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posted by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the hopefully-not-paying-lip-service dept.

Fluffeh writes:

"When the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals struck down the FCC's Open Internet Rules, a White House Petition was put up to 'direct the FCC to classify ISPs as "common carriers"'. With over 100k signatures, there is now an official response.

Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide.

The petition asked that the President direct the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as "common carriers" which, if upheld, would give the FCC a distinct set of regulatory tools to promote net neutrality. The FCC is an independent agency. Chairman Wheeler has publicly pledged to use the full authority granted by Congress to maintain a robust, free and open Internet a principle that this White House vigorously supports."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Specter on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:49PM

    by Specter (609) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @03:49PM (#2540)

    I wish everyone pulling for net neutrality would:

    1) Agree on what it means, and
    2) Think through if we really really want this...

    I imagine a lot of folks here are too young to remember telephone service before Bell got broken up. You really don't want your Internet to look like the phone system when your only choice was Ma Bell. The legacy of that disaster in public policy lasted for years.

    Remember ISDN?
    Ever hear you parents complain about how expensive it was to call long distance?
    Remember renting your phones?

    All this and more can be yours with just a little help from your friends in the government.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:20PM

    by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:20PM (#2561) Journal

    I do remember such things, and now that there is real competition in the phone market, things are cheaper. I remember price shopping for long distance plans between different companies. I remember in the 90s dialing a code before dialing a long distance number to get even cheaper rates through different companies. I remember dropping my land line and using Vonage and then some other company whose name I can't remember. Then dropping a regular phone completely because it was just cheaper to use my cell phone's free long distance. There's a lot of competition in the long distance market.

    I also remember competition between online services way back in the day, like dropping AOL around 1991 in favor of Delphi because Delphi was substantially cheaper, though text based only. Or switching dial up ISPs for a better deal a few years later when I got on the internet.

    Then came broadband. I've been stuck with one choice for broadband since 1999 (first it was DSL, then I moved in 2001 and got cable run by AT&T, which was then bought by Comcast). The only reason I have a better provider now is because I moved into the country from town. My current provider is a real relief from Comcast, but that's only because I got lucky and they're better. They could go evil and I'd basically only have a crappy satellite choice.

    My point is, what we have now is exactly like the Ma Bell -- no competition, no choice, high prices, spotty service. The bandwidth business has none of the features we saw with breaking the long distance monopoly.

    I have nothing against a free market solution, but there must actually be a free market for that to work. When the choice I have is to either have, or not have, service -- that's not a choice and they can milk people to the point of significant pain. Until there is a functioning free market, regulation is required, otherwise we get the worst of both worlds -- unregulated local monopolies (probably all owned by a few umbrella corps). A free market would be something like 10 or more independent service providers -- at that level, price and service collusion would become difficult because at least one of those companies will see an opportunity to poach customers. But until we get to that point, broadband providers should be regulated with an iron fist.

    • (Score: 1) by koreanbabykilla on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:39PM

      by koreanbabykilla (968) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:39PM (#2581)

      AT&T didn't lay any cable, they just bought a bunch of existing plant and then sold it to Comcast. In my area TCI laid the cable. AT&T bought TCI, then sold it to Comcast.

      • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:35PM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:35PM (#2826) Journal

        I guess I was sloppy -- when I said "run" I meant AT&T provided my service, as in they ran the business. I have no idea who laid the cable.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by maxwell demon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @09:47PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @09:47PM (#2892) Journal

          The cable was probably laid by workers of a cable laying company. I doubt the telecommunication companies do it themselves.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:53PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:53PM (#2598)

    I imagine a lot of folks here are too young to remember telephone service before Bell got broken up. You really don't want your Internet to look like the phone system when your only choice was Ma Bell. The legacy of that disaster in public policy lasted for years.

    Please explain to me how a regulation about how existing ISPs handle Internet traffic priorities leads to a monopoly a la Bell Telephone. Because right now, your argument makes about as much sense as opposing a regulation requiring seat belts because it will force everyone to drive a Ford.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Specter on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:23PM

      by Specter (609) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:23PM (#2816)

      Who's going to decide what's neutral? It's not going to be you or me. It's going to be some boob who thinks the Internet is a series of tubes and who's looking to 'retire' in a few months into a cushy consulting job with the people she's currently regulating.

      Your helpful government regulators are going to get captured and instead of neutrality what we'll end up with is a byzantine series of rules that practically guarantee new entrants are barred from the market. You'll have your monopoly and then some.

      In some sense we've already lost the argument because we've let it devolve to a battle between the content providers (who actually have what we want) and the ISP's who are desperately trying to avoid becoming fat dumb pipes. Lost in all of this is the fact that the ISP's have already been paid: we pay for that bandwidth in our monthly service.

      What this is really about is the ISP's getting to take two bites of the apple by exploiting their government granted monopoly. They were perfectly happy to sell us access to the Internet so long as we didn't want to actually use it.

      If we're really interested in neutrality we'd be looking at breaking the real monopoly on last mile service, not enshrining it into law under the guise of neutrality.

      • (Score: 1) by Thexalon on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:48PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @11:48PM (#2980)

        It's not complicated.

        Neutral router configuration looks something like this:
        If packet from network A is destined for network B, forward out interface B.
        If packet from network B is destined for network A, forward out interface A.

        Non-neutral router configuration looks something like this:
        If packet is from subnet A.1 which didn't pay the protection money, drop it.
        If packet is from subnet A.2 which paid the lower amount of protection money, drop 5 and forward the 6th out interface B.
        If packet is from subnet A.3 which paid the higher protection money, forward it out interface B. ...

        The status quo is no net neutrality, captured regulators, a last-mile monopoly, and high barriers to market entry. Ergo, the existence of a net neutrality rule has absolutely no bearing on whether there is a last-mile monopoly, regulatory capture, or extreme barriers to market entry.

        As far as using competition to get out of this problem, how do you want these new competitive markets to handle these problems:
        - Which company is responsible for telephone poles or underground wire conduits? Does each potential market entrant have to handle their own, or are competitors required to make deals with each other so that there aren't 15 sets of poles along each street?
        - Are competitors required to form peering agreements with each other? If not, what's to prevent Big Bad Telco from simply shutting out Mom and Pop ISP, making it prohibitively expensive or even impossible for Mom and Pop to get their customers information from the servers their customers want to reach, allowing Big Bad Telco to avoid competition?

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by No Respect on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:43PM

    by No Respect (991) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:43PM (#2833)

    Even though calling long-distance wasn't cheap, overall I think it was more affordable. I don't remember my parents complaining about the bill going up every couple of months. The sound quality on the old POTS Bell System was superior to any cell service today, period. Full Duplex and Sidetone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidetone [wikipedia.org] made for a superior experience. It did suck to rent your phone, but those things were tanks that you could literally throw across the room and not only would they still work, the plastic housing wouldn't even get scratched. My mom has an old rotary dial phone in her basement, a real early variant where the dial is metal (not plastic). As a goof I hooked it up to a phone jack in her place a few months ago (she still has landline service) and the fucker still worked.

    Progress is good, but your hindsight is pretty bad. Ma Bell wasn't all bad and competition hasn't really made things cheaper since the break up.

  • (Score: 1) by cykros on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:34AM

    by cykros (989) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:34AM (#3165)

    Competition is not the issue, and is in fact a great boon to the ISP market. The issue is when there are no limits to what can be done in the name of competition that serve to protect society from the hazards of extremely powerful business machines (it beats calling them "people") and to direct their endeavors along more societally beneficial routes. Corporations are derived from a charter from government, and their original intention was to be TEMPORARY and created to address a specific project at hand. Over the years the corporate legal teams have been able to walk roughshod over the rule of law, however, and those restrictions that ultimately should be there are not, turning a corporation originally intended to provide for a boon to society into a weaponized attack-bot. Perhaps we should pay a little more attention to Asimov's rules of robotics.

    Competition for ISP's should not rely on carving up the Internet into a series of tollbooths, but rather through leveraging superior infrastructure at affordable prices to improve the quality of the overall communications system. They can compete ruthlessly, but they have to play by the rules...and We the People need to ensure that those rules are in place to begin with.

    Cry socialist all you want; corporations are entirely the creation of the government, which has since been parasitically made subservient to their creations. If true laissez-faire is what you're after, the myriad government structures that create these corporations in the first place are just as much an impediment as anything, as they are artificially granted preference in the market through the force of the legal system. Give me 100 ISP's to choose from, and I'll be a little more comfortable allowing some of them to play with bending the conventional wisdom of net neutrality, provided I have the choice to opt for a more conventional plan. Until then, rules need to be made and enforced.