The FCC's Net Neutrality Sellout: A Wakeup Call And A Slap In The Face

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The FCC's Net Neutrality Sellout: A Wakeup Call And A Slap In The Face

The good news: the FCC says it is committed to net neutrality. The bad news: the FCC thinks you're an idiot.

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Yeah, these new rules seem like forcing the Internet to behave like Ye Olde cable t.v packages. I bet Netflix subscription numbers are going to drop like a ton of bricks. And more people will turn to pirating rather than choosing to get screwed over.

008Zulu:
Yeah, these new rules seem like forcing the Internet to behave like Ye Olde cable t.v packages. I bet Netflix subscription numbers are going to drop like a ton of bricks. And more people will turn to pirating rather than choosing to get screwed over.

That's not even the biggest concern.

It shits all over small businesses, especially the web-based ones, and puts a hard cap on their growth. It opens the possibility of legal outright censorship of the internet. It incentivizes ISPs to provide an inferior service at a higher price.

Long story short, the loss of net neutrality is a fucking disaster and Wheeler needs to be punched in the dick by a horde of angry midgets.

All I can say as someone who is not an American citizen is that I hope every single American user of this website does everything they can to make their voices heard on this subject, and don't even wait for the official review period. And then, once you've made your voice heard, tell everyone else you know to do the same.

Non-Americans SHOULD be worried as well.
This will effect the WHOLE of the internet.

Also:
We need to force our congress to make it ILLEGAL to have been or become a lobbyist with regards to offices like, well, Congress and government agencies.

That was a well-written editorial, but the pictures are a bit childish...

TwistedEllipses:
That was a well-written editorial, but the pictures are a bit childish...

When the corruption is so brazen, those kinds of images pretty much make sense. I don't think they're even trying to pretend to be acting in public interests, the political cartoon image at least is a perfect fit.

OT: This whole thing is appalling. I don't even know what to say. Depressing. I can only hope that this stuff will go viral, and the shit storm will be large enough to delay this crap until they make their next attempt.

The worrying thing to me though, is that this kind of thing is basically inevitable at this point. America (and probably pretty much anywhere else) is run like an oligarchy, and those with power are only becoming more powerful over time. Public opinion has less and less weight as time goes on, and I don't think anyone is in a position to prevent that.

This is bad. Very, very bad. I'm not usually a "sky is falling" type of person, but this could very well spell the end of the internet as we currently know it. I'm not saying what we have is perfect (far from it!), but the alternative this poses would be far worse.

TwistedEllipses:
That was a well-written editorial, but the pictures are a bit childish...

Eh, I think it's fine. My local newspaper prints all sorts of political cartoons in their editorials section. That's where this sort of thing belongs. It's much better than them inserting such images in, say, a news article (something this website has done quite often in the past). I'm hoping this article is the start of a trend towards news articles becoming more objective around here. By all means, go wild in editorials like these, but let the reader reach their own conclusions regarding the day's headlines.

Lunncal:

The worrying thing to me though, is that this kind of thing is basically inevitable at this point. America (and probably pretty much anywhere else) is run like an oligarchy, and those with power are only becoming more powerful over time. Public opinion has less and less weight as time goes on, and I don't think anyone is in a position to prevent that.

Except for in Europe where its a bunch of angry children all sitting in a big house and no one agrees with the other while the UK are ready to pick up their ball and go home.

Well atleast they want to cement down net neutrality over here and "usually" are in favor of the people when it comes to laws regarding the interwebs.

We are in a weird situation here where one half of the western world is going the route of net neutrality and the other takes a huge step away from it.

Will that mean that now alot of small companies will look to relocate their businesses to europe or atleast look for servers in europe?

Tanis:
Non-Americans SHOULD be worried as well.
This will effect the WHOLE of the internet.

Oh, believe me, we're aware. The shitty thing is, there is practically nothing we can do about it. Then, when the US gets screwed over by this, other countries people in power will notice and do the same to make even more money.

Now, if I were a Comcast CEO I would call up Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, and tell him I've got a couple hundred million reasons why he should dedicate some to telling his watchers to go support FCC's plan. It's the channel with the most technophobic viewers who have no idea what all this entails and the most viewers who will support corporate interests regardless of whether or not it steps on their own throats.

Fox dedicates a few hours on a slow news day. They've got 24 hours to fill so it wont be hard to find time. They go on how these new rules will support free market, compare everyone against the rules with Hitler, and close it off with the clincher by implying that Obama would be against these rules and so all REAL Americans should be endorsing them. There, you now have enough people flooding the public comments with endorsement of the new plan that the numbers for and against are close enough that the FCC are free to do what they want.

Comcast. If you're reading this. I can be a completely amoral, unfeeling, money hungry piece of s**t bastard who can play the public like a fiddle. I'll be the best damn CEO you've ever had. Call me.

Someones is going to have pay for the infrastructure costs involved in the increased bandwidth because of video on demand. Its either going to be the the companies that stream or the isp's. They are not going to be able pass 100% of the cost on to the consumer, so some is going to have to take a hit on their margin. This whole net neutrality debate is being funded by corporate lobbyists acting on behalf of the streaming companies. As usual fashionable liberal opinion buys the anti corporate line while ignoring the fact the main beneficiaries are other corporations.

albino boo:
Someones is going to have pay for the infrastructure costs involved in the increased bandwidth because of video on demand. Its either going to be the the companies that stream or the isp's. They are not going to be able pass 100% of the cost on to the consumer, so some is going to have to take a hit on their margin. This whole net neutrality debate is being funded by corporate lobbyists acting on behalf of the streaming companies. As usual fashionable liberal opinion buys the anti corporate line while ignoring the fact the main beneficiaries are other corporations.

yes there are benefits to both sides. but this ignores how the isp system in the USA is broken in comparison to comparable systems like the UK's free market, faster and cheaper network suppliers. It's also so broken that companies are pressuring legal bodies to make newcomers like Google Fiber illegal thereby killing any chance of free competition.

The issue for the USA is that it's not a capitalist country anymore It's got traits of oligopolies, totalitarian dictatorships, socialist European states all mixed together with deep, endemic corruption in the form of lobbyists, the electoral college and the scam which is the 'Federal' Reserve (A privately owned central bank completely unaccountable to the American people in any way), and when you have a broken system like this you get people like Wheeler.

Why don't you explain how it is that we've come to expect brazen cowardice from the Obama administration?

vallorn:
The issue for the USA is that it's not a capitalist country anymore It's got traits of oligopolies, totalitarian dictatorships, socialist European states all mixed together with deep, endemic corruption in the form of lobbyists, the electoral college and the scam which is the 'Federal' Reserve (A privately owned central bank completely unaccountable to the American people in any way), and when you have a broken system like this you get people like Wheeler.

And how is this not a perfect representation what a capitalist society truely is? free market does not equal capitalism, in fact they are almost the opposite.

(Also i have to ask, how is the USA socialist? I am a political scientist so I am really curious^^)

snarking aside...
This is really bad gals and guys. We have had quite some success with creating wide publicity, to fight these initiatives in the EU, with stromg short term success. Though, obviously, no one can say where the voyage is going in the long run...

Freedom of information, espression and communication is being attacked here, very fundamental aspects of our societies. I really hope that you can turn this around somehow and that net neutraility is actually being constitutionalised in the EU as it appears it might happen.

Tanis:
Also:
We need to force our congress to make it ILLEGAL to have been or become a lobbyist with regards to offices like, well, Congress and government agencies.

This is so disturbingly and depressingly common it has a term associated with the practice: the "revolving door". The Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, Beareau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Consumer Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Antitrust Division, and pretty much any 3 letter government acronym responsible for protecting people from profitable but dangerous business decisions has been sponged off of, defanged or completely gutted by this practice.

In some ways it makes sense, as the only people with the theoretically relevant expertise in the subject would have to come from inside the industry. But the problem is that the people that get into these positions are voted on by politicians, the same people that are taking massive campaign contributions from these same lobbyist groups that are sponsored by the businesses that are supposed to be regulated by these agencies!

It will never, ever, ever end so long as money is so freely and easily allowed to flow into politics, particularly in the form of outright bribes for favors- er, sorry, "campaign contributions" for voting certain ways on specific bills, introducing certain bills, and adding measures and language to existing bills. How exactly that doesn't constitute a bribe, I'll never fucking understand. (I understand that "campaign contributions" aren't supposed to end up in congresspeople's bank accounts, they're supposed to be legally separate, but every contribution is money of their own they don't have to spend, so it amounts to the same thing in practice.)

----

Now you might look at that long post and assume that I'm positing some kind of unified conspiracy. That's not the case. What I'm saying is that, in individual subsets, businesses have realized it's more profitable to spend a few hundred million lobbying for lax and even completely toothless regulations that allow them to turn around and make billions, regardless of the damage to the end user/consumer. It's capitalism at its logical conclusion, unchecked money flow being leveraged to stack the deck so it keeps flowing back towards those who already have it. That's what it means to maximize profits, and businesses that don't maximize profits generally go out of business or fire their CEOs.

I have multiple examples of industry lobbyists utterly destroying various governmental agencies to the point where they are unable to do their jobs of protecting the public, if anyone really feels like becoming very very angry.

Sadly, almost no one was here last time the Escapist discussed this issue.

Someones is going to have pay for the infrastructure costs involved in the increased bandwidth because of video on demand. Its either going to be the the companies that stream or the isp's. They are not going to be able pass 100% of the cost on to the consumer, so some is going to have to take a hit on their margin. This whole net neutrality debate is being funded by corporate lobbyists acting on behalf of the streaming companies. As usual fashionable liberal opinion buys the anti corporate line while ignoring the fact the main beneficiaries are other corporations.

ISPs profit margins are INSANE and they had undergone little to no infrastructure upgrades during the 2005-2010 period due to the lack of competition. The US average price/(mb/s) is $3.56, beaten by Europe ($3.50), China ($2.06), Russia ($1), and let's not even talk about South Korea or Japan before we embarrass ourselves. The US is 32nd in speed/cost of the 65 countries being tracked via Speedtest.net data. Current ISPs are so greedy that Google is, by all reports, going to make a profit by offering internet at a cost of 7 cents/mb.

ISPs currently have little to no regional competition and are doing their damndest to block competitor expansion via lobbying at every possible level. Hardly the behavior of a healthy free market.

Our government is a house of clowns being paid to do stupid things by an industry too immature to realize what they are doing to themselves in the long run. Well, here's hoping public voice actually has an impact on this insanity.

The situation the US has just in terms of provider monopoly alone is a terrible situation. The ISPs are ALREADY enacting unreasonable business practices having pitiful speeds and high prices simply because the FCC won't impose any level of competition on the market. As soon as any competition does appear their speeds magically increase or they frantically start laying fiber.

The ISPs have already proven they will act is the worst possible way they can get away with and considering these vague rules i think we are actually understating the impact this will have on the internet in the USA. Like I've said before putting the big content providers in bed with the ISPs, many of which RUN their own online content services, leads to a monopoly situation so complete and so locked down it baffles the mind.

Mid Boss:
Now, if I were a Comcast CEO I would call up Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, and tell him I've got a couple hundred million reasons why he should dedicate some to telling his watchers to go support FCC's plan. It's the channel with the most technophobic viewers who have no idea what all this entails and the most viewers who will support corporate interests regardless of whether or not it steps on their own throats.

Fox dedicates a few hours on a slow news day. They've got 24 hours to fill so it wont be hard to find time. They go on how these new rules will support free market, compare everyone against the rules with Hitler, and close it off with the clincher by implying that Obama would be against these rules and so all REAL Americans should be endorsing them. There, you now have enough people flooding the public comments with endorsement of the new plan that the numbers for and against are close enough that the FCC are free to do what they want.

Comcast. If you're reading this. I can be a completely amoral, unfeeling, money hungry piece of s**t bastard who can play the public like a fiddle. I'll be the best damn CEO you've ever had. Call me.

The Comcast CEO doesn't need to do any of this. The chairman of the FCC is a cable industry lobbyist appointed by Obama last year. Directors of government agencies appointed by this administration have already shown that they can do pretty much whatever they like despite public opinion. Comcast already has their boy in, and I'm sure the campaign contribution check is in the mail.

SecondPrize:
Why don't you explain how it is that we've come to expect brazen cowardice from the Obama administration?

This isn't Obama administration cowardice- He's the one who appointed the current chairman, who was previously a cable industry lobbyist.

chozo_hybrid:

Oh, believe me, we're aware. The shitty thing is, there is practically nothing we can do about it. Then, when the US gets screwed over by this, other countries people in power will notice and do the same to make even more money.

In another thread I already voiced my concerns that the current proposal by the EU commissar for the digital agenda is basically doing the same. It's just sneakier over here. So the EU may already be hot on the US' heels.

Captcha: It is certain ... Please, say it ain't so... D:

By the way, your avatar is awesome.

Edit:

erbi79:

Freedom of information, espression and communication is being attacked here, very fundamental aspects of our societies. I really hope that you can turn this around somehow and that net neutraility is actually being constitutionalised in the EU as it appears it might happen.

The Itre already gutted Neelie Kroes' proposal with broad exceptions for "specialised services". Our last chance is to all vote for people we trust to turn against this in the EU Parliament elections next months. Namely the social democratic S&D block, the green /EFA block or splinter groups like the pirates and stuff. The EU Parliament will only vote on this after the elections so we gotta shake up the house first, because if the christian conservative EVP and the libertarian ALDE blocks stay the strongest factor then it's gonna get waved right through.

It's a bit funny, people actually wanting government to regulate the internet for once.

Well, fuck everything.

Guess the internet is gonna be sucky and expensive... for americans. Most other countries have more or less gone the opposite way. the UK signed Net Neutrality into law and I suspect many servers will be moving out of the US soon.... which is good for gamers like me...now you yanks will be the ones with the cruddy pings and latency issuea.

...Goddamnit I knew the big businesses were corrupt, I fuckin' knew it! Well, I'm not gonna stand for this! Viva la revolucion!

Well, the E.U signed Net Neutrality into law so I suppose a lot of business will just start moving outside the U.S...

Good riddance too, our customer service is way better. It will end up being beneficial towards consumers in the end if U.S goes full retard.

StriderShinryu:
All I can say as someone who is not an American citizen is that I hope every single American user of this website does everything they can to make their voices heard on this subject, and don't even wait for the official review period. And then, once you've made your voice heard, tell everyone else you know to do the same.

Checked your profile. It says canadian. (Like me)

We're also in deep shit. http://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/blog/canada-wont-escape-the-fccs-gutting-of-net-neutrality?utm_source=motherboarfb

In other words, I guess we can make an effort to counter this too!

Mid Boss:
Now, if I were a Comcast CEO I would call up Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, and tell him I've got a couple hundred million reasons why he should dedicate some to telling his watchers to go support FCC's plan. It's the channel with the most technophobic viewers who have no idea what all this entails and the most viewers who will support corporate interests regardless of whether or not it steps on their own throats.

Fox dedicates a few hours on a slow news day. They've got 24 hours to fill so it wont be hard to find time. They go on how these new rules will support free market, compare everyone against the rules with Hitler, and close it off with the clincher by implying that Obama would be against these rules and so all REAL Americans should be endorsing them. There, you now have enough people flooding the public comments with endorsement of the new plan that the numbers for and against are close enough that the FCC are free to do what they want.

Comcast. If you're reading this. I can be a completely amoral, unfeeling, money hungry piece of s**t bastard who can play the public like a fiddle. I'll be the best damn CEO you've ever had. Call me.

Interestingly enough, when the original net neutrality laws were struck down in court everyone was against the idea on the news. Fox business analysts, Fox regular analysts, hell I think Papa Bear himself got in on the action talking about how this was a fuck terrible idea.

Even the slimiest business person not related to Comcast realizes that no one wants a world where Comcast can dictate what can and can not be viewed on the internet.

Well, never thought I would use this expression in earnest being an atheist but:

God Damn all of those involved to Hell. Straight to Hell, for eternal torture.
(which in their case would likely equate to serving free food to the poor at a soup kitchen)

Time to perform the Ultimate Canadian act of Anger and Defience!!!

I am going to write SUCH a letter to my MP!

Random Argument Man:

StriderShinryu:
All I can say as someone who is not an American citizen is that I hope every single American user of this website does everything they can to make their voices heard on this subject, and don't even wait for the official review period. And then, once you've made your voice heard, tell everyone else you know to do the same.

Checked your profile. It says canadian. (Like me)

We're also in deep shit. http://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/blog/canada-wont-escape-the-fccs-gutting-of-net-neutrality?utm_source=motherboarfb

In other words, I guess we can make an effort to counter this too!

Good, let us all vote this to death faster than a Quebecois Referendum!

(And then when our spineless Govt. just does whatever America does, we storm Ottawa. We know the Mounties just let people through anyways, not like we need to worry about security)

[edit] Americans, this is a good time for y'all to brandish those guns you value so much. Wave them in the direction of the people trying to steal your freedoms, and your Moneys. After all, isn't that the point?

SecondPrize:
Why don't you explain how it is that we've come to expect brazen cowardice from the Obama administration?

I admit that was, kind of, something of a cheap shot on my part. However - and I say this as a two-time Obama voter, someone probably so far to the left of many people here I only show up in peripheral vision, and someone who is at least able to recognize that at least from my perspective, things would have been a lot worse under McCain - I think it's fair to note that the Obama administration is absurdly risk-averse even when there's no damned reason for it to be. After the election, no action was taken to acknowledge the fact that a certain Connecticut Senator had spent 2008 calling Obama a communist and actively campaigning for the other party and yet was still allowed to retain his seniority in the senate and to caucus with the Democrats, and of course he became a constant source of betrayal. The Health Care debate was particularly frustrating. Yes, the ACA makes things objectively better than they were before, but any concepts that weren't already part of republican health care proposals were removed from the administration's proposals before they even started to negotiate with congress. Further, the administration had to be dragged, somewhat embarrassingly, into finally supporting gay rights unambiguously. And that's not even getting into the secrecy behind the Trans-Pacific Pact negotiations.

It gets difficult to believe "we did the best we could with this congress" when even when congress isn't a factor we still end up with stuff like this Net Neutrality sellout. Very frustrating.

My point being that I have grown very used to the administration kind of wimping out every time it matters. As a friend of mine put it, it's a weird thing that the victory on getting meaningful health care reform finally passed still felt like defeat when all was said and done.

RossaLincoln:

SecondPrize:
Why don't you explain how it is that we've come to expect brazen cowardice from the Obama administration?

I admit that was, kind of, something of a cheap shot on my part. However - and I say this as a two-time Obama voter, someone probably so far to the left of many people here I only show up in peripheral vision, and someone who is at least able to recognize that at least from my perspective, things would have been a lot worse under McCain - I think it's fair to note that the Obama administration is absurdly risk-averse even when there's no damned reason for it to be. After the election, no action was taken to acknowledge the fact that a certain Connecticut Senator had spent 2008 calling Obama a communist and actively campaigning for the other party and yet was still allowed to retain his seniority in the senate and to caucus with the Democrats, and of course he became a constant source of betrayal. The Health Care debate was particularly frustrating. Yes, the ACA makes things objectively better than they were before, but any concepts that weren't already part of republican health care proposals were removed from the administration's proposals before they even started to negotiate with congress. Further, the administration had to be dragged, somewhat embarrassingly, into finally supporting gay rights unambiguously. And that's not even getting into the secrecy behind the Trans-Pacific Pact negotiations.

It gets difficult to believe "we did the best we could with this congress" when even when congress isn't a factor we still end up with stuff like this Net Neutrality sellout. Very frustrating.

My point being that I have grown very used to the administration kind of wimping out every time it matters. As a friend of mine put it, it's a weird thing that the victory on getting meaningful health care reform finally passed still felt like defeat when all was said and done.

Seems it's time to enact the "Aerosmith Protocol"

Just going to leave this here:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/maintain-true-net-neutrality-protect-freedom-information-united-states/9sxxdBgy

It's a small thing, but it's a start.

And if you signed on for the U.S. to build a Death Star... really, no excuses now.

Callate:
Just going to leave this here:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/maintain-true-net-neutrality-protect-freedom-information-united-states/9sxxdBgy

It's a small thing, but it's a start.

And if you signed on for the U.S. to build a Death Star... really, no excuses now.

There's this one too.

American policies always seem to trickle North eventually. To those of you who can voice your opinion to your elected officials, please do. They'll keep pushing all the buttons they can to get it passed.

Cybylt:

Callate:
Just going to leave this here:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/maintain-true-net-neutrality-protect-freedom-information-united-states/9sxxdBgy

It's a small thing, but it's a start.

And if you signed on for the U.S. to build a Death Star... really, no excuses now.

There's this one too.

broken link. it needs to be link= not link:

Fixed version:

this one

Also voted on both of them let's get this ball rolling.

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