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The Internet Government

How the FCC Plans To Save the Internet By Destroying It 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-don't-trip-over-the-power-cord-and-we'll-be-happy dept.
New submitter dislikes_corruption writes: "Stopping the recently announced plan by the FCC to end net neutrality is going to require a significant outcry by the public at large, a public that isn't particularly well versed on the issue or why they should care. Ryan Singel, a former editor at Wired, has written a thorough and easy to understand primer on the FCC's plan, the history behind it, and how it will impact the Internet should it come to pass. It's suitable for your neophyte parent, spouse, or sibling. In the meantime, the FCC has opened a new inbox (openinternet@fcc.gov) for public comments on the decision, there's a petition to sign at whitehouse.gov, and you can (and should) contact your congressmen."
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How the FCC Plans To Save the Internet By Destroying It

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  • Congressional fix? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MacAndrew (463832) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @02:49PM (#46848959) Homepage

    It seems to me the lobbying forces on the part of the content providers, Netflix et al., would be pretty formidable—unless they think the price is worth it to suppress upstart competition. Which is it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      unless they think the price is worth it to suppress upstart competition

      Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

      People in favor of "regulation" because of the evils of "big business" need to familiarize themselves with the concept of regulatory capture. Big business loves regulation, because they've got legions of lawyers and compliance officers at their disposal, resources unavailable to any would-be start up. George Will writes about this topic frequently, in industries ranging from undertakers to electricians to nail salons.

      • by MacAndrew (463832) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @04:09PM (#46849355) Homepage

        And I suppose big business loves non-regulation, with the opportunities of monopoly. So win-win?

        I'll agree that regulation risks just shifting wealth from one corporate interest to another. Also, that regulaiton introduces its own barriers to competition. But to condemn regulation per se is mindless. We got enough of the robber barons ages ago.

        Now, back to my question.... which way will things tilt, and how much will the public interest matter.

        • by dissy (172727)

          Now, back to my question.... which way will things tilt, and how much will the public interest matter.

          OK, I'm willing to grant that the public mostly doesn't understand, let alone care about, net neutrality.
          I'll also go along and grant that companies such as ISPs don't see regulation as good, and that is a point against net neutrality in their case.

          So lets follow such a setup to end game. Lets revoke imminent domain regulations as well!
          This should be pretty easy comparatively.

          a) I can't see many, if any, individuals seeing this move as a bad thing in any way. Especially so once explained that imminent dom

          • by Jayfar (630313)

            You use that phrase a lot, blissfully unaware that there's no such legal device as imminent domain. Maybe you're referring to eminent domain? Not being able to spell the term, you probably know very little about what it entails.

            • by dissy (172727)

              Don't blame me for firefox spell check. But to answer your question, no I am very bad at spelling, which is why I only questioned that "fix" for a few seconds instead of not at all as would be usual.

              Why would you suspect I am not familiar with what it entails however? Was that the multiple times I described it in detail that threw you off? Or was it your inability to look past a couple letters being swapped around that clearly had no effect on your understanding of my point?

              Since you seem OK making such

      • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @04:42PM (#46849485)

        Wait, I think you're confused.

        "Regulation" in this case would be the FCC instituting net neutrality, so that the ISPs have to treat all comers equally. E.g., Comcast can't speed up Hulu at the expense of some small start-up video streaming site.

        The big businesses want to kill net neutrality because that will let them crush any new start-ups, and ensure that they maintain control of what we watch for generations to come. Sites like Netflix never would have gotten off the ground without net neutrality.

        The big businesses are trying to get rid of regulations, and you've twisted it around to say that we need to ...get rid of regulations. Either you're confused, or just some corporate bootlicker.

        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          Sites like Netflix never would have gotten off the ground without net neutrality.

          And yet Netflix is one of the biggest abusers ever of the structure that built the internet. They've abused peering relationships to dump their traffic onto other providers while paying a fraction of what you or I would pay for similar traffic levels. They're currently pushing the absurd theory that they should get settlement free peering even though such agreements have traditionally been limited to connections with a roughly equal balance of traffic.

          The internet was built on the notion that providers g

          • by Twanfox (185252)

            Netflix isn't a network carrier, they are a content provider. That would seem to be problem #1 with your comments. Problem #2 is that content must be delivered to the requester, the end user. This idea that Netflix's CDN must pay to another carrier via peering trunks because the data is going to that other carrier's user doesn't seem much like a peering relationship. I mean, how can you be a peer with a local ISP? That Comcast built their own network backbone to run traffic along is nice and all that, but t

            • CDNs are paid by content/service providers to get data from A to B, usually on a sender-pays basis. If the volume of data coming from them causes peering/transit to go imbalanced beyond what the agreements allows, it is not that hard to imagine the destination network being displeased about getting asked to eat the bill.

              The main problem with this is most ISPs are unlikely to pass the bucks they get from CDNs back to their subscribers.

              • by sjames (1099)

                The 'imbalance' itself is a ludicrous notion when the peering is between source and destination (rather than mutual transit to 3rd parties).

                There is perfect balance between Netflix and Comcast. For every byte Netflix provides to Comcast, there is a paying Comcast customer who requested it.

                Balanced traffic in peering was originally a concern when the peering includes transit services. Say there are 4 networks, a-d connected up in a line. A-B-C-D. In that arrangement, B and C might agree to peering including

                • For every byte Netflix provides to Comcast, there is a paying Comcast customer who requested it.

                  Not really: Comcast subscribers are not paying for any particular quantity of Netflix or any other content and may not even be subscribers of. Flat monthly rates are based on bulk average costs plus markups where the low-volume users "subsidize" the high-volume users so the ISPs can meet their gross profit margin target.

                  As for "Comcast not providing transit to Netflix," keep in mind that this whole thing started with Comcast not liking how thin L3 was stretching their (Comcast-L3) peering agreement to avoi

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    Not really: Comcast subscribers are not paying for any particular quantity of Netflix or any other content and may not even be subscribers of. Flat monthly rates are based on bulk average costs plus markups where the low-volume users "subsidize" the high-volume users so the ISPs can meet their gross profit margin target.

                    Comcast made the offer freely and the customers accepted. It's a bit late for Comcast to be complaining about it. There are transfer limits involved even though the original offer was 'unlimited'. In reality, transfer rate is the driving factor in infrastructure costs.

                    I thought it was Cogent they were arguing with. The answer to that for Comcast is to restrict the routes they announce at the various peering points. It's a bit low class to drag Netflix directly into what was a dispute between two network pro

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Lie, told by a liar. Netflix generates very little traffic. Netflix customers generate all of the traffic. The end user at the location of their choice, connects to the Netflix site and sends a request for data firstly of content selection system and then of the content itself. Your bullshit is like claiming a supermarket fills roads full of traffic. The traffic is generated by customers driving to the store paying for what they want and returning home. All that's corruptly happening is a toll booth is bei

        • by dissy (172727)

          The big businesses want to kill net neutrality because that will let them crush any new start-ups, and ensure that they maintain control of what we watch for generations to come. Sites like Netflix never would have gotten off the ground without net neutrality.

          The big businesses are trying to get rid of regulations, and you've twisted it around to say that we need to ...get rid of regulations.

          SHH!!! I dont know about you, but I personally am really looking forward to the $50000/month checks these businesses are arguing they must pay me and every other land owner for the right to run their cables and such through our yards!

          At this point I don't care which side the companies want to argue for - I just plan to hold them to it across the board.

          They can either give us net neutrality regulations and keep imminent domain regulations as well, or alternately, they can say none of that regulation should

    • by mc6809e (214243)

      It seems to me the lobbying forces on the part of the content providers, Netflix et al., would be pretty formidableâ"unless they think the price is worth it to suppress upstart competition. Which is it?
      I think they're getting to the point where they're willing to pay for prioritization just to guarantee quality.

      A big problem is that we have a transmission protocol (TCP) that is a well deployed but incredibly stupid protocol that that intentionally floods the network with packets until it breaks, then b

  • by koan (80826)

    I'm mocked when I point out the blatant conspiracy between corporations and the FCC.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @02:58PM (#46849011)

    Capitalism is nice until corporations grow big enough. At some point they start to strive towards a monopoly and this is where the core idea of capitalism dies. It's the end of competition and consumers suffer the most.

    The political spectrum in the US needs some new parties and fast.

    • by Laxori666 (748529)
      The core idea of capitalism died long ago when corporations could lobby the government to put the laws they want into place. The rest is predictable. The biggest dishonesty is that we consider so many markets to be free markets when in fact they aren't.
  • Another petition (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/maintain-true-net-neutrality-protect-freedom-information-united-states/9sxxdBgy

  • by dicobalt (1536225) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @02:59PM (#46849015)
    They have the lobby money, they vote the way they are told to vote by the guys who have the nice suits and lots of money. Because if they don't, the Internet will fall to pieces for the entire country, nay the world. As the guys in suits have said it will happen, unless you choose them as your savior.
    • by Albanach (527650)

      The rest of the world will likely ignore this, as most other countries have avoided creating such duopoly/monopoly situations as have been encouraged by regulation in the United States. Where providers have to compete, there's little incentive to be the carrier that slows down service X,Y or Z. If necessary, the other countries that do have monopolies will use regulation to achieve much the same.

  • Be Specific (Score:4, Informative)

    by dislikes_corruption (3630797) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @03:00PM (#46849019)
    I should have included this in the summary: when you write to the FCC or your congressmen be specific - we need to reclassify Internet providers as common carriers. If you just say you're in favor of net neutrality they'll weasel around it again. They've already tried to redefine net neutrality as whatever it is that they're doing at the moment.
    • by MacAndrew (463832)

      Well said. I would be even more specific and say you don't want the carriers to discriminate or, god forbid, they'll redefine common carriers. ;-) I'm not sure most congresspeople understand the issue anywhere near as well as they understand who is for or against—politics.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      And if you believe that petitioning get you anything but a round of smoke blown up your ass by a white house lackey? then you should ask the Easter Bunny if he can give you a ride to neverland. Show me a SINGLE time in the last decade, just one, that the people went against corporate interests that got anything but a "silly little peasant, we're ignoring you" bullshit response. Pot decriminalization? bullshit response and feds kicking in doors, stop writing the ACA behind closed doors? bullshit response and

      • Re:Be Specific (Score:4, Informative)

        by dislikes_corruption (3630797) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @04:39PM (#46849471)
        What, you've forgotten about SOPA already? Things do happen when you spread the word widely enough.

        That study about the US being an oligarchy basically comes down to the Citizen's United decision paving the way for deep and widespread corruption. And that's a huge problem, no question, bigger than net neutrality for sure. But SOPA happened just last year, well after Citizen's United was passed. The Oligarchs don't control everything, just most of it.

        You are certainly right to be outraged, maybe even despondent, but your fatalism isn't going to help anything. If you're upset about the oligarchy study you have two options: find a way to leave the country - Canada is nice, and apparently they have the richest middle class in the world now. Or you can volunteer for a campaign finance amendment which would overturn the Citizen's United decision.

        Don't underestimate that second option. At the very least it would be a good life experience. Maybe you'd learn something, maybe you'd accomplish something, but at the very least you'd be contributing and doing something a little different with your time.
        • Biggest difference I can see between this and SOPA, is that those proposing SOPA had elections to worry about. The FCC is appointed by the Executive branch and serves at their pleasure. Honestly, what the articles author really meant by the FCC being scared of the ISPs is that if they do something the ISPs don't like, well they can say good-bye to the revolving door and a lucrative contract with an ISP after they leave the FCC. Comcast's head lobbyist is a former FCC commissioner for Christ's sake!

        • by dryeo (100693)

          While the median income in Canada might be slightly higher then the States, the cost of living is 30% higher on average. And it is much worse in the oil patch where the average is pushed up by labourers making $80,000 and skilled people making double that.

      • Not sure if you've seen this: Princeton Study Confirms 'US Is An Oligarchy' [princeton.edu] (warning pdf). Here's a little summary of it [zerohedge.com].

        The study found that even when 80% of the population favored a particular public policy change, it was only instituted 43% of the time.

  • to do more, i pay more. well, that's what my three brothers-in-law say.
  • The Globe and Mail did a story on it the other day. I took a few minutes to put in a longish comment, thinking this would be yet another right/left shoutfest.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com... [theglobeandmail.com]

    I dropped back a few hours later to see who'd called me a commie, only to see it only got a few comments and was dropped off the main page already - presumably because the web server had noticed almost nobody was reading it.

    If people don't pay attention to government, the bad guys generally win.

    • by Andrio (2580551)

      As much as it angers me, I don't think Net Neutrality can survive. People don't know, and the places they get their news from--the CNNs, Fox Newses, NBCs--they will never cover net neutrality in any meaningful way. I mean, hell, NBC is owned by Comcast, and we sure as hell know where they stand on net neutrality.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      I think that people have missed the obvious solution. Define "Internet service" as access to all sites on the Internet without restriction or prejudice. Then the FCC hands off "net neutrality" to the FTC for false advertising lawsuits for anyone that claims "Internet service" that delivers an AOL version of the world, with paid preference and hidden/slow access to the rest Internet.

      Of course that would fail when people sell "the world network" with disclaimers in the fine print. The US is broken that wa
  • by fightinfilipino (1449273) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @03:12PM (#46849075) Homepage

    Tom Wheeler and other cable lobbyists should not and must not be in charge of any agency that purports to be for the public good.

    sign this petition to target that very problem: http://wh.gov/lwhr8 [wh.gov]

    • by Andrio (2580551) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @03:48PM (#46849251)

      Anyone who is against net neutrality either (1) has no understanding of what it means, or (2) is being bankrolled by a corporate interest. I doubt that the FCC doesn't understand what net neutrality is, so that only leaves option (2).

      Funny how net neutrality suddenly dies as soon as a former telecom lobbyist/CEO became the FCC chairman.

      • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @04:10PM (#46849363)
        Mostly people who don't know what it means. So far, *every* version of net neutrality has allowed for throttling of P2P for "network health" but so many people claim (wrongly) that net neutrality would make it illegal for a provider to deliberately and with justification, control their own network.

        There are a number of loonitarians here that object on principle regarding a government regulation on a private network. Yes, that comes down to ignorance of what the regulation is, but also a general objection to any and all regulations, no matter how beneficial.
  • I'm sorry, but even my CCNA certified girlfriend is going to get hung up on the use of TL;DR. I doubt my parents would read past it.
  • I have read Ryan Singel's article. It is NOT "suitable for your neophyte parent, spouse, or sibling."
    Far too long and too complicated. My father (who is 76 and worked in insurance) would not understand any of it.

    I think we all will have a very hard time explaining this to the public

  • by CAOgdin (984672) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @03:48PM (#46849253)
    The United States of America was founded on principles of justice and freedom for all.

    o During the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, there were no special "carve-outs" for people of wealth. Every participant started racing at the sound of the starter's gun.

    o When railroads were built, there were special coaches for first class, but they were part of the same train, going at the same speed, along the same route, to the same destination.

    o While the rich can buy their own jet aircraft, the Air Traffic Control system that manages all aircraft in the skies give no special treatment to the jet aircraft, nor the lone pilot in a Piper Cub.

    o When Eisenhower created the Interstate Highway system, he did not mandate special travel lanes for trucks or limousines; all traffic uses the same routes.

    Every one of these historical innovations lifted up the poor, the middle class, and the rich. As a result, we became the world's most respected democracy, and the model for many other, newer countries to emulate.

    Now, the FCC would like to change all that history and allow those who can afford to pay for a "special lane" on the Internet, crowding out other traffic, and making it slower. It will reward the oligarchs and penalize the common citizen.

    I have been in the computer and electronics industry, from bench technician to CEO, since 1957. Now retired, I have watched as the very rich people, and the very large corporations have worked tirelessly in recent decades to destroy that equality of opportunity. If we are to survive as a nation, we must return to a democracy, with every citizen treated fairly and equitably.

    We should, instead, be requiring our "common carriers" to expand their Internet capacity, robustness and security for all. Where there is plenty of reliable capacity, everyone will have the opportunity to use the Internet without disadvantage. The large carriers, like Comcast (which the FCC has misclassified), AT&T, Verizon, et. al., have been intentionally restricting their expansion of the Internet to make it slower and slower. Yes, they save the investments they should be making. But, deeper and more cynically, they have been intending to leverage those self-imposed restrictions into higher prices for these restricted servicesby adding a special lane for those willing to pay.

    "Demos" is the Greek word for people; "kratia" is the Greek word for rule. Democracy puts the emphasis on people deciding how to rule. When appointed public officials usurp that decision-making to favor one class of people (or corporations) over another, it has violated basic democratic principles. The consequences will be uncomfortable for the citizens, and will erode our principles and the quality of our beloved nation.

    You are a public, appointed official. I trust you will decide on the basis of democracy that the rich deserve no more preferential treatment than the middle class or the poor. We need to expand our Internet capacity for all, not make it available only to the highest bidders, driving all prices upward for the benefit of the already-rich.
    • This is beautifully worded, not too long and very convincing.

      But just like "Demos" is Greek for people and "kratia" is Greek for rule, "Poli" is Greek for many and "ticks" is English for little bloodsuckers. It may be me, but I just don't have much hope for our politicians actually working in our interest and not in that of those they can suck from.

      • This is beautifully worded, not too long and very convincing.

        But just like "Demos" is Greek for people and "kratia" is Greek for rule, "Poli" is Greek for many and "ticks" is English for little bloodsuckers. It may be me, but I just don't have much hope for our politicians actually working in our interest and not in that of those they can suck from.

        They can all suck my dick.

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      I applaud your rhetoric, sir. Well done.

      It may be though that we do have to see the Internet 'destroyed' before it can be better again. The infrastructure that makes the Internet work isn't going to go away because asshats at corporations like Comcast and AT&T and in Congress are being asshats and screwing it up for everyone, it'll all still be here when the smoke clears. I, like everyone else who understands the problem, would prefer that it not come to that, but at the same time if they need to be gi
    • I live in Oklahoma...maybe you've heard the term "Sooners"...it should be called "Cheaters", as it's the name of the people who went out early, staked good claims, then miraculously "found them" first...the ironic part is these Sooners where mostly law enforcement, rail road people, etc...people who abused their position and cheated to get the best land. Sound familiar?

      I just love that we have so adopted the term, chanting it at games and having it on official documents at times...especially marketing s
    • by unitron (5733)

      "During the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, there were no special "carve-outs" for people of wealth. Every participant started racing at the sound of the starter's gun. "

      You do know how Oklahoma got nicknamed "The Sooner State", right?

  • Here's a surprise - you all clamor for the government to control the Internet.

    Once they do, the heavily corporate-entwined government does what comes naturally - act in the interest of some very large campaign contributors. They can do this because they have power over ISP's now.

    If it wasn't this, it would have been something else. The speed of it surprises, me, but only a little.

    Before both sides (ISP and providers) just worked things out. Now the FCC has decreed ISP's must be paid... this is what happe

  • Half of prime time Internet traffic in the states was a Netflix stream before Netflix offered a streaming only service. Expectations evolve. Closed captioning. Multilingual dialog. High definition. 4K video. Theater sound. Original production. Live broadcast.

    Internet radio is evolving as well

    To the point where the WiFi radio can found at Walmart.

    The target audience for these services are likely to be perfectly comfortable paying a little more each month to access the fast lane.

    They may not even recognize

  • Congresspeople, many of whom are not men. Get with the 20th century, submitter.
  • What is the possibility for another SOPA-level response? Some internet companies, like Facebook, might like this because they will happily pay for any chance to trounce fledgling competitors, but certainly other bastions of the Internet like Wikipedia would be quite hurt by it.

    I doubt any senator (of either party) really gives a flying fuck, and would in fact support this change because their buddies^W^W^W^Wlobbyists^W^W^W^W^Wconstituents told them they should, so only a public outcry of such proportions wo

  • After signing that first one be sure and sign this one - its alot further along:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.g... [whitehouse.gov]
  • If they do their damned job this wont be an issue. If they think 'letting it burn' is a good plan, the entire lot of them should be fired.

  • Please note that this is a new petition, specifically stating The People's requirement that data carriers be reclassified as common carriers [whitehouse.gov]. Yesterday's petition only identified the need for net neutrality [whitehouse.gov]. I believe both are valid expressions of the best interests of our society, and have signed both.

  • I've said it from the start and I'll repeat it now:

    The FCC's interest in "net neutrality"(1) was never about what you wanted, it was *always* about gaining control of the internet. When you have the power of regulation over something, you have all the power in the world at the barrel of a gun.
    By trying to support their efforts, every single one of you was dooming the internet.

    The USG frequently tries to fear monger online, always accusing others of militarizing the internet, when in fact they are the on

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