back to article FCC headman Wheeler calls for an 'open internet' – but what the %$#@! does he mean?

Just how "open" is US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler's "open internet"? To paraphrase ex-President Bill Clinton's famous weasel words, "It depends upon what the mean of 'open' is." On Thursday morning, Wheeler put to a commission vote a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) "to preserve and protect the …


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  1. elDog

    Typical Beltway-speak

    How to say something and mean exactly the opposite.

    How to give service to the corporations that pad Wheeler's wallet and lip-service to the poor consumers at the other end of the pipes.

    There is no way that a paid tiering system won't eventually be turned into a mega-pipe for the donors and a capillary for the masses.

    1. JeffyPoooh

      Define "Internet"

      There is a fresh fiber optic cable connected to my house. This one fiber optic cable provides both Internet (175 Mbps!) and Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). I certainly hope and pray that my I(& POTS)SP *does* put a higher priority and/or dedicated access on the POTS Internet Protocol bits that are carried along this last mile of "the Internet" (whatever that means).

      1. RaidOne

        Re: Define "Internet" @ JeffyPoooh

        If you think voice is a problem on your 175 Mbps line, I don't know what to say...

        I replaced POTS with VoIP 6 years ago (over a 3 Mbps line) and I never had any issues with voice. Because I set my router up so that voice gets higher QoS then everything else. You should do the same and ask your ISP to be the dumb pipe that it should be, not ask them to prioritize traffic, which ultimately will end up as fast lanes.

      2. Ole Juul


        Uncompressed G.711 VoIP needs 80 kbps. I just made a test call to confirm that. I'm on very low speed rural wireless and my VoIP calls are high quality and reliable. You've got something misconfigured or there's a flooded link somewhere.

      3. AnonFairBinary

        Re: Define "Internet"

        So you have 175 mbps link, and you are worried that it is so full that a voice link consuming (worst case) 64kbps or... 64/175*1024 = 0.036% of the available bandwidth will be impacted? really? DNS traffic is essentially real-time, as is gaming traffic... and video conferencing like Skype, G+... there are lots of use cases where low latency is important for internet traffic, and voice is no longer anything special. I find your QoS concerns very 20th century.

  2. DerekCurrie

    "Weasel" Is The Core Word Here

    I expect Mr. Thomas Wheeler and his cohorts to be nothing more than deceitful weasels as the nightmare, the murder of Net Neutrality unfolds. Expect propaganda galore, all hiding the fact that Net Neutrality will be a fatality.

  3. Mikel

    Over before it began

    The only thing better for the cable giants than a weak FCC rule is a completely muddled, unintelligible and unenforceable rule. That way they can do whatever they want for years and the courts will protect them.

  4. usbac

    ...he said. "One can only conclude that the Founding Fathers must be looking down and smiling at how the republic they created has been carrying out the ideals they established."

    No, Mr. Wheeler, our founding fathers would have marched into your office with a rope, grabbed a your ass, and looked for the nearest to tree to hang your corrupt, sleezey ass from!

    A coworker of mine once speculated that a good portion of "global warming" is from the friction of our founding fathers spinning in their graves. I tend to think he must be right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No, I think, perhaps, that they'd use firearms.

      1. Euripides Pants

        Re: firearms?

        Probably nice, hot burning tar and a splintery rail (pointy edge up, of course).

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Send your comments now to the FCC.


    Here at least is the form method to email him with your displeasure.

    NOTE: You will never get what you don't ask for, if you ask often and loud enough some people have been know to listen.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Internet is NOT American, it belongs to all of us.

    North America comprises only 11.2% of people online. So why are a piddling minority telling the world how the Internet is to be run?

    The Internet belongs to all of us. There should be no restriction, censorship, or limitation for anyone using it. No government should be able to regulate it in the slightest way. They are not talking about limiting their just own traffic. Anything routed through a Tier 1 provider is affected.

    "A Tier 1 ISP by definition doesn't pay transit fees to anyone to reach any destination in the Internet Region... The litmus test is, "Does this ISP pay anyone (or barter) to reach any destination in the Internet Region?" If the answer is "No" then it is a "Tier 1 ISP" and if the answer is "Yes" then it is a "Tier 2 ISP."

    Tier 1 ISP's (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) do not pay to send or receive information, but they want to charge YOU for faster access. If you don't pay, they slow you down. That's also called extortion.

    This will affect everything you see and do on the net. Overnight, if you are not American, you become a second rate user. If American ISP's do this, your own will follow soon after. Think it will be cheaper to use the Internet after that?

    The Americans have already shown they are untrustworthy in invading your privacy. If you are a foreigner (to them) they will continue to spy on you in every way. Their own government leaders lie to Congress without fear of punishment. The two level system will give their corporations priority over anything you do and no matter how much extra you are forced to pay, your traffic will always come second to theirs.

    If the US passes a two level Internet system, the transatlantic cables to the states should be cut.Just for the reduction in spam and spying, it will be worth it. At the end of the day, they need us a lot more than we need them.

    Speak out against this madness now. Boycott US corporations until sanity breaks out.


    1. JeffyPoooh

      "Tier 1 ISP's (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.)..."

      I'll betcha a dollar that these corporations have multiple subsidiaries and shell companies at the various tiers. So that they can pay each other, and of course move money around and profits offshore. So it would be exceedingly naive to try to characterize them as simple a Tier 1 company.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know where you're from...

      And it doesn't matter. If Die Bun­des­netz­agen­tur [or non-us government telecom ageny] was proposing this, do you think Der Speigel [insert company here] would pay have their pages load faster than Axel Springer's [insert their competition here]?

      Or would you protest it like we are protesting this US FCC proposed rule?

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It doesn't matter what country you're in... where corporations are concerned there is no morality or sanity. Hell, in this matter, it's not "all corporations", it's just a few but they have some serious money to throw around and not just in the US.

      There is a trickle down.. you think the corporations that run things in your country won't try to pull this off? It isn't just about the States, these are multinationals behind this. If they get what they want in one country, it spreads like a virus to the other countries they are in.

      If I were you, I'd be watching my own country's leaders for such things also and be prepared to take to the ramparts.

      Oh, since you brought it up... every country appears to be playing the big brother thing. They just haven't had a Snowden pop up and blow the whistle yet.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What he (Wheeler) really means

    The fix is in.

  9. Dr Scrum Master

    Common Carrier?

    If ISPs don't want to be treated as common carriers, doesn't that mean they they become responsible (i.e. able to be sued) for the content that they carry?

    1. John G Imrie

      The post office is a comon carrier

      Doesn't stop it having multiple levels of delivery.

  10. Adam Higgins

    Business as usual

    The FCC is in the process of making decisions that could drastically harm the Internet as we know it. Until very recently, the FCC had rules in place which dictated an open, neutral Internet. This meant that all (legal) web traffic had to be treated equally, without blocking or favoritism. From a private blog to a public search engine or corporate website, all traffic enjoyed equal priority and access. This situation has changed.

    Previous “Open Internet” or “Net Neutrality” rules were vacated earlier this year, the outcome of a lawsuit brought, and won by, Verizon. The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled against the FCC because the language used characterized Internet Service Providers as content providers, over whom the FCC has limited authority. The ruling court, seeing the necessity of maintaining the Internet as it is, even spelled out how the FCC could easily rectify the situation. If the FCC designated the ISP's as common carriers, basically pipelines for data, it could regulate them under its Title II authority.

    The biggest opportunity this ruling presents for ISP’s is a new source of income as they seek to control access to content and institute charges for entities who wish to put their content in the forefront. Verizon, for example, looks “forward to working with the FCC and Congress...without the need for unnecessary new regulations that seek to manage the explosive dynamism of the Internet.” (Quote from Verizon’s policy blog). In this instance, dynamism=profit.

    No one will benefit from a tiered Internet, except those seeking to make money through preferential treatments and "subscription" packages. That is unthinkable. The consumer pays his or her ISP to provide an Internet connection, nothing more. Carriers must be classified as service providers or utilities. Anything less threatens the existence of the Internet as we know it.

    The Internet has become a very necessary part of everyday life, from email, social net-working, banking and shopping to videos, music, and movies. We have integrated the Net into our daily lives to the point that it is hard to imagine doing without it, just like electricity or running water. It's high time to recognize the fact that the Internet is indeed a utility, and must be treated as such.

  11. Frallan

    Double speak...

    "If a network operator blocked access to lawful content," he said, "it would violate our no-blocking rule and be commercially unreasonable, and therefore be doubly prohibited."

    In good english this means:

    We have a pool of ONE HUUUUUUUNDRED 28.8 modems that provide tha base internet - there is no blocking going on and you have the unthrotteled speed you have paid for we just cant help that you want to go outside of the prioritized content. However there is this new package you can by from us for only 120$/mth that allows you to brows the internet at prioritized speed...

    Good luck US - the only thing that is even the slightest positive about this is that the EU wont be as stupid and the US will be left choking on EU-Dust after all the techfirms have moved here and the development has shifted to scandinavia/Iceland/Ireland.

  12. Frogmelon

    "Open", Gangnam Style :p

  13. All names Taken

    Commercial opportunity?

    I can't help but feel that there is a commercial opportunity out there.

    (a) A totally open internet

    (b) A totally safe internet

    Why decide around a table (probably subject to undue influence anyway) when the grown up public can make their own choices even if it is to the unliking of many.

    Besides - who are these new lords of all?

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