The US shouldn't require net neutrality.
Debate Rounds (3)
The first round is for acceptance. The second is for arguments. The third is for rebuttals.
The net neutrality debate turns on the distinction between procompetitive discrimination and anticompetitive discrimination. Net neutrality condemns both alike. Antitrust laws only condemn antitompetitive discrimination, so I for antitrust enforcement, which is more flexible, nuanced, and fact-based than a rigid net neutrality regime. It simply makes sense to allow a network to favor traffic from a patient's heart monitor over traffic delivering a music download. It also makes sense to allow network operators to restrict traffic that is downright harmful, such as viruses, worms, and spam. Antitrust laws allow these procompetitive benefits while also prohibiting anticompetitive discrimination.
1. An unregulated Internet is better than a regulated Internet.
The Internet has always been a free and open market, shaped by intense competition and rampant growth. Costs and consumer demand interact to set price, entry costs are low, and entrepreneurs have the latitude to experiment with new and different business models. And as a free and open market, the Internet has thrived. In the absence of heavy government regulation, and "due in large part to private investment and market-driven innovation, broadband in America has improved considerably in the last decade. More Americans are online at faster speeds than ever before." 
Rigid net neutrality laws would change that. Instead of allowing the free market to guide investment dollars where needed, and allowing businesses to act based on the best use of scarce resources like bandwidth, the government would dictate many of these decisions, chilling competition, growth, and innovation.
Historical data backs these claims up, showing that the less regulated broadband platform out-performs. Cable modem service, unburdened by "open access" mandates, spurted out to an early advantage. Then, when network sharing mandates on telephone networks were abruptly reduced, DSL surged. When DSL was regulated, network growth stagnated, but as soon as it was deregulated, DSL deployment took off. 
Network sharing mandates were also imposed, and then eliminated, on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology. Prior to the FCC's decision to eliminate fiber network "open access" rules," there was virtually no FTTH technology in the US. After deregulation, substantial investments were made, and now more than six million households subscribe to the Internet through ultra-fast fiber connections 
2. Net neutrality doesn't distinguish between procompetitive and anticompetitive practices.
Entrepreneurs often experiment with new and different business models -- e.g. prioritize network traffic -- to lower prices and improve customer experience. For example, Lariat Wireless, a small ISP in Wyoming, forbids its customers from operating servers, to reduce network congestion and improve the overall experience for their users. Brett Glass, the CEO, explains: "most Internet users would not know what a server was if it bit them, and they have no problem uploading content to a Web site such as YouTube for distribution. This means customers that do need to operate a server could obtain that capability by paying a bit more to cover the additional cost." Under a net neutrality regime, however, Lariat Wireless would be forced to shift "everyone to the more expensive plan. We will therefore be less competitive, offer less value to consumers and especially less value to economically disadvantaged ones." 
There are other examples. Universities that don't allow peer-to-peer file-sharing on their networks, for example. Or Virginia Broadband, which improves customer experience by prohibiting customers from "excessive" use of their network. Like Lariat Wireless, Virginia Broadband can offer quality Internet service at lower prices. The folks who benefit most are the "economically disadvantaged," and those who use the Internet sparingly.  Unregulated markets give entrepreneurs the latitude to experiment as such, producing procompetitive outcomes: more options, lower prices, and better quality services.
A net neutrality requirement is a bad policy because it categorically condemns all discriminatory practices, without distinguishing the procompetitive from the anticompetitive.
3. Current antitrust laws are enough to protect consumers and competition.
Over more than 100 years, antitrust laws have developed to protect consumers from anticompetitive business practices -- monopolization, collusion, price-fixing, etc. The main development in the antitrust laws has been a movement away from categorical rules (stuff like "all monopolies are bad") towards a more nuanced case-by-case approach. Instead of condemning business practices per se, courts require proof of harm to consumers or competition first. This approach is more nuanced, fact-based, and flexible, as well as being better for the economy by giving entrepreneurs latitude to experiment.
The net neutrality debate turns on the idea that there are bottlenecks on the Internet which allow network owners to exercise market power. For example, if a local telephone company has a monopoly in broadband access and it blocks broadband subscribers from using an Internet phone service offered by a rival company, that could harm both competition and consumers.
But that's a classic antitrust issue. And under the antitrust laws, the above business practice would be illegal under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. You don't need further regulation to deal with anticompetitive discrimination on the Internet. Indeed, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell notes that "in the almost nine years since [net neutrality] fears were first sewn, net regulation lobbyists can point to fewer than a handful of cases of alleged misconduct, out of an infinite number of Internet communications. All those cases were resolved in favor of consumers under current law." 
There is simply no reason to prefer displacing the antitrust laws -- flexible, nuanced, fact-based enforcement -- with a rigid net neutrality regime.
Net neutrality goes directly against most American consumers' values, such as competition, freedom of choice, and less government regulation. Evidence shows that the Internet has been marked by intense competition and rampant growth as a free and open market with light regulation. Historical data also suggests regulations stunt growth. All these reasons support antitrust enforcement over net neutrality regulations.
 FCC, Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan 19 (Mar. 16, 2010), available at http://www.broadband.gov...
 Thomas Hazlett and Joshua Wright, The Law and Economics of Net Neutrality (2012)
 http:// www.ftthcouncil.org/en/content/the-growth-of-fiber-to-the-home
 Ensuring Competition on the Internet: Net Neutrality and Antitrust: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Intellectual Prop., Competition, and the Internet of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 112th Cong. 55 (2011)
 http://www.ntia.doc.gov... and http://vabb.com...
 In re Preserving the Open Internet Broadband Indus. Practices, 25 FCC Rcd. 17,905 (2010)
1) Net neutrality stimulates competition.
Judge, if we ban net neutrality the big ISPs, or Internet Service Providers, would be able to block competitor"s websites.
That way the big companies would be unable to compete with each other because people could not access more than one big service without paying more, and therefore there would be no need for competing.
According to the New York Times, competition stimulates innovation, or the invention of new products, which we will not get without net neutrality.
According to Forbes, if net neutrality didn"t exist, many small internet providers would not exist due to the lack of competition. Nobody would be competing with each other so nobody would want to switch to new providers.
The impact of this, judge, is that with no competition there will be a lot less innovation, which means less ideas and new products. This will impact the ENTIRE population, because they all rely on new technology and keeping up with the fast pace of innovation.
2) Net neutrality helps small businesses.
Judge, if we ban net neutrality internet providers will be able to pick which sites show up first, and ban or block websites that they don"t want their customers to see.
Small businesses will not be top priority on these providers" lists and may even be banned, therefore leaving them unable to get off of the ground.
According to the New York Times, Google was a small buisness built in a GARAGE. It is now a huge thing that has advanced technology greatly. However, without net neutrality, the next Google will not be able to make it.
According to Marvin Ammori, a technology expert and Yale professor, if there were to be no net neutrality, high class providers such as Comcast and Verizon could sell special treatment to their favorite web companies like Google and Netflix, and charge extra fees to deliver their online videos and other content at fast speeds.
However, it could block small websites with things so trivial as opposing political views and the sites that show up first after a search will OBVIOUSLY be the favorites of the ISPs", and the small businesses that may be more relevant to the search will be left in the dust.
The impact of this, Judge, is that without small businesses, any new ideas, such as Google, will not be able to move past the special treatment of ISPs and will forever remain unheard. And just like our point on competition, no new ideas means less innovation, which affects the ENTIRE population.
3) Not having net neutrality would mean an invasion of your privacy.
Judge, let me explain this to you. People like to encrypt, or code, many things, from emails to personal information like credit card numbers.
However, according to the Economist, without net neutrality the FCC has no rules against decrypting this information.
Because of the fact they they want complete control over everything they use in their service, big internet providers will have the power to decode any encryptions placed by their customers.
Judge, this means they have access to YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION! This is a HUGE invasion of privacy! Access to this type of thing should be very limited, and your information should be only visible to you.
How can we let our privacy be invaded like that, Judge? We have the right of privacy, as stated in the Constitution, and we cannot allow this to be taken away by ISP companies?
And not only that, but to give you better results internet companies can literally track and watch everything you do online.
The impact of this judge, is greater than anything possible! It impacts nearly every adult on this planet! All these people, judge, will have access to anything they want. The only other people on this planet with that type of power are high up government officials, and even THEY need a search warrant.
In conclusion, if you want a more innovative, successful economy, and more privacy and free speech on the Internet, AND less discrimination between big ISP companies, then vote for Con and support Net Neutrality.
Con's arguments are aimed against banning net neutrality. I agree with Con that banning net neutrality is bad for competition and small businesses. There is no debate there. The debate here is whether net neutrality should be required, not whether it should be banned.
1. Con says "net neutrality stimulates competition" because, "if we ban net neutrality the big ISPs ... would be able to block competitor's websites. That way the big companies would be unable to compete with each other because people could not access more than one big service without paying more, and therefore there would be no need for competing."
First, as discussed above, this debate isn't about banning net neutrality. Con's argument doesn't support adoption of a net neutrality law. Con's argument only supports the status quo -- allowing net neutrality but not requiring it. I agree with Con that banning net neutrality would be bad for the economy. What I argue for is less regulation, not more regulation. A ban on net neutrality, like a net neutrality requirement, is more regulation. Either way, that's bad for the economy. What we need is less government intrusion on the Internet, as I explained in the previous round.
Second, the idea that ISPs can block competitor's websites without a net neutrality law is incorrect. As I explained in the last round, the antitrust laws prohibit anticompetitive business practices, including such discriminatory behavior that harms competition and consumers. Take a look at the Wikipedia for a brief summary of the antitrust laws: http://en.wikipedia.org.... Section 2 of the Sherman Act doesn't allow companies to harm consumers or competition by using their monopoly power to raise prices or exclude competition.
Third, Con's claim that "big companies would be unable to compete with each other" is false, even if we did ban net neutrality, as there would still be many ways for companies to compete with each other. Pricing, Internet speed, Internet reliability, types of discrimination, geography -- all these would still be open to competition. To be clear, I'm not saying we should ban net neutrality. I'm just saying Con is wrong that banning net neutrality would make it impossible for companies to compete.
2. Con says "if we ban net neutrality internet providers will be able to pick which sites show up first, and ban or block websites that they don't want their customers to see." As a result, Con argues, "small businesses will not be top priority on these providers' lists and may even be banned, therefore leaving them unable to get off the ground."
First, again this debate is not about banning net neutrality. Con argues against banning net neutrality, and I agree with Con that banning net neutrality is bad for small businesses. Con's arguments actually support my point, which is that more regulation harms the economy and small businesses. I argue for less regulation -- no net neutrality law, either requiring net neutrality or banning net neutrality.
Second, in the absence of a net neutrality requirement, ISPs can offer customers faster or slower lanes of traffic. As I explained last round, this is good for competition, as it gives incentive to create faster lanes for which ISPs can charge higher prices. Prohibiting ISPs from discriminating in procompetitive ways (a patient's heart monitor versus a music download, for example) disincentivizes the creation of faster, more reliable Internet service.
Third, Con's claim that small businesses will be "banned, therefore leaving them unable to get off the ground" is false. Again, such exclusionary practices are covered by the antitrust laws. There is no need to create rigid net neutrality laws to cover a perceived risk which is already dealt with under antitrust in a more nuanced, flexible, fact-based way.
3. Con says "if there were to be no net neutrality, high class providers such as Comcast and Verizon could sell special treatment to their favorite web companies like Google and Netflix, and charge extra fees to deliver their online videos and other content at fast speeds."
Again, those "fast speeds" might not be developed in the absence of incentives to develop them. The ability to charge premium prices for faster speeds is what gives ISPs incentive to create faster, better, more reliable Internet services. The US Postal Service example is directly on point: no one has any problem with Express Mail (which costs more). Why should there by any problem with faster Internet lanes, for which companies can charge more.
Always keep in mind that business practices which are legitimately anticompetitive -- practices that harm consumers or competition -- are already covered under the antitrust laws, so there's no need to create another layer of regulation, especially a rule so rigid and categorical as requiring net neutrality across-the-board, regardless of the circumstances and potential pro-competitive benefits.
4. Con says a net neutrality law is necessary to protect our privacy. But that's simply not true. What we need are stronger privacy laws, not a rigid net neutrality law. Con says that in the absence of net neutrality laws, ISPs have the "power to decode any decryptions placed by their customers." But even if net neutrality laws exist, ISPs can still decode decryptions placed by their customers.
Net neutrality proponents -- not Con since he didn't argue this point specifically -- argue that without net neutrality protections, ISPs will block privacy services. But like I've argued elsewhere, that sort of misconduct is covered by the antitrust laws. We don't need net neutrality laws to protect us from exclusionary, anticompetitive business practices. The only purpose of net neutrality laws is to avoid a perceived risk -- but that perceived risk is already covered by current laws.
I direct attention again to FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell's comment that "in the almost nine years since [net neutrality] fears were first sewn, net regulation lobbyists can point to fewer than a handful of cases of alleged misconduct, out of an infinite number of Internet communications. All those cases were resolved in favor of consumers under current law."  All net neutrality cases thus far have been resolved in favor of consumers under current law. We don't need more regulation to protect consumers, competition, or the Internet.
1) An unregulated Internet is better than a regulated Internet.
My opponent was stating that a good internet is "shaped by intense competition and rampant growth". But judge, as I mentioned, net neutrality will HELP! It will lead to more competition, innovation, and small businesses. This will help our economy and the growth of the Internet, which therefore turns this point invalid.
2) Net Neutrality doesn't distinguish between pro competitive and anticompetitive practices.
Judge, this point is basically that it will be harming all discriminatory practices. But here is why this is not a concern - we have been working with net neutrality for years, and it has increased the global market and been beneficial for our economy and businesses . So whether or not there is no difference between the quoted 'discriminatory practices' there will be a benefit for the people, and therefore it is worth it.
3) Current antitrust laws are enough to protect consumers and competition.
They are NOT! Not having net neutrality would actually harm competition, because by giving big ISPs the power to block their competitors' websites, people would not have access to more than one big service without paying more r,many therefore there would be no need for competing. According to Forbes, if there was no net neutrality, many businesses would not exist die to the lack of competition.
And it would hurt the consumers to not have this as well. Without net neutrality, your internet providers will be able to charge you EXTREMELY high prices for a free and open Internet, which is one of the greatest privileges of our time. So by having much higher prices, and lower quality service, not having net neutrality will hurt us, the consumers.
Therefore, this point is false and invalid.
Seeing as I have refuted all of the Proposition's points, I will now weigh this debate. Here is why I should win:
Who I agreed with before:
This is up to you, so I cannot influence that decision.
Who I agreed with after:
I hope this is me, because my arguments were the most understandable and impacting to the average American.
Spelling and Grammar:
I believe that this should be me as well because unless you are an extreme techie, you probably could not understand Pro's arguments. However, I did my best to put my information into short, easy to understand arguments that should be easily comprehended, also, I gave impact analysis for every one of my points, showing you as a judge why my points should effect you, therefore leaving my points more convincing than Pro's.
Finally, most of Pro's sources were simply without a link, leaving them valid. Also, she used Wikipedia, which is invalid and unreliable, seeing as anybody can edit it with false information, showing that my sources are more reliable. NYT, Forbes, The Guardian, are all reliable and highly acclaimed sources, unlike Wikipedia.
Thanks to Pro for a very interesting and informative debate, and I strongly urge a Con vote for this motion.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: Con could not realize that not requiring something is different from banning it. Something could simply be helpful, but not required, and it is still best not to ban that. Since pro proves his/her case and con stumbles off-topic, the debate must be given to pro. Side note: con is dishonest in saying that pro used Wikipedia. Also, it is unfair for him/her to assist in voting for him/herself as this counts as lobbying and is not very good conduct.
You are not eligible to vote on this debate
This debate has been configured to only allow voters who meet the requirements set by the debaters. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges.