Net Neutrality Returns

At the end of 2010, the Federal Communications Commission passed so-called "net neutrality" rules giving the FCC new power to regulate traffic management practices on data networks. Those rules are currently being challenged by Verizon, which argues that the rules violate the First Amendment and lack sufficient statutory basis. A court is expected to rule on the matter next year.

In the meantime, though, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden is proposing new legislation that would enforce certain traffic management rules. Via Wired:

A proposal forbidding internet service providers from turning the data-cap meter off to grant a so-called internet fast lane to preferential online services was introduced Thursday in the Senate.

The bill by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) comes a week after a report found that the institutionalization of data caps by ISPs is geared toward profiteering rather than the stated goal of managing traffic congestion.

“A covered internet service provider may not, for purposes of measuring data usage or otherwise, provide preferential treatment of data that is based on the source or the content of the data,” Wyden’s bill reads.

Ars Technica noted that Comcast had not counted its Xbox video-streaming app against its data caps. Comcast, however, no longer enforces its data caps.

“Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion,” Wyden said in a statement.

Among other things, the proposal demands a standardized method for measuring data and also questions data caps altogether. That’s because it grants the Federal Communications Commission with regulatory power over data-cap pricing.

So a report has suggested that Internet service providers are, or at least were, arranging their business and pricing practices in a way that allows them to maximize their profits? It is surprising that anyone was able to uncover evidence to this effect. And obviously it must not be allowed to happen again. 

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  • BakedPenguin||

    The bill by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) comes a week after a report found that the institutionalization of data caps by ISPs is geared toward profiteering rather than the stated goal of managing traffic congestion.

    Because price signal could never be used for resource allocation. NEVER.

  • califernian||

    He's from Oregon, so what can you expect. "profit" is a dirty word up there.

  • ||

    “A covered internet service provider may not, for purposes of measuring data usage or otherwise, provide preferential treatment of data that is based on the source or the content of the data,” Wyden’s bill reads.

    The problem with this is, why the hell wouldn't you want your ISP to preferrentially stream certain kinds of data at a fast rate?
    For instance, I want high definition video content to sctream without interruption, but I don't mind so much if a page of text takes a tiny bit longer to load.

    I want Netflix instant watching ot stream at a smooth pace, but I don't care so much if it's just a YouTube clip. If I'm PAYING to watch a movie online, you're damn right I expect it to load quickly.

    It's possible that preferential data streaming rates for paid video content might be *necessary* to make high quality video streaming reliable.

  • Paul.||

    Exactly, Hazel. This is a rule which literally destroys innovation.

    This law would literally prohibit me or anyone from starting an internet provider which guaranteed performance for people who streamed video. Literally would ban it.

    And I refuse to go to Slashdot to see what those useful idiots are saying about this. I'm sure I would utterly depressed.

  • Coeus||

    While the majority are idiots, it seems that about 40% can see past their nose.

  • califernian||

    Even if you DIDN'T want them to prioritize packets, too bad. It's THEIR network not yours. WTF these congresscritters (and most people) really do believe that everythign is the government's except what they let you keep.

  • Paul.||

    When Net Neutrality is finally passed, Reasoners nationwide should gather together and hold a mock-funeral for the Internet. I would show.

  • ||

    Seconded. It makes me sick to think they're trying to ruin one of the most free and awesome "places" left.

  • Paul.||

    You're up in my neck of the woods? Maybe you, me and Episiarch... and sage, sage is up here, right? Oh and Peter Bagge used to be up here right? Yeah, the group of us can get together and listen to Episiarch explain to us the ins and outs of Larping.

  • ||

    Dude, I think you are forgetting one weightlifting supercop who hails from our great state. And, I believe we would be horrified to find that Larping is actually the least objectionable thing about Episiarch.

  • ||

    The LARPing doesn't hold a candle to my weekends at the Renaissance Fair.

  • Paul.||

    Sounds like a long night ahead of us then. Will you require a projector and laptop for your presentation(s)?

  • Paul.||

    “Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion,” Wyden said in a statement.

    As a network administrator for a Hospital and clinical network, I'd like to see mr. wyden's credentials and knowledge on how networks run and how they're built. On my desk, by eight fucking thirty in the A. M.

  • ||

    Net Neutrality proponents are the stupidest mother fuckers on the planet. Basically, they want to fucking destroy the internet so that their torrents download faster. It's insane.

  • nicole||

    Do you think most of them even download torrents? I never thought there was even that much self-interest in this bullshit, just completely vague and uninformed idiocy about the corporashunz.

  • ||

    Well, some of them hate Comcast so much that they're willing to destroy the internet in order to try and hurt Comcast. As if Comcast wouldn't just lobby themselves back into whatever they could get. I mean, my hatred for Comcast burns brighter than a thousand suns, but I'm not so stupid as to think net neutrality is the solution.

  • nicole||

    Right. But they are.

  • ||

    The really amazing thing (and this applies to Paul's comment below as well) is that they're so many fucking light years beyond stupid that they don't realize that as soon as the government is policing the internet, the media companies will get them to come down on their torrenting like a meteor impact. Morons.

  • nicole||

    Look, their cable bill is too high. Who is supposed to protect them from that shit if not the state? Or mommy and daddy?

  • ||

    THE CABLE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH

  • Paul.||

    THE CABLE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH

    I'd vote for that guy.

  • Paul.||

    Net Neutrality proponents are the stupidest mother fuckers on the planet. Basically, they want to fucking destroy the internet so that their torrents download faster.

    TGhis is why I hate going to Slashdot when a net neutrality argument is afoot. All the little H4x0rez want to download their torrentz unfettered by traffic shaping. Makes me so mad.

  • ||

    The bill by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) comes a week after a report found that the institutionalization of data caps by ISPs is geared toward profiteering rather than the stated goal of managing traffic congestion.

    Well aren't we at war with IP pirates? And aren't these pirates the one who use up all this high end bandwidth? So this isn't just profiteering but WAR profiteering! Obviously a hangin' offense.

  • JeremyR||

    No, one of the biggest uses of the internet is legal streaming, like from Netflix or Amazon.

    I would guess it's one of the big media companies behind this push, because they make money off of deals for streaming

  • waaminn||

    OK wow, so who comes up with all that crazy stuff??

    www.GlobalAnon.tk

  • ||

    When did Lego start making a Nick Gillespie figure?

  • Paul.||

    When they couldn't get a license to produce The Jacket. So they just settled for the Nick head. The Jacket doesn't license its image. There is One And Only One Jacket.

  • ||

    The dumbest part of it it, on the party of the bit-torrent users (who are, let's be honest, mostly downloading pirated content) is that the FCC will use this regulatory opening as the hook to start enforcing anti-piracy laws. If they can regulate traffic speeds one way, they can regulate it the other.

    All the hackers and porn addicts out there using bit-torrent ought to ask themselves, do they REALLY want the FCC regulating the internet? Do you REALLY?

  • Paul.||

    All the hackers and porn addicts out there using bit-torrent ought to ask themselves, do they REALLY want the FCC regulating the internet? Do you REALLY?

    Question asked a thousand times on other internet forums with 'techies'... "Yes, if I can finally install the apps I want to install on my phone, or run my server at home without any blocked ports, yes, giving the FCC unfettered access to all our packets is worth it. Because I'm 22 years old and all I give a shit is this handful of apps I want to run."

    Shit, I was on a forum where some government in Norway or something slapped some carrier down and said, "You can't run your network that way." and the overwhelming response from all the nerds was, "Can we get those lawmakers over to this country, stat?"

  • califernian||

    even worse, the FCC will be an industry tool for quashing competition.

    The #1 outcome of net neutrality enforcement will be protectionism for established players.

  • Canman||

    This net neutrality looks pretty bad. I thought it was just some nebulous concept to make it look like the feds had something to do with the growth of the internet.

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm surprised that in all of the Reason articles and comments sections I've read over the years on Net Neutrality nobody has ever thought to mention that NN is almost exactly what was proposed by Balph Eubank for print literature, and for exactly the same reasons.

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