The Instigator
Wylted
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
lannan13
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

WODC: This House Believes That Provisions of Internet Services Should be a Public Utility

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Wylted
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 6/1/2015 Category: Technology
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,074 times Debate No: 76039
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (67)
Votes (4)

 

Wylted

Pro

First Round is Acceptance. Final round may not have any new arguments.

Above rules from the WODC guidelines.
lannan13

Con

I accept.

I know await my opponent's opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
Wylted

Pro

Framework

The resolution can be interpreted as meaning that the Internet should be treated be policy makers as a public utility. We further assume, to keep the debate on track and for the convenience of both me and Lannan, that this debate presupposes the United States as a setting, since we're both from the United States.

What considering provisions (Internet providers) a utility for the purposes of policy makers does is allow the public to regulate them and put quality control measures in place that are benefit for society as whole. The benefits of which, shall be discussed shortly.

Internet Providers are a Public Utility

According to the legal dictionary offered by thefreedictionary.com;

"Typically a public utility has a Monopoly on the service it provides. It is more economically efficient to have only one business provide the service because the infrastructure required to produce and deliver a product such as electricity or water is very expensive to build and maintain. A consequence of this monopoly is that federal, state, and local governments regulate public utilities to ensure that they provide a reasonable level of service at a fair price."

The definition is descriptive and goes into more detail, but the case can be made that ISPs are certainly a natural monopoly. They have no real threat of competition, and it's why in a semi-free market they are able to provide inferior service at more expensive prices. It is also a telecommunications service that is clearly needed this day in age. Appliances, cars, our places of employment, schooling all are necessities that require the Internet. There was a time you could walk into a place and be fine without the Internet, but now you go into any business and if the Internet goes down, they might as well close. The credit card machines go down, their inventory tracking goes down, customers can't buy stuff, they can't track their product, the registers usually go down. The Internet is no longer a fancy new toy that we can reasonably go without.

It's so hard to become an Internet provider for a variety of reasons. The upfront costs for starting an ISP are staggering, it costs millions. You don't see a profit for years, if you see one at all. You have all kinds of costs that go into permits and licenses from several different municipalities.

One tactic used by companies that hold a monopoly in an area is to throw tons of frivolous lawsuits at up and coming service providers. These lawsuits cost tons of money in legal fees and work as an effective delaying process. A company could lose 20 lawsuits against an up and comer in the industry and still come out ahead, because all of the delay and legal costs make the venture a losing proposition. Many investors will pull out, if the venture hasn't already went bankrupt from the lawsuits. It takes so long to see a profit, even if it weren't for the ridiculous lawsuits, most of these startups can't survive without some help from the government.

According to one expert;

"I have never seen an independent" start up without having to fight the incumbent legally," ......"The incumbents are notorious for frivolous delay lawsuits. They know perfectly well they're frivolous, but it's a delay tactic. They have an army of lawyers and a budget to support lawsuits the size of Godzilla. That's one of their tactics, it always has been. It probably will continue to be so for many years yet to come."

These companies also get into a recurring cycle where they need to get more customers to increase broadband, but need more broadband to get customers. It's a death loop. The bigger companies who hold monopolies all over the country are well positioned to do this, but the small ones suffer.

It should be clear by now that the barrier to entry for ISPs is incredibly large, and in fact is why America basically only has 4 companies running the show.

http://arstechnica.com...

These ISP providers have such a strong strangle hold on the market they can do whatever the hell they feel like. Comcast's customer service is so bad that they're frequently ranked the worst company in the world. If you're having a hard time understanding how a horrible company can keep from going out of business, it's because they own a monopoly.

http://consumerist.com...

Comcast is still trying to merger with Time Warner which will give them control over 40% of the market with virtually no rivals.

http://www.theverge.com...

About 70% of Americans face this problem, most having one option for the Internet, but at most 2 options.

The company is so big it doesn't even know what competition is. That's not rhetoric either. They honestly can't identify their competition.

http://www.theverge.com...

What We Stand to Gain

We're missing out on a lot, when these companies aren't treated as public utilities. In America, there isn't competition to keep these companies in check, so they provide a good service at the best possible price, nor is there enough regulation to do that sort of thing. Classifying these companies as utilities (and let's face it, that's what they are), could gain us a lot.

According to an article in "The Verge", which uses several different studies for citations; Americans pay more money for less service as far as Internet providers are concerned. Countries with more regulation or competition offer more for less than the outdated American system.

"US carriers, on average, offered disappointing 13.2 megabit per second (Mbps) download speeds on LTE over the course of 2013, carriers in countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK delivered speeds nearly two to three times faster. In fact, out of the 40 countries and territories with the most LTE tests in 2013, the US offered slower speeds than all of them"

And

" On average, Verizon charged roughly $4.05 per Mbps of LTE download speed in 2013, compared to just $2.25 for UK ..... AT&T comes to $3.93, while Sprint " with its nascent and slow LTE network " averages to a whopping $7.50 per Mbps."

http://www.theverge.com...

This is what we lose out on and also what we stand to gain from creating some oversight that allows consumers to do exactly what was done with electricity and home telephones, which is to make it affordable and available to even the poorest people. Right now 45% of Americans use their mobile phone as their primary Internet source, and am in fact typing this argument on my cellphone. I have no doubt that doing it on a cellphone certainly influences the quality as well. We shouldn't banish poor people to the ghetto Internet. We should unleash the true collaborative and innovative power of the Internet by making it available to everyone.

http://www.theverge.com...

Conclusion

The FCC is unable to stop this madness. FCC chairman are culled from former bigwigs in the telecommunications industry, while lobbyists are taken from former FCC chairman position. It's a revolving door between the FCC and these companies with no real oversight. It's time to realize that Internet providers are utility companies. It's time to acknowledge that the Internet is just as much a part of our daily lives as our electricity, telephones and running water.

With the lack of competition, the lack of oversight, with companies running wild, taking advantage of customers and black mailing other companies, it's time make some corrections. Provisions for Internet services are a utility.
lannan13

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate. This round I shall only be posting my Constructives and I also request that my opponent doesn't respond until this weekend since I'll be gone Friday-Sunday.

Contention 1: Unregulated Market is better than a Regulated market for the internet.


In the current system, the internet has always been free and open. We can see that Entrapenuers have been free to do as they please and they have set reasonable prises and entry fees for the consumer. We can see that without a great amount of high internet regulation by the federal government that the internet has thrived in the current situation. Without this regulation that this resolution is purposing we can see that the internet has thrived “"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." [1] So we can see that the net neutrallity will kill inovation and it does this by ending and placing a cap on speeding up the internet. [2] This is done by getting rid of the right for providers like Comcast and such to speed up the connection to websites of their cliants and this is something that destroys our very foundation of the Free Market as it does not permit for companies to use this to increase speed as this increasement of speed leads to innovation as the clients clamour for faster and faster internet connection and it’s for this reason alone that the US has the fastest internet in the world, but Net Neutrality is threatening to change all of that. Under Net Neutrality the government will limit how much broadband and brandwith the companies get and this hurts the market, because now the market cannot charge for scarce resources. As economist Milton Friedman argues in his book Capitalism and Freedom, we can see that if we abolish these price controls we permit the market to show us the scarce resources and these resources cost more, but with these controls it limits the company’s fixture to this issue and once again harming the economy.


Let’s look at DSL for example. We can see here that when this wasn’t regualted that it spiked in growth and developement, but when regulations occured it stagnated dragmatically, BUT when they were removed it took off. [3] FiberBroadband Community, an internet provided in the Great Lakes region reported that under net neutrality that they would be forced to move ALL of their customers to a more expensive plan and this would hurt the business as it would cost them more, but the price for the internet would have to stay the same. Plus they are forced to keep their company running on the same expensive plan which destroys innovation as they no longer are needed to innovate to get the edge in the market since everyone has to provide the same connection plans. [6]


Contention 2: Status Quo Antitrust laws solve issue.


The main concern now with Net Neutrality issue is that the Internet providers are monopolizing the industry and colluding against the public, but this is simply not so. For 100’s of years the Sherman Anti-Trust Law has been breaking up monopolies all across the country sticking to the issue that Milton Friedman gave in “Capitalism and Freedom” that generally monopolizes are bad, but that of a Public monopoly is worse. What this debate of net neutrality practically is misconcieved as is that the internet providers have that of a bottleneck like connection of the internet and can switch off connection and access to certain sites. Now here’s the kicker, under the current laws under Section 2 of the Sherman Bill we can see that such a practice would be illegal. [4]



So we can clearly see that we do not need more regulation. The FCC commissioner Robert McDowell backed this up by stating 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.” [5]






Sources

  1. (FCC, Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan 19 (Mar. 16, 2010) [http://www.broadband.gov...])

  2. (http://www.usnews.com...)

  3. Thomas Hazlett and Joshua Wright, The Law and Economics of Net Neutrality (2012)

  4. (http://www.ourdocuments.gov...)

  5. (In re Preserving the Open Internet Broadband Indus. Practices, 25 FCC Rcd. 17,905 (2010)

  6. (file:///C:/Users/dreeves/Downloads/Primer%202014.pdf)
Debate Round No. 2
Wylted

Pro

Framework

I believe my opponent is confused. We are not debating net neutrality. Now I've already spent a bit of time defining the other major terms to give us a better ideal of what we're debating. According to Wikipedia;

"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."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

While a public utility is;

"Typically a public utility has a Monopoly on the service it provides. It is more economically efficient to have only one business provide the service because the infrastructure required to produce and deliver a product such as electricity or water is very expensive to build and maintain. A consequence of this monopoly is that federal, state, and local governments regulate public utilities to ensure that they provide a reasonable level of service at a fair price."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

This debate isn't about whether net neutrality is a good thing. The purpose of the debate is to determine whether or not provisions of Internet services (service providers), should be considered a public utility. As I've pointed out, they should be considered a utility, based on the fact that they meet the definition of utility, via the barrier to entry as well as the benefit to society for them to be regulated in that way.

My opponent despite being off topic, has raised a few arguments which are vaguely relevant to the topic we are debating, and will be addressed accordingly. Now I urge my opponent to figure out a way to make some relevant arguments as well as rebuttals in the next round, if he doesn't he risks not being able to make any at all. The rules of the debate make it clear there are to be no new arguments in the final round.

Contention 1: Unregulated Market is better than a Regulated market for the internet.

My opponent makes kind of a false dichotomy, between a regulated and unregulated market. Before getting into specifics of what's wrong with his Arguments, let's examine more than just this dichotomy. There are many different types of regulated and unregulated markets. Some forms of regulated market work better than unregulated markets and visa versa. The real options we have when looking at these ISP/utilities is this:

Unregulated Monopolized Markets- These markets are bad for consumers, but good for the companies. They get to dictate the prices, and the quality of service. This is the situation we have in America and as you can see it results in higher prices for consumers and bad service. I showed the lower broadband speeds as well as higher prices that these companies charge compared to overseas markets with either good regulation or a good amount of competition. (See round 2). http://www.theverge.com...

2. Unregulated Free Market Lots of Competition- This is an ideal scenario. Unfortunately as I've shown in the previous round. The market had been pretty deeply penetrated,the startup costs are immense and it takes a ton of time to see a profit. This is one of those businesses that are high risk, with low chance of reward. As somebody who is in love with free markets, I'd love to see perfect competition, but as I've shown in the previous round, that's not what is occurring, nor is it even possible to make it occur with a deregulation of the market, because of the costs associated with doing business and the deeply imbedded companies that are already there.

3. A Well Regulated Industry- there is no perfect solution to problems, but treating ISPs as the utilities they are, deals with the reality that a free market won't work in this specific scenario. It follows the example of other countries and utilities of times past, which have been shown to provide more reliable service at a cheaper price. Having some checks and balances to insure quality of service as well as value of service will help consumers immensely. Finally consumers will be on equal ground with ISPs. Finally America can have Internet service and strength that rivals that of third world countries.

"We can see that Entrapenuers have been free to do as they please and they have set reasonable prises and entry fees for the consumer."

This is simply untrue and merely rhetoric from my opponent, taken from the word of some industry insider, but it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. I said it in the last round and I'll say it again. Out of 40 countries, the United States has been shown to have the slowest internet speeds and often for double the price. http://www.theverge.com...

What the free market has gotten us is spit on by these companies. Comcast is the most hated company in the United States and yet people are still forced to pay for an inferior service at double the rate of their brethren in the UK. When my opponent puts a positive spin on Internet service by saying that it's improved a lot in the last ten years, he is merely putting on rose colored goggles. Who cares how much it improved? It's not keeping up with it's rivals in more regulated markets overseas and it's merely because they don't have to care.

"it"s for this reason alone that the US has the fastest internet in the world, but Net Neutrality is threatening to change all of that."

This is clearly false. I've cited sources that show the United States has slower internet speeds than the much of the rest of the world, and at more of a cost to boot. This debate isn't about net neutrality, but I can tell you we've seen the bill passed in the United States and I've yet to see my service change at all.

"FiberBroadband Community, an internet provided in the Great Lakes region reported that under net neutrality that they would be forced to move ALL of their customers to a more expensive plan and this would hurt the business as it would cost them more"

My only response to this is "yeah duh". The company is looking out for it's best interest. They make out better when they're unregulated. The consumers aren't necessarily better off not the industry, but they are. A company merely stating it will cost extra without showing why is just throwing hail Marie's to stop a bill they no will cut into their pocket books, but ultimately be better for the people. The company's claim should be ignored, unless they find some way to substantiate it.

Status Quo Antitrust Lawsuit

The antitrust laws simply aren't working. Comcast in particular has no real competition. The FCC is powerless. I've already shown several stats that prove that a monopoly exists in terms of ISPs in several locations effecting over 70% of the United States, but it's worse than that and I'll let the FCC chairman tell you in his own words.

"competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking and Americans need more competitive choices for faster and better Internet connections, both to take advantage of today's new services, and to incentivize the development of tomorrow's innovations."....."At 25 Mbps, there is simply no competitive choice for most Americans,"...."Stop and let that sink in. Three-quarters of American homes have no competitive choice for the essential infrastructure for 21st century economics and democracy. Included in that is almost 20 percent who have no service at all." http://www.nationaljournal.com...
lannan13

Con

Okay, so I'm going to have to make this a quick round due to some personal issues that I don't really want to get into right now. Anyways let's get to the debate.

My opponent states that I am confused, but I am frankly not. By arguing against net neutrality I am arguing down what Milton Friedman has outlined as the three possible monopolies: Public, Private, and Massive Public Regulations on Private Monopolies. All of which are horrendous pratices we must see that for this resolution to be proven for my opponent he must show that they are not already a monopoly and that this Nationalization of the Internet is a good thing as per the resolution. I can simply argue that it may maintain a Private Monopoly and it would still be a win for me while my opponent must argue for the Nationalization of the Internet to mirror that of the US Postal Service and such.

Contention 1: Opponent's arguments

P1.The Government should only act to enforce the imperatives of Perfect Duties.

P2.Universal health care does not meet the standard of a Perfect Duty.

C1: Thus, the Government should not act to enforce universal health care.

""Kant's first formulation of the CI states that you are to “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law... Perfect duties come in the form ‘One mustnever (or always) φ to the fullest extent possible in C’, while imperfect duties, since they enjoin the pursuit of an end, come in the form ‘One must sometimes and to some extent φ in C’" [1]


According to the above we see that Kant establishes two duties of that of the government; Perfect Duties and Imperfect Duties. Perfect Duties are those things of which the government must provide to ensure that the government and that society is fully functional. What are these things you may ask? These things are the simple things ensured under that of the Social Contract that you give up for a Civilized Society (not to kill, rape, steal, etc...). These things are indeed key as we can see that this ensures that of a Minarchy at the minimum. What that means is that the Government is to ensure that the people are safe. Everything else falls into that of the Imperfect Duties. Now note that these things may protect and benefit the public, we can see that if they're not of the Social Contract like ideals that they automatically fall into this category and SHOULD NOT be carried out by the government, but by Private entities.


Any action is right if it can coexist with everyone's freedom in accordance with a universal law, or if on its maxim the freedom of choice of each can coexist with everyone's freedom in accordance with a universal law” [2]


We can see that if the government intervenes on the behalf on the people to infringe on that of an Imperfect duty that they would undermining humanity to achieve their due ends. We can see and must ensure that the Imperfect Duties are carried out by the Private Entites as things like people's health and Private debt is something that is to be delt with by the individual NOT the government. [3]

My opponent talks of the price controls, but we can see that this is detremental for the economy. If we look at the Example of said Nationalization of buisnesses and the price control usage we can see that under this price control from the government can cause one of 2 things;

1. That the Government sets the price to high and the public buys less and less of the product and as a result this harms the buisness and the economy and it shows that the people do not want said product. This product's price then raises again in order to make up for the lack of growth forcing the government out of buisness.
2. The governemtn sets the price to low and people will buy the product out and there will be a shortage of said product. [4]

My opponent speaks of lacking options and here we can see that this isn't due to the collution of the Private Companies, but this is more or less the collecting and merging of Private Industry in this industry. We can see that the lack of Competition harms the pricing and option as with more competition we can see that there are more companies competitng for lower prices to get custumors who try to get a better deal. We can see that this merging has harmed the economy and that Nationalization will harm it even more. [5] Furthering we just need to look at the Yugos which is a car from the former Yugoslavia. Due to the industry being Nationalized we can see that the quality of the car never improved due to no incentive to improve buisness due to the lack of the market competition. The same thing can and will happen to the internet if you nationalize it. [6] Which is funny, because my opponent is speaking of if we nationalize this internet then we wouldn't have an issue and not turning it to the Private Sector is good. Apparently he would rather drive a Yugo then another car.

Contention 2: Unregulated Market vs. Regulated Market

My opponent harps on the US having such a terrible internet speed and quality, but they are sadly mistaken. We can see that we are actually 10th in the World for the fastest speed and best internet quality. We are definately not the 40th slot that my opponent mistakably claims. [7 8]

My opponent makes a huge contradiction here in this point. He first advocates for Public Nationialization of the Sector, but then states that they're "My only response to this is "yeah duh". The company is looking out for it's best interest. They make out better when they're unregulated." We can see that this is a HUGE concession as my opponent here concedes that under the status quo that the free market is better as "They make out better when they're unregulated" and we can see as I've shown already that the regulation harms the economy, but what my opponent is purposing is suicide. We can easily compare this to the Russian Nationalization of the Oil and Nickle Industry by the "Oligarchy" and see how it pratically ended the Soviet Union due to this economic crisis and we saw Oil prices skyrocket. [4]

Contention 3: Status Quo Anti-trust Laws

My opponent here makes another concession and fails to realize it. Did you miss it? Let's observe it again, "competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking and Americans need more competitive choices for faster and better Internet connections, both to take advantage of today's new services, and to incentivize the development of tomorrow's innovations" We can see here by what my opponent decided to point out is that once again we need free market competition over that of the Public Nationalization of this industry as it helps the industry.

My opponent has dropped the entire argument that I've made here and we can see that the current Sharman Bill has done it's job. The FCC commissioner himself stated that there's only a handful of violations and those were delt with. Frankly it's doing its job and we can see that despite the mergers of these Providers we can still see that there is still innovation and compeition and this is much needed over the nationalization that my opponent is proposing.
Debate Round No. 3
Wylted

Pro

Okay, none of my opponent's arguments against net neutrality work. This debate is not about net neutrality and whether it should be tossed aside or used is beside the point. Somebody could be pro net neutrality and against considering the Internet a utility or somebody can be for considering the Internet a utility and against net neutrality.

My opponent has dropped several of my arguments. My opponent has dropped the argument that the cost of infrastructure and entry is so much that it takes a significant amount of control over local markets for a start up to succeed, and since they're the new guy in town it's extremely hard to gain the 30% of the market they need. Broadband companies such as Comcast, have huge natural monopolies, and in a world that requires such a big infrastructure and market penetration to succeed, it's virtually impossible to have a competitive industry.

He has dropped my arguments showing that currently the Internet companies have virtual monopolies over local markets. These facts automatically get accepted into any judges calculations as it's too late to bring up new arguments against them as per WODC rules, as well as just a general principle of fairness.

LANNAN IS CONFUSED AGAIN

My opponent's rebuttal round is spent using arguments against the nationalization of the Internet industry. Let me define nationalization for those who may not be aware of what that is;

"Nationalization (American English), (British and Commonwealth spelling nationalisation) is the process of taking a private industry or private assets into public ownership by a national government or state." http://en.m.wikipedia.org...

This debate is not about taking private assets and turning them into government property. The debate is merely about recognizing that the companies who provide Internet services have too much control over the industry. When a company has too much control over an industry, it's competition is no longer able to act as a check against the company acting against the best interest of the consumer. The regulation that comes with recognizing that Internet services are a public utility, are there to insure a balance between making a profit and treating customers fairly. This type of regulation actually allows a company to keep their monopolies because it understands that these types of services require massive infrastructure. Just like electric companies and consumers would be worse off with more competition in broadband, because it would create an alarming amount of overlapping infrastructures, however that is kinda beside the point. The massive infrastructure actually helps create a natural monopoly as I have argued and my opponent has not contested the natural monopoly exists.

Con mentions how theoretically price controls can be too high or too low and harm industry. While I concede that it is possible for the government to charge outrages prices for goods and drive consumers away or charge too little and destroy a company, it is unlikely. Phone service, electricity, and water services have been regulated as utilities for as long as me and my opponent have been alive and my guess is we both have electricity and running water, which is believe it or not, quite affordable. While the landline telephone industry going the way of the dinosaur, when it was a necessity, government regulating it as a utility kept the prices low enough for one to be in virtually every home while the companies providing the services actually made plenty of profits the entire time they were regulated. The regulations, neither harmed consumers or the companies, it merely balanced out the disadvantages of having a monopolized industry, and it should be noted that competition in these specific industries isn't necessarily a good thing either as the massive infrastructures are overlapping and waste a lot of resources. It's one of those situations where people are better off with a regulated monopoly than many competing companies.

My opponent moves Onto discussing Kant and what's known as the categorical imperative, but greatly misunderstands the categorical imperative, as well as gives us no reason to favor that moral system, over the normative system we already use. Seeing as how the normative system is the one we already use and We were given no reason to assume Kantian ethics, I say we use normative ethics. The first problem with applying Kantian ethics in this situation is that Kant was describing a system of personal ethics for people to apply, and my opponent is trying to imply personal ethics to the state without explaining why personal ethics are even applicable to a non living entity.

According to Kant perfect duties are to be performed all the time, where as imperfect duties were to be performed in some circumstances. Things that are imperfect duties aren't things the state should refrain from as my opponent assumes. If we're applying the categorical imperative to the state, imperfect duties should be done sometimes, meaning that sometimes it is correct to treat a utility as a utility. I've explained why we should do so in this debate. If it is an imperfect duty, it is still one that should be performed based on the reasoning I gave.

http://plato.stanford.edu...

Regulated vs Unregulated

"My opponent harps on the US having such a terrible internet speed and quality, but they are sadly mistaken. We can see that we are actually 10th in the World for the fastest speed and best internet quality. We are definately not the 40th slot that my opponent mistakably claims."

Um I linked to a study showing that America is 40th among countries and territories looked at. I actually went through the trouble of quoting stats and quotes from an article on the study, where as my opponent merely says I'm mistaken without pointing out which of the statistics I quoted is wrong or why. I read the article my opponent links to in the comment section. Out of a list of 10 countries we see that the United States is 10th. We have no many ideals how many countries that study looked at or it's method collections. So one list shows the United States in last place of 10 areas and the other shows it as last place of 40 countries. Come on Lannan, last place is last place. Clearly not all countries and areas are included in my list of 40. My list obviously excluded third world nations and the Gal"pagos Islands. There is no need to split hairs here. The point is that the United States could and should do better. A point which my opponent doesn't counter at all.

"We can see that this is a HUGE concession as my opponent here concedes that under the status quo that the free market is better as "They make out better when they're unregulated""

My statement was that the monopolies do better when they are left unregulated, not that the economy or customers do better. Clearly, my argument is that these companies have too much leverage over consumers and despite the fact that Comcast does better when they don't have as many rules to follow, the average American does worse.

My opponent ends that round with a baffling remark about nationalization, which isn't even something we're debating.

Status quo and Anti Trust

"We can see here by what my opponent decided to point out is that once again we need free market competition over that of the Public Nationalization of this industry as it helps the industry."

The quote by the FCC chairman is meant to point out the lack of competition in the Internet industry. The quote is by another person. The chairman may be knowledgable about the problems facing the industry, but I disagree with his conclusions on the solution. He sees the problem is not enough competition and jumps to the most obvious conclusion, however the most obvious solution isn't feasible in this situation as I've shown the industry to be too hard to break into.

"My opponent has dropped the entire argument that I've made here and we can see that the current Sharman Bill has done it's job."

I haven't dropped any arguments. The current bill you bring up has done absolutely nothing to prevent these industries from monopolizing (and we haven't even concluded that monopolizing a utility is bad, only that a monopolized utility should be regulated as one.). I've shown that the current attempts at preventing monopolies has failed in this circumstance, that the industry naturally monopolizes as it needs deep market penetration to be profitable and that the status quo isn't working and we need provisions of Internet services to be recognized as a utility.

Conclusion

My opponent hasn't even argued against the resolution and instead has argued against nationalization and argued against net neutrality. He has dropped most of my arguments and has baffled me with his interpretations of my arguments.

I urge my opponent to read over my arguments several times to comprehend them properly. I also urge him to just forfeit the debate and save the judges the trouble of having to read through all this and analyze it as a formality. I won, vote pro.
lannan13

Con

Contention 1: Semantics and Confusion

I would like to begin by pointing out that my opponent is using semantics in this debate. This is nothing new as my opponent has done this before by trying to use the definitions to manipulate the outcome and the course of the debate. If we first look at the comments we can see that we agreed the debate was over net neutrality, but in responding to my opening arguments he changed this. I would like the judges to keep this in mind when they’re voting on this debate as I will now prove that even using the definitions my opponent has provided us in this debate.

"Nationalization (American English), (British and Commonwealth spelling nationalisation) is the process of taking a private industry or private assets into public ownership by a national government or state."

Okay, so here we see that if the Private company is possessed by the Public (nation or state) then it's nationalization, but where have I seen this one before?

"Typically a public utility has a Monopoly on the service it provides. It is more economically efficient to have only one business provide the service because the infrastructure required to produce and deliver a product such as electricity or water is very expensive to build and maintain. A consequence of this monopoly is that federal, state, and local governments regulate public utilities to ensure that they provide a reasonable level of service at a fair price."

Wow, we can see here that it falls under a Monopoly of the Public Sector. Since we see that the current status quo is that of Private businesses like Comcast that is NOT a monopoly we can see that this IS TOPICAL and my debate arguments should be accepted as it fits under the definitions that my opponent has given us and all points dropped by my opponent should be concidered as a dropped argument in this debate and I will extend those across the board.

My opponent states that I have dropped his arguement over the cost of infrastructure and that he also claims that I dropped his monopoly arguement, but he fails to acknowledge and he has yet to post an effective rebuttal to my Anti-Sherman Bill which prevents this as the FCC commissioner has shown that there has practically been hardly any issues at all under this problematic system of which my opponent is purposing as it is ILLEGAL under the status quo. My opponent is confused when he talks about the recognition of the companies having too much power as the debate is over whether or not they should be a Public utility meaning that he is to argue for their Nationialization. Then he moves on to state in his 4th round that the regulation is appart of that Public Utility MEANING that Net neutrality is also permitted by his standards in this debate! So I extend those arguments across the board which he's dropped.

My opponent states that this is impossible (the price bankruptcy), but there is one Public Utility and Government monopoly that he failed to have told you about and that is the US Postal Service. The US Federal Government has a monopoly on the Postal Serivice and it has harmed innovation in the field as there is no competition. [1] Rand Paul notes that if compeititon was permitted that there would be tons of other companies joining the field including the likes of Adams. [2] Note that he has completely dropped my Soviet argument and it is key in this debate as it shows a huge probability of this happening as he also dropped my Milton Friedman argument here.

My opponent is mistaken on the Kant’s Principle’s argument. This is due to the fact that my opponent is confusing Kant’s principles for that of John Locke’s Social Contract theory. This theory is escentially a mutual agreement between individuals to give up the “right to be violent” and there is thus a civilized society. The main reason that Kant’s argument falls under the statehood status is that under an individual premise it would be impossible to have certain actions carried out by the government or privately as this would invalidate the entirety of having a government. My opponent states that public utilities should be sometimes preformed but this is simply a mere assumption and must be thrown out. Due to this confusion I extend this argument across the board as we can see that the role of government is that of a Minarchy where the government provides basic protection of the citizens and ensure’s their rights. My opponent has NOT in this debate proved that the Internet is a right and hence the government should not intervene on the subject.

Contention 2: Regulation

My opponent completely dropps this argument as BOTH articles I sited were from the Wall Street Journal which is a highly credable source when it comes to economics and business, but my opponent just throws out the argument like yesterdays news. Note that my articles actual talk about internet in general while my opponent's article not only sites ONLY phone data, but it's the ratio of the speed and cost which is entirely different ball game. We must take my articles over his as it looks at the whole picture not just cellphones in general.

Contention 3: Sherman Anti-Trust Bill

My opponent has failed here once more. I have challenged my opponent to find an area in the status quo where there is abuse. Yes there are murgers, but that is part of business and politics. I could get into how it drives up costs and use the health care industry as an example, but I'm running out of characters and that's for a different debate. We can see that a monopoly is when one company dominates the entire industry by being the sole business, as you yourself said. We have yet to actually see this as the Sherman bill has prevented this and the FCC Director himself, as I showed in my opening arguments for Round 2, stated 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.” [3] So here we can see that even the FCC director has stated and shown that the current law has resolved the issues here.

With that we can see that I am on topic and that we mustn't allow the Internet to fall into Public Utility as it would become more broken than the US postal service.

I thank you and urge you to vote Con!

Debate Round No. 4
67 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Yeah, the Red Queen argument has to be phrased pretty well, and it falls victim to arguments regarding collusion and staked out territories. I could tell you were prepared for it.

Industries like this definitely throw a few of the ideas behind free markets for a loop. It's great that it's got you questioning things - really helps to solidify your stance after the fact, even if it requires an overhaul.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
I appreciate your vote Whiteflame. I especially like the fact you probably spotted my weaknesses better than I did, though you left a few out.

Some of the weaknesses you mentioned were intentional, and meant to control Lannan's rebuttals. Some of the weaknesses were just me not thinking Lannan would catch them, some I missed and some are just inherent in this position.

The Red Wueen argument is actually something I was prepared for and crossed my mind, though I never knew there was a name for it or that somebody else had even noticed that trend. I thought it was only I who noticed the trend.

I can tell you researching this, made me have some doubts about my libertarian position. "Natural monopolies" as I believe ISP's have to be, to be effective are something my personal philosophy doesn't account for, and I'll have to give it thought.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Oh come now, your vote isn't obsolete.
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Well, I guess that makes my vote obsolete now.. Thanks Whiteflame -_-
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

Alright, so as usual, going to start off with two overviews, and then examine the contentions.

1) Public utility/net neutrality/nationalization

I shouldn't be having more and more issues understanding what this debate is about as it goes along, yet I'm constantly finding myself having to refer back to the definition provided by Pro in R1 in order to clarify. Con, there are substantial differences between these 3 terms. Using them interchangeably is not a good idea. Even if some pieces of each are included in the others, I need to know why that matters, and not just that there are similarities. You cannot just attack net neutrality and nationalization and then pretend that you've attacked the creation of a new public utility. That's not how this works.

If I have any complaints with Pro on this one, it's that too much time is spent here. Say they're not the same, provide a brief definition of the new term, and move on to explaining why Con's arguments don't apply. Don't belabor the point. The fact that Con's terminology wasn't great doesn't really tell me that his arguments are themselves weak, and while you spent time there as well, I felt like this was a detractor.

2) Debate structure

This is directed at Con. It's a weird issue, mainly because the contentions keep changing numbers and places. Contention 2 in R2 ends up as Contention 3 in R3 and R4, and even changes titles. The same thing happens to Contention 1 in R2. I don't know why Con decided to insert his new contention that was clearly a rebuttal to Pro's case as the new Contention 1 (which also changed names and... functions... between R3 and R4), but it ends up confusing the structure of the debate. Pro tries to keep the major arguments to separate sections under recognizable titles, but it somewhat confounds the reader.

Alright, onto the arguments.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

Pro's Contention:

Essentially, Pro's argument is lumped into a single contention, which is one of cost and quality. He makes it clear how making the Internet a public utility bolsters both of these with current examples, explains why the current situation is untenable, and examines why changing to a public utility alters those circumstances for the better. It's a pretty straightforward case.

Con doesn't counter Pro's evidence showing that countries that provide the Internet as a utility also provide better Intenet at a lower price. I'll get into competition later, but this is a pretty clear benefit to Pro's case that Con's just leaving on the table, and especially when Pro is examining the need (not desire, need) to have these services, it's a pretty glaring oversight. I actually thought Pro would have been best off reemphasizing that in the end, since it was a major deal in his opening round, but is conspicuously absent afterward.

That being said, there are some clear holes in it, I just never see Con exploit them. The major one is that there's a difference between two companies jockeying over some territory and one holding an entire country to itself. Sure, regulations prevent a monopoly from doing some major harm, but there are still a lot of harms that accompany making a company the sole provider of a given service. I would have liked to have seen more on that from Con. Also, Con really needed to emphasize that that difference exists. Pro kept arguing that status quo is effectively a monopoly, yet his evidence showed that it's not, even if it sometimes appears to be. I was honestly waiting for this line: "the response to a company pushing the boundaries of monopolizing a given service should not be to make that company an absolute monopoly." I really should have seen that argument somewhere. Instead, Con dances around it, insinuating something along these lines but avoiding the key point.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

So what stands from this is that current society effectively allows a monopoly on provision of the Internet to go unfettered. I don't buy the argument that the Anti-Sherman Bill prevents this from happening when Pro's giving me evidence that it is happening " a theoretical means of prevention is not enough. If Con had taken the time to show how the Bill has been used against these monopolies to break them up (maybe even focusing on the prevented acquisition of TWC), then he might have gotten somewhere with this. But as it stands, it's not enough. The harm I'm seeing is that a PRIVATE monopoly is more harmful than a PUBLIC monopoly, though it would have been best if Pro had taken the time to explain why public is better than private in this instance instead of just providing examples of that benefit.

Really, the only response that I'm getting to this contention that makes me question it is Con's point that governments might set the price too high, but Con can't seem to provide an example of that happening.

Con's Contentions:

Contention 1:

I think this contention invites more questions than it answers. As Pro points out, even if I don't accept that ISPs are a monopoly, the market is hardly a free one. Con really doesn't address the reality that the big players force every new member out of the market, effectively removing any and all potential sources of competition. Even if there's some competition in status quo, there's no additional sources coming in, and as Pro explained, there is only limited competition occuring between current ISPs. That, at the very least, tells me that an unregulated market is no picnic, and that there are numerous problems there. Perhaps that's still better than a regulated market, but Con really should have spent more time comparing the two in order to make this point have some strength to it.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

What Con seemed to be trying to do with this argument, aside from trying to show that a free market is better than a fettered one, was two-fold. I see the argument about net neutrality, which is too specific to that particular issue to find purchase on this topic. Again, it's worth explaining why net neutrality and a public utility overlap in terms of how these arguments apply. Without that, you're not getting any purchase with these points.

What's left is an argument about innovation and how it is improved as a result of competition. To a degree, I'm buying that Con produces the most competition, since Pro is effectively seeking a completely non-competitive environment. The problem is that I'm not given much reason to think that that matters. Con basically just endorses the idea that competition produces innovation, but doesn't go much further than that. Perhaps competition between private companies is somehow facilitating an improvement in services, but the examples Pro is presenting me with tell a different story " that government-regulated public utilities are providing better services at lower costs. He shows that many utilities in this country are emblematic of this improvement. Con eventually counters that the USPS may be an example to the contrary, but it comes up in the final round without much in the way of explanation, and I don't get enough analysis on it to counter all of Pro's arguments. What's more, it doesn't seem to fit with ISPs, since Con states "that there would be tons of other companies joining the field" if the market was openned up for competition. Pro made it quite clear that ISPs are shoving new entrants out of the market left and right, so why does this apply to ISPs?
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 5)

Just to make this clear, though: I don't find the argument convincing that the U.S. is 10th in the world for fastest Internet speed. As Pro pointed out, the list Con provides is 10 countries long. That doesn't prove that the U.S. is 10th in the world, just that it scored last place on that list. It scored last place on Pro's list of 40 as well. Now, it's possible that Pro's list analyzes it to a faulty degree, but Con needed to address that before the final round, and even if I accepted his challenges, it still doesn't make the U.S. ranking a good one. They're last place on your list. That's not a good sign.

Contention 2:

This isn't a contention, it's a response to Pro's argument that status quo is ineffective at producing a free market system. There is an extra argument in here, but it's never clear what the reasoning is behind Con's assertion that "a Public monopoly is worse" than a private one. I'm not clear on why it is. Merely stating that Milton Friedman supports that argument doesn't clarify the issue. Even when Con brings up Friedman in Contention 1, the explanation is confusing. I don't see how controls harm the economy, and I don't see how private companies somehow "permit the market to show us the scarce resources and these resources cost more". Even if I did get it, I'm unclear on what, if anything, in provision of Internet services is a scarce resource. If you're going to employ arguments from Friedman or any of these experts, you need to provide enough of the logic behind their points that it can be broadly understood.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 6)

Contention 3:

Suffice it to say that I'm confused here. It's a whole new moral theory argument that apparently has tenuous links to Pro's case. I do get that this is an imperfect duty, but that doesn't mean anything to me. Why should I care that it's imperfect? I'm not clear on why imperfect duties must be "carried out by the Private Entities" - Con really just asserts that there's a need to do so without any explanation as to why. Even if I accepted the whole thing, I can't do much with it, because the only harm Con places on this is that it "undermin[es] humanity to achieve their due ends." I don't know what that means. What is the impact of undermining humanity? What does it mean that they can't achieve their due ends? Even if I thought that moral issues were most important in this debate, I don't have anything solid here I can pull down as a moral issue. I have the rest of that argument (albeit it should have gotten more explanation), but not the impact. Some of that starts to peek through in the final round, but it's so late and minimal that there's not a lot I can do with it. The statement that the state should be a minarchy is brand new, as is the argument that the Internet must be a right in order for the government to intervene, and I don't get any explanation that backs these up anyway, just assertions.

Conclusion:

If I haven't been clear yet, I'm essentially dropping out Con's Contentions 2 and 3 from the analysis of the debate. In both cases, the argument is unclear, has weak links to the case, and is lacking in impactful analysis. They're theory and moralistic arguments without the necessary support they need, and merely citing great thinkers doesn't make them have teeth.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Wyltedlannan13
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by Romanii 1 year ago
Romanii
Wyltedlannan13
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
Wyltedlannan13
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: rfd in comments. I'm unable to award points via rules of WODC.
Vote Placed by Envisage 1 year ago
Envisage
Wyltedlannan13
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Comments.