Net Neutrality

Netflix May Already Regret Its Support for the FCC's New Net Neutrality Rules

The agency's new Internet rules will only make the Web worse.

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Ajit Pai / Twitter

Over at Wired, Geoffrey Manne, the Executive Director of the International Center for Law and Economics, has one of the very best critical takes on the Federal Communications Commission's decision last week to overhaul the way broadband Internet is regulated in order to enforce net neutrality rules. Manne makes a couple points that are worth repeating.

The first is that the new regulations give the agency license to go far beyond what supporters of the Title II/net neutrality regime have said is necessary—and, in doing so, may actually inhibit more valuable and effective consumer protection regulations from the Federal Trade Commission: 

You were sold a bill of goods when activists told you net neutrality was all about protecting "the next Facebook" from evil ISPs. Think about it: If you're "the next Facebook," who do you think is more worried about you? Your ISP, or Facebook itself? If the problem is between Facebook and its potential challengers, hamstringing ISPs is an awfully roundabout way of dealing with it. Especially because we already have a regulatory apparatus to deal with issues related to competition: antitrust laws.

But consider this irony: Now that ISPs are regulated under Title II as common carriers, the Federal Trade Commission can't enforce its consumer protection laws against them anymore.

That doesn't mean there won't be antitrust enforcement, but we did just hobble our most significant and experienced consumer protection authority. That seems like a mistake if we're enacting rules that purport to protect consumers.

This may not be exactly how it all plays out, but it's not a bad bet. We don't know for sure, of course, in part because we haven't even seen the full FCC order yet; indeed, according to an agency statement earlier this week, it hasn't even been finalized yet.

But with rules as broad, sweeping, and untested as what's been described so far, you can pretty much always be sure of two things: that over time, the regulatory agency in charge will claim additional authority—especially as leadership and agendas change—and that there will be a variety of unintended consequences. That's what Manne is getting at here.

In a similar vein, Manne notes that the expansiveness of the new rules make them a prime target for corporate rent-seeking. In fact, the rules are already the product of rent-seeking campaigns on behalf of the big Internet content companies that supported them:

Even staunch net neutrality supporters like EFF [the Electronic Frontier Foundation] worry about the breadth of the FCC's new "general conduct" standard. Couple that with language that invites complaints and class action lawsuits, and suddenly a regulation claimed to ensure "just and reasonable" conduct becomes a rent-seeking free-for-all.

But surely ISPs have it in for Netflix, right? Actually, Comcast is the only ISP (out of the literally thousands that are now regulated under Title II) that competes with Netflix. And the evidence shows that the problems allegedly arising from that competition were caused by Netflix, not Comcast. Did we really just enact 300 pages of legally questionable, enormously costly, transformative rules just to help Netflix in a trivial commercial spat?

This is worth dwelling on for a moment, in part because Netflix was one of the most visible and widely covered supporters of the FCC net neutrality push that led to last week's decision. The company "[relished] its role as the corporate leader in the fight for net neutrality," National Journal reported last September—and in doing so, backed a position that "would protect its profits" while "earning goodwill from Web activists and liberals." Netflix, in other words, is the company best positioned to benefit from these rules.

Here's the punchline: It's barely been a week since the FCC's Title II order passed, and the video service is already expressing regret. Here's what CFO David Wells said at an industry conference earlier this week, according to Variety: "Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not. We were hoping there might be a non-regulated solution." The company still insists that it is pleased with the ruling overall, but wishes that there had been no broadband regulation. 

But the point is that even Netflix, the poster-child for corporate support of the FCC's move, is, at minimum, not entirely pleased with the outcome. So if anything, the Title II overhaul might be even worse than what Manne suggests: We might have enacted 300 pages of drastic, dubious regulations just to help a company that didn't even want all those rules in the first place.

Watch ReasonTV's interview with FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who voted against the new rules, below:

NEXT: Could King v. Burwell overturn parts of New York v. United States?

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  1. Netflix:
    You. Fucking. Idiots.

    You really couldn’t see the long-con being turned on you?
    Congratulations; you’ve just learned a valuable lesson in government mafia operations.

    1. Hoisted by their own retard?

    2. We’ll see if Netflix is sorry in the long run.

      They were going for a regulatory system that would prevent (a) ISPs from charging content providers and (b) ISPs from charging consumers more for particular kinds/levels of usage.

      Netflix obviously would love to be immunized from paying ISPs for the vast amount of traffic Netflix injects into the internet. Netflix would also love for its customers to be immunized against paying for the type (video) or volume (huge) of their usage of Netflix.

      Basically, Netflix loves “net neutrality” because it socializes the cost of internet usage, allowing Netflix to rent-seek from everyone who doesn’t use Netflix. So, everyone will pay more for their internet connection, so Netflix and its customers don’t have to pay for their heavier usage.

      I think they’re going to get what they wanted.

      1. Bingo RC.

        We’ll probably see ISPs implement and/or more rigidly enforce data caps along with overage charges, that and we can count on network upgrades becoming far and few between.

        The inability to pay for prioritization means that any innovation or investment in Voice or video conferencing over IP will stagnate or die out all together.

        1. Yeah, anything sensitive to latency is going to be harmed by the inability to prioritize packets.

          1. If Netflix was hoping to deliver 4k video anytime soon, the good news for them is that it won’t cost them more per bit than regular video, bad news is Comcast probably won’t be able to deliver that heavy package without making the consumer wait forty-five fucking minutes for the buffers to fill. Goodbye 2015, hello 1995!

      2. The fact of the matter is, regulatory capture has and will occur, it’s just going to take time to see how it plays out.

        I agree with your assessment, but even I wouldn’t predict it will be the long term outcome.

      3. Yes, but on the other hand, and I think this is where they may have regrets, they will never be able to have their video packets prioritized during congestion, which means that online video will always be subject to buffering whenever their is network congestion.

        They will never be able to deliver the perfect video quality that cable networks do.

      4. Socialization of costs is probably what Netflix was hoping for, but that may not work out. Providers may simply go back to offering limited volume plans for non-video users and high volume plans for others. Or online video may get delayed altogether. In the end, Netflix is just a bit player and the ISPs are likely going to come out the winners no matter what.

        1. Or online video may get delayed altogether.

          At some point, consumers are going to demand that the regulations change to allow video packets to be prioritized during congestion. Can you seriously see people living with random buffering indefinitely? Sooner or later they are going to realize that paid prioritization is the only way to solve that problem.

          Net Neutrality is not set in stone. What was done by executive fiat can be undone by executive fiat. Besides the fact that’s it’s probably going to be tied up in court until after the next election.

          1. I certainly hope you’re right. However, we all know that there are going to be some doctrinaire “progressives” who will blame this on “corporations” somehow.

            There’s a strong human impulse to remain consistent in one’s views, and this makes it hard to do a complete 180? and admit that you were wrong and shortsighted. Most of these proggies have invested too much energy into the “corporations bad, government good” mantra, and it’s going to require a tremendous mental and emotional effort to overcome that.

            Again, I should hope that the error of Net Neutrality will be realized, but there will definitely be some who rationalize a way to blame it on a lack of government regulation and too much corporate power.

  2. SUCKERS!

  3. But the toadies at EFF got to feel good about themselves. Asshats.

    1. Actually, I’ve seen some signs of regret, which is a massive semi-admission given their position in this whole thing.

      1. I shouldn’t be so angry. Their world-view prevents them from clearly seeing the inevitable consequence of involving a regulatory body whose only way to affect the world is regulation. Somehow that group remain doe eyed optimists that sensible solutions can emerge from government bureaucracy

        1. You are responsible for your worldview, particularly when you cling to it in the face of decades of evidence to the contrary.

        2. Marinate on this:

          An organization that’s supposed to be skeptical of government power, just enabled a massive in-sweep of government power over the very domain the EFF purports to operate in.

          Cancel my subscription.

          1. Amazing huh? Another organization, not expressly opposed to the left, turns left.

            Why, it is almost as if there were some sort of iron law at work…

          2. It’s the thing that pisses me off the most about their involvement. It’s like the ACLU and their aversion to anything having to do with guns.

      2. They handed the FCC a loaded gun and are now begging them not to use it. It is utterly pathetic.

        1. +1 I never expected this to happen to me

        2. What happens to the man who makes a deal with the devil, again?

          Oh that’s right, he gets burned.

          1. Nonsense ! A Unicorn Fairy will appear and whisk the doe-eyed progressive away to gummy-land where free interwebz is enjoyed by all and the wonderful enlightened educated pass endless laws which the peasants happily obey !!!

            1. Europe! We should become a First World Nation, like Europe! /prog

              Oh, wait… http://fortune.com/2015/03/04/…..or-europe/

    2. I posted my feelings about EFF the other day.

      Whatever positive reputation and goodwill they had built up over the years, they blew it all with one blindingly idiotic move.

      Here’s a protip EFF: fire the partisan tools in charge of your policy side.

      1. Extremely Fucking Foolish

      2. They were already screwing up with their blind support for Aaron Swartz and Lawrence Lessig. Mind you, current copyright law sucks, as does public funding for private research results, but Swartz blindly hurt organizations that had nothing to do with that.

  4. Suck it, Netflix! I honestly hope this government takeover destroys the internet, or at least makes it into a painful and expensive experience for those who supported this idiotic legislation. I can live without it–but I bet a lot of them can’t. Hmmm…yummy proggie tears…

  5. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it fucked in the ass by the government.

  6. Why don’t people ever learn?

    Bishops: We support Obamacare! Social justice! Right to health care!

    — snip —

    Bishops: Wait, Obamacare forces companies to cover birth control drugs we don’t approve of? Moral outrage! Horror of horrors!

    1. +1 Marriage Neutrality for all!

  7. The only way you can be free is by passing more rules about what you can’t do.

    1. You aren’t free unless you’re free to do what you’re told.

  8. We were hoping there might be a non-regulated solution.

    You mean like A COMPETITIVE FUCKING MARKETPLACE?!?!?!

    No, of course you don’t. You mean a different set of regulators and a different set of rules.

    Why, WHY, don’t people ever seem to learn how this works?

    1. Now that I think about it, it’s just another case of someone wanting something for nothing. There will never be a shortage of those people.

    2. “No, of course you don’t. You mean a different set of regulators and a different set of rules.”

      Yeah, the rules didn’t outlaw competing with Netflix

  9. You were sold a bill of goods when activists told you net neutrality was all about protecting “the next Facebook” from evil ISPs.

    I don’t even get the love for “the next Facebook”. Facebook is an advertising delivery vehicle that doesn’t make anything or provide any real world services, yet they are touted as the epitome of innovation. I fear for our civilization if that touting is correct.

    1. Nice user name.

      1. But Facebook does provide something: a way for people to communicate and feel more connected to each other. Granted, people don’t pay for that, but it’s something the user base wants.

        1. Status update: LynchPin1477 is now commenting on reason.com

        2. Facebook does not provide any means of communication that didn’t exist before.

          Yes, people like staring at it for hours with the accompanying ads, but the same can be said for reality television and nobody’s going to call that the epitome of innovation.

          1. Facebook does not provide any means of communication that didn’t exist before.

            It allowed people to project how popular they were, and combine with lolpics.

            Does Reason let you do that? If they did, I’d have -22 friends!

            1. I like to creep through the friends network to find cleavage pics as much as the next guy, but let’s not pretend it’s like the fucking light bulb.

              1. Not to be a dick, but to be a dick, the modern software developer rarely does anything amazing– a lot of times it’s just data aggregation presented in a clever way.

                Some tween writes an app, next week his company is worth a billion dollars.

                Am I bitter? Yeah, I’m bitter.

                1. There is some pretty amazing algorithmic work being done out there now, it’s just not as visible as the Groupons and Angry Birdses of the world.

              2. You should try searching LinkedIn for hot chick names like Kristin and Ashley and see the boner inducers. Then because it’s LinkedIn it looks like work.

                Then at night you look up the FB pages of hotties discovered on LinkedIn

                Talk about marathon potential

          2. I’m not so sure about that, unless you’re counting MySpace or other similar services that came out around the same time. FB gives people a way of communicating and sharing a wide range of media with a large, or small, or almost any size crowd you want. I’m not a particularly big FB user, but I think ti definitely changed the way people communicated.

            1. I don’t see that at all. The whole panoply of Web 2.0 “innovation” (including YouTube, Twitter, etc) was just a matter of the internet getting fast enough to handle it and people not being needing to sit at a wire-connected computer to access the net. There’s nothing innovative about any of it. What was innovative was the enabling hardware manufacture and deployment — which the FCC is now going to punish.

              Facebook doesn’t do anything fundamentally different from what Usenet did back in the 1980s.

              1. Yeah, and a Shelby GT is the same as a Model T. Most innovation is incremental. 1.4 billion people find Facebook useful enough to use it at least once a month. Just because you dont, doesn’t make it worthless.

  10. It’s AMAZING how easily people and organizations are willing to get in bed with politicians. Why in the world would you let the fox in the hen house so to speak? I just don’t get it.

    1. See my comment above. It’s just people wanting something for nothing. Someone offered them a way to hurt their competition, and it didn’t cost them a dime. So why not, right? Except for all the things that could wrong in the future, but don’t worry about that, because – free stuff!

    2. Because, in the short-term, it benefits them. Sure in the long-run they might have to pay for that benefit. But, by that time, they’ll have retired.

    3. Given that it’s likely that some of your competitors are going to try to lobby for legislation to hurt you, you’re better off trying to lobby for legislation yourself to hurt your competitors even if you know that the outcome would be worse than an unregulated, free market. It’s kind of like the prisoner’s dilemma.

  11. Here’s what CFO David Wells said at an industry conference earlier this week, according to Variety: “Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not. We were hoping there might be a non-regulated solution.”

    “If you’re going to get in bed with the devil, you’d better be ready to fuck.”

    As soon as a service comes along that can replace Netflix, it can kiss my money goodbye. Of course, Net Imbecility makes that ll the more unlikely now.

    1. On the surface, Netflix wants to appear cautious and evenhanded.

      Under the sheets it’s a slobbery mess of mutual fellatio. Of course they’re thrilled with helping lock in their own supremacy.

      1. This.

        The Wells statement reads like an Academy Award acceptance speech where you are expected to (however insincerely) praise your competitors. Now that they got what they want they’ll pretend they didn’t really care about it.

        1. Even if they end up shelling out more in legal costs for compliance than they ultimately reap in rents, the positive press from this is overwhelming. Everywhere I lurk besides reason and a few other conservative/libertarian blogs, the outpouring of emoting in favor of Netflix’s courageous stand against Comcast (“FUCK COMCAST” seems to be the rallying cry for this movement) more than handily drowns out voices to the contrary.

          What does Title II mean? And just what was the disagreement over, anyway? They’ve no clue. Net Neutrality was always just an article of faith, anyway. Now they’re up to the waists in it, and who knows when they start smelling the rot. Idiots.

      2. Of course they’re thrilled with helping lock in their own supremacy.

        Supremacy for now.

        What they don’t understand is that all they’ve done is replaced commercial competition with political competition. Right now, Netflix is on top. Of course, whose to say how it will all play out in a couple of years when certain politicians want support from Comcast and its NBC affiliates?

        They could find a tax on large commercial content providers have to support our vital ISP infrastructure. Or they could find some rule saying streaming applications can only be provided by ISPs. There’s a million ways that they could find the competition turning against them.

        1. What does it matter? It’s not as though corporate governance is a permanent thing. The CEO and current board secured a major coup in the short term, with tremendous public plaudits to boot.

    2. Try Amazon Video. Since I already have Prime and I already have xbox Gold for Netflix, Amazon Video was no additional cost and god enough that I dropped Netflix a couple months ago.

      1. I do have Amazon Prime Video and HBO GO on my Roku.

        Netflix is good for tee-vee shows, but that’s about it. I keep it around because it’s cheap, but I’m *this* close to having them fuck off.

      2. I’ve been thinking about switching from Netflix to Amazon for a while now mostly because I can never find anything I want to watch. Does Amazon have a larger/better selection?

        1. On the whole they are about equal. I think they fight it out in the margins for the rights to particular titles. Where they are going to do battle is original programming.

        2. Also, when you pay your $90 to Amazon yearly you get free two-day shipping. That was why I originally got it when it was first launched because I do almost all of my non-food shopping on Amazon.

        3. I can tell you that Netflix’s tools for finding movies/shows is much better than Amazon’s.

          For starters, Netflix displays all episodes of a TV series as one entry. Amazon displays each season as a separate entry.

          So when you’re looking for shows on Netflix, you scroll past (say) five different TV series entries and in Amazon, you may have to scroll through 20 (5 shows with 4 seasons).

          1. On which platform? Not on PC or Kindle.

    3. Amazon Prime?

      1. Keep up, EAP, wills ya?

    4. As soon as a service comes along that can replace Netflix,

      Amazon Prime? For a flat fee, you get lots of movies for no additional charge. Seems to be a lot of overlap with Netflix’s catalog, too.

    5. Amazon Prime Video?

      1. Crunchyroll?

        *looks around*

        Crunchyroll? Is this thing on?

        *phhhtphhht*

    6. I quite Netflix about a year and a half ago. It’s cheaper and more convenient to bootleg everything. I don’t have to deal with sporadic buffering , so even the video quality is better,.

      1. I just won (barely) a child porn case where my client had downloaded a bit-torrent program and inadvertently downloaded CP through it. He immediately deleted it but the cops still came after him. He’s free now, but he spent over $100k to secure that freedom.

    7. “If you’re going to get in bed with the devil, you’d better be ready to get fucked.”

      FTFY

      1. “If you want to dine with the devil, you’re going to need a long spoon.”

  12. Forseeable consequences are not unintended. Funny that they couldn’t have given the idea this much thought before they became full-throated shills for its implementation.

  13. Some Republican Rep has authored a bill to stop the FCC from implementing NN.

    Ars Technica has a sad over it.

    1. Ars Technica has a sad over it.

      Very little would make me happier.

      I look forward to the Niagara Falls of yummy, salty tears when this is inevitably overturned.

      1. They will be sooo delicious.

        1. I can’t see how this will survive a legal challenge, I fully expect the FCC to be utterly bitch-slapped for breaching their authority, but nothing that happens in DC surprises me any longer.

          1. It wouldn’t be the first time. Or the second.

    2. “Ars Technica has a sad over it.”

      Ars Technica, Technical news from the arms of Social Justice Warriors.

      1. Now, if we can figure out a way to bring up a NN complaint against Ars Technica?

        1. Ars Technica doesn’t do anything as useful as move packets around.

    3. I’m sure Obama will sign it after passage.

  14. Here’s what CFO David Wells said at an industry conference earlier this week, according to Variety: “Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not. We were hoping there might be a non-regulated solution.”

    Well, that seems more like Netflix trying to mend bridges with NN opponents than actually expressing regret.

    Indeed they would be one of the few players who would benefit from the net slowing down; recall their heyday was when they were mailing DVDs, not streaming video.

  15. Ugh, this time last week, I spent 20 minutes trying to talk about the problems with the Title II classification. That was as long as I could last before the nonsense overwhelmed me. And not just the depth of nonsense, but the breadth. There are so many different, double-plus-good things that NN will accomplish, how can anyone on the Internet be against it??

    Plus, this has made me really dislike Netflix. It’s one of the few instances when I want to use the words, “pay their fair share.”

    …Please give me a line break, submit-button.

    1. I was in a meeting where someone said “It will ensure the internet continues to operate the way it was always intended.”

      It was a work meeting, so I didn’t ask the obvious question: What happens if the internet *needs* to operate in way that wasn’t intended 25 years ago?

      1. “It will ensure the internet continues to operate the way it was always intended.”

        What a ballsack of bullshit. You should super-glue that idiot’s office door closed, when they’re in there.

        If that was the way it’s operated for over 20 years, with culture-shock level disruption and growth, then why does it need the ham fists of the FCC?

      2. It will ensure the internet continues to operate the way it was always intended.

        What does that mean? Intended by whom and in what way?

        What a mind-numbingly shallow rationale for NN.

        1. Al Gore?

        2. By the government that invented it for us, of course!

      3. Ironically that may be true. It was intended to be a small, slow network that could deliver nuclear launch codes.

        The Internet we love is absolutely not what was intended.

        1. Well played.

      4. It will ensure the internet continues to operate the way it was always intended.

        As a text-based system available only to academics and government employees?

      5. It was a work meeting, so I didn’t ask the obvious question: What happens if the internet *needs* to operate in way that wasn’t intended 25 years ago?

        Aren’t you basically guaranteeing the information superhighway of 20 yrs. ago will be maintained like the regular superhighways were 20 yrs. before that?

      6. The internet wasn’t intended to be used commercial, so NetFlix, Amazon, Google, etc., are all violating the internet’s design.

      7. UselessNET for all.

        alt.fight.the.capitalist.running.racist.dog.pigs

        GIFs brought to you in only 12 parts!
        JPEGs in 3!

      8. I was in a meeting where someone said “It will ensure the internet continues to operate the way it was always intended.”

        I.e., as a non-commercial military network intended to survive a nuclear attack?

  16. I swear I posted my original comment in this article’s comment section, not the previous article’s.

    This format is throwing me off, I think.

  17. This is why I will never subscribe to or endorse Netflix in anyway. They deliberately played games and were one of the biggest supporters for a proposal that may screw up the internet for a long time.

    All so that they could avoid having to pay for their internet access like every other user and every other streaming company.

  18. Everyone complaining about how what the FCC did is a bad thing, answer me this one question: where is the market in Internets that I can exchange the one I don’t like for one that I do like?

    The answer is blindingly obvious: it doesn’t exist. Until that market exists, I will retain my position that the One and Only Internet is a public good, and therefore a prime candidate for government regulation to protect everyone’s right to access it.

    So if you want to trumpet the free market here, either (a) start building another Internet so you can at least PRETEND a market exists, or (b) stop trying to blow hot air up everyone’s ass.

    1. Until that market exists, I will retain my position that the One and Only Internet is a public good, and therefore a prime candidate for government regulation to protect everyone’s right to access it.

      You obviously have no fucking clue of what a public good is. Thank you for broadcasting your ignorance.

    2. Here are some questions for you:

      Where did you get the idea that you have the right to internet access?

      What part of Title II regulation, specifically, will protect this “right”?

      Has your ISP ever tried to prevent you from accessing the internet?

      Do you have the slightest clue about how the internet works?

      Do you have the slightest clue about how markets work?

      1. Has your ISP ever tried to prevent you from accessing the internet? If so, did they do so of their own volition or were they compelled to by law?

        There are plenty of cases of ISPs doing shitty/marginally unconsitutional things to their customers. It usually gets smoothed over with some legal tangoing between government pressure and private entities.

        The CIA/NSA/FBI isn’t collecting *your* metadata, that would be illegal. They’re collecting bulk data that is freely provided by your service provider.

        1. I don’t think it’s possible for an ISP to do something unconstitutional.

          1. Exactly.

          2. I don’t think it’s possible for an ISP to do something unconstitutional.

            Let’s say; unconsitutional on the government’s or governments’ behalf.

            There’s nothing stopping the ATF from noticing a quaint little search engine/phone company and politely asking them to compile a useful national registry or two. What I mean to say is Amazon wasn’t doing anything illegal when it cited Wikileaks for breach of contract and BT certainly isn’t doing anything illegal with a page like this.

      2. I agree with LPDave, I guess. Web access and use has become exactly the same as electricity, and is already subsuming and replacing the traditional telephone land line. Both are regulated, and with good reason. I don’t like that we need a government, but we do. In situations pertaining to * utilities * like these, I no longer believe the public is best served by unfettered capitalism … Because capitalism is repeatedly demonstrated to mean simply Greed, selfishness, and short term thinking. I agree that our government is imperfect, and by a wide margin, but personally I still consider it the lesser of these two evils.

        1. Tangman01|3.5.15 @ 8:43PM|#
          …”I don’t like that we need a government, but we do.”

          An assertion from a dumbass does not constitute evidence.

          1. Mike Hihn told me today that we need the governmwnt and we need the coercive tax system. With A Top Man like Mike calling the shots.

        2. Web access and use has become exactly the same as electricity

          So you are going to turn it into the ripoff as public utilities? Many home owners can do just fine without electricity, water, or sewage, yet are forced by government to buy them at inflated, government-set prices.

    3. where is the market in Internets that I can exchange the one I don’t like for one that I do like?

      I think you mean “where is the market for ISPs”, to which the answer is “right in front of your face”.

      Asking where the market for Internets is in this case, is like asking where the market for universal solvent molecules is when you get a leaky bottle of water.

      1. Yes, seriously , WTF?

        The “Internet” isn’t one entiity. It’s a network of many entities. There are multiple ISPs to choose from, and those ISPs have many backbone providers to choose from, no to mention the myriad players delivering content distribution services and dedicated lines and all sorts of shit.

    4. What? Invent another internet? This is the stupidest comment yet. Where is the market for TV’s? We need to regulate TVs or have someone invent another TV. We need to regulate supermarkets, there’s no alternative! The internet is made up of many companies, that’s the market.

      1. Maybe he’s asking for a market of protocols? I for one am sick of getting exploited by the bastards behind TCP/IP.

      2. There are actually “other internets” out there?

    5. A history lesson for LPDave.

      FM radio, which is vastly superior to AM in sound quality and resistance to interference, was invented in the 1930s. But it did not command a majority of listenership until the 1970s, four decades later. Do you know why, LP?

      Because the FCC, that guardian of the consumers, under regulatory capture by David Sarnoff and RCA, imposed all manner of arbitrary restrictions on FM radio so that RCA’s investment in AM radio would be protected. This included arbitrary limitations on the power of FM broadcast stations, arbitrary limitations on the distance that FM stations could broadcast, and, in the mid-1940s, commanding FM radio stations to switch to a higher frequency band, thus forcing all FM broadcasters to rebuild their stations. For this reason, consumers were deprived of a higher quality, clearly superior product for decades.

      This is the same FCC that LPDave assures is going to provide us with a competitive, high-quality, innovative Internet at low-cost through government regulation. Because regulatory capture never happens. And because consumers like us have exactly the same access to administrative agencies as rent-seekers do.

      Now who’s full of hot air?

    6. where is the market in Internets that I can exchange the one I don’t like for one that I do like?

      Huh. You seem to have no problem with monopolies on force. Are you demanding a market there?

      Have you ever considered that you might not have the first clue of what you’re talking about?

    7. where is the market in Internets that I can exchange the one I don’t like for one that I do like?

      Not to be mean, but do you know hot the internet works?

      If you are thinking of the physical lines used for transmission, you don’t actually pay for access to a specific route. That would be really dumb, actually. But with mobile broadband it may also be a moot point.

      If you are talking about protocols, then again, you’re not paying to specifically use TCP/IP over some competing protocol, and you really don’t want or need to.

      If you are talking about your ISP, like Comcast or Verizon, well then so are we! You won’t find a person here who supports the built in advantage that certain entrenched ISPs get at the local level. But you know why we are in that situation? Government regulators.

      Even then, Reason has reported on numbers that something like 80% of Americans have access to at least two broadband providers (going by the FCC’s definition).

      1. Even then, Reason has reported on numbers that something like 80% of Americans have access to at least two broadband providers (going by the FCC’s definition).

        That wasn’t just based on the FCC’s definition, it was from the FCC’s very own report.

      2. I don’t think that’s mean. I really don’t think this guy knows what the Internet is or how it works.

        Or he’s just repeating platitudes.

    8. You should address this issue with the cities and counties that enforce and mandate monooplies.

    9. Everyone complaining about how what the FCC did is a bad thing, answer me this one question

      Your question is a strawman. Your reasoning is a pile of left-wing horseshit that displays utter and blatant ignorance on how “the internet” actually works.

      Come back when you actually understand how an ISP maintains network access, you moron.

  19. IMHO this whole article misses the point, just as wired did. I don’t give a rats ass about netflix or Facebook or any other single entity using the web. And for that reason I don’t want any single entity except the US taxpayer to Own the web (in the US Obviously). The web has become an essential utility and should be treated just like we treat electricity. If you use a ton of it, Great. You can get a better rate. But not at the expense of your neighbors and their service. So I say hooray for net neutrality. Next we need to go after the cable companies themselves, kick their ass and bust them up, so we can get Real competition back in mix.

    1. And for that reason I don’t want any single entity except the US taxpayer to Own the web

      Something tells me actual US taxpayers are going to have little choice in how the FCC manages the web, especially since they’re becoming a minority in this country.

      The web has become an essential utility and should be treated just like we treat electricity.

      Food is essential and we don’t regulate that like electricity. Same with water.

      Next we need to go after the cable companies themselves, kick their ass and bust them up, so we can get Real competition back in mix.

      And after busting up the interests that laid the fiber and produced the existing infrastructure of the net, the internet will be delivered to your door on a unicorn fart wave.

    2. The web has become an essential utility and should be treated just like we treat electricity.

      Said no one who lived through the California electricity crisis of 2000-2001 or the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003.

      Food is an essential utility so we should regulate it like the Soviets did.

    3. And for that reason I don’t want any single entity except the US taxpayer to Own the web (in the US Obviously).

      1) The U.S. taxpayer is not a single entity. There are a few 10s of millions of them. And aren’t people always complaining that the richest have too much influence over the government?

      2) What does it even mean to “own” the internet? You need to be more specific about what you mean by “internet”. But as it stands, no one entity owns the myriad parts that make up what people typically think of as “the internet”, and there isn’t any real danger of that happening.

      1. I should have said, there *wasn’t* any danger of that happening. Now that the FCC is getting involved, all bets are off.

    4. The web has become an essential utility and should be treated just like we treat electricity.

      You mean become a government-protected monopoly with inflated prices that consumers are forced to purchase from? Yeah, that’s what “net neutrality” is going to accomplish.

  20. IMHO this whole article misses the point, just as wired did. I don’t give a rats ass about netflix or Facebook or any other single entity using the web. And for that reason I don’t want any single entity except the US taxpayer to Own the web (in the US Obviously). The web has become an essential utility and should be treated just like we treat electricity. If you use a ton of it, Great. You can get a better rate. But not at the expense of your neighbors and their service. So I say hooray for net neutrality. Next we need to go after the cable companies themselves, kick their ass and bust them up, so we can get Real competition back in mix.

    1. So, your solution to that ‘cable monopoly’ – created by government – is to have the government intervene *more*?

      And you think this is going to work *better* with the internet?

    2. “But not at the expense of your neighbors and their service.”

      Once again, an NN supporter is arguing for the exact opposite of what they claim to want. By restricting an ISP’s ability to control internet traffic, you are ensuring that bandwidth hogs will degrade service for everyone else. You are also saddling the ISP with the cost of expanding the network, to compensate for the heavy usage, which will then be passed on to all of their customers.

      1. By restricting an ISP’s ability to control internet traffic, you are ensuring that bandwidth hogs will degrade service for everyone else.

        Beat me to it.
        Netflix users on average consume more bandwidth than everyone else, so they are more responsible for traffic congestion. Comcast wants to transfer some of that cost onto the bandwidth hogs by throttling Netflix or forcing them to pay extra for prioritization. Which will get transferred to Netflix subscribers via their subscription fees. Netflix doesn’t like that. It effectively wants non-Netflix consuming Comcast subscribers to pay more so that Comcast can build out their fiber to accomodate the additional traffic. They are basically forcing all Comcast customers to subsidize the bandwidth consumption of Netflix’s customers.

    3. Well, then the “US taxpayer” can bear all the costs for the infrastructure. Gee, not only does that sound like a bad idea, it sounds like the worst idea.

      Now, everyone can argue about what constitutes sufficient bandwidth for each person and the use of it can be politicized to hell and back.

      You can fuck right off with this idea.

    4. People already do pay for a better rate at the “expense” of their neighbors and their service. Bandwidth is a scarce resource. People who pay more get faster rates.

      And your logic is ass backwards because the whole point of Net Neutrality, for Netflix is so that the people streaming Netflix videos all evening can hog all the bandwidth and don’t have to pay extra for their Netflix subscription.

    5. I’m going to invoke the Gary North rule: the crackpotty-ness of a particular post is directly proportional to the percentage of words that are Randomly Capitalized.

      The Internet is an abstraction and doesn’t physically exist any more than Lincoln’s “mystical union” existed. What does exist is a series of fibers, copper wires, and computers with plenty of electrons bouncing around between them, and net neutrality is going to limit the number of ways those electrons can be delivered and who can deliver them.

      After last year’s Verizon ruling, I don’t see how the court–any court–doesn’t strike this down as a ridiculous overreach. Wheel-bama was denied a kiss and immediately went for anal.

  21. . Did we really just enact 300 pages of legally questionable, enormously costly, transformative rules just to help Netflix in a trivial commercial spat?

    Yes. Why do you think people spend so much money on spin doctors and ‘controlling the narrative’.

  22. Can someone please take those “300 pages of rules” and go through them, and tell us how each rule is supposed to affect us as Internet customers?

    1. Are they public yet?

      1. They are for Google and Netflix. That’s public, right?

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  25. Congratulations, Netflix…you got exactly what you wanted. Now you get to suffer the consequences. Bend over, drop those pants, and take everything the government gives you. You’ve earned it. Enjoy

  26. Well, obviously. Netflix would be a major beneficiary of paid prioritization. There’s no way to reliably deliver streaming video without prioritizing video packets, so net neutrality essentially dooms online video to forever be subject to periodic buffering and lag.

    Netflix was basically just trying to use the FCC to get free access to Comcast’s network, without realizing that it would effectively mean that Netflix would never be able to do bufferless streaming.

  27. That’s not the CFO expressing regret at all. Would the best case have been for ISPs to just behave ethically instead of abusing their monopoly power to nickel and dime the shit out of consumers? Absolutely. Since that’s not going to happen, the FCC stepping in and preventing them from doing the the internet what they did to cable is the next best thing.

    1. monopoly power to nickel and dime the shit out of consumers

      To the extend they have a monopoly, why not go after *that*? All this will do is further entrench the monopoly!!!!! This happens all the time with regulation.

      But regardless of their monopoly or lack thereof, of course they are going to nickel and dime you! And you would do well to nickel and dime them. Ever negotiate the price on a car? If not, you’re a sucker. If you did, you just nickeled and dimed the dealer. And their profit margins really aren’t all that big, so don’t think they are just rolling in profits.

      But given all that, the Comcast/Netflix spat was not about Comcast trying to get more money from Netflix just because. It was about Netflix users using more resources, and Comcast wanting Netflix prices to reflect that. In other words, Comcast didn’t want to raise its prices to subsidize Netflix, thus pissing off Comcast’s non-Netflix using customers in the process. It wanted Netflix’s customers to pay for the bandwidth they were using. Not only is that understandable, it is fair and exactly how things should work. Use more, pay more. The alternative is for your neighbor to use more and you to pay more. You are basically nickeling and diming your neighbor at that point.

      FCC stepping in and preventing them from doing the the internet what they did to cable is the next best thing

      So instead the FCC can do to the internet what it did to broadcast TV? Awesome.

    2. Would the best case have been for ISPs to just behave ethically instead of abusing their monopoly power to nickel and dime the shit out of consumers?

      You don’t even know what the fuck you’re spewing here.

      Since that’s not going to happen, the FCC stepping in and preventing them from doing the the internet what they did to cable is the next best thing.

      Bullshit. Do you have any fucking idea how internet access is maintained? Are you really saying that you like the idea that Netflix users can throttle an ISP’s limited bandwidth without bearing ANY of the cost of expanding and maintaining the infrastructure to support it?

      You’re a typical proglydyte toolbox that needs Mommy Government to wipe your ass for you.

  28. Did we really just enact 300 pages of legally questionable, enormously costly, transformative rules just to help Netflix in a trivial commercial spat?

    No, we didn’t.

    The executive has been searching for an excuse to bring the internet under its grasp for eons, as they imagine that an internet without bureaucratic oversight is a jumbled, lawless mess rather than the evolving, emergent order that it is. Just another failure to understand the underlying arguments behind markets.

    Netflix gave the central planners a convenient excuse, and the people who flew a banner over Comcast’s corporate hq were useful idiots for their cause.

  29. You guys are acting completely ignorant regarding the FACT that the Federal Communications Commission has always been required to regulate common carrier wire medium and radio medium communications. Since 1934 or sixty-three years before the (1997) Reno v ACLU FRAUD.

    (59) Wire communication
    The term “wire communication” or “communication by wire” means the transmission of writing, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds of all kinds by aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission, including all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, and delivery of communications) incidental to such transmission.

    Read my legal reply to EFF? http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/docum…..7520927860
    Nah. We should just ignore it.

    1. You guys are acting completely ignorant regarding the FACT that the Federal Communications Commission has always been required to regulate common carrier wire medium and radio medium communications.

      And you’re completely fucking ignorant about how the internet actually works. Asserting that this expansion of authority was needed was the ultimate in question-begging. Take your Reno vs ACLU and shove it up your ass.

    2. Yeah, about the Telecommunications Act of 1934… not a lot of libertarian support, there.

  30. Love how these “net neutrality” morons are asserting that the FCC is the only thing that will “keep the internet competitive!” while completely ignoring the steady, decades-long consolidation of media entities in TV and radio that’s occurred under the watch of the same FCC.

    They don’t know what the fuck they’re promoting, but by god they sure are confident in their ignorance!

  31. Ajit Pai for president.

  32. Wow, talk about an article that missed a lot of key facts. First we have Comcast which openly admits to bandwidth throttling on several types of Internet traffic. We have the inability of Google to run their cables due to the previous rules which stifled competition. We have other vendors which seriously postulated bandwidth throttling of their own…

    Sorry, but this is one of the few areas where the Reason folks have failed to make a good argument. While it would be nice if the market would have resolved things, for the same reason that AT&T needed to be broken up to free up the market, the same applies to needing the network unfettered.

    1. Wow, talk about an article that missed a lot of key facts.

      Yet another chump that doesn’t understand how the internet works with disguised whining about MUH PRESHUS STREAMIN VIDEO.

      While it would be nice if the market would have resolved things, for the same reason that AT&T needed to be broken up to free up the market, the same applies to needing the network unfettered.

      So I should have my bandwidth access degraded so you and the rest of your incel fellow travelers can jerk off to Orange is the New Black?

      1. Does this idiot have any idea why AT&T got so big in the first place? The government creates a monopoly, it festers and stagnates for decades while providing crappy service at inflated prices (because it is legally protected from market forces), then the government rides in on a white horse and busts up the monopoly it created in the first place.

        Netflix wants to pass the cost of its bandwidth-hogging service onto all internet users, so the leftoid statist spin doctors cook up a narrative about evil ISPs “throttling” Netflix by charging higher rates (which makes perfect sense; more bandwidth should = higher rates) and how the evil ISPs are going to censor them, or something…now we are supposed to believe that the internet is a “public resource”, and the people whose investment and work have made its access possible, are now supposed to be rightless slaves of “the peepul”.

        I can’t wait for this absurdity to get struck down in court.

    2. “We have the inability of Google to run their cables due to the previous rules which stifled competition. ”

      Could you explain how the FCC ruling will change how local governments have provided monopolies to certain cable companies?

      If it does do that, I will be very happy.

      But as far as I am aware, the FCC didn’t touch those. So, what you have done is kept Google Fiber out and added on more Federal control over competition, not loosening.

      This is why I think NN supporters, many of whom are merely miffed at Comcast, with good reason, did not think this through.

      Trust me when you have 3-4 choices of ISP, you will lose your anger with Comcast because you don’t deal with them. You will still get calls from your elderly parents who refuse to give up Comcast but wish to complain about them, but you personally can use Uverse or any other service.

      Now, with the FCC rules there is a potential for a freezing in amber. You will never get rid of Comcast. The real change should have been done at the local level.

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  34. Twain had the prohibitionists pegged;

    “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled”. Mark Twain

    We’d all be better off if the police focused on crimes that have actual victims!

    Does anyone honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

  35. Comcast is still trying to purchase NBC/TimeWarner, waiting on regulators to okay the deal. Now that The Obama is the Grand Savior of the Internet, there is no political pressure for The Obama to have regulators cancel the Comcast/NBC deal. Comcast will purchase NBC and gobble up TimeWarner; Comcast will have at least 40% of the ISP business in this country, and they will keep growing. If Comcast is a utility, Comcast isn’t going to be hit with anti-trust penalties.
    And then prominent Comcast lobbyists will be on the FCC Board of Directors.
    Comcast is going to own the internet.

    PIPA and SOPA failed, the Chinese-hacker hype failed, the North Korean-hacker hype failed… but they finally found justification to take control over the only bastion of free information.

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