week 7 discussion and reply to 2 students

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Discussion 7: Regulating the Internet

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The regulation of business and individual behavior over the Internet is a controversial subject. For this discussion, you will consider the appropriateness of such regulation.

  • For your initial response, make an argument for and an argument against ONE of the following topics
    1. Government regulation of Internet content
    2. The ability of an Internet service provider to discriminate by limiting access to content providers
    3. The right of companies to mine for data over the Internet and create individual data files which can be sold
    4. The right of government to impose a sales tax on e-commerce transactions
  • Post replies to at least two other students who wrote on different topics than the one you considered in your initial response
  • You must include new information in your replies to further the discussion
  • Doing more than the minimum will enhance your grade
  • All posts are to be substantial, incorporate course concepts, and relate to the discussion issue
  • You might also want to conduct some independent research to enhance your posts

Deadline for Submission:

  • Your initial response is due by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Your replies to two other students are due by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

Hannah Lejter in response to this Topic

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b. The ability of an Internet service provider to discriminate by limiting access to content providers

For:
An internet service provider should be allowed to discriminate by limiting access to content providers because, firstly, bandwith is not a finite resource and consumers should be charged accordingly for its use; secondly, competition should be held at bay until ISPs can build up a consumer base. Websites that involve downloading videos and music use up substantial bandwidth. If subscribers want access to areas of heavy traffic, they should pay their way to earn their place in it, especially if they are competitors.

Too-easy access only makes it more difficult to get ahead in the competitive playing field. Fulmer writes, “Current proposals in Congress would force the ISPs to allow all their competitors on that path. However, this policy actually harms customers by keeping the ISP from widening the footpath into a road or a highway. Instead, the ISPs should be allowed to widen the footpath, put down some concrete, and then charge a toll to any of its competitors that want to use the new road. But once the tolls have paid for the road, the toll booths should come down” (Fulmer, 2006, paragraph 34). Customers who want to pay for access to a website will pay for it. This will build a customer base for the ISP without the potential threat of competitors (whose customer bases are already established) overshadowing the ISP on the same playing field.

Against:
An internet service provider should not be allowed to discriminate by limiting access to content providers because ISP users already pay for the distribution system and even pay higher fees for different kinds of services. Suscribers want to be free to peruse the internet, not pay more money than their subscription just to use a website for the first time. There is also a conflict of interest, because ISPs are in competition alongside other content providers, like cable companies, and may prefer lower speeds and prices for their own content and in this way make the consumer biased against other content providers. The FCC’s 2010 rules on net neutrality should apply. These rules prohibit blocking of content that is unharmful and lawful and in competition with the ISP. Everyone should have access to the internet on principle.

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