Net Neutrality Repealed
December 14, 2017 11:47 AM   Subscribe

In a 3-2 vote, the FCC repeals net neutrality. Ajit Pai celebrated by doing the Harlem Shake.
posted by WCityMike (167 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
I hate this.
posted by bigendian at 11:49 AM on December 14, 2017 [13 favorites]


Stay classy, Pai.

jfc
posted by Kitteh at 11:49 AM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


I hope somebody hits Ajit Pai with an angry cat.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:50 AM on December 14, 2017 [52 favorites]


Coming soon to the UK.
posted by popcassady at 11:52 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Fuckers.
posted by adamrice at 11:53 AM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


.
posted by lalochezia at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


The worst part is the effects of this will be frog-boilingly slow, so I don't even get the satisfaction of saying "I told you so" when people's internet service gets worse and more expensive. Nobody will remember how (relatively) good they had it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2017 [105 favorites]


Coming soon to the UK.

And Canada.

*sighs*
posted by Fizz at 11:55 AM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is there such a thing as satellite internet service I can buy from another country? I would love to boycott the current providers in the USA but I'm addicted to Overwatch and Netflix.
posted by lain at 11:56 AM on December 14, 2017 [7 favorites]


This combined with Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox. It's a big day for corporate and capitalist hegemony.
posted by Fizz at 11:57 AM on December 14, 2017 [25 favorites]


NY state is going to court to prevent the rollback, thanks to your friendly neighborhood Schneiderman.

I’ll be leading a multistate lawsuit bringing the resources of AGs across the country to bear in the fight to protect the internet and the millions of Americans who rely on it. #NetNeutrality
posted by leotrotsky at 11:57 AM on December 14, 2017 [87 favorites]


So about that Harlem Shake video...
one of the Daily Caller employees that danced alongside Pai in the video seems to be a proponent of Pizzagate, the infamous and completely baseless internet conspiracy theory claiming prominent Washington, D.C. Democrats were running a child sex trafficking ring out of a local pizza restaurant.
I keep telling myself that we're actually inside a filming of Idiocracy 2 and this stuff the Trump Administration is doing is not real.
posted by Nelson at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2017 [41 favorites]


When you can't afford the bread and you can't afford the circuses, what do the people have left?
posted by asteria at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2017 [13 favorites]


Guillotines.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2017 [223 favorites]


Is it possible for an individual to steal the "most hated corporation" vote from Verizon and Comcast?
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


Faint of Butt, I was about to make the same reply, the only reason you beat me is because I’m on a ton of prednisone right now and I couldn’t figure out how to spell it.
posted by Caduceus at 12:05 PM on December 14, 2017 [21 favorites]




pai has not faced one tough interview in the media over this that i'm aware of. every time he makes the deeply misleading claims that we're just "going back to the way things were" and we need to "incentivize investment," the reporter gets a scrunched-up face and the both sides-ism begins in earnest. it's a farce that this issue has somehow been portrayed as too complex to understand by mainstream media.
posted by wibari at 12:09 PM on December 14, 2017 [30 favorites]


It's not only the censorship and throttling I'm upset about, but my job necessitates that I use the internet almost all day long, and I'm sure that's the same for the majority of us these days. I haven't gotten a raise in years, not do I get very much back in expense reimbursement from my company for the internet I use to do my work. So when the price for "full-service" access goes up (and full service is the the level of access I need to work), who will have to pay for it just to keep a damn job? Me.

And these telecoms aren't even going to have to upgrade the infrastructure, but they'll throttle bandwidth to artificially keep the current infrastructure around and charge us more for it! ARRRGHGHHG!

I just want to get my old steel-toed boots on and kick a bunch of motherfuckers in the balls.
posted by droplet at 12:12 PM on December 14, 2017 [46 favorites]


These non stop attacks on regulation won’t stop unless control over the internet as a neutral modern infrastructure moves to the muncialies and not private companies.

Comcast delenda est.
posted by The Whelk at 12:14 PM on December 14, 2017 [28 favorites]


Welp, the digital divide is now policy. Way to go, assholes.
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:15 PM on December 14, 2017 [10 favorites]


> These non stop attacks on regulation won’t stop unless control over the internet as a neutral modern infrastructure moves to the muncialies and not private companies.

That is literally illegal for a major chunk of the United States now. Good luck, man.
posted by at by at 12:18 PM on December 14, 2017 [18 favorites]


Yesterday I watched a couple dozen city councilors in my city argue the merits of spending $6,000 on making public toilets accessible for half an hour during a $3b budget debate.

Today, it took three people to completely fuck up a defacto public utility and negatively impact the lives of millions of people for corporate gain.

Democracy in 2017 is the real Stranger Thing.
posted by notorious medium at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2017 [18 favorites]


One small thing you can do: call your mayors/alders in your cities and towns and ask that they make net neutrality a requirement for ISPs to do business with their citizens.

Is this going to the Reps now, or does the FCC vote mean it's overturned?
posted by pxe2000 at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2017 [13 favorites]


Is there such a thing as satellite internet service I can buy from another country? I would love to boycott the current providers in the USA but I'm addicted to Overwatch and Netflix.

Satellite may be workable for something like Netflix, but it's no good for games, because even at the speed of light, sending a signal to a satellite and back takes long enough to make most games unplayable.
posted by shponglespore at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


I have posted a fair amount of nasty drawings on these pages of the vicious, swaybacked political scum that make up our moment.
A few weeks backs I tried to render one Mr Ajit Pai, but I couldn't, because he is such a fucking nonentity of a human being that there is literally nothing to draw there. Nothing, not a goddamned thing; even gormless halfwits like Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions have more character, vile as it may be. So yeah, there it is.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2017 [14 favorites]


A government against the people.
posted by tommasz at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2017 [9 favorites]


That link is taking forrrrreeeevvver to load.
posted by chavenet at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2017 [12 favorites]


So is something like nycmesh.net a viable alternative to ISPs? I just discovered it thru a recent ask question and would love to be able to support something that would undermine these friggin' ISPs.
posted by Grither at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Pai was appointed by Obama at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell, presumably in a spirit of bipartisan compromise, which should stand as a reminder of what bipartisan compromise is worth.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2017 [116 favorites]


I started googling around to read up on municipal broadband options. I was considering writing to my (new) city council people to request that they pursue it as an option.

It appears that we're already being flanked on that side as well. Republican fight against municipal broadband heats up in Michigan
posted by scottatdrake at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


>One small thing you can do: call your mayors/alders in your cities and towns and ask that they make net neutrality a requirement for ISPs to do business with their citizens.

And when those ISPs are contributing to the local politician's campaign more than the citizens, which they will, what then? Worse yet, when the ISPs own media companies, they'll be able to get the politicians to dance however they want.

I hope Ajit Pai is hounded by criticism of this vote the rest of his life until it destroys him. And even then I will shed no tears for this corporate bag of scum.
posted by Catblack at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2017 [7 favorites]




My understanding of this is not that it will make access more expensive (necessarily) for consumers of NetFlix or whatever, but that it will make _publishing_ either slow/impossible for smaller, independent providers of content much more expensive or even impossible, or make the content loaded _from_ those sites so slow as to be in effect inaccessible (potentially including Metafilter, although more clearly for streaming/large bandwidth sites). Independent voices, or less-funded voices, or voices that don't go through well-funded mediators, will be pushed away or might never emerge.

So, those need to be fostered and protected.
posted by amtho at 12:34 PM on December 14, 2017 [11 favorites]


My understanding of this is not that it will make access more expensive (necessarily) for consumers of NetFlix or whatever

Your understanding is mistaken.
posted by WCityMike at 12:38 PM on December 14, 2017 [12 favorites]


] Inslee and lawmakers vow to keep net neutrality in Washington state

So, I’m excited by this, but: what happens when Inslee says net neutrality has to happen in WA and the feds say “don’t worry about it”?
posted by corb at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


One small thing you can do: call your mayors/alders in your cities and towns and ask that they make net neutrality a requirement for ISPs to do business with their citizens.

And when the one company that services your area refuses, what happens then? You somehow entice another company to build an entire duplicate network that is also privately-owned and also extract the promise that they won't turn around and do the same thing?
posted by indubitable at 12:40 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


Then they go to court.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


AT&T/Comcast, I hope an army of tweakers steals all your copper yea unto the seventh generation. Jerks.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:40 PM on December 14, 2017 [22 favorites]


So, I’m excited by this, but: what happens when Inslee says net neutrality has to happen in WA and the feds say “don’t worry about it”?

Well, you see, that won't happen because above all, Republicans believe in state's righ--BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA, sorry, couldn't finish that with a straight face.
posted by WCityMike at 12:56 PM on December 14, 2017 [26 favorites]


t's a farce that this issue has somehow been portrayed as too complex to understand by mainstream media.

I think you are mistaken. There is very little of substance that is not too complex to be understood by msm.
posted by notreally at 12:57 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


My understanding of this is not that it will make access more expensive (necessarily) for consumers of NetFlix or whatever

This isn't rocket science. The ISPs go to the Netflix and tell them that everone on that ISP is getting access to provider-x video streams and 40Mbps but Netflix will be only 5Mbps unless they get a payment from Netflix. A "fast lane" or a "binge allowance" or whatever the hell they want to call it (is "kick back" too blunt?).

Thats' a new cost that Netflix has to pay, and its absolutely coming, and they're absolutely passing it on via a subscription bump.
posted by samworm at 12:59 PM on December 14, 2017 [21 favorites]


What gets me is that only a very small percentage of businesses are on the GOP's side, and pretty much every non-Telecom is going to be hurt by this in a very big way. They're risking their pro-business image by so brazenly giving away a handout to a single industry.

While we already know that they can hurt individuals with impunity, it remains to be seen whether or not they can deliver a huge fuck-you to the non-telecom business community without repercussions.
posted by schmod at 1:02 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


These non stop attacks on regulation won’t stop unless control over the internet as a neutral modern infrastructure moves to the muncialies

Sounds good to me, assuming that muncialies are some kind of Spanish anarcho-syndicalist hilltop ISP cooperatives.
posted by sfenders at 1:05 PM on December 14, 2017 [7 favorites]


A couple of thoughts.

First, in terms of framing, I suspect that if we can start using the term "internet ration", or "rationed internet" instead of talking about bandwidth caps we might get some more traction with the less technical people. In the US the word ration has a really negative association (see the way they use "rationed healthcare" as a scare tactic).

Second, in terms of the long term effect of this, I think what we'll see isn't so much official surcharges added, but rather buyable bonuses. The best way to market fragmenting the net and selling it in packages isn't to actually to deny people access to everything unless they pay a fee.

Instead, simply limit their internet ration to the point where it isn't sufficient for their day to day net usage and they're always coming up a few gig short at the end of the billing period and paying fees.

Then you sell the fragmenting of the net as a generous service. Mobile phone companies in the US are already sort of doing this, and that infamous ad that was circulating a while back was basically this.

Instead of saying "no, you can't visit Metafilter unless you pay us our extortion money", they simply limit your rationed internet to 6gb a month. But... For an extra $5 you can buy into a super special program, only because you're such a loyal customer you understand, call it Free Social Media, now sites like Facebook, Metafilter, Reddit, and Twitter don't count against your internet ration!

My, my, is Netflix (those horrible people) eating too much of your internet ration? Well, for only $10 per month we can let you have Free Streaming Media! Free is good, right? Except Free Streaming Media doesn't apply to Hulu, they wouldn't "partner" (that is, pay) your ISP, so Hulu will always count against your internet ration.

In the short term we'll see rationed internet becoming standard everywhere, then the belt tightening will begin to cut your ration down to the point you need to pay a premium for the Free X packages. That won't come for a few years though.

With any luck we can drag out the lawsuits until 2020 when we can get a Congressional majority and a Democratic President and just write a net neutrality law instead of relying on the FCC.
posted by sotonohito at 1:14 PM on December 14, 2017 [55 favorites]


Serious question: I have a small, independent ISP, local to Chicago. Assuming THEY don't throttle/speed, etc.,... does this affect me and people like me who don't have Comcast, AT&T, etc?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:16 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


My argument to the older crowd would in many cases be "without net neutrality, the kids may not be able to send you pics and videos of the grandkids anymore."
posted by azpenguin at 1:16 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Do people really think this isn't a power/money grab, pure and simple???

Where do you live, and how can I go live there too? I would love to have such a rosy view of the people (greedy jerks) in power!
posted by nikoniko at 1:18 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Do people really think this isn't a power/money grab, pure and simple???

It's a money grab, sure. But as a power grab, it's remarkably stupid. One of the things that Verge article linked above points out, a lot of the infrastructure that led to rise of this President depends on non-rationed internet. Your infowars, breitbart, etc all depend on the same internet that Metafilter does. Now maybe you can say that they'll just add that stuff, but what they really did was just hand the keys to the companies that are in bed with MSNBC. Which is, well, not smart.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:25 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Assuming THEY don't throttle/speed, etc.,... does this affect me and people like me who don't have Comcast, AT&T, etc?

Yes. The Internet works by servers passing packets (bits of a message) along in a sort of bucket-brigade style. Your ISP is that last bucket-passer, but some of those other servers are owned by Comcast and AT&T or other large companies that hate net neutrality.

They have absolutely proven in the past that they're willing to throttle traffic driven by Netflix or Riot Games (League of Legends). They will do it again.
posted by explosion at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2017 [11 favorites]


NY state is going to court to prevent the rollback, thanks to your friendly neighborhood Schneiderman.

I wonder which will come to fruition first, the legal battle or the legislation? Rep. Maloney (D-NY) Introduces Legislation to Save the Open Internet, Block FCC Rollback of Net Neutrality (H.R.4585 - Save Net Neutrality Act of 2017). Of course, it needs to get support from both the House and Senate, but at least there's some inkling of bipartisan support, as Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King, Jr. (I-ME) sent a last-minute letter calling for FCC chairman Ajit Pai to cancel today’s net neutrality vote. Let's see if they back, if not champion, efforts similar to Maloney's.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:29 PM on December 14, 2017 [14 favorites]


Then you sell the fragmenting of the net as a generous service. Mobile phone companies in the US are already sort of doing this,

I was just talking about this with someone. Ten years ago, when you had internet on your phone, you had true “unlimited” options you could purchase. Now almost no provider offers this. But to make you happier with their service, they’ll offer “free music” or “free Netflix” - at a cost already twice the price of previous.

Internet prices have been creeping up for a while, and this is only going to worsen them.
posted by corb at 1:30 PM on December 14, 2017 [13 favorites]


: "It's not only the censorship and throttling I'm upset about, but my job necessitates that I use the internet almost all day long, and I'm sure that's the same for the majority of us these days. I haven't gotten a raise in years, not do I get very much back in expense reimbursement from my company for the internet I use to do my work. So when the price for "full-service" access goes up (and full service is the the level of access I need to work), who will have to pay for it just to keep a damn job? Me.

And these telecoms aren't even going to have to upgrade the infrastructure, but they'll throttle bandwidth to artificially keep the current infrastructure around and charge us more for it! ARRRGHGHHG!

Balls? For once, I will add gender politics to a response, and say "Why just balls? Be inclusive and go for the teeth!"
I just want to get my old steel-toed boots on and kick a bunch of motherfuckers in the balls.
"
posted by Samizdata at 1:30 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


@tedcruz
I commend Chairman @AjitPaiFCC and the FCC for repealing these oppressive Obama-era regulations and restoring freedom to the internet: https://www.facebook.com/tedcruzpage/posts/10155817366037464 …



Keep digging, Teddy. Keep digging.
posted by bowmaniac at 1:31 PM on December 14, 2017 [10 favorites]


Your infowars, breitbart, etc all depend on the same internet that Metafilter does.

But they love their video. And we can read. And text is relatively data-light.
posted by Grangousier at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2017 [18 favorites]


: " My understanding of this is not that it will make access more expensive (necessarily) for consumers of NetFlix or whatever

This isn't rocket science. The ISPs go to the Netflix and tell them that everone on that ISP is getting access to provider-x video streams and 40Mbps but Netflix will be only 5Mbps unless they get a payment from Netflix. A "fast lane" or a "binge allowance" or whatever the hell they want to call it (is "kick back" too blunt?).

Thats' a new cost that Netflix has to pay, and its absolutely coming, and they're absolutely passing it on via a subscription bump.
"

Seriously? So I get an UPGRADE to use Netflix? (Yeah, you aren't making your case with those of us on 3Mbps connections)
posted by Samizdata at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


This Public Service Announcement from UbuWeb is appropriate: If you love something, download it. It may not be there forever.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:37 PM on December 14, 2017 [11 favorites]


@notorious medium: this looks like a case of Parkinson's law of triviality.
posted by Captain Fetid at 1:40 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


To those who don't foresee throttling of the internet, see Exhibit A: AT&T blocked the use of FaceTime in 2012, unless you had certain data plans (which they forgot when recently stating "none of those predictions [that AT&T was going to block your access to third-party applications and to require you to use its own preferred applications] ever came true then and they won’t come true after the FCC acts here either").

To those who think this change will be slow, see Exhibit B: Comcast deleted a net neutrality pledge the same day FCC announced repeal, when a three-year-old "no paid prioritization" pledge was suddenly removed from their website this past Spring.

And to those who want to see what this future might hold, look to Portugal, where mobile carrier Meo already offers monthly subscription packages with names like Messaging, Social, and Video
Each of the five categories includes several big-name apps, including Netflix, FaceTime, Spotify, and Google Drive.

But based on Meo’s website, this doesn’t look like buying cable channels for the internet. It’s an add-on to general-purpose mobile subscriptions, which let you access any service — including the ones above. The idea is apparently that if you’re into apps like Snapchat and Facebook (or... LinkedIn, I guess), you pay around $8 a month to specifically get more “Social” data, so you can use your regular allotment for everything else. It looks a lot like the “Vodafone Pass” service in the UK, where subscribers can pay for unlimited access to a similar stable of services.
This is easiest to "sell" for wireless carriers, where everyone is already used to bandwidth caps, but ISPs are also pitching limited bandwidth accounts. "You have to pay extra for double-stuffed," cable company Mediacom told FCC in 2016. Except you don't, that price is factored into the cost of other Oreos, but I digress.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:41 PM on December 14, 2017 [20 favorites]


Seriously? So I get an UPGRADE to use Netflix? (Yeah, you aren't making your case with those of us on 3Mbps connections)

The beauty of charging the fee to the site, rather than to the user, is that they'll still have to pay full price for the "fast lane" even if some of their customers can't access it. You they'll charge to access Netflix at all.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:43 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


(Those links are mostly shamelessly lifted from my prior comments in the previous Net Neutrality thread)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Samizdata Seriously? So I get an UPGRADE to use Netflix? (Yeah, you aren't making your case with those of us on 3Mbps connections)

Those of you on 3mbps connections should already be enraged because the American people have been paying, and paying, and paying, for you to get a better connection for the past nearly 20 years.

The government gave massive tax breaks to the ISP's, some cash directly, and more important they allowed them to charge all customers a surcharge. The ISP's were supposed to use all that money to build high speed internet infrastructure for everyone, gigabit internet to the home was the plan.

Instead they spent all the money on executive bonuses. They're still charging us those surcharges.

We've bought you high speed internet at least three times over, but you don't have it because the ISP's stole all the money.
posted by sotonohito at 1:45 PM on December 14, 2017 [65 favorites]


Well, those funds aren't all funneled to execs: Charter brags about big speed boost—after saying Title II stalled investment -- Charter told investors that net neutrality regs "didn't really hurt us."
The amazing thing is that Charter is [Increasing Flagship Broadband Speeds; Giving Customers More For Less] despite the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules and related Title II regulation of ISPs as common carriers. In July, Charter told the FCC (PDF) that the "broad and vague prohibitions" in the rules "have caused broadband providers to reconsider innovations and investments out of concern that regulators could squelch, or force significant modifications to, those ventures after funds had been expended."
posted by filthy light thief at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


chavenet: "That link is taking forrrrreeeevvver to load."

I... uh ... I can't tell if you are trolling or not.

Well played.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:51 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm for net neutrality, of course, but Ajit Pai has persuaded me that throttling can be a good thing.
posted by uosuaq at 1:56 PM on December 14, 2017 [34 favorites]


It's a money grab, sure. But as a power grab, it's remarkably stupid.

What I meant is that this is a corporate money/power grab. Whether or not it benefits a particular political party is irrelevant to the corporations that will now have even more power over our access to information, and by proxy our political process. Political parties will be forced to evolve or change tactics in order to benefit from this new information landscape, and I have no doubts that both political parties will be more than happy to bend to the will of the now even more powerful telecom companies.
posted by nikoniko at 2:09 PM on December 14, 2017


It was a nice Internet. How fucking sad.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


We are so fucked with how people even under the old regs just roll the fuck over for corporations. Like. As an entire society. Bandwidth is such a ridiculous things to charge for at all (it's a goddamn shell game all the way down) and it's truly one of the few "resources" ever to exist in human history that is nearly free and nearly infinite. I'm so afraid of the fact that these pieces of hardware and corporate legal structures that literally make up our internet, OUR INTERNET, are immune to the last-resort action of the people: a threat and then an actual execution of a plan to sieze the means of production. We're simply too far gone, it seems, in agreeing to let literally hundreds of people decide how this system is controlled. I'm pretty damn hopeless about this.
posted by odinsdream at 2:16 PM on December 14, 2017 [12 favorites]


How does this effect the internet in the rest of the world ? I'm hearing the EU has some good net neutrality laws, but will this effect EU citizens ?
posted by Pendragon at 2:18 PM on December 14, 2017


(By nice Internet I mean BGP peering)
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:19 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


@pendragon it means the EU will do some BGP magic to not be dependent on routes crossing the US, which essentially is a slow walking back of the “global” internet back to regional internets that are avoidant of regions based on oppositional government policy.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:23 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure that Pai's lightsaber is supposed to be red.
posted by SandCounty at 2:23 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


I don't have the technical knowledge to know if it even matters anymore but: AskMeFi VPN Recommendations
posted by coffee and minarets at 2:24 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


I guess I care more about my example.
posted by amtho at 2:26 PM on December 14, 2017


What about the money? What does this have to do with transfers, bitcoin, and global markets, sales, exchange rates, speed of transfer? Is this the beginning of some giant hooliganism that we are just not ready to accept is the reason?
posted by Oyéah at 2:40 PM on December 14, 2017


Considering many of the major backbones are also heavily in the market of selling people content and devices to access said content, they will shoot themselves heartily in the foot if they start making it harder for people to access said content with said devices, including making it more expensive. Without some dramatic political shifts in the next couple years, the economy is going to start slowing as the costs of health care and tax cuts make themselves apparent, and the first thing people are gonna do is cut their unnecessary expenses, like getting rid of cable or downgrading their data plan, or not buying that new cell phone. Society in general is also A-OK with content piracy, and we’re only a few years out from ripping CDs and DVDs and consuming content from a static source (disk, hard drive) than a streaming one. If these companies are stupid enough to price downloading content expensively enough that it becomes significantly cheaper and easier to pirate it, that’s exactly what people will do.
posted by Autumnheart at 2:46 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


I guess I see it like Netflix will be forced to become a cable channel.
posted by Annika Cicada at 2:50 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure Netflix is a great example in this discussion anymore. They've deployed CDN servers all over the internet, even on college campuses*.

* friend of mine runs IT for a medium-sized college. The amount of traffic at 10am on a school day is mind-blowing.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:53 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


If these companies are stupid enough to price downloading content expensively enough that it becomes significantly cheaper and easier to pirate it, that’s exactly what people will do.

Remember that one of the first net neutrality dust-ups was when Comcast throttled BitTorrent traffic. Don't count on piracy that goes across your ISP's network to save you from your ISP.
posted by skymt at 2:55 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


So, just as a symbolic move, I wonder if there's an Apache plugin or .htaccess tweak that will slow down traffic originating from the FCC's IP block.
posted by adamrice at 3:00 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


You’re right, there’s a lot of totally wild and unlikely things that that has to happen between “Netflix Streaming over the Internet” and “cable monopoly decides to play chicken with amazon and Netflix and forces them to become a channel partner” but at a network routing layer the power and possibilities to do this is pretty much baked into the BGP protocol.

Like, BGP is pretty fucking rad in the amount of control it gives a network operator over what they choose to route and how. “Rad” until the US government gives de facto oligarchs the power to do whatever fresh hell they want.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well shit. I guess I should have dislocated my other knee, too.
posted by biogeo at 3:24 PM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


I don't have the technical knowledge to know if it even matters anymore but: AskMeFi VPN Recommendations

It doesn't. ISPs can use deep packet inspection to determine that you're using a VPN and throttle/block it unless you buy their "VPN package" if they so choose.
posted by indubitable at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the VPNs don't work anymore. A couple years ago I was using a for-pay private VPN service in order to watch stuff with region limitations, and one day Time Warner popped up a notification in my web browser requiring me to contact them and certify that I wasn't breaking the law before they gave me access to anything else on the internet. ISP jail. It's a thing.
posted by xyzzy at 3:40 PM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


re VPNs- how widespread is VPN failure these days? i know netflix can't be accessed with one on, but i still use one for other sites and haven't had problems, though i have a small ISP that may not care as much (also, they have an exclusive license to provide internet and tv w my landlord, so if they blocked VPN use it would be very bad). and is there some other workaround?
posted by wibari at 4:09 PM on December 14, 2017


What an asshole.
posted by sety at 4:16 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


free college
ubi
single payer
ccc, wpa
open internet as a utility (with some kind of mission-to-the-moon commitment for full coverage with the best speeds in the world. an arms race, as it were, with kittens.)
posted by j_curiouser at 4:27 PM on December 14, 2017 [10 favorites]


And this is why I've never bought completely into the idea that DVDs are obsolete. I still rent them, and I don't see that ending anytime soon. It's simply too frustrating to watch your movie hiccup because of throttling, especially if you've been looking forward to it. For TV, I stream. For movies, I still prefer the Disc.
posted by Beholder at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2017 [4 favorites]


Here's why the GOP is going to regret this. Porn sites are most likely to be throttled, and cutting off the pipeline of "free" streaming porn is just the sort of thing that will motivate people to vote. Nobody is going back to crappy low res clips after getting used to HD Brazzers and not be good and pissed about it.
posted by Beholder at 4:32 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Porn sites won't be shy about announcing why the bitrate sucks, either. They'll make sure their users know exactly why and who to complain to.
posted by rifflesby at 4:35 PM on December 14, 2017 [10 favorites]


I’m angry because Pai deliberately baited the public for weeks. None of that had to happen to get the vote result he wanted. What a Shkreli.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:38 PM on December 14, 2017 [14 favorites]


I still rent [DVDs], and I don't see that ending anytime soon

The folks at Redbox are probably happy to hear that, considering it probably wasn't the best week to launch their own streaming service.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:02 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


Why is a government official making youtube clips in the first place? This guy needs to be gotten rid of quick. He thought he was riding the Trump Train to riches, turns out he showed his ass to america.
posted by valkane at 5:11 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Hey everyone I just bought a bunch of bitcoin, the internet currency that's definitely not in a bubble and requires sophisticated internet software to transact! Now to take a big sip of coffee and open hacker news
posted by Existential Dread at 5:25 PM on December 14, 2017 [18 favorites]


If my ISP blocks VPNs I literally won’t be able to earn a living, because I work remotely and cannot access any corporate shared drives, virtual desktops, etc, without using a (company provided) VPN. So... yeah.
posted by Automocar at 6:11 PM on December 14, 2017 [9 favorites]


That's the idea. They want to destroy the internet as a force that enables exactly that use. Pay "extra" for your ISPs "telecommuter power user" package or lose your job. Maybe your company will expense it for you. Maybe they won't. Comcast doesn't give a fuck. Just squeeze everyone for everything they can.
posted by odinsdream at 6:16 PM on December 14, 2017 [15 favorites]


Hey guys, remember years ago when Netflix often had streaming and speed problems, and then a few years ago they suddenly didn't? Did that coincide with the net neutrality rules, or did Netflix fix it in some other way? Genuinely can't remember.
posted by davejay at 6:48 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


odinsdream : "That's the idea. They want to destroy the internet as a force that enables exactly that use. Pay "extra" for your ISPs "telecommuter power user" package or lose your job. Maybe your company will expense it for you. Maybe they won't. Comcast doesn't give a fuck. Just squeeze everyone for everything they can."

This is the joy of capitalism (says the guy that can barely afford a 3Mbps DSL from AT&T).
posted by Samizdata at 6:49 PM on December 14, 2017


I think the implications for the control of media are staggering.
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:54 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


sotonohito : "Samizdata Seriously? So I get an UPGRADE to use Netflix? (Yeah, you aren't making your case with those of us on 3Mbps connections)

Those of you on 3mbps connections should already be enraged because the American people have been paying, and paying, and paying, for you to get a better connection for the past nearly 20 years.

The government gave massive tax breaks to the ISP's, some cash directly, and more important they allowed them to charge all customers a surcharge. The ISP's were supposed to use all that money to build high speed internet infrastructure for everyone, gigabit internet to the home was the plan.

Instead they spent all the money on executive bonuses. They're still charging us those surcharges.

We've bought you high speed internet at least three times over, but you don't have it because the ISP's stole all the money.
"

Oh, believe you me, I know. I was up to 5Mbps for a while (AT&T good customer cookie) but it didn't last as I am too far from the CO. And I am so seriously pissed it isn't even fun. But then the anger goes away for a while, as my mind resigns itself to the fact that this is what we have and that it isn't going to change any time soon...
posted by Samizdata at 6:54 PM on December 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Well, as I FINALLY managed to download the copy of Destiny 2 I got for Christmas (but snuck out early) so I am going to go play that to assuage my rage.
posted by Samizdata at 6:56 PM on December 14, 2017


Hey guys, remember years ago when Netflix often had streaming and speed problems, and then a few years ago they suddenly didn't? Did that coincide with the net neutrality rules, or did Netflix fix it in some other way? Genuinely can't remember.

IIRC, Netflix threw a shitload of money at CDNs to prioritize their traffic, but that was still a precipating event in the last round of the net neutrality debate.
posted by Automocar at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


Netflix was definitely being throttled. They've also built out a lot of devices that are physically closer to end users, either residing at local datacenters or in large cases directly on the end user's network (hospitals, colleges, universities, etc).

It's actually the kind of move you'd make if you were expecting to get hit by the upcoming highway robbery: try and avoid the highway as much as you can.
posted by odinsdream at 7:37 PM on December 14, 2017 [8 favorites]


but Netflix will be only 5Mbps unless they get a payment from Netflix

Seriously? So I get an UPGRADE to use Netflix? (Yeah, you aren't making your case with those of us on 3Mbps connections)


Dude, that 5Mbps is a maximum for Netflix, not a minimum for you.
posted by straight at 7:47 PM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


Martina Markota is an alt-right moron with a ton of major nazi figures as facebook friends last I looked so *of course* that's who Pai makes stupid videos of himself dancing with. It's Nazis all the way down with this administration.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:18 PM on December 14, 2017 [13 favorites]


Well shit, as long as we can still shop and “gram” our sriracha fries, what could go wrong?

Do any lawyers know if there actually is a reasonable precedent for this to be argued down in court and if so who do I donate money to in order the sue the shit out of the FCC?

It doesn’t seem like the phone system or the auctioning off of radio wave frequencies really defined communication media as a “public good” worthy of protection, but maybe I’m wrong.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:19 PM on December 14, 2017


Let's keep pushing back. This is the form email response I got when emailing Maine AG Janet Mills about suing to stop this in court today:

"Kevin,
Thanks for writing in! Janet is working with other Democratic Attorneys General across the country to prevent the rollback from taking place (links below), and she'll keep fighting this with whatever tools are necessary.

http://mainepublic.org/post/maines-ag-joins-16-counterparts-calling-delay-net-neutrality-vote#stream/0"
posted by OntologicalPuppy at 8:45 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


NT Alexandra Petri, WaPo: Net neutrality is gone. Feel the freedom coursing through your veins.
“Today is a great day for consumers, for innovation and for freedom.” That is what Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission said as he voted to strip net neutrality protections.

Whenever people tell me that we are on the verge of new, undiscovered freedom for consumers, I always feel a little nervous. “Unprecedented freedom for consumers” is usually what people call it right before placing rabid hedgehogs in the stocking stuffer display. Before, you only had the choice of things you wanted that would make appropriate gifts. Now, you might also get a rabid hedgehog! What a day this is for the consumer.

I’m sorry, all I have are bad analogies that will not cheer us in the face of this news. But it is bad news.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:18 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


Pai was appointed by Obama at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell, presumably in a spirit of bipartisan compromise, which should stand as a reminder of what bipartisan compromise is worth.

Bipartisanship had nothing to do with it. By law, only three of the five FCC commissioners can be from the same party. Obama had three Democrats on the FCC to two Republicans. When one of the two Republicans retired, he had to be replaced by a Republican, by law, in order to maintain the same Democrat 3 to 2 advantage.

When Trump took office and one of the Democrats retired, Trump replaced him with a Republican, giving Republicans a 3 to 2 advantage.

So, no, Obama didn't appoint Pai out of bipartisanship. It was a Republican pick by law.
posted by JackFlash at 9:20 PM on December 14, 2017 [18 favorites]


He could have picked less of a shitgibbon, though.
posted by odinsdream at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


Maybe pai was the best of a bad batch but it seems like taking Mitch McConnels recommendation over literally anybody else is a bad idea. Unless he was legally bound to do so.

(If he was bound by convention, well, fuck that, convention doesn't exist anymore)
posted by Artw at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


straight : " but Netflix will be only 5Mbps unless they get a payment from Netflix

Seriously? So I get an UPGRADE to use Netflix? (Yeah, you aren't making your case with those of us on 3Mbps connections)


Dude, that 5Mbps is a maximum for Netflix, not a minimum for you.
"

Dude, that was a bit more "Be happy with what you do have and don't sneer at 5Mbps for Netflix. Some of us don't even have it THAT good." than anything else. Dunno, I can watch Netflix pretty much okay on my 3Mbps. I figure anyone going all "I don't get SuperHD any more!" can just take their first world problems and...well...go upload them somewhere! Gods, I wish I could complain I only get 5Mbps for Netflix.

And, of course, everyone is missing those classic weasel words that precluded this fucking debacle.

"Up to" XX speed and XX speed "maximum",
posted by Samizdata at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2017


Nick Frisch, NYT: What if You Couldn’t Access This Page?
To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing.
posted by runcifex at 11:25 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


runcifex : "Nick Frisch, NYT: What if You Couldn’t Access This Page?
To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing.
"



I remember there was a site that you could check addresses from that would tell you if they were filtered by The Great Firewall. I was proud my crappy little mail and blogging site was on that list.
posted by Samizdata at 11:38 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


You guys haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the fuckery this enables. Listen to Annika Cicada on this. I. Can't. Even. It's very hard to make actual words come out right now, sorry.

I think I'm going to go price some gear and see if there are any national or regional fiber networks that haven't been borged by the big telecoms. I have some ideas about where to start if it becomes necessary.
posted by wierdo at 1:41 AM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hm, yes, I can think of an insurance policy that would almost certainly keep the bastards in line, but it costs at least 8 figures, maybe into 9. Wouldn't do shit for the last mile absent local partners, but at least it would prevent the other fuckery that concerns me even more.
posted by wierdo at 1:49 AM on December 15, 2017


Dude, that was a bit more "Be happy with what you do have and don't sneer at 5Mbps for Netflix. Some of us don't even have it THAT good." than anything else. Dunno, I can watch Netflix pretty much okay on my 3Mbps.

Telling people to be grateful for their 5Mbps is not a very good strategy for ever getting the affordable speed in your area faster than 3Mbps. You should be encouraging everyone to complain loudly about the inadequacy of 40Mbps.
posted by straight at 1:59 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


CDN’s still gotta talk to the origin.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:26 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Well in Netflix case a practically zero percentage of their content is dynamic. They could literally maintain local CDNs with station wagons and direct dialup links. Not everyone has this advantage of course.
posted by Mitheral at 3:38 AM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


They’ll probably just buy their own fiber.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:43 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Everyone should have called their BigCorp ISP and scheduled for today to have their internet disconnected with stipulation: unless the vote upheld Net Neutrality.

They might have laughed, giggled, or dismissed, but it would have put a nice load on their systems and maybe woken them up.
posted by filtergik at 4:02 AM on December 15, 2017


Like weirdo I’m beyond words. I’ve been professionally building the internet since 1997 and I see far reaching ramifications here that far exceed the technical capabilities or limitations of anything we are discussing here.

The internet was built on people agreeing to fundamentally work with each other in a mutually beneficial style, trading and sharing bandwidth for reliability. This agreement is the foundation of the internet as we built it for the past 30+ years. And look what that agreement accomplished.

These are made via contracts and municipal lobbying. BGP allows us to create routing policies from civil and commercial law. This is powerful stuff I’m talking about. Network operators that encode into the fabric of the internet the contracts and laws we agreed upon.

We like to focus on the tech that runs the internet but really it’s the contracts and agreements we’ve made that REALLY run the internet. This decision fundamentally rewrites what I would consider THE foundational contract that established the internet as we know and use it. This has far far reaching ramifications that will reshape the world in favor of further consolidation of power and capital and honestly it feels like the reason for my entire career has been for naught.

So I don’t really know what Netflix is gonna do. I know if I were an executive there I would be looking to build my own long haul fiber and negotiate contracts in regions as best I can to ensure that ATT, Comcast and all those other fuckers can’t re-route my regional traffic to private data queues that aren’t on the internet.

It’s like. Y’all, CDN’s are great for conserving bandwidth but the tech is not gonna save anyone’s ass in this conversation. Not at all.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:05 AM on December 15, 2017 [19 favorites]


Just wanted to add, because this is my policy specialty, that nobody can expect their states or cities to be much help either. The final order added a provision that wasn't in the earlier draft that preempts cities and states from enacting their own net neutrality or "utility-type" regulations. This is a big deal, guys.

I really believe best case scenario is that the anticipated court cases keep the most egregious behavior to a minimum until we can flip Congress AND the Dems who change statute aren't too captured by industry. Let's not pretend all the Dems aren't taking tons of money and being lobbied furiously by ISPs on issues they don't really understand.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 4:17 AM on December 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


we're just "going back to the way things were"

Jesus. When I was a teenager, some twenty-mumble years ago, there were things called Freenets. They were free internet service providers, often provided by locals who were experimenting with Ethernet connections they'd wired themselves (you could do that back then), running Unix boxes (this was before Linux) and providing free dialup + a shell account to locals. You could install stuff on your shell account with many of them – that was how I got into coding. I wrote my own IRC clients.

When I was 16 I bought what I think was titled "Internet for Dummies". At the time you could wire up an ethernet connection on your own, at no more cost than supplies. The book taught you how to do that.

I never paid a cent for an internet connection before Finland in 1998. Nokia was already making smartphones, can't find a link to the history anywhere but it was a long phone with a flip-out QWERTY keyboard. We had ADSL at our Helsinki apartment.

I've had ADSL ever since and, in France, only ever paid 30 euros/month for it. Same price since 2000.

This, now, is definitely not the way things were.
posted by fraula at 5:01 AM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]


What's happening in the US on net neutrality is another massive error. I've been a cable cutter for close to 30 years. Some in the US, mostly elsewhere. Early on, that meant a lot of DVD purchases that I mostly still have. I just couldn't tenant giving money to the cable companies. So yeah, nixing net neutrality most likely leading to ISPs becoming another form of cable is just fucking wrong.

But, I want to say, right now, in a small way I'm very, very lucky. I have the NBN in Australia the way it was supposed to be deployed across the country: Fibre to the Home. I get ~97Mbps across my wireless network to external services. It's about $100 AUD a month. Of course, that's being destroyed by our own form of regressive conservative government that just couldn't see it through. They're trying to reuse old copper and coopting baseband cable infrastructure resulting in a less than ADSL+ service at an increased cost. The family don't really realise what we have. Watching whatever we want, no buffering, good quality. They think it doesn't matter so much. They'll learn the difference when they move to the outer suburbs happens.

So most future subscribers here in AU will get something less than what was good ADSL 5 years ago. I will absolutely not be surprised if net neutrality rules are relaxed here in a bizzarro world of "competition" leading to a USA'in structure here as well. My 90+ Mbps might well become irrelevant .
posted by michswiss at 5:33 AM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


There's a little preview of what a company like Netflix will do with Riot Games, the publisher of League of Legends. That's a game you play over the Internet that has some unusual network requirements; they need very low latency for small packets. Standard Internet routing doesn't serve that well.

So Riot built their own network routing. They established direct peering relationships between the top ~100 ISPs in North America that routes packets more efficiently directly to their datacenter in Chicago. It works pretty well.

The only drawback is it's super-expensive. They have to build their own private backhaul network from every major metro area to Chicago. And sign agreements with 100+ other companies to peer with them to use it. And build and administer all of it. Huge PITA.

I believe this project was mostly motivated by their network needs which weren't well served by standard routing infrastructure. But there were also some network neutrality shenanigans; about the time this project started as when ISPs were fucking with Netflix traffic. There were suggestions they were disrupting Riot Games' traffic too, particularly Time Warner in New York.

The piece of this I don't know is what the contracts between Riot Games and all their customers' ISPs look like. Given that Riot is doing all the work the ISPs should be paying them for better treatment for the customers. But then the ISPs hold customers captive, I suspect they ransom them and make Riot pay.
posted by Nelson at 6:22 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Annika Cicada: BGP is pretty fucking rad in the amount of control it gives a network operator over what they choose to route and how. “Rad” until the US government gives de facto oligarchs the power to do whatever fresh hell they want.

Hey, that sounds familiar! “Suspicious” event routes traffic for big-name sites through Russia -- Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft all affected by “intentional” BGP mishap. (Dan Goodin for Ars Technica, Dec. 13, 2017)
Traffic sent to and from Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft was briefly routed through a previously unknown Russian Internet provider Wednesday under circumstances researchers said was suspicious and intentional.

The unexplained incident involving the Internet's Border Gateway Protocol is the latest to raise troubling questions about the trust and reliability of communications sent over the global network. BGP routes large-scale amounts of traffic among Internet backbones, ISPs, and other large networks. But despite the sensitivity and amount of data it controls, BGP's security is often based on trust and word of mouth. Wednesday's event comes eight months after large chunks of network traffic belonging to MasterCard, Visa, and more than two dozen other financial services were briefly routed through a Russian government-controlled telecom, also under suspicious circumstances.

runcifex: To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing.

To preview a really cut-rate internet package of the future, look to North Korea and its 28 websites.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:33 AM on December 15, 2017 [11 favorites]


Filthy Light Thief: my current position is as Senior Security Engineering manager and my principal expertise on my team is network security engineering. And Ah. Yah, you’ve ah, kinda gotten right to the thorniest issue in the basket of bad thoughts that keeps me up at night.

There’s no easy answer there and it’s vexing as hell. The US government yanking at the primary string holding this tenuous mess together WAS NOT HELPFUL to say the least lol.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:02 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Annika Cicada -- I'm glad someone smarter than me is thinking about these things, because reading that story made my eyes pop. I'm sorry your job is all the more stressful due to international machinations that are likely well beyond your control or oversight.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


Maybe pai was the best of a bad batch but it seems like taking Mitch McConnels recommendation over literally anybody else is a bad idea. Unless he was legally bound to do so.

Look, I have my complaints about Obama trying too hard to be bipartisan, but this wasn't one of them.

As pointed out previously, Obama was bound by law. He had already appointed three Democrats and by law he couldn't appoint a fourth. Republicans selected Pai. Pai was safely twiddling his thumbs in the minority while Obama's three Democrats passed the net neutrality rule. If Clinton had won he would still be twiddling his thumbs in the minority. If you haven't figured it out yet, elections have consequences.

Obama could have refused to appoint Pai but then the FCC Commission wouldn't have had a quorum and Obama's Democratic majority on the Commission couldn't have passed the net neutrality rule who's repeal you are fussing about now.

So cut the bullshit. The Pai appointment was not a case of Obama appeasing Republicans.
posted by JackFlash at 8:53 AM on December 15, 2017 [21 favorites]




straight : "Dude, that was a bit more "Be happy with what you do have and don't sneer at 5Mbps for Netflix. Some of us don't even have it THAT good." than anything else. Dunno, I can watch Netflix pretty much okay on my 3Mbps.

Telling people to be grateful for their 5Mbps is not a very good strategy for ever getting the affordable speed in your area faster than 3Mbps. You should be encouraging everyone to complain loudly about the inadequacy of 40Mbps.
"

I have to the point that pretty much everyone genteelly ignores me or asks me to stop. And that 3Mbps and a VoIP phone costs me over $80 a month.
posted by Samizdata at 1:05 PM on December 15, 2017


Well, this clinches it. Fuck you, Verizon, no more money from me ever again. *cancels cell account, kills off 15 year old cell number*

And fuck you, Ajit Pai, you smarmy bootlick.
posted by loquacious at 5:04 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


loquacious : "Well, this clinches it. Fuck you, Verizon, no more money from me ever again. *cancels cell account, kills off 15 year old cell number*

And fuck you, Ajit Pai, you smarmy bootlick.
"

Said quite eponysterically. And heartily agreed with. If I ever had an account with Verizon. Get another service and port that number before you cancel though...
posted by Samizdata at 7:24 PM on December 15, 2017


[feels further horror if they fuck with his TeamViewer sessions for family tech support]
posted by Samizdata at 7:25 PM on December 15, 2017


Get another service and port that number before you cancel though...

Nah, I've ported this number a few times, and I've been wanting a new one anyway. The only calls I get on it any more are spam/telemarketing bullshit. Most of my inbound calling already goes through Google Voice anyway, since it catches SMS messages even if I'm off grid. And, well, I can read my voicemails.

But I'm serious about Verizon and Comcast never getting a dime directly from me ever again. I'm also one of those frontline friend/family tech support nerds, and I'm the one they ask for for help for buying things like internet service.

They are now dead to me. I have the luxury to choose, and I'm choosing. I'm choosing "fuck you, you fucking fuckers."

And I'm capable of making alternatives happen for them come hell or high water, even if it means load balancing a bank of 4G hotspots or WiMax modems for someone's home internet service.
posted by loquacious at 9:22 PM on December 15, 2017 [3 favorites]




I really think the advocates of network neutrality should have done more to educate people about the end to end principle, and get them riled up about it as the Internet equivalent of the rights of freedom of movement and free association.

And I think more could've been done to point out to consumers they're already paying for internet access at whatever speeds they've contracted.

Is there still regulation in the DSL world that forces the incumbent copper owner to provide local loops for competing ISPs?
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:34 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


Mackenzie Astin wants to know why his mother was posting pro-repeal comments more than a year after her death.
Hey, @AjitPaiFCC, today my mom would have turned 71. But she didn't. Because she died in March of 2016. Can you please take the time to explain to me how she made three separate comments in support of ending #NetNeutrality more than a year after she died?

cc: @SeanAstin
(Screenshots of comments in tweet.)
posted by Surely This at 6:42 AM on December 16, 2017 [11 favorites]


And I'm capable of making alternatives happen for them come hell or high water, even if it means load balancing a bank of 4G hotspots or WiMax modems for someone's home internet service.

unless you're buying fiber service directly from a backbone provider, you're still going to be giving money to companies that supported this repeal.
posted by indubitable at 7:10 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


snuffleupagus: "I really think the advocates of network neutrality should have done more to educate people about the end to end principle, and get them riled up about it as the Internet equivalent of the rights of freedom of movement and free association."

Remember Free Speech Zones? Constitution free zones? It pains me to say it but most people don't really care about that sort of thing even when it's something physical you can point to and not some abstract theory on how computer networking should work.
posted by Mitheral at 7:16 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed this hot take:
Rogue One is actually about internet freedom
posted by Catblack at 9:02 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


unless you're buying fiber service directly from a backbone provider, you're still going to be giving money to companies that supported this repeal.

I know, and I have ordered fiber directly from backbone providers for small business and non-profits. Sure, my options are much more limited for residential service, and I'll do what I can when presented with the opportunity to steer them towards an independent ISP solution.

Often when I've done this kind of freelance friends/family network support, money isn't the issue for them. Finding a good holistic solution that integrates well with the house tends to be a higher priority, and those metrics tend to include privacy and not giving money to assholes.

I don't do this often, but its often enough that I've done it twice in the last year without really even putting myself out there as available for IT work.

And the point is is that my decision-making powers extend beyond my own personal purchasing dollars.

It's small ammunition, but I'll take it.
posted by loquacious at 1:05 PM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


It pains me to say it but most people don't really care about that sort of thing even when it's something physical you can point to and not some abstract theory on how computer networking should work.

Thing is, for better or worse, people's internet access is probably more important to them than meatspace civil rights issue like designated "protest zones" are. (Arguably, it's more important for politics too.) Because it's also their entertainment, connection to friends and family, necessary for business, and at this point connected to a bunch of shit in their homes and on their persons.

I could bang on for a while, but instead I'll point to the popular reaction against the internet censorship and/or anti-crypto bills that were tried a few times. People took those issues more personally, even though on a network level they get at similar issues (at least in part).

The loss of network neutrality threatens conduct by ISPs and telecoms that offends people across the political spectrum (sometimes for differing reasons). And so the emphasis should have been on the loss of the personal freedom to do what and go where you please on the Internet once you've paid your $70 for the month, which really ought to be enough, not how unfair zero-rating ISP affiliates is to Netflix and the Next Google That Will Never Happen Now.

That's also true, but the threat to innovation and competition in the tech and media landscape is not as compelling to most people as being surveilled and shook down by an industry that's already overcharging them for largely crappy connections and terrible customer service.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:05 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


The idea of the internet as an unlimited channel was at one time openly seen as disruptive and offensive to telco and cable providers who make their profits on manufactured scarcity. Now I think those large cable and telco operators know they need to hide their offense at the very idea of an internet being legally allowed to exist.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Reddit is freaking out over this. The bitter schadenfreude I feel is my only comfort after this decision, given its users were overwhelmingly direct or indirect supporters of Trump.
posted by schroedinger at 4:25 PM on December 17, 2017


Reddit has been a center of net neutrality activism for years now. Also your assessment of "overwhelmingly supporters of Trump" is nonsense.
posted by Nelson at 4:52 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Reddit has been freaking out about NN continuously since the first attempts at repealing it. Reddit is not overwhelmingly pro-Trump. There's an incredibly vocal minority, and a ton of bots or non-genuine actors.

I will acknowledge that for better or worse Reddit was very anti-Hillary, which didn't help, but was also very much pro-Sanders, again for better or worse.

When you get away from the default subs and popular brigading grounds (mainly news subreddits, local regional/city subreddits) - there's been a lot of pushback against Trump supporters long before he was ever elected.

Part of the problem reddit is the system architecture rewarding squatters and early adopters with no recourse to vote out moderation by users. Reddit's initial philosophy to this was anarchic - IE, users were always free to start new subreddits.

Which, yeah, you run into namespace problems, promotion and search index issues if someone searches for "CityName" for a subreddit and can't find the actual active subreddit without shitty mods.

Which is a thing that has happened over the past few years especially with local regional subreddits where bad moderation has caused a number of city/regional subs to revolt and start new subs or demand resignations from existing mods - often with too little effect and too much disruption.

Another problem is that reddit is really easily trolled, sockpuppetted and botted.
posted by loquacious at 4:59 PM on December 17, 2017


Anyway, I came here to post a link from Reddit:

A user has found an FCC comment against net neutrality apparently by Barack Obama himself.

Here's the direct FCC comment database link.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. FCC?
posted by loquacious at 5:02 PM on December 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


Someone faking a celebrity's name in the FCC comments is no big surprise; I don't think they were authenticating comments in any way. It's the millions of fake comments and the FCC's use of them to make its unpopular case that's the fraud and scandal.
posted by Nelson at 5:17 PM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


It pains me to say it but most people don't really care about that sort of thing even when it's something physical you can point to and not some abstract theory on how computer networking should work.

I think that's reversed. Quite a few people (I don't know if it's really a majority so I'm not comfortable saying "most") may not care too much about "free speech zones" because they know, deep down, that they are unlikely to ever be out there protesting on the street; for all the headlines that it makes, there is a large segment of the American population that doesn't do street protests, probably never will, and probably sees them as slightly inherently suspect if you dug into it a bit.

But a lot of those same people like the hell out of the Internet, and they're perfectly happy to write emails or make phone calls or maybe even spend money on something that they think could realistically affect them in a material way.

As long as Netflix, Google, etc. keep making the case for why NN is a good thing, and the telco companies keep doing telco-company shit and hanging out with Ajit Pai and the rest of the Incompetent Fascists Club, I don't think this is going to go away. There is a risk of frog-boiling, to be sure, but what the telcos want to do is extract monopoly rents, and there's no easy way for them to do that without people noticing—their bills are going to go up, either on the Netflix end or the ISP/telco service end.

And it's not like Netflix or Google are just going to knuckle under and agree to increase rates by five or ten bucks a month, or whatever the telcos would like, and silently add it into users' bills—if they really get squeezed, they're going to pass it on with a screaming, boldface, black-box message calling it out as a "Net Neutrality Repeal Extortion Charge", and they have a lot of marketing people who they can put on the task of writing that for maximum effect. They're the Hearst Newspapers in this particular drama—the ones who are buying their proverbial ink by the barrel.

TBH, the real threat is zero-rating. The ISPs are going to run into a shitload of opposition if they try to increase rates by straightforward arm-twisting, either on the retail (last-mile) or wholesale (peering/transit) level, because at the end of the day that's going to trickle down, like the economic diarrhea it is, onto voters. But if an ISP decides to zero-rate traffic for a particular service or group of services, it might not get perceived as a swindle or a rate increase.

E.g. T-Mobile currently offers unlimited music streaming on its 4G data plans, and I know quite a few people who think that's pretty great. The fact that it makes a hypothetical new startup music service almost impossible to bring to market is a very abstract threat. That's hard to get people upset about, because by definition if they're taking advantage of the zero-rating, they're already using one or more streaming services, so they have a vested interest in it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:19 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


“There will be a [Senate] vote” to reinstate net neutrality, Schumer says -- Congress could block net neutrality repeal, but Democrats face tough odds. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica)
US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he will force a vote on a bill that would reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules.

Legislation to reverse the repeal "doesn’t need the support of the majority leader," Schumer said during a press conference Friday, according to The Hill. "We can bring it to the floor and force a vote. So, there will be a vote to repeal the rule that the FCC passed."

Just a simple majority needed
But there are long odds for Democrats. Maybe there can be enough flips in the Senate to move it forward, but the House? Maybe if it passes the Senate and that gets enough publicity the House will follow, but that's doubtful. And then there's Donald.... At least we can do something after the 2018 elections, right? How long will those lawsuits hold back this change?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:27 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


More grim news: Koch Brothers Are Cities' New Obstacle to Building Broadband (Susan Crawford for Wired, Dec. 16, 2017)
At the end of the day, the Koch-funded campaign [to block Louisville, Kentucky's "middle mile" fiber network designed to connect the state’s 120 counties and provide cheaper connectivity for municipal buildings] backfired. It helped fire up some council members who might not have understood the importance of city fiber; once they knew the Koch brothers were against it, the city's plan got their attention. "That felt pretty good," [Grace Simrall, Louisville's chief of civic innovation] says.

If the Koch brothers were willing to throw money at opposing an incremental, cheap effort to string fiber alongside an existing state network plan, just imagine what they'll be capable of around more ambitious local efforts. There is a major onslaught looming.

Simrall doesn't think the Kochs actually care about fiber. "It's all their way of opposing particular municipal or state efforts," Simrall says.
State's rights, until it conflicts with national corporate gains.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:32 AM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]




The report was completed back in August but only released because of FOIA request the day after the vote. I hope that report gets brought up in any House or Senate debate over proposed net neutrality enshrining bills, and in the lawsuits against Pai.

Meanwhile: Killing Net Neutrality Has Brought On a New Call for Public Broadband (Zaid Jilani for The Intercept, December 15 2017)
[Seattle’s Socialist Alternative Council Member Kshama Sawant] wants her city to simply build its own broadband network to compete with the private providers, guaranteeing a free flow of unthrottled information.

It may sound radical but it’s not unheard of. Today, around 185 communities in the United States offer some form of public broadband service. Because these services are controlled by public entities, they are also accountable to the public — a perk that anybody who has tried to get a broadband company on the phone can appreciate. (In November, residents of Fort Collins, Colorado, rejected an industry fear-mongering attempt and voted to authorize the creation of a citywide broadband network.)
I hope that this is another instance of the GOP pushing too hard against the will of the people, and the people shoving back really hard.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:12 PM on December 18, 2017 [8 favorites]


Kadin2048:
T-Mobile currently offers unlimited music streaming on its 4G data plans, and I know quite a few people who think that's pretty great. The fact that it makes a hypothetical new startup music service almost impossible to bring to market is a very abstract threat.
This is incomplete in an interesting way: T-Mobile’s plan has open signups so another startup could just register with them following the instructions, and quite a few services I’ve never heard of have done so. Compared to all of the other costs a startup in that heavily-encumbered space would have, that’s the least of their worries.

What seems more interesting to me are two questions: if people get used to this idea, when do the bigger carriers copy it without that detail and respond to criticism by claiming to be doing the same thing? Secondly, how much does this skew the market in similar but distinct areas? If a podcast service, live music, or non-streaming music locker can’t get the same pricing that makes their business worse without any direct moves.
posted by adamsc at 3:13 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Grither: is something like nycmesh.net a viable alternative to ISPs?

yes we are
posted by bhnyc at 8:44 PM on December 19, 2017


Artw: Ajit Pai just handed Republicans a bag of shit

US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) says "thanks, but hold my beer." GOP net neutrality bill would allow paid fast lanes and preempt state laws -- FCC would be permanently barred from using Title II authority over broadband. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica)
A Republican lawmaker is proposing a net neutrality law that would ban blocking and throttling, but the bill would allow ISPs to create paid fast lanes and prohibit state governments from enacting their own net neutrality laws. The bill would also prohibit the FCC from imposing any type of common carrier regulations on broadband providers.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) announced the "Open Internet Preservation Act" in a video posted to Twitter.

"We can do this now that [FCC] Chairman [Ajit] Pai has successfully done his job of getting the net neutrality rules off the books," said Blackburn, who is chairperson of a congressional telecommunications subcommittee.
...
The bill text is available here (PDF). It would amend the Communications Act "to prohibit blocking of lawful content, applications, services, and non-harmful devices, [and] to prohibit impairment or degradation of lawful Internet traffic."

Unlike the net neutrality rules repealed by Pai's FCC last week, the bill would not prohibit ISPs from charging websites or online services for prioritization.

Blackburn's bill would define broadband Internet access as an "information service," preventing the FCC from ever regulating home and mobile Internet providers as common carriers. This prohibition would prevent the reinstatement of numerous consumer protections besides the net neutrality rules.

State governments would also be limited in their ability to regulate, as Blackburn's bill would preempt states from imposing "any law, rule, regulation, duty, requirement, standard, or other provision" related to net neutrality.
Emphasis mine, because what. the. fuck.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:39 AM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Doesn't classifying them as information services rather than common carriers introduce content liabilities? Perhaps that's the goal, to introduce the "Playboy magazines are in the back behind the curtain" thing to the internet?
posted by rhizome at 12:13 PM on December 20, 2017


You don't need your ISP to get you throttled: Apple really is intentionally slowing down older iPhones
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:17 PM on December 20, 2017


That sounds like an entirely different thing and, taken at face value at least, possibly benign?
posted by Artw at 10:03 PM on December 20, 2017


prohibit the FCC from imposing any type of common carrier regulations on broadband providers

It really is amazing how many companies and legislators forget that "common carrier" status was for the protection of the ISPs as well as the individual customers.

If they're not common carriers, they can be sued for the content they provide. And while their immediate reaction might be, "well, then only vetted content is allowed," that means the death of the internet, including all the business activity that they really want to keep going. An ISP that doesn't host gmail is dead; an ISP that can be sued for allowing phishing and spam attacks is in very big trouble.

Last year, AT&T got out of a lawsuit for throttling bandwidth - against FTC rules - because it was a common carrier. If they're not common carriers, they're private data-delivery companies, with their rights and obligations established by their contracts with their customers - and by local, state, and federal law.

A city could pass a law that forbids data throttling, and an ISP would be in violation of that law by throttling that city's residents' data. Or a city could pass a law against distributing hate speech, and again, the ISP could be on the hook for what bounces around Facebook and Twitter.

That, of course, is ridiculous. And this kind of clusterfuck is part of why they were classified as common carriers - because classifying them as private information services made no sense. If they're providing information, they're potentially liable for the contents of that information, including any illegal content. And while mostly, that gets ignored (because wow is that stupid), the RIAA would love to sue AT&T or Verizon for copyright infringement, instead of John Q. College Student, for torrenting a few music tracks.

Sure, they'll have a user contract that says "you indemnify us for any wrongdoing related to your account." But if the user fails to do do that, that's a breach of contract they can sue the user for - it doesn't actually help them in court against the RIAA. You can't hand a judge a contract that says, "look, this says he agreed that it's all his fault." (Well, you can, but very few of them will accept it.) And it especially doesn't apply to criminal activity; there is no "you'll take the fall for me" contract.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:43 PM on December 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Bucking Trump’s FCC, New York introduces its own net neutrality bill (Sean Captain for Fast Company, Dec. 19, 2017)
Since the FCC voted last week to abolish net neutrality regulations, California, Washington, and New York State have vowed to take up the cause. New York is one of the first out the gate. State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy—a Democrat whose district includes the capital, Albany—has drafted a short piece of legislation to introduce this week. It requires the state government, state agencies, and local governments (including New York City) to do business only with ISPs that adhere to net neutrality principles of no blocking or slowing down access to any legal content. Nor can they allow paid prioritization, or offer content providers premium-priced “fast lanes” for better service.

“If you are going to be a contractor and want to work with New York, then you must meet the principles,” Fahy tells Fast Company. She hopes that this approach will get around a roadblock known as preemption. The Constitution generally gives the federal government final authority over commercial activities that cross state lines. But while New York can’t require ISPs to uphold net neutrality, it can use its “power of the purse” to punish ISPs that don’t.

“There’s a decent amount of precedent for saying, if you want a state contract, you have to meet such and such requirements,” she says, noting construction contracts contingent on certain labor practices or the use of U.S.-made steel.

But New York State isn’t quite united. Brad Hoylman, the Democrat state senator representing Manhattan, has also pledged legislation, but the two lawmakers are not currently coordinating. Fahy’s legislative aide, Jake Egloff, says her office is now talking with “a few Senators” about signing on to a joint bill.
Emphasis original. The text of the bill is embedded in that article, and available on Scribd.

Found via Ars Technica, which also cites efforts in other states, including Washington (PDF, house bill text) and California (tweet), and notes that various states are planning to sue the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:36 AM on December 21 [4 favorites]


Last year, AT&T got out of a lawsuit for throttling bandwidth - against FTC rules - because it was a common carrier. If they're not common carriers, they're private data-delivery companies, with their rights and obligations established by their contracts with their customers - and by local, state, and federal law.

A city could pass a law that forbids data throttling, and an ISP would be in violation of that law by throttling that city's residents' data. Or a city could pass a law against distributing hate speech, and again, the ISP could be on the hook for what bounces around Facebook and Twitter.



That won't happen, you'll get Federal regulation and state or local interference will be struck down as unduly burdening interstate commerce under the dormant commerce clause and conflicting with Federal law under the supremacy clause. That ISP services are reclassified as information services won't change their importance to interstate commerce, or the plain intent of Federal laws and regulations to "fully occupy the field." (And whether or not this seems like a good thing tends to depend on who's in charge of the regulators and/or Capitol Hill vs. the state legislatures. We wanted this preemption under Obama, while we had the neutrality regulation we've lost.)

And on the content stuff, you still have CDA sec. 230.

I wouldn't be surprised to see telcos and cablecos trying to have their cake and eat it too, claiming to be common carriers in terms of their physical networks (still regulated by the FCC, and in states by the PUC or equivalent) and information service providers in terms of their ISP services.

I suppose there might even be some corporate re-shuffling to effectuate that if it turns out to be advantageous.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:36 AM on December 21 [2 favorites]


Telcos have kind of done that already. The divestiture divvied them up into regulated (common carrier) and unregulated businesses, so they were supposed to treat basic phone service differently than their other lines of business and not mingle them. They, of course, didn't comply very well and got busted and fined a lot, but that was the idea. At the time, it was roughly POTS, or plain old telephone service, and PANS, pretty advanced new services, the latter of which included DSL. But the physical last mile was pretty much regulated. (Lots of waffle words there because that's a oversimplified.)

So all that whining about based on the premise that it would be impossible to comply with basic consumer protections for SOME of their business and not the other is, um, disingenuous. Yes, I will call it disingenuous. They're supposed to know how to do this shit already.

AND the idea of treating phone service as common carrier was AT&T's idea in the first place, back in I think it was 1913, under the spectre of an antitrust case, although the status wasn't finalized until later. It was their common carrier status that allowed them to build their networks in their first place.

That, and also all the public funds and easements and other privileges that went along with it.

They're straight up robber barons.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:11 AM on December 21 [6 favorites]


LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

TLDR: ROFLCOPTER.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:15 PM on December 21 [4 favorites]


In other words: we want to be the bully in negotiations with others without interference from the FCC as the internet police, but when others bully us, we want the FCC to be the internet police.

Fuck 'em. (Except, we as the users of services, are also fucked with them.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:41 AM on December 27 [2 favorites]


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