back to article Tom Wheeler flings off dressing gown, dons gloves for net neutrality RUMBLE

FCC chief Tom Wheeler has confirmed he will put forward strong rules enforcing net neutrality this month. These protections, if approved, will try to ensure all traffic across the internet is treated equally, with no one able to build so-called "fast lanes" for rich websites. It's feared these expensive web toll roads could …

  1. MD Rackham

    "Fearbeared"

    I think the correct word is "forborn."

    But I like your word better now that I think about it.

    Beware the fearbears.

    1. Old Handle

      Re: "Fearbeared"

      Yes congrats on coining a new word. I googled it and got only two hits: this article and a forum post where someone had misspelled another user's name, Fearbeard.

    2. Handle This

      Re: "Fearbeared"

      That word - "forebeared" - just hurts my ears. I thought it was a terrible misprint, then an El Reg joke, then despair set in.

  2. William Donelson

    "...no last-mile unbundling."

    OUCH. That is where the best competition lies.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

      Agreed. Isn't it ironic that the land of capitalism doesn't offer true commercial competition for broadband.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

        Because the United States, all told, is a pretty sparse country as a whole. Sure, in the big cities, you have the needed density, but try someplace like Kansas, Wyoming, or Montana, and you're talking places so sparse that wiring them up is a money sink. And let's not start on wiring from coast to coast. Thus all the comms companies insists on exclusivity clauses when wiring up. And since (a) ALL the companies do this and (b) almost none of the municipalities have the capability to do it themselves, not to mention the issue of wiring up to the trunk lines, it becomes a TIOLI proposition.

        1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

          Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

          Sparsely populated areas can be well served by fixed wireless. Big cities are where big telcos bribe and sue the local governments to eliminate competition. Charging 6 million people $100/month to use decades-old wiring is extremely profitable.

          BTW, Kansas City has Google fiber.

          1. JeffyPoooh
            Pint

            Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

            "Sparsely populated areas can be POORLY served by fixed wireless."

            Obvious typo corrected.

        2. Uncle Ron

          Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

          Sorry, much of Kansas and Wyoming are already wired up. And new runs would be paid for, as they are now, by developers, apartment block owners, and others. If anything, unbundling would mean -more- revenue for whoever lays the cable. It only gets laid once. By someone who either uses it themselves, or rents it out. It does -not- mean duplicate lays.

        3. rnturn

          Re: "...no last-mile unbundling."

          The major telecomms were supposed to be running internet access to remote/rural areas for a number of years. I seem to recall the telecomms getting permission to put a surcharge on our phone bills to assist with funding this rollout. Wonder where all that money went? Most likely it was used for the legal expenses involved with putting Ma Bell back together again.

  3. Dan Paul

    Just curious...

    does this ruling (Title II) ban the practice of locating caching servers for Netflix directly on the ISP network?

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Just curious...

      Yep! And Akamai has to tear up their entire "Edge of the Web Servers" and burn them.

      (Not really.)

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Just curious...

      Interpreted one way, it could. Interpreted another way, the ISPs may be forced to allow other firms to do the same. To be fair, Netflix's servers do serve a purpose since they reduce overall uplink usage which the ISPs have to pay one way or the other (they do use it to update movies, but they only need to do it once a cycle, not every time as users stream movies). It's probably something that would have to be argued on its own in the courts to see which takes precedence.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Just curious...

      Devil will be in the detail around comments like "It's feared these expensive web toll roads". Would transit from a CDN provider be counted as an expensive toll road, and if so, would that mean CDN heavy networks like say, Level3 would have to offer free (or at cost) peering?

      As usual with anything regulatory, once details are published it'll be important to watch who's objecting to what. And equally importantly, who's not objecting to things that seem objectionable. Those would be the areas where they've spotted some advantage.

  4. jamesb2147

    Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

    Is the author familiar with recent Presidential history?

    It's not at *all* clear that Obama would veto a bill imposing internet regulations. Presidents regularly threaten to veto bills that they ultimately sign into law. It's really difficult to discern the signal from the noise on such issues, but Obama's only had TWO vetoes his entire term in office. That's a low count, even for the number of bills passing across his desk.

    Besides that bit, the article was a fine read. Carry on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

      He had only two vetoes because the Senate was democratic all six years. The republicans had very little power to pass bills through congress that Obama didn't like. Now that republicans control both houses the chances are raised, but democrats still have the ability to filibuster in the Senate.

      A bill striking down net neutrality would need to attract 7 democrats to break the filibuster if all the republicans vote for the bill which is not a foregone conclusion - a handful who hail from more liberal states and face difficult elections in 2016 may side with their constituents on this one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

        Isn't there a debt deadline coming up in a few months? That might give the Republicans a chance to force what they want into law by threatening a shutdown if their provisions aren't attached to the bill. And since they control both houses this time, they could try to draw the veto or filibuster and pin the blame for the shutdown squarely on the Democrats.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

          That's likely exactly what they'll do as it's what they've done time and again. Taking the debt ceiling or any other budget fight to shutdown levels over something like Title II classification would be such a tactical error for a new congress that it's one I doubt they'll make. Can you even imagine how badly "Newly elected Republican congress shuts down government (including military and senior benefits) over telecommunications bill" would play out? Fox News can preach to their 28% crazification factor audience all they want, but only the die hards will believe a shutdown was worth it.

      2. Handle This
        Pint

        Re: Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

        Understanding that no politician ever seems to feel beholden to prior statements or proclamations, I would lean on the side of Obama actually issuing a veto if this bill ever got to him in a form aligned with its current construction. The fact that he is in his last term and has less incentive to "play nice" with the opposition could be a significant factor. Of course, preemptive action by the FCC could render this moot entirely.

        The Stanford Law Review article was a good read (the beer is for them), and very insightful to what the proposed bill actually says and would accomplish. At heart, as the authors say, it places a tremendous amount of discretion in the ISP's regarding the definition of core phrases, the real catch being that any correction of ISP misbehavior would only be in the form of after the fact, case-by-case, review and comment. That really is totally different from any meaningful enforcement power. That, and the whole "ISP will decide what the user asked for" bit, places a good light on where this bill really came from.

    2. Uncle Ron

      Re: Presidential vetoes are usually empty threats

      "Obama's only had TWO vetoes his entire term in office." Not a low count at all, when you consider that the Congress, during his term, has passed -very- few bills. And, don't forget, that when his opponents actually -want- something passed, they usually shape it into what they think he'll sign. Usually.

      You can expect much more vetoing in the next two years. The morons are posturing for 2016.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Government shutdown is not a threat

        Obama called their bluff last time, and the republicans suffered for it in public opinion. The tea party contingent will always be game to do this because it plays well with the extreme right, but most of the rest will not follow them down that path again.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Funny thing that Tom did....

    Being a former lobbyist, I would have thought he would have went the other way. Instead, he's pulled a bit of fast one on his former employers which will not make him welcome to their company picnics.

    Or did he? Since we don't have the full statement yet along with implications, we don't know. Yes, there will be a battle and yes, there will be Congress getting into the act. Popcorn anyone?

  6. Uncle Ron

    I believe this "Net Neutrality" decision is a total ruse. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler doesn’t intend to govern the online world the way authorities oversee rate hikes at utilities like Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and the agency won’t be monitoring your monthly Comcast or AT&T bill. I'm convinced that neither the FCC or the Cable Lobby cares so much about Net Neutrality. What they really want is to impose METERED BILLING, and the proposed ruling does nothing to prevent this rip-off. Metered Billing is the true Pot of Gold for the monopolists. It is not only unjustified price-gouging, but is actually a DIS-incentive to the monopolies to -ever- improve the technology.

    They will claim that this "loss" on Net Neutrality justifies them to begin charging a LOT more for internet service. They will begin coming for American's wallets very soon. Expect $200 to $300 per month internet bills from Comcast and all of them. They have already PUBLICLY stated they intend to do this. These multi-hundred dollar monthly internet bills is their forecast. Wheeler is their "guy" at the FCC.

  7. Uncle Ron

    No Nothing...

    Wheeler said, "there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling."

    Those things are exactly what are needed. The Cable Industry's water boy came through for them. American consumers are going to get walloped in the wallet very soon. The lobbyists have publicly predicted $200 to $300 monthly internet bills for Americans, and here it comes.

    70% of American consumers have ONE choice for internet service: Their local cable TV monopoly. If the Comcast merger is somehow corruptly approved, more than 50% of Americans will have only Comcast to choose from. "There will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling." The oligarchs have won.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: No Nothing...

      Have they ever considered that this level of gouging could convince their customers to do the one thing always available to them...and walk away. If people have been using their connections and recorders to permanently download their favorite shows and then pass the tapes/discs/drives around, they could potentially engage in a prolonged "strike" against the big boys and not get bored. Even sports can be done without local TV; the sports bar industry may find such a walkout in their favor.

      1. Uncle Ron

        Re: No Nothing...

        The cable and telecom monopolies are not stupid. They won't ratchet up the rates in one swoop. They'll do it over several years. Slow enough to keep the noise level down. But as I said, the National Cable Industry Association has publicly predicted $200 to $300 per month bills for internet service--no content, just the bits--within three to five years. America is rapidly becoming (or, should I say, already is) a corporatist oligarchy. No justice for all.

    2. Swarthy

      Re: No Nothing...@ Uncle Ron

      Have you compared US internet bills to Europe, or anywhere else? We are already getting walloped in the wallet.

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