base become massively larger, speed is again impacted. yet there is another consideration, to keep speed high, the number of user and data_amount needs to remain in a state of balance and set at a nominal place, when we realise that this is not an option from day one, speed will always be impacted and that is where the ISP’s are now, creating in a conjoint setting the Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) and the option to price it all. The FCC can claim it is out of their hands and as the FCC is about avoiding ‘anything that negatively affects competition and innovation in the sector‘, the FCC rules are altered and whatever comes back might seem nice, but will come with the ability to let the ISP call the shots. As such Netflix, unless it sets ironclad contracts with ISP’s, these users will see a shift of options and usage, at a price that is.

How does this make sense?

You see, even as the numbers are global based, the US has a lot more congestion than the UK at present, yet the current growth as seen, which is before the upcoming 5G data need, the ISP’s have been milking their system and these providers have not been addressing the ‘fuel tank’ they had. Now, this issue is in the UK and Western Europe is nowhere near the mess that the US is in, but as the UK rural growth is now growing at an accelerated rate, the congestion is still becoming a factor, Cisco tells us: “Services like YouTube, iPlayer, Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime Video continue to be a huge draw, which has in turn helped to fuel demand for superfast broadband connections”, in addition, we get “Cisco forecasts that the average Internet user is expected to generate 140GB (Gigabytes) of Internet traffic per month in 2021”, which is average and I expect that to be a conservative low estimate. Now consider that a Netflix movie can take up to 7.5GB, now consider 3 million people in London alone will watch a Saturday movie, and now consider that in the UK another 15 million will do the same, do the numbers start adding up? Even if these 18 million do not start it on the same time, there will be a sizeable overlap, there is enough indication that congestion will be an issue, which either ups the price of the internet, or there will be an increased agitation for Netflix. This is why there is enough questions on ‘terminal decline’, there is in addition consideration that when 5G hits, the curve will steepen by a lot. It is too soon to predict a near exponential growth for data need, but it is not unrealistic, especially when we consider the push from 3G to 4G and data usage curve when most moved to 4G.

Now I go back to these gamers, even as the Statistics state the gamers group to be a steady penetration of around 42%, their data need has grown more than exponential. The Next generation consoles, as well as the growth of being online whilst gaming has grown. So this is not just about downloads and patches, merely the online presence which fuels uploads, Even as some statistics state that they are on average 5 hours per week online, there is enough data to question that. Polygon gave us the title ‘PS4 owners spend about 50,000 years a week gaming’, again a global number, but that already gets us an average of 7 hours a week, which is 40% higher and these are 2016-2017 numbers. As it all comes from the same ‘fuel tank’, I hope that we can clearly see that it impacts the ability to service Netflix. I believe that congestion will be its worst enemy and as we see a shift in costing, the prediction is unlikely to become reality (yet, I am willing to accept that I could be wrong)

So back to the Guardian article! The quote “PwC predicts a “terminal decline” for DVD and Blu-ray sales from £1.22bn in 2016 to just £533m by 2021. The report predicts that internet video will overtake DVD sales this year, but some analysts claim this has already happened“, I believe that the market will adjust in a different way. I believe that the initial shift will be in price. The price of $40 for a new movie cannot be maintained with monthly services and as the margin is large, we much consider that shift. It has been stated a few times that “high-definition mastering costs for Blu-ray will run close to US$40,000 per title with a pressing cost of US$2.00 per Blu-ray disc”, so at 100,000 discs sold, the making comes to about $2.50, so selling at $20 would still leave a large margin, There is a given that mastering goes down in price, yet at this pace, the impact becomes negligible. So when we consider that owning a movie we like at $20 is still a good idea, even if we have Netflix, my view is that there is an impact, yet not to the degree PwC claims.

Could PwC be right?

Yes, that is indeed the case, especially if the economy does not pick up. If the economy stays in the bad shape it currently is in now, Netflix might be the only option for some people, yet the options will still depends on whatever internet options that household has. In that, we see the impact on both sales down as the economy faltered whilst buying movies is equally a non-option.

There is one element that has been ignored by me and it is time to address that now. The mention ‘some analyst’s claim this has already happened‘ is one that needs a look at. It comes from the January article ‘Film and TV ​streaming and downloads overtake DVD sales for first time‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jan/05/film-and-tv-streaming-and-downloads-overtake-dvd-sales-for-first-time-netflix-amazon-uk). one element is ‘Netflix has rapidly grown to 6 million UK subscribers since launching in 2012‘, which is fine and the issue that physical retail is in decline cannot be countered either. The fact that the UK cost of living has been through the roof; so as we see the price of a Blu-ray being equal to 2 months of Netflix, people adjusted their budget. Yet in all this, the internet bandwidth remained an issue. As long as it could be pushed through Wi-Fi and more importantly the Free Wi-Fi places, people were fine, yet just like some of the more advanced filters, when those places start actively blocking Netflix, the user game changes too. You see, Spotify demands cellular data and does not stream via Wi-Fi. So remember the earlier formula? Spotify has 50 million users. Now consider that the other elements were speed and data amount. As these services grow congestion will be a logical consequence, meaning that the ISP’s have reasons to push through the SLA solution, solving all their issues and none of yours.

Netflix is here to stay, nobody opposes that, there will be an impact on DVD/Blu-ray sales and nobody opposes that either. It is the part of ‘terminal collapse‘ that I oppose and I am certain that at some point it will happen, yet not in the time period PwC says it will be. I could be wrong of course, but I don’t think so.

If they were wrong, then nothing is lost, for that PwC analyst there could be a golden future in show business for them as a the new member in Orange is the new Black Season 7 named ‘Wall Street Bitches‘ (speculated conjecture).

In the end?

In the end, the Guardian article does have one larger benefit; it is bringing congestion issues to the surface, as such the article had a good side, In the UK most people know it as ‘Internet Rush Hour’, yet what happens when the infrastructure will no longer provide for that side? The BBC gave us in 2011 “UK broadband speeds drop by an average of 35% from their off-peak highs when most people are online in the evening, according to a report”, yet the growth that we have seen then was at the beginning of 4G, even as the ISP’s upgraded their equipment, the user base In the last year alone, went up by 1.5% for the entire population. In addition, over the last 5 years, the amount of inactive internet users decreased by 13.3%, which is a lot, also consider that the UK Netflix user base is expected to double between 2015 and 2020; these numbers show a dangerous part. The largest one is that the numbers seem to have been incorrectly speculated. I get there as the growth of subscriptions grew by 1.8 million during 2015-2016, which was almost a third of the 100% expected growth. You might think that the Guardian article is therefore a lot more accurate, I still disagree, merely for the fact that congestion is a larger risk, which now gets us back to the Net Neutrality issue. Because as this grows, ISP’s will have additional ammunition to start thinking and pushing for Service Level Agreements on consumer markets, it is what the FCC sees as ‘anything that negatively affects competition and innovation in the sector‘, yet what the ISP sees as commercial opportunity. Here I truly hope to be wrong, yet some sources (read: ISPreview) are already revealing prices to rise close to 10%, in addition, the prices will rise even more next year due to the 2017 Digital Economy Act. This is where we get back to the ‘Pornhub’ part. You see, I give not a toss about them, but they illustrated a part that other sites are now getting into. When we look at Endgadget, we get: “There’s one slight issue with age gates in that we’re still no clearer on how they are to be implemented. Proving age using credit card details, the electoral roll and pay-monthly mobile phone contracts have all been suggested, but the government has admitted that forcing you to expose your identity might be a step too far. And so, it’ll likely be some time before this new law can be enforced as the government and newly appointed regulator decide on the best and least intrusive way for porn sites to verify age.” You see, it is not about the fact that it is about adult content, it is about the option to classify, so consider that via politicians (never a good start) to settle on what defines the boundary and needs more than mere access. It is the first time that there would be commercial option to slice services, not cutting them, but restraining the maximum bandwidth. When we see the quote ‘the new data-sharing regime effectively being lawful already’, we might think ‘government’ but that is the least of our concern, it is “Any business that handles large volumes of personal data is required to employ a data-protection officer under the new rules, and any breach must be disclosed within 72 hours”, you might think that this covers it, but what about back-ups, what about social media with multiple ownership over a larger amount of nations? It is the commercial value that is being played with and the EU does not have a great track record when it comes to commercial versus private interest. So as these elements come into play, there are now already three upcoming levels that would cater to ‘Service Level Agreement’, which is defined to charges a person has. It gives one more level that Net Neutrality is already a thing of the past. This is seen in “Reed Hastings seemed to walk away from fighting for net neutrality but his company has done a big 180”, so in the two days that I worked on this, Netflix did a massive corporate ‘about face’, the direct implication of ISP’s and the limit of bandwidth is showing now, almost a year before it actually hits us. News Network (at http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/after-ceo-downplayed-the-importance-of-net-neutrality-netflix-changes-tact-and-rejoins-the-fight/news-story/654c63348e3dbd4f7d697fe322eeb350) also gives us “major Telco company AT & T is in bed with media conglomerate Time Warner. Because of this high level of “vertical integration” there’s a lot more scepticism in the US that companies will be compelled to engage in anti competitive and “non mutual” practices”, which I already knew. Yet the clarity as given in my earlier setting in ‘anything that negatively affects competition and innovation in the sector‘, is now showing its fruition and that is before the dozens of new 5G services come to our mobiles and TV settings. As this collides, and it will! People will happily return to a worry free Blu-ray ad DVD, if the makers adjust pricing and remove the 5 iteration contribution application, the discs will be here to stay for at least a decade or (hopefully) two more.

 

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A digital deception?

There is an interesting weekend going on. First we see people waking up to the Microsoft premise that free is apparently never free, in addition, we now see more and more noises regarding Net Neutrality. We will get back to Microsoft soon enough, because there is more to Net Neutrality than meets the eye. First let’s take a look at the definition of Net Neutrality. Wiki tells us “Net neutrality (also network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication”, now this sounds interesting, but the reality is not that easy as I see it. For example, consider Oracle Forms, who needs the reserved bandwidth, if we cannot deliver, that solution would become an issue to implement. Oracle Forms is not the only one, many other situations exist where priority is essential. Video conferences is one of several. The idea came from Tim Wu, he is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. His paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. The paper can be downloaded at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=388863.

As any academic work, it is quality stuff, yet, do I agree? I have an issue with the following parts:

On page 1 “Critics, meanwhile, have taken open-access regulation as unnecessary and likely to slow the pace of broadband deployment“, America is about to encounter the point where ALL the TCP/IP addresses have been taken, no more addresses, which means that IPv6 will soon be the only option remaining. You see IPv4 provides roughly 4.3 billion addresses. Companies, people, devices all requiring an IP address (mucho plural), well at some point the end is reached and that point is now, but that is not the entire point of my objections, because “likely to slow the pace of broadband deployment” is about need. I do not see how broadband deployment is hindered by the current system (other than running out of addresses). We have seen an almost exponential growth in getting online. Ever since the broadband has been an option, we have seen spectacular growth. First through normal internet connections, then via cable providers, now in addition we have mobiles with 4G and WiMax providers.

The second quote is “That deviation is favouritism of data applications, as a class, over latency-sensitive applications involving voice or video“. Which might be fair, but for the most, this has apart from specific application NEVER been a true issue. YouTube caches, so I personally have never truly seen an issue, not in over 15 years. Voice is a different situation, is this about VOIP? On one side, in an academic paper we need to keep an open mind, which makes it a good statement, but when we regard government pushed policy “open access alone can be an insufficient remedy for many of the likely instances of network discrimination“, the use of the word ‘likely’ seems a little unacceptable.

The next issue is found on page 158 of the paper “Have broadband operators tended to favour certain uses of the Internet?” To what extent? The goal of this section is to answer these questions, to the extent possible, for broadband networks during the year 2002, so we get answers based on a situation that is 13 years old, so this is BEFORE true smartphones, before quality 3G and whilst 100Mb broadband was rare. 1000Mb is now in some places regarded as slow, we get internet information faster on our mobiles now, than on broadband in those days, overall the growth of speed has been near unparalleled since the beginning of the internet and I am just looking at the last 5 years. The more I read of this 39 page paper, the less this makes sense in the current environment. Not the thoughts by themselves, the thoughts made perfect sense (to a certain degree) in those days. Yet, the ISP’s and Cable providers evolved almost exponential in their offerings. For the same price I now get a little over 10 times the amount I had before. I now end up with 500% download space of what I need (and I have one of the cheapest offers), so far I have not seen any limitation on what I require, so is this a pure American issue? That could be the case, but those pushing Net Neutrality better realise that moving business from US to Canada is not that far-fetched an option, I personally see these events as the FCC seems shooting itself in the foot.

Yet are my thoughts correct? (Always a good question to ask)

Let’s take a look at the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/07/24/republicans-are-trying-to-defund-net-neutrality-will-it-work/), ‘Republicans are trying to defund net neutrality. Will it work?‘ The quote “This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that contains an amendment singling out the FCC and net neutrality. Notably, the rider would prohibit the FCC from using its most powerful regulatory tool to police Internet providers — Title II of the Communications Act” is at the centre. Yet, what the Washington Post shows is nothing more than a political side.

It’s CNN that gives us part of the goods (at http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/12/technology/net-neutrality/), they ask a few questions and give us answers. That is what matters. So let’s take a look.

Isn’t that what exists today? For the most part. In reality, the world won’t look much different on Friday. Netflix won’t suddenly stream any faster for you. AT&T (T, Tech30) and Comcast (CMCSA) won’t abruptly stop laying down high-speed fiber cables and investing in their networks as retaliation“, after which CNN brings a quote that is surprising “And Comcast can’t slow down file-sharing websites, like it did to BitTorrent a few years ago“, which is more than interesting. Because, for the commerce of the USA file sharing is not a good thing, even though downloading movies is copyright infringement, pursuing these events is a near impossible task, especially when those servers are outside of the USA.

Who supports net neutrality? Now this is the number one question. “AOL (AOL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30), Netflix (NFLX, Tech30), Twitter (TWTR, Tech30), Vimeo and every other major Internet company are in favour of the FCC’s new rules. They create the content you read and watch online, and they don’t want to face discrimination by network owners who can threaten to charge higher fees or slow them down“. This statement is pretty far out there when you are not an American. In America, when you see places like Comcast, you pay for 75Mbs, 150Mbs and prices go up fast. So from this point is there reasoning for Net Neutrality? I still do not agree, but before going into this we need to look at Sprint, they offer unlimited high speeds with a sharable 10Gb for $100. This is less than 40% of the bandwidth I had 6 years ago at half this price. San Francisco gave me decent prices that are in alignment with what we see in Europe. Again, will Net Neutrality solve this?

Now let’s take a look at those supporters, Facebook and Twitter are data collectors, Twitter is the smaller and Facebook in the larger extent. Netflix customers require download power a lot more than Net Neutrality. The same can be said for Vimeo, AOL and Google+ for that matter. They all are vying for a customer base and when a person gets 10 GB at $100, whilst Europe and Australia enjoy prices like $70 for 200 GB you can see the issue at play. I am wondering whether this is about Net Neutrality or is there an issue with cartelisation in the US? We are so used to see that things are cheaper in the US, the fact that the US is leaps behind when it comes to the internet. That does not address the Net Neutrality. In my view it leaves us with more questions. The fact that prices are so high makes me wonder why a place like the US is not more competitive in that regard. But this article is not about that. It seems that Netflix needs download power to survive, and that is lacking in the US. In addition, it seems that the providers are extremely ‘protective’ on pricing, when investigating prices, TWC gave me “You are visiting our website from an area we don’t currently service“, which I got whilst entering a Chicago Address. So in all this, there is a multitude of issues, which have less to do with Net Neutrality and more about the stranglehold on pricing some seem to keep in the US.

Now am I upset? Well that is not really the question is it? I am like many others a capitalist (to some degree), yet that part has always been drenched in reason. As the information is reaching me, reason is not really a part that the internet providers seem to employ in the US. Especially as they offer internet at 33% of the speed and at 20 times the price. So it seems to me that Net Neutrality, even though in this light might have some effect to some of the solutions depending on the internet, yet the overwhelming thought from me is that as the FCC pushes Net Neutrality, we will also see a shift of the business world seeking an alternative.

When we see an argument that “Comcast could slow down BitTorrent traffic (it did)“, yet when we consider an article by Jacqui Cheng from the 24th July 2010, we see ‘Only 0.3% of files on BitTorrent confirmed to be legal‘, this was from a study that involved 1000 downloads, so 997 were infringing in one way or another, so why is it an issue to slow down BitTorrent?

A final issue should be given to Wired Magazine, who (at http://www.wired.com/2014/01/three-dangers-net-neutrality-nobodys-really-talking/) gives us several views in the article ‘Three Dangers of Losing Net Neutrality That Nobody’s Talking About

The first comes from American Library Association head Barbara Stripling “we’re in danger of prioritizing high-quality internet access for entertainment over education“, is this about the costs of a broadband plan? I have seen how this is not cheap, even as the article is only a year old. She also states “Ultimately, “pay to play” only benefits the privileged“, which I can agree with, it will be about usage and bandwidth, Net Neutrality will not up the game for them, it is about pricing and in some cases the prices are overwhelmingly ridiculous.

The second issue is ‘we continue to give more control over the internet to the government‘, which seems to be the case, but why is it done? Draining additional resources, forcing costs that should not be with the government. The quote here is “What’s worse is that we won’t see it coming, because the FCC’s power will creep in incrementally, on a case-by-case basis — a death by a thousand cuts“. Why is the FCC even bothering with this? Regarding the extent of what I saw as it applies to the US, this is becoming an increasing case of ‘Unjust Enrichment‘. Yet, the legal scope is not entirely ready to deal with this from an internet point of view. The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in Schroeder v. Buchholz, 2001 ND 36, 622 N.W.2d 202 that five elements must be established to prove unjust enrichment.

They were:

  • An enrichment (Telco’s making excessive profits)
  • An impoverishment (Consumers are charged above their affordable income).
  • A connection between enrichment and the impoverishment
  • Absence of a justification for the enrichment and impoverishment
  • An absence of a remedy provided by the law (clearly in absentia)

It will be hard to prove this part, you see, it is not just about enrichment and impoverishment. The internet world is moving population classes into the haves and the have not, which is a different standard, yet the foundation might apply in finding the remedy for internet pricing, especially when we realise that one in 10 that would end up spending a little over 10% of income to allow for internet (based on the Chicago example), is this an excessive cost? That would be for a court to decide and that decision would not be the same state by state. Yet as that becomes a solution, the Net Neutrality need would diminish.

In the end, I am not convinced that the issues are about ‘neutrality‘, but it is about current technology and about fairness and affordability of the internet, especially when we consider that every child today needs to learn to proper use the internet from a young age, only to keep even with the other players, once the US falls deeper into the pay to play trench, we will see the growth of additional classes of segregation, those who are technically viable users and those who are not. That last one must be avoided at all costs, an issue Net Neutrality as I personally see it will not answer.

 

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A senseless merger?

OK, as stated in earlier blogs, I am not an economist; I do not have any degree in economy! Yet, the information that passed my eyes less than 2 hours before has me slightly baffled. I feel happy that this all is happening in the US and not anywhere in the Commonwealth, yet, the issues as presented makes me wonder when this will hit the Commonwealth borders.

The issue is that Comcast has decided to buy Time Warner Cable. (at http://news.sky.com/story/1210921/comcast-to-buy-time-warner-cable-for-45bn) This is not a huge thing, we are in a civilisation where the hyena and vulture rules, hence mergers happen a dime a dozen and many of them before most have had a chance to enjoy their first coffee. Comcast has 21 million viewers and they are acquiring Time Warner with 11 million viewers. This all seems to make sense. Now for the kicker! This deal will cost Comcast $45 billion dollars. Are we all awake now?

So, 45,000 million divided by 11 gives us a little more than $4000 per viewer. When you consider that Cable TV is set at an average of $30 a month, it could take 133 months just to break even (providing this is all borrowed at 0%, which it is never). So there might be a price hike for all 32 million users of that cable solution.

This is not a chance to become the large bully, as they were described by a consumer group, but you must admit that this is about a lot more than just ‘adding’ new customers. Oh and by the way, this is happening less than three years after Comcast bought NBC for a little less than $14 billion. (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-18/comcast-nbc-universal-deal-said-to-be-near-u-s-fcc-approval.html)

The Washington Post has an interesting mention, which was not found at Sky News “It’s worth remembering that Comcast limits how much data its customers are able to stream from the Internet, while Time Warner offers unlimited Internet plans.” (at http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/comcast-time-warner-to-merge-what-happens-to-my-service/2014/02/13/b285f81e-94b4-11e3-83b9-1f024193bb84_story.html), so there are a few more kinks that the customer base might face as the merger goes through.

This all goes far beyond just Cable TV. It involves 30,000 community Wi-Fi spots (amongst several other elements); this entire picture becomes a lot more ‘interesting’ if we take the merger of Comcast and NBC in 2011. This is not just about TV; it is about digital media on an unparalleled level. The merger stipulates the 33 million cable users, yet, does that give a real view of the picture? In the first regard the 45 billion seems ludicrous, yet when we consider community Wi-Fi, broadband (or better stated digital media and networking), it becomes an entirely different picture, especially when we consider the following information from Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/02/comcast-ondemand-idUSL2N0JC1S120131202). Now we get an entirely different picture. If we consider this quote “The new technology is meant to give TV networks a way to earn ad dollars from earlier episodes. Currently, most advertisers only pay for ads watched live or within three days after a show airs. That could change if Comcast’s technology, which it developed in partnership with Nielsen, is widely adopted.” and add the following case study (at http://www.sierratechno.com/sites/default/files/Turning%20Data%20into%20Customer%20Insights%20for%20Comcast%20Cable_0.pdf) we now get another view. This is about data, plain and simple, when we consider the value of collected big data in long term planning, having a data warehouse filled with the acts of 33 million people, the 45 billion dollar deal is a steal at twice the price.

It is in my humble opinion really funny to see all these people nag, complain and cry on what the NSA is alleged to be doing, whilst at the same time, their cable provider seems to be tagging them with a ‘value’ price tag for marketing, sales and identification. So what is the cable value of a customer at Hunts point, the Bronx (ZIP:  10474)?

So it seems that Comcast is getting their value on several fields, yet I am still in the dark why Americans are so against the NSA trying to find the people endangering their citizens, whilst giving big business more than twice the powers that many bargained for. It seems that this is not a senseless merger at all, yet do both consumer groups realise the powers their cable provider (slash phone, slash internet provider) ends up with?

 

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