back to article California Senate OKs net neutrality law, gives FCC cold hard long stare

California has moved one step closer to passing net neutrality legislation in defiance of a decision by America's telecoms regulator, the FCC, to scrap the protections nationwide. On Monday, the state Senate approved SB460 by 21 votes to 12 along party lines (one Democrat voted against the measure; no Republicans voted in …

  1. NoneSuch
    Facepalm

    If It's So Flipping Bad?

    Why did they all vote for it..??? FFS

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

      Which "they" and what "vote" are you babbling about?

      We (TINW) are not mind readers; context is kind of important.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

      Cooperating to produce a better outcome? <snooze> Nobody makes headlines today with compromise and progress.

      Dumpster fires Fox and CNN are looking yawntastic today. Somebody needs to send some Boring weed torches to our legislators with a request that they begin discussing taxes, immigration, guns, and abortion ASAP. I hope our Internet works well enough to display the results.

    3. Phil W

      Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

      The "they" that voted for it is the Republican congress and Senate, who largely seem to do whatever big business want a regardless of it's effect on the consumer.

      1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

        Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

        "The "they" that voted for it is the Republican congress and Senate, who largely seem to do whatever big business want a regardless of it's effect on the consumer."

        As the CA House and Senate are both Democratic majorities (it's right in the article), the "they" here that voted for it would be the Democrats. And so is the Governor of CA, making it a foregone conclusion that this will pass and be signed.

        The original poster got the sides mixed up, you couldn't resist the urge to throw the partisan rocks, and the Federal Congress is still nowhere to be heard on the subject.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

      "why did they all vote for it"

      because, Demo-Rats, who _AL:WAYS_ vote in favor of more gummint control, more regulation, more "we know better how YOU must conduct YOUR life", etc. etc. etc..

      This same bunch of clowns ALSO want to ban plastic straws, fining any restaurant that gives you a straw upon request. And don't forget single-use plastic bags in grocery stores [I always say 'no bags' because the only alternative is to pay 10 cents per bag and the money goes to the grocery store unions, if I remember correctly - I miss single-use plastic bags in grocery stores!!!].

      And, don't forget the "sanctuary state" laws that PREVENT state and local law enforcement from COOPERATING with federal law enforcement with respect to the immigration status of anyone suspected of committing a crime. That's right, if an illegal alien who'd been deported before RETURNS to the country and commits a crime, state law enforcement can NOT tell ICE about it...

      The Cali-Fornicate-You legislature _IS_ _THE_ _MOST_ _CORRUPT_ entity on the planet! Lobbyists typically occupy the floor, and are consulted on EVERY vote. And the party of Mrs. Clinton is somehow 'magically elected' into a super-majority power, giving them the >2/3 majority needed to RAISE TAXES whenever they want to. And they _WANT_ to. Because, 'all of that legislation' that gives free money and services to the protected classes (say illegal aliens and 'the lazy') and cushy retirement and creates "you cannot be fired" policies for gummint employees that don't do _ANY_ work [aka show up when they want, do nothing, and collect a salary... AND! I! KID! YOU! NOT! a friend of mine's wife is a SUPERVISOR for her department in Sacramento, working for the state, in a department that's in an oversight position required by law, and she has employees that do EXACTLY THAT [show up late most days, take way too long for lunch, get barely anything done] and they can NOT be fired

      So you see what the problems are now, perhaps? A corrupt legislature, ALWAYS begging for more money, NEVER cuts back on the spending and makes it IMPOSSIBLE to fire incompetent employees, negotiates SWEET DEALS with the public service unions for retirement and benefits, pays above-average salaries, gives out money and services to illegal aliens, CODDLES criminals and "the lazy" on the public dole, and then won't fix the damn roads or build more jails to hold convicted criminals [instead releasing criminals because the jails are 'overcrowded']. And _THEN_ they just RAISE! TAXES! to get even MORE money, because ***FLAMING*** ***IDIOT*** ***VOTERS*** [many of whom are 'dead people' and illegal aliens aka 'voter fraud'] keep ELECTING THEM.

      We need a Trump-like governor and an enema in Sacramento. 'Make California Great Again'.

      1. TheDillinquent
        Trollface

        Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

        So, even El Reg is not immune to Russian trolls.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: If It's So Flipping Bad?

        Zippy! Where have you been? Getting your meds adjusted? Doesn't seem to have worked ... Might want to let Nursie know when she comes in to wipe the drool off your chin.

  2. ratfox Silver badge

    Still, if you're able to read this article then it's not all bad.

    I can report that Internet is still working. Over this side of the pond, that is.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      At RatFox...

      I find it amusing & sad that I have to rely on a UK news site's US-based reporter to inform me about local issues that will affect my internet.

      As in, I can't get this same kind of news from US journalists, I've got to get it from a British news source.

      Unless I decide to load the Google global news feed in my RSS aggragater, at which point I'll get all sorts of news, but I'll spend all my time banging my head at all the duplicate articles from however many bazillion different "sources" that simply cut & paste & regurgitate the stuff from others.

      As twisted as ElReg tends to be, it's still better than my local non-reporting news outlets.

      "Oh look! Today's news from Fox is all about how aliens impregnated Beyonce & are now using her baby to sell ads in Chrome when you browse Tor? WOW! Talk about interesting!"

      *Barf*

      /S?

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: At RatFox...

        As twisted as ElReg tends to be

        I think you just made an editor and some sub-editors (and maybe a few journalists if they have managed to sober up this early in the day - it's only 13:40 after all) very happy.

        Fair brings a tear to the old eye it does!

  3. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Now if the states would force ISP to provide speeds that comply with the FCCs definition of broadband. Frontier claims 768Kbps is broadband.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Happy

      States have done such to other businesses as well as telecoms before, so no new law is needed. State consumer protection acts at legitimate business interests. Public utility commisions have form here, too and California happens to have both.

    2. Donn Bly

      FCC Definition of Broadband

      At one time 768Kbps was well in excess of the FCC definition of broadband. Back when I owned an ISP the FCC definition was 256K or better symmetrical, so our 768K down 128K up circuits were not broadband, but our 512K down 512K up circuits were. Still, most residential customers preferred the 768K circuit. They liked our 1.5M/128K circuits even better -- even though they didn't meet the definition of broadband. Then the FCC started playing government games, redefining terms on the fly. A circuit that was broadband yesterday suddenly wasn't today, even though it operated at the same speeds.

      Part of the problem is that "broadand" as used by the FCC and the public as related to Internet access isn't really a technical term - it is a technical term that was misappropriated by marketing people because it sounded good. Since it is no longer truly a technical term when applied to Internet access, it can have whatever meaning they want on any given day -- and it is hard to base policies on shifting sand.

      Even with the FCC redefinition, a "broadband" 25MBit circuit doesn't mean that you will get 25Mbit of data across it, as it applies to the max capability of the circuit and has nothing to do with actual data rates.

      What we should do is start defining Internet access in terms of the CIR - Committed Information Rate. Realistically, the consumer should care more about how much they are guaranteed to get and less about how fast the circuit COULD go. That won't happen, however, because when you check the fine print almost every "broadband" circuit today has a CIR of zero.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: FCC Definition of Broadband

        "Realistically, the consumer should care more about how much they are guaranteed to get "

        I agree, but feel duty bound to point out that -- at least with Comcast -- I an not guaranteed to get any particular speed whatsoever. The only "guarantee" that I have is that I'll get "up to" a certain amount -- but even a single bit per hour (or less) would satisfy that.

        1. Donn Bly

          Re: FCC Definition of Broadband

          Exactly - as I pointed out in the last line in the post, almost every residential circuit has a CIR of zero.

          If you don't have a CIR, you might as well have two cans and a string, because it is just as reliable.

    3. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Frontier claims 768Kbps is broadband

      A three digit speed is broadband, isn't it? Better than those with two digit speeds, right? You don't want to have a single digit speed, like 1 (Gb) for example, you want more digits, believe me!

      1. Phil W

        Re: Frontier claims 768Kbps is broadband

        Also K is higher in the alphabet than G so is clearly better.

        1. quxinot
          Joke

          Re: Frontier claims 768Kbps is broadband

          "

          Re: Frontier claims 768Kbps is broadband

          Also K is higher in the alphabet than G so is clearly better.

          "

          Oh, this is easy then. I'd like a Ybps connection (yottabyte). Hop to it, telcos!

  4. DCFusor Silver badge

    This isn't a partisan thing

    It's a corruption thing. Which isn't party specific in general - both have "issues" with revolving door regulation and legislation...bigtime.

    I recall the last cable lobbyist who was FCC chairman was someone we were all afraid would do this - given his background and so on, but he turned on his masters - so I don't think giving them credit for his heroism is appropriate (but hey, thanks Wheeler for being a good guy), nor is blaming the current guys for what's going on now (remember, this jerk was originally appointed by the D side of the aisle anyway).

    Letting partisanship divide and conquer you isn't how we fix the mess. If you like one side, you get one side's half-truths - and the sum isn't all the truth, not by a light year.

    Gee you even pointed out in the article where the talking points came from and it was the green party - the party of money. Not one of the "official" ones. Please pay attention to your own facts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: This isn't a partisan thing

      I agree with you generally, but I think you're being too hard on the author's due diligence problem. Note that the article also contains this surprising gem:

      "It's a mess and the only good solution is comprehensive telecoms legislation written for the internet age by Congress."

      Yours truly has been stating that exact thing consistently for two years now, and nearly all within the commentary of this particular author's articles. I've been roundly downvoted for it too, again and again. And now suddenly I see the "Congress's job" assertion coming directly from the article itself!

      Maybe there is some hope after all.

    2. Phil W

      Re: This isn't a partisan thing

      Actually it is a partisan thing.

      While you may be correct that FCC commissioners who have supported scrapping net neutrality have come from both sides this is only part of the partisanship.

      Getting this stuff to happen required getting it through congress and Senate which has clearly demonstrated the partisan nature of the issue.

  5. thomas k

    All well and good but...

    How about doing something to engender actual, meaningful competition in the broadband market. We're still hostage to monopolies (duopolies if we're lucky). Having multiple ISPs competing for our money might just solve the neutrality problem by itself.

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: All well and good but...

      We are a hostage to monopolies because it isn't cost effective for multiple providers to hang cables on the same poles, so as long as the ISP owns the cable plant you are going to have a monopoly.

      Since the cable plant is a fixed cost, serving every household and business in a geographic area - multiple cable plants would only double that cost, eventually causing consumer prices to increase for the same type of service.

      The only solution to that is to force a split of ownership, making the plant separate from the data - but then you still have a monopoly in the form of the cable plant itself and you really haven't gained anything in the long run.

      The only solution to that would be to nationalize it - put it all under the government control so that it can force equal access among the ISPs - but now you have a still have a monopoly, just a government-controlled one. And since Internet isn't like cable TV in that they are only providing transport and not content -- you are now in the situation where there is no need for an ISP because it is all on the government network already. "Internet Access For All" -- until a new politician comes into office and starts deciding what content you should be able to access, and starts banning things and filtering access "because it's not good for you" or "because of the children". Perhaps mandating blocking lists, or even a "national firewall" to keep opposing views out -- and you no longer have a free, open Internet.

      So, despite the current monopolies, the alternatives may very well be worse.

      Of course, if you have a better solution I would love to hear about it. As for me, the only salvation that I see for us is advances in technology. After all, it was DSL that broke the strangle hold on Dialup, DOCSIS that broke the strangle hold on DSL, spot satellite that broke the strangle hold on Cable, etc. Hopefully something will come along on that front that is good enough to disrupt the current providers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "you still have a monopoly in the form of the cable plant itself"

        Some infrastructures will be always some kind of monopoly, because there is no real value in duplicating them but for availability and resiliency reason. For example, how many highways, railways, bridges or high-voltage lines you're going to build to among cities? It could be quite stupid to build to competing bridges or railways side-by-side. That's true as well for a communication network. How many cables you want to lay down? One hundred in downtown NY, and nothing elsewhere? Why the FAA exists and manages the whole airspace? You have different providers - airports and airlines - but the "network infrastructure" - ATC and routes - are delivered and managed by a central authority. Would make sense to duplicate ATC facilities and then try to coordinate them all to cover the whole airspace?

        Of course these "natural" monopolies, being such, have to be regulated. They need to have a structure that hinders them to use their power to exploit the situation. For example, in this case you may want to them to be able only to rent the network to competing providers, which will sell to end users. You may want them not being able to make inappropriate deals with some providers damaging others. You may want profits being used to maintain, enlarge and improve the network. You'll want an independent authority checking it. Sure, the system is not perfect and there are many ways to game it, if nobody controls.

        Governments already have the power to censor contents and ask for interception facilities, if they like, whoever owns the network.

        Technology doesn't have the answer to everything. Sometime you have to assess what delivers the best outcome for most citizens, and not just a lucky few.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: All well and good but...

        "The only solution to that would be to nationalize it "

        Nationalizing the infrastructure is an excellent idea, in my opinion.

        "you are now in the situation where there is no need for an ISP because it is all on the government network already."

        No, don't nationalize the actual service. Nationalize the physical infrastructure. We'd still need ISPs, and with the removal of the need for each ISP to string its own wires, we'd get many more of them. Competition would be introduced into a space that hasn't seen it before.

        "until a new politician comes into office and starts deciding what content you should be able to access"

        This is a risk regardless -- and, I think, the level of the risk is exactly the same whether or not the infrastructure is nationalized. But under our current system, the overall risk to a free internet is even higher, because not only can the government impose restrictions, but the ISPs can as well.

        "So, despite the current monopolies, the alternatives may very well be worse."

        I disagree completely. It's actually pretty hard for me to imagine an alternative that's worse than what we currently have.

        1. kiwimuso
          Thumb Up

          Re: All well and good but...

          @ JohnFen

          "Nationalize the physical infrastructure."

          Bingo! Or close to it.

          Here in New Zealand, all telecoms were handled by Telecom which devolved from the old Post Office which handled (apart from postal duties) telephones and exchanges.

          When they started playing games with external ISPs the government of the day stepped in and essentially told them to hive off the infrastructure as a separate company. So now we have Telecom (renamed to Spark, which I hope isn't an indication of things to come) and Chorus which is responsible only for the network. The government put in place certain controls to limit Chorus' ability to play favourites or whatever and also charged them with installing fibre nationwide (as far as is currently practical, so mainly main centres at present).

          Chorus installs and maintains the networks and rents out use of same to the various providers.

          Spark now becomes just another ISP vying for customers along with any other ISPs. Currently I have the ability to choose from at least 4 or 5 main providers (all offering deals I might say) over fibre or still VDSL if that is your preference although I can't see that choice lasting long as most fibre offerings are priced around the same as ADSL/VDSL. There are probably more but I can't be arsed looking them up.

          So, what we have is a private company (possibly with some government shares in it, I know not) but regulated to a point to prevent any jiggery-pokery. Seems to work very well for us.

          I love a free market, but some times it needs a little regulation to keep the sharks at bay.

          I may have some of the details not quite right, but in essence, the above is the way it more or less works

  6. Stu Mac

    DJT is all about devolving power back to the States and trimming the Fed Fat so he should be just fine with this.

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