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Stimulus Bill Contains Net Neutrality Provision 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the art-of-vagueness-and-obfuscation dept.
visible.frylock writes "Cnet is reporting that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (PDF), currently in the House Appropriations Committee, contains Net Neutrality provisions: 'The so-called stimulus package hands out billions of dollars in grants for broadband and wireless development, primarily in what are called "unserved" and "underserved" areas. ... The catch is that the federal largesse comes with Net neutrality strings attached. ... recipients must operate broadband and high-speed wireless networks on an "open access basis." The FCC, soon to be under Democratic control, is charged with deciding what that means. Congress didn't see fit to include a definition.' The broadband grants appear to begin in SEC. 3101 (pg. 49) of the PDF."
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Stimulus Bill Contains Net Neutrality Provision

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:36AM (#26496333)

    First of all, I do not live in America (in neither meaning of the word) so I might be a bit off on details but...

    This "FCC will soon be under democratic control" boggles me. In this context I assume it means that it will be led by the democrats (instead of democracic as in having the public vote on all issues).

    But that doesn't really tell anything. There are people on both sides of the net neutrality issue who have different opinions of (foreign) policy, economy, Iraq situation, etc... I, having not followed USA inner politcs very closely, would think that net neutrality is hardly among biggest dividers between democrats and republicans.

    So does this tell anything about it or is it relevant at all? I am not saying that it isn't but honestly wondering if it is...

    I know that here we could tell a lot based on will some issue like this be controlled by the Green party, the Left party, the Pirate Party, the Socialist Democrats, our major right wing party, another right wing party concentrating mostly on countryside issues, or any else of the political parties...

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      This "FCC will soon be under democratic control" boggles me. In this context I assume it means that it will be led by the democrats (instead of democracic as in having the public vote on all issues).

      Yes, that is it precisely. The Republicans have appointed one corrupt bastard after another, perhaps the most corrupt of which was Michael Powell, son of Colin Powell, who helped run the travesty that was the Gulf War. So long, and thanks for all the DPU.

      Being a particularly pessimistic sarcast who has lived in the USA all his life my impression of the difference between the two parties is that the democrats are the tax-and-spend party, and the republicans are the tax-cut-and-spend party. I leave it as an e

    • by frieko (855745) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:06PM (#26497327)
      You're correct, the correct phrase is 'under Democrat control'. 'under Democratic control' is just as wrong as 'under Republic control'

      In any case, in the American system there are for all practical purposes only two parties. There are things they both agree on (increasing spending) and things that are strictly divided along party lines (reproductive rights), and practically nothing that's a gray area.

      If that sounds absurd to you, then now you know why we all just vote for the tallest candidate and go back to drinking beer.
      • I know you're being satirical (probably justified), but are more local politics, such as at the state level, any less absurd? Overseas we don't hear about much other than US federal politics.

        I've never lived in the US, but it seems like a huge government compared with many, and in many ways I can appreciate why there are so many people who don't bother voting. Especially when I compare it with what I'm used to in New Zealand, where the government represents 4 million people, and I guess that's more similar

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by alzoron (210577)

          Correct me if necessary, but my understanding was that the USA was formed with the understanding that the federal government was always supposed to be fairly minimalist, with individual states having a lot of independence to choose how to govern themselves. How and when did this change? Was it all during WW2 or something like that, or has it been more of a slippery slope?

          I'd have to say it all started going downhill with John Adams. The Naturalization Act, Alien Act, Alien Enemies Act, and the Sedition Act. What a wonderful start we got off too, couldn't even make it 10 years before the corruption started.

      • by bruins01 (992422)
        No, the correct phrase is "under Democratic control." "Democrat" is a noun, not an adjective. It is the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party, as Bush and rather immature Republicans like to say. The GP confused "Democratic" as it appears in the summary with "democratic" which is a different word.
  • Sounds Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @09:39AM (#26496349) Homepage Journal

    I live in Lake county, California and this would be a fantastic environment for WiMax. We have a volcano (dormant... heh heh) in the middle of the county upon which we already have a radio shack, and I don't mean the store. I helped my pop insulate it when I was a kid. We have a capture-and-rebroadcast system here called LCTV, and I believe Edge (now part of the evil empire) has a tower up there as well (maybe AT&T has some of their own stuff up there too.) There is good road access, so it would be relatively trivial to truck a small shipping container and some building materials up there, and there is far more than sufficient exposure for combo solar/wind power to run the system. If this bill goes through before I move out of here, I may have to start tapping some connections and see if I can finally get a working last mile solution up in here.

  • by Ruvim (889012) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:01AM (#26496499)
    so, we are finally getting someone in government who does not just measure Net in truckloads.
  • A Cherry on Top (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:02AM (#26496507)

    of a crap sandwich still doesn't change the fact that it's a crap sandwich.

  • open access (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bartok (111886) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:05AM (#26496521)

    So if it's not defined what open access means, how can anyone say that it means net neutrality? It could mean anything and that usually means the definition will be dependant on lobying dollars.

    • moment of hope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xzvf (924443) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:02AM (#26496857)
      Most people are hopeful that the right thing will be done. They will be disappointed, unless someone puts out a louder voice than the telecoms.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      it is to be decided by the FCC lead, which is about to be that pro net neutrality Obama has already selected.

      http://i.gizmodo.com/5130203/obamas-fcc-chairman-pick-revealed-net-neutrality-lovin-techie

    • One, or IMO the only, strong argument that opponents of net neutrality have is that net neutrality will prevent backbone innovation...
      but if we have a loosely defined definition of open access, backbone innovation will still be possible within the limit of what is reasonable.
  • Eh.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wanax (46819) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:06AM (#26496531)

    My basic problem with methods like this, is that it continues to reward the expedient, eg. short term thinking. While I realize that the new administration has to pick their battles, they will not cause long term 'change' unless they change incentives. And changing incentives first and foremost means changing the balance in compensation 'per customer' between short and long term company interests.

    The only way, that I am aware, to kick start this in an area of natural monopoly... (not to mention massive subsidies which have been exploited), is to either form a government competitor, or enforce line leasing agreements so that the barrier to entrance is reduced.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Internet is not a natural monopoly. It's a government-created monopoly. If government moved out of the way companies would be free to run 4 or 5 fiber optic lines in parallel, so that a customer could choose Verizon or AT&T or Sprint or Comcast.

      • Re:Eh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:42PM (#26497655) Journal

        Oh please! I'm as anti government as anybody, but do you honestly think they will EVER run lines out to those in rural areas? Not a chance, simply because it isn't cost effective. My mother has lived in her home since 1980. The house was a block and a half from where the cable and DSL ended. Guess how far it is today? That's right! It is STILL a block and a half away!

        Jobs like this are pretty much what governments are for. if we wouldn't have had the rural electric and water provisions in the 19030's we would still have rural folks reading by candle light and crapping in outhouses. There is NO way a corporation is going to spend the major expense of running fiber to rural areas, simply because it would never bring them a return on investment. So if we want to see nationwide broadband we pretty much HAVE to get the government in on it. Now once those lines are done and we have most of the country blanketed in fiber, THEN we should lease the lines to multiple competitors to break up the natural monopolies. And I bet if we did that we would not only see speed increases but a lot fairer prices than we get now locked into "our way or the highway" monopolies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JesseMcDonald (536341)

          The thing is, the reason no company is going to run fiber out to rural areas (assuming your predictions to be correct) is that those in the rural areas don't value high-speed Internet access enough to make it cost-effective. It doesn't matter who actually runs the fiber, government or some private company -- either way it's a waste of resources. The difference is that only governments are capable of wasting other people's resources in this way.

          Private companies are fundamentally incapable of providing servi

          • by shiftless (410350)

            The thing is, the reason no company is going to run fiber out to rural areas (assuming your predictions to be correct) is that those in the rural areas don't value high-speed Internet access enough to make it cost-effective.

            Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. I used to live in one of those rural areas. The fiber lines ended about a 1/4 mile straight shot from my driveway, and there was a box there needing very little equipment to enable DSL. The cable company ended about a mile down the road. Neither company had

            • (1) If you only lived 1/2 a mile away, and the upgrade to DSL would have been simple, you could have offered to do the upgrade yourself using your own money. This is what my parents did when they need electricity. The company did the work, but they paid the installation bill.

              (2) Many environmentalists think providing electricity, phone, and other services to rural homes are bad for the environment, because they encourage sprawl. They argue that people such as yourself should move closer to the city or t

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          Jobs like this are pretty much what governments are for. if we wouldn't have had the rural electric and water provisions in the 19030's we would still have rural folks reading by candle light and crapping in outhouses. There is NO way a corporation is going to spend the major expense of running fiber to rural areas, simply because it would never bring them a return on investment. So if we want to see nationwide broadband we pretty much HAVE to get the government in on it. Now once those lines are done and we have most of the country blanketed in fiber, THEN we should lease the lines to multiple competitors to break up the natural monopolies

          So your business plan can be boiled down to:

          1) Use the power of the state to force big evil telco to run fiber to rural areas that they can't profitably serve
          2) Once fiber is laid use the power of the state to force big evil telco to lease those lines to competitors that didn't make the initial investment from step #1 for whatever reason (guess they bought off the right Congressman if they weren't obligated to build out to those areas like big evil telco was)
          3) ???
          4) Profit!

          I realize the problem that y

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Uhhh....there are nearly 4 dozen houses on that 5 miles stretch that my mom lives on, and I'm willing to be you could get 95% to take cable, especially with the bundle of cable+phone+Internet. The simple fact is almost no corporation anymore thinks outside the quarterly earnings report. Which means they ain't spending a dime that they don't have to. in fact in the 29 years that I have lived here I don't think they have moved outwards 5 feet in ANY direction, no matter how many houses there are. I know that

            • >>>Then the teleco got wind of it when all their customers started dropping their $50 dialup and got pissed. They changed the TOS to add some "number of connected machines" BS and jacked up the price 400%.

              He should have sued them in court under Antitrust legislation.

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                Couldn't afford it. Both Chuck and the WISP have talked to lawyers. They were told that they would be looking at 10 years+ of lawyer fees while it wound its way through the courts. That is why monopolies are so damned powerful in this country. Do you HONESTLY think a little startup can afford to fight the law teams of someone like AT&T? With all the gouging they are barely keeping the lights on as is. And don't forget for these mega corps SLAPPs [wikipedia.org] are pretty much SOP. Chuck's lawyer told him if he had the

            • by Travoltus (110240)

              Most underrated post of the month.

          • The government doesn't need to force the company to share their lines. It only needs to step out of the way, so that if somebody else wants to lay lines in parallel, they can.

            Take my area: The government gave the exclusive right to Comcast. If the government simply repealed that exclusivity, then other companies like AT&T or Time-Warner or Cox could run parallel lines.

        • I have no objections if the government wants to lay down the cables for rural communities, but then the actually administration should go to a 4 or 5 companies competing with one another. A monopoly, even a government one, is not the solution. I believe in Pro-Choice and giving as much power to the consumer as possible.

      • Obviously the backbones of the Internet aren't monopoly, and haven't been since we got the NSFnet out of the way, so I assume you're talking about the last-mile access.

        Last-mile access not only isn't a natural monopoly, it isn't a government monopoly either. Sure, telephone wires and cable TV in most places in the US were both installed by monopolies, but that's all changed - the FCC's required that cities allow overbuilding of cable TV for over a decade, and while most copper telephone wires are still own

  • Sweet! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I for one certainly can't imagine ANY possible negatives of more government involvement in the Internet.

    • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday January 17, 2009 @11:27AM (#26497051) Journal

      Sorry, I get a little tired of hearing this time and time again. "Oh noes! It's bigger guberment!" is exactly as stupid a slogan as "Think of the children!" and "Terr'rists!"

      Take a moment and actually think about this.

      Which do you trust more with this decision? An oligopoly (not a free market) of corrupt businesses, whose best interests run directly counter to yours? Or a government, dysfunctional as it may be, that you at least have some hand in electing and keeping in check?

      • by Kingrames (858416)
        As of right now, we, the programmers, are pretty much in control. You're asking us to choose between forfeiting that control to one corrupt group, or forfeiting it to another.

        I say fuck that. It's our internet.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Cjstone (1144829)
          You're not in control of the actual network infrastructure, which is what Net Neutrality is all about. The whole point of the Net Neutrality debate is that the companies that are in control of the wires are starting to discriminate against companies that aren't. Remember the the ISP (I think it was comcast,) that was filtering VoIP providers that competed with their own offerings? Without net neutrality, that kind of thing will only become more common place. As it is now, there are very few incentives for a
        • As of right now, we, the programmers, are pretty much in control.

          Erm, no. A bunch of MBAs with little to no understanding of programming, or of Internet culture, are in control.

          Or are you under the delusion that programmers run Comcast?

          I say fuck that, at least the government has some premise of accountability. Corporations only have to be accountable to their stockholders.

      • by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @04:19PM (#26499633) Homepage Journal

        I notice that you used the qualification that the oligopolies were not in a free market. That is a false dichotomy! You're asking us to choose between dysfunctional government with unspecified business firms versus dysfunctional government with corrupt oligarchies.

        In terms of a relatively free market, I would prefer the corrupt oligopolies more than functional and efficient governments.

        You say I have a hand in electing government, but I do not. In terms of the Federal government, I only have a hand in electing the president, two senators and congressman. There are tens of thousands of Federal government members remaining. Also my vote was only one among over a hundred million. My vote does not count. I've got a better chance of winning the lottery than having my vote make a difference.

        No matter what I do, whether my four candidates win or lose, the Federal Government still has direct power over me.

        Now let's look at the oligarchy. If I don't like Microsoft I can go with Apple. Or use Linux or FreeBSD or OpenOffice or Firefox or any number of alternatives. Even with Microsoft at 90% of the market, nothing stops me from using the alternative. Ditto for Sprint versus Verizon versus Horizon etc, etc. Even if there is a true monopoly or oligarchy with no competitors, I still have the option of foregoing. If I don't like any of the auto-manufacturers, I can choose a bicycle instead. Or choose to walk. Our "votes" in the marketplace *DO* count! Our influence on the companies may be negligable, but it's still far more than in elections. Prices themselves come about through consumer preferences. If a price is too high, consumers will buy less. Even in the case of monopolies.

        No, markets are not perfect, and none ever will be. I'm still not going to get everything I want. Duh! But unlike the political system, at least I have choices.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Unnhh... you are arguing about Operating Systems, not access controllers. Where I live the choice is between DSL, Cable, and dial-up. DSL and Cable each have one provider. At least for DSL the phone company still leases the lines to other ISPs. I don't know about cable. But this is only because the government forced them to so lease the lines. (They took 6 months to connect my DSL line. This may have been incompetence, as it was several years ago, but it's worth noticing that my business was with an

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Brandybuck (704397)

            Unnhh... you are arguing about Operating Systems, not access controllers.

            I used operating systems (lower case) as an example. I could have used automobiles, frozen dinners or toasters instead. Or service providers. Regardless of market seector used, the philosophical principles remain the same.

            Where I live the choice is between DSL, Cable, and dial-up. DSL and Cable each have one provider.

            I notice that you still have three choices. They may be "natural" monopolies, but they still provide you 300% more c

        • Now let's look at the oligarchy. If I don't like Microsoft I can go with Apple. Or use Linux or FreeBSD or OpenOffice or Firefox or any number of alternatives.

          And if you don't like Comcast, you can pack up and move, or rediscover the wonderful world of dialup.

          It's called a physical monopoly -- or, oligopoly. Except this taxation is without representation.

          How is that better than the government? A chance of winning the lottery is better than no chance at all. There's also the chance of organizing other people to vote the way you do -- which, again, is a better chance than trying to organize other people to move to an area where there's an ISP which works in their f

          • Actually, it's called a "natural monopoly". The argument with Comcast is that it's impossible for more than one cable company to exist, therefore Comcast is a natural monopoly. This ignores the fact that the local government gave a monopoly to Comcast in the first place.

            Why can't there be more than one set of cables under our streets? There's no reason local governments have to pick and choose which ones get to lay cable, because more than one line can be laid in the same pipe. The problem of dug up streets

            • Why can't there be more than one set of cables under our streets?

              Why should there be?

              more than one line can be laid in the same pipe.

              And more than one pipe can be laid. As long as we're being inefficient, why have a single pipe? Who pays for it?

              I find in my town I still have a choice of two broadband providers: DSL and Cable.

              Wow! Two! Really?!

              What do you do when both of them screw you over? That's what I meant by "oligopoly".

              If cable was your only broadband option, and the monopolist decided to charge you $1000 a month, would you still be on cable?

              I'd rather not find out... but wait, when did this become about money?

              I'd especially rather not find out when it's still some $50/mo, but not to the Internet, rather to some subset of a shadow of the former Internet, because they've throttled and censored it to hell. And when t

              • Running 4 or 5 cables gives the customer power. I believe in giving power to the customer, rather than limiting them to just one choice. 4 or 5 companies servicing each home is better than just 1.

                As for the pipe, there's no need to run more pipe because there's plenty of room to increase the current load from 1 TV/interent cable to 5 cables.

                • As for the pipe, there's no need to run more pipe

                  Suppose we're talking about a different kind of pipe. Maybe a water pipe.

                  After all, we do pay for our water usage -- why not have many different water pipes, to give power to the consumers?

        • by far1h8 (1362897)

          You say I have a hand in electing government, but I do not. In terms of the Federal government, I only have a hand in electing the president, two senators and congressman. There are tens of thousands of Federal government members remaining. Also my vote was only one among over a hundred million. My vote does not count. I've got a better chance of winning the lottery than having my vote make a difference.

          Only as soon as you begin to take that attitude and stop voting does your vote no longer count. And once you stop voting other people's votes start counting more and if enough people don't vote then the government becomes an oligarchy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, fascinating isn't it... 2 days ago Slashdotters couldn't wait to get US government off the internet either for wiretapping via AT&T or via ICANN...

      But now, hey... yeah the US government should dictate economic models on the internet and shut up you knee jerk libertarian!

    • Re:Sweet! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:42PM (#26499299) Journal

      I see that you got a lot of negative comments but you couldn't be more on spot.

      The problem they don't see is that the government won't just say "give people what they paid for" they will start saying things like if you do this, you have to do that or you can do this and so on. What happens is instead of the industry competing amongst itself and benefiting us as a whole, you will end up with minimum guidlines that have to be met which is place a higher bar for competition as well as set a bar so that improvements won't need to be made. The internet companies who have a defacto monopoly because of infrastructure and right of ways in place due to other monopolistic activities like Phone or Cable businesses will find that as long as they meet the minimum guidlines, everything will be fine.

      The contrasting hand in this is something like Micheal Powel's position. His position was that it didn't matter about net neutrality as long as the customer got what they paid for. In other words, if you purchased a 3 meg connection, the ISP couldn't do anything to the traffic to limit information below that 3 meg speed but Google or Yahoo or whoever could contract with your ISP to deliver their streaming content or whatever at 6 meg speeds if it was possible.

      This approach essentially would allow internet companies to pay to increase your bandwidth past what you have paid to receive but would not allow your connection to be slowed below the speeds your paying for based on any company's ability or willingness to pay you ISP. In contrast with net neutrality as being purpose by many, it would be impossible for an arrangement like that to be made. Some have actually demonized Powell for that position. But the government having control of the internet will Shepard in regulations like the EU's firewall and Australia's attempts at net filtering to keep the "bad stuff" from reaching the home. It's simply inevitable no matter who is in charge of the government as we are seeing fairly progressive government's around the world who claim to honor free speech do right in front of us.

      Government controls outside of ensuring that your getting what you paid for is going to cause problems. Ensuing that your not getting ripped of by your provider doesn't even need government to control the internet or direct FCC involvement. It should already be an implied right of fair commerce and subject to laws already on the books. If Cox gives you 6 meg access then denies that because YouTube didn't pay them, you the customer are being cheated not YouTube. It's no different then buying a car by mail to find out that it's a moped or a wheel barrel with a lawnmower engine that doesn't look anything like the picture.

  • Fairs Fair (Score:1, Troll)

    by Thomas Charron (1485)

    Well, it would make sense.. "We're going to give incentive for new net access, go ahead and screw any web site shmoe who doesn't have enough to pay for premium access"...

    I mean, what do you think this is, the banking or finance industry?

  • Slaves (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @10:10AM (#26496551)

    primarily in what are called "unserved" and "underserved" areas. ...

    How about "undeserved" areas? Just give the money to the people. They worked, it's their money. Instead they slave 1/3 of their life away to retire without anything while corporations buy cheats in the game of capitalism by the way of government.+

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      primarily in what are called "unserved" and "underserved" areas. ...

      How about "undeserved" areas?

      How dare you live in an area that the corporations do not estimate to be profitable! No modern telecommunications for you! You don't deserve them!

      Stop being a selfish little whiner and just be glad your retirement money wasn't invested in the stock market like the right wing wanted.

      • Re:Slaves (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) * on Saturday January 17, 2009 @01:27PM (#26498033) Journal

        How dare you live in an area that the corporations do not estimate to be profitable! No modern telecommunications for you! You don't deserve them!

        If I decide to go buy property and build a house out in northern Alaska, dozens of miles from anyone else, is it the government's job to provide me with all the same infrastructure as everywhere else?! I don't understand how I "deserve" anything from the government besides reasonable protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and other constitutionally-enumerated fundamental rights. If I choose to live outside the "bubbles" of infrastructure that they've contributed to, I don't see how my choices obligate, or should obligate, the government (federal or state).

        • Gonna be awfully hard to drive out to that remote place without a road. Just sayin'.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sumdumass (711423)

            Most people have to build their own roads.

            Where I live right now, the road was at one time a cattle path leading to a neighbors land. Cattle have a habit of following relatively level land. Anyways, before my state was even a state, the cattle path became part of a wagon trail which was later turned into a road. There are 5 other roads around me that started off as nothing but driveways to homes or barns put up in choice spots. This was back in the late 1800's after my state was a state. Families multiplies

          • I'm sure it will be. There are a number of "populated" areas of Alaska which can only be reached by plane, after all.

            Yes, the same argument applies to roads, and every other kind of "infrastructure" you can imagine. There is no value to be had in building infrastructure (or anything else) which people don't demand enough to pay for voluntarily.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Scrameustache (459504)

          How dare you live in an area that the corporations do not estimate to be profitable! No modern telecommunications for you! You don't deserve them!

          If I decide to go buy property and build a house out in northern Alaska, dozens of miles from anyone else, is it the government's job to provide me with all the same infrastructure as everywhere else?! [...] If I choose to live outside the "bubbles" of infrastructure that they've contributed to

          It's not about reaching survivalist weirdos going out of their way to keep out of the grid, it's about reaching already established communities that have been overlooked because of a perceived lack of profitability.

      • by Meor (711208)
        So it's invested in what? A fund that's 11 trillion in cash debt? Quite possibly 40 trillion in balance sheet debt? Remember this post through your lifetime. I hope some day it helps you come to realization.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Rue C Koegel (1448549)

      i'm telling you, all we need to do is find people in need who are willing and capable of starting non-profit co-operatives to fill whatever need they have, be it clean automobiles or cheap internet services, and they'll take care of the rest.

      our economy isn't going to be saved by giving handouts to the already excessively rich, so they can focus more money into their pockets.

      our economy will get better when joe shmoe has more money to put in his bank account because he's not blowing all his dough on over pr

  • by ericferris (1087061) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @12:41PM (#26497649) Homepage

    There are foreseeable problems with this Net Neutrality provision:

    • The definition of what Neutrality is will be decided by FCC bureaucrats and by courts. Both are notoriously clueless about networking and the Internet. Yet we will rely upon their uninformed, harried rulings to decide how to run critical infrastructure. What can possibly go wrong?
    • I am blacklisting whole IP subnets in my mail server. Am I going to be sued by notorious spammers for preventing them from reaching my users? I am not neutral to spammers, that's for sure.
    • If I pay for some costly network infrastructure, can any two-bit business come along and use if for free?
    • I want to bar kiddie porn from my workplace. I am blacklisting the most notorious XXX web sites. Am I going to be sued by Young Flesh, Inc?

    You see where this can go? Fuzzy regulations are often abused, this one will be no exception.

    Good going, guys.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @02:31PM (#26498653) Homepage

    Network neutrality is a big deal and should not be stuffed into a poorly thought-out overly-vague rider on a more important bill.

    I don't like it when senators put their own personal agenda into unrelated bills. I'll stick with that principle even when the personal agenda is one I like. Bills should deal with one thing only, and I think that senators who put riders onto bills are doing something immoral -- even when the rider is one I approve of.

    • The thing about spending bills like this one is that money has a tendency to link together rhetoric in crazy ways.
      And 80% of the "logic" that goes on in Washington nowadays is appealing to someone's fear. Even the ones who think that somehow, somewhere, a duck is watching.

  • The first is for the FCC to actually enforce the 'common carrier' rules that ALL the ISP's claim to operate in compliance with, but which in fact they do as they damned well please simply because congress has pulled the manpower and legal help teeth to enforce them with.

    What do I mean? Simple really.

    As an example, verizon blocks outbound to the customer port 80 requests. This forces the customer who wants to have a web page, to put it on verizon's servers, where they can then load it up with all the comme

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      The first is for the FCC to actually enforce the 'common carrier' rules that ALL the ISP's claim to operate in compliance with, but which in fact they do as they damned well please simply because congress has pulled the manpower and legal help teeth to enforce them with.

      Actually, this is sort of a wrong statement. ISP aren't "common carriers". They do have common carrier protections built into other laws specifically addressing them but they aren't common carriers.

      I know, it gets confusing when they have

      • The point of that is, verizon IS a common carrier, at least for all other services, like the telephone, also delivered over exactly the same twisted pair copper that delivers my dsl. How can that then be separated?

        As for the web server I just picked a port that wasn't in use according to /etc/services file, then fwd that port in my router to the normal port and this machine and used it. Dyndns supplies a free registration for quasi-stable addresses, so the net cost to me is zip. And I have my own page, f

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          The point of that is, verizon IS a common carrier, at least for all other services, like the telephone, also delivered over exactly the same twisted pair copper that delivers my dsl. How can that then be separated?

          The FCC as well as the supreme court [slashdot.org] has said that the internet is an information service and exempt from common carrier status even when provided over lines transferring common carrier services. I know, it doesn't sound right or seem to fit together but it's the way it is.

          As for the web server

          • Chuckle, and which is what counts at the end of the day. It works. As far as being directly ON the net, that would be terminally stupid, and if this were a windows box I would not own it more than 5 minutes, but its not a windows box... I kinda like it that way.

            --
            Cheers, Gene
            "There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
            soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
            -Ed Howdershelt (Author)
            Peace, n.:
            In international affair

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              I don't know about terminally stupid.

              I have several servers directly on the internet at various locations. Some that use a back office behind the firewalls too. Of course these aren't desktops, they are minimal installs like FreeBSD or Slackware Linux, and in a few cases windows server (2003 and 2008) with the software firewall in use and every port but the ones being used closed down. There is potential for problems, I do get hacking attempts quite often but nowadays I use a script that blocks the IPs of t

    • by Holi (250190)

      Wow since you based your entire rant on a misconception it really was hard to read. ISP's are not common carriers, or do that want to be. They are labeled ESPs (Enhanced Service Providers). This gives them certain protections but does not limit them from choosing what services they offer. The owners of the actual lines are common carriers but the ISPs, the ones offering services on those lines, are not.

  • Slope (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Meor (711208)
    Government enforced "openness" will allow government controlled "decency regulation."
  • Spending orgy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @03:34PM (#26499237) Homepage Journal

    The US Government is on a spending orgy of bailouts, stimuli and old fashioned pork. All pretenses of fiscal conservativism, from either political party, have vanished. We're into several trillion in promised payouts. The spending is accelerating, even as revenues are falling due to the crisis. There is simply no financial restraint left in government anymore. It wouldn't be so bad if the incoming president said he was going to pull back, but from all indications he thinks we aren't spending fast enough.

    But geeks don't care, they're getting their net neutrality pony, and the rest of the world could burn for all they care.

    • Financial restraint is about making sure your income matches your expenses.
      Ever since the Stupid British showed in 17th century that you could issue treasury certificates and borrow from the public, finance has changed.
      Plus, the external controls of a Gold standard being absent, this was expected.
      Oh, Geeks are needed even if Goths sack Rome. Someone got to keep the computers running.

    • It's not only a matter of our government spending far more than it has when it's already in astonishingly deep debt. The federal government is also spending far outside its actual legal authority, as laid out in the Constitution. There is nothing in there justifying Broadband Net access as a federal spending item. Nor health care, nor pensions... I'm hoping that some good will come of the ongoing economic troubles in that people will start to realize their politicians are not just irresponsible but criminal
  • Just glanced at the bill and could only find wireless as the only tech available for grants. This is ridiculous as what we need is fiber deployments. Wireless is not going to deliver tomorrows broadband, just the lousy "broadband" of a few Mbps at the max.

    Don't believe the WiMax hype. A cell which can only cover a mile or two (if you are lucky) has to share the 10's of MBps that a WiMax base station sector.

    If we want to stop the US's descent to an Internet 3rd world country, we need fiber to the home and of

  • by onemorechip (816444) on Saturday January 17, 2009 @04:00PM (#26499483)

    if the restrictions only apply to those service providers accepting the funding, you get "net neutrality for some". The goal should be "net neutrality for all".

  • Congress will pass a bill that has one purpose and has no earmarks.

  • For a moment I read it as "Undeserved". I was like, WTF?

  • How much will it cost users for regular access if and once installed..? Have yet to see that minor little detail mentioned whenever the topic arises...

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