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FCC Chairman Will Reportedly Revise Broadband Proposal 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-plan dept.
An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he will revise proposed rules for regulating broadband Internet, and is offering assurances that the agency won't allow companies to segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes. From the article: 'The new language by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to be circulated as early as Monday is an attempt to address criticism of his proposal unveiled last month that would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites but allow them to strike deals in which content companies could pay them for faster delivery of Web content to customers.'"
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FCC Chairman Will Reportedly Revise Broadband Proposal

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  • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:10AM (#46978043)
    The language is too carefully chosen. I expect the same old sheet.

    Wheeler seems too anxious to move fast."won't allow companies to segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes" is a matter of interpretation. If you insist the slow lane is really not a slow lane, it is a meaningless statement.
    • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:32AM (#46978117)

      And we all know it. Nobody gets to be head of the FCC and is so stupid they cannot understand how ANY PAID PRIORITY invalidates the whole concept of network neutrality. We need to keep hammering on these fuckers until we have (at least) retail ISPs under Title II and that's ALL there is to it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        that if I am willing and able to pay for higher priority I cannot be given it?

      • He knows this. And he was just hoping that if the title of the regulations say "net neutrality", people would be fooled into thinking that it actually puts across net neutrality. for some time the gov't would use titles like "the patriot act" to get votes and fool the public [politicians know they can't stand in front of a camera and say "I am against the Patriot Act" without a whole bunch of people who voted for them thinking they are against the US in general...ie not a patriot].

    • by wooferhound (546132) <tim&wooferhound,com> on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:38AM (#46978157) Homepage

      The language is too carefully chosen. I expect the same old sheet. Wheeler seems too anxious to move fast."won't allow companies to segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes" is a matter of interpretation. If you insist the slow lane is really not a slow lane, it is a meaningless statement.

      From what I'm reading, it won't be the Fast & Slow lanes anymore. It now becomes the Fast & Faster Lanes. He is just changing the wording.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Wheeler seems too anxious to move fast."won't allow companies to segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes" is a matter of interpretation. If you insist the slow lane is really not a slow lane, it is a meaningless statement.

      Yup. It will be the super-fast (>50 kbps) and ultra-fast (whatever you actually paid for) lanes!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @09:01AM (#46978307)

      If you read the article on the Wall Street Journal's site, it's blatantly obvious that this IS the same policy, just with a flimsy promise that "The FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies' content at a disadvantage".

      The only good news is that Wheeler said they'd open comment on the idea of reclassifying ISPs as Title II Common Carriers. This is where people need to make their voices heard. I know for certain that the minute that comment opens up, I'm sending in another letter.

      • Exactly. Reclassify ISPs as Title II Common Carriers.
      • IMO what really needs to happen is a decoupling of ISPs from monopoly or near-monopoly last mile communication providers.

        • This, completely. Separate their infrastructure business from their services business, make the first a CC and tell them to sell at wholesale to anyone that wants to play ball.
    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday May 12, 2014 @10:46AM (#46979153)

      It will be the "Liberty" and "Justice" lanes. Who could object to being in either of those unless they were a traitor?

      Changing adjectives to nouns makes everything easier to swallow.

      • LOL.

        Of course, they'll change the phrase to "Liberty OR Justice, for all" to match.
      • by pitchpipe (708843)

        It will be the "Liberty" and "Justice" lanes.

        Actually, this makes a lot of sense. The 'Liberty' lane will be for those with money because they have the liberty to do whatever they want, and the 'Justice' lane will be for "just us" fucking wage-slave morons who keep voting for them like they're our favorite team.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:30AM (#46979525)
      I'd argue a better outlook is "This is a positive response: it shows that pressure being put on the FCC is working, they're not invulnerable to criticism, so double down on whatever efforts you are taking. If you aren't calling your washington representatives, do so."

      Wheeler didn't issue this statement because he was simply concerned that the american people were unhappy. This is basic PR: "I have a real problem, so throw the critics a bone, make it look like I'm open minded, and hope that calms them down enough to just do what it was I wanted to do." If there had been no response, then that would be an indication that Wheeler, the FCC, and the Obama administration were unconcerned about the feedback they were getting and we would be wasting our time.

      I mean what did you expect? That the FCC would jump right to "Oops, we were completely wrong about what you wanted and will do a complete 180, thank you for your feedback, no need to fire me for being so very very wrong, please!"

      I don't know how much harder people will have to push to force a complete reversal, but this is a positive sign. Your cynicism is justified, but lets not be so cynical as to conclude that the battle is lost; I see this as quite the opposite.
      • I agree. I don't see the battle is lost, and the attention and pushback does provide hope. But the red flags are popping up.
  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UPZ (947916) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:28AM (#46978105)
    It's just sad that we have to fight tooth-and-nail to get something right done by our lobbyist FCC chairman, or even just in general, by the lobbyist run government.

    What was the tipping point that brought us here?
    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:37AM (#46978149)

      When half the people stopped voting and much of the other half got so poor an education that they can't distinguish between truth and bullshit.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Voting has very little influence on this matter (not that it has much on other matters either). Do you elect the head of the FCC? Should you really bug the president for a problem at the FCC? Is that your definition of democracy?

      • by dj245 (732906)

        When half the people stopped voting and much of the other half got so poor an education that they can't distinguish between truth and bullshit.

        If it was just poor schooling, private groups could step in and do something about that. The problem is that politians are on the payola, and they influence public policy, education, and they can even control the public conversation. People in the US are indoctrinated into "tribes" depending on where they were born and who their parents believe politically. I use the word "tribe" because it is far worse system than having a system of political parties where one can switch or choose. The core conservativ

        • Lots of factors are involved, but the fundamental weakness is when people haven't been taught how to THINK. Well, thinking is dangerous to the status quo so of course you can trace some things back to various parties. The truth is though, most of it is just human nature. Human society is flawed because human beings aren't well-adapted to participating in a globe-spanning civilization such as our own. Its failure seems almost inevitable really.

          • People have been conditioned what to believe. Thought has nothing to do with it. People don't think like their parents, they believe what their parents conditioned them to and the defenses etc are just conditioning; not a single thought is required, if anything they are discouraged-- child asks "why isn't there any proof of god?" daring to think something and is immediately told rationalized beliefs to discourage any further thinking. A continued line of questioning leads to "just because" dead ends where

      • Insightful? Really? I completely agree with parent that public education is pathetic (look up the Harvard 1869 entrance exam if you don't believe me, and realize there was no wikipedia or calculators for those expected to pass).

        But "when ... half got so poor an education that they can't distinguish between truth and bullshit" then what? What was it like before? When was this transition?

        Are you trying to suggest that a government funded education run by government employees is the solution to teaching th

    • What was the tipping point that brought us here?

      There was no real "tipping point," but rather a gradual erosion:

      1. It started with the Founding Fathers picking first-past-the-post voting and then factionalizing into the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.
      2. It continued with the gradual expansions of the Commerce Clause and the Elastic Clause.
      3. People argue about the cause and purpose of the Civil War, but one effect of it was to more firmly establish Federal sovereignty (rather than state sovereignty).
      4. The
      • ...the military-industrial complex (that Eisenhower warned us against)...

        Yeah, that speech would have meant something if he gave it during his inauguration instead of on his way out.

  • by bengoerz (581218) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:36AM (#46978139)
    The design of TCP is such that the way you throttle a connection is to drop packets. Therefore, isn't throttling just a measured block?
  • Thank You! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:36AM (#46978141) Homepage

    I choose to take this at face value, that he really has seen that We The People want net neutrality.

    And that is because of you. You who signed the petition, sent letters to your legislators, sent comments to the FCC, emailed your friends, posted the issue on your social networks, wrote letters to the editor, and everything else you did. You did this. You saved the Internet from this attack by greedy cynics who would turn the Internet into TV for a few pieces of silver. You protected the most important advance our generation has built. Thank you, and congratulations!

  • Al Franken (Score:2, Interesting)

    by techstar25 (556988)
    Al Franken has earned my vote for pretty much any office he ever runs for, ever.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The same guy who voted for Obamacare without reading the bill?
      The same guy who supports the NSA spying on every US citizen without warrant?
      The same guy who thinks a whistleblower like Snowden needs to be prosecuted?

      Glad to see you voting to destroy the country so you can get your Netflix a little faster.
      Is this common for DNC voters?

      • Like everyone Republican who did not read the Patriot Act and then reauthorized the Patriot Act, as well as voted to invade Iraq under the pretense Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. People in glass houses....
  • by advantis (622471) on Monday May 12, 2014 @08:51AM (#46978239)

    It dawned on me how they could work a fast lane within net neutrality rules. They don't even need to change anything.

    It goes like this: Hey, we're douchebags and like to bleed our customers dry for slow Internet. We do this by overselling our transit capacity [slashdot.org]. But, if you want our customers to be able to use your service, our peering prices are $100/MB/month.

    That's why Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue [slashdot.org] I guess. But should peering be a net neutrality issue? On the Internet, different pathways have different speeds. Your LAN and ISP network are usually a lot faster than general Internet access, and nobody said Netflix can't pay a premium to plug straight into your LAN.

    In Romania you get gigabit links within RDS - a nationwide ISP, and if you run Linux, you're in luck because they peer with RoEdu (the Romanian education network), who mirror a lot of stuff, and that peer is fast as lightning if RDS is your provider. But mirrors who are in the country but not peered get Internet speeds - which are still faster than what I generally get in the UK mind.

    • We can look to the post office to see that neutrality does not limit a provider to one tier of service.

      The standard post office service will get my letter across the country to another major urban centre in a few days for the price of a first class stamp. If I want to speed things up I can pay for expedited delivery to get it there tomorrow. It's increased service for an increased price but those tiers of service are still neutral. Anyone can walk in and get the same expedited service for the same price.

      • We can look to the post office to see that neutrality does not limit a provider to one tier of service.

        The postal service has the price for postage regulated by congress. They have to get regulatory approval to raise prices even a penny on stamps. Internet Service Providers are under no such strict regulatory scrutiny and you can be quite sure the prices they charge would not be in the best interest of consumers or the public at large. Furthermore the Postal Service is not in the business of providing content as well as delivery. Several ISPs (Comcast I'm looking at you) have a built in conflict of inter

      • A better analogy would be if a 3rd party shipping service contracted by USPS decided that Amazon is shipping out too many packages and asks Amazon to pay for expedited service or they packages might be delayed. The problem with a 3rd party doing so is that they already had an agreement with the USPS on fees on shipments, and Amazon paid the USPS already. Would a 3rd party shipper charging the sender extra be fair?
    • Peering is critical to the internet. Right now comcast and similar are choosing to over-saturate peering and paid links in a bid to have people pay them directly to get to the eyeballs they service. Effective leaving it out allows them to let all the normal links over-saturate and push companies like netflix to pay for a fast connection. It's not like they have any viable competitors in most places. A well managed network looks at trending and proactively adds more capacity before they are over-saturated

  • Err, Wait, What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday May 12, 2014 @09:02AM (#46978313) Homepage

    From the synopsis:

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he will revise proposed rules for regulating broadband Internet, and is offering assurances that the agency won't allow companies to segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes.

    Hooray! Same thing it says at the beginning of the article, same thing that made me prematurely celebrate. You see, a bit further down in the WSJ article:

    The new proposal will also seek comment on whether such "paid prioritization" should be prohibited altogether.

    What? WTF do you think we mean when we say we want net neutrality? Yes, you idiot, we want paid prioritization to be prohibited altogether. ISPs should deliver every packet the customer asks for with the same diligence, without preference. Not delivering some packets faster. Not delivering some packets slower. Handing every packet the same regardless of the content or source. That is what net neutrality is. Are you stupid, or just pretending to be so you can keep doing what your lobby tells you to do?

  • "The FCC has so far not reclassified broadband as a utility, and providers have fiercely opposed such a move, saying it would cause innovation and investment to collapse."

    http://online.wsj.com/news/art... [wsj.com]

    You mean like in New Jersey where Verizon reneged on a contract to roll out fiber to all of New Jersey after the residents paid for it???
  • by Virtex (2914) on Monday May 12, 2014 @09:58AM (#46978749) Homepage
    I'm reminded of a story about a company that made soda vending machines. The company had a new vending machine they were marketing to amusement parks which would raise prices when the temperature got above, say, 80 degrees. A lot of amusement parks liked the idea and started buying the new machines, but the word got out to the public and there was a huge backlash of people complaining about deceptive pricing and basically cheating the customers. In order to save themselves, the vending machine company explained to the public that their machines were really lowering the price of their sodas when the temperature dropped below 80 degrees. Somehow that just sounded better to the general public. This thing with fast and slow lanes sounds a lot like the vending machine company. Allowing fast lanes and allowing slow lanes are the same thing, just worded differently.
  • Is this because we all called and complained, or is it because some tech companies called and complained? Who are they listening to? I don't mean to be a curmudgeon. I called all my reps several times. In my mind, those that don't even try shouldn't be allowed to complain.... but I am skeptical about who's voice got heard.
  • Credit card companies typically forbid a merchant to charge more than cash price. So what do the merchants do they offer a cash discount. So instead of having fast and slow lanes, everything will be slow/congested and by paying more you will get better throughput.

    Can We the People just fire this clown?

  • What Mr. Wheeler is saying is most probably a lie. On one hand, he is saying that he promises that his new rules would prohibit the creation of "fast lanes" to cull the public's favor. right after that, he says that he will allow the content companies to pay for faster delivery. Therefore, he must be engaged in doublethink.
  • The FCC has no authority to enforce rules on an information service. This has already come before the courts. They can make all the stupid little rules they want. They're completely shit unenforceable, and they must know this. Reclassify!
  • "in which content companies could pay them for faster delivery of Web content to customers"
    This could be interpreted to allow Netflix (or whoever) to pay local ISPs to host content on local servers so that content doesn't need to go through the slow interwebs.
    Honestly they should do some modified version of torrent format that prefers seeders on the same ISP so users can provide the hosting.
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Why should Netflix have to pay for this? Comcast gets all the benefits. Their customers still get the Internet service that they are paying for, but Comcast doesn't have to pay for trunk lines. Netflix gets no benefit from the arrangement whatsoever other than not getting screwed by Comcast deliberately failing to provision adequate bandwidth for their own customers.

      IMO, this is racketeering at its finest, and is no different than smashing somebody's store window, then coming by the next day and offerin

  • I, as an end user on the network for *INSERT ISP HERE* am paying for an unlimited connection to the internet.

    By that I don't mean "X-speed no matter what", though that can be thought of as a component of the service I'm paying for.

    What I'm paying for is for my provider to fulfill my internet requests in the most timely manner possible (best effort).

    If they're PURPOSEFULLY sabotaging traffic to try to hold a given content provider hostage for "protection money", that's the very OPPOSITE of unlimited.
    Addition

    • by Chas (5144)

      And just sent an e-mail off to tom.wheeler@fcc.gov.
      A printed letter that's essentially the same will be going out in the mail today.

      c/o Tom Wheeler
      Federal Communications Commission
      445 12th Street, SW
      Washington, DC 20554

  • "Yeah. OK. We'll ensure this 'net neutrality' thing is protected, except when we don't. You know, like when lots of money changes hands between entities that actually matter to us."

This is a good time to punt work.

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