They can lose 99 votes, but only have to win one to get what they want.
They got it, now we're screwed. Democracy just slipped a little closer to oblivion.
Despite the clearly stated and serious concerns of a broad cross-section of industry and society, on Thursday morning a mocking, preening excuse of a regulatory chairman tore down US rules that ensured content over the internet was kept free from manipulation by companies that sell access to the global network. As expected, it …
People often don't realize just how much of the US system was modeled on Ancient Rome.
Specifically how much power (and responsibility) is placed in the hands of individuals.
This requires a very high standard of individual to hold those posts otherwise the system is basically owned by whoever puts their man into the post.
And in this case it's Big Cable/Telco.
The FCC is weak compared to the FTC and is not the correct agency to enforce anti-trust laws. "The antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power. be. " This is the domain of the FTC.
In the short run, high speed access prices may increase, but excess profits lead to competition, lower prices, and better service in the long run. If it does not, these companies can get busted by the FTC, which can break them up (ma Bell - AT&T). The FCC does not have that kind of power. Maybe that is why some of these large companies prefer FCC control?
Analog to Digital television conversion a few years ago freed up broadcast frequencies. Free markets with high speed will lead to a lot of innovation, and I expect wireless high speed will be the future, not coax cable television. Not very long ago the experts said that the poor voice quality of VoIP would keep it from ever being a threat to the telephone companies. LOL My second (free) phone line on my cell is a google phone number.
Truly Free Markets will always beat price controls in the long run. The most recent example is Amazon Alex devices and Google Home. If the FCC told Amazon that is must price it's new "communications device" the Dot at $40 last year instead of $50, Amazon may have cancelled it all together.
But at $50, Google saw it could make a profit for its Google Home, and even cut the price to $29, the voice competition is on.
Amazon cut its price and actually improved the Alexa functionality at the lower price.
Free up high speed streaming and let the competition begin!
"Truly Free Markets will always beat price controls in the long run."
Maybe so, but that's irrelevant to internet connectivity -- there is no free market there. That's the whole problem. Allowing ISPs to more completely abuse their customers wont' change that.
Business and industry has learned long ago there is far more profit in buying the system, corrupting the system, than competing or allowing free markets. I wonder about the sincerity of anyone making any references to "free markets" or democracy.
When was the last time any major Western democracy put the needs and rights of citizens and their dreams of increased standards of living before that of profits for the few? For those that think free markets and democracy has been the case consider the increase in productivity vs the increase of standards of living over the last several decades. Democracy is not consulting or listening and then doing as paid. Even the pretense of consulting has been lost in most Western Federal Democracies.
IMO anyone suggesting there are free markets or democracies are trying to be sarcastic or are advancing damaging and deceptive political ideologies. Does anyone other than the most superficial of us think we have any reasonable form of democracy or capitalism? Even after 2008? Not likely. Democracy and free markets sounds great, maybe we should try them, they seemed to have worked for some past generations.
The big problem with those that highfrive this decision as a win for competition, is that most US households only have access to one or two ISPs. So if Comcast decides to inflate their prices unrealistically, you have someone like ATT to turn to. And if you don't think that once one big player jacks up their prices, the other won't follow, then you live in fantasy land.
How did we ever manage to survive up until just two years ago, when Net Neutrality finally, at last, was declared law by the FCC? Talk about last second saves! Who cares that their right to do so was very hazy, the important thing is they did it by ghod, and saved us all from a horrible end!
But now the barbarians are not just at the gate but past it, and ravishing our young innocent daughters! Oh the humanity!
We survived, John, because under the previous administration (you know, the one that you continuously put down) the Big Telco/Cable Cabal knew they couldn't get away with attempts to monopolize the Interwebz. Under the Lügenführer administration, they have been explicitly told that, for the low, low cost of a few greased palms, they can do whatever the fuck they want, without even the slightest hint of resistance.
But what about during the years before the Obama administration? Online services expanded significantly during that period (2001-2009) - it's when most people started getting broadband access, NetFlix started streaming services, Amazon moved past being just books, BitTorrent got started, the list goes on. With no laws in place, and in a lot of cases no options for consumers.
I'm not trying to say that what happened today is good (it's not), but I also don't think it's the end of the internet. The US political system is rocking back and forth harder and harder (the whole "if they like it I'm against it" paradigm), and this is just one more example of it. The good news is that people are seeing it, and are getting tired of it, and hopefully won't keep tolerating it. So I hope there will be some changes in how both parties behave in the next cycle.
"In the years before? No-onBUFFERINGe remembBUFFERINGers tha"
Sure I do. Sharing 10Mbps with the whole neighborhood stank, especially with someone pulling everything they could off of Usenet/Napster/BearShare/BitTorrent. Or using that 512Kbps DSL line - 9x faster than 56K dialup, but at least it was dedicated to just you!
Were you seeing a lot of BUFFERING 2 years ago? Nope. Did you see a lot last year? Nope. Do I think ending government mandated net neutrality is going to break the internet? Nope.
I am disgusted by how everything is now so partisan that any ideas are going to be judged based on who had them and not on their merits.
But what about during the years before the Obama administration? Online services expanded significantly
The real problem shows up when the people who own the lines going into your house have control over the content you want to access. If you have little or no choice in who that line provider is, then Freedom of Choice doesn't exist.
The real solution here would be to bar the actual line providers from also being content providers. Which, interestingly enough, by classifying them as Common Carriers pretty much did.
Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. The public would have gone berserk and likely burned AT&T to the ground. This is the type of thing that Pai's decision today will allow with regards to the Internet.
"Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. The public would have gone berserk and likely burned AT&T to the ground. This is the type of thing that Pai's decision today will allow with regards to the Internet."
That's a great example - I believe that the people will go berserk if the ISPs start messing with access to sites or services. And I have no doubt that people will be watching very closely for it to happen, too. And the outcry will be much more powerful of a deterrent than any slap on the wrist the government would issue.
I'm much more concerned over HOW the decision was made, and how partisan the whole process was. And how partisan everything is becoming these days. It doesn't seem like we aren't too far away from where a Republican suffering a heart attack would reject care from a EMT who is a Democrat, or a Democrat would refuse to drive on a road named for a Republican.
What did you expect when the last administration told Republicans they would sit in the back of the bus if they wanted to participate in crafting new legislation? A stake was driven through bipartisanship seven years ago. If the Democrats had won, the UK would be at the rear of the queue for a trade agreement because of Brexit. Obama and his followers did not play well with those who did not agree with their ideas.
"A stake was driven through bipartisanship seven years ago."
Christ on a bike, do you actually *believe* this garbage? The Obama FCC ran like...a regulator should. They ran a public comment period, and actually read the comments. They ran public meetings. They listened to ISPs...*and* other tech companies, *and* subject matter experts. They debated their proposals in good faith, and actually modified them (the final NN rules contained several compromises from the initial proposal).
By comparison, Pai decided what he was going to do before he ever got the job, doesn't consult anyone but ISPs, makes *video skits with ISP executives*, trolls anyone who disagrees with him, and explicitly states that his FCC ignores public feedback.
It doesn't seem like we aren't too far away from where a Republican suffering a heart attack would reject care from a EMT who is a Democrat, or a Democrat would refuse to drive on a road named for a Republican.
Not too long ago, in the last Republican administration, a group of history-rewriting zealots wanted to put Ronald McDonald Reagan's sorry puss on the dime, replacing FDR's puss. I decided that I would reject any dime given in change that had the visage of America's First Acting President on it.
So, guilty as charged, then?
"Not too long ago, in the last Republican administration, a group of history-rewriting zealots wanted to put Ronald McDonald Reagan's sorry puss on the dime, replacing FDR's puss. I decided that I would reject any dime given in change that had the visage of America's First Acting President on it.
So, guilty as charged, then?"
No, that's just making things inconvenient for yourself - two nickels are the same as a dime, just not quite as convenient. Even 10 pennies isn't a big difference. But avoiding the most efficient route (wasting time and money), or risking life and limb, falls under the "cutting off your nose to spite your face" category of thinking.
>> "Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. The public would have gone berserk and likely burned AT&T to the ground. This is the type of thing that Pai's decision today will allow with regards to the Internet."
>That's a great example - I believe that the people will go berserk if the ISPs start messing with access to sites or services. And I have no doubt that people will be watching very closely for it to happen, too. And the outcry will be much more powerful of a deterrent than any slap on the wrist the government would issue.
The only issue is that of 'what good does going berserk do?'
As I understand it there is negligible competition in last mile broadband services in large parts of the US.
So as a USian you have the choice of broadband with all your Netflix requests rerouted to Prime, or not having an internet connection...
"... Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut. ..."
There is a precedent:
In 1888, Almon Brown Strowger, a Kansas City undertaker, discovered that one of the operators at the local, manual telephone exchange was diverting callers who asked for "an undertaker" to her husband (a rival undertaker).
His response was to invent the Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange.
The first automate telephone switch was invented because the switchboard operator in a small town was married to an undertaker. Whenever someone died (not uncommonly at home back then), someone would ring the operator and say, "Connect me up to an undertaker." She always put the call through to her husband. The inventer of the switch was his competitor, another undertaker.
There was an interesting reason for AT&T not being broken up during the cold war. Theirr importance in the US C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence) and COG (continuity of government) was vital. The defence department amongst others lobbied strongly not to break up the company.
[Edit] I see a couple of people mentioned undertakes before me. I'll leave this post up anyway.
@Bob Dole (tm)
Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut.
We don't have to imagine because something very much like that happened back in the very early days of POTS.
Back in the 1880s, an undertaker named Strowger became convinced that one of the operators of the completely manual telephone exchange was routeing calls meant for him to another undertaker (who happened to be her husband). So he invented the automatic telephone exchange.
These days a similar thing could all be done in the routeing s/w of the exchange, which is why regulations exist to prevent that happening. They're enforced by the FCC.
These days a similar thing could be done with internet routeing, and yesterday we lost the regulations to prevent that happening. They're no longer enforced by Eejit Pie.
Those who cannot remember the past are forever condemned to vote Republican. It's never worked in their interests before (I'm assuming the richest 0.1% of the planet are not amongst El Reg's readership) but that doesn't stop them believing the ideology.
To Bombastic bob and Big John, I make the following offer: buy me lots of expensive champagne and I'll give you a lesson in "trickle down." Not that it would teach you anything, because Republicans have already given you this lesson time and time again. Hint: even Bush-the-slightly-smarter condemned trickle down as "voodoo economics" but Bush-the-moron did it anyway.
May I be the 93rd person to point out ...
"Imagine if in the plain old telephone days that AT&T owned a share of Pizza Hut. They easily could have blocked all phone calls going to Dominos or even rerouted them to Pizza Hut."
Funnily enough, it was almost exactly that scenario that led to autoamtion of telephone exchanges in the first place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strowger_switch
Amazing how what goes around comes around (with maybe a few extra clicks and beeps)
Also during that time, there hadn't been a major concentration of ownership of media creation and delivery companies. And the end of that period is *precisely* when ISPs started fucking around with people's traffic - there are many good articles detailing this, if you're actually interested in facts - which is precisely where the whole concept of net neutrality originated: we only had to define it, give it a name and start pushing for it to be public policy *when ISPs started fucking with it*. Before that, there was no need.
> Next question?
What's the point of arguing with BJ? I'm asking this seriously. OK, as serious as I can be on this board.
It's not like you can change BJ's views with facts.
The more facts you throw at BJ, the more he'll retreat in his own imaginary world of constant oppression that must be countered by canned propaganda slogans, presented as Alternative Facts, and prepared for public release by Kellyanne Conway & Co.
In that mindset, Alternative Facts are just like Real Facts. Real Facts that contradict the Alternative Facts narrative are proof of oppression.
That's how Trump got elected, and that's how Ajit Pai got to be FCC Chairman.
I would never try to change BJ, I'm just trying to get him to answer a question however the questions I ask can't be answered by BJ.
It's fun because every time I ask a question and he doesn't answer it weakens his viewpoint, I'm sure he must be aware of this.
"That's how Trump got elected, and that's how Ajit Pai got to be FCC Chairman."
Actually Trump got elected because people in the USA are *SICK* *AND* *TIRED* of politicians promising one thing and delivering something completely different, particularly when it comes to domestic policy, foreign policy, immigration, and REPEALING OBAKA-CARE.
So Trump is doing what we want him to do: de-regulate, un-do Obaka's "legacy", follow the Constitution, drain the swamp, LOWER tax rates, bring business back to the USA, show STRENGTH to our enemies (like Iran and N. Korea) instead of bending over and apologizing to them, etc.. - Make America Great Again. So simple, yet so profound! And it involves CONSERVATIVE principles, not liberal stupidity.
Freedom works EVERY TIME IT IS TRIED. All gummint needs to do is keep the playing field level by preventing the situation that created the 'Robber Barons' of the late 19th and early 20th centuries [keep in mind Teddy Roosevelt was a REPUBLICAN] and let the people do what they do best. It works EVERY! TIME! IT! IS! TRIED!!!
" Trump got elected because people in the USA are *SICK* *AND* *TIRED* of politicians promising one thing and delivering something completely different, particularly when it comes to domestic policy, foreign policy, immigration, and REPEALING OBAKA-CARE."
And you think Trump is keeping any of his promises? Delusional.
Trump is lining Trumps pockets and nothing else.
"So Trump is doing what we want him to do: de-regulate"
"All gummint needs to do is keep the playing field level by preventing the situation that created the 'Robber Barons'"
Can you really not see the contradiction from one paragraph to the next? Do you want no regulation, or do you want the government to stop monopolies? AKA Regulation?
If Trump is doing what he claimed, why is he raising income take rates for the middle class, meddling with the Middle East, failed to make any lasting changes on immigration, failed to replace Obama Care and completely failed to even start planning to build a border wall (which I feel like was his #1 promise).
There is a huge difference between Trump's platform and what's he's actually doing now that he's in office. No matter how you feel about the issues, I find it really hard to read comments like this were you claim Trump has delivered on any reasonable percentage of his campaign promises. Trump ran on a platform of change, and has solidly failed to effect any of his larger promises and has only delivered on a few token promises. He said he was a man of action, and he's looking more and more like a big talker every day.
mmm freedom to starve on the streets and catch and of diseases that one wouldn't expect folk in a civilised first world country to get, because America is being ruled by money-grabbing sociopaths instead of any sense of social conscience : http://www.dw.com/en/poverty-in-us-set-to-increase-due-to-donald-trumps-policies-says-un-official/a-41819961
What kind of freedom is it when the system is so biased against you that you can't get out of poverty because employers are not paying livable wages, because government won't enforce that they do? Government is there to provide essential services and look after its citizens when in need, not happily watch them starve on the streets, Big John - or at least, that's the view in Europe. And I can tell you, here in the UK most of us are heartily sick of the over-influence of the US on UK politics. It's that sociopathic, uncaring "dollars first" attitude that has been eroding that which was best about the UK and making things worse over here.
The Tories attempts to push us towards the US model has brought us worse healthcare, worse public transport, greater homelessness, and worse unemployment. Yes, I can still recall when the Tories had the gall to lambast Labour with posters saying "one million unemployed -Labour isn;t working" - the tories would LOVE to have as few as a million unemployed nowadays! Tory policies don't benefit anyone but the already well off - as soon as poor folk are paying less taxes, rents go up, into the pockets of landlords. But as taxation has reduced, surprise, surprise, there's less money for public health services. Yet billions can be found at the drop of a hat to bail out corrupt bankers or give contracts for a slightly faster rail link between our major cities that benefits very few other than construction comany sharholders. Yet it would seem our Tories are angels compared to Americas Republicans.
Thing is, Big John, your Democrats are about on a par with what our Tories used to be - focused on capitalism, but with a social conscience. Whereas your Republicans just make nice sounding blather whislt funneling ever more money towards themselves whilst grinning and saying "woe to the weak!" amongst themselves. Trump isn't for the poor and downtrodden - he's a self-serving, multiply-bankrupt misogynist homophobic transphobic egomaniac that is set on nothing but self-aggrandisment, even at the expense of turning the USA into an international laughing-stock, even at the expense of impoverishing millions of his fellow citizens, even at the expense of destroying the democracy he is supposed to be in charge of. Parallels with Rome have been made by others, but Trump is no Caesar, except in his flagrant disregard for the existing constitution, the truth, and even reality - he is more like Caligula - mad, bad, and as all too many are finding out already, dangerous to know. Trump is more likely to break America than make it great. The barbarians aren't at the gates of the USA, they're internal - and Trump is their leader.
I see my downvote total for a single thread has finally flipped the third digit. It's good to see I'm really pissing off a lot of liberals. I know I know, I'll be judged by my enemies (sigh) but at least there's a lot of them, and that has to count for something.
Sure hope a few of them stopped to consider the root of their anger, after reflexively hitting the down arrow...
"What's the point of arguing with BJ?"
It's not arguing with him that's the point; its the aggregate of those reading the debate between you and he that's important. All it takes it for one person to have their view swayed and you have contributed to the conversation and to the debate itself.
That person doesn't have to be BJ.
"What's the point of arguing with BJ?"
You do not argue with a BJ. You receive it. Or give it. Or both. Known as 69 ya know.
On a more serious note, both the previous and the current FCC have thrown the baby with the bath water.
Imagine the following situation. CPE is virtualized - all NAT, Firewall, QoS software runs at the Service Provider edge. I as a customer get to control it the same way I control my CPE today. I get to De-prioritize GooTube, forbid F***book and prioritize my small business VPN and VOIP traffic (You can do similar things with software-controllable provide egde/BNG/CMTS too by the way).
IT IS MY F***ING DECISION FOR THE SERVICE I GET. I GET TO PRIORITIZE, DROP PRIORITY OR BAN IT. MY F*** CHOICE. Provider only provides the tools.
Same as I do today on my physical CPE. In fact, when done there it can do stuff which I cannot do on my CPE because it has access to the proper upstream Internet routing table. So for example, I as a customer can decide to ban all Chinese traffic. However, under Obama FCC rules a service like that would have been run by the SP and the SP is neither allowed to develop it or offer it as a service under the strict net neutrality provisions. I have discussed this one at length with several US SPs by the way when working on software in this area - this is a real life example.
We are now at the opposite end of the scale - the SP can do whatever the f*** they want and if they would like to redirect all traffic destined to Dominos to Pizza Hut instead there is absolutely f*** all anyone can do. Customer AGAIN has no say and customer if he wants to ban f***ing Facebook on his link cannot do it because the SP has made a deal with F***book.
In either case, the only winners are big corps. Before it was mostly F***Book, Google, Apple, etc - people who for all practical purposes owned the Obama administration. Today it is the telcos which can now operate hare-brained extortion racket schemes after greasing the necessary palms.
All in all - there is nothing wrong in non-neutral NET provided that it is the CUSTOMER, not the SP who decide what to prioritize. Unfortunately, there is no chance in hell we will ever get this. The customer did not decide before - he was force-fed what the Valley deemed good for him. The customer does not decide now - he is force-fed what New Jersey has deemed good for him.
".....That's how Trump got elected....." No, Trumpet got elected because Shrillay's team failed to understand the very basic concept of the Electoral College. And Shrillary's team and backers massively out-spent Trumpet's when it came to propaganda - sorry, I meant to say "informing the public".
The actions of the FCC Head and the Republican Members of the commission smacks of colusion with the ISPs. Perhaps Mueller should include Pai in his investigation, as well as Verizon to see exactly how much of the Russian Interference in the election was was encouraged and abetted by the ISPs to get Pai into the FCC chair via a Trump Victory.
As I stated here previously the net neutrality extermination plan was a done deal, the public comment period was tainted before it began and the millions of False Anti-net neutrality comments had to be pushed by the ISPs as anything can be tracked- except them?
Face it, this process on the face of it looks like a classic case of a public official being purchased.
The Special prosecutor may find the smoking gun he seeks simply by digging into this rather unlikely looking agency action. This is the spot where they would make major mistakes, not on Facebook, not on social media, but in the secondary effects of Trumps election. Could be an electronic trail that would point them onto the real evidence they seek. Maybe that is why Pai and the FCC are so adamant about not letting the states investigate the fake comments as the y fear that it will lead to a major breakthrough in Russia gate.
Maybe everyone should start pressing for an investigation to be initiated by Mr. Mueller in parallel with the current ongoing investigation.
They might find that a few of the ISPs knew what was going on with the Russians and actively participated in it with the goal of ending net neutrality as part of the payoff of Trump being elected.
Face it, this process on the face of it looks like a classic case of a public official being purchased.
But it isn't. Pai didn't have to be purchased by telcos as a public official; they've owned him since he was in the private sector. Verizon doesn't hire lawyers on the strength of their ethics or independence.
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