Why Apple opposes the FCC's repeal of net neutrality

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple was one of a number of parties that fought the repeal of net neutrality protections, originally instituted in 2015 during the Obama administration. The company has a lot of pragmatic reasons for taking a pro-neutrality stance.




Things were made (mostly) clear in an August letter to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. "An open internet ensures that hundreds of millions of consumers get the experience they want, over the broadband connections they choose, to use the devices they love, which have become an integral part of their lives," Apple wrote.

"What consumers do with those tools is up to them -- not Apple, and not broadband providers," it added.

Assuming it's not reversed by the courts or political maneuvers, the FCC's repeal of neutrality could conceivably let internet service providers block, throttle, or prioritize traffic as they see fit. On a basic level, Apple needs to ensure quality of service on its devices -- people dealing with slow internet access may be less likely to want the latest iPhone, download apps, sign up for Apple Music, or rent a movie from iTunes.

Apple has also had to deal with services being blocked in the past. AT&T, for example, once prevented people from using FaceTime over cellular unless they had a Mobile Share data plan, presumably because it was worried customers with grandfathered unlimited data would bombard its network.

Behind the scenes, Apple is probably worried about rivals signing deals with ISPs, or those ISPs simply favoring their own services. If Comcast decided to prioritize its own TV streaming traffic for example, that could play havoc with material sold on iTunes and Apple's upcoming original video programming.

Lastly, Apple may also want flexible bandwidth for future technology. In its August letter it complained that killing net neutrality could "create artificial barriers to entry for new online services, making it harder for tomorrow's innovations to attract investment and succeed."

The company is rumored to be developing an augmented reality headset, which will likely be highly dependent on high-speed 4G/5G cellular for functions such as Siri and navigation. Apple is also working on a self-driving car platform, which will probably be sold to third parties -- if it hooks into Apple's cloud services in any way, that could generate terabytes of data per car, per day. Apple might have to spend millions on prioritization deals or risk an unusable product.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    Apple has major interest in the issue, Apple Music, AppleTV, FaceTime and iMessage.

    But no matter what, it is a great cause to fight.
    Same thing apply to Google, YouTube, Facebook or any other steaming service.

    spice-boyScot1radarthekatRobPalmer9jony0
  • Reply 2 of 58
    I am for small government and differ with many political positions Apple takes, but I totally agree with Apple on this. Even besides the important issue of it becoming harder for many businesses to compete, the content of the internet will also be at the hands of money making endeavours, instead of all content being treated equally as it is now.

    We won’t see changes right away, but over time companies will make whatever changes they can get away with until the internet differs very little from the way network TV is.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was even partially a move to control ‘fake’ news. If content is monetised by service providers the news can be better controlled than it is now. Information control in the name of market freedom... It’s not worth it.
  • Reply 3 of 58
    If things get worse, other companies may get in to the ISP business, which will have a much lower bar to entry as 5G wireless technology progresses. Apple might be a good candidate for this, since they have the resources but not the core business of monetizing customer data that companies like Alphabet and Facebook have. 
    badmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 58
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 251member
    I was more or less with you until the last paragraph when you tried - and failed miserably - to tie the latest tech - AR and self driving car - to Apple's supposed reason for wanting to keep net neutrality.  Why the he11 would an AR headset be any more dependent on 4G/cellular than the existing iPhone?  You gave the pitiful 'Siri' and 'navigation' answer - both of which already exist in the iPhone.  For your self-driving car reason, you made up some far-fetched sh1t about self-driving cars needing to tie into Apple's cloud services and generating totally made-up 'terrabytes of data per day'.  No explanation as to what the he11 for, but hey - let's throw in a few terabytes???

  • Reply 5 of 58
    georgie01 said:
    I am for small government and differ with many political positions Apple takes, but I totally agree with Apple on this. Even besides the important issue of it becoming harder for many businesses to compete, the content of the internet will also be at the hands of money making endeavours, instead of all content being treated equally as it is now.

    We won’t see changes right away, but over time companies will make whatever changes they can get away with until the internet differs very little from the way network TV is.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was even partially a move to control ‘fake’ news. If content is monetised by service providers the news can be better controlled than it is now. Information control in the name of market freedom... It’s not worth it.
    I'm in favor of a "free and open Internet", but I'm not in favor of forcing other people to fund your (or anyone else's) access to said Internet via taxes. If anyone can figure out how to get on the Internet for free without an Internet Service Provider (ISP) then by all means, have at it.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 6 of 58
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 327administrator
    tjwolf said:
    I was more or less with you until the last paragraph when you tried - and failed miserably - to tie the latest tech - AR and self driving car - to Apple's supposed reason for wanting to keep net neutrality.  Why the he11 would an AR headset be any more dependent on 4G/cellular than the existing iPhone?  You gave the pitiful 'Siri' and 'navigation' answer - both of which already exist in the iPhone.  For your self-driving car reason, you made up some far-fetched sh1t about self-driving cars needing to tie into Apple's cloud services and generating totally made-up 'terrabytes of data per day'.  No explanation as to what the he11 for, but hey - let's throw in a few terabytes???

    Because that's where the data is, and that's where the data goes. When you're talking extremely small form factor devices (like say AR glasses) you need a place to store all the data that you can't store on the device. Things like up-to-the-minute traffic conditions, specific labeling of objects and persons in the world around you etc. In order to train these neural nets on what any of this stuff is, you need to provide them with lots of input. The easiest way to get that input is to send (as anonymously as possible) data from millions of consumer's devices. All this stuff is going to be pretty network intensive for a while.

    Take for instance the simple idea of picking up a box of lucky charms in the grocery store aisle:

    Your devices needs to recognize that OK this is lucky charms -- that alone requires a lot of computer vision work (which cloud processing would probably speed up). OK now let's pull up all the nutrition information (lets pull it from an official data-store somewhere online so we know it's up to date), OK, let's maybe give the user some data about alternatives (poll online profile and retailer purchase history (GPS + online 3rd party integration layer) to identify other foods they may like.) Maybe then recommend some milk as a compliment, but almond milk because you're lactose intolerant (querying a health profile online). What if the user then asks a context-based question to Siri based off the object they're holding like "Hey Siri, when was the last time I bought some junk food?" -- again you've gotta go back to some sort of store to look that information up.

    OK, now imagine a good chunk of that is done in real-time for every object you see as you walk down the aisle (gotta pre-buffer after all). What about overlaying enticing animations with mascot cartoon characters over the boxes, or changing the boxes themselves so that when you pick them up you're given a dopamine hit of a good sound and a fun animation plays on the box cover. All this stuff will start taking up very large amounts of data.

    Remember there was a time when even someone as tech-involved as Bill Gates said 640K of RAM ought to be enough for anyone :wink: 
    edited December 2017 radarthekatchia
  • Reply 7 of 58
    bellsbells Posts: 119member
    georgie01 said:
    I am for small government and differ with many political positions Apple takes, but I totally agree with Apple on this. Even besides the important issue of it becoming harder for many businesses to compete, the content of the internet will also be at the hands of money making endeavours, instead of all content being treated equally as it is now.

    We won’t see changes right away, but over time companies will make whatever changes they can get away with until the internet differs very little from the way network TV is.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was even partially a move to control ‘fake’ news. If content is monetised by service providers the news can be better controlled than it is now. Information control in the name of market freedom... It’s not worth it.
    I'm in favor of a "free and open Internet", but I'm not in favor of forcing other people to fund your (or anyone else's) access to said Internet via taxes. If anyone can figure out how to get on the Internet for free without an Internet Service Provider (ISP) then by all means, have at it.

    Funny I haven’t heard about any ISPs complaining about losing money.

    Further, people forget ISPs didn’t create the Internet, tax payer dollars did. Further federal regulation helped it grow by protecting internet companies from things like State regulation and taxation.
    spice-boyradarthekatanantksundarambaconstangretrogustoasdasd
  • Reply 8 of 58
    The free loaders are unhappy now that they have to start paying. Love it.  :D
    2old4funAbove_The_Gods
  • Reply 9 of 58
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    I think life will go on without net neutrality. The free market system will punish providers of slow/bad/throttled service and reward providers that don’t abuse. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 58
    bells said:
    georgie01 said:
    I am for small government and differ with many political positions Apple takes, but I totally agree with Apple on this. Even besides the important issue of it becoming harder for many businesses to compete, the content of the internet will also be at the hands of money making endeavours, instead of all content being treated equally as it is now.

    We won’t see changes right away, but over time companies will make whatever changes they can get away with until the internet differs very little from the way network TV is.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was even partially a move to control ‘fake’ news. If content is monetised by service providers the news can be better controlled than it is now. Information control in the name of market freedom... It’s not worth it.
    I'm in favor of a "free and open Internet", but I'm not in favor of forcing other people to fund your (or anyone else's) access to said Internet via taxes. If anyone can figure out how to get on the Internet for free without an Internet Service Provider (ISP) then by all means, have at it.

    Funny I haven’t heard about any ISPs complaining about losing money.

    Further, people forget ISPs didn’t create the Internet, tax payer dollars did. Further federal regulation helped it grow by protecting internet companies from things like State regulation and taxation.
    You've completely missed the point, haven't you? Forcing a company to provide a product or service for free amounts to indentured servitude for the owners and/or workers of that company.

    "Further" the Internet STARTED with tax money, but it has been BUILT OUT WITH PRIVATE BUSINESS MONEY.
  • Reply 11 of 58
    The free loaders are unhappy now that they have to start paying. Love it.  :D
    Free loaders, who are they? 
    StrangeDaysScot1ericthehalfbeeanantksundarambaconstangbonobobretrogusto
  • Reply 12 of 58
    My prediction:

    In two years time there will be a few uppity ISPs that try to do something stupid and a few high profile "OMG! The sky is falling, the-internet-is-over, dogs-and-cats-living-together" over-reactions, but all-in-all there will be no significant difference for the vast majority of internet users and sites in accessibility, speed, or costs.

    If I'm wrong... fix it using the legislative branch and executive approval.
    baconstang
  • Reply 13 of 58
    This is nothing more than a money grab from a few big companies and the first step to another huge monopoly. For those still confused monopoly  means "one" which controls a market, which means less choice, less competition in that market or industry. If you are against net neutrally then you are where probably in favor of the OS monopoly Microsoft in the late 90's. That was the one when 96% of the world's computers ran Explorer and some flavor of Windows. I guess some of you forgot about that one. 
    Scot1chia
  • Reply 14 of 58
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,876member
    All posters here forget that its the users that are paying the ISPs. And the fees are not cheap. Net neutrality are not fair to a lot of users in this respect. Netflix users half of the network traffic. But its subscribers are less than half of the internet population.  So a lot of users don't use Netflix.  In fact many of them use very little net traffic.  Yet they are paying the same fees to ISPs.  If the ISPs can force heavy traffic web sites to pay more fees, they can lower the fees to the poor users.  And that should enable more people to get online. So the people opposing the new ruling is simply selfish. 
  • Reply 15 of 58
    My prediction:

    In two years time there will be a few uppity ISPs that try to do something stupid and a few high profile "OMG! The sky is falling, the-internet-is-over, dogs-and-cats-living-together" over-reactions, but all-in-all there will be no significant difference for the vast majority of internet users and sites in accessibility, speed, or costs.

    If I'm wrong... fix it using the legislative branch and executive approval.
    There's nothing to "fix". Let the market decide. It is not the function of the Federal government to 'take over the Internet' even if it is for a purpose you may particularly like or want.
  • Reply 16 of 58
    georgie01 said:
    I am for small government and differ with many political positions Apple takes, but I totally agree with Apple on this. Even besides the important issue of it becoming harder for many businesses to compete, the content of the internet will also be at the hands of money making endeavours, instead of all content being treated equally as it is now.

    We won’t see changes right away, but over time companies will make whatever changes they can get away with until the internet differs very little from the way network TV is.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was even partially a move to control ‘fake’ news. If content is monetised by service providers the news can be better controlled than it is now. Information control in the name of market freedom... It’s not worth it.
    I'm in favor of a "free and open Internet", but I'm not in favor of forcing other people to fund your (or anyone else's) access to said Internet via taxes. If anyone can figure out how to get on the Internet for free without an Internet Service Provider (ISP) then by all means, have at it.
    "Free and open internet" is not "free" as in beer, it's "free" as in speech. Uninhibited by commercial ISP's commercial interests. 

    Who says the ISPs would abuse their position as gatekeepers of the bits? Why, the ISPs themselves -- from 2005 to 2013:

    https://np.reddit.com/r/KeepOurNetFree/comments/7ej1nd/fcc_unveils_its_plan_to_repeal_net_neutrality/dq5hlwd/?sh=45a33b81&st=JAA62V5F

    ...theyve done it before, they'll do it again. They should be regulated into dumb-pipes, only. My power company doesn't get to charge me more for certain brands I use, they can only charge me the same flat rate and how I use it is up to me. Same thing.
    paisleydiscoradarthekatchiabaconstanglostkiwijSnivelysingularityretrogusto
  • Reply 17 of 58

    tzeshan said:
    All posters here forget that its the users that are paying the ISPs. And the fees are not cheap. Net neutrality are not fair to a lot of users in this respect. Netflix users half of the network traffic. But its subscribers are less than half of the internet population.  So a lot of users don't use Netflix.  In fact many of them use very little net traffic.  Yet they are paying the same fees to ISPs.  If the ISPs can force heavy traffic web sites to pay more fees, they can lower the fees to the poor users.  And that should enable more people to get online. So the people opposing the new ruling is simply selfish. 
    Nonsense. When you use Netflix at home, you're also paying your ISP (often a hefty figure per month). Your ISP then covers its costs in moving the Netflix data with your and their other customers payments. As do the other ISPs.
    unbeliever2radarthekatchia
  • Reply 18 of 58
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,876member

    tzeshan said:
    All posters here forget that its the users that are paying the ISPs. And the fees are not cheap. Net neutrality are not fair to a lot of users in this respect. Netflix users half of the network traffic. But its subscribers are less than half of the internet population.  So a lot of users don't use Netflix.  In fact many of them use very little net traffic.  Yet they are paying the same fees to ISPs.  If the ISPs can force heavy traffic web sites to pay more fees, they can lower the fees to the poor users.  And that should enable more people to get online. So the people opposing the new ruling is simply selfish. 
    Nonsense. When you use Netflix at home, you're also paying your ISP (often a hefty figure per month). Your ISP then covers its costs in moving the Netflix data with your and their other customers payments. As do the other ISPs.
    You have reading problem. I do not use Netflix. I am paying the same heavy fee to the ISP as you that watch movie through internet for your own enjoyment.  Is that fair? 
    baconstang
  • Reply 19 of 58
    Basic scientific research is funded by the government (it's socialized) as no capitalist entrepreneur would invest their money in a nonexistent product or idea. "Typically the private sector only finds the courage to invest in breakthrough technologies after a so-called “entrepreneurial state” has made the initial high-risk investments." The core of the Internet was totally derived and built from basic research. Only after the financial possibilities became clearer did individuals and businesses dive in (1994).
    edited December 2017 baconstang
  • Reply 20 of 58
    tzeshan said:

    tzeshan said:
    All posters here forget that its the users that are paying the ISPs. And the fees are not cheap. Net neutrality are not fair to a lot of users in this respect. Netflix users half of the network traffic. But its subscribers are less than half of the internet population.  So a lot of users don't use Netflix.  In fact many of them use very little net traffic.  Yet they are paying the same fees to ISPs.  If the ISPs can force heavy traffic web sites to pay more fees, they can lower the fees to the poor users.  And that should enable more people to get online. So the people opposing the new ruling is simply selfish. 
    Nonsense. When you use Netflix at home, you're also paying your ISP (often a hefty figure per month). Your ISP then covers its costs in moving the Netflix data with your and their other customers payments. As do the other ISPs.
    You have reading problem. I do not use Netflix. I am paying the same heavy fee to the ISP as you that watch movie through internet for your own enjoyment.  Is that fair? 
    No, you have a communication problem. I have no idea what the hell you are trying to say. 

    If you pay an ISP $75/mo for, say, 50gb of throughput, and I pay the same ISP $75/mo for the same, and we each do different things with our purchases data — then yes, it is completely fair that I watched a movie on Netflix for my own enjoyment. 

    Why should it matter whether it’s used for a movie, or music streaming, or porn, or web pages?
    radarthekatchiasingularity
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