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FCC Chairman Calls Net Neutrality a 'Mistake' (theverge.com) 319

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said today that net neutrality was "a mistake" and that the commission is now "on track" to return to a much lighter style of regulation. The Verge adds: "Our new approach injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market," Pai said during a speech at Mobile World Congress this afternoon. "And uncertainty is the enemy of growth." Pai has long been opposed to net neutrality and voted against the proposal when it came up in 2015. While he hasn't specifically stated that he plans to reverse the order now that he's chairman, today's speech suggests pretty clearly that he's aiming to. [...] Pai's argument is that internet providers were doing just fine under the old rules and that the new ones have hurt investment.
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FCC Chairman Calls Net Neutrality a 'Mistake'

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  • FIX SLASHDOT ALREADY (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:09PM (#53947019)

    Godamn ads covering the content!

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      I've been flagging every as I could as "covering content". I'm sure it does nothing, but at least it removes the ads (the one that you can close and report at least-that damn tikka masala ad from yesterday kept me from reading a few articles because it took up half the screen on my laptop and it wouldn't go away)
      • What ads? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:26PM (#53947211)

        I've been flagging every as I could as "covering content".

        You see ads? I have them all blocked and never see any. No I don't give a shit about slashdot's bad business model. I'd happily pay a subscription but they can't be bothered to give me the option. So fuck 'em and the ad networks they rode in on.

        • by Gilgaron ( 575091 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:59PM (#53947515)
          My workplace blocks the ads so we can all be very productive on Slashdot
        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

          I've been flagging every as I could as "covering content".

          You see ads? I have them all blocked and never see any. No I don't give a shit about slashdot's bad business model. I'd happily pay a subscription but they can't be bothered to give me the option. So fuck 'em and the ad networks they rode in on.

          I block them with Noscript on my desktop. But I spend most of my time on my work-provided laptop which means no ad blockers.

    • I right click on the add (In Chrome), and select "Inspect Element". Then I find the parent tag for the offending ad and delete it. Problem solved. But that's a band-aid. The current state of the pop-over ads is so annoying that I am actively looking elsewhere now for my news. After 10+ years, it's time for a new source of my geek news.
  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:09PM (#53947023)
    The job of the government shouldn't be to make sure companies can make as much money as they possibly can but to protect the citizens. Net Neutrality aimed to make the playing field even for everyone. I guess he's okay with Comcast/Charter/etc reaming us.
    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:22PM (#53947177)

      I think it would be better if they simply stated that:

      1. If you advertise X speed, then the users gets X speed, every time, all the time.
      2. Get rid of this, "Up To" bullshit. no one is interested in some speed you might get once in a while.
      3. No traffic is EVER restricted for ANY reason.
      4. If you can't support your sales pitch, then either build out to where you can or change your pitch.

      • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:33PM (#53947279)

        I disagree with point 3. There are filtering measures required to combat spam, botnets, DDOS attacks, etc.

        You want to move those costs as close to the source as possible to put pressure on them to eliminate the problem. A totally unfiltered Internet just means the consumer pays for a choked pipe they can't actually use.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Oh God I just had a vision of the ISP's acting like the post office and offering bulk discounts for junk mail. Imagine if the spammers paid ISP's to punch through spam filters.

          • I'd actually be OK with that - so long as customers don't have to pay.

            You could still filter at the customer end (you'd be foolish to trust your ISP anyway), and you'd legislate it so the ISP can't count identifiable spam traffic as part of the customer's network utilization. They'd have to provide extra bandwidth to handle it, and couldn't charge for bit transfer.

            I doubt any spammers would pay for that service, because they thrive on parasitic abuse of the network to avoid the already minimal costs for se

      • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:36PM (#53947307)

        You just broke the net.

        Any net neutrality law that make QoS illegal breaks the net. Any law that doesn't, has to micromanage what QoS is. Which means that the trustworthy folks in DC are in charge of yet another thing.

        Your ISP can't control how fast the server you connect to is. How are they supposed to guarantee end to end speed?

        • They're just not supposed to limit that speed in a manner that is discriminatory to one packet source over another.
          If your content provider can't provide fast serving of content, at source or CDN, you'll switch to a better content provider.
          Point is, it should be you, the end-user's choice, made in a fair competing market of content sources, not in a market distorted by the presence of highwaymen robbers on some of the data highways.

          • So, you're in favor of the government specifying exactly what is and isn't QoS? Can you say 'regulatory capture'? What happens when a video streaming site claims to be a gaming or VOIP site to get higher packet priority? What if it actually makes efforts to do both and hide the distinction?

            I'm in favor of increased competition in ISPs. Like all the wireless services recently bringing back 'unlimited' data plans.

            It's not simple. Even if their was a simple rule that could be made, I have faith in governm

            • Ok, you say you're in favor of ISP competition. Great. So am I.
              But since the number of last-mile lines into everyone's house/apartment is usually limited to one or two (the cable company and the phone company), that implies that to get that competition, we would need a strong law that forces those few and thereby almost monopolistic last mile providers to open their data networks to fair-priced wholesale rental by competing ISPs.

              If you're in favor of that, then maybe we can agree that further regulations mi

      • 1. If you advertise X speed, then the users gets X speed, every time, all the time.

        It you download from a third party server who's owner has it throttled to 1Mb/s per connection you're never going to get anything but 1Mb/s out of it. You might have a 100Mb/s ISP connection but it doesn't make any difference if the server is implementing throttling. Many people do not understand this and complain to their ISPs about slow download speeds.

        • Most people that complain, Dont actually understand how the Internet really works. And who manages what.

        • It you download from a third party server who's owner has it throttled to 1Mb/s per connection you're never going to get anything but 1Mb/s out of it. You might have a 100Mb/s ISP connection but it doesn't make any difference if the server is implementing throttling. Many people do not understand this and complain to their ISPs about slow download speeds.

          You sir are correct, BUT I should be able to access third-party speed check sites AKA Speedtest.net and see a speed that is within 10% of my advertised rat

          • There may be many transit providers between you and that third party speed test site. Any one of those transit provider could be the reason why you can't get 10Mb/s. I'm not defending the last mile ISPs. I agree that many of them are underprovisioning their interconnects. I am just pointing out that it is difficult for a normal consumer to accurately identify where the problem is.

            I dropped FIOS a couple of years ago when Verizon was fighting with Netflix and Level3. Verizon refused to provision more ports

      • As others have stated, QoS is fine for ISPs to do. If you wanted to slow down e-mails slightly so that video streams went faster, that would be perfectly fine. Nobody's going to notice their e-mails arriving 3 seconds late, but people would notice their videos buffering for an extra three seconds. The problem is when ISPs make "video from Netflix" a low priority so that their own video streams can go faster. A better version of #3 would state:

        3. No customer requested traffic is EVER restricted based on sou

      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        Everyone is confusing providing data with delivering data.

        If I connect to a site with crappy network cards or they paid for slower connections, that'd not the provider's fault. Everyone knows that.

        If I'm at site A and I'm getting X speed and then I switch to site B and get X+100 (which matches the advertised speed), then it's all good and I know that Site A sucks.

        I see this all the the time with YouTube telling me that interrupted videos is the network's fault while Pornhub and screaming along just fine. Yo

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        Except for point four, your requests are impossible. When the net is busy, it's busy. We all get filtered through bottlenecks at some point. What would be better is if they had to advertise average speeds, and include peak and non-peak hours, so that consumers would get a much fairer assessment of what they're buying into.

        For me the issue of net-neutrality is that content being pulled by your customers should not be restricted, for any reason. Netflix is NOT Comcast's customer, I am - and if I choose to

    • I'm fine with taking the interests of companies' shareholders and such into account, but the public interest in vigorous, real competition, alternative options, and not getting defrauded (among other things) should not be overridden in a mindless quest for "growth" (by which he means "growth of executive bonuses and shareholder dividends").
    • The job of the government shouldn't be to make sure companies can make as much money as they possibly can but to protect the citizens.

      You know that's not the GOP stance, right? They feel that $ helps people and companies making $$$, ends up being $ for people, so helps them. Maybe not all of them...

      • Yeah, and that seems to work wonders...
      • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:56PM (#53948073) Homepage

        That's their official policy only because saying "We believe in giving more money to the rich because we don't care about poor slobs - only people who make over a million a year" wouldn't get them votes. So they say "we're giving this billionaire $1 million, he'll definitely use it to hire people and not spend it on a third yacht like he used the last $2 million. Eventually, that million will go into your pockets. Aren't we generous? Vote Me!" The sad thing is that, no matter how many times "trickle down" is disproved, people keep flocking back to it and thinking it'll work perfectly this time. All they need are even LESS checks on the wealthy so that they'll deign to use some of their immense wealth to people who are struggling to make ends meet.

    • by rnturn ( 11092 )
      Pai isn't a big fan of competition, either. He's stated that he doesn't plan on having the FCC review the possible ATT/Time-Warner merger. I guess he likes to keep things simple by having as few providers as possible, cuz, you know, choice is hard. Or something.
    • And its made harder for many companies to make money once net neutrality gets removed. It essentially brings ISPs into the position to extort large sums of money from the service providers, and obviously on their own discretion. So it harms all companies which provide a service. Net neutrality also drives innovation by giving new and young service providers a more equal playing field with more established ones. Google can just say "well, then search, youtube and drive will be utterly slow", and can use this

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      Is Net Neutrality a good substitute for competition, or is it more of a consolation prize? Why should we be satisfied with that?

  • #MAGA (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 )

    Clearly we're going to Make America Great Again by getting rid of net neutrality.

    • by geek ( 5680 )

      Clearly we're going to Make America Great Again by getting rid of net neutrality.

      Clearly. Since Trump took office and Pai took the FCC my cellphone bill has gone down 40$ a month and I now have unlimited data vs the 2GB I had before. People keep talking about this being bad but all the evidence is pointing the other way.

      • The cellphone market is different.

        Most people have either one or two ISPs offering service to their residence. That's insufficient for competition. How many cellphone companies are offering service to you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:16PM (#53947117)

    "Pai's argument is that internet providers were doing just fine under the old rules..."

    This tells you everything you need to know about Pai's priorities. When the customers don't even merit a mention in a position statement, you know the FCC has been entirely co-opted to a corporate agenda.

    The lobbyists have won. Kindly tell me where the nearest lobbyist pocket is so that I can fill it with cash, cocaine and hookers. Who will think of the poor, poor lobbyists?!

    • Technically, he is right. The ISP's WERE doing fine under the old rules. The "old rules" were that Network Neutrality was assumed. The problem came up when the ISP's themselves started talking about doing away with what were essentially long-standing "Net Neutrality" policies in the hunt for more money. For example, they claimed that Netflix was using their bandwidth for free (Netflix paid for their own bandwidth) and said they would slow down Netflix's streams unless Netflix paid them money. Of course, the

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >This tells you everything you need to know about Pai's priorities

      Well, his remarks were made at trade show of mobile industry, so of course they were going to be more business centric than consumer oriented. duh.

      But here's a few comments from his speech that the Verge didn't bother to share.

      First, during the Clinton Administration in the 1990s, American policymakers forged a
      historic consensus across party lines that the Internet should be free from heavy-handed
      regulation. Instead of government telling broadband operators where to invest, how much to
      invest, or how to run their networks, we let market forces guide these decisions. Regulators made
      a conscious choice not to apply to the Internet the outdated rules crafted in the 1930s for a
      telephone monopoly. After all, complex rules designed to regulate a monopoly will inevitably
      push the market toward a monopoly. Instead, our policy was a modern one that gave the private
      sector the flexibility it needed to innovate.

      Today, there are nearly 250 million smartphones
      in the United States alone that consumers use for everything from uploading live-stream videos to
      playing games—and even placing the occasional phone call. In all seriousness, though, we
      would not have seen such innovation if, in the 1990s, the government had treated broadband like
      a railroad or water utility.

      However, two years ago, the United States deviated from our successful, light-touch
      approach. The FCC decided to apply last-century, utility-style regulation to today’s broadband
      networks. Rules developed to tame a 1930s monopoly were imported into the 21st century to
      regulate the Internet. This reversal wasn’t necessary to solve any problem; we were not living in
      a digital dystopia. The policies of the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration, and the
      first term of the Obama Administration had produced both a free and open Internet and strong
      incentives for private investment in broadband infrastructure.

      Two years later, it has become evident that the FCC made a mistake. Our new approach
      injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market. And uncertainty is the enemy of
      growth. After the FCC embraced utility-style regulation, the United States experienced the first-ever decline in broadband investment outside of a recession. In fact, broadband investment remains lower today than it was when the FCC changed course in 2015. And we have seen much concern about whether the FCC would permit or ban service plans.

      Of course, an article honestly addressing those points would have been preferable to the sorry Verge cherry-picking text and then proceeding to simply state the opposite without citation or evidence of data contradic

    • Pai is a former Verizon lawyer and industry lapdog. He is doing his master's bidding waiting to cash in on the Washington revolving door like his predecessor Michael Powell, former Republican FCC chair and now the chief lobbyist of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

      Instead of empowering subscribers to manage their own Quality of Service (QoS) preferences Pai wants his industry buddies to have unfettered access to snoop on Internet traffic and reverse the IP convergence trend that has c

  • It's not hard to figure out. If your traffic gets prioritized higher over others on existing infrastructure, that's less infrastructure you have to invest in to run your business. Net neutrality actually makes those who use more bandwidth have to spend more to get what they want over those who sip at the pool of bits and bytes. Pai clearly wants to kick the plebes out of the pool, build a wall around it, and allow his capitalist buddies free reign while the rest of the crowd lines up at the gate.

    The inte

    • Who the fuck are these hypothetical businesses who get more than they pay for? You are aware that businesses pay for bandwidth, then pay for uploaded bytes, yes?

      Of course, most businesses use a service for hosing. S3, godaddy, whatever. So then instead of paying for internet directly, they pay a provider, and then THAT company is paying for both bandwidth and upload.... No one is getting anything for free.
  • That is the problem. They were/are taking government money to expand infrastructure, doing fuckall with it, and making money hand over fist by overcharging for shit service. We do not want them to be doing fine.
  • Sounds great. If there's one guy you know you can trust, it's the one that gets paid for lying and selling you out to corporate interests.

    I feel how America is getting greater and greater every day - in my anus.

  • We now have a man under Russian influence appointing people everywhere he can who are dismantling our system of government, government agencies, constitutional rights, and basically anything under the "common good" from arts funding to health care access.

    We're being dragged back to the "good old days" of robber barons and into a bold new era of corrupt foreign influence thanks to an alliance of racists, dominionists, terrified old people, nihilistic young people, and those who are so bitter and ignorant
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      And you'd fight for the little man by electing Hillary as president? Almost all GDP growth since the 1970s have gone to the richest, average people feel they're getting buttraped by the establishment. And they could either bite and claw the rapist or lube up and take it with as little pain as possible. Maybe it's ultimately stupid, futile and will make everything worse but they put Trump in office because the whole establishment told them it was Hillary's turn. It'll be an interesting four years but maybe a

  • The only 'implementation' of 'Net Neutrality' that is valid, is the one where no data packet gets prioritized or delayed any more than any other data packet. Pretending there's any other definition of 'net neutrality' is at best disingenuous.
    So far as the so-called 'investment' by ISPs is concerned, they're not 'investing', they're doing what they always have done: grossly 'overbooking' their network capacity, spin-doctoring advertised throughput speeds, and price-gouging everyone in the process, all in the
    • QoS is a necessary thing, you moron. Not all packets are the same.

      • So that somehow sets precedent making it okay for, say, Comcast to delay or throttle Netflix packets, or CBS streaming video packets, because they're a competitor? Or to charge an extra fee to consumers so that trottling or delay doesn't happen?
        • So that somehow sets precedent making it okay for, say, Comcast to delay or throttle Netflix packets, or CBS streaming video packets, because they're a competitor?

          Congestion at a border gateway obeys the law of net neutrality, for it is source agnostic.

          Or to charge an extra fee to consumers so that trottling or delay doesn't happen?

          Suppose I buy a 1Mbps down service from my ISP. Should I object to having to paying "an extra fee" (paying for 10Mbps) so that my streaming Netflix never buffers? The idea of paying more for a better Internet connection is not a violation of net neutrality, but that sure sounds like what you're saying.

        • Move the goalposts. QoS makes it necessary to prioritize some types of packets over others. Your proposal breaks the net.

          Allowing QoS under network neutrality, requires the government to micromanage exactly what is and isn't QoS. Can you say 'regulatory capture'? It's inevitable and bad.

          You realize that the real Comcast vs Netflix battle was about paying for colo space in Comcast's racks. Everybody involved knew that a hog like a big streaming service needs servers at big ISPs. Netflix wanted the space

        • It's not that no packet should be higher priority than another packet, but that no two packets of the same type are different priority. So a Comcast.com video would get the same QoS as a Netflix video over Comcast's lines even if a GMail packet is slowed down to let both of those video streaming packets go faster.

          The only exemption would be for network threats like spam or DDOS - and even then, you need to be careful that Comcast doesn't deem Netflix a "network threat" because people aren't paying more for

          • Comcasts servers sit on comcast's network. Netflix's servers will be slower for Comcast customers unless they put a server in Comcast's data center. That server spot should _not_ be free to Netflix.

  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:32PM (#53947273)

    Net Neutrality calls Ajit Pai "a mistake". I'm with Mr. Neutrality on this one!

    uncertainty is the enemy of growth

    Unchecked growth is a cancer - it needs a few more enemies. Besides, uncertainty favours innovation.

    Pai’s general philosophy is that the commission shouldn’t involve itself with basically anything unless there’s a huge market failure

    Umm... shouldn't you be trying to prevent "a huge market failure" Mr. Pai, rather than getting involved after the fact? Also, if you ask your constituents, (you know, the people whose interests you're supposed to protect - not to be confused with the corporations from whom you're currying favour), I'm pretty sure they'll tell you that the market is already in a huge state of failure.

    Ajit Pai - just another self-serving disaster on the American political scene.

    • No, you see "huge market failure" is now defined as "companies aren't making as much money as they could." If they kill Net Neutrality and other FCC rules, ISPs can spike their prices, sell our information, make even more profits, and the market will succeed! (He doesn't care about what happens to us so long as we're forking over those monthly ISP payments.)

  • What's he's mistaken about is that the Internet fundamentally operates on the principle of network neutrality. The net has been more or less neutral since it's inception. To call NN a mistake just shows that he's conflating NN and regulations trying to keep NN in place.

    Now, there's plenty of ways to screw up regulation. But we don't want the handful of consolidated ISPs to be allowed to tear down the neutral networks as they've been trying to do. I'd fully support any alternative choices for an ISP th

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whiskeyzulu ( 2505002 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @01:50PM (#53947425)
    Random Citizen Calls FCC Chairman a 'Mistake'
  • Protecting customers from the hell-bent drive of ISPs to obtain the maximum profit from their monopolies and duopolies may cause some uncertainty for those ISPs. Uncertainty is why the CEOs and other executives are paid the big bucks - to navigate through the uncertainties.

    .
    Is it the responsibility of the FCC to maximize the profits of ISPs?

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:32PM (#53947835) Journal

    out of the mouths of trash appointed by our faux president.

  • An entity can sell bandwidth or content, not both.

    Any QoS or other throttling must be done by class of data (e.g., email, HTTP, RTP streaming) rather than by content provider favoritism. So for example Google vs Bing is a content issue, and an ISP should not be able to favor one search provider over another, but could favor streaming video over HTTP generally.

    Bandwidth and data caps can apply as necessary, but need to be honestly metered and reported to customers (so as to allow, e.g., a parent to figure ou

  • It's really moot anyway, what little net neutrality rules we had were barely being enforced, rather obviously.

    Prepare yourselves for the tiered internet!

    Since the Government basically wants to disengage from the issue, guess we as consumers will have to vote with our wallets. Let's hope sanity prevails, against all odds.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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