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Thread: Net Neutrality and TrainSim

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Net Neutrality and TrainSim

    If you are a North American railfan and if you spend any time on a website known as, an interesting notice went up today about the pending loss of their Sandpatch and Dunsmuir railcams, their upcoming site changes, potential price increases, and even ownership changes due to the loss of Net Neutrality here in the US.,4554599

    It does make one curious how this site is preparing for any changes coming on account of the bandwidth needed to operate the file library within the coming landscape. Already, this hobby is seeing some metered usage toll booths for certain products being erected (by google in this case)

    The site owner mentions moving to a cloud-based design, with multiple copies of the content positioned around the globe (instead of being kept in one location on his fully-owned servers) to push the content closer to the end user. His content is mostly text, some JPEG and video, plus the cameras, which are casualties soon.

    Given the file library here contains rather dated North American content, with new content mostly from India, and downloaded mostly by India, what is the future of this site for the average North American or Western European user? Is the outdated content from North America all that popular elsewhere in the world? Does it make sense to pay some cloud operator to warehouse the full catalog in 20 places given it's age? If people are not sharing as much new North American content here, they are likely sharing in smaller, low-traffic closed groups like at OTP or that Moose place or whatever it goes by. Just what will be the impact from the loss of net neutrality on large freeware communities like this? Is the toll-driven price increase going to be worth it to keep on keeping on? Or will it make sense to purge library material periodically by age, thus keeping things fresh?

    Just what are the usage demographics of this site nowadays? C. Jakeman recently mentioned how Open Rails downloads from India are their number one user location, and total more than user locations 2, 3, 4 and 5 combined (North America and Western Europe in there somewhere). Are the days of India failing to buy First Class memberships to fund their bandwidth consumed here at this site coming to a close? Are the smaller percentage of North American or Western European users interested in India content going to "pay the freight" when the toll booth goes up? Or will India have to move their distribution to some Facebook or Google or Microsoft "box distribution" site because those internet players have more bargaining power than this little one does? Or will these servers be relocated to India outright with other minor volume (by comparison) users shopping around or sharing elsewhere? The status quo seems unlikely to continue for much longer.

    Keep it in the back of your mind that the freeware community as we know it is facing some steep challenges, too. Some website operators are open and transparent with future plans, others remain tight lipped.

  2. #2


    Seems that TrainOrders has jumped the shark, so to speak... Not only does their concern over Net Neutrality appear to be misplaced, but Todd managed to alienate more than a few customers with his post.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Bloomington, Indiana


    Many people are concerned about the end of net neutrality, and while Todd's actions may be premature, they are not without merit. As he pointed out, and perhaps as the moderator's disparaging remark may be showing, this tends to follow "party lines". If internet charges change from flat fees to cable TV-like fees (like they have in Portugal, where net neutrality was abandoned), and starts to follow the example of airline-service charges, i.e. the "new ways" to "monetize" the Internet that the FCC Chairman often crows about, then web sites like TrainOrders AND should have concerns about what's to come.
    - FTLDave

    "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing." - Wernher von Braun

    "A software suggestion is not a valid answer to a configuration/troubleshooting question." - Timelmer

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by eolesen View Post
    but Todd managed to alienate more than a few customers with his post.
    Yes, but in fairness he admitted that if one cannot handle the reality of which side of the political aisle is driving the unwanted changes, then he doesn't really need their business.

    Refreshing. More business owners should do that.

    When you reach a point where the work produced "by the sweat of a man's brow" can no longer adequately feed the machine that generates the welfare checks that fund "idle" gains from investment, then you either act like CSX and partially liquidate yourself to meet expectations, or you begin to look around for other benign things to turn into a money producer. Before the last crash, it was mortgage debt. I guess this time, it's the internet highway's turn. Anything to keep the circus going and feeding the idle gains machine needed for baby boomer retirements before the stock bubble pops.

    My nephew recently got a summer job at a Lowe's home improvement store. My aging parents were quick to draw a comparison with their generation's experience, when a kid like my nephew could hire on at a local hometown hardware store, work hard, and eventually become the owner of the store years down the road when the previous owner retired. Yet the reason these small town hardware stores do not exist anymore, and opportunities for the nephew to ultimately buy the place are nil nowadays, is because of the need to steer commerce away from small town stores that are not listed on stock exchanges and drive the commerce to the mega-chains like Home Depot and Lowes and WalMart that are listed on the stock exchanges. Through tax policies and TIF subsidies, politicians have been steering commerce towards those businesses that feed proceeds into the idle gains machine, and away from small individual-owned businesses that are not listed on stock exchanges and thus do not feed the beneficiaries who looking for idle gains nourishment at the trough.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    I can't believe those stupid idiots in Washington would really go for the loss of Net Neutrality. God I hate politicians. They only serve one purpose and that is to screw up anything and everything they can get the meddling hands on.


  6. #6

    Default This hobby as a passive income?

    Quote Originally Posted by NW 2156 View Post
    I can't believe those stupid idiots in Washington would really go for the loss of Net Neutrality. God I hate politicians. They only serve one purpose and that is to screw up anything and everything they can get the meddling hands on.

    As you say, they screw up everything. They screwed up healthcare, and they screwed up the housing market. Now you want to give them control of the internet?.....

    Since the biggest proponents of Net Neutrality in 2015 were companies like Netflix, Twitter and Facebook, you might want to ask why they asked the government to protect them.

    In a free market, the ISP’s who actually deliver all this content should be able to charge more to the companies who are taking in billions in revenues.

    The reason they made it an issue? It’s never been about the consumers. Facebook/Twitter/Netflix convinced the Obama Administration to protect their bottom line at the expense of the ISP’s. And they bypassed Congress to do it.

    Imagine if Trump told oil companies they could no longer negotiate fuel prices with high volume users like the railroads or airlines, and that they had to charge all users the same price... There’d be open rebellion. Railroads and airlines would have to raise prices or accept lower profits.

    Look at what’s happened in the mobile internet market, where NN rules don’t apply. You have real competition and a variety of offerings.

    If you let the wired broadband companies compete as freely, I suspect consumers would see lower priced options emerging for those of us who don’t do a lot of streaming. Yes, those who consume more might have to pay their fare share instead of me having to subsidize their downloading and streaming...

    The same would happen with web hosting for businesses like TS.Com or TO, although that market is already geared with differential pricing based on bandwidth.
    Last edited by eolesen; 05-26-2018 at 11:55 PM.

  7. #7


    Part of the issue is the monopoly power created by the expense of infrastructure. Same situation as railroads . . . which led to the ICC. I hope we learned some lessons from that, but not holding my breath.

    How do we create a really free market in the midst of monopoly power? Don't know. But I agree that's where we want to be.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Hastings, MN, 55033


    5G wireless is the solution. Wireless has inherent advantages over cable, all you need is a tower and a receiver, no cables, no customer hook ups. The cable companies would be extremely unwise to pull the crap that we all know they want to pull on the cusp of nearly-universal wireless internet with limitless capacity, which will make bandwidth irrelevant. Municipalities could erect their own towers and negotiate with the carriers for local service. Rural America will have accessible broadband, as it ought to. No longer restricted by bandwidth, the company needs only to make a tidy profit over its maintenance costs. This will probably happen within the next decade. The cable companies will then need to either adapt or die. Most customers are fed up with them as-is.
    Last edited by Erick_Cantu; 05-28-2018 at 03:11 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Cumming Ga


    When monopolies are involved, you really have to throw out the idea competition will keep the prices down. If a company has negotiated themselves into a monopoly arangement, like the cable companies have, then they have to accept the rules that the govt lays down. There is no competition that is ultimately going to fix it.

    You need to compare it to somthing similar. Like legacy land line phone service or the post office, which are both examples of monopolies, These were also regulated, since it cost them almost nothing to deliver services in cities as compared to what it took to delivers services to rural communities in Idaho. They were required to even out the cost so it didn't cost a New York client only 10 cents, where an Idaho customer would have to pick up their share which could cost 100 times more.

    Our cable companies have historically been governed by the same rules the phone service providers were managed with. They started pushing for changes that would repeal and remove those historical tarriff restrictions so as a result, NetNeutrality became a thing (a way for consumers and content providers to say, no, you can't abuse us) while of course, they still remain monopolies in their markets.

    I agree that competition will make this all a moot point... but until I can move ANYWHERE and have ANY service provider I want (like I can with natural gas in Georgia) then forget it. There is no chance for consumers to be treated fairly and we end up with a "class system" applied to our information services.

    Note: Local cable company here atually DOES already charge anyone who goes over their usage cap a different rate. Technically, that should be enough to keep the whole thing at bay. But cable companies seem to have goten greedy.
    3D Canvas/Crafter User
    formerly The Keystone Works
    In IRC at freenode #msts

  10. #10


    Erick has just made my world a bit more hopeful . . .

    Still, I'd settle for 3G wireless where I live. Can't get any kind of signal at all. Speaking of rural America.


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