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

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  • by Golgafrinchan ( 777313 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:27PM (#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.

  • Wrong battle. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:28PM (#46828751) Homepage

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

    by dmbasso ( 1052166 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:36PM (#46828829)

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

  • by synthesizerpatel ( 1210598 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:37PM (#46828835)

    The FCC has an open issue for this, 14-28 Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet

    You can see existing comments here:

    http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comme... [fcc.gov]

    You can add your two cents here:

    http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/uploa... [fcc.gov]

  • Re:Down the river... (Score:4, Informative)

    by rockout ( 1039072 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:38PM (#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.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:39PM (#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.

  • by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:35PM (#46829779)

    From the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    "Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called "captured agencies".

    See also: "Exaggerated threat":
    1) "If we don't invade Iraq, they're going to bake the yellow cakes and explode a nuke in New York City."
    2) "If we don't bail out the financial sector, we're going to have a depression."
    3) "If we don't allow companies to favor content, the US technology sector will grind to a halt."

  • Re:Down the river... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @11:05PM (#46829923)

    You got close.

    The events went something like this:

    1) The FCC said: "ISPS: Thou shalt be neutral"
    2) AT&T said fuck you, im going to court.
    3) The court said: FCC, You can only make rules about common carriers. Your rule is void.
                    (Addendum to 3) The FCC could classify AT&T as a common carrier. They will not.
    4) The FCC is planning to make a new rule! "ISPS: Thou shalt charge whatever you want, to whoever you want. Except you should try to offer free interconnections with common carriers, but you are under no obligation to spend any effort to do so".

    Basically; sometime between 1 [in 2010] and 4 [in 2014] the FCC decided net neutrality wasn't necessary.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.