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Roku Has Hired a Team of Lobbyists As it Gears Up For a Net Neutrality Fight (recode.net) 85

Roku appears to be arming itself for the coming net neutrality war. From a report on Recode: The web video streaming and hardware company has plenty at stake as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to pull back rules that require internet providers to treat all web traffic equally. For Roku and others in the business, an end to the Obama-era protections could make it harder -- or, in some cases, more expensive -- to offer content or services to customers at top download speeds. That's why Roku has hired a pair of Republican lobbyists through an outside government-affairs firm, according to a federal ethics reports filed this week, specifically to focus on net neutrality. It's the first time the company has ever retained lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Many in the tech industry support the Obama-era FCC's net neutrality rules, which currently subject telecom companies to utility-style regulation. To Democrats, it's the only way to stop the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Charter or Verizon from blocking competing services or charging media companies for faster delivery of their content.
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Roku Has Hired a Team of Lobbyists As it Gears Up For a Net Neutrality Fight

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  • by fishscene ( 3662081 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @11:32AM (#54185435)
    "To Democrats, it's the only way to stop the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Charter or Verizon from blocking competing services or charging media companies for faster delivery of their content." Not just to Democrats - pretty much anyone who understands networks just how evil these non-competing, money-stealing, progress-inhibiting ISP's can be.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Solandri ( 704621 )
      Actually that really is the problem. The only solution that Democrats see is more regulation.

      All that needs to happen is to eliminate the government-granted monopolies in cable and DSL Internet service. Either allow multiple cable and phone companies to install lines in government-controlled easements; or award the line installation and maintenance to a single company and allow multiple cable/phone companies to run their service over the single line (this will probably be the optimal solution going forw
      • You do realize Marsha Blackburn is a Republican.
      • So what you are proposing is to replace regulation with more regulation?

        You propose deregulating the ISPs while adding regulation to the last mile service. And, let's be clear, without regulation, there will be no competition, because the last mile is a natural monopoly.

    • So switch to another ISP if yours is blocking or slowing your traffic. That's what a market-based solution would dictate.

      The real problem is that we have allowed ISP monopolies. I live in the third largest city in the United States and my only choice for Internet access via cable modem is Comcast. There are other cable providers in certain areas of town and for large multi-dwelling buildings, but only one choice in my neighborhood of single-family residences.

      If people had a choice of providers then the

    • this is why companies have been paying for CDN access for almost 20 years now. these days they also pay AWS. or is that evil too?

      who streams content across the internet without relying on akamai or one of the other CDN companies? Netflix has enough cash to finance their own CDN boxes and the routers

    • "To Democrats, it's the only way to stop the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Charter or Verizon from blocking competing services or charging media companies for faster delivery of their content." Not just to Democrats - pretty much anyone who understands networks just how evil these non-competing, money-stealing, progress-inhibiting ISP's can be.

      Right. Democrats.

  • Vertical integration results in monopolies (regional ones at least) and consumer abuse once the consumers no longer have reasonable alternatives to turn to.

    The carrier and the content provider can not be permitted to have agreements to suppress competition.

    Bits are bits, and while in the case of an Internet connection I think there's room for ISPs to enforce SPAM/botnet/DOS protection strategies, to provide generic tiered traffic (to say, minimize delay on real-time traffic over other types not so sensitive

    • Actually I'm surprised that the congress (or one side anyway) is even concerned about this net neutrality thing. They, collectively, are the reason Comcast, Verizon AT&T et.al are able to do this. By letting these corporations swallow up the smaller competition and becoming all but monopolies in their respective regions, they are responsible for creating this monster. Now they're concerned? Pfffttt... Crocodile tears.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @12:26PM (#54185781) Journal
    Far better would be for Twitter, Facebook, Apple, maybe even Microsoft, to invest in Google's fiber as well as SpaceX's Sat projects. In doing so, they can then expand the projects in HUGE ways and attack the companies that remove net neutrality.
    It would be cheaper and more certain than having GOPs do the right things.
  • by mtmiller100 ( 884473 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @12:32PM (#54185837)
    In this day and age, internet access is a public necessity, not a luxury. Because of this, I strongly believe ISPs should be regulated like utilities, like water, gas, and electricity.
  • If you rabid net-neut proponents don't watch it, we're going to end up with ISPs that bill by the byte.

    This is an incredibly common result of touchy-feely regulations. Remember the days when if your credit was good enough you could get a prime-plus-a-point-or-two credit card, and even with just ok credit you could get 10% or less? The CARD Act [aba.com] sent that the way of the dodo bird -- average introductory rates are now pushing 20% [wallethub.com]. Remember how Dick Durban was going to stick it to the banks by forcing them to

    • If they do that then the wired carriers will be competing with the metered wireless carriers, where there is more competition.
      • I don't think wireless and wired carriers are really competing in the same market segment such that they could meaningfully affect each others' pricing. Metered wireless carriers charge in the neighborhood of $5/GB or more. At that rate, my home broadband bill would be northward of $1k/month.

    • by spitzak ( 4019 )

      Yea, right, I'm sure a letter from the credit card companies is really believable. And even they had to insert this text before they started complaining about the evil guberment:

      "The CARD Act has provided consumers with significant benefits, among them the elimination (with
      few exceptions) of increases on interest rates on existing balances, whether the regular purchase
      interest rate or an introductory or promotional rate. These restrictions help consumers avoid surprises
      due to increases in their interest rat

      • Your quote has no bearing at all on my point, which was that credit card interest rates have skyrocketed in the same time frame that the prime rate has been at historic lows, after passing legislation that ostensibly was to benefit the little guy. Are you denying that, or are you just trying to distract?

    • Aha -- some reflexive mod found the -1, TruthHurts option. That certainly makes up for the utter lack of ability for anyone to cogently articulate what they think the real endgame will be -- can be -- to trying to regulate the latest act in the tragedy of the commons [investopedia.com].

  • The net non-neutrality problem is not technical, so the solution to isn't FCC rulemaking.

    The problem stems from two aspects of monopoly/cartel control of the market, so the solution is FTC, DOJ, and antitrust.

    The two aspects are:
      - Vertical integration of ISPs into conglomerates that make most of their money from selling "content" that can be transported over the internet. This gives them massive financial incentives to have their ISP divisions penalize services competing either with their entertainment divisions' online services on the same ISP, or their offline / on other ISPs marketing. Services competing with their own products are penalized unless they pay enough extra to more than make up for their impact on the profit from the conglomerate's own product. "No-neutrality" is one of the manifestations of this anti-competitive tie-in.
      - A limited number of competitors results in monopolistic / cartel levels of pricing and service. (The FCC historically considers two providers to be "competition" - though a minimum of three, and usually four or more, competitors are necessary before market forces have good effects on either prices or service levels.) On the service-level side, the incentive is to engage in "rent-seeking" by providing as little service as necessary and charge as much extra as possible, from whichever player can be soaked, for more than a token minimum. (If they don't like it, who will they go to?)

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