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F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the pay-to-play-the-movie dept.

United States 410

Dega704 (1454673) writes in with news of the latest FCC plan which seems to put another dagger in the heart of net neutrality. "The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals. The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers."

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Down the river... (5, Insightful)

towermac (752159) | about 8 months ago | (#46828673)

we are sold.

Re:Down the river... (4, Insightful)

dstyle5 (702493) | about 8 months ago | (#46828729)

All that PAC money does make a difference after all.

Re:Down the river... (5, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 8 months ago | (#46828829)

And you can make a difference with this PAC: http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]

Re:Down the river... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828739)

we are sold.

You're surprised?

None of the big players gives a damn about having a neutral net. All they care about is making their slice of the revenue pie bigger.

Re:Down the river... (4, Funny)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about 8 months ago | (#46829001)

It's a good thing we got the FCC involved in all this rule making about the internet. Just think where we'd be if it wasn't for the FCC enforcing net neutrality all these years....

Re:Down the river... (3, Informative)

rockout (1039072) | about 8 months ago | (#46829163)

I get the outrage over the FCC making this happen today, but where's the outrage over the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals basically forcing them to make this rule?

Honest question from me (because maybe I'm missing something): Didn't the FCC attempt to block large service providers from blocking or "unreasonably discriminating" against online content? And then in January, the court smacked them down and said "you don't have the power to do that." Seems like the FCC are not the worst bad guys here.

Re:Down the river... (3, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 8 months ago | (#46829085)

FCC only embraced Net Neutrality to get control over internet content.

They seriously thought they would have the kind of control over the internet that they do over radio and television.

When it became clear that wasn't going to happen they didn't care anymore.

its about power. And if they sell us down the river they'll at least get influence at the ISPs that will profit from the "fast lanes".

That is why there is a pivot to the ISPs. Power. That is what the FCC wants. And the ISPs are willing to give it in exchange for no net neutrality.

You tell me which is worse... FCC in control of internet content... or ISPs filtering content based on who paid more?

Re:Down the river... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829121)

You tell me which is worse... FCC in control of internet content... or ISPs filtering content based on who paid more?

False dichotomy. Giving the FCC the power to ensure that ISPs don't charge website owners to not be throttled (or some other anti-net neutrality example) is different from giving them control over Internet content.

Re:Down the river... (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46829177)

Sorry, that's not one of the choices. That was never one of the choices. Government agencies act for the benefit only of themselves, never for the governed. The FCC seeks the solution that requires the most employees and biggest budget for the FCC, as that's their only actual incentive in any decision.

Meh, vote left. (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 8 months ago | (#46829185)

that's what I say. Vote for the most progressive candidate you can get your hands on, and keep doing that. It's better than nothing.

Re:Meh, vote left. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829251)

"Left" doesn't mean "freedom from opression by the rich and powerful". Never has. It means "authoritarianism". It means "I think for you because you're not enlightened enough to think for yourselves."

The right wants to tell you what to do based on who paid them the most, and what their pastor said Jebus wants them to do.

The left wants to tell you what to do based on who paid them the most, and what their poly sci professor told them the stupid unwashed masses need to have decided for them.

Maybe you should look towards that party that is based on letting you decide for yourself what's best for you? You know, the one that actually has "liberty" in the name and all? Just a thought...

Re: Meh, vote left. (0)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829295)

Who do I vote for, if I think the FCC should stay out of this Net Neutrality business, and instead let the Federal Trade Commission pursue cases of anti-trust abuse, same as they have always done? I haven't yet seen a scenario spouted by Net Neutrality advocates that isn't already covered by existing FTC legal authority.

Re: Meh, vote left. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829343)

With all of that awesome reasoning and logic your post demonstrates, the proper answer to your question is NOBODY. We don't need people like you steering our policies. Stay home and save your vote for whomever Hillary is running against.

Re:Meh, vote left. (5, Funny)

josephtd (817237) | about 8 months ago | (#46829365)

Do I vote for the Democrat that is going to blast me in the ass or the Republican that is blasting my ass?

FFS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828677)

This is fucking bullshit.

Just more bullshit (5, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 8 months ago | (#46828683)

The rich get more privileges. Nothing to see here my fellow Americans. We love this shit. Fast lanes for the job creators. After all, we wouldn't have all of these jobs if we started impeding them. /s

Re:Just more bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828737)

you're mischaracterizing this - the people that pay get more of what they pay for (that is, better access to consumers... what, did you think I meant you get what you pay for?)

/posting anon because there's too much knee-jerk hate coming my way from this group

Re:Just more bullshit (5, Insightful)

crioca (1394491) | about 8 months ago | (#46828909)

No it's actually quite an accurate characterization; the established players ("the rich") are now able to leverage that position to raise barriers to new entrants. Being rich is being privileged in the most classical usage of the term.

The Internet has acted as a great equalizer, removing many of the barriers that people without great wealth face when trying to make opportunities. Now we're putting those barriers back in place, by making it so that established players can use their wealth to hold a privileged position within the market.

This can only serve to benefit the established players at the cost of consumers and new entrants.

Re:Just more bullshit (5, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 8 months ago | (#46829025)

Mod parent insightful.

The internet began as a communication medium. Slowly but surely, we're seeing it turn into a broadcast medium.

It all began years ago, when cable companies started offering internet service with unbalanced bandwidth: outgoing speed was (and still is) a small fraction of the incoming speed. So began the process that has led to what we have today.

Imagine your Telephone Company sold you a phone service that let you call only certain other parties, who wrote a check to the Telephone Company so you could have the privilege. What's more, the number of words in the conversation depends on the payment, and the telephone subscriber (you) can never say more than one word for every 10 to 100 words you hear.

Welcome to the death of the internet.

Re:Just more bullshit (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46829213)

It's not quite so dire, thanks to cloud computing. It's easy to host a server with as big an upstream as you like, simply host that server in EC2 or Azure (whichever is cheaper that week). If you have a lot of data to serve you can even mail Amazon a drive to get started.

I'm hoping that once the FCC decides how to fuck the average citizen the hardest they possibly can with this, and calls that law, that Amazon will then offer some "server with fast lane" choice in EC2, with a price that benefits from their negotiating power.

Good fast lane does not imply bad slow lane (0)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829069)

If rich people cruise by in a slick fast lane, that doesn't necessarily imply the slow lane became "bad" all of a sudden. If I can still get 1080p streaming services (even if highly compressed) from smaller content providers in the slow lane, with the same quality as before, then I will remain happy enough, even if Netflix is able to run 15 Mbps 4K streaming traffic as well.

Re:Good fast lane does not imply bad slow lane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829379)

By its very nature it's anti-competitive. What about all the startups that won't be started now because the higher arbitrary pricing of the fast lane serves as a barrier to entry?

And you honestly think AT&T etc. won't find a profit motive in degrading the slow lane to force more revenue into the fast lane? I've got a dozen bridges to sell you.

Re: Just more bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828913)

You are arguing in a vacuum. Here in reality content providers and internet providers are the same thing. This move allows them to unfairly tilt what is supposed to be an open and fair system in their own favor by forcing their competitors to pay more to show their content over their lines.

Re:Just more bullshit (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46828813)

The rich are going to get just as screwed by this as everyone else. The FCC could have done a LOT over other things to remedy this situation. This is the easy way out, and very damaging.

Nice Website You Have There... (5, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | about 8 months ago | (#46828693)

...shame if something where to happen to it...

Re:Nice Website You Have There... (3, Interesting)

InvalidError (771317) | about 8 months ago | (#46828877)

For most websites who serve relatively low-bandwidth content or a relatively small number of people, this probably won't have that much of an effect - it is only a tiny percentage of all websites that have aggregate peak bandwidth high enough for direct peering to make any sense bothering with and even the previous network neutrality bill would not have prevented that.

Even the European Union which many look at for being more pro-consumer than almost anywhere else in the world has a network neutrality bill that allows direct peering deals to enhance performance, quality of service and reliability of popular online services as long as it does not interfere with or otherwise degrade other services.

If you relied on VoIP, would you like the option to pay maybe $1/month extra to have a 1Mbps fully-QoS'd channel to guarantee that your VoIP traffic always gets through no matter how badly intermediate networks between your modem and VoIP provider might be? That's one of the use-cases the EUP offered as a justification for having to allow some degree of traffic prioritization.

As long as ISPs are not allowed to intentionally degrade non-premium traffic on the back of direct-peering deals, I see no fundamental problem with it.

It's The Camel's Nose... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829029)

in the tent. Very soon, we'll have the whole camel (freemium/premium websites, extra cost to access those sites not directly peering with or oin your ISPs network, no/degraded access to those sites who won't pay extra to ride your ISPs network, etc., etc., etc.), Sigh.

Posting AC to preserve my mods on this thread.

Re:Nice Website You Have There... (5, Insightful)

n8_f (85799) | about 8 months ago | (#46829077)

As long as ISPs are not allowed to intentionally degrade non-premium traffic on the back of direct-peering deals, I see no fundamental problem with it.

Non-premium traffic with be de-facto downgraded, because even if they don't actively do it, large monopoly ISPs will be incentivized to make non-premium traffic as unreliable as possible. So whether it is simply slashing the capital budget of non-premium infrastructure or not performing repairs in a timely manner or a hundred other small things, non-premium traffic has to suffer. How long before there are multiple tiers of premium traffic? The monopoly ISPs face no competition or regulation; now they simply have to figure out how to maximize their rents.

You're right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829357)

it's set up in such a way as to be abused, or will be.

I informed you thusly... (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#46828731)

I hate to say it, but I told you so. I said it then, and I'll say it now. The moment Obama appointed yet... another... lobbyist to head the FCC, one who spent years as a cable company and telecom lobbyist:

Net... Neutrality... Was DEAD... PERIOD.

Need I remind all of you Obama-lovers of this little tid bit from no other website but ethics.change.gov:

http://change.gov/agenda/ethic... [change.gov]

"I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists â" and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president."

-- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA
November 10, 2007

I informed you thusly...

Re:I informed you thusly... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828757)

I lost it at the @aol.com email address...

Re:I informed you thusly... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828787)

Not an Obamapologist here, but do you honestly think Romney would have been different?

Re:I informed you thusly... (3, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 8 months ago | (#46828869)

Honestly this is a really bullshit line of thinking. Even if Romney wouldn't have been, then why on earth would you vote for either of them? Who cares if he would have been elected if Obama didn't? Look at the result: Instead of getting an unknown, you got the incumbent who you already know is bad.

We don't have a two party system because the "system" or any laws dictate it. The reason we havee a two party system is because our culture as a whole thinks exactly as you just did.

Voting for the lesser of two evils means you give that lesser evil your endorsement. There is no escaping that fact; you effectively went on the record as saying "I want this guy in office."

Honestly I've never found a good reason for any of the third party candidates either (no fucking way I'd ever want Nader or Paul in office either.) My solution is just to not even vote on an office where I have no preferred candidate. That's right, I left the presidential box empty. Instead I just voted on a referendum (legalizing medicinal marijuana) and a few other things and left the rest of the ballot empty.

I think voting for the wrong candidate, or not educating yourself on any of them first, is more harmful than not voting at all. This common message of "get out the vote" is bullshit and is the reason we're in the mess we are in today. People vote for shit they know nothing about.

Re:I informed you thusly... (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46828901)

At least write in Kodos.

I voted Gary Johnson. My vote helped him carry zero states. I really can't blame people for voting strategically.

Re:I informed you thusly... (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 8 months ago | (#46829011)

If only we could get real political reform and implement instant-runoff voting... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]

Even the candidates that run on a reform platform don't reform (if they run on a platform popular enough to win).

Re:I informed you thusly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829039)

Hahaha, are you kidding? Here in the UK we couldn't even get people to vote for Proportional Representation. We couldn't even get half of the electorate to vote in referendum in the first place!

Re:I informed you thusly... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46829317)

I prefer approval voting [wikipedia.org] for it's simplicity, but I agree with you that the current system is not ideal.

Re:I informed you thusly... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 8 months ago | (#46829371)

The problem with IRV is that it fails at the point where it actually almost works. Once you get to a point where the alternative parties get close to the main parties everybody has incentive to vote strategically. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

The concept of ranking candidates is a good one. IRV has the advantage of being simple to explain, but once the third parties actually acumulate a significant number of votes it can fail to pick the "right" winner. That in turn leads people to not vote their true intention - eliminating their second-place choices, or listing their first-place choice in second-place, etc.

Re:I informed you thusly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828941)

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!

Re:I informed you thusly... (3, Funny)

dccase (56453) | about 8 months ago | (#46828971)

He would have certainly been worse in some ways, but he could not have pulled off crap like this without outcry.
That's why every president's biggest policies are stuff the other party wants but can't get away with.

EPA? Republican.
NAFTA? Democrat.
Medicare prescription drug benefit? Republican.
Romneycare? Democrat.
Financial deregulation? Well, everybody. You got me there,

Re:I informed you thusly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829057)

Romney would have faced more resistance than Obama if nothing else.
 
And Romney couldn't play the endless race card.

Re:I informed you thusly... (5, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 8 months ago | (#46828933)

And a reminder of this:

http://boingboing.net/2012/01/... [boingboing.net]

Obama did eventually capitulate. He signed the ACTA treaty without anybody else having any say in it, because he (and Hollywood) knew full well that it would get shot down like SOPA did if the public was aware of it. The constitution requires a vote in the senate for any treaty to be ratified, but NOBODY (not even the public) was allowed to read it until Obama himself ratified it. His argument was that since our laws already comply with it, he can ratify it by himself.

There is no precedent for that as it has never been done before (given the Constitution forbids it, it makes sense too.)

Anyways, Obama HAS been purchased, and he IS a Manchurian candidate if there ever was one.

And thank God for that (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829127)

Why would you want the FCC to enforce some heavy-handed concept of fair play, when this government entity has no experience at doing so? Why not let the FTC, which has decades of experience at stopping antitrust abuses, and already has ALL the legal authority it needs to throw its weight around in this arena, do the work instead? And besides, narrower, more focused legal doctrines tend to be more enforceable anyways. Can you pick a scenario that Net Neutrality advocates worry over that can't already be tackled by the FTC?

Re:I informed you thusly... (5, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | about 8 months ago | (#46829175)

The Democrats tried to pass net neutrality into law through an act of Congress, so that we wouldn't need to rely on the FCC-commissioner-of-the-moment. The Republicans blocked it. Obama then implemented a reduced version of net neutrality through execute order. The courts struck that down. The Democrats tried again to pass net neutrality through Congress. The Republicans again blocked it. Now net neutrality is dead and gone, and the Republicans are claiming its the Democrats' fault.

I wish I could say this is unbelievably dishonest, but it's actually quite standard these days.

Re:I informed you thusly... (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 8 months ago | (#46829233)

"I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over." - Obama

Well, in all fairness, Tom Wheeler is not merely setting the agenda, like someone who must satisfy himself with influencing the process. He is the decider.

Well, what did we expect? (5, Informative)

Golgafrinchan (777313) | about 8 months ago | (#46828743)

Tom Wheeler is Chairman of the FCC.

From his Wikipedia page: "Prior to working at the FCC, Wheeler worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, with prior positions including President of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)."

When the FCC chairman used to be a lobbyist for the companies he's now regulating... well, what did we expect would happen? It shouldn't be surprising that he'd be in favor of pushing through regulations that are more favorable to his cronies.

Re:Well, what did we expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828839)

This is quite accurate. After working in a particular state government for only two years, I can say that talentless asshats tend to migrate from government state job to (if they are well connected) a cushy and better paying private sector job. While the reverse is the case here, the same rule applies in either in/out you apply it. He either has dirt, blackmailed, or was able to impress a state hiring agent that either got paid or was told countless empty promises. The worst part is in this case is where he has come from the private sector to public under the guise of making things work which in reality is just a smoke screen to enhance private company earnings.

Re:Well, what did we expect? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46829225)

Government: or there and back again, a lobbyist's holiday.

Re:Well, what did we expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828907)

Tom Wheeler is Chairman of the FCC.

From his Wikipedia page: "Prior to working at the FCC, Wheeler worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, with prior positions including President of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)."

When the FCC chairman used to be a lobbyist for the companies he's now regulating... well, what did we expect would happen? It shouldn't be surprising that he'd be in favor of pushing through regulations that are more favorable to his cronies.

Didn't take long for that to happen either. Go Figure.

"Tom Wheeler became the 31st Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on November 4, 2013"

Re:Well, what did we expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828939)

What? Obama appointed a lobbyist for a government post? He told me he wasn't going to play that game back in 2008. WTF happened? Maybe he has it documented out there somewhere where I can read about it. After all, he's the most transparent president in US history.

Re:Well, what did we expect? (1)

Xyrus (755017) | about 8 months ago | (#46828967)

Another step down the slope. I'm pretty sure, at least on Slashdot, everyone saw this coming. And it's just going to get worse. Unless you got the money to buy politicians...I mean express your free speech (I always get those confused) then nothing is going to stop our decline.

Re:Well, what did we expect? (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 8 months ago | (#46829189)

I did not till tonight.
At&t blocked my access to slashdot because of the posting of that article about their fake fiber roll out.

Re: Well, what did we expect? (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829145)

Two ways to look at this. With these new rules, ISP's have new financial motivation to provide fast lanes to more subscribers. The odds of my house getting FIOS to the premises just increased significantly.

Re: Well, what did we expect? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46829239)

You're thinking like a normal person, not a sociopath. Comcast isn't offering any bigger pipes, they just stopped making small pipes even smaller once the check from Netflix cleared.

Re: Well, what did we expect? (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829267)

Citation? People claim Comcast throttles down all the time (aside for reasons of going over monthly cap, getting caught pirating stuff, or just being overall swamped with traffic and forced into traffic-shaping). Can you point to an example where Comcast throttled for malicious/business reasons?

Wrong battle. (4, Informative)

ErikTheRed (162431) | about 8 months ago | (#46828751)

The problem here isn't differentiated services - which can be valuable to a lot of us. The problem is that here in the US we have effective ISP monopolies or duopolies in nearly every region. Whenever your choice is so severely constrained you're going to get screwed at least a hundred different ways. Net neutrality isn't the worst of them - the crappy bandwidth levels are first in my personal book. The battle should be couched in terms of "we'll trade away net neutrality in exchange for getting rid of telecommunications and cable franchises." If I can get 18 different providers competing for my business, then some of them will offer net neutrality, some will offer more bandwidth, etc. Until there is competition we're always in the position of having to beg the government to not cave into the desires of megacorporations, which is always a losing battle in the long run.

Re:Wrong battle. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828857)

You deserve a higher score than 3.

Re:Wrong battle. (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 8 months ago | (#46828863)

For my flat in Romania, I have the choice of only two ISPs, a "duoply". And yet both have offered fiber to your door (200 or 300 megabit, I forget which plan I have) for about 10€/month for about a decade now. I see one company has just rolled out gigabit internet for 15€/month. And there's no throttling involved, you can torrent hundreds of gigabytes a month if you'd like.

So while those who bemoan the high prices and shitty connections of the US often point to monopolies or duopolies, there's got to be more to the story. (And let's not bring up population density there, it suffices to compare my metropolitan areas to your metropolitan areas).

Re:Wrong battle. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828917)

And luckily for you, the FCC does not have jurisdiction in your country.

Re:Wrong battle. (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46828949)

Internet is an afterthought in the US. In almost all cases, it is bolted-on to either the telephone network or the cable TV network. And in both cases, once they had enough bandwidth for internet, the cable company made sure to offer phone service and the phone company began to offer cable. I suspect that this is because cable and internet phone service are very high-margin, while internet service is not.

In any case, Verizon rolled out FIOS (fiber to the home) to great fanfare and were rewarded with a tanking stock price. So they stopped doing that. We need Mr. Moneybags to come in and rescue us, but the telecom and cable companies are making that as hard as possible. Which is rational, but it makes me hate them even more.

Re:Wrong battle. (2)

n8_f (85799) | about 8 months ago | (#46829105)

I suspect that this is because cable and internet phone service are very high-margin, while internet service is not.

No, it's quite the opposite. Once you're making 97% margins on your Internet customers [technologyreview.com] and have no competition, why in the hell would you put any money in to it? You're going to have a hard time finding any ROI.

Re:Wrong battle. (5, Insightful)

n8_f (85799) | about 8 months ago | (#46829005)

Still wrong battle. Franchises are simply agreements to use a city's rights-of-way. They've been non-exclusive since 1992. The problem is that building wireline infrastructure is extremely capital expensive and has severely diminishing returns in areas that are already saturated by a competitor. Your business plan is to sink a bunch of capital into a business and then compete on price with a company that has no capital costs? Good luck raising the billions you'll need for that.

No, the solution here is municipal fiber networks that are managed as public utilities that sell wholesale to ISPs. Just like how we have multiple shipping companies that use public infrastructure to transport packages between customers. Then you can have as many different competitors as the market will bear with as many different business plans. In that situation, the Comcast-Netflix deal would never have happened, because the competing ISPs would have been begging Netflix to install hardware in their data centers to make their customers' experience as good as possible. An ISP trying to make Netflix slower would have lost every customer that cares about Netflix (which apparently is a lot of them).

And wrong battleground. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 8 months ago | (#46829101)

The problem here isn't differentiated services - which can be valuable to a lot of us. The problem is that here in the US we have effective ISP monopolies or duopolies in nearly every region.

The other part of the problem is that the net neutrality advocates have been fighting on the wrong battleground.

As you point out: The prblem isn't some packets getting preferences over others: Sometimes that makes things BETTER for users. The problem is companies using their ability to configure this to give their own (and affiliates') carried-by-ISPs services an advantage, or artificially DISadvatntge packets of other providers unless an extra toll is paid, to the disadvantage of their customers.

The FCC is not the place to fight that battle. The correct venues are the Department of Justice's Antitrust division (is giving content the ISP's affiliate provides an advantage over that of others an illegal "tying"?), the FTC (is penalizing others' packets a consumer fraud, providing something less than what is understood to be "internet service"?) and perhaps congress.

I don't see how this can reasonably be resolved short of breaking up media conglomerates to separate information transport from providing "content" and other information service beyond information transport. Allowing them to be combined into a single company is a recipie for conflict-of-interest, at the cost of the consumer.

Re: Wrong battle. (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829165)

If the slow lane is available and it's "sufficient", does it matter if certain fast lanes are unavailable to certain zip codes? Isn't Net Neutrality mostly satisfied if the slow lane can keep a good enough status?

All Traffic is Equal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828761)

Though, some traffic is more equal than others.

I guess some checks cleared today

The F.C.C. shouldn't be the ones to decide (2)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 8 months ago | (#46828769)

Ideally, net neutrality should be something that is passed into law by congress. Too bad that doesn't have a snowball's chance against a cash-fueled, industry sponsored flame thrower in hell.

The best government that Comcast can buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828775)

I guess they finally hit the government's price point.

Hooray for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828779)

getting to pay more for the same shit I have already accessing. I look forward to paying double for netflix, triple for hulu and out the ass for porn. YAY!

End of the Internet as we Know It (4, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | about 8 months ago | (#46828803)

It truly just became pay to play for actual content producers and hosts. Goodbye little guys. Right now, I get content from the internet pretty much as fast as I'm willing to pay for. Now, for the same amount of my money, does this mean the content I'm delivered is at the mercy of how much the companies serving it are willing to pay ISPs backbone peers?

How long until consumers are offered tiered internet to these sites, pay X to get the FB + GOOG + AAPL package, etc etc, pay Y for gaming, pay Z for streaming, if you're caught in violation you'll be automatically charged at the overage level (like cell phone providers).

Comcast says the routers cost too much (1)

state*less (246807) | about 8 months ago | (#46828819)

If you look at Comcast's income statement for 2013, you'll see rising profits. They made 6.816 billion dollars in 2013. I find it disingenuous (fucking bullshit) for them to claim these content providers are costing them money.

In reality it is likely the opposite, the content providers are increasing the demand for their product and allowing Comcast to charge more for service. Their relation to content providers is somewhat like Apple's relation to App providers. Except in the case of phone companies, their are alternatives to Apple.

Re:Comcast says the routers cost too much (1)

n8_f (85799) | about 8 months ago | (#46829167)

If you look at Comcast's income statement for 2013, you'll see rising profits. They made 6.816 billion dollars in 2013. I find it disingenuous (fucking bullshit) for them to claim these content providers are costing them money.

In reality it is likely the opposite, the content providers are increasing the demand for their product and allowing Comcast to charge more for service. Their relation to content providers is somewhat like Apple's relation to App providers.

Except Apple doesn't make 97% margins [technologyreview.com] (it's no longer break-even, but it is way, way less than 30%).

it would be OK if..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828837)

and it's a big huge giant if....

internet providers were prohibited by law from degrading connections between their customers and content providers (aka web sites and services) that do not pay the extra.

in other words, net neutrality would remain, but content providers could pay to BOOST the speed at which the internet provider customers received their content (example: subscriber with 5mbit connection could download from youtube at 20mbit IF youtube paid for the **extra** speed, but that customer would still get unmolested 5mbit throughput if google did not pay).

Re:it would be OK if..... (2)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 8 months ago | (#46829135)

in other words, net neutrality would remain, but content providers could pay to BOOST the speed at which the internet provider customers received their content

Which only lasts until the next increment in consumer connection speed is rolled out. Then the companies that pay get to use it, but - SURPRISE! - nobody else does.

If this proposal had gone into effect before broadband became common you'd be hooked to on your, say, 5 Mbps DSL line, trying to watch videos at 56 kbps.

Re: it would be OK if..... (2)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829217)

Agreed. It's fine if the fast lane is 100x faster than the slow lane, as long as the slow lane can remain "good enough".

so... (5, Insightful)

deander2 (26173) | about 8 months ago | (#46828867)

me: "i just created a new 'horoscope by phone' startup, and it's really popular! woohoo!"

at&t: "hey, we've noticed a lot of people are calling your new company. it would be a shame if 20% of your calls were to drop. would you like to pay us to not drop them?"

me: "WTF? your customers are calling me! THEY paid YOU already for their phone service! you can't just threaten me, that's extortion and a violation of the common carrier law!"

at&t: "oh yeah, nevermind. we'll wait until you start a website..."

It can be changed in the longrun, but meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828881)

...a country gets a government it deserves.

Multiple peering (2)

Knightman (142928) | about 8 months ago | (#46828889)

What happens if a customer uses a service that he/she only can reach through 2 jumps of peering and the service-provider (ex. Netflix) only has a contract with the first ISP in the chain?

The customer will be SOL, the small ISP's too, that's what. The small ISP's will be forced out of the market or bought out by bigger ones. Essentially this paves the way for a few big companies OWNING everything related to content distribution and access to the internet for which the customers will have to pay an extreme premium to use.

And what hope do the customers have? Google laying down more fiber?

Drop Netflix, Pirate Everything (5, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 8 months ago | (#46828927)

Only one reasonable response: Drop all your paid over-the-interent content subscriptions, and start pirating everything. Burn the media industry to the ground.

Even better... (1)

Atmchicago (555403) | about 8 months ago | (#46829031)

I've mostly given up mass media. If we can find something else to entertain ourselves without funneling money into the pockets of Greed then maybe something will change.

Re:Drop Netflix, Pirate Everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829079)

Better yet, include the ISPs as co-defendants on every trial involving anything piped over their lines. Child porn, liability and defamation lawsuits, organized crime, etc. etc.

Also, sue them for use of your property without appropriate compensation.

If they want to be able to regulate their lines as their own, treat them that way.

*That's* what pisses me off about this--it's not just about net neutrality as a freedom-of-speech issue, it's about the rich (once again) being held to a different standard than everyone else.

Re:Drop Netflix, Pirate Everything (1)

Burz (138833) | about 8 months ago | (#46829097)

If the ISPs slow down P2P traffic enough, then it won't matter.

But if the connections are going to be slower anyway, just remember NOT to use I2P/Snark. Cuz... anonymous torrents are baaaad....

Re: Drop Netflix, Pirate Everything (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 8 months ago | (#46829237)

A reasonable response is to step back a moment, take a deep breath, and realize the sky is not falling. And advocating criminal activity as a whiny form of protest makes you look just as pathetic as those Occupy protesters.

Wrong target (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 8 months ago | (#46829245)

Netflix isn't the bad guy here.

Monopoly Rights Are Wrong (2)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 8 months ago | (#46828931)

Last time I checked, consumers paid for their internet access.

This is the right for an ISP to throttle and establish even more monopolies and cartels where Googles and Netflixs and Facebooks of the world have more internet rights than others.

There needs to be some sort of internet bill of rights, some sort of privacy bill of rights in this country. As it is --- there are legitimate web sites that happen to be right-leaning sites that are censored by Google -- and while I am not personally very interested in those politics, we are at risk of a world where the Googles and Facebooks and Verizons and Time Warners are agents to enact the government's will and or censorship, while calling these companies "not the government" and denying that there is any free speech or privacy rights for the consumer and the citizen.

And Google and such advise the government, make campaign contributions, etc. --- are we sold down the river? Where is the silver lining or positive angle in all of this?

Re:Monopoly Rights Are Wrong (1)

n8_f (85799) | about 8 months ago | (#46829161)

This is exactly what would happen if we'd given UPS a monopoly on all the roads. Would anyone be surprised that they started charging FedEx more? So why is anyone surprised by this? The solution is the same one we've used with roads: public infrastructure (municipal/public-utility fiber) that any company can build on top of.

How is this different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828943)

How is letting an ISP provide a "fast lane" if a content provider is willing to pay for it any different from letting an ISP provide a "slow lane" to any content provider NOT willing to pay additionally?

To ask more bluntly, it seems like these new rules might open the floodgate for extortion.

Re:How is this different (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46829007)

It's like having a VISA sticker in your window, and not being allowed to charge more for credit transactions.

....but giving a cash discount.

See? That's totally fair and within both the letter and spirit of the law.. ..or something. :/

Here that sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46828961)

That's the rest of the world wishing the united states would implode on itself already, without fucking up the rest of the world.

Oh the irony (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 8 months ago | (#46829027)

The big internet companies managed to turn net neutrality from something they didn't want into something they do. All they had to do was use all their lobbyists to lobby congress to change laws in their favor.

SHOCKING!!!

Now we are going to have the worst of both worlds. We have exactly the internet we didn't want and some more laws for our economy to waste GDP on lawyers and litigation.

If we really want internet freedom, we should be lobbying for actual competition in the ISP game. It may not be possible to have 10 ISPs all competing at the same time, with their own fiber cables, but we could have a system where the lines are owned by the public (rather than the telecoms), and the telecoms just compete for contracts to administer the network. If we didn't like how a company was doing business, it would be much easier to ditch them for a new company if we owned the pipes.

Unfortunately politicians are generally shitty and it takes a lot of public engagement to get them to actually do something correctly rather than way that benefits them the most when no one is paying attention (i.e. cheaply in the short term).

Think of real highways (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#46829061)

Can you imagine if some company bought all the highways in your area and then started charging higher fees in order to go in the passing lane but then started really gouging all the food deliveries to certain grocery stores?

People might even try to defend this by saying that it was the free market but the reality would be just like the highways, the government gave these same companies nearly 100 years of subsidies to build these networks and the expertise to maintain them.

Quite simply this infrastructure is quite simply a public good, the companies that are allowed to run it should only be able to run it at our pleasure. The moment they start to get greedy they should be thrown out and a the public good handed to another company to run properly.

Net neutrality is a wonderfully level playing field which old zombie corporations hate and fast lanes are 100% anti consumer.

Hybrid lanes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829153)

Can you imagine if some company bought all the highways in your area and then started charging higher fees in order to go in the passing lane but then started really gouging all the food deliveries to certain grocery stores?

Kind of like the multiple occupancy lanes allow hybrids, which the poor generally can't afford?
Seems to me a lot of DNC policies like to take tax money from everyone and only give it back to people they agree with. This is just one more example.

Re:Think of real highways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829199)

You mean like they did in Northern VA with the Hot Lane project?

The 95 Express Lanes project was part of that. Control of the tax payer built and maintained interstate I95/395 HOV lanes that has been in place for over 30 years was turned over to a private company for profit business.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V... [wikipedia.org]
http://dc.about.com/od/transpo... [about.com]

Oddly most areas that have done this are not actually making money which will lead to a very interesting dilemma in a few years. No doubt, at the tax payers expense.

http://www.theatlanticcities.c... [theatlanticcities.com]

A legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829073)

Why are we using the government to salvage shitty business models?

I always said like IRL cyber would get ruind by. (1)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about 8 months ago | (#46829181)

Big money.

Pure irony... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 8 months ago | (#46829211)

The worst part of this is how they allow this nonsense in the name of protecting the free market. The Internet as it has existed up until now has been the purest free market in history, and now they are going to slowly flush all of that down the toilet just to further widen the telcos' already hilariously fat profit margins.

Welcome to the free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46829229)

Where's that invisible hand, bitches? You sold us a false bill of goods and now we're all going to have to eat the fruits of Republican dickering.

Restore Common Carrier (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 8 months ago | (#46829287)

We put it up on We The People [whitehouse.gov] and The White House responded:

Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide. ... It was also encouraging to see Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, whom the President appointed to that post last year, reaffirm his commitment to a free and open Internet and pledge to use the authority granted by Congress to maintain a free and open Internet. The White House strongly supports the FCC and Chairman Wheeler in this effort.

I think we're going to need another petition, or perhaps a series of petitions that cover the front page of We The People, asking for Tom Wheeler to be executed ... sorry, that should read "terminated" ... you know what? either way. -- and for common carrier to be restored.

Every call's collect! You still pay too. Only fair (1)

jthill (303417) | about 8 months ago | (#46829293)

And toll booths should be allowed to charge the people you're visiting for the privilege of allowing you to visit. And trucking companies should be allowed to charge the receiver for the privilege of accepting delivery.
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