Verizon At Least Shows It Has A Sense Of Humor About Net Neutrality, Even If It's Incapable Of Respecting It

from the look-ma-I-made-a-funny dept

Sure, Verizon may be endlessly misleading when it comes to everything from the spectrum crunch to network investment. And when it comes to anti-competitive telecom behavior it wrote the book. Hell, Verizon's even in many ways directly responsible for this week's net neutrality ruling by suing to overturn the original flimsy net neutrality rules -- rules every other ISP had absolutely no problem with. But while you can say a lot of things about Verizon, you can't say the company doesn't have a sense of humor.

As you might expect, Verizon took to the company's blog to protest the FCC's new TItle II based net neutrality rules. Amusingly however, it posted the entire thing in Morse code -- piggybacking on the oft-repeated ISP mantra that applying older Title II regulations to broadband is a dangerous and historically backwards proposition (because all old laws are automatically bad laws, get it?).

If you look for a translation, you're further directed to a press release (pdf) that appears to be written on an old typewriter. In that, Verizon trots out ye olde bogeyman that the FCC is using "antiquated regulations" for a modern era:
"Today’s decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors."
Of course if we were to stop using laws just because they smell like mothballs, we'd be in for quite an adventure. After all, the Constitution is pretty old, right? As is the Communications Act of 1934 and the revamped Telecommunications Act of 1996, which govern spectrum allocation and without which Verizon couldn't function as a company. Stupid old laws. So unnecessary! It's an overly-simplistic argument, made more so by the fact that Verizon's FiOS network -- and the voice component of their wireless network -- are governed by Title II in some instances to glean Verizon some lovely tax breaks.

Verizon stumbles forth unabated, insisting that it has your best interests at heart:
"What has been and will remain constant before, during and after the existence of any regulations is Verizon’s commitment to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive broadband choices and Internet access when, where, and how they want."
Yes, so committed is Verizon to an open Internet, it has violated the principles of Internet and device neutrality more aggressively than perhaps any other company, whether that's trying to block GPS radio functionality unless you use their navigation software, or charging completely illogical fees to use basic functionality embedded in phones (like tethering, or Bluetooth). Verizon's also fairly insistent on ignoring the fact it was their lawsuit that pushed the FCC toward Title II in the first place, so if there's "regulatory uncertainty" at play, the lion's share of the blame belongs on Verizon's shoulders.

Still, you've got to hand it to Verizon for at least showing a sense of humor about the whole thing. That's more than Comcast or AT&T were capable of.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:03pm

    Copyright laws

    Verizon is correct. Old laws are bad laws. Think of how lenient and forgiving older copyright laws were. I sleep much better at night now knowing that my comments to Techdirt will be protected for at least 70 years after my death.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Hans, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:20pm

      Re: Copyright laws

      Verizon is correct. Old laws are bad laws.

      I agree. And that Constitution thing, it's so 1787, we shouldn't keep going back to those pesky amendments in the Bill of Rights either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:03pm

    We should throw out all old laws

    Perhaps the laws that say that people (such as Verizon execs) cannot be murdered should be thrown out -- they must be old, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:07pm

    Also Ironic.....

    Also ironic is the fact that they would have sent all this through a website to translate into morse code. Imagine how long that could have taken if there was fast and slow lanes of the internet? I assume the morse code translator site would end up in the slow lane as it wouldn't have the funds to pay for fast lane access and besides it's not very important as nobody wants to use morse code anymore.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:18pm

    Verizon's only complaining because they didn't send us back to the 1930s themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:39pm

    Another corporate hissyfit, gnashing their teeth and crying tears of rage over the fact that they don't have a Bush in office to rubberstamp more price gouging.

    "If only Romney had been elected!" cries the CEO, sobbing his tears into his lobster and caviar dinner as he sips his champagne. "Then I'd be able to wallet-rape consumers with this 'fast-lane' internet shit!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:56pm

    Sorry, my super innovated forward thinking futuristic ad-infused tiered capped data internet package doesn't have the Throwback bundle on it, so I'm unable to read Verizon's snark.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:01pm

    Antiquated rules for what would be antiquated Internet if not for the antiquated rules. Sounds about right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:17pm

    I read this as: "The Gilded Age called. And they're _still_ ticked at Teddy Roosevelt's trust-busting."

    If innovation had been left up to the phone company, we'd all be learning Morse Code in school.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:22pm

    Regulations

    Let's not forget that, without regulation, we still would not be able to connect a modem (or any phone other than one from the incumbent phone company) to any phone line.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:49pm

    Still kinda reeling that Tech Crunch supports *more* regulation of the Internet...seriously...up is down...black is white...common sense is dead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:46pm

    Wait, what? You mean old laws don't automatically become bad because they're several decades old? Karl, I think you missed the TD meeting. Mike and Tim have made it clear to us readers that the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are stupid because they were written in the 80s, back when dinosaurs and Molly Ringwald roamed the earth. Get with the program, Karl!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike Soja, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:45pm

    Verizon is right...

    ... though probably for the wrong reasons.

    One hundred years filled with numberless examples of collectivist failures and a nation founded on principles of liberty socializes one of its greatest accoutrements.

    There is never a free lunch in these things. Maybe Netflix won't have to raise prices to its customers in order to pay Comcast to shovel the load, but the cost of providing its bandwidth will still have to paid. Comcast customers who don't stream Netflix will be subsidizing those who do. Hell, if I were Netflix now, I'd cut my prices in half, and let the content delivery boys deal with the cost of the increased traffic on their end.

    Long live the unintended, short-sighted, consequences.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:49am

      Re: Verizon is right...

      "Maybe Netflix won't have to raise prices to its customers in order to pay Comcast to shovel the load, but the cost of providing its bandwidth will still have to paid."

      Netflix always has paid for the bandwidth they use. Your argument is a straw man.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:03am

        Re: Re: Verizon is right...

        He must have missed the part where Netflix DID raise their prices...when they had to pay a 2nd time to the ISPs their customers were already paying the 1st time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 12:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Verizon is right...

          **He must have missed the part where Netflix DID raise their prices**

          I was saying that going forward Netflix wouldn't have to raise prices to its customers because the onus is now on the delivery agent to recoup the costs of the "net neutrality" service now mandated by government.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Zonker, 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:00pm

        Re: Re: Verizon is right...

        And we have always paid for the bandwidth Comcast promises but rarely delivers. Bandwidth some of us choose to use to stream Netflix, others Hulu or xfinity TV Go, and still others HBO Go or Amazon Instant Video or Google Play or YouTube, etc. But we haven't seen Comcast charge any other streaming video service for the same bandwidth their customers might otherwise use for Netflix, yet, despite the only real differences being selection, popularity, and who provides the service.

        Netflix is popular. Xfinity TV Go is not so popular (not even available to people without Comcast cable service). Even Hulu (partially owned by Comcast) is not as popular. Comcast would rather not live in a free market, so they strangle the competition to leverage their own products. This is the American way?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Zonker, 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Verizon is right...

          Should we also have to pay Level 3 or Cogent a bandwidth tax when we attempt to access content on their networks from our Comcast connections? Because that is what the internet would become if Comcast's interconnection fee for Netflix were to become the norm. Pay your ISP and each of your content providers ISPs for the same bandwidth. And your content provider has to do the same. Quadruple dipping.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 1:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Verizon is right...

          **Comcast would rather not live in a free market, so they strangle the competition to leverage their own products. This is the American way?**

          Actually, that is the free enterprise, and American, way.

          The thing is, though, that Comcast, et. al., for many years, has been granted monopoly status by state and local governments, across the U.S. It enjoy, in many places, exclusive rights to place its wires on the poles, etc.

          That's the nub of all the contention, but you won't read much about that as everyone focuses on the SQUIRREL!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike Soja, 27 Feb 2015 @ 12:13am

    I've been a long time TechDirt reader, and have linked to them numerous times on my blog, but the continued support of a government engendered "net neutrality" has been bothering me.

    On the one hand, TechDirt is a sturdy espouser of the free market in the tech world, and a steady critic of government malfeasance and overreach in numerous realms including surveillance, copyright, etc.

    On the other hand: Cheer leading the FCC and the government in their latest endeavor.

    There is a disconnect somewhere that I just can't reconcile.

    As I undoubtedly will continue to read TechDirt, I suppose I am to be happy that my local ISP will not be permitted to block it (et. al.), but I still wish that they had the freedom to do so if they deemed it necessary for their own personal economics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 12:22am

      Re:

      You seem to miss the idea that this isn't necessary; it most decidedly is, as the free-market has clearly failed those it needs to protect (i.e. the public).

      Whilst I am as hesitant as you regarding government intervention, I believe that this is one of the cases where it was absolutely required in order to reduce the extortions of the major telcos. Which is arguably a part of what government is for.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mike Soja, 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:16am

        Re: Re:

        Your "extortions" are not crimes in the common sense of the word. You may not like telco terms or methods, but that doesn't make them fraudulent, though their promises or advertisements may be so, but that's two different things.

        The free market machinations between such entities as Netflix and Comcast are merely the market sorting itself out in times of great change, which is only natural. And which will be worked out by mutual consent by mutually consenting parties according to their abilities.

        A lot of those natural tussles are off the table now. Netflix and Comcast will now have to take a number at the new DMV FCC window, to wait while surly bureaucrats paw over the particulars with their surly bureaucrat eyes on the continuance of their surly bureaucrat careers.

        Importantly, "what government is for" ought not to encompass the particular terms of contractual obligations, but to preserve the rights of people to enter, or not enter, into such contracts. The government is now (in yet another arena) prohibiting certain mutually agreed upon contracts. We are less a free nation for it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The free market machinations between such entities as Netflix and Comcast are merely the market sorting itself out in times of great change, which is only natural.

          Wrong. Free market principles only apply when conditions of freedom exist in the market. This is not the case in the ISP sector, which is dominated by anti-competitive monopolies and duopolies. At this point, free market economic principles break down and are replaced by monopoly economics, which are based on economic coercion, not freedom, and it absolutely is the government's job to limit such coercion.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Pragmatic, 27 Feb 2015 @ 6:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Right on, Mason Wheeler! So much this. Please can we ALL stop pretending there is such a thing as the free market. There ain't. It's not free.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Meh. There is such a thing as the free market, sometimes. And when it exists, it works extremely well. It's just that the telecom space is not one of the places where it exists today.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 12:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            **This is not the case in the ISP sector, which is dominated by anti-competitive monopolies and duopolies. At this point, free market economic principles break down and are replaced by monopoly economics, which are based on economic coercion, not freedom, and it absolutely is the government's job to limit such coercion.**

            Your "monopolies and duopolies" are also not products of the free market. Such exist because of previous government interference in the telecommunications/cable market, mostly at the state and local levels.

            In effect, government is trying to fix the problems it itself has caused, without remedying the underlying dislocation of market resources.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 1:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            **Free market principles only apply when conditions of freedom exist in the market.**

            That is Nonsense. With a capital N.

            The laws of supply and demand always apply, no matter how free the market.

            And that's why the new regs are going to increase costs to the Internet consumer and decrease innovation in the tech sector.

            There is never a free lunch in economics.

            When governments get involved, markets distort. Since government doesn't produce anything of itself, its decrees can only distort in one of two ways. Prices can increase, or supply can decrease. Often both happen. That's the nature of outside, coercive interference in markets.

            You may wish that it were otherwise, but it's science.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:25am

      Re:

      "the continued support of a government engendered "net neutrality" has been bothering me."

      Probably because net neutrality isn't "government engendered". Net neutrality protects what already exists, it's not the government inventing something new.

      You're confused because you're contemplating a fiction. Try the real-life version now, you'll feel better.

      "TechDirt is a sturdy espouser of the free market in the tech world"

      This is true. Now, consider the broadband ISP market in most US jurisdictions. Most have one (maybe 2 if they're lucky) options. Not exactly a free market, is it? On top of that, consider that the trend among those ISPs is to collude and block competition. Also consider that they've already demonstrated a willingness to negatively impact competing video streaming service, for example.

      This is good to you? Or, would you agree that something needs to keep them in check? If you agree, where are those checks going to come from, considering that there is zero competition in many areas for unhappy customers to move to and affect the market that way?

      "I still wish that they had the freedom to do so if they deemed it necessary for their own personal economics."

      You realise that this means you're supporting their rights to maintain monopolies and rip you off wherever you can, without so much as a competitor to move to if you disagree? Right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mike Soja, 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:24am

        Re: Re:

        Probably because net neutrality isn't "government engendered". Net neutrality protects what already exists, it's not the government inventing something new.

        Net neutrality wouldn't exist at all without government coercion. And net neutrality, in and of itself, is not self-evidently a good thing. It's like saying I should be able to buy a Whopper at McDonalds.

        As to competition in allegedly low competition regions (which I guess is where I live), what exactly will "net neutrality" do for me? The new law is ostensibly a boon to content creators, but I don't buy my Internet from them.

        I consider myself a somewhat heavy Internet user, but most of my neighbors are not, yet they pretty much have to buy the same plan I do. What's the sense of that? And going forward there is going to be no relief in such regards, as even upstart Joe Schmoe ISP will have to present the entire web just the same as the Bell South does, despite possibly wanting to serve a smaller niche.

        And I'm not particularly concerned with "monopolies", except for those facilitated by government edict. Free market "monopolies" have a way of disintegrating due to natural market forces. The new government edicts are very likely to preserve exactly those entities you now erroneously decry as monopolistic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Net neutrality wouldn't exist at all without government coercion. "

          The internet itself wouldn't exist either. So?

          "It's like saying I should be able to buy a Whopper at McDonalds."

          No, it's saying that if McDonalds own part of the path that leads to the food court, they can't built a toll booth in front of the part that leads to Burger King.

          Please, understand the actual issue instead of reacting in a knee jerk fashion because you read the "government".

          "As to competition in allegedly low competition regions (which I guess is where I live), what exactly will "net neutrality" do for me"

          It means that your ISP has to treat every packet that you access equally, not filtering their competitors, slowing down some of the services you use in order to drive you to their preferred partners, creating high barriers to new competitors entering the market, charging you extra to have full speed on the services you want, etc., etc.

          Again, read up on what the issue ACTUALLY is about, not whatever you falsely assumed it was.

          "What's the sense of that?"

          Well, you asked that the ISPs be able to maximise their profit. That's the result you get. Since there's no competition, who do you want to get them to offer lower priced plans to your neighbours?

          "And I'm not particularly concerned with "monopolies""

          Then, you *really* don't understand the issues and behaviour being discussed and the issues that led to this discussion in the first place. Hell, your own example of your neighbour indicates exactly why a monopoly is bad (if there were competition, your neighbours could move to a cheaper competitor offering the plan that suits them, without competition, the ISP isn't going to lower their prices).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Mike Soja, 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The Internet would surely still exist without initial gov involvement.

            If McDonalds "owns" the path to Burger King, that's Burger King's problem.

            Again, as to monopolies, between the two, Verizon and the U.S. government, I know which "monopoly" is a real threat and which one isn't.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The Internet would surely still exist without initial gov involvement."

              Yeah, that infrastructure that wasn't profitable for decades, and the web that grew completely from free and open standards would definitely have appeared in the same way if corporations built it from the ground up :rolls eyes:

              OK, so you're anti-government nutball who doesn't mind getting screwed so long as it's by a corporation rather than someone he can vote for.

              It's a shame you can't see the actual issues being discussed, but you're clearly so biased that no actual facts will get through to you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 1:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                **OK, so you're anti-government nutball who doesn't mind getting screwed so long as it's by a corporation rather than someone he can vote for.**

                The side of freedom is always in the marketplace and ends with "someone he can vote for". There isn't even a modicum of choice when the government brings its boot down.

                You decry Comcast's alleged monopoly, but then welcome the massive unelected bureaucracy.

                Good luck with that.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 8:57am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "The side of freedom is always in the marketplace"

                  Not if it's not a free market, which you wilfully ignore doesn't exist in your ISP area, even though you freely admitted it.

                  "There isn't even a modicum of choice when the government brings its boot down."

                  Just for the record, I'm from an "OMG teh sochilismz" country. The telephony "market" ripped everyone off left and right until the government stepped in and forced BT to split up. Decades later, we not only have far more choice than the US, but pricing is cheaper and the are many, many more competitors than there were when BT had the monopoly. Government "interference" actually created a vibrant competitive market for private enterprise.

                  But, continue your ignorant support of people removing your rights.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Andrew D. Todd, 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:58am

              The Government Owns The Streets, to Mike Soja, #23

              In meat-space, we have a workable system whereby the government owns most streets, especially through streets. McDonald's and Burger King and Wendy's are rarely found in food courts. They get themselves premises adjoining the public street, because such a major part of their business is drive-through. In practice you often find that both McDonalds and Burger King are on U.S. Route such-and-such. The exceptions to this rule are usually things like urban train stations. When I lived in Philadelphia, at least two of the three downtown commuter rail stations had McDonald's, but that was a sort of captive audience. It was based on people grabbing a bit while waiting to catch their trains.

              As a general rule, McDonald's refuses to buy into shopping mall food courts. Food courts are usually full of "casual dining," type outlets like SBarro, Subway, Panda Express, Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, etc., firms which have specialized in the food court ecosystem. If you are in the fast food business, you practically have to decide whether you want to be "drive-thru" or "food court." If you are talking to a mall manager about a lease in a food court, his main interest is usually to maximize the mall's diversity, so that people will come there to window-shop in the first place, and his starting question is going to be "what do you have, that we haven't already got." There's no percentage in letting everyone sell burgers and French Fries. They generally allow one store, specializing in hot dogs, for little kids who simply won't eat anything unconventional, on pain of hissy fit, and beyond that, they push for diversity. There are all kinds of differences in practice which follow from that policy. A food court restaurant needs to choose a menu which lends itself to an attractive and appetizing counter display. I doubt there's any way you can make a Big Mac photogenic.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:48am

                Re: The Government Owns The Streets, to Mike Soja, #23

                "As a general rule, McDonald's refuses to buy into shopping mall food courts."

                Really?? Because I literally can't think of a single shopping mall food court that doesn't have a McDonald's in it.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If McDonalds "owns" the path to Burger King, that's Burger King's problem.

              Except McD's doesn't own the path to Bking, it owns the path I am using to get to the highway that leads to all other restaurants, including BKing. And I've already payed mcD's to get to that highway. Now on my way back with my order, mcD's is attempting to make me pay twice. Cause let's face it, BKing has to pass the cost on to the customers.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:02am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                **Except McD's doesn't own the path to Bking, it owns the path I am using to get to the highway that leads to all other restaurants, including BKing.**

                If so, McDs still owns the path. Who owns the path to your house? If you don't like who owns the path you ought to ask how they came to own the path, rather than assume you have the right in retrospect to commandeer that path just because you don't like the current ownership of it.

                The new FCC regs undermine the ownerships of the paths.

                If you value the ownership of the path to your own house, you should be against the confiscation of the paths to other people's houses.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The Internet would surely still exist without initial gov involvement."

              It most certainly would not.

              A large, international network probably would, but it wouldn't be anything even remotely like the internet. At best, it would be more like CompuServ or AOL of old -- which means it would be substantially less valuable.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Net neutrality wouldn't exist at all without government coercion."

          what a coincidence the telecoms wouldn't exist as a monopoly without the government coercion.



          " It's like saying I should be able to buy a Whopper at McDonalds."

          yeah that comparison works cause McDonalds is a monopoly or duopoly. The reality is if I had as many choices for ISP as I do for restaurants there would be no need for net neutrality.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 4:24am

      Re:

      On the one hand, TechDirt is a sturdy espouser of the free market in the tech world, and a steady critic of government malfeasance and overreach in numerous realms including surveillance, copyright, etc.

      On the other hand: Cheer leading the FCC and the government in their latest endeavor.

      There is a disconnect somewhere that I just can't reconcile.


      Out of curiosity, do you find the First Amendment to be a burdensome government regulation?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mike Soja, 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:39am

        Re: Re:

        Yer kiddin' me, right, Masnick?

        You're being a little coy there, so it's hard to tell, but isn't that the same goddamned tripe that shows up every once in a while in free speech comment thread where somebody says, "I've got a big important message that needs to be conveyed and I have a right to your radio station in order to efficiently convey that message, the First Amendment Sez So!"?

        I dunno, you tell me: When was the last time you read about the politically stacked First Amendment Agency (3 Dems, 2 Pubs) pretending to "hold a conversation" with the American people via a cheesy website just before said agency eructed 300 pages of Constitutionally questionable lawyer fodder? I bet it has been a while.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well excellent! Since you have a copy of the new rules, please, please, please, cut and paste a portion of the rules showing where our packets to and from our ISPs will be restricted.

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        • identicon
          Ruben, 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "This is no more an act to regulate the internet than the first amendment is an act to regulate free speech."

          - FCC Chair Tom Wheeler.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's in the 8 pages of the rules? Where? Which page?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            **"This is no more an act to regulate the internet than the first amendment is an act to regulate free speech."**

            The First Amendment prohibits government involvement in certain things.

            FCC Wheeler is announcing government involvement in the conduct of ISP business.

            His rhetoric is dishonest nonsense. And, if his rhetoric is dishonest nonsense, the law he's pushing can only be a complete horrow.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 5:25am

      Re:

      The Free Market is not "existing by itself". It's made by societies. It's made by laws.

      "Free Market" as an idea implies that everyone can participate in it; and it actually works best if everyone is supplier and consumer at the same time, because, obviously, innovation will be at its peak, and also consumer choice. That's the macro-economic perspective of it.

      On the purely micro-economic perspective, for a lone actor, the most interesting system is the one where everything belongs to him, and he's the only supplier of everything. But quite clearly, this cannot be called "free market" by any stretch.

      So the idea is to build a level playing field for all actors. Laws that regulate employment, destruction of environment, declaration duty, monopolies and so on are all geared towards that. And net neutrality as well.

      Of course, for individual actors, it can be beneficial to game the system, getting laws that allow dumping of toxic waste, allow government-granted monopolies etc., thus gearing that playing field. TTIP and suchlike are obvious attempts at doing this, and inherently anti-free-market.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    spodula, 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:27am

    Sorry Verizon

    You had your chance to compete fairly, without harming consumers and smaller Businesses.

    You couldn't do that.

    Live with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike Soja, 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:39am

      Re: Sorry Verizon

      It isn't necessary to socialize an entire industry to compensate for a few isolated instances of alleged malfeasance. There are already numerous laws on the books pertaining to fraud.

      In fact, the new FCC regs amount to nothing more than the codifying of a certain type of fraud as legitimate.

      It's the fraud that all Internet consumers are equal, that they want and need what the government decides they want and need.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 27 Feb 2015 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re: Sorry Verizon

        It hasn't been socialized at all. It's merely been told it can't permit tollbooths on the last mile or discrimination between packets.

        There is no such thing as the free market and no for-profit entity would have been able to create the internet. They'd have an an inTRAnet at best, and patented technology to connect with other intranets.

        Development would have been restricted to those working for incumbents, resulting in stalled innovation for decades as they fought to keep out the competition.

        The last thing any free market enthusiast actually wants is a free, open market because competition reduces profit margins.

        Next up: you'll be calling for referees to be banned from sport and let the audience decide who scores.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re: Sorry Verizon

        "It's the fraud that all Internet consumers are equal, that they want and need what the government decides they want and need."

        Sorry, but you're still attacking a phantom that only exists in your own imagination. It's the ISPs who would restrict what people can access - by throttling traffic, or charging more for access to competitors. Net neutrality ensures that they cannot do that, and that consumers can access everything equally without restriction.

        Your fear of the government boogeyman actually has you rooting for the people who want to reduce your freedom for profit.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 12:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Sorry Verizon

          **It's the ISPs who would restrict what people can access - by throttling traffic, or charging more for access to competitors.**

          And now the choices of such ISPs have been "socialized" for the alleged greater good.

          The right of people to conduct their ISP businesses as they see fit has been usurped on the basis of illegitimate, picayune, political grounds.

          When the government controls the particulars of your business model, no matter how anodyne that control may seem, can you really say you own that business, anymore?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 8:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Sorry Verizon

            "socialized"

            If ever you get your head out of your ass, you might realise this isn't necessarily a bad word. Look into the effects of privatised roads vs socialised ones, as an example.

            "business model,"

            Sigh... you do know that this isn't a magic term, and there are not only bad business models, but horrific ones as well? Government interference is the reason why American rivers are no longer on fire, why transportation isn't built on the corpses of Chinese slaves and why you actually get a living income. Unfettered capitalism is a bad thing, as evidenced by history. Sure, unfettered socialism is also bad, but you're nowhere near that in the US. The recent recession is down to lack of regulation. Just because your ISP might not kill anyone or make someone bankrupt, that down't mean they should not be regulated to stop screwing you outright.

            In short, you're such an ignorant moron that while complaining about the way your neighbours are treated, you not only support them being treated that way, you're also demanding the same treatment for yourself.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Ruben, 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re: Sorry Verizon

        How do you define socialism?

        I'm pretty sure it's different than the definition the rest of the world is using.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:28am

    I agree with Verizon, though certainly not for the same reason.

    This law is a bad law because it's taking rules for an infrastructure that no longer exists and applies them to a new infrastructure which is being abused.

    Everything is digital now. This means everything is being transferred over the same line. Television, "radio", movies", hell, even books. Phone calls are now digital and many people have taken to using the internet for their everyday tasks, such as paying bills.

    So why is it we're still regulating this as a communication platform? It's absurd. It needs to be regulated as a digital transfer platform, whereas nothing can be "held back".

    Because of Title II, the age-old (and yes, they are terrible) laws now regulated how that information is transferred to us digitally.

    It means cable "stations" have to pay far more for the exact same content as other avenues.

    It means fees can be assessed unnecessarily because "this portion of the communication platform says they can be applied".

    It's a ridiculous and stupid decision to use Title II, a law written when Morse Code was the communication platform, to regulate what comes across the digital line.

    This may be a step forward, but that's just it. It's a step, and one that'll take years to show fruits of its labor.

    The FCC should have reclassified the structure by writing a completely new law from scratch, safeguarding our privacy from government and corporate spying, preventing companies from selling our information, and of course, getting rid of the stupidity of charging people up to 3x for the same goddamn service.

    So... hurray. Verizon may be joking, but they're spot on. It's just too bad we have a corrupt government which doesn't service the people.

    Enjoy that $200+ cable bill. It's not going anywhere. Ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:55am

      Re:

      "Enjoy that $200+ cable bill. It's not going anywhere. Ever."

      You honestly think it would have magically reduced if the provider could carry on as they were and block out their competition in the meantime? Please...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 27 Feb 2015 @ 6:49am

      Limits of Law, to Violynne, #24

      The point is that a court decided that the FCC does not have the authority to write a new law from scratch. Congress has the authority to do so, either by a two-thirds majority of both houses, or by a simple majority of both houses, and the President's signature. In either case, large numbers of Democrats would have to support the measures proposed by congressional Republicans. It is possible that the congressional Republicans will come up with something as good as the Federalist Papers-- but I am not holding my breath. The interested congresscritters seem mostly intent on collecting bribes from Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, in exchange for allowing predatory practices. On that basis, they won't be able to get their supermajority, and the FCC ruling will stand.

      Based on cost estimating, working out the lengths of various wires, and how much they cost per foot, and what their service life is, my figure is that broadband telephone/internet service, with no caps and unlimited global long-distance, ought to cost about thirty dollars a month. In short, it should be in the same price range as water. If you put enough pressure on Verizon, it will begin selling chunks of local plant to local water authorities, and at that point, the public telecommunications infrastructure can be sanely managed in the public interest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:30am

        Re: Limits of Law, to Violynne, #24

        Not exactly. The FCC does get to set and enforce the regulatory rules under the law. It's just that the court ruled that under the law they can only write certain types of rules for certain types of services. So the FCC had to change the classification of the services in order to be able to write and enforce the rules it deems as necessary. Whether you consider FCC regulations to be law or not is a matter of semantics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Zonker, 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:45pm

          Re: Re: Limits of Law, to Violynne, #24

          Except the FCC wasn't the ones who changed the classification of cable internet service, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did that in AT&T vs Portland back in 2000. The City of Portland wanted to require AT&T Broadband (now owned by Comcast) to open their cable internet infrastructure to competing ISPs (just like their traditional phone service was) as a condition of allowing AT&T to buy TCI Cablevision franchise as they had a right to do under TCI's existing franchise agreement.

          The Ninth Circuit said they couldn't because the cable internet service qualified as not just an "information service", but also as a "telecommunications service" under the Telecommunications Act. Because it qualified as a "telecommunications service", it was subject to the FCC's common carrier rules (and the rest of Title II for that matter) thus forbidding Portland from attaching any conditions or franchise agreements to cable internet services like AT&T's:
          ("No State or local statute or regulation, or other State or local legal requirement, may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications service."). Subsection 541(b)(3) expresses both an awareness that cable operators could provide telecommunications services, and an intention that those telecommunications services be regulated as such, rather than as cable services.

          [8] The Communications Act includes cable broadband transmission as one of the "telecommunications services" a cable operator may provide over its cable system. Thus, AT&T need not obtain a franchise to offer cable broadband, see 47 U.S.C. S 541(b)(3)(A); Portland may not impose any requirement that has "the purpose or effect of prohibiting, limiting, restricting or conditioning" AT&T's provision of cable broadband, see 47 U.S.C. S 541(b)(3)(B); Portland may not order AT&T to discontinue cable broadband, see 47 U.S.C. S 541(b)(3)(C); and Portland may not require AT&T to provide cable broadband as a condition of the franchise transfer, see 47 U.S.C. S 541(b)(3)(D). Therefore, under the several provisions of S 541(b)(3), Portland may not regulate AT&T's provision of @Home in its capacity as a franchising authority, and the open access condition contained in the franchise transfer agreement is void.
          Unfortunately, the FCC decided to forbear all of its authority to actually make cable internet service subject to the "telecommunicans service" rules (like actually be a common carrier) that forbade Portland from requiring AT&T to make any agreement to allow competition on their network.

          So if Violynne wants cable internet service to be treated as an "information service" instead of a "telecommunications service" then I would be happy to see the Ninth Circuit case reversed and Comcast internet (bought from AT&T) in Portland finally be required to open their infrastructure to competing ISPs like dial-up internet was in the 1990s.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:29am

    One of these days, we'll get an edit feature.

    It means cable "stations" was to be written as It means internet "stations"...

    It's morning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 5:41am

    Winning by Losing

    I'm waiting to see my next Verizion bill. They'll slip a new line item in there like:

    Title II Recovery Costs: $32.00

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DNY (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 7:41am

    Pro-market vs. pro-business regulation

    I really wish people more people would understand Luigi Zingales's distinction between pro-market and pro-business regulations and the concept of regulatory capture.

    While the devil is in the details, and the issued regulations seem to be long enough to hide several hells worth of devils, as excerpted in the media, they seem to do something very useful to the preservation of free markets: prevent combined ISP/content-providing companies or cabals formed by ISPs and content-providing companies from using their position as what used to be called a "vertical trust" to kill competition.

    To my fellow free-market-loving rightists: THIS IS A GOOD THING. Regulations to establish net neutrality, per se, are pro-market (which is why incumbents in the market who want a regulatory environment that supports predatory pricing, leveraging current market position against not only existing competitors, but new start-ups and even new disruptive technologies, are howling about it). Whether there are any actual freedom-killing "devils" in the details we have yet to see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike Acker (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:13am

    ad novitam fallacy

    verizon is essentially presenting a fallacy know as argument ad novitam: claiming x is right because it is new.

    the opposite is also a fallacy: contending something is right because it's old.

    experience is a better basis for evaluating any proposition.

    our experience is that monopolies need to be regulated.

    cable broadband clearly qualifies,-- we don't want 5 sets of cables handing on the poles.

    this is and will continue to be a contentious issue.

    Here in Michigan the Title II rule will bring broadband under the purview of the Michigan Public Service Commission -- which will give us a channel in which to resolve service issues -- a bit more effective than getting called an a-hole by some a-hole company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    iceberg (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:34am

    Oh boy, I can't wait until the ISPs begin re-introducing metered internet plans! Yippee!

    I hope all you pro-regulation suckers will enjoy your Netflix/Amazon Prime Video/Hulu on your 3GB/monthly allowance! Unless perhaps you opted for the platinum tier 10GB/month plans for $999/month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      The stupid hit you hard, you might want to sit down a bit.

      Where does it say in the rules that ISPs must have metered rates?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 28 Feb 2015 @ 1:33am

        Re: Re:

        Don't worry. As with healthcare, the ISPs will find a way to fool idiots into thinking that the way they've chosen to rape peoples' wallets is all the fault of regulation, as if they'd have given customers a fair deal otherwise. Those of us in civilised countries that don't have to deal with "OMG socialism" every time something's done for the public benefit will continue sitting back and laughing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:42am

    Well...

    If companies like Verizon would stop using antiquated anti-competitive techniques then there would be no need to apply the antiquated regulation laws that they were intended to combat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:51am

    What we truly need goes beyond telecom...

    We need a federal law that states that when a company uses government subsides to build infrastructure for a public service of any kind, it is automatically barred from offering that service directly to the public government regulation on how that service delivered to ensure that the control of that infrastructure cannot be leveraged to facilitate anti-competitive behavior in the market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike Soja, 1 Mar 2015 @ 2:21am

      Re: What we truly need goes beyond telecom...

      **We need a federal law that states**

      How about a federal law that says idiots can't propose federal laws every time they have a notion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    iceberg (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:04am

    @Baron von Robber- that's the next logical and economical step for ISPs to take if they can no longer control the network usage.

    Suppose Netflix/Hulu/etc cut their prices and their customers base doubles- ISP networks will be saturated with traffic that ISPs will be forced to carry, but there won't be anyone forcing them to pay for equipment upgrades to handle all that new traffic- hence they will probably start metering usage to consumers who otherwise have no incentive to economize on their network usage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      Horse shit. 99% of the observable broadband congestion is caused by intentional traffic shaping. If the network can't handle the load, packets will just drop and Netflix, et al. will just have crappier service (or be forced to standard def. vs. HD). Big whoop.

      ISPs are making money hand over fist and and are not re-investing in network upgrades. That's why the US lags behind Fucking Estonia in available broadband. As long as they have an unregulated monopoly, they have zero incentive to upgrade. FCC regs will light a fire under their asses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 12:44pm

        Re: Re:

        I wouldn't say the FCC regs will necessarily light a fire under their asses to do upgrades. The devil is in the details. They will likely switch to plan B which is to lobby to make FCC regs more and more encumbering so that it will keep other players from being able to enter the market so that even if the FCC mandates that they upgrade to deliver a certain level of service, they will still be able to maintain their monopoly and then turn around and raise rates using the cost of the upgrades as an excuse to do so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      You fail to understand the situation. Big ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T don't simply have one connection to the rest of the world. They have multiple and which connection the carries that traffic depends on the connection agreement they have with that particular edge provider. There are generally two types of agreements. Peering agreements which aren't metered and designed to allow traffic to flow to and from the ISPs end users and transport agreements which are metered and can be used to connect through their networks to other networks in addition to being routed to and from their end users. In the Comcast/Level 3/Netflix spat, what was happening was Comcast was purposely refusing to upgrade the switches handing the traffic (even when Netflix offered to pay for the upgrades) to try to force the traffic off of a unmetered peering connection onto a metered transport connection. Regardless of which type of connection it came through would not matter, the resulting effect on their network would be the same. In other words, claims that the volume of traffic would adversely affect how traffic flowed on their network were completely fabricated in order to facilitate a huge money grab. They have plenty of equipment and bandwidth to handle the traffic easily. They just want it to route through a metered switch under a new agreement where they can get paid for it again instead of routing through the one that most regular traffic gets routed through.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re:

        And since Comcast was ultimately successful at forcing the traffic through a paid priority interconnection agreement instead of the free one, Verizon and everyone else is following suit. What will have to happen here is for the FCC to regulate standards for the quality of the peering agreement connections so that ISPs can't make them suck to the point that content providers have to seek to alternative routing methods at considerable expense to provide a quality service to their subscribers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      And bandwidth caps don't come from being placed under Title II. They come from a lack of competition and allowing the media to be vertically integrated. When there is healthy competition, providers offer as much as they can to consumers in order to be as competitive as possible where the larger their market share is the slimmer their margin can be because they make up the difference in volume. Once competition becomes reasonably limited, they can increase that margin by raising the prices and cutting services which is exactly what bandwidth caps are.

      In the case of Comcast, who was allowed to vertically integrate with their purchase of NBC/Universal, they are now content providers as well as ISPs in direct competition with Netflix for viewership. Bandwidth caps are a means to force Netflix subscribers to either pay Comcast more for viewing Netflix content or switch to Comcast's content instead by leveraging the fact that they control the delivery infrastructure against content providers like Netflix.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 28 Feb 2015 @ 1:38am

      Re:

      On a side note, why is it that the contrarian dickheads on this site can never work would how to click "reply" so that people can actually follow the conversation? Deliberate misdirection, or an indication of the mental deficiencies that lead them to hold such ridiculous opinions in the first place?

      "Suppose Netflix/Hulu/etc cut their prices and their customers base doubles"

      Suppose the ISPs actually use the massive amount of public funds they've been given to increase capacity to actually do it? Why is it that people like you think it's impossible for the US to do what every other first world country is doing without resorting to such measures?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    hmtksteve, 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:16am

    Newspaper

    So Verizon thinks it is a newspaper with editorial control? Does this mean they are claiming legal liability for anything illegal that crosses their tubes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:42am

    Whiny F-ing Babies...

    I cannot stand these whiny fucking babies. They tried to pull a fast one using their "bought and paid for" public officials, and it backfired. Boo-fucking-hoo.

    Machines don't discriminate one datagram packet for another. Bandwidth isn't running out,... Even with Netflix at peak usage hours. At least they don't unless you go way out of your way to do deep packet inspection in order to rig the game...

    If you want to use Gov't authority to get electromagnetic spectrum or authority to run physical lines across other people's property, it isn't really "your network," and you have no business saying it's fair market forces at work. They have a fucking monopoly, and they lie about the scientific facts (broadband utilization/congestion mitigation) and try (successfully) to convince simpletons that it is a "freedom from gov't interference" issue. Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time-Warner, Disney, CBS, NBC, et al. need to just take the boot up the ass that they just got, go home and deal with it. They tried to game the system and it backfired. Just desserts...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    iceberg (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:10am

    Exactly right, AC. This is pure horseshit. Smash the state-created monopoly instead of trying to regulate them and let the market eat them up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Istar, 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:23pm

    To Keep In Mind

    Keep in Mind, Execs at both Comcast and Verizon have been gearing up Plans to start capping off Landline Broadband. Was an actual closed door meeting between the companies in this regard.

    Testing Regions are indicated here for comcast side: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/data-usage-trials-what-are-the-different-plans -launching

    Def was more to it I believe for them, hence the major outcry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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