From: John C Klensin <john-ietf(_at_)jck(_dot_)com>
* But, when the victim^H^H^H^H^H^H consumer is
essentially faced with a monopoly --buy the ISP's
service with whatever conditions it comes with or be
stuck with dialup-- and is not permitted to run mail
servers, has no real control over whatever filters the
ISP decides to install, etc., the situation is a lot
closer to the classic "middlebox with no control by
either endpoint" one (and produces variations on the
same arguments). ...
The major error with potentially catastrophic consequences in that
that thinking is the notion of ISPs as monopolies. No ISP in the world
has a monopoly on real Internet service, with the exception the bad
situation in totalitarin states.
servers of any sort, etc., without "upgrading" to much
more costly "business services". Few, if any, will
That many so called ISPs are not selling Internet access is as irrelevant
as the fact that many grocery stores don't sell alcohol. The lies
customers of those services providers are told and tell themselves
about what they are buying and using are also irrelevant. The services
those providers offer are some kind of limited data services that
happens to use TCP/IP and portions of the Internet. I'd like to see
those providers forced to label their services honestly, but that has
nothing to do with monopolies, "natural" or otherwise, except that
monopolies seem more likely to violate truth in labelling.
That there are parts of the world where you cannot buy Internet access
from local providers may disappoint you and me, but it implies nothing
about monopolies on Internet access. There may be monopolies on those
limited data services, but that is as irrelevant as monopolies on plain
old telephone service. People whose only available data services are
those non-Internet access services or POTS can always use those data
services or telephones to reach a real Internet service provider. Whether
or not they could afford real Internet service is also irrelevant here.
Where the disagreement you and Nathaniel are having leads, I
think inevitably except for timing, is into the state that you
assume Nathaniel is assuming: sufficient governmental
intervention to turn anyone who operates a mail relay into a
common carrier, without the "right" to filter mail except in
response to government-approved rituals. For many reasons, I
hope we never get there, regardless of its potential advantages
for controlling spam and various other sorts of bad behavior.
But we don't have a free market here, with consumer choice
options among ISPs who filter and ISPs who don't, at least with
reasonable price differentials.
NO! In fact we do have a fairly free market. That many service
providers choose to not provide Internet service is evidence that the
market is free and that no monopolies for Internet Access prevail.
That those service providers charge less than providers that do provide
real Internet service is interesting is more evidence that monopolies
do not exist.
Perhaps governments should crack down the dishonesty of providers that
mislabel their non-Internet access services, but that has nothing to
do with monopolies.
No one should have any sympathy for savvy technicians who choose
to pay for a service that is not Internet access, don't get Internet
access, and then complain about terrorist and vigilantes who keep
them from getting services they've not paid for.
That Internet service no longer costs several $1000/month is great
but irrelevant. That it costs more than $30/month is also irrelevant.
I think it's too bad that Internet access is not cheaper than it is,
but just now I'd rather worry about the costs of food and water for
most people on Earth.
Vernon Schryver vjs(_at_)rhyolite(_dot_)com