back to article So: Will we get net neutrality? El Reg decodes FCC boss Tom Wheeler

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has set off another frenzied storm of net neutrality speculation. At a packed session at CES on Wednesday, Wheeler was interviewed about a range of issues but most significantly over how the FCC plans to classify broadband: something that will have huge implications for internet access across the US. …

  1. PleebSmash
    Mushroom

    eat this

    If the average broadband was faster and uncapped, with more competitors in each market, there wouldn't be a need for net neutrality rules. Multiple players have sold 1 Gbps for $60-70 a month (not just GORGLE), and that should be capable of handling multiple 8K streams. Or even more video once successors to H.265 and VP9 have appeared. There's no excuse for peddling 5-50 Mbps at $30 a month and caps and throttling when fixed bandwidth costs have fallen exponentially. Prioritization my arse. Get 1-10 Gbps if you need more oomph. Prioritization is practically a security risk anyway. Everything should be encrypted, in which case you can't or won't prioritize.

    Who knows if Wheeler's 25/3 broadband proposal would do any good. Greedy rural ISPs can just drop the word broadband from their advertising. "Git yer 1 MEGAbit MEGA Internet Access!"

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: eat this

      (2011) Wireline Costs And Caps: A Few Facts

      "2 cents to 5 cents per gigabyte. The actual bandwidth cost to a large carrier like Time Warner or AT&T, depending on how you do the accounting. $1/month/customer. Going Down: Bandwidth usage growth per customer. The rate has been about 30% per year, with the rate slightly falling the last few years. The growth in average usage is actually going down slightly, per Cisco VNI and the MINTS data of Professor Andrew Odlyzko. Going Down: Capital investment required. Going Up: Profit Margins. Prices for broadband have generally been going up in the U.S. since 2007 while costs drop."

      CISCO: The Zettabyte Era - Trends and Analysis

      "Global IP traffic has increased fivefold over the past 5 years, and will increase threefold over thenext 5years. Overall, IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent from 2013 to 2018."

      Wikipedia: "On September 12, 2014, Google announced that development on VP10 had begun and that after the release of VP10 they plan to have an 18 month gap between releases of video standards." and "HEVC is said to double the data compression ratio compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC at the same level of video quality."

    2. Ole Juul

      Re: eat this

      Who knows if Wheeler's 25/3 broadband proposal would do any good. Greedy rural ISPs can just drop the word broadband from their advertising. "Git yer 1 MEGAbit MEGA Internet Access!"

      Canadian govt defines "broadband" as 5Mbps now. Rural ISPs, who of course don't come close to that, advertise "high speed". Problem fixed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: eat this

      Please....1 Gbps broadband is only practical in dense areas. What are you going to do about the more rural areas where a significant portion of the US population lives? Say, "too bad, move to the city if you want decent broadband?" It is offered without caps because few people have any use that loads it much. If everyone was streaming 8K video for all the TV they watch instead of getting broadcast video like cable or satellite, you can be damn sure Google wouldn't offer capless 1 Gbps broadband for only $70.

      It is like when AT&T offered capless cellular with the release of the iPhone. The iPhone was the only device back then that could really heavily utilize a lot of data, so it was great for selling iPhones. Unfortunately for AT&T the millions of iPhones, and the millions of Androids that came later, eventually overwhelmed their network. It was great when only a few people could use it, but when everyone could it didn't work so well. Don't be fooled into thinking Google is somehow exempt from capacity constraints when they have like three cities in the whole US and fewer broadband customers than dozens of regional ISPs you've never even heard of!

      Net neutrality has absolutely NOTHING to do with usage caps. If you had caps that said "you get x GB to other sources but you can have unlimited data to Netflix because they paid us", that's something Net Neutrality would prevent. That would allow competitors to Netflix to spring up that don't have the deep pockets to pay for priority access or bypassing the normal usage caps.

      The big worry of course is that Comcast or Verizon offers OTT video and makes their service capless, but enforces usage caps on competing services. Pretty much assuring that anyone who uses them for broadband (and in some places they may be the only viable option, and in most places are one of only two viable options) also uses them for video and effectively kills not only Netflix, but also Directv, Dish, Amazon Instant, and so on.

      1. Mikel

        Re: eat this

        Dense areas like Ephrata, WA, where they have had gigabit fiber to the home since 2000 through the local power muni. It covers the whole rural county 3/4ths the size of Los Angeles county. Population: 91,000 for the whole county.

        Come again?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: eat this

          Grant County, WA is a testbed community. It only has high-speed broadband because iFiber Communications chose to use that area to deploy an experimental fiber network. Most likely, they're trying something that may not pan out in a denser area; otherwise, they could've easily gone just a little bit west and deployed in the Seattle metropolitan area which happens to include tech-oriented Redmond.

          1. Mikel

            Re: eat this

            It is not a testbed. It is muni gigabit fiber available to every home served by the power utility district. It was a project of the county to leverage a surplus of revenue to fund IP based metering, and the ISP part was just synergy. You are talking out of a lack of knowledge.

  2. RedneckMother

    So...

    I am cautiously optimistic. I have criticised Mr. Wheeler in various online forums, because he appears to be a mere lapdog for the Comms Corporations.

    As a "rural American" I have only one option for 'net connection - and that is HughesNOT. What a (bad) joke. Latency and "proxying" prevent the use of VOIP, bandwith limitations ("up to blah-blah transfer rate" is but a marketing ploy), and ridiculous data caps (not to mention prices / contract requirements) are horrendous / ridiculous.

    Attempts to read news from non-USA sources is a constant challenge (bbc.co.uk, TheReg).

    DNSSEC? Non functional. IPV6 - advertised, but not provisioned.

    I am on a fixed income, else I would build and operate a WISP - both for myself, and for my neighbors. I am truly disgusted to have spent so much money over so many years (in part, paying a tax for rural telecommunication susbsidies while living in urban areas), and spending my current time and money on abismal "service" (the kind of service a bull provides to a cow, for you cattle raising folk).

    I will be surprised if anything changes (other than an increase in my comms costs).

  3. Eugene Crosser

    I don't understand

    you have to provide the service across the country

    How this is going to work now for the ISPs, and, even more interesting, how could it work in the olden days of railways, steamers and coaches?

  4. Mikel

    The rule will be muddled and unenforceable

    This is just what the cable companies want. They will sue anyway. You could build them a tap straight from the federal reserve and they would sue saying it wasn't wide enough.

  5. Oninoshiko

    I've still not heard a compelling argument

    ,,,that Wheeler can selectively apply parts of Title 2. If he tries to, we're going to be back here again.

    I acknowledge he can declare something covered or not, but it's either completely covered or not at all. Anything else is outside his remit, as it is the purview of congress.

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