FCC votes to undo net neutrality protections despite public protests

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2017
As predicted, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted 3 to 2 along party lines to rescind net neutrality protections instituted under the Obama administration, potentially radically reshaping the nature of the U.S. internet.




Under the a proposal championed by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, internet service providers will no longer be regulated like utilities and be free to block, throttle, or prioritize traffic. ISPs have lobbied for the change as enabling innovation, while critics such as Alphabet, Facebook, Reddit, activists, and some Democrats and Republicans have worried that it could discourage competition and infrastructure improvements, and lead to sites being arbitrarily kept behind paywalls.

Many sections of the country also lack more than one ISP, making it impossible to switch to another provider if a customer is upset with pricing, restrictions, or service quality.

"There is a basic fallacy underlying the majority's actions and rhetoric today: the assumption of what is best for broadband providers, is best for America. Breathless claims about unshackling broadband services from unnecessary regulation are only about ensuring that broadband providers have the keys to the internet. Assertions that this is merely a return to some imaginary status quo ante cannot hide the fact that this is the very first time that the FCC has disavowed substantive protections for consumers online," dissenting FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a statement during the vote.

Pai has largely dismissed those fears, and the Commission decided to move ahead with the vote despite accusations that many of the 22 million public comments submitted to the FCC were submitted multiple times, and/or that as many as 2 million were faked.

"It is not going to end the internet as we know it," Pai said. "It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online."

Pai did note that FaceTime was a service at the core of proper internet functionality. However, during his remarks he neglected to mention that AT&T blocked it at launch, and danced around the FCC's rules at the time when explaining themselves to customers.

Democrats have vowed to try and overturn the proposal, and while it has more Republican support, even many in that party have suggested that Congress should able to craft new rules, according to Reuters. Challenges may be raised in both courts and the political sphere.

Apple could be impacted by the decision, given its growing dependence on cloud services such as Apple Music, iMessage, iCloud Drive, and the App Store. The company's push into 4K and original video might be severely hampered if throttling becomes widespread.
«134567

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 131
    Awesome decision by a truly diverse panel.
    racerhomieSpamSandwichpakitt
  • Reply 2 of 131
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    racerhomieentropysboltsfan17chabigSpamSandwichE’Tallitnicslkrupp
  • Reply 3 of 131
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    I agree. Way too many people are claiming all these doom and gloom scenarios that quite frankly won't be happening. 
    racerhomiechabigSpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 131
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,006member
    The reclassification to Common Carrier was like taking antibiotics everyday just because you might need them.

    if the Internet shows signs of the doom and gloom then fix it. Otherwise, light touch is a good thing. Not noted in this article, FaceTime on AT&T was solved by competition and not Tittle II. 
    entropyschabigSpamSandwichrandominternetperson
  • Reply 5 of 131
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,462member
    Awesome decision by a truly diverse panel.
    How do you think it will benefit you? Totally honest question.
    StrangeDaysSpamSandwichjahbladesingularityoseame
  • Reply 6 of 131
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    Doom and gloom is not the appropriate analysis. Whether or not Innovation is stifled would be a more appropriate. For instance, examples like ATT preventing FaceTime. Comcast throttling Vonage. Further, services like Netflix raising prices so they can pay tolls. 
    jahbladeoseame
  • Reply 7 of 131
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    a joke I've seen on twitter a couple times…

    Verizon: we don't plan to murder anyone
    America: so it's ok if we keep murder illegal then
    Verizon: …
    Verizon: no

    Nobody really knows what the telecoms are going to do with this ruling, but they spent millions to get it, so it won't be nothing. It'll probably be slow and insidious and frogs simmering in pans…
    jahblademinicoffeejasenj1cgWerksGeorgeBMacoseameZRyser
  • Reply 8 of 131
    That is a ridiculous comparison, Eric.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 9 of 131
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,462member
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    Completely agree. All these doom and gloom scenarios aren't going to happen. 
    So you agree with Pai and now with their hands untied we should instead see signs of innovation from the ISP's over the next year? I would ask you as I did an earlier poster: In what way do you see this benefitting you personally?
    edited December 2017 jahbladejbdragonoseameZRyser
  • Reply 10 of 131
    gatorguy said:
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    Completely agree. All these doom and gloom scenarios aren't going to happen. 
    So you agree with Pai and now with their hands untied we should instead see signs of innovation from the ISP's over the next year? I would ask you as I did an earlier poster: In what way do you see this benefitting you personally?
    I deleted that comment since I didn't notice my other one showed up. I'll respond anyway though since first comment is basically the same thing. I'm taking a wait and see approach. There are antitrust laws and I know some say they won't do anything, but that remains to be seen. Personally, Net Neutrality didn't affect me either way. My area still has only one ISP and that didn't change with Net Neutrality. Speed and cost hasn't changed either so that's why I'm taking a wait and see approach to this issue. 

    EDIT: I wanted to add I'm on Verizon so I'll wait and see if they do anything or not. 
    edited December 2017 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 11 of 131
    Massively naive to think the providers won’t use this to make more money by restricting services. It will be very difficult to track what they actually do.  They didn’t spend masses of dough on the lobbying to bring sweetness and light to the world, they spent masses of dough on lobbying to bring sweetness and light to their world.  I look forward to the CEOs retiring in greater comfort. Dohh!
    jahbladejasenj1GeorgeBMacoseame
  • Reply 12 of 131
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,462member
    gatorguy said:
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    Completely agree. All these doom and gloom scenarios aren't going to happen. 
    So you agree with Pai and now with their hands untied we should instead see signs of innovation from the ISP's over the next year? I would ask you as I did an earlier poster: In what way do you see this benefitting you personally?
    I deleted that comment since I didn't notice my other one showed up. I'll respond anyway though since first comment is basically the same thing. I'm taking a wait and see approach. There are antitrust laws and I know some say they won't do anything, but that remains to be seen. Personally, Net Neutrality didn't affect me either way. My area still has only one ISP and that didn't change with Net Neutrality. Speed and cost hasn't changed either so that's why I'm taking a wait and see approach to this issue. 
    So had they left it alone and in place that would have been fine with you too?
    jahblade
  • Reply 13 of 131
    entropys said:
    That is a ridiculous comparison, Eric.
    You could read up on Incongruous Juxtaposition Theory, interesting (dare I say fun?) stuff.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 14 of 131
    blah64blah64 Posts: 851member
    I deleted that comment
    .....
    I used to be able to delete/edit comments, but I haven't seen that option for quite some time.  What/where am I missing?  I'll check to see if it's a timer thing now.  If this comment sticks around, then I wasn't able to delete it.

    [update] apparently my settings or something in my configuration has changed, because I see the gear icon now, with the 4 hour edit window link.  I know for a fact it wasn't there in the past when I wanted to make edits.  Hmm.
    edited December 2017 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 15 of 131
    blah64 said:
    I deleted that comment
    .....
    I used to be able to delete/edit comments, but I haven't seen that option for quite some time.  What/where am I missing?  I'll check to see if it's a timer thing now.  If this comment sticks around, then I wasn't able to delete it.
    I personally didn't delete my comment but one of the mods must have. I replied to the same person twice not noticing my first comment had showed up. It was taking a while on my end for some reason. I just erased my second post and wrote I deleted it. 
  • Reply 16 of 131
    I’ll go ahead and repost this article from after the “net neutrality” shit was originally passed.

    The Federal Communications Commission today voted, 3-2, that the Internet will be subject to many of the Title II regulatory provisions of the 1934 Communications Act. Applying Title II laws to broadband means regulating the Internet as a common carrier, akin to the telephone network, and gives significant control of the Internet to the FCC, lobbyists, and industry players. The Title II order and new net neutrality rules have not been released yet, but the thrust of the regulations is clear from commissioners’ statements and media reports. In short, the FCC’s rules represent a giant step backwards to the days of command-and-control of markets.

    The FCC’s actions derive in part from the myth that the Internet is neutral. In the evolving online world, the Internet gets less neutral—and better for consumers—every day. Through a hands-off approach from policymakers, the U.S. communications and technology sector has thrived as a supplier of innovation, but Title II rules effectively throw sand in the gears. If the FCC’s rules are not overturned by the courts, the days of permissionless innovation online come to a close. The application of Title II means new broadband services must receive approval from this federal agency. Companies in Silicon Valley will therefore rely increasingly on their regulatory compliance officers, not their engineers and designers. If courts do strike down the FCC’s net neutrality rules for a third time, the FCC should abandon its campaign to regulate the Internet. Instead the Commission should focus on increasing broadband competition across the nation, thereby reducing prices and increasing the availability of new broadband services. There is plenty of work to be done on this front, but pursuing Title II net neutrality rules distract the Commission and Congress from spearheading a pro-consumer innovation agenda.

    In view of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote on February 26 to regulate the Internet under Title II of the New Deal–era Communications Act, it is critical to understand what these “net neutrality” rules will and will not do. Columbia Business School professor Eli Noam says net neutrality has “at least seven different related but distinctive meanings….” The consensus is, however, that net neutrality is a principle for how an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or wireless carrier treats Internet traffic on “last mile” access — the connection between an ISP and its customer. Purists believe net neutrality requires ISPs to treat all last-mile Internet traffic the same. The FCC will not enforce that radical notion because networks are becoming more “intelligent” every year and, as a Cisco network engineer recently put it, equal treatment for all data packets “would be setting the industry back 20 years.”

    Nevertheless, because similar rules were twice struck down in federal court, the FCC is crafting new net neutrality rules for ISPs and technology companies. Many of these Title II provisions reined in the old Bell telephone monopoly and are the most intrusive rules available to the FCC. The net neutrality rules are garnering increased public scrutiny because they will apply to one of the few bright spots in the US economy — the technology and communications sector.

    As with many complex concepts, there are many myths about net neutrality. Five of the most widespread ones are dispelled below.

    Myth #1: The Internet Has Always Been Neutral

    Reality
    : Prioritization has been built into Internet protocols for years. MIT computer scientist and early Internet developer David Clark colorfully dismissed this first myth as “happy little bunny rabbit dreams,” and pointed out that “[t]he network is not neutral and never has been.” Experts such as tech entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban and President Obama’s former chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra have observed that the need for prioritization of some traffic increases as Internet services grow more diverse. People speaking face-to-face online with doctors through new telemedicine video applications, for instance, should not be disrupted by once-a-day data backups. ISPs and tech companies should be free to experiment with new broadband services without time-consuming regulatory approval from the FCC. John Oliver, The Oatmeal, and net neutrality activists, therefore, are simply wrong about the nature of the Internet.

    Myth #2: Net Neutrality Regulations Are the Only Way to Promote an Open Internet 
    Reality: Even while lightly regulated, the Internet will remain open because consumers demand an open Internet. Recent Rasmussen polling indicates the vast majority of Americans enjoy the open Internet they currently receive and rate their Internet service as good or excellent. (Only a small fraction, 5 percent, says their Internet quality is “poor.”) It is in ISPs’ interest to provide high-quality Internet just as it is in smartphone companies’ interest to provide great phones and automakers’ interest to build reliable cars. Additionally, it is false when high-profile scholars and activists say there is no “cop on the beat” overseeing Internet companies. As Federal Trade Commissioner Joshua Wright testified to Congress, existing federal competition laws and consumer protection laws — and strict penalties — protect Americans from harmful ISP behavior.

    Myth #3: Net Neutrality Regulations Improve Broadband Competition
    Reality: The FCC’s net neutrality rules are not an effective way to improve broadband competition. Net neutrality is a principle for ISP treatment of Internet traffic on the “last mile” — the connection between an ISP and a consumer. The principle says nothing about broadband competition and will not increase the number of broadband choices for consumers. On the contrary, net neutrality as a policy goal was created because many scholars did not believe more broadband choices could ensure a “neutral” Internet. Further, Supreme Court decisions lead scholars to conclude that “as prescriptive regulation of a field waxes, antitrust enforcement must wane.” Therefore, the FCC’s net neutrality rules would actually impede antitrust agencies from protecting consumers.

    Myth #4: All Prioritized Internet Services Are Harmful to Users
    Reality: Intelligent management of Internet traffic and prioritization provide useful services to consumers. Net neutrality proponents call zero-rating — which is when carriers allow Internet services that don’t subtract from a monthly data allotment — and similar practices “dangerous,” “malignant,” and rights violations. This hyperbole arises from dogma, not facts. The real-world use of prioritization and zero-rating is encouraging and pro-consumer. Studies show that zero-rated applications are used by millions of people around the globe, including in the United States, and they are popular. In one instance, poor South African high school students petitioned their carriers for free — zero-rated — Wikipedia access because accessing Wikipedia frequently for homework was expensive. Upon hearing the students’ plight, Wikipedia and South African carriers happily obliged. Net neutrality rules like Title II would prohibit popular services like zero-rating and intelligent network management that makes more services available.

    Myth #5: Net Neutrality Rules Will Make Broadband Cheaper and Internet Services like Netflix Faster
    Reality: First, the FCC’s rules will make broadband more expensive, not cheaper. The rules regulate Internet companies much like telephone companies and therefore federal and state telephone fees will eventually apply to Internet bills. According to preliminary estimates, millions of Americans will drop or never subscribe to an Internet connection because of these price hikes. Second, the FCC’s rules will not make Netflix and webpages faster. The FCC rules do not require ISPs to increase the capacity or speed of customers’ connections. Capacity upgrades require competition and ISP investment, which may be harmed by the FCC’s onerous new rules.

    After the President’s announcement Monday morning on net neutrality, Mercatus research fellow Brent Skorup, who specializes in telecom issues, provided initial reaction.

    “It does not require a law degree to question the wisdom of imposing eighty-year-old rules intended for the government-blessed monopoly telephone network on the competitive, dynamic Internet. If the FCC—an independent regulatory agency—does what the President envisions, the change will represent a stark reversal of decades of deregulatory Internet policy pursued by Congress and FCC commissioners of both political parties. The application of Title II—sometimes called utility or common carrier regulation—would result in value-destroying government oversight of the Internet. Among other damaging effects, broadband Internet would be subject to rate regulation, taxes, and fragmented regulation by state commissions. Further, many advocates who cheer this announcement have made no secret that their aims stretch beyond economic regulation of the Internet. They also seek government oversight of media, websites, and political speech online. To that end, Title II instantly politicizes the Internet and puts significant power over this dynamic technology in the hands of unelected FCC officials, lobbyists, opportunistic industry players, and well-funded activists.

    “Market participants in Silicon Valley and at technology companies would increasingly rely on their risk-averse regulatory compliance officers instead of their creative engineers and designers. The complex Title II proceedings that ensue will be largely invisible and unintelligible to the public and their representatives in Congress. It would be a mistake to apply Title II’s stultifying provisions to one of the few bright spots in U.S. economy—technology and Internet services. The President’s announcement is puzzling because the political consensus is that the 1934 Communications Act should be retired in favor of modern, flexible laws that place consumers—not industries—at the forefront. Title II would impair the creative destruction that makes the U.S. technology sector a boon to consumers and the envy of the world.”

    Though the economy has improved only in fits and starts over the past few years, one bright spot remains constant: The technology and communications industry. Part of this success is because Silicon Valley and the tech sector aggressively develop popular consumer products before bureaucrats and lawmakers have time to delay them. Wisely, or perhaps coincidentally, Congress has treated the Internet with benign neglect. However, there is a well-funded contingent in the net neutrality movement seeking to increase Federal Communications Commission oversight of the Internet. These net neutrality proponents are – to paraphrase William F. Buckley Jr. – standing athwart the history of technology yelling, “Stop!” Their backward-looking approach would revive large parts of telephone regulations from the 1934 Communications Act. Their goal is to persuade the FCC to reinterpret the law and apply monopoly-era telephone regulations to today’s broadband providers. Net neutrality advocates conjure up a bogeyman that ostensibly threatens startups and consumers. Their cramped worldview does not see tremendous possibilities in lightly regulated broadband and they oppose the FCC’s current hands-off approach to the Internet.
    boltsfan17equality72521SpamSandwichartdentlkrupprandominternetperson
  • Reply 17 of 131
    Funny how some who are for net neutrality seem to believe they are somehow entitled to a service that somebody else provides.  Those businesses are not charities, they are businesses with a bottom line and responsibility to their shareholders.  They're job is to make money.  So, they will do so and if that means tweaking speeds to get there then so be it.  If one doesn't like it then don't buy it.  Simple concept.  And the sentence in this article that says "potentially radically reshaping the nature of the U.S. internet." is complete horse hockey and hyperbole.  All this essentially does is revert back to the way it was before this nonsensical policy was put into place to begin with.  It wasn't called "radical" back then now was it?  Now all of a sudden it's "radical".  Give me a break.
    edited December 2017 entropysSpamSandwich
  • Reply 18 of 131
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Check back in a year to see if the sky has fallen.  I predict that the doom and gloom predictions will not come to pass.  I hope I'm right, but time will tell.
    Completely agree. All these doom and gloom scenarios aren't going to happen. 
    So you agree with Pai and now with their hands untied we should instead see signs of innovation from the ISP's over the next year? I would ask you as I did an earlier poster: In what way do you see this benefitting you personally?
    I deleted that comment since I didn't notice my other one showed up. I'll respond anyway though since first comment is basically the same thing. I'm taking a wait and see approach. There are antitrust laws and I know some say they won't do anything, but that remains to be seen. Personally, Net Neutrality didn't affect me either way. My area still has only one ISP and that didn't change with Net Neutrality. Speed and cost hasn't changed either so that's why I'm taking a wait and see approach to this issue. 
    So had they left it alone and in place that would have been fine with you too?
    When it comes to only having one ISP, I think that's an issue that goes far beyond Net Neutrality. It's well known ISP's get deals with local governments preventing other ISP's from bringing in service to the same communities. Before and during Net Neutrality really hasn't affected me so it's hard for me to say if I would have been fine with leaving it alone or not. 
    entropysjbdragoncgWerks
  • Reply 19 of 131
    blah64blah64 Posts: 851member
    As for this topic, it's pretty disgusting how this went down, and a lot of people are going to regret supporting it.  As Eric said above, the telcos spent a ton of time, effort and money to lobby very hard to get this passed.  They didn't do that without a plan.  If there's one thing people need to remember, it's that.

    I also agree that we won't see it all at once.  In the same way that facebook and google slowly and insidiously push their limits all the time, the telcos will carefully test the waters around the edges, and slowly push their ability to price-discriminate in as many ways and as much as they can get away with before their customers revolt.  The problem is, as many have already said, without adequate competition in a given market, there really isn't any effective way for the customers to revolt.  They can't just take their business elsewhere, and they can't do without.  That's the definition of a powerful monopoly right there.  Certainly at some theoretical level there is always the possibility of competition, but it's infeasible in reality in many markets for another company to come in and "save the day".
    jSnivelyjahbladejbdragonviclauyycoseame
  • Reply 20 of 131
    rwx9901 said:
    If one doesn't like it then don't buy it.
    Great, I just won’t have Internet access at all, then. And neither will 90% of Americans, as ISPs get together, collude, cut up cities into areas of service, and refuse to compete with each other. Because the government facilitates these ISP monopolies, which is the real problem behind this shit that the false dichotomy of “net neutrality” is designed to obfuscate.
    SpamSandwichartdentcgWerks
Sign In or Register to comment.