Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
More parenting is needed

Aug 01, 2019

Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.

Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

Freedom cannot be legislated, its restriction can
Mar 31, 2015

Indiana voted in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In his WSJ piece, Gov. Mike Pence claims it was needed to protect the religious freedoms of Hoosiers. Every legislative act by its nature limits someone’s freedom. The only way of increasing freedom is by identifying existing laws that curb personal liberties and then eliminating them.  Hence, if Gov. Pence sees that under some circumstances, the religious freedoms of Hoosiers are not respected, he could correct the situation by eliminating laws causing this problem. We have the Bill of Rights, and it suffices. No “enhancements” are needed.

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The naked truth about Net neutrality,

and why Congress should stay away from it.

With the Internet becoming a commodity and with the emergence of new services, mainly television over the Internet, there is nervousness among businesses and the public, as we are entering unregulated territory. Everybody involved is trying to take the best position for exploring new opportunities.

Calling for increased government regulation is natural in such times. Businesses, by lobbying for legislation that is favorable to them, can get preferable placement on the market so that later they do not need to work as hard to overcome competition. At the same time, when new technologies are coming to the market, the public might be confused and concerned that major players might have unfair advantage, prompting a demand for increased government regulation.

Anxiety is a bad advisor. The term “Net neutrality” is unfortunate and misleading. The naked truth is that the dominant business model today of the broadband Internet service delivery is not adequate for the way the service is being used now by most subscribers, and this discrepancy will be growing. In other words, the way Internet service providers charge their customers does not reflect the cost of providing the service and does not reflect the way the public uses the Internet.

Let us explain this dilemma by using as an example a basic DSL service from AT&T, offering a connection speed of 1.5 Mbps for about $20 per month. A traditional T-1 line is still priced around $500 per month, and offers looking the same speed of 1.5 Mbps. One can suspect that somewhere in between there are some assumptions that allow the telephone company to offer an individual subscriber a service for $20 that otherwise costs $500.

In the commercial T-1 service, the provider guarantees continuous symmetrical transmissions speed of 1.5 Mbps. In DSL service, there is the assumption that an average individual user browses Internet occasionally, and requires the full speed only usually for a split of a second here and there. Therefore, the connectivity of one commercial T-1 line can be sufficient to support many DSL subscribers, as they rarely would request the full bandwidth at the same moment. Rare cases of conflicting requests may occasionally lower the bandwidth available to the individual subscriber; however, if not too many subscribers are on a given circuit, it might not be noticeable. Up until recently, it was considered that one T-1 line could support up to 100 DSL customers with service at 1.5 Mbps. With graphic-intense web sites and more email traffic containing larger attachments, now experts say that one T-1 can support somewhere between 20 and 30 subscribers with a service at 1.5 Mbps. However, with more video transmissions over the Internet, where webcasts take about 300 kbps and full quality standard resolution video takes at least 1 Mbps, it is expected that backbone connectivity of T-1 might be able to support no more than three subscribers.

In extreme cases, one DSL subscriber downloading movies from companies like Movielink or CinemaNow for a prolonged period, takes almost full capacity of the T-1 line. Even if we assume that T-1 is highly overpriced, it still cost much more than $20 per month to provide.

In order to deal with situations like this, telephone companies want to charge companies like Movielink or CinemaNow additional fees for creating “hot lanes” allowing their customers to have uninterrupted transmission for the duration needed to complete a transaction. If this concept prevails, video service providers will shift their extra costs to their customers. In other words, for this additional charge, the DSL subscriber would be buying for a short duration of time a higher grade service from the ISP. However, the price of the service form the DSL service provider would not be increased formally.

One can easily foresee that this will not take long, and there will be millions of vendors providing a variety of services over the Internet that would require upgraded Internet connectivity. Implementing the solution suggested by telephone companies would create a system as simple as an astronomical model based on the assumption that the Sun circles the Earth. It does not take Copernicus to conclude that the current pricing model for broadband Internet connectivity needs to be revised. This is the tough business decision that telephone companies need to make themselves. The most active internet users might need to pay more for their service. Lobbying for “Net neutrality” boils down to an attempt to shift the responsibility for unavoidable price increase to the government.

Up until recently, the biggest challenge for the ISPs was building networks capable to handle high transmission speeds. However, with continuous improvements, speeds in the range of 10 – 50 Mbps are just around the corner. For the traditional light Internet user, there is no meaningful difference between the speed of 1 Mbps and 50 Mbps. For the Internet users that transmit a great deal of video and other data, the high speed is needed, but it is a secondary cost factor from the perspective of the Internet service provider. The amount of data transmitted becomes the main factor. At that level, Internet service is more like a water, gas, or electricity supply. We expect certain water pressure, certain gas pressure, or certain voltage. However, we are charged for water, gas, or electricity actually consumed. Therefore, we have to realize that the currently dominant pricing structure for broadband Internet service does not reflect the physical aspects of the way the service is delivered. As a result, the committed speed cannot be delivered. The simplest way out of this situation is by accepting that the amount of data transmitted should be a factor in the service price.

In my opinion, the simplest way out of this dilemma is by putting a cap limiting amount of data transmitted during the billing period at the basic service fee. Data transmitted above that service level, should be charged extra. Within this model, moderate Internet users still would be able to enjoy their low-priced service. It is my personal believe that if left alone, Internet-related businesses would eventually evolve into a solution of this kind; fair and simple. Maybe someone will come up with even a better system. However, it is up to the marketplace to decide it. Congress has nothing to do here.

On the TelcomNext show in Las Vegas in March 2006, John Chambres, President and CEO of Cisco Systems, gave a very inspiring speech about how overwhelmingly connectivity will change our lives in the near future. In his opinion, the cost of networking will follow Moore’s Law. In other words, with every year, for the same amount of dollars, we will be able to download and upload much more data. We may see prices for the high-speed internet connectivity falling soon the same way as prices of long distance and cellular calls have fallen. We have to have the wisdom and patience to let the marketplace work its magic. Even Congress cannot legislate tomorrow’s prices today.

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5 thoughts on “The naked truth about Net neutrality,

  1. Pingback: Net neutrality exposed | In Perpetual Search for Reason

  2. Pingback: Gregory Smith

  3. Kamiel Foskey

    You have no idea what you are talking about and comparing a T1 line to a DSL line and using only the difference in price as a comparison point is completely missing the fact that they are two entirely different technologies, decades apart from each other and your comparison would be like trying to compare the cost of taking a train across country and the cost of going by a team of horses. The horses will cost you more because they are entirely different technologies. T1 lines require a dedicated T1 connection, which means a person line run from wherever the nearest router is to your home or place of business and is a dedicated connection. DSL, which can run much faster than your example of 1.5Mbps, uses the already existing phone lines and slips the digital signals between the 60 pulses a second analogue signal of the phone and require no additional infrastructure and is NOT a dedicated connection so must be shared with others in your cloud and will at times limit your bandwidth because it is shared bandwidth and AT&T (from your example) would have very little control over that aspect of inconsistency. Please, if you are going to try to attack Net Neutrality, at least pick from examples that stand up to scrutiny and don’t break down the moment you start comparing your examples beyond the price point.

    What’s more, your example of comparing price in this way has NOTHING to do with Net Neutrality. It’s a complete and total strawman argument you make, as the price differences between T1, Wireless, Satellite, Cable, DSL and any other option you want to pull out of your hat will remain, even with net neutrality, because Net Neutrality has nothing to do with standardizing costs anymore than it locked in price rates that the phone companies are neutral in the same way as Net Neutrality will be neutral. They will be able to charge different. They will even be able to charge you by minute or Gigabyte of use, if they want, but what they can’t do is charge you more for using their service to shop at Amazon instead of Ali-Baba… What you anti-net neutrality types really want is to be able to control where users go and what they do with the internet and that is the only thing that Net Neutrality is intended to prevent.

  4. Christopher Bacon

    One need look no further than the quote on the upper left that says, “Freedom cannot be legislated.” To know that the author of this blog knows nothing about anything, or at least is extremely dishonest.

    Freedom, in reality, can only exist if it is legislated for, that is what the constitution is. Without legislation you dont have freedom, you have Somalia.

    1. admin Post author

      The main message and the purpose of the Constitution is exactly that freedom is our unalienable right. The Constitution acknowledges that whatever other legislation follows, it confines our freedoms, and it puts limits on these restrictions.

      The point of Mr. Bacon, by the way very common in the U.S., is that freedom is defined as whatever a majority decides at a given point of time that it should be. It is a slippery slope, if we do not forget that the Soviet Union was established by the concord of the majority of people living there at that time. Many lost their lives fighting for it. Hitler also got to power by winning the vote of the majority.


About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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