back to article Big Internet warns FCC's Pai: We will fight you all the way on net neutrality

The lobbying group for Big Internet – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter et al – has warned the chair of US comms watchdog the FCC that it will fight him on efforts to get rid of net neutrality rules. In a summary [PDF] of a conversation held this week between Commissioner Ajit Pai and the Internet Association – produced by IA …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Actually it looks like getting them to pass any kind of legislation is a mammoth task

    Because hey everyone wants a hand out for their cooperation.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Actually it looks like getting them to pass any kind of legislation is a mammoth task

      That and..."politics". The ones that go along the line of: "if your party wants it, it's bad".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually it looks like getting them to pass any kind of legislation is a mammoth task

        How about "If Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter want it, it's bad?" Or are Google and Facebook now the good guys? It's so hard to remember which ones are currently anointed as 'good.' Politics I guess.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Actually it looks like getting them to pass any kind of legislation is a mammoth task

          Politics in general includes corporations... Remember Google being a heavy influence in the previous administration? Good is always relative with politics and corporates... even the "big evils" sometimes pull that one out of their ass.

    2. Fatman
      Joke

      Re: Actually it looks like getting them to pass any kind of legislation is a mammoth task

      <quote>Because hey everyone wants a hand out suitcase full of cash campaign contributions for their cooperation.</quote>

      FTFY!!!

  2. Brandon 2

    lol

    Corporations and politicians alike have one thing in mind at all times, their bottom dollar. They don't give a rat's ass about you, me or any individual citizen or right we so barely maintain. That goes for Google, FCC, Trump, Obama, insert company / politician here. They don't care about you, they just want your vote or your dollar (which is really the same thing).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    I rather believe that the current net neutrality rules are a good thing. However, I do get a bit squeamish when Facebook and Google are the ones who so fervently defend the rules.

    1. ST Silver badge
      Angel

      not all packets are created equal

      > Facebook and Google are the ones who so fervently defend the rules.

      They aren't defending Net Neutrality because they care about consumers. If the current Net Neutrality rules are rescinded, Facebook and Google would be the first in line to be extorted for exorbitant packet prioritization fees by the Telecoms.

      Google no pay, Verizon no packet.

      It's all about money, as usual. It just so happens that Google's and Facebook's interests are better aligned with consumers' interests - at least insofar as Net Neutrality is concerned.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: not all packets are created equal

        Thing is, that extortion can work BOTH ways. Google and Facebook have their level of power because they're perhaps the 2 most-demanded services on the Internet: to the effect they're like prerequisites. Sort of like how Disney can demand so much from the cable companies because it happens to own ESPN: THE most-demanded cable channel out there. If cable companies start closing their doors to Disney, customers start closing their wallets and looking for other providers. Similarly, Verizon and the rest know they can't really extort Google and Facebook because they minute they try to block access, customers start looking for a new provider.

        1. HausWolf

          Re: not all packets are created equal

          Except in the US there are still many areas where you have one broadband choice. Even if a new service such as googlybookface took off, if there is only one way to get there they will still have to pay whatever the provider wants.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: not all packets are created equal

          Or Google/Facebook/iTunes can demand that the ISP pay them for the right to carry their valuable services on their cable - just the same way that HBO, ESPN etc charge the cable companies.

          The only one that is screwed is Netflix. I wonder how much bandwidth an ISP that also sells cable TV service is going to give tem

          1. Orv

            Re: not all packets are created equal

            "The only one that is screwed is Netflix."

            Netflix was very, very screwed by the old system. One of the big reasons they lobbied for net neutrality is cable ISP Comcast was throttling them to extort money from them. Users on Comcast could actually get faster speeds by using a VPN to watch Netflix.

            And if you think Netflix was screwed, imagine how screwed a hypothetical small, upstart video streaming service that couldn't pay the bribe might be.

        3. ST Silver badge

          Re: not all packets are created equal

          > Verizon and the rest know they can't really extort Google and Facebook because they minute they try to block access, customers start looking for a new provider.

          Unfortunately - and as hard to believe as this is - there really isn't that much choice of Broadband providers, at least not where I live.

          I live in Manhattan, and my only realistic choice is Spectrum - née Time Warner Cable.

          Verizon FiOS exists in theory - but it's not available in my area, for reasons unexplained.

          Verizon has given up on any expansion of FiOS service in New York City. They received hefty tax breaks and incentives for wiring up New York City to FiOS, and that simply never happened. Other boroughs of New York City are the same - there is only one de facto Broadband provider.

          Verizon DSL sucks so badly at this point it's not even worth considering - the maximum speeds offered are 6Mb down and 1.5Mb up. That's not even considered Broadband any longer. It's running on rotting copper wires that were severely damaged by hurricane Sandy in 2011. I used to have Verizon DSL as a backup to Time Warner Cable, and it completely stopped working after hurricane Sandy. Official response from Verizon was: we have no plans for restoring DSL service in your area.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: not all packets are created equal

            But what happens when customers start telling Verizon, "We'll pay a premium for the privilege!"? How would the investors react to Verizon turning down money at that point? That's the kind of pressure that can build if the monopoly decides to cut off access to the most-desired sites/channels/whatever. That's why the incumbent doesn't stoop THAT low, because then Verizon would GAIN the incentive to actually plunk down.

            1. ST Silver badge

              Re: not all packets are created equal

              > But what happens when customers start telling Verizon, "We'll pay a premium for the privilege!"?

              I don't know how that would work - as an economic reality. The assumption behind your hypothesis is that some customer will call up Verizon and say "I am getting FiOS from you for USD $150/month. I would like to pay you much more for the same exact thing. How does $300/month sound?"

              What are the chances of that happening?

              Rigit now, under Net Neut rules, Verizon can charge more for higher overall speeds. Under existing rules, this qualifies as a different class of service. What they cannot do is prioritize their own content over Google's or Yahoo's, or DuckDuckGo's content over Google's, as an example.

              If the Net Neut rules are rescinded, Verizon would be allowed to charge per packet destination. As in:

              - Google access fee - $15/month for the first 100MB, $2/month for each additional 10MB

              - Facebook access fee - $20/month for the first 100MB, $5/month for each additional 10MB

              etc etc etc

              Or they could just decide to block certain types of contents they find objectionable, or going against their own political agenda, etc.

              Somehow, I do not like the idea of Verizon deciding that I can't watch 1984 because, hey, they don't agree with it.

          2. fishman

            Re: not all packets are created equal

            "Unfortunately - and as hard to believe as this is - there really isn't that much choice of Broadband providers, at least not where I live.

            I live in Manhattan, and my only realistic choice is Spectrum - née Time Warner Cable."

            I live just outside of Washington DC - 18 miles to the White House. I have a choice of two broadband providers - Verizon and Comcast.

            I don't have to use Google, or Facebook, or Netflix. But I have little choice of broadband providers.

        4. noominy.noom

          Re: not all packets are created equal

          @charles9

          quote "Similarly, Verizon and the rest know they can't really extort Google and Facebook because they minute they try to block access, customers start looking for a new provider."

          One of the reasons for net neutrality rules is to correct for monopoly markets. I have no provider to look for. I have one provider available.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Depending on how you view 'net neutrality'

        Google could be both benefiting from and subject to it. Benefiting from it because ISPs can't charge them to deliver their packets, and subject to it if they decide e.g. search is a basic component of the net and force them to play fair and not automatically give prime placement to their own stuff.

        I have a feeling Google wouldn't be quite so enthusiastic if that was included in the definition - and I'm sure they'd fight against and claim that's "overreach" just like the ISPs think the current regulation is overreach.

        The problem is, Pai is right. The FCC has tried to enforce net neutrality because Congress is too much in the pocket of bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hdonations from Comcast/NBC, AT&T, Verizon, and other giant internet providers who see a way to get paid a second time for the content they are carrying over their networks. Their first attempt was shot down by the courts, so they tried the more radical approach of Title II. While that may work, even its supporters have to admit it is pretty ridiculous to use a 1934 law to regulate the internet.

        Though that's really no worse than the alternative of trying to shoehorn it into the most recent 1996 law that was written less than a year after Bill Gates discovered the internet, and before 99.9% of the general public had ever heard of it let alone knew what it was.

        The problem is that Congress is dysfunctional because of all the legalized bribes flowing through it, and they care more about their corporate masters than they do the interests of the public. A more activist FCC tries to find ways to exercise its authority to take up what they are unable to. Pai is content to say "its Congress' job" even though he knows with absolute certainty Congress will continue to ignore it because the telcos are paying them to ignore it.

        1. Orv

          Re: Depending on how you view 'net neutrality'

          "...even its supporters have to admit it is pretty ridiculous to use a 1934 law to regulate the internet."

          I don't know about that. The first law establishing right-hand travel on (US) public highways was passed in 1804, and it still works pretty well for keeping Teslas from colliding head-on today. There's nothing inherently ridiculous about a long-lived regulation. I think the concept of common-carrier status for what's essentially a monopoly utility still makes good basic sense.

          Google really is not the same sort of beast. While they have a dominant market position, I *can* choose to use a different search engine -- and frequently do. What I can't do is choose a different ISP. And I really wouldn't be keen on my ISP blocking my choice by forcing me to use one specific search engine that pays them money.

    2. evilhippo

      And you are right to be uneasy, Net Neutrality, particularly as structured in the United Snakes, make it harder for new market entrants to get a toe hold with some innovative new approach to things, so naturally large established players just love these regulations to bits (see what I did there?).

      Seriously, how did people not see that from the beginning?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Seriously, how did people not see that from the beginning?"

        The average American, and some would say the average human, isn't bright enough to see past the end of the day.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "The average American, and some would say the average human, isn't bright enough to see past the end of the day.

          Up till now the apparent majority consensus on this board seemed to be that NN was a good thing, so you'd better include El Reg and its readers in with the stupid Americans.

          (And oh yes, all of humanity too ;-/ )

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pirate

      fox, meet henhouse

      I do get a bit squeamish when Facebook and Google are the ones who so fervently defend the rules.

      yeah, was there something not-so-obvious in that previous regulation, something that they want SO badly to remain, that they're willing to advocate it?

      [maybe it was the part that exempted THEM but put lots of regs on ISPs]

  4. one crazy media

    Ideology vs. Technology

    People like Ajit Pai hold onto out dated ideology. There is Steve Bannon wanting to destroy the so called administrative state, there is Jeff Sessions who wants to bring back slavery, there is Price who wants kill poor people and there is the idiot at EPA reversing environmental protection and there is Pai who wants to take electronic communications to the POTS era.

    All of them including their boss Donkey Rump doesn’t understand the world has moved on and confronted with new problems and disasters and technology and human cooperation is the only solution.

    At the moment, Google, Facebook and other tech companies must stand up against the governments brainless regulations and unite the public across the world.

    One thing common in this administration is that, all appointees are the least informed and qualified in the agency, they are appointed to manage. The proof of “Peter Principle” and the damages it brings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ideology vs. Technology

      It's sad to see such spittle-flecked hatred awarded so many upvotes.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ideology vs. Technology

        "It's sad to see such spittle-flecked hatred awarded so many upvotes."

        100% agree!

        And, don't forget "filled with outrageous claims and gross exaggerations"

        ( that's being kind --^^^ )

        (mega-thumbs-up for saying so - and the poo-flinging howler monkeys will downvote this, too, I'm sure)

  5. DJV Silver badge

    ?

    "net neutrality rules are extremely popular with internet users (ie, Americans)"

    Then what the hell have the rest of us non-Americans been using for years if it wasn't the internet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ?

      A pale imitation that could be pulled by the sovereign states on a moment's notice?

  6. Lord_Beavis
    Pirate

    Something's coming

    And it will make the Internet truly open and it will make all of this a moot point.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Something's coming

      Really? Can you enlighten us on what this would be? Because as long as states can control the wires, fibers, and airwaves through sovereign rule and ownership, there's no way the Internet can truly be open.

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: Something's coming

        You may be missing the point.

        As long as states control the people using the internet ,

        there's no way the Internet can truly be open.

        ... and that is not such a bad thing

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Something's coming

          Why are you saying it's not such a bad thing? Unless you're saying that humans simply can't have nice things at all?

      2. Lord_Beavis
        Linux

        Re: Something's coming

        "Can you enlighten us on what this would be?"

        Just think about open wireless nodes. All I can say.

  7. hellwig

    Watch who you're messing with

    If anyone could DOX you into oblivion, it would be Google and Facebook. Pai better watch his back.

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