back to article Net neutrality blowback: Cities say no. Court says whoa. Trumpster blames Canada for not going slow

Blowback from the decision to reopen net neutrality rules in America is continuing, with cities, the Washington courts and presidential advisors all piling in. Several large city mayors are not impressed by the move; the DC court of Appeals has refused a telco legal challenge; and one of President Trump's telco policy advisors …

  1. Alistair
    Facepalm

    "My biggest concern for Canada is that you continue to add regulation that deters the incentive to invest,"

    Uhhhh. And Zero Rating "ISP's own" services and charging for "Other's Services" creates *so much* investment. umm. No Rosie, business doesn't work like that. That's called "Monopoly lock in". Look up American Fruit.

    1. thames

      The best description that I've seen of this is that the ISPs want to turn the Internet into cable TV. That is, you pay 'x' for the "basic" package with access to a few websites, 'x + y' for the "silver" package with access to more, 'x + z' for the "platinum" package with access to the rest of the Internet (e.g. The Register), etc.

      They wouldn't do anything so obvious as charging you for access to specific web sites. Rather, they would simply raise the cost of basic bandwidth to ridiculous levels and then "zero rate" sites for which they've negotiated a cut of the revenue.

      I can remember when Compuserve and other proprietary communications services were still around. You got a basic walled garden, and access to anything outside (including basic e-mail to anywhere outside of their network) cost eye-watering extra. They charged third party companies money to host forums inside their system in order to access their users. I can recall when Siemens used to host their user support forum services for their industrial automation business inside Compuserve and people in the automation business paid for Compuserve accounts just to get access to the Siemens content.

      Once the actual real Internet became more widely available, people dropped Compuserve, MSN (the original incarnation of it), and the others like a rotten turd. You could get direct access to anyone anywhere, without having to worry about which network they were on. You also didn't get charged stupid premiums for going outside the network.

      The biggest ISPs are looking to return to those days, where monopoly control of the user base is the basis for demanding a cut of the revenue associated with every byte that goes through their wires. No thanks, I think the CRTC made the right call on this one and the lobbyists can go stuff themselves.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The American Enterprise Institute

    Sounds about as useful as the National Ski Patrol. Another made-up org, but one that only inhabits a crappy movie. Is it a PAC or a Think Tank? Who cares, this is how issues are clouded and money changes hands, and you and I as consumers get the shaft, but the stupid are consoled by sweet words from their corporate masters telling them "everything is fine. sure we are billionaires, but we know what's best for you (poor people as we need to soak you to get profits for my companies and growth for my stock prices!)" The only difference is that some of us can see what's going on and can maneuver around it. As best we can. Those that don't just continue to vote in the worst sort of criminals, but again, some sweet words in their honor, and all is forgiven. :P Go go, gadget plutocracy! Millions and millions of people can be wrong.

    Still, good on the cities for stepping up and putting the kibosh on "Chairman Pai's" self-branding attempt.

    1. elDog

      Re: The American Enterprise Institute

      It's just another branding. Use up the patriotic terms before someone else.

      It has nothing to do with "American" (which I would think means in the interests of all 'Americans' [from the tip of South America to the receding northern ice-sheets], not just the NYC/DC bloodsuckers._

      It has everything to do with "Enterprise". How to rape the suckees (including their own members) in order to pay the brass and the upper-echelon paper-pushers.

      "Institute" is synonymous with a public urinal. Grown men (and Ann Coulter) go there to pee and compare their news streams.

      AEI. An automatic "Do Not Trust" flag. However they're getting better a parading as other groups.

      I wonder if they are in bed with foreign influences? (That's a joke - of course they are.)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Despite net neutrality provisions

    There has been plenty of investment - Mediacom has upgraded its whole cable network to allow gigabit speeds, and Comcast is in the process of doing the same. AT&T is in the early phases of rolling out fixed wireless LTE in rural areas that are unserved by cable/DSL internet and have only expensive and slow satellite internet currently. They are also installing fiber in certain markets to replace their aging copper that can't be cost effectively upgraded.

    So the argument that net neutrality prevents investment is obvious bullshit. Back when telcos said they needed big tax breaks to invest they pocketed the big tax breaks rather than using the money to invest in upgrades like they said they would. Their level of investment has never depended on what the government does or doesn't do in terms of tax breaks or legislation, but depend on the availability of technology that can be deployed at a price consumers are willing to pay.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Despite net neutrality provisions

      Their level of investment has never depended on what the government does or doesn't do in terms of tax breaks or legislation, but depend on the availability of technology that can be deployed at a price consumers are willing to pay.

      And also whether Google are rolling out Gigabit FTTP in areas that have been told anything faster than ADSL is uneconomical because they want to sweat the copper that's already been installed paid for.

      Competition and all that...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Google Fiber is done

        You know Google is shuttering their whole fiber thing, right? I think they found it is pointless giving people below cost fiber to get all their browsing data, now that Chrome and Android (which grab the same data at a marginal cost of zero) have attained such a large market share that Google Fiber was no longer necessary to feed their advertising monster.

        1. Orv

          Re: Google Fiber is done

          You know Google is shuttering their whole fiber thing, right?

          Yes, as soon as they announced they were abandoning it Comcast raised their rates and canceled upgrade plans in cities where they were preparing to have to compete with Google. It was pretty transparent. We need to either get real competition in the ISP market or just regulate the whole business like we do power utilities.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Google Fiber is done

            Comcast is still planning to go gigabit nationwide, they just aren't going in the same order they were before. It isn't fiber, but who cares, a gigabit is more than anyone needs to the home anyway and that's not the limit of what they can do with the HFC network. AT&T is still announcing upgrades at the same pace they were when Google Fiber was still a thing.

            Where I live a third party has been laying fiber in the larger city 30 miles to my north, and announced last year they were coming here - back when it looked like we were getting Hillary and net neutrality was here to stay, so obviously that didn't affect their investment decision either.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Despite net neutrality provisions

      So the argument that net neutrality prevents investment is obvious bullshit.

      NZ has a population in the 4million mark, smaller than many (most?) US cities. We have no real concept of "net neutrality" in that it's what we generally consider normal and logical here; we don't do anything different for content (though I am sure several ISP's will be watching this with interest). Some mobile providers don't charge for certain sites (mainly government + FB and a couple of others) or NZ traffic, but otherwise it's traffic=traffic, no difference.

      NZ has split off the cable maintaining/installing company from the telcos, so they're legally a separate company (no doubt still "owned by but totally separate from the parent company[cough]bullshit[/cough]") which all ISP's pay.

      And NZ has a government-backed process to get Fibre to all residential and commercial areas (not sure on rural). Sure it's a few years from completion, but it is happening. With it comes the much faster VDSL speeds (yeah for some reason our fibre is slower than it should be from those I know who've used it). While some ISP's charge more for full fibre speeds, many just have a fixed price for "whatever is the fastest network available in your area" - ie when fibre reaches your house you'll be upgraded and continue to pay the same for the speed that's given.

      I will say I am nervous about the loss of the "old" copper network. Another simple and resilient technology being replaced by something that is much better most of the time but horrible in other times. Just a few months back a large earthquake took out the power to large parts of Wellington and the Hutt Valley. Buildings in the area were damaged enough to have to be torn down (mainly new ones less than 10 years old, while all the "dangerous earthquake risk not up to code" buildings still stand!). No one was seriously injured that I can recall, but obviously the risk was there.

      An old phone on the copper network tends to be quite functional in such events. When the power goes out the phones seldom do (unless a tree takes down overhead lines nearby that include phone and power). But with the fibre systems replacing copper, they need power at the house to function. In an emergency situation power is often one of the more fragile things. Cell phone networks also don't like to stay up; though often more resilient than power they quickly get flooded with traffic. I wonder how much thought has gone into these re plans for coverage in an emergency?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Despite net neutrality provisions

        Separating the physical wires from the provision of services over those wires is obviously the best way to do it, but difficult to do when the starting point is companies that own both.

        If only the courts had been smarter when they broke up AT&T and split it between the wiring, local telephone service and long distance service instead of across regions. I think the US would have been a lot better off!

  4. just_me
    Big Brother

    The article was pretty good until this point: "There are two groups happy with the effort to rescind the rules however: cable companies and Trump advocates." Really? Troll much as an author? Not all of those who voted for Trump agree with the reduction in Net Neutrality as well as the increased invasiveness of ISPs into our internet access records.

    Instead of considering that there may be people on the other side of the isle that disagree with Pai's actions, you decided to play wedge politics and split everyone into your vision of good and bad. Trump bad everyone else good. Remember that Trump does not control all the minds in his cabinet. He trusts them to know what they are doing and delegates the responsibility to them. That also means that it may be possible to push Trump to dismiss Pai. If people from both sides of the isle voice their displeasure to Trump, he may take action to remove Pai, the quicker the better. It will take the voices of his supporters to accomplish this because that it his support base that got him into office and if he sees that it is eroding, he will take action to protect it.

    So what do you want to do? Protect Network neutrality or continue to find causes to gripe about the election? Choose.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I think the issue is "Trump advocates".... are these voters or appointees? If it's the context of voters, it's flat wrong, though we'll have to wait and see what our fellow commentards that were rabin during the election have to say.

      It's a war of words and ideologies in DC right now. The career elected types against the upstart and those career elected types even on the Repub side of the aisle are not 100% behind dear leader on all issues nor do they fall into the party line because someone said so.

      It appears things may settle down some with more time, but who knows which way things will go anymore?

      Disclaimer: at this point, I'm not a Repub or a Dem. but a free agent who looks at issues, not parties.

    2. Orv

      Not all of those who voted for Trump agree with the reduction in Net Neutrality as well as the increased invasiveness of ISPs into our internet access records.

      They are the frog and he is the scorpion. They knew what he was when they voted for him.

  5. Slx

    Butt out of Canada !!

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Dissing does not win friends

      I never quite understand how insulting a country for its policies is support to make friends or win hearts and minds. Even the most anti net-neutral Canadian is probably feeling his or her hackles rise at this sort of talk. Butt out indeed. You raised tariffs on Canadian products, but we're supposed to do as we're chided to do over the net? Ain't gonna happen.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's always the same

    Those with the money have the power and want more of the money.

  7. Frank Zuiderduin

    Alternative facts again?

    Netherlands does not say zero rating is ok, Layton, you stupid tart. The Rotterdam court decided the weaker EU rules don't explicitely forbid zero rating and those rules apply, rather than the strong net neutrality laws we have. It's now up to the ACM to appeal.

    1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Alternative facts again?

      I rather liked the way he included the EU AND individual EU countries, talk about stacking the deck. Not that he even managed to get that right (@Frank)

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Do not expect much thought or effort to be given to any other perspectives"

    I think this phrase totally characterizes the Trump administration.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: "Do not expect much thought or effort to be given to any other perspectives"

      "Do not expect much thought"

      ftfy

    2. Swarthy
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "Do not expect much thought or effort to be given to any other perspectives"

      I think this phrase totally characterizes the Trump administration US politics.

      You were not quite cynical enough.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So we have the US PoV and the Canadian PoV.

    Time will tell which produces a thriving internet with all sites accessible to all subscribers and which offers a 2nd (or 3rd) class service to some sites despite paying for the same bandwidth.

  10. Kiwi Silver badge
    Trollface

    Ahem...

    groups that "stir people up with outrageous claims" and "just say things that aren't true..."

    Would that be anything like:

    "Comcast...promising not to do anything that would upset anyone."

    ?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Ahem...

      Yeah, I was wondering about that Comcast quote. Why are they against net neutrality if they are not going to do anything to break those rules even if the rules aren't there? It seems to me that the current net neutrality is not affecting them in way and they don't intend to allow it, or lack of it, to affect them. Very odd!

  11. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "...(T)he Canadian government was going in the wrong direction and they should allow zero-rating for Canadian content and charge US companies to have theirs streamed to Canadian citizens. 'All Canadian content should be zero-rated," she said. "Canadian content should have a fast lane.'"

    So, let me see if I have this straight: A Trump advisor is RECOMMENDING a Canadian tariff on Hollywood output streamed to that country...?

    That's gonna go over well!

  12. Jeffrey Nonken

    "There is, of course, nothing to the fact that it was Verizon's decision to legally challenge the previous net neutrality rules..."

    ...which Verizon helped write. https://www.techdirt.com/blog/netneutrality/articles/20170501/08442637282/new-verizon-video-blatantly-lies-about-whats-happening-to-net-neutrality.shtml

  13. Kev99

    If anyone really believes the telcos / ISPs won't throttle, strangle, and dangle, I have a bridge in El Garrara I'll sell you. 'Net speeds have little to nothing to do about equipment and everything to do with money.

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