back to article New FCC headman brandishes net neutrality carrot and stick

Emulating the middle-of-the-road manner of the president who appointed him, new US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler says that under his direction the Commission will take a hands-off approach to regulation, but will be poised to intervene when it sees telecom corporations acting against the best …


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  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    I'll believe this guy is anything other than an industry plant when he makes artificial scarcity of bandwidth or "data caps" legal. The network was designed for contention. Not to sit 80% idle because noone can afford to use the capacity in play.

    Innovation requires investment. Not rent seeking.

    1. Jason Terando


      "legal" => "illegal"?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Type

        D'oh! Yes, Jason, you correctly pointed out my blunder of typing and failed braining. +1 to you, and have a beer.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The usual bullshit to becalm those afraid of the Satanic Mills of Manchester.

    "This is not a laissez-faire, back-off kind of a thing,"

    I'm sure it isn't. License, regulations, patents, directives, temporary grant of monopolies, not to mention taxes and subsidies.

    Nope, no "laissez faire" here. It would be a good idea to try it though.

    But he's from state, a good part of which is occupied in destroying the Net by incontinent hoovering, so what's new.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: The usual bullshit to becalm those afraid of the Satanic Mills of Manchester.

      Uh...the dude is a former lobbyist for the telecoms industry. He's muchos big time capitalist.

      Also: if you want a country free of government intervention, where (litterally) cut-throat capitalism reigns and there are no rules to restrain commerce, try Somalia.

      1. noominy.noom

        Re: The usual bullshit to becalm those afraid of the Satanic Mills of Manchester.

        Not a capitalist at all. A monopolist. Or at least a wanna be monopolist. Government regulation/protectionism is great when it supports the company/industry he is working for.

  3. Mikel

    The article

    The article could use a mention of the man's prior work experience, as it is relevant to the subject.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The FCC headman, of course, is not to be confused under any circumstances with the FCC headsman, who is definitely not a guy you want to mess around with.

  5. btrower

    Do any of these guys believe their own bullshit?

    We should be scrambling to produce the highest capacity most fault tolerant low-latency bandwidth we can manage everywhere and putting in place laws to protect that infrastructure *and* the traffic that runs on it.

    I have no doubt that the people in charge are pretty clueless, but it is willful cluelessness. Until we have people with a real desire to do the right thing *and* a clue, we are screwed.

    Secure, low-latency, high-bandwidth access to the Internet backbone should be ubiquitous to the point that everything keeps a live connection at all times. In Canada, a former leader in telecommunications, we have all sorts of places where internet connections are measured in kilobits. That is way wrong.

    The more you know about networks and security the more you realize that the entire industry, especially 'watch-dogs' charged with oversight, is rotten to the very core.

    EM Spectrum and physical right-of-ways were either improperly obtained or have already been paid for by the public many times over. It should all be seized back and configured properly as an essential service. The entirety of the telecommunications community is predicated on a model that *requires* scarcity and they have done their damnedest to throttle and cripple bandwidth at every turn. They are the poorest of custodians for what is now an essential service and they need to be removed.

    There is no reason we can't have 1Gbps bandwidth just about everywhere and 10-100Gbps and beyond within easy reach in metropolitan areas.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: There is no reason we can't have

      I think there are plenty of reasons. Historical limitations, no magic wand, and it's not because Ferrari exists that everyone has one.

      Yes, it all boils down to money, namely who foots the bill.

      No reason not to have 1Gbps ? How about changing all copper to fiber ? That's a heavy cost right there. Then there's changing all the switches everywhere with ones that can handle the new load. I think that won't be a small cost either - we're not talking about a new 4-port home box, we're talking about heavy-duty industrial switches. Not the same cost. The company that goes and pays for all that needs to pay for other things as well, and needs to be sure to recoup the costs as quick as possible or go down because of the strain. Municipalities aren't rushing to pay for it either, they have other problems to deal with.

      Last, but far from least, if all the above was done, you only have a thousand-fold increase in the amount of traffic, not to mention everyone and his dog piling in for access rights. That's another pretty nightmare to manage effectively.

      Gigabit Internet for consumers will happen - in its own sweet time.

      As for the telecomms industry, their model was based on one copper line for analogue phone connections, which they implemented across the country. That was already a pretty impressive task, and they've been milking it for years. Then, all of a sudden came this Internet thing, requiring much higher quality connections, and throwing their entire backend into one godawful mess.

      I have no intention of defending the telecomms industry with rabid support, but accusing them of having imposed artificial scarcity just for the fun of it seems a bit much. They have an entire network that was created to do one thing, and is now tasked with doing something entirely different. There will be adaptation problems, that is inevitable.

      Now I do feel that they could adapt a bit quicker, no problem there. But asking them to change everything overnight is not realistic either.

      1. cortland

        Re: There is no reason we can't have

        Having spent a few years in a telecom firm (Alcatel USA nee DSC Communications) I can say that one reason things don't move more quickly in that industry has been the mass of legacy equipment. Now, of course, we consumers are expected to replace computers every three, five or ten years because new operating systems or new features won't run on the old ones; there, we had to scramble to replace older 8-bit controller IC's when device fabricators stopped making them. Line cards were expected to last a LONG time -- and did.

        I still have my 1984 Tandy Model 100 laptop, 16K (upgraded to 32K) of available memory, a blazing fast 2 MHz Z80, eight lines of 40 characters display and a (gasp) built in modem.

        It still works. Can I get The Reg in ASCII?

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