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ISP Disclosures About Data Caps and Fees Eliminated By Net Neutrality Repeal (arstechnica.com) 281

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission forced ISPs to be more transparent with customers about hidden fees and the consequences of exceeding data caps. Since the requirements were part of the net neutrality rules, they will be eliminated when the FCC votes to repeal the rules next week. Ars Technica reports: While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing to keep some of the commission's existing disclosure rules and to impose some new disclosure requirements, ISPs won't have to tell consumers exactly what everything will cost when they sign up for service. There have been two major versions of the FCC's transparency requirements: one created in 2010 with the first net neutrality rules, and an expanded version created in 2015. Both sets of transparency rules survived court challenges from the broadband industry. The 2010 requirement had ISPs disclose pricing, including "monthly prices, usage-based fees, and fees for early termination or additional network services." That somewhat vague requirement will survive Pai's net neutrality repeal. But Pai is proposing to eliminate the enhanced disclosure requirements that have been in place since 2015. Here are the disclosures that ISPs currently have to make -- but won't have to after the repeal:

-Price: the full monthly service charge. Any promotional rates should be clearly noted as such, specify the duration of the promotional period and the full monthly service charge the consumer will incur after the expiration of the promotional period.
-Other Fees: all additional one time and/or recurring fees and/or surcharges the consumer may incur either to initiate, maintain, or discontinue service, including the name, definition, and cost of each additional fee. These may include modem rental fees, installation fees, service charges, and early termination fees, among others.
-Data Caps and Allowances: any data caps or allowances that are a part of the plan the consumer is purchasing, as well as the consequences of exceeding the cap or allowance (e.g., additional charges, loss of service for the remainder of the billing cycle).

Pai's proposed net neutrality repeal says those requirements and others adopted in 2015 are too onerous for ISPs.

ISP Disclosures About Data Caps and Fees Eliminated By Net Neutrality Repeal

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  • Here it comes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mindragon ( 627249 ) * on Thursday December 07, 2017 @08:37PM (#55699269) Journal

    $0.99 / month internet!

    (gets bill)

    $0.99 Monthly Internet
    $9.99 Facebook access fee
    $9.99 Google access fee
    $19.99 Slashdot access fee
    $29.99 Porn access fee
    $45.00 $1.00 per gigabyte fee. 45gb used
    $9.99 Convenience fee
    $5.00 Bill print fee
    $5.00 Electronic payment fee
    --------
    135.94 due now or we cut you off.

    • And don't forget, ICMP traffic and incoming connections to port 25, as well as all encryption and swarmstreaming traffic is blocked because only pirates use that stuff.

      • This is why various VPNs will work well. Get a pipe to the EU, where data neutrality is (today) somewhat assured. Rinse, repeat.

        • The parent suggested that encryption would be blocked.

          While numerous forms of encryption are utilized on the net, when I see the term used in a manner such as the parent, I assume VPN. Encryption is a big part of how a VPN operates, as well as why it is used.
          • This is going to shock you. The Internet is transmitted 100% in ASCII, at least the data payload is. Tell me, are they going to watch every stream, every UDP and TCP relationship, and check to see if it looks like it might be encrypted? Chop up a Netflix movie using a packet cap. Chop up a VPN data stream, same method. Tell me you can tell or characterize the difference.

            • I only ever view it in EBCDIC - it all looks encrypted to me.
        • Re:Here it comes... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mark-t ( 151149 ) <(markt) (at) (nerdflat.com)> on Friday December 08, 2017 @01:52AM (#55700105) Journal
          You can't exactly tunnel through VPN if your ISP won't let you route anything to IP addresses that are not expressly whitelisted and your VPN's IP is not on that whitelist.

          I highly doubt that ISP's that are going to go along with this are going to care that it breaks the internet for almost everybody that doesn't just use whatever the most popular internet flavors happen to be be.

    • Well, only in US of A.

      Besides, internet being what it is, this will open all kinds of new business ventures that circumvent these extra fee's.

      It's yet another stupid thing that will fall flat on it's face eventually.
    • Re:Here it comes... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @10:09PM (#55699589)

      Centurylink did something similar to this to me when I was on their gigabit fiber service:

      Advertised price is $79.99
      Modem rental fee $15 (there is no modem, just an ethernet drop into my apartment)
      Internet Cost Recovery Fee $15 (uhhh....?)
      Taxes and government fees $20 (Complete bullshit because the government legally cannot charge any taxes here; the other ISP, Cox, doesn't charge you any taxes unless you get cable TV, this is literally just a number they pulled out of their ass.)

      Whats worse is if I didn't complain to the FCC at the time, it would have been much higher because for my apartment, they were charging $50 higher than the advertised price. Anyways, after I got my first bill I just canceled it and went back to the base 40/10 package, which was free with my rent. I complained about how they didn't even provide gig service for the first half of the month either (it took them a while to adjust it) and they just ended up not charging anything.

      I think that fat fuck Ajit Pai just misses the good ol' telecom monopoly days. Fuck him.

    • If they do publish fees or caps then in principle the FTC can hold them to it. Thus all a competitor needs to do is to say that Comcast's average fee is over $100 a month. They can let that be the regining belief or they can publish their own rates.

      • Every states has a deceptive practices laws, hidden fees and data caps fall under deceptive practices. ISPs won't be hitting you with data overages fees that aren't known or other hidden fees.

        • by trg83 ( 555416 )
          While those laws exist in fact in many jurisdictions, I would not be at all surprised to see the FCC claim that their exclusive jurisdiction over telecom means that state laws can't be applied to telecom, even for the purposes you describe.
    • 135.94 due now or we cut you off.

      That's when I disconnect the modem, drive to Comcast's office, plop it down on the counter, tell them I'm cancelling service IMMEDIATELY, and demand a receipt showing I returned their equipment (and therefore have ZERO access to their 'service' anymore). I stand there and repeat "I AM CANCELLING MY SERVICE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY" until they STFU and process the cancellation, and give me my receipt for their modem. They can call the cops if they want and have me arrested, IDGAF, my one phone call will be to a

  • Ajit Pai... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 07, 2017 @08:43PM (#55699283)
    is really a blow-up doll for ISPs.
    • is really a blow-up doll for ISPs.

      That would imply they're blowing him when it's more apparent that he's blowing them, but I get your intent. Perhaps the Real Doll [realdoll.com] company can make a sex doll that looks like Ajit Pai?

  • Why do we stand it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @08:56PM (#55699327) Homepage Journal

    What the fuck is this? It's too onerous on ISPs to tell people the price of the product they're buying? HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO CHARGE PEOPLE IF THEY DON'T KNOW THE FUCKING PRICE? And it's too onerous for ISPs to tell people about data limits? REALLY? REALLY?

    Here's an idea: when the Democrats inevitably win, for once maybe instead of merely slightly going in the right direction, they actually go further and implement regulations that aren't just fair, but punish ISPs for lobbying for this bullshit.

    I mean: ISPs will be:

    1. Required to do free peering.
    2. Must provide, among other services, a basic FCC specified service at a set price with a fixed installation fee. Initially 1Mbps up/down for $10 a month with a $50 installation fee.
    3. Legally obliged to provide service within two weeks of any request in their designated service area, or face fines.
    3.1 Local governments specifically allowed by FCC to provide service to customers not any active ISP's service area. 4. Must tier service only by bandwidth and nothing else.
    4.1. No data caps or overages. Throttling only allowed to temporarily deal with network congestion and must not lead to worse service than the basic FCC mandated plan.
    5. Must not filter any traffic except for security purposes, and those filters should be under the control of the customer.
    6. Must allow customer to provide their own equipment, without additional charges.

    Yes, they'll howl. Yes, they'll probably donate millions to the GOP. But the Democrats wouldn't just implement this, they'd warn the ISPs that if they lobby the GOP to alleviate them, the vice will be tightened even further when the Democrats get back into power.

    The current FCC, thanks to lobbying, is telling ISPs they can hide the truth, hide things they know about. That's not acceptable. We need to go further than simply rolling that back, we need to punish those who ask for it.

    • by WolfgangVL ( 3494585 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @09:20PM (#55699435)

      Sounds great, feels good.

      But maybe 4 years later, maybe a decade... maybe more, the tables will again turn. Vengeance will swing the other way again.

      How about a real law instead? Like, the way it's supposed to be done. The reason we are in this mess in the first place is because the net neutrality rules had been put in place the wrong way. Screwing around with punishments and/or creating more "regulations" leads to the same place.

      Needs to be real law, worded strongly, enforceable, and done right. Not another stack of papers at the whim of whatever agency takes the torch.

      Anything less is just another stupid band-aid waiting for the next telecom lawyer.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @09:28PM (#55699457) Homepage

      What the fuck is this? It's too onerous on ISPs to tell people the price of the product they're buying? HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO CHARGE PEOPLE IF THEY DON'T KNOW THE FUCKING PRICE? And it's too onerous for ISPs to tell people about data limits? REALLY? REALLY?

      Much of Pai's reasoning seems to be "the market will take care of it", but the problem is that there is no real market pressure on ISPs. Most people have one, maybe two high speed, wired ISPs in their area. (A lot of people don't have any, but that's a slightly different problem.) Where I live, I have Charter. Verizon never expanded FIOS to my house so that's not an option and no other high speed, wired options exist. So if Charter decided to cap me at 5GB (a plan pre-merger Time Warner Cable floated not that many years ago), I wouldn't be able to do anything but continue to pay them or go without Internet. (The latter isn't really an option for a web developer.)

      Maybe if everyone had 10 different, competing ISPs to choose from, I could see removing many of the government regulations and ideally that's what I'd like to move towards. Until we get there, though, there's no reason why ISPs should be allowed to hide how much we'll really pay or when we'll be charged extra because we hit some invisible cap that they don't disclose.

      • Much of Pai's reasoning seems to be "the market will take care of it", but the problem is that there is no real market pressure on ISPs.

        While that's one issue, the bigger one is that one of the requirements for a market to function well is free flowing price information. Without that, how do actors make rational decisions? Even if we had 12 ISPs in every market, this is exactly the kind of step that makes it almost impossible for a customer to make a good choice.

      • Much of Pai's reasoning seems to be "the market will take care of it",

        Even the most ardent free-market supporter should agree that Pai's idea is bogus. Without accurate information, there can be no free market. If you can't price compare, there is no free market.

        That's ignoring the fact that for most people, there is a choice between two or less providers, which is obviously not enough for a free market.

        No, "the market" isn't Pai's reasoning. "the market" is merely cover for yet more crony-capitalism. I don

      • by TimothyHollins ( 4720957 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @06:37AM (#55700567)

        In Stockholm, Sweden, most apartments have somewhere 10-20 ISPs to choose from, with several different fiber nets available or within reach. Companies are not allowed to lock out the competition.
        The standard price for an up/down line of 100Mbit/100Mbit is (with VAT) around $18 per month ($15 without VAT) , no installation fee. That's with no caps or overages.

        While I don't know if the Swedish market can be directly translated into the American market, it does seem that opening up and lowering the barriers to entry would help with prices. That means regulating the crap out of the big corporations.

      • Much of Pai's reasoning seems to be "the market will take care of it", but the problem is that there is no real market pressure on ISPs.

        The market hasn't taken care of this in any industry or any country in the world. About the only places where consumers aren't hit by hidden costs are places where the law makes it illegal to do so.

        It is made worse in the USA by this absurd notion of not actually knowing what the general costs are in the first place. I mean I was completely blown away the first time I visited and I was fully prepared for the strange culture of tipping a certain percentage. But that I couldn't even buy a Marsbar for the adve

        • General sales tax is a known quantity to the locals it's very publicized each time it changes or could possibly change but it can be a surprise for someone visiting from outside the state or country. Some places don't have a sales tax on certain items so even traveling from state to state. If you are planing on making a large purchase (like purchasing a car from across state lines) you might want to look up the taxes first.

          Every state has a deceptive trade practices law some are different and though they ma

    • You're going to be stuck with this because businesses are going to want everything changing every time there's a change of government. It's not just net neutrality but health insurance (I can't say health care because all it did was make you buy insurance) and taxes (which also included a lot of other bad stuff such as drilling in ANWR, making getting your PhD a lot less easy). Then there's the stuff that Trump himself is doing with immigration, how he handles foreign crisis (including those of his making),

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      The point is that they don't charge people up front. It doesn't do much against folk who actually pay attention and do research, but there's a lot of people out there who will go for the lowest advertised price and by the time they realize they were swindled, they've already signed the contract (and often been using the service for a month because they don't discover this until their first bill rolls in at 3x or more what they expected.)

      Not advertising prices also lets these companies do even more unscrupu

    • by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @07:56AM (#55700749) Homepage

      Here's an idea: when the Democrats inevitably win

      If. A very big if. Roy Moore is a really big deal. If republicans can stomach a pedophile in their midst, they've obviously tossed the moral compass out the window. This could be a problem. It shows how desperate republicans and their supporters are. Dunno if you watch the news, but actual voters are saying to news folks, they literally would rather have Roy Moore despite his shortcomings over -any- democrat. This casting aside of morals is pretty alarming, and they're taking very effective tactics from Trump's campaign: Wage war against the media. Make it "US vs. THEM!" It's extremely unhealthy for our republic. And unfortunately, it's plucking just the right strings for the right. They could very well use these plays effectively in 2018 to crush the democrats again. We'll see, but after 2016, nothing is inevitable anymore. Nothing is for sure, not even outrage of this level.

      Roy Moore is a very important character to watch. If he picks up the seat in Alabama, we're in for a bumpy 2018. And nothing will be for sure until the fat lady sings at the end of the elections in Nov 2018. If Roy loses to Doug, it's a good sign that the left is organized and getting out the vote. They'll need to keep that organization and zest alive for a whole year. Meanwhile, Trump is making all of us very very tired.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        If republicans can stomach a pedophile in their midst

        Oh? Who's that?

        they literally would rather have Roy Moore despite his shortcomings over -any- democrat

        It's possible to acknowledge this without resorting to assuming guilt based on accusation.

        • "Unindicted pedophile, based upon the preponderance of evidence, Roy Moore" is a bit of a mouthful, though.
          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            It's also defamation. Prove it or shut the fuck up.

            Too many men getting their lives ruined by lying cunts making shit up and/or a lack of due process. Including elected politicians killing themselves because of how they've been treated.

            If he broke the law then he should be prosecuted and we can examine the evidence properly and impartially. Until then quit throwing accusations around.

            • Oh I do agree with you that he should be prosecuted, and that we do need to reach a phase where people trust said prosecutions enough not to overreact and demand resignations from anyone accused. But when discussing a theocrat that was kicked off the supreme court twice who locals kept an eye on at the mall, etc... its like finding a guy in a hoodie with a brace n bit and a wrecking bar in your back yard. Whether or not you have him dead to rights and the law catches up to him or he skates, he's still a s
    • 1. Required to do free peering.

      With anyone? No conditions? The devil is in the details. I need some justification. Do my customers want to get to your content above a level where it makes sense for me to peer with you? Do you run a decent network that isn't oversubscribed? Lets say $content provider traffic over your network is crap, lots of jitter, loss, whatever. I can also get $content providers traffic from someone else. If my customers use a lot of $content providers service, then I'm not peeri

  • God forbid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @08:59PM (#55699347) Homepage Journal

    That ISPs should have to meet the onerous requirement of stating price up front, just like every country store, gas station, and kid's lemonade stand has managed since forever.

    • Kid's lemonade store is about the only case in the USA where when you actually go to pay you will part with exactly as much money as was listed on advertisement.

      Gas station? Like the one where I bought a Marsbar for $1.20 and then was asked for $1.35 at the checkout?

    • Agreed. While we're at it, can we get medical and dental insurance companies to state up front, in ink, what they are and are not going to pay for, BEFORE any procedures/services are performed at the doctors office?

      Ajit Pai needs to get bone cancer or pancreatic cancer and die, soon. I'm surprised someone hasn't taken a shot at him already. He's literally going to ruin the Internet, do the exact opposite of what he claims to be doing. ISPs need to be regulated the same way that any other utility is regul
  • too onerous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @09:05PM (#55699377)

    Pai's proposed net neutrality repeal says those requirements and others adopted in 2015 are too onerous for ISPs.

    Too onerous to tell people exactly what they're paying for? If the ISPs can charge you for it, they can list it on the bill. Perhaps consumers should consider it "too onerous" to pay for things that aren't listed.

    • The problem is that most ISPs are monopolies or, at best, duopolies. If your ISP is the only one in town and they're finding it "too onerous" to be transparent about how much you'll pay or what your cap is, then you can't vote with your wallet and go elsewhere. Ideally, I'd like to see more competition in the ISP arena, but I'm not holding my breath on that happening anytime soon.

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )

      And what good is that going to do for us? Phone companies have been posting this crap all the time and no one even knows what the hell it means anymore. They'll just do the same thing.

      The market does need to take care of this problem, but the cities, states and the Feds need to stop protecting these ISP's and stop giving them exclusive rights to X area then, so real actual competition can happen. We wouldn't need net neutrality if these ISP's didn't have exclusive rights, allowing legal monopolies.

    • Then they cancel your service and pass your account to a collection agency and your credit gets destroyed.

      They win, they don't need your money, just your anecdote to others who will invariably obey rather than fact the consequences.

      I was reading a 1982 Nat Geo yesterday and there was a full page ad from Bell Company talking about why not to break up the monopoly.

      It was enlightening and very relevant to current times.

    • Perhaps consumers should consider it "too onerous" to pay for things that aren't listed.

      I'm already set for that, regardless of any 'consequences': https://yro.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org]
      I remember life before the Internet, and I got along just fine without it. It's been beneficial but I know better than to think it's a requirement for life to continue. I recommend everyone else be prepared to cancel their service if ISPs get too big for their pants, that's the best way to hurt them: hit them right in the revenues.

  • ...increasing a company's ability to manipulate and screw customers increases jobs, choice, and GDP.

    Anyone want to defend or deny this view of theirs? Go!...

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      It's nice we have caps to go with our breeches now.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @09:34PM (#55699481) Homepage

      It goes along nicely with their claim that cutting taxed on rich people and big corporations will result in more income and jobs for middle-class/poor even though many CEOs have come out and said they won't be using the tax cuts to open new jobs. The GOP has taken a flying leap away from reality.

      (This isn't to say that the Democrats are perfect. Right now, they are the saner party - which isn't saying much. I'd love for the GOP to be a good alternative to the Democrats, but they seem determined to take the party into more pro-big-business and anti-science areas.)

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "increasing a company's ability to manipulate"
      Once the NN regulations are removed and competition has again entered the ISP market consumers will be able read all about their new ISP plans.
      On their ISP site. A link from their ISP to the Commission.
      Full publicly available disclosures about new plans on easily accessible websites.
      In the past ISP got forced to comply with new federal NN regulations covering other fees, data caps and allowances.
      Thats billable lawyer hours that an ISP has to pass on to
  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @10:03PM (#55699573)

    "Pai's proposed net neutrality repeal says those requirements and others adopted in 2015 are too onerous for ISPs."

    Disclosing the full monthly price is too much of a burden?

    Explaining the penalty for exceeding data limits is bothersome?

    Fuck you Pai. You're nothing but a corporate shill whore. We should be dismissing you instead of you dismissing common sense.

    • Fuck you Pai. You're nothing but a corporate shill whore. We should be dismissing you instead of you dismissing common sense.

      Dismissing Ajit Pai? And here I was thinking we should throw him into an active volcano. ;)

  • meter compliance laws are needed like gas pumps or do you want to live in GOP land where they don't have a fair meter and can say you pumped 20 GAL in to a car that can only hold about 12-14 GAL so pay up now.

  • Check out pages 81-85.

    I've been advocated, for years, that the NN issue be pulled from the FCC and dropped in the lap of FTC and DOJ. (I even got a copy of my several-years-old paper on the subject into the hands of an FTC functionary, just after the election last year.)

    But I was under the impression that the FTC needed a new congressional authorization to exercise such power.

    According to THIS:
    - The reason they're currently blocked is that the FCC classed the Internet as a common carrier - and THIS

  • Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @03:51AM (#55700303)

    The issue is not NN but competition. We have an issue with monopolies because the government... local and state mostly grants exclusive franchise licenses to run cable to no more than two companies typically.

    that people presume to be surprised when abusive and monopolistic behavior occurs when you grant companies monopolies is baffling.

    You do not have the right to such ignorance. Grant right of way access to poles and conduits for third party last mile ISPs and all this NN stuff becomes irrelevant.

    Google is having a hard time running cable. That is how bad and how corrupt these franchise agreements are right now. And if google with all its resources is having a hard time then what chance does anyone else stand?

    Open up right of way or shut up. Nothing is going to liberate consumers and users and citizens and people from the oppression of monopolistic forces unless you break the monopolies at their heart. And that heart is the exclusive franchise agreements.

    Here some fool will say that such agreements are illegal. De Jura they are... De facto they're the law of the land. Try to run cable and see what I mean. You can't. Only former Bell Companies and TV Cable companies are running last mile cable. This isn't because other people don't want to run cable or can't afford to run cable or because there isn't a market. It is because if you try... you are denied.

    • by dwpro ( 520418 )
      Do you suggest the same for electric? water? Should we have 8 redundant pipes of every type running to every single house, only one of which would be active at a given time? This seems insane.
    • Incumbents can afford to lose money undercutting startups longer than startups can remain solvent. The incumbents are that big, and that evil, and that poorly regulated.
  • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdoTOKY ... e.com minus city> on Friday December 08, 2017 @06:56AM (#55700617) Homepage

    It's too onerous to explain the fees, but not too onerous to charge them? How ridiculous is that?

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