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Networking The Internet

Net Neutrality Suffers Major Setback 790

RingDev writes "The US Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Comcast today, stating that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks."
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Net Neutrality Suffers Major Setback

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  • by elohel ( 1582481 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:20PM (#31750400)
    But what should we expect when politicians are bought and sold and when an actual value can be placed on the price of integrity and transparency. I could rant, but what good would it do? Here's a link to the official ruling from []
  • Re:Oh goody (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:23PM (#31750450)

    From the FCC's charter:

    For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio

    Seems pretty clear that this falls squarely within it's right to regulate. Unless you can explain how the Internet isn't "communication by wire or radio".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:37PM (#31750732)

    In the last few years the speed of my consumer broadband connection has quadrupled. It went from 5 mbit/s to 8, to 10 and finally to 15.

    15/5 = 3

  • by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:46PM (#31750904) Homepage Journal

    maybe we should just nationalize all that cable we paid for

    we PAID FOR IT afterall.

  • Re:Oh goody (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:53PM (#31751062)

    "That wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that your local government grants monopoly status to your local cable and telco, would it?"

    No, it would be due to the fact that cable/telco are industries with a high cost of entry. Thus, the incumbant has a huge advantage. Around here there is one phone company and one cable company. Basically all homes are already wired to both of them. Any new competitor needs to gain right-of-way to the homes, install cable/fiber, etc.--it's not worth it.

  • Funny Explanation. (Score:3, Informative)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:54PM (#31751082)
    Funny, TechDirt [] explains why this is good.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:55PM (#31751090) Journal

    $.08 per page. That's only really worthy of +4 informative if parent also post's his/her PACER login details. []
    Found Here [] by using the googles

    Any court decision worth reading will almost always be hosted somewhere else within hours of showing up on PACER.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:58PM (#31751142)

    Registration is free and "users are not billed unless they accrue charges of more than $10 of PACER usage in a quarterly billing cycle."

    +4 informative affirmed.

  • Re:Oh goody (Score:3, Informative)

    by dr2chase ( 653338 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#31751252) Homepage
    My internet traffic is not confined to my state; this seems like a reasonable place for the FCC to regulate.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:04PM (#31751262) Journal

    >>>a lot of states aren't doing so hot right now with their budgets

    Your argument also works for why the National government would not "want" to regulate ISPs. The National government doesn't have any spare cash to spend either, for hiring additional employees at the FCC to monitor Comcast and others.

    And also it's not a matter of "want". It's a matter of Law, and the Law is clear - the FCC has no authority beyond regulating commerce AMONG the states, not inside the states. The law makes clear that internal regulation is reserved to your State government. So lobby them.

    Most likely ISPs could be regulated by the State PUC (public utility commission) without much difficulty.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:10PM (#31751346)

    Here [] is the case law that lets the FCC regulate this

  • by MrTripps ( 1306469 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#31751508)
    “This crisis is not a result of a weak Congressional law, but a direct consequence of the previous two Commission’s misguided and overzealous attempts to completely deregulate America’s communications networks. Past FCC actions created a huge loophole in the law that leaves the agency unable to protect consumer privacy or promote universal broadband access,” said S. Derek Turner, Free Press’ research director. Read More []
  • Re:Oh goody (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) * on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:21PM (#31751554)
    Rights are something you HAVE. That the government should not get in the way of. Healthcare and the internet are WANTS. We want them really bad. Both are very cool. Though really neither is a RIGHT.
  • Re:Oh goody (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:24PM (#31751602) Journal

    Because most Comcast companies are organized to handle INTRAstate communications.

    Given that growing food and marijuana for personal consumption is considered an "interstate commerce" issue according to SCOTUS, it would seem that providing commercial Internet access service locally should also qualify.

  • Re:Oh goody (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:46PM (#31751922)

    The FCC's charter only carries weight if it is backed up by legislation and the constitution. And according to the summary on page 2 of the opinion [], they conceded the lack of explicit statutory support and argued from the perspective of necessity.

  • Re:Oh goody (Score:3, Informative)

    by sweatyboatman ( 457800 ) <sweatyboatman AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:46PM (#31751930) Homepage Journal

    Government can't do anything to corporations that the people couldn't. It just so happens that most people are apathetic and expect someone else to do it for them. That allows corrupt government officials to write regulations that will do nothing but benefit a few large corporations.

    this is a very funny thing to say. but it reveals a clear disconnect in the conversation.

    you see "Government" as something other than "the people" when they are essentially the same thing. The people want clean drinking water (though they don't need it to be so pristine that fragile over-bred creatures could live in it for extended periods of time). The government makes laws and regulations to prevent contamination of drinking water. The people don't want their children seeing naked boobies on tv or listening to hate-speech over the radio, so the government makes the FCC to regulate those things.

    What you're suggesting is akin to an anarchic form of government where whenever individuals face an issue, they rally a large enough body of people into a sort of ad-hoc government and go after the problem. From an economics standpoint, this is incredibly unproductive because when people are rallying to a cause they're not doing their work. From a business standpoint, this is untenable because the rules are subject to constant and unpredictable change (the only rule is mob rule). From a consumer protection standpoint this is bad because usually by the time the problem gets confronted it's already too late (the forest is already chopped down and the perpetrators have fled). From a representation standpoint this is bad because it gives a much stronger voice to the unproductive portions of society.

    The current system is not perfect, but it does address all these problems. It gives a strong voice to individuals. It provides a consistent framework withing which businesses can operate. And, through regulations, it provides protection and preemptive relief from excesses.

    Have you seen the stock prices of the large insurance companies after the health care "reform" bill was passed?

    I am not an expert, but I checked out the stock prices of a couple large insurance companies since the reform bill passed and they're doing about as well as the DOW. Which would suggest that their stock prices are benefiting from investors optimistic view of the economy as a whole, and not from any specific thing in the health reform legislation.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:51PM (#31751992)
    Under current law, the FCC had no authority to do what they did. The idea was right, the execution was wrong. We need to have clear laws about net neutrality so that the government DOES have the authority to tell ISPs when they are hurting consumers.
  • Re:Oh goody (Score:3, Informative)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:18PM (#31752420) Journal
    How is requiring net neutrality micromanaging?

    Seriously... wtf? The FCC was not trying to lay down exact procedures for implementation of systems that are packet-content-agnostic. Requiring net neutrality is NOT micromanaging.

    You must think all regulations are micromanagement. Is prohibiting forgery micromanagement?
  • Re:Oh goody (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheWizardTim ( 599546 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:29PM (#31752588) Journal

    Today, April 6th 2009, we can live without the internet. The world will not end if we don't have access. However, in 10/20/30 years, the internet will replace phones, TV, and most mail. I want to make it a utility, with all the rules and responsibilities, now. The earlier we do this, the better we will be in the future. So yes, I agree, it is not as important as access to clean water, but it is getting up there with phone and power.

    Finding a good job required access to online job ads.
    Making appointments is happening more and more online.
    Accessing information about the government is more and more online.


  • Re:telecom (Score:3, Informative)

    by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:40PM (#31752770)
    When signals cross state lines, then the U.S. has jurisdiction. But since Comcast of Baltimore (for example) doesn't have any signals crossing state lines, it is not subject to the National government. The jurisdiction belongs to the Maryland government.

    No, that's not the way it works. If you put up a low-power point-to-point radio link that uses licensed spectrum but doesn't cross state lines, and do it without going through the FCC coordination process to get it licensed, you *will* get hammered by the FCC for it if they find out, and there's not a court in the US that will argue with them. You'd probably be surprised to know that even the low-power transmitters used in US fast-food restaurants for their drive-through windows are required to be licensed, even though you'd be hard-pressed to receive those signals from a mile away. Cell towers are another example, and they and other low-power land-mobile operators comprise the *vast* majority of FCC licensees. There are some exceptions to licensing requirements (the 250 uV/m @ 3 meters allowed between 88 to 108 MHz allowed by Part 15 for stuff like iPod FM transmitters, for instance), but by and large, anything operating outside Part 15 rules that isn't licensed is going to result in problems.

    Besides, as others have mentioned, every ISP can easily be shown to affect interstate commerce given that most people likely are visiting sites in other states most of the time. For instance, if you visit my ex's web site, she receives a fractional sum of money from the ads on her site, therefore your ISP is contributing to interstate commerce. It may not be right, but it's what the guys with the guns are enforcing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:11PM (#31753254)

    Everyone hates on Verizon but dude Verizon does not care what you do with your bandwidth. I run torrents all day everyday and completely torture my fiber connection, they do not care what I do. Comcast on the other hand wants to single handedly overthrow net neutrality and ruin the internet for EVERYONE! This is BULLSHIT!

  • Re:What now? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:32PM (#31754392)

    Speaking from north/east europe, ex-ussr here (baltic states).

    We don't have much (visible) filtering here, although every now and then some local equivalent to riaa jumps out of a box and tries to get youtube blocked (seriously).

    Throttling - that's harder to measure. My friends, who live in more urban areas, claim movie downloads in 15 minutes, so i suppose our isps are mostly usable :)

    On the other hand, I always have to smile when seeing the word "tethering". It doesn't make any sense and sounds more like "feathering". Basically, we use our devices in any way we like (or more like it, any way the stupid firmware allows to).

    Summary - while east/northern corner of Europe might be even in a better situation than USA regarding internet access, there are greedy bastards working to get us down to your level, and maybe even below.

  • by TechForensics ( 944258 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:33PM (#31755228) Homepage Journal

    "Today's court decision invalidated the prior commission's approach to preserving an open Internet," the agency's statement said. "But the court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end."

    Seems like the Court said you can't do it this way but you can try others. That doesn't sound so grim as originally sounded.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.