Net Neutrality: Cats, Comcast, Cost and Comments
June 2, 2014 9:20 AM   Subscribe

John Oliver and Last Week Tonight do an extended piece on Net Neutrality.
posted by Wordshore (55 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite


 
I hate how they frame this as "this is so boring to learn about". What's the point of this? Is it because they actually think its boring? Maybe they should, as a news show... make it interesting? And that's the point right, that's what they do, they make it interesting. But why not just go right into the interesting bits, why start out with "don't bother listening to this because it's BORING!!!"
posted by rebent at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that framing the story as something really important that isn't getting traction (and showing why it doesn't get traction) is a valid way of introducing the issue. Especially since the segment ends with a call to action that encourages the viewers to get past the fact that it's "boring" and actually do something about it.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2014 [16 favorites]


what you can do
posted by Windopaene at 10:01 AM on June 2, 2014


Great piece; he hit all the points I was hoping he'd hit, one after another. It was the accents that did it for me. The Cockney extortionist was like the Britcom equivalent of the rock standard that you stand up and cheer for for when you hear the first two or three notes. I also love the way he subtly telegraphed that it's okay to be ashamed of laughing at that deliriously awful Australian accent.

Unfortunately he's been forced to learn the preemptive "I know this sounds boring but you'll see why we're going there" for Americans thing from Jon Stewart, and while I don't think it was necessary here, I'm pretty sure Jon would rather not do it and has tried it both ways and found he has to. Stewart is an expert by now at holding the attention of people with very little attention span and it's unsurprising that Oliver has his own spin on the same techniques.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:03 AM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


The EFF has made a website you can also submit comments from, if the blank box on the FCC page is a little intimidating: dearfcc.org
posted by caaaaaam at 10:08 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


This was much funnier than it had any right to be.

Though I'm not sure that the FCC is going to be persuaded by an influx of Youtube commenters.
posted by emjaybee at 11:09 AM on June 2, 2014


You know, there's a part of me that wonders: "Hey, if a popular Kickstarter project can get millions of dollars, why can't we do something similar and essentially buy our government back from the corporations."
posted by Gev at 12:03 PM on June 2, 2014 [7 favorites]




The funniest bit was that he saved the direct address to INTERNET COMMENTERS until after the 10-minute mark in the video, something like eight minutes and fifty-three seconds after every single one of the addressees closed the video and went back to watching MLPFiM.
posted by carsonb at 12:17 PM on June 2, 2014


And it's already been linked once above, but just to be clear (this is what comes at the end of the really long [13 freakin' minutes! and change!] video too):

THE FCC IS TAKING PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NET NEUTRALITY AT HTTP://FCC.GOV/COMMENTS.

Go tell them what you think and why.
posted by carsonb at 12:19 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's a great piece, but it also plays into the hands of a complex kind of irony: Time-Warner owns HBO, Oliver's network. So if the show attracts more interest, it may encourage more people to subscribe to HBO, thus putting more money in the coffers of one of the targets of Oliver's rant.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:24 PM on June 2, 2014


Everybody who torrents HBO shows instead of paying for cable go talk to the FCC RIGHT NOW.
posted by carsonb at 12:25 PM on June 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Gev: "You know, there's a part of me that wonders: "Hey, if a popular Kickstarter project can get millions of dollars, why can't we do something similar and essentially buy our government back from the corporations.""

Something like the MayOne crowdfunded Super PAC?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:27 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


The best thing is when I've tried to submit the testimony to the FCC site a couple of times and the site doesn't seem to work at all. I've gotten pages of garbage characters, sent back to resubmit my testimony, and just gotten your standard page not found errors. Its like their site was designed by Comcast.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


And it's already been linked once above, [...] THE FCC IS TAKING PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NET NEUTRALITY AT HTTP://FCC.GOV/COMMENTS.

The page doesn't work for me, in any browser. It requires you to click a proceeding from a list, and the list is empty.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:34 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


*insane cackling*
posted by carsonb at 12:35 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Obvioulsy the FCC needs a better peering agreement.
posted by notyou at 12:37 PM on June 2, 2014


It would be pretty funny if the cable providers had their way in Congress and got this passed then promptly down-tiered all .gov and .mil data to kpbs modem-era speeds.
posted by carsonb at 12:39 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I like how the cable industry shill tried to pass off the argument from being about a slow line and a fast lane to "a fast lane and an ultra-fast lane." Oliver: "B U L L S H I T." The line showing the speed of Netflix traffic over Comcast up until the payout was especially damning. And Obama's appointment of Tom Wheeler to head the FCC is a subtle fuck-you to the nation.

I went to the trouble to find the MayOne link for Gev, and Hairy Lobster beat me to it.
posted by JHarris at 12:44 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


the really long [13 freakin' minutes! and change!] video

It's just a couple minutes longer than Adventure Time!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:54 PM on June 2, 2014


I've been really impressed with how Oliver's show has basically taken the Daily Show format and really really upped in ante in terms of his advocacy as well as the sharpness of his ridicule.

Between the segments that force viewers to think beyond the very parochial American only perspective and the more in depth hard hitting breakdown segments the show has been really great.

I guess only having to write 1 show a week can allow your writers to really focus on crafting the narrative and making sure the jokes are as good as they can be.

Hopefully HBO's lack of sponsors will allow John to continue to tackle tough issues because honestly I doubt we'd ever see the Dailyshow slam Comcast.
posted by vuron at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's also really interesting to see how much more usable content happens when you don't have to accommodate a truckload of commercials.
posted by vuron at 1:02 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


More commenters should call Comcast's ploy what it is: rentierism, double-dipping, monetizing their customers, and getting paid twice for the same traffic.

If a Netflix movie uses 3Mbit/sec of your download bandwidth and your provider claims you get that or more, then they have been paid to carry that traffic to you, because you paid them.

And of course that infamous chart, which suggests another thing you could call it: extortion.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:13 PM on June 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


More commenters should call Comcast's ploy what it is: rentierism, double-dipping, monetizing their customers, and getting paid twice for the same traffic.

Maybe not: perhaps after they kill net neutrality, Comcast will give free internet access to everyone.
posted by goethean at 2:44 PM on June 2, 2014


If a Netflix movie uses 3Mbit/sec of your download bandwidth and your provider claims you get that or more, then they have been paid to carry that traffic to you, because you paid them.
Well it isn't that simple is it? Your provider should provide that to anything it connects to, but beyond that it isn't their responsibility. They should be equal to all traffic in and outbound from their systems, but that doesn't mean they can guarantee bandwidth to arbitrary networks external to them.
posted by edd at 2:48 PM on June 2, 2014


Hm? I'm confused; you seem to be disputing things I didn't say and didn't hear anyone else say. You've paid Comcast to carry X amount of traffic on their networks on the "last mile" to you. They have no business asking the providers of that traffic to pay a second time for the same data on that same segment.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:29 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


George_Spiggott: absolutely, they haven't. But that's not the same as you assuming that's the rate you can get, as there may be third parties between you and them that don't have that capacity.
posted by edd at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2014


But Comcast isn't charging for carriage over segments they don't control and I didn't suggest otherwise, so I'm not sure where that comes into it. Comcast is charging both ways for carrying a certain amount of traffic on their own network.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:48 PM on June 2, 2014


Or more to the point, throttling traffic on their own network after you've paid for it, until the other party pays again.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:49 PM on June 2, 2014


In that case I think
If a Netflix movie uses 3Mbit/sec of your download bandwidth and your provider claims you get that or more, then they have been paid to carry that traffic to you, because you paid them.
was misleading.
posted by edd at 3:52 PM on June 2, 2014


I think we basically agree, just language has got in the way. Happy to leave it.
posted by edd at 4:03 PM on June 2, 2014


I like John Oliver and Last Week Tonight but I can't help thinking if Net Neutrality is boring and discussing Capital Punishment too scary then perhaps everyone should grow the fuck up.
posted by fullerine at 4:25 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


I hate how they frame this as "this is so boring to learn about". What's the point of this?

It was a device...the primary audience is HBO viewers who are familiar with The Daily Show and John Oliver and aren't going to tune out because he offended their sensibilities or pointed out that he was about to broach a "boring" subject.

I was irritated by it for a moment but realized he was delving more into a Colbert troll/satire shtick briefly before bringing out the anger.
posted by aydeejones at 4:51 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh here's a really cool thing that comcast is doing that came to light recently: reselling your connection to strangers via a secondary public network that cannot be disabled in your router's control panel
posted by p3on at 7:16 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Time-Warner owns HBO, Oliver's network.

Just a re-reminder: Time-Warner split off its Cable Service Company (albeit with the name Time Warner Cable which will remain confusing until it is absorbed into Comcast) and HBO belongs to the Network/Programming company (which also has just split off Time from Warner... )

Of course, Comcast is the one media megacorp that has bucked the trend of splitting-off, so it owns 'Local' Cable and Internet Service, Cable and Broadcast Networks (yes NBC still qualifies), local broadcast channels, a Hollywood Studio and local sports franchises in Philadelphia...

We may need to update the t-shirt: "Even when you ARE paying for it, you're also the product being sold".
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:35 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


oh here's a really cool thing that comcast is doing that came to light recently: reselling your connection to strangers via a secondary public network that cannot be disabled in your router's control panel

that's fucking insidious
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:11 PM on June 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


By framing the segment with the dullness of the discussion around net neutrality, Oliver and his writers were positing net neutrality is important but unexciting and sometimes quite technical, all of which is true. In fact, the point is made explicitly in the segment that it's not so much the banality of evil as it is that evil has learned to hide in banality, because then less people see it.

I thought the analogy about what could be hidden in the iTunes customer agreement was very apt in that case, because I would wager 99%+ of people who have had to accept it through the constant updates are, like me, unaware of all it actually says because reading it once is near-impossible, and being able to keep track of any changes even moreso.

The framing of the capital punishment segment was more apologetic about it being a difficult topic; in this case, though, that the subject isn't typically engaging was part of the whole point.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:39 PM on June 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


oh here's a really cool thing that comcast is doing that came to light recently: reselling your connection to strangers via a secondary public network that cannot be disabled in your router's control panel

Wow, that is fucked up. On that page he asks whether unwillingly hosting a public hotspot detracts from the bandwidth he's paying for. There are two questions here, one about his broadband connection, which is highly variable with cable, so it's hard to pin that one down, but the answer is almost certainly "yes": they're not likely to suddenly up your bitrate the moment someone attaches to the public wifi.

The second question pertains to your wireless bandwidth. If the cable box / AP has only one radio, the answer is yes to that as well. And I don't believe for a second they hand out expensive dual-radio APs to all their customers on the off chance that someone will want to use it as a public hotspot.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:39 PM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


47061 filings at the FCC page at the moment, and a brief look around reveals some very well-written and passionate arguments for Net Neutrality. So obviously the summoning of trolls didn't work that well for John Oliver - far too less useless hateful gibbering. Still nice to see people stepping up and having their say.

Though as someone who doesn't know the system I have to ask - do these comments matter at all to the people in power? If the word spreads further, if you have ten times that many comments all going "I disagree with this proposal", is that actually going to do one lick of difference going up against the corporations that seem to have the government in their pocket?
posted by harujion at 1:18 AM on June 3, 2014


Gosh. Has it already been 8 years since hodgman offered the up-until-now best takedown of net neutrality on The Daily Show?
posted by schmod at 6:55 AM on June 3, 2014


My guess is the public display of name and address in an official government filing are going to cut back on the trolling considerably.
posted by Kimberly at 7:20 AM on June 3, 2014


Hey guys, maybe Oliver did the "summoning the trolls" bit because he's a comedian and it was funny?
posted by dry white toast at 8:32 AM on June 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


FCC Comment Page Buckles To Its Knees After John Oliver Asks Everyone To Comment

Seems to be up now, but they have an email address you can use: openinternet@fcc.gov
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:03 AM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just to keep banging this gong, the FCC can also be contacted through the following:
• Email 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.
"Rise like Lions after slumber, In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew, Which in sleep had fallen on you, Ye are many—they are few"
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:33 PM on June 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


They've started bleeping the word "fuck." I wonder why.
posted by Zozo at 5:53 PM on June 3, 2014


Domestic terrorists have clearly targeted the Federal Communications Commission.

'The U.S. Secret Service is seeking software that can identify ... sarcasm. "We are not currently aware of any automated technology that could do that (detect sarcasm). No one is considered a leader in that ...'"
posted by hank at 11:21 AM on June 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Things like that make me soooo confident and reassured about how the federal government views a just and free society.
posted by JHarris at 11:28 AM on June 4, 2014




George Takai put the video on his Facebook wall about 30 minutes ago, and it's already gotten several thousand shares, likes and comments. That'll be another surge of comments.

I'm pleased about this piece for several reasons. It does highlight many of the issues of net neutrality. The format of the show allows for a 13 minute piece to be comfortably done. Many points about, and around, net neutrality were covered.

And from a satire point of view, with Colbert moving and seemingly in winding-down / demob mode of late, am relieved that there is another sharp current news satirist on TV.

Also, personally, John Oliver is a Brummie. I'm from 30 miles away, but am 6 generations Birmingham on my moms side and 8 on my fathers side so there is a strong affinity, and it's always good to see yet another Brummie do well globally.

(I promise to stop doing John Oliver posts on MetaFilter, now [1] [2].)
posted by Wordshore at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]










Guardian: How John Oliver started a revolution in US TV's political satire

"In just six weeks of his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the British satirist has become a star of the counter-culture, playfully taking aim at Fifa and the National Security Agency – and pushing the boundaries of comedy."
posted by Wordshore at 2:30 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]




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