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Businesses The Almighty Buck

NYTimes Editorial Board: The FCC Wants To Let Telecoms Cash In on the Internet (nytimes.com) 268

The New York Times' Editorial Board writes: The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission wants to let Comcast, Verizon and other broadband companies turn the internet into a latter-day version of cable TV, in which they decide what customers can watch and how much they pay for that content. That's essentially what would happen under the proposal by the chairman, Ajit Pai, to abandon the commission's network neutrality rules, which prevent telecom companies from interfering with how their customers use the internet. Net neutrality prevents those companies from having companies like Amazon pay a fee to get their content delivered more quickly than their rivals', and from having the firms throttle other services and websites, even blocking customer access to, say, Netflix or an online newspaper. Under Mr. Pai's proposal, telecom companies would effectively be allowed to sell you a basic internet plan that might include only limited access to Google and email. For Facebook and Twitter you might need a slightly more expensive deluxe plan. The premium plan might include access to Netflix and Amazon. Oh, and by the way, media businesses eager to gain more users could pay broadband companies to be included in their enhanced basic or deluxe plans. Further reading: Associated Press fact check: Net-neutrality claims leave out key context; The death of the Internet.

NYTimes Editorial Board: The FCC Wants To Let Telecoms Cash In on the Internet

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  • Worse idea EVER. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:07PM (#55674493)
    This model smacks of 1990's style thinking.
    Do they think Amazon and Google won't start building out their own 'internets'? Do they think that this type of fragmentation and duplication of efforts would be anything but harmful for consumers?
    This isn't free market capitalism. This is crony capitalism.
    • Read their Manifesto: https://www.savetheinternet.co... [savetheinternet.com]

      A little background checking shows that SaveTheInternet is a coalition of organizations lead by the Free Press advocacy group whose chair is Tim Wu who invented the phrase "net neutrality." His Wiki page says "Wu ran for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of New York against a conservative Democrat." So the top name in this effort is a person very much on the left who is also fighting for his legacy. Now that doesn't mean he isn't necessa

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        Well [FaceBook and Google] did get off the ground without Net Neutrality

        Do you have to work at being this stupid? Net Neutrality was the reality when Facebook and Google got started. It only got codified into regulations when ISPs like Comcast started breaking it.

    • Come to think of it, since Google survives on pointing people to stuff on the free, open Internet, if this kind restriction came to pass, I imagine Google would set up a free proxy to the open Internet. Of course, being Google, they'd want to monitor everything you did through that proxy. They could even set it up that you had to use their browser, and they could set up their browser so they could be a man-in-the-middle, even on secure sites. Google probably loves this plan.

  • We need strong, caring, logical people to join the U.S. government. One way to help that happen is to take the money out of being elected. Could there be free TV channels for those who qualify and are trying to make themselves known before an election?

    Another way is to pass a law that says anyone who tries to influence legislation must make all documents public, and must have no personal involvement with lawmakers or their staff.
  • by sckeener ( 137243 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:19PM (#55674605)
    Personally if I was them, I would not want this. They'll lose their carrier status and will be responsible for the content viewed
    • That's what the NN debate is about in legal terms, whether to regulate ISPs (and the ISP side of telecommunication providers) as common carriers or not. The ISPs have, largely fearing over-regulation, always pushed back against that, but from any sane point of view they're no different to any other telecommunication providers, and ought to be regulated along the same model.

      The "Not responsible" bit came with the DMCA and some other laws passed during the 1990s. Effectively the ISPs have the same privileg

  • I've said it before, and will continue to say it.

    If the Internet goes "walled garden" i.e. AOL style unless you pony up more money, I will just go without.

    Give me a dumb pipe where I can do what I please, thank you very much.

    I still maintain the lawsuits will fly if this gets repealed, tying it up in court for years (and hopefully long enough where there will be a different administration in the WH)

  • So, what will ISP's do with VPN users? I pay $5/mo for mine, and connect through another country. I am effectively able to bypass all of this nickle-and-dime filtering about to happen.

    ISP's will therefore need to charge a HUGE premium on VPN users.

    This is truly the death of the free internet.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I would imagine that any traffic Comcast can't identify just gets dumped into a narrow, oversubscribed bandwidth category.

      I think one risk Comcast, et al, face if net neutrality goes away is that there will be a lot of attempts to beat their shaping systems. I think Comcast would like extract their extra profit not from consumers but from data providers. It's one thing for Netflix to raise prices $1 / month for subscribers, it's another for Comcast to jack up prices to consumers directly -- that's bad PR

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      I would imagine that VPN's everywhere would simply fail to function, unless the VPN you were using was paying a kickback to your ISP to include it in their basic service plan.

      It's trivial for an ISP to block any traffic that is not expressly whitelisted based on customer demands. You wouldn't even be able to ping an IP address other than those that your ISP allows to talk to.

  • Charging three times (Score:4, Informative)

    by klubar ( 591384 ) on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:28PM (#55674675) Homepage

    It seems to me that the last-mile providers are trying to charge three time for their service:

    First, when you buy internet access you're paying for access at 50/mbps (or whatever speed I want). It seems like this should give you access to the pipe at that speed.

    Second, the content providers are paying thousands (millions?) of dollars for their "upload" access. They are contracting with Level 3, or buying their own fiber to provide their content.

    And now thirdly, the ISPs want to charge the content providers additional fees to deliver their content (initially, it will be fees for "faster", next it will be fees for "not slowing it down" and finally, the fee will be for "delivery").

    The water utility analogy (sorry, no cars), is that if you first bought water from a water supplier (not your local utility), then the local water company charged you for a pipe that could deliver 100 gallons per hour, then the utility charged you for delivering the water that you've bought from the supplier, and finally, the local utility charged the company that supplied the water a fee for delivering it.

    • And now thirdly, the ISPs want to charge the content providers additional fees to deliver their content (initially, it will be fees for "faster", next it will be fees for "not slowing it down" and finally, the fee will be for "delivery").

      Hmm, your "third" looks a lot like your "first". You're paying for access to the system, and the guys at the other end are paying for their access to the system.

      In other words, I fail to see the problem that you have described. Which is not the same as being against Net

      • the thing is that the "ISP" (ie comcast, etc...) is not the internet. it's just the end user's connection to the internet. the content providers (netflix etc...) have their OWN ISP which they're already paying. comcast wants the content providers to pay double.

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      Second, the content providers are paying thousands (millions?) of dollars for their "upload" access. They are contracting with Level 3, or buying their own fiber to provide their content.

      Here's a travel analogy: you want to meet a friend somewhere. You both want to meet far away from your homes. You buy a greyhound bus ticket (expense 1 of your post). He buys a plane ticket (expense 2 of your post).

      Neither of those two expenses are unreasonable. However, expense 3 is superfluous. Therefore, it's double charging by the ISPs, but not triple charging.

      Netflix is hurting the cable TV business and the cable tv operators want to use Ajit Pai to profit from TV over internet. This is to make up for

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 04, 2017 @03:35PM (#55674723)

    Internet Access: 40.00/Mo @ 500Gb
    Modem Rental: $10.00/Mo - Mandatory Use of Modem
    Modem Insurance Fee: $1.00/Mo
    Extra Computer Fee: $10.00/Mo/PC -Must use our router

    NetFlix Fee: $10.00/Mo/client
    Social Network Package Fee: $4.00/Mo
    Email Fee: $2.00/Mo
    VPN Fee:$50.00/Mo
    VoIP Fee: $50.00/Mo
    Skype Fee: $5.00/Mo

    Non-Approved Browser Fee: $5.00/Mo
    Non-Approved Application Fee: $4.00/Mo/application
    Non-Approved OS Fee: $10.00/Mo

    Mandatory AntiVirus Fee: $4.00/Mo

    Blocked: Bittorrent, SSH, Non-Approved VPN, Non-Approved OS, Non-Approved Routers, Non-Approved Sites

    Early Payment Fee: $1.00
    Late Payment Fee: $10.00
    Early Termination Fee: $100
    Fee Payment Fee: $1.00
    Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee: $1.00
    Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee Surcharge: $1.00
    Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee Surcharge Levy: $1.00
    Fee Payment Fee Recovery Fee Surcharge Levy Premium: $1.00
    Excess Data Fee: $20.00/Gb
    Unused Data Fee: $0.10/Gb
    Paper Bill Fee: $1.00/pg

  • It's really a shame, because Canada is going full Net Neutrality and actually listening to what consumers want, and not the corporate greedheads.

    (caveat: I indirectly own shares in many telecom firms, and have worked for them in the past)

    • As another Canadian, have you ever heard the term "The U.S. sneezes and Canada catches a cold"? The cable companies are some of the richest in the country. With people losing interest in sports and cutting off their cable, Rogers and Bell and the rest are running out of nuts to squeeze.
  • Because I'm not seeing it. Data caps have been a thing even on home connections. That obviously took care of any major problems they had. Why change rules around that could be potentially catastrophic?

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@tpno - c o . o rg> on Monday December 04, 2017 @04:18PM (#55675125) Homepage

    Thus far, ISPs haven't been given free range to do what they want. While most of us would agree this is a "Good Thing(tm)", the fact that this keeps coming up indicates that some powerful people think otherwise, and we don't really have any counter data to show them other than what we think will happen ( and given the companies involved, it's almost assured that will happen ).

    So at this point, given how much the FCC isn't listening to anyone but their corporate sponsors, I'm kinda of the mind to let them do it. Let them give the ISPs free reign, that will generate a TON of data for us to use later. Then, when congress gets involved and enshrines net neutrality in law, we'll know precisely why and be able to point to historical examples.

    Given laws are painful to create and pass, while FCC regulations are seemingly easy to overturn, I'm kinda digging the idea of creating a net neutrality law anyway.

  • i just hope that companies like netflix will give a discount to those users that predominantly use their service over fair (un-classified) internet connections. this would help to promote fair & local ISPs over the likes of comcast & verizon.

  • I am sure not every country in the world has net neutrality laws. Are they living this scenario right now? Or does consumer demand ensure availability of unrestricted services?

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