Internet

What Would We Do Without the FCC to Take Care Of Us?

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Does this mean the Globe is against light cycle racing too?

The Boston Globe's editorial board is worried that the Google-Verizon policy framework, if implemented, "would leave American Internet users without a federal agency keeping their service providers honest." Really? I'm not aware of any provision in the proposal that would allow Internet service providers to mislead consumers. But if any ISP decided to lie to its customers, then the Federal Trade Commission, which polices advertising and consumer fraud, would probably still be more than equipped to handle those cases. Now, the FCC has investigated whether ISP speed claims—especially those that use the phrase "up to" such-and-such a speed—are typically accurate. But if that's the problem, then the debate we should be having is about how ISPs might best disclose their speed and bandwidth offerings.

So it's clear that dishonesty isn't what the Globe is actually worried about. Instead, its writers fear the prospect of web enhanced service deals between web content providers and Internet infrastructure. It's an exaggerated version of the same concern I noted yesterday—that companies like Google (which owns YouTube) might pay an ISP for smoother, speedier delivery of its content. This is the noteworthy threat of a world without FCC-enforced Net neutrality? That we might need a federal agency to stop some companies from paying for faster delivery on data networks? Let's hope The Boston Globe's editorial board never finds out that some of us pay UPS for overnight delivery service.

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  1. Leaving Internet users without a government agency keeping watch is the entire point! Fucking journalists. They can’t abide businesses reaching agreements outside the purview of government, ever.

    1. I mean, come on. People might be able to get their remote medical diagnostics quicker than their porn.

  2. Federal Ceiling Cat is watching you…

    1. There’s a sequel coming out.

      1. I’m not sure if I should be excited or afraid.

  3. “would leave American Internet users without a federal agency keeping their service providers honest.”

    I’ll get concerned about this the moment anyone brings to my attention evidence of anyone, or anything, keeping federal agencies honest.

  4. would leave American Internet users newspaper readers without a federal agency keeping their service providers newspapers honest

    Still think its such a great idea, Mr. Dying Industry Dude?

    1. Given that we’re talking about the Boston Globe, I’m afraid they would.

      As long as only they and their friends got to sit on the panel, that is.

    2. Oh, how the venerable newspapers of the nation regret the days they editorialized to break up the newspaper delivery trust.

    3. I would say they do, since per the proposal, Verizon could charge consumers extra to even visit the newpaper’s web site. Not only could they lose their physical market, but be excluded from the online market as well.

  5. The biggest questions are, in the next 10-20 years what kind of in roads will “wireless broadband” make into the consumer market, and what will the pricing model be for the consumer. If the technology behind “wireless broadband” starts to produce speeds simular to “wireline” options, such as DSL, then I could see “wireline” going the way of landlines and the majority of households receiving “wireless broadband” internet services. Since this proposal specifically excludes “wireless” from the the requirement that “that consumers have access to all legal content on the Internet” this is a big concern. I could see the consumer pricing model becoming more like cable or satellite pricing, where access to a basic set of internet sites (CNN, ESPN, Disney, Google etc.) being available at the basic pricing, another set of sites at the next level, more sites available at the next level, with individual sites being available for set amounts (Oh you want to access Reason.com, that will be $5/month), and the highest level having access to all content on the internet. I see this as being a far bigger threat to innovation, competition and the free exchange of ideas than certain site paying to have their web traffic prioritized.

    1. Because we all know that last-mile wireless is a natural monopoly, what with only one radio signal allowed in each neighborhood.

  6. I don’t know how accurate the SpeedTest website is but it always land within +0/-1 MB/s on an 18 MB/s connection. It takes less than a minute to get that data. If I were to measure something well below what is specified on my bill on a , I will contact the company and either get the problem resolved or move on. Pretty effin’ easy.

  7. it’s clear that dishonesty isn’t what the Globe is actually worried about.

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