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Businesses Communications United States

Net Neutrality Repeal Is Official (cnet.com) 332

The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules, which had required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content, took effect on Monday. The rules, enacted by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2015, prohibited internet providers from charging more for certain content or from giving preferential treatment to certain websites. CNET: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has called the Obama-era rules "heavy-handed" and "a mistake," and he's argued that they deterred innovation and depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks. To set things right, he says, he's taking the FCC back to a "light touch" approach to regulation, a move that Republicans and internet service providers have applauded.

But supporters of net neutrality -- such as big tech companies like Google and Facebook, as well as consumer groups and pioneers of the internet like World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee -- say the internet as we know it may not exist without these protections. "We need a referee on the field who can throw a flag," former FCC Chairman and Obama appointee Tom Wheeler said at MIT during a panel discussion in support of rules like those he championed. Wheeler was chairman when the rules passed three years ago.
We expect to see some protests today as the tussle to convince House representatives to reinstate the regulations continues. Some members of Congress are still fighting to overturn the ruling, so there's hope for a net neutrality return if legislators agree to it.

Further reading: The Washington Post published an interview of Pai over the weekend. In the interview, Pai remained bullish that the FTC could stop abuses. He also criticized Senate Dems and others for spreading misinformation during net neutrality debate. Over at CNET, Ajit Pai has written an op-ed, in which ... he is defending his move. Fight for the Future: The FCC repeal of net neutrality goes into effect TODAY, but Congress can still stop it and save the Internet.

Net Neutrality Repeal Is Official

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  • No worries... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:09AM (#56764670)
    They wont start actually acting on the repeal until after the 2018 elections. So we got time before everything goes to hell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 )

      They wont start actually acting on the repeal until after the 2018 elections. So we got time before everything goes to hell.

      Is that a joke? I mean everything was fine until 2015 when this whole concept took root, so you expect that it will rock along fine until November 2018 and then we are all dead?

      I'm just guessing here.. But it seems to me that returning to a pre-NN regulation environment won't be a huge issue even then. Where I expect to see a problem or two that NN would have prevented, I don't see how they won't be effectively dealt with by the FCC as necessary.

      • Re:No worries... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:40AM (#56764904) Journal

        "Cord cutting" is making the cable TV people, who are most of the Internet people, panick. So they are trying to sink their claws into what you pay Netflix (on top of what you pay them) or they will hamper the video service.

        This makes their promise to you for a fixed speed a lie. Do you recall a line on your ISP contract that they will give slower service than what they state to Netflix or Hulu, unless Netflix or Hulu pay them a cut of what you pay Nerflix and Hulu?

        It is fraud.

        • They are already adapting to that by making the internet cost as much as cable. And net neutrality doesn't help with that "problem."

        • So...pretty much the same shakedown that Comcast already gave Netflix prior to that law being passed? I guess it's time for TimeWarner and ATT to get their blood money too.
        • even if that's in fine print. And it won't be. It'll be a 'feature'.

          You can't just throw up your hands and say anything you don't like is fraud. If you don't want to be gouged by the cable companies you're going to have to actually do something about it. And that means voting for the kinds of politicians that will do something about it (we're a representative democracy after all). And that means kicking the Republican party out of power (and all the right wing corporate Dems while we're at it). Show up
      • Re:No worries... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by atrex ( 4811433 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:54AM (#56765018)

        Is that a joke? I mean everything was fine until 2015 when this whole concept took root, so you expect that it will rock along fine until November 2018 and then we are all dead?

        I'm just guessing here.. But it seems to me that returning to a pre-NN regulation environment won't be a huge issue even then. Where I expect to see a problem or two that NN would have prevented, I don't see how they won't be effectively dealt with by the FCC as necessary.

        Everything was not "just fine" prior to the 2015 ruling, otherwise we wouldn't have had the 2015 ruling. The FCC was handling cases of discriminatory service provision since 2003. The 2015 ruling was the end result of a long line of cases against various ISPs for pulling shady stuff like AT&T limiting access to FaceTime, one ISP restricting consumer access to Vonage VoIP service, Verizon throttling Netflix and Youtube, Comcast throttling/breaking VPN services, etc. Just because maybe you didn't experience any of the BS that was going on doesn't mean that it didn't affect plenty of other consumers. And since we don't have reasonable broadband competition in many markets (especially rural ones) consumers don't have a choice when it comes to broadband providers, so they need NN protections to keep from being extorted.

        • by tsstahl ( 812393 )

          Mod parent up, and give a cookie.

        • Yeah I experienced some of that - major throttling of YouTube and Netflix under Comcast. At the time, I used my work VPN to get around it (until I was told not to). As a cord-cutter I will be signing up for a commercial VPN within days.

          I only watch a couple channels anyway. I get them on Sling and saved $50 a month even considering the cost of the new service. I can probably save more if I downgrade my internet to just above the requirements of HD video streaming.

      • Right.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sjbe ( 173966 )

        I'm just guessing here.. But it seems to me that returning to a pre-NN regulation environment won't be a huge issue even then.

        I'm sure companies like AT&T and Comcast are fighting hard against Net Neutrality with no further goals and only the most altruistic of intentions. I'm sure that Comcast will be thrilled to compete fairly against Netflix and Google and countless tiny companies.

        • I'm just guessing here.. But it seems to me that returning to a pre-NN regulation environment won't be a huge issue even then.

          I'm sure companies like AT&T and Comcast are fighting hard against Net Neutrality with no further goals and only the most altruistic of intentions. I'm sure that Comcast will be thrilled to compete fairly against Netflix and Google and countless tiny companies.

          Citation please...

          Oh, wait, you are being sarcastic...

          So, your reasons for thinking that the FCC cannot deal with any issues that arise? Remember, I'm not saying providers won't misbehave, I'm saying the FCC is free to fix any issue that come up with a smaller set of targeted regulations. I'm also saying that if you have any complaints about your ISP, you are free to bring the issues to the FCC's attention either online, by phone or in person.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        I could see a reason for the companies to do that. (Not that I think that they actually will). That way when the shit hits the fan, the fault would then be with the then current ruling clkass and will not blame those who actually did it. If this will be the Dems or some other POTUS or the person who comes after the idiot Pai has his new job at Comcast is irrelevant.

        You do not want to shit on the people you bribed, That is bad for business.,

        Before it is repelled, it will take some time and then the bosses in

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Everything was fine, huh?
        --
        Remember when AT&T blocked facetime on Apple devices?
        Link: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/att-says-it-never-blocked-apps-fails-to-mention-how-it-blocked-facetime/
        --
        The internet wasn’t broken before 2015 and ISPs don’t block or throttle

        Internet providers have attempted to throttle traffic by type or by user (Comcast in 2007), have imposed arbitrary and secret caps on data (AT&T 2011-2014), hidden fees that had no justification or documentation (Comc

      • Things were fine without NN regulation in the beginning because of two factors: ISPs didn't own the last mile of telephone wire that they operated on top of, and so competition was much easier, and competition kept the ISPs playing nicely with consumers; and that last mile of telephone wire was sold to consumers as telephone service, and so regulated under Title II as common carriers.

        When the phone (and cable) companies became the ISPs, all of that changed. Now the owners of the last mile, who thus had litt

        • None of this says "we need NN" to me.

          Understand what I am trying to say. I'm not saying providers don't do bad/stupid/immoral things, they do and will, what I'm saying is the FCC can deal with these issues as they arise.

          By the way.. The MAJOR issue with internet providers is they have no competition on that critical last mile. How'd that happen? Oh, we have a bunch of government regulations that grant them a local monopoly. You have no choice but to put up with their garbage because you don't have a

          • The last mile problem is the big problem there. Even ignoring the competition-prohibitive costs of just physically running the wiring, you effectively need the government's cooperation to do it, because you need the local government's authority to let you run wire across public land, and eminent domain to run it across a whole lot of private parties' land. And the people of an area aren't going to want a zillion different set of wires crossing their land, which is why networking like this (and roads, and se

        • You also left out that pre-NN from the FCC, the FTC could regulate ISPs. The FCC stepped in after the Supreme Court told the FTC they weren't allowed to regulate the ISPs any more (but the FCC could).

      • Re:No worries... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kulahan ( 2709467 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @01:23PM (#56766106)

        Is that a joke? I mean everything was fine until 2015 when this whole concept took root, so you expect that it will rock along fine until November 2018 and then we are all dead?

        2005 - Madison River Communications blocked VOIP services. The FCC put a stop to that.

        2005 - Comcast denied access to p2p services without notifying customers.

        2007 - AT&T blocked Skype and other VOIPs because they didn't like the competition for their cellphone services.

        2011 - MetroPCS tried to block all streaming except YouTube. They actually sued the FCC over this.

        2011 - AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked access to tethering apps on the Android marketplace, with Google's help.

        2011 - AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked access to Google Wallet because it competed with their own payment apps.

        2012 - Verizon demanded Google to block tethering apps on Android because it let owners avoid the $20 tethering fee. This was despite guaranteeing they wouldn't do it as part of a winning bid on a airwaves auction. They were fined 1.25 million over this.

        2012 - AT&T tried to block access to FaceTime unless customers paid more money.

        2013 - Verizon stated that the only thing stopping them from favoring some content providers over other providers were the Net Neutrality rules in place.

        2016 - Comcast instituted a mandatory data cap on all services with a $50 fee to get unlimited data. This allowed them to slow the bleeding of cord cutters, trapping them with fees from trying services like Sling or DirecTV Now.

        2017 - Time Warner Cable refused to upgrade their lines in order to get more money out of Riot Games (creators of League of Legends) and Netflix.

        ISPs already have proven that without rules in place, they will behave in a way that can dictate how you use your internet connection.

      • The interent was under defacto net neutrality since its inception. (Under telecommunications laws, the telecom companies cannot discriminate traffic.) The only thing that happened in 2015 was that the FCC created a guideline. Now that guideline is repealed, we've ALSO repealed the defacto net neutrality that previously existed. We're in a whole new world, where the cable companies are protected from competition by the massive barriers to entry (the cost of laying cable.) To add insult to injury, the tax pay
        • The interent was under defacto net neutrality since its inception. (Under telecommunications laws, the telecom companies cannot discriminate traffic.) The only thing that happened in 2015 was that the FCC created a guideline. Now that guideline is repealed, we've ALSO repealed the defacto net neutrality that previously existed. We're in a whole new world, where the cable companies are protected from competition by the massive barriers to entry (the cost of laying cable.) To add insult to injury, the tax payer paid for most of the cable that the internet service providers own. Simple game theory and basic economics predict that the cable companies will abuse their position at about the level of the cost for competitors to enter the market. That's a MASSIVE amount of abuse. And experience from around the world shows that this is indeed the case.

          And you don't think the FCC can effectively regulate this as it happens then? I think they can. NN was a pre-emptive, everything including the kitchen sink, approach to a set of real and imaginary problems. One would be naive to think it wouldn't have caused issues with unintended consequences. NN was like dropping a total OS rewrite into a new language on existing hardware without being able to test and debug it first.

          Remember, the FCC still has the ability to regulate the internet and fix issues as t

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      One of the big reasons we did not see the abuses net neutrality was designed to address was that the larger ISPs did not want to make long term plans like that until they felt confident that that rules were going to be consistent for the next few decades. So yeah, as long as things are still in flux, they are unlikely to move on much of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:10AM (#56764676)

    "He also criticized Senate Dems and others for spreading misinformation during net neutrality debate"

    Like using bots to spam comments in your favor, or fake a DDoS attack to stop people petitioning against you?

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )

      Or lies about historical regulation.

      Or lies about how the internet was built & evolved

      Or lie about the impact of regulation of telco's profits

      Or lies about impact of regulation on rollouts.

  • Back and forth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirMasterboy ( 872152 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:13AM (#56764698) Homepage

    And when the political power flips again in the future, the new administration will bring back the regulations.

    This is why Internet regulation shouldn't be run by the FCC in the first place with their 5 votes. It's always going to flip flop based on which party controls the president.

    I'd like to see congress pass some Internet regulations and let the FTC enforce it.

    • The problem is that Congress won't. One of the main GOP talking points around net neutrality is the idea that any government regulation is going to lead to conservative voices being censored, so they're never going to vote for it or allow it to be voted upon. The Democrats would be more receptive, but it's also not a legislative priority for them - compared to immigration and trying to keep the Affordable Care Act together it barely even registers on their radar. The best solution would be a Democrat-led FC

      • The problem is that Congress won't.

        Then work on that problem, not on the "problem" of what actions the FCC does or does not take. Sorry it's harder, but shouldn't passing laws that affect an entire country be somewhat difficult and not in the hands of five people?

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:29AM (#56764828) Journal

      Agreed, the Constitution gives Congress the power to make law, not Ajit Pai. Pai's contention that the FCC doesn't have the authority to make NN laws isn't completely unfounded. There are arguments both ways, but any time it's unclear whether an unelected bureaucracy has the authority to do X, I'd rather them not do X. I get a chance to vote for or against my Congressman every two years. I don't get to vote on FCC commissioners.

      I hope whatever does get passed, whenever that happens, has a lot of input from people who really understand carrier-grade networks. One draft bill proposed in Congress would have actually made it illegal to block spam. "Treat every packet the same" would be disastrous, making VoIP virtually impossible. Some of the goals related to NN are certainly good, and I'd like to see them happen, but writing a law will be tricky because the technical details are very complex.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:53AM (#56765012)

        Agreed, the Constitution gives Congress the power to make law, not Ajit Pai.

        You fail to understand how laws are actually made. There are in broad strokes three kinds of law. Statutes [wikipedia.org], regulations [wikipedia.org], and case law [wikipedia.org]. Regulations ARE laws. Congress passes statutes which then delegates the authority to the administration (the FCC in this case) to make regulations which are the details about how the law is to be implemented and they have substantial discretion in doing this in most cases. Congress doesn't have the expertise to fill in all the details so they leave much of the heavy lifting up to the executive branch. Regulations ARE laws so the FCC has (within their mandate from Congress) the power to make law. Since Ajit Pai is in charge of that particular agency he has been delegated law making power from Congress.

        Now a judge or Congress can constrain his actions through further statutes or case law, but otherwise the FCC absolutely can make laws and does so routinely every time they make a regulation.

        • > regulations, which are details about how the law is to be implemented

          That's the way that comports with the Constitution. Congress makes laws, the executive *implements* the law passed by Congress. Which includes details of *how* the Congressional law is implemented. How, not *what* the law is.

          > the FCC has ... the power to make law.

          The Constitution, and common sense, disagree with you on this. IF Congress passed a NN law, we could discuss at what level of detail Congress should act and what level th

          • Regulations = Laws (Score:4, Interesting)

            by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @01:16PM (#56766044)

            That's the way that comports with the Constitution. Congress makes laws, the executive *implements* the law passed by Congress. Which includes details of *how* the Congressional law is implemented. How, not *what* the law is.

            That's a distinction without a difference. Any decision on a means of implementation (a regulation) de-facto IS a decision about what the law is. Congress delegated law making power. If Congress does not like a particular interpretation of the law they are empowered to pass legislation to clarify the powers they are delegating to the legislative branch or to give them further constraints. Congress is empowered to be as specific as they like with how they want a federal agency to behave. But in the absence of specificity from the Legislative branch federal agencies can and do write laws in the form of regulations on a daily basis within whatever mandate they are granted. Regulations ARE laws. Whether Congress writes a detailed law itself or delegates that authority to the Executive branch (which they do most of the time) has exactly the same effect at the end of the day. There is NO difference.

            The Constitution, and common sense, disagree with you on this.

            You would fail Constitutional Law 101 with that opinion. You're not arguing with my opinion and whether or not you think it sensible is irrelevant because that is how it works. I suggest you educate yourself on this point because it's important.

            IF Congress passed a NN law, we could discuss at what level of detail Congress should act and what level the can legitimately leave to the FCC.

            The FCC has already been granted powers by Congress. We can debate whether those powers extend to regulating Net Neutrality or not (the Judiciary has held that they do thus far) but the fact is that the FCC like all other federal agencies is granted substantial power to interpret the laws via regulations and to enforce those regulations. EVERY federal agency has the power to write laws via regulations. Regulations ARE laws whether you like it or not. That is how it works whether you like it or not.

            In fact Congress chose NOT to make NN law.

            That does not matter if the powers Congress already granted the FCC are broad enough to permit them to create (or remove) regulations surrounding Net Neutrality. It appears that the FCC does indeed have powers that broad as the Supreme Court has issued a ruling [slate.com] supporting the FCC's authority to write (or not) such regulations back in 2005. There have been other federal rulings that similarly affirm the FCC's authority to make such regulations under their existing authority. If Congress wishes to change this state of affairs they are empowered to do so.

            • > You would fail Constitutional Law 101 with that opinion.

              You might want to educate the Supreme Court about that. The court says;
              "The legislative power of Congress cannot be delegated"

              United States v. Shreveport Grain & Elevator Co., 287 U.S. 77, 85 (1932).
              also Field v. Clark, 143 U.S. 649, 692 (1892).

              That makes perfect sense because a) the Constitution says legislative power is vested in the Congress, which is elected every two years. It does not say "the Congress, the FCC, the FBI, the CIA, and eve

      • It is disturbing to see government arrogating a large new power to itself via regulation without Congress mandating it to the agency.

        Just because Congress is supine doesn't change this any more than the president should able to initiate military actions since Vietnam without approval.

        "Sit and do nothing because if we do something and it fails that's much worse voterwise than if we do something and it works is a benefit." -- Clumsy Congressional motto on the back of the 2-dollar bill.

        • ""Sit and do nothing because if we do something and it fails that's much worse voterwise than if we do something and it works is a benefit.""

          This is true of any politically charged environment. Ever try to get anything done in a corporation where everyone from the top down is fighting and wrangling for power? Super slow....and something is always left on the table to rot.

      • In fact, all the three-letter agencies work in a similar way. They ostensibly let "experts" in various areas generate regulation, rather that requiring congressmen and senators to be experts in any topic. Of course, it also removes any electoral accountability for their actions.

        The effect has to been to create a class of unelected regulators that serve the same purpose as the "civil servant" class in European/other socialist countries. The civil servants are the real power, and decide

      • "Treat every packet the same" would be disastrous, making VoIP virtually impossible. Some of the goals related to NN are certainly good, and I'd like to see them happen, but writing a law will be tricky because the technical details are very complex.

        Your VoIP UDP packets, right now, at this very moment, are treated the same as every other packet on the internet as a whole. I'm not sure why you have the impression that VoIP is treated any differently then your porn videos....

        QoS is only used by your private networks, to send QoS flagged packets out the router, but the internet? It could care less.

    • Re:Back and forth (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @10:39AM (#56764896)

      And when the political power flips again in the future, the new administration will bring back the regulations.

      This is why Internet regulation shouldn't be run by the FCC in the first place with their 5 votes. It's always going to flip flop based on which party controls the president.

      I'd like to see congress pass some Internet regulations and let the FTC enforce it.

      What on earth makes you think the Republicans control Trump?

    • to stop sending a party to Washington that opposes Net Neutrality? You're talking about the Whitehouse, but it seems to me the entire country flips every decade. But more importantly the country's been moving to a right wing, pro-corporate politic since Clinton. So even if the other party's in charge it's not like it matters if they act exactly like the Republicans when push comes to shove.
    • You've likely seen primaries in your own State by now, so then you're seeing the beginnings of the 'political power' flipping already; our government, in it's current state, is incredibly and horribly out of balance. A correction is forthcoming, and as stated above you're likely already seeing that correction happen. The political needle is currently slammed all the way over to the right and is bending against it's stop; starting with this year, it will start to slowly move back towards the center, which is
  • I hate having to choose between rupuklicans and deomancrates when it comes to our general election.
    I would really like a candidate who believed in laws that discouraged the centralization of wealth and power with a few individuals and who thought it should be accomplished with laws that create fair competition rather then having the central government collect all that money a redistribute it. Right now we basically get to choose between a party that believes the rich elete should control society and a part

    • I hate having to choose between rupuklicans and deomancrates when it comes to our general election.

      CGP Grey did a great video about that, it's a fun thought experiment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      He did another video called rules for rulers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      Seeing those helped me understand our elected officials and their decisions much better. Which has caused me to be less frustrated and angry about it. It's not simple and even those with the best of intentions can only do so much.

    • Unlike the McRib, "really liking," wanting, or hoping are not going to materialize a reformed government for you.

  • So many people have predictions of doom-and-gloom or rainbows-and-roses. I'm willing to give it some time and see what actually happens. I'm no fan of Pai but I'm also not a fan of US Govt intervention. I've seen too many past instances of the "Modified Midas Touch" where govt involvement turns everything to s**t.
    • Net Neutrality was in place precisely to prevent anything from happening. The floodgates are now open for ISPs to selectively block or throttle content - it will eventually happen. The financial incentives are just too big.

      I really wonder what was so broken under the existing NN laws in the US that required nuking them altogheter.

    • I often ask myself which is worse; the bureaucratic incompetence of the government or the greediness of corporations? Which is worse seems to depend on the level of competition. Google's sudden exit from rolling fiber and the proposed speeds of the upcoming 5G wireless technology make me think we will likely see an increase in competition for internet service. I'll even wager the 4 major mobile carriers will have an edge over Comcast because they can bundle home internet with the mobile phone package.

      My loc

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      I've also seen the telecom companies abuse their near monopolies and act in collusion with the "competition" to milk every last available penny from consumers.

      This is one industry that does not deserve unfettered control of the market. Taxpayers built their infrastructure - for that we get predatory business practices.

      The days of dial-up were nice, even my small town of 25k people had 3 viable local options and of course national options such as AOL. Now I have Time Warner.. and.. uh.. I think that
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday June 11, 2018 @11:39AM (#56765336)

    Comcast could block Cloud Gaming unless you buy an tv package just like how ATT blocked facetime on some plans.

  • It is now time to destroy the monopolies since we are removing the regulations.
    At this point, we should require that all govs be allowed to build out their own networks. Likewise, we might want to consider the idea of requiring that all communication monopolies be outright dropped.
  • ...I was promised the GÃtterdÃmmerung of the internet as every carrier was poised like a sprinter behind their lobbyists to charge me *BILLION$* for my fast internet connection, and that all my packets would suddenly come with a price tag, or be routed into a USB drive carried from house-to-house on a pigeon.

    Or, it's going to be pretty much the internet ala Jan 2015, before NN even existed.

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly

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