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The Internet Wireless Networking Government

Wireless Industry Lobbying Hard to Keep Net Neutrality Out 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Taco Cowboy writes: The net neutrality issue has become a hot topic recently, but on the mobile side, net neutrality rules are absent. Why? The wireless companies successfully convinced regulators four years ago to keep mobile networks mostly free of net neutrality rules. Now that FCC officials are looking into whether wireless networks should remain exempt from net neutrality rules, the mobile carriers are lobbying hard to maintain the status quo. "Wireless is different ... it is dependent on finite spectrum," said Meredith Attwell Baker, the new head of CTIA, the wireless industry's lobbying arm. Baker previously served as an FCC commissioner. On the other side of the issue, net neutrality advocates are "hoping to convince regulators to include wireless networks more fully under any new proposed rules. They are pushing for the FCC to re-regulate broadband Internet under a section of the law (called Title II), which was written with old phone networks in mind. ... The FCC will be taking public comments about what it should do about new net neutrality rules through the end of July." You can comment by emailing to openinternet@fcc.gov or go to file a Consumer Informal Complaint on the FCC's wesbite. Meanwhile, AT&T says that strong net neutrality regulations will ruin the internet.
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Wireless Industry Lobbying Hard to Keep Net Neutrality Out

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  • sometime... (Score:5, Funny)

    by guygo (894298) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:20PM (#47264797)
    AT&T also said their service representative would be there at 10:00am. How'd that work out?
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:24PM (#47264839) Homepage

    Of course AT&T is going to say that.

    They're one of the entities who stands to profit from no net neutrality, and they're one of the companies who are actually ruining the internet.

    Net neutrality is an assault on the business model of gouging successful ventures, because it prevents the extra rent-seeking they like to do.

    I've never understood how ISPs aren't common carriers.

    • by sribe (304414)

      I've never understood how ISPs aren't common carriers.

      A good guess: in the old days, they actually were data services, not just connectivity providers.

    • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:40PM (#47264983)

      ISPs aren't common carriers only because the FCC saw some of the issues that AT&T's CEO pointed out - Title II isn't perfect for regulating ISPs because of its origins as a means of regulating telephones - and tried to find a way to work around that. Unfortunately, the Circuit Court of Appeals ruined that when they said that the FCC had exactly three choices: Get Congress to give them explicit authorization to regulate net neutrality without classifying ISPs as common carriers, classify ISPs as common carriers under Title II and use that to regulate them, or don't regulate at all.

      Title II should still be implemented as a stopgap measure to prevent ISPs from ruining the internet. However, the FCC would probably need to selectively enforce some things which will probably be challenged in court and have a small chance of being won by the ISPs. This is why Congress should give the FCC the explicit authority to regulate ISPs and internet service, so that the ISPs can never hope to get their way again.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        ISPs tend to be monopolies or near monopolies so need some regulation.

        Be careful calling for a new round of government regulation though. The powers have to be extremely narrowly defined and not "at the discretion of the director." For instance we want some of this regulation because the ISPs are now selectivity filtering (slowing). We would not want that replaced with selective government filtering.

        • by Arker (91948)
          Very good points.

          Rather than letting some government agency subject to inevitable capture make up rules for the industry, this would be better addressed with legislation. Simply make it a rule that ISPs have to be ISPs only so they dont have all these conflicts of interest. The reason American ISPs hate the internet is because they are huge conglomerates with lots of operations whose profits are threatened by the internet.

          Of course the chances of the US Congress passing a clean bill that does one thing well
      • by Immerman (2627577) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @03:38PM (#47265533)

        >...so that the ISPs can never hope to get their way again.

        I agree with the sentiment, but that seems optimistic. After all, if at first you don't succeed, lobby, lobby again. Sooner or later the public will get tired of protesting and you can slip your new rules into the system. At least that seems to be a common strategy across the board in recent years.

        Still, no sense making it easy for them. The battle to maintain any semblance of a functional democracy is never-ending, and we can't hope to win if we don't fight.

      • by grahammm (9083)

        Why should ISPs not be regulated the same as phones? They both do basically the same thing - provide the infrastructure for party A to connect to party B and exchange information. The only real difference is that a phone line only (normally) allows communication with a single peer at one time but communication to multiple peers can be multiplexed over the connection to an ISP.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If more then 5% of the population understood what you just said, this would be a moot issue. 5% of people may even be overly optimistic. People really do not understand shit about computers and can barely operate them, let alone understand how they actual work.

    • Back in the day, everyone was afraid of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. THAT is why ISPs arent common carriers, yet. That time has passed and they think we forgot about it. We have not.
  • Data caps (Score:4, Informative)

    by NotDrWho (3543773) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:24PM (#47264841)

    With wireless data caps are already so low, what do they care?

    • Re:Data caps (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:38PM (#47264967) Homepage

      Because, if they launch their own video streaming service for their clients, for instance, they wouldn't be able to give it preferential treatment to their packets over those of Netflix.

      If there was net neutrality, the ISPs wouldn't be able to push their own services to compete with others, and they'd have to do it on merit.

      Same goes for music, TV shows, and possibly even app stores.

      If they serve the interwebs to people equally, they have less of a way to make sure it's easier for the consumer to use their products, and instead they might use those of someone else ... and then executive bonuses might suffer as their offerings flop.

      Won't someone think about the executive bonuses?

      • This is totally untrue and unfair. Executive bonuses won't suffer; they'll lay off significant portions of their US workforce before they let that happen. And they'll only do that if they can't avoid putting that money into promised infrastructure upgrades that the government loaned them money to do 20 years ago Yes, the money that currently goes into the investment portfolio that pays off the annual executive bonuses..

      • Because, if they launch their own video streaming service for their clients, for instance, they wouldn't be able to give it preferential treatment to their packets over those of Netflix.

        If there was net neutrality, the ISPs wouldn't be able to push their own services to compete with others, and they'd have to do it on merit.

        Same goes for music, TV shows, and possibly even app stores.

        If they serve the interwebs to people equally, they have less of a way to make sure it's easier for the consumer to use their products, and instead they might use those of someone else ... and then executive bonuses might suffer as their offerings flop.

        Won't someone think about the executive bonuses?

        That's not it at all. That may be a future revenue stream but I guarantee that's not what they plan on. What this is more about is "Don't regulate us!"

        Think about it this way: The feds wanted to pass a law making it illegal for YOU to throw out dirty diapers. You don't have kids... what do you care? But you were asked your opinion. Of course you're going to say you oppose the law. Why put limits on yourself? What if you do have a kid some day, do you want to be washing reusable diapers? Maybe you wont mind.

        • No, that's pretty much it, at all. Right there. If there's no regulation, they can launch and push their own services and degrade everybody else's services.

          regulation or no, all companies seek to turn themselves into monopolies, so as to maximize profits. We regulate to prevent monopoly behavior.

          As for your dirty diaper law analogy? What? That made as much sense as a hat on a llama. Actually, less. And then it leaped to regulation limits options is always bad, which does NOT logically follow. You need t

          • I thought the analogy made perfect sense FWIW, and your comments claiming it was a logical fallacy were far off the mark - which makes sense, because you were commenting on something knowing you didn't know what he meant!

            What he said was basically you might feel obliged to oppose a law that doesn't affect you now because you worry you may make decisions later on that would result in the law affecting you.

            You're not a parent, but you'd still actively oppose a restriction on the disposal of dirty diapers

      • Delivery companies should be absolutely forbidden by law to provide content. There is no public good reason to allow it at all.
        • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

          Well you need to be a bit careful there... 'Delivery' can be a pretty broad word unless you narrow it and that can be kind of hard even.

          For instance over the air tv reception is 'delivery', but most of those provide some content of their own (usually 'news') that they don't purchase through an affiliate program. If we went by your wording they would suddenly have to shutter any home brew content and act as dumb pipes to whatever affiliate company they are paired to... It could even kill some tv advertising

    • Re:Data caps (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Phreakiture (547094) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:45PM (#47265039) Homepage

      Easy. With the exception of Verizon*, they can charge extra for things like tethering your phone. I'm sure there are other examples as well, but there's a starting point.

      (* VZ got their hands slapped for charging extra for tethering. They got slapped because VZ is using some spectrum which, thanks to Google's playing in the auction, has a net neutrality string attached to it. The other three carriers are not bound by this provision)

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Exactly. Nobody is suggesting that people should be able to download 24x7 at peak LTE speeds for free on their phones - clearly there just isn't the bandwidth for that as wireless is far more oversold than wired data is (well at least in an unlimited model - right now most providers have caps so it isn't really oversold).

      What this is about is that your 2GB/month or whatever is good for any data from anybody, and that some providers are not better than others.

      If anything there is more of a case for wireless

  • Typo in Summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:25PM (#47264859)

    Meanwhile, AT&T says that strong net neutrality regulations will ruin their ability to squeeze more profit from the internet.

    There, fixed it.

    • Meanwhile, AT&T says that strong net neutrality regulations will ruin the internet they have pitched to their shareholders .

      There, fixed it.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:26PM (#47264865)
    She approved the NBC-Comcast merger, then immediately quit the FCC and started working for NBC! [huffingtonpost.com] I wouldn't trust a single thing she says since she's a poster child for corruption in the FCC and a prime example of the revolving door problems. While Congress is elected and has to try and hide its corrupt doings by making confusing laws no one can understand except lawyers and the corporations that wrote them, the FCC is on a tear of doing whatever it pleases. Believe it or not, there's still some people who think governmental officials are acting for the good of people, but the more the FCC brazenly does actions that are for their corporate overlords and not for the good of the people, the more people are losing faith in the government.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:31PM (#47264917)

    "Wireless is different ... it is dependent on finite spectrum," said Meredith Attwell Baker, the new head of CTIA, the wireless industry's lobbying arm.

    There is absolutely nothing about Net Neutrality that affects the final leg of transmission. Doing away with Net Neutrality helps a bit with peering issues. Limited bandwidth from the tower to the phone, or in the final mile of wired service would be almost totally unaffected by any change in net neutrality. You'll still have limited bandwidth, you'll still have people poorly served during peak usage. Net Neutrality simply changes WHO gets poorly served.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @02:41PM (#47264989)

    Wireless is different ... it is dependent on finite spectrum.

    This is precisely why it needs net neutrality. If they are allowed to create high priority "lanes," there will be nothing left for anyone else. Everyone will be forced to pay extra or effectively have no access at all.

  • I am pretty sure that if/whenever net neutrality gets passed, it will be something that does exactly the opposite of what it's initial proponents wanted (i.e. worse than if no law at all were passed), and the politicians will be able to claim to be heroes for passing net neutrality. Look at who we are dealing with. Republicans and democrats. I think the goal of net neutrality is perfectly good, I just don't trust politicians to know anything about how to regulate the internet. It's pretty safe to say th

  • by mfh (56)

    The thing about corruption is that it will fester wherever it is allowed to fester. The only question we must answer is if we will tolerate a corrupt world or if we will cure the patient BEFORE the cure would KILL the patient. So far the big money is on keeping the world corrupt.

    Why would mobile networks be any different than other networks? What possible intrinsic technical difference that applies to our privacy or traffic speed have to do with the difference between a computer plugged into the net or a ce

  • If the terrestrial cable had unlimited bandwidth, we wouldn't be worried about net neutrality because there would be room for everyone. It's just amplified over wireless.

    The one place they could have a point is for VoLTE, where the voice network probably should have priority over other traffic. But, slippery slopes and such...

    • No land lines it's simply a matter of adding more/better gear. It's far harder to add more towers for wireless.

      • by Altrag (195300)

        Its much simpler to add more towers than it is to add more wire.

        What's not so simple is adding more channels to the wireless spectrum. Its very hard to keep dividing spectrum into finer and finer chunks without running into overlaps and collisions. And while the electromagnetic spectrum extends infinitely (as best we can tell..,) there's only a finite amount of it that's useful for the purposes of wireless transmission.

        AT&T and whoever isn't wrong about wireless spectrum being a finite resource -- the

        • You need not add more wire, putting in a strand of glass to every location from a central point is worth doing as it need only be done once. Anyways the point a cell based network is to divvy it up into small segments to use the same spectrum over and over again.

          As it relates to net neutrality it's all BS, beyond prioritizing an emergency services call over everything else.

          • by Altrag (195300)

            I meant "wire" in the more general sense of "not wireless." The exact technology wasn't really relevant.

            Divvying it up into small segments (geographically) only works to a certain level. If my phone has 100 tiny little towers all within its range, its going to have a hell of a time deciding which one to use.

            But then I'm not a wireless technician so maybe they've come up with ways of handling that such that they can divide an area the size of a stadium (ie: much smaller than your average cell phone's reach

            • Pico cells and similar do just that create smaller and smaller cells while using the same spectrum as the towers. Devices like the airvana's do this at a tiny scale so a home or small office can put a tiny tower in and backhaul via voip. I've used larger version that were a tower just for an office building.

    • Even for VoLTE, why should your voice get priority over my data? What if my "data" is actually voice via a different app?

      Arguably, all packets should be shaped initially based on the subscription plans of the subscribers without regard for data type. Then *within the packet stream of an individual subscriber* they could prioritize based on traffic type, but it should be up to the subscriber to indicate whether they want this to be done, what should be prioritized, etc.

  • A strong AT&T has been the Internet ruin for a long time. They have lobbyests and have far more input than most. It's their fine work that kept the telephone under their control for almost 100 years. A strong AT&T is part of the reason South Korea has Intenet speeds 200 times faster at half the price. AT&T doesn't care about anyone other than AT&T and have proven this over and over again whenever they can.

    Basically, here AT&T and the wireless carriers are asking the vioctim to go out of

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      It's their fine work that kept the telephone under their control for almost 100 years.

      While the attributes of AT&T have followed the name, the current AT&T isn't really the same company as the old AT&T.

  • How does one write "net neutrality" rules which accommodate voice on modern cellular networks, when it's carried as data? Customers expect their voice calls to always work, and not get interference from an email getting downloaded in the background.

    With carriers moving toward VoLTE for voice services, there's a legitimate desire to apply QoS for the voice services the carriers themselves offer. QoS is an integral part of VoLTE, so there may be legitimate concern that net neutrality rules will get in the w
    • by Altrag (195300)

      Net neutrality only affects certain aspects of traffic shaping.

      Prioritizing a type of traffic is generally fine under net neutrality. And since phones are generally tied to a single carrier (at least at one time.. even if you unlock your phone you generally can't have more than one SIM card installed,) voice services will pretty much by definition always have to be prioritized to that carrier.

      Now if voice calling stops being an integral part of the phone and AT&T just runs voice through a standard app

      • by msauve (701917)
        Traffic shaping (which deals with big pipe/little pipe issues, or where there is an artifical bandwidth cap) is different than QoS (priority).

        Your argument ignores the fact that there may be competitive voice offerings (e.g. Skype, 3rd party SIP gateways) which can run side-by-side with a phone's integral voice capability, and in a net neutral world, deserve QoS similar to that given to "integral voice" at least while traversing the carrier's network.

        You fail to explain exactly how a carrier is supposed
        • by Altrag (195300)

          My argument did not ignore competitive voice offerings. In fact I specifically pointed out exactly such a case (where AT&T removes regular the regular call function and replaces it with a direct VoIP competitor.)

          Skype may be an alternative, but it is NOT a direct competitor. Its kind of like comparing Coke to tea vs comparing Coke to Pepsi. In both cases you're comparing beverages, but in the former its not really a direct comparison except at the very vaguest "its a beverage" level.

          As for how they i

  • I fully expect him to cave to whatever the lobbyiest want just like with Patent reform bill
  • by Anonymous Coward

    that whenever Google rolls into town carrying a wad of Fiber over their backs, suddenly the stagnant ISPs in the area start ponying up competitive services at a competitive price, screaming "WE WERE WORKING ON IT".

  • Net Neutrality .... (paste catchy phrase here).

    But seriously, whatever argument they come up with, I am sure it has been discussed in Europe where the same lobbyists were active, but *failed* to kill real net-neutrality. I suggest the politicians and those interested read the reports on that debate [gigaom.com].
    Good luck US, in the mean-time: here's to European Internet leadership ! :)
  • AT&T and others stand to profit billions of dollars by creating slow lanes and fast lanes on the internet. The real issue here is that customer already paid for an internet connection at a certain speed, so its some level of fraud or deception (false advertising, bait-and-switch) to be selling a service at a certain speed and then not delivering the service that the customer is paying for.
    • I think you've hit upon an important point. I believe many ISPs are actively sabotaging customer's connections to some of the internet's content. Since ISPs now have bundled services that they can make good money on, the ISPs have incentive to slow and sabotage their customer's connections to internet based competing services. This would cause customers to quit the competing services in disgust and use ISP services instead.
      • by mc6809e (214243)

        I believe many ISPs are actively sabotaging customer's connections to some of the internet's content

        They don't have to. The protocols we use are more than capable of screwing with things.

        Consider TCP: the protocol is BY DESIGN meant to exponentially increase the amount of data dumped on a link until it overloads and begins dropping packets. TCP then throttles for a little while and then soon goes back to bashing the network with packets until it breaks again.

  • > "Wireless is different ... it is dependent on finite spectrum,"

    um, ok. I suspect she means by this that for a given area, there is finite data carrying capacity to cellular phones.

    Ok. Name the network that doesn't have a finite data carrying capacity. Of course it might be more than the capacity of a cell tower, but in no cases is it not finite.

    Probably it would have been more correct to say "the maximum data carrying capacity of wireless is significantly less than traditional network connections" b

    • by morgauxo (974071)

      Wireless is finite in a different way than wired. It isn't just about the bandwidth the network is already capable of. Wireless can only be expanded so much. Adding more cellphone towers indefinitely eventually means that they are too closely spaced and interfere with one another. This can be helped by transfering more spectrum away from other services and to the cellular service however even if we gave up all other forms of radio communication and just used the whole RF spectrum for cellular there is st

    • by Altrag (195300)

      Area doesn't mean a whole lot given that your iPhone has to work just as well at a stadium packed with 50,000 people as it does when you go back to the 'burbs and there's only 100 people in the tower's service area. I mean there will definitely be some realistic upper limit on the number of cell devices you can expect to be in use in a certain area at a certain time, but you basically have to plan for that upper limit regardless of how often its likely to be hit because eventually it will be hit.

      And there'

  • by Tom (822)

    Anyone who listens to telco companies is an idiot, and I say that as someone who worked in one for a decade.

    Wireless carriers are the worst. You should assume they're crooks until they've proven the opposite.

  • The fact that Title II rules were written so long ago is a point that net neutrality opponents like to hammer on all the live long day. If you want to aggravate them quickly just point out how some like to say the same about the second amendment. That argument aside, though, I do often wonder: Why not rewrite Title II altogether? Even if for no other reason than to close the argument about 'outdated' regulations.
  • by mbone (558574)

    AT&T says that strong net neutrality regulations will ruin the internet.

    AT&T thinks that the Internet is an amusing toy, but real men use switched circuits.

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