John Oliver: Stop Calling It Net Neutrality; It's 'Preventing Cable Company F**kery'

from the a-bit-more-on-target dept

In last night’s John Oliver show (technically “Last Week Tonight”), his “top story” was all about net neutrality. This is both surprising (because the issue has received little mainstream attention) and awesome, because it needs much more mainstream attention.

Not surprisingly, it’s both insightful and hilariously funny. He mocks how the FCC has made the issue sound incredibly boring. He mocks telco industry lawyers claiming it’s “not about fast lanes and slow lanes” but “fast lanes and hyperspeed lines.” Oliver summarized that quote simply as “bullshit.” He shows this graphic of Netflix’s speed on Comcast before and after it agreed to pay up, and directly compares it to a mafia shakedown. He highlights how the broadband companies (though he unfortunately lumps telco companies in as “cable companies”) have basically bought off Washington DC, amusingly comparing an FCC run by a former lobbyist regulating the cable industry to an Australian couple hiring a dingo to babysit.

And, finally, he has an amusing call to action for “internet commenters” who he suggests have been training their whole lives for this moment, when the FCC has asked people for comments on its proposal. It’s just too bad he pointed them directly at the confusing site, rather than the EFF’s much better interface at

Either way, it’s great to see Oliver take on this issue in an amusing way — and hopefully it will spur more people to speak up on the issue.

Filed Under: , , , , , , ,
Companies: at&t, comcast, time warner cable, verizon

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Comments on “John Oliver: Stop Calling It Net Neutrality; It's 'Preventing Cable Company F**kery'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Looks like they may be getting swamped. This is the link now.

Hibernate operation: Cannot open connection; uncategorized SQLException for SQL [???]; SQL state [null]; error code [0]; weblogic.common.resourcepool.ResourceLimitException: No resources currently available in pool ecfs to allocate to applications, please increase the size of the pool and retry..; nested exception is weblogic.jdbc.extensions.PoolLimitSQLException: weblogic.common.resourcepool.ResourceLimitException: No resources currently available in pool ecfs to allocate to applications, please increase the size of the pool and retry

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Looks like they may be getting swamped. This is the link now.

I’d say that was very much on purpose. A design feature, not a failure.

During the hot topic time, all those people don’t get heard. As soon as the heat of passion dies down and the lines go back to normal, they can surface and report far, far, fewer people had an issue with this change the FCC wants. See?? No problem at all.

And here is the government office in charge of broadcast, public utilities, and communications, unable to serve the needs of it’s own customers. How friggin’ convenient.

Anonymous Coward says:

since when has a former employee of any industry become the head of an industry/company and NOT leaned heavily in the favorable direction of his former employees? apart from showing exactly what was wanted by the industries concerned, and those wants coming to fruition, it shows as well exactly who is pulling Obama’s chains, and why Wheeler got the job!! with the number of mails, complaints, suggestions and fears of what was going to happen if he went the way he wanted, Wheeler then ignored everything and everyone, preferring to still go down the road he had every intention of traveling all along! looking at things from the other side, which seems to have died a death since it happened, is the ruling that came down to remove net neutrality in the first place. it certainly makes me extremely suspicious that this whole debacle was an elaborate set up from the beginning!!

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: Conflict of Interest

The problem there is called ‘regulatory capture’. The majority of the people interested and qualified for the regulatory jobs are people who either worked in the industry before or people who the industry would, even without the government job on their resum?, be interested in hiring. After an agency has existed for a few years, many of its members will be former members of the regulated industry.

It’s a problem but, unless the government tries to prohibit individuals from taking certain jobs after their government service is complete (which would be of questionable legality), I don’t know how to fix the issue.

David says:

Cannot open connection

Conveniently, the FCC site is lovely down. No can comment, Tarzan. It’s not like the FCC is going to pay attention anyway. There’s a history of this sort of thing. It’s Thank You For Your Comments (those of you who got through), now we’ll get on with what we were planning to do all along.

Maybe there’s some hope. Maybe if there’s enough flood, they can’t ignore it. But they don’t have an incentive to increase the capacity of their system. They know this direction doesn’t serve the customers, the people, the startups, etc. Exactly the point.

GMacGuffin (profile) says:

Cox Cable Apparently Clueless

/* begin bitching

I was surprised last week to get an email from my broadband provider Cox telling me that for an extra $5/month I can get even faster broadband! Yay.

I’m already paying an extra $10/month for “Premium” access but I checked it out anyway. The new offer is really about $10-12 more per month (liars), and offers download speeds of ‘up to’ 50Mbps (I had routers in 1999 that could handle more than that).

I was too put out to determine whether they are slowing down my Premium speeds, or just offering a third tier of even higher not-very-fast speeds for a higher, misrepresented sum.

Other broadband options available?: None to speak of.

In light of current issues – tackiness threshhold has been surpassed.

/* end bitch

Asok says:

The call to use is worse than useless. It makes people think they are doing something useful. But the FCC can Tom Wheeler can just easily ignore them.

Use the old fashioned telephone. Talk to the FCC. Tie up their phone lines. Much more useful than making comments on their website.

Use the script here:

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The call to use is worse than useless. It makes people think they are doing something useful. But the FCC can Tom Wheeler can just easily ignore them.

I disagree. The comment period matters tremendously. There’s a political game being played here. There is a very decent chance that Wheeler is actually interested in reclassification, but knows it’s politically untenable. If the FCC is ABSOLUTELY FLOODED with pro-reclassification comments, he can turn around and make the political argument that the public absolutely wants it.

i.e., the comment period is an opportunity to give him political cover to make the politically untenable… tenable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I agree. It’s like SOPA. All the politicians took all the lobbying money and thought everything was just going to sail right through like business as usual, until the public showed up and told them to hold the phone. Then they couldn’t drop support for it fast enough. Same thing. Lot’s of commentary, loud and often, can make a difference.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What Lars said. There is no substantial backlash against any of those things. There was substantial backlash against the war, but it was counterbalanced by the unprecedented propaganda campaign that fired up the extreme, violent nationalists in the US. Even there, though, you can see their fear by looking at the amount of time, effort, and lying that went into countering the opinion.

JohnG (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

but classifying broadband to a public utility won’t fix the underlying issue – regional monopolies which largely prevent competition.

If Comcast had a serious competitor or two in areas you’d see that if they started shaking down Netflix or throttling them, their competitor could use such actions in their own marketing to steal customers. There you go – problem solved without additional government

Ingrid Phillips says:

Re: Solution to Internet's High Cost

Hi ~ I was looking for a tweet from a tech person who put a name (can’t find it) to using ? (something) instead of paying high prices for cable. Don’t want to go to DSL & haven’t had luck w/DirectTV. Remember those horrible days of dialup. I have a VOIP w/ooma (not premium) so don’t pay for any long distance calling.
Thanks for your insights,

skeptacular (profile) says:


Hello, I am a professional fucker. With merely some earthy malfeasance and a fucker’s wheel, I create fakery with my own two hands. Useful around the house, yet praised as fine art too, fuckery is really coming into its own in the 21st Century, and I’m here to teach you how you can make fine fuckery too. For pleasure, commerce, or to make your own statement, learn fuckery and you can call yourself a fucker too!

Jerry Hall (profile) says:

Net Neutrality FCC comment section broken/down/Useless?

Um, why is each link on the FCC page broken – when one is trying to comment on the Net Neutrality measure?

Well, that’s if you got past not including the www will take you to a broken link as well (i.e. doesn’t work).

Try these links:


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