back to article So net neutrality has officially expired. Now what do we do?

Six months after the FCC voted to kill off its net neutrality rules, today – Monday June 11 – it has finally happened. And everyone has responded in the exact same way, using the exact same arguments as multiple previous times: Net neutrality advocates warn that cable companies will eventually start abusing their position …

  1. vir

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.

    Thanks.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

      「やれやれ、と僕はその日16回めのーーたぶんそれくらになっているはずだーーため息をついた。」

      (sorry.. just happened to read this line the other day; it seemed apt right now)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

        Google translate, he say "Geez, and I was with the over over sigh should have become on the day 16 th over over Maybe it saddle."

        Git on yer horse!

        1. handleoclast

          Re: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

          Google translate, he say

          Google translate speak with forked tongue. Google translate say to me:

          "Boy, I was the 16th day of the day, perhaps it was probably about it - I sighed."

          I sighed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

        "Well well, I on that day at the 16th times... I have expected it is becoming something like this... I sighed."

  2. LenG

    Competition

    Maybe if people actually had a choice of internet provider this whole problem would solve itself via free-market forces?

    1. grizewald

      Re: Competition

      Indeed. This is a significant hole in Kieren's analysis. The cable companies have a captive market.

      Don't like us selling your surf history? Tough. Who else can you get your Internet from?

      If there isn't actually a free market, assuming that the market will solve the problem is a non-starter.

      1. Dr Stephen Jones
        FAIL

        A new broadband tax? No thanks.

        I would not want to make the case that the market is truly competitive. In many places it is not.

        But if the broadband market is competitive enough to support a $30 premium giving the consumers nothing but a promise, then the market does not need Title II regulation. Supporters of Title II argued that ISPs have oligopolistic power but the 2015 Order did not actually say they did.

        https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0312/FCC-15-24A1.pdf

        If the market is not competitive then the $30 is simply a tax on consumers. Logic does not seem much in evidence here.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Competition

        Indeed. This is a significant hole in Kieren's analysis. The cable companies have a captive market.

        Don't like us selling your surf history? Tough. Who else can you get your Internet from?

        If there isn't actually a free market, assuming that the market will solve the problem is a non-starter.

        It seems you, and your 35 upvoters, did not read Kieren's proposal correctly. It was to require each provider to offer both options ("neutral" and Pai-style), which means even when there was only one ISP available in an area, there would be a market with two choices (plus the null choice of not having service at all).

        The market still has to be reasonable, with a neutrality premium (including non-financial constraints) that's not excessive. But Kieren's scheme does not require multiple independent ISPs available to every customer.

    2. brainbone

      Re: Competition

      No. Without regulation, eventually ISPs will consolidate with media conglomerates and start picking and choosing which services you get unmetered, which are metered, etc., etc. It'll fracture the net.

      What good does it do you if you have a choice of, say, Centurylink, and the "Facebook + Twitter + DishNetwork" package that excludes or severely limits Netflix, or the Comcast package that does much the same but with different services?

      Doubt that will happen? They already do it to some extent.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Competition

        I wonder if the websites will start playing the same game?

        Hey Comcast, how many subscribers will you lose if they can no longer access Google / youtube / facebook / Amazon? Perhaps you should be paying Facebook the same as you currently pay for ESPN or HBO ?

    3. Multivac

      Re: Competition

      You'd think that but you're thinking the average consumer is as intelligent as you, they're not.

      Let's imagine the Daily Mail's parent company DMG bought a cable company and delivered cable for, say, 10% less than everyone else.

      Obviously they're going to make the Daily Mail free to all those users and allow them to stream ITV for free so they'll easily recover that discount via advertising.

      Non right wing media websites like the Independent would count to your usage and probably be throttled.

      Huffington post would be all but blocked, far to lefty for DMG to allow it on their network as would the BBC.

      So now you've got a significant portion of the population getting right wing propaganda pipped onto their devices for free, anything that doesn't agree with the media companies agenda costs you money or is too slow to be useable, these people don't really get that there is a bias, they don't know what VPN even stands for, they can play Fortnite anywhere in the country for free though so that's great.

      You've got the basis for a good George Orwell novel right there!

      1. handleoclast

        Re: Competition

        Let's imagine the Daily Mail's parent company DMG bought a cable company and delivered cable for, say, 10% less than everyone else.

        Let's imagine the Koch Brothers bought Comcast, or Verizon, or...

        You've got the basis for a good George Orwell novel right there!

        Nope, one of the old Orwell novels made into a reality show.

  3. DCFusor Silver badge

    You could always hope

    That Trump, realizing tho overwhelming majority of actual voters are for net neutrality, and think Pai is a self serving regulatory-captured jerk, might do that populist thing he's so often dissed for and you know, actually do something popular - like sign any such bill or even fire Pai.

    That is, if the "progs" will let him and not call it some sort of obstruction of justice or collusion with the Russians to score their own points (or as many now feel, make bigger fools of themselves).

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: You could always hope

      No chance of that, because people don't vote based on net neutrality. You think a Trump voter who voted for him because of guns or abortion or taxes is going to vote for the democrat in 2020 because Trump is against net neutrality? Get real.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: You could always hope

        Also his voters are only going to be able to get Fox approved websites over their Fox subsidiary cable by next election anyway

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: You could always hope

          There's no need to enforce restrictions on what web sites can be visited or TV channels can be watched, since republicans have managed to get their voters to restrict their choices voluntarily!

          1. 2Nick3

            Re: You could always hope

            "...since republicans have managed to get their voters to restrict their choices voluntarily!"

            I'd say both sides of the aisle have managed do to that.

  4. Nate Amsden

    next youtube or netflix

    Whoever might be next there has to worry about youtube and netflix, and facebook before they have to worry about net neutrality. Just a couple of weeks ago there was news that Vevo was shutting down caving into Youtube(I personally don't really stream anything(~1,700 disc collection though), and don't use facebook either. I use youtube for a few minutes a month for the occasional clip from some movie or tv show).

    Second to fighting the giants may be fighting the regulators who seem to be bent on trying to force platforms to exclude certain kinds of content on the sites, which just makes it more difficult/expensive to come up with the software(or human resources) to cope with controlling the content on the sites. Obviously even youtube and facebook struggle with this with the resources they have available.

  5. Keef

    Slightly off topic, but...

    'We'd pay extra for such a service. Would you?'

    I'd readily pay El Reg $30 a year for an ad free experience. Which I already have of course, as I'm sure you know.

    I'm willing to pay for a good read and to be denigrated by my peers for my ineptitude and ignorance in the comments section, please make that an option for us all.

    x Keef.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Slightly off topic, but...

      I don't give a monkeys about the adds. But I would be willing to pay for no throttling/barring....

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Slightly off topic, but...

        "But I would be willing to pay for no throttling/barring...."

        That's how they get away with it. You should not be agreeing to pay more to get the service you already have.

  6. Baldy1138

    Eventually ...

    Eventually your TV screen will look a lot like your computer screen: constant banner ads, animations running constantly in the corner. Maybe a handy animated calculator named Addy will pop up and guide your choices.

    1. Joe Werner Silver badge

      Re: Eventually ...

      When I'm overseas I actually get that exact feeling: constant ads, banners, blinking whatever.

      (and that's only the printed "newspapers" ;-p )

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Eventually ...

      Eventually your TV screen will look a lot like your computer screen: constant banner ads, animations running constantly in the corner. Maybe a handy animated calculator named Addy will pop up and guide your choices.

      Yeah, but Ow My Balls though. Shuddup!

  7. Neoc

    We'd pay extra for such a service. Would you?

    Admittedly I'm not American but...

    This assumes that cable companies could actually be trusted to stick to that agreement and actually provide what they advertised. Would *you* trust them to actually offer Net-Neutral connections and actually stick to it? Because you already trust them not to sell your personal data, right?

  8. Florida1920
    Facepalm

    Wish I could argue

    Yes, Americans will just suck it up. A new user on my forum suggested moving it to Facebook. After I shot that down, he began posting links to his FB pages. I have every FB URL I could find blocked in my hosts file, so I had to shut him down again. I need to check links in posts to make sure they're kosher. The point is, this guy must have read the recent negative press on FB and privacy, yet not only does he continue to use it, he promotes it!

    1. handleoclast

      Re: Wish I could argue

      The point is, this guy must have read the recent negative press on FB and privacy, yet not only does he continue to use it, he promotes it!

      Would his username be "Zark Muckerberg" perchance?

  9. Andrew Norton

    ER, no, the court will be quite clear

    "It's impossible to know how that will turn out. The whole issue of net neutrality has ended up in the courts so may times, sometimes overturned, sometimes not, that no one is comfortable predicting the outcome.

    The original net neutrality rules were overturned following a Verizon legal challenge, prompting the new set of rules that actually stood up to a legal challenge but as of today have been reversed. Will the new, new, new rules stand up to challenge? Who knows? It really is 50-50."

    It's not even close to 50-50.

    The first case on this issue happened 02-05 ('BrandX), it was over hte ability of the FCC to reclassify ISPs from Title II to Title I. It said the FCC had that authority, but only on good evidence.

    The 2008-2010 challenge on the 2005 (post Title 1 reclassification) rules said that the 2005 net neutrality rules were uneofrcable as written, because it needed the ISPs to be Title II to enforce.

    The 2010-2014 legla challenge was against the updated version of the Rules (the 2010 open internet order) which based its authority on a different section of title I. The courts knocked it back again because it was again, not Title II based.

    Thus we had the Title II reclassification rules (2015) which got a challenge. this challenge lasted until 2016, with the courts ruling that they did have the authority to reclassify them BACK to Title I as there was substantive evidence to support it, and the rules were fair and legal.

    And this is where this challenge will work in the courts. The Pai order was based on zero evidence, and no public support. Nothing had changed since 2015. Thus the change was 'arbitrary and capricious', and as such, is not a valid change. This was part of the BrandX ruling, that such changes had to be on a strong footing, and repeating the same mantra as they did in 05 (which turned out to not work) and falsely misstating history, is not a good basis for this change. So they'll overturn it.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: ER, no, the court will be quite clear

      Well thought argument, but who's going to file the suit? Not the TelComs... It'll probably happen once someone figures out how to fund the lawyers.

    2. Dr Stephen Jones

      Re: ER, no, the court will be quite clear

      "The Pai order was based on zero evidence, and no public support. Nothing had changed since 2015. Thus the change was 'arbitrary and capricious', and as such, is not a valid change. "

      2015 was the aberration. Many people wanted net neutrality not the whole of Title II (with huge chunks of "forebearance" like price control). We're back to where the internet was 1993-2015.

      You need to follow your opponents arguments more closely if you are going to rebut them effectively.

      1. Andrew Norton

        Re: ER, no, the court will be quite clear

        You should probably check who you're replying to a little better*, before trying that stunt, or at least reading what I wrote.

        The 2015 order put it back under Title II, just as it was before 2005, the forbearance in the 2015 order are actually more extensive than they were pre 2005 (meaning more exceptions).

        So, the regs in the 2015 order were weaker than they were 1993-2005, by your own timeframe.

        (* It's not a great idea to try BS-ing the guy that was directly involved in the 2008 Comcast enforcement and order, and who has studied the topic for 11 years .It leads to you being laughed at A LOT.)

  10. trashsilo

    net neutrality public support 75 to 85 percent

    Sharing && cooperation || democracy is an island, it has to be.

    Where exactly is it ?

    I have unpatented wheels, no boat and will bring the speakers.

  11. egbegb

    Net Neutrality is a red herring

    Net neutrality to the ISP is price fixing by the government. It addresses a non-existent problem. It is a tiny insignificant thing compared to Facebook, Google and Twitter already controlling content and removing content that does not comport to Zuckerberg, Brin, Page and Dorsey. The ISP's never sinned, yet the progressives want to throttle them FB, Google and Twitter sin daily have been doing that for years and the progressives are OK with that. Could that be because Zuckerberg, Brin, Page and Dorsey are all of the progressive persuasion?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Net Neutrality is a red herring

      Could that be because Zuckerberg, Brin, Page and Dorsey are all of the progressive persuasion?

      I thought they were all part of a Muslim Illuminati conspiracy? You really can't trust these progessives

  12. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Frog

    meet warm water.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best Option

    The best option is to work on replacing this protection with another that severely penalises those who bribed its removal.

    That's not going to happen though. There is too much big, criminally owned, money in the exploitation of people and the extraction of the maximum amount of money from them.

  14. Panicnow

    Commercial agreements will stop them

    The article doesn't mention the various commercial agreements between carriers and infrastructure providers. (In my day) ALL the interconnection agreements had "equality of traffic" clauses in them. Unravelling these and keeping full connectivity I think will kill anyone who tries to modify traffic flows.

    This is especially difficult with international traffic

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How 'bout doing it the other way around? Have the no-ads, unfettered service at the base price and allow folks to pay extra for the 'premium' service that tailors ads to their specific tastes? How many subscribers would pay for THAT service?

  16. MJI Silver badge

    Try throttling some companies and will be entertaining.

    As Netflix said.

    Small company throttled will be their problem

    Netflix throttled ISP problem

  17. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Now what do we do?

    Personally, I'm just gonna sit here and wait for Bombastic Bob's inevitable post. He's actually been talking some sense on some topics of late.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Oh My!

    Do you think that Netflix is upset with what Amazon Web Services charges for their bandwidth consumption in comparison to what it "costs" Amazon for Prime Video streaming?...Net Neutrality wasn't touching this aspect of "Internet" access.

    I have seen where Netflix and Comcast have some dustups regarding common customers chewing up services and Comcast wanted to charge Netflix a "surcharge" for Netflix traffic on Comcast capacity--maybe addressed by the FCC.

    For 50 Million+ Rural American's that barely have access to "bare bones" DSL at 5 Mbit/sec (or Satellite Internet with 600 ms latency--let alone 4G LTE), Net Neutrality is a non-starter..

    I see Net Neutrality actually improving internet access for all Americans the same as as the "Affordable Care Act" actually making health care less expensive for all Americans...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This BS about cable companies and advertising

    "We can also expect to see cable companies doing targeted advertising using the data it has on your internet and viewing habits. Some advocates are up in arms over this but, again, the truth is that this is already what Google, Facebook et al already do. Now the cable companies are getting in on the game because it's so profitable."

    For the millionth time...Google and Facebook are a FREE service that is entirely funded by advertisers (and shadowy others) and the cable companies and telcos are a PAID service!

    And the only person that doesn't understand this simple fact is Ajit Pai!

    Remember waaaay back in the day when there was no commercials on cable TV?

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