back to article Feds please no one with first official net neut rules

The US Federal Communications Commission has officially approved rules meant to ensure "net neutrality". But it's unclear whether the commission has the legal authority to back them up. And whether it does or not, just about everyone thinks the new rules are crap, including net neutrality zealots. The rules demand that …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Brain Freeze

    From the Washington Post ...

    Genachowski said the measure represents a compromise between industry and consumer interests.

    "I reject both extremes in favor of a strong and sensible framework -- one that protects Internet freedom and openness and promotes robust innovation and investment," Genachowski said.


    Extreme consumer interests ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course consumer interests are an "extreme" position

      We're talking about the USA here, you know. The same country where municipalities attempting to better their position in the new digital world by providing broadband to all their citizens has been decried as "un-American".

      Oh well, when all our high tech jobs have been taken by citizens of countries which give a shit about their people instead of big business interests, we'll have no use for the internet anyway.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    If you don't know what this means, check out

  3. Patriotson

    Another nationalization by the government

    Once again, the Fed Government has elected to make a power grab of the internet. The nationalization of the internet follows the agenda of banks; wallstreet; public owned businesses; student loans.

    It is questionable as to whether the FCC has the authority to regulate the internet. But, none-the-less, it is unquestionably the first step of government control of content and access to internet and information.

    Socialism is alive a well through the appointments of Obama and the ideological socialist purity of the czars.

    1. Ian Yates


      You're probably being thumbed down for throwing the usual McCarthyist rubbish around that something you don't like is "socialist" because it's about government control.

      I'd argue that this was authoritarianism, which I have no problem with if the purpose is to use authority to protect the "weak" (those who don't have the power to protect their interests) from the strong (in this case, the ISPs who wield all of the true power).

    2. Paul RND*1000

      Do you even know what "nationalization" means?

      Clue: this isn't it.

    3. Chad H.

      You really should know the meaning of words before using them.

      There is no nationalisation or evidence of socialism here. Go look those words up before using them.

      If we put this into a form that even Americans can understand, Nationalism is where the government owns and operates it direct. The Internet's backbone and it's ISPs are not owned or operated by the government.

      What is happening with Net Neutrality is dealing with the issue of say Ford buying a toll road, giving 4 lanes and 200mph speed limits to ford cars, and one lane at 10mph to everyone else, unless the car maker pays ford money. Net neutrality hopes to ensure that all "cars" on the "road" get treated fairly.

      Had the people who are in positions of power in the ISPs been there in the 70's, when I understand email was more than half of all net traffic, you'd be subjected to a "fair use" cap of maybe a dozen emails a day.

      The fact is, letting the market regulate itself unfettered by governments only works for one group of people - shareholders.

    4. TelePom


      Are you kidding, this is the republican position. They voted against it. The dems watered it down. They're all shills for big business one way or another. This is the very opposite of socialism, it's an unfettered capitalist power-grab. I hope your "It's the socialists!" Tourettes clears up soon though.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Here's the plan:

    1). Control it

    2). Tax it


    4). Massive Bank Subsidies

    1. Eddy Ito

      I can only guess

      3 was going to be "we screw the other guy and pass the savings on to you". Of course it would be told to everyone, it's the government way to be honest.

  5. thecakeis(not)alie

    I've got some Tea,

    would you like to Party?

    Oh, sorry. Seems like I was beaten to it in this thread...

    1. Tigra 07

      RE: thecakeis(not)alie

      The Tea Party are nutters who want to ban Doom 2 and recriminalise being gay.

      They're the equivalent of a BNP with crazier ideas and more supporters.

  6. RegisterThis

    Typical bland regulation which fails to understand the issues ...

    "I would have preferred a general ban to discourage broadband providers from engaging in 'pay for priority' —prioritizing the traffic of those with deep pockets while consigning the rest of us to a slower, second-class Internet," he wrote. He also wanted complete parity for wireline and wireless.

    After all, the Internet is the Internet, no matter how you access it, and the millions of citizens going mobile nowadays for their Internet and the entrepreneurs creating innovative wireless content, applications and services should have the same freedoms and protections as those in the wired context,"

    - The operators don't prioritise traffic just because they feel like it ... they have to ... and it costs them to actually do it ... in money, complexity, aggravation!

    - Who has largely paid for internet now ... before homes had it, rollout was funded almost entirely by commercial and academic use

    - Paying for priority is typically paying over the odds because you have deep pockets i.e. it funds the quality received on the "second-class internet" too?

    - Wireline and wirless face very different technological challenges you know - so need to be treated differently

    - Since when was access to a resource for entrepreneurial gain a right? Maybe desirable, but hey, there are plenty of people who would love to start businesses that cannot because of high barriers to entry in other sectors ... what makes this so different? The only thing is a mindset that says the internet is that plug in the wall and a freetard mindset. Come on ... it is a resource somebody else has created, paid for ... pay to operate ... and just like any other sector, you have to pay to use it! Either that or nationalise the damn thing and then the government can fund it.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Don't you get it?

      "The only thing is a mindset that says the internet is that plug in the wall and a freetard mindset."

      Sorry to piss on your party, but *I* pay for my internet connection and as such expect to use it for what a damn well like. I don't want my ISP, who might well be in an oligopolistic position, to dictate what I can access freely or not.

      And yes, I am well aware that "unlimited" internet is not technically or financially feasible, but I have no problem with reasonable charges based on what the ISP can deliver.

      The whole point of regulating the ISPs for "net neutrality" is to prevent anti-competitive practices, either directly (where they favour their own business partners) or indirectly (where they charge such that only big players can afford to gain a usable connection). Don't you understand that?

      At the end of the day, I pay my ISP to be a "dumb pipe" whether they like it or not, and I expect them to sell what they can deliver.

      Lack of competition, or unfair competition (e.g. selling an access package they can't deliver at a lower price than a more honest ISP), is not helping the industry at all.

      Looking at the successful internet companies (e.g. Google, BBC iPlayer, etc) and expecting them to pay up is missing the point, I pay for my internet connection so I get to choose who I use, and those I access already pay (no doubt a lot) to access the internet at their end.

      1. RegisterThis

        I do get it ...

        "Sorry to piss on your party, but *I* pay for my internet connection and as such expect to use it for what a damn well like. I don't want my ISP, who might well be in an oligopolistic position, to dictate what I can access freely or not."

        > Then you are going to have to pay more and surely that is the prerogative of the company offering the service ... except the government (and you) want to say no? As I said, the operators are not shaping traffic because they want to ... it costs them (I sell traffic management solutions) ... but they have to for (i) economic reasons (cost of supplying additional capacity is not paid for by the additional usage) and (ii) YOUR own experience (10% of the subscribers typically use 90% of the capacity ... that means that Joe average has to share 10% with 90% of the other users)

        "At the end of the day, I pay my ISP to be a "dumb pipe" whether they like it or not"

        > The 'dumb pipe' model does not work except in the mind of those who wish it to. You unfortunately WILL have to change your mindset as fundamentally the cost of supplying additional usable consumer capacity exceeds the additional revenue received from it. The 'dumb-bit-pipe' mindset says low value so operators cannot raise the price. Basically, they will go out of business if something does not change ... either the 'dumb' bit-price price goes up (you don't want to pay it) OR apple, yahoo, google et. al. participate in the value chain so the 'bits' reflect the value received better (not all quite so 'dumb' and these should be priced higher) ... or the governments will have to start funding the rollout. In a sesne the last one is ironic as the view is increasingly as a utility ... the difference is that historic utilities were rolled out by governments ... this may end up working the other way around.

        "and I expect them to sell what they can deliver."

        > Then I assume you are happy to pay for a certain guaranteed Quality of Service i.e. pay extra for traffic shaping :-)

        1. TelePom


          So presumably on the same basis, you'd be quite happy for the mail service to start prioritizing mail from certain senders if they pay a premium for the privilege? So your normal two day delivery goes down to three so they can get you that important piece of junk mail from Wallmart to you in one? Think it through man - it's a license for big business to control what information you do and do not get to see based on THEIR world-view and profitability - it's Orwellian! I honestly can't fathom the willingness of some people to be their own jailers.

          1. Chad H.


            Actually, they (the postal service) do that. 2ndclass / First Class (express post in some countries), special delivery, etc.

            A better anaology for traffic management is the postman deciding his bag is too heavy, reading your mail and only delivering what he thinks is important.

            A better anaology for the "pay for prioritisation" is you calling your grandma, and before the call gets through the phone company talking to her and demanding payment as she's "Freeloading on the system" by not paying to recieve your call.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          @I do get it

          "You unfortunately WILL have to change your mindset as fundamentally the cost of supplying additional usable consumer capacity exceeds the additional revenue received from it. "

          Sorry, but you still don't get it. At the end of the day it is *always* the consumer who pays, either directly (by the ISP fees) or indirectly by the ISP charging big business who then pass the extra fee directly back to us, the consumer, by their pricing.

          We pay both way. Think about it!

          But in the "neutral way" the system is not rigged to favour the current big players by pricing out the smaller/newer players.

          As for the uneven distribution of usage, it is quite possible to shape *end user* bandwidth so the system hogs don't cause too much of a problem. I have no big issue with that side of traffic management.

          What I do object to is anything that deliberately favours or disadvantages an IP range, or a protocol, as it is no business of the ISP what I use the pipe for.

      2. Michael C

        you got what you wanted then

        This ruling guaranteed you can use the net for what you want (unless a court orders some site or another actually be taken down or that the content is in fact illegally online, but that's for the court and due process, not the FCC or ISP, and we LIKE it that way, they stayed OUT of classifying legal content and left it to the courts).

        Tiered internet, based on speed provided and use cases for that speed will be the prevailing method. no content filtering, no priority for content (other than subscriber services separate from general internet, like true IPTV, VoIP, subscriber VPN, etc, which are already treated separate in all other mediums). You'll get the speed you pay for, and based on how they market the intended use of that speed, any caps that exist have to be equally reasonable accommodating that use case.

        They can't charge extra because you access services hosted on peering networks instead of internal customers.

        That said, they do agree, Wireless is a different beast. they applied the CONTENT controls and openness ideals, but Wired has a major advantage, it can augrade at will, and in piece by piece fashion. (they can roll out docis 3 to you without breaking everyone else on the node). Wireless is FCC limited in expansion, and new technologies have to be deployed in parallel, no over the same airspace. They also have unique requirements to guarantee that airspace is free for calls and not crippled by downlaods, and they also need to be able to provide real-time and near-time services (like GPS map data, alerts, SIP requests, etc) in priority over passive data like a download or steaming video.). They're given a bit more leeway. The communication and data feeds are not just used by citizens alone, but by government agents, cops, emergency service, and more. Businesses and governments have leased lines and B2B connections on land-line, but there is no wireless equivalent for them, and 911 wireless services have to be equally ensured. They really do need more granular managemnt, so long as they filter ALL related data, and never by provider of the data, and only when necessary to relieve bottlenecks (not all the time), then it;s not discriminatory at all, and people who understand the technology differences between simlpe switched packet networks and open air wireless protocols get that, and agree.

        1. RegisterThis
          Thumb Up

          @Michael C 'You got what you wanted...'

          I guess so ... in spirit I actually agree with the ideals behind it, but there is too much lobbying (new media) behind this (the Obama/Google relationship is well documented) at a time when the market is not mature enough for it IMHO. More transparency is welcome and the surprise to Jo Public will probably be how little granularity for prioritisation a lot of network operators actually have and how blunt their tools are. The other shock is that no service provider I have spoken to about policy control (traffic management) has ever been devoid of concern for customer experience in all of this wanting to try and make usage as fair as possible. Nice post.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service"

    I'm sure they've clearly stated in legal jargon what "unreasonably" means elsewhere in the report right?

    1. Paul RND*1000

      Glad I wasn't the only one to notice that loophole

      "lawful network traffic".

      So, that means P2P, BitTorrent, and whatever else the ISP might not like that can be lumped into "unlawful" because some people use them to download movies and music illegally.

      Blocking WikiLeaks, or Cryptome, or any other site you object to and which could be claimed to skirt the edge of legality, would be well within that remit with a suitably compliant judge and a good attorney. Both of which are widely available to those with deep pockets.

      Hell, you could block standard email on the grounds that it is used by spammers to pitch illegal offshore pharmacies and counterfeit watches, and force your users to use your own proprietary email system instead.

      That one word "lawful" might have been put there in a fit of well-meaning, but it forms one hell of a big loophole.

      1. Michael C


        As defined by a court levying a verdict against a specific defendant or company. they can not simply rule that "P2P" is unlawful "content" because it is not content, it is a protocol that CARRIES content.

        Also, the FCC washed their hands of determining legality, that is the job of the courts alone. If a judge orders the site taken down, and/or sanctions against it, or for national security a warrant is issued to block content pending a trial, then the ISP could choose at that point to block it, but ONLY then. The FCC has no power to order sites legal or illegal, neither does congress. Some sites operating outside of the jurisdiction of the USA, but determined by US courts to be hosting illegal content, could be ordered blocked by court action.

        Any ISP blocking content that has not been ruled explicitly illegal in advance would be subject to MASSIVE civil penalties. This is not a loophle and ISP or the FCc or even the govenment can exploit, since "illegal" is a term that can only be applied after guilt of an individual or company is confirmed in a court of law.

  8. damocles
    Paris Hilton

    One more definition of *Unlimited*

    How can a network provider sell prioritised traffic if they are not responsible for the end points and everything in between? Surely they wouldn't try to market a service they can't/won't provide.

    Paris... because she's unlimited too

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ 'Register This'

    "Come on ... it is a resource somebody else has created, paid for ... pay to operate ..."

    The internet was originally created by the US government, ie: paid for by the taxpayer. Now it is paid for by the customer. Perhaps the interests of the customer should count for *something*?

  10. Martin Torzewski

    The real cost model vs. "neutrality"

    The cost model (& thus arguably the revenue model) for providing Internet service is largely analogous to electricity supply.

    How much data you down or up load = how much electricity you use. (Though in contrast to smart metering, you pay for up loading, rather than getting a refund!).

    The capacity of the pipe to your endpoint (e.g. home) = maximum demand tariff (how large a current is capable of being delivered)

    With Internet service, there is one other factor – traffic prioritisation, for e.g. streaming media (in electricity supply, it’s always real time!)

    Accommodating these three factors contribute independently to the cost of provision, therefore should be charged separately. Any deviation from that should be recognised as a special deal for a particular type of user, which as such subsidises that user, inevitably penalising others.

    However, audio and visual media suppliers and users are the ones with most to gain from the subsidy, hence the strength of lobbying on grounds of ostensible democracy, fairness, etc.

    Such a charging model would also highlight the dominance in general Internet use of bandwidth and processor hungry rich media content delivered, unasked, as advertising. This currently contributes massively to bandwidth usage, slowing access to services whose providers may not even have profiled the proportion of traffic which is theirs as opposed to the advertisers’.

    1. RegisterThis
      Thumb Up

      Nail on the Head

      "However, audio and visual media suppliers and users are the ones with most to gain from the subsidy, hence the strength of lobbying on grounds of ostensible democracy, fairness, etc."

      Yep - that is ultimately it ... the politics of this is about votes and not 'fairness' - nobody wants the internet or their entertainment to cost more so the media lobby has the loudest voice and the government is determined to 'let the people eat cake'

  11. Rob 5

    It matters not one jot what the regulations say.

    The purpose of the exercise is to have some regs, any regs, so that:

    (a) The bureaucrats and politicians can engage in more empire building and

    (b) The industry lobbyists will throw more money, jollies and non-executive-directorships-upon-retirement at the aforementioned bureaucrats and politicians.

    Pirate icon because that's what they are.

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    ...."they don't prevent providers from charging extra for prioritized traffic."

    That would have been the ticket.

    Next - all the cars rolling off the production line shall be sold at the price of a Renault Clio.

    Of course, the only cars produced will then be Trabants.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Tom 13

    There is nothing "unclear" about whether or not the FCC has the authority to do this.

    The DC Appeals Court unequivocally said NO in April of this year ( The only people who are "unclear" on this decision are the pinheads who approved these unconstitutional regulations.

    1. Michael C

      Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      The authority the FCC used against Comcast was rooted in a different section of legislation, and based on a rule they had not even PASSED yet. They tried to use a document of "principles" based on title 2 regulations covering wire-line carriers. They tried to apply "dumb pipe" principles to network systems tat were not classified under title 2.

      In THIS case, they're applying anti-discrimination rules, and in such ways that preserve carrier status. Its the same set of rules upheld by the supreme court (a higher authority than a DC circuit judge), for similar regulations over TV and cable systems (equally not title 2).

      This will hold up in court. They worked heavily with judges in multiple districts, as well as nods from the supremes, to ensure the language did not overstep their bounds as they dd previously.

      Last time, they had a "principle" not a rule, but tried to enforce it as a rule with punishments. this time, as they are chartered to do, they;re making specific rules, and they do have to power to enforce them.

      The formation of the FCC initially survived supreme court oversight, and similar rulings against content discrimination by the people who servre but did not create the content has equally been upheld. This is an anti-competitive and pro-consumer measure, and it has a long history of supprot int he courts.

  14. The First Dave


    Given that the Internet is now a truly international thing, how will this affect other countries (and vice versa)?

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick
      Thumb Up

      Great question

      I think, not at all. This is a uniquely American formulation of local jurisdiction which allows a fictional uncertainty to the Private Sector. Putting a 800 lb. gorilla in each American courtroom does not have an effect on the global availability of 800 lb. gorillas, there will always be plenty to go around. The 'local' remedy, Castle Doctrine and the right of self-defense, simply does not scale.

      The rest of the world is already on notice (or should be) regarding the lack of personal privacy restraints on American Content Providers.

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