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Republicans The Internet Businesses Communications Network Networking Technology

The Republican Push To Repeal Net Neutrality Will Get Underway This Week (washingtonpost.com) 141

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: Federal regulators will move to roll back one of the Obama administration's signature Internet policies this week, launching a process to repeal the government's net neutrality rules that currently regulate how Internet providers may treat websites and their own customers. The vote on Thursday, led by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, will kick off consideration of a proposal to relax regulations on companies such as Comcast and AT&T. If approved by the 2-1 Republican-majority commission, it will be a significant step for the broadband industry as it seeks more leeway under government rules to develop new business models. For consumer advocates and tech companies, it will be a setback; those groups argue that looser regulations won't prevent those business models from harming Internet users and website owners. The current rules force Internet providers to behave much like their cousins in the legacy telephone business. Under the FCC's net neutrality policy, providers cannot block or slow down consumers' Internet traffic, or charge websites a fee in order to be displayed on consumers' screens. The net neutrality rules also empower the FCC to investigate ISP practices that risk harming competition. Internet providers have chafed at the stricter rules governing phone service, which they say were written for a bygone era. Pai's effort to roll back the rules has led to a highly politicized debate. Underlying it is a complex policy decision with major implications for the future of the Web.
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The Republican Push To Repeal Net Neutrality Will Get Underway This Week

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  • You idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:08PM (#54437265)

    You fools elected a nightmare scenario government. Decades of progress in human rights, science, and technology getting wiped out. Congratulations.

    • The FCC (who created the phone company monstrosities) took over and neutrality regulations were released in 2015. They have never been enforced yet. So those decades of innovation building the world wide web - that was all without net neutrality micromanaging networks, with just FTC regulations.

      • by Jzanu ( 668651 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:20PM (#54437363)
        And yet that ignores everything that actually happened during that time span. Honestly do you think, ignoring all of the business reality that now shapes all facets of the world, that the outcomes from an academic exercise will be remotely similar to unrestrained bartering of every aspect of Internet access? If you do, then you are a fool. Look at discrete media for a counter example - every firm in the early modern age created its own format, and they all failed: LaserDisc, MiniDisc, etc. MiniNet is coming, and it will be more like MiniTrue.
        • > that the outcomes from an academic exercise will be remotely similar

          Regulation by the FTC, without net neutrality regulations, isn't an academic exercise. It's what we had until late 2015. It's what built the goddamn internet. I don't have to predict how that make work, that's the past. And I wad there, a member of the Internet Engineering Task Force drafting protocol standards such as HTTP (aka the web). I'd say our little web project went pretty damn well without Washington telling us how to rou

          • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

            That's right. Let's ignore all the attempts by ISPs to throttle competing traffic. Because those facts are inconvenient to our story that the Internet will remain as it always was.

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            And if the ISPs had the ability to do things like deep packet inspection back in 1998, do you think we'd have the relatively free internet we do now?

            The FCC didn't decide to impose regulations randomly because they were bored one day. They saw that things were looking to turn bad and they tried to head it off at the pass.

            The big ISPs are not going to give you an open internet of their own free will -- there is zero incentive to do so and a huge profit incentive to lock it down as much as possible. There i

            • People are concerned that a few major ISPs will provide just their content or make deals with a few content companies to provide the content. That is as opposed every ISP providing access to all web sites and internet services. That *could* happen. That *did* happen. The ISPs were called AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy. When others offered free and open access to everything on the internet, that beat the pants off the "ISP as content provider" model. People did in fact abandon Prodigy and instead signed up

              • Did the Idea fail or was it just not technically feasible to enforce the walled gardens at the time. As previously noted had the ISP's been capable of Deep Packet inspection back then we would see an entirely different net. Also what really killed the Dial-up kings was the move to always on Broadband connections that they didn't control.

                But now those always on broadband services are the kings and are moving towards the walled gardens of the dial up era, because control ensures increased profits.
              • by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @03:49AM (#54439771)

                Your example also happened at a time when the internet relied entirely on sitting on top of a wire infrastructure that already existed and was maintained by companies not involved in the supply of internet services. Those ISPs were sitting on the phone lines - and changing ISPs was as easy as terminating your account and getting another one. It was fairly easy to switch ISPs and fairly cheap and easy to establish one - because the infrastructure costs were limited to a few routers and servers.

                That era doesn't exist anymore - broadband technology came with the downside of requiring expensive new infrastructure and the ISPs converged into being the same companies that build the infrastructure.
                The old ISP competitive market was lost in the process.

                Your prediction then that the same would happen is not supported by the evidence you're providing since the two situations are markedly different. It's a basic principle of the scientific method that if you change the parameters of the experiment you cannot assume the results will not also change.

              • Now what would it have looked like if AOL, or CompuServe owned the wires connecting to your house?
                Now our new CompuServe (comcast) owns the wires. They can shut you off any time they want. It is only the kindness of their heart that they allow you to access Youtube or daily motion or Wikipedia on the wires they own. We really should be thanking them for using the network they allow us to use.

              • You seem to think that broadband is a competitive market. Any company can receive telephone calls, but only a few companies can delivery broadband to your door.

                Without free competition, the industry needs regulation.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:29PM (#54437431)

        The past was not as rosy as you believe, and innovation stifling monopolies in telecom are nothing new. I remember trying to negotiate a peering agreement with MCI/Worldcom/UUNet back in the 1990s: "We own 60% of the Internet, and as long as you also own 60% of the Internet, then peering is no problem. Otherwise, pay up."

        • Sound like you couldn't get a settlement free peering arrangement. What was their reason(s)?

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          If you want to know what the Internet would look like, look at how information services were run by cell phone companies before Apple came along with the iPhone and broke the system.

          The focus wasn't on investing tons of money to develop innovative new capabilities, the focus was on ways of monetizing what their networks already could do, the way they still do with text messaging. For example I had a phone with a camera, but to get the picture off the camera I had to subscribe to a proprietary "Picture Mail

      • They have never been enforced yet.

        Interestingly murder is illegal and yet no one has enforced the law on me yet either.
        Maybe it is because I don't murder idiots who can't think clearly precisely because there's laws in place that would punish me.

        The success of a regulation is not measured by how often it needs to be enforced. Actually I could be measured that way, but in an inverse way to what you are describing.

        • Okay so apparently your theory is that although the FCC regulations hadn't gone into effect, they still had some great benefit on the internet. 2016, which had NN regulations written, was somehow much better than 1992-2014, with no such regulations, right?

          What *exactly* was so great, what did the new regulations accomplish that was better than what we've always had? Added expenses certainly slowed price reductions, what eas this great benefit that was worth it?

          • FCC regulations hadn't gone into effect

            He shoots, he misses, because the goal posts are now 10m to the left. I quoted the relevant bit above which is not at all what you said earlier. Which was that the regulations were released but hadn't been enforced. If you don't understand the simple presence of regulations can have an effect then really there's nothing I (or anyone else) can really do to help you anymore.

            What *exactly* was so great, what did the new regulations accomplish that was better than what we've always had?

            We didn't need laws against murder before the first murder either. May I remind you what actually happened in the past 2 years that cause

            • > You just can look at all the worried lobbying telcos

              So you're thinking is that if the people who actually run the networks, the people who know what they are talking about, think it's a horribly stupid idea, that proves that it's a great idea?

              One early draft of the rules made it illegal to block spam - all smtp traffic had to be treated equally. Ensuing drafts were dumb in a similar, but more complex way. All traffic is NOT the same. Sometimes you WANT your packets delayed, because early packets are

          • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

            What *exactly* was so great, what did the new regulations accomplish that was better than what we've always had?

            The difference is that the ISPs are now also setting themselves up to be primary content providers, thus giving a financial incentive to degrade Internet services which they didn't have before. It also didn't used to matter in the old days before we could stream TV and movies in any real quality. The purposes for which end subscribers use the Internet have changed in the last several years, and the business goals and products of the Internet Service Providers have also changed in the same time period.

      • Agreed, where I am you can ALWAYS watch netflix and youtube, other streaming sites may be slow as treacle but those two never seem to have an issue. I doubt "net neutrality" has ever been enforced in my country. To be honest they have been shaping certain ports for years, all this means is that they will start shaping depending on destination as well.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Who is getting who, the election was between the lessor evil and the lessor evil where a vote for the greater evil could have only gone to Cthulhu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org], good thing it was running else it would have won, although how much of greater evil Cthulhu would be compared to the ones that ran for the election would be questionable. It's not like any laws that are put in cannot not be taken out and they will be. Lets be serious, nightmare government, that was that backstabbing bullshit Unc

    • You fools elected a nightmare scenario government. Decades of progress in human rights, science, and technology getting wiped out. Congratulations.

      At some point, fibre will allow a competitive and the wish will be for a competitor that will be net neutral.

      Without exception other countries have insisted on Net-Neutrality. This is a anti-net neutrality is a oligopoly by Verizon and the other Behemoths exercising control over the government.

  • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:11PM (#54437303)

    It's amazing that the Republicans are focusing rolling back old policy rather than making new policy with all the issues going on in the government right now!

    • Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it is often easier to undo existing legislation than it is to create a new piece of legislation.

      • I remember circa 2013 the republican congress was called the "least productive" congress in history. Ted Cruz declared that this was a good thing and said: "A congress should be judged more by how many laws it repeals than by how many laws it passes".

        Of course, it turns out that congress was STILL the least productive by this measure as well. In fact, the only thing that congress ever actually 'achieved' was to shut down the government (and they ultimately had to relent and sign a budget without getting the

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:57PM (#54437611) Journal

      Nobody is going to be doing anything for months but watching the unfolding horror story in the White House. Now we've reached the "Special Counsel" stage with Robert Mueller taking over the DoJ investigation into Trump-Russia links. It's like Watergate-on-steroids, or more like Watergate-on-methamphetamine. If the record of impeachment is any indicator, Washington will literally grind to a halt for many months.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Or as someone else put it: "Trump is doing a speed-run of the Nixon Presidency."
        • Well Trump himself still thinks he's doing a re-enactment of the Andrew Jackson presidency, trail of tears and all.

      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        It's like Watergate-on-steroids, or more like Watergate-on-methamphetamine. If the record of impeachment is any indicator, Washington will literally grind to a halt for many months.

        WOOOHOOO! Yipppeeee! Yahoooooooo! Yeeee......erm....*cough* I mean that's too bad.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by guises ( 2423402 )
      Well... not to belabor definitions here, but you explained this yourself in your title. Republicans are not progressives, they are not after progress. They are conservatives, in opposition to progress. Or, to put a more positive spin on that, they're about careful, cautious, advancement and the way we've been doing things until now has worked just fine thank-you-very-much.

      Those are the old definitions of progressive and conservative. The modern American definitions are just: conservatives believe whateve
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Conservatism is about restraint, not opposition to progress. Progressivism is not about progress, but "I want it all and I want it now, and damn you if you can't handle change" (not to be confused with liberalism, which is about progress).

        What we want is homeostasis -- attenuated healthy rate of progress. Social disruption is a sign of an unhealthy rate of growth. Liberals and conservatives working together in a balanced system is what works. Liberals can try to reach too far, and conservatives can pull the

        • Liberal policies appeal to the poor and downtrodden, a sector of the population that's only increasing in size and voting power. Therefore, your conservative policies are under continuous threat of being overtaken by "disruptive" progressivism.

          This explains the gerrymandering to contain and control liberal, often metropolitan, areas of the US. If you could win by playing fair, you'd do it - but you can't, so you have to rely on a big punitive government to prevent the growth of a big egalitarian one.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Its in line with Trump's campaign platform. He really only promoted two policies of his own: Building a wall and "winning."

      Everything else he promised pretty much was rolling back one piece of Obama's work or another.

      Oh well, and lowering taxes. But that's been a "promise" of every Republican candidate for decades. At this point its more of a "good morning" for them than an actual promise they plan on fulfilling beyond a small token tax break for the rich.

    • It's amazing that the Republicans are focusing rolling back old policy rather than making new policy with all the issues going on in the government right now!

      Please identify one act of government that was For the people, by the people. The roll back of the ACA without a replacement was Anti-people and for BIG BUSINESS.
      The anti-net neutrality is for BIG INTERNET PROVIDERS, and not for the people.
      Already you are having to pay extra for internet speeds that are standard in all other major countries. Ten years ago, in Latvia, where my son lived, we had fibre to the apartment and could download a movie in a few minutes.

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:17PM (#54437335) Journal
    "Pai's effort to roll back the rules has led to a highly politicized debate. Underlying it is a complex policy decision with major implications for the future of the Web"

    There is no debate here. This is an ISP cronie trying to repeal a policy shoved down government throats by the collective voices of most of the people in the country. R's whore for big business and D's sell out to tech and media companies. At best net neutrality is a wash for D's with as many policy buyers in the tech and media area willing to bribe them to do it as not.

    That is what you call actual Democracy. When public support is so overwhelming that it forces the hands of politicians on the things which benefit us, which almost universally neither party supports. Net neutrality, castrating domestic wiretapping, protecting whistle blowers like Snowden, spreading military power among the states, actually enforcing parts of the constitution the limit federal power, redistricting in a way that reflects the 51-49% split between urban and rural population WITHOUT trying to lump any particular special interest or minority group together, making it illegal to accept jobs or money after leaving a public office for any entity that was under the authority of that office, including indirectly (i.e. the president can have no income source but his salary for life after office and the FCC chairman can't be paid by ISP's afterward).
    • R's whore for big business and D's sell out to tech and media companies. At best net neutrality is a wash for D's with as many policy buyers in the tech and media area willing to bribe them to do it as not.

      I'm not saying that it's absolute but in regards to network neutrality, it's been a very partisan issue. [wikipedia.org]

      Support for "the Obama administration's signature Internet polic[y]" [wikipedia.org] was split down partisan lines and has remained as such.

      The current proposal for Open Internet was opposed by the FCC's two Republican officials, Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker. They believe that the current order will stifle internet innovation. They also believe that the regulation will not hold up to judicial review.[8] McDowell himself believes that the FCC "is defying the court and also circumventing the will of Congress."[8]

      Democrats and left-leaning organizations are disappointed with the rule as well because they claim that it does not go far enough.[13] Prior to the passage of the regulations, The Progressive Change Campaign Committee attacked Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, saying "Internet users across America will have lost a hero if Commissioner Copps caves to pressure from big business and supports FCC Chairman Genachowski's fake Net Neutrality rules — rules written by AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, the very companies the public is depending on the FCC to regulate strongly."[14]

      The net neutrality rule did not keep ISPs from charging more for faster access. The measure was denounced by net neutrality advocates as a capitulation to telecommunication companies such as allowing them to discriminate on transmission speed for their profit, especially on mobile devices like the iPad, while pro-business advocates complained about any regulation of the Internet at all. Republicans in Congress announced to reverse the rule through legislation.[52][53] Advocates of net neutrality criticized the changes.[54]

      It's nice to remember only the good parts of history but it's critical that we remember all parts of history lest we be doomed to repeat it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      bullshit. Democrats like Obama fought to preserve and enforce through law Net Neutrality, and now the GOP administration is in a hurry to repeal it. if you are too cowardly to own up to your own party's policy's then maybe you shouldn't vote for them.

      • Psst, not being a Democrat doesn't make me a Republican or a member of any other party. There are still people out there who actually think for themselves to arrive at their opinions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:18PM (#54437349)
    * Price-gouge consumers for slow, unreliable service
    * Man-in-the-middle attacks to spy on all their web traffic, collect the data, sell it to advertisers so they can spam the fuck out of everyone
    * Break into customer emails for the same reasons as the above
    * Effectively break the Internet by crippling competing services
    * Push consumers into walled gardens 'for their own good' (and for greater profit)
    * Become both content creators and content providers, effectively creating a monopoly, raise prices even more
    Given their druthers:
    * Make all OTA broadcasts illegal, all content reception must be PAID for

    ..yeah, the GOP can shove it up their fat asses. If what they do fucks the internet worse than it already is, I'll just refuse to play anymore. I got along without it for decades, I can get along without it again if I have to. Bastards.

    Of course Trump will probably be arrested before the year is out, and in the next general election, Republicans will be run out of town on a rail, too, for fucking everything up, so it might take a while but everything might just get set right again before they manage to blow it all up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @05:30PM (#54437447)

    Where road ownership will be privatized and each owner will get to set its own rules regarding who gets to drive on the roads, what brand of cars are allowed on the road, which destination you are allowed to go to when using said road, and where both the person driving the car and the owner of the destination where he is driving to will have to pay for the privilege of using the road.

    • Wish I had mod points...

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      This is already happening, though for different reasons. Infrastructure is of course a major concern that government doesn't really have the funds to deal with, so there's a fairly large push for private companies to build toll roads in their stead.

      While I doubt we'll see them turn you away for driving a Toyota instead of a Mazda, they are already in essence turning away the poorer people who can barely afford gas for their car and can't handle the additional cost of tolls, and I wouldn't be surprised to s

    • Where road ownership will be privatized and each owner will get to set its own rules regarding who gets to drive on the roads, what brand of cars are allowed on the road, which destination you are allowed to go to when using said road, and where both the person driving the car and the owner of the destination where he is driving to will have to pay for the privilege of using the road.

      How true, so then you pay two tolls and can drive at 120 mph, while the guy who pays one toll is only allowed to drive at 90 mph. But that is besides the connection fee, the toll to get onto the highway.

      If your highway is rated at 90mph, then if you get onto that highway, you want to be able to do 90mph. You do not want to discover that you are second class, unless you fork up an additional amount of money. Bring back the good old days where you had a 20gig/month allotment and then you paid a penalty fe

  • just like they're taking it away, we can get it back. Vote the other side in 2018. Then Vote the other side in 2022. Tell all your friends and family to do the same. We can take it back. It's not theirs.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      otherside... you mean the people that take money from the same corps and lobbyists?
      personally i am giving up hope and just ignoring the world as it burns around us all.

      • you mean the people that take money from the same corps and lobbyists?

        Obama got more telecom money than Romney did, and he still put an FCC chairman in place in favor of net neutrality.

        • by zlives ( 2009072 )

          the chairman was not in favor, but his boss made him listen to the public... so i guess some difference is there.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a huge newbie when it comes to American politics, but how is this even a partisan issue? Which party is standing on the platform of "Less internet and higher bills for every man, woman, child, and business"? Do Republican constituents strongly believe that there is too much opportunity on the internet and fairly competing for market share is ruining the country?

    The whole Trump thing I get, I think. I can appreciate the situation even if I don't appreciate the man. But this I just can't understand, is t

    • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @06:34PM (#54437853)

      Because here in the US, and most common among right leaning folks, we have a very unique mental ... 'condition' about the government doing anything other than shows of military force.

      These rubes are told: "government is interfering with business", and the knee-jerk reaction is "regulation bad, free enterprise good". And that's how republican voters are conned into voting/supporting things that are absolutely counter their interests.

      Basically, you have the FCC/government interfering with free enterprise, which goes against our notion of rustic self reliance. Notice, this only gets trotted out when the government is trying to regulate business, especially if it's in the public interest. Handouts are of course distinct, and definitely a different beast!

      • My coworkers are all conservative, but sometimes they complain about something. "There ought to be a law..." and so I have to remind them that these pro-consumer ideas they come up with are too liberal for a conservative, right-minded government like ours.
  • So, is there some specific reason to think net neutrality can never be re-established? Aside from the fact that under the next administration, we'll still have millions of idiots who think lol liberal big government and comcast monopoly still funneling money into key legislators? I mean there's nothing structural to say the FCC can't turn around and say "And net neutrality back now"?
    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      I believe there actually is a clause in the repeal legislation they're trying to push that specifically denies future reversals. And you thought "no take backs" died in primary school!

      Of course, there's still the possibility of reimplementing some form of net neutrality in a different manner, but that will be significantly more work than simply reclassifying ISPs from Title I to Title II, which is all the FCC did the first time.

  • This is an argument rather than an article. A few of the biggest corporate opponents of Net Neutrality - whose arguments this article echoes (while also vulgarly invoking political partisanship) - sit on stockpiles large enough that they could build their own infrastructures if they so chose. The competitive clout wielded by the Silicon Valley crowd makes them vulnerable to no real risk in a free market situation. One could easily advocate that Net Neutrality instead harms the consumer, by depriving infrast
  • I have said this on other forums, but the only way to get John Q. Public's attention is for many high profile websites (I'm looking at you, Google along with others) to go dark. I'm not talking a black banner or some such at the top - I'm talking TOTAL blackout - with nothing more than white text explaining why. Trying to bypass the home page (Thinking it's just window dressing) redirects you back to the blackout page. NOTHING works. Pull the proverbial plug.

    That's how you get action.

    • So they should shut themselves down to bully people into supporting something that did nothing and was pushed by people who didn't even understand what they were pushing.

      So many people pushing Net Neutrality talk about these scary scenarios that never happened before NN, and then talk about Netflix and Comcast while failing to realize that Net Neutrality wouldn't have mattered since the issue was network traffic management of an abusive peer, something specifically allowed under Net Neutrality rules.

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