back to article Net neutrality freaks furious over lack of fury at FCC hearing

Net neutrality advocates were left furious on Thursday that there wasn't more fury directed at the chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at Congressional hearing despite, the fact he killed off net neutrality several months ago. "Democrats Ripped for Totally Failing to Grill FCC Chair Ajit Pai Over Net …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    time to fling poop

    Hint to millennials if you want anyone to listen to you you need to register to vote well before election day and actually bother to show up. Pretend like there is a pot initiative on the ballot even if there isn't if you have to. Also a protest vote for some antivaxxer candidate probably isn't going to move the needle either.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: time to fling poop

      Mostly spot on but there's a problem. Voters of all ages seem to be only able to look at a single issue and sometimes it's not the issues, it's only about the party. All a hopeful candidate has to do is find that "magic" issue and side with the majority and he can shout bollocks about everything else and still get elected. And that "magic" issue doesn't even have to be valid from past elections where one's linage, marital status/fidelity, etc. are concerned. Start a smear campaign and there's no need to even take a stand on any issue. Politics is poop.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: time to fling poop

      "Also a protest vote for some antivaxxer candidate probably isn't going to move the needle either."

      And a non-protest vote for a business-as-usual candidate is /definitely/ not going to move the needle. So what's your point?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: time to fling poop

        >And a non-protest vote for a business-as-usual candidate is /definitely/ not going to move the needle.

        Depends on which needles you want moved. Net neutrality was the status quo and would have stayed so with business-as-usual. The people got the wrecking ball they wanted (the ones that actually showed up to vote, spare me popular vote BS as getting everyone to vote only on the coasts is not enough). Enjoy the scattered debris. Its what happens when you don't sit at the adult table and complaining after the fact is rich.

  2. Kev99 Bronze badge

    I personally have experienced the FCC's refusal to use pressure on ISPs that thumb their noses at providing true broadband in under-served areas. We are stuck with the second worse telecomm in America - Frontier Communications - for phone and internet service. Even they claim we have "up to 6Mbps" ADSL we haven;t even seen 2.8 Mbps yet. Plus, Frontier has said in writing they have no intention of upgrading their service (even tho' there's a dark fiber line about a mile from us) nor of applying for any federal grants to improve or upgrade their service. Complaints filed with the FTC are basically ignored as the FTC accepts whatever bovine excrement Frontier feeds them as gospel. It's pretty sad when Namibia provides better and faster service than a US company whose revenues are more than the that countries GDP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      second worst telecom

      Everyone thinks that they have the worst or second-worst telecom provider. Or Cable Provider. Or.. whatever.

      The reality is that Frontier is a telephone company first, ISP second, and they made their business by buying up old areas and infrastructures that the original ILECs no longer wanted because they were too expensive to maintain. As such, they have among the worst networks in the country - not because they built them but because they inherited them.

      While they have an obligation to provide voice service, they have no OBLIGATION to provide data. With no obligation, what pressure can the FCC truly apply?

      The reason that they don't upgrade the network to provide the service you want is because it would cost more money to upgrade than they could possibly make from doing so. If you want a business to provide services you have to make it profitable for them to do so. If they are turning down government subsidies and grants do so, that should tell you something -- that to do it would be freakishly expensive. So expensive that even with government subsidies that it costs more than YOU are willing to pay, because if you were willing (1) they would be falling over themselves to take your money and (2) someone else would stepped in and created a new ISP for the express reason of taking your money.

      Dark fiber isn't copper where you tap into the middle of it, you tap into the ends. But even if you could tap into the fiber it would be well over $100K to extend that fiber a mile to your house. Who pays for that? You won't, the company won't, and asking for a government grant is just saying that you want the rest of the taxpayers to pay it for you. No, the answer doesn't lie with Frontier or DSL, the answer lies with newer technologies.

      In this case, the industry is betting on 5G deployments to take up the slack in under-served areas such as yours. Whether it does or not remains to be seen. In the meantime, I suggest you call Hughes and see how much satellite service will cost you -- because you DO have alternatives.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: second worst telecom

        >Everyone thinks that they have the worst or second-worst telecom provider

        They mostly do suck here in the US and people really hate mine (CenutryLink) but honestly can't complain myself. Sure I only get 20Mbps ASDL but have consistently got it for under $40 a month for years now not bundled with any other services and except for maybe one outage caused by some 3rd party yahoo installer in the neighborhood (took me offline for a day or so) can't complain. Of course I don't deal with their customer service basically ever.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't just get angry


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't just get angry

      So that even if your side wins the popular vote but ultimately loses because of proper American gerrymandering or some other arcane rules, at least, at least, you know that you've wasted your time for something useful.

      Wait. No, not really.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Government failing the populace

    I have yet to see any rational argument supporting the reversal of Net neutrality. What every research survey shows is that cable and Telco companies provide poor quality service, charge excessive prices and are unaccountable to anyone.

    The FCC, SEC and FTC are entrusted with protecting consumers from these industry monopolies but these government agencies appear to be conspiring with these companies to defraud and exploit consumers. The politics displayed by these agencies and chairpersons is contrary to their public mandate and good reason. To add insult to injury these agencies are accountable to no one. It's time for some wholesale governmental changes in the U.S. IMNHO.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Government failing the populace

      "I have yet to see any rational argument supporting the reversal of Net neutrality"

      1. government take-over of the internet is NOT good for freedom. They will censor, block, harass, snoop, force encryption back doors, and filter speech, given the opportunity. "for the children" etc. It's what they do. In the name of political correctness.

      2. de-regulation works by getting the 'brick walls' and 'roadblocks' OUT of the way of for-profit industries to serve their customers as best as they can, while still making a profit.

      3. If you want to fix problems with infrastructure in unprofitable areas, allow the ISPs to charge MORE for service. Then they'll be able to afford it. Otherwise it's a WELFARE PROGRAM.

      4. Preventing someone from buying a "fast lane" (i.e.prioritization) is like forcing EVERYONE to be EQUALLY MEDIOCRE.

      5. Net neutrality is not about equality of service. It's about GOVERNMENT CONTROL. The end result can ONLY be mediocrity for everyone, because NOBODY can "get better". Except for the elite. Because some are MORE equal than others, like in 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell.

      The Trump admiinistration de-regulates, cuts taxes, etc. - exactly what Pai did for that ridiculous "net neutrality" nonsense that was anything _BUT_ "net neutrality" - and the economy BOOMS forward, making the ENTIRE WORLD better off. It's a work in progress, but it's got a nice running start, and you know what's happening if you keep your eyes open and don't allow 'fake news' to tell you that you're not seeing what you're seeing every day. De-regulation works, tax cutting works, getting gummint out of the way works. Freedom works. That's the point.

      One factoid I heard about on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday - that apparently, download speeds have DOUBLED since the dropping of the so-called 'net neutrality' nonsense. Imagine THAT! And yet you'll NEVER hear about it on the lame-stream news. I was pleasantly surprised.

      1. israel_hands

        Re: Government failing the populace

        OK, I'll bite.

        1) They'll do that anyway. Net Neutrality isn't about the government "taking over the internet", it's about stopping large companies abusing their position. Which is exactly what the government should be doing, rather than letting those that are powerless to stop it getting rolled over.

        2) De-regulation doesn't work because it takes all the brakes off industry doing whatever the fuck they like to milk customers.

        3) ISPs set their own prices, there's no cap on how much they can charge. Further, the ISPs operate as an effective cartel and have carved the map up into separate areas to ensure they don't compete with other too much. That's the opposite of what a free-market economy should promote, but is often the result of it because people like you swallow the corporate bullshit.

        4) Net Neutrality categorically isn't about mediocrity of service. It's about providing a level playing field to all content producers. The alternative is that the ISPs impose a speed tax on websites meaning only the larger, established companies can afford to pay. This cements existing market dominance and provides an additional hurdle to new companies as they can't afford to pay for higher delivery speeds and so are perceived to provide a worse service. All you're arguing for is a tax on the likes of Google, Facebook and Netflix that they won't notice but will raise an effective barrier against any who seeks to challenge their position. That's never going to be a win for customers.

        The rest of your post is just nonsense from start to finish. Trump's current obsession with tariffs is currently fucking things up across the world, not making things better. Get your head of the right-wing bubble and try looking at facts instead of just repeating what you hear. Fuck's sake man, jut provide evidence you've actually considered this on an intellectual level and analysed the situation instead of spouting off the same nonsensical crap time and time again. You're so partisan it's ridiculous. IF you make your mind up before hearing the facts, and base your opinion solely on whoever is talking then you're a fucking idiot.

        Oh, and don't quote Rush fucking Limbaugh as a source of information. That prick wouldn't know the truth if it married his sister. Provide some evidence that download speeds have doubled, at no extra cost to consumers and with no investment in infrastructure. Without evidence it's just more partisan whining.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @ bombastic bob

        Deregulation. Right.

        Because companies have a demonstrated history to always spend what was needed to make the best customer experience possible. NOT.

        Companies want money. Customers are just a necessary evil to get that money. Companies will therefor spend the minimum required to ensure the customer has an experience that is one step above going away.

        Regulation is required, whether you're a Republican or not. The market will not regulate itself in favor of the customer. When the market regulates itself, it is always in favor of the top companies in that market.

        Because why would Zuckerberg not milk his user base just a bit less than what makes people scream ? If it's not illegal, he can do it and if he doesn't, someone else will - at least, that's the thought process here.

      3. strum Silver badge

        Re: Government failing the populace

        It never ceases to amaze, that those who will do anything to resist being under the heel of government, just love being under the heel of unaccountable corporations.

        Hint: if someone is more powerful than the government - they're the de facto government.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Government failing the populace

        Thank you for your insight Mr. Clinton, I didn't know you were a member of the El Reg forums.

        "The Act was claimed to foster competition. Instead, it continued the historic industry consolidation reducing the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996[23] and 6 in 2005.[24] An FCC study found that the Act had led to a drastic decline in the number of radio station owners, even as the actual number of commercial stations in the United States had increased.[25] This decline in owners and increase in stations has reportedly had the effect of Radio homogenization, where programming has become similar across formats.

        Consumer activist Ralph Nader argued that the Act was an example of corporate welfare spawned by political corruption, because it gave away to incumbent broadcasters valuable licenses for broadcasting digital signals on the public airwaves.[26] There was a requirement in the Act that the FCC not auction off the public spectrum which the FCC itself valued at $11–$70 billion.

        It had been specifically named in the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace as an act "which repudiates your own [i.e. American] Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis"

      5. Big Al 23

        Re: Government failing the populace

        @bombastic bob

        You can see from the comments and votes that most people disagree with your beliefs which aren't based in reality. Financial greed drives the world. Government's job is to protect people from abuse and extortion. Many U.S. government agencies fail the people constantly as the FCC has done on net neutrality. The billions that the cable companies make annually confirms their service charges are excessive. They could easily provide service to all and still reap fortunes but they won't do it unless forced to do so by government.

      6. Comments are attributed to your handle

        Re: Government failing the populace

        Bob, read your own link. Average download speeds did not double.

        "RUSH: A minor correction. Internet speeds have not doubled. The numbers are these. “U.S. Internet Speed Has Gone from 12th to 6th Fastest Since the End of Net Neutrality — Since the repeal of ‘net neutrality’ took effect on June 11, the U.S. internet speed has gone from 12th to 6th fastest in the world.” In other words, average download speeds for everybody improving rapidly since we got rid of net neutrality, which is the government controlling the internet."

        The jump from 12th to 6th is evidently true. But I'd like to see evidence that this was actually the product of NN being repealed. I'd also like to see evidence that speeds weren't already increasing in months/years prior. So far all this article demonstrates is Rush's (and your own) tenuous grasp on basic statistics.

        But this all meaningless anyway. NN is not about raw bandwidth, it's about treating traffic differently based on content. Surely as a "tech professional" you're aware that ISPs fudge the results of speed tests anyway whereas actual traffic is not always so lucky.

        On a side note, I love how he calls it a "minor correction". Jesus Christ. But this is the kind of reporting one would expect from someone who begins article titles with "Liberal ignoramuses".

  5. vgrig_us

    With Kieran channeling his inner Orlovsky more and more often nowadays, I suggest anyone really interested in the subject read techdirt articles instead (including ones by Karl Bode).

    1. Richard Bennett

      Karl Bode is a waste of time

      If you've read one Karl Bode article you've read them all. Try it and see for yourself.

      1. vgrig_us

        Re: Karl Bode is a waste of time

        @ Richard Bennett

        1. read carefully - i suggested to read techdirt in general, not just Bode.

        2. no matter how repetitive Bode is - doesn't mean he's not right.

        3. the point was more about Kieran trying to twist reality a bit (well, a lot).

  6. Sir Loin Of Beef

    It was tax dollars that created the internet. That it was brazenly given to private corporations was a major giveaway.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      The government funded a good deal of the technological research and development that led to the Internet. I don't think it actually had much to do with the stringing of wire or deployment of routers and the like that now comprise the Internet communication infrastructure, especially the necessary last few miles that connect houses and businesses to it.

  7. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

    Missed opportunity?

    "The FCC in fact already has the authority to introduce precise measures that would force cable companies that are making billions in profits annually to invest in infrastructure that would bring fast internet to rural America."

    If it's so easy for the FCC to do this why didn't it happen under the previous administration? We could be 10 years down the road to getting this addressed.

    1. Niarbeht

      Re: Missed opportunity?

      If I remember right, someone wrote an entire book about it, "The Book of Broken Promises". I haven't read it yet, so I have no idea whether or not it's actually a decent discussion of the topic.

  8. DerekCurrie Bronze badge

    There are no net neutrality 'freaks'

    The majority of US citizens are sane and practical, demanding to be represented by their government. They speak up when proven 'egregious' liars like our President and Ajit Pai damage the future of the USA and damage the lives of its citizens in favor of absurd and abusive corporatocracy.

    For those who don't understand Real Net Neutrality, please educate yourselves. Here is a starting point:

    For those who understand but don't want Real Net Neutrality, there is China: Criminal Nation or similar totalitarian states who are ready to receive and surveil you 24/7.

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