back to article This ISN'T Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters

What is striking about the FCC's rules on net neutrality, released today and likely determining how the United States does internet access for the next decade, is how radical they are. Radical is something that federal agencies rarely achieve because radical in the context of the large machinery of government is often a sign …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First part was better.

    This second part seems more like stating the obvious, the rich get richer and politics are half-ass.

    Anyways, assuming Google, Netflix, etc. are the new masters, who are the new slaves? From what I understand, they have yet to have been rounded up and put to a title...?

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: First part was better.

      Anyways, assuming Google, Netflix, etc. are the new masters, who are the new slaves?

      Now, now, you know slavery isn't allowed. Consumers are not slaves, they are products! .. oh, wait... Meet the new slaves: same as the old. Semper idem.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: First part was better.

        Oddly, I had the same song going in my head. Product, slave, bought, sold, there's certainly a distinction let's hope the difference doesn't disappear altogether if it hasn't already.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          relevant songs

          the Who's "Won't get Fooled Again" has been coming to mind.

          Problem is, we DID get fooled again, and again. By the same generation that celebrated this song at first, they're passing the laws and selling us the sh*t.

          Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

          And like The Who brings up, until there's "fighting in the street, with our children at our feet" this won't change.

          Music and awareness and protests, well, haven't proven successful. all they do is, enable a different Boss.

          1. grthinker

            Re: relevant songs

            It's when there is no more "fighting in the streets...", which really means all dissent has been stifled, that we are truly lost. The ideal is to keep the fighting, but without bloodshed. New bosses? Is that really a problem? All things are born, live, grow weary and die. Why not bosses?

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: First part was better.

      "Who are the new slaves?"

      You are, obviously.

      You can't own or control your own stuff. Which means there is no real functioning market for stuff. The terms of trade are set by others.

      The tech oligarchs take the place of the market, set the terms, control the price, etc.

      This has been their greatest achievement: persuading people to act against their own economic interests.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: First part was better.

        "You can't own or control your own stuff. Which means there is no real functioning market for stuff. The terms of trade are set by others.

        The tech oligarchs take the place of the market, set the terms, control the price, etc.

        This has been their greatest achievement: persuading people to act against their own economic interests."

        Funny how you rail and froth against tech companies for setting the terms of trade and creating a culture where you can't own things, but when it's the established intellectual property monopolies doing it, well holy fuck, that's just the best thing ever.

        And, of course, the existing telco monopolies should be allowed to set the terms of trade by restricting access. That's good and fine. But not those tech companies. Damn them. Damn them to hell.


      2. Uncle Siggy

        Re: First part was better.

        "This has been their greatest achievement: persuading people to act against their own economic interests."

        That's because yer either fer us or agin us.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First part was better.

      Was it the third part then where the author decided to rail on the FCC for deciding to start regulating something without first having 10 years experience regulating it?

    4. Preston Munchensonton
      Big Brother

      Re: First part was better.

      "The people that will be most served by the rules are not consumers but large internet companies"

      As they state it, this was the bleedingly obvious conclusion when this entire discuss started. Hasn't anyone ever read Atlas Shrugged? FFS...

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: First part was better.

        "Hasn't anyone ever read Atlas Shrugged?"

        Sure I have. I've read the holy texts of many other religions too. They're all bullshit, but few are currently so globally dangerous as the religion that sprung up around that bit of madness.

    5. Eric Olson

      Re: First part was better.

      After reading both parts, I can't help but wonder if this was a long-winded way of saying, "We don't know what it means, but we need to figure out who to blame in case it goes downhill fast."

      I get the Google hate, but it also seems to be a repeat of the anti-Microsoft rantings from the 90s: Deserved, but way more smoke than fire. Yes, Google is a terrible, horrible company that had the gall to claim "Don't be evil" as their governance motto back in the 00's. For that alone, they should be summarily dismissed as a company worth doing any business with and ideally placed in a stockade so we can throw rotten produce at them.

      However, the real world will continue on and the populace will find other boogeymen to blame for the speed of their connection, the dropping of phone calls, etc. It might move upstream to the backbone providers. And hey, nothing here seems to indicate that companies can't enter into some kind of data-metering circumvention deals like T-Mobile and Spotify, which is just another way of providing some kind of preferential treatment to certain providers. How long until we see a Netflix/Verizon agreement or ESPN/AT&T?

      My point is that there is a lot of ink being spilled here going on about the soon-to-come internet-destruction caused by Google, Netflix, Facebook, etc., without a lot of consideration to why we've reached this point and how exactly the market has failed. Are the FCC rules similar to using a sledgehammer when a tack hammer will work? Maybe. But that is the reality of a process where people can do more than just vote with their dollars. When the dollars don't seem to sway the market, or the market has created artificial constraints that keep too many dollars from leaving, people are going to start agitating for reform from the government, good or bad.

      We won't know what will happen until it happens. It might be good, it might be bad. It might balance out to be a different feeling of vague ickiness, much like the way it is today. We don't know what we don't know, and historical precedence is not actually helpful as it just proves that point. However, it's easier to kick out an incumbent when their services are interchangeable with another (MySpace to Facebook) than when the incumbent owns the last-mile *and* has the ability to throttle, charge, meter, change, etc. the terms of that last mile on a whim without being afraid of being swapped out for another provider.

  2. Ole Juul

    Off the hook

    "We decline at this time to require disclosure of the source, location, timing, or duration of network congestion, . . ."

    They'll be pointing at the other guy and saying, "I didn't do it". I guess I'll be seeing dropped packets, buffer bloat, and other frequent "underinvestment issues" for as long as I live.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Off the hook

      'They'll be pointing at the other guy and saying, "I didn't do it". I guess I'll be seeing dropped packets, buffer bloat, and other frequent "underinvestment issues" for as long as I live.'

      I've been calling that as the inevitable outcome since this started. They where never going to do anything about it, because you really can't regulate it.

      Anyway, it's Friday. Beers all around!

  3. Neoc

    End run around.

    "Google and Netflix didn't want to see interconnections between networks regulated, and so it wasn't."

    So all Comcast et al have to do is split into a public-provisioning (a.k.a. ISP) company and an "Internet connection" company and feed the former's traffic through the latter. The ISP isn't allowed to play funny business with the traffic, but the "IC" company sure is.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the FCC set up a fight between ...

    ... the Telephants - TWC, Comcast, AT&T, etc - and the likes Google/Netflix/Facebook/etc.

    Google/Netflix/Facebook aren't broadband operators. They are "content providers" - whatever that means.

    TWC/Comcast/AT&T aren't "content providers" - their delusions to the contrary notwithstanding. They are just infrastructure operators.

    So what exactly is so bad here. That Google has dominance in search or Facebook has dominance in cat pictures? That was already an established fact, and we already knew it.

    I'd rather have Google or Netflix fight with TWC or AT&T over bandwidth throttling or congestion than leave that fight up to the Invisible Hand of the Market and the Telephants. That hasn't worked. The new rules explicitly forbid Paid Prioritization and throttling. Let Google, Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, etc, spy on each other to see if any of their competitors gets "better packets", and let them fight with Comcast or Verizon or AT&T over it.

    Is it an ideal regulatory framework? I don't know what an ideal regulatory framework would have been. The set of consumer complaints against the Telephants that has led to this Title II classification was pretty small and clear: abuse of monopolistic power, price-gouging, non-delivery of contracted services (bandwidth throttling, etc), paid prioritization.

    Is this framework better - for consumers - than what was in place before? Most likely yes. At least it is now printed in black on white that the ISP's have to provide the bandwidth that we pay for, and that they have to tell us - in writing - what we are paying for, and how much their services cost, and that Comcast or TWC can't throttle Netflix.

    The fight over Google's/Facebook's/Netflix's dominance in content is for another day, and it's not even up to the FCC to take up that one.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

      Google/Netflix/Facebook aren't broadband operators

      AFAIK, Google is infrastructure operator ideed

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

        > Google is infrastructure operator ideed

        In Kansas City, MO or Austin TX - I can't remember which one right now. That's one city. Not big enough to be relevant. Yet.

        If and when they become like AT&T or Comcast, the same rules will apply to them. Quite possibly, the new rules apply to them right now in Kansas City or Austin.

        1. fearnothing

          Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

          Bit more than that - Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh–Durham, with plans for expansion. They're not AT&T or Comcast yet, but give it 5 - 10 years and they might be looking mighty close.

      2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

        Google own the largest private network in the world.

        I'm sure the FCC rules mandate that others have access to it, on fair and reasonable terms. They do, don't they?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

          > Google own the largest private network in the world.

          > I'm sure the FCC rules mandate that others have access to it,

          Uhm, No. The operative qualifier here being "private".

          Just as the FCC has no jurisdiction over my private network at home, it has no jurisdiction over Google's private network either. Or Reuters' private network, Oracle's private network, Microsoft's private network, etc.

          1. Brandon 2

            Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

            In as much as the FCC determines frequency usage and hardware (that little FCC sticker or embossed logo on your router is a clue), it does have some jurisdiction over your private network. But, I get your point.


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

              > that little FCC sticker or embossed logo on your router

              is evidence of the FCC's jurisdiction over the router manufacturer. Not evidence of jurisdiction over my private home network, or whatever packet management I decide to do inside my home network.

              If the FCC decided to take me to Court because I'm throttling packets *inside* my home network, the first thing they'd have to do is pass the initial two hurdles in front of the Court: Show Standing and Show a Tort.

              I'm throttling packets inside my home network. Sometimes I shut off the router, and my home network becomes completely unusable. Is there Standing for the FCC here? Where is the Tort? Who is being harmed by my network management actions?


            2. Mikel

              Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

              /Brandon 2

              On Google's private network they design the hardware all the way down to the switch ASIC and laser PHY. It isn't even Ethernet, properly speaking. So... No FCC stickers in there. On the consumer devices, particularly radios, yes.

    2. Fatman

      Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

      ... the Telephants - ... makes me wonder.......

      Guys in blue-gray suits carrying suitcases of money, driving luxury cars with telco employee ID stickers and Romney 2012 RMoney 2012 bumper stickers.

      Now, that imagery certainly hits the mark.

      Hey ElReg, can we get a suitcase full of money icon???? This one will have to do for now-------------->

  5. btrower

    Not over

    You can be sure that this is not over. The network itself is not baked and clearly even people with a fair amount of expertise are not really clear about what is needed.

    First, the network is not nearly baked. Hopefully we will get there quickly, but the IP address issues have to be dealt with and it is increasingly doubtful that IPv6 in its current incarnation will take over. That is good IMO because it is a demented standard as evidenced by its lack of uptake over many years despite a critical need for an IPv4 replacement. In addition to this core matter, DNS is messed up. It is insecure in a variety of ways, but the one that alarms me the most is that it is under the control of a handful of miscreants with a bad track record of custodial care. It should be distributed enough so that it cannot, for instance, have the U.S. government (or the U.K. government) seize control of a domain. As it stands now, the U.S. government has the power to redirect a domain and forge a certificate so that they could hijack banking transactions. That ain't right. They have proven grotesquely untrustworthy over the years and they are actually getting worse. Our system of routing makes it much more difficult to anonymize and and secure traffic en route and to guarantee delivery. Our web of trust using PKI is beyond broken to the point that people routinely ignore certificate warnings. EMail has spam. This should be effectively impossible for all but the most well financed interloper and even for them it should be net negative financially. I could go on, but surely people can see that unless I am lying or mistaken about everything the network has issues to put it mildly.

    The whole 'net neutrality' is a necessarily evil red herring that basically represents the lesser of a variety of evils. A properly constructed network offering the best utility at the best cost would of course prioritize traffic. We cannot trust the incumbent network operators not to abuse packet prioritization, so we have accepted a crippled solution. A proper technical and legal regime would of necessity be more complicated. That's a problem because as a matter of public discourse we cannot even deal with a simple case.

    Proper convergence has still not happened and until it does, the network will change in significant ways as it subsumes other networks and gets reconfigured to take on new duties. To be honest, I was expecting power over Ethernet to be there already and it makes me wonder how long it will take, if ever, to align the power grid with the information grid.

    Anyway, this is not over by a long shot. The FCC rules, whether good or bad, will change.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Not over

      Of course it's not over; but given that the US totally screwed up local loop deregulation and thereby retained geographical monopolies, this is a significant step forward. (If you'd checked the number of major US infrastructure providers supporting IPv6 lately, you might have stopped beating that IPv6-hater drum, too.)

      And whatever the article says, I expect that the big issues between content providers and content aggregators will end up as FTC and Sherman Act issues rather than FCC issues.

  6. Aslan

    broadband providers are "gatekeepers" that "actually choke consumer demand for broadband

    "The internet companies are brave providers of new services to consumers whereas broadband providers are "gatekeepers" that "actually choke consumer demand for the very broadband product it can supply.""

    Back in the early 2000's a year or two after Vonage launched Time Warner more or less required a $10 monthly fee to make sure Vonage worked with your cable connection. Vonage being VOIP. I believe at the time they were offering telephone services themselves. Time Warner has had years where they cut their cost of providing internet service by something like 30%, crowed about it in their fiscal reports and then attempted to increase internet prices by 20% only to be beaten back by an angry mob.

    Cable TV was sold to me as TV without commercials in the 80's. Cable companies reneged on their promise. I have two internet providers available to be, one tops out at 6mbps because they refuse to upgrade their infrastructure, the other tops out at 50mbps for $70 when they could offer 300+mbps for the price if they felt like it. Other people can get speeds 20X faster than the most Time Warner offers me for the for the same price or a little more. 7 of their 9 offered plans don't even meet the FCC's definition of broadband. The regulation is clearly necessary as the internet providers are gatekeepers.

  7. Mark 85

    I started to write a tirade about lobbying, follow the money, etc. but.. there does seem to be some logic to these rules. Bear with me....

    If I start a business to provide content on the web, be it social network, movies, TV programming, search, etc., I'm a customer of the ISP's. And by being a customer, I damn well had better know what the playing field is as this is a cost. And yes, as a startup, I would want neutrality. As an established company trying to stave off competition, that's a different story. But still, I'm a customer of the ISP and I would not want favoritism.

    Also, it's really outside of the FCC's venue to regulate the content providers except in ways similar to TV and radio. Their charter is for the communication media... in this case, the ISP's and to keep the field level and fair for the customers.

    Google does get to lob some curve balls and create some problems as they are both a content provider and an ISP. Where this will get into a gray area is if they were to be compared to a TV network showing porn with as fines and further regulation will result. And... Google's influence on this is questionable and possibly illegal if they got a copy of the rules to "look over" before the vote.

    Lastly, I'm no fan of the way politics are being played in DC. If were up to me, they'd all be fired, their parties banned and all lobbyists and the current crop of politicians banished to maybe the North Pole and we'd start our government over.

    So while things might be within the charter of the FCC, now that the proposed rulings are out there, the politics will start. As usual, the consumer/customer will probably get screwed.

    1. Brandon 2

      I'm in the same boat. In my perfect world, they (politicians) could keep their jobs, only if they fully disclosed their personal investments. Only then would we truly understand their motivations for saying and doing whatever it is they do behind closed doors. If one could see the stock portfolios change prior to legislation publication, eyes would be opened. Fairness is a myth used to part you with your tax dollars and make politicians rich via investments.

  8. PoliTecs

    You are absolute fools!

    "as excited as some of us all are that Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner have been given a bloody nose after years of price gouging and focusing on profits over customer service"

    Absolute evidence that you're a damn fool right there in that little quote.

    1. Customer service IS profit... They are tied at the hip. You fundamentally do not understand Capitalism and its a damn disgusting fact our schools are failing us. You don't even deserve to write based on such ignorance. You have a European example of government control and have blatant ignored it for selfish, grade school level understanding of what government control looks like.

    2. You morons got what you asked for. The most corrupt organization on the planet is government and yet you have been brainwashed into looking to these control freak liars to fix the system to YOUR benefit. But you see, you are just a pee on enabler of corruption.

    Congratulations, you destroyed the internet from selfish ignorance!

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: You are absolute fools!

      >>The most corrupt organization on the planet is government

      Your wish might soon come true when you find yourself living in a corporate state. As for me, I have no desire to live on planet Coca-Cola.

      >>Liberalism is a mental disorder.

      I predict that the day you have no money is the day you discover that you have no real friends.

      1. PoliTecs

        Re: You are absolute fools!

        I would rather live under a corporate state (stupid phrase) than a government state, at least I can sue as corporation which MAKES THEM ACCOUNTABLE YOU STUPID IDIOT!

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: You are absolute fools!

          Ahh yes. Nothing like a return to the good old Dickensian Workhouse days.

          You and your fellow "Get your government hands off my medicare" teaparty morons are the unknowing puppets of the Koch brothers et al.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You are absolute fools!

            "You and your fellow "Get your government hands off my medicare" teaparty morons are the unknowing puppets of the Koch brothers et al."

            Maybe you should save your breath for you are speaking to a fool. Just like so many like him who speak in the same tongue, they know nothing about history except what it told to them, by their pundits, to believe.

            Government has regulations BECAUSE private interests acted selfishly, ruthlessly and destructively against personal freedoms and interests, NOT in spite of it. UNDENIABLE PROVABLE FACT.

            But that never stops the industrialists from ranting out loud that their "rights" of free, unregulated profit has been impinged...and never stops those of willful ignorance of understand to believe this unmitigated crap.

            Take a look at at your Bill of Rights, PoliTech, you moronic FOOL, it guarantees "Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness"...NOT profit. Profit is a benefit of the system, NOT a right in and of itself. Profit is only allowed within the structure of the legal system of rights, granted by the founding documents. Violate those rights, even ONCE, and you lose the right to profit from it. THAT'S LAW.

            Corporations have regulations because they violated guaranteed human rights. And they STILL do so, under the guise of "optimizing shareholder value".

            But we should trust an industrialist, yes?

            :sigh: But why are we wasting time on replying to a brainwashed troll, who happily sells himself to the highest bidder in belief that someday he, too, will join the 'promised people' of wealth and fortune if only he believes. That's why they stand there waving their flags, they hope to join the Chosen People as promised by those up high: just believe what we tell and you can be one of us. As if the 1% will ever share - why admit that 3000 years of the upper echelon keeping things to themselves proves anything? No one ever died, and no one ever rebelled, in anger and frustration against the elite.

    2. Mark #255

      Re: You are absolute fools!

      [I know I shouldn't respond to trolls, but...]

      If you hate government as much as you seem to from this post, I look forward to hearing how your relocation to Somalia works out.

      1. PoliTecs

        Re: You are absolute fools!

        If you love government, think it can fix all your problems, why don't you move to Europe and LEAVE OUR LIMITED GOVERNMENT SYSTEM ALONE!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You are absolute fools!

      Customer service IS profit...

      If only that were really true.

      Profit is profit. Customer service is customer service.

      Most small organisations realise they have to deliver very high quality customer service to get customers so there is a link between the level of customer service and profit here.

      However, few large (or even medium sized) organisations suffer from this. Thats the curse of monopoly and lack of regulation. Once you have created an impassable barrier to entry for competitors, customer service REDUCES profit because it costs money to deliver it. The lack of robust competition means you dont need to deliver it.

      Regulations and regulatory action are needed to curb the drive for every organisation to establish a monopoly and prevent competition.

      The rest of your post is a rant that, sadly, undermines any credibility your points might have.

    4. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: You are absolute fools!

      Three posts, all in the last month, all with the same slant, and two finishing with the same troll-bait tag-line. The arse is strong with this one - how about we ignore it from here on in?

    5. Ashton Black

      Re: You are absolute fools!

      "Congratulations, you destroyed the internet from selfish ignorance!"

      Wow, your ESP is awesome, posting without the use of the internet, on the internet.

      But seriously,

      The most corrupt organizations on the planet are ANY organizations that have a monopoly/oligopoly of power.

      For example, when it had a monopoly of power, the Roman Catholic Church ran roughshod over those who dissented and screwed the populace for tithes and the like.

      As proven time and again, corporations, who by definition are there to "maximize shareholder value" will stop at very little to gain a monopoly.

      We invest our supposed representatives with the monopoly of power to reign in these tendencies. These, in turn have been corrupted, by the fact than in our society, money = power.

      1. phil dude
        Thumb Up

        Re: You are absolute fools!

        money = "power to get people to do things on your behalf" = power.

        Otherwise, spot on. Spelling it out changes the emphasis, money does nothing. It is the people that *do* something.


      2. PoliTecs

        Re: You are absolute fools!

        And so as i said... Here is the fools result:

        And you net neutrality morons thought they were going to help you. ROTFLMAO!!!

  9. DropBear

    And who will be first in line to provide that expert opinion? We'll give you a clue: its name begins with "G."

    OMG! OMG! is back?!?

    1. Ashton Black

      Nah... it's the bloke from the site!

  10. Herby

    God help us now...

    ...We're doomed.

    I can see it now. FCC mandates IPv4 for "compatibility" reasons. Rest of world, running out of IPv4 addresses converts to IPv6. USA stifled.

    Look, it could happen. Rotary dial telephones still work for "compatibility". One might think this is a good thing. Of course VoIP people don't do this (I just tried!).

    So, yes WE'RE DOOMED (sorry for the Charlie Brown reference, baseball season is starting).

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: God help us now...

      Rotary dial telephones still work for "compatibility". One might think this is a good thing. Of course VoIP people don't do this (I just tried!).

      It largely depends on the VOIP adapter. Some of them will take the pulse dial and convert it while others won't. Fortunately it's a fairly trivial circuit to make something that converts the pulses to DTMF to dial out. I built one with a pic, because I had one, but you can use just about anything and I recall seeing a fairly complete example using an avr somewhere - ah, here it is.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: God help us now...

        As f\r as I'm aware, the US government is one of the better ones at pushing IPv6 adoption.

  11. An0n C0w4rd


    So the real reason is revealed. The NSA lobbied the FCC to make sure that the companies that they scrape their data from are able to get the data to their warehouses from the consumers.

  12. IGnatius T Foobar

    Why it doesn't matter.

    Whatever is good for Google is bad for Microsoft, and whatever is bad for Microsoft is good for everyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why it doesn't matter.

      I wouldn't be so sure of that.

      Google have the infrastructure and the content to act largely independently of the existing telcos regardless of what the net neutrality ruling finished up as. With the ruling as it stands, I believe they will be very pleased with what the future may hold but that would have been the case with any of the options being presented.

      Microsoft (and soon Apple) have a large data centre presence around the world, but their infrastructure is dwarfed by Google's and relies heavily on third parties (i.e. Akamai).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why it doesn't matter.

      "and whatever is bad for Microsoft is good for everyone."

      You are mentally ill.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why it doesn't matter.

        He's not mentally ill, he's just still living in 1998.

  13. Jaybus

    Giving them too much credit

    The motive seems obvious. The US government wants their cut of the action. Defining Comcast et al as common carriers places IP traffic under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, meaning that they people's internet service can now be taxed. The bribes from Comcast et al are no where near enough cash to compare with a steady and perpetual stream of tax revenue from every single household and business.

    1. grthinker

      Back to : "Follow the money!"

      It will be interesting to see if the 'consumer' can keep taxes our to the internet! to me, it would be akin to taxing breathing, but we know that if the government could, it WOULD tax breathing.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just smoke and mirrors

    I'm willing to bet a billion dollars that the FTC/FCC does NOT properly enforce the current or new laws regarding cable and Telco companies and that consumers will continue to get screwed over with no proper response by the FTC or the FCC.

    For those who can't figure it out, the U.S. consumer protection agencies have been bought and paid for by big business just as has been the U.S. Congress. There is literally thousands of official complaints filed against the cable and Telco companies weekly and not one of the unscrupulous companies if properly fined for their blatant acts of consumer fraud and chronic violations of law. Any trivial fine imposed is viewed as the price of doing business, aka screwing customers out of billions of dollars annually. It's worked for Microsucks, InHell, Comcast, Time-Warner, AT&T and many, many more unscrupulous companies who routinely violate law for profit.

    Until voters eliminate the cronies in Congress and replace the incompetent and unscrupulous employees at the FTC/FCC and in every other government consumer protection agency, the willful rape of U.S. society will continue unabated. Since the elimination of bought cronies is never going to happen, then you know consumers will continue to get raped daily by big business in the U.S.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Just smoke and mirrors

      Consumer protection and rights were gutted in the 1980s.

  15. lowwall

    Getting back to the point

    These rules are a huge positive for consumers. Consumers require an ISP in order to gain access to internet content. By defining the role of the ISP as a neutral provider of this content, customers have at least a fighting chance to base their decision on an apples to apples comparison of prices, speeds and usage caps.

    Naturally, the ISPs hate this. No one wants to be in a commodity industry, where you can only compete on price and service. They would much prefer to play the games that cell phone and cable and satellite TV providers play (in the USA), locking in all but the most determined with proprietary products, bundled products, and lengthy contracts.

    The fact that the rules do not disfavor whatever content provider Orlowski currently dislikes is no reason at all to see these rules as anything other than a total win for those of us who both produce and consume internet content. Speaking of producers, and contrary to Orlowski's claims, it's the smaller producers - El Reg included - that had the most to lose if paid prioritization and selective throttling were to become standard. In addition to pushing their proprietary sites, ISPs would be falling all over themselves to provide fast access to the few household names on the web such as Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon since no one would sign up for their service if these were lacking. You can bet that every comparison of ISP services would include a table of response times for those sites. It's everything else that would get shifted down the priority list. BTW, I suspect in the long run, the ISPs would actually end up paying the big content providers for fast access rather than the reverse, much the way cable TV providers have to pay up to offer ESPN.

    1. lowwall

      Re: Getting back to the point

      Oops. I saw Orlowski's posts above and assumed he had written the article. For the record, the author is Kieren McCarthy. Although they both appear to share the same misguided opinion on this.

      1. kierenmccarthy

        Not the same opinion - but the same concerns

        So I would say that Andrew and I have quite different opinions but have arrived at the same spot because of the FCC's actions.

        What you *think* the rules are and what is actually on the paper are two different things. That's what we are both flagging.

        I think that the rules *might* work out well for everyone (but I do question the logic of taking such a big risk). Andrew is pretty sure this is a bad deal.

        Either way, we're just highlighting that Google is not your friend, despite how much you might like him.

        1. Keven E.

          Morale is low. What to do?

          "The fight over Google's/Facebook's/Netflix's dominance in content is for another day, and it's not even up to the FCC to take up that one."

          It's a strange bird, this one. When porn is broadcast, content is the issue for FCC. Is it not exactly because they are losing any/all sense of government/oversight power/relevance that they've latched onto the only piece they have any chance of some (allbeit limited) control... perhaps an only point-of-access to keep the record *keeping going. <mini-tinfoil>

          It seems that independence between content and delivery systems (even if the cat's head is sticking out of the bag) is a goal I'd prefer, one where if not even more strictly enforced, will end up with entire swatches of independent internet-intranet networks that can (and will) actually be isolated from the internet in general.

          Think of the rural student never knowing that all of his internet access came from the <pick your enemies religious/political ideals> supported library. It sounds like some foreign governments' actions... as wars are fought over. Perhaps provider/deliveries can start reporting a whole different outcome to yesterdays football know... just to keep the morale up.

  16. Ian Michael Gumby

    Something to consider...

    Back in '94, if you wanted to be on the internet, you needed to have at least a switched 56KB line.

    That would set you back $400.00 a month.

    Fast forward... a few years later. $400.00 a month would get you a T1

    Fast forward again... a few years later... $150 a month gets you a 50MB down / 5MB uplink via a cable modem with a few static IP addresses thrown in.

    So... while everyone wants to kick the cable companies... they helped bring the price of internet access down.

    Having said that... what was broken was the peering arrangement. And that could be fixed with a lighter touch.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Something to consider...


      1) Mobile data costs

      2) Mobile data caps

      3) Mobile data roaming costs (holy fucking pants!)

      4) Inability to get decent uplink speeds for residential/SMB, especially with new the growing demands of new services (like cloud backups, etc.)

      5) Lack of competition, especially for residential/SMB

      6) Fixed line caps too low/can't get them raise/overage is punitive

      7) Fixed line caps don't grow over time to accommodate growth in usage

      8) Regulations preventing municipal broadband

      9) Regulations preventing community broadband

      10) Regulations preventing new entrants from laying cable

      11) ISPs/Cable/Mobile providers blocking (or de-prioritizing) traffic to/from companies offering competing services (VoIP, VoD, etc) instead of traffic shaping the whole class (their traffic included).

      12) ISPs/Cable/Mobile providers giving cap exemptions for services provided by them, but not for competing services in teh same category

      Do you really need me to go on?

      The whole goddamned model is broken. Net neutrality is needed because of decades of regulations - and lack of regulations - sprinkled about that aim to create monopolies, allow unchecked abuse of those monopolies and then prevent anyone from ever challenging those monopolies.

      And yes, the problem absolutely can be too much regulation and too little at the same time. The right regulations restrict companies from discriminating thus prevent abuse of power. The wrong regulations prevent companies from competing, then encourage power to concentrate.

      The right mix of regulations and hands-off treatments strongly discourage power from ever concentrating in one place, and provide checks to prevent abuse of power if it ever does manage to do so.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @Trevor Re: Something to consider...


        I think I may still have my old bills.

        I could have gotten on the internet sooner if I could have afforded the $400 a month for a switched 56KB link. (UUCP dialup... still wasn't cheap either.)

        Again, the issue is peering between the networks and who owns the last mile.

        But you already knew that.

        And do you want to get in to the issue of Satellite costs?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: @Trevor Something to consider...

          No, the issue isn't just "peering between networks and who owns the last mile". Both of which are pretty fucking significant issues, by the way.

          It's what you are allowed to do with your monopoly (or half of a duopoly).

          Discriminate against VoIP because you own a fixed line or mobile carrier? No!

          Discriminate against video because you own a cable or broadcast setup? No!

          Offer services where what you offer is immune to data caps but competitors are not? No!

          And the list goes on.

          I don't think any but the fanatical few have an issue with QoS for classes of content, but only if that QoS is handled fairly and neutrally. I.E. if you want to prioritize VoIP traffic (a good idea), then you prioritize all VoIP traffic, regardless of service provider. Even if they are a competitor to the last mile provider, or the backhaul provider, or any other provider anywhere.

          So on and so forth.

          There's lots of examples of extant providers acting against net neutrality to the detriment of consumers and the developing ecosystem of the internet as a whole. Yet you're trying to claim "it's all good, no problem, there's no need to regulate anything, status should be quo". Well to hell with you! You're not only wrong, you're clearly willing to put your religious (and ridiculous!) economic beliefs ahead of the good of the many.

          The fact that some of us have faster data access than 20 some odd years ago is not particularly relevant. Yes, when competition existed service capability increased. In the intervening 20 years the landscape has changed. That one big jump - from dial up to DSL - is long behind us. Incremental (and grudgingly installed) upgrades have been the bare minimum required to stave off regulation and little more for some time.

          Worse, the existing providers are constantly trying to find ways to not only prevent any further investment in infrastructure, but to lock everyone into their services and/or block services of competing providers. That's not okay. Not even a little bit.

          Abuses are happening. Providers are even going to court to ensure they can continue doing so. And the status quo offers scope for much worse abuses...which the various providers will take advantage of, as surely as night follows day.

          So yes, they need to be regulated. Because they have proven over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that they cannot be trusted. And if that hurts your religious economic beliefs, too frakking bad.

          1. btrower

            Re: @Trevor Something to consider...

            Bit harsh, but thumbs up for you.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Something to consider...

      You have a point Ian, but compared to others countries, Americans have been getting screwed and screwed hard.

  17. Yes Me Silver badge

    If anybody's still reading fresh comments on this story...

    "The FCC is going to force cable companies to provide many more details over their internet offerings: everything from speeds, rates, restrictions and packet loss stats. And it will do so for the consumer.

    But, it doesn't know how to. So it is asking its Consumer Advisory Committee to come up with a plan within six months."

    Actually this concern is at least ten years old and the answer already exists:

  18. GBE

    You mean the FCC isn't looking out for me?

    Even if this is simply a realignment of the FCC with new corporate overlords, I'd have to say that so far the interests of Netflix/Google/etc have always seemed much more aligned with my interests as a consumer than those of Comcast/Verizon/etc ever were.

    Nobody thinks that the new network wold order (in the US) isn't going to suck, but we're somewhat hopeful that it might suck a little less. We'll see how long that hope lasts...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No internet provider can support full wire speeds from all their service points simultaneously.

    The traffic has to be managed. Not managing it will lead to poor service for everyone.

    One wonders if the next improvement from big brother will be to guarantee minimum throughput for politically correct web sites and degrade service for out-of-fashion ones..................

    1. td97402

      Give me a break!

      The new regulation specifically allows the ISPs to manage traffic. How you get from the false assertion of no ISP traffic management leading to government control of traffic is really hilarious.

  20. Uncle Siggy

    I foresee the purchasing of miles of cables in someone's future!

  21. AbeSapian

    There Is No Free Market

    The Telcos, cable companies and wireless companies are the principal ISPs in the U.S. There are open air wireless providers but they are small scale and hampered by terrain. For the cable companies (Comcast, Charter, etc.) and the telcos (AT&T, etc.) the 1996 Telecommunications Act guaranteed that these companies are regional monopolies. They are granted a territory in which no other wired provider of the same type may operate. This has allowed the creation of ghettos. Areas too expensive to build out to, not covered by high speed internet. And the open air wireless providers don't fill the gap. Nor has the FCC or the FTC enforced any provision to cover the ghettos.

  22. ConativeMe

    Alternate Net

    Could revisiting an old favorite EMF infrastructure, such as our PUBLIC airwa(y/ve)s, manage an alernative net; albeit slower, but FREE and certainly capable of hosting text and minimal graphics efficiently.?

  23. W. Anderson

    no factual support or reason fo this article

    The article author has a very skewed and bias view - in favour of the large Internet infrastructure carriers, who have shown and been proven over and over again to be oppressive, deceitful, conduct "illegal" activities, and many other actions that so far cannot be attributed to Google, Facebook, Twotter - at least no where near level of carrier bullies behavior.

    4 to 6 millions citizen with same viewpoints, supported by most "all" other networking companies, including Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc can' be that wrong.

    Bwsides which, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T et al, can just as easily setup similar services in competition to Google and Facebook any time they wish. In fact they aleady have.

    This article is therefore a scare tactic or just another crass attempt to grab more readers.

  24. td97402

    Cry me a river...

    "on the other side it creates restrictions on the old status quo"

    You mean the Cable & Telco companies that have been caught red handed throttling services that I already paid to access? That old status quo has demonstrated that it needs to be regulated. The Internet companies start behaving badly then we can look to their regulatory needs. Regulation in advance of need is the sort of thing that gives government oversight a bad name.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a bad joke

    Since the cable companies do whatever they chose, the new legislation won't change anything. The existing laws are not enforced so why believe new laws will be?

  26. ecofeco Silver badge

    Could have been worse

    People love to rail against Google and while they aren't perfect, they have and continue to provide useful services to me that cost me nothing.

    It could have been worse. It could have been a LOT worse. It could have been Microsoft in the catbird seat. Or HP. Or Comcast or at&t.

    Think about that for a minute.

    1. Keven E.

      Re: Could have been worse

      "...that cost me nothing."

      "...Or Comcast or at&t."

      Everyone's a comedian.

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