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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday August 12, @03:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the better-latency-than-never dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

The FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai is signaling new broadband policy changes that can only be described as friendly to ISPs and hostile to consumers. In a "Notice of Inquiry," a public comment step often taken ahead of rule changes, the commission proposes that both fixed and mobile can be counted as broadband under Section 706 of its rules. That differs from the current standard, developed under Tom Wheeler, that requires timely deployment of both wired and wireless networks in the US.

On top of that, the FCC has suggested that if mobile networks are providing this "broadband," all one needs is 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds. That's less than half of the 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up speeds currently required to fit the definition of home broadband. At the same time, the Notice of Inquiry proposes to leave home speeds at the current level.

The FCC says the "statutory language" gives it the right to scoop mobile and land transmission into one broadband basket. Section 706, it says, defines advanced telecommunications tech "as high-speed, switched, broadband that enables users to original and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics and video telecommunications ... without regard to any transmission media or technology."

[...] The FCC's Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn doesn't agree with gist of the Notice of Inquiry. "We seek comment on whether to deem an area as 'served' if mobile or fixed service is available," she wrote in a concurring statement. "I am skeptical of this line of inquiry. Consumers who are mobile only often find themselves in such a position, not by choice but because they cannot afford a fixed connection."

[...] The Notice of Inquiry calls for public comments at this link until September 7th, with reply comments due by September 22nd. So far, the commission has done a lousy job of handling comments about net neutrality, with intermittent or no access during an eight-hour period on May 7th, 2017. That was either due to a DDoS attack or, as some security professionals think, just a bad commenting system. Anyway, even if lots of folks express their disapproval, the FCC doesn't really care.

I'm guessing they just don't want to have to provide actual broadband to unserved areas to qualify for special perks and subsidies. Which is precisely why I live in a town rather than fifteen miles away from the nearest one.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/10/fcc-mobile-data-as-broadband-slower-speeds/

Also at: Ars Technica.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by arcz on Saturday August 12, @04:23PM (18 children)

    by arcz (4501) on Saturday August 12, @04:23PM (#552887)

    A 1:10 upload-download ratio is NOT okay.

    It's time for us techies to start educating people about this important speed metric. A 1:3 ratio is the max I'd consider reasonable, but for now let's look for 1:5 or better.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:41PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:41PM (#552890)

      The fucking internet is symmetric. So why aren't our last mile connections?

      Anybody allowing asymmetric lines to be resold or produced doesn't understand the fundament design of the internet, or is intentionally trying to subvert said design to financially benefit themselves or their cronies.

      As an added poll: Outside of the US, and exclusing cellular data plans, how many people have asymmetric internet connections?

      As a personal anecdote the only times I had asymmetric internet were with POTS and ADSL, both due more to legal limitations on transmit power/phone line design/cost, rather than any technical limitations on supplying the same data throughput in both directions.

      Until 56k modems came about, all internet connections were symmetric.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:57PM (#552928)

        time to drop your mobile contract

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:14PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:14PM (#552932)

        The internet isn't symmetric. Netflix and YouTube alone account for most of the traffic. Most other traffic is small enough not to hit the cap.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:18PM (#552947)

          Methinks you miss the point. Capitalists want to replicate the broadcast model of Television, without the Public Responsibility proviso, so anyone uploading anything is probably a criminal violating copyright. The tubes are the same size going both ways, you know.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:19PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:19PM (#552949)

          he's not talking about how the slaves use the internet, he's talking about the infrastructure.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @11:55AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @11:55AM (#553602)

        The fucking internet is symmetric. So why aren't our last mile connections?

        Maybe because most people really do use a lot more down than up?

        Anybody allowing asymmetric lines to be resold or produced doesn't understand the fundament design of the internet, or is intentionally trying to subvert said design to financially benefit themselves or their cronies.

        I think you're overstating the case. For something like DSL, there's a fixed amount of bandwidth (depending on distance and line quality) available for both directions. If someone offered the same 6MB/s total as the customer's choice of 3/3, 4/2, and 5/1, how would that be wrong? In fact, I would probably take the 4/2 option.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @03:12PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @03:12PM (#553701)

          The fucking internet is symmetric. So why aren't our last mile connections?

          Maybe because most people really do use a lot more down than up?

          If that were true, then there would be no need to limit the uplink speed. You'd make a symmetric connection and people don't use upload that much. Done. Generally, you put limits on something because you want to limit it, not because nobody is doing it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @06:39PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 14, @06:39PM (#553795)

            No, dipshit. DSL has an actual, physical limit to total bandwidth (depending on line quality and distance, like I said), and this is partitioned into up and down segments. 1:1 (aka SDSL) means LIMITING the downlink to half the total available.

            Sure, for stuff like cable internet, it's just a cap. For cheapskates buying slow ADSL even though they're close enough to get more, it's just a cap. But sometimes it's a hard physical limit, and asymmetry actually gives the customer more downlink than is physically possible with a 1:1 ratio.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:56PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:56PM (#552896)

      The internet is like the printing press, dangerous in the wrong hands. They have to restrict upload speeds because they don't want just anybody to have full access. The reason we don't have symmetrical internet is entirely political. The reasons given by the authorities is pure propaganda. The scarcity of bandwidth is artificial and arbitrary, not technical. The freedom to communicate is a threat to the state and its corporate owners. As a people we must demand symmetry! Accept nothing less. Otherwise we walk with a limp.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @08:23PM (#552950)

        it's probably mainly about trying to limit competition. they can't have any joe smoe thinking he can run some kind of internet business from home. you need to rent space from them at centralized data centers for that. we they sell you internet they actually mean neutered slavenet. how else can they turn the internet into TV?

      • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday August 12, @10:06PM

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday August 12, @10:06PM (#552988) Journal

        "Give me symmetry or give me death" - Patrick Swayze

    • (Score: 2) by Marand on Sunday August 13, @04:02AM (5 children)

      by Marand (1081) on Sunday August 13, @04:02AM (#553100) Journal

      A bigger problem is the data caps on internet, especially in rural areas. My grandparents live in an area where $60/mo for 10GB/mo satellite is a "good" deal, and not even mobile internet is a viable alternative. That basically makes the internet unusable, because they can go through most of that in a month with OS updates disabled, and they aren't even heavy internet users. Even if mobile were an option, the data caps there aren't much better, and might even be worse.

      I stayed there a while with them, and I'll tell you right now, I can deal with the ridiculous latency a hell of a lot better than I can the impossibly low cap. The only way it's been even remotely usable, ever, is when the provider had a loophole where VPN traffic didn't count against the cap, but they figured that out and fixed it a while back.

      Anybody that thinks data caps like that are "good enough" clearly doesn't know what it's actually like to live with one as the only form of internet access.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday August 13, @04:14AM (4 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Sunday August 13, @04:14AM (#553105) Journal

        One way to make that life more bearable is to route the http traffic through a proxy on the internet that strips out all the html code junk before it's sent home. Many pages are now 1000 kByte.. for something that in a distant time took 10 kByte tops. Ontop of that a local heavily caching proxy can be employed.

        Video can be recoded on the fly with more efficient codec and lower bitrate if there's a need to squeeze the last bit.

        • (Score: 2) by Marand on Sunday August 13, @04:48AM (1 child)

          by Marand (1081) on Sunday August 13, @04:48AM (#553119) Journal

          I tried stuff like that for a bit when I stayed there, but it didn't matter what I did, because no matter how efficient I was, I couldn't do anything about their usage. They're the types where, if you even touch one of their keyboards, you'll get blamed for "breaking" something weeks later when they do something stupid, so it just wasn't worth trying to help them with tricks like that, or even something as simple as ad blocking to reduce traffic.

          So, I found a better workaround. When their connection goes over the cap, it throttles you down to dialup speeds (but with more latency! woo!), right? Well, except that whatever the ISP does with the throttling doesn't (or didn't, at least) count icmp traffic, so I set up a ping tunnel on a VPS I've kept for years and routed all my traffic through that after the month's bandwidth ended, then kept doing what I normally did with net traffic. The latency had a negative effect on the tunnel, so it was still fairly slow, but a lot better than dialup-slow, and I could even get away with Netflix through it as long as I turned off HD. :P

          Probably sounds kind of selfish, but I did everything I could to try helping them and "no good deed goes unpunished" as the saying goes, so I gave up trying and just minimised how much pain their internet usage caused me. :/

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday August 13, @06:38AM

            by kaszz (4211) on Sunday August 13, @06:38AM (#553140) Journal

            When you find yourself helping such people - don't. It's just a waste of your mental strength.
            Especially when it's for free.

            Fun thing with ICMP ;-)
            Another trick if sites like Facebook is open for "free" is to open a scratch page. Encode packets as Base64 or better, post them. Have another computer read them and delete. Subsequently it then sends it using raw IP socket on the real internet. Yummy yummy ;)

        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Sunday August 13, @09:38PM (1 child)

          by Pino P (4721) on Sunday August 13, @09:38PM (#553373) Journal

          That won't work so well with more of the web going HTTPS, for which proxies will just use the CONNECT verb and pass all the crap straight through.

          • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday August 14, @03:51AM

            by kaszz (4211) on Monday August 14, @03:51AM (#553468) Journal

            You can setup a proxy portal or add certificates.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @05:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @05:33PM (#553311)

      Back when the 1996 Telecommunications Act required line-sharing, the actual competition meant I had easy and cheap access to symmetrical broadband (SDSL; equivalent to a T1 for a tiny fraction of the price, which was pretty dang good at the time). Of course, this went away as soon as the line-sharing requirements got rid of the competition.

      We've got a recent example of what works, and the politicians refuse to do it again. Revealed preference means their stated goals are not their real goals, which should be obvious to everyone by now. Too bad it won't change a damn thing.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:42PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @04:42PM (#552891)

    FCC Wants Mobile Data to Count as Broadband Internet

    FCC Wants Mobile Data to be Throttled and have not even bare minimum neutrality requirements

    FCC Wants effectively zero competition to be considered as "competetive" so that providers can have effective monopolies.

    FCC clearly acts like it wants many of us to be stuck with heavily restricted monopolized wireless service as literally our only option for data access. But how could that be, considering that the head of the FCC literally used to work for the largest wireless provider? Surely, he isn't just acting in the interests of the company that definitely gave him money when he worked for them.

    • (Score: 2) by SpockLogic on Saturday August 12, @05:30PM (3 children)

      by SpockLogic (2762) on Saturday August 12, @05:30PM (#552905)

      Saw this the other day and thought it worth sharing ...

      "Ajit Pai" should now be the technical term for extremely painful and angry jock-itch between the upper thigh and testicles. . . We've got a real bad case of Ajit Pai. . . something really nasty. . ."

      • (Score: 1) by redneckmother on Saturday August 12, @07:08PM (1 child)

        by redneckmother (3597) on Saturday August 12, @07:08PM (#552930)

        Pronunciation:
        "Ajit" - "Idjit"

        --
        Pitchforks? Check. Torches? Check. Lampposts? Check. Rope? Oh crap, Colorado smoked all the Hemp!
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:51PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @07:51PM (#552935)

          Hey now, other people are given that name, they shouldn't have to suffer for the actions of one prick.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday August 12, @08:57PM

        by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 12, @08:57PM (#552967) Journal

        Ajit Pai-n ;-)

        I know the pain of H-1B.. me very good! ..no need net neutrality!

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:20PM (#552919)

    It's OK guys! Randall Munroe says you can use mobile data instead of home broadband now.

    http://www.xkcd.com/1865/ [xkcd.com]

    Adjust your prejudices to align with the opinion of your hero.

    http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1865 [explainxkcd.com]

    Obligatory "Explain xkcd" 'cause you're dumb.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:41PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @06:41PM (#552925)

    "The FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai is signaling new broadband policy changes that can only be described as friendly to ISPs and hostile to consumers."

    "Ajit Pai opened his mouth again."?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jmorris on Saturday August 12, @08:47PM (5 children)

    by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Saturday August 12, @08:47PM (#552961)

    In case you have been sleeping the last thirty years in a cave, in a lot of the developing world they skipped the whole laying cable to every remote inaccessible rural area entirely and went wireless. There are a LOT of areas here in America where wireless makes a lot more sense than stringing copper or fiber out to every farm, ranch and dilapidated mobile home out in the wilderness. Hell, look at a coverage map, there are a lot of areas where even wireless coverage is still spotty. America is BIG, South Korea is SMALL, there is a difference in the deployment of the Internet between the two for reasons other than "bad people who don't agree with me."

    And yes, I hate asymmetrical dynamic IP Internet + NAT as the only option for the end points as much as anyone else here. But it seems that the exceptions to that iron rule worldwide are utterly insignificant. IPV6 might help the dynamic IP + NAT problem someday but it seems stalled.

    Now let me speak heresy. 10mpbs as a baseline Internet speed is entirely good enough, especially as a baseline to push to rural areas. The only thing you can't do with that is stream Netflix HD to every screen in your home. In other words, you can't misuse your Internet connection as a cable TV service. And in really rural spots maybe it means wireless service capped hard enough you can't watch enough Netflix to justify the subscription. Oh well, there is still Dish and DirecTV and Netflix's DVD delivery service. Rural living has many benefits, there are also negatives. As usual everybody wants the government to legislate away the bad while leaving only the upside.

    It is apparently economical to deliver the 50+mpbs service required for Netflix HD on every screen in most cities now and, hey that is great. But demanding that "somebody" fork up the cash to enable that to every single remote end point is going to end up being nothing but a raid on the treasury for the sole benefit of Netflix (and Amazon, who has the lobbying power to drive this). You know that, I know that, the FCC knows that. We are broke, no more money to waste on stupid things.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by kaszz on Saturday August 12, @09:22PM (4 children)

      by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 12, @09:22PM (#552976) Journal

      Wireless makes sense in many cases. It's just not anywhere near being a fast internet (aka broadband). It sucks in terms of latency and datacaps. So they should not be allowed to mislabel a connection type as something better than it is. Rather it reminds me of George Orwell's 1984 "newspeak" where the definition of words are hollowed out to inable citizens to speak their mind.

      Rather let them call it radioband(tm) or something else. And define it as good enough if the population density is below a certain threshold. For more dense areas it's simply won't cut it if America is to compete with say South Korea. But it's of course always possible to make a political decision to slide into the backwater of the world.

      • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Saturday August 12, @10:00PM (1 child)

        by jmorris (4844) Subscriber Badge <{jmorris} {at} {beau.org}> on Saturday August 12, @10:00PM (#552986)

        Wireless isn't -always- capped. We got a deal from T-Mobile to circulate some of their accesspoints at our public library. Totally uncapped as long as it connects to a T-Mobile owned 4G tower and zilch if it doesn't. Have had some problems with coverage, some people have to set the box out on their porch to get a signal and some others just lose. T-Mobile says they aren't done building out yet so there is hope for better coverage. But considering the horror that sometimes comes back in the bag with the laptops that circulate, the porch is probably cleaner for some of these people.

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday August 12, @10:22PM

          by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 12, @10:22PM (#552998) Journal

          It's great provided it's labeled as a wireless solution and without datacap. What FCC & lobby wants to do is to hide what they are selling and enable artificial limits.

      • (Score: 2) by chromas on Sunday August 13, @12:24AM (1 child)

        by chromas (34) on Sunday August 13, @12:24AM (#553049)

        Rather it reminds me of George Orwell's 1984 "newspeak" where the definition of words are hollowed out to inable citizens to speak their mind.

        That's racist!

        • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday August 13, @01:28AM

          by kaszz (4211) on Sunday August 13, @01:28AM (#553065) Journal

          Wired internet. Racist since the 1960s or so.. ;-)

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by kaszz on Saturday August 12, @09:11PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 12, @09:11PM (#552974) Journal

    Firstly, broadband is a radio definition that says something has a specific width in frequency. It's misnomer to use with internet speed. So it should really be called "fast internet" etc. Because a transmission path like optical fibers don't have much in terms of bandwidth as in regards to frequency.

    So if FCC and the corporate slime & co wants to define wireless (clueless?) as fast internet then sure, provided that:
      * Implement strict liability in regards to availability and performance for anyone that dears to label wireless as fast internet.
      * Apply strict limits on latency time.
      * Forbid any kind of data transfer limits (datacap).
      * Static IPv6 address at no cost.

    Ohh.. and now that FCC seems soooo eager to do things. Enforce IPv6 capability as in routing, PPP servers, customer equipment etc.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @11:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 12, @11:16PM (#553021)

    Cellular data is better than home wifi since two years. The Xkcd-Guy confirmed it with a graph and everything. It's proven.

    Wifi vs Cellular [xkcd.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:01AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:01AM (#553042)

    Being retired and quite able to afford living anywhere, and too damn lazy to do the research myself, is there anywhere on the planet that has better-than-USA upload/download speeds and ratios (via cable, fiber, or DSL) without the surveillance and censorship of the US, UK, EU, Oz, NZ, Russia, and China?

    Does such a place exist? Indeed, can such a place exist?

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