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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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  • Down the river... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by towermac ( 752159 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:19PM (#46828673)

    we are sold.

    • by dstyle5 ( 702493 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:26PM (#46828729)
      All that PAC money does make a difference after all.
    • by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper&booksunderreview,com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:05PM (#46829001) Homepage Journal

      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... (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 raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:20PM (#46829713) Journal

          I wouldn't even look to the court. The court merely read the law, which very plainly states that the FCC may not do what they tried to do. In essence, the law says:

          The FCC must regulate common carriers according to a, b, and c.
          The FCC may not regulate b or c in regard to anyone other than common carriers.

          The FCC wanted to do B without C, so they claimed "ISPs are not common carriers, so we don't have to do C. ISPs are common carriers, so we're going to do B". That's ridiculous, you can't say they ARE common carriers and NOT common carriers at the same time. Therefore, the FCC can't make up net neutrality laws.

          If and when we end up needing a net neutrality law, Congress will need to pass one. That should be pretty clear to anyone who has passed fourth grade civics, so I really don't see why the FCC tried to make up the law themselves in the first place. Any half-competent court would strike them down.

          • If and when we end up needing a net neutrality law, Congress will need to pass one.

            Hahaha, surely you're joking.

          • The FCC wanted to do B without C, so they claimed "ISPs are not common carriers, so we don't have to do C. ISPs are common carriers, so we're going to do B". That's ridiculous, you can't say they ARE common carriers and NOT common carriers at the same time. Therefore, the FCC can't make up net neutrality laws.

            The FCC should just fucking go ahead and do C (i.e., make ISPs common carriers)!

        • 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.

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

      by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:23PM (#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?

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @12:32AM (#46830253) Homepage

        Nope, the FCC was under the control of management that understood Net Neutrality. Uncle Tom Obama simply replaced that management with new political appointees with instructions to follow the orders of the incumbents, hence the change. Once and for all the is no such thing as the fast lane, that is a lie. You pay for bandwidth you either get that bandwidth or not. So they lie to you, sell you bandwidth and then do not provide it, now they want to further legalise the lie, sell you bandwidth, then not only specifically not provide that bandwidth but chuck you in the strangleband lane, where you traffic is slowed and slowed and slowed and slowed until they can extort extra payments from you. Current FCC management is quite simply supporting corrupt practices to allow the generation of extra profit based upon lies.

  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:20PM (#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
  • by CrazyDuke ( 529195 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:22PM (#46828693)

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

    • by InvalidError ( 771317 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:46PM (#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.

      • by n8_f ( 85799 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:22PM (#46829077) Homepage

        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.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich&aol,com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:26PM (#46828731) Journal

    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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      • by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:45PM (#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.

        • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:50PM (#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.

          • 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).

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

            • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

              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 thei

        • by xdor ( 1218206 )

          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.

          I agree that we don't have a two-party system anymore, but I think it might be well beyond the culture.

          I was pretty much convinced we have nothing but a ruling class when the government shutdown ended not just with the Republicans getting nothing, but instead capitulating the government to complete Democrat/Presidential control. The shutdown ended with the Republicans agreeing to put the debt-ceiling on autopilot only to be reviewed if Congress acts with enough majority in the Senate to overcome a Presiden

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dccase ( 56453 )

        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,

    • by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:54PM (#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.

    • 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 t
    • 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 Bob9113 ( 14996 )

      "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.

  • 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.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      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.

      • 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.

        • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

          I couldn't get to slashdot from home on Uverse or at work on Comcast yesterday, but my Sprint phone worked just fine.

    • 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.
      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        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.

        • 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?
          • by rk ( 6314 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @10:36PM (#46829789) Journal

            There are people who have built VPNs and proxies to Netflix in a data center host they control who got fine performance while using the VPN to their house, but would get crap performance when going direct over Comcast. I've said it before that the line between good traffic engineering and breaking net neutrality is a blurry one, so it's not a smoking gun by any means, but it's very interesting information nonetheless.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by davester666 ( 731373 )

        First, you have already been paying the ISPs boatloads of money that they mark as "profit" and are paid out as bonuses to executives, and maybe even some of it as dividends. Remarkably little of it is marked for "upgrade network to even support new users".

        Second, You ALREADY pay your ISP to give you good enough speed to get stutter free video, they just aren't interested in actually providing you with what their ad said they will. Now, they will get paid again to deliver bits to you, and there is nothing

  • 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:Wrong battle. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:45PM (#46828863) Homepage

      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).

      • 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 tanki

        • by n8_f ( 85799 )

          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.

          • I think that number ignores all of the financing they pay on the debt they used for their build out. Verizon is simply not all that profitable. Their gross profits are in the 60-70% range, which gives credit to your number - but net profits bounce between positive and negative territory.

    • Re:Wrong battle. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by n8_f ( 85799 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:06PM (#46829005) Homepage
      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).
    • 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 o

    • 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?
      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        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?

        If the slow lane is good enough, then nobody is going to pay the ISP to let them use the fast lane. That in turn means that the last thing the ISPs are going to do is allow the slow lane to be good enough.

  • by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:30PM (#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.
  • by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:34PM (#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).
  • 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]

  • so... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deander2 ( 26173 ) * <publicNO@SPAMkered.org> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:45PM (#46828867) Homepage

    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..."

  • by Knightman ( 142928 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:48PM (#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?

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:53PM (#46828927) Homepage

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by preaction ( 1526109 )

      Clark from Popehat agrees: http://www.popehat.com/2013/12... [popehat.com]

    • 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.
      • by sstamps ( 39313 )

        I've given up on mass media for nearly a decade now. I find independent sources of entertainment and pay the content creators directly.

        The only way to kill the monster we collectively created is to starve it into non-existence. People have the power to effect positive change, but they have to be smart, educated, and courageous enough with their votes and their wallets to make it happen. Part of that entails educating their family and friends and spreading that knowledge and courage around.

        For those that lea

    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      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....

    • 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.
    • Netflix isn't the bad guy here.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans ( 2914995 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @07:54PM (#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?
    • by n8_f ( 85799 )
      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.
  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:12PM (#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.


    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).

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:18PM (#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.
  • 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.
  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @09:01PM (#46829287) Homepage

    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.

  • 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."

  • by recharged95 ( 782975 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @03:47AM (#46830795) Journal

    FCC: can't make a decision on net neutrality. Lobbyists (big telcos) make it for them.

    FAA: can't make a decision on small done policy. Lobbyists (defense contractors) make it for them.

    SEC/FDIC: no regs for HFT. Lobbyists (banks) make it for them.

    DOT: stalling on self driving cards and electric infrastructure. Lobbyists (auto, oil&gas) make it for them.

    FDA: pot regs.... Nuff said...

    See the pattern here?

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.