Telecommunications Policy

Is Congress Preparing to Move on Net Neutrality?

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The FCC has had some trouble pursuing its Net neutrality agenda recently. Now, it looks as if some members of Congress may be pushing a neutrality bill of their own. House Democrats appear to be readying a Net neutrality bill for possible introduction later this week. The draft isn't public yet; according to Politico, it's currently being circulated to stakeholders. But news reports suggest that it although it would give the FCC clear authority  to enforce its four original neutrality principles, it would also give the agency far less power than it's sought in its various forays into neutrality regulation. According to The Washington Post, for example, the bill likely wouldn't implement rules giving the FCC the power to prohibit traffic management. Nor would any of the newly enforceable provisions extend to wireless data networks, which ISPs have pushed to keep free of neutrality regulations. It may even bar the FCC from going forward with its proposed shift in broadband's regulatory classification.  

In other words, it looks a lot like the Google-Verizon policy framework announced last month. And just as that proposal seemed very much like a way for two private stakeholders to take advantage of the FCC's current weakness on the issue by putting forth a jointly negotiated policy proposal of their own, this, too, reads very much as an attempt by legislators—many of whom have not been terribly thrilled with the way FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has handled this issue—to do the same.

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  1. Speaking of the FCC, libertarians have cocks up their asses.

  2. All your packets are belong to us.

    1. All your power are belong to us.

  3. reads very much as an attempt by legislators?many of whom have not been terribly thrilled with the way FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has handled this issue?to do the same.

    Wait, stop right there. Legislators are unhappy with the way an unelected bureaucrat nearly changed the entire landscape of the internet?

    1. Seriously, this bureaucrat was muscling in on the legislator’s racket.

      Fixing something that ain’t broke should only be done after its been milked for maximum donations and news cycles, dammit! Its the American way.

  4. Paul: You do realize that the net’s peering agreements work essentially exactly the way the mainstream net neutrality proposals envision, yes?

    So it would simply be enshrining current practice (minus occasional forays by Comcast) in regulation. You can claim that stifles “innovation” (Let local monopolies decide what you see at what rates! Innovation!), but you can’t claim it “changes the landscape of the internet.”

    1. Paul: You do realize that the net’s peering agreements work essentially exactly the way the mainstream net neutrality proposals envision, yes?

      Peering agreements? Would those be the same agreements that said that all SMTP servers must be open to relay traffic to be a “good net citizen”? Funny how that agreement changed so that all SMTP servers were closed to relaying making you a “good net citizen”.

      The original peering agreements of the internet have changed substantially– especially in the realm of security. Because when the original peering agreements were drafted, few people were thinking about stuff like, you know… security.

      So it would simply be enshrining current practice (minus occasional forays by Comcast) in regulation. You can claim that stifles “innovation” (Let local monopolies decide what you see at what rates! Innovation!), but you can’t claim it “changes the landscape of the internet.”

      You got so much wrong with so few words, it’s hard to know where to start… but I’ll try.

      1. Enshrining what “current practice” exactly? Exactly. Are you talking about the current practice that Comcast uses to keep other services from essentially stealing bandwidth from Comcast customers (as an example) so as to (at least try) to provide said customers with a more reliable experience?

      2. It will stifle innovation. With the simple “net neutrality” enshrined into law, it would be ILLEGAL for me to start an ISP geared towards, say, streaming video– promising my potential customers the best streaming video experience– by prioritizing streaming video traffic protocols. Would it be legal for me to create a tiered service (such as Verizon’s) where you pay based on the amount of bandwidth you use? And if so, why should it be illegal.

      3. Local Monopolies. Most of those local monopolies are enshrined by government. Plus, even then, the ‘monopoly’ tag is a chimera. Define “monopoly”. Exactly. I can choose from several carriers in my area: Comcast, Directv, ClearWire, Qwest…

      4. It doesn’t “change the landscape of the internet”? Then why do you want it?

      1. “3. Local Monopolies. Most of those local monopolies are enshrined by government. Plus, even then, the ‘monopoly’ tag is a chimera. Define “monopoly”. Exactly. I can choose from several carriers in my area: Comcast, Directv, ClearWire, Qwest…”

        A monopoly isn’t defined by market-share, anyway. It’s defined by barriers to entry.

      2. 4. It doesn’t “change the landscape of the internet”? Then why do you want it?

        Paul you rock.

    2. “Let local monopolies decide what you see at what rates! Innovation!)”

      Let nameless bureaucrats determine what services you are permitted to purchase and how much you pay! Innovation!

  5. C’mon, Pete. Fight the euphemism!

    The draft isn’t public yet; according to Politico, it’s currently being circulated to stakeholders lobbyists.

    1. Yeah. I’m an ISP customer, where’s my draft?

    2. Let me be clear, special interests have no pull with my administration.

  6. Net Neutrality Debate as a Short Diatribe:

    A: We need net neutrality, or else corporations will control what you read and watch on the internet!

    B: 15 years into broad commercialization of the internet, and that hasn’t happened. How do you explain that?

    A: Well it could happen.

    B: But it hasn’t.

    A: Don’t you care?

    B: About what, exactly? I am desperately trying to find what it is that I’m supposed to care about here.

    fin

    1. The last time I got into a heated debate about net neutrality on another blog, it slowly devolved into all the NN boosters whining about Hulu. Literally. Hulu was their raison d’?tat. They were convinced that Comcast was forming a shadowy alliance to take down the innocent*, non-profit site Hulu, provided by benevolent pixies who only wanted good things for the children of the world. Because Comcast, being a content provider, not just an ISP, would BLOCK TEH HULU!

      I’m not kidding. Something like 200 posts into the debate, their argument pretty muched devolved to shouting “Hulu!!!111one!11!”

      Also they were convinced I was a manager at Comcast, because I didn’t believe in NN. Because if you oppose NN, you must work for Comcast.

      *Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal (General Electric/Vivendi), Fox Entertainment Group (News Corp) and ABC Inc. (The Walt Disney Company)[4], with funding by Providence Equity Partners, which made a US$100 million equity investment and received a 10% stake.[5]

      ***pausing for irony***

      Even though I was repeatedly accused of being a Comcast operative, I never once accused them of being operatives for Fox News & General Electric.

      1. I never once accused them of being operatives for Fox News & General Electric.

        Slacker.

  7. But news reports suggest that it although it would give the FCC clear authority to enforce its four original neutrality principles, it would also give the agency far less power than it’s sought in its various forays into neutrality regulation…

    Hello. I’d like to introduce you to my good friend, the thin end of the wedge.

  8. Is Congress Preparing to Move on Net Neutrality?

    Drudge just reported that congress is leaving 3 weeks early…

    so no.

  9. pmains:

    B: 15 years into broad commercialization of the internet, and that hasn’t happened. How do you explain that?

    15 years into broad commercialization of the internet, and those innovations Paul daytrips about haven’t happened, either, so by your argument, they won’t happen.

  10. Why anyone trusts either the FCC or Congress, is one of life’s little mysteries…

    1. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF

  11. Paul:

    1. Enshrining what “current practice” exactly? Exactly. Are you talking about the current practice that Comcast uses to keep other services from essentially stealing bandwidth from Comcast customers (as an example) so as to (at least try) to provide said customers with a more reliable experience?

    Eh, what? First the peering agreements update to fix holes in security but leave content alone, and now Comcast shuts off abusive access without regard to content and suddenly we need to form AOL versus Prodigy 2.0 to allow an ISP to promise great video streaming? Which would be dumb since they’d only control the last bit, so only streaming originating on their network would be guaranteed to be faster.

    Also, unless you live in one of a very few areas, you can only buy service one provider of each technology. Even when you buy different DSL, it’s a whitelabel of the telco’s infrastructure. Surprisingly, you don’t get as reliable a service from them thanks to, as you note, government-granted monopolies allowing them to screw over those whitelabels. So we know it’s government tainted already, yet we’re going to pretend that as long as there’s no net neutrality regulation, we’re going to have a completely free market?

    1. “Also, unless you live in one of a very few areas, you can only buy service one provider of each technology.”

      Which is because the local governments limit competition by controlling who is permitted to offer services within their fiefdoms. So let’s stop doing that.

      “yet we’re going to pretend that as long as there’s no net neutrality regulation, we’re going to have a completely free market?”

      Well, apparently some of us are going to pretend that government mandated traffic shaping and bandwidth allocation will present no barriers to entry for emerging, competing companies or technologies. And will never be abused to suit the government’s other competing priorities, or selectively enforced against political targets, or become antiquated to the point of being counterproductive. That never happens.

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