back to article FCC boosts broadband competition by, er, banning broadband competition in buildings

America's communications watchdog, the FCC, has come good on its promise to boost broadband adoption through competition by… blocking a law that ensures broadband competition. This week, the federal regulator's triumvirate of Republican commissioners, led by the chairman Ajit Pai, actively voted down a city ordinance …

  1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

    As if I didn't have dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons already, this FCC takes the new #1 on the list for me to vote Democrat next year and get Trump out, just so his successor can throw this rotten Pai on the compost heap of his own emissions.

    Now you all have to hold me to it; ask me in 16 months.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      > throw this rotten Pai on the compost heap

      I'm afraid it will rather be "cushy well-paid job at Big Cable". It's the least thing they can do for him.

      1. JLV


        Pai’s certainly not the stupidest of Magaman’s cohorts. But he’s certainly the one most transparently favoring large corporate incumbent interests over the public good. Or indeed free market competition.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hate to say it but the FCC has been broken for many years.. voting democrat just means it'll be made free to illegal immigrants.

      AC because.. antifa.

      1. hellwig

        Yes, FCC has been broken for many years. But the FCC will be made free to illegal immigrants? What does that mean? Illegal immigrants will get to decide their own communications policy while the citizens have to follow the rules? I might renounce my citizenship if it worked that way (not really).

        1. jelabarre59

          But the FCC will be made free to illegal immigrants? What does that mean? Illegal immigrants will get to decide their own communications policy while the citizens have to follow the rules?

          Why not? That's the way it's been going with everything else...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

    .. must bring its own pipes up to any apartment?

    And why not require separate doors for each supplier? After all, it would be good for owners to strike a deal with some suppliers and deny entry to others unless they install their own doors, stairs, elevators....

    Anyway you always forget the "d" in Ajit Paid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

      Don't stop there. That Internet thing? THERE'S A LOT OF CABLE SHARING INVOLVED!

      I say, Mr Pai's next logical step is to stop that packetized networking craziness in its tracks.

      If you really want to communicate with somebody, just have a cable laid between your home and theirs. That will boost competition, at least between your friends: you'll know the real ones, they'll relocate closer to you to reduce cable lengths.

    2. Balding Greybeard

      Re: Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

      A different approach by some states was to enact laws separating electric utilities into two pieces. First piece is regulated transmission companies that price based on cost and an allowed profit. Second piece is unregulated suppliers offering electricity at competitive prices and allowing for creative volume, price bundling, etc.

      Maybe not a perfect system, but it would be better and more cost effective for infrastructure companies and suppliers. And hopefully a better deal for consumers.

      1. hellwig

        Re: Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

        I know here in Michigan I can choose my gas provider, even though only one utility company services the actual pipes in my neighborhood.

        The utility gets paid for maintenance, and the gas provider gets paid for usage (one bill though). And sometimes, it happens to be the same company.

        So.... yeah, it does work in certain instances.

        1. VicMortimer Silver badge

          Re: Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

          Not nearly as well as it works here.

          One federal agency generates the power, then a local agency supplies power, gas, and water to my house.

          That's right, I have socialized electricity. And chances are REALLY good it's cheaper than yours, since by law neither agency can make any profit.

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Does Pai mean that every utility - power, gas, water, etc - ...

      Nothing says quality workmanship like a tired contract installer who's running 2 hours late and not at all equipped for crawlspaces. Old buildings will look like Borg cubes with all the cables and wireless repeaters stapled to the walls.

  3. Christoph

    If this lot had been in power a century ago, the buggy whip manufacturers would have had laws passed to make Ford's use of assembly lines illegal.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Don't think they didn't try.

      I can't find the links (google is a crap shoot these days) but there WAS a lot of legal opposition to the first American cars.

  4. localzuk Silver badge

    Only a matter of time

    Until he's gone though. He'll either get the boot when a Democrat is in power, he'll upset Trump at some point, or it'll be revealed that he's been up to something dodgy and will have to fall on his sword - going by most of Trump's appointments anyway. Though, most of his decisions so far fall in the "something dodgy" category already in my mind!

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Sadly it will stand whilst the opposite is so inept...

    "This is crazy," she said in her formal dissent. "There is so much that is wrong with this decision. For starters, Americans don’t take kindly to Washington telling them what they can or cannot build in their own backyard or in their own buildings."

    Aside from the beastliness of corrupt homely populism [ beloved of Trump, and most American and British politicians revelling in their folksy sentimental boastfulness; and maybe other countries also ], that has so little to do with anything she might as well reference the feelings of fish on the Great Cod Banks: neither laws nor governmental decisions recognise 'feelings' or 'sentiments', in America or anywhere else. And that has nothing to do with anti-democracy; 'democratic' regimes would respond exactly the same.

    And were it a factor, it would only come out if there was an expensive referendum to determine the views of the dum-dums, and one could never know how much weight it had, since the referendum would go alongst party lines, and because a voter hated Trump or hated Sanders...

    If the Opposition really wanted to defeat this stupidity, every candidate should immediately make it an issue.

    But they don't; and in any case, in power Oppositions are just as likely to implement the same schemes they oppose in opposition. The difference here between Blair/Brown's controlling instincts and those of Cameron/Osborne is paper-thin.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "If the Opposition really wanted to defeat this stupidity, every candidate should immediately make it an issue."

      In which case their campaign funding would dry up. The Democrats and Republicans depend on corporate campaign funding to stay in office. Corporations will fund Dem. and Rep. candidates during the primaries with the hope that in the general election they will have both candidates already in their pockets.

  6. bronskimac

    The FCC are a very bad joke. Fox in charge of the chicken coop comes to mind. FCC - For Corporate Corpulence.

  7. ThatOne Silver badge

    He knows all too well nobody will try to stop him.

    > he continues to serve the very companies that the FCC is supposed to oversee

    I'm pretty sure Ajit Pai is just as curious to see how far the FCC can go before somebody actually starts considering doing something about it.

    A government commission which is actually doing the exact opposite of what it is supposed to do should normally attract some attention (imagine a police force facilitating dug distribution and prostitution), isn't it.

    But actually the FCC's actions didn't trigger any reaction (well, except some annoyed mutterings here and there). So it keeps upping the game, confident that minor verbal protest is the worst thing that will happen. (The goal being to give Big Cable all the relevant facilities and powers before the next elections.)

  8. Eddy Ito

    Why exactly is the federal government stepping in on the operations of apartment buildings that are privately owned?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In America, "Freedom" means freedom for corporations, not freedom for the little people.

    2. hellwig

      The better question is, why does an industry that balks at more regulation at every turn, push the federal government to enact MORE regulation? Oh, right, cause in this case it benefits them.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Congress has the Constitutional power to regulate commerce as it sees fit.

      It's called the Commerce Clause.

  9. 1752
    Big Brother


    linking doublespeak with George Orwell and 1984 makes no sense to me. Newspeak and Doublethink and two different concepts and neither link to doublespeak as far as I can see.

  10. Donn Bly

    Middle Ground

    There needs to be a middle ground. If I as an individual or company use my own money to install wiring into a building with the idea of making money off of that investment later, the government (federal or local) should not have the right to force me to turn over that investment to someone else so that they can make money off of my hard work.

    At the same time, if I am renting a unit or building to someone as property owner I shouldn't be allowed to dictate what provider they use, and facilitate access to all providers.

    Both sides are using straw man arguments, both sides are exaggerating their opponent's positions, and both sides misrepresent their own written positions with their verbal explanations. In other words SNAFU

    There are problems with the San Francisco law. For example, the law as written means that a property owner who installed wire for future installation of alarms or cameras would have to allow an ISP to use those lines to provide internet access instead of requiring the ISP to install their own cable, thus blocking the owner of the property from using their property and investment as intended.

    The city's claim that their ordinance "does not require sharing of 'in-use' wiring" is a bit disingenuous, because their ordinance DOES require the sharing of wiring -- it just doesn't differentiate between in-use and idle facilities.

    The San Francisco law *DOES NOT* however force a one cable company to give over their cables to a competitor -- it only applied to lines OWNED by the property owner.

    Since I have PO'd both sides with a relatively balanced analysis, let the downvotes begin....

    1. jelabarre59

      Re: Middle Ground

      Since I have PO'd both sides with a relatively balanced analysis, let the downvotes begin....

      Well we *ARE* talking about San Francisco Kookafornia here. Anything claim that something is there for the "free market" I have to view with great suspicion.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Middle Ground

      Because somebody is going to use crappy random-twist random-quality alarm wire to run high-speed data? Your argument is bad and you should feel bad.

      SF got it right. ALL useful data lines are a home run to a central point. It's ZERO extra effort to plug one line into a Comcrap distribution box and one into a Charter distro box at that point. There's ZERO reason that I (if I was a tenant in that building) shouldn't be able to pick which company I want to provide data service.

      Your 'analysis' isn't any more 'balanced' than Faux News. You're supporting the building owner over the people who are actually paying for the space in the building and who have to live there.

      (And yes, you deserve every downvote you'll get, including mine.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Middle Ground

        It is obvious that you have never owned or maintained a multi-tenant building, nor do you have any idea what we use for alarms and cameras. The cameras are Gigabit POE over CAT5E or CAT6, and for someone to take that idle wire out of the tray and pull it back so that they can run their own data across it isn't just some wild conjecture, but something I have actually see happen in the real world.

        And yes, even crappy old quad or alarm wire is sufficient to run DSL - so it would appear that you don't have any real-world knowledge of communications either. I've been known to install a small DSLAM because it was cheaper than pulling new wire.

        Also, in a residential MTU the RG6 coax often runs from each unit to an outside distribution panel completely separate and at a different location than the rest of the communication wiring. Your claim that "all useful data lines" are home run to a central point is demonstrably false. In fact, in a larger building it would be impossible given the 100 meter maximum length of a CATx Ethernet run.

        These outside panels are usually installed and maintained by the cable provider at their expense. Why should you, as a tenant, or your choice of service provider be automatically entitled to use THEIR wire? Why should they be required to give some other company the keys to their boxes where they could then sabotage the equipment?

        Back when I owned an ISP it was not uncommon for me to find someone else hijacking cables and equipment that I installed for other purposes. Once I even found a competitors WEB SERVER (a Cobalt RAQ3 if I remember) mounted one of my racks in an office building, tapped into some spare dark fiber that I had run for another purpose and powered though my UPS.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    Double plus good!

    I'm sure the min max will be optimized!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like