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FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: DEAD NET WALKING]

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FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: DEAD NET WALKING]

Old 09-19-09, 06:35 AM
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FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: DEAD NET WALKING]

U.S. as Traffic Cop in Web Fight
FCC Proposal on Bandwidth a Boon for Consumers and Silicon Valley, Blow to Telecoms

By AMY SCHATZ

The U.S. government plans to propose broad new rules Monday that would force Internet providers to treat all Web traffic equally, seeking to give consumers greater freedom to use their computers or cellphones to enjoy videos, music and other legal services that hog bandwidth.

The move would make good on a campaign promise to Silicon Valley supporters like Google Inc. from President Barack Obama, but will trigger a battle with phone and cable companies like AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., which don't want the government telling them how to run their networks.

The proposed rules could change how operators manage their networks and profit from them, and the everyday online experience of individual users. Treating Web traffic equally means carriers couldn't block or slow access to legal services or sites that are a drain on their networks or offered by rivals.

The rules will escalate a fight over how much control the government should have over Internet commerce. The Obama administration is taking the side of Google, Amazon.com Inc. and an array of smaller businesses that want to profit from offering consumers streaming video, graphics-rich games, movie and music downloads and other services.

Julius Genachowski, head of the Federal Communications Commission, is also expected to propose in a speech Monday, for the first time, that rules against blocking or slowing Web traffic would apply to wireless-phone companies, according to people familiar with the plan.

Wireless carriers, which have been among the fiercest opponents of such regulation, continue to restrict what kind of data travels over the airwaves they control. For example, earlier this year, AT&T restricted an Internet-phone service from Skype so iPhone users couldn't place calls on AT&T's cellular network. At the time, AT&T cited network congestion concerns.

"We believe that this kind of regulation is unnecessary in the competitive wireless space as it would prevent carriers from managing their networks -- such as curtailing viruses and other harmful content -- to the benefit of their consumers," said Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulatory affairs for CTIA, the wireless industry's trade group.

If the FCC does force U.S. wireless carriers to open their networks to data-heavy applications like streaming video, it could push them beyond the limited capacity they have. Already, in areas like New York and San Francisco, a high concentration of iPhones has caused many AT&T customers to complain about degrading service.

In such a scenario, wireless carriers may have to rethink how much they charge for data plans or even cap how much bandwidth individuals get, said Julie Ask, a wireless analyst at Jupiter Research.

The FCC's proposal will take into account the bandwidth limitations faced by wireless carriers, according to people familiar with the plan, and would ask how such rules should apply to current networks.

The rules could encourage big Internet companies to launch new data-intensive services by establishing that their traffic can't be slowed or blocked. In the business market, companies that make Internet-phone services or video-conferencing software may invest more heavily in those services, some analysts say.

The rules are likely to be a big boon to smaller tech companies, like Silicon Valley start-ups and small makers of mobile software for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and other devices, that wouldn't be able to afford paying Internet providers for special access.

"Any company or piece of software that becomes popular, generating a lot of traffic, would tend to benefit," said Jonathan Zittrain, the co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

The FCC has four "net neutrality" principles, which call on Internet providers to avoid restricting or delaying access to legal Internet sites and services. Carriers are permitted to block access to illegal services and sites.

Mr. Genachowski is expected to propose the agency clarify its current principles and turn them into formal rules. He will also tack on a new one, which would require carriers practice "reasonable" network management. The agency will ask for guidance on how to define "reasonable."


Most Internet providers have resisted "net neutrality" rules in the past, saying they have a right to control traffic on networks they own and it's not a good idea for the government to micro-manage Internet traffic.

Phone companies including AT&T have argued that they can live with the FCC's existing principles, but they've argued there's no reason to put more formal rules put into place.

Representatives from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Comcast and Sprint Nextel Corp. declined to comment ahead of the FCC's anticipated announcement.

The proposals come as the FCC faces a federal appeals court case over its authority to regulate Web traffic. Comcast is fighting an FCC decision last year to ding it for violating the agency's "net neutrality" principles when it slowed traffic for some subscribers who were downloading big files. Comcast said it didn't violate any rules because the FCC had never formally adopted any, but it did change how it manages its network.

Republicans are likely to oppose the FCC's new proposal -- both at the FCC and in Congress -- arguing that the FCC is trying to fix problems that don't exist and that the agency should take a more hands-off approach to the fast-changing industry.

"With only a few isolated instances of complaints alleging net neutrality-like abuses ever having been filed, it is a mistake," said Randolph May, president of Free State Foundation, a free-market oriented think tank.

The concept of network neutrality originated with the nation's longtime telephone monopoly. AT&T and its successors were prohibited from giving any phone call preference in how quickly it was connected. Since the Internet was born on phone wires, the concept survived into the Internet age largely by default.

That notion was challenged toward the end of the 1990s, as cable companies began offering Internet service. Cable companies argued since they were content companies not phone companies, the principle of network neutrality didn't apply to them.

Phone companies responded by getting into the content business as well, with television service. As a result, both the cable companies and phone companies had incentives to create conditions on the Internet -- either through pricing or slowing or speeding up certain sites -- to favor their own content.

In 2005, the FCC deregulated the Internet business, by ruling that Internet providers were communications companies and not phone companies and, importantly, were therefore no longer subject to the old phone rules such as network neutrality.

The FCC instead created its four "guiding principles" for protecting network neutrality. They were vague enough to embolden those looking for ways around it. Major phone companies like AT&T subsequently said they were considering creating "fast lanes" on the Internet, available at a higher price -- plans they put on hold amid an outcry.

Now, by codifying the principle, the FCC is seeking to limit erosion of network neutrality.


Mr. Genachowski is expected to set plans to open a formal rule-making process on the issue at the FCC's October meeting. The rules would have to be approved by a majority of the FCC's five-person board; whose three Democrats support net neutrality.
A few years ago I was against NN regulation, not because I was against the principles of NN, but because I saw it as preemptive regulation. Now that Comcast is challenging the FCC's authority to implement it's NN "guiding principles" I see the issue is coming to a head. I would prefer to wait until after the court has weighed in, but as long as the new rules are just the codifying of the existing principles then it's largely a moot point. Either the court recognizes the FCC's authority or the FCC codifies it. As usual, enforcement will be the key.
Old 09-19-09, 09:18 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

This is a very nice surprise. I hope that the sentiment pushing this goes all the way to the top.
Old 09-19-09, 09:45 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Nice.

Glad to see this go this way. I've been for NN since the whole thing started with the BellSouth execs.
Old 09-19-09, 10:52 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

While I think it is good for me, I am guessing it causes service to become more expensive.
Old 09-19-09, 10:58 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Oh wow, another thing I agree with Obama on....
Old 09-19-09, 11:09 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
While I think it is good for me, I am guessing it causes service to become more expensive.
It's good for everyone.
Old 09-19-09, 11:11 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Republicans are likely to oppose the FCC's new proposal -- both at the FCC and in Congress -- arguing that the FCC is trying to fix problems that don't exist and that the agency should take a more hands-off approach to the fast-changing industry.

"With only a few isolated instances of complaints alleging net neutrality-like abuses ever having been filed, it is a mistake," said Randolph May, president of Free State Foundation, a free-market oriented think tank.
What an idiot. The free-market only operates properly if the government sets up a system whereby competition can flourish. Does this guy also oppose contracts?
Old 09-19-09, 11:34 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
What an idiot. The free-market only operates properly if the government sets up a system whereby competition can flourish. Does this guy also oppose contracts?

Can't ISPs do exactly what congress is trying to make all ISPs do now? My ISP is net neutral. I am sure that if there was a real need for it, ISPs would offer it and it would cost more, and that is why you don't see it offered.
Old 09-19-09, 11:36 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

If the government can tell all private companies what they have to carry, can the government also tell all private companies what they can't carry?
Old 09-19-09, 12:07 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

<---- realizing good ol' kvr didn't keep up with the 'net neutrality' debate and the details of that whole thing.
Old 09-19-09, 12:59 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Can't ISPs do exactly what congress is trying to make all ISPs do now? My ISP is net neutral. I am sure that if there was a real need for it, ISPs would offer it and it would cost more, and that is why you don't see it offered.
I think it depends on what you mean by "real need". It seems like there are many different kinds of examples, but think about this one:

* You use Skype, Vonage, or another 3rd party VoIP service.
* Your ISP offers its own, more expensive VoIP service.
* Your ISP decides to throttle all traffic to and from 3rd party VoIP servers (or that type of traffic, or however they want to do this throttling).
* Your 3rd party VoIP solution becomes unusable.
Old 09-19-09, 02:56 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Is it mainly VoIP the ISPs want to throttle?

Couple years ago, I think the ISPs wanted to have tiered pay systems that would have various levels of speed for only certain websites - youtube as one possible example.

I think I'd want more info on all parties.
Old 09-20-09, 01:05 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
Is it mainly VoIP the ISPs want to throttle?

Couple years ago, I think the ISPs wanted to have tiered pay systems that would have various levels of speed for only certain websites - youtube as one possible example.

I think I'd want more info on all parties.
No. The two most prevelent examples are VoIP and streaming video. But they could throttle anything in which they have a competing business.
Old 09-20-09, 01:44 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

This is a great decision. It's about time the telecoms stop trying to carve up bandwidth so they can overcharge for something that should be widely abundant. The US will continue lagging some other advanced nations in broadband service unless these companies are forced out of playing by the old rules.

I am actually surprised that this is happening so soon. The new FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, is super smart and I'm glad that he's getting this done quickly.

I guess one guy who should be very sad about this outcome is Ted Stevens, he of the "series of tubes" system of internet. He was against net neutrality, although I'm not sure he knew what it meant.
Old 09-20-09, 02:04 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Lack Of Bandwidth is a fairly tale told to the consumer by ISP's so they can charge you more and create several "levels" of "upgrade". Since Comcast is against Net Neutrality, it is essential I side the opposite of whatever side Comcast is on, and anyone else should as well for that matter.

Companies like Comcast and AT&T want to place limits because they could care less about CONSUMER ACCESS. Companies like Google and Amazon have a broader ideology in mind.

Cable companies freaked out when satellite came to town and they're doing it again with the possibility of limitless bandwidth. Phone companies also were biased if you didn't use their goddamn long distance company as well, and purposely delayed connections to consumers who chose lesser-expensive companies who offered better service at a lower price. I was a victim of this and yet was told the connection times were all the same and treated equally. Yeah, ok. Bullshit.

These corporate giants need to be reigned in by the balls...or just cut their balls off.
Old 09-20-09, 02:25 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Can't disagree. This is akin to private companies owning the highways and then trying to get into the trucking business.
Old 09-20-09, 03:06 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
No. The two most prevelent examples are VoIP and streaming video. But they could throttle anything in which they have a competing business.
That and Torrent traffic. Of course, torrents are always illegal , so they wouldn't apply to the new policy.
Old 09-21-09, 02:45 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

I'm a big supporter of net neutrality, but I really hate to see the FCC start to stick its fingers into cyberspace.
Old 09-21-09, 03:16 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

It's gone nowhere with Congress for several years, and we can't leave it entirely unregulated. I'm glad that the FCC is stepping in, especially under the current Chair.
Old 09-21-09, 07:26 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Lack Of Bandwidth is a fairly tale told to the consumer by ISP's so they can charge you more and create several "levels" of "upgrade". Since Comcast is against Net Neutrality, it is essential I side the opposite of whatever side Comcast is on, and anyone else should as well for that matter.

Companies like Comcast and AT&T want to place limits because they could care less about CONSUMER ACCESS. Companies like Google and Amazon have a broader ideology in mind.

Cable companies freaked out when satellite came to town and they're doing it again with the possibility of limitless bandwidth. Phone companies also were biased if you didn't use their goddamn long distance company as well, and purposely delayed connections to consumers who chose lesser-expensive companies who offered better service at a lower price. I was a victim of this and yet was told the connection times were all the same and treated equally. Yeah, ok. Bullshit.

These corporate giants need to be reigned in by the balls...or just cut their balls off.
i'm not on comcast's side, but it seems like some companies decide to offer some service or other and people expect the ISP to just add more bandwidth. i remember reading some article years ago about how a lot of companies paid off a lot of the debt to go digital cable and it was time to take on new debt because the internet was exloding

with Google, I think AT&T is in the right. Google is offering a competing service and they expect AT&T to support it. If Google really wanted to be in the phone business they should have won the 700MHz auction they bid on a few years ago.
Old 09-22-09, 07:20 PM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

In the past, I said I was in favor of "net neutrality." My rationale was "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

However, I see that the current proposal for "net neutrality" would give the government too much power, so I am now against "net neutrality."
Old 11-04-09, 11:09 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

I've been seeing this graphic all over the place lately:



Is this really going to happen? I can't imagine an ISP would stay in business if they did this and a competitor didn't.
Old 11-04-09, 11:24 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

The sound you hear is an ISP executive climaxing after seeing that.
Old 11-04-09, 11:41 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

I don't believe it. It's like telling everyone that kids are going to learn to be gay if we allow same sex marriage.
Old 11-04-09, 11:48 AM
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re: FCC to enact "Net Neutrality" [UPDATE: NOT!]

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
I've been seeing this graphic all over the place lately:



Is this really going to happen? I can't imagine an ISP would stay in business if they did this and a competitor didn't.
I think we'll wind up going this way anyhow one way or the other with the exception of a charge for the base service which I think will be free (as will access to government run websites). Everything else will be on a subscription basis with the proceeds split between the ISP's, Gov't, and the websites themselves. This would keep the newspapers in business, the ISP's happy, and increase income to the government. The only ones really getting screwed over would be the consumer but that's generally how we roll.

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