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Net neutrality "all but dead"
April 24, 2014 3:38 AM   Subscribe

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that they would propose new rules allowing content providers to pay ISPs for priority "fast lanes," reversing their earlier position and effectively rejecting the principle of net neutrality held since the earliest days of the internet. The full set of proposed rules will be announced on May 15.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler previously served as president of the National Cable Television Association and as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, two industry lobbying groups.
posted by theodolite (154 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh well. It was a good run. See y--LOADING...
posted by ardgedee at 3:40 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


WTFCC
posted by sidesh0w at 3:43 AM on April 24 [17 favorites]


Well I guess millions of millenial teenage boys will finally be able to experience the joy of downloading low resolution porn .jpgs at 33.6Kbps.
posted by PenDevil at 3:43 AM on April 24 [34 favorites]


"Paging Frank Underwood. Mr. Underwood you have a call on line 1."
posted by jeremias at 3:44 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


reversing their earlier position and effectively rejecting the principle of net neutrality held since the earliest days of the internet.

I call bullshit. There was never any net neutrality. Since the early days of arpanet to aol to today...there is all sorts of discrimination on WHOSE data is more important. Around the US, around the world, everywhere.

It's just a principle, and not a reality unless people care enough about it to make it happen.

And I'm guessing that's not going to be a big enough deal for at least half a decade.

Also, 'net neutrality' was coined in 2003. That wasn't even in the early days of internet...hell, not even Dawson's creek.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:56 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to have yet another opportunity to give Comcast more of my money.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:10 AM on April 24


What are the chances we'll see new services like Netflix or Vimeo in a world where only companies that can serve up an extra pound of flesh for the ISPs can compete effectively?

This is such a bad idea. Considering the profit margins of ISPs and (especially in the US and Australia) their remarkable lack of interest in improving their product with said profits, somebody is about to get rich.
posted by flippant at 4:13 AM on April 24 [16 favorites]


I'm sick of regulatory capture. I'm ready to turn governance and policy making over to UNIVAC.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:17 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


> There was never any net neutrality. [...]

That may be, but this kind of restriction on the speed of the content delivery in addition to availability of said content has been unprecedented so far. At least it's not the Great Firewall, but I don't want "not the Great Firewall" to be the standard of measurement.

Even though this is an increase in speed for select companies rather than a decrease for those who don't buy in, it's all relative. So, you're right about people caring enough. Have you seen the Internet connections in South Korea? That isn't a joke about them playing Starcraft or anything, just that the right people seemed to care enough to make it happen for them.

I, for one, do not welcome overlords of any type.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 4:18 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


Remember, kids! If voting could change anything, it would have by now.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:21 AM on April 24 [28 favorites]


In late March, more than two dozen public interest groups wrote to Obama expressing alarm that the president was considering a candidate “who was the head of not one but two major industry lobbying groups.”

“After decades of industry-backed chairmen, we need a strong consumer advocate and public interest representative at the helm,” wrote the groups, which included the Free Press Action Fund and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. The letter did not mention Wheeler by name, but it was clear to whom the groups were referring. “It’s time to end regulatory capture at the FCC and restore balance to government oversight.”


Yes, but on the other hand he was a great fundraiser for the President's campaign and knocked on doors for him in Iowa!
posted by Drinky Die at 4:22 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


It's just a principle, and not a reality unless people care enough about it to make it happen.

To start with, here again is the contact information for the FCC. Today their switchboards and e-mail servers should be melting down with incoming messages. The broadband providers have been lobbying them for some time while the 'net has stayed comparatively quiet. When we make ourselves heard, though, as in the case of the proposed SOPA legislation, we genuinely can make a difference. We are many, they are few.
• Contact FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: Email him at tom.wheeler@fcc.gov. There are also the commissioners, Mignon Clyburn {mignon.clyburn@fcc.gov}, Michael O’Rielly {mike.o'rielly@fcc.gov}, Ajit Pai {ajit.pai@fcc.gov}, and Jessica Rosenworcel {jessica.rosenworcel@fcc.gov}, as well as webmaster@fcc.gov.

• Call the FCC: Dial 1-888-225-5322, at the prompt press 1 and then 5, and file a complaint with the agent once you're connected. Their FAX is 1-866-418-0232.

• Write them a letter of complaint: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.
While "net neutrality" may be a neologism, the concept of the common carrier has been a principle of telecommunications for a long, long time, whether the broadband providers like it or not (they don't).
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:22 AM on April 24 [48 favorites]


My intuition is that this will have no effect or possibly a positive effect on me. If the costs of bandwidth are borne equally now, pricing based on use should shift costs to people that do bandwidth intensive stuff like gaming, streaming movies & music, etc, and away from people like me that just read text-y stuff like blogs. Am I thinking about it right?
posted by jpe at 4:25 AM on April 24


hal_c_on: Historically traffic was priced at peering points but it was generally done so at the network level in a content-neutral manner: your ISP see x Gbps from Cogent customers so you peer with them at that level of traffic no matter which particular sites your users happen to use. The major ISPs are trying to redefine things so they can charge each source of traffic based on profitability or anti-competitive goals – e.g. charge NetFlix more so they're forced to raise priced, making your own on-demand service looks more appealing. They've been somewhat successful in trying to confuse what “network neutrality” meant in the popular debate but it fundamentally just means preserving that peering model where ISPs negotiate on traffic and volume in a more open manner instead of back room deals based on how much they think your business can afford.

The underlying problem could be partially fixed by competent regulation which prohibits closed / secret peering deals, requiring ISPs to offer the same pricing to everyone in a given service tier, but that still wouldn't address the effective monopoly on high-speed internet in much of the US. That would require turning the network side into a regulated utility separate from other services and is politically quite unlikely, good as it would be for the economy.
posted by adamsc at 4:25 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


My intuition is that this will have no effect or possibly a positive effect on me. If the costs of bandwidth are borne equally now, pricing based on use should shift costs to people that do bandwidth intensive stuff like gaming, streaming movies & music, etc, and away from people like me that just read text-y stuff like blogs. Am I thinking about it right?

Yes, pricing of data for the consumer is always totally reasonable.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:28 AM on April 24 [16 favorites]


And there was me thinking that Internet access in the U.S. couldn't get any better.
posted by devnull at 4:31 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


This isn't a thing yet, it's just a proposal from the industry shill Obama hired to regulate the bloated pack of greed hyenas to which he belongs. We can and should fight back. Spend some of the time you'd expend reading and commenting on intarwebz crap on writing your elected officials and let the FCC commissioners how you feel about their capitulation to the interests of Comcast and Time Warner: Tom.Wheeler@fcc.gov
Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov
Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov
Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov
Mike.O'Rielly@fcc.gov.

Call the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 and bend their filthy little ears.

Better still, send them letters. Old folks think letters are more important than email and will take your comments more seriously.

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Stop bitching and fight this bullshit.
posted by Lighthammer at 4:33 AM on April 24 [25 favorites]


My intuition is that this will have no effect or possibly a positive effect on me. If the costs of bandwidth are borne equally now, pricing based on use should shift costs to people that do bandwidth intensive stuff like gaming, streaming movies & music, etc, and away from people like me that just read text-y stuff like blogs. Am I thinking about it right?
Bandwidth is exceptionally cheap. That you use very little of it due to your choice of data should have you incensed that you are paying as much as you are ;)

Check out this link:
We know that the average encoding rate for video streamed to the Xbox 360 is about 2000Kbps. That means one person watching a two hour movie would transfer roughly 1.8GB of data. For high definition movies, the average encoding bitrate is around 3200Kbps and one user would transfer about 3GB of data.

Worst case, imagine that every customer wants to watch Netflix every night at exactly the same time. And let’s make it even worse – let’s imagine that a household has multiple people in it, and there are three simultaneous Netflix feeds going to each customer. Now we need approximately 10 megabits/second for each customer. During a three or four hour window every night, the demand caused by this Netflix loading caps the number of Internet accounts we can give out. The undersea cable can only handle 5 terabits/second, so we can have at most:

5 terabits per second / 10 megabits per second = 500,000 customers

So we have to spread the $3 billion cost of the cable over those 500,000 customers. What does that work out to per month? In 10 years there are 120 months, so:

$3 billion / 120 months / 500,000 customers = $50 per customer per month.

$50/month is the worst case scenario. We are assuming that every single customer will be watching 3 simultaneous high def Netflix movies (10 megabits/second) simultaneously. The pipeline can handle that kind of worst-case load, with a 200% profit margin, for $50/month. And that would be some of the most expensive bandwidth in the world.

What is the cost per gigabyte now? If you assume that each customer is allocated a true 10 megabits/second (call it 1 megabyte/second) pipe, and if you assume that each customer fully uses that allocation for 6 hours a day, each customer is pulling 21 gigabytes per day, or roughly 600 gigabytes per month. $50/600 = 8.3 cents per gigabyte.

In other words, Internet service can be provided profitably for pennies per gigabyte in the absolute worst case scenario.
posted by flippant at 4:35 AM on April 24 [31 favorites]


My intuition is that this will have no effect or possibly a positive effect on me.

First they came for the cord-cutters, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a cord cutter.
Then they came for the gamers, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a gamer.
Then they came for me -- NO CARRIER
posted by jferg at 4:39 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


I'm sure Comcast will do the right thing and use this extra money to build new infrastructure so everyone can have lots of cheap bandwidth at high speeds.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:39 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Wait a second, they won't. They are Comcast.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:40 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


My intuition is that this will have no effect or possibly a positive effect on me. If the costs of bandwidth are borne equally now, pricing based on use should shift costs to people that do bandwidth intensive stuff like gaming, streaming movies & music, etc, and away from people like me that just read text-y stuff like blogs. Am I thinking about it right?

to quote a top comment on another site: "Imagine if the water company could detect if you were using their water for a specific brand of sink and charge more for it. Does that sound ridiculous? So does this."

And honestly it goes even further than that, more like they would detect what you were using that water for and charge you accordingly. Washing the dog is one thing, but oh, you are making pasta? Well market price for a pasta dinner at a restaurant is $12.00, so obviously not charging you more for the water used for that is leaving a lot of money on the table, etc etc. This is essentially what throttling netflix or hulu or whatever is.

and its complete bullshit.
posted by young_son at 4:44 AM on April 24 [69 favorites]


What will out grandchildren's history books call the last thirty years? I vote for The Sellout Years. Or The Chickenshit Era. Or maybe just All Mobbed Up.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:44 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Imagine if the water company could detect if you were using their water for a specific brand of sink and charge more for it. Does that sound ridiculous? So does this."

This is more like charging based on volume used, which makes sense.
posted by jpe at 4:45 AM on April 24


> I call bullshit. There was never any net neutrality. [...] Also, 'net neutrality' was coined in 2003.

The term didn't have to be coined while it was assumed behavior and the status quo.

Net neutrality in the current sense has nothing at all to do with the days of ARPANET, or the Internet in general before 1994. When it was chartered as a technical and research service, its constraints were of content, rather than of volume or provider identity. It also has nothing to do with general rate limits.

The status quo is that I pay for my end of the Internet connection, and the entity whose site I'm viewing pays for his end of the Internet connection. If I get a lot of data from that entity, their rates may go up on their end to compensate for the volume, and my rates may go up on my end to compensate for the volume.

What the network providers want is double-dipping. They want that entity to pay for the right to stream that data that their provider is billing them for and that my provider is billing me for. And that entity will be punished if they don't pay. The abolishment of network neutrality also makes it legal for a provider to make what amount to blackmail arrangements: Sweetheart deals to ensure that one entity's bandwidth is always favored over another's.

Cynically saying "t'was always thus" is not only wrong, but totally unhelpful. Bad things should not be allowed to continue just because they already existed. Especially when they haven't.
posted by ardgedee at 4:45 AM on April 24 [28 favorites]


Or, sticking with the water analogy, take a waterslide park and a muni park across the street that only uses water for a drinking fountain. The water company is given the ability to charge different prices to different establishments. If aggregate costs stay the same, odds are the water park will get charged more and the muni park less. Since I don't go to the water park, I'm pretty much unimpacted and may see a small positive impact if anything.

If aggregate costs rise that's a different story, although I haven't seen that argument made much.
posted by jpe at 4:52 AM on April 24


This is more like charging based on volume used, which makes sense.

You could transfer the same amount of data, once from Hulu and once from Netflix and end up paying a different price. It's not just about volume. Are you under the impression you can't already be charged just based on usage? Because it kind of sounds like it.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:54 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


jpe, I don't understand where you're getting the idea that this would lead to some kind of dollar-per-GB arrangement. The most likely outcome for you is that you will continue to pay exorbitantly high rates for the very little bandwidth you use, except that your service is slower because a large portion of your ISP's pipes are now devoted to streaming xfinitytv.comcast.net's back catalog of Pawn Stars episodes.
posted by theodolite at 4:54 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


This is more like charging based on volume used, which makes sense.


not at all. at this point its a war between the internet content creators/suppliers with the ISPs who are generally outdated telecoms trying to push cable/landline deals with their shitty 15mbps DSL. this gives comcast leverage to charge both you and netflix more for the exact same content you are receiving now... and absolutely zero benefit to the consumer.

there is no mbps shortage. you are just paying more for the same shitty service while telling any startups using any bandwidth that they can fuck right off. these are the same telecoms that were given billions in tax breaks to shore up infrastructure and *literally* did nothing. this is lobbyists fleecing us pure and simple.
posted by young_son at 4:54 AM on April 24 [22 favorites]


your service is slower

Since I stick with text stuff, any slowdown is likely to be unnoticeable.
posted by jpe at 4:58 AM on April 24


That meshnet stuff keeps looking better and better.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:03 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


jpe, wait, let me get this straight. You can't imagine any scenario now or in the future where you would personality want to use a bandwidth intensive service that would be hurt by this policy? Or, barring that, you believe that even though it hurts other people, it's OK because it doesn't directly hurt you?
posted by arcolz at 5:06 AM on April 24 [20 favorites]


bandwidth? feh. I only use the internet to ssh into lynx so I can read raw METARs
posted by theodolite at 5:08 AM on April 24 [15 favorites]


jpe: Started writing out a long post trying to clarify why this is an issue for everyone, but it's clear from your posts in the thread that if it doesn't directly and immediately affect _you_ then it's not an issue. And you're correct, it probably won't, for a while. So you have fun with that and let us know how it goes when you run across a video you want to watch on YouTube. Or a blog you want to read is hosted somewhere that hosts a lot of video.
posted by jferg at 5:08 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


flippant: In other words, Internet service can be provided profitably for pennies per gigabyte in the absolute worst case scenario.

This, a thousand times this.

When I lived in Copenhagen, we joined a co-op internet company. We got gigabit fibernet installed for a (completely reasonable) one-time fee and then paid the equivalent of less than USD 10 per month for no-cap use. This was around 2006. Now I'm living in Germany and paying about USD 50 per month for a 30 mbit connection.
posted by brokkr at 5:13 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


So you have fun with that and let us know how it goes when you run across a video you want to watch on YouTube.

I'm *already* on Time Warner, and they've been not-so-subtly trying to force me into a higher tier for a while, so... Yeah, everyone get ready for a massive experience of Suck.
posted by mikelieman at 5:14 AM on April 24


Or, barring that, you believe that even though it hurts other people, it's OK because it doesn't directly hurt you?

My interest is in paying less for my data use. If it means gamers will have to pay a little more for their bandwidth hogging, then I agree that's a deep injustice, but i think they'll live.
posted by jpe at 5:14 AM on April 24


My interest is in paying less for my data use. If it means gamers will have to pay a little more for their bandwidth hogging, then I agree that's a deep injustice, but i think they'll live.

But you're BOTH getting ripped off. It seems you're ok with others getting ripped off more, if you are yourself ripped off a little less.

Isn't the solution to the consumer, regulation to prevent them getting ripped off in the first place?
posted by mikelieman at 5:15 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]


lol, 'consumer benefit' -- what was I thinking!
posted by mikelieman at 5:17 AM on April 24


Right now I'm the one getting ripped off: my low data use is subsidizing their higher use.
posted by jpe at 5:18 AM on April 24


It's a start.

The fair thing to do now is to give consumers an opportunity to pitch in when it comes to defraying the cost of top-shelf content creation and delivery. Disruptives like Kickstarter have already pioneered a better model of brand engagement and allowed the modern, sharing-economy consumer to express a sense of co-ownership with their favorite brands and creative services -- on a sliding scale, no less! The next step must be to allow consumers the same level of ownership in all aspects of their digital life.

How many people would love to support a scrappy production company like NetFlix but currently have no way of doing so, leaving their favorite new shows to bear the burden of content distribution alone? How many good shows were cancelled in the bad old days for exactly that reason -- and how many still are? And who wouldn't jump at the chance to support their indie gaming scene by ensuring that content creators like Kongregate, Steam and LP channels on YouTube get priority? Indie gaming's a great community but it's a tough market -- help your favorites succeed! And I don't know much about ESPN other than that they've struggled with online distribution before, but I definitely smell untapped fan enthusiasm somewhere over there.

And anyway -- your Etsy retailer doesn't expect to pay shipping on what you bought from them, do they? Someone's gotta pay for gas and roads. This is just common sense, and it gives the little guys a better chance to compete. Microsoft Live? They'll be fine. Let's level the playing field for everyone else.

If ISPs create an avenue for enhanced consumer brand engagement I believe we'll see immediate an enthusiastic participation across the board. Once the FCC comes around, I personally look forward to seeing that additional $8.95 Podcast Plus item on my TWC bill, knowing that it goes directly to help deliver the latest from NightVale and Starship Sofa. It's the that least I, and my good friends at TWC, can do.
posted by postcommunism at 5:19 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


> Right now I'm the one getting ripped off: my low data use is subsidizing their higher use.

So is dialup not a thing where you are?
posted by postcommunism at 5:20 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


My interest is in paying less for my data use. If it means gamers will have to pay a little more for their bandwidth hogging, then I agree that's a deep injustice, but i think they'll live.

This is the part you're missing - this is not about the pricing between the end consumer (you, the gamer) and the ISP. All end consumers will probably end up paying the same thing, much like they do today. This is about the pricing between the content providers (Netflix, Youtube, Amazon, Google) and the ISP. The ISP will be free to work out deals with content providers to give their data preferential treatement, and you, the end consumer of the data, will have NO CHOICE in which providers' data gets that preferential treatment. Want to watch Netflix? Oh, well, they have an agreement with AT&T, so you'll need to get AT&T service. Want to watch Hulu or play a Steam game? Sorry, you'll need Comcast for that. What, you live in an area that's not serviced by Comcast? No Hulu for you. Revolutionary new content provider comes along, but doesn't have the funds to work out a delivery agreement with ISPs? Wow, this site sucks, why would we want to use it?

And you don't see an problem here?
posted by jferg at 5:21 AM on April 24 [16 favorites]


If you think your lower use is in ANY way subsidizing their higher use, you are buying their lies completely. If the ISPs were deemed common carriers, it would be immediately obvious.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:22 AM on April 24 [16 favorites]


jpe, really you'll be ripped off by the fact that new applications won't be made available to you because those startups lack the capital to overcome the telecoms' new barrier to entry.

Some of those apps might be critical to your life. Medical. Banking. Communication. You'll never know about them because the idea gets squelched.

Consider it a surrender to the oligopoly. Just wait for your phone company to eventually offer you the app, as part of a menu where you have to buy a lot of other unwanted apps and bandwidth to get the one app that would really make your life better.
posted by surplus at 5:24 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


As someone who has satellite Internet with severe bandwidth limitations, and no other options, I say welcome to my world.

This really does suck.
posted by terrapin at 5:24 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:25 AM on April 24


Did you guys really think that a happynice concept like "net neutrality" was going to be allowed to stand in the way of wealthy people making more money? If so, how are you enjoying America in your first few days here?
posted by Legomancer at 5:28 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


This is more like charging based on volume used, which makes sense.

That is exactly what this isn't. That's a common confusion -- as is the equally wrong misconception that this is about directly charging you anything at all (though it is widely assumed that the extra charges would be passed on to consumers.)

The proposed rules changes would allow bandwidth providers to charge different content providers different amounts for access to you. Those companies are already paying based on volume used (and on the other end so are many consumers.) Losing net neutrality would mean that the bandwidth providers can discriminate and charge some services more than others, and prioritize those services over other services.

Price per megabyte is not what net neutrality is. Net neutrality is every megabyte gets treated equally.

This could affect you, as a low bandwidth user, more than it would affect heavy users -- if all your neighbors are using content from companies that have paid to be in your ISPs fast lane, your stuff is going to get shunted into the slow lane and may end up performing worse than it does now. Net neutrality means there are no 'lanes', all the traffic goes together.
posted by ook at 5:29 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]




The insidious thing about such a proposal is that it's never the last step. Right now everyone's talking reasonably. We're just going to charge if a company wants premium service (preferential treatment or whatever). However, profits can't stay steady. They have to increase year over year.

So what's that mean? Look to your cable TV packages for an idea. In the beginning, basic cable was more or less everything that wasn't a movie channel. Then it became basic was still a lot of channels, except for some of the newer ones which went into the limited package and then there were the premium channels on top of that. Then they started splitting off into family packs and sports packs and entertainment packs and etc. So the basic package gets smaller and you pay extra for what you used to get included. Plus premium channels and don't forget now they charge for HD content and I'm sure when 4K gets bigger, they'll have some charge for that.

This will be like that except for businesses. I can already see the ways they can start to split. One charge for "regular" traffic, one charge for "video" traffic, a charge for priority during "peak hours," a charge for incoming traffic, one for outgoing traffic, if you can differentiate it, you can charge for the premium version of it...If I worked at Comcast right now, I would be chortling, straight up chortling.
posted by BeReasonable at 5:37 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


> How many people would love to support a scrappy production company like NetFlix but currently have no way of doing so...

Calling a multinational company like NetFlix "scrappy" indicates blithering unawareness of their multibillion dollar market cap and the ease with which it can throw hundreds of millions of dollars at risky ventures with no risk to their long-term viability. In other words, I am not certain whether you are writing Swiftian satire or making a bad argument.
posted by ardgedee at 5:40 AM on April 24


Right now I'm the one getting ripped off: my low data use is subsidizing their higher use.


seems like there is sort of a fundamental misunderstanding going on here. you are certainly getting ripped off, but it has nothing to do with "gamers and their pesky call of doodies" (which, unless they are streaming live video on a service such as twitch.tv actually uses relatively little bandwidth).

you are being ripped off because *there is no practical reason to throttle bandwidth*. South Korea has consumer internet that is literally 50 times faster than the US for significantly less $.

50 times.

You currently are being sold a terribly poor product, at a significantly higher price, and now they want to charge you (and content creators) more, simply because they have the lobbying power to do so.
posted by young_son at 5:40 AM on April 24 [23 favorites]


To sum up, the top cable and wireless lobby groups in the US are led by a former FCC chairman and former FCC commissioner, while the FCC itself is led by a man who....

So the FCC is just like the SEC? Who'd a thunk it?
posted by valkane at 5:42 AM on April 24


Sign up for Comcast today and get YouTube, Google and Steam for only 39.99/month! That's half-off our regular value!

Facebook now only 29.99/month for the first six months!

Sign up today!
posted by Avenger at 5:45 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


Money is speech after all.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:48 AM on April 24


What organizations are collecting and spending money to oppose this? I.e. who is swiftboating Mr. Wheeler as an anti-American crook he is?
posted by zeikka at 5:50 AM on April 24


What kills me is that in losing the argument that "all deregulation is bad" now we are just moving to a place where the regulations themselves will just be bad.

Indeed, money does talk....
posted by valkane at 5:52 AM on April 24


Calling a multinational company like NetFlix "scrappy" indicates blithering unawareness[...]

It's probably telling that postcommunism's hypercapitalist comment was not hyperbolic enough to have its irony shine through.
posted by nobody at 5:52 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


The HOV lanes go unused far too often. We should allow companies and individuals to purchase a pass to use the HOV lanes.
posted by DigDoug at 5:55 AM on April 24


Some exits are just too busy to allow the rest of traffic to pass unimpeded. A "premium" exit lane would allow better traffic flow.
posted by DigDoug at 5:57 AM on April 24


So I'm not terribly up on IT technology, so bear with me. Does using an anonymizing VPN on a personal computer to access to access the web (i.e. all traffic goes through the VPN) help a person in this scenario? Or does the ruling stand a chance of hindering the ability to use such a VPN?
posted by griphus at 5:58 AM on April 24


VPN traffic would likely wind up in the "slow lane" but enough business users need VPNs that they would continue to exist. Content providers would still have to raise their prices to pay for their "fast lane" even though you aren't using it.

Other types of traffic would probably become impossible to use if ISPs are allowed to discriminate, though -- say goodbye to BitTorrent for example.
posted by ook at 6:04 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


now we are just moving to a place where the regulations themselves will just be bad.

Isn't this essentially deregulation? Isn't it allowing the carriers more freedom to treat traffic as they wish? They aren't being forced to do anything.
posted by DarkForest at 6:05 AM on April 24


This part is especially chilling:

The proposed rules would also require Internet service providers to disclose whether in assigning faster lanes, they have favored their affiliated companies that provide content.

Note that they're totally allowed to discriminate in favor of their own affiliates. They just have to "disclose" that they're doing it. Somewhere. To someone.
posted by ook at 6:08 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


> Isn't this essentially deregulation? Isn't it allowing the carriers more freedom to treat traffic as they wish? They aren't being forced to do anything.

The lack of regulation on carriers allows them to regulate and coerce others. Capitalism as an ideology does not necessarily lead to ideologically purely capitalist outcomes.
posted by ardgedee at 6:11 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


The lack of regulation on carriers allows them to regulate and coerce others.

Sure. I meant government deregulation, allowing the carriers more freedom to act badly.
posted by DarkForest at 6:14 AM on April 24


I can't see any risk in granting more freedoms to an industry that receives zero complaints.
posted by Peccable at 6:17 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


John Gilmore was very observant when he said "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." I believe this will again prove to be the case, in fact, I think this will make it stronger and more secure in the long run.

The reason we're using services like Flickr and Facebook to share photos and other things with our social graph even though it has several big downsides is security and inertia. This will force economics to enter into the equation, and make the idea of a supply heavy service obsolete. It will force us to return a peer oriented model of doing things.

The option that Netflix hasn't used yet is to rework their code to use a bittorrent protocol to distribute video... if they do so, it would make the filtering option for ISPs moot. It would also usher in an era of competition... which is probably why they haven't done it, yet.

In the long run, this will force the internet to be peer to peer, once again. Security will be fixed sometime in the next 10 years, as capability based systems like Genode find their place on our computers, and it will be reasonable to do so.
posted by MikeWarot at 6:32 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Under these changes, any new innovation on the internet will by necessity take place outside of the US, if only because access will be cheaper.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:38 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


The option that Netflix hasn't used yet is to rework their code to use a bittorrent protocol to distribute video... if they do so, it would make the filtering option for ISPs moot.

How do you figure? If ISPs are allowed to discriminate based on traffic type, they'll discriminate "nonstandard" protocols like BitTorrent right out of existence.
posted by ook at 6:47 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


AT&T's proposed video streaming service makes a lot more sense in light of these events.
posted by echocollate at 6:53 AM on April 24


> "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

John Gilmore is more informed about, embedded in, and plain closer to the structure and history of the internet than I am, but that quote smacks of the same anthropomorphism extended to the Free Market. It sounds cool, but it also sounds like the tingly, everything-is-different-now futurism you'd hear from a TED stage.
posted by postcommunism at 6:55 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


The HOV lanes go unused far too often. We should allow companies and individuals to purchase a pass to use the HOV lanes.
posted by DigDoug


Don't even joke about that- in Atlanta a lot of the HOV lanes have become toll lanes...
posted by rock swoon has no past at 6:56 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: "What will out grandchildren's history books call the last thirty years? I vote for The Sellout Years. Or The Chickenshit Era. Or maybe just All Mobbed Up."

Dangit, I suppose the pre-guillotine years belong to the late 1700s.
posted by barnacles at 7:03 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


> John Gilmore was very observant when he said "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." I believe this will again prove to be the case, in fact, I think this will make it stronger and more secure in the long run.

The notional "damage" is imposed by the provider of your access. You can't route around that without changing your provider. In most of the U.S., only consumer-level provider options left are the single cable company and the single landline phone company that provide residential services.

There might arise a privileged class of technically savvy people with relevant social connections who will be able to proxy around capped services (for example, by proxying through their buddy's university IT gateway) but that will be an extremely small subset of the total Internet user base.
posted by ardgedee at 7:08 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


What will out grandchildren's history books call the last thirty years?

That will depend on which education service tier your grandchildren subscribe to
posted by ook at 7:14 AM on April 24 [44 favorites]


I can't even, what. What is the goddamn fucking point.
posted by odinsdream at 7:32 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


This is why I have nearly lost all hope in a post-scarcity society. Here we have a thing in abundance, that could be freely and affordably shared for the benefit of humanity. No market regulation is even required - indeed the free market might encourage the sharing of this resource for the benefit of entrepreneurs.
Yet the monopolists will use the federal government to put a price tag on anything.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:33 AM on April 24 [12 favorites]


I'll preface this by saying I know very little nothing about network infrastructure or managing an ISP.

I've always been surprised that these discussions never bring up AT&T's U-Verse, because it strikes me that they have already been doing this for a while. They run a short-length (and thus higher-speed) DSL line to your house from a neighborhood fiber box, and split that into 2 channels. A normal internet line that is bandwidth-limited for whatever you have paid for and an IPTV channel (with presumably higher QoS and bandwidth). OK, they brand it Pay-per-View, but the backend tech can't be any different from what Netflix Hulu, or anybody else uses for "instant streaming"

This proposal seems like a logical extension of that for AT&T. Especially if providing that higher QoS requires closer CDNs or other tech that costs money to deploy and maintain.

As a consumer, I don't know if I care about this. If I am still paying for (up to) X Mbit, but can stream video at a higher rate b/c Netflix pays for it, what do I care? Sure, my netflix fee might go up a bit, but it is already going up as they work out peering agreements or whatever just happened with Comcast. It could even be cheaper to provide this separate channel than work out the peering to share with all the other traffic.

The debate about making ISPs common carriers is interesting, but I wouldn't be surprised if this same sort of thing arises even then. OK, here's your normal internet wire, you can stream netflix on it if you want, but it's gonna be lower quality than using our "SuperPipe."
posted by stobor at 7:34 AM on April 24


Today their switchboards and e-mail servers should be melting down with incoming messages.

I wonder if the government realizes that they are setting up a situation where they could literally be locked out of being able to provide electronic services. Sorry IRS, TurboTax paid for all your data channels, nobody can eFile right now.
posted by odinsdream at 7:35 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Sorry IRS, TurboTax paid for all your data channels, nobody can eFile right now.

They don't compete, actually. The IRS is prohibited from (and doesn't want to) offering a competing product to TurboTax. One of the biggest pushes to get people online and comfy with the online world comes from the IRS who saves a shitton of money when people efile ($2 for every return, plus all the savings from not having people hand-enter data and not having to deal with the error that come from that) but they are basically in bed with TurboTax so while I take your general point, this example is not an accurate one.
posted by jessamyn at 7:41 AM on April 24


South Korea has consumer internet that is literally 50 times faster than the US for significantly less $.

South Korea is smaller than the lower peninsula of Michigan and has more than five times as many people.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:46 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


As a consumer, I don't know if I care about this. If I am still paying for (up to) X Mbit, but can stream video at a higher rate b/c Netflix pays for it, what do I care?

Here's the problem. I happen to be both a traditional consumer and a manager of a system providing content (albeit not entertainment content) to other businesses.

Right now, at home I pay a fixed monthly rate for a certain level of bandwidth. I can reasonably expect to be able to pull data from content providers at up to that rate, assuming they can push it out to me.

On the other side, I'm paying my datacenter for the same thing. I pay a (much, much higher) monthly cost for a guaranteed amount of bandwidth, and can more than reasonably expect to push data to my consumers at that rate. In fact, because I have an SLA, I have this guaranteed in a contract. This contract is not specific about which customers. I'm paying this contract to a big-tier provider like my datacenter, who in turn has peering agreements with dozens of backbone providers, like Level3, and other names most people haven't heard of.

These agreements also aren't specific about the individual customers. These are huge providers of massive dataflows.

Now, what this potential new agreement means is that one day I get a call from a customer that can't access our services. I look at my end, everything's fine; the datacenter looks fine, the datacenter's peering agreements look fine, oh but here it is: the local ISP for that specific customer is running a protection racket each time that customer tries to pull data from my service. They say to me, hey business owner, it would sure be a shame if something happened to these packets on the way to the customer, and now I have to figure out how to fucking pay them off to get my business back.
posted by odinsdream at 7:46 AM on April 24 [32 favorites]


Right now I'm the one getting ripped off: my low data use is subsidizing their higher use.

And you expect this possible change will result in a fair, possibly lower, price?
posted by juiceCake at 7:48 AM on April 24


> South Korea has consumer internet that is literally 50 times faster than the US for significantly less $.

This is true in Seoul and probably the other major cities. In the countryside, I'm inclined to believe access is much spottier, having a great deal to do with economic disparity between urban and agricultural areas, particularly in the southwestern part of the country, which is less developed than the east and north. Broadband for (hypothetically) five bucks a month is awesome, but only if you have five bucks to spare every month.
posted by ardgedee at 8:08 AM on April 24


Seems like there's a new story saying this every day, but:

The age of the Internet and "tech" businesses as libertarian Wild West is over. In a totally new marketplace, regulatory capture might start out a few steps behind (remember when Google didn't think it needed lobbyists?). But the opportunity to create new Barons is just too attractive. If in the process it ties up the whole Web in a gridlock of bilateral monopolies, then -- actually, all the better. Pretty soon, the idea of an "Internet startup" might sound as oxymoronic as "railroad startup." If you can't go into business without paying off a tangled ratking of ISPs, then you'd better just stick with your dayjob.

(It's possible to be an optimist about this but I'm not one.)
posted by grobstein at 8:08 AM on April 24


I feel like this decision, Netflix's price hike (and Netflix capitulating to Comcast a few months back), the HBO/Amazon deal and the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger must have been made with some thought to the likely outcome of the Aereo case, by people who are more connected and better able to get an inkling of what that case's outcome might be. Because the landscape changes drastically around all of these decisions depending on which way the Aereo case goes. And it really makes me wonder what the long-term plans of all these parties are, and what they think they know, and with what certainty they think they know it. It feels like the root of all of this and the key to understanding the moves being made is that the cable TV companies, who are also the big players in the ISP game, are balanced on a knife edge in the Aereo case. And if Aereo wins, things actually get awesome for the cable company (and horrible for, you know, everyone else) if this FCC proposal goes through.

If Aereo wins, the traditional broadcast TV market is going to be heading for bad times because retransmission fees can become a thing of the past. CBS and FOX have already threatened to go nuclear and leave broadcast TV in that case. How realistic that threat is is up in the air - expect an absolutely massive avalanche of lawsuits from local affiliates, for one, but even then, how do the local affiliates stay afloat when the cable companies can take a page from Aereo's book to get around retransmission fees? They can't. That's a huge boon for the cable companies that operate the ISPs, retrans fees are a big deal and always a huge point of contention whenever the contracts are up for renewal. At the same time, if Aereo wins, that will embolden other cordcutting alternative upstarts and the cable companies are vulnerable from that flank. But with this FCC proposal in the ISP/cable co's pockets, they're protected from that and have just scored a huge coup. The combination of Aereo winning and this FCC proposal being enacted would be a goddamn goldmine for ISPs and cable companies (and again, absolutely horrible for everyone else).

Of course, there's the question of what happens to the broadcast spectrum if Aereo wins and CBS and FOX do go through with the threat, because if nobody can profit in stepping in to replace them without retransmission fees padding their budgets, and NBC and ABC start tanking too, then you've got broadcast spectrum with no better use than wireless internet. And that could leave the ISPs vulnerable - unless they're given sweetheart deals to manage all that sweet wireless internet infrastructure themselves. Which I'm sure they and the FCC are already drafting proposals for, just in case.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:13 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


FCC-Comcast giving FDA-Monsanto a run for its money in the openly collusive government-corporate power couple race.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:21 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I'm sick of regulatory capture. I'm ready to turn governance and policy making over to UNIVAC.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:17 AM on April 24

I live to serve.
posted by univac at 8:32 AM on April 24 [23 favorites]


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has released a statement:
"There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court's ruling in January. There is no 'turnaround in policy.' The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court's decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted."
posted by Blasdelb at 9:43 AM on April 24


The Wheeler denial is interesting. It seemed very odd that WSJ got this leaked story yesterday, like a trial balloon before FCC committed officially. Or maybe it was a leak intended to frame the story early, to turn the debate from "FCC implements complex policy" to "FCC screws consumers".

The other half of the story I haven't seen well reported recently is how poorly FCC has done their job of creating a competitive broadband market in the US. 2/3 of Americans have at most two broadband provider choices. And our speeds are way lower than the rest of the civilized world, and our costs are way higher.

Ironically, it's possible allowing traffic discrimination will increase broadband competition, because it creates a new revenue stream. I don't like that argument, I'm a believer in net neutrality for a lot of reasons, but I'll be curious to see if FCC makes the competition argument in their announcement.
posted by Nelson at 9:56 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


What confuses me about this reporting is the second line in the NY Times story:

"The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers."

Did the FCC actually say that somewhere?
posted by smackfu at 9:59 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


(Because the WSJ just says they are going to circulate the rules privately on Thursday.)
posted by smackfu at 10:00 AM on April 24


The other half of the story I haven't seen well reported recently is how poorly FCC has done their job of creating a competitive broadband market in the US. 2/3 of Americans have at most two broadband provider choices.

I've been digging around in the FCC website for other reasons this week. The Connect America Fund launched to great accolades and then was sort of dead in the water. I have a hard time parsing this press release but it looks like as close to a "mistakes were made" admission as you're likely to get from a government agency. I just wish I understood it more.
posted by jessamyn at 10:01 AM on April 24


This will be the new reality in a few years. The Internet as a tier of "channels," just like the cable companies today. Eventually I suspect we won't even have that, as ISPs move to monopolize the entirety of content creation and dissemination. We'll be back to the grand old days of AOL vs Compuserve vs Delphi, only without even that level of competition.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:04 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court's ruling in January

That'd be the court ruling that struck down net neutrality, right?
posted by ook at 10:05 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


(Actually it is somewhat more subtle than that; the January ruling said that either the FCC treats broadband providers as common carriers, or it can't enforce net neutrality.

So apparently the FCC is choosing to not enforce net neutrality, which is consistent with that ruling. THANKS FCC)
posted by ook at 10:10 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Hey, maybe if we all flap our arms REAL HARD, they'll treat them as common carriers instead?!
posted by mikelieman at 10:21 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Nelson, this will not help increase competition in the broadband industry. There's huge capital requirements to get the copper/cable/fiber into the ground.

A way to give a shot to the system (kind of like the break ups of Ma Bell) would be to breakup any company which owns infrastructure in the ground connecting to the end user. They're now two companies; one who services the infrastructure, and will wholesale to any and every customer at the same price per volume (with no sweet heart deals nor free prioritizing of repairs), and the other company which signs up users, routes traffic along their uplinks and provides any (potentially) additional services. I.E. one company connects the user to a central peering point and can do nothing else, and a host of wholesalers (one of whom is broken off of the previous incumbent) who pay to access the peering point and take over the customer's connection from there.

Canada kind of tried to do that. Bell/Rogers must resell their copper/cable, and the CRTC technically oversees them. Many in the industry says the CRTC is in their (Bell/Rogers) pocket. However the companies weren't broken up, so Bell owns the infrastructure, and can pass on the savings to itself in servicing users. Bell keeps saying that they need to raise rates to wholesalers for higher costs (and tries to do things like (customer) Usage Based Billing (google UBB canada Bell) while they're already charging their resellers for the peak capacity of their links to the users).

That's not even touching on the idea that a Bell technician might allegedly use a known crappy pair of copper when connecting a new non-Bell DSL user. If the infrastructure company couldn't be a customer servicing company, there's no reason to prefer one customer over another. The playing field for ISP's could be pretty damn level. Infrastructure could get better rates for better customer connections (FTTN for example with a copper DSL connection), or for the number of 1/10 GB links at the point of peering, so it would be in their best interest to upgrade connections and invest in infrastructure.

The recent example of the Comcast/Netflix problem was because of bottlenecks at the ISP uplink, not at all related to infrastructure. So in this case, it would be easy for a customer with poor Netflix performance to dump Comcast for someone who will upgrade their peering. At least in Canada, to my knowledge, upstream traffic is *much* cheaper than the traffic to the customer via Bell. Again, the infrastructure company needs to be broken up from the user servicing company; there's no way BellCPE (customer premise equipment) would pay BellCO's rates.
posted by nobeagle at 10:42 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I wonder what ISPs in other countries would choose to do as they run into the US' internet tolls. Do they pay up, or do they choose to not actually connect to US services?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:46 AM on April 24


odinsdream, where do you get the idea that the ISP would target your service specifically? Allowing this "fast lane" is different from selectively throttling. If you aren't paying for the fast lane, you get the same QoS that other content providers on the normal lane do. Until you get to the point that your traffic becomes a significant percent of all internet traffic. Then, it would probably benefit you and the ISPs to come up with specialized ways of handling your special data. I don't see the harm in disallowing that.

I guess my point is, this fast lane already exists for the ISPs that are also TV providers, and nobody seems to think there is problem with that. They just use proprietary hardware and software to access it, instead of it being implemented in the network somewhere and transparent to your browser/roku/whatever.
posted by stobor at 10:52 AM on April 24


Step 1 will be ISPs charging Netflix more in general. Step 2 will be ISPs charging Netflix exponentially more during peak usage hours. (Those HOV lanes DigDoug joked about allowing toll payers to drive on? They already exist around DC, and the rate goes up during rush hour and between known slow exits. HOT lanes, they're called.)

So what I'm looking forward to is if Netflix passes a flat fee increase along to all customers, or if Netflix starts selling tiered streaming plans as well.

Sign up now for Netflix Professional! Are you a working professional who likes to stream your favorite shows and movies in the evening after a long day of white collar work? Get HD content in the evening, and all day long, for just $15.99/mo

Or are you an unemployed or underemployed slacker who whiles away your time by binge watching Breaking Bad all afternoon? Get HD content between 9am and 3pm, plus SD content all other times for just $8.99/mo. A 50% savings!
posted by jermsplan at 10:58 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


odinsdream, where do you get the idea that the ISP would target your service specifically? Allowing this "fast lane" is different from selectively throttling. If you aren't paying for the fast lane, you get the same QoS that other content providers on the normal lane do.

Until the "fast lane" becomes the de facto "normal" because the slow lane has been left to languish, and being able to pay the "fast lane" extortion fees becomes the cost of entry for new content providers.
posted by jferg at 10:59 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


So what I'm looking forward to is if Netflix passes a flat fee increase along to all customers, or if Netflix starts selling tiered streaming plans as well.

It's the first one.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:01 AM on April 24


ZeusHumms: the internet toll's are all currently via the monopolistic last mile companies. The bulk data companies like L3 and Cogent were looking to upgrade their connections with Comcast. Comcast was willing to shaft their paying users to try and increase their already soaring profits. In short, it's the US ISP's who are setting up the tolls, and they don't really interact with international ISP's (excluding exceptions where a company is both an ISP and a provider of core transport).

What you should be asking is which countries will have monopoly user servicing ISP's who try to add a toll to Netflix. Netflix (and youtube, and I'm sure others) look to make it fairly easy to setup peering/CDN or caching equipment for anyone who wants it and has enough users/need (https://www.netflix.com/openconnect and https://peering.google.com/about/faq.html)
posted by nobeagle at 11:03 AM on April 24


All this could be solved by one law: Content providers cannot own distribution companies, and vice versa.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:07 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


For the water analogy:

I can buy concentrated juice today, add water, and get juice. Yay! Imagine that I lived in some dystopian nightmare where the water companies are a cutthroat capitalist corporation. The water company sees all these people buying concentrated juice and thinks "hey, we should get in on that."

But the juice they sell is kind of nasty, and expensive, and noone wants to buy it. But ahha! They can detect that you are using their water (this is where the analogy breaks down a bit) to make juice and so they charge you and extra 4 dollars a gallon for "juice water." Of course if you buy THEIR juice that charge doesn't apply.
posted by aspo at 11:12 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


one who services the infrastructure, and will wholesale to any and every customer at the same price per volume (with no sweet heart deals nor free prioritizing of repairs), and the other company which signs up users, routes traffic along their uplinks and provides any (potentially) additional services.

We kind of have that with the copper phone lines in the US; AT&T is compelled to allow other companies to sell DSL over AT&T copper. Here in the Bay Area we are blessed with sonic.net which does exactly that, selling excellent DSL service at a good price. I do not understand the regulatory history that created that setup, but I believe it's unique to telephone lines.

AT&T's response to that requirement has been to abandon copper deployment. Instead they invest in U-verse fiber in dense areas; they're not required to allow third parties to sell service over those lines. The rural areas are told that wireless network will be sufficient. FCC so far has accepted this argument, completely ignoring the physical reality that wireless broadband sucks.

In San Francisco, CA, where we have wires and competition, I pay $50/month for 6 megabit download and could probably get 20 Mbit from the same provider if I went through the hassle of getting AT&T to fix my line to the pole. In Grass Valley, CA I'm one mile out of town so I pay $100/month for 1 megabit over fixed wireless and I'm grateful to have even that one option.
posted by Nelson at 11:15 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I'm skeptical of the FCC's willingness to hold the service providers accountable for QoS when they consistently refuse to collect pricing data. It's very likely that the "normal lane" will be the "slow, expensive, restricted lane."
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:38 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


My Christ, can I echo the question about what non-profit advocacy orgs are working on this?
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 PM on April 24


THANKS OBAMA!

Seriously, Barry, you nominated this guy. What the fuck where you thinking?
posted by Aizkolari at 12:18 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


The ISPs apparently have some rather unexpected allies in this: word on the street is, Wikimedia is close to making some sort of a statement against net neutrality (in defence of Wikipedia Zero).
posted by daniel_charms at 12:28 PM on April 24






To sum up, the top cable and wireless lobby groups in the US are led by a former FCC chairman and former FCC commissioner, while the FCC itself is led by a man who formerly led both the cable and wireless lobby groups.

Revolving Door: MPAA Hires Chief USTR Negotiator Behind ACTA And TPP's IP Chapter
posted by homunculus at 12:35 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


First, we'll hit them with a widespread banner campaign that will be covered by opEds in the mainstream media. If that doesn't work, we may have to resort to the nuclear option: a coordinated en masse changing of all web page backgrounds to a specifically chosen color. I nominate #002014. Your move, FCC!
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:49 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has released a statement:

"OMG will you fucking nerds stop filling up my inbox??"
posted by emjaybee at 1:43 PM on April 24


Obama pledges Net Neutrality laws if elected President

President Obama "remains committed" to Net neutrality despite court ruling

This decision DIRECTLY at Obama's feet. Obama has consistently revealed himself to be a typical, half-truth-telling politician - nothing more. He's a good guy, but nothing special. Obama has been touting the benefits (educational , medical, etc. etc.) of the Internet for years, and he appoint a schlub like Tom Wheeler - a CABLE LOBBYIST!!! - to head the FCC??!? Given all the hagiography surrounding Obama's run up to POTUS and during his 2 terms, he has repeatedly been such a disappointment.

Yes, Obama has faced sickening bias from the far right (a bunch of Neanderthals infecting the Congress), but there is simply no excuse for decisions like appointing a cable industry schill to head the FCC; it's so transparently wrong!. Obama's better POTUS than either McCain or Romney would have been, but not by much. Obama is little more than "Romney Lite" as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:39 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]


Given all the hagiography surrounding Obama's run up to POTUS and during his 2 terms, he has repeatedly been such a disappointment.


Maybe it's because I've been paying pretty close attention to this, but in July of 2008, Obama flip-flopped on unlawful domestic surveillance, coming out on AT&T's side of the issue. At that moment I knew that a black man -- with the right attitude about being a team player -- *could* be elected President.

Consequently, none of the following has come as any great surprise. See also, Bill Hicks, Zapruter Film, Bill Clinton.
posted by mikelieman at 4:20 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


AT&T's response to that requirement has been to abandon copper deployment. Instead they invest in U-verse fiber in dense areas; they're not required to allow third parties to sell service over those lines.

Or they just straight up lie to get you on U-Verse. When I moved into my apartment in the bay area they claimed that the only way to get internet in my building was to get a U-Verse package with TV. No internet only packages, no DSL. I don't have a TV and knew my neighbors were getting standard DSL-only service, but they just refused to come out and hook it up.

I called Sonic.net and they had me back online the next day, after an AT&T tech came to hook it up.
posted by bradbane at 4:21 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


So. How long is bittorrent going to stick around, or for that matter any decent amount of up/downloading? I've watched with astonishment how many of my friends got rid of their collections of CDs and downloads and rely exclusively on streamed services such as spotify, displaying a touching faith in the constancy of progress. Maybe because I'm a grim optimist, for years I've been preparing for this whole nice shiny internet thingie to go to hell in a handbasket. I counted on the utter and complete corporate takeover and the active hostility to the public good - I have not been disappointed, only mildly amused to see the democrats deliver so fawningly. So far, I've got some 5TB of music salted away on my hdds, I figure it'll last me the rest of my rapidly diminishing years. I'm ready for the apocalypse. As the world reverts to Dickensian levels of nasty-brutish-and-short, I'll just be picking the soundtrack from my extensive collection.
posted by VikingSword at 4:45 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


VikingSword: "As the world reverts to Dickensian levels of nasty-brutish-and-short, I'll just be picking the soundtrack from my extensive collection."

♬ ♫ "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..." ♬ ♫
posted by double block and bleed at 7:08 PM on April 24




hobbesian?

"Time for Silicon Valley donators to @BarackObama to withhold their donations and demand a clear defense of net neutrality"—Om Malik (@om) April 24, 2014

Obama's Bay Area visit May 8 to include Y Combinator
President Obama will hit the Mountain View headquarters of Y Combinator, the hot technology startup funder and incubator, as part of a May 8 fundraiser that will now be co-hosted by the company's president, Sam Altman, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, The Chronicle has learned.

The event was originally planned at the Palo Alto home of Mayer, where only about 200 could be accommodated. The change was made because of demand for tickets to the Obama fundraiser, which benefits the Democratic National Committee, sources said.

Ticket pricing will remain the same to the event - starting at $1,000 per person for the reception, $5,000 for a photo line with the president, and up to $32,400 for membership in the DNC Presidential Partners program.

Obama earlier that same day will star at a tech round table for 20 at the Los Altos home of 23andMe co-founder and CEO Ann Wojcicki - with tickets at the max-out range of $32,400.
posted by kliuless at 2:02 AM on April 25


There are already movements on the 'net to stop these new regulations:

White House Petition on Net Neutrality: WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO: Maintain true net neutrality to protect the freedom of information in the United States.

Save the Internet Campaign More about them here and here. (There's also a different site for the European Union.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:21 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Given all the hagiography surrounding Obama's run up to POTUS and during his 2 terms, he has repeatedly been such a disappointment.

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over all the axe-grinding you've been doing for how many years now? You don't like Obama. We get it. Give it a rest.

What I'm worried about here is that, living in Canada, 90% of our content comes from south of the border.

This is just going to be another excuse for Bell/Rogers/Telus/etc to jack up rates with zero improvement in service.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:19 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


April 24: The Case Against ISP Tolls (Netflix.com)
posted by cashman at 9:54 AM on April 25




White House Petition on Net Neutrality

Oddly enough, the previous White House petition on net neutrality, Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as "Common Carriers" drew this official response just three months ago:
Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide.

It was also encouraging to see Federal Communications Commission Tom Wheeler, whom the President appointed to that post last year, reaffirm his commitment to a free and open Internet and pledge to use the authority granted by Congress to maintain a free and open Internet. The White House strongly supports the FCC and Chairman Wheeler in this effort.
At the time, that actually sounded sincere! In hindsight, it's totally obviously weasel-worded!

Which is an experience I'm becoming rather accustomed to!
posted by ook at 12:04 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler

A few years from now, expect to read "Verizon CEO and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler..." I'm not even being funny. Obviously it won't necessarily be precisely that rank or company, but it's transparently obvious that he's making a very secure bed indeed for himself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:20 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


The option that Netflix hasn't used yet is to rework their code to use a bittorrent protocol to distribute video...

Netflix researching “large-scale peer-to-peer technology” for streaming. (Ars Technica)
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:27 PM on April 25


Just a quick note: the FCC phone number listed upthread by Doktor Zed (1-888-335-5322) is a mistype. Calling that number takes you to some spammy automated message saying you've won a cruise for two.

Lighthammer lists the correct number (1-888-225-5322).
posted by toofuture at 2:48 PM on April 25


[With Doktor Zed's permission, I swapped in the correct number in his comment above. Thanks for the catch, toofuture.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:18 PM on April 25






The decline begins at the exact moment Republicans stopped blocking Thomas Wheeler's nomination to head the FCC. Hmmmm.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:28 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


The decline begins at the exact moment Republicans stopped blocking Thomas Wheeler's nomination to head the FCC. Hmmmm.

I'm shocked, shocked to find corruption and collusion in my government.
posted by odinsdream at 4:46 AM on April 27


I just called 1-888-225-5322 and the very first thing the automated voice said was that if I wanted to talk to them about the open internet, I should email openinternet@fcc.gov . I'm gonna do that. Any further advice?
posted by brainwane at 7:33 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]




Tom Wheeler won't hesitate to do the right thing if he finds all his wrong things forbidden.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Google and Netflix are considering an all-out PR blitz against the FCC’s net neutrality plan

The more this plays out, the more it feels like the original FCC leak was a trial balloon. Maybe it's even Nth dimensional chess, FCC trying to force companies like Google and Netflix to make their case more forcefully to give them cover.
posted by Nelson at 7:22 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]




FCC Chairman Says He'll Pre-empt Laws That Block Municipal Internet. Maybe it's just lip service, but this is a bit more like it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:55 AM on May 1


Level3: 6 ISPs are deliberately creating congestion and causing packet loss.

For one of the big backbone providers to make this kind of statement is incredibly damning to the ISPs.
posted by schmod at 11:57 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]




Tom Wheeler won't hesitate to do the right thing if he finds all his wrong things forbidden."
I'm reminded of an older quote,
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else." - Winston Churchill
posted by Blasdelb at 6:12 AM on May 9








FCC Head to (Ever So Slightly) Revise Broadband-Rules Plan
In the new draft, Mr. Wheeler is sticking to the same basic approach but will include language that would make clear that the FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies' content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official.

The official said the draft would also seek comment on whether such agreements, called "paid prioritization," should be banned outright, and look to prohibit the big broadband companies, such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc., from doing deals with some content companies on terms that they aren't offering to others.

Mr. Wheeler's language will also invite comments on whether broadband Internet service should be considered a public utility, which would subject it to greater regulation. The FCC has so far not reclassified broadband as a utility, and providers have fiercely opposed such a move, saying it would cause innovation and investment to collapse.

The redrafting reflects the challenge Mr. Wheeler faces as he pushes forward with a vote Thursday on the plan that would then open the proposal to public comment. The chairman, agency officials said, is trying to address the backlash to his initial proposal while sticking to what he thinks will be the fastest course of action.

"The new draft clearly reflects the public input the commission has received," one of the FCC officials said, noting that the proposal seeks specific comment on the benefits of reclassifying broadband as a utility.

"The draft is explicit that the goal is to find the best approach to ensure the Internet remains open and prevent any practices that threaten it."

But Mr. Wheeler's modifications aren't likely to mollify critics of the plan, especially those who are calling for a purely neutral Internet in which all traffic is treated the same.
posted by cashman at 8:32 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Speaking anonymously, one FCC official frankly admitted to the Wall Street Journal: "There is a wide feeling on the eighth floor that this is a debacle and I think people would like to see a change of course. We may not agree on the course, but we agree the road we're on is to disaster."

If we want to avert that disaster, the only way is to keep up the pressure on them. Keep up the e-mails to openinternet@fcc.gov!
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:37 PM on May 12


11-minute YouTube Video - Net Neutrality, now what?

The new plan is possibly going to be available to the public later today.
posted by cashman at 10:13 AM on May 15


While Wheeler weasles away at a congressional oversight hearing earlier today, Steve Wozniak (Mefi's own!) explains Net Neutrality in an open letter to the FCC:
Local ISP's should provide connection to the Internet but then it should be treated as though you own those wires and can choose what to do with them when and how you want to, as long as you don't destruct them. {...} I frequently speak to different types of audiences all over the country. When I'm asked my feeling on Net Neutrality I tell the open truth. When I was first asked to "sign on" with some good people interested in Net Neutrality my initial thought was that the economic system works better with tiered pricing for various customers. {...} Finally, the thought hit me that every time and in every way that the telecommunications [carriers] have had power or control, we the people wind up getting screwed. Every audience that I speak this statement and phrase to bursts into applause.
Meanwhile, although the cable industry's own numbers show a general decline in investment over past seven years, the group of 28 members of Congress who have signed letters to the FCC against the "No Slow Lane" proposal turns out to have received more than twice the amount of political donations from the cable industry than the average legislator.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:43 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]


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