Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government The Internet United States

FCC To Make Move On Net Neutrality 232

Posted by samzenpus
from the why-don't-we-try-this-again dept.
GrApHiX42 writes "The FCC will announce on Thursday it plans to pursue a 'third way' forward in the fight for tough net neutrality rules, opening a new front in an ongoing legal battle that could come to define the commission under Chairman Julius Genachowski. A senior FCC official said Wednesday that the chairman 'will seek to restore the status quo as it existed' before a federal court ruled it lacked the authority to regulate broadband providers and set rules that mandate open Internet. The goal is to 'fulfill the previously stated agenda of extending broadband to all Americans, protecting consumers, ensuring fair competition, and preserving a free and open Internet,' the FCC official said."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC To Make Move On Net Neutrality

Comments Filter:
  • in other words (Score:1, Insightful)

    by gangien (151940) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:58PM (#32106752) Homepage

    fuck the law, we'll do what we want

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:05PM (#32106788)
    If they were to do that they would be unable to disguise their real goal: suppressing the ideas of their opposition.
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:09PM (#32106816)
    Personally, I fear this won't be "middle path" so much as "Third Position."
  • by GrApHiX42 (543910) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:12PM (#32106834)
    What stops the government from doing exactly the same thing?
  • For a lot of people, that isn't an option.

    Boss: I need those reports back from the 20 MB spreadsheets I gave you.
    Employee: Sure thing, boss! You should have the first one a couple days from now!

    Even for standard "web surfing and email" type access, dialup is inadequate. For any type of real work, it's not an option at all.

    That's quite aside from the fact that fewer and fewer people need or want POTS anymore at all. To get POTS just to accommodate dialup, plus the dialup, you'll probably be paying more than basic broadband.

  • by selven (1556643) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:18PM (#32106876)

    Like having the government take over the parts of the industry that are inherently monopolistic (ie. wires; the barrier to entry for that essentially amounts to putting your own set of wires around the entire country) and having them rent out those wires to ISPs, who would then become competitive?

    It's really the only way to have a free market in internet service at this point.

  • by selven (1556643) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:21PM (#32106900)

    There's nothing illegal about circumventing the law. That's why it's called "circumventing", and not "breaking". The court is reminding the FCC that there are limits on their power, the FCC is working within those limits. Provided that you agree with the limits that the court gave the FCC, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

  • Common carrier (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:35PM (#32106976)

    Why don't they just make ISPs common carriers. A common carrier has to take anyone's traffic without favor or discrimination (as long as the customer can pay). The concept has served us very well for things like telephones and railways. I find it hard to understand why it doesn't automatically apply to ISPs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier [wikipedia.org]

  • Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:36PM (#32106984)

    "We need [to give the government the power to censor] to prevent [private] censorship."
    .
    There I fixed your comment for you.
    .
    Don't be too quick to bring the Trojan Horse into the city walls.
    .
    I don't like private or public censorship but I can tell you that private censorship is a lot easier to get away from and likely to be a lot shorter lived.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:38PM (#32106998)

    Just what we need, a government takeover of another entire industry.

    What's up with people saying this? Look around, especially to wall street and the gulf of mexico. I see industry messing up on the exact same scale or bigger than the government messes up.

    I'm not saying "Some companies have messed up so lets give it all over to the government," I'm just saying "Government takes over an industry" isn't as scary to me as it once was.

  • Re:in other words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pipedwho (1174327) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:44PM (#32107034)

    Or more precisely, 'bought and paid for' judges.

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:47PM (#32107054)

    Like having the government take over the parts of the industry that are inherently monopolistic (ie. wires; the barrier to entry for that essentially amounts to putting your own set of wires around the entire country) and having them rent out those wires to ISPs, who would then become competitive?

    It's really the only way to have a free market in internet service at this point.

    Just a quick question: Who put all those wires there in the first place?

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:56PM (#32107104) Homepage Journal

    Just what we need, the government to regulate safety standards on off-shore oil rigs. Just what we need, the government to regulate the largest banks. Just what we need, the government to regulate environmental rules and protect wetlands.

    You're fucking A-right.

    Just what we need, for Comcast to turn the Internet into the Disney/TimeWarner Channel.

    When the federal government was building the Internet, were you saying, "Just what we need, a fast open data network that anyone can connect to".

    If you had waited for AT&T to build the Internet, you'd still be waiting. And I guarantee, that whatever they had built wouldn't have allowed for political blogs and bittorrent trackers and news aggregators and open source HTML standards. No YouTube. No Slashdot. And no teabaggers (well, I guess there would be some good points).

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:01PM (#32107126) Journal
    Even a politician racing after power can't keep up with a corporation chasing money.

    There is money to be made breaking net neutrality, so as soon as corporations think they can get away with it, they will. With politicians, though, we've seen that there is power to be had both supporting and fighting net neutrality, so at the very least we get a little longer before neutrality is gone.
  • Re:in other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <<ten.egdup> <ta> <todhsals>> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:03PM (#32107152) Homepage Journal

    Um. No, the judges correctly noted that it was the FCC that was saying "fuck the law," by making up their own laws.

    Do you really want federal judges who are going to allow federal agencies to do whatever they want, even when the law says they can't? That's scary stuff.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:04PM (#32107158)
    Nothing. That's why you don't give government the power to take over the wires, but to bitchslap the people using the wires.
  • ... OR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <<ten.egdup> <ta> <todhsals>> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:04PM (#32107164) Homepage Journal

    The FCC could just, you know, respect the fact that we live in a representative democracy and that as unelected bureaucrats that don't get to invent new laws restricting the free behavior of the people. The FCC could lobby Congress to write a law implementing what they want, instead of trying to tyrannically decide for us what they think is best.

    I am mostly in favor of Net Neutrality (especially in cases where there's a de facto monopoly for a particular broadband provider). But I am not in favor of the FCC making up its own rules. I am in favor of elected representatives voting so we can hold them accountable in the end.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:05PM (#32107170) Homepage Journal

    Having a Free Internet, on the other hand, is of the utmost importance to me.

    Chris, I'm afraid your arguments are casting pearls before swine.

    You can reach a point where some peoples' heads are so filled with free-market talking points that they just can't see the monitor in front of their face.

    If we let Comcast and AT&T decide what the internet is going to become, the one technological advance that has actually brought to reality the hopes and foresight that I read about in science fiction way back when will disappear faster than coke up a super-model's nose.

    Maybe there aren't flying cars, or AI's that can pass the turing test, or domed cities, but goddamn it, we've got a fucking internet onto which any fucking human being with a connection can broadcast information and ideas to the entire world.

    All you free-market fantasists ask yourself this: If AT&T and Comcast decide who gets bandwidth and who doesn't how long do you think there will be a Wikileaks? Why the fuck am I asking you anyway, because you don't lack the foresight to even understand why that's such an innovation (not you, Chris, but the butterbrains who think the "free market" is anything but a mechanism to siphon wealth from the bottom of society to the top).

  • Re:Common carrier (Score:5, Insightful)

    by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:11PM (#32107206) Journal
    Telephones and railways have gone through antitrust cases. ISPs have not. My guess is we need a full-fledged monopoly to form before things get better.
  • Re:Common carrier (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:26PM (#32107290) Journal

    Why don't they just make ISPs common carriers. A common carrier has to take anyone's traffic without favor or discrimination (as long as the customer can pay). The concept has served us very well for things like telephones and railways. I find it hard to understand why it doesn't automatically apply to ISPs.

    ISPs don't have the history of monopolistic abuse that telcos and railways do.
    Fundamentally, that's why they've managed to play by a different set of rules.

    IMHO, the FCC is changing the regulatory landscape because of ISPs' greed.
    It was pretty much over for them once they started saying things like:
    "We're going to filter what we want"
    "Google should pay us to reach our customers"

    They really did this to themselves.

  • FCC Go Away! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:28PM (#32107312)

    What value do we get out of the FCC? Nothing! Why can they regulate the terms of a private contract between a customer and the ISP?

    Here's a novel idea: if I don't like the actions of my ISP, I dump them and get a new one. I've done just that before and I'll do it again, if I need to. I now have an ISP that does not throttle bit torrent and I was able to get that through *gasp* capitalism.

    Net Neutrality is just another example of people falling for the whole nanny state idea. I'm just a dumbass internet user who's too lazy to vote with my dollars. I'll just rely on big brother to punish that nasty ISP instead.

  • And furthermore... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:31PM (#32107324) Homepage Journal

    Actually, we don't have to guess at what the broadband carriers would have built had they been entrusted to create the Internet, because they already have done it.

    It's called "cable television".

    Those of you who are old enough can remember that when the internet was still Darpanet, the big telcos and media companies were telling us how "cable television" was going to revolutionize communications. It was going to be small-d democratic, with tons of opportunities for local programming and public access.

    And what did we get? Spike. And fucking infomercials out the ass. And some very expensive programs (with commercials no less) and lots of reruns. For this, they were given the right to public lands and the right to gouge customers. And we got "pay television" where you have to pay to watch the baseball game you used to watch for free. And monopolies. Don't forget monopolies.

    The "free market" and "competition" had their shot at the internet, and they gave you cable fucking television.

  • by n6kuy (172098) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:36PM (#32107348)

    Reasonable regulation where it's due.
    Not taking over entire industries, though.

    Competition is what drives quality of product in other segments of the economy.

    There is not sufficient competition in internet service though, even with the available choices of dialup, DSL, cable, fios in some locations, several cellphone companies, satellite and terrestrial wireless.

    With all those choices, why isn't competition driving prices down and quality up, like in other industries?

    My guess is that there is already too much government regulation that stifles competition.

    Oh, and "teabaggers?"
    Why the homophobic language?

  • Re:FCC Go Away! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SheeEttin (899897) <sheeettin@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:36PM (#32107356) Homepage

    Here's a novel idea: if I don't like the actions of my ISP, I dump them and get a new one.

    Hey, I never thought of that! I'll dump Comcast and choose another ISP from this list of ISPs that serve my area:

    • Comcast

    ...oh wait.

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:38PM (#32107364)
    Guess again. The utilities run the wires and are responsible for them. When wires get blown down in a storm, how many 'local government' trucks do you see out there fixing them?
  • Re:... OR (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:57PM (#32107476)

    You are either uninformed or choosing to ignore the facts, so either you're ignorant or an ideologue who doesn't let the facts get in their way.

    Telecommunications services ARE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE FCC, they have the power to classify the services how they see fit. Previously ISP services were Title II, and I could buy DSL from a third party company buying access through the local monopoly(Verizon).. and things were better. Then, during the Bush admin the FCC changed the rules to make them Title I, 'to foster competition'. That hasn't worked so well, in addition the ISP's are now messing with MY and YOUR traffic. The court case was about the FCC not having the right to add extra rules to Title I services as already written under congressional laws.

    So, in effect they sell you a service, X Mbps, and then muck about with your communication. Imagine if they could do that with your phone calls.. 'Excuse me sir, are you sure w=you want to be talking to that illegal bookie?'

    This will put the ISP's back in the pen, and hopefully the 'third way' will do more than just 'net neutrality and will do a bit to open up the ability of 3rd party resellers to use existing infrastructure.

    Remember, capitalist monopolies will do whatever they can get away with to wring the last cent from your grasp and by definition since they are local monopolies you don't have a choice to go elsewhere.

  • Re:in other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kirijini (214824) <kirijini AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:21PM (#32107606)

    Through the Communications Act of 1934 as amended over the decades Congress has given the Commission express and expansive authority to regulate common carrier services, including landline telephony; radio transmissions, including broadcast television, radio, and cellular telephony; and “cable services,” including cable television. In this case, the Commission does not claim that Congress has given it express authority to regulate Comcast’s Internet service. Indeed, in its still-binding 2002 Cable Modem Order, the Commission ruled that cable Internet service is neither a “telecommunications service” covered by Title II of the Communications Act nor a “cable service” covered by Title VI. The Commission therefore rests its assertion of authority over Comcast’s network management practices on the broad language of section 4(i) of the Act [which the courts have come to call ancillary jurisdiction] [citations omitted]

    Yes, the DC Cir. ruled that the FCC didn't have ancillary jurisdiction. But way up at the top of the opinion is the bit quoted above, where the court recognizes that this issue is raised because the FCC determined, in a still binding order, that internet service was not a telecom service, which it can regulate under title II, common carriage.

    If the FCC determines that internet access is a telecom service - which they have the authority to do - then it can enforce net neutrality using its normal common carriage authority. No new laws from Congress required.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:35PM (#32107720)

    Just make ISPs common carriers like the phone companies. Then the FCC can enforce the rules it wants.

    Not "common carriers" but rather just "telecommunications services" rather than "information services."

    Ironically, it was the FCC itself that recategorized ISPs as "information services" [wikipedia.org] and thus opened the door for all of this bullshit in the first place. You would think that since the trouble started with the FCC, they could just change their minds and put things back the way they were so that IP was treated the same as Voice and all the neutrality rules would then apply again.

  • by Big Boss (7354) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:52PM (#32107850)

    I agree with the basic principle, but you're overlooking the fact that the telecom industry is NOT a free market and hasn't been for over 100 years. They have been granted monopoly status by government action. That's exactly the opposite of a free market. Cable TV has never been a free market. There is no competition that is legally allowed to come in and fight back. The only hope of any competition is wireless, but they can't compete with the raw speed a wired line can. And the entrenched monopolies can just lower prices and push speeds up to force new competition out of business. With protected monopoly profits no less.

    In this industry, there is no freedom, no free market. Even removing the laws preventing competition isn't enough in this case. The existing companies also got huge subsidies and tax breaks to pay for the networks. Can you think of a business plan that can compete with that?

  • Re:... OR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:53PM (#32107860) Journal

    I am in favor of at least SOME Net Neutrality regulations, especially for de facto monopolies

    Why don't we get rid of the regulations (i.e: franchise agreements) that created those de-facto monopolies in the first place?

  • Re:... OR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:05PM (#32107910)

    Your argument makes sense, but the flaw is that democracy doesn't work that way. Yes, in theory, we could remove any elected official that blocks net neutrality, or any other law that would make sense to any reasonable, moral human being. In truth, all that matters is how much PR you pull, how much the lobbyists bribe you, etc. that wins you an election.

    Where everything really gets derailed is in the court's ruling that gave cable companies a monopoly on their lines. If you open up the lines to allow competition, then maybe you'll get a decent service provider (which again falsely assumes that consumers are smart enough to support the right ones).

    But if this is what it takes to get net neutrality, well better than nothing I say.

  • by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:20PM (#32107968)

    And they will know it's encrypted how, exactly? Yes, your typical encrypted data stream looks like random bits, but so does well compressed data.

    So either you have to block all data that looks compressed or encrypted, which is a nice way to fuck yourself as a bandwidth provider since people will stop compressing shit to get past your filter, or you have to actually attempt to decompress and look inside any high-entropy data stream. How many reasonably well-deployed compression methods are there? Well, I'd guess about a hundred, if you include various audio and video codecs. So you need to run a number of decompression attempts just to distinguish compressed data from encrypted data. And you really have to DECOMPRESS IT, not just scan for magic numbers or certain headers, because hell, I'll just throw those on there for good measure to confuse you.

    Okay, so now that you've established that the data is a compressed stream, you need to look inside the decompressed data to see if that itself looks like its encrypted. Sure, it's boneheaded to compress encrypted data, since it's already such high entropy, but how can you know? Especially when there are people like me trying to get around your filter? You can't, unless you try the whole process again recursively. Obviously, at some point you'll give up. Say you set the bar at two levels of nesting -- at that point it's just too expensive to keep analyzing. Well, that's going to have a shitload of false positives, because people do stupid shit like zip up a video file, which doesn't really gain you that much but is certainly widely done, and would trigger your "give up" signal -- at that point, do you fail open or fail closed? Do you reject a huge amount of traffic that's not encrypted, pissing everyone off and rendering your own service unusable and therefore worthless -- or do you throw your hands up and let the data stream through?

    Yeah, sure. They'll just "throttle any encrypted traffic." Good luck with that.

  • by addsalt (985163) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:52PM (#32108122)

    who's gonna pay for it? the company that spilled it

    And they will, which will in turn decrease their profit margins which will be unacceptable for shareholders. That, along with the "decrease" in oil availability because of the spill will result in higher gas prices for a while.

    With large scale problems such as this, we can't be blind for the fact of who really foots the bill. Regardless of if governments or corporations front the money, you and I always end up providing the cash.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dontbgay (682790) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:00AM (#32108156)

    I don't think you're looking at this the right way. It's not viewed as the government censoring Comcast or ANYONE for that matter. There is no removing the freedom of speech by the FCC anywhere in this. The only perpetrators of that in this particular instance is the content provider.

    It's funny how these days people view it as "I gotta be in the corporations camp" or "I gotta support the government" when there's a hidden option: "I support my own views." Google tries to kick China in the balls for freedom of speech? Great! Uncle Sam trying to give the ISPs a slap for being mean to their customers? Great! Now, the converse is not supporting things you don't like. Don't jump on a bandwagon here, unless it's going in the direction that's best for all.

  • Re:in other words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jackspenn (682188) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @12:08AM (#32108194)
    Are you retarded? The FCC just "determines" Internet Access is a telecom service so it can regulate it. Seriously?

    Under your logic perhaps the FDA should declare the Internet a drug so it can regulate it.

    Heck it is the Information Superhighway, perhaps we should get someone from our local law enforcement community to regulate it.

    Perhaps we should contact NASA and have them draft an exploratory counsel given it is often referred to as cyberSPACE.

    I hate many things about ISPs, but I hate the idea of government bureaucrats deciding what is best for me even more.

    Perhaps I should remind you that we live in a Democratic Republic where only elected representatives are to make the laws, not government agencies. And for your information that is a very good thing.
  • Re:in other words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ffreeloader (1105115) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @05:30AM (#32109396) Journal

    They can't make up a new law on their own. It's basically that simple.

    If only that were true. All government agencies legislate through creating rules. Many of the freedoms we have lost have come about through bureaucratic rules.

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @05:34AM (#32109418)

    Provided that you agree with the limits that the court gave the FCC, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

    Actually, unless the GP seized power in a coup none of us were aware of, their agreement or disagreement with the court's decision (and underlying law) is immaterial. The court explicitly noted that the FCC is perfectly within its rights to determine ISPs are subject to title II and regulate accordingly, thus bringing into action net neutrality.

    Which is what they should have been all along: common carriers of data, as opposed to voice. It was always a byzantine argument that excluded ISPs from title II in the first place ... one that is long overdue in being reversed.

    To the telcos: be careful what you wish for (courts striking down net neutrality). You just might get what you wish for (provision struck down under title I, and -- oops -- regulated even more effectively under title II).

  • by Myopic (18616) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:38AM (#32110630)

    I've often thought how thankful I am that the spark of human inter-connectivity came from academia and government rather than private industry. It's clear now, and will become more clear in the coming century, how we dodged a bullet by making the internet an open medium.

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.

Working...