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Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality 208

Presto Vivace writes with news that the FCC's suggested net neutrality rules are facing opposition in Congress. "FCC chairman Tom Wheeler took the hot seat today in an oversight hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to testify about current issues before his agency, including net neutrality. The overriding theme of the day? Pretty much everyone who spoke hates the rule the FCC narrowly approved for consideration last week — just for different reasons." Wheeler himself made some interesting comments in response to their questions: "[He said] the agency recognizes that Internet providers would be disrupting a 'virtuous cycle' between the demand for free-flowing information on one hand and new investment in network upgrades on the other if they started charging companies like Google for better access to consumers. What's more, he said, the FCC would have the legal authority to intervene. 'If there is something that interferes with that virtuous cycle — which I believe paid prioritization does — then we can move against it,' Wheeler said, speaking loudly and slowly. A little later, in response to a question from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Wheeler cited network equipment manufacturers who've argued that you can't create a fast lane without worsening service for some Internet users. 'That's at the heart of what you're talking about here,' Wheeler said. 'That would be commercially unreasonable under our proposal.'" Here are instructions for how to send your comment to the FCC for those so inclined.
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Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

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  • by Presto Vivace ( 882157 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @08:12PM (#47052475) Homepage Journal
    The cards are stacked against us, but if enough people ask them to reclassify Internet broadband as common carriers the FCC will cave and do the right thing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @08:49PM (#47052739)
      FYI, When filing these comments, choose your words carefully as they will be publicly posted online under your real name for anyone to read in the future.
    • The cards are stacked against us, but if enough people ask them to reclassify Internet broadband as common carriers the FCC will cave and do the right thing.

      Nonsense. Since when did the "people's" views make a difference in this (and many other) issues? The fact is that broadband providers and other big Internet interests simply haven't yet ponied up enough cash. It's like Government X tooting about how they are going to dump Microsoft for some Linux distro and OpenOffice... It's usually a thinly veiled request for financial consideration.

      • by dcollins117 ( 1267462 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @10:50PM (#47053399)

        Nonsense. Since when did the "people's" views make a difference in this (and many other) issues?

        In the current political climate, it is very easy to become discouraged. Please don't let that keep you from letting your representatives know how you wish to be represented. Occasionally, it opens doors that were previously closed.

      • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @10:55PM (#47053431) Journal

        Your post pretty well covered the popular meme on Slashdot. In fact you really CAN influence FCC rule making, I have. I had the opportunity to observe several rounds of 2257 rule making and participating in one around. The FCC does in fact incorporate well reasoned comments into their rules. Chairman Wheeler KNOWS that the proposed rules have problems. He testified it has problems. The problem is, there's not currently a better proposal. "Pretend that they are telephone companies, call them common carriers" is the common refrain on Slashdot. Unfortunately regulating the entire year United States Internet is a little bit more complex than a headline. There's a REASON he isn't categorizing ISPs as telephone companies. If you want to participate directly, you will l need to find out what the problem is, why it doesn't work to just call them common carriers and think that's going to solve anything. What problems does that cause? It does cause real problems, that would really affect you. If you come to understand what those problems are then you can file comments and make a proposal to actually solve the problem. As I mentioned I've done the same with 2257. Actually understand the issues -understand why common carrier status is not by itself an answer and then you can propose actual solutions. The FCC does listen to actual solutions, they listened to mine. Mindlessly repeating a slogan doesn't help them come up with rules that actually work, though.

        • by the biologist ( 1659443 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:54AM (#47053863)
          you've missed a teaching moment here.
        • For the lazy/dumb, can you link a quick primer on why common-carrier designation is unfeasible?
          • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @09:35AM (#47055565) Journal

            Several people replied asking for more information. It's really cool that we, as a community, are wanting to engage beyond just a slogan or headline.

            My main point was that in my experience the FCC does read comments and incorporate good ideas into the next round of rules. So my post was more about the FCC process than about net neutrality per se. I'm no expert on wholesale bandwidth, though I've run a SMALL hosting company for many years. I'd have to do some research myself before I'd be able to file a useful comments. There's also more to learn than can fit in a reasonable Slashdot post. That said, I can point people in the right direction to learn more. There's a lot to learn, so it will take some time.

            The current proposal is informed by the existing comments. Many of the people who bothered to submit a comment to the FCC are knowledgeable about the issue and the direction that the FCC has been thinking about going. You can read comments others have made on various FCC filings here:
            Specifically this one is relevant:

            Of course there are plenty of less informative comments, too, but there will be some gold in there.

   is a forum about web hosting where operators of a lot of small mom-and-pop internet companies discuss these things, as well as people involved with larger operations. There are threads on WHT discussing things in more detail, from people who actually know the difference between single-mode fiber and multimode fiber, and why one might be deployed rather than the other, and what kinds of government policies might influence such choices.

            The core problem, as I understand it, is that the thousands of pages of regulations for common carriers are all designed for very mature industries, like POTS. The FCC will say "for the next 20 years, you must provide exactly this grade of service at this cost". It takes a for years to get a new grade of service or a new price approved, so you don't change things every year - more like every 10-20 years. That almost works for railroads and copper phone lines - nothing much has changed in the last 20 years (or 100 years) in the realm of copper phone service - some of the lines are about 100 years old. Do you want your ISP to be providing the same service they did in 1994? Obviously that wouldn't work.

            A great example is Google fiber - that would have been all kinds of illegal under a common carrier regulatory regime. That service is GIGABIT - 50X as fast as the competition, for about the same cost as the old cable or DSL. That's exactly the kind of progress we want to promote, not outlaw.

            Let's say you wrote a new set of common-carrier style regulations for internet, rather than inheriting most of the POTS bureaucracy. You may recall that for Google Fiber, Google looked for cities where the government would get out of the way and let them get the damn thing built, ASAP. If the FCC were managing ISPs the way they do phone companies, Google wouldn't (couldn't) have deployed quickly in Provo, they would have had to chose a city in Costa Rica or somewhere instead.

            Again, I'm not an expert on the wholesale or retail internet market. I commented on the 2257 rules because I did have a useful combination of expertise in that area - and the FCC implemented the suggestions I and others made.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Actually not quite accurate. Consider it from the corrupt politicians viewpoint (the majority of them) they collect bribes 'er' campaign donations from many sources, all of which have to be considered and served and none of which are likely to return in future election cycles if the politician does not win.

        So balance in corruption. The politician must still win, they are pursuing more than one bribe 'er' campaign donation from many, many sources. So the more at risk you can make the politician feel with

    • by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @09:05PM (#47052843) Journal

      The cards are stacked against us, but if enough people ask them to reclassify Internet broadband as common carriers the FCC will cave and do the right thing.

      That's only if "people" mean George, Abraham, Alexander, Andrew, Ulysses, and Benjamin.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @08:16PM (#47052499) Homepage Journal

    send your comment to your elected officials in congress.

  • Will do nothing but flap their lips. They cant even pass a bill they ALL agree on.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @09:05PM (#47052831)
    I messaged mine. Back with SOPA, I stated it was a free speech issue. Hollywood shouldn't have the right to censor people. My senator sent out a form letter to everyone,"SOPA is not a free speech issue" after I messaged him. But later he recanted and messaged everyone that SOPA was a free speech issue.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @09:40PM (#47053061) Journal
    A minority are opposed to the FCC's proposal to turn the internet into cable TV. The remainder are unhappy that the FCC's proposal doesn't directly sell everybody into indentured servitude to their local monopoly ISP.
    • Indeed. Everyone who has come out against net neutrality has proven to be grossly ignorant about the situation, and they use extremely vague terms without providing specifics. The saddest part is that net neutrality started out with a lot of non-partisan support; then the big Internet monopolies greased the right wheels with copious amounts of cash and BAM. Opposition to net neutrality is now the official party line for republicans. What a joke.
  • Ok, if they want to play hardball, I say let the free market decide - by the companies who are against it putting their money where their mouth is.

    Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, etc should announce that any company demanding a fee for preferred bandwidth on their service will no longer be supported at ALL. If, say, Comcast starts charging for premium access, imagine how fast everyone would switch to AT&T or Verizon. Make the providers tout it as a feature instead of a weakness. They are all makin

    • by ExecutorElassus ( 1202245 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @01:54AM (#47054021)
      I don't think you understand how monopolies work. The majority of Comcast's customers have no alternatives. Where are they going to go? Back to dial-up? There are at best one or two other providers in any given market for internet service, and *none* for cable television. So, Google, Facebook, et al say they won't accept connections from Comcast servers, then ... what? Comcast's customers stop using those companies' services, but don't switch providers. In retaliation, the peering providers that used to trade back all that traffic that those sites were generating stop doing that, so those companies lose even more traffic.

      This is the point of a monopoly: they control access, and so they can control how the market functions.
  • I tend to favor light regulation to ensure a level playing field, or alternatively a way to ensure a large enough pool of providers that customers have choices.

    I really HATE the idea of reducing the market power of the end customer. It is my opinion that the current stream-of-consciousness rulemaking from the current FCC chair has that goal in mind. As things are progressing, with large content-providers being stuck with paying priority upcharge fees for the bandwidth and connectivity that THEY ALREADY PAY

  • by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:37PM (#47053605)

    Say there's a pesky blog that keeps posting pointed, critical commentary at NBC-Comcast or at a cause they support. If you allow prioritizing of data, shockingly, that site's traffic might receive the lowest priority possible, or intermittent blockage. The Internet is the last bastion of the free flow of ideas. That should be protected, strongly. Because if there's an opportunity to abuse the privilege of prioritizing data, in order to increase profit or stifle dissenting voices, it most assuredly will be abused.

    Here is an informative 3 minute video highlighting some of the ways to abuse data prioritization. []

  • by ExecutorElassus ( 1202245 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @02:05AM (#47054057)

    " can't create a fast lane without worsening service for some Internet users. 'That's at the heart of what you're talking about here,' Wheeler said. 'That would be commercially unreasonable under our proposal.'"

    This makes no sense at all. Is it just a bad summary? Waxman is citing testimony that internet fast lanes inevitably and necessarily degrade internet service for "non-premium" users, and Wheeler responds that the proposed regulation enables the FCC to prohibit that inevitable consequence of the system it creates?

    "Yes, this regulation will degrade service, unavoidably. BUT! The regulation also says that we will make sure that this unavoidable consequence is prohibited, so it's all good!"

    • So let me get this straight....

      I as an end user pay already for a fast lane. I am not on the most basic plan, after all.

      Is it being suggested that my fast lane degrading other users own bandwidth (which it surely does at peak times) is going to be prohibited? I am going to get the same bandwidth as my neighbor who has the basic plan during peak usage hours?

      Careful what you wish for folks. Rarely does anyone point out that we already have fast and slow lanes and that many of us eagerly pay more for fas
  • Why would anyone need a fast lane if the internet is working?

    Video streams at a small fraction of the speed of a good internet connection.

    Obvious extortion is obvious.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus