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Government The Internet

FCC Moving To Retain Control of Net Neutrality 90

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-it's-my-pie dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FCC is moving to take control of Net Neutrality once again due to public backlash over the issue, and plans to produce new regulation for broadband providers, as well as take a more rigorous role in their oversight. The details should be released on Thursday."
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FCC Moving To Retain Control of Net Neutrality

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  • Dupe much? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:00PM (#32114234) Homepage

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=10/05/05/2222250 [slashdot.org]

    lolwut? The summaries even end almost exactly the same!

  • "The details should be released on Thursday" ./ != CNN, which I kinda like. May be we all could happily live without "breaking news" tricks over here.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The plan is to regulate the Internet as a public utility.

      • by lorenlal (164133)

        I think the plan is really stated in the second paragraph:

        The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

        Emphasis mine.

        Times are tough in DC, so nothing like asking a ton of people to send as much money in as possible.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          Times are tough in DC, so nothing like asking a ton of people to send as much money in as possible.

          Well, Mr. Obama said he was going to find a way to make another economic stimulus happen.... ;)

  • Useless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:06PM (#32114408)

    Net Neutrality as proposed is useless.
    It has giant loopholes to allow ISPs to do the same exact shit that got them in trouble in the first place.

    And we won't be able to bitch because they'll just say they're Net Neutrality compliant.

    http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/03/04 [eff.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by smoothnorman (1670542)
      There will always be loopholes in any legislation, (it's like the fourth law of thermodynamics or something). So understanding that, we shouldn't attempt to protect our rights via legislation? Or said another way: they're just politicians, you have to encourage them once they've made *any* step in the right direction.
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        Or said another way: they're just politicians

        Except that the FCC aren't politicians. They are bureaucrats whom aren't directly accountable to the people. Is it asking too much to think that the body charged under our Constitution with writing the laws of the land be the same one that decides whether or not the Federal Government should regulate internet services and in what manner?

        • Re:Useless (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Big Boss (7354) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:34PM (#32114948)

          They already did, and delegated that authority to the FCC. If you think that's wrong, write your congressman I suppose. All the alphabet agencies are created under basically the same rules though, so I don't expect congress to change the rules now.

        • Except that the FCC aren't politicians. They are bureaucrats whom aren't directly accountable to the people.

          We live in a republic [wikipedia.org]. The President is not (technically) directly elected by the people [wikipedia.org] either. If you think this doesn't matter see the results of the 2000 Presidential Election [wikipedia.org].

          The president appoints the commissioners of the FCC [wikipedia.org] and they are confirmed by the Senate.

          Is it asking too much to think that the body charged under our Constitution with writing the laws of the land be the same one that decides whether or not the Federal Government should regulate internet services and in what manner?

          There is nothing preventing Congress from stepping in to the debate at any time. I'm not entirely sure I trust Congress to do a better job however.

        • by snarfer (168723)

          As contrasted with corporate bureaucrats, who are obviously directly accountable to the public. Right?

      • We do not have to legislate everything. This is were so many people fail at logical thinking and it is what has gotten the United States and many other countries into trouble. The biggest factor in business is customers, but the customer's of today have no backbone and are not willing to force companies to change. If, say, Comcast is not providing service at the level that customers want, then the customers need to take their business elsewhere. If politicians are attempting to protect a monopoly market

        • by paiute (550198)

          so many people fail at logical thinking

          You have to take a stand for yourself and vote with your wallet.

          But how are the illogical to vote intelligently?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pojut (1027544)

          If, say, Comcast is not providing service at the level that customers want, then the customers need to take their business elsewhere.

          Yeah. In my area, AT&T offers DSL, Comcast offers digital cable, and if we want anything else we have to stick our thumbs up our asses. Two options is not a choice, it's a fucking joke.

          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            Two options is not a choice, it's a fucking joke.

            Well, of course it's a joke! That's one of the central ideas describing an effective monopoly; no *reasonable* alternatives exist. That's precisely the lever they use to keep you under control.

            Unfortunately, changing the situation will involve a significantly-large number of people choosing to suffer with the poor alternative(s) or nothing to pressure the money side of the equation. It will also take voting out politicians who want it to continue, to pressu

            • I guarantee that at the least, subscriber rates will jump if only to cover compliance costs.

              How will a duopoly who already controls the market at prices at what the market will bear "raise prices"? If they could raise prices, they would have done so already. And compliance with what? You haven't specified anything the new regulatory scheme will force ISPs to spend money on.

              Once the government has established regulatory control over the internet, it's just the standard increasing expansion of regulation (regulatory creep) that's been seen with nearly every other Federal regulatory area, whether those in charge have an (R) or (D) after their names, for the last 100 or more years.

              Well that's funny. From where I'm standing the last 30 years has seen serious and harmful deregulation of various industries, such as healthcare, finance, and the internet. I have no problem with reregulating these failed a

  • The canadien CRTC will follow. I know, i know i can always dream of a world free of Bell tyrany.
    • by reidbold (55120)

      The CRTC will follow by going in the opposide direction, as today they granted UBBell hell.

  • Fail-fail (Score:2, Insightful)

    The choices:
    - the government decides what's fair
    - private companies decide what's fair

    At least the latter gives me a choice.

    • False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:18PM (#32114654)
      How about:
      - The customer decides what's fair
      - The government ensures there is enough competition so that customers actually have a choice
      • Re:False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:23PM (#32114754) Journal

        The government ensures there is enough competition so that customers actually have a choice

        Good idea. Let's start by ending the practice of government granting monopoly status to a single provider in exchange for monetary contributions...

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          Break all monopoly agreements with the local governments.

          It probably won't be enough, but you are right, it is an excellent place to start.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          That would work great, except it wouldn't, as infrastructure of this kind is a natural monopoly. It would be as effective as removing the monopoly on interstates, water, power, etc. No one wants 15 power companies competing to run power lines through your neighborhood, and its a horrible idea from an investment perspective as well.

          • by Shakrai (717556)

            as infrastructure of this kind is a natural monopoly.

            Speak for yourself. I was involved in an enterprise that had the capital to run our own wires once upon a time. We weren't able to do so because of the franchise laws.

            It would be as effective as removing the monopoly on interstates

            There is no monopoly on roadways. There are lots of alternatives to the interstates. Some are even faster -- ever had the misfortune of driving down I-95 during tourist season?

            No one wants 15 power companies competing to run power lines through your neighborhood

            Except we aren't talking about power, are we? We are talking about internet access. There is no good reason why local government should prohibit would-be upstart

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The density penetration to make it worthwhile is just not attainable, especially as number of providers increases. Its not viable. Look back to the railroad days to see clearly what will happen.

              • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                by Shakrai (717556)

                Yes, because railroads operate under the same economies of scale and have the same cost of doing business as internet service providers.....

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Are you seriously claiming that those poles can't handle a fourth (or fifth for that matter...) wire?

              Are you retarded? 4th? 5th? What about NYC or LA, you think there are ONLY FOUR OR FIVE media companies that would like to provide service in these places? Or are you seriously claiming that it makes freakin sense to have dozens and dozens of bundles of copper/glass/whatever hanging off every pole just so every single media provider can hang their own cables? Gee, that's not much of a barrier to entry into the marketplace is it?!

              Done right, the infrastructure itself should be put in place with as little unn

              • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                by Shakrai (717556)

                Done right, the infrastructure itself should be put in place with as little unneccessary redundancy as possible and should be managed by a single, tightly controlled agency. This (like water, power and sewer) is the "natural monopoly" portion of the argument. Whereas the service that is supplied upon that media should be open to as many different and varied vendors as want access to the marketplace (dozens or even hundreds) in order to provide robust competition and therefore, the greatest benefit to the customer by way of traditional market forces.

                We tried that in New York State with our power utilities. The local utility is called a "power delivery company" and you can buy power on the open market from "power supply companies". Guess what? We still pay the highest rates for electricity in the United States, outside of Hawaii......

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  I find it amusing you use New York as an example, as New York is actually the historic example that *caused* franchise monopolies, as there were far too many power companies in the very beginning, and the distribution lines were a horrendous mess, and the goverment rightfully decided that delivery infrastructure should become a controlled utility.

                  • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                    by Shakrai (717556)

                    Eventually you'll wise up to the fact that power != internet service.

                    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

                      by Anonymous Coward

                      Then why did you compare them in the first place?

              • The parent post deserves to be modded up, as it is exactly correct.

            • There have been no franchise laws since 1992. What the heck are you talking about?
          • by Ichijo (607641)

            No one wants 15 power companies competing to run power lines through your neighborhood, and its a horrible idea from an investment perspective as well.

            Why not just 1 power line running through my neighborhood like it is now, but the homeowners can vote on which power company gets to energize it?

            • by Big Boss (7354)

              In the case of ISPs, we don't even need that. All ISPs can put data on the wires for a set price. Perhaps with various $/GB $/Mbps rates (decided by a PUC?). Use fiber and there's more than enough bandwidth for everyone to share. The pricing must be the same for all ISPs, that would be my only real requirement on it. Much like the way the government builds roads and everyone pays to use them via the gas taxes etc.. I can have a package shipped to my door by USPS, UPS, Fedex, DHL, Joe down the street, whatev

              • by Nadaka (224565)

                Fixed price does not equal open competition. I want them to compete with each other by offering lower prices and better features.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
        The government ensures there is enough competition so that customers actually have a choice

        Why do you trust the government to do that when historically almost all monopolies have arisen either as a direct grant by the government or as unintended consequences of government regulation? The free market does not tend to produce monopolies in practice even though to a layperson it may seem logical that it would.
        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          In market in which any one player can have undue influence on the market is no longer a free market. Therefore, you are technically correct: free markets cannot produce monopolies, because they cease being free long before any monopoly is created. Yes, I'm against letting the government pick the winners and losers in any market (that is inherently corrupting), but to pretend that in today's world a true free market would exist without any government regulation is the epitome of intentional ignorance. Adam's
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by clarkkent09 (1104833) *
            In market in which any one player can have undue influence on the market is no longer a free market. Therefore, you are technically correct: free markets cannot produce monopolies, because they cease being free long before any monopoly is created.

            I didn't say that the free market cannot create monopolies but that that is a mostly theoretical problem since it does not tend to happen in practice. If you think it does please name some monopolies that have formed without direct role of the government in creat
            • If you think it does please name some monopolies that have formed without direct role of the government in creating them.

              Are you kidding me? We broke up Ma Bell in 1984 and yet it has managed to reconstruct itself into AT&T and Verizon. Verizon bought out AllTel, a formidable competitor in the wireless arena for $10 billion more than anyone else was willing to pay, just before AllTel could start to compete.

              Of course they do, what on earth makes you think that they don't.

              WalMart's ability to drive down supply costs indicates they're not on the same level footing as their competitors. They have an advantage through their massive size and scale, and can even price below cost in order t

            • by Shotgun (30919)

              In market in which any one player can have undue influence on the market is no longer a free market. Therefore, you are technically correct: free markets cannot produce monopolies, because they cease being free long before any monopoly is created.

              I didn't say that the free market cannot create monopolies but that that is a mostly theoretical problem since it does not tend to happen in practice. If you think it does please name some monopolies that have formed without direct role of the government in creating them (such as with utility companies). The scenario that people have in mind is a company getting so big and powerful that it drives all its competitors out of business and then does whatever it wants has never happened in reality.

              Wait for it.......Microsoft.

    • Re:Fail-fail (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:27PM (#32114824) Homepage Journal

      You are deluded.

      The government is saying "We want ALL traffic treated equally"
      Comcast is saying "we want to force Youtube, Netflix and Google to pay us or we'll THROTTLE their traffic"
      So Comcast will be taking away your choices, they'll be able to block sites, restrict traffic and essentially extort every major site on the internet.
      And you don't like it? tough. Where you going to go? AT&T? Verizon?
      They'll all be pulling the same shit. Your only choice will be between who you think will be throttling your service the least.

      With the proposed plan by the government, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will have to leave the traffic alone and guarantee a level of QoS.
      If all that video you are downloading is too expensive, they can charge you more, and THAT will be your choice.
      And that's the way it should be.

      If I want to download 500GB of movies a week and video-chat on skype all day, I will have that choice and the services will be fast.
      But, I will have to pay for that just like anything else.

      Why do you oppose that?
      Why do you support Comcast throttling competing services and extorting them?
      Why is that to be preferred over paying an extra $20 or $40 a month if you are a heavy bandwidth hog?

      Frankly, I have had it with Americans who would rather toss-off their civil rights and protections in order to save a few bucks.

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Likely what Comcast is saying is that someone is going to be paying for increasing capacity. They would much rather send a bill to Google than all their customers, but if the government cuts off Google subsidizing Comcast in this manner then the customers are going to get the bill.

        You do not really believe they are going to increase capacity without increased revenue from somewhere, do you? Now, you may believe that they should have been doing this all along and should have used government money for this

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Imagix (695350)
          The customer is exactly where this bill should go. Google already pays their ISP to carry traffic. Why should they be paying their ISP _and_ yours (directly)? If more users download stuff from Google, then Google's bill to their ISP will go up, and Google has thus paid their part. If your ISP really wanted to get paid from somewhere and not increase the customer's bill, they should charge their peering partners more to carry the traffic originating from them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Customers will pay one way or the other for actual capacity, but ending net-neutrality could have them paying for an extraordinary increase in ISPs' profits. The government sanctioned these ISPs' monopolies and needs to exercise some regulatory oversight in return.
        • Likely what Comcast is saying is that someone is going to be paying for increasing capacity. They would much rather send a bill to Google than all their customers,

          Wrong. They already bill all of their customers for their download capacity. They also already get compensated by whoever is sending the data, who is either (a) one of their customers, and thus paying for upload capacity, or (b) someone whose data enters Comcast's network from someone else's via a peering agreement, and therefore for which Comcas

        • So no matter how this works out, Joe Sixpack is going to be paying for a faster, higher capacity Internet.

          Don't be ridiculous. First, Comcast already enjoys 80% margins on their internet service. In other words, all their costs combined costs them $8/month/customer. Bandwidth alone is estimated at $1/month/customer. They are insanely profitable. Second, Comcast and co. already price at what the market will bear. They're duopolies, so if they could raise their price without losing customers they would have done so already. It's that simple.

      • I think the idea that if we had more competition it wouldn't matter because they would all be doing the same thing doesn't pass the reality test. When you have companies competing, the greater incentive is to grab the market share from your competitors and if possible drive them out of business by providing what the customer wants, rather than to collude in providing inferior service and open the door for new competitors to enter the market.

        But, we don't really have a choice so that's a moot point when it
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Unordained (262962)

      Are you a minor, convicted felon, or illegal alien? No? Then you probably have the right to vote, which means you have a choice.

      You're probably thinking it's not a useful choice. Maybe you're one of the lucky few to live in an area served by multiple ISPs. Many aren't; there's a reason for regulating broadband like any other public utility -- it's so expensive to run new lines to setup parallel service that most areas won't ever see more than one provider. And there's really no reason they should; the cost

      • > Are you a minor, convicted felon, or illegal alien? No? Then you probably have the right to vote...

        There are a plenty of legal aliens who are not allowed to vote. People with green cards (resident aliens) for example cannot vote.

        • Thanks. Accuracy would require us to also exclude Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, etc., but re-include resident foreigners for some local elections and convicted felons for some states, and mention the nearly-18 issue... Let's just say it's complicated. I'm at least in the ballpark. Convicted felons and minors can't (generally) freely vote for ISPs with their money, either, so they should be excluded from the equation.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      No, not really, no...

      When private companies operate, they invariably do their level best to exploit the consumer to the fullest extent possible. This is not good for the consumer. Historically and presently, we see what deregulation of the phone companies and the power companies results in. Deregulated telephone resulted in abuses so bad that the one telephone company had to be split up into many combined with lots and lots of regulation such as allowing consumers to own and use the own phones. Deregula

    • by AarghVark (772183)

      Problem with letting private companies decide what is fair is that many municipalities have laws acting as barriers to competition. These were put into place a long time ago to act as an incentive for cable/phone companies to run lines. Now these same laws are preventing other competitors from coming in.

      Hence you have many people around the country stuck with a choice between a cable company and a phone company and each of which offer little in terms of bandwidth or reliability for any price because they k

    • by kklein (900361)

      - private companies decide what's fair

      At least the latter gives me a choice.

      --Yes, you have your choice between the many Mom & Pop broadband ISPs down the street, or one of the many friendly faceless corporations that exist to serve you, not unlike the broad range of choices you have for electricity and water service!

      Pragmatism, man, not ideology. Some things can really only be done well by giant organizations. There is no consumer power in such a system, however, so we need government--which we do control, as evidenced by this very issue, which was pushed by people calling a

  • by Alakaboo (171129) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:27PM (#32114826) Homepage

    Engadget has a great summary here [engadget.com]. The "third way" resembles what some were discussing in the earlier thread.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      For the details, you can head on over to The FCC's site [fcc.gov] and read their headlines released on today's (5/6/2010) date. Also, the general counsel of the FCC gives a decent explanation of what the FCC is trying to achieve here [broadband.gov] and you can read the chairman's remarks on the matter here [broadband.gov]. The rest of the headlines are in pdf format and I haven't bothered to read them yet as I prefer HTML.

      The approach the FCC seems to want to take is applying very select sections of Title II regulations to Comcast while still k
      • by PPH (736903)
        It sounds like the FCC has the best intentions in mind. But the devil is in the details. Watch for the major ISPs' legal stafs to comb through the regulations and engineer some tying of their information service products to the bandwidth that they sell.
  • From TFS:
    >

    The details should be released on Thursday."

    What day is it where you're at CmdrTaco? =P....

    Perhaps slash-editors should cease the practice of putting hard timestamps in summaries if they can't manage to get a summary to the front page in a timely manner...

  • FCC: "They like us! They really like us!"
  • Wow must be REALLY slow news day when they post the same news twice in the same 24 hour period.
  • It's my bandwidth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Script Cat (832717)
    Why does the FCC have to step in and regulate. It's a simple matter of fraud and falls under the jurisdiction of the justice dept. I pay the ISP for my connection with a certain bandwidth. I choose to use that bandwidth to access youtube. What gives the ISP the right to throttle my bandwidth or charge the third party money for me to access their service. What this is about is the cable companies want to shut off access to these online services so they can compete with special for pay services like on demand
    • by PPH (736903)

      Right now, there is no standard definition of what "Internet Service" is. If Comcast, Verizon, or whomever, wants to define it to suit their purposes, what's to stop them? Maybe they want to make it "our information services, our partners information services, plus anyone that makes us happy at the moment".

      The FCC is in the best position to understand the issues. Maybe not in the best position to regulate them legally. But that fix must be initiated by Congress.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      "What gives the ISP the right to throttle my bandwidth or charge the third party money for me to access their service."

      I dunno. Read your contract, or TOS. If it's in there, your argument goes from 'they have no right' to 'that's unenforcable/illegal/etc.'

      Good luck. The major ISPs have reasonably competent lawyers. Mostly, they give you a vague 'network management' excuse. This is what the FCC needs to make them come out and say - they don't want you to be able tu actually *use* the bandwidth to the ful

  • What I don't like is that a Federal Court said that the FCC couldn't regulate the Internet and the FCC is going to do it anyways. The FCC is subverting the checks and balances system. If you want to regulate the Internet, fine, but do it legally.
    • by Pherlin (1131333)
      Uhh... That's what they're doing. The court said that under the current regulations, the FCC couldn't do anything. That's WHY they are talking about new regulations.

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