None Of The Claimed Benefits Of Killing Net Neutrality Ever Arrived

from the fluff-and-nonsense dept

So just over a year ago the FCC quickly rushed to kill net neutrality at telecom lobbyists' behest. As we noted last week, the repeal did far more than just kill net neutrality protections; it effectively freed uncompetitive telecom providers from most meaningful oversight. With a few notable exceptions, most ISPs have tried to remain on their best behavior for two reasons: one, they're worried about the ongoing lawsuit from 23 State AGs that could potentially restore the rules any day now. And two, they don't want to run afoul of the nearly two dozen states that passed their own net neutrality rules in the wake of the repeal.

Of course this all occurred because of the Ajit Pai FCC claim that killing the rules would result in amazing broadband growth, competition, and investment. But as people keep digging into the numbers, they've (surprise!) increasingly realized that absolutely none of those promises ever materialized (and aren't likely to without more competition). The latest case in point comes courtesy of longtime journalist Rob Pegoraro, who again noted how that supposed investment boon never happened, and in fact many ISPs are already pulling back on investment thanks to limited competition and tepid regulatory oversight:

"Figures USTelecom posted in February, for example, show Verizon cutting its investment by 3.4% from 2017 to 2018. And the 3.9% increase shown for AT&T (T) vanishes if you subtract the $1.2 billion the firm spent in 2018 on the government-backed FirstNet emergency-responder network. And last week, AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan told attendees at an investor conference that the firm would slow its fiber build-out."

Funny, that.

Pegoraro also spoke to a number of small ISPs Ajit Pai said would be particularly aided by the gutting of popular consumer protections. They similarly couldn't actually provide any concrete examples of how the killing of net neutrality aided them, outside of some vague, unsubstantiated claims that it was harder to get a bank loan with the rules in place. Before the repeal, Pai had circulated all manner of massaged data trying to suggest that small ISPs had been harmed by the fairly modest (by international standards) neutrality protections, something the FCC's own data disproved.

And while the Pai FCC has been trying in recent weeks to suggest that the net neutrality rules resulted in a huge boost in investment and broadband speed, that too is based on flimsy, massaged data. For example the FCC has tried to claim that killing net neutrality resulted in historic fiber deployment, but at least half of last year's fiber growth was actually thanks to fiber build out conditions affixed by the previous FCC to AT&T's 2015 merger with DirecTV. And much of the data cited by the FCC showing broadband speed and coverage improvement was collected before net neutrality was even formally repealed. Go figure.

On the flip side, Pegoraro notes that none of the doomsday scenarios portrayed by net neutrality advocates really occurred either. But he fails to note that's not because ISPs didn't want to. ISPs didn't want to dramatically shift their business models only to have the AG lawsuit restore the FCC's 2015 rules, making them suddenly out of compliance. And they didn't want to violate numerous state net neutrality laws that popped up in the wake of the repeal, several of which (like in Washington State) actually go a bit further than the original FCC rules did.

Should the AG lawsuit against the FCC be victorious (a ruling should drop any day now), the FCC's 2015 rules could be restored, likely triggering an appeal and possible Supreme Court challenge. Should the AG lawsuit fail, it's likely ISPs will start being far less subtle about their efforts to abuse the lack of competition to nickel-and-dime you in creative new ways. But again, those claiming that net neutrality didn't matter because it's been a year and the internet didn't implode are really only advertising that they have no real idea what they're talking about.

More importantly, a year's hindsight has made it clear none of the repeal's purported benefits were actually real. And they weren't real because the repeal had only one real purpose: to help entrenched telecom monopolies make more money on the back of a captive customer base. That tends to get lost in the verbose discussion about policy, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Filed Under: ajit pai, broadband, fcc, fiber, investment, net neutrality, small isps


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 9:12am

    Perks

    Well, my rates went up so that's a benefit for Spectrum.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 9:43am

      Re: Perks

      My Comcast rates keep going up too. Not the "in contract" rate for my Cable and Internet, but it's always the below the line fees that go up.... Local broadcasting fee, regional sports fee, get down on your knees and open wide fee, etc., etc., etc..

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 9:50am

      Re: Perks

      I was on an "introductory" rate until the new year, so my Spectrum went up $23 a month in Jan. Not sure how much of that was from loss of the introductory rate, and how much was a new increase for all customers.

      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, 18 Jun 2019 @ 9:49am

    Net Neturality subsidizes SPAM.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:28am

      Re:

      What? Please explain how net neutrality gives money to various companies that send spam.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:58am

        Re: Re:

        Perhaps freeloaders is a better term.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 12:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Fine then. Please explain how net neutrality gives money to various freeloaders.

          Also please identify said freeloaders and explain how you can get internet service for free because I am totally going to do that now that I know it exists, instead of paying $75.00 a month.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 1:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It sounds like that bullshit from years ago where some fools wanted to double and triple charge for the same service. These people claimed sites like google were getting free internet.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 1:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What he means is that he's been fed the "logic" that Netflix et al somehow freeload off ISPs because they won't pay a 3rd time for the same bandwidth that both they and their end users have already paid for.

            Basically, anyone anti-NN either has no idea what it means, or has a vested interest in the internet becoming a one-way broadcast medium.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2019 @ 6:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh I understand that. I just like painting him in to a corner and watching him squirm, or run away like a coward when actually pressed on his baseless claims.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      Your mom subsidizes pimps.

      My statement is more likely true than yours.

      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, 18 Jun 2019 @ 9:50am

    Net Neutrality should also include content, i.e., censorship.

    ISPs should not be forced to give free bandwidth to anyone.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      ISPs should not be forced to give free bandwidth to anyone.

      Please tell me which ISP you use that gives you free bandwidth!!! I would switch right away!

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

      • identicon
        nSpectre, 18 Jun 2019 @ 3:42pm

        free bandwidth!!!

        No, these morons are trying to make the case that an ISP's subscribers are only paying for their OUTBOUND traffic, not the RETURN traffic coming back into the ISP, back to the subscriber, in response to the subscriber's request. So SOMEONE has to pay for that "free bandwidth".

        They seem utterly oblivious to the fact that the inbound traffic would not be there if the ISP's paying subscribers hadn't requested the data first. Netflix and other content providers on the Internet do not greedily SHOVE traffic onto an ISP's network unbidden and "for free". It is not "Free Bandwidth!!!"

        The traffic BOTH ways has already been paid for by the ISP's subscriber.

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

    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      Please point to where the 2015 rules ever forced ISPs to give anything free to anyone? I cannot see anything in those rules that makes this comment make any kind of sense.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:32am

      Re:

      Net Neutrality should also include content, i.e., censorship.

      No it should not, because we are talking about things at infrastructure level, levels 1, 2, 3, and maybe 4 of the OSI level. Not level 7, the user/application level.

      ISPs should not be forced to give free bandwidth to anyone.

      They aren't and never were. Where do you get your delusions anyway?

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re:

        They aren't and never were. Where do you get your delusions anyway?

        The usual place, their ass.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 1:11am

        Re: Re:

        Ha ha, you think that anyone dumb enough to make these arguments would be technical enough to understand the basic OSI model? Please...

        "Where do you get your delusions anyway?"

        The ISPs that were trying to get NN protections removed claimed that they needed to be paid a 3rd time for the bandwidth he uses - and he believed them!

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:38am

      Re:

      A very very stupid person has been detected.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:39am

      Net Neutrality should also include content

      Please explain the reasoning behind a belief that would force Twitter into hosting content it may not want to host.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:59am

        Re:

        Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices, effectively forcing it to host content it doesn't want to (at that price).

        For Twitter, the public-square/common-carrier arguments that apply to the postal service and phone company would be the justification, though many pretend not to understand that concept.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:18am

          For Twitter, the public-square/common-carrier arguments that apply to the postal service and phone company would be the justification

          And if Twitter were either a public square or a common carrier, those arguments might mean something.

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

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:50am

            Re:

            And if Twitter were either a public square or a common carrier, those arguments might mean something.

            Spectrum is a common carrier. Twitter is a communication carried by common carriers. Or have I misunderstood what this means?

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 1:17am

              Re: Re:

              No, you're right. An ISP is a common carrier and should be neutral. Twitter is a platform and should be able to police its community. Basically a road vs a store. AC is just trying to confuse the two, because he has no sane point if he sticks to what words really mean.

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

        • icon
          ECA (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:43am

          Re: Re:

          UM...
          we are talking about ISP, the People who put things on Poles..
          NOW if you want net Neutrality..
          they are Talking about 3rd party companies that want Access to the Main hub, that the ISP is in control of. Smaller companies that will hit the outlying areas..
          YEP, they will probably want to advert and have backers...THATS THEIR SERVICE.. Even the BIG ISP's advert, even to customers..

          Its already been suggested that the BIG ISP's want what the BIG internet concerns have. Those that arnt really selling access.
          But the ISP's dont understand what it takes to Survive out in the WILD of the internet...
          AND as google proved, those out in the Wild internet, Dont understand what it takes to Install NEW LINES, UPDATE OLD SYSTEMS, CREATE a NEW service...

          But the ISP's dont want to update anything EITHER.. They wish to hit ONLY the High population areas, in DOWNTOWN, to the Companies and corps, that Pay GREAT amounts of money for the service. its the residential areas that are going to suffer, with this logic.

          Understnad HOW/WHEN the Cable system was installed. Start in the 60's and Keep adding updates to an old system, and expanding the area, over and over every few years.. Between all the Patches, and changes and NEW/OLd wires... This is about as Bad as being a Plumber, and wondering whats in this OLD building you just got a call from..Lead pipes/steel/black pipe, Soldered all in 1 pipes, Addins, that WENT someplace but have been changed with something else, Plastic, copper...What is going to be here..
          If no one EVER paid attention to the old and new, and updated the OLD....its going to be a War trying to FIX all of it..OR, forget the old, and JUST install over it..Which means tearing up the walls/ceiling/and Every thing to replace what was there...
          The NEXT WORST format is electrical wiring that been around since the 1800's. When you had 2 BARE wires running Separated by 18-35 inches..Outlets Stuck in walls, and the walls are Slowly crumbling, BECAUSE they are old..

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2019 @ 6:57am

            Re: Re: Re:

            There are far better methods of providing emphasis other than CAPITALIZATION that would make you look much less of a moron.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re:

          Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices, effectively forcing it to host content it doesn't want to (at that price).

          Data transmission, which is the job of the ISPs has nothing to do with hosting, but only in connecting you to the host. Besides which Twitter et all pay handsomely to connect from their data centres to your local ISP, who you pay handsomely to carry the data both ways over the last mile.

          Also, you ISP should come under common carrier rules, as they sit between you and every site porn the Internet that you wish to use. Twitter et al. on the other hand do not, as they are just sites that you can visit or ignore as you wish, and you do not use their services to get to other sites, nor are they the only way you can communicate with other people over the Internet. Your local ISP on the other hand is the only way you can communicate over the Internet.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re:

          Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices

          No it doesn't. Please note that the net neutrality rules of 2015 specifically DID NOT regulate prices and explicitly said they were not going to regulate prices.

          effectively forcing it to host content

          ISP bandwidth hosts nothing, it's a transmission medium, not a hosting server.

          it doesn't want to (at that price)

          Again, it doesn't host anything and should never be anything more than a dumb pipe. If someone they don't like wants to buy access to the internet to run a site they don't like, they are free not to sell them that access. Problem solved. Net neutrality also did not force ISPs to sell access to everyone no matter what.

          For Twitter, the public-square/common-carrier arguments that apply to the postal service and phone company would be the justification

          Twitter is not a public square nor a common carrier. It's no different than a private corporation renting out a building for parties and events. They are free to do business with whomever they wish and kick out whomever they wish for violating their rules of using said building. Additionally, Twitter doesn't transmit anything or "carry" anything, especially across state lines. They HOST content. It sits static on their servers and people use applications to view it.

          A public square is, by definition, run by some level of government, Twitter is not, therefore it is not a public square. A common-carrier is:

          a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport.

          Twitter transports nothing.

          though many pretend not to understand that concept

          Considering you just misstated how net neutrality and what rules private companies are bound by, that would actually be you who doesn't understand the concepts being discussed.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 1:12am

          Re: Re:

          "Net neutrality says providers should give bandwidth at regulated prices"

          You want pricing to be unregulated? Let me know how that pans out. I prefer my regulated bandwidth over here in Europe - fast, neutral, cheap, reliable and with zero bandwidth caps.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      Net Neutrality should also include content, i.e., censorship.
      Lol. This is like saying black should also include white.
      ISPs should not be forced to give free bandwidth to anyone.
      There is no free bandwidth is already paid by the consumer. What ISPs want to do is have both parties pays. So it would be like the mailman has your mail. It already is fully paid for by the sender. But you are forced to pay for it again.
      Personally once ISPs start causing issues with my bandwidth, I will spin up a VPS and have the data encrypted.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 10:45am

    instead of investment, the likes of AT&T have actually cut 25k jobs! how the fuck has that been allowed when the promise of removing 'net neutrality' and giving further tax breaks would increase investment and jobs? the American telecoms industry along with the broadband side is a total disaster, a fucking joke to almost every other country in the 'developed world', mostly because of the complete lack of competition which is stopped by politicians interested in lining their own pockets only! representing the people who voted for them is never in their minds but with the likes of two-faced cunts such as Mitch McConnell doing whatever they can to make sure of their kickbacks, there isn't a hope in hell of anything changing. not, that is, unless the public actually grows a pair and kicks these fuckers out of office!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:05am

    I am socked, shocked, that capitalism is going on in this establishment.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:10am

    If Trump is so horrible, why do you want to give his gov more control over the internet?

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

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      Net Neutrality isn't giving government control. It's taking away corporate control.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      If Trump is so horrible, why do you want to give his gov more control over the internet?

      LOL wut?

      Net neutrality isn't giving the government control over the internet (don't believe all of Ted Cruz's talking points, it'll make you dumb). It just is detailing a short list of bad behavior that is not allowed if you're an internet access provider.

      Do you believe that the 1st Amendment is "giving the government contol over speech"?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      You can't give anyone more control of the internet because it is a decentralized network. Net neutrality least of all since it only applied to ISPs which only provide access to the internet, not control it itself.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:44am

    Nor has it killed the internet

    Net Neutrality Death toll: Still 0

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 2:01pm

      Re: Nor has it killed the internet

      Net Neutrality Death toll: Still 0

      Maybe you should RTFA!!!

      On the flip side, Pegoraro notes that none of the doomsday scenarios portrayed by net neutrality advocates really occurred either. But he fails to note that's not because ISPs didn't want to. ISPs didn't want to dramatically shift their business models only to have the AG lawsuit restore the FCC's 2015 rules, making them suddenly out of compliance. And they didn't want to violate numerous state net neutrality laws that popped up in the wake of the repeal, several of which (like in Washington State) actually go a bit further than the original FCC rules did.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 4:53pm

      Re: Nor has it killed the internet

      Is this an "own goal" or a 'puck to the head' type situation?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 6:08pm

      Re: Facts are inconvenient

      It almost killed a bunch of firefighters that Verizon throttled. But somehow that’s seems to have slipped your mind bro.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 6:55pm

        Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

        He's the sort of idiot who believes that measles hasn't killed anyone like it did several hundred years ago, therefore anti-vaxxers are completely harmless.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 1:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

          Anyone who actually thinks that needs a good slap - there have been tens of thousands of deaths from measles this year alone (but not in the US so they somehow doesn't count, of course), and I believe that the last known death in the US from the disease was in 2015.

          I just hope those morons are eradicated before they do any further damage, but their stupidity seems more contagious than the disease is currently.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 3:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

            Unfortunately for the idea of anti-vaxxers all earning Darwin Awards and making the world a better place by their absence, most of them probably did get vaccinated as children, and as such will have at least some resistance to the diseases they're trying to bring back.

            Where it gets really nasty however is that the kids of plague protectionists(among other innocents) are the ones in the metaphorical line of fire, as thanks to their idiot parents they aren't likely to be vaccinated and are therefore completely vulnerable if an infected individual happens to get close enough, meaning they get to risk suffering if not death thanks to their parents' monumental stupidity/gullibility.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2019 @ 4:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts are inconvenient

              Yes, it definitely is a problem because it will affect both the kids of those people and the people who currently depend on herd immunity, and not the idiots themselves. I just hope the numbers of kids who needlessly die from measles, get crippled by polio, etc. are still lower when they finally realise what they've demanded.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 11:34pm

    My cable internet bill went up 25% in the first four months of the year. In August they get their equipment back. I can get internet at work and the library and she only wants 3 or 4 channels, and we are paying for a lot more. I don't watch television. See Ya in the dog days of summer Comcast. Sad that AT&T will get the TV money though.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2019 @ 5:53am

    bunch-o-whiners

    Did the checks (from the lobbyists) arrive in the pockets of the politicians that killed net neutrality?
    Yes!
    Then that's all that matters. Get back to work, ya whiners.

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


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