back to article Net neutrality foes outspent backers by over three to one – and that's just so far

The companies who oppose net-neutrality regulations are pumping far more resources into their lobbying efforts than those who support the measures. This is according to the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan government watchdog that has tracked both spending and lobbying reports on the issue in recent years. The group said …

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  1. Eguro

    One has to wonder how the infrastructure and ability to compete would have looked for the companies that could've spent $XX millions on upgrades and on servicing their customers...

    It's almost like that would've been a good investment which would've ensured long term profits...

    1. stanimir

      Profits?

      The real profits come from ensuring proper legislation and no competition - all that ensured by mere politicians bribing lobbing.

      The process is very straightforward and fail proof.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Beat me to it.

      The same can also be said for almost all the lobbying going on these days.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    When in doubt about regulations and origins of same,

    Follow the money. Wheeler's background hinted at this but the spending says it all. Net neutrality is doomed unless Congress and the FCC show some backbone.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: When in doubt about regulations and origins of same,

      Or unless the losers decide to fight back.

      So Comcast want $M from Netflix to make sure that Netflix's packets don't get 'broken'

      Then Apple decide that Comcast users don't get iTunes, Microsoft decide that they don't get updates and Google is suddenly 404.

      There are lots of rules about telcos and common carriers, there aren't many saying that a computer company can't choose who its customers are.

      1. Uncle Ron

        Re: When in doubt about regulations and origins of same,

        Comcast and the mighty few are not stupid. They won't do blatant things, just enough to create artificial scarcity and high prices. There won't be any 404's on Google, but lots of random buffering and random slow response for sites that don't pony up. No innovation--except in billing systems.

        Any system administrator can tell you that there are dozens of subtle, hard-to-trace actions that can be taken to screw both users and content providers. A script can be written that is impossible to identify--and nobody knows about it. As long as there is incentive in these companies to do this, it will be done. History has shown this time and time again. We're screwed in the US unless something is done. Something more than a few Senators and protesters whining. We're screwed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When in doubt about regulations and origins of same,

          When I experiance a slow site, I respond by spamming the hell out of it, or pinging the heck out of it. So if my ISP want's reduced bandwidth to the site, it's in their best interest to make sure we get it quick enough that we are not annoyed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When in doubt about regulations and origins of same,

      "Net neutrality is doomed unless Congress and the FCC show some backbone"

      Why would they do that? Who own these two bodies? The sad reality is that western "democracy" is anything but, and your elected representatives work for their mates, not their electors. And it's not just the US: In the UK parliament and OFCOM are equally committed to working for the benefit of lobbyists.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When in doubt about regulations and origins of same,

      Net Neutrality is nothing but a way for the Government/Corporate fascist relationship to gain control over our communications and free speech on the Internet, and bill us for it at the same time.

      The original claim was that net neutrality was to keep corporations from slowing down your bandwidth by 20% because you are going to netflix web site. But under net neutrality, the ISP could simply charge you 20% more for going to the site, but maintain your bandwidth (for now). This is six of one or half a dozen of the other. The whole reason somebody doesn't want to be slowed down was because they paid for the bandwidth.

      Net neutrality doesn't stop there. it also requires ISPs to keep records over your internet activity, so police can just ask the ISP at any time for your records, without needing a warrant, or you even knowing about it.

      Of course this will happen, because it means the ISPs will get more money. and Obama and his fascist pigs will get all the information and control out of it.

  3. RedneckMother

    ... duh ...

    Sorry, I know this is lame, but "DUHHHHHH". Them that has, gets.

  4. Grahame 2

    Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

    While I support the idea of Net Neutrality in principle, I don’t believe it can be achieved with this kind of regulation. The problem is still basically last mile monopoly. It has clearly been shown in the article that these monopolies are able and quite prepared to spend huge sums on ensuring regulatory capture in their favour. (That this is possible and frequent is part of a much bigger problem with our political systems)

    I think that the system in the UK where the incumbent was required to provide wholesale access to its last mile infrastructure, within a regulated price structure, while not being perfect has proved much more workable.

    By allowing competition and more importantly customer choice, if telco X decides to go rent-seeking by hobbling its service it is likely to lose customers to rivals offering a superior service.

    In many areas this has been surpassed by rival last mile infrastructure being built, but without that initial lowering of the barrier to entry, and the ability to provide ‘off-net’ coverage, those rival infrastructures would likely have never been built.

    Real competition is the key.

    Monopoly & Regulation (captured) vs. Competition

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

      The thing is, there has to be incentive to actually build rival last mile infrastructure. England is not that big a country, so building out to the rural areas isn't as great a stretch. But in the US, you can be hundreds of miles from any community of note. At these distances, communities couldn't GIVE the last mile away because there was basically a first mile, a last mile, but nothing in between. So ANYONE who wanted to reach that community basically had to built the entire linkup from scratch. The costs involved pretty much meant the only way to do it AT ALL was through sweetheart deals.

      PS. It's not just cable where you see this last mile problem. Natural Gas is not available in my neighborhood because there's no existing infrastructure and not enough people interested in it to make the infrastructure investment worthwhile.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

      "I think that the system in the UK where the incumbent was required to provide wholesale access to its last mile infrastructure, within a regulated price structure, while not being perfect has proved much more workable."

      Ahhh yes. BT buying media rights, and still planning on net neutrality? I somehow think not. And the shambles of national broadband, that's hardly an advert for the UK regulatory model.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

        Over here, people can and will go elsewhere if Netflix and YouTube don't work well on BT.

    3. Uncle Ron

      Re: Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

      The last mile is absolutely the key. Why should Comcast be presenting at an advertising convention? Why should an ISP be in the advertising business at all? Why should an ISP own TV channels, a movie studio, and be selling local advertising? We didn't intend to give them this power. It MUST BE STOPPED.

      Monopolies are just wrong--except in very basic infrastructure. And then being closely and openly regulated. Comcast and the others should be in the plumbing business and that's all. The last mile should be a utility and be opened up to anybody to hook on and compete. Anything else is corruption, bribery, and a complete rip-off. The US is selling out to some of the worst corruption, on the largest scale, in the history of corruption. This is not hyperbole.

      We tend to think of corruption as some petty bureaucrat taking a bribe to speed up zoning or customs, or a cop taking a few bucks to "look the other way," or a legislator taking money to vote yes on a bad military contract. These are NOTHING compared to what's happening in the US FCC, Congress, and the DOJ with this Comcast merger and the Net Neutrality issue. HUGE corruption. More money than any other corruption in history.

  5. Beau
    Unhappy

    "Hardly seems to be a fair fight, eh?"

    "Hardly seems to be a fair fight, eh? That is, if you believe lawmakers can be bought ..."

    Well, well, well, don't you understand, this is the great American way in the great USA.

    Government of the people, by the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful.

    It's simple enough, what is there not to understand, you just have to accept, and get used to it.

  6. john devoy

    This is how all US systems function isn't it? The one who can spend the most wins.

    1. Fair Dinkum

      It's the golden rule, innit? He who has the gold, rules.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not supposed to be.

      It's not supposed to be that way, but it is.

      We now live under a fascist oligarchy.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha ha ha.....

    Drop your pants and take it like a good 'un.

    We had to accept shite legislation regarding powerline networking fucking up the whole EMC framework, chucking EN55022 in the bin. This is just more corporate money making of the same ilk. Enjoy! Same shit, different day. Lobby as hard and as frantically as you want - you won't get anywhere where big business is involved.

    This fills me with glee. You tossers couldn't give a rats arse about my freedom to use HF spectrum, now your ability to download porn may be compromised, yet you want me to give a toss?...Fuck off.

  8. sena.akada

    Lobbying by commercial entities should be made illegal.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Lobbying by commercial entities should be made illegal considered treason.

      T,FTFY.

  9. Uncle Ron

    Surprised?

    Not even a tiny bit surprised by this headline. Capped/Metered internet billing and ISP Toll Boothing in the US will be THE most profitable "regulated" business in the history of mankind. This is not hyperbole. It will be a true license to print money. Interested parties--mostly Comcast--will spend HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS on lobbying, electioneering, and just plain bribery to lock this in. If we don't stop them, freedoms of many kinds will be dead in America.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Selling Out

    Isn't American democracy great, companies spend/donate millions to unscrupulous senators to get their own way and you know they will make billions when the government sell out and regulators capitulate. Corruption all the way, interesting to see in the next couple of years, if those who made the decisions end up on the board of directors of the companies that benefit !!

  11. Dramoth

    Similar but slightly different

    I find it interesting that some of you have mentioned the final mile. I am on the verge of leaving the UK and Ireland, where I have had great broadband for a number of years, to return to my home country of Australia... I will be living 2.5 hours southish of Perth.

    Thanks to Teflon Tone and his sidekicks Firesale Joe and Turnbuckle Turnbull, they have pretty much killed the NBN which means that I could well be stuck with a very limited boardband connection (try a satellite connection). And as I am considering setting up a work from home development business, not having a reliable broadband connection could be a major issue.

    People in the remote areas are going to always struggle whether there is net neutrality or not. Location doesnt matter.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Similar but slightly different

      The US knows that all too well. Infrastructure to the sticks is costly because the US is so damn big. Ever wonder why there are so many local monopolies when it comes to network infrastructure? It was because monopolies were the ONLY way to get SOMEONE to actually care about reaching them all the way in the Middle of Nowhere(tm).

  12. gerdesj Silver badge

    In the UK NN is doomed already

    The UK are already looking to veto the net neutrality requirements being put forward by the EC. Our lovely anti pr0n filters would become illegal, which would make the current mob in Govt look a bit daft.

    The beauty of the veto is that I believe this would bugger up NN for the whole of Europe - yay!

    I expect to see some fancy manoeuvring over the coming weeks and months, on both sides of the pond. This is going to run and run.

  13. Uncle Ron

    Net Neutrality is crucial for innovation and free market competition and just plain fairness. This is the "equal speed" side of the problem. High speed, and even higher speed, isn't the true important problem. IMHO, Net Neutrality is important, but is really a RED HERRING.

    The other, more important, side of the problem, that the huge monopoly ISP's are even more interested in, may actually make them willing to cave in on Net Neutrality: Metered Billing. Capping and metering internet usage is the true pot of gold for the big ISP's. Internet service is already the single highest profit product the monopoly cable systems sell--by far--but you ain't seen nothin' yet:

    Allowing them to charge by the Gigabyte (which is totally unjustified) is their ultimate goal and their publicly stated plan. Multiple credible studies, around the world, have shown that the incremental cost of delivering a gigabit of data is almost nothing--nearly unmeasurable. The monopoly cable systems have published (but in Comcast's case "suspended") billing plans for metered internet service that would net them unbelievable and unwarranted profits.

    It's not hyperbole to say that these billing plans would make Comcast and the few others, the most profitable companies in the world. Profit margins of 200%, 300%, 400% and more. For a monopoly.

    The "cable industry" has projected that internet billing will average $200 per month per household in the next 3-5 years. This is, in my opinion, an equally dangerous situation for the American consumer, for freedom of information, for fair market competition and more. Because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, Comcast and the others will be far too powerful. They must be stopped.

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