ISPs Push Employees To Urge Governor Brown Veto New California Net Neutrality Bill

from the down-to-the-wire dept

Last week we noted how California managed to shake off ISP lobbyists and pass meaningful net neutrality rules. The rules largely mirror the FCC's discarded 2015 rules, in that they prohibit throttling or blocking of services that compete with ISP monopolies. But the rules also go a bit further in that they prohibit all of the sneaky bullshit ISPs have creatively-shifted to as their anti-competitive impulses evolved, including restrictions on zero rating and interconnection shenanigans out toward the edge of the network (the cause of those Netflix slowdowns a few years back).

While the California Senate has passed the new law, it still hasn't been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. Given Brown's tendency to occasionally veto efforts that have broad public support, net neutrality activists are a little worried he may shut the entire effort down. Potentially via the argument that the bill would somehow harm ISPs ability to make a living (which has never been true, since you only run afoul of the rules when you behave badly).

ISPs meanwhile have been making a zero hour push to encourage Brown to veto the bill, with activists telling me the CTIA (the wireless industry's top lobbying organization), Comcast and AT&T all met with Brown at his office last Tuesday. Other ISPs, like Frontier Communications, have taken to urging their employees to demand Brown veto the bill. And, as is usually the case, their arguments aren't exactly what you'll call fact-based:

"The email directs users to an online form letter to Brown claiming that Frontier “supports an open Internet,” but that the bill will “create significant new costs for consumers, hinder network investment and delay Frontier’s hard work to help close the Digital Divide in California.”

Except Frontier’s “support” for net neutrality has involved participating in a coalition of ISPs that repeatedly sued the FCC over its modest rules. And claims that net neutrality somehow harms network investment have been repeatedly, painstakingly debunked using public SEC filings, ISP earnings reports, and countless public statements by ISP executives themselves.

The e-mail to employees, which urges them to sign this letter to Brown, also relies on an ISP industry falsehood from way back; the idea that the bill (SB822) would somehow give Netflix and Google "free internet":

"The email, which notes that employee participation is voluntary, contains numerous other unsubstantiated allegations, including one claim that the bill would somehow create “free internet for big users like Netflix and Google."

Obviously there's nothing about that statement that's true, though ISPs have long leaned on this idea that content companies are just "free riders" on their networks, hoovering up revenues that, by imaginary divine mandate, should be going into the pockets of the ISPs. Of course every time we suggest to an ISP that they pay Netflix or Google's bandwidth bill, they go oddly quiet. That's because, like most ISP talking points on net neutrality, ISPs have to make up points out of whole cloth, since admitting "we just want the freedom to anti-competitively cash in on broken broadband markets" isn't a winning argument.

If Brown signs the bill, the entire west coast will soon be covered in state-level net neutrality protections, which is certainly not what ISPs had in mind after spending millions to kill net neutrality. If Brown doesn't sign the bill, he's going to be opposing the bipartisan majority of Americans who want some degree of meaningful protection standing between them and historically anti-competitive telecom monopolies like Comcast.

While broadband tends to be an issue politicians pay empty lip service to, the FCC's grotesque handout to Comcast and friends has changed the game. Should Brown veto the bill, he's only reiterating that monopoly welfare trumps the public interest and the health of the internet, a position that's likely to hold political consequences moving forward.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 10:40am

    Eloquence vs brevity

    That's because, like most ISP talking points on net neutrality, ISPs have to make up points out of whole cloth, since admitting "we just want the freedom to anti-competitively cash in on broken broadband markets" isn't a winning argument.

    Lie.

    The word you're looking for is 'lie', as in 'ISP's choose to lie, because the truth wouldn't work out so well for them.'

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:12am

      Re: Eloquence vs brevity

      When you have no facts lie, lie and lie. That strategy seems to work really well for the media.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:24am

      Re: Eloquence vs brevity

      The truth has something to do with the ISPs wanting ie. Google and Netflix to pay more for their bandwidth. Since they lack the ability to weaponize the connection against those to cut costs and shift blame, they feel squeezed between broadband expectations and the cost of upgrading their setup early. Pai is making the choice of letting them expand geographically instead of improving service. It is very questionable if what they do is adequate for the areas they service, but it is better business to get more customers than improving quality for existing customers for obvious reasons!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Eloquence vs brevity

        "letting them expand geographically" ... lol, you mean like out into the rural areas?

        In summary: It's good business to screw over more people at the same screwage levels than it is to lessen the amount of screwage to existing customers.

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

        • identicon
          Speaking from experience, 11 Sep 2018 @ 11:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Eloquence vs brevity

          Speaking of said areas Cali and everyone I hope you get NN I really do becuase my speeds are so slow I’m almost to the point of just calling mine and asking if they still have dial up becuase it was faster just to make them angry.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re: Eloquence vs brevity

        The truth has something to do with the ISPs wanting ie. Google and Netflix to pay more for their bandwidth.

        More like they want to kill of Netflix and YouTube because they are competing with their cable TV businesses, or at least be able to charge them to more than replace their lost cable subscriptions.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:37pm

        Re: Re: Eloquence vs brevity

        YOU as a Customer is paying for your COnnection and the Data going to your connection. It's PAID FOR BY YOU!!!!

        Netflix pays a ton of money to the ISP service THEY are connected to which would be a business type connection with lots of Upload speed as that's what you need with everyone streaming from you.

        Your ISP which is really the last mile wants to DOUBLE DIP to make more money!!! Everyone has been paid already. It really should matter if you get your Data from Netflix, Amazon or anyone else for that matter. Also costs for these company's have greatly dropped. They're making more money than ever.

        From their LIES, they throw on a 1TB Data Cap. But if you stream from THEM, it doesn't count against your Data Cap, WHY? They complain about some people using too much Data, which is a joke, but they then Increase speeds even more. Which you just run into that 1TB cap even faster.

        Because DSL is so much slower, people move to Cable making competition really become ZERO competition, and then they do whatever they want. Where it ends up being cheaper to get a dumb bundle when all you want is Internet only. Why is that?

        High prices, CAPS, Crap service is what you end up getting. I hope this bill gets signed. They lied and their cronies killed it Federally, and they thought all was good, but in reality, they opened it up to all the states to create their own rules instead and made them even worse for them. They may have made things worse for them, and I'm glad.

        They are in fact a Monopoly. In fact they are service you need just like Water and Gas and Electricity. You can't do much of anything these days without Internet service. I remember the days before the Internet many, many years ago. It's almost impossible to do anything without it.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Eloquence vs brevity

      "whole cloth" means that these lies in particular don't even have the smallest speck of truth to them, that other kinds of lies might.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:01am

    I wonder what will happen to the employees that refuse to sign said letter.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:49am

    There are Problems..

    Consider what all those OLD services did..

    From AOL to Compuserve and and Everything that on the net NOW..
    What has been shown to WORK?
    What did the ISP's do before NOW..not allot compared to what was there.

    think of all the services and BUILD UP that google has done. What they HAD done, and stopped and changed and ADAPTED..
    Google and a few others RAN out into the net and Created MOST of the net.
    the Major ISPS?? have SAT, and slowly bought up a Few of those Proven services, and HARDWARE..

    Corps are SLOW to change and hope others DO THE WORK, and Prove something can be done.. OTHERS have proven what the internet can do, NOT the ISP's..

    IF, the ISP's can Create, rob, Steal, the Creations of OTHERS...they will love it. THEY are TRYING to catch up. but they DONT like competition, as it Raises COSTS to them, and the IDEAL of cutting every corner.
    They dont WANT to create from Scratch, what has been BUILT and shown to Word very well..

    THE BIG hit, that will show that they are winning..Watch EBAY and PAYPAL..when they get BOUGHT OUT or find competition(with a small company, made up from the ISP's) things will start down hill.

    An old thing thats happened, and few understand it..ges like this..
    Banks, Credit cards companies, CC Services, Expensive equipment..(there is 1 other part in this puzzle, that verifies the Cards)
    All those are related, but Each LAYER, adds money to the end result. Couldnt it be a Straight connection to the Bank?? it could, but its not. 99% of this system has become automated. And the Rich get to pay LESS interest, over the poor..

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 1:08pm

      Re: There are Problems..

      Ack - could only get through half your post. I cant STAND reading randomly capitalized WORDS.

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

  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 11:55am

    Down Brownie

    Well see if the corporatist own him.

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

  • icon
    UniKyrn (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 12:13pm

    So the employee's can only read and deal with the email request via their corporate Internet access, which would be using company resources for personal use, or they can go home and hope their residential Internet is working? :)

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

  • identicon
    DOlz, 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:38pm

    To paraphrase Mark Twain: there are three types of lies; lies, damn lies, and ISP facts.

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

  • icon
    DB (profile), 10 Sep 2018 @ 2:45pm

    I have to wonder how that talking point plays to the public.

    They are paying $200 to Comcast as a monopoly, and $10 to Netflix in a competitive market. Comcast claiming that Netflix isn't paying its way rings pretty hollow.

    I think that it much more closely reflects the mindset of Comcast executives: "we are providing the highway, we should get the tolls plus a cut of the sales of all the businesses reachable by the highway".

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2018 @ 4:44pm

      Re:

      Comcast is the last MILE. YOU as a customer are already paying for that connection and the Data in that tiny 1TB Cap of theirs.

      Netflix is paying their own ISP for a business class account with a whole lot of Upload speed. Everyone has been PAID!! What your local ISB like Comcast is trying to do is Double Dip. To make more money. That is all it's about. It shouldn't matter where you're getting your Data from. Be it Netflix, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc, etc, etc. Data is Data. It's packets going from one spot to another. Data keeps getting cheaper and Cheaper. Ever see a IPS just lower prices? No, it gets cheaper for them, but they still bump your prices up.

      Tell me, how come if you just want Internet ONLY, it costs more than a dumb bundle you don't want but end up getting because it's cheaper? It's all about protecting their own services. You go over your 1TB cap streaming from all these other services, they get even more money from you.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2018 @ 6:34am

      Re:

      Sounds like the mob saying they want a piece of the action.

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

  • icon
    Lord Lidl of Cheem (profile), 11 Sep 2018 @ 2:31am

    I imagine the meeting consisted of them just asking 'how much?'

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


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