AT&T Begins Testing Its Power In The Wake Of Merger Mania & The Death Of Net Neutrality

from the boiling-frog dept

So as we've long noted, the death of net neutrality and the latest round of M&A mania isn't going to result in an immediate internet apocalypse. ISPs are nervous about looming court challenges which, thanks to all manner of ridiculous behavior at the FCC, have a good chance of succeeding. They also know that unless they can get a phony, pre-emptive law on the books, the next FCC or future, less-cash-compromised Congress could just come in and restore the rules. As such, they're going to be testing their newfound freedoms very slowly, much like the boiling frog metaphor (you are the frog in this equation).

Case in point: on the heels of the company's $86 billion merger with Time Warner, AT&T introduced a new $15 per month streaming video service dubbed "AT&T Watch." Watch is a bare-bones skinny bundle that competes with services like Philo, a $16 per month offering from several major broadcasters. But AT&T's ownership of the pipes this content flows over gives the telecom giant a very notable advantage. In this case, that has resulted in AT&T offering the service for free to the company's wireless customers, an advantage smaller streaming operators may find hard to overcome:

"Not that it matters anymore since the Federal Communications Commission, headed by telecommunications shill Ajit Pai, successfully killed net neutrality protections earlier this year, but AT&T’s tiered unlimited plans that are strapped with limitations and its decision to offer access to properties it owns for free to its subscribers are cardinal sins against the bright line rules of net neutrality."

Of course that's just the start. With no hard net neutrality rules on the books and the FCC stripped of its authority to police ISPs, there will ultimately be nothing stopping AT&T from disadvantaging its competitors further in more aggressive ways, whether that includes counting a competitors' content against usage caps while exempting AT&T's own services (zero rating), or engaging in gamesmanship at interconnection points in a bid to drive up costs of would be competitors (as we saw with the ISPs' battle with Netflix a few years ago).

Meanwhile, AT&T continues to engage in very AT&T-like behaviors beyond just net neutrality. For example, AT&T began offering its wireless customers free access to HBO last year as it tried to sell regulators on the idea the Time Warner merger would be wonderful for everyone. But it didn't take long for that perk to quickly disappear this week as the company began fiddling with (and raising the prices on) its unlimited data tiers:

"But AT&T revamped its two unlimited mobile plans this week, and in the process it raised the price for the entry-level plan by $5 a month while removing the free HBO perk. The entry-level unlimited plan now starts at $70 instead of $65. Existing customers can keep their old plan and the free HBO, but new customers or those who switch plans will have to buy the more expensive unlimited plan to get HBO at no added cost."

Synergies, yo! Again, like the boiling frog metaphor, these companies make these changes at a somewhat glacial pace, hoping that consumers won't notice as they are gradually squeezed. For example, AT&T this week also leaned in on a long-standing, misleading practice in the telecom and cable TV sectors: bullshit fees. The company quietly announced it would be jacking up its "administrative fee" for all customers from $0.76 to $1.99, effectively providing AT&T with roughly $800 million in additional revenue every year.

The fee, as with most similar fees, simply involves taking some errant cost of doing business and then shoveling it below the line. This serves two real purposes: it lets companies falsely advertise a lower rate, and it allows a company to quietly raise prices while claiming it isn't -- by pointing to the unchanged advertised price. And for years, we've let companies like AT&T provide flimsy justifications like this one:

"When reached for comment, an AT&T spokesperson confirmed the existence of the fee increase. “This is a standard administrative fee across the wireless industry, which helps cover costs we incur for items like cell site maintenance and interconnection between carriers,” the spokesperson said in a statement."

Right. But "cell site maintenance" and "interconnection between carriers" are just the cost of doing business. There's no reason to break these out below the line outside of trying to falsely advertise a lower rate. This behavior has become an obnoxious standard of the telecom and cable TV industries, and you'd be pretty hard pressed to find a regulator or politician from either party that cares. Meanwhile, numerous lawsuits over these kinds of practices haven't done much to limit the behavior.

Again, it's important to remember that the FCC's net neutrality repeal didn't just kill net neutrality. It also dismantled state and FCC oversight of ISPs, intentionally throwing any fleeting, remaining oversight back to the FTC -- an overhwhelmed agency with such limited authority over telecom these kinds of concerns will fall through the cracks (the entire point of the ISP policy gambit). The one-two-three punch of limited competition, crippled regulatory oversight, and unchecked vertical integration power is going to reverberate internet-wide for the next decade.

To keep public and press outrage muted as they cash in on this newfound lack of any real checks and balances, ISPs are going to slowly-but-surely impose an endless array of new restrictions and caveats that seen alone aren't earth-shattering. But if you pay attention over time, you'll note that the temperature of the pot we're all currently sitting in will slowly but surely start to feel decidedly uncomfortable.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 6:21am

    Look at the last 10 years and you'll see tons of this kind of ass fuckery. Wheeler put a temporary half-break to it and Pai promptly released it. So yeah, Americans are screwed. Of course there are the mid-terms and the lawsuits so there is hope.

    You can't argue with historic, well documented facts. Unless you are Pai or you have the telcos firmly shoved up your arse of course.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 6:37am

    Unless you are Pai or you have the telcos firmly shoved up your arse of course.

    The Venn diagram for those two groups only has 1 person in the overlap, but damn, what a shitty shitty part of the diagram that is to be in.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:07am

    I can't see any justification for not simply changing the price, instead of adding a fee that everyone has to pay no matter what. The only reason I can see is to reduce the advertised price to mislead the consumer.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:11am

    AT&T monopoly origin

    AT&T first ascended to its powerful market position in 1913 -- because the brilliant folks in Federal government granted it legal status as a government-enforced monopoly. Over a century later we still suffer from massive government interventions into the communications markets ... and resulting lack of normal market competition.

    The obvious (?) solution is to give Federal government bureaucrats even more control of communications markets....?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:23am

      Re: AT&T monopoly origin

      I agree that your government is the problem, and not because it thinks that Telcos should be regulated as a monopoly, but rather because your version of regulatory agencies, along with you politicians are subject to capture by big corporations. Try working on solving the capture problem, rather than the monopoly problem.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:33am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        "Try working on solving the capture problem, rather than the monopoly problem."

        This shows exactly how out of tough with plain generic reality you are. Controlling the monopoly is what the FCC was create just exactly for. Do you see it working yet? How much more failure must occur before you wake up?

        The monopoly IS the problem not the capture. No matter what you do, the monopoly will buy control of any agency you try to place over it, you will never win until you destroy the monopoly. There is a reason why obtaining a monopoly is the pinnacle of "Capitalist Achievement", because it gives the most power and the strongest arm against regulatory agency.

        You deserve what is happening right now because you are still saying, "give the very agency causing a problem more power!" and that just makes no sense!

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        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:42am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          No he didn't, and BTW he's right.

          Remove money and political parties from politics and the situation can be fixed. No money from Corporations, no partisanship directed by party bosses, elected officials listening to and being responsive to their constituents rather than their donors or party heads. It won't go fast, but it will come back to the will of the people.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            "It won't go fast, but it will come back to the will of the people."

            It's been 80 years and the will of the people have yet to be served.

            Enjoy the wait! Just keep regulating harder... its been so working!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              So what is your alternative, hand control to the robber barons running the corporations, which is what Pai has done.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              In 1982 ATT was forced into an antitrust break up and was split into multiple smaller companies. All due to, wait for it, regulation.

              In 2015, the FCC passed net neutrality regulations, forcing ISPs to not screw with people's internet access and forcing some transparency and privacy rules on what they can do with people's data (the latter of which was immediately wiped out by Congress). Again, all due to regulation.

              It's only been the LACK of regulation that has allowed ISPs to get away with so much crap over the last decade or two.

              How's that for coming back to the will of the people?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2018 @ 8:35am

                AT&T

                ... AT&T smoothly avoided antitrust action in 1913 via the famous "Kingsbury Commitment" of 1913... a friendly out-of-court settlement. President Wilson's antitrust concerns vanished practically overnight. And by dropping its antitrust case, the Wilson administration effectively gave its blessing to AT&T's dominance of the telephone industry for another 70 years.

                Original AT&T quasi-monopoly was in no way a "natural monopoly" --- it was government guided/supported at almost every step.

                Since the 1984 AT&T breakup ... almost all of those new companies are once again part of AT&T, along with cellular carriers and cable providers. Here's how the company grew so big that the government broke it up — only to see it become even bigger. Following is a transcript of the video. AT&T is bigger than ever.

                You have no idea what "lack of" government regulation would do for consumers because you have never seen it nor seriously considered it.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 6:25am

                  Re: AT&T

                  Original AT&T quasi-monopoly was in no way a "natural monopoly" --- it was government guided/supported at almost every step.

                  Proof? Citation needed.

                  almost all of those new companies are once again part of AT&T, along with cellular carriers and cable providers

                  True, which only means it's probably almost time for the government to step in again and break them up again. I don't see the problem here. Companies, by nature, want to grow as big as possible, once they pass a certain threshold they become a monopoly and regulatory forces are needed to step in and break them up. It's kind of a cycle. A really sucky cycle but it happens nonetheless.

                  You have no idea what "lack of" government regulation would do for consumers because you have never seen it nor seriously considered it.

                  Yeah, I have, one because I deal with it on a daily basis and two because I read my history books. The latter of which you apparently have failed to do, and the former of which you are apparently fine with because you keep arguing for things that will only make it worse.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:50am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          The monopoly IS the problem not the capture.

          In that case, why do most of the rest of the world manage to regulate telcos as a monopoly without the capture. Local loop unbundling requires a regulator and regulations to achieve, forcing a separation between connection providers and content providers.

          If you say it because US politics is different, then you are admitting that US politics is not serving the public, but has been captured by the corporations.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            "In that case, why do most of the rest of the world manage to regulate telcos as a monopoly without the capture."

            Non-Sequitor, different nation, different rules, different method of operation.

            I don't keep track of the rest of the world and neither am I prepared to trust you know the truth behind those. Do you know how many places talk up their specially brand of bullshit like it is really working when it is actually NOT working?

            " Local loop unbundling requires a regulator and regulations to achieve, forcing a separation between connection providers and content providers."

            I am actually for these kinds of regulations.. but NN does not do this does it? This is why I am calling it out.

            Here is your message so far.

            Lets regulate the monopolies and then support regulations that actually do not address the problem and then spend a whole bunch of time bitching at the people pointing this out because "my country" solved it a different way.

            What is your message here? Glad you like the special brand of ass raping you get, I am not knocking that... just bitching about what it is over here and how a proper solution will work withing the rules government my country not fucking yours!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              I am actually for these kinds of regulations.. but NN does not do this does it? This is why I am calling it out.

              Yeah, because NN wasn't meant or intended to address ANY of that. Stop changing the goal posts. The few things in NN that actually applied to your statements (such as the privacy protections and truthful disclosures) got wiped out by Congress before it even had a chance to take effect. Congratulations on being a bald faced liar.

              You obviously know less than nothing about what NN is or why protecting it is important.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                I've never seen someone be so passionate about a subject, who knows so little about the very basic facts of what he opposes, as this guy before. He literally doesn't seem to know the first thing about what it actually is.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 8:53pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                  And yet good ole chip refuses to let his total lack of knowledge or intellect stand in the way of his idiotic points.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              As I am on the other side of the pond, I get a choice of ISP over the same pair of wires, because regulation have forced local loop unbundling. Also I get unlimited data, with no fair use or other weasel worded clauses.

              Your limited regulations to provide local loop unbundling will not come about until you solve the regulatory and politician capture that dominate your politics, and is called out by many articles on this site.

              I repeat, the problem in the US is not regulation per se, but rather corporate capture of the political and regulatory system.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              "Non-Sequitor, different nation, different rules, different method of operation."

              But, the outcome is still very possible. If your rules and methods aren't achieving the result you desire, maybe it's time to change them?

              "I don't keep track of the rest of the world"

              Obviously, since you consistently claim things that exist everywhere else are impossible.

              "Here is your message so far."

              I'm expecting a lot of deliberate distortion, but let's go...

              "Lets regulate the monopolies "

              OK, this is true. Without regulation, there's little to stop monopolies from negative behaviour.

              "then support regulations that actually do not address the problem"

              No, I support effective regulation, such as that that exists in 3 or the 4 countries I have ever lived in (the US being the exception, of course).

              This is why you fail, you HAVE to lie about what I actually say, don't you?

              "What is your message here? "

              A combination of effective regulation and regulators with the power to do things has led to a vibrant market in much of the rest of the world, and this is possible in the US. The way to achieve what's possible elsewhere is not to remove regulation, as you demand, as this just means that the consumer will continue to get less but pay more.

              It's really not that difficult. Why do you insist on lying so much?

              "Glad you like the special brand of ass raping you get"

              If "ass raping" means that I already pay less for my internet access with zero bandwidth limits than many Americans do for a much poorer service with hefty limits, and which has recently been upgraded from 300MB to 600Mb *free of charge*, then yes I do.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 3:20pm

        Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        yes 'capture' is a major problem in most all government regulation; government regulation as a sure cure to the ill effects of government granted franchise monopolies does not work and does not address the fundamental problem.

        There's a whole branch of formal economics that addresses this stuff and its conclusions do not favor the pro-regulation crowd here. Those conclusions basically paint government regulation as inefficient & ineffective in accomplishing its stated goals -- consumers generally get less choice & higher prices than in unregulated markets.

        Nobel Laureate economist George Stigler pioneered this field known as the “Economic Theory of Regulation". Serious analysis of regulatory theory and practice does not support all the casual opinions and regulatory cheer-leading here.

        Also, interesting how many here blindly endorse the absurd theory of natural monopoly -- they have no idea where that theory originated or how it lacks any formal economics support.

        Regulation is obviously a hot-button issue here.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 4:42pm

          Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          The solution that most of the rest of the world has arrived at is local loop unbundling. That is strong regulation because it also requires that exchanges are shared, and backbone fibers are made available to the various ISPs in the exchange.

          Failing that, the next best option is net neutrality, that is regulate the monopoly that exists because the ISPs own the local loop, and that gives them a monopoly power.

          When the political system allows net neutrality to be removed because of the lobbying of the ISPs, what hope is there to bring in the laws and regulation needed for local loop unbundling?

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:25am

      Re: AT&T monopoly origin

      Yep, the losers here are pouring fuel on the fire while calling the people telling them what they are doing idiots.

      I am going to just sit back and keep watching. They cannot be reasoned with. They will continue to forge the weapons of their demise no matter how often they are attacked with the weapons they helped to create.

      We have been trying to regulate these businesses as natural monopolies for the past century and it has not worked. Yet the solution for these clowns is to "regulate harder" just like the FBI wants everyone to "nerd harder" to give them a backdoor that only "good guys" could use.

      It is disturbing that they can recognize one intellectual dissonance, but fail to notice the other... that is tribalism for you. No matter how wrong you are... the tribes dogma matters more than facts!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        I am going to just sit back and keep watching

        This coming from the dumbass screaming at everybody else for doing nothing. The irony is rich.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          how does one person that does see the problem overcome the masses of idiots causing the problem?

          What is it that I can do exactly? You massive throngs of ignorant idiots are going to overpower my vote by a large margin. You all are examples of why a democracy cannot work. You all are literally too indoctrinated by your tribal logic to grasp truth.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            And you have a mono mania about regulations being bad, and keep screaming regulations bad without offering any way forward, which are the classic signs of an authoritarian, where your way is the only way.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              No, your way is intellectual dissonance.

              I am after a free-market solution which means "anti-authoritarian" because I want to remove government from blessing monopolies.

              The fact that you call that authoritarian is a sign of mental dysfunction.

              My way is not the "only way" just the "best way" given the context of how our government operates. I am sorry you are just too flipping dumb to understand that.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            What is it that I can do exactly?

            Funny, I asked you the same question. But you think that someone living in another country as an ordinary citizen is directly responsible for the shitshow that is current US politics, and you decide it's worth it to scream at me, for all the good it does.

            Strangely enough, I don't feel like giving you a solution. Imagine that!

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              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              "Strangely enough, I don't feel like giving you a solution. Imagine that!"

              Well, you don't have one...

              I already gave one. Until then my effort is to get you idiots to see the light. Until then... there is no way I can overcome the number of votes you idiots can put out.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 6:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                I already gave one. Until then my effort is to get you idiots to see the light. Until then... there is no way I can overcome the number of votes you idiots can put out.

                Yeah, by screaming about you gave us one while calling us idiots for being unable to find it.

                My vote doesn't do shit to the American government, because I am not an American citizen. You screaming your head off at me is not going to change that.

                Give me a fucking break.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 8:57pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                  Chips too dumb to realise that other places aren’t Murica and *gasp* don’t get a say in how that shithole is run.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:44am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        the tribes dogma matters more than facts!

        Says the person who is absolutely dogmatic about regulations being bad.

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      • icon
        The Wanderer (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:47am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        We have been trying to regulate these businesses as natural monopolies for the past century and it has not worked.

        Well, what should we try to regulate them as, then?

        Trying to pretend that they aren't natural monopolies (by regulating them as something else) isn't going to work, because natural monopolies is exactly what they are; if these particular companies did not control those natural monopolies, some other(s) would.

        Regulating a thing as something other than what it is seems wrongheaded and likely futile, to me - but if you have a reason why doing that in this case would be better (with a sufficiently specific "it" in mind) than regulating the thing as what it is, I'd be interested to hear it.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:20am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          "Well, what should we try to regulate them as, then?"

          why do people keep asking this question? I has been answer so many fucking times it's retarded.

          #1. Destruction of the monopoly, Remove ownership of the lines and poles and have the government regulate access to those just like we do public roads.

          #2. Anti-Trust *gasp* "regulations" strengthening... A business cannot be both a Content owner/distributor while also owning any part of the path between content and consumer.

          "Regulating a thing as something other than what it is seems wrongheaded and likely futile, to me"

          I totally agree, the problem is that we operate under different definitions of what kind of "monopoly" we classify them as.

          Most people operate under the idea that ISP's are "natural monopolies" when they are in fact NOT actually. These monopolies were created by government regulation because the ISP's purchased those regulations.

          All warfare is deception... and the ISP's totally have the Pro-NN crowds exceptionally well deceived. They have them all tricked into believing they are natural monopolies when they don't have to be. Remove their ownership of public property and you will destroy 80% of their power. Then you can dismantle the "regulatory capture" that has occurred.

          but under no circumstances will "regulating harder" ever solve this problem right now because we have been doing this since 1934 without success! When do we change what we are doing? WHEN?

          Einstein said the definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting different results.

          Per Einstein... the Pro-NN crowd is insane! And because I want to try something new... well lets just say... the sane appear insane to the insane!

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            "Most people operate under the idea that ISP's are "natural monopolies" when they are in fact NOT actually"

            I redirect you to the bloody definition I copied and pasted from Wikipedia the other day. Like NN, you don't seem to have the first clue of what the terms you bang on about actually mean!

            "but under no circumstances will "regulating harder" ever solve this problem right"

            Then regulate smarter, not harder!

            "They have them all tricked into believing they are natural monopolies when they don't have to be"

            Explain why they are not.Be sure to refer to the actual dictionary definition of the term, not the random crap you seem to assume.

            "Remove their ownership of public property and you will destroy 80% of their power"

            Your country tried doing that with healthcare, and what you got was half the population opposing better and cheaper service because they're scared of socialism. Good luck getting that with internet access.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              "I redirect you to the bloody definition I copied and pasted from Wikipedia the other day. Like NN, you don't seem to have the first clue of what the terms you bang on about actually mean!"

              When you figure it out PaulT maybe you will understand. Until then... keep blowing hot air... it's about all you are good for.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:49am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                Backed into a corner I see.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:06am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                  lol...

                  I am not the one whining about having lost NN. You folks are. I hope you are enjoying the pounding you are getting from it!

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 5:05pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                    You are a tiresome little twat. But at least if I need a projecter fit for an IMAX screen I know whom to call.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2018 @ 1:35am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                    "I am not the one whining about having lost NN."

                    Because, as you regularly demonstrate, you still haven't figured out what it really is yet. Once you finally understand the term, you'll feel really stupid for attacking peoples' support of it, but you absolutely refuse to accept factual definitions of words for some reason.

                    "I hope you are enjoying the pounding you are getting from it!"

                    You're still too stupid to understand how it negatively affects you. I've never seen someone so gleefully ignorant at being screwed, while attacking those on the outside looking in who have it better than you.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 7:15am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                    Backed into a corner where you argument completely breaks down is not the same as raising a ruckus about having lost something important to you. Your entire comment is an incoherent mess and obviously you are backed into a corner.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2018 @ 1:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                "When you figure it out PaulT maybe you will understand."

                I've got it figured out, because I a) use the actual definitions of terms, not whatever you're making up in your head and b) I have access to the products you claim can't happen while regulation is happening, and I have them as a direct result of regulation.

                I do, however, notice that all you have are flailing attempts at insults rather than facts or knowledge on your side. You've not even bothered trying to tell me where I'm wrong about the definition of the term I corrected you one, you just whine about nothing in particular. Almost as if you know I'm correct and have nothing to come back at me with.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              "They have them all tricked into believing they are natural monopolies when they don't have to be"

              Explain why they are not.Be sure to refer to the actual dictionary definition of the term, not the random crap you seem to assume.

              Look back to the 1990s and you'll see ISPs are not a natural monopoly: people often had tens or hundreds of choices, and a lot of people ended up running ISPs "by accident" (they ran a free BBS, then people offered money to get more lines, then they got an Internet connection...).

              The monopoly causing problems for America is in the last-mile connections. Force the wire providers to give third parties access, maybe ban them from also being ISPs (and ban anticompetitive actions if they also own TV channels etc.), and you'll see the competion that occurs in most other countries.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            Your idea of public ownership is one of the ways of dealing with a natural monopoly, the other is regulation of private companies. Those two options are six of one and half a dozen of the other, as in practice the same companies will build and maintain the infrastructure.

            However, just how do you propose to get the necessary laws passed and enforced while the corporation can control the regulatory agencies, and buy up politicians.

            The root cause of the problems in the US is that capture and control, and until that is dealt with things will only get worse.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              "Your idea of public ownership is one of the ways of dealing with a natural monopoly, the other is regulation of private companies."

              First part, yes, 2nd part, false.

              So, lets break that down.

              First part.
              Public roads, collectively paid for by everyone and paid even more so by it's heaviest users through gas taxes. A well balanced and fair system on premise... well if we could keep corruption from stealing the taxes for other things. But there is no incentive for government to get into bed with businesses because they cannot make more money, even when they go corrupt and give contracts away to their in group of buddies. They just lose only the taxes they can collect which must go through election processes.

              Private companies owning them creates and incentive for government to get into bed with business to collude against the citizens so that you have to pay more and the government gets more taxes. the government gets more money without having to fear backlash at the poles.

              Follow the money, it's just that simple. Why would the government actually want to regulate public property? They get less... the government wants to regulate "private" property. A lot more money to be had and the sycophants that are exceptionally easy to fool can be tricked into thinking the problem is with the businesses and not the government colluding with them through regulation to rape them.

              The entire NN debate stands as a testament to how ridiculously clueless the "government will save us" crowd is. Government does not want to save you, it wants to control you. It will do so in the way that hurts it the least... and that way is "Oligarchy". And the type of regulation that NN bring is exactly that.

              So all the little clueless idiots running around here pining for NN regulations are only build a pyre in which they will march to the top of themselves and fling their bodies into the bonfire to the glee of the telcos that have tricked them into letting them keeping their monopolies via government blessing through regulation.

              They were warned repeatedly that this is the results... but they did not and still will not listen.

              And now... they are really pissed off when I tell them... they asked for it... stop your fucking whining!

              "The root cause of the problems in the US is that capture and control, and until that is dealt with things will only get worse."

              As long as you think that, you are not even intellectually competent enough to understand the problem. Or humanity for that matter.

              Monopoly is the mechanism for control... not regulation as you have been duped into believing.

              Let me make it clear. If I want something you own, I know how to make you give it to me and thank me as well.

              It's called being a politician, where a thief (businesses) have come to take your property. I do not even have to tell them to come for you, I already know that they will. But I will soon come along and ask you what the problem is. Then I will tell you, if you let me make the decisions I can at least stop them from taking everything, and you will "happily" agree. I will then go to the theives and tell them... these folks are going to try to kill you if you take anything, but if you let me talk to them... I can get them to agree to let you have some things and no one has to die. The theives, happily agree... and so I will set about working with the thieves on how much to take from you and how we are going to split it amongst ourselves.

              I will then come to you and tell you... for only 50% they will leave you along and you will become happy at the prospect of not losing 100%. I am not going to tell you that me and the thieves now keep and open channel of communication because that would let you know I am really in cahoots with them and you will stop being happy. We have agreed to openly hate each other in public while sharing the spoils of your losses behind closed doors. All just keep you fooled. It works too!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                Whenever and wherever governments use taxes to upkeep public property, that tax becomes the first to be diverted into other projects, or massive salaries for those employed by the government to manage the infrastructure. When people complain about the state of the infrastructure, the taxes go up again to partly replace the latest diversion. That is why public ownership often turns out to be more expensive that a regulated private company where the books can be seen.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            All warfare is deception

            I don't know, a bullet or a grenade seems pretty straight forward and non-deceptive to me.

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          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            #1. Destruction of the monopoly, Remove ownership of the lines and poles and have the government regulate access to those just like we do public roads.

            I don't mean to add facts to this debate... but do you know what allows the government to do that? I'll give you a hint: it's Title II of the Communications Act, the very thing that you keep shitting on people for supporting. Without that, the plan that you suggest isn't possible.

            #2. Anti-Trust *gasp* "regulations" strengthening... A business cannot be both a Content owner/distributor while also owning any part of the path between content and consumer.

            So, once again, you support much stricter regulating than anything anyone here at Techdirt supports.

            So why is it that you continue to insist that "Techdirt supports all regulations, and they're so stupid because only I -- the enlightened one -- knows that the answer is no regulation."

            Can you answer that?

            Most people operate under the idea that ISP's are "natural monopolies" when they are in fact NOT actually.

            Other than the fact that they are. But, hey.

            Einstein said the definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting different results.

            You're the one who keeps lying about us and then magically disappearing when I call you on it. So...

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 11:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              > #1. Destruction of the monopoly, Remove ownership of the lines and poles and have the government regulate access to those just like we do public roads.

              I don't mean to add facts to this debate... but do you know what allows the government to do that? I'll give you a hint: it's Title II of the Communications Act

              The Communications Act is just an ordinary law. Congress could pass another anytime.

              > Most people operate under the idea that ISP's are "natural monopolies" when they are in fact NOT actually.

              Other than the fact that they are. But, hey.

              Ownership of the local wires is a natural monopoly. Backbones might be too. Internet service, when not intertwined with these, really isn't (or isn't a strong monopoly). Competition exists wherever the line-sharing rules are fair.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              You're the one who keeps lying about us and then magically disappearing when I call you on it. So...

              And magically, once again, he's gone.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        What's disturbing is that someone like you can be so factually incorrect and intellectually dishonest and STILL keep coming back for more after people point out your blatant, obvious, and easily disproven lies and incorrect facts.

        I guess you're just a glutton for punishment (or paid extremely well to do so). Bring it on, we can do this all day.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:31am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          Lets keep this simple.

          We have been trying it your way for decades, it has not worked.

          Whether I am wrong, crazy, stupid, ignorant, intellectually dishonest or whatever name you can come up with is historically proven to pale in comparison to what you should be classified as.

          You have been fooled to such a degree that you have been successfully tricked into playing for the people you claim to stand against. You see... the Teclos need to you want NN because it is a perfect diversion to keep simple minds like yourself occupied with a false sense of achievement. You are drooling over the crumbs from the table to such a degree that will sell your soul for just a taste, when if you could control your ignorance long enough to understand that you should be getting a seat at the table... not fighting for the crumbs falling down!


          "I guess you're just a glutton for punishment (or paid extremely well to do so). Bring it on, we can do this all day."

          Trust me, I am very well aware of the energy a group of lost zealots have. I just want you to understand that those of us who know better will still be here telling you how much of an idiot you are.

          The FCC is screwing you and your solution is to give it more power. Would your solution to someone breaking into your house be to just give them a key instead? That is the stupidity of you guys... to give the telco's keys to the kingdom... because regulation that was never designed to work... failed! And that is fucking insane!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            We have been trying it your way for decades, it has not worked.

            That's actually the other way around but you obviously failed history so I guess we can forgive you for not knowing that.

            You are drooling over the crumbs

            Ah yes, those crumbs that are open and free access to any site on the internet I want and not have my access be throttled, blocked, or have to pay exorbitant amounts for the right "access package".

            I just want you to understand that those of us who know better will still be here telling you how much of an idiot you are.

            This is hilarious coming from the guy who doesn't actually know what NN is. Pray tell me, can you define what exactly net neutrality is?

            Your understanding of reality and history is, at best, extremely flawed, and more likely delusional. If you think otherwise, please provide links to facts to back up your claims.

            On another note, you still haven't replied to my response further down where I utterly destroyed all your arguments. Scared?

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              "That's actually the other way around but you obviously failed history so I guess we can forgive you for not knowing that."

              The FCC was formed in 1934 and is officially on record as stating that they will regulate the telcos as "natural monopolies".

              This was not even hard to look up either... how can you be so fucking ignorant?

              "This is hilarious coming from the guy who doesn't actually know what NN is. Pray tell me, can you define what exactly net neutrality is?"

              Damn you are fucking dumb. NN was in place the last 3 years, and telco's till throttled and limited people access. Nothing happened to the Telco's. There was even a mega merger then as well. The only thing that is hilarious is how much you fight FOR the telco's while actually working towards their benefit by continuing to maintain that they should be allowed to keep their monopolies. Oh yea.. the other hilarious thing is that you fucking knobs thought you could win against a moron like Trump with a cunt like Hillary. And don't say you voted for Bernie... you got fucked over by the DNC when they screwed him because that is all you are capable of... getting screwed as you deserve!

              "On another note, you still haven't replied to my response further down where I utterly destroyed all your arguments. Scared?"

              Shaking in my boots, you might have noticed there are a lot of idiots like you running around without the facts... it's kind hard to get to you all and I only have so much time to work with here.

              If I see it and feel like responding I will.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                The FCC was formed in 1934 and is officially on record as stating that they will regulate the telcos as "natural monopolies". This was not even hard to look up either... how can you be so fucking ignorant?

                Yay, you can actually look up history. Sadly you don't understand it.

                Do you know why they regulated it "as a natural monopoly"? (Note this is different than granting them a monopoly) It's because the barrier of entry was too high for there to be many other competitors. Therefore, as ATT currently existed, it was classified as a natural monopoly and subject to stricter regulations, and in the 1980s was finally forced to break up due to antitrust. Your selective revisionist history is showing again.

                Damn you are fucking dumb.

                You realize you are the only who looks dumb right now, right?

                NN was in place the last 3 years, and telco's till throttled and limited people access.

                Yeah, because in less than one year after passing those regulations, Wheeler stepped down and Pai was appointed chairman, and he had zero intention of enforcing it. The telcos knew they could get away with stuff still.

                That said, this statement:

                Nothing happened to the Telco's.

                Isn't completely true. Many of them actually did start behaving themselves, see Netflix peering agreement disputes.

                There was even a mega merger then as well.

                Yes? And? So? NN was never meant to prevent this. The fact that you keep bringing this up is tiring and shows you don't understand what you're talking about.

                thought you could win against a moron like Trump with a cunt like Hillary. And don't say you voted for Bernie

                This has nothing to do with anything except to show how pathetic you really are. For the record, I didn't vote for any of the three you mentioned.

                it's kind hard to get to you all and I only have so much time to work with here. If I see it and feel like responding I will.

                Cop out.

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              • icon
                The Wanderer (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:21pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                The FCC was formed in 1934 and is officially on record as stating that they will regulate the telcos as "natural monopolies".

                This does not mean what you seem to keep insisting it means.

                Saying "We will regulate this industry as a natural monopoly" does not mean "We are going to grant a monopoly to the companies in this industry".

                It means "We recognize that trying to force this industry to not be a monopoly would not only be futile, but cause bigger problems than it solved; therefore, we will instead place restrictions on the companies in this industry, so that they cannot abuse the monopoly".

                Some of the things you have suggested doing to the ISPs (et cetera) are, in fact, within the bounds of the type of restrictions that might reasonably be placed on companies as part of regulating a natural monopoly. They are more extreme than what the government has historically chosen to do in regulating this particular industry, but they are not outside the limits of how the government has handled other types of natural monopoly.

                If the government did those things, it would be doing exactly what that quote you keep referencing says the FCC was established to do: regulating this industry as a natural monopoly.

                If you want to argue that the FCC, and the government in general, has failed in the goal of preventing the ISPs from abusing the natural monopoly - I'm pretty sure most of us agree!

                But that failure is not in any way due to the goal of "regulat[ing] [them] as a natural monopoly" which you keep citing; it is due to failure to go far enough in reaching for that goal.

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    • icon
      hij (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:31am

      Re: AT&T monopoly origin

      Here we go again.... Putting regulations in place is not the same thing as "control." Net neutrality is not putting limits on entry in to the market, and it is not controlling the market itself. It only makes sure that the players in the market do not place artificial restrictions on the market. That is the opposite of "control."

      The article above is describing the controls that the players in the market are exerting that distort the market. They are taking a page out of the airlines book and creating a confusing mix of practices that nickel and dime consumers and keep the whole thing a confused mess at the same time. Unlike the airlines, there are even fewer players in the market so it is not an actual market and more like a utility where the real control is over who owns those poles and wires running up to your house.

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

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        ---Here we go again.... Putting regulations in place is not the same thing as "control."---

        No one is saying that, we are saying creating an agency that "blesses" the monopoly is the problem and that your bullshit regulator dick sucking solves nothing because of it! When will you stop lying and twisting what is being said? When will you get 2 brain cells to rub to together? When will you stop being suckered by politicians breaking their promises to you? When will you just get a fucking clue?

        When will you stop giving up your liberty in vain hopes that a politician will save you?


        ---Net neutrality is not putting limits on entry in to the market, and it is not controlling the market itself. It only makes sure that the players in the market do not place artificial restrictions on the market. That is the opposite of "control."---

        Bald faced lie. We had NN for a few years and people still not limited, price gouged, and lied to. Businesses still made mega mergers and people like you still got screwed. Will they get screwed MORE without NN, sure I bet they will, but the problem is that you are selling NN like it is the second coming and that it is really important. It's not... not even close... NN still blesses the original root cause of all this problem... "Monopoly".

        As long as you are not against the monopoly you deserve every fucking bit of trouble those monopolies give to you and you deserve every betrayal served to you on a platter by your own politicians.

        Or like Obama says, you get the politicians you deserve!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:02am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          We had NN for a few years and people still not limited, price gouged, and lied to.

          Wheeler started to work on Net Neutrality because of the games that the ISPs were playing to try and damage or extract money from competitors like Netflix. Those games started about the time that hose ISPs realized that cord cutting was going to damage their cable income.

          Those same ISPs have gotten their man Pai into the position where he has removed the slight regulation that Wheeler had created, and now you are seeing the beginnings of what those combined ISP and content provider companies will do to protect their income from content, when there is no regulations to prevent them manipulating and packaging access to the Internet.

          The subject of the article is telling, now that AT&T own HBO, the extra fees they charged to give their customers unlimited access are no longer adding to their profits, and so they have moved them on to the customers by charging them more to have unlimited access to HBO.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            "Wheeler started to work on PROTECTING Net Neutrality"

            Fixing it for morons like the above who still don't know what NN is, yet passionately oppose it.

            Net neutrality is the way the internet has worked since its inception. In the US, certain corporations tried to screw the consumer by violating the spirit of those guidelines. So, rules were put into place to protect it.

            But, useful idiots think that it was something new introduced by the government, not protection of what already existed, so they fight for their rights and freedoms to be sold to the highest bidder with no oversight.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

              And yet wheeler put in Zero Rating.

              You guys are fucking morons!

              At least TD had the fucking intregity to even post articles about it. here is one of them.

              https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170803/12491537914/mozilla-study-zero-rating-isnt-miracle-b roadband-duopolies-facebook-pretend-it-is.shtml

              And in TD own words...
              "Of course that's simply not the case, and zero rating simply shifts costs around to the benefit of entrenched mono/duopolists. Since caps and overage fees are arbitrary implementations not tied to any sound, real-world economics, the consumer isn't technically really saving anything "

              You guys are fucking dumber than a box of rocks.

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              • icon
                Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:48am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                And yet wheeler put in Zero Rating.

                In 2016 he announced zero rating violated the 2015 order.

                So, no. You're wrong. Again.

                You guys are fucking dumber than a box of rocks.

                You're the one who was wrong. Care to apologize?

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2018 @ 1:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                "And yet wheeler put in Zero Rating."

                Even if true (and it's not), that doesn't affect me. You know why? Because the fucking regulators stopped them from doing it here!

                You're not only stupid, you support things getting worse and worse for you while attacking those who can show you that what you claim is impossible exists everywhere else.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 9:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                Run away little girl. Run away like you do.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:04am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          "When will you stop giving up your liberty in vain hopes that a politician will save you?"

          What's really funny about that is that you are supporting handing that liberty over to corporations because you don't think a regulator will do what they need to do to stop them from taking it.

          "We had NN for a few years"

          Still don't know what net neutrality is, huh? Yet, here you are valiantly fighting against those who support it.

          "As long as you are not against the monopoly"

          If you're that anti-monopoly, why are you supporting the moves to ensure they never have any competition in your market?

          Delusional as ever, I see.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:11am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          When will you stop lying and twisting what is being said?

          That would be you, not him.

          Bald faced lie.

          No, it's not, but your statement is.

          We had NN for a few years and people still not limited, price gouged, and lied to. Businesses still made mega mergers and people like you still got screwed.

          Yeah, because NN wasn't meant or intended to address ANY of that. Stop changing the goal posts. The few things in NN that actually applied to your statements (such as the privacy protections and truthful disclosures) got wiped out by Congress before it even had a chance to take effect. Congratulations on being a bald faced liar.

          Will they get screwed MORE without NN, sure I bet they will

          So then why are you so against it if it actually protects people?

          that it is really important. It's not... not even close

          Yeah, it is. You yourself in the immediate prior sentence admitted that without it, people will get even more screwed over.

          NN still blesses the original root cause of all this problem... "Monopoly"

          It does no such thing. But you wouldn't know that because you can't be bothered to actually read the actual rules.

          As long as you are not against the monopoly

          We all are. How do you even think we're not? It's been stated in practically every article and post in support of NN. The monopolies need to be broken up and last mile be opened to any provider. NN is not a solution to that but it is a stopgap until that happens and is still good to have around, even if the monopolies are broken up. There is no downside to NN. Stop putting words in other people's mouths.

          The only one here who doesn't get it and needs to get a clue is you. Especially when you can't even get your facts straight and end up constantly contradicting yourself.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:52am

      Re: AT&T monopoly origin

      AT&T first ascended to its powerful market position in 1913

      Surely you actually meant that it's powerful market position began to be limited in 1913, since that is when it attracted antitrust attention and agreed to no longer buy up any other independent phone companies without first receiving approval from the ICC? This continued until 1982 when ATT was forced to break up into smaller individual companies because it was considered no longer eligible for natural monopoly status because of the advent of microwave and fiber communications.

      Engaging in a bit of revisionist history are we?

      Over a century later we still suffer from massive government interventions into the communications markets

      I don't know, seems like the government has been pretty content to let communications companies, with some exceptions, do whatever the hell they want to me. Up to and including defrauding their customers with bogus billing. And it's not just ATT (which, as far as I can tell, is the ONLY comm. company that was ever officially recognized as a natural monopoly)

      Kind of seems like we might need some more regulation to break up all those monopolies, or at the very least force them to play fair. What do you think?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        "Engaging in a bit of revisionist history are we?"

        It's all he has. He also needs to pretend that effective regulation doesn't exist anywhere else, since the truth undermines his entire schtick.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          No the preteding is all yours PaulT

          I have mentioned several times that I support anti-monopoly and anti-trust regulations.

          But you "need" to keep lying that saying that I am against all regulations. Just keep lying, I know you are used to it, and yes I am well aware that those who can lie the loudest and the longest tend to be effective in the pursuit.

          But who cares, you are not even in the US, you are just a remote retard talking about shit you know nothing about.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2018 @ 1:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            I have mentioned several times that I support anti-monopoly and anti-trust regulations

            Except for all the times you screamed that all regulations were bad, of course. We've already quoted so much of that shit it's gotten boring. More boring than usual!

            But who cares, you are not even in the US

            Wait, didn't you say that even if you're not in the US, everything you do affects global policy and therefore you're entitled to shout at us?

            Way to be consistent, fucknugget.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2018 @ 1:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

            "I have mentioned several times that I support anti-monopoly and anti-trust regulations."

            You mention a lot of things that are directly contradicted by other things you say. But, your main schtick to to attack those who support any kind of regulation whatsoever. Why do you attack those people if you support some kinds of regulation?

            "But who cares, you are not even in the US"

            Unlike ignorant sods like you, I care about things that don't affect me personally. I do have friends and family who are affected, and my natural state is to try and protect people from misinformation campaigns like the one you have committed yourself to here. I'm not selfish and ignorant enough to only care about things that directly involve me when other are needlessly negatively impacted.

            I know that remaining deliberately ignorant of the rest of the world is the only way in which your arguments can have even the illusion of truth, but until you do remove yourself from the internet, I'm still here to correct your lies. There's one way and one way only to avoid this - stop bullshitting. Especially about things that everyone can see you really don't believe in but your own actions.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jun 2018 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

        ... obviously you are unfamiliar with history the famous 1913 Kingsbury Letter by AT&T vice-president, which negated that 1913 Antitrust suit -- and cemented AT&T dominance for next two generations.

        AT&T has grandly recovered from the 1984 breakup and is bigger than ever.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 7:40am

          Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

          Obviously you are cherry picking your history facts to contort it into what you want it to be.

          The 1913 agreement resulted in ATT agreeing to NOT buy up any more telco companies for the forseeable future. And they didn't until sometime after they were broken up in the 80s. After which, yes, you are correct, they did begin re-buying some of the smaller ones. But that still doesn't prove your point. That just means the government was lax in enforcing the rules or those buy outs were deemed either beneficial or not problematic enough to bring another antitrust suit.

          What you are also ignoring is that ATT's single biggest competitor in the landline phone and mobile space is Verizon. Verizon was originally Bell Atlantic, one of the companies ATT was forced to break off in 1984. It was not re-acquired by ATT and since went on to become a major competitor (in wireline phone and mobile at least).

          Additionally, another of the break up companies, US West, went on to be acquired by CenturyLink, which is also a major competitor in wireline phone and DSL (though not so much in mobile).

          Your statement that ATT is bigger than ever is a non-sequitur. Of course it's bigger than ever, it's been around for almost 100 years. Any company that survives that long, despite anti-trust breakups, is very likely to be bigger at the end of that time period than before. That's kind of how things work and it's not necessarily bad, provided there is ample competition.

          All of that said, please explain to me how one company being restricted from purchasing new companies, eventually being broken up into multiple little companies and those little companies going on to be major competitors with their original parent company (despite the original parent company re-buying some of them) when they didn't have ANY major competitors prior to that, equates to ATT being a government blessed monopoly that has firmly cemented its dominance for the last several generations.

          This is not to say that everything is fine and dandy and that another round of antitrust investigations might be in order, but your statement that it's a government blessed monopoly and that somehow giving the FCC power that they already have to impose privacy, fair play, and good conduct restrictions on ISPs will just further cement ISP power is ludicrous and not based in fact or history.

          Once again, your revisionist history is mind boggling.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:14am

    but new customers or those who switch plans will have to buy the more expensive unlimited plan to get HBO at no added cost.

    Apart from two levels of unlimited access, how does paying more to get a service equal no added cost.

    This quote comes to ,ind

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

    Lewis Carroll

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

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      No cost above the up-front advertised price.

      Presumably there is (or used to be?) a way to get HBO with the lower-cost plan, by paying an extra fee above the advertised price.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re:

        Prior to the purchase that gave them control over HBO, it was included in the lower cost unlimited plan. Now they have gained control, they have decided to charge more. Any extra money for HBO access must have been coming from HBO, but now they own HBO it would be an accounting move that does nothing for their profits.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:28am

    just like the entertainment industries have done, over the years, with thick fucking judges giving them everything they want, which has led to countless families being broken up, internet sites being removed, jail sentences being ramped up and dished out like confetti and the almost completion of the whole end game, gaining total control of the Internet! everything that the industries have condemned will then suddenly become the dogs bollocks and what we cant live without!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 8:43am

    Monopoly

    Monopolies and consolidation are the natural result of the market, so therefore they must be good.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:02am

    "there will ultimately be nothing stopping AT&T from disadvantaging its competitors further in more aggressive ways"

    I have a problem with this comment because it's simply not true.

    If *EVERY* customer and *EVERY* small business stood up and decided not to pay their bills until the companies changed their bullshit ways, thing would change over night.

    Yes, it means doing "without" for a bit, but seriously consider who'd chickens first.

    This is called a "Boycott", and at one point in retail history, they were feared.

    Perhaps restore them.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      "If *EVERY* customer and *EVERY* small business stood up and decided not to pay their bills until the companies changed their bullshit ways, thing would change over night."

      Indeed. Changes of that happening in the real world = 0. Therefore, people should be addressing what is actually possible.

      "This is called a "Boycott", and at one point in retail history, they were feared."

      They were feared because there was real competition, and the goods being purchased were optional. People could go elsewhere, or simply do without. Neither of these things is currently true in many areas regarding internet access.

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re:

        I seriously need my smartphone to do my job. Boycotting AT&T to spite them would not be doing without a luxury. Just the prospect of switching carriers is a significant hurdle - If the meager competitors had competitive price and coverage where I need it. (They don't.)
        Likewise for Spectrum - Dumping them would mean moving to a different area in my city that was part of the aborted FioS rollout.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I seriously need my smartphone to do my job.

          You don't think people needed buses for their jobs in the Montgomery boycott? Boycotts are not just about giving up "luxury", and people do go through hurdles for them.

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

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Busses

            Boycotting the busses wasn't just about the busses - that was on the level of a general work strike. They couldn't get to work, this had a significant impact on the city.
            Also, boycotting busses means getting up one day and not taking the bus. I can't just get up in the morning a not use my phone - AT&T won't notice until I cancel my service. And they will still charge me hundreds of dollars for early termination.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 11:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

              AT&T won't notice until I cancel my service.

              But they'll notice for sure if thousands of people cancel in a day. It doesn't even have to be a huge number. They have 50 million subscribers; if you can get 0.01% to call and cancel on the same day, all giving the same reason, they may or may not react... but they'll notice.

              And they will still charge me hundreds of dollars for early termination.

              Never agree to a term contract with these companies. That's a whole other problem.

              (BTW, lots of bus boycott participants did continue to work. Many walked everywhere; some carpooled, which the governments cracked down on.)

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:09pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

                But they'll notice for sure if thousands of people cancel in a day.

                And they won't care because they know that in a few days, all those people will sign right back up for service, and they are typically the only game in town. Why? Because it's very difficult, if not impossible for most people to do without internet in today's world. Many people are required to have it for their jobs and they would lose their jobs without it. Sure some can get by without it, but that number is decreasing by the day.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

                  And they won't care because they know that in a few days, all those people will sign right back up for service

                  And they can boost their profits by charging a reconnection fee.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 1:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

                  And they won't care because they know that in a few days, all those people will sign right back up for service, and they are typically the only game in town.

                  If you plan to give up after a few days, there's no point. Effective boycotts sometimes last longer than a year, with considerable inconvenience. If there's no alternative you might have to start an ISP and/or push lawmakers to do something (...which doesn't take a ton of people—the SOPA protests caught their attention).

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 4:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

                    >If there's no alternative you might have to start an ISP

                    And just how will that ISP connect to its customers, as dial up still has a very limited bandwidth, and a decent service require local loop unbundling, along with access to exchanges and backbones to implement a service.

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

                  • identicon
                    Will B., 29 Jun 2018 @ 4:48pm

                    See, here's the issue...

                    ...the "considerable inconvenience" would be on the side of the boycotters, not the side of the company. Who, precisely, do you think would give out first?

                    Boycotting the internet when you require the internet to do your job is essentially a work strike; if you can't do your job, you're likely to lose it, and if you lose it, you're out a lot more than just internet access. Like, say, being out of food, or money for rent.

                    In the meantime, AT&T will hurt for a bit, but they've A) got money in the bank, B) likely have plenty of other revenue sources from people and entire areas outside of the boycott, and C) know that all they need to do is wait it out. The most they'll have to deal with is complaining investors, not -actual starvation-.

                    All that said, if you want to organize a year-long boycott of ISP services... well, after you, my friend. Show us the way.

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

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2018 @ 1:40am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

                    "If there's no alternative you might have to start an ISP"

                    Frigging Google tried doing that and they were blocked from being able to do so effectively. How many ordinary people will be able to do better, especially given that they've just given up their own income to boycott?

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 7:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Busses

                    If you plan to give up after a few days, there's no point.

                    Exactly. My point is, with how essential internet access is to many Americans, they can't afford to be without it for more than a few days if that.

                    And we're not talking about essential in that they'll miss their favorite Netflix show. We're talking about people who require internet access to do their jobs, submit homework, manage their finances, and manage their health. Many people now work remotely from home, if they lose their internet access for an extended period of time, they will lose their job.

                    Boycotting the internet is no different, and potentially worse, than boycotting electricity and running water.

                    Effective boycotts sometimes last longer than a year, with considerable inconvenience.

                    You don't understand boycotts. Boycotts work because people have an alternative. You can't boycott something that you need that doesn't have an alternative. I can boycott Walmart because I can get what I need from Target or Shopko. If Walmart was the only store in town, there's no way I could boycott them if they were my sole supplier of food, clothing, and necessities. Considerable inconvenience is different than absolute necessity. Which for reasons I have stated above, the internet is for many people.

                    If there's no alternative you might have to start an ISP and/or push lawmakers to do something

                    I'm curious, what the hell do you think NN is then?!?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 7:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Instead of boycotting them I just dropped these at&t scumbags and went with t-mobile. Fuck you at&t.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 9:39am

      Re:

      At this point in time, going without the internet is like going without electricity, running water, or natural gas for heat and cooking.

      Many people cannot do their jobs, homework, banking, or manage their health without internet access. And to have ANY chance of it making a difference, enough people would have to all do it at the same time. John Doe who has a wife and two kids to support, whose job is remote and has to have internet access, or Youtubers, or anyone else whose livelihood depends on the internet simply CANNOT afford to boycott all ISPs on the slim chance everyone else will too.

      Please start living in the real world.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re:

        "At this point in time, going without the internet is like going without electricity, running water, or natural gas for heat and cooking."

        This is why you people are so fucking retarded.

        electricity, running water, and fuels for heat are far more important for survival than the fucking internet!

        How did you get your priorities so fucking screwed up? This is why you are a fucking moron! What you just posted is a standing reason why you are so ignorant. You don't even understand the meaning of hardship.

        Go to the forest and live off the land, it will not take you long to understand how fucking stupid you are!

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          >electricity, running water, and fuels for heat are far more important for survival than the fucking internet!

          Tell that to people who rely on it for remote working, or for shopping because they are house bound, or because it is both the distribution medium for their creative output, and the means that their fans can support them; (patreon, kickstarter, etc. are only viable because of the Internet.)

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 11:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If he had actually read the next part of my post, he would have seen that. But all he saw was my first sentence and immediately starting foaming at the mouth.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 11:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          electricity, running water, and fuels for heat are far more important for survival than the fucking internet!

          For survival, yes. Heck, you can even survive without any of those things, people did it for centuries. But good job implying they are necessary for survival and then telling me to go live off the land where I would have access to none of them. Your intelligent dissonance is mind boggling.

          How did you get your priorities so fucking screwed up? This is why you are a fucking moron! What you just posted is a standing reason why you are so ignorant. You don't even understand the meaning of hardship.

          The only moron here is you. Not only that you are also a disgusting human being since your solution would get many families kicked out on to the street because their jobs and primary source of income depends on them having internet access.

          Congratulations, you've just stated that it's fine if people get kicked out of their homes, lose their jobs, and have to drop out of school as long as we do things your way. Your arrogance and narcissism makes me want to puke.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Internet connections are much more shareable than phone connections. If each person shared with 2 neighbors, everyone would still have the service they need, with AT&T getting a lot less money.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And what happens when all your neighbors join the protest? (since you apparently agree that everyone should boycott)

          For that matter, who are these benevolent neighbors you speak of that would gladly open up their private network for someone they don't even know to use and possibly infect? Or would even know how to?

          Even further, what kind of crazy powerful wifi antennas do you have that would even reach through your walls, across 10 - 50 yards, through your neighbors walls and still provide enough of a signal for them to get proper internet access? Hell, some WAPs won't even go through the walls of an apartment in an apartment building.

          Got any more nonsensical solutions?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 1:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And what happens when all your neighbors join the protest? (since you apparently agree that everyone should boycott)

            I'm not agreeing that everyone should boycott... but in this example, the neighbor who's sharing with others would be part of the protest by definition.

            Even further, what kind of crazy powerful wifi antennas do you have that would even reach through your walls, across 10 - 50 yards, through your neighbors walls and still provide enough of a signal for them to get proper internet access?

            If you look for reasons not to do this, you'll find them.

            But lots of people see other wifi networks from their homes. Fiber is pretty cheap too (I'd avoid ethernet due to electrical risks--ground loops, lightning etc.). Public buildings frequently have free wi-fi.

            Find some way to protest, or don't. The point is that "fully support AT&T" and "don't have internet" aren't the only two choices, and cutting home service wouldn't be akin to living without electricity or water or a telephone.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 8:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              the neighbor who's sharing with others would be part of the protest by definition.

              Please explain this because the only way I can see them being considered part of the protest would be if they too ditched their internet access.

              If you look for reasons not to do this, you'll find them.

              Oh yes, let's not let technical and physical IMPOSSIBILITIES get in the way of bad ideas and delusions. I am responding to your suggestion for a solution and stating that according to current physical laws and technical capabilities, what you are suggesting is physically impossible.

              But lots of people see other wifi networks from their homes.

              And usually those homes are either very close together or they live in an apartment complex. Even then, the signal strength of those SSIDs they see is likely 1 or 2 bars. That's barely enough to get access and likely not enough for a reliable connection. In the portions of my house where my wifi only has two bars, website loading takes minutes, not seconds.

              Fiber is pretty cheap too (I'd avoid ethernet due to electrical risks--ground loops, lightning etc.).

              Ok, you obviously have no clue what you're talking about. Fiber is not cheap, especially not for someone to deploy their own private network to share with friends. Not to mention it's more complicated to configure. By comparison, ethernet is cheaper and easier to set up. I have no idea what you're talking about with electrical issues. You do realize that ethernet is the most common network infrastructure and is completely safe right? Unless you are for some dumb reason coiling it up and putting it on a 50 foot pole, but why would you do that?

              Public buildings frequently have free wi-fi.

              This does not work for many things, the least of which is it is highly insecure and you should never do your job, finances, or manage your health over it.

              Find some way to protest, or don't.

              What do you think all the protests last year were?

              The point is that "fully support AT&T" and "don't have internet" aren't the only two choices

              No one is saying they are, just that going without internet is not an option for many people.

              cutting home service wouldn't be akin to living without electricity or water or a telephone.

              When all you have is VoIP telephone service, then yes, it absolutely is like living without a telephone. As for the others, actually it is. For people who work remotely, if they have no electricity or internet access, they will lose their jobs and eventually get kicked out of their homes at which point they won't have anything. And LOTS of people work remotely. Not to mention that they need internet access for other necessities, such as communication, managing finances, submitting homework, and managing their health.

              This is probably the fourth or fifth time I've said basically the same thing in this comment section so far. The argument that it's only a minor inconvenience for people to go without internet access for months or years at a time is a tired trope and is actually insulting and degrading to those people who depend on internet access for their livelihood. Now please shut up.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 3 Jul 2018 @ 8:51am

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

                "The argument that it's only a minor inconvenience for people to go without internet access for months or years at a time is a tired trope"

                It's actually a good barometer. I think that if a person is making that argument honestly, they either don't use the internet for non-entertainment purposes (and thus don't know/care how it affects others with more important needs), or they *think* they don't but don't actually understand how much it's required on a daily basis for them.

                Either way, as strange as it is to be arguing that you don't need the internet... on the internet, I think that someone who has no concept of it as a non-entertainment medium isn't going to have workable solutions in mind for the rest of it.

                I tend to find it's a trend, no matter which tech is being talked about. For example, there's people who argue against VPNs, apparently blissfully unaware that they are used for far, far more than hiding your location when trying to access better content on Netflix, and how many services they use depend on them.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2018 @ 9:27am

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

                  You make a good point. I would say that it extends even beyond tech as well.

                  For example, someone who lives in New York City, or Chicago, might think that no one needs to own a car, or at best, renting a driver-less vehicle would be sufficient. They don't understand that in a city that isn't as densely populated, where you can't easily walk or take public transportation to where you need to go, your own personal car is a necessity.

                  The same goes for many other things, and I think that's part of the problem we have. People only think about how it affects them and their highly specific situation, they don't think about how it might affect someone in a completely different situation or the effects on large groups of people. Sadly I think (in addition to being bought by lobbyists) politicians fall into the same trap, it doesn't apply specifically to them or they are affected by something that doesn't necessarily affect the public at large, so that forms the basis of their bills, laws, and how they run the government.

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

              • icon
                The Wanderer (profile), 4 Jul 2018 @ 4:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AT&T monopoly origin

                >the neighbor who's sharing with others would be part of the protest by definition.

                Please explain this because the only way I can see them being considered part of the protest would be if they too ditched their internet access.

                I think the structure of the protest (as outlined by the implications of things posted thus far, although not clearly expressed at any point) is supposed to be "instead of everyone buying Internet access, people cut back to where only a handful of people are doing that, and those few people share with those who have stopped doing it".

                Under that model, someone who agrees to keep paying for the service but share the resulting service with those who don't pay, for the purpose of making the protest possible, would indeed by definition be part of the protest.

                The suggestion in the original comment was much more absolute, of course, but I think the bit about "shareable" in the second comment was supposed to represent a refinement of the idea. (Without clearly acknowledging that there had been a problem with the original, of course.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jun 2018 @ 12:33pm

    Odd Thing - generally related

    I live in a Centurylink area. I have a light need for internet (am retired) so the 14Mb/ .75Mb service is OK. Phone a a little streaming.

    The odd thing, my service is and has remained the same cost for at least a year with no weird service charges. It is the negotiated cost plus the state and federal tax. And it is Centurylink for gods sake. Who could have guessed.

    ATT purchases DirectTV. Cost has risen several times in the past year generally some weird administrative cost (sports overhead charge anyone?). Fight with them monthly to explain the charges on my bill. Significant other will not give up Direct TV, the bill is now hers to worry about. I figure a couple sessions with ATT support should eliminate that bill. Gosh the support is crap and the cost has reached $170.00 a month for whatever you call the programming on Direct TV these days.... When the cost was $60.00 a month it was one thing. But really??

    Thanks, that's my rant for the week..

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


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