My name is Dane Jasper (/u/danejasper), and I co-founded Sonic in 1994, at a time when many people hadn’t yet heard the terms “internet”, “email address” or “World Wide Web.” Today, Sonic is the largest independent ISP in Northern California. As a 24-year industry veteran, I've seen a lot of change, but I remain committed to the concept of alternative competitive broadband access services, which is why I continue to fight for net neutrality.

Sonic firmly believes that internet providers should NOT be able to charge content creators—like Netflix or CNET—more money to stream their service, or have the ability to block others entirely. The internet should remain open and equal for all. Sonic will continue to do everything it can to stand up for net neutrality, whether the regulations require it or not.

I’ll be sticking around to answer your questions on net neutrality and what’s at stake for you and everyone else who uses and loves the internet amid the FCC’s pending rollback of net neutrality regulations. Ask away!

Proof: https://twitter.com/dane/status/987144193750401024

Comments: 1439 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

Mtdew14893663 karma

Should I be worried when there is only one internet provider in my area, regardless of who it is?

Danejasper3793 karma

Yes.

RBgyw893 karma

And what can be done? I live in semi rural america and have one dsl provider as my only option. LEO sat service may be in my future, but not for many years when the price comes down.

Edit: and there is only one cellular network with service in the area as well...

Danejasper1802 karma

You could start a wireless ISP. Learn how by joining WISPA.

PopeBasilisk858 karma

When I look at the availability for Sonic at my address it says that it would be delivered over AT&T's network. Could my internet still be manipulated by AT&T? Does Sonic have binding clauses in their terms and conditions that would keep my network neutral?

Danejasper1234 karma

Yes, where we buy bulk commercial access, it is treated neutrally and is not subject to the standard retail privacy policies. But also note that we offer a free VPN feature, so you can tunnel your traffic directly to our network too if you'd prefer.

luchesse432 karma

I always imagined it would be impossible to have a small, independent ISP because of the cost of infastructure. Has that been an issue for you, and do you think it's possible as people become more fed up with the giants that smaller ISPs will form?

Danejasper674 karma

I always imagined it would be impossible to have a small, independent ISP because of the cost of infastructure. Has that been an issue for you, and do you think it's possible as people become more fed up with the giants that smaller ISPs will form?

I have always been a believer in the potential for competitive access. And honestly, I doubt we'd need strong neutrality and privacy policies in place if consumers had twenty five ISPs to choose from that all delivered high speed access; the market would punish companies that behaved badly.

But in an oligopoly, with just one or two choices for consumers seeking fast access, we need regulatory policy to protect both consumers and online services.

As to the challenges of starting and operating a competitive alternative, clearly it is possible, but the costs and execution are challenging. But there are success stories, see for example Socket, Ting, Cruzio, Gorge and EPB.

It is important to support these competitive challengers, so I encourage you to find a competitive provider in your market, get started here: BroadBandNow

nighttimehobby392 karma

How will a website know if their content is being throttled, especially if they have customers all around the United States using many different ISPs?

Danejasper438 karma

Good question. Many forms of neutrality violation may be undetectable by the source, who will simply see the end-user connection as a slower speed link than it should be. But for large sources of content, they'll see peering and interconnection congestion, and likely will be asked to pay for connection upgrades to reach their customers.

harrybeards366 karma

Hi Dane, thanks for doing this AMA. One of the biggest fears that I've heard concerning NN is that ISP's will start filtering content, and/or start limiting access to websites in "website packages". Though, I have also heard that implementing such a filter for all of the users would take some considerable engineering, and would take time to get running.

Could you explain the technical side of how an ISP could implement a content filtering policy? Or rather, how easy/difficult would it be, and how long would it take ISP's to get it going?

Again, thanks for doing this AMA, and for standing for NN!

Danejasper357 karma

The short answer: it's easy. Equipment from companies like Sandvine/Procera Networks and F5 allow providers to manage traffic in really comprehensive ways.

albeeknee309 karma

The Washington Post [https://wapo.st/2qU7MyK?] yesterday had an opinion piece on a city creating its own municipal broadband system, turning Internet access into a public utility. Is doable on a state-wide or even country-wide scale? Or are smaller ISPs a better approach for an open Internet?

Danejasper258 karma

It is do-able, and there are some successful examples such as LUSFiber and Chattanooga's EPB. Notably though, these were started as a spin-off from city-owned electric utilities which own their own utility poles and conduit, and they can put fiber onto and into those structures. And even these efforts have had bumps along the way, including a downgrade of EPB's credit rating, and lawsuits against LUS.

For cities without locally owned electric system infrastructure, it's a tall hill to climb, but some are determined to take up the issue. Their focus is generally to resolve digital divide, availability and inclusion issues, as well as take on the policy challenges such as assuring neutrality and privacy.

warmr2d2164 karma

I’ve heard a lot of people say that without these regulations, the market will be more competitive and allow for more ISP’s to become relevant. As someone who helped build an ISP from the ground up, what do you think about that idea?

Danejasper328 karma

It breaks down when you consider the last mile: it is impractical to expect that you'll have twenty companies build fiber down every street. As a result, you are always likely to be limited to just a few choices, so regulation remains important.

Date_Knight112 karma

Hi Dane. The net neutrality debate is heated, and it's hard for me to discern the cost/benefits of either side in a dispassionate way. Two questions:

A) What is the devil's advocate, best case argument for the benefits of doing away with net neutrality? Does it result in faster, cheaper Internet like the FCC chair claims?

B) Going in the opposite direction, do you see a case for Internet access someday being a gov't regulated commodity (service?) like water or electricity?

(edited for format)

Danejasper220 karma

The best case argument for doing away with neutrality that deregulatory advocates make is that the free market is a powerful force for investment and innovation. Knowing that they can profit in any way they see fit, cable operators are likely to invest in infrastructure upgrades as they seek to deepen their existing monopoly position, resulting in faster and better access. But absent any consumer protections, there will be rent seeking behaviors and abuses that extract massive value from consumers and sources of content.

Regarding going in the direction of a government operated network, I think that's perilous as well: you are trading a bad duopoly for the premise that the government can run a better monopoly. The pace of innovation and the requirements for investment may be incompatible with most municipalities appetite for both risk and change, and they may struggle to operate a viable network really well in the presence of significant incumbent competitive pressure.

koy557 karma

The debate isn't heated. There is no debate. Just a small group of people in power going against what most people want. This is the most bipartisan issue that has existed since the debate over whether killing children should be made illegal.

Both the Republican and Democrat voters want net neutrality stop using rhetoric that tries to tear apart Democrats and Republicans on this issue.

Danejasper63 karma

I do find it interesting that this policy issue has become a partisan one. Because doesn't everyone want fair and open access to the internet? That shouldn't be a blue/red issue.

Jorg_RedAncrath79 karma

This question is not about net neutrality, but about your early experiences in the computer industry. Given you were starting along when internet & computing was really in its infancy, can you tell us a little about more about your experiences during that time? The challenges, the early bird benefits, how did you ensure that your company survived in a sector which changes ridiculously fast? And what prompted you to start your firm?

Danejasper234 karma

This question is not about net neutrality, but about your early experiences in the computer industry. Given you were starting along when internet & computing was really in its infancy, can you tell us a little about more about your experiences during that time? The challenges, the early bird benefits, how did you ensure that your company survived in a sector which changes ridiculously fast? And what prompted you to start your firm?

Computing and the Internet were certainly simpler in 1994, with HTTP and web browsers recently invented, and consumers just beginning to get online. We adopted Linux early, starting with a school project in 1992, which led directly to the founding of Sonic in 1994 -- more on that in a minute.

The challenges I really remember were in the access technology, with unstable analog modems, then as DSL broadband became available, the delays, cost and unreliability of early implementations. This is why it is really thrilling to be delivering fiber today, with unlimited capacity and awesome stability. The last mile was always the bottleneck, but not anymore, for the first time ever, the local network, clients and WiFi are slower than the broadband access. That’s really cool.

Regarding the founding, when Scott and I were at the Santa Rosa Junior College, he did a project in 1992 to provide dialup access to students, using this new OS called Linux. Linux had just gotten its first Ethernet interface driver support a week earlier (for the Western Digital 8003EP, a 10BASE2 thinnet card), it was very early, and under really active development - great for a student project. Active SRJC students could get dialup shell access for the semester and use Telnet, email, FTP, IRC, Gopher, etc.

Some months later we got a call from another college reporting that “one of your students is being rude on the Internet”, and would we please tell them to stop cussing at people on IRC. (Yes, the Internet was a kinder, gentler place back then.)

We looked up the student record and discovered a weakness in our signup scheme: the staff who ran the campus mainframe didn’t trust students like us with much access to records (think: WarGames style grade changes), so we allowed students to sign up with only a birthdate and SSN, and we asked the mainframe if that was a current student via a serial line, which squirted back a 0 or 1 (no or yes) to indicate enrollment status.

As things turned out, some student employees in registration had figured this out, and when an older student (Mildred) would sign up for aquatic aerobics at the local JC, the SSN and DOB was being put on a Post-It and sold to a student (Max) at the nearby high school. Max, as it turned out, liked to troll folks in IRC, leading to the discovery.

Asking around, we learned that the going rate for a stolen college login was $25, which led to a lightbulb moment: If people were stealing this thing, we could replicate what we’d built at the college and offer it commercially. Thus began Sonoma InterConnect (SON-IC, get it?).

RollingOnShabbas77 karma

Do you guys care about smoking in the park stalls at your locations?

I’m sure much of your business comes from people with the munchies; In states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized, do you mind if those people light up a joint and just relax while enjoying a nerds slushee?

Danejasper152 karma

Wrong Sonic. (You a bit high ATM?)

Aman_Fasil27 karma

Seriously tho, in the age of Google and SEO, do you have any discussions around the fact that your name is the same as a company with a large web presence that's completely unrelated and off-topic? Was there ever a consideration of changing the name?

Danejasper46 karma

It was less of an issue when we went by Sonic.net, but now that we have @sonic and sonic.com, we see some social mention confusion. But I doubt folks actually are mixing up hot dogs with fiber optics when they are searching for a meal or an ISP.

NZSlav75 karma

Hi, question from a non-American. What does the repeal of net neutrality mean for people outside of the US? Will it have any effects on the way we can use our own services, or set a precedent for legal change? Cheers.

Danejasper66 karma

A number of countries have put neutrality protections into place, but in many countries we already have non-neutral access. China is a flagship example, albeit of government control instead of corporate. But I don't have much regulatory expertise beyond the US market, so I don't know what other countries might do with their own regulations on access providers.

threeio73 karma

Any plans to expand fiber to Sunnyvale? You’ve got a customer ;)

Danejasper140 karma

I'm sure this will be a common question today. I'll answer it in two parts:

First, where is fiber available now? We offer gigabit fiber service today in San Francisco, Berkeley, Albany, Brentwood and Sebastopol.

Second, when will fiber be available in my city? We are doing optical network design for a number of cities around the Bay Area today, but for competitive reasons we do not announce specific locations until they are activated for orders. That said, our reach in California and beyond is really only limited by the uptake at this point: the more people who sign up both for fiber and copper access products, the faster and further we can expand! So, tell a friend: www.sonic.com/availability

BrowsingForLaughs16 karma

Plans for Santa Rosa? I know your crews were hooking it up to city hall a few weeks ago.

Danejasper4 karma

Yes, we've recently connected City Hall, and are also connecting many public schools in Santa Rosa and surrounding areas. Most business parks in the area are also now connected, and we are running the fiber network for the SMART rail system too. All of this helps increase the feasibility of expansion of our fiber-to-the-home reach. More members and more sources of revenue fund more fiber construction. It's a great process, and we appreciate the support of our members, commercial subscribers, and the schools and municipalities that have chosen our services.

grind_my_mind53 karma

I had comcast before net neutrality laws were put in place. Some sites failed to load and other links brought me to a "page can not be displayed" immediately. This usually happened when I was downloading music, but happened regularly for other links too. Can I expect this again?

Danejasper70 karma

Regarding downloading music, Comcast was engaged in practices which blocked peer to peer traffic, so it's possible that was what you were experiencing. See: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/eff-tests-agree-ap-comcast-forging-packets-to-interfere

That said, your issue sounds more generalized, and may also simply have been an unreliable connection.

ThisNameIsntCreative19 karma

peer to peer

I bet he was pirating it

darsymian20 karma

Naaaaah, never. Nobody does that anymore...

badmoney1613 karma

I havent done it since I discovered pandora like 10 years ago and the same with movies since I started using Netflix.

Danejasper97 karma

Piracy dies in the face of more convenient alternatives.

darsymian39 karma

Hi Dane! I was until recently, a broadband consumer in the SF Bay for years. I've moved up to Gold Country chasing a dream and found myself in an internet black hole. Fortunately I found an innovative tech that allowed for better a better price structure than (pay by the gig) satellite internet service, which seemed as antiquated and unnecessarily expensive as it's cell phone data counterpart.

The tech works very similar to streaming cell phone data, however, as it relies on a tower with a transmitter/receiver, and a smaller configuration mounted a consumers house. My provider calls it Rural fixed wireless and can provide up to 25mbps. Not sounding like a lot, but no limit to downloads, critical for any streaming.

Is this type of service something that you would be interested in getting into? We could sure use the competition up here in the hills..

Danejasper45 karma

While we used to offer fixed wireless services in Sonoma County, we have shifted our focus to building fiber to the premise networks instead. Wireless access has proven to be a great solution for more rural markets where there is less interference and the cost of building fiber isn't feasible, but it doesn't deliver the same performance as fiber.

But for those in rural markets who want to start an ISP, becoming a wireless ISP can be a great business! Join WISPA if you'd like to learn more about becoming a wireless ISP.

rumpleteaser9135 karma

Hi Dane, can you please tell me if it will be made mandatory to have these new 'packages', or if your campany can continue to operate and give your customers the service they currently receive?

Danejasper56 karma

An internet access provider can manage policies regarding content and performance in any way that they'd like under a regulatory regime without neutrality. So some might choose to honor neutrality and privacy, while others will charge for capacity, latency or anonymity. The issue isn't that ISPs will be forced to not be neutral, it's that consumers seldom have a wide array of choices of last-mile access, so for those without an alternative like Sonic, they're a captive audience.

For more on the topic, see also: https://medium.com/@alearningaday/why-you-should-care-about-net-neutrality-9d47995126a2

Mightymushroom127 karma

Do you know why Sonic never successfully made the jump to 3D?

Danejasper45 karma

Josiah42527 karma

Hey thanks for doing this ama. Do you feel that other ISPs taking full advantage of the net neutrality rulings will have a competitive edge over Sonic?

Dont ISPs have to work together to ensure that packets of data get from point a to point b? Whats to stop ISPs from working with other ISPs in the future?

Danejasper34 karma

Do you feel that other ISPs taking full advantage of the net neutrality rulings will have a competitive edge over Sonic?

That is one potential outcome: incumbents who have most of the consumers will have the leverage to extract payments from sources of content, distorting the competitive landscape. This could solidify incumbency, which isn't good for consumers nor competitors.

Dont ISPs have to work together to ensure that packets of data get from point a to point b?

The key issue of neutrality occurs at the network edge; the last-mile bottleneck where there is only one or two carriers for consumers to choose from. In the core of the internet, ISPs can interconnect in myriad ways, as well as peer with content directly to eliminate any bottlenecks.

PretzelsThirst24 karma

Can you please change one disingenuous part of your website?

This page is used to check if gigabit is available, but the process is pretty deliberately misleading: https://www.sonic.com/gigabit

You put in your address where gigabit IS NOT available and you get a "Sonic is Available!" screen. I didn't check if Sonic is available. That page does not say "check if Sonic is available." It says "check if gigabit" is available, and the results deliberately mislead people checking for one thing by telling them "good news, that thing you didn't ask about is available" as an answer.

Please stop doing that. Your service is good, you don't need to bait and switch people that want to give you their money already.

Danejasper23 karma

Yes, we need to make this clearer. All of the entry points funnel to the same availability checker, which offers whatever product we have at that location. If all you want is fiber, we need to provide a result that includes "sorry, no fiber there, but we do have X and Y".

armorforsleeping24 karma

I’m honestly surprised to see that this isn’t higher upvoted! My question, given the recent change to net neutrality laws, what should we expect to see rolling out in the next few months/years and what can we expect as consumers in regards to price changes effecting us?

Danejasper37 karma

I think that in the absence of neutrality, you'll see some zero rating, where a provider's favored content is carried at no charge or at higher quality. With a near-monopoly on high-speed access, why wouldn't carriers find lots of ways to extract more money from subscribers, directly or indirectly? As a result, you may also see fees charged to the services that you want to view, as Netflix was in the past. Those fees will be passed on to you as higher costs for those services.

MajorD19 karma

What was your reaction to Ajit Pai being designated Chairman of the FCC?

Danejasper41 karma

I have mixed feelings about Pai's regulatory agenda. On the positive side, he is interested in removing barriers to new infrastructure deployment, including permitting, historic and environmental review, and make-ready process. But on issues such as privacy policy and neutrality, clearly we disagree.

LaUmbraDeLaMancha15 karma

Is there a specific step or action an ISP has taken after the lapse of Net Neutrality you can point to that, in your view, is troubling?

Danejasper20 karma

I expect we'll see more what has occurred in the past - see a good round-up here: https://www.freepress.net/our-response/expert-analysis/explainers/net-neutrality-violations-brief-history

parrot1512 karma

If Sonic becomes big (as big as Verizon, Comcast, etc.) will you still support and uphold net neutrality as much as you claim to be doing right now, or will you stoop to their level. Is this AMA just a PR stunt? If not, then can you please give concrete examples of when you have supported and upheld net neutrality?

Danejasper22 karma

Sonic has supported strong pro-consumer policies on neutrality and privacy with a consistent position for many many years.

For example in 2006, as a member and the Co-Chairman of CALTEL, the state competitive telecom association, we supported state Assemblyman Murray's Senate Joint Resolution No. 24 in 2006, which stated that "the Legislature of the State of California hereby memorializes Congress and the President of the United States to encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of public Internet based on the following four principles: (1) consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice; (2) consumers are entitled to run applications and services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement; (3) consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network, and (4) consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers;"

We have also called out publicly a variety of bad acts by ISPs, see: https://corp.sonic.net/ceo/the-five-levels-of-isp-evil/

Finally, Sonic has for year after year after year been honored by the EFF for the best privacy practices of any internet access provider, nationwide. See their latest at https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-2017

mrflibble2412 karma

Hi Dane,

Many thanks for providing such a great ISP! I'm a new customer, just installed last month (Sonic just hit my street in SF in March, even though its been on the N-S streets for a few years).

My question - why offer the Pace SR515AC router when you provide a symmetrical gigabit connection? Of the 4 LAN ports on the router, only 1 is gigabit capable, with the last port being capped at 100 up/down.

I know this is a silly question, but its still burning within me.

Danejasper24 karma

The Sonic router should deliver Gigabit speed on all four Ethernet ports. When speed testing, you should see up/down speeds in ranging from 900-940Mbps IP payload throughput when on Ethernet. If it is consistently not doing so on one port, please contact support.

Now that the internet connection is full gigabit, we often find the end-user LAN and devices are a bottleneck. Whether it's an old 100Mbps switch somewhere, an Ethernet cable without enough wires, a USB-connected dongle that only does 300Mbps, or just WiFi, users often don't see full performance on all devices.

Ookla did a nice write-up on getting the most out of your fast connection, which you can find here: http://www.speedtest.net/insights/blog/are-you-gigabit-ready-17-tips-to-help/

no0n3h3r310 karma

When are you going to bring fiber service to the Bay Area? I'm not willing to downgrade my 300 mbps Comcast line for a slow AT&T one. Or is it off the table now? If it is, it's understandable since not even Google could do it here.

Danejasper9 karma

Sonic today offers gigabit fiber service in San Francisco, Berkeley and Albany, as well as Brentwood to the East and Sebastopol in the North Bay. You can check your address for service availability and speed here: http://sonic.com/availability

Galactus_Machine9 karma

Hi Dane,

I live in Central Valley, how fast are you expanding Sonic through California and also do you have any actual plans on expanding? I am very interested in your service but we only have Comcast in our area.

Danejasper15 karma

We are expanding as rapidly as our membership allows. Tell a friend, and we'll keep growing our reach!

ya_boy_porter8 karma

Hey Dane! Texan here, any chance Sonic will expand beyond Northern California? If not, what are some local ISPs you would recommend that are 1) similar to Sonic in that they care about Net Neutrality, and 2) are in my region (I'm in Austin, currently waiting for Google Fiber...)

Danejasper19 karma

If Google Fiber is coming to your location, I'd suggest pre-ordering and waiting them out. It may take some time, but the result will be a great one for you.

I would always encourage consumers to give a competitive provider a chance. Supporting them is the only way to really vote with your wallet for a better option. To find out the carrier choices at your location, visit BroadBandNow.

biggersnake7 karma

What is going to change with my daily use of apps like Snapchat, instagram, and reddit?

Danejasper14 karma

I wouldn't worry to much about apps like these, because they don't use much bandwidth or have any interactive latency requirements. But streaming video, gaming and augmented reality are all at risk. And as a result, those applications may have higher costs, more ads, etc.

Charlie1906 karma

Hi Dane! What are your plans for expanding in the East Bay? Would you be open to partnerships with large apartment buildings to bring fiber out here?

Danejasper9 karma

We recently expanded to cover Berkeley and Albany in the East Bay. We work with building owners where we build networks, in order to ease the process of bringing service to each tenant. But build-outs must be city-scale, it's not practical to simply connect a few large but isolated buildings.

Drunken_Economist5 karma

Which other ISPs nationwide do you admire the most?

Danejasper8 karma

I've always admired the work that Socket, Gorge, and Hunt Telecom have done. Each have given me ideas and inspiration as we have grown. We also look at international providers, with firms like HKBN, Free and CityFibre each offering unique examples.

welchie985 karma

Hi Dane, thank you for doing this today?

How can small business owners go around potentially having their content almost blocked from the internet?

Danejasper17 karma

I would worry less about small businesses than large content sources: video in particular, but also latency sensitive applications such as gaming and augmented reality.

The internet is a disruptive force in many industries, but in particular there is a risk for those selling and delivering video entertainment content, which traditionally has been pay TV packages. Of course, pay TV is traditionally delivered by cable companies that also offer the only fast internet connections in many locations around the US.

The full potential of "over the top" alternatives such as Netflix, Prime, Vue and Sling can all be held back in the absence of neutrality policy. Congested peering, consumption caps and other neutrality issues can impair these alternative choices, resulting in a loss for consumers.

neuromorph4 karma

does a VPN get around ISP restrictions on content speeds/access for US customers?

Danejasper7 karma

Yes, unless VPN traffic itself is also limited by the carrier. Some carriers have blocked VPN, and required consumers to opt for a business grade connection in order to utilize virtual private networking.

VPN does result in some performance overhead itself, and VPN service comes at some cost, so it is not a substitute for overall consumer protections.

Cactus_Jack2163 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. And is it possible to build your own private Internet within your own community?

Danejasper12 karma

Yes, but it is costly. Building fiber to the premise can be $1,000 or more per home passed - then you need to recruit them all to join. It's not just the investment and the construction, you also need to market and sell, support and bill, etc.

In more rural markets, wireless can be the only practical way to reach outlying homes. This means building lots of towers that host access points, backhaul to each, and then installing antennas on every home. But yes, it can be done, and is being done by hundreds of small competitive providers around the country. It's a great business.

GoodGuyAgain2 karma

Are you trying to say that in 2015, before these rules came into being, you weren't operating in a fair, and open, way?

Danejasper1 karma

There were a variety of neutrality violations by carriers, dating back to 2005. Remember Comcast forging reset packets to P2P users? See a summary list at: https://www.freepress.net/our-response/expert-analysis/explainers/net-neutrality-violations-brief-history

Sonic has called out some of the schemes we've seen presented, see five great examples here: https://corp.sonic.net/ceo/the-five-levels-of-isp-evil/

BartlettMagic1 karma

i live in western PA. i have one ISP, Centurylink, because DSL is the only option in my rural area. we have no cable on our telephone poles, and for whatever reason satellite isn't an option here.

what should i do? is there anything i can do?

do you feel like expanding into western PA?

Danejasper2 karma

You could start a competing ISP. For a rural area, wireless is worth considering, join WISPA to learn how.

revets1 karma

Why am I supposed to rally behind Netflix or Google/YouTube at the expense of Comcast? Comcast is the only ISP to actually invest in my neighborhood (at one point I hoped you guys would look into Rohnert Park but you seem only interested in fiber in the the city and Silicon valley the past few years).

If it wasn't for Comcast I'd be sitting on some crappy 768K DSL line at this point. Frankly I'm more appreciative of that multi-billion dollar corporation than the other multi-billion dollar corporations who want me to scream bloody murder on their behalf. Somehow I doubt Comcast is going to target my smallish sites - they seem to want the massive traffic producers to cover some of the expenses which doesn't sound so outlandish.

Danejasper5 karma

You're not supposed to rally behind Netflix or Google - you're supposed to rally behind the internet, rather than let carriers control it all.

I do understand your point; for most Americans, Cable companies are the only ones with the large enough pipes (legacy coax, DOCSIS networks) to deliver modern speeds. But that doesn't mean you should let them abuse you in any way they'd like; that monopoly is exactly why regulations on neutrality and privacy are essential.

If and when you've got twenty choices of ISPs, the free market will probably solve these issues. But until then, consumers need a ref on the field.

futureslave1 karma

I’ve had Sonic for a year and the bad taste of Comcast in my mouth is finally starting to fade.

I wonder what the long term plans for your ISP are? Growth without limit? Or an attempt to stay small and regional? I’ve always wondered...

Danejasper2 karma

We are expanding as rapidly as we can. Consumers everywhere need a fast, unlimited connection, and we aim to build it for them. Tell a friend or neighbor, together we can do it!

Acarlmac1 karma

My computer downloads games on steam at ~30mbps but when my friend brought his Xbox over it downloaded at about 80. Is this an example of throttling or is there another reason for the descrepancy?

Danejasper2 karma

Could be anything. That's one of the challenges: performance is somewhat opaque, and it is challenging to isolate the causes of bottlenecks. Is it Steam, or your ISP, or your PC itself? Even the browser used when testing speed can have an impact on your ability to measure performance. This is why transparency and neutrality are both important: when you buy 50Mbps of internet, your carrier shouldn't favor one form or source of traffic over another.

Loyshi1 karma

Hi Dane. I understand that Sonic doesn't disclose their expansion plan, but what factors delay or prevents expansion of fiber internet that can help spread internet to consumers and break up monopoly by certain ISP?

I'm curious because I have sonic when I lived in Santa Rosa, but now I live a block away from Sonic's coverage area in SF :(

Danejasper2 karma

Municipal policies can be an impediment. Today we are building fiber to schools for example in one North Bay community, and we are paying the city a huge fee to have an inspector standing by all day, every day during the construction. That is unnecessary and costly, and as a result I do not expect we'll want to expand our network in that town.

In other locations policies about underground construction can raise costs and make construction infeasible. For example, some cities require a re-pave of the entire lane if you just keyhole (cut a one foot hole to locate existing utilities) in just a few locations in the road as part of a directional drilling process. Others require upgrade of pedestrian corners to ADA compliance (yellow dots, gentle slopes, etc) if new infrastructure passes nearby. And today in San Francisco, they disallow all modern trenchless construction, including horizontal directional drilling (HDD or boring) and microtrenching or nanotrenching. These sort of policies impede deployment and increase the costs of construction.

But a primary impediment is consumer apathy. If virtually everyone switched to new and better services, you can be assured that it'd be feasible to build them in far more places! People are busy, can't be bothered, like their bundle, are afraid of change, don't trust a new brand, etc - this is a key barrier. So, spread the word, and support competitive options where they are available!

DoctorDank1 karma

The net was "neutral" for 20 years before "net neutrality" was a thing. Why do you think that will change now that "net neutrality" is no longer a thing?

Danejasper4 karma

In the early days, it wasn't possible to easily tamper with selected traffic. Routers just didn't have the capability or horsepower to do so. Today, deep packet inspection and traffic management equipment is readily available, so ISPs have the capability to really impact traffic in a variety of ways that were not possible twenty years ago.

frankalright160 karma

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Danejasper6 karma

Today we are in a political time of deregulation, affecting not only communications policy but also environmental policy, public education, healthcare and the social safety net. As a result of the current political regulatory policy goals, I am somewhat pessimistic about the potential for any regulatory protections for consumers until beyond the 2020 elections.

There is one bright spot though: this FCC does appear to really believe in the free market, that an open competitive environment obviates the needs for fine-grained regulation on issues such as neutrality and privacy. To meet those goals, they are working to ease burdens on new deployment including permitting and pole make-ready policy. If these changes really lower the cost of infrastructure build-out by new market entrants, that'd be a win for consumers.

MisterRealist-1 karma

As I understand, Title II lowered industry investment and made expansion more difficult for many ISPs. Did it also effect your company negatively, and if so, in what ways?

Danejasper3 karma

Title II did not lower industry investment, nor make expansion difficult for ISPs. See some details here: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/05/title-ii-hasnt-hurt-network-investment-according-to-the-isps-themselves/