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Net Neutrality Goes Down in Flames as FCC Votes To Kill Title II Rules (arstechnica.com) 420

As we feared yesterday, the rollback of net neutrality rules officially began today. The FCC voted along party lines today to formally consider Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scrap the legal foundation for the rules and to ask the public for comments on the future of prohibitions on blocking, throttling and paid prioritization. ArsTechnica adds: The Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 today to start the process of eliminating net neutrality rules and the classification of home and mobile Internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposes eliminating the Title II classification and seeks comment on what, if anything, should replace the current net neutrality rules. But Chairman Ajit Pai is making no promises about reinstating the two-year-old net neutrality rules that forbid ISPs from blocking or throttling lawful Internet content, or prioritizing content in exchange for payment. Pai's proposal argues that throttling websites and applications might somehow help Internet users.

Net Neutrality Goes Down in Flames as FCC Votes To Kill Title II Rules

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:45PM (#54442271)
    Feels like we've had a lot of those lately.
  • Internet Treason. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:45PM (#54442273)

    The internet was NOT invented for ISP profitability. Fuck this treasonous noise.

    • The internet was NOT invented for ISP profitability. Fuck this treasonous noise.

      Of course it wasn't. It was created orignally for use by the U.S. Military. Later, University campuses were linked into it. It wasn't until the 90's that the general public was given a way to access it.

      One of my General Rules applies here: The surest way to ruin a good thing is to get too many PEOPLE involved in it.

    • In Trumpermica, extortion IS innovation.

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @03:11PM (#54443615)

        A quick Google search turned up this article from 2015 stating that the internet at the time was 6 percent of the us economy. I don't know if that number's right, and even if so, the percentage is probably higher now. But my point is that, without Net Neutrality, it would be nowhere near as big. In fact, it might not have beaten out the likes of Compuserve and MSN, which had pretty much zero effect on the overall economy.

        So to the extent that the Internet is a major engine of the growth Republicans always seem to point to as their magic bullet to justify any and all of their policies - they have just blindly asserted that "we've had all the innovation we need, thank you - it's time for the toll collectors to cash in".

        https://www.usnews.com/news/bl... [usnews.com]

    • by UPZ ( 947916 )
      Since this rule change will affect all Americans for the next couple of years, I thought I'd check our watchdog news agencies to see which one of them has front page coverage:
      - Washington Post: No
      - NY Times: No
      - CNN: No
      - Fox News: No
      - Breitbart: No
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:45PM (#54442275)

    These are crimes against humanity... some day there will be a reckoning

    • by gangien ( 151940 )

      It must be nice to be able to say views you don't agree with are 'crimes against humanity'. I wish my conscious didn't make me attempt to be intellectually honest.

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:47PM (#54442285) Journal
    If it isn't crystal-clear to everyone by now, let me state the obvious for your benefit: The FCC, which apparently is in the hip pocket of ISPs and wireless companies, does not give a flying fuck about what the citizens of the U.S. actually want the Internet to be, all they care about is being Good Little Doggies for their corporate patrons. On the other hand the Baby Boomer generation will probably love it; the Internet will likely become like a larger version of AOL.
    • I don't think this is entirely about money talking. Yes, the ISP lobbyist forces are powerful - but until recently they could only stall in court. What's changed is the political environment - a new ideology dominates now, one which holds that all forms of regulation are inherently bad and the free market is always a force for good.

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @01:12PM (#54442533)

        All forms of regulation are bad, if you're a billionaire looking to keep the spigot flowing. The second part of your statement is wrong, however. No one involved here wants a free market. Free markets allow competition. They want monopolies without government oversight. That's all.

        • Wrong. Free markets allow competition right up until one player swallows enough of the competition to become a monopoly. Then you're completely screwed without regulation to break up those monopolies. Ma Bell, anyone?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Dog-Cow was not wrong, your interpretation of his statement was wrong.

            "Free Market" does not mean "unregulated market." It means "open to competition." Markets are "free" if competitors can easily enter or exit the market, adjust their prices, switch out their partners, etc. Sustaining such a market requires government intervention, for the very reason you gave.

            As soon as an unregulated market becomes dominated by a cartel or monopoly, it is no longer free.

            Is that clear? You are wrong in thinking that f

      • ..a new ideology dominates now..

        For the moment, and that moment appears to be fading fast. At the current rate things are developing, Trump will be removed from the White House long before the next election. The only real downside to that is we'll be stuck with Pence for the duration (or not?), and in many ways that'll be far, far worse than Trump; someone like Pence is more likely to try to turn the U.S. into an ultra-conservative theocracy. Imagine a Christian version of Sharia Law, but with Puritans in charge.

        Still, we could get l

    • > the Internet will likely become like a larger version of AOL

      Slight correction. The AMERICAN Internet. The rest of the world will route around the damage. Hell, I'm willing to bet a lot of future Internet startups will be setting up shop outside of the US for fear the lack of neutrality in the US would impede their growth, especially in any services that might compete with something cable companies are doing.

    • ...On the other hand the Baby Boomer generation will probably love it; the Internet will likely become like a larger version of AOL.

      Please don't generalize like that. I'm a Boomer, I HATE what's happened to the FCC, and I was sneering at AOL, (and using their CD's as coasters and Frisbees), when they were still new. And I know a lot of people my age with a similar outlook. Also, I'm sure there are lots of Xers and Millennials who are just fine with being spoon-fed what the corporations want them to eat. This isn't a generational issue.

    • More specifically, they want to be a Good Little Doggy for Verizon, by far the most anti-net-neutrality ISP, and the FCC is being led by a former Verizon lobbyist. "Drain the Swamp," LOL!

  • by orev ( 71566 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:49PM (#54442301) Homepage
    Corruption is the biggest thing our founders were worried about as a threat to our form of government. For years it has been getting worse and worse. We've finally reached the point of critical mass and are now in a snowball or thermal runaway type of situation where we cannot recover.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:55PM (#54442355)

      And, with Net Neutrality officially dead, they can steer you away from open websites where you might see free opinions, and towards their corporate gardens where there are no nasty alternate opinions.

      If you want to do at least something to stop this, stop using Facebook, any of the Disney sites (ABC,ESPN,etc.) and any others that no doubt will gain from this.

      NN would not really be an issue if Americans had meaningful access to more than one high speed internet service provider. We could "vote with our dollars." However, at this time, many of us have only two options. Vote for the single provider of service, or go without.

      • How about voting against Republicans. Then start voting for 3rd party candidates /after/ the Dems are in charge. Because the Dems fought /for/ net neutrality. As well as almost all other issues favoring the little guy and believing in science. But Reps have done everything from Citizen's United [wikipedia.org] to gerrymandering [washingtonpost.com], both the major factors that have brought us to where we are, finally getting rid of net neutrality which they are 99% responsible for.
    • by oic0 ( 1864384 )
      I don't see how it doesn't classify as treason. It's an obvious a betrayal of the citizenry.
  • Ignorant voters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:51PM (#54442327)

    This is what we get America. Voting largely along party lines or for religious reasons! You thought Trump wait till you see what Betsy Devos, Jeff Sessions, Scot Pruitt are going to do. I am hoping here the states will do the right thing and add some laws against this but I am not sure how much authority they will have. Also, state legislators are probably cheaper to buy anyway!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sadly, the opportunity to vote against the current cabal is being limited by them. In what will amount to a virtual return to the poll tax and literacy tests of old, the VP is heading a commission almost certain to find the non-existent voter fraud in order to justify extreme voter suppression (oops, I mean vetting) by requiring proof of citizenship for new voters, but nothing to assure that grandma is really the one filling out her mail in ballot, and certainly not scrubbing them from the voter lists.

      Thei

    • Re:Ignorant voters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @01:05PM (#54442459)

      No this is the fault of having a 2 party system. You have to buy into the whole package, or the other whole package. There is no sane option.

      • Re:Ignorant voters (Score:5, Insightful)

        by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @01:15PM (#54442567)

        While I am agree to your comment, I am still amazed by the extent of Republican corruption this year. And yes, the DNC had their share too but it pales compared to whats going on now with the power structure on Republican side with the Healthcare bill, the budget and scandals etc!

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The Republicans made a Faustian bargain and put their hat in with Trump to gain favor with a good 30% of the voter base that unshakably believes everything the far-right media pushes.

          Much to their their horror, it worked.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Problems with First Past the Post Voting Explained [youtube.com] by CGP Grey illustrates the issues very clearly. The system we have is fundamentally broken; it will always devolve into two parties, neither of which represent the people.

    • by DaHat ( 247651 )

      I know, right? After 8 years of so many here being just fine with someone ruling with a pen & a phone, I'm happy now that more and more people are suddenly worried about an all powerful central government.

      Have you talked to your local rep about an Article V convention? If not, you should: http://www.conventionofstates.... [conventionofstates.com]

      Given that elections have consequences, shouldn't we work to reduce the risk from either side having enough of a majority in DC to ram through what they want?

    • If sites like Pandora or Youtube need to pay premiums for adequate performance over your Comcast or Verizon or whatever line, expect them to make you watch more ads to make up for it.

      The long-running excuse is that the "people" don't even know what net-neutrality is, much less what it's valuable. Now they'll learn... free stuff on the Internet will get scarce, or will be delivered at crap speeds while your provider pushes their own affiliated entertainment package (with a fee), the only content that's reli

      • If Comcast were to selectively throttle traffic from Youtube, Amazon, Pandora, etc., to their customers, there would be actual contractual issue that could be settled in court - either between the website and Comcast (if they buy transit from Comcast), OR ISP that the website buys transit from and Comcast.
        Pair peering agreements tend to include requirements that the payee does not interfere with the traffic of the payor unless it exceeds the paid limits, is being used to facilitate crime, etc.
        Same with sett

        • by fnj ( 64210 )

          if Comcast does decide that they are going to selectively throttle traffic

          What do you mean, "if", Kemosabe?

    • and their health care. Trump ran a populist campaign with big promises for people kicked out of the middle class by globalism. If you're an ex-auto worker in Detroit or a laid off coal miner in Ohio you don't give a flying fark about Net Neutrality. You're making $9/hr at Walmart and/or McDonald's. You want you're $30/hr Union job back, and Trump promised that.

      Hilary ignored the swing states at her peril. She only shifted left when it was clear Bernie would win if she didn't. She's was always a terrible
      • Yes and No. Hillary was an awful candidate no doubt but a lot of people still voted for her because she was better than the alternative lunatic candidate. Regarding the people being ignored I think partly those people also rejected a lot of progressive policies over the years via electing Republican governors, state legislators etc. Hate goes both ways.
        And the fact that Trump told them all they wanted to hear should not have been enough for them to vote for him. On top of that the vitriol he spewed over his

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:52PM (#54442329)

    From a system designed to ensure information flows no matter what... to a system designed to ensure selected information flows at a rate determined by your wallet.

    Another change to America that will squeeze the 99% for the enrichment of the 1%, sold with the lie that they're doing it for the exact opposite reason.

    You know, I'm not big on class warfare but at some point you have to realize that your society is going to shit if its primary focus is to benefit a small subset of the population to the detriment of the majority.

    • Could the big content providers (Netflix amazon spotify etc) band together to create a separate company that provides local VPN jumping on points right in front of the regional caches these providers all have? The isps could retaliate by throttling encrypted traffic but that will affect many businesses who will vote for isps with their wallets because they unlike us do have a choice.

    • From a system designed to ensure information flows no matter what... to a system designed to ensure selected information flows at a rate determined by your wallet.

      Right, because government regulation is always good?

      Can any of the Chicken Littles provide any evidence of their fears actually coming true? I keep hearing about how ISPs will block access to sites, or slow your connection down, but can anyone show this actually happening?

      If you want to fight something, fight the government supported cable monopoly.

    • You know, I'm not big on class warfare

      An analysis of class warfare may find that it exists... that the upper classes are pushing on the lower ones, but using all the communication tools at their disposal to hide the fact that the battles exist, therefore making what actually is a counterpunch look like the initial punch. Witness the current fight over the ACA/AHCA. A billionaire pushing health care cost reform with the help of other millionaires to remove health care from some poor folks. Why? The rich f

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @12:57PM (#54442371)

    Whelp, now there exists a new revenue stream - a stream of income that stock holders will DEMAND be exploited maximally.

    That new income source: Asking for payments for premium treatment from uploaders.

    I expect that this will get rather messy - as the financial motivations will likely upturn a lot of agreements between large networks, and the viability of many valued companies.

    But, this IS what contributors paid for, so this is what they get, apparently.

    Ryan Fenton

  • Two can play. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @01:00PM (#54442397)

    Pay your ISP bill in increments of 0.01, preferably by paper cheque. Automation makes this easy. Offer to pay in 0.25 increments for a 'small fee', or randomize the increments. Insist on a paper bill showing all payments.

    Include the following on your voicemail: "If this call drops or has lag, this is because ISP is possibly throttling packets. Please offer to pay ISP more money and hope for better service.

    Throttle incoming connections from the ISPs ad servers. Setup a pi-hole for ads.

  • The internet itself will now quickly become a monopoly, since AmaGooBookTubeSoft can pay enough money to silence everyone else by effectively just shouting far louder than they can even afford to.

    Also any political or SJW groups can now totally block any/all alternatives to their myopic world views just by paying the ISPs.

    No doubt MPAA/RIAA/Hollywood are already chomping at the bit to be able to block any/every site they feel like in another gross abuse of power.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Thursday May 18, 2017 @01:07PM (#54442477) Homepage

    You know, it's funny. 10 years ago I would be right there with you folks, panicking and hyperventilating ( well, drinking a beer and grousing anyway. We all cope in our ways, don't judge )..but if the years have taught me anything, it's to appreciate opportunity when it comes along.

    Had I my own way, my and other's lives would be infinitely better with virtually no downside. However, the world doesn't work like that ( shocking, I know ). Once I stopped fighting it, I realized that despite it's broken nature, the world still manages to push forward to society's benefit ( though most refuse to acknowledge that ). Set backs are sometimes needed to make leaps forward, and sometimes "set backs" are only considered such because individuals lack the vision to find the opportunity.

    So relax; breath. Trust in yourself and find the opportunities presented. You, and society, will be fine, I promise.

    • 18 months ago (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @01:20PM (#54442637)

      Obama's Net Neutrality is only 18 months old. Before that, was it so bad? During it, was it better?

      Here's what I'm REALLY angry about - these goddamn local monopolies. Of I have choice of a shit sandwich (AT&T) or a dick up the ass (Comcast).

      I am paying $49/month for 1.5Mbps DOWN and .25Mbps up. Really AT&T? I could get better by signing up with Xfinity if and ONLY if I get one of their "packages". But Internet only? Nope, don't offer that in your area. (I didn't realize that they have to run a separate cable for internet only and it's a real burden on them. /s)

      • Re:18 months ago (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @02:23PM (#54443183) Homepage Journal

        THIS is the real problem.

        We need to fight against regulations (which benefit established players but prevent new comers) and court system abuse. If anything regulation and protectionism has enabled the mess we have with limited ISP choice.

        I don't care if there's zero regulation on neutrality, if we get the protectionism out of the picture and new companies are allowed to compete we the people will vote with our wallets. We will have net neutrality for the same reason we no longer have obnoxious roaming charges and long distance charges are a thing of the past (at least within the country). Someone offered a better product and people began switching to it forcing everyone else to fall in line. Right now protectionism and lawsuit abuse keep that someone else from popping up.

        • if we get the protectionism out of the picture and new companies are allowed to compete we the people will vote with our wallets

          The last-mile infrastructure that connects to your house is the expensive part of competing. ISPs are bordering on a natural monopoly.

          We have a good solution with the electrical grid. You have one connection to your house, but you can buy electricity from a variety of providers.

          We could easily install fiber at the municipal/county level and allow ISPs to connect at a central office to provide peering/routing out to the rest of the world. And, of course, I mean "easily" in the technical sense only. The polit

      • Remember when Comcast was throttling Netflix? That really was something that actually happened until Netflix paid up.

        Did it cost more to host netflix content on Comcast? No it didn't - because it was being delivered via a peering provider. The only reason Comcast was doing that was because Netflix cuts in on their own streaming services and cable subscriptions.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I'm less concerned about the decision than what it shows about the power of our voice as US citizens.

      Then again we did elect most of those people.

    • I can't remember where I first heard this idea, but people panicking over things like this is closely related to their political ideology and worldview.

      For Liberals and Progressives, they're always fighting to push forward, to progress. They view human existence as a series of events that push us ever forward as a global society to an eventual Utopia. Things were always worse in the past and will always be better in the future. Any impediment, disagreement or setback to their agenda is thus viewed as "t

  • So Netflix can either pay Spectrum a ton of money or they can put a pop up on their website for all Spectrum customers saying "Your ISP is slowing down this connection artificially. If you want higher quality streaming, switch to a different carrier."
    Gee, I wonder which route they'll take. Let the name and shame parade commence.
    • That is, admittedly, a comfort. Certainly the ISPs use Netflix as a reason to use their higher speed services in their adverts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That statement and those like it are misleading. Netflix's problem is that they were paying the cheapest "Tier 1" ISP to "dump" traffic to other "Tier 1" ISPs who refused to upgrade their side of the connections due to this asymmetric data flow. "Tier 1" ISPs want to keep traffic balanced, and upgrade links based on this.

      What people are asking for is like complaining that the highway system won't build enough roads to your warehouses and that there are traffic jams into the cities you want to ship to. Wh

    • Netflix was the bad guy in all of this. Unlike every other major streaming provider, they chose not to buy transit appropriate for their traffic numbers.

      There was no reason for traffic on the level that Netflix was generating to be entering the network of major ISPs via peer links. No one can ever show that Netflix, and only Netflix, was deliberately slowed down. What can be shown is that Netflix transit provider(s) either had their settlement free links dropped due to long term traffic imbalances, OR th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Internet is soon going to be like Cable TV you have to choose your internet package

    Basic
    Economy
    Premium

    • It's already that way.

      My ISP has different packages, some with metered use, some without, and different speeds for each.

      In fact, the first time I signed up for DSL back in 1999 I had similar options.

    • Every single internet provider I've ever had has had multiple tiers of connection. Primarily this affected bandwidth, but there are sometimes other "value adds" that I often make no use of in the higher tiers. With Charter I'm in the middle. There's a Gbps connection above my tier and a still double digit Mbps connection as a basic tier below mine. I'm on the 100Mbps middle tier.
  • I've said this before, but we can get it back. It does mean we're gonna have to vote for the kinds of politicians who support Net Neutrality. We had one, but we replace him with somebody from the other side 'o the tracks....
  • by zarmanto ( 884704 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @02:22PM (#54443173) Journal

    I'm a conservative, and even I believe that as things stand right now, this has the potential to be a huge mistake. However, if Pai wants to turn this into an actual good thing for consumers, he's going to need to go full-Monty on his proposals. To wit: don't just remove the restrictions, but also the protections which apply to telcos under Title II. Strip away the privileges held by telcos and cable companies alike, in the form of their protected monopolies. Maybe we could even reinstate a truly free market, by the elimination of all FCC policies, period. And then petition Congress to actually give the FCC the power to fully overrule any state or local restrictions, so that they can't blockade the free market, either.

    After all, that's pretty much the party-line mantra, at this point, isn't it? Liberals legislate everything to the point where it hurts, and conservatives eliminate legislation to the point where it hurts. So then, do it, Pai. Eat your own dog food.

    Of course, maybe Pai's argument would be that if he actually went too far down that path, than the telcos and cable companies would sue... but the thing is, at this point they're always suing over anything that is even remotely pro-consumer. If they're not suing the FCC after the dust clears, then clearly there's something wrong. So why the hell not?

    Come on, Pai. Let's do this thing!

  • "That's a nice web site you have, it would be a shame if something happened to your packets. For a reasonable fee we can make sure they arrive in good shape."
  • The FCC is part of the executive branch.

    Meaning, of course, that they execute the rules (laws) established by Congress.

    In the absence of such rules, the executive office is free to write its own rules.

    Ergo:
    Stop returning 95% of incumbent congressfucks and elect representatives that will simply pass a law making 'net neutrality' a thing.

    Can't do it, or can't convince at least 51% of the electorate (or, in reality, only about 30%) to agree with you and actually vote? Then it must be not such a big deal.

  • does that not mean ISPs would no longer be under liability protection and be able to turn a blind eye to the data that crosses their networks? If they inspect the data traffic, and throttle the rate of some packets vs others, are they not signing up for being liable for illegal or copyrighted content that traverses through their switches?

    Or is this they get to keep the Title II protections but do not have to abide by any of the specified regulations? In which case we have just fundamentally altered what "co

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