Telecommunications Policy

Net Neutrality Rules Not So Popular

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The FCC passed a net neutrality order last week. It didn't give liberals every item on their net-regulation wishlist, but it fulfilled one of Obama's campaign promises. But as we've seen beforeit doesn't appear to be very popular

Fifty-four percent of likely voters oppose such regulation, while just 21 percent support it, according to the survey of likely voters taken just after the FCC last week approved Chairman Julius Genachowski's plan to prevent discrimination by Internet service providers against certain websites or applications.

…Republicans and independents overwhelmingly oppose the regulations, according to the survey, while Democrats are more divided. Survey respondents who are heavy Internet users are the most opposed to the FCC's approach, the survey found.

There was also a noticeable divide between mainsteam voters and the "political class," which according to Rasmussen overwhelmingly supports regulation and believes it could be handled in an unbiased manner. Fifty-six percent of voters think the FCC would use its authority to promote a political agenda

The distinction between the beliefs of the political class and mainstream voters is a telling one. There's a widespread notion in Washington that somehow, if you hire the right people and design the bureaucratic details just right, you can regulate in a way that's "unbiased" and therefore somehow objectively "correct."

But no matter how much third-way hairsplitting these agencies build into their rulings, the sorts of regulatory decisions that the FCC intends to make under the new net neutrality rules are inherently arbitrary. Some practices will be shut down; some won't be pursued at all thanks to uncertainty. Others will be tweaked to please agency overseers. Some people will like the agency-approved outcomes better, some won't. FCC officials have argued that the rules are designed to prevent anyone from picking winners and losers. Yet by giving the agency the power to determine which network management practices count as unreasonable, picking winners and losers is essentially what these rules give the FCC the power to do. 

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  1. Fuck the draft.

    1. Fuck the draft.

      Sorry. It’s not on the “approved” list.

      1. It’s ironic indeed that I can wear a jacket with that statement on the back of it in a courthouse, but if I wore it on TV, they’d have to blur it out or face a googolplex in fines.

  2. Finally, internet trolls will have a government agency to complain to.

  3. Fifty four oppose and twenty one support these regulations based on a poll of likely voters. Give me a break. I asked around the office: no one has the faintist idea what the proposal is. How could so many “oppose” or “support” something that I doubt 5% of the population could even explain what the issue is in
    50 words or less?

    1. Give me a break. I asked around the office: no one has the faintist idea what the proposal is.

      This sounds like the same tired argument the dems used when describing tea party complaints about health care.

      Dems kept making the same argument well after tea party activists demonstrated they were more knowledgeable about the actual text of the legislation then obama and the legislators who were authoring it.

      Also the longer the health care debate was covered and presumably the more poeple got informed about it the less the public liked it.

      Net neutrality is now actually being debated in the public and the more poeple hear about it the less they like it.

      also you missed the key part of the study:

      Survey respondents who are heavy Internet users are the most opposed to the FCC’s approach, the survey found.

      So in other words the study actually found your argument to be completely wrong before you even thought of it.

      1. Unlike healthcare I doubt most people have heard of net neutrality but when asked they think – well teh internets is working fine and I use it heavily so why change? And I agree.

        1. Apparently the FCC has not heard about net neutrality either.

          Originally, net neutrality meant that
          providers with common carrier status are allowed to charge depending on traffic volume, but are not allowed to filter traffic.

          For example, they are not allowed to block your VOIP traffic
          so that they can sell you their own expensive VOIP product, and they are not allowed to block access to the google search engine because they just signed a deal with Yahoo.

          1. Apparently there are unintended consequences in giving central government widespread power over an industry… Hmm….

            1. The consequences of a population of sheep. If Washington were the French capital, the French would have burned it down long ago.

    2. Why should a bureaucracy unilaterally implement a policy that the people neither know nor care about, particularly when their previous attempts have been obstructed by both the judicial and legislative branches of government?

      This is a power play, pure and simple and unconstitutional. The FCC (particularly Genachowski) need a much stronger smackdown this time around — impeachment would be appropriate.

    3. 50 words or less? How about less than 5?
      Gubment intrusion bad…freedom good

      1. 50 words or less
        Gov’mint sux, liberty good
        Fuck you FCC

        (FIFY)

        1. Liberty is the only constitutional social justice.

    4. All I know is that it’s an FCC power grab. They are just deciding that they have new power. So I’m against it. I don’t care what the regulations say.

    5. If nobody has an idea of what’s going to be done, but half the people oppose it anyhow, perhaps that should serve as a warning to our worses in Washington to STOP!!!

      To steal a phrase from another group, “No means no”.

  4. Once more, Congress’ delegation of law-making abilities to non-elected bureaus bites us in the ass.

    Wasn’t there something in some piece of paper relevant to this country’s founding that stated that Congress is the only entity that can make national laws? I could swear I read that somewhere in my youth…

    1. No doubt. The unconstitutional delegation of power to administrative agencies–and the courts cheering such delegations along–have had no small role in the creation of a not-very-limited system of government.

      In this case, where’s the accountability? Whatever your position on net neutrality, is it really appropriate for this type of, frankly, “legislation” to come from anywhere but Congress? Assuming, for the moment, that it’s even constitutional?

      I’m not sure the FCC has any business existing, at least not in many of the roles it plays today. Certainly, there is no legal justification whatsoever for its content-regulation role.

      1. The FCC should never have been created in the first place. The problem is, it knows that its time is past, and will do anything it can to take on new powers and responsibilities in order to survive.

        The internet is the ultimate dog for this tick to ride, so it’s obvious why they’re trying to bite.

        1. The sole justification for content regulation, which was tenuous to begin with, was the scarce resources argument. In other words, since only so many entities could control a finite number of frequencies, the “public” (represented by the loving and benevolent government) had a right to control to some extent the content on those airwaves.

          Obviously, if that ever held any water at all, it doesn’t today.

        2. The internet is the ultimate dog for this tick to ride, so it’s obvious why they’re trying to bite.

          The internet is the cause of making the FCC irrelevant.

          It may arguably be the ultimate dog…but it defiantly the only one living that it can jump onto.

          1. The FCC has been irrelevant for much longer than that. But the Internet is just making that irrelevance visible to the average Joe.

            Granted, the sheer incompetence of Comcast as a functioning business doesn’t help in that respect, which is the reason it’s so difficult to get Joe to understand that it was gummint interference that created Comcast’s dominance in the first place….

        3. The FCC should never have been created in the first place. The problem is, it knows that its time is past, and will do anything it can to take on new powers and responsibilities in order to survive.

          Nah, doesn’t work that way. A policy initiative like this comes from the commissioners, or even higher in the admin., and these people’s careers are not so tied to such a job that the agency’s overall personnel needs would make any difference to them. Remember that the FDA for decades fought against petitions to try to make them assert jurisdiction over cigarets before they switched positions under a new commissioner.

          What burnishes a policymaking bureaucrat’s resume is something they can point to as an accomplishment, especially if it results in new rules that they can consult on in a future private sector job. If they can do that by having the agency take on a new job, or just changing the rules somehow, or by eliminating a job, it’s all the same to them.

    2. Don’t you get it? Earmarking is the only thing that can’t be trusted to bureaucratic experts!

    3. Wasn’t there something in some piece of paper relevant to this country’s founding that stated that Congress is the only entity that can make national laws?

      The trouble is that there’s no easy place to draw a line between what’s a law and what’s the faithful execution of a law. Frequently we’d be worse off if people had civil or criminal liability that depended only on case law to decide what a law means, rather than have bureaucrats hash out the details in advance so you can at least theoretically look them up.

      So, for example, what if Congress simply left the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic act at saying that you couldn’t market a product that was unsafe or ineffective, and you had no administrative way to know in advance whether your product would be considered by the federal cops and a federal judge to be unsafe or ineffective?

  5. In the last week or so Slashdot has flip flopped on this issue.

    For the longest time the “editors” had been huge net neutrality fans but recently they have posted two “articles” that oppose it.

    2011 might be the year the internet says “Fuck you” to big government.

    Here is an anti net nutrality article from slate of all places:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2279106/pagenum/all

    I may have spoken two soon about slashdot…today they have this pile of shit:

    http://politics.slashdot.org/s…..Neutrality

    well at least now they are at least debating the issue.

    1. You can always trace this stuff back to self interest. The slashdot crowd is afraid that internet service providers will charge higher rates for higher usage. See, most of these guys download GB’s of media content and whatever on a daily basis. They are happy to have everyone else subsidize that cost. It’s like a union of 400lb fatasses fighting to get the FDA to turn all restaurants into all-you-can-eat buffets.

      1. Back in the day, an “Internet geek” was a heavy user of bandwidth. ISP’s would put up with them because they would be vocal cheerleaders for that ISP’s service, promoting it to all their clueless relatives as the “best” provider. So they were kind of human loss-leaders for the ISPs.

        Two things have changed about that:

        1. Joe Average is no longer relying on his tech-geek nephew’s advice. Most people get that “more megabits = faster downloads” and can quickly compare flat-rate prices between their cable company and their phone company (who they probably consider to be their only two options.)

        2. Tech geeks are no longer the heavy users. Some guy who downloads a new Linux distro image once a month, publishes an anime chat forum from a server in his bedroom closet, and steals Metallica albums as they come out is really using only a fraction of what his neighbor uses to stream live on-demand sports & movies every night.

        So the game has changed a little bit. EVERYBODY is now an Internet “power user” which is one of the reasons there are so many dust-ups over data-stream pricing these days.

        1. As of 2010, one application — Netflix — consumes 20% of the total bandwidth in the US during peak hours.

          It ain’t geeks that are about to break the internet.

          1. Surely porn video is a bigger share of the bandwidth than that.

            1. Where do you think 79% of the remaining 80% goes?

        2. No.

          Total bandwidth used is a problem, but as bandwidth has increased, the definition of ‘heavy’ has moved. People streaming Netflix to their homes today may be using more bandwidth than power users of yesterday, but they are not ‘power users’ by today’s standards.

          While P2P may make up a smaller percentage of overall usage, the amount of bandwidth per capita that P2P uses is HUGE. Those are the power users and the biggest bandwidth hogs. You know, the guys who set uTorrent to download an entire movie library in 1080p, so they are constantly using the full bandwidth they have available. And a great number of them cavort on slashdot.

      2. Yes indeed this is the crux of a lot of it. It is just another extension of the entitlement mentality.

        The idea that everyone should be “entitled” to the same acecss at the same price regardless of their volume of use has a lot to do with it.

      3. I’ve never read that many are afraid of being charged more for higher usage. They’re afraid of being charged more for one type of usage than another.

        It would be along the lines of a phone company charging more for you to call Domino’s then Pizza Hut.

        From their point of view, traffic is traffic and ISPs shouldn’t get to charge more for HTTPS traffic over HTTP or FTP traffic. If they want to price on volume, you won’t find many detractors. It’s the talk of pricing or preference on content or protocol that gets everyone upset.

        I don’t get charged more for megawatt because I’m using a GE stove and not a Whirlpool, nor do I pay 1c a minute extra to call Costco instead of Sam’s Club (assuming area codes are the same).

        The idea that ISPs are able to get various grants and rights of way on public lands, benefit from common carrier status, and then start showing preference to one type of traffic is offensive.

        I would think this could be dealt with locally-companies that wish to tear up public roads or run fiber on public ways have to be content neutral or something along those lines… Obviously a company that ran fiber on all private property would be free to do what they wanted with that fiber.

        1. The idea that ISPs are able to get various grants and rights of way on public lands, benefit from common carrier status, and then start showing preference to one type of traffic is offensive.

          You are a fucking idiot.

          The public road itself has a traffic preference. Furthermore it is an imposed public right taken from private property owners.

          1. I wouldn’t say he’s a fucking idiot. He has a point, even if there are valid counterpoints.

          2. There are definitely valid counterpoints and I don’t like the idea of the FCC being involved in this.

            I was trying to explain the position of the Slashdot crowd as I saw it, as well as my own.

          3. Not of this kind. For example, if the same road leads to both Walmart and Target, you don’t have a speed limit of 55 if you drive to Walmart (the “road’s preferred store”), and a speed limit of 1 mph if you drive to Target.

    2. /. is just following the FCC tack of using net neutrality in an attempt to become relevant.

  6. net neutrality rules are inherently arbitrary.

    I think you might have used the wrong link here. It goes to an article you wrote about health care.

    1. His point in that article was that the rules they were using regarding health insurers’ premiums were inherently arbitrary.

  7. Even if you are in favor of internet regulation, Net Neutrality is still a red herring. It seems to me that there is a lot that the government could do without Net Neutrality in place.

    If you ask me, all exclusive right of way contracts should come with the demand that the ISP sell a third of its infrastructure to competing ISPs. The people who live in a geographical area covered by such a contract should have more power to vote collectively to determine which ISP should serve their area. IF you don’t like your ISP, you could pressure your local council/representative/whatever to switch to a different ISP. No matter which company wins the contract, they will still have to sell a third of their infrastructure to competitors. This may not be a a perfect free market solution, but we aren’t dealing with a free market problem. THis is a problem created by the exclusive right of way contracts that prevent real competition from taking place. My solution would represent just about all of the regulation that you would need to keep the ISP’s competitive, and you wouldn’t need to replace all of the ISP’s with one, government regulated utility.

    IF you compare the ISP’s of the United States to those where the internet is superior, you’ll see that Net Neutrality has nothing to do with anything. In fact, Europeans tend to take the opposite view of Net Neutrality, because the way that they see it, US content providers, such as Google and Yahoo, are “free-riding” on European ISP’s and getting rich while those ISP’s have to foot the bill for the infrastructure. The real problem with US ISPs is the fact that the government grants local monopolies, discouraging competition, while doing absolutely nothing to encourage competition. The interesting thing is that even under the circumstances, where US ISPs are all monopolies or duopolies on the local level, the ISPs still seem generally competitive and don’t seem like they are all trying to rip us off as much as the Net Neutrality people pretend that they could.

    1. Sounds like a great idea!
      With the best of intentions!
      What could possibly go wrong?

      1. We’re already subsidizing monopoly. How would my idea be any worse?

    2. “If you ask me, all exclusive right of way contracts should come with the demand that the ISP sell a third of its infrastructure to competing ISPs.”

      If they’re subsidized, they should also be built in a way that it’s easy for another ISP to lay line in the same location without too much additional overhead. I’m sure it’s technically feasible without too much additional cost.

      I vaguely remember someone proposing that all new highway improvements should be built in a way that several companies can lay internet fiber alongside the road. Not sure it’s the most practical way to do things, but it’s a thought.

      1. If I was more knowledgeable about such things, I would suggest the same solution. I just don’t know anything about the feasibility of true network competition. I would love it if we could dispense with the right of way contracts all together.

  8. Blah, blah, blah and that will never be a truly libertarian society or an enitrely free-market economy, and that’s good because asholes like Suderman can keep blathering on blah, blah, blah…

    1. You dream about Suderman’s asshole, don’t you?

      1. Be careful, Mr. Whipple. If Max starts getting into his fantasies about Suderman’s asshole, you’re just going to give the FCC another excuse to regulate content.

        I mean, it would be worse than one of SugarFree’s stories, if that’s even possible.

    2. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Yeah, that’s right asshole.

      FYI – I prefer 12 year old Thai boys.

      1. *sob*

  9. No matter how much I tried to explain problems with price controls and politically selected arbitrary “rules” over break, my mom still thinks without more and bigger government control over the internet, companies like Comcast are going to do some nebulous, undefined, but terrible thing that would make her rates go up and prevent her from visiting my websites. Can’t win.

    1. I hope she at least made you cookies.

      1. Cookies? That little bastard keeps saying we’re consenting adults and wants to play with my dough.

        1. As long as he keeps his hands off my cannoli……

    2. companies like Comcast are going to do some nebulous, undefined, but terrible thing that would make her rates go up and prevent her from visiting my websites. Can’t win.

      In all fairness she did live longer under the tyranny of ma bell longer then you did.

      I understand that it was a monopoly created by government but the default position that it was a “free market” corporation that was broken up by a benevolent government still lives strong in those of older generations.

      1. Bell and the federal government actively conspired to make it a monopoly and killed a pretty competitive marketplace to do so.

        1. Bell and the federal government actively conspired to make it a monopoly and killed a pretty competitive marketplace to do so.

          Yeah that would be why i said this:

          I understand that it was a monopoly created by government

          My point was that the popular narrative in regards to that monopoly and its break up differs from the facts of it.

          I thought i made that pretty clear….are you reading only parts of peoples posts again Pro?

          1. I was agreeing with you, dude.

            1. RRRRAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHWWWWWWRRRRRRRR!!!!!

              Sorry i am a retard.

        2. It was the states much more than the federales who made that monopoly.

          1. “It was the states much more than the federales who made that monopoly.”

            So is this perhaps an opportunity to actually use the interstate commerce clause in the manner in which it was intended?

      2. My dad worked for New York Telephone for 30+ years, and still claims the breakup of Ma Bell was a bad thing.

        I suppose he enjoys waiting until 11:00 PM to get cheaper long distance rates.

  10. where are these places with ISP monopolies? I have a choice of about half a dozen broadband vendors.

    1. Where I live in rural South Jersey we have two. Verizon FiOS (formerly Bell Atlantic), and Comcast (formerly Suburban Cable/Garden State Cable). Clear.com and Sprint WiMaxx doesn’t reach here yet. Both are regulated by the Board of Public Utilities. (If I told you how much those Mother Fuckers make, you’d shit yourself.) One is as bad as the other. Verizon is so bad, I dropped my land-line phone service for Vonage. (I keep it for my old man.) Comcast throttles me at least twice a week, for no real reason. It’s just their shitty network. It’s absolutelt clear to me that the BPU are being paid off. Comcast claims there’s too much competition from satellite providers. Bullshit.

      I don’t know what the answer is, but it is a shitty, fucked up mess however you look at it.

      1. Weird. I have FiOS in the DC ‘burbs and I can’t say enough good things about it. Zero problems, excepting day long power outages which will kill the phone (but you know that going in).

        1. The problem I had with Verizon was service. There was a problem with the junction box outside the house. After several calls, and two visits from “technicians”, they never solved the problem. I guess they don’t know how to do conventional land-line anymore. I’m sure if I upgraded to FiOS, they would have it up and operational in no time.

          1. Ah, I went commando on the copper. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, because of the limitations of fiber during power outages, but it’s worked out OK.

            I do know someone at Verizon who works on the tech side of things and he has told me that it is much more expensive to maintain a copper network than a fiber network, which is why Verizon is betting so heavily on FiOS.

      2. Sounds like a fantastic business opportunity. Provide affordable broadband in New Jersey and get rich by taking away all of Comcast & Verizon’s unhappy customers.

        1. Would you like to hold your breath while that happens?

          I’m guessing the new service would be provided by unicorns…

        2. If you got the capital, I got the plan.

        3. A word of warning. In Medford, the townfolk were upset about the aesthetics of nasty looking cell towers, so they forced the wireless companies to “decorate” the towers with artificial tree limbs, or something.

          No shit.

          1. See picture, mid-right.

            http://nocelltower.blogspot.co…..-cell.html

          2. See picture, mid-right.

            http://nocelltower.blogspot.co…..-cell.html

            1. Damned squirrels.

            2. I had a discussion with someone about how people will tolerate all sorts of technology in their world (telephone poles, mailboxes, cars, etc), but put in a cell phone tower and they become raving lunatics.

              I just don’t get it.

              1. I wish they had to be cross-shaped, to make the battle more epic.

                1. There was a church where I lived in western Phoenix which rented out part of the cross on its steeple and allowed cell phone relays on it.

              2. JW, was any of that discussion in writing that we could access? It is a curious phenomenon now that you mention it.

                1. Nope. On another list, long ago.

          3. There is a cell phone tower behind my mom’s house in Phoenix that looks like a palm tree. At first glance you can not tell it is a cell phone tower.

      3. This is the amazing “choice” that many Americans have in quite a few areas, a choice between two large, fairly unresponsive giant companies with a great deal of rent-seeking advantages…

        1. There are rent-seeking advantages because Big Government has been given the power to hand out goodies.

          The solution is not to give Big Government more power to hand out goodies.

        2. “This is the amazing “choice” that many Americans have in quite a few areas, a choice between two large, fairly unresponsive giant companies with a great deal of rent-seeking advantages…”

          Sounds a lot like that health care bill you like so much.

      4. Verizon FiOS (formerly Bell Atlantic), and Comcast (formerly Suburban Cable/Garden State Cable).

        You forgot to include your cell phone and satellite providers as internet providers.

        You have at least 4 options and probably five or six truth be told.

        1. I don’t consider DSL or 3G to be “high-speed”. And like I said, I don’t have access to any 4G WiMaxx, yet.

    2. In our new office our only choice was AT&T. At our old office our only choice was Verizon.

    3. I live on the Bay just north of Silicon Valley and my only real option is Comcast.

      I live too far from the nearest DSLAM to make DSL an option. Satellite isn’t an option because I rent. AFAICT, there are no WISPs in my area.

    4. A lot of those broadband vendors are the same ISP with a different name. We have multiple satellite companies in my area, but they all use qwest if you get internet with your television service.

  11. It ain’t what you know, it’s who you blow, and the FCC bureaucrats are gonna be getting a lot of free blowjobs.

    1. HOOKERS AND BLOW,
      HOOKERS AND BLOW.
      EV’RYONE WISHES FOR
      HOOKERS AND BLOW.

      HOW DO YOU MEASURE ITS WORTH?
      JUST BY THE PLEASURE
      IT GIVES HERE ON EARTH.

  12. Given the wording of the questions, duh.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.co…..er_23_2010

  13. “The distinction between the beliefs of the political class and mainstream voters is a telling one. There’s a widespread notion in Washington that somehow, if you hire the right people and design the bureaucratic details just right, you can regulate in a way that’s “unbiased” and therefore somehow objectively “correct.”

    This reminds me of the blather coming out of the “No Labels” crowd about how everbody should stop the name calling and just agree with them. As if there existed some objective public policy truth that just happens to coincide with THEIR personal preferences.

    1. See They Myth of Scientific Public Policy by Robert Formaini.

      1. THE, I meant “The”!

  14. “my mom still thinks without more and bigger government control over the internet, companies like Comcast are going to do some nebulous, undefined, but terrible thing that would make her rates go up and prevent her from visiting my websites”

    Good for her. Comcast is terrible. Everyone agrees they suck and yet they continue to grow, garnering more and more market share every year it seems. This experience makes many rightly skeptical of the “hey, no need to regulate no company would ever get away with x…” arguments.

    If they had worded the questions like this “Do you think Comcast and Verizon should be able to do whatever they want with internet services” you would be lucky to get 21% agreeing with that…

    1. You seem to be forgetting why Comcast can be so terrible. Because they have a fucking monopoly granted by the government. DirecTV–which I have had before–is a great fucking company and works its ass off to cut Comcast off at the knees, but it’s hard to compete with someone who has exclusive access to many of their customers.

      If the government even allowed two cable companies to compete in the same area, service would improve…but they don’t.

      Comcast is awful. But they can be so awful because they don’t have to worry about losing many of their customers, and that situation sure as fuck isn’t caused by the free market.

      1. I don’t dispute their government favors are a big part of the problem, but I actually think that fact makes regulation more justified. Big companies are going to use government in every way they can and they will often be successful in doing so. The rent-seeking they get will make them even less responsive and shield them from the consequences of their anti-consumer actions. With some irony this makes the case for this kind of regulation stronger imo…Given their advantages they will not act in normal market ways and so only something like this reg will make them behave.

        1. only something like this reg will make them behave.

          The only solution to barriers to entry and rent seeking are more barriers to entry and rent seeking. Got it.

        2. So your answer to a government-created problem is…more government. You claim that a rent-seeking company can influence the government, and then in your next breath say that the government should regulate them more. Do you not see the inherent ridiculousness of that statement? If they’re so good at rent seeking, won’t they have their lobbyists just persuade the government to make the regulations actually favor them?

          1. Don’t you get it Epi? The only real solution to someone beating on you is to have better regulations about how they can beat on you.

            1. Just the thought of “regulating” Comcast more, and the inevitable even worse service that would result, is making my blood boil. There is only one thing that will improve service overall, and that is competition.

          2. Same answer to healthcare and to the financial services implosion. Government largely contributed to the fuck-up, ergo, more government is needed.

            1. Well, it sure is profitable for some people.

              Equality!!!

        3. True, I believe that certain regulations are necessary considering that the government is already fucking up the market. However, these regulations would be aimed at limiting the negative effects of government action. Personally, I’d rather that we dispense with the exclusive right of way contracts all together. but barring that occurrence, the best thing that we can do is take a light touch approach and encourage competition without over regulating the internet to death via net neutrality.

        4. Not really. More regulation just reinforces their twisted relationship with government.

          It’s not without historical precedent — consider religion, which tended to only have one organizational power locus in a region, and which tried to influence government while government tried to co-opt it for its own secular purposes. The solution was not giving the government more or different power over religion, but on laying down a strict wall of separation between church and state. Before you go on about externalities, consider that this wall didn’t give religious groups carte blanche to flout society’s laws; human sacrifice is still murder whatever your holy book says you must do. What it did do was prohibit government from singling out religious institutions and practices for special treatment or mistreatment, or attempting to enter the religious sphere itself.

          In the context of commercialism (let’s assume an amendment, same as with religion), it would prohibit government from favoring one business over another in law. While open bidding for contracts would probably not violate such a provision, any perceived favoritism in setting the terms of the contract would be grounds for a legitimate civil rights suit. Government-established businesses or GSE-type organizations like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be forbidden, though defining “business” would incredibly tricky, as the definition is less intuitive than with religion.

          Regulations would still be possible, but would have to be justified by health and safety rather than economic ramifications; such regulations would apply to all persons equally, whether their activity was commercial or noncommercial, for-profit or not-for-profit, and whether a small or large business (while this would permit some abuse, such abuses already happen). Needless to say, the active provisions of the commerce clause would be nullified by this law (and, just in case, should be explicitly nullified in the amendment text). Provided that the 14th propagated this restriction to the states, the passive commerce clause would effectively remain.

        5. “I don’t dispute their government favors are a big part of the problem, but I actually think that fact makes regulation more justified.”

          MNG, you have just revealed yourself to be insane, by the old cliche.

      2. I love the “we’re always on time or you get a credit” commercials — since Congress wrote a law mandating that. Fuckers. They exist just below Sprint on my ‘wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire’ list. I once let a Sprint account go to collections rather than give those fuckers another penny.

        1. Years ago, when I moved to California, I gave up my Sprint cell phone because they had no coverage where I was moving to. They sent us a “final” bill and we paid it. At the new place we received another bill from Sprint forwarded by the post office. The bill was for $0.23 for who knows what reason. Now, I know their billing system is computerized and no human being sent me a bill for an amount that was less than the postage it cost them to mail it. But I still thought it was stupid. So we mailed them a check for $0.25. I was tickled pink a few weeks later to get a refund check from Sprint for two cents. Morons.

      3. If the government even allowed two cable companies to compete in the same area, service would improve…but they don’t.

        I love the way in franchising cable, gov’t always pointed out that the franchise is non-exclusive, and that they could license a competitor any time — as if the fact that they could theoretically do that made things better for the customers! The franchisees also proclaimed that they didn’t have a monopoly, for that reason.

  15. Video: Lingerie football game concludes with a brawl

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/bl…..nfl-298953

  16. I wonder what the option positions of the FCC trustees were on the day this announcement was made. I know that SEC regulators come under some scrutiny for their stock market activities, but I doubt the FCC does.

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