The FCC's Historic Day: Voting Yes For Net Neutrality, Voting No On Protectionist State Telecom Law

from the lobbyists-lose dept

Today was, no hyperbole intended, probably one of the more historic -- albeit at times one of the dullest -- days in FCC history. The agency, led by a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries few expected anything from, bucked a myriad of low expectations and voted 3-2 to approve Title II-based net neutrality rules after an unprecedented public-driven tech advocacy campaign. While net neutrality will likely get the lion's share of today's media attention, the FCC also today voted to begin a prolonged assault on ISP-driven, protectionist state telecom law.

First, it's important to note that despite a 3-2 vote approving the Title II-based rules, we won't get to see the actual rules today. Despite claims by neutrality opponents that this is some secret cabal specific to net neutrality, the agency historically has never released rules it votes on (pdf) until well after the actual vote. It's a dumb restriction that's absolutely deadly to open discourse, but it's not unique to one party or to this specific issue.

As for when we'll actually get to see and start dissecting the actual Title II rules ourselves, we may be waiting weeks -- in part, ironically, thanks to neutrality opponents on the Commission that spent the last few weeks professing to adore transparency:
"In fact, it could take weeks before the final rules are published, the official said. That’s because the two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly—who oppose net neutrality of any sort—have refused to submit basic edits on the order. The FCC will not release the text of the order until edits from the offices of all five commissioners are incorporated, including dissenting opinions. This could take a few weeks, depending how long the GOP commissioners refuse to provide edits on the new rules."
Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Reilly voiced their opposition to the new Title II-based rules by not only voting against them, but by trying to bore meeting attendees to death. Pai, a former Verizon regulatory lawyer, offered a mammoth speech in which he ironically lamented "special interests" and claimed repeatedly to only be opposing net neutrality out of a concern for consumer wallets. O'Reilly tried to top Pai with an even longer, duller speech that continually insisted the FCC was trying to conduct a secret, regulatory takeover of the Internet. A visibly emotional Wheeler was having none of it:
"This proposal has been described by one opponent as, quote, a secret plan to regulate the Internet. Nonsense. This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concepts: openness, expression, and an absence of gate keepers telling people what they can do, where they can go, and what they can think."
While the net neutrality rules are incredibly important, the FCC's decision on municipal broadband may actually wind up being more meaningful over the long run. As we've noted for years, neutrality violations are really just a symptom of a lack of competition. Around twenty states now have laws in place -- usually based entirely on ISP/ALEC model legislation -- that prohibit towns and cities from improving their own broadband infrastructure -- even in instances where nobody else will. In some cases these rules even go so far as to prohibit towns and cities from striking public/private partnerships to improve broadband service.

Specifically, the FCC voted 3-2 to approve petitions by EPB Broadband in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Greenlight in Wilson, North Carolina. Those petitions requested that the FCC use its authority to ensure timely broadband deployment using "measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment." While some politicians have lamented the FCC's move as a trampling of states' rights, these individuals ironically have had no problem with ISPs writing state telecom law that tramples those same rights. The justifications for these restrictions have never been coherently supported, and Wheeler was quick to highlight the hypocrisy of the position:
"You can’t say you’re for broadband and then turn around and endorse limits on who can offer it. You can’t say, ‘I want to follow the explicit instructions of Congress to remove barriers to infrastructure investment,' but endorse barriers on infrastructure investment. You can’t say you’re for competition but deny local elected officials the right to offer competitive choices."
Needless to say, this is likely only a new chapter in the debate over both issues, the precise wording of the neutrality wording will be debated for months if not years, and you can expect ISP legal action on both fronts aimed at protecting the uncompetitive status quo. It also probably goes without saying that opponents of net neutrality and those who like it when AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are allowed to write protectionist telecom law aren't taking the day's events very well. One of the best freakouts of the day belonged to Hal Singer, author of that misleading study we've previously debunked claiming that you'd face $15 billion in new taxes under Title II:
While some grieve the death of imaginary "innovation angels," thousands of others are celebrating a rare instance where Internet activism was able to overcome lobbying cash and push a government mountain toward doing the right thing.

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  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:48am

    The "angel" pictured in Hal Singer's tweet is seriously creeping me out, so if this ruling helps kill it before it devours our souls, I'm all for it.

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  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:50am

    Hear that Sound?

    Hear that sound?
    It is the simultaneous sound of internet users rejoicing and Verizon/Comcast Lawyers happy they are about to get a lot of money!

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

    • icon
      ken (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 3:14pm

      Re: Hear that Sound?

      Internet users will rue this day. Net Neutrality was the Trojan Horse. The FCC now has full authority to regulate every aspect of the Internet. They can apply fees and taxes, They can require all website owners to register with the government. They could even apply a fairness doctrine on the Internet.

      It may not happen today or tomorrow but once a regulation system is in place it will grow.

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

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:50am

    Pictured: Comcast-employed innovation angel radiating beams of pure excellence in customer service and competitive high-speed mobile broadband.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:51am

    Dear Imaginary Innovation Angles

    Please take your Golden Keys with you when you leave.

    Thanks

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

  • icon
    Rocco Maglio (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:52am

    Don't cheer just yet

    We don't know what passed. I would wait to see what the rules are before I cheer. It could be great, terrible, or something in between.

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

    • identicon
      PRMan, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:00am

      Re: Don't cheer just yet

      I really don't see many ways it could be worse. And if Pai hates it with a passion and Wheeler loves it, then I'm in.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:03am

      Re: Don't cheer just yet

      This! I understand that whatever they voted on today was over 300 pages, really, is whatever you call net neutrality that hard to define? It won't be the first time the government has co-opted a popular idea to make itself more powerful, which is what I fear this does. Remember, these are big business guys, big business loves regulation because they have the lawyers to work within whatever framework the government can come up with, the smaller, local ISPs don't. I think the best thing that could happen to improve your internet connection is to have 3 or 4 of them to chose from, we'll see, but I haven't heard much discussion on a framework that encourages competition.

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

      • icon
        Karl Bode (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re: Don't cheer just yet

        I believe it's about 8 pages, with the rest being supplemental material. But yes, lots of conversation still to be had depending on the wording of the rules. The post vote Q&A is painfully ambiguous in terms of interconnection and zero rated apps.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re: Don't cheer just yet

        Remember, these are big business guys, big business loves regulation because they have the lawyers to work within whatever framework the government can come up with, the smaller, local ISPs don't.

        It sounds like the big ISPs hate this, so that's encouraging.

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

    • icon
      ken (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:26pm

      Re: Don't cheer just yet

      The Internet community will rue this day.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:59am

      Re: Don't cheer just yet

      My personal expectation is "something in between".

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

  • icon
    MadCow (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:57am

    What about the tinfoil hat guys?

    I was having a conversation about this with a co-worker earlier. I felt like Title 2 was great, as I'm an avid follower of Techdir. However, I'm in need of some assistance for those a little more knowledgeable on the topic.

    This co-worker has a tinfoil hat on and he is convinced this is the beginning of the end for freedom of speech on the internet. He believes the government will take complete control of the internet, and that it's turned the internet into a utility.

    Is there a line of thinking that I could communicate back to him that this is a good thing? Until we see the rules we have nothing concrete, but some of this "sky is falling" discussion is ridiculous.

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

    • identicon
      PRMan, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:01am

      Re: What about the tinfoil hat guys?

      Ask him if he watches Fox News. If the answer is yes, there's pretty much nothing you can do to counter the 24h brainwashing.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:27am

      Re: What about the tinfoil hat guys?

      I think people are justly skeptical given the government's behavior on so many front (especially surveillance). But as somebody that's been writing about this stuff for fifteen years, I really can say this is an instance where a subsection of the federal government is honestly trying to do the right thing in the face of overwhelming partisan bile and lobbying cash.

      Wheeler's point I think is a good one.
      "This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech."
      You can make it clear to your friend that the goal is maintaining what the Internet is in the face of monopoly power over the last mile, not restricting speech in any way. It's obviously an endless battle to prevent government over-reach, just like it's an endless battle to prevent monopoly abuses. But having some basic rules of the road with teeth is, at least to me, a balance between the two.

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

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:11pm

        Re: Re: What about the tinfoil hat guys?

        I think you're probably right, Karl, but you'll forgive me if I want to see what it actually says before rejoicing.

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

        • icon
          Karl Bode (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: What about the tinfoil hat guys?

          Yeah I think there's inevitably going to be wording issues, and I get the sneaking suspicion that a lot of the areas that probably need the most policing (zero rating) will probably see the least. But at least the framework will be there (unless they're overturned) to adapt and deal with bad behavior.

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    • icon
      lucidrenegade (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:29am

      Re: What about the tinfoil hat guys?

      Just remember, you can't argue with stupid.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:03am

    Thanks, Tom

    Next time you're in town I'll stand you for the boilermakers.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:05am

    An honest politician that's pretty historic in of itself

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

  • identicon
    Adam V, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:06am

    That's fitting

    There's as much proof that angels exist as there is that net neutrality will kill angels of any kind.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:10am

    "innovation angels"? I'm at work right now. Do you have any how difficult it was to keep even a mostly straight face after reading that?

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      I'm at work right now. Do you have any how difficult it was to keep even a mostly straight face after reading that?

      You're not allowed to smile at work? Where do you work, DHS?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:21am

    While clearly a win for the US-based Internet users, these rulings will have little or no effect on the neutrality issue anywhere else.

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

  • identicon
    FM Hilton, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:24am

    Cheering starts now

    About time the FCC stepped up to the plate and hit the home run.

    The losers will probably begin by filing lawsuits all over the federal judiciary complaining that they got robbed.

    Hey, guys-you have it wrong. We're the ones you were robbing.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:02am

      Re: Cheering starts now


      The losers will probably begin by filing lawsuits all over the federal judiciary complaining that they got robbed.


      That worked out pretty well for Verizon!

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:30am

    You can’t say you’re for competition but deny local elected officials the right to offer competitive choices.

    Sure you can. All it takes is an injection of Libertarian Logic™.

    You see, out in Ayn Rand Fantasyland, where carts are put before horses on a regular basis, if there's any way for something to be profitable, that's God-^H^H^H^H Invisible Hand-Given proof that it was meant to be that way and Heroic Entrepreneurs™ have the right to turn it into a profitable business venture, free from the encroachment of Evil Government™.

    Competition is good, but only between Heroic Entrepreneurs™. When the Evil Government™ enters into competition with Heroic Entrepreneurs™, the Evil Government™ has an unfair advantage because they have a monopoly on the use of fo-- oh, wait, no, wrong Libertarian strawman argument. Umm... because they're not required to turn a profit to stay in business, and therefore they can undercut the Heroic Entrepreneurs™ and drive them out of business.

    Pointing out to the wielder of such an argument that basic infrastructure is not supposed to be a profit center in and of itself, since it's supposed to be basic infrastructure that enables commerce to be built atop it for the benefit of all of civilization, is likely to make their head explode.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      Yesterday's WSJ had an columnist decrying the state law preemption on grounds that some muni broadband 'lost money'.

      This morning, I'm reading Techdirt about how the states throw money at movie/television production despite demonstrated negative ROI. Taking his previous argument, shouldn't the state legislatures be banning subsidies and tax breaks to the studios?

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

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

      Jeez, calm down a bit, will you?

      Not everyone who thinks people ought to be free to live their own lives is your enemy, y'know?

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 27 Feb 2015 @ 6:15am

        Re: Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

        @OldMugwump, there's being free to live your own lives, and being on your own and **** out of luck in an all-for-profit society in which those who have the least money have the fewest rights.

        I could get on board with Libertarianism if they'd *just* quit pretending there is such a thing as "the free market" and that the Invisible Hand will intervene to save us when we're caught in the death grip of a monopoly or other anti-competitive situation. There's no such thing and no, it won't.

        The profit motive is not and never has been a morally pure jump-off point and usually results in horrific practices such as criminalizing minor offences to guarantee higher occupation rates in for-profit prisons.

        That "Libertarian" is currently synonymous with anti-government tinfoil hattery and blue-sky economics based on wishful thinking over consumer choices is the fault of those people who continually promote such views. We rarely hear any others in connection with that group's name. It would be nice to see someone bucking the trend.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

          I could get on board with Libertarianism if they'd *just* quit pretending there is such a thing as "the free market" and that the Invisible Hand will intervene to save us when we're caught in the death grip of a monopoly or other anti-competitive situation.

          As you say, a free market doesn't remain free without intervention, and a free market produces cheap goods, and it could potentially produce quality goods, but it will not produce safe goods, nor environmentally responsible ones. So anyone who cares about safety or the future of the planet must endorse some level of government intervention in the market.

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

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 6:41am

        Re: Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

        Not everyone who thinks people ought to be free to live their own lives is your enemy, y'know?

        On the contrary, anyone who believes himself free to live his own life without regard for those around him is, pretty much by definition, making himself the enemy of all those around him. I'm just one of the people who's studied the belief system enough to realize this.

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

        • identicon
          Ingsoc, 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

          Really? What level of "concern" is appropriate. By "concern" I mean how much of my labor do you feel entitled to?

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

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

            By "concern" I mean how much of my labor do you feel entitled to?

            Just enough to build a straw man I guess.

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

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Feb 2015 @ 1:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ayn Rand Fantasyland

            That's a good question.

            Here's another good question: how much of "your" labor would be impossible, or impractical enough as to be useless, without the contributions of everyone around you, which you are entitled to as a civilized member of society?

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

    • icon
      trollificus (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 3:24pm

      Re:

      I'll take your word on that whole "straw man" thing. You seem to have a firm grasp, if not an actual death grip on the concept and use thereof.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:31am

    That didn't take long

    "In fact, it could take weeks before the final rules are published, the official said. That’s because the two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly—who oppose net neutrality of any sort—have refused to submit basic edits on the order. The FCC will not release the text of the order until edits from the offices of all five commissioners are incorporated, including dissenting opinions. This could take a few weeks, depending how long the GOP commissioners refuse to provide edits on the new rules."

    And just like that, their cries for 'Transparency!' are exposed for the pathetic attempts to derail or delay the vote that they truly were. They were all for 'transparency' when it would have resulted in a huge delay of the vote, but now the vote has passed, and suddenly they're acting such that the public, the ones they lied about being oh so concerned about, will have to wait even longer to find out the fine details.

    And if that wasn't enough, apparently they're throwing childish fits, and refusing to do their gorram jobs just because their attempts at stopping the vote failed. Politics in action ladies and gentlemen.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:32am

    I wonder if this means we'll see more glass-fiber cable installations under every city street when local governments will presumably no longer be banned from funding them?

    Or will the cable monopoly pull an ace out of its sleeve and turn this loss into a win?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:41pm

      Re:

      ...I wonder if this means we'll see more glass-fiber cable installations under every city street when local governments will presumably no longer be banned from funding them?...

      The funding question notwithstanding (and that's another subject anyway): most cities don't want a dozen or so different fibers running under the streets or sidewalks where said fibers are owned and maintained by different entities. This is akin to your electric service: you might be able to choose who generates your electricity, but the delivery to your home is strictly regulated to one and only one service cable.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re:

        "most cities don't want a dozen or so different fibers running under the streets or sidewalks where said fibers are owned and maintained by different entities."

        That's not the way it works. The city pays all the installation costs, owns and runs the "last mile" fiber lines and makes it open access -- allowing any internet service provider to access the system and sell service to end-users. Several small cities have already set up such systems, allowing residents to choose from several different broadband companies.

        Alternately, some cities provide their own (monopoly) high speed internet service, which obviously lacks a competitive model but is still better than the usual alternative -- a corporate monopoly.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:02pm

    Inovation Angels? They must have been dead long ago and he hasn't checked the cage. Giant Telco's only innovation is to see how much money they can suck out of a wallet.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:15pm

    Once we see the rules and they are implemented, I wonder if people here will still want the internet under title II?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      The fact that the two who've been trying their best to derail or delay the vote on them are now throwing giant fits, in what are either childish tantrums, or delaying actions(though what for I don't know), would seem to bode well and indicate that the rules are more public friendly than corporation friendly.

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

    • identicon
      Zonker, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:10pm

      Re:

      Considering the internet was originally under Title II back in the 1990s when there was tremendous competition between available ISPs via dial-up, hell yes I would. Unfortunately, twisted pair analog phone line bandwidth reached their technological limits and newer faster digital broadband technology was largely dependent on existing coaxial cable networks built by the existing cable media companies who did not want their infrastructure monopoly to be opened up to competition and face the same fate as AT&T.

      The FCC should never have reclassified broadband internet back in 2002 as just an "information service" despite the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's decision in the Portland case that cable modem service was both an "information service" and a "telecommunications service".

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

  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:34pm

    Expect tons of conspiracy theories that Wheeler was paid off by Google to prevent piracy restrictions and lots of hyperventilating into paper bags today.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:46pm

    Just as we are beginning to see the power that free resources produce, changes in the architecture of the Internet--both legal and technical--are sapping the Internet of this power. Fueled by bias in favor of control, pushed by those whose financial interest favor control, our social and political institutions are ratifying changes in the Internet that will reestablish control, in turn, reduce innovation on the Internet and in society generally.

    Lawrence Lessig

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

  • icon
    Alien Rebel (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:58pm

    Good Dingo

    I'd like to see John Oliver do a followup segment on how Tom Wheeler is clearly still a dingo; but in having ripped the pant legs off Pai and O'Reilly and taken a few chunks out of their buttocks, has shown that dingos can in fact make very good pets. Good boy, Tom!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:02pm

    The good news: Less corporatist control. Some of Net Neutrality's opponents want to nickle and dime even the most casual Youtube browsers.
    The bad news: Potential trojan horse of government takeover and abuse. Some of NN's supporters include entities that want to lock the Web in DRM and those who see no hangups in throwing users in jail just for viewing a leaked movie screenshot.

    Either way, we all lose in the end, and the Internet may never be the same again.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      Welcome to the 21st Century. First off, in our world, we walk upright.

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

    • icon
      trollificus (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 3:45pm

      Re:

      Sadly, the "all cynical, all the time" stance (as, your post) almost always proves correct.

      For those celebrating the FCC vote seemingly for no other reason than that it discomfits corporation and Republicans, I'd ask you to review previous expansions of government power and judge the results (hint: DHS, DEA, NSA, National Zinc, Weasel and Hydrogen Reserve, etc).

      I have the uncomfortable feeling these are the same folks who, while proclaiming to champion reason, logic and fact, disregarded all precedent and historical fact in committing to the absolute belief that Obama was that rara avis, the "honest Chicago politician".

      Not saying Obama's really worse than any other politician in regard to lying, misleading, flowery, obscurantist pronouncements. Just pointing out that he has PROVEN to be no exception to our well-founded doubts about the veracity of politicians in general.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        "I have the uncomfortable feeling these are the same folks who, while proclaiming to champion reason, logic and fact, disregarded all precedent and historical fact in committing to the absolute belief that Obama was that rara avis, the "honest Chicago politician""

        I you really think this, I think that you are severely misunderstanding where people are coming from on this issue. It has absolutely nothing to do with Obama or partisanship. At all.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:04pm

    Thank you, Mr. Wheeler. You are, indeed, not a dingo after all.

    PS. Please give Ajit Pai and Michael O'Reilly a swat on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. They are the dingos.

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

  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:15pm

    Prove that link?

    I see you quoted that motherboard article claiming that we are solely waiting on Ajit Pai and Michael O'Reilly to confirm their edits.
    Can anybody cite some sort of source for that? I mean is there any source saying that the other three members have submitted their edits and we are solely waiting on those two members?
    That article just seems lacking credibility to me on that front.

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    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:28pm

      Re: Prove that link?

      Wheeler said the same thing to media attendees today after that story was published. He's waiting on the dissenting Commissioners edits.

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

  • icon
    ken (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:17pm

    The Day the Internet Died

    A long, long time ago
    I can still remember how the Internet made me smile
    And we knew if we had a chance
    We could really make the net advance
    And maybe it would be free for awhile

    But February made me shiver
    With every story it delivered
    Bad news on my Facebook
    I couldn't take one more look

    I can't remember if I cried
    When I read how the FCC lied
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the Internet died

    [Chorus]
    So bye-bye, This American pride
    Tried to get on Netflix but my connection was dry
    And the FCC were drinking whisky and rye
    Singin' "This'll be the day the net died”
    “This will be the day the net died.

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

  • icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:27pm

    Let's be fair...

    you can expect ISP legal action on both fronts


    Too bad the ISPs and their ilk haven't been forced to sign up for binding arbitration like everyone else that has to use their services.

    Circumvent the entire court process with an arbitrator paid for by the FCC.

    Sounds fair to me....

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

  • icon
    ken (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:31pm

    Secrecy is never good

    So TPP being negotiated in secret = bad.
    FCC negotiating and voting in secret = good?

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:38pm

      Re: Secrecy is never good

      They didn't vote in secret. The vote was 3 to 2. Take your meds.

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

      • icon
        ken (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:39pm

        Re: Re: Secrecy is never good

        They voted for a secret document. We have no idea what they just voted for and Title II gives them broad ability to regulate and tax the Internet.

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

        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Secrecy is never good

          From Ars...

          Even without Title II, the FCC has authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to impose price caps on broadband, but it hasn't done so.

          FURTHER READING


          DON’T CALL THEM “UTILITY” RULES: THE FCC’S NET NEUTRALITY REGIME, EXPLAINED
          Not the end of the world: What Tom Wheeler’s proposal will and won’t do.
          “The order retains core authority to prevent unjust and unreasonable practices, protect consumers, and support universal service,” Melissa Kirkel, an FCC attorney advisor, told commissioners. “The order makes clear that broadband providers will not be subject to utility-style regulation. This means no unbundling, tariffs, or other forms of rate regulation, and the order does not require broadband providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund, nor does it impose, suggest, or authorize any new taxes or fees.”

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:58pm

      Re: Secrecy is never good

      Now see, while secrecy of the text isn't good, it's not nearly as apocalyptic as some, yourself included, have tried to make it out to be. Why? Because that's how it's been for years. They didn't suddenly decide to hide everything because they knew the public wouldn't go for it, from everything I've read that's been the rule for a good number of years now.

      Personally, for me the fact that the people who've been throwing out such laughable fearmongering over the whole mess(Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly) continue to oppose it seems like a pretty good indication that whatever is in there, it's more aligned with the public than corporations. We still have to wait to see the details, but at this point at least the signs seem to be good.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:21am

      Re: Secrecy is never good

      FCC negotiating and voting in secret = good?

      Nice straw man you have there.

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

  • icon
    John Snape (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:38pm

    Did they really need 300+ pages to say, "All Internet Service Providers will treat all data travelling on their systems the same, no matter the source or destination."?

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      Nope. It came down to about 8 pages from what I read.
      The 300+ pages seems to be a lie.

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

      • icon
        ken (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Only a short time ago the thought of a government takeover of the Internet would have caused a massive movement against it from the Internet and tech communities. The Internet and tech communities that defeated SOPA, and PIPA have been lulled to sleep and in many cases welcome the takeover with thunderous applause.

        The FCC is doing this all in secret with no public input. Just like Obamacare, we won't know what is in it until they pass it and by then it will be far too late.

        Net Neutrality is the Trojan Horse the Obama Administration is using to take control of the Internet. The FCC is about to vote to make the Internet subject to Title II under the Telecommunications Act. An act that is 80 years old and is ill equipped to address issues of Today's Internet but gives the FCC far sweeping power to regulate without Congressional oversight or public accountability. What Title II does is allow Monopolies to exist but regulates them in return. Regulations that will bar any new comers from popping up and keep the existing players as the only players for decades to come. The FCC by law is an independent agency and does not have to answer to the Congress or the White House for their actions.

        Like the idea of Google Fiber? Say goodbye to it unless you are lucky enough to already have it. The Internet of tomorrow will require a lot more bandwidth than we have today but regulations will slow that process to a crawl and with it all the benefits we will now wait longer to receive. All so we can get our Netflix which we were never denied anyway.

        Wake up people. Tomorrow may be the last day the Internet exists as we have known it.

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

        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Wake up people. Tomorrow may be the last day the Internet exists as we have known it."

          Wake up yourself. The Internet extends beyond the US. If the US sank like Atlantis, the Internet would still exist.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Wake up people. Tomorrow may be the last day the Internet exists as we have known it."

          Oh no! I best spend the rest of my day downloading pron at work. FUD, FUD, FUD

          Do you really think Google would be actively supporting Title II if it hindered their plans for fiber?

          Title II is exactly how ISPs should be treated, they are carriers, they move packets from A to B. They should not be inspecting the packets or modifying them. Phone companies were placed under these regulations for a reason and it's for their legal protection as well. They can't be sued for what the end user is sending/receiving because they can't touch it, so no liability.

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

        • icon
          Alien Rebel (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm switching on my CB radio now. If you need a radio check, go to channel 16.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What Title II does is allow Monopolies to exist but regulates them in return.

          You mean like what we currently have, minus the regulation part?

          Regulations that will bar any new comers from popping up and keep the existing players as the only players for decades to come.

          And again, like what we already have, with ISP written laws locking out any potential competition from even developing in multiple areas/states?

          The FCC by law is an independent agency and does not have to answer to the Congress or the White House for their actions.

          Given how blatant numerous members of congress are in their support for major companies, the ISP/cable companies included, that's not necessarily a bad thing. If congress was put in charge of putting together the rules and regulations for ISP's and what they could and could not do, then it would be no different than if the ISP's themselves were writing them.

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

        • identicon
          Zonker, 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Regulations that will bar any new comers from popping up and keep the existing players as the only players for decades to come.
          You mean newcomers like EPB Broadband in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Greenlight in Wilson, North Carolina? Newcomers who the FCC just voted 3-2 to approve petitions to enter the broadband market despite the bans passed against them by the existing players, who have been the only players in their respective states?

          How are those newcomers being barred by the FCC's decision today, exactly? I would love to hear your explanation.

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

        • identicon
          Zonker, 26 Feb 2015 @ 5:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The FCC by law is an independent agency and does not have to answer to the Congress or the White House for their actions.
          Did you forget that the very reason why the FCC started considering this Title II regulation in the first place is because Verizon got the courts to rule that the FCC could not regulate them under section 706 unless they were reclassified as a "telecommuncations service". The court was pretty clear that the FCC does have the authority to make that classification.

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's decision in the AT&T vs Portland case already ruled that cable modem service qualified as both an "information service" and "telecommunications service" under the Telecommunications Act (written and passed by Congress), so nothing but an act of Congress (rewriting or amending the Telecommunications Act) or SCOTUS should be able to change that.

          Also worth noting, that Ninth Circuit decision in the AT&T vs Portland case prohibited Portland from requiring AT&T to provide open access to all ISPs to its cable network as a condition of being allowed the transfer of control of the TCI cable franchise AT&T bought in Portland and Multnomah County. So basically, the Ninth Circuit ruling said that because the cable franchise AT&T bought to provide broadband internet service also qualifies as a "telecommunications service" under the Telecommunications Act, the city of Portland could not impose any requirements or restriction against AT&T as a common carrier.

          If cable internet was not a "telecommunications service", then common carrier rules and Title II could not apply. And if they don't apply, then Portland could require open access for all ISPs on AT&T Broadband (now owned by Comcast) cable networks. I'd actually much rather that be the case, because so far the FCC has forborne the same telecommunications service rules that allowed AT&T (and now Comcast) to keep competing ISPs out of Portland.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Net Neutrality is the Trojan Horse the Obama Administration is using to take control of the Internet. ... The FCC by law is an independent agency and does not have to answer to the Congress or the White House for their actions.
          Okee-doke.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:50pm

    Also from Ars...

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, spoke to the commission via video. He credited the openness of the Internet with allowing him to create the Web 25 years ago without having to ask "permission."

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

  • identicon
    Arkiel, 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:55pm

    I wrote a song

    To commemorate this event. Copy pasting from my Ars post. There might be some formatting problems.

    Ballad of the Dingo
    (to the tune of “Call Me Maybe”)
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/ipJfIfJ.jpg[/img]

    Hello my name is Pai,
    I'm a real earnest guy,
    I don't understand tech policy,
    but that ain't stoppin' me.

    Title II is the worst thing,
    unless you've got a brain,
    and give proper credit to claims,
    of widespread monopoly.

    Comcast say customers be whorin',
    Verizon wasted several billion,
    Nationwide fiber buildout is totes chillin'.
    (But free market can fix all that, really!)

    Hey, I'm Ajit Pai,
    former Verizon attorney,
    the big carriers implore me:
    “screw customers, protect our money!”.

    Netflix slow?
    You're so silly!
    Just stream in SD,
    its not like we're a third-world country!

    Hey I just met you,
    and this is crazy,
    but I'm Ajit Pai,
    consumer misery sustains me!

    Logic and rationality,
    don’t concern me,
    I’m a politician,
    I just know better than you, baby.

    Redefining broadband,
    I tried to make a stand,
    a moving target is no way to deploy
    ever-evolving technology!

    But Big Wheelie-T,
    constantly ignores me,
    in favor of public commentary,
    from people 'smarter' than me.

    Comcast won't let you cancel service,
    Verizon is getting nervous,
    Title II is superfluous!
    (Really, it'll destroy America!)

    Hey I just met you,
    and this is crazy,
    but John Oliver was wrong,
    the FCC dingo is [i][b]me[/i][/b]!

    Its hard to share,
    the full text rule, you see,
    by longstanding rule,
    Big Wheelie-T thwarted me!

    Hey I just met you,
    and this is crazy,
    but I'm the dingo,
    I lust for infant mortality!

    Hide your babies,
    but I shall come and see.
    My hunger is as great,
    as my sycophantry.

    Before Title II the free market was so fine,
    it was so fine,
    it was so-so fine,

    Before Title II the free market was so fine,
    it was so fine,
    I can't even articulate a single way in which it was so so fine.

    Interconnect rot,
    its just fantasy,
    those squirrely edge providers,
    they can’t trick me!

    Oh, you can't watch House of Cards,
    in QHD?
    Don’t blame your ISP,
    that’s Netflix’s fault and responsibility!

    Title II reclassification,
    has enraged me.
    I’ll devour all your young,
    via lycanthropy.

    Outside your house, I’ll be lurking,
    waiting and yearning,
    eager and squirming,
    for the bones of your delicious baby.

    Once a Republican is in the White House,
    I’ll be a shoe-in,
    to be made chairman,
    of the FCC.

    Hey I just met you,
    and its just crazy,
    that an unelected dude like me,
    was nearly able to slow the progress of humanity!

    [img]http://i.imgur.com/6tGJXav.jpg?1[/img]

    Commissioner Ajit Pai image from FCC.gov website.

    Dingo image by Peripitus (Own work) [http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Peripitus] [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

    “Call Me Maybe”, September 20, 2011, written by Carly Rae Jepsen, Josh Ramsay, & Tavish Crowe.

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

  • identicon
    FM Hilton, 26 Feb 2015 @ 9:37pm

    Discomfit

    I must say I am amazed at the pure and total panic that has set in with the tin foil hats.

    It's just stunning that they really want the likes of Comcast, Verizon, etc to control the very medium that they're always on-for a price.

    Free isn't free, they think-and Comcast wants to make sure they pay for it. The FCC was just trying to make their lives a little bit easier.

    Perhaps we should have it all throttled. That way we wouldn't have to put up with the trolls or tin foil hat people because they'd not be able to afford the connection.

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

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 8:58am

    Another reason Pai has no credibility

    That’s because the two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly—who oppose net neutrality of any sort—have refused to submit basic edits on the order.


    Perhaps I'm misremembering, but wasn't one of Pai's criticism the fact that the FCC hasn't released the proposed rules yet? However, here we have evidence that not only has Pai read the rules, but he is part of an effort to delay releasing them.

    This is pure political gamesmanship, of course, which is more than enough reason to warrant condemnation and ridicule.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 10:25am

      Re: Another reason Pai has no credibility


      This is pure political gamesmanship, of course, which is more than enough reason to warrant condemnation and ridicule.


      Looks more like regulatory capture to me. That is, he's playing to his once and future employers, not the public or elected officials.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: Another reason Pai has no credibility

        Slight change:

        That is, he's playing to his once, current and future employers, not the public or elected officials.

        He may be getting paid by the taxpayers, but they clearly aren't the ones he's working for.

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

  • icon
    ken (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:33pm

    Educating on how the Internet Works

    All you net neutrality people need a little education on how the Internet works.

    The Internet is not like the public highway system where anyone who wants to ride the Freeway or any public road can regardless of whether
    you drive a beater or a Lamborghini. The Internet is a patchwork of thousands of private networks. Some networks owned
    by the big players are called backbone networks and they handle a lot of the traffic but they only take you part of the way.

    Go to your command prompt or terminal and type in traceroute followed by a url. You will see how many networks it took to get to your
    destination. I did >traceroute youtube.com. I got 10 different networks that were traversed before it got to youtube.com

    When you make a request to a server the request and the result of that request can traverse many networks to get
    to the server that hosts the information. These networks have cooperative agreements with other networks to allow traffic
    to go through them in return they get reciprocated with their traffic. When one network gets overloaded they cut off through traffic and the
    packets get rerouted someplace else that can handle the traffic. Sometimes there is no other option so the network has to
    throttle some traffic to handle the load. This is going to jeopardize this cooperation since they will want to protect their own
    traffic. The Internet cannot work without Inter network cooperation. If all networks circle the wagons nothing will get in or out
    and we will be left with thousands of private networks that can only talk to itself.

    Why net neutrality will hurt and slow everyone down is because Networks will not be able to manage their networks based
    on the priority of the traffic so the result will be more traffic on their systems which means they will have to throttle
    Everyone to handle it. The result is it will take longer to receive packets and with streaming services such as Netflix it means you will see more of the dreaded buffering especially at night when most people want to watch Netflix.

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

    • icon
      ken (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:07pm

      Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

      What is interesting too is everyone is so concerned about net neutrality mainly because of Netflix but the funny thing is that Netflix uses a protocol that is low priority. The highest priority is TCP which requires every packet send back an acknowledgement that it was received or it sends it again. This makes no sense with streaming because if a packet doesn't make it it is too late. Plus the protocol does not require every packet to be received to run the program. If anything you may lose a pixel of two.
      Netflix uses a protocol that has a "Best effort" protocol which is lower priority. So net neutrality will actually have no net benefit at all in streaming.

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

      • icon
        ken (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

        There are certain protocols used by the Internet to set priority for traffic. There is QoS (Quality of Service) and COS (Class of Service). These are part of the network protocols are are essential to operate the Internet smoothly and not bog it down. These prioritize traffic based on the nature or importance of the traffic. Net Neutrality is a small part of this and actually has little effect on the Internet and will not change QoS or Cos which means in reality Net Neutrality is mainly a marketing term. Sad something so insignificant has now resulted in the government taking over the Internet.

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

      • icon
        ken (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

        There are certain protocols used by the Internet to set priority for traffic. There is QoS (Quality of Service) and COS (Class of Service). These are part of the network protocols are are essential to operate the Internet smoothly and not bog it down. These prioritize traffic based on the nature or importance of the traffic. Net Neutrality is a small part of this and actually has little effect on the Internet and will not change QoS or Cos which means in reality Net Neutrality is mainly a marketing term. Sad something so insignificant has now resulted in the government taking over the Internet.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

          Sad something so insignificant has now resulted in the government taking over the Internet.

          Now you're just making stuff up.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:31pm

        Re: Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

        What is interesting too is everyone is so concerned about net neutrality mainly because of Netflix...

        Netflix is just a prominent example, not the primary concern.

        So net neutrality will actually have no net benefit at all in streaming.

        That is a complete non sequitur. The fact that Netflix uses UDP or whatever it is does not imply that throttling their traffic has no effect on the quality of their service.

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

    • icon
      Alien Rebel (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 2:18pm

      Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

      Yup, air-tight logic that you can't make ships out of steel, 'cuz steel sinks.

      Fascinating. (RIP, Leonard N.)
      -

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 3:29pm

      Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

      Why net neutrality will hurt and slow everyone down is because Networks will not be able to manage their networks based
      on the priority of the traffic so the result will be more traffic on their systems which means they will have to throttle
      Everyone to handle it.


      Citation needed.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 8:10am

      Re: Educating on how the Internet Works

      "All you net neutrality people need a little education on how the Internet works."

      Lots of us who are in favor of NN know how the internet works at least as much as you do. Perhaps you could provide an argument that doesn't rely on an insult.

      "Why net neutrality will hurt and slow everyone down is because Networks will not be able to manage their networks based on the priority of the traffic"

      We'll see what the rules say, but what us "network neutrality people" have been pushing for would not prevent QoS management at all.

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 5:34pm

    Pessimistic all the way...

    I don't know how, but I still think they're gonna pull a fast one and we'll wind up with exactly what the Big Players want and nothing that the public wants.

    The Corporate, and thus the Political consensus on this matter, is and always will be :

    The Web, as it stands today, is simply too dangerous a tool to be left in the hands of the public.

    ---

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


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