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Major ISPs Threaten To Throttle Innovation and Slow Network Upgrades 286

An anonymous reader writes "In a letter released on Tuesday and addressed to the FCC chairman, a group of the U.S.'s top ISPs have warned that if the FCC re-classifies the internet as telecommunications, then innovation would slow or halt and network upgrades would be unaffordable. 'Under Title II, new service offerings, options, and features would be delayed or altogether foregone. Consumers would face less choice, and a less adaptive and responsive Internet. An era of differentiation, innovation, and experimentation would be replaced with a series of 'Government may I?' requests from American entrepreneurs.' They add, 'even the potential threat of Title II had an investment-chilling effect by erasing approximately 10% of some ISPs' market cap.' Ars Technica highlights earlier doomsday predictions by AT&T. The FCC is scheduled to vote May 15 on the chairman's recent proposal encompassing this reclassification option that the ISPs vehemently oppose." Reader Bob9113 adds that a protest is planned for the same day by those who oppose the FCC's plans.
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Major ISPs Threaten To Throttle Innovation and Slow Network Upgrades

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:05AM (#46997897)

    Sounds like a serious threat. Better cave.

    • Careful there, son. If they don't get what they want, customers will have less choice than the one monopoly provider charging several times what international customers in equivalent markets pay that some of those customers can choose from at present.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:23AM (#46998007) Homepage Journal

        Maybe it is time for internet to be treated more like electricity as a "REGULATED UTILITY". That statement should scare the daylights out of ISPs. Sorry but you can only make a 20% profit and yes we will audit the daylights out of you and by the way, you owning media companies is a conflict of interest and you must sell them all off.

        The problem is the same one as the RIAA, MPAA, and Coal. All three have the Democrats in their back pockets because of the mostly liberal "artists" or in the case of coal the unions and they have the Republicans in the other pocket because of corporations and stock prices or in the case of coal you can throw in jobs in Republican areas.

        What is funny is that nobody likes the cable companies but they politically get their way.

        • by lagomorpha2 ( 1376475 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:30AM (#46998055)

          Maybe it's time for antitrust regulation to be used against ISPs that have used predatory business practices to eliminate competition from smaller ISPs in their regions in order to maintain monopolies over the areas they service?

          • by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:59AM (#46998291)
            Oh, I think 99% of everyone would agree that it is way past time, but where are you going to find a Federal DA willing to indict, who wouldn't also be immediately fired? Well, in reality, in today's day and age, he'd be framed for child porn or proved to be an islamo-mole and buried in gitmo.
          • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:23AM (#46998929)

            Don't forget the provisions -- that the telcos heavily lobbied for -- in the last major telecommunications act that made it legal for them to lock out all those smaller ISPs.

            IMNSHO, the anti-trust actions should have started the day the first Baby Bell was being purchased to begin the reconstitution of Ma Bell. It's time to break up AT&T again.

            And kudos to whoever it was who suggested that they (and the cable companies) need to divest themselves of any content creation companies they now own. Owning the pipe and the content seems like creation of a vertical monopoly to me. I don't need or want the ISP's "content". I'm struggling to think of any content that AT&T could provide to me that I would find valuable. In fact, I really don't want to deal with an internet service provider but, rather, an internet connection provider. That's what I have now through one of the companies that's managed to survive on the crumbs left over after AT&T started pricing access to their copper to the point that it killed off the little guys. It works fine although its tough to describe my connection as "broadband".

          • "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."

            -P.J. O'Rourke
        • If you want it to be a "REGULATED UTILITY", the trade off will be that it becomes PRISM compliant. You only have two choices. Getting fucked by the corporations, or getting fucked by the government. Most likely we'll get fucked by both however.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Chill out bro, they already are PRISM compliant.
          • by chrish ( 4714 )

            Except, of course, these ISPs are already PRISM compliant. Even the ISPs we have here in Canada generally make a point of sending all your traffic through the US to play ball as good ol' FIVEEYES members.

        • Regulating profits does nothing to ensure an open internet. Its a separate issue, and should be kept separate. If you limit profits, you may also be limiting the chance of competition forming.

          The FCC should focus on ensuring fair standards for access and content delivery, and set rules accordingly. Let local governments deal with monopolistic entities if the wish, as every situation is different.
          • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:56AM (#46998253) Journal
            There is no competition now! That's the whole problem. My choices are slow but steady DSL, fast but unreliable cable, or slow AND unreliable dish network. The cable companies and the phone companies have zilch incentive to upgrade their lines to better support their Internet-only customers, since their primary phone and television customers are happy and don't realize what awful Internet service we're getting compared to all the other developed countries on the planet. If I want better service where I live, I have to pay several thousand dollars to the cable folks to run business class fiber to my house, for which I'll pay several hundred dollars a month... and the service will STILL cut out every hour, based on what I saw of the business service when I did third party tech support in town. The DSL company won't even consider giving us the business class package since we're not in a commercially developed area.
          • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

            No your wrong.
            What competition do we have? How many cable companies do you have to pick from? How many ISPs?
            The simple answer is the more money the cable company makes the more they would have to invest in infrastructure or cut prices. They would also have to have a regulated level of service.
            Of course the idea is not to make them a regulated utility but instead to use that as a threat to counter their threat.

            • I was referring to regulation of "limiting profits". Maybe you can explain how limiting profits will lead to more competition, but as I see it, it will simply ensure no competition arises.

              Some regulation regarding pricing might make sense. That is, a big ISP much charge comparable rates to all customers for comparable services, and not simply cut rates in areas where there is competition.

              Regulation for handling content, fast lanes and slow lanes, is a different matter. That should be kept separate, it
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            They are not regulating profit, they would be regulating access and ensuring the privacy of end users by making all their traffic communications traffic, which factually it is and protected by existing telecommunications laws, which of course factually, historically, all the existing telecommunications companies were able to expand and profit. So, yeah, I have to call bullshit on your comment because it does not reflect historical accuracy of analogue copper communications, which are capable of only carryi

          • The FCC should focus on ensuring fair standards for access and content delivery, and set rules accordingly. Let local governments deal with monopolistic entities if the wish, as every situation is different.

            I think the point is that the FCC does not have that authority, unless the ISP's are declared common carriers like the phone companies.

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          What is funny is that nobody likes the politicians but the cable companies get their way.

          I read it that way the first time. Eh, still seems right.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )

          Sorry but you can only make a 20% profit and yes we will audit the daylights out of you and by the way, you owning media companies is a conflict of interest and you must sell them all off.

          Would a TV cable company count as "media"?

          What if the ISP *IS* also a cable company?

      • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:02AM (#46998313)

        I’m going to open a big can of worms here, and I’ll admit up front that I haven’t fully thought it through. This more of a US-centric stream-of-consciousness kind of mind-dump.

        I’ve lately come to hate the US telco industry with the angry passion of a thousand fiery suns. They enjoy a monopoly or near-monopoly in most areas of the United States. They also have a legal responsibility to maximize value to their shareholders. In the absence of competition, maximizing service and quality to their customers runs counter to maximizing that shareholder value. Our natural instinct is to shout the mantra of “increase competition!”, but even in the areas where there is competition, we see very little competitive behavior.

        Why is that? Collusion? Well...maybe it’s because the Comcast CEO doesn’t have to pick up the phone and discretely call the AT&T CEO to find out what he’ll do if Comcast decides to lower rates and provide better service. He already knows it will start a price and service war that while benefiting the consumer, will hurt corporate profits. Nobody at this echelon wants to race to the bottom. All the big players have to do is find a happy medium of market share and slowly increase profits. The barriers to entry to be competitive/disruptive are enormous. It takes a Google to do it. Even if you could do it, you’d be forced to join the club and be a part of the same problem for the same reason the incumbant companies do.

        But telecom isn’t the only industry that operates in this manner, even when competitors are present. The average prices in automobiles, new homes, health care, etc. have all outpaced increases in wage at a rate of roughly 2-to-1 over the last 45 years. The increases should be in line with wage increases to guarantee sustainability. These are competitive markets, so why the disparity? The reasons are many and varied. There are some easily justified increases like safety, R&D, and environmental concerns; but there are also offsets like increases in efficiency, automation, logistics and transport, overseas labor, etc. More often than not, these companies report quarterly and annual profits that measure in the billions and frankly defy belief. Which brings me to that can of worms.

        There was a time when companies were reluctant to sell stock. They were literally selling a piece of their company to the public, and only did it because they needed the capital to bring new products and technologies to market. People bought stocks because they believed in that company, product, or technology; and handed over their money to help bring it to market and maybe make a little money in the process. Now, stocks are strictly investment vehicles for the buyer, and the seller often uses the capital to force stagnation instead of innovation. Look at Facebook. They are a titan in the tech industry, lighting cigars with $100 bills. Why the IPO? What new major advances in social media did the IPO make possible that they couldn’t make happen themselves? Likely none. But what it did do is allow Facebook to make some acquisitions. They are staying on top by removing the competition not rising to meet it.

        Maximize shareholder value. That phrase is used to justify: higher prices, lower service, lower quality parts, environmental damage, damage to the long-term future of our nation, and general unethical corporate behavior (skimming, fleecing, shell corporations, tax loophole exploits). I’m not opposed to making money as a shareholder. But that money isn’t made out of thin air, and it doesn’t come from the seller. It comes from the American public. We pay that. When you get your dividend check or sell your stocks for a fat profit, that money came from me, from your neighbors, from your family and friends, from anyone that ever bought a product or service from that company. You paid for it too.

        Similar to the underlying storyline in the movie The Matrix, I’m of the ever-increasing opinion tha

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kuhnto ( 1904624 )
          You know, I'm starting to like this guy.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Of course a lot of mid range ISPs aren't all that smart either.

          One of the first things I would do as a mid-range ISP it analyse where most of my customers go on the internet. Then approach those data locations, cap in hand and negotiate mirroring and a data storage farm, so the by far the bulk of the traffic is from the data farm to the end user. The Data location only needs to update data once, it has less direct traffic, it can cut down on bandwidth, minimise servers by distributing throughout mid rang

          • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:10AM (#46998839) Homepage

            "One of the first things I would do as a mid-range ISP it analyse where most of my customers go on the internet. Then approach those data locations, cap in hand and negotiate mirroring and a data storage farm, so the by far the bulk of the traffic is from the data farm to the end user. "

            We used to do this back in the @home broadband days. we had servers in major headends that were mirror serves for places like and other services that had high traffic. Most of the time it was simply a reciprocal agreement because we both benefited from it. This was in the old times when Businesses were ran by honest people.

            Today we have dishonest crooks like you have running Comcast who want to use extortion on everything. If they were honest in any way they would have formed an agreement with netflix to host mirror servers or add in a dedicated pipe to netflix regional servers to each region.

            Instead they prefer to be dishonest dirtbags and try to act like organized criminals. the solution is heavy handed regulation like forcing common carrier status. The had decades of time to play nice, they dont want to, so fuck em all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Wages have been dropping, that's one reason everything is outpacing it. I highly recommend the movie "Inequality for All," available on Netflix. It sums up the problem the middle-class has been facing since the '80's, quite well. The middle-class tried to compensate by, 1) women working, 2) longer hours, 3) debt, and the housing crisis blew that up.

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:27AM (#46998033)

      even the potential threat of Title II had an investment-chilling effect by erasing approximately 10% of some ISPs' market cap

      Translation: Our investors know we stand to profit greatly from being able to control the flow of internet traffic in accordance with our company's best interest.

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:36AM (#46998095)

      Well, they have a point. I mean, they are pretty innovative. Just 10 years ago, I had exactly two options for home broadband. Today, with all that amazing innovation and competition, I have exactly one option for home broadband.

  • Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:05AM (#46997907)
    They weren't going to upgrade anything to begin with. Their strategy has so far been imposing limits and charging more. ISPs were never planning to innovate or upgrade.
    • Re:Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:29AM (#46998049)
      They certainly lack any specific examples of what types of upgrades they are planning that would not happen.
      • Re:Lies (Score:5, Funny)

        by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @11:05AM (#46999245)
        They didn't say that would be the ONLY thing preventing upgrades! Other things that make upgrades and innovation unaffordable include:

        - It's wednesday
        - But... MONEY!
        - The old infrastructure isn't currently on fire
        - All the engineers and accountants got super-fast internet first and they starved to death looking at high-def porn
        - Still mad that they sent you all those AOL discs and you're not still using AOL. They worked really hard on that.
        - You spend most of your time and bandwidth looking for something to watch on Netflix. Providing you faster internet would just make that worse
        - The executive board REALLY likes cocaine and boats.
        - Do you KNOW how hard it is digging in the dirt to put in fiber?!? You try it sometime! It's like digging through concrete!
        - The rules of Monopoly the board game don't say anything about reducing rent just because people really don't want to pay if they land on Boardwalk. Everyone insists ISPs are a monopoly but don't want to play by the simple instructions. That's just hypocrisy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Just to add some data points. In the past 10 years in my area, Comcast has boosted their "blazing fast internet" from top-tier of 8Mbps to a whopping 50Mbps. Note that the fine print is "up to 50Mbps", meaning you might get that fast download if you try to download a pdf at 3am. The only competition here is CenturyLink, who also advertise "up to...", and generally fall very short. I had CL's 20Mbps, fastest I ever got was closer to 10. Not only are they dragging their heels in the name of profit, they are a

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Exactly. There are large potions of reasonably high density places in the US that has no internet choice. The current system has resulted in slow expensive internet because of lack of competition.

      What would happen is if the lines were developed separately from the service is that there would be greater incentive to lay more fiber because it could then be sold to firms that were able to develop more flexible packages that would attract more customers. The current incumbents are limited in what they can

  • by bazmail ( 764941 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:08AM (#46997917)
    where the new sheriff holds a gun to his own head and threatens to pull the trigger in order to get everyone to back off. I think it will work this time too as the FCC et al do their usual backing off party trick.
  • Less choice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:09AM (#46997929) Journal
    Consumers would face less choice,

    How would that even be possible? We only have 4 main providers in the U.S. Are these folks saying that if they were reclassified they would start merging with one another?

    One can only hope they go through with this threat because the government would be able to step in and regulate them as a monopoly, forcing them apart like they did with AT&T and for a few years we'd once again have multiple ISPs to choose from.
    • Re:Less choice? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:14AM (#46997959)

      And most areas don't even have as many as four providers. Everywhere I've lived in the U.S. has had two providers: the local cable monopoly, and the local phone monopoly.

      • Re:Less choice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:22AM (#46998005) Journal

        I meant four total providers. For the entire country. Your experience is exactly what I have, and what most people have.

        In my case the two ISPs offer the same slow speeds at the exact same high price.


        • In my case the two ISPs offer the same slow speeds at the exact same high price.



          But perfectly understandable. If the one cut its rates, the other would pretty much be forced to reduce its rate the same amount or go out of business.

          Remember, the stable state in any competitive business is offering essentially the same thing as your competition at the same prices. Any change in either service or price produces a period of instability that ends when everyone is offering essentially the same

          • Re:Less choice? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:11AM (#46998387)
            This is called collusion... exactly the opposite of competitive business practices.

            It is impossible that two entities can have so exactly the same input costs, maintenance costs, future investment costs, defined profit margins, and internal (in)efficiencies that they end up with exactly the same offerings at exactly the same price. Either one of them is at rock bottom, and the other is making artificially high profits, or they both are making artificially high profits.

            Neither competitor really wants to put the other out of business and face the scrutiny of monopoly. As long as they collude to keep both in business, then they can each point at the other as "the bad guy".

            Oh, and by the way, since we're colluding anyways, why settle for one just scraping by... we might as well make certain were both VERY comfortable, as long as we can keep real competition locked out.
    • There is not much point in "forcing them apart" since they are already staying mostly apart from each other: yes, there might be four major wired service providers in the USA but in most neighborhoods, only one or two of them are available... for the most part, they avoid overlapping with each other beyond one telco and one cableco duopoly.

      With the original Bell breakup, regulators expected the mini-Bells to compete with each other for territory but the Bells ended up sticking to their home turfs.

      First mile

  • that want to make money charging for higher speed access about how preventing them from doing so will be harmful to "consumers".
  • Less choice? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BilI_the_Engineer ( 3618871 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:10AM (#46997943)

    I have exactly one choice in my area, and many places in the US are the same. Many more only have two choices, with few having more than that. It's difficult to imagine having less choice than this.

    And upgrades? I don't know what they did with all that money they received, but they certainly never upgraded a thing.

    • well....ISPs used to be common carriers and had to provide net neutrality by default. The RIAA/MPAA didn't like that and were relegated to having to sue individuals for copyright infringement. So they lobbied to have ISPs not be common carriers. Once they got that, thanks to Comcast buying NBC and switching sides (so they can sue their competitors for copyright infringement), ISPs spent their money on high-powered hardware not for pushing traffic, but for doing deep-packet inspection so that they could c

    • And upgrades? I don't know what they did with all that money they received, but they certainly never upgraded a thing.

      Didn't you read the letter? They've spent all their money writing "apps":

      Today’s regulatory framework helps support nearly 11 million jobs annually in the U.S. and has unleashed over $1.2 trillion dollars of investment in advanced wired and wireless broadband networks, as well as an entirely new apps economy.

      They're throwing in with "apps" developers, Microsoft, Apple, and Google, by claiming those content provider investments are part of their "investment". Every single place they try to mention a

      • Well that's what every other industry is dealing with these days, why do these bullies think they deserve special treatment?

        Because, their lobbyists have bought and paid for that special treatment.

        It's quite simple really.

        And your pointing out the whole thing about apps is key to it these days. See, Netflix came along and invented something. Like them or not, Apple did as well with its app store and iTunes. Now every ISP, along with the content owners who control them, can sell their own special subscrip

  • Fine. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:13AM (#46997957)
    If these companies can not handle regulation, then others will step in.

    While people often talk about 'free markets' and 'regulations' like they are opposites, they really are not on the same scale. If a company can not adjust to regulation, then it probably can not adjust to shifts in market demand, supply chain changes, or price fluctuations.

    If these big ISPs can not adapt, then they will die.
    • The reason why no ISPs have already stepped in despite huge demand for one is the incredibly high startup cost to enter the market and the end of subsidies that other companies used to get around those costs.

        I expect that if a couple of the major ISPs were to fail, nothing would take there place for a very long time.
      • Re: Fine. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:43AM (#46999071) Homepage

        That and the entrenched ISPs threaten anyone who dares to challenge their business models. Exhibit A would be municipal broadband in areas without any broadband access. Town residents get together and say "the ISPs won't serve us so we'll make our own broadband." The ISPs step in with lawyers calling it "unfair competition." Of course, it isn't competition because they aren't serving those areas, but in the event they decide to maybe probably look into serving those areas at some point in the future, it might be competition. And they can't have even the whiff of competition. That's not allowed.

    • While people often talk about 'free markets' and 'regulations' like they are opposites

      Not to mention, "free markets" are completely irrelevant here because ISPs are already regulated, and would be natural monopolies whether they were regulated or not.

    • Re:Fine. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:09AM (#46998379) Homepage

      If these big ISPs can not adapt, then they will die.


  • less choice? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fakeid ( 242403 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:16AM (#46997969)

    How could consumers possibly face "less choice" than they do now?! I moved about three months ago and my ONLY choice for wired internet (and cable, for that matter) is Comcast. For two and a half of those months, I had no service and was fighting with Comcast. It sure would have been nice if there WERE another choice. It's also not like I'm living in the middle of nowhere - this is in the DC Metro! This is not a rare thing, at all. Where I moved from I at least had two choices (AT&T and a local Cable / internet company), but that's still not much choice.

    Regulation can only help at this point, because it will give consumers a leg to stand on when dealing with these people. I suggest anyone who thinks we DON'T need regulation should try dealing with Comcast customer support for a month, then get back to me.

  • How about all those telephone companies that were forced to give service to every American and look how they all went bankrupt, oh wait, no they didn't. ISPs like to say that it will stop expansion, but in reality the government will force them to instead of waiting for Google to announce they're coming to a new city and force the network improvements.
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich&aol,com> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:22AM (#46998001) Journal

    Internet STARTED OUT as a "common carrier" service, which is how we were able to buy DSL service from a CLEC instead of the ILEC. Common carrier status was done away with about the time Verizon took a billion dollars from the taxpayer and started rolling out Fios.

    I used to buy DSL from a CLEC in Philadelphia that rode on top of Verizon's copper. When Fios rolled out, I remember discussing with the CLEC that they would not be able to serve me because Fios was not considered a common carrier, and Verizon did not have to sell capacity on its lines at a cut rate to competitive carriers.

    That CLEC exited consumer broadband shortly thereafter.

    Reclassifying modern broadband as a common carrier is absolutely going to create more competition and more choice for consumers. Yes, it will mean a tiny bit less profit for the majors, because they will have to sell capacity to CLECs again at a discount, but whatever.

    Honestly, and I'm hardly ever one to talk about nationalization, but the taxpayer has paid for almost all of the Internet infrastructure that has been laid out since about 2004. It should belong to them and be used for their benefit. If Verizon et al want to be considered media providers and not common carriers, then let them pay the taxpayer for access to the network that the taxpayers paid for. Yes, I know, socialism. So what? A lot of what we do is socialized, because it's better for everyone that way.

    • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )

      create more competition and more choice for consumers. Yes, it will mean a tiny bit less profit for the majors,

      Actually, that's one of the great things about the ideal free market; competition only hurts the incumbents in the short run. In the long run, everyone makes more money and gets more stuff, even the carriers.

      Of course, the ideal free market is a mathematical theory. It can't be achieved by running a laissez-faire system on flawed humans. The closest we can get in the real world is a regulated mark

  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:26AM (#46998027) Homepage

    For quite some time now, according to data from the NCTA: []

  • What innovation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:27AM (#46998037) Homepage

    What innovations have the major ISPs come up with lately?

    Price gouging? Copying services developed by other people?

    Sorry, but these clowns have been charging more for less for a long time, and failing to invest in their own infrastructure. They don't innovate. They sit on their piles of money and make promises they'll never keep about how awesome their internet is, and then fight to ensure their local monopolies are protected.

    When they say this will stifle innovation, it sure can't be anything they're doing.

    • What innovations have the major ISPs come up with lately?

      Read the letter. They claim to have created a whole new "app economy".

  • ISP is an ISP ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JasterBobaMereel ( 1102861 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:32AM (#46998067)

    They provide a single service, an internet connection, continually reclassifying this depending on if it is Copper, Cable, Broadband, DSL, Fios ... etc is a red herring they provide an internet connection and nothing else ...

    They are already a common carrier, they just don't want the service they provide to be classified as this as it would introduce the possibility of competition into the market ...

  • by WhiteZook ( 3647835 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:33AM (#46998073)
    The only innovation they are doing is coming up with better ways to count their money.
  • by Grand Facade ( 35180 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:39AM (#46998115)

    They are attempting to monetize individual streams from a service we already pay too much for.

    What really yanks my chain is that they built the internet with our money.
    We gave them subsidies, tax breaks, and rights for physical placement.
    Now they have the nerve to extort the right to further monetize the net.

    Remember when conectivity came with benefits?
    Most all "service providers" had a community area and good support.
    They maintained news servers.
    They provided shell access.
    As more got on board the unwashed ignored these vital beginnings these services dropped off the menu.
    As yet more came along providers used this as an excuse to raise fees.

    Then came cellular technology which the providers connected to this network we helped them build.
    And more subsidies and tax breaks were given = more of our money was used to build the thing the providers would then charge us more to use.
    Given this path and the wreckless way we are governed I predict we will soon have Obama-Net.
    All citizens will be legally obligated to purchase service from a provider.
    Providers will monetize certain streams as they see fit to further exploit their position.
    More of our money will be given to the providers so they can build out the network to effectively reach all.
    The providers will fail that measure as they failed to provide DSL or fiber beyond the urban boundaries.
    The providers will use the money we gave them for a wired network to build out the cellular network.
    Then charge us 10x fees to connect since cellular is unregulated + cheaper infrastructure for them to provide and maintain.

    Oh! Wait! This has all already happened (except Obama-Net)(but it's coming)

  • Ok then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:41AM (#46998127)

    If that is the case then we will invalidate all those local laws you have somehow gotten enacted to stop competition in local areas.
    you know the ones that say it is illegal for the local government to give Comcast competition?
    The ones that strangle startups at birth keeping your defacto monopoly.
    How about a bit or 'real world' economics to sharpen your game then?
    See how you like that then?

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:42AM (#46998135)
    This threat is exhibit #1 that the ISPs have gotten too large, and need to be regulated.
  • "Threaten"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:42AM (#46998137) Journal
    US ISPs have steadfastly refused to provide adequate service outside major metropolitan areas for decades.

    Threatening not to do something they already don't do strikes me as a pretty damned weak threat.
  • Strategic Omission (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:47AM (#46998189)
    They are absolutely right, to an extent. Now hold on, hold on. What they of course carefully avoid mentioning is their sweetheart local monopoly deals. I don't think we need more government to solve the problem caused by government in the first place. If they want to shelter under the rubric of the advantages of a free market, let them have a free market and we'll see who innovates and competes. While they are profiting off government provided monopoly they can go pound sand.
  • Let's Do This: (Score:5, Informative)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <(VortexCortex) ( ...> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:48AM (#46998197)

    Remember MCI? Yes, tell us all about how much less competition we'll have when you're forced to compete on service instead of in disservice. Blow it out your interconnect. We've already been down this road. ISP definition of "competition" is how much more they can over charge for shit than their competitors without actually delivering service. Thus the throttling unless the endpoints pay even more for the shit they already paid for.

    ISPs are quadruple dipping: The website pays for access, the end user pays for access, OK, but then they charge extra for non-NATted IPs (hello, IPv6 exists) and unblocked ports ("business" class), and now they want to sell the websites "faster" access to the customers when we both already paid for that speed of access to each other, AND they want to put caps on the number of bits downloaded -- Hint: That's not how it works. They have to have the hardware to handle peak load, it doesn't matter if I suck in tons of gigs during off-peak time, caps are not about congestion, they're just yet another way to monetize. Not to mention "bursting" plans where they allow the first n-bytes of a download to come in fast, then throttle the shit out of it. "Up To X MB/s, (minimum 0 BAUD, yes Zero)", WTF. Damn, that's more that quadruple, but I lost count of how many dippings that is.

    Visit OpenCongress [] and locate your congress critters via zipcode. Politely call each of them and say, "I want the FCC to classify broadband Internet services providers as common carriers", and have them repeat it (a real person will answer, and they'll have written down your words). I also mention that it should be considered illegal anti-competitive business practices for municipalities to granted ISPs monopolies, and that breaking up said monopolies will allow new competition to flourish. You can leave a comment on Issue #14-28 [] via the FCC Comment Filing System. Contact the FCC by Email:, or call the FCC comissioners [] (but remember they're not beholden to voters). The most effective thing to do is write a letter to the editor mentioning your congressman's name and the net neutrality issue and send it to your local news outlet, that really gets their goat -- they care about the newspaper for some odd reason, maybe because old folks read it? Here's a petition [], but these don't do shit, really it's just the illusion of shit-doing.

    P.S. Here's a vid explaining the net neutrality issue. [] Here's another more sarcastic and long winded vid on the subject. [] and here's a video from an actual honest ISP. [] (NSFW, for brutally honest language).

    Protip: Use a download accelerator [] to open multiple connections to the same file and trick the ISP into allowing you a faster speed. When the D/L starts getting throttled (hover to view the speed graph), pause it then unpause it and the speed goes back up (new connections = new "bursting" counter).

  • The existing ISPs are too large and monolithic. I suspect this is mostly local regulation making pole leasing fees unreasonable.

    It needs to be practical for small ISPs to operate anywhere in the US. Any jackass should be able to start his own ISP. Lease the poles, buy some shake and bake ISP equipment, buy the appropriate back end bandwidth, and then run the business.

    • The existing ISPs are too large and monolithic. I suspect this is mostly local regulation making pole leasing fees unreasonable.

      It needs to be practical for small ISPs to operate anywhere in the US. Any jackass should be able to start his own ISP. Lease the poles, buy some shake and bake ISP equipment, buy the appropriate back end bandwidth, and then run the business.

      The majority of ISPs in this country are under 30k people. You just have only heard about the big ones.

      • I consider an ISP to provide service to your door. To actually run the wires themselves that enter your home. I do not consider the companies that lease cable from the above mentioned monoliths to be true ISPs.

        You break the stranglehold of these companies by bypassing them. If your ISP utterly depends upon the giant ISP providing you with to the door cable access and you must contract with them to buy that access then you've done nothing to upset the status quo. If anything you're just increasing the profit

  • Consumers would face less choice, and a less adaptive and responsive Internet.

    As someone said when informed that Jerry Garcia was in a coma: "How could they tell?"

  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:59AM (#46998289)
    Just separate each companies' hardware from its services and make two companies, the hardware side being a Title II Common Carrier. Then, anyone, including the former companies' services division can now buy wholesale access and sell their services.

    The infrastructure is expensive and it isn't feasible for more than one or two companies to install lines to every home. Have one utility company install the lines and sell to the services companies. It should have been done years ago.
    • You are confusing the difference between Tier 1, 2 and 3 ISPs with the difference between Common Carrier and Information services. A Tier 3 ISP is almost entirely common carrier, it does in cases contract with Tier 2 and Tier 1 providers who themselves are common carriers. An ISP sort of almost is all hardware as it is. ISPs are already mostly a carrier service as it is right now. The websites such as Yahoo are doing a lot of the content in an advertising driven model. Your bill to the ISP goes mostly to ha

    • I have always like this idea.

      Or to take it a little further, the local gov wires from a main switching hub/CO to all the residences in the area, then ISP's wire up to the hubs/CO's, and lease access to the residences. That similar to DSL style, but with fiber instead of copper, and the telco's do not own the last mile.

      That last mile is what allows companies to hold us hostage. They can argue all they want that they paid to wire of the streets, poles and houses, but the reality is, they all received massiv

  • by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:05AM (#46998347)
    You mean like the innovative way Verizon got New Jersey to fork over a boatload of cash for broadband access that Verizon never rolled out....
    • The increased regulation will be to cable carriers, which Verizon is not. In fact, it will be applying regulations that Verizon is already under to the cable companies.

      And the "boatload" of cash the feds handed out was to increase rural broadband access. That's insanely expensive to install and very unprofitable. That's why the ISPs wont do it without federal funding. Cable companies CANT do it, Coax sucks over long distances. They need amplifiers every 800ft. That federal program cost something like $300k

  • by Torp ( 199297 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:28AM (#46998521)

    Here are some pricing examples for Romania, a backwards country somewhere in Eastern Europe.

    I pay about $25/month for 40 mbits on a so-called "bussiness" connection - at this price of course "bussiness" means no SLA, but it does mean unmetered traffic and the freedom to run any service i want on that wire.
    I also pay about $30/month for 200 mbits on fiber, plus IPTV plus a voice line (not sure of the conditions on voice, I don't really use it). This is a home connection, but it's also unmetered. I think I can't do SMTP through it, but no other restrictions.

    This is what happens when you have a little real competition. Everyone has access to at least two out of cable and DSL. Which are no longer cable and DSL, but fiber.

    You're going to give me the age old argument that the US is much larger and more spread out, but we have residential suburbs as well, and they get... guess... ethernet and/or fiber :)

  • ISPs hold their collective breath until they turn purple and die, new ISPs take their place.
  • "Under Title II, new service offerings, options, and features would be delayed or altogether foregone. Consumers would face less choice, and a less adaptive and responsive Internet."

    Yup, soon we'll have only two options, Telco & Cableco. We're gonna have low speeds and quotas for high prices and some services will be throttled due to compet^H^H^H^H congestion. Oh wait...

  • ... we're going to pull up stakes and move to Galtville.

    Innovation?! What innovation has AT&T come up with lately? Sure... they've come up with a web site that would make Franz Kafka run screaming into the night but beyond that, what innovation are they talking about?

  • by ExecutorElassus ( 1202245 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @09:44AM (#46998631)
    I don't mean the ISPs, I mean the rest of us. Wheeler is a cable lobbyist; I suspect the court striking down the Open Internet Order was exactly the excuse to scuttle the net neutrality that all his buddies hate so much. Besides: the court has been very clear on this matter. The only way the FCC could force net neutrality would be by declaring ISPs common carriers. The Republican Party -- and Wheeler himself -- is adamantly opposed to such an action, and so it will not happen.

    This smacks very much of the Obama administration responding to all the illegal wiretapping the NSA and FBI et al were doing not by arresting the perpetrators, but by writing the laws to give them authority to go right on doing it.
  • All of the major telco's have been scaling back their investment, especially in wireline services. Trying to dump copper, no longer building out new fiber (Verizon), and trying to convince people to switch to more profitable wireless.

    They claim that Wireless is a perfectly acceptable alternative to cable/wire based broadband. Verizon used that exact claim to get out of paying New Jersey billions of dollars when they failed to meet the promise of broadband to the entire state.

    At the same time, they then lo

  • Internet access outside of the major metropolitan areas sucks today. Will the ISPs threats make it worse? Maybe.

    But since US internet access is far, far worse than the rest of the world, it matters not in the long run.

  • US ISPs = mafia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffasselin ( 566598 ) <> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:08AM (#46998817) Journal

    That's a nice Internet you got there. Would be a shame if anything happened to it.

  • by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @10:50AM (#46999129)
    I wasn't aware that data caps are considered "innovation".

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.