back to article Net neutrality victory: FCC approves 'open internet' rules in 3-2 vote

US watchdog the FCC today approved its strongest ever rules governing internet access. The regulations were passed in a 3-2 vote by commissioners. "It's a red letter day for the internet," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler just prior to calling the vote. "Today history is being made." The vote fell along partisan lines, with the …

  1. Mike VandeVelde
    Holmes

    "the FCC's chairman has refused to publish the rules before the vote took place."

    So do we get to actually see the actual rules now?

    <gets popcorn>

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Death to CDNs ??!!??

      BBC News "Internet providers cannot strike deals with content firms, known as paid prioritisation, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers"

      Sounds exactly like what I predicted. Akamai is in a banned business model.

      Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Death to CDNs ??!!??

        "Internet providers cannot strike deals with content firms, known as paid prioritisation, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers"

        Incorrect. They can.

        ISPs cannot throttle Netflix whilst allowing all other traffic through their gateways in order to force Netflix into a perring agreement. Nor can they selectively throttle specific protocols or source/destination sets.

        Virtually none of this intervention would be necessary if there was actual competition in the US retail market - and this intervention is the direct result of dozens of other interventions over the last 40 years orchestrated at undoing the breakup of Ma Bell.

        Telcos repeatedly promised major upgrades in exchange for exclusive access to a market or allowing mergers, then repeatedly reneged on the deals with no penalties whilst making more promises and getting more lockin. State regulators looked the other way and legislated CLECs out of existance.

        AT&T is almost completely reassembled - and this time without the pesky "universal service to all at an affordable price" committments it was landed with after 1930s anti-monopoly cases against it.

        1. JeffyPoooh
          FAIL

          Re: Death to CDNs ??!!??

          Please go argue with BBC News. The quote is copied verbatim from them.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Death to CDNs ??!!??

        >Akamai is in a banned business model.

        Akamai isn't banned.

        Fox monitoring the stuff from Akamai and slowing packets containing HBO shows is banned.

      3. ZAM
        Facepalm

        Re: Death to CDNs ??!!?? Umm NO

        Don't know why I bother, but ISPs cannot priorities a company’s bits coming into its network over another company’s bits. Akamai helps deliver the bits to the ISP’s gateway, so no Akamai is fine.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: "the FCC's chairman has refused to publish the rules before the vote took place."

      No, you get to see new legislation called "Patriotic Elimination of Child Molestation and ISIS" or some such with the exact same unseen text.

      This does not stop them, it only delays them.

    3. BigFire

      Re: "the FCC's chairman has refused to publish the rules before the vote took place."

      EFF has found out that it's choke full of NSA/FBI friendly backdoors. Yep, another we'll find out what's in it after we vote for it.

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  3. Panicnow

    We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

    Net neutrality was a major factor in the success of the Internet over other proprietary networks. If the broadband providers ever get the right to extort taxes for transit, then the internet will be no more, just a small number of proprietary network with ever reducing connectivity to aid tax collection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

      You are a fool.

      I have always been a strong supporter of Net Neutrality. The net is not broken, so it should be left alone. But that's NOT what you got.

      I am a network engineer and I have been in the I.T. field for over 30 years. My job is to break into computer networks (white hat hacking).

      There are not two plans regarding this subject, there are THREE. Listed below.

      1. Do nothing which results in Internet service providers throttling bandwidth that we pay for. Most people do not want this.

      2. Net Neutrality. This is the idea that the Internet should be left alone because it's been working fine for decades. This is what a majority of the people want, and what they all think they are getting.

      3. "Net Neutrality". The FCC and Obama came up with a plan to let governemnet agencies have vast sweeping control over what we see, hear and say on the Internet and they called this plan "Net Neutrality". Same name, but completely different meaning.

      Some of the vast control they would have is the ability to seize any and all records without any kind of warrant, and to just hand over information to TSA, even though it has nothing to do with travel. They will have sweeping powers, but at the beginning they will only implement the ones they said, just so the public would accept it. Later, they start implementing more and more, a little at a time so it's not noticed very much.

      This is an important issue that could result in civil war. and everybody needs to writed the Senators and Representatives and DEMAND the FCC be completely stopped from getting ANY control on the Internet.

      Plan 3 is what we actually got.

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

        May we see your actual evidence for this?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

          >May we see your actual evidence for this?

          Fox news said so - what more evidence do you need ?

      2. elDog

        Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

        Wisht I could vote you up and down. OK, I've been in IT for 49 years but it doesn't really give me enough ability to trash this decision and result in civil war.

        The ability to intercept all communications is not going to stop because of some FCC decision. This in no way impacts the int agencies from putting taps on everything they can. They can listen to my morning movements all they want.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

          elDog is right. In reality, each of our respective governments already own the internet, and they have a military to defend the ground which the cables are laid upon that make it work.

          Back down here however, how much of this law is going to change remains to be seen. I believe on each bill passed for the foreseeable future, there will be riders chipping away at it to form what corporations want (which won't be what you want). However, at least as long as it stays "there", under government watch, we will have a middle man, or better put, a ground with foundation to approach for ~fair~ treatment. It will be leaned heavily in favor of BigCrop (as usual), BUT, at least we won't have to strictly deal with BigCorp and all its siblings view of "fair == fare", as we have had to so far (or I guess just the last ~10 years, or however long the internet has been a sole commercial entity).

          Oh, and if somebody has been a "White Hat" hacker for 30 years, there has to be some dirt on that white (the 80's was the Wild West for any programmer...if you ever spent 30 minutes crafting a humorous MOTD...you understand).

        2. Jaybus

          Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

          Seems to be a good deal of conspiracy theory flying around, causing people to miss the obvious. Placing Internet comms under Title II will allow the US government to tax the Internet. When looking for motive in a government's actions, monetary gain is always the first thing to look for.

      3. ZAM
        Black Helicopters

        Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

        " 3. "Net Neutrality". The FCC and Obama came up with a plan to let governemnet agencies have vast sweeping control over what we see, hear and say on the Internet and they called this plan "Net Neutrality". Same name, but completely different meaning."

        That makes perfect sense, kinda like the PATRIOT ACT. How come we did not get #3? Surely this will not stand . . . Hopefully the Republicans will straighten this out so Plan 3 is adopted. Need more tinfoil.

        1. doctariAFC2

          Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

          And yet you have not read the regulations because they have not been released.

          Further the legislative process is far different than the regulatory process - guess you do not know the difference between laws and regulations and the process for each? Not debating the merits or lack thereof of the Patriot Act, but under the due process framework of how a bill becomes law, representatives are to debate the bill in each house, both in their respective committees and then on the general floor of each house, then representatives vote on said legislation, their vote is recorded and we can see whether the reps are actually representing you or not. They are held accountable on election day. Regulations, on the other hand, are rules made up by appointed bureaucrats, unaccountable to the people. Theymake up rules based on the law that authorizes a given department or commission authority to regulate under the scope of the enabling law. They draft a proposed regulation and submit for public comment. Once the draft ppsl comment period closes, the regulators/ bureaucrats publish a final proposed regulation, this gets published in the Federal Registrar, followed by another public comment period of at least 30 days, which can be extended depending on comment numbers, and whether more time is needed for the public to comment. Usually at least one public hearing is also held. After the comment period, depending on the comments, the draft proposal is either codified or pulled, but usually codified. Typically the regulations will not be "tweaked" after this formalizeed process (meaning proposed regs published). The tweaking usually happens during the draft proposal period.

          SInce we have not seen the regulations before the commission voted to adopt, which BTW is illegal, we really do not know what the regulations state, its impacts, etc. STatements concerning what has been done are more speculation based on beliefs of what this term net neutrality means, not what the regulations to get there actually state.

      4. Uncle Ron

        Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

        Man, I don't know who you are or what kind of 'engineer' you are, but you are just totally and completely wrong. Please adjust your foil helmet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We Internet pioneers breathe a sigh of relief

          "Man, I don't know who you are or what kind of 'engineer' you are, but you are just totally and completely wrong. Please adjust your foil helmet."

          What, is that it? Aren't you going to continue this line of argument? I mean, there's so much you could say about ancestors, hygene, etc. Why stop at mere foil? Are you trying to be 'subtle?'

  4. Mephistro Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    My hope is that...

    ... these events are the beginning of a Sanity Outbreak regarding Internet and its governance and laws, worldwide.

    Yeah, I'll keep on dreaming. :-)

    Anyway these are really good news. At the very least a step in the right direction. Perhaps the pendulum is bouncing back at last?

    1. doctariAFC2

      Re: My hope is that...

      If you haven't read the regulations, you are speculating and hoping what you say is true. At the very least a step in the right direction?

      WHat a pant load! You have no idea what steps have been taken - as none of us do, as the regulations have not been released.

      Very irresponsible statement.

  5. thomas k.

    um ... thanks, Verizon?

    Still, not much will change for me, personally, unless my city decides to build it's own fiber network to compete with Verizon DSL and TWC.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: um ... thanks, Verizon?

      Arsehats that they are, Verizon did come up with an amusing style of response (pdf).

      1. Vector

        @Eddy Ito Re: um ... thanks, Verizon?

        Yeah, I love this spin:

        "FCC's 'Throwback Thursday' move imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet"

        Um...no. Those 1930's rules were amended in 1996. Still old by internet standards and probably in need of another update, but not the "ancient" framework detractors would have us believe.

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: @Eddy Ito um ... thanks, Verizon?

          Yep, the only thing they missed was this. lol

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Donn Bly
          Unhappy

          1930's rules or 1996 rules?

          The 1996 rules were very specific to a "hands off" approach to the Internet - so no, you can't say that they are the 1996 rules.

          Still, that is all we know. As of right now all we know is that they voted to approve, but we don't know any specifics. Everyone who is saying that it includes "this" or "that" is blowing smoke. We don't know WHAT is in the rules, or how they are defining any of the terms.

          But if we can go by the public statements of Wheeler, what I can tell you is that it is going to signal a movement of hosting AWAY from the United States. After all, if as an ISP you are precluded to providing a "fast lane", that in turn makes it illegal to provide multiple levels of CIR under different SLA. Any company that wants and and willing to pay for better service will have to host outside of the USA. This will in turn shift the infrastructure investment away from the USA as well.

          Still, without the 300+ pages of what they approved, nobody knows where we are headed -- and that will drive an investment slowdown as well.

        4. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: "FCC's 'Throwback Thursday' move imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet"

          This actually opens up a very interesting viewpoint: In 1930's telephony terms all the 'Internet' is, is one vast conference call, where we've all agreed to speak using the TCP/IP protocol suite, which as we know is an open standard!

          Hence there is nothing (other than needing very very deep pockets and a lot of nerve) preventing the forking of the Internet and the establishment of a new "Internet" free from the constraints of net neutrality... It is one way around the IPv4-IPv6 migration issue that is bedevilling "the Internet"...

    2. Compression Artifact

      Re: um ... thanks, Verizon?

      "Still, not much will change for me, personally, unless my city decides to build it's own fiber network to compete with Verizon DSL and TWC."

      Something like this ballot proposition we'll be voting on this coming April 7 (copied in its all-caps glory from the sample ballot)?

      RESTORING AUTHORITY TO THE CITY TO PROVIDE EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY WITH PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE

      SHALL THE CITY OF GRAND JUNCTION, WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES BY THIS MEASURE, BE AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE, EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY WITH PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNER(S), HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SERVICES (ADVANCED SERVICE), TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES AND/OR CABLE TELEVISION SERVICES AS DEFINED BY §§29-27-101 TO 304 OF THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY NEW AND IMPROVED HIGH BANDWIDTH SERVICE(S) BASED ON FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES, TO RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, NONPROFIT ENTITIES AND OTHER USERS OF SUCH SERVICES, WITHOUT LIMITING ITS HOME RULE AUTHORITY?

      What provoked this is the current choice between slow copper DSL vs. fast but unreliable cable. Since no one understands what's going on, discussion has been minimal.

  6. ratfox Silver badge
    Go

    Yeah!

    /celebratory dance/

    Let the feathers fly.

  7. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    Call the Waaah-mbulance

    The Republican-controlled Congress is also threatening to pass legislation that would overrule the FCC's rules [...]

    Which is, of course, the typical response by the crybabies on the Republican side. If they get what they want, it's a blow for "Freedum-n-Libberty" that only they could provide; when they get handed their lunch by the rest of us, it's a hissy-fit, throwing themselves on the ground pounding their fists and holding their breath like some petulant 3-year-old. I wish them <sarcasm>good luck</sarcasm> with their "legislation" (which, of course will also include riders to overturn the President's executive order regarding immigration and to start the Keystone XL sludge-line; both items that are sooo a propos to he issue at hand...).

    Asshats!

  8. noominy.noom

    Overkill but it needed doing

    If Verizon had not been successful in overturning the Open Internet rules of the FCC then reclassifying as Title II would not have been necessary. Without net neutrality we'd end up with a fragmented network where some addresses are available from one provider but not others and vice versa. That would be bad enough all the providers were available in area. But since there is no competition and many areas only have one or at most two providers, then a lot of people would not have access to all addresses on the public Internet.

  9. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Wouldn't be necessary if....

    ... if the USA actually had competition at broadband ISP level.

    When there's real competition they don't pull throttling/doubledipping stunts quite simply because customers can go to another provider and there are a good selection to choose from.

    In most parts of the USA the providers are the cable company or the phone company (often only one or t'other) and often that's by local/regional government edict

    This FCC move is arsehatted specifically because it doesn't seek to eliminate the barriers to competitiion which have been erected in state legislatures. Monopoly supply agreements as seen in many USA cities would be illegal in most of europe and the difference stands out starkly.

    "Too light" regulation leads to unfettered capitalism which invariably leads to monopolies. "too much" regulation leads to state-sanctioned monopolies. The USA makes a big noise about its freedoms, but it has far too many of the latter, not the former.

    1. doctariAFC2

      Re: Wouldn't be necessary if....

      Funny, considering the USA does have anti-trust laws to prevent monopolies. Wonder how that is working out? Government is not doing its job with that. And the answer is, MORE GOVENMENT?

      When the FCC will not release the proposed regulations in advance of a voet to implement said regulations, which is legslation by fiat, by unaccountable bureaucrats, a thinking person has to question the tall tales being sold to us all.

      In terms of competition, see my previous statement concerning the lack of enforcing the anti-trust laws already on the books.

      The fear was if watered down regs were imposed, ISPs would be able to charge off-network interconnect fees to get content on hosted by them to their routers. This was NOT happening anyhow, due to the market itself. Now you can bet your bottom dollar that government will step in and impose such charges under the guise of utility "licensing", and everyone will pay far more, and get far less.

      Amazing how the small minds simply cannot think, and rather than ask what the fish are the details contained in the regulations, you blather about whatever YOU believe may be contained in documents not released.

    2. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Up

      @Alan Brown: Re: Wouldn't be necessary if....

      Alan,

      Thanks your helpful insight, as a Brit that has more interest than historical knowledge re USA politics where wires are concerned, I find myself in the unusual situation where the UK seems to have got something right for a change, all the more so for our little village in Devon.

      Many thanks,

      J.

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Good

    You should have heard Mark Cuban on BBC a day or two ago... he argued against Net Neutrality, with arguments like "Things like Virtual Reality will need more speed, and those companies should pay for it." His argument was he (running a streaming audio service 15 or 20 years ago) paid some ISPs to implement multicast, so... well he kind of just trailed off there, since people now would be paying something for nothing basically (since they are just getting some prioritization, not use of a CDN or anything). He also said the FCC responding to the overwhelming response in favor of net neutrality was a bad thing (like 800,000 comments in favor versus 1,000 opposed). The BBC person said "isn't that democracy in action?" Cuban said yes and concluded that the democratic process is bad since he disagreed with the conclusion. Classy! Anyway...

    A) VR actually doesn't need that much speed or bandwidth -- games aren't necessarily good examples since the content is pre-loaded. But Second Life doesn't use that much bandwidth either. That's kind of beside the point though, his main point was "some future high-bandwidth service" and VR was just an example that seems like it should use a lot.

    B) Netflix, Linden Labs (Second Life owner), Microsoft (Xbox Live etc.), Google (Youtube), etc., they all pay BIG BUCKS for multiple gigabit or 10gigabit ports at various peering points. THEY ARE PAYING FOR THEIR USAGE ALREADY.

    C) The customer already pays for their connection, and ISPs like Comcast already charge (quite high!) for various speeds AND impose a GB cap. THE CUSTOMER IS ALREADY PAYING FOR THEIR USAGE. These greedy iSPs wanted to double-dip by charging Netflix etc. for the usage the customer is ALREADY paying for.

    Therefore, I'm glad net neutrality was enforced.

    1. doctariAFC2

      Re: Good

      How do you know "net neutrality" was "enforced", when you have not even read the regulations because they have not been released for public review?

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: Good (@ doctariAFC2)

        How do you know "net neutrality" was "enforced",...?

        Probably by knowing the implications of considering the Internet as a "Title 2" comms service.

        1. doctariAFC2

          Re: Good (@ doctariAFC2)

          "Probably"? SO you know nothing. You also know that Title II was written in 1930, right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good (@ doctariAFC2)

            Crikey, you really are an angry little gnome, aren't you?

            Believe it or not, shouting at the other commentators doesn't make your opinions more valid.

            Take a chill pill for fuck sake.

            1. doctariAFC2

              Re: Good (@ doctariAFC2)

              Try more thinking and less make believe. SHeesh....

  11. doctariAFC2

    Title II was passed in 1934, and dealt with POTS lines and switching between providers.

    How on God's Green Earth is any of that provision in law applicable to broadband internet service?

    Short answer - none of it applies.

    Seems like the only arsehats in this matter are those making up what they feel net neutrality means to them. SInce the regulations were not made public, ergo, no one has read them, all anyone is doing is emotionally making up what they believe this means, devoid of any substance whatsoever. And in the process, the emotional make-believe is also allowing those to completely ignore what this current government is all about, and it ain't about making things better for the people, the consumers, or any f that rot.

    "Like your Doctor, Keep your Doctor. Like your HC Plan, Keep your HC Plan, Average family will save $2500/ yr."

    Hello McFly! Is anyone capable of thinking? Or is it just feel your way and allow the brain to go on hibernate?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >How on God's Green Earth is any of that provision in law applicable to broadband internet service?

      Perfectly. I rent a phoneline from you, I pay you for calls, you sort it out with the other providers how to bill them for calls to people on their system.

      I rent a broadband line from you, I pay you for data, you sort it out with other providers how to bill them for data on servers on their system.

      1. doctariAFC2

        Since that is already going on now, why the need for government meddling? Also, have you actually read Title II, or are you just regurgitating what is in media articles?

        Currently NO ISP is charging content providers off their networks with interconnect fees. Market forces are stopping that. If the market already stops that, why does the government have to step in to "stop" something not happening?

        Follow the money trail government will set up for itself, and the control they will realize as a result. Why do you think the proposed regulation were not released?

        Think man, stop feeling.

        1. ZAM

          WOW

          "Currently NO ISP is charging content providers off their networks with interconnect fees. Market forces are stopping that. If the market already stops that, why does the government have to step in to "stop" something not happening?"

          NETFLIX . . . You are soooo wrong. Wait am I being trolled? Surely that must be it . . . Never mind, either way there is no hope for him.

        2. the spectacularly refined chap

          Currently NO ISP is charging content providers off their networks with interconnect fees. Market forces are stopping that. If the market already stops that, why does the government have to step in to "stop" something not happening?

          Careful there, you are answering the wrong question and doing so incorrectly. Netflix are not themselves a Tier 1 network, indeed most of their "network" is actually Amazon's.

          You need to look into how inter-network routing actually works which is as much by negotiation and contract as it is technical. NN is nothing to do with mandating some form of universal peering arrangement, per-byte charges already exist, have always existed, and will continue to exist even if this has been passed in the form people are assuming it has.

    2. ZAM
      Facepalm

      Well

      Well you do know the Act has been tweaked a few times. Common carrier is a pretty straight forward ideal and the FCC has some specific regulations for this case. So I think someone at the FCC has done some thinking on it.

      And . . . I think you should watch the BTTF movies again and pay attention to the character using the "Hello McFly!" line. You and he might have much in common, so you might miss my meaning.

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Now for Congress and/or lawyers...

    Congress is pretty much bottle necked unless they can slip the legislation into some the Obama absolutely must sign. Otherwise, they're wasting time and hot-air. Maybe the next election will change things...who knows.

    That leaves the lawyers... The 9th paragraph that starts "The cable companies' proposed solution " is basically no solution as it's what's going on now.

    But that won't stop the lawsuits, the lack of competition, or the outrageous prices charged. I'm not positive that this new regulation will change these things either given the nature of lobbying, politics, and bureaucracy.

    I notice that after the last decision about the term "broadband" and it's definition.... All they've done locally is change from "broadband" to "high-speed" for some value of "high". And there's not been any mention of improving things speed wise to reach "broadband" as was touted by the FCC.

  13. W. Anderson

    draconian, greedy monopolies should be a thing of the past

    Those citizens, community organizations, Internet "content" providers and others who resist monopolistic gouging of the public by greedy, draconian Internet Iinfrastructure carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others are intimately familiar with the "core issues" contained in this ruling.

    This type ruling in favour of eliminating pay-more-for-already-paid-service speaks to lack of same in the past that produced a poor rating for USA internet users value as compared to other Western developed and some Asian nations, who are speeding ahead of USA in this area of unfettered Internet access with reasonable rates for any quality of Internet access

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: draconian, greedy monopolies should be a thing of the past

      Yes, and I want a pony too.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a waste of time

    The criminal Telco's and cable companies will never be prosecuted for their crimes so it's all pointless as consumers will continue to get bilked daily.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Just a waste of time

      The problem is that the actions may be criminal on their face, however the monopolies were handed to them by state governments which legislated them into non-criminal actions.

      The question of payola has never been fully investigated (or investigated at all, for that matter) as it would open so many cans of worms that the USA government wouldn't recover.

  15. dan1980

    Thriving?

    ". . . pulling regulation into a field that has thrived in many respects because of the lack of rules and regulations."

    I suppose the accuracy of that statement largely depends on which elements of the that 'field' you are looking. The huge corps that provide the monopolies have certainly 'thrived' but the smaller providers haven't and certainly consumers haven't benefited greatly.

    The idea behind regulations is to generate an favourable or desirable outcome for the country and the public that private businesses can not be relied on to effect when left to their own devices.

    For example, it is desirable that buildings are safe and that occupants and visitors to them are as safe as is reasonable to expect. Thus there are regulations around fire safety - fire escapes, exit lights, materials used, etc . . .

    For Internet access, these huge corps have managed to merged and bought their way into monopoly positions. They have repeatedly offered assurances that these mergers and takeovers will result in better speeds and services for customers and, well, they generally haven't.

    The idea of leaving an industry unregulated is that the 'market will sort it out'. The problem here is that, there is no market. Most people in the US have very little choice of provider.

    Monopolies are not inherently bad. If they provide a good range of quality services and options and reasonable prices and there are no inherent boundaries to new players then who cares? It's the outcomes that matters here and that outcome is to provide necessary goods and services on reasonable terms to as much of the population as possible.

    Can anyone really say that this 'thriving' industry has provided that to the people of the US?

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: Thriving?

      For Internet access, these huge corps have managed to merged and bought their way into monopoly positions. They have repeatedly offered assurances that these mergers and takeovers will result in better speeds and services for customers and, well, they generally haven't.

      Really? Average Internet speeds haven't increased in the last 10 years where you live? I feel sorry for you. I pay less than half now for 16 MBit than I paid for 128K ISDN 20 years ago, and the service is more reliable. I would call that better speeds, lower cost, and better services.

      1. Da Weezil

        Re: Thriving?

        .......and yet a friend of mine in the U.S pays almost double for a capped 1Mbps service with the only provider available to him as I pay for my upto 80Mbps uncapped/unmetered fibre service with one of a range of providers available to me in the UK and over double what I was paying up till last year for my old upto 24Mbps ADSL2+ service.

        Sure is a modern pricing arrangement, and to think back in the late 90's we were jealous of the cheap access that the U.S. had compared to the UK.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One step forward after two steps back

    Having lived in the US before, during and after the breakup of AT&T I was always astounded by how quickly people forgot why Ma Bell had to be dismantled in the first place: Ma Bell's monopoly was a bad deal for everyone but AT&T's executives and shareholders.

    With de-facto monopolies in most markets, the cable companies and telcos have in essence been playing the same game with Internet access for almost over two decades. Instead of encouraging the spread of broadband access, they've been inhibiting it. Interestingly Google, who is now also a broadband provider who will be subject to these same rules, 't have a problem with them. That's because its business model doesn't depend on having a stranglehold on their customers. Google isn't afraid to compete in this space.

    If Congress didn't have their collective heads up their butts they'd follow this move by the FCC up with legislation to encourage the re-entry of small operators into the ISP game, providing small business loans and technical assistance for anyone who wants to take Internet access the last mile -- particularly in under served rural areas. But I doubt they will. Most of those up on Capitol Hill either don't or choose not to remember the days when you rented not only the handset on your wall, but also the wire in your house, from the phone company.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: One step forward after two steps back

      Ma Bell's monopoly was arguably a good thing in the 20 and 30s and even 40s

      The alternative would have been every town having their own phone system and a massive government standards body to set technical requirements for interconnection of devices that hadn't been invented and a regulatory body to ensure everyone played nicely.

      This is pretty much what happened with the first cell networks in the USA. Roaming charges started when you stepped out of your house.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: One step forward after two steps back

        "Ma Bell's monopoly was arguably a good thing in the 20 and 30s and even 40s"

        Doubtful. Ma Bell's monopoly was allowed to continue existing because the criminal anti-competitive behaviour it embarked on between 1900 and 1934 meant that the competing telcos no longer existed and were not capable of being resurrected. (Typically they were either bought out by AT&T or went bankrupt and the remains were hoovered up by AT&T)

        The cost of that action was the "universal service" obligation that AT&T entered into as part of the legal settlement with the FCC in 1934 and it's arguable that the 1980s breakup of AT&T and subsequent reassembly (AT&T as a national telco now exists in all but name) may well have been deliberately engineered with a long-game plan to divest itself of the public-service obligations it had been encumbered with for the previous 50 years.

        It's worth reading http://newnetworks.com/ShortSCANDALSummary.htm - the $200 billion dollar swindle. There are other analyses on the net, but the short form is that for the last 30 years telcos have been getting state-level concessions in exchange for infrastructure projects which never completed, then getting further concessions for further projects which never completed (and often never even started), including regranting of line monopolies and merger approvals. Those decisions have never been reviewed and the telcos have never been called to account for failure to make good on their promised work, even when going back to the states for more concessions.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      @AC -- Re: One step forward after two steps back

      Most of those up on Capitol Hill either don't or choose not to remember the days when you rented not only the handset on your wall, but also the wire in your house, from the phone company.

      Those old farts? Trust me, they remember (at least, the ones who are not non compus mentis). But you're right, the don't want to remember, and don't want us to remember, either. If we did remember, then we'd remember why we broke Ma Bell UP, so we'd be more vigilant against their complicity in putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

  17. Uncle Ron

    Nobody Knows Yet

    There have been no leaks, and revisions were made only a few hours before the vote. The fight is far from over, there are very likely loopholes and exceptions and other very sour stuff in the new rules, and Congress and Lobbyists will continue to make the system uncertain for years. There is just TOO MUCH MONEY at stake for these slugs to go home. We cannot declare victory just yet. The Congress, the FCC, and almost all of the US Federal Government doesn't "have it's head up it's butt" as one commenter put it, it has it's head up the butt of Big Business and The Rich. Congress, the FCC, the DOJ, the SEC, and ALL the alphabet agencies abandoned the citizens of the US long ago. America is a Corporatist State now. Go look up the definition of Fascism and read what the US has become. Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, along with Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, The Koch Brothers, and multiple other corporations and other campaign donors now rule. Consumers, the Poor, the Middle Class--all dead in America. I plan on laughing out loud at these new "Net Neutrality" rules after the multiple months before they're actually published.

  18. Herby

    Be careful for what you ask for...

    ...you may just get it.

    After we read the multitude of pages and find out how a government agency has really stirred up a hornet's nest. This is a disaster, we just don't know it yet. Time will tell just how bad it really is. Unfortunately the rules are not "RFC's", but they should be.

  19. JoeKrozac

    As a great American (Ronald Reagan) once said "the most frightening words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you' ..." and he was right when he said those words and he is still right today. Each and every time the government (ANY government) expands it's control and influence over any aspect of the public (or private) sector, the results are (to put it nicely) "less than optimal". The fact is, the more government is involved in something, the more probable it becomes that the 'something' will end up monumentally fuqked up beyond all recognition.

    This power grab by the FCC headed by it's little Nazi Tom Wheeler, directed by the big Nazi (Barky O'bama) has two and only two true objectives: the first: to squeeze more tax revenue out of ISP's, internet services of all varieties, and of course, the end users. The second: control and censorship of political speech on the internet, which is the bane of leftists and liberals all over the planet, especially in the U.S., where the righteous (and justified) fury directed at the impudent little dictator in the White House is a never ending stream of vitriol and the Obamunists want to stop it at any and all costs.

    Thomas Jefferson said "when the government fears the people, there is liberty, but when the people fear the government, there is tyranny".

    Tyranny has made another major step forward in what was once a free and democratic America.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warning!

    This will soon be turned into a muzzle.

  21. doctariAFC2

    Again, the question still remains - what are the regulations, and why isn't the FCC releasing them?

    I see some in here claiming they "thought about it and tweaked it". Tweaked what? We have not seen the draft proposals, nor have we seen what was "tweaked".

    Your claims hold no water, you all are playing make believe, which is dangerous and STUPID.

    Congratulations, dumb asses. This is exactly how stupid stuff gets enacted or codified. You make believe, they do something else, and the next thing will be outrage, and you all will blame everyone but yourselves and the folks that did the dictating.

    Get ready for the biggest disappointment (worse than that) of your pitiful little make believe lives.

    1. Aedile

      Title 2

      They are releasing them but they just haven't been published yet.

      As to why they weren't released before the vote. I think there are 3 theories on that.

      1. To enable the Commissioners to vote without pressure based on what they believe. This is the supposed real reason.

      2. Because there are bad things in there and they don't want outside pressure. A reasonable stance especially seeing some of the BS trade agreement work.

      3. To purposely piss off the Republicans. In 2003 the Democrats made the same complaint about some rules the Republican controlled FCC was making. Personally I think this is what the FCC is doing. Link about the 2003 thing here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/23/fcc_pai_orielly_net_neutrality_vote_delay/

      If you read all the articles that are coming out about NN you'd know there was concern the rules could have unintended consequences that help Internet service providers charge Web services for sending traffic. http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/google-warns-fcc-plan-could-help-isps-charge-senders-of-web-traffic/

      Hence, the tweak.

      1. ZAM

        Re: Title 2

        "As to why they weren't released before the vote. I think there are 3 theories on that."

        None of the 3. This is how the FCC has always operated. There is nothing to release until the vote is taken and the rule set. Once published in the Federal Register the rule is not effective for 30 days.

    2. ZAM

      Regulations are 8 pages rest is supporting documentation/explanation.

      See summary at http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet

      The FCC never releases the full report prior to being finalized.

      The FCC ruled can be overridden by a law passed by congress, assuming the president doesn't veto the bill.

    3. BigFire

      Peasants, Know Your place

      How dare you question the wisdom of the ruling class?

  22. doctariAFC2

    Devoid of actual regulations published, read commissioner's statements

    In the absence of the actual text of the regulations, which from what I understand encompass something like 330 pages, one could get a good sense of what is to come by reading the statements of the FCC Commissioners. You can get them here

    http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet

    Read each statement, all 5. I hope we have those in here who have open minds, and critical thinking skills.

  23. Donn Bly
    Boffin

    Smokescreen

    Having finally read in full the FCC's announcement at http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet I have come to realize that this is all a smokescreen.

    The announcement makes very specific and repeated references to how these rules will apply to "broadband Internet" - but a few weeks ago the FCC redefined broadband Internet to encompass a threshold of 25 MBit thereby excluding any technology less than that (DSL. ADSL, 802.11b wifi, etc, 3G wireless, dialup, etc.)

    The way I read this, anything 25 MBit and over will be "open", but anything less than that can be restricted. Don't you love it how politicians like to play fast and loose with definitions to try to pull the wool over the public's eyes?

    Also, while they had originally said that it did away with prioritization - they didn't. They forbid PAID prioritization. Prioritization for technical reasons (and they specifically listed Voip and Heart Monitoring as examples) is allowed. Thus, the ISP is free to put a policy in place that says "no single ASN may utilize more than 50% of our upstream bandwidth so as to leave room for everyone else", as long as it is done for the purposes of network management and not for selling additional services -- and I fully expect large providers to put such policies in place.

  24. ZAM
    Facepalm

    Well no worries then . . .

    @doctariAFC2: "SInce we have not seen the regulations before the commission voted to adopt, which BTW is illegal . . ."

    Well, since it is illegal I guess we don't have to worry about the FCC's rules! That silly FCC doing that illegal stuff.

    Their is more than one regulatory process - guess you do not know the difference between, executive agencies and independent commissions.

    1. doctariAFC2

      Re: Well no worries then . . .

      Apparently you do not know the regulatory process set forth by law in the USA. And it is self-evident you have never been a participant in the process, either.

      There are not different rules for different regulatory bodies, the rules are the same. The only differences would be length of public comment period and whether or not a draft proposal gets released to the public, or to specifically impacted groups first. However, once the regulations are out of draft, formalized to be the final product, these must be ublished in the Federal Resistrar, public notice must be printed in the newspapers or record, a public comment period of at least 30 days then commences, and at least one public hearing must also be held, prior to the close of the comment period. The process is the same for all agencies/ bureaucracies.

      Its called the lawful process of regulations becoming codifed. If you wish to make something else up, try selling it to someone who is not involved in these processes.

      1. ZAM
        Happy

        Re: Well no worries then . . .

        Well I am quite familiar with the process, having been involved with development of rules on more than one occasion. I regularly have to dive into the Federal Register to tease out interpretations of rules base on the lengthy mind-numbing preamble of a rule.

        Your interpretation is the FCC doesn’t know what it is doing, so no worries, the rules are illegal.

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