FCC votes for Net Neutrality
February 27, 2015 2:28 PM   Subscribe

When President Obama appointed Tom Wheeler (a former top telecom lobbyist) as chairman of the FCC, he got a lot of grief for selling out his '07 pledge to protect Net Neutrality -- the founding principle long prized by open web activists that ISPs cannot privilege certain data over others, without which dire visions of a tiered and pay-for-play internet loomed. Earlier, weaker attempts at net neutrality had failed in court, and the new chairman looked set to fold. But after an unprecedented outcry following last year's trial balloon for ISP "fast lanes" -- including a viral appeal by John Oliver, a public urging by the president, and perhaps Wheeler's own history with the pre-web NABU Network -- the FCC yesterday voted along party lines to enact the toughest net neutrality rules in history, classifying ISPs as common carriers and clearing the way for municipal broadband. ISPs reacted with (Morse) venom, while congressional Republicans are divided over what they called "Obamacare for the internet."
posted by Rhaomi (127 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
ISPs reacted with (Morse) venom

That's some nice PR. Wrong, but nice PR.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:36 PM on February 27, 2015


I love how totally, utterly devoid of any kind of meaning the phrase "Obamacare for the Internet" is. It borders on self-parody.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:36 PM on February 27, 2015 [51 favorites]


... ..- -.-. -.- / .. - / ...- . .-. .. --.. --- -. / --... ...-- ... / -.. . / -- . - .- ..-. .. .-.. - . .-.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:38 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why do Republicans hate we, the people? Why do they insist on mischaracterizing every single issue that gives us any kind of a leg up? Are they that stupid, or that evil? Does the answer even matter anymore?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:39 PM on February 27, 2015 [31 favorites]


BTW, I noticed the "pay-for-play" WSJ link is being paywalled from here (irony?); if you want to read in full, check it out via Google, or just read the NY Times version.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:40 PM on February 27, 2015


Hey ISPs: Boo. Fucking. Hoo.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:41 PM on February 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


In with 'dingo'.

It borders on self-parody. To be fair the whole last 6 years are best viewed this way
posted by edgeways at 2:41 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


ISPs reacted with (Morse) venom

Maybe Verizon should upgrade its networking.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:45 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ahahaha. I'm not sure if Verizon is trying to be cute or edgy. Either way, it doesn't work when everyone hates your fucking guts.
posted by ryanrs at 2:46 PM on February 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


"ISPs reacted with (Morse) venom"

translation

posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:46 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love how totally, utterly devoid of any kind of meaning the phrase "Obamacare for the Internet" is. It borders on self-parody.

It has a very definite meaning. You might be surprised at how many people will hear that phrase as "[terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing] for the Internet" without even thinking about it.
posted by Etrigan at 2:46 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why do Republicans hate we, the people?

Because they love Benjamins, the money.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:47 PM on February 27, 2015 [26 favorites]


BTW, the "Obamacare for the internet" line has been VERY successful with the knee-jerk, government- hating, libertarian leaning folks out there. Almost to a last person, every person I've heard railing against this has gone on to demonstrate that they, literally, have no fucking clue what net neutrality actually is and, in fact, think it's the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it actually is.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:47 PM on February 27, 2015 [43 favorites]


Verizon's translated statement is titled "Title II Regulations a 'Net' Loss for Innovation and Consumers". When I hear a company talking about things being bad for the consumers, I check to make sure my wallet is still in my pocket.
posted by Etrigan at 2:47 PM on February 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


Hacker News yesterday was sure interesting; I wouldn't say that *everyone* who disagreed with the FCC's move was a shill, but at the end of the discussion I was 90% certain there was an astroturfing campaign unfolding right before my eyes.
posted by weston at 2:50 PM on February 27, 2015 [13 favorites]




If you stand against this, you stand with Verizon.

If you can live with yourself and do that....well...okay. But you stand with Verizon.
posted by eriko at 2:52 PM on February 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


All "Obamacare for the Internet" is intended to do is link the issue to Obama, who inspires atavistic opposition, the vague gestures toward free market principles (i.e. utterly unregulated capitalism) notwithstanding. Here's how one right-wing flak-artist is pitching it:
"Just like Obamacare has destroyed the healthcare market in the name of making it ’fair’ and ‘accessible,’ so we can expect that the FCC’s newest rules to destroy the Internet as we currently know and enjoy it," Constitutional Rights PAC Chairman Larry Ward wrote. "Constitutional Rights PAC sent over 100 thousand letters to the FCC—and additional thousands to Congress—on behalf of the grassroots, and we are not planning on backing down because of a handful of Obama’s bureaucrats decided on new ‘rules’ for us to play by."

"Tyranny can go FCC itself," Ward concluded.
This Ward character, in addition to providing reactionary quotes like this to "balance" Ars Technica's pieces, runs a media consultancy that specializes in such red-meat causes as anti-Jeb Bush web sites and "Gun Appreciation Day". These are the types who will help the Rump Republicans run against "Obamacare for the Internet" in 2016.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:55 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, the way to make sense of Verizon's, et. al., position on this is quite simple.

s/innovation/rent seeking/
posted by eriko at 2:58 PM on February 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


imagine people sticking up for AT&T in the 70s. why are we having this conversation.
posted by boo_radley at 3:06 PM on February 27, 2015 [24 favorites]


Why do Republicans hate we, the people? Why do they insist on mischaracterizing every single issue that gives us any kind of a leg up? Are they that stupid, or that evil? Does the answer even matter anymore?

Uhh.... Republicans don't hate "we, the people". Corporations are people.

You, as an individual? Well, you're not really people. Depending on which corporation you're a part of, you're 1/10th, 1/100th, 1/1000th... of a person. So you're not even 3/5ths of a person, which is why they really don't care.
posted by qcubed at 3:08 PM on February 27, 2015 [14 favorites]


Those Republicans sure hate fair competition.
posted by ckape at 3:09 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how this seemingly all worked out for the good. What bad crap is going to enabled from the FCC voting as it did, because it's just hard to believe is going to be great thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:10 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow. I didn't know you could translate a steaming, heaping pile of utter horseshit into morse code. #learnsomethingneweveryday
posted by sexyrobot at 3:15 PM on February 27, 2015


Well, there were also huge corporations on the side of net neutrality. Maybe it's just that Google and Facebook are better at blackmailing FCC commissioners than Verizon and Comcast.
posted by ckape at 3:16 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Itaxpica: "I love how totally, utterly devoid of any kind of meaning the phrase "Obamacare for the Internet" is. It borders on self-parody."

that's because republicans are obamacare for goverment.
posted by boo_radley at 3:17 PM on February 27, 2015 [33 favorites]


I spent 15 minutes trying to download Verizon's press release from their shitty web server yesterday. Not the stupid morse code fake press release, the real 150kb PDF file it linked to. Their web server kept failing. I finally got it, the contents were 350 words of text. Or about 2.5kb, or two IP packets' worth.

This company is not who you want running a content business on the Internet.
posted by Nelson at 3:21 PM on February 27, 2015 [26 favorites]


I'm sure there will be plenty of unintended consequences, but I'm hopeful for the direction it (seems) to be going.
posted by eclectist at 3:22 PM on February 27, 2015


Obamacare for the Internet

Well, it is. It is a ruling that'll help millions of Americans not have to pay millions of dollars for healthcare Internet access, as well as making it more accessible for those that don't have it, and better for those who do.
posted by eriko at 3:23 PM on February 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


OK, this is absolutely hilarious -- keep in mind while reading that this common carrier ruling only happened because the telecoms sued to overturn the original, far weaker net neutrality rules in court:
Republicans invoked Star Wars’s evil galactic emperor in their attacks on new broadband regulations on Friday, warning that the public and Silicon Valley were in for an unpleasant surprise.

Quoting Emperor Palpatine, Republican Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said: “Young fool … Only now, at the end, do you understand.”

[...]

Referring to Pai’s comments Evan Greer, campaigns director at Fight for the Future, said: “What they didn’t know is that when they struck down the last rules we would come back more powerful than they could possibly imagine.”
posted by Rhaomi at 3:28 PM on February 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


Thank goodness the series of tubes* is safe for the moment. I never thought I'd see this win, let alone one of such extraordinary magnitude.

* not something you just dump something on, not a big truck
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:32 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why in the world would conservatives be vehemently against rules that would prevent some theoretical new CEO of Comcast and Verizon from fast-laning liberal web sites and causes and jamming the hell out of conservative ones? Or, the opposite, vehemently against rules that would prevent conservative sites from being fast-laned and liberal ones from...

ohhhhhh.

(Five drops of that. Ten gallons of 'if Obama issued an executive order encouraging shitting, Super Glue sales would quadruple across the South'.)
posted by delfin at 3:35 PM on February 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


This Net Neutrality is bad news. Here at the Obamacare Death Panel, we've just been told that we have to pull double shifts for the foreseeable future. Condemning grannies to die by day and censoring porn and Free Republic by night.

If I knew imposing sharia law was such hard work, I'd have become a Marxist college professor instead.
posted by dr_dank at 3:46 PM on February 27, 2015 [27 favorites]


Someone asked me recently about why Net Neutrality mattered. I referred to the original speech that kicked this off, where an executive from one of the ISPs said that Google and YouTube are making billions off their network, and they felt they 'deserved' some of that.

"So now imagine that your company has just done a multi-billion dollar deal. You've had phone calls, faxes, and a couple of plane trips to hammer out the deal. And just before it's all signed, your phone company and the airline you chose come to you and tell you that they think they deserve some of the money in that deal, because without them you wouldn't have been able to make that deal. And if you don't give them that money, they'll not just mess up the travel and communication options for that deal, they'll mess them up forever."

She nodded, as if she understood.

"So basically, they're going 'nice business, would be a shame if something happened to it'."

I nodded.

"Okay, that makes sense. Thanks!"

I felt gratified that they understood.
posted by mephron at 3:50 PM on February 27, 2015 [108 favorites]


Also I read delfin's post and did some quick mental math, and most of the GOP in Congress are so full of shit already they'd explode within an hour of applying the glue.
posted by mephron at 3:51 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


so we can expect that the FCC’s newest rules to destroy the Internet as we currently know and enjoy it,"

newest rules? aren't these the very same rules, at least in spirit, that the net has ALWAYS operated under? - except, perhaps, for the "common carrier" idea, which had never actually been codified before, just assumed

it's an insult to bullshit to call this bullshit - at least you can grow something with bullshit
posted by pyramid termite at 3:51 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


For a window into the right-wing anti-net neutrality mindset, see this piece from National Review.

AOL Keywords: George Soros, Marxist, Saul Alinsky
posted by Rhaomi at 3:56 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


For a window into the right-wing anti-net neutrality mindset, see this piece from National Review.

Honestly, even from the National Review I was expecting a little more...anything. I've heard some legitimate complaints about net neutrality (though not anything all that important) and all they could come up with was vague slippery-slope arguments and noting that people paid money to lobby Congress?
posted by thegears at 4:12 PM on February 27, 2015


> imagine people sticking up for AT&T in the 70s. why are we having this conversation.

I was just thinking earlier today that the greatest stunts ever pulled by large companies were getting the american populace to fight their political battles for them.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Have you all seen this particular gem?

It showed up on my feeds yesterday, and it is on the border of self-parody -- it is pure propaganda and doublespeak at its finest.

I think my favorite thing about it is that PROTECT INTERNET FREEDOM won't allow youtube comments on their video.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:34 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Honestly, even from the National Review I was expecting a little more...anything.

Isn't this the dregs we're finally left with? No thought is required anymore. All one on the right needs to do is yell Obama or Alinsky or Government!! or Soros or libtard!!! or socialistcommieleftist!!!!!! and then drop the mic. It's like Idiocracy is coming to pass.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:38 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think it's amusing getting telecomsplained about the folly of adopting an antiquated regulatory scheme by a company whose direct lineage dates back to the late 19th century.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:35 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Glad (and mildly surprised) this happened finally. Verizon's response was ... well. Telco tears are particularly tasty.

It's kind of amazing what an about face this was given that this was a perfectly reasonable segment to run back in the summer (in particular the bit about halfway through about Tom Wheeler).
posted by sparkletone at 5:51 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


So... is Comcast going to give Netflix et al their protection money back?
posted by Artw at 5:56 PM on February 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ask anti-net neutrality folks if they think Comcast, who owns MSNBC, should be allowed to slow down FoxNews.com or prevent them from going there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:05 PM on February 27, 2015 [23 favorites]


Does this mean I'll be able to finally stream amazon prime in the evenings on my AT&T broadband in Chicago? Hulu and Netflix never a problem. Amazon I get somewhere between 2 and 10 minutes of full pipe and then get choked down to less than 1Mmps rendering it unwatchable.
posted by srboisvert at 6:18 PM on February 27, 2015


Ask anti-net neutrality folks if they think Comcast, who owns MSNBC, should be allowed to slow down FoxNews.com or prevent them from going there.

The ones I've seen would be more likely to complain about INFOWARS.com than Fox.
posted by sparkletone at 6:29 PM on February 27, 2015


Rhaomi: "For a window into the right-wing anti-net neutrality mindset, see this piece from National Review.

AOL Keywords: George Soros, Marxist, Saul Alinsky
"

Wow, that was remarkably incoherent even for the NRO.
posted by octothorpe at 6:35 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The objection of the right to so-called net neutrality is not the rules related to how ISPs charge customers, although I don't see why I should subsidize the porno flick habit of other people when my Internet usage is limited to a handful of mostly text news/information sites and discussion forums.

The objection is to the content policing rules (such as forced disclosure of who funds politics-oriented websites) that are very much evident in the regs that were passed today.
posted by alacrity at 6:44 PM on February 27, 2015


Ha, this post prompted me to read the Verizon v. FCC opinion.
when an edge provider such as YouTube transmits
some sort of content—say, a video of a cat—to an end user,
that content is broken down into packets of information, which
are carried by the edge provider’s local access provider to the
backbone network, which transmits these packets to the end
user’s local access provider, which, in turn, transmits the
information to the end user, who then views and hopefully
enjoys the cat.
posted by ctmf at 8:02 PM on February 27, 2015 [21 favorites]


Does the answer even matter anymore?

At the moment I'd say that questions like these being asked is a priority. It's astounding that it seems reason, sanity, and compassion would need one hell of a PR campaign to convince people that shitting all over anyone else you can to get yours while preventing others from getting theirs is actually not the right sort of thing to do.

Still, likely wouldn't matter.

It showed up on my feeds yesterday, and it is on the border of self-parody -- it is pure propaganda and doublespeak at its finest.

I remember when I was a very young lad hearing and seeing a bit of propaganda films (Nazis and Soviets), as well as reading 1984 that I did not, at that time, ever think I'd see it daily, for years and years, in the "free world". I remember not thinking that. I'm sure it was all around me then and I didn't process it but now, it's unfathomnable.
posted by juiceCake at 8:05 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I especially liked the bit where the translation of Verison's morse code hissy-fit had clearly been typed at a manual typewriter and scanned in at low DPI.

Rent-seeking dinosaurs at work, hope this is their own personal asteroid.

Imagine what could be done with their spectrum!
posted by joeyh at 8:17 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


the content policing rules (such as forced disclosure of who funds politics-oriented websites) that are very much evident in the regs that were passed today.

cite? I'd understood the classification under which the new regulation is assumed to take place is Title II, common carrier telecommunications, where part of the point is that there isn't content policing.
posted by weston at 8:30 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


The objection of the right to so-called net neutrality is not the rules related to how ISPs charge customers, although I don't see why I should subsidize the porno flick habit of other people when my Internet usage is limited to a handful of mostly text news/information sites and discussion forums.

That doesn't sound like a net neutrality issue, that sounds like you want a data cap for a discount off your current bill. Let me repeat...you want a telecom company to charge you less than you've already shown you can pay. That is comedy gold.
posted by crashlanding at 9:44 PM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've heard some legitimate complaints

Name one.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:34 PM on February 27, 2015


Just like Obamacare has destroyed the healthcare market

DESTROYED
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:44 PM on February 27, 2015


I think everyone owes Tom Wheeler a big apology.
posted by mazola at 11:06 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


#notallcorporatebigwigs
posted by maxwelton at 1:21 AM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


(I just love libertarian-esque arguments along the lines of "I only want to pay for the bit I use" which always, always ignores the significant investment that made the use possible in the first place. I would also bet a large amount of money that even if you use resource "A" at a minimal level, there is another resource you use way more than your share of.)
posted by maxwelton at 1:25 AM on February 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think everyone owes Tom Wheeler a big apology.

Let's see how the fine print plays out, first, maybe.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:25 AM on February 28, 2015


crashlanding,

The ISP's competitors do not know what I am able or willing to pay. And no, I didn't say I wanted a data cap in exchange for anything. The ISP should be free to contract on whatever terms we agree on.
posted by alacrity at 5:27 AM on February 28, 2015


The ISP's competitors do not know what I am able or willing to pay.

You think Comcast, Verizon, or any of their competitors don't have you data-mined and demographicked and analyzed down to the penny of what you (or someone very much like you) would be able or willing to pay? More comedy gold.
posted by Etrigan at 5:35 AM on February 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've heard some legitimate complaints

Name one.


Sure. The big complaint I've heard is that the cost of compliance and documentation will be excessive for small ISPs, when said small ISPs are generally one of the few things actually lighting a fire under the feet of major telcos (in the small markets in which they actually exist). I think it's probably too early to evaluate whether this will turn out to be true or not, particularly depending on just how stringent the FCC ends up being with enforcement.

I think the techy friends I've had that have pointed this out have generally still been in favor of net neutrality, and most would have really preferred local-loop unbundling, since it would have done significantly more to undermine local monopolies in the first place.
posted by thegears at 5:39 AM on February 28, 2015


It doesn't matter. If I want to find a way to pay less, I'll pay less. I do not have to purchase any product or service.
posted by alacrity at 5:41 AM on February 28, 2015


The ISP's competitors

Comedy gold!
posted by indubitable at 5:56 AM on February 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


that's because republicans are obamacare for goverment.

Meta-parodic perfection!
posted by sutt at 6:07 AM on February 28, 2015


Sure. The big complaint I've heard is that the cost of compliance and documentation will be excessive for small ISPs, when said small ISPs are generally one of the few things actually lighting a fire under the feet of major telcos

The cost of... doing what they already do?

Sorry no that's not legitimate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:12 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The big complaint I've heard is that the cost of compliance and documentation will be excessive for small ISPs

Complaints about "the cost of compliance and documentation" for small businesses is almost invariably astroturfing. Another thing that costs businesses a lot is having employees wash their hands before they handle your food, which was kept at an appropriate temperature to deter bacterial and fungal growth.
posted by Etrigan at 6:30 AM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another thing that costs businesses a lot is having employees wash their hands before they handle your food...

Is there a national health department that ensures that restaurants have soap dispensers? No? Well, perhaps ISPs can be regulated by local governments, too, and then we don't need an FCC.
posted by alacrity at 6:34 AM on February 28, 2015


Is there a national health department that ensures that restaurants have soap dispensers? No? Well, perhaps ISPs can be regulated by local governments, too, and then we don't need an FCC.

Poor example. Restaurants--the actual facilities--are a lot easier to regulate at the state/local level, as they don't cross state lines. Further, the consequences for the restaurant following poor health standards will be immediately felt, as customers have access to both power and information in the relationship with their restaurant. They have much less of both in the relationship with their ISP.

If a restaurant misbehaves, they're swiftly out of business. An ISP? Different marketplace entirely. If Comcast throttles my Netflix, for instance, I have no alternative in my area with anywhere near comparable bandwidth.
posted by Room 101 at 6:48 AM on February 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, perhaps ISPs can be regulated by local governments, too, and then we don't need an FCC.

Comcast provides internet service in 40 states. You think regulatory compliance is difficult now, just wait until you have 40 different state regulation schemes plus innumerable local ones to deal with.
posted by Etrigan at 6:58 AM on February 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


ok, ok, let's go back to what your actual original objection was:

The objection of the right to so-called net neutrality is not the rules related to how ISPs charge customers, although I don't see why I should subsidize the porno flick habit of other people when my Internet usage is limited to a handful of mostly text news/information sites and discussion forums.

As a bona fide, cigar-puffing, moustache-twirling Titan of Industry, surely you are aware that product prices are determined by what the market will bear, which has no relation to the actual production costs. Unless the market for an undifferentiated product is competitive, which I think we can safely rule out for the US ISP market. So you should actually be upset about subsidizing ISP management and shareholder's lavish lifestyles, but for some reason all we hear from you is moralizing about regular people watching porn.

BTW, bulk transit is priced in the pennies per gigabyte at 10+ gigabit speeds on the wholesale market. Work out the arithmetic.

The objection is to the content policing rules (such as forced disclosure of who funds politics-oriented websites) that are very much evident in the regs that were passed today.

This seems to be wholly invented. Seeing as the regulations that were passed the other day haven't been published yet, there is no way that any such thing could be "evident" in the regulations that were passed, and there's been nothing written by the people involved to suggest that any kind of "content policing" would be included.
posted by indubitable at 7:00 AM on February 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hahaha 'small ISPs'. I should've known that there was a "think of the poor small businessman" angle to this.
posted by graventy at 7:06 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


This 'small ISP' thing is nonsense.

If anything, net neutrality with regulated bulk transit will keep major ISPs from freezing out regional and local ISPs by surcharging them into insolvency.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:20 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


. The ISP should be free to contract on whatever terms we agree on.

For the vast majority of Americans, the reality is that you pay what Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T says you pay or else you don't get service.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:28 AM on February 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I wasn't the poster who used restaurant regulation as an analogy, but I'm happy to take the analogy to absurd conclusion if it's handed to me.
posted by alacrity at 7:39 AM on February 28, 2015


What small ISPs??? Those don't exist, which is exactly why this is so important.

You can also count me highly skeptical that local loop unbundling would have done anything more than (literally) shift the problem a mile down the road.
posted by schmod at 7:42 AM on February 28, 2015


I wasn't the poster who used restaurant regulation as an analogy, but I'm happy to take the analogy to absurd conclusion if it's handed to me.

Yes, the idea of locally regulating the Internet is absurd. I'm glad you admit it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 AM on February 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


My point was that if you are worried about subsidizing those immoral porn strawmen with your pure text based message board browsing dollars you would probably be more interested in paying for the services you use with a low data cap than whether your isp can throttle those gross perverts. So not really a net neutrality issue. I'm also curious how negotiations over your specific contract have gone in the past? In my experience, with the level of competition for high speed internet, the precedent was set in the landmark case My way v. Highway
posted by crashlanding at 7:45 AM on February 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


The point of regulation is not to be easy to comply with, if in fact it is a just and proper use of state power. If dealing with 40 regulatory regimes makes it harder for Comcast to be a going concern, then so be it. The Constitution does not vest the federal government with the power to regulate telecommunications. By the ninth and tenth Amendments, this power is devolved to the States.

The federal administrative state and regulatory regime benefit a handful of mega-corporations and shut out otherwise viable small players. To have real competition, we should shrinkthe federal government, but not necessarily deregulate.
posted by alacrity at 7:49 AM on February 28, 2015


So telecommunications has nothing to do with interstate commerce? That's rich.
posted by crashlanding at 7:54 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


So it simply assumes that all telecommunications are interstate commerce. Comedy gold?

You should read the SCOTUS opinion Wickard v. Filburn sometime. It shows what a joke constitutions and laws are when statists want to seize power.
posted by alacrity at 7:58 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


If your data is crossing state lines, which almost all of it is, yes it is. This is the clearest example of federal government hatred overpowering any rational attempt to set up a working system. Keep going I'm curious what the founding fathers' thoughts on packet prioritization were.
posted by crashlanding at 8:04 AM on February 28, 2015 [18 favorites]


The Constitution does not vest the federal government with the power to regulate telecommunications.

If any person's payment for Internet service goes to an office in another state, or a product is purchased from another state, this is Interstate Commerce, the regulation of which is *explicitly* granted to the Congress in Article I Section 8 Clause 3 of the Constitution.

It shows what a joke constitutions and laws are when statists want to seize power.

If constitutions are a joke, why did you just cite them as an authority?

You are either an incompetent paid shill for the telecom industry, or you are not as smart as an incompetent paid shill for the telecom industry, because you aren't getting paid for it.
posted by eriko at 8:07 AM on February 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


There's a process for amending the constitution. When the feds wanted to regulate alcohol sales, the Constitution needed to be amended. None of the founders, except maybe Adams, would have ever considered the Volstead Act.
posted by alacrity at 8:09 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I asked about packet prioritization not prohibition. Please I need to know what Madison thought about the internet, it is extremely relevant.
posted by crashlanding at 8:13 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Completely off topic:
I think the constitution and law mean something, but the current regime (Dems and GOP) does not. The adherence to due process is almost arbitrary at this point.

Some rituals are used to give the illusion that we are still a nation of laws.

I'll use whatever still-legal tools I can to preserve my own liberty. But the best I can do is stuff towels at the foot of the door to hold off the flood as long as possible. I know that I'll eventually need to get in the lifeboat.
posted by alacrity at 8:20 AM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lost my head a bit on that tangent but back to your alcohol sales analogy. Do you think it is legal to cross state lines to buy alcohol and bring it back? It isn't. I'm sure distribution of alcohol is regulated to some extent when sent over state lines either through internet sales or shipping from manufacterer to the local distributor. So forgive me if I don't see the analogy whatsoever.
posted by crashlanding at 8:29 AM on February 28, 2015


The point is that at the time (1919), it was widely recognized that the federal government couldn't simply assert a power that was not expressly given to it.

No more. Now the government just does whatever it wants, and the two idiot parties call one another names, and plot reprisals for when the power roles are reversed.

Perhaps not quite a banana republic, but we are making a good faith effort.
posted by alacrity at 8:36 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


If America = Personal Freedom and Personal Freedom ALWAYS trumps Community, then what is the point in having a country at all?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:40 AM on February 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


But the power to regulate telecommunications IS explicitly given to it no matter how much you pretend it isn't.
posted by crashlanding at 8:44 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


To make it clearer, alcohol sales are mostly intrastate (especially in 1919) while telecommunications is mostly interstate which is why your prohibition analogy is off base.
posted by crashlanding at 8:47 AM on February 28, 2015


There's at least one small ISP who is delighted by the net neutrality change. Sonic, the SF Bay Area alternative DSL provider. (Who is awesome, btw.) Here's their CEO Dane Jasper's statement: "I am supportive of being regulated as a common carrier by the FCC." He actually went to DC to be present for the FCC vote.

Non-fighty request: what specific new "compliance and documentation" requirements does this FCC change place on ISPs? The idea that net neutrality is "too much regulation on the Internet" is the strongest talking point for the folks against it, but I don't understand what actual practical regulation requirements have just been added. I'm focussed on the common carrier principle, which has more to do with regulating how ISPs charge for their service than a bunch of paperwork.
posted by Nelson at 8:49 AM on February 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


So apparently what alacrity is saying is that the proper Federal agency to regulate the Internet is the Postal Service. Given the more explicit Constitutional authorization (A1§8).

What a load of malarky.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:50 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


The objection of the right to so-called net neutrality is not the rules related to how ISPs charge customers, although I don't see why I should subsidize the porno flick habit of other people when my Internet usage is limited to a handful of mostly text news/information sites and discussion forums.

The bandwidth being used by porn dwarfs the news and discussion forums you frequent. Which means that the folk who enjoy porn are subsidizing your internet usage.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:54 AM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Non-fighty request: what specific new "compliance and documentation" requirements does this FCC change place on ISPs?

We don't really know yet, but it will probably look much like what ISPs already deal with in their alternate lives as cable companies and telcos.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:55 AM on February 28, 2015


This whole thing about bandwidth is silly. The truth is most of the internet connected world has higher speeds for a fraction of the cost. And I'm going on a limb and saying the proportion of high data users doesn't change much from country to country.

Prices for internet in the US are all about corporate profit period not about the infrastructure or what the purposefully outdated technology can handle.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:25 AM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Net index allows you to compare between countries, their costs and offered speeds. Just a warning on mobile it is a bit difficult to navigate.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:35 AM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


If America = Personal Freedom and Personal Freedom ALWAYS trumps Community, then what is the point in having a country at all?

Good question. In my view, "community" is not built primarily by laws (i.e. the state), but by institutions (family, church, neighborhoods, private clubs, mutual aid societies, etc) that can intermediate between citizen and state.
posted by alacrity at 9:36 AM on February 28, 2015


The bandwidth being used by porn dwarfs the news and discussion forums you frequent. Which means that the folk who enjoy porn are subsidizing your internet usage.

This is the best, most effective response to my original statement so far.
posted by alacrity at 9:40 AM on February 28, 2015


but I don't understand what actual practical regulation requirements have just been added.

As said upthread, probably too early to say. I'm guessing there will be done additional documentation needed and maybe some need for additional legal counsel. Probably non-zero cost, but pretty negligible on a per-customer basis, though.

And i hadn't meant to say it was a legitimate reason to oppose the current regulation, just that I was surprised that the National Review hadn't picked up on something that had at least some basis in fact.

And there are some small ISPs, largely in locales that do have local loop unbundling already. There was one in my college hometown and my second-hand experience is that it was cheap and had great customer service.
posted by thegears at 9:42 AM on February 28, 2015


In my view, "community" is not built primarily by laws (i.e. the state), but by institutions (family, church, neighborhoods, private clubs, mutual aid societies, etc) that can intermediate between citizen and state.

you forgot the 900 pound gorilla of institutions - corporations, who i'm very sure would be more than happy to act as agents between the citizen and the state - especially seeing as many of the other institutions you cite aren't doing very well these days
posted by pyramid termite at 9:47 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


There was a "small" (< 100,000 subscribers? I forget the exact number) local access provider exemption in something I read last night. I'd like to read the exact text, and find it annoying that they won't release it so all we have to argue about is assumptions and guesses based on second-hand personal-opinion descriptions.

I'll tell you what, though. The O'Rielly one sure sounds like Republican deceptive bloviating even without knowing or being able to verify any details. He needs a more convincing writer that doesn't seem hired from RedState. (Or, maybe that was exactly the desired effect.)
posted by ctmf at 9:47 AM on February 28, 2015


But corporations grow in power because of the growth of the state, not in spite of it. Corporations, at least the large ones, are just extensions of the state.

I can make a strong case that the US equity markets rose dramatically in the 20th century due to government intervention in the economy. This has happened, of course, by popular acclaim.

In essence, we chose wealth over freedom.
posted by alacrity at 10:06 AM on February 28, 2015


Pai's statement is better, once you get past the "Obama ordered us to do it!" maneuver.
posted by ctmf at 10:09 AM on February 28, 2015


(I'm getting these from the FCC's web site for those who want to read the statements directly)
posted by ctmf at 10:34 AM on February 28, 2015


From the congressional Republicans are divided link:

Many conservatives oppose the very idea of net neutrality rules to ensure all Web traffic is treated equally, calling it government interference in the private sector.

It amazes me how across the board against equality the GOP is. It's almost like they want to second-class-citizen everything that isn't them or doesn't directly make them money.

For all their claims of "liberal elitism" there sure appears to be a strong current of "conservative entitlement" on display.
posted by quin at 10:43 AM on February 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


ctmf, you're right Pai's statement actually has some legitimate concerns regarding this decision (I'm not assuming you agree with it). But it's divorced from the current state of the free market solution. For all of the digital ink spent on how it will limit choice to consumers, it ignores the fact that there is astoundingly little choice as things stand. Point by point:
1. New broadband taxes - currently phone bills generate $9B in "Universal Service Fees" that may now be added to broadband bills. There's no discussion about what these fees are designed to pay for. I'd like to see some elaboration on the history of these fees before knee-jerk "TAXES?!?!" takes control of the conversation. From the FCC's website:

"Universal service is the principle that all Americans should have access to communications services. Universal service is also the name of a fund and the category of FCC programs and policies to implement this principle. Universal service is a cornerstone of the law that established the FCC, the Communications Act of 1934. Since that time, universal service policies have helped make telephone service ubiquitous, even in remote rural areas. Today, the FCC recognizes high-speed Internet as the 21st Century’s essential communications technology, and is working to make broadband as ubiquitous as voice, while continuing to support voice service."

That sounds like a laudable goal because it would be an unfair burden to force telecom companies to service rural areas without any assistance. In the last 20 years broadband has gone from luxury to necessity in the modern world so we shouldn't leave rural areas behind.

2. Slower broadband - A. Additional deployment fees and litigation costs. Using Europe as an example it feels like there's a lot of cherry picking of stats and projections that both sides typically use.

"Compare the broadband market in the United States to that in Europe, where broadband is generally regulated as a public utility. Today 82% of Americans have access to 25 Mbps broadband speeds. In Europe, that figure is only 54%. Moreover, in the United States, average mobile broadband speeds are 30% higher than they are in Western Europe."

Is "access to" the ability to purchase it or whether they are purchasing it. Suddenly figures for all of Europe shift to just Western Europe. Perhaps Eastern Europe is bringing the first figure down while just Western is a more adequate comparison for mobile broadband. Also, is he comparing figures where speeds are regulated as a utility in Europe or is he generally lumping it all together. It would probably not be that difficult to do a comparison between the two systems in Europe since it is "generally treated as a utility" and not across the board. I'd like someone to give it to me straight.

B. He talks a lot about the little ISPs and how this will put them out of business. If there is a small ISP exemption to the rules, as ctmf supposes, this section is worthless.

C. He declares that the internet is not broken. But this fight was started by the telecoms in order to break the current policy of net neutrality. Netflix's fights with ISPs are evidence enough of what could be coming in the future if this policy wasn't further entrenched. Pai acts like the tiered internet model isn't waiting in most telecom companies' garages. This section seems disingenuous.

D. Pai pretends that there was little public outcry except for bogeyman liberal groups in favor of net neutrality. That this was a direct intervention by the White House that undermined the FCC process. That it took place behind closed doors with little room for discussion. I cannot comment on this because I only know what I've seen and that has been a consistent public outcry over this from the tech savvy percentage of the populace. Anecdotal but that's what I've seen. I am in favor of more transparency in what is actually in the document so in that respect he's right.

He ends by quoting Eric Schmidt even though Google was in favor of this ruling, interesting.

It's nice to have something more concrete than National Review "MARXISM" to respond to but I remain unconvinced that this is a bad idea. There's never been a perfect piece of government action so I'll take imperfection over lawlessness any day.
posted by crashlanding at 11:36 AM on February 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


Here's hoping the GOP bat as hard as possible for Verizon and Comcast. No downsides to that at all.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on February 28, 2015


Please I need to know what Madison thought about the internet, it is extremely relevant.

"Sir, I am astonished that this magic box built by chinamen will swiftly deliver magic lanterns of hottentot trollops to satisfy my purient interests. Huzzah!"
posted by dr_dank at 1:21 PM on February 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


More stats, from this report from the US Dept. of Commerce released in 2014 the percentage of US homes with broadband internet in 2012 was 72%. Broadband was defined as home internet that isn't dial-up, so that percentage is probably significantly lower than that since the FCC voted to classify broadband as 25Mbps+.

Penetration has slowed in the last five years (expected because easy expansion areas are probably drying up) but extrapolating the 2009-2012 trend, which is somewhat linear, to 2015 would mean 80% of US homes have broadband service. This extrapolation is just an estimate, Pai's 87% figure COULD be accurate if an improvement in the economy sped the adoption rate of broadband service.

I'm curious to see how these figures change once broadband is defined as 25Mbps+ in the statistics.
posted by crashlanding at 1:40 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not going to complain about the gop tying themselves to two of America's most hated corporations.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:07 PM on February 28, 2015


Just saw this on Reddit:
It's 8 pages of regulation, and it is only being held up because the two republican FCC commissioners are delaying its release. The 300+ pages are replies to some of the millions of comments sent to the FCC earlier. The plan itself is only 8 pages.
There's two talking points saying the regulation is over 300 pages and that it is being hidden so no one can read it. Please correct these lies. Not enough people know this, and they're trying to manipulate the public view on NN before the plan is released.
edit:
The FCC was regulating net neutrality from 2010 to last year, and before 2010 the ISPs had only just begun to violate net neutrality. It's only recent violations of net neutrality that brought on the need to regulate in the first place. Innovation wasn't "stifled" in the last few years of FCC regulation.
Net neutrality is like a first amendment for the internet. It prevents all censorship.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:16 PM on February 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Here's hoping the GOP bat as hard as possible for Verizon and Comcast. No downsides to that at all.

Comcast has effectively bought Democrat officials in Seattle and Oregon.

In Seattle, this meant an early grave for a municipal broadband initiative that would have provided a realistic alternative to Comcast's effective monopoly.

In Oregon, the newly-installed governor is a sponsor of Comcast's antitrust law-violating merger with TimeWarner Cable, having submitted a letter to the FCC that was written by a Comcast lobbyist.

Those who care about the long-term shape of this and similar regulatory regimes might be wise to have some concerns about those favorites whom Comcast has been picking for broader electoral success in this country. Because it's not just the GOP you should worry about, it seems.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:34 PM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sort of relevant to what you are saying, a lungful of dragon: FCC Preempts Laws Restricting Community Broadband in NC/TN.
posted by NoMich at 4:08 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Net neutrality is like a first amendment for the internet. It prevents all censorship.

There's probably a GOP argument that protection rackets are actually free speech.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


"It WOULD be a shame if something happened to his nice business, your honor!"
posted by crashlanding at 5:00 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well if corporations can be people, I don't see any compelling reason that arson couldn't be considered a form of protected speech...
posted by quin at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Sir, I am astonished that this magic box built by chinamen will swiftly deliver magic lanterns of hottentot trollops to satisfy my purient interests. Huzzah!"

I bet madison would only read a handful of mostly text news/information sites and discussion forums.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:58 PM on February 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


> In Oregon, the newly-installed governor is a sponsor of Comcast's [...] merger with TimeWarner Cable, having submitted a letter to the FCC that was written by a Comcast lobbyist.

See also support from the majority leader of the New York state assemby for the merger.
posted by one weird trick at 2:40 PM on March 1, 2015


From Twitter hashtag #politicsbomb:
The cartoonist has no idea how Net Neutrality works.
posted by JHarris at 1:14 AM on March 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, there were also huge corporations on the side of net neutrality.

And a good thing too, or we'd all be reading this after paying Verizon for the "Advanced Internet Discussion and Debate Tier", which includes Reddit, Metafilter, 4chan, K5, and about fifty phpBB boards of furry erotica, all for $29.95/mo for the first 500 pageviews!

The fact that there are big corporations on both sides of the issue doesn't mean that both sides are "equally bad" or some other equal-time horseshit. (FYI, this very particular line is being parroted by anti-neutrality/pro-ISP astroturfers on Twitter and in other venues.) Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. may in other cases not have their users' best interests in mind, but in this particular case they undoubtedly have common cause with Joe Internet User. That is not a bad thing; that is a good thing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:47 PM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The full FCC rules just got released today. It's 400 pages, but the vast majority is commentary, analysis, and opinions from the various commissioners. Speaking of which, while most of the opinions run just a page or two, Ajit Pai -- the leading Republican foe of net neutrality -- issued a 63-page dissent, more than 15% of the document whose length he's repeatedly derided. And it's predictably full of highly politicized right-wing buzzword bullshit:


  • accusing Wheeler of "flip-flopping" because Obama "told him to"
  • "If you like your current service plan, you should be able to keep your current service plan"
  • "the federal government didn’t build that"
  • "the Internet didn’t exist until the private sector took it over in the 1990s"
  • saying there's "no evidence" of looming threats to internet openness by citing a few "picayune" examples, while completely overlooking the obvious recent example of Comcast throttling Netflix to extort extra payment
  • "I’m from the government, and I’m here to help."
  • "We have to pass President Obama’s 317-page plan so that the American people can find out what is in it."
  • Citing a ridiculous push poll to claim public opposition to the FCC's rulemaking process
etc. etc. etc.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:17 PM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow, it's pretty pathetic when an FCC commissioner's comments sounds like he copy and pasted them from the comment section of a Politico story.
posted by octothorpe at 6:46 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is inequivically good news, both for consumers (a by extension the economy as a whole) and for individual freedom. Bully for America.

At first the continued petulance of the anti-net-neutrality lobby confused me given that they had lost. I wondered if their truly was a hidden danger to net neutrality that I had ignored given the toxic reputation of the telcos and the reprehensible legal strategy Verizon et al that led to this ruling. After reading on things for a couple weeks, however, it looks more and more that the communication conglomerates and their lobby are simply throwing a temper tantrum that they aren't going to be able to leverage monopoly power for profit.

If free markets truly are the best tool for the common good, then monopoly power causing market failure is the biggest domestic evil facing America right now. If you accept that premise, then evil lost today.
posted by midmarch snowman at 6:28 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The "biggest domestic evil"? That's a little grandiose, I think.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:55 AM on March 14, 2015


It wasn't meant to be totally serious. I think the premise of "free markets truly being the best tool to maximize the common good" is a little grandiose. And I think the irony of professed free-market-zealots among the political elite working to promote market failure every time its advantageous to themselves is such a pervasive theme of American conservatism it deserves a fair bit of grandiose ridicule.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:02 AM on March 15, 2015


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