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[ NNSquad ] Re: Comments by American Consumer Institute
- To: Brett Glass <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [ NNSquad ] Re: Comments by American Consumer Institute
- From: Barry Gold <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2008 14:42:03 -0700
- Cc: NNSquad <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Brett Glass wrote:
...This ConsumerGram provides a set of facts on which
there seems to be no reasonable basis for disagreement, shows how these
facts are important in resolving the network management debate, reviews
the main elements of the positions of the contending parties, and offers
a consumer welfare perspective on the issues and their possible
I believe the usual term for these "facts on which there seems to be no
reasonable basis for disagreement" is "spin".
A cursory examination of their argument shows the use of a strawman: the
assertion that NN advocates want everybody to be able to use unlimited
amounts of network capacity.
In fact, people on this list have repeatedly said (and I believe the law
is clear in allowing) an ISP is permitted to discriminate among
customers based on quantity of usage. They can charge by the packet, by
the byte, they can give you up to X MB per month at a fixed rate; if you
use more than X they can (a) charge you for the overage (as many cell
phone plans do), (b) cut you off (as would be the case with prepaid cell
plans), (c) turn down the speed on your cable modem, allowing you to
continue accessing the net but with significantly slower down- and uploads.
Also note the use of the term "reasonable network management practices,"
which Robb Topolski just recently tore to bits. I think the term for
this is "circular reasoning" or "begging the question" -- in it's
original meaning (assuming what you want to prove as a given in your
Either that or it's intentional, which would fit under the "big lie" (a
propaganda technique, not just a fallacy).
Also note the term "bandwidth hogs," a pejorative which suggests that
those who oppose the writer's proposition are bad guys who should
therefore be ignored (argumentum ad hominem).
A quick check of the ACI website doesn't reveal a lopsided institutional
bias, but the author of this paper is definitely using "spin" techniques
to make his case. I don't know if this indicates that he is unable to
think more clearly, or if he knows his argument won't stand up under
I suspect the latter.