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Government Networking Your Rights Online

FCC To Propose Net Neutrality Rules 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the panic-at-comcast-hq dept.
wiredog writes "From The Washington Post comes news that the FCC is preparing to propose net neutrality rules on Monday. Quoting: '[FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute. He isn't expected to drill into many details, but the proposal will specifically be for an additional guideline on how operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast can control what goes on their networks. That additional guideline would prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services. ... The agency is expected to review what traffic management is reasonable and what practices are discriminatory. The guidelines are known as "principals" at the agency, which some public interest groups have sought to codify so that they would clearly be enforceable.'"
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FCC To Propose Net Neutrality Rules

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  • Just one question: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:04PM (#29472563) Journal

    Define "reasonable" - reasonable according to the end-user (okay, somewhat geeky end-user), or "reasonable" to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T...

    • It's whatever is "reasonable" to the side with the most lobbyist $$$

    • Same as always.

      Reasonable to the judge and/or jury.

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:23PM (#29472707)

      Define "reasonable" - reasonable according to the end-user (okay, somewhat geeky end-user), or "reasonable" to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T...

      Here's my take: if you provide service to the end-user, you only take money from the end-user. When providing said service, you don't look at where a packet is coming from, only where it goes.

      If your network can't handle it, you upgrade your network.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188)
        Totally agreed. And beyond that, don't look at the type of packet. You're providing a data pipe, and that's it. If it's VOIP or P2P or constant video streaming from a service that competes with one of your own, sell the bandwidth that you can afford to sell, and if you can't afford to sell it raise the price and get ready for competition.

        And speaking of competition, all this net neutrality stuff would go away if there were any real competition. Almost all markets are duopolies, with basically the tel
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bigngamer92 (1418559)

          "If it's VOIP or P2P or constant video streaming"

          Personally I would rather them downgrade the P2P priority so that my Skype call doesn't break up. Traffic shaping in moderation is a good thing.

          • by Jurily (900488)

            Personally I would rather them downgrade the P2P priority of other people so that my Skype call doesn't break up.

            I see what you did there.

        • Not sure I agree with that. If I'm downloading an ISO, I care about throughput but not about jitter or latency. If I'm making a VoIP call, my throughput is around 5MB/hour, but I care a lot about jitter and latency. I'd like my ISP to respect the flags in the IP header that request low jitter and low latency for a connection, so that my VoIP packets will be prioritized for the whole time that they are on the ISP's network. I don't care if my download has peaks and troughs in its throughput, as long as t
    • Reasonable... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RulerOf (975607)
      Personally, I think that being "reasonable," would be for my ISP to open port 80 on my cable connection. When I call and complain. Several times.

      From the summary:

      prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services.

      ...I look forward to litigation that says that... but I'm sure we'll just get more bullshit.

  • by NecroPuppy (222648) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:08PM (#29472603) Homepage

    The operators will think that any level of control they have is insufficient and the users will think that any level of control the operators have is far too much.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      the users will think that any level of control the operators have is far too much.

      90% of the users won't care as long as the advertised speed is still 5 Megs, and they can still get to Youtube, Facebook, CNN, and Twitter.

  • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:17PM (#29472667) Homepage Journal

    I know this is going to modded troll, but you know how Congress always tacks on stuff to bills, nobody will dispute that.

    I heard a warning in November (from Republicans of course) that the Fairness Doctrine, trying to legislate the content of the internet and talk radio, would come under the guise of Net Neutrality.

    I bet a dollar and a nickel that debate will somehow come out of this bill.

    • by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:44PM (#29472849) Homepage Journal

      I heard a warning in November (from Republicans of course) that the Fairness Doctrine, trying to legislate the content of the internet and talk radio, would come under the guise of Net Neutrality.

      Republicans spreading FUD against a proposal (net neutrality) that favors consumers over big business? What a shocker!

      The fairness doctrine has never had anything to do with the internet, BTW. There aren't even any serious proposals to bring it back for radio, much less apply it to the internet.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html

        yeah..those wacky republicans...

    • by horatio (127595) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:53PM (#29472905)
      Troll? No, because I had the same thought - and wondered if this was a step in that direction. I don't think it is, but to your point: don't believe the Republicans. Believe the words of the FCC diversity czar himself, Mark Lloyd. Among other things, he believes the first amendment is an exaggeration:

      "It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press," [Lloyd] said. "This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies." (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/53055)

      Notice he first says that his focus is not freedom of speech, but then dismisses it as unimportant and irrelevant. Lloyd apparently, by his own words (read the rest of the article in which he outlines his plan) believes the federal government, through the FCC and other satellite offices should be carefully controlling not just ownership (which in itself is an issue) but also the *content* of the media.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because he's correct - FCC is not there to guarantee freedom of expression. Far from it. FCC is there to guarantee that *communication* stuff works - to follow the rules of communication as outlined in the law. And to put it simply, communication fails when Comcast or Verizon start to filter one content over another.

        Now, Net Neutrality law would specify the meximum amount of filtering that the companies can do. What type of policies are allowed and not allowed under that law. And FCC *job* is then to enforc

      • by Atario (673917)

        The FCC regulates what goes on in our communications commons -- traditionally, the electromagnetic airwaves, but others too (think publicly-owned, -funded, -subsidized, and/or -monopoly-granted cable/Internet/telephone infrastructure). Since these are owned by (or owed to) the public, they must be regulated for the public good. You have the right to speak freely, but you don't have the right to do whatever you want to alter, pollute, or dominate our commons. And just because some have built huge business

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Brookings institute is a socialist thinktank. Expect for this to start, run, and end badly.

    • by t_ban (875088)

      I know this is going to modded troll, but ...

      It is interesting how this "I know this is going to modded [insert random negative mod label], but ..." trope almost guarantees positive moderation here.

  • by iamapizza (1312801) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:19PM (#29472683)
    The FCC are actually proposing rules that could potentially favor us, the consumers? I've only had 1 moldy sandwich today, so I can't possibly be hallucinating.
    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday September 18, 2009 @08:06PM (#29473001) Journal

      just because they say they're going to do it is no guarantee that it will benefit us. the real problems which allow these carriers to be discriminative still exist. that is to say that local monopolies, fraud and such still exist.

    • by kilodelta (843627)
      I know. Sometimes reality is stunning. I think the FCC has gotten a heap of pro-neutrality comments. Be aware, the FCC is driven by its public comment process to the point of almost ridiculousness.

      It's the reason that the six participants of the Parents Television Council can through their weight around regarding obscenity. They essentially game the system, commenting over and over again on the same issue and the FCC counts each one as distinct.
  • Words in laws are like numbers on restaurant bills. Nevertheless, I look forward to the actual verbiage.
  • If you don't like the internet, just go build your own military-industrial complex funded by a cold-war arms race culminating decades later in many scientific advances including high speed communications technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Another layer of regulation by people who barely know what they are talking about.
    How much and where packets get routed should be responsibility of the ISP.
    Why that leads to problems for the user? because we have de facto oligopolies in telecommunication. Instead we ought to have a state controlled infrastructure, which is built mantained, proportionally according to the use, by a variety of private companies. This would let even very small companies get into the biz, thus permitting real competition. Then

  • Net Neutrality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irc.limerick (961321) on Friday September 18, 2009 @07:45PM (#29472851)
    Finally, maybe wireless providers will be forced to allow VOIP apps on their data network. Why is it that if Comcast decided to block Skype, people would be up in arms, but a cell phone provider blocking the same service is considered legitimate? People need to wake up to the fact that cell phone networks are no longer just phone services. It's not a matter of allowing competitors to use their network. It's about letting the consumer use their DATA network which they pay just as much for as the phone network as they please. If I have a certain amount of data allocated to me, I should be allowed to USE that data, as far as their network and costs are concerned, what I use it for doesn't make the slightest difference.
    • by Atario (673917)

      While what you say is true, it doesn't go far enough. Net Neutrality says: not only do they have to allow Skype, they can't charge the company running Skype extra for letting you get to it, or letting you get to it as quickly or as reliably as you do to anything else. Without full end-to-end protection against gotcha-games like this, the situation will hardly improve.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Yes, it really does not make much sense, except for the 17 people in the country that have the massively over-priced unlimited data package (OK, I don't know exactly how much it costs now, but 2 years ago it was pretty pricey.) For everyone else, they are going to wipe out their data quota in about 5 minutes and start paying the equally massive overage costs. You would think that the cell companies would even encourage such behavior.

      • VoIP traffic uses about 5MB per hour. I don't have a data package attacked to my phone, but I pay about as much for 40MB of data[1] as I do for ten minutes of calls. That works out at 8 hours of VoIP traffic, but let's assume lots of protocol overhead and say it's only 4 hours. That's still a lot cheaper than making a call over the mobile network.

        [1] Technically it's 'unlimited' with a 40MB/day AUP, so they won't charge if I go over 40MB, they just may decide to stop allowing me data access in the futu

  • Whatever the FCC proposes, it almost certainly won't be the real thing [slashdot.org], but a legislative band-aid. It's sad that we still can't correct century-old mistakes.

  • ...it's only a matter of time until, combining precedent with hideous abuse of the Commerce Clause, they finally manage to control the content of the internet traffic. Make no mistake, once the government has the power to control the traffic, whatever the rationale given to dupe the inattentive, it won't unilaterally decide not to then further its scope of control.
    • by MikeURL (890801)
      There are so many people per representative now that the constitution is virtually worthless. It was written for a time when each vote counted for so much more than it does today. To your senator you are one of an innumerable faceless mass. Freedom is a necessary sacrifice to unchecked population growth. It MIGHT help, up to a point, if the number of representatives increased with the population, proportionally.

      But using the same government structure for 300 million people that worked for ~3 million
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do we really want the government regulating the internet? What's next? Requiring ISPs to filter offensive material, track users, etc? This is a bad direction.

    • by Spewns (1599743)
      Yes, we do want government regulating the internet, because it's vastly superior to the alternative of private interests regulating the internet. Plain and simple. What exactly do you want?
    • Funny, if they were planning on doing that, I imagine they should have done it when they invented the damn thing.

  • I know it happens all the time, but there is something wrong about complex rules being set by a federal agency instead of a legislature. That's the organization that should hash out competing priorities.

  • So... why exactly does discriminating against packets sent from a tethered device not violate net neutrality? Why should I have to pay more to tether my laptop? If you want to argue that tethered users use more bandwidth, then clearly set bandwidth caps and let me use my bandwidth however I want to.
  • Principals? (Score:4, Informative)

    by butlerm (3112) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @01:32AM (#29474437)

    Principals run elementary schools. The word you want is "principles".

  • with 'bigbrother'.

    i want to beat them each with a thick stick. maybe this can put some sense into their heads. how STUPID can someone be, to leave his/her freedoms in the hands of private people and groups, over whom s/he has no control with. it seems like some morons are SO affected by decades of brainwashing that they think that word 'private' is synonymous to the word 'good'.

    die out please, will you ? most of you are generally old anyway. just phase out and leave this world be. your time is past.

    • Government has the guns, private companies do not. That is the entire story, in a manner of speaking.

      And newsflash, there is no human right to Internet, or telecommunications, or anything owned by someone else. Private companies have the freedom to offer their services, or not, to anyone they wish, and possible customers have the freedom to accept or reject anyone they wish. You fail to realize the companies are providing a great benefit to most customers, the cost of DIY-Internet would otherwise be gargant

      • by unity100 (970058)

        excuse me, but the 'freedom of choice' in market is total bullshit. all of the 'choices' you can make on the 'market' belong to companies which are either stakeholdings of bigger groups which are, in turn, belong to big conglomerates. if you look at names like procter & gamble, you will see that. there are seemingly zillions of brands in the market for everything, but actually, they stem from similar sources.

        all that bullcrap you are trying to sell in the guise of freedom, were sold in roman republic at

        • I never said we had the guarantee of choice. Do you care to quote me on that? I said we have freedom. No one can force you to buy something, nor can (well, should) they prevent you from buying something. It is your decision.

          I entirely agree, the mega-cooperations in bed with government is WRONG. In no way should there be welfare for cooperations. If you cannot turn a profit, you fail and let someone else have their chance to be productive. That is an argument to decrease the power of government, if they had

          • by unity100 (970058)

            I never said we had the guarantee of choice. Do you care to quote me on that? I said we have freedom. No one can force you to buy something, nor can (well, should) they prevent you from buying something. It is your decision.

            it is NOT your decision. that's what you dont understand. that's why i gave you procter&gamble example. half of what you can buy in your area will be coming from the same ultimate source. half of what you can buy in another area you relocate, will be coming from the same ultimate source too.

            I entirely agree, the mega-cooperations in bed with government is WRONG. In no way should there be welfare for cooperations. If you cannot turn a profit, you fail and let someone else have their chance to be productive. That is an argument to decrease the power of government, if they had no power to tell companies what to do, they couldn't have bailed them out. You can't say both I am going to tell you how to operate, and then guarantee your success with taxpayer money, it is a financial black hole, not to mention corporate fascism.

            what is a government ?

            it is something that has the decision power on how certain things be done, and how certain things cant be done.

            what is a corporation ? it is something that acquires resources, turns them

            • Well, I am not going to speculate on where you learned roman history, making such assumptions seems counter-productive :)

              You must have a non-standard definition of profit. Usually when a company reports monetary profit (or, net profit) it works, but only on a large scale, e.g. the company took in more selling than they cost to produce. This doesn't work on an individual scale, otherwise you would be reporting a monetary loss of, say, $250 for a Wii. Profit means you decided it would leave you better off tha

              • by unity100 (970058)

                Well, I am not going to speculate on where you learned roman history, making such assumptions seems counter-productive :)

                long, self-study through numerous independent resources, offline and online.

                You must have a non-standard definition of profit. Usually when a company reports monetary profit (or, net profit) it works, but only on a large scale, e.g. the company took in more selling than they cost to produce. This doesn't work on an individual scale, otherwise you would be reporting a monetary loss of, say, $250 for a Wii. Profit means you decided it would leave you better off than the alternative. Even though you may not enjoy paying $6/gal for gas, it is better than not getting it, therefore you profit (again, even if you don't enjoy it).

                the problem here is not with profits. they may rise or lower their profit treshold depending on their political needs at the time, just like how the oil cartels in close friendship with gop have lowered or suspended oil prices prior to elections last year.

                the problem here is CONTROL.

                Again, freedom does not guarantee a certain number of choices. Just because you have the freedom to choose what or what you do not get, does not mean that you get to choose between two or more things. Largely this is a good thing, for instance it is counter productive to offer more than one Internet service in the US, while there are other areas that have no coverage. Instead of competing for a few people in one area, you could offer service to people who do not have any service at all, and benefit far more people. In other cases, like groceries, say, competition is profitable, and the public is benefited that way. For some services like air travel a regional monopoly would be inefficient, but thousands of airlines wouldn't have the capital necessary to serve the public efficiently either. Generally the market, when there is no violence (that government threatens) largely satisfies human wants not completely but as efficiently as possible.

                You must also have a non-standard definition of choice. Companies have the choice of what to offer you, and you have the choice to take it. But the important thing is that no exchange is made unless you both voluntarily agree.

                Perhaps I misspoke, selfishness when there is a threat of violence is typically bad. Selfishness when the only way you can be selfish is in return for something someone else offers you, it benefits both parties. This is by definition, it is called "voluntary exchange."

                If I understand your definitions correctly I don't see any disagreement.

                freedom has to be guaranteeing certain number of choices, because it is in the definition of freedom itself. if you are buying similar service from the

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