FCC May Step In To Restore Net Neutrality

Fighting back against a court ruling that found the FCC has no authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks, the commission has proposed regulating broadband under rules designed for phone networks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

From the story:

The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt “net neutrality” rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites.

Do you think the FCC will be able to win the battle?

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access [Wall Street Journal via Engadget]

Comments

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  1. RobHoliday says:

    Yes

  2. MisterE says:

    Don’t know on this one. On one hand, you have the corporate payoffs to our elected officials, and an agency with no “bite” left in it. If the White House gets involved, then the government is accused of being “big brother”

    • jeffjohnvol says:

      Agreed. NN is a good thing, but you don’t want an agency using powers that weren’t granted to them.

      • logicalnoise says:

        the power they’ll be utilizing were granted under bush’s term and broadband should have already been classified under title II.

  3. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I approve of this message.

  4. DerangedKitsune says:

    I would certainly hope this works.

    Otherwise, you just turn ISPs into the internet equivalent of protection rackets. “Gee, that’s a nice website you have there. Be a shame if no one could reach it, if you know what I mean.”

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      I’m surprised we don’t see more of this.

    • AngryK9 says:

      Sometimes I really thing that they have an ultimate goal of tiering Internet access like cable television is tiered.

      For $25 a month you get basic access, which includes Yahoo, Google, a handful of websites that belong to business in your local area, a local news station, and a national news station (Fox, ABC, MSNBC, or CBS, whichever your provider owns or gets the most money from), and 5 gigs of transfer a month with $0.25 cents to $0.50 cents to $1.00 per meg over, one email address and a 5 meg email box with a per-email rate of $0.25 for each email you receive and $0.50 for each you send,

      For $50 a month you get “Classic” access, which includes all of the above, plus access to certain ‘premium’ content such as Wall Street Journal, some Federal Government websites, an additional national news site, and Youtube, Hulu, plus access to up to 5 websites of your choice (from their pre-made list, of course), plus 15 gigs of transfer per month, one free email address with a 10 meg email box and up to 100 free emails per month (50 outbound, 50 inbound).

      For $75 a month you get “premium” service, which includes all of the above plus 1000 free emails (500 in, 500 out) and a 1 gig email box, unlimited access to any website that is owned/operated by your ISP or affiliated companies (read: those paying tons of money to be “affiliated”), 25 gigs of transfer per month with up to 3 email addresses which share the 1 gig box and 1000 free emails.

      Etc….I should stop, before some corporate wanker gets an idea…

  5. jeffjohnvol says:

    Once the FCC gets “authority” over the internet, expect another big fee on your broadband bill “fcc charge” and watch that agency grooooooowwwww. Does the government have to control everything?

    Why not just have congress pass an NN law?

    • Sanspants says:

      It might be because I’m half asleep right now and am not thinking this all the way through, but I might be willing to pay a small fee to keep net neutrality.

      • DogiiKurugaa says:

        I think I would be willing to pay a fairly decent fee to keep it myself. I shouldn’t have to, but I would because I would do what it takes to protect something worth the effort.

        • teamplur says:

          I’d rather pay a small fee, than be billed by the gig. No matter how little you use, no one except grannies that only go on their book club page or w/e are going to be paying any less than we pay now. The only thing everyone else will get is higher rates for internet.

    • harsa321 says:

      because the republicans would simply stonewall and kill any law that even REMOTELY interferes with a “free market” (gag)

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      1) Because they are lobbied heavily by special interest groups
      2) Because they’re dealing with other, argueably more important issues like financial and immigration reform
      3) Not enough people understand the issue and their constituents aren’t complaining enough
      4) Because Congress already developed the FCC, and that’s their job to handle this issue
      5) While I was typing this, more special interest groups joined in and paid Congress to not deal with the issue.

      • Griking says:

        Yet they had the time to investigate steroids and baseball

      • jeffjohnvol says:

        Then more grass root efforts need to be employed. Yes, the lobbying sucks, and yes, NN should be law, but I am not a big proponent of having another unelected agency dictating this stuff.

        My libertarian roots says NN is good, but it also tells me that overreaching government is bad too.

  6. taney71 says:

    They shouldn’t give equal treatment. If someone is using a crap load of the internet they should pay more.

    • Marlin says:

      They already do, rates are based on usage. Do you even know what net neutrality is?

      This is about charging more to someone for the same amount of data. Like someone else said above “Gee, that’s a nice website you have there. Be a shame if no one could reach it, if you know what I mean.”
      Charging more to get the “better” speed vs the not gonna even connect ya speed. Same amount of data, different speed.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      I’m not sure you understand how net neutrality works…

    • Dre' says:

      And if an ISP advertises “Unlimited” than that should actually mean unlimited. Not that that has a damn thing to do with Net Neutrality.

    • Martin Changworth says:

      That’s not Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the concept that all people should have equal access to the content of the web. ISPs in America wish to set up a “tiered” internet service similar to cable where you’re forced to buy a more expensive package in order to get the content you’re getting for free right now.

      For example: Time Warner owns Beepbeep.com, a website for buying and selling used cars. If you’re a customer of Time Warner Cable and you own their “basic” package, chances are that access to other websites like Craigslist will be limited or completely shut out in favor of their own website. Going on the Time Warner example, their “basic” package might only allow you to use the AIM instant messaging protocol, and you’d need to buy a “premium” package to use other IM protocols like MSN.

    • gjones77 says:

      I actually agree, if you’re going nuts downloading movies and such, eating up copious amounts of bandwidth every month, compared to the average user, then you should pay more.

      That’s akin to going to the gas station and fill ups are only $20 no matter tank size, my truck has a 25 gallon tank, your Civic only a 12 gallon, I am using far more of the product for the same cost.

      In this scenario, you’re paying more than you should to subsidize my gas usage, and I’m using far more than you, yet I’m paying the same cost.

      Simply put, there should be a tiered pricing scheme based on bandwidth, have a 100Gb a month download tier for $29.99 and $0.10 10Mb over that, 200Gb for $39.99 $0.10 10Mb over that, and unlimited at $69.99.

      At least that way the average user isn’t subsidizing those that use over 200Gb a month like we are now.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        What does that have to do with net neutrality?

      • Rachacha says:

        Net Neutrality has nothing to do with pricing or so called “Bandwidth Hogs”. Net neutrality in its simplest form means that all internet traffic is treated with the same priority. In other words, Verizon (as a phone company) can not throttle down VOIP traffic because it competes with their core business, and Comcast can not throttle Hulu & Netflix (or torrent sites) streaming video because it competes with their core business.
        ISPs should be allowed to manage network traffic which would include throttling down certain users based on usage (provided that such guidelines are clearly published). This would minimize the impact on you and the rest of the network of your neighbor downloading video 24/7.

      • tr41nwr3ck says:

        You’re comparing a finite resource, fossil fuels, to internet bandwidth consumption?

        Aside from the fact that this has nothing to do with network neutrality, volume consumption is immaterial up until the point that it affects general network QoS.

        This is why ISPs are able to offer “unlimited” packages. If the gas company allowed unlimited fillups to your tanks, big and small, the price would be confiscatory.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      You should really get that jerk in your knee looked at.

    • ktjamm says:

      They already do! Internet bandwidth is like a pipe – like you would use for plumbing. You pay for a 1/4 inch pipe, I pay for a 1 inch pipe. ISP’s don’t own the content, they don’t own anything but the ‘dumb’ empty pipes. US ISP’s have been intentionally under-investing in infrastructure “pipes”. and are complaining about congestion. So they decide they won’t allow bit torrent traffic, it cuts down on the congestion. Great! they don’t have to spend the money they should have in infrastructure, and instead can pocket the difference. That doesn’t change that I paid for a 1″ pipe.

      Just because you don’t use all of your 1/4″ pipe all of the time, doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me to use 100% of the pipe I paid for, all of the time.

      There is no such thing as “Bandwidth Hogs”, its a straw-man argument meant to distract you from the fact that they don’t have the capacity they are advertising for.

      If you used 300Kbps (youtube) (about 1/5th of a standard 1.5 Mbps DSL connection) of your bandwidth 10% of the time, you could download about 9 GB/month.

      If I used 100% of an 15 Mbps connection 100% of the time, I could get 4,746 GB/month

      4,000 GB is a lot more usage than 9 GB. does it matter? no. why? because I paid for a 15 Mbps connection with “unlimited usage”.

      Bottom line – If they are unable to provide for the speeds and capacity they advertise, they need to not advertise those speeds, or increase their infrastructure capacity so that it adequately supports demand.

    • friendlynerd says:

      That’s not what net neutrality is about. It’s about Comcast blocking access to Hulu because they would rather you subscribed to cable. Or about Verizon blocking access to T-Mobile’s site because it’s a competitor. Or throttling certain types of traffic like bit torrent.

  7. Mike H says:

    Guys and Gals, this is just another gov’t plot via the FCC to take over another segment of the U.S. economy. Once the Internet is controlled, what is next? Free speech? We should really pay attention to what we wish for. One more step towards a Marxist state.

    • ARP says:

      Beck is that you? You sound almost identical.

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,590506,00.html

      What is the difference between Marxism, Communism, Maoism and Socialism? You probably shouldn’t be throwing those terms around unless you know what they mean. In this case, I would suggest you’re likely wanting to use the term communism, as Marxism is philosphical/political view while communism is a political party/movement that has “planks” like any other political party. Public ownership of the media is a part of that platform. Of course, nothing in communism says that they desire to take aware free speech, that’s a more human element (the desire to stay in power).

      BOT- So what you’re saying is that a law/regulation saying that telling telecoms they can not discriminate against certain websites and will provide their customers with unfettered access to most websites, applications, etc (with a narrow exception for unlawful content) is reducing freedom? Do you also think that laws that say that companies can’t engage in fraud are also Marxist because they’re a government takeover of businesses’ ability to operate?

    • Sheogorath says:

      Do you even know what ‘Marxist’ means?

  8. gjones77 says:

    I’m all for NN, but I’m against anymore government intervention, the FCC has proven itself to be a useless nightmare.

    If it wasn’t for all the government regulations and the local deals that give cable companies defacto monopolies, we wouldn’t even need to have this discussion.

    Because of all the regulations, laws, and rules in place, it has made it damn near impossible for a new company to come in and create competition, the large companies actually like allot of the rules and regulation because it protects them from competition since no smaller company can generate the needed capital to compete thanks to the regulations.

    A perfect example of this was the lead paint scare last year with childrens toy, the large toy manufacturers (Hasbro, Mattel, etc..) work with the government that created regulations requiring that every piece of children’s clothing and part of a toy had to be tested and certified.

    The law is causing many companies to go out of business. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of used toys and children’s clothing have been destroyed because organizations like Good Will and the Salvation Army cannot afford to test the used toys and clothing given to them.

    Large companies like regulations, they protect them from competition, keep that in mind when you start yelling for more regulations.

    • incident man stole my avatar says:

      Amen!

    • ARP says:

      You do realize that the FCC had little to do with the local deals that created those monopolies? In fact it was the DE-regulation of the industry that was the culprit to those monopolies as it allowed default monopolies. It also allowed telecoms to divide and conquer by pouring money in to local elections and lobbying efforts; since there we as no regulation preventing these arrangements, they essentially bought monpolies and threatened to pull out of small towns entirely if they didn’t get their way. Since infrastructure costs are so high, many small towns couldn’t afford to put in their own infrastructure or entice other telecoms.

      You seem to intentionally ignore that it was the lack of regulation (rather the lack of enforcement) that created the lead problem in the first place. Yet you conveniently find a fault in the aftermath while ignoring the root cause.

      As to small business, this will likely help them. Without N-N, Comcast can go to all businesses with a website and say “pay us a ‘premium access fee’ of $10k or we’re going to deprioritize (slow access to) your website. So N-N helps these small businesses that you seem to care so much about.

      Geez, lots of teabaggers out today.

    • jsl4980 says:

      I couldn’t say it much better. These things always sound good at first. Yay net neutrality!

      Then a few months later once the FCC can mandate how ISPs operate, the RIAA/MPAA can focus all lobbying on the FCC to force 3 strikes plans, mandatory filtering of copyright infringement inducing sites, deep packet inspection, and whatever else your elected officials haven’t passed yet. The FCC members aren’t elected so they have nothing to lose when they give in to lobbying and gifts.

      • Kavatar says:

        So, maintain the status quo just to avoid a slippery slope? I hate arguments like that.

    • NatalieErin says:

      “The law is causing many companies to go out of business. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of used toys and children’s clothing have been destroyed because organizations like Good Will and the Salvation Army cannot afford to test the used toys and clothing given to them”

      Cite, please.

      (The Lead Free Toys Act was passed over 2 years ago, btw.)

    • Kilawat12 says:

      So you’re saying that we should allow our kids to put dangerous things in their mouth for the sake of small businesses? No thanks. And if small businesses didn’t also use cheap parts from china, they wouldn’t have to worry about possible having lead paint in their toys.

      • nova3930 says:

        Hey look, someone who doesn’t understand the law.

        That law requires EVERY company to test EVERY product EVERY time there’s a change to it, even if all the components are made by hand out of solid wood with no paint right here in the US.

        If I start a business making stuff like this by hand

        http://www.finewoodentoys.com/pro583344.html

        I have to pay to have it tested for lead. I have to pay to make sure solid wood has no lead in it. Do you understand who damn ridiculous that is?

        • Coelacanth says:

          Do what every other manufacuturer does and build it into the cost of production.

  9. jsl4980 says:

    This sounds good at first, but it gives the FCC a foot in the door to make a lot more decisions in the future. Lobbyists for entertainment industries can influence decisions like forcing ISPs to filter copyright infringing sites, or programs, or monitoring your content. This is a very very dangerous first step.

    We don’t need regulation, we need competition. Net neutrality wouldn’t be an issue if we had competing providers.

    • NatalieErin says:

      We have competing movie studios, and always have had them, and they still colluded on the Hays Code and later the MPAA. We used to have competing video rental businesses, and Blockbuster still survived just fine even though they censored content on some of their videos.

      The idea that competition will magically fix everything is ridiculous.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    THIS

  11. u1itn0w2day says:

    If there going to use the same premise/laws they did after the break-up of the cry Baby Bells the internet or your ISP will be nothing but a state sactioned monopoly.

    The phone companies were/are treated as a public utility which means anytime they want a rate increase they’ll go to local regulators,cry poor and probably get it. The rate increases wind up being a defacto tax.

    On one hand the use of internet or the actual physical plant in, on or going through public rights of ways is what needs to regulated. On the other without that regulation anytime you wind up using or are on somebody else unregulated private network is where the trouble starts. I think when the internet first started people had problems with servers in different cities causing long distance phone call bills. I could see something similar happening without somekind of regulation.

    I think the big thing started when ISPs and phone companies prioritized their own customers first sometimes diverting a non customer to a slower equipment/network. In other words they slowed their competitors internet activity keeping their own faster. As long as they process it I really don’t see that much of a problem.

  12. lymer says:

    I’d prefer the FCC to stay away from regulating the internet thanks.

    • ARP says:

      Do you understand your statement? That’s like being opposed a government rule that says we should have a free market. You’re opposed to something that will provide greater freedom and protections to the consumer because you’ve bought into the idea that all government regulation is bad.

  13. nova3930 says:

    I’m going to laugh when when people get what they’re scrabbling far and internet is regulated like other utilities ie net neutrality and internet starts getting charged like every other utility out there, namely by useage.

    • lymer says:

      This would never happen, because the federal government and it’s agencies never do anything wrong. And when they do it’s Bush’s fault. So there!

    • Martin Changworth says:

      Bandwidth is an unlimited resource made artificially scarce due to telcos making BS claims. Don’t tell me that the fastest speed possible is 10 mbps.

  14. ktjamm says:

    I hate to say this, but Net Neutrality can’t work it it’s current form.

    If left unregulated, companies like Comcast will implement packet shaping technologies,

    The Us Gov’t, unfortunately, is a “puppet” of the RIAA, MPAA, etc.(see ACTA, DMCA, Sony Bono Copyright extention act), and will most likely bow to said pressures. allowing loopholes for “reasonable management” and “copyright infringement blocking” etc.

    If the FCC gets power to control it, I don’t really have faith in their track record, and could bow to the same pressures the US Gov’t does.

    I don’t think this is something that can be fixed until the Senators are forced to vote with their constituents, rather than who has the most $$ to spend on lobbying.

  15. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    sure hope so.

    I’m tired of Consumers getting shafted…
    * buy an HTC incredible and have bloatware you CAN’T REMOVE from it
    * playstation taking away the ability to run other OS’s on it
    * get broadband just to find out the company giving it to you won’t let you do what you want or throttles you for it.

    What happened to the customer is always right? When we buy something-why do these companies think they can treat the transaction as more of a lease than us actually owning what we paid good money for? I wish someone would start some boycotts-these companies need to back down or lose business.

  16. smo0 says:

    I read somewhere, an awesome break down of net neutrality. Basically, what we have now… is … net neutrality. Then again, at home, I have Cox Cable – I haven’t had any issues with them as much as I like to complain – I have it REALLY GOOD compared to the east coast and the midwest ISPs. The article summed it up better than anyone else can. What we have now, will not be the same…. so pirate/stream all you can and keep World of Warcraft running 24/7. Because those days will be long gone.

  17. Geekybiker says:

    Its funny how many people think net neutrality= pricing per gb, etc.

    What happens is this.
    I pay comcast for say a 5 mb/s connection.
    Google pays their provider for a 10,000 gb/s connection (lets just assume its fast enough for whatever)

    What your ISP wants to do (in my case Comcast) is goto google and say “Hey you’re sending alot of data to our customers. If you want them to get your content at full speed, you’ll have to pay up. Otherwise we’ll cut the bandwidth alotted per customer to 512k/s”

    So basically ISP’s want to charge YOU for your 5MB/s Charge Google for their ungogly amount of bandwidth, and then double dip and charge google again to get you.

    Its not or less the same thing as if a cell phone company tried to charge the person you’re talking when you make a call. It would be like making every phone call a collect call, but still charging the caller.

    ISP want to do this to make more money of course, but also to protect their video service against online competition. IPTV is close to being a reality and video providers are scared of only becoming dumb pipes. s

  18. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    This is one thing that’s actually good.
    I still don’t get why a court (which has no clue anyway) can say that the FCC doesn’t have the authority.

    The FCC regulates telephone communications. With the introductions of services like VOIP that use the internet for telecommunications, it only makes sense that the FCC can regulate it.

    BTW…….telephone conversations have been traversing the Internet backbones for a long time..

  19. silas says:

    Nowadays,I’d trust business vs government on this one.
    The Fed is trying to address a problem the States & Cities created.

    The only way I can back this is if all areas covered by this law have at least 3 service providers,breaking most cities & states involuntary or corrupt regulatory ‘monopoly creation’ powers,therefore it would have to be phased in gradually.

    Beware when gvt. calls something by an attractive name.

  20. silas says:

    Nowadays,I’d trust business vs government on this one.
    The Fed is trying to address a problem the States & Cities created.

    The only way I can back this is if all areas covered by this law have at least 3 service providers,breaking most cities & states involuntary or corrupt regulatory ‘monopoly creation’ powers,therefore it would have to be phased in gradually.

    Beware when gvt. calls something by an attractive name.

  21. silas says:

    Nowadays,I’d trust business vs government on this one.
    The Fed is trying to address a problem the States & Cities created.

    The only way I can back this is if all areas covered by this law have at least 3 service providers,breaking most cities & states involuntary or corrupt regulatory ‘monopoly creation’ powers,therefore it would have to be phased in gradually.

    Beware when gvt. calls something by an attractive name.

  22. Altimerist says:

    I certainly hope the FCC can keep the playing ground level.

    Bandwidth throttling blows.