Net Neutrality

I was wondering if someone at GF would like to comment on the loss of net neutrality rules that made sure that ISP’s couldn’t extort GF for an internet fast lane. Is there any concern that our prints and updates will take forever just because Comcast doesn’t like the size of the files being sent back and forth? Does anyone else think this could amount to an existential threat to a company whose business model relies on people buying expensive machines that are utterly dependent on internet access? I don’t mean that as a snarky criticism (I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my GF Pro to be shipped around New Year’s), I’m legitimately curious about what folks think.


The propaganda on this topic has been extensive as the big players on each side lobby the heck out of it. Net neutrality is a misnomer for government control.

Without NN, Facebook went from a dorm room to a Goliath while stomping MySpace. Any ISP that limited Glowforge traffic would lose customers. HOWEVER, I don’t mind paying more if I’m a bandwidth hog.


Clearly, you do not know what Net Neutrality is, nor how it works.

I do. I have both owned an ISP and spent more than a decade deploying servers across many many different companies.

Facebook was allowed to grow exactly because net neutrality existed. Net Neutrality existed long before the changes in the last decade. Barely.

The changes under the Obama administration codified NN into an actual set of regulations exactly because, after a couple of decades of NN being a relatively tacit policy taken, companies started violating it right and left.

Verizon shutdown FaceTime. Comcast throttled Netflix. Etc.


The total number of Glowforge owners is peanuts compared to the number of Comcast customers in Seattle. If Comcast should decide to charge Glowforge a premium for traffic over their networks, do you think they would care in the slightest if any of us switch to a different cable provider?

Since when is Facebook an ISP?
What does that even have to do with the issue?


Further more, there was a time when Net Neutrality was not only not enforced, it was actively attacked. It was in the mid 90s.

At that time, as a customer of an ISP, whether or not you could get to company X’s, Y’s or Z’s site-- or the bandwidth you received-- depended entirely on the peering arrangements between the backbone providers that your ISP had basically no influence over.

Didn’t matter how deep your – the ISP’s pockets book were-- nor how deep the pockets of the customer’s were. If your region was serviced by ISP S and you wanted to reach sites on ISP M? Tough luck. You can’t.


There are no other cable providers-- no other ISPs-- for much of the US.

And this isn’t a case of being able to pay a premium to access Glowforge’s traffic from our home. GF is, as you rightly point out, tiny. The last time this kind of crap came up, tiny companies didn’t even have a contact to call to try and pay money to get their traffic routed, much less the money to pay for it when they finally could get through.

Been there, done that. Internet without Net Neutrality sucks.


It’s not. One of the arguments against NN is that innovation will be stomped. I don’t buy it.

With all that said, it is quite unlikely that GF will be caught up in any of the shenanigans that are about to hit. Most likely.

At least not initially.

The most likely scenarios is something like Portugal or Afghanistan where internet packages are sold as bundles. Want social media? Buy the social bundle. What messaging? Buy the messaging bundle. What streaming media? Buy the media bundle. What HD media? Media + HD bundle.

What Instructables, Make, Thingiverse, Glowforge, etc.etc.etc…? Buy the Maker bundle.

That is, of course, assuming that said bundles are administered in a way where a small company can even pay the $$$ (they get you coming and going) to get listed in the first place.

All of this, though, is likely many months out with a lot of legal battles in between.


Innovation was massively hampered the last time we went through this. A number of mom-and-pop upstart ISPs closed shop in the mid 90s because they could not compete with the much slower and less customer oriented companies exactly because the mom and pop shop couldn’t actually provide access to the whole internet.

And it’ll be much worse now.

Just look at what Comcast did to Netflix, for example, and Netflix was already a multi-billion $ company.

Now imagine if you’re an upstart that has a spiffy new streaming service that Comcast decides they want to crush.

“Sorry, no traffic for you! No Comcast customers can use your service!”


This is 100% the wrong forum for this, but…

Dismantling Net Neutrality is not the same as removing the over-bloated regulation that plagues many industries.

Net Neutrality defined the Internet as a utility, thus making it equally accessible to all parties. There is no way to say if companies like Comcast will change their service offerings and charge for different usages, or if ISPs will auction off available search results and filter away the level playing field that is currently dictated by search engine algorithms. But that’s the problem… there is no way to know. We essentially handed over the keys to our access and are being left to cross our fingers in the hopes that these giant corporations will serve our best interests. It’s not a bet I’m really comfortable with. At best, services change and costs fluctuate based on market demand. At worst, it’s the Fahrenheit 451 of the internet.

Here’s a test. Do you think Walmart should be able to go into your local library and buy the nonfiction section and then require everyone who wants to enter that section of the library to have a Walmart Visa card? If your answer is no, then you should support Net Neutrality. Access to information should not be commoditized (any more than it already has been).


There’s so much wrong with this response, I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the “propaganda and lobbying”. First of all, of course there’s lobbying, there’s always lobbying. Lobbying is just arguing for your position. The things proponents of net neutrality warn about aren’t theoretical or untrue…they’ve happened. You may have forgotten when Comcast made Netflix pay them in order to ensure reasonable streaming speeds for comcast customers. Now imagine if MySpace had been paying the ISP’s to ensure their foothold. Suddenly that up and coming Facebook loads way slower than MySpace because they can’t afford to pay comcast to put them on equal footing.

Or even worse. comcast decides that they don’t like all the competition to their streampix service so they slow down other movie rental services. “But free market…they’ll lose customers and it will correct itself.” I hear you saying. Except me and millions of other Americans don’t have a choice of ISP if you want reasonably high speeds. Sure I could get DSL and get 5% of the speed and really stick it to comcast…but I’m not going to do that because I need high speed for how I use the internet. I don’t know if you recall the Netflix/Comcast deal, but people were pissed about it at the time and it didn’t do anything to impact the decision.

Oh and it’s not about you paying for your bandwidth…they already charge you for that. Comcast charges you if you go over their limit (1TB /month for me). That’s under the now repealed NN rules.

I don’t blame people for being misinformed…there’s too much in the world to know everything. But don’t go online and spread this misinformation. The internet is young and still evolving rapidly. While it’s true it survived without these regulations for many years, the changing landscape has made it evident that some rules are required.



If you don’t know what the concept of net neutrality is, stay out of the kitchen.

Worse; much of the infrastructure that was built by Comcast, Verizon, was already paid for by taxpayers. Through government programs, we handed multiple billions of dollars of federal money to these big companies to build out the internet infrastructure so we could have fast, ubiquitous, national access without having to have each company duplicate the infrastructure N times.

We’ve already been ripped off and now we’re gonna get to pay a premium on something we paid for, but never received!


If you don’t know what the concept of net neutrality is, stay out of the kitchen.

IoT devices, like smart refrigerators, internet-enabled toasters (they do exist), and wireless “smart bottles” are already in the kitchen. So you also can’t be safe from net neutrality there.


Ma Bell ain’t dead, she was just having a nap.


You must be new to the Internet. :crazy_face:

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You should “buy it”. Compare the internet to cell phones, where the telco’s have free reign to screw with traffic. On the internet, you can go to any e-Commerce site. On a cell phone, telco’s run an official store (e.g. to sell ringtones) and block all competition in order to force their customers to buy only from the telco’s store, at highly inflated prices and limited selection relative to an open, competitive market. If you’re in favor of competition, you need the level playing field that network neutrality has provided, allowing innovation and competition to flourish. If ISPs can become gatekeepers, they’ll pick (extort) favorites and promote them, and slow down or block the competition.


The vast majority of the company has two ISPs, one telco and one cable company. Legally, any company that controls more than 30% of a channel of distribution has monopoly power sufficient to distort the marketplace, so two companies are both “monopolies” because there’s no real competition.

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Yes, fully expect your Comcast bloatware package. It’ll be like AOL all over again.

ISP’s have already been caught doing things like redirecting all searching to their preferred search engine. Type in “google” and end up on “bing” because MS is paying the ISPs for traffic, and that ISP was willing to violate IETF RFCs to make money. And now that kind of behavior is encouraged!