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Free Minds & Free Markets

Plan to Roll Back Internet Regulations a Boon for Business and Innovation

Goodbye and good riddance to the Obama administration's "Open Internet Order."

David Becker / ZUMA Press / Splash News/NewscomDavid Becker / ZUMA Press / Splash News/NewscomLibertarians, rejoice—a U.S. regulator took the bold step of deciding that his office simply doesn't have the jurisdiction to control major parts of the internet. Last Wednesday, the free market-friendly Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai unveiled his plan to roll back the FCC's controversial 2015 Open internet Order (OIO), which granted the telecommunication regulator expansive discretionary authority over how internet Service Providers (ISPs) can operate and compete.

Pai's plan is a real win for those who believe businesses should not need government permission before innovating. But don't expect the so-called "net neutrality" hardliners to accept this proposal without a major fight. Their reactions last week were predictably apoplectic.

Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) set the tone on Wednesday, promising a "tsunami of resistance" against Pai's deregulatory move. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) clutched his pearls and warned that rescinding the OIO would "destroy the internet as we know it." A writer at Gizmodo scoffed that Pai's position was one "only the strongest free-market libertarians" could support (is that supposed to be an insult?). The political group Free Press, a dogged OIO supporter, bemoaned that if Pai succeeds, "the internet as we know it will be gone for good."

But hysterical critics have a hard time answering exactly how the internet was able to become the engine of innovation that it is today without the expansive FCC controls only granted through the OIO in 2015.

Radical Regulation

The 2015 Open Interent Order broke from years of established federal policy by reclassifying ISPs as "common carriers" for FCC purposes. In legal terms, the OIO applied Title II of the 1934 Communication Act to ISPs. This meant that web-service providers such as RCN and Time Warner were to be treated less like part of a competitive and cutting-edge industry and more like an arm of the Ma Bell telephone monopoly of Norman Rockwell's America. Specifically, the change would prohibit certain kinds of content-delivery differentiation, placing the FCC in the position of picking winners and losers by being able to determine which service innovations are allowed and which are not.

For providers, the imposition of Title II regulations meant uncertainty, new fees and compliance costs, and a major new power center just waiting to be captured by commercial interests. For consumers, it meant less choice, higher prices, and a worrying channel for new government censorship of speech. For libertarians, it was merely more of the same: Yet another government regulator deciding that it should have more power to tell businesses and consumers what they can and cannot do.

It is hard to overstate just how radical of a departure the OIO was from the preceding years of light touch regulatory authority over internet activities. For years, U.S. internet policy was guided by a remarkably laissez faire approach encapsulated by the Clinton administration's Framework for Global Electronic Commerce. This extraordinary document instructs the federal government to "encourage industry self-regulation wherever appropriate" and "refrain from imposing new and unnecessary regulations" on commercial internet activities. And if that's not clear enough, Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act states that any "service or system that provides access to the internet" should be "unfettered from Federal or State regulation" like the OIO.

Accordingly, America today is home to the world's most successful and competitive technology companies, and consumers have access to a dazzling array of telecommunication services at affordable, competitive prices. (And thanks to Pai's new plan, we can continue to be.) But can you imagine what the internet would now look like if ISPs had been forced to ask the FCC for permission every time one wanted to roll out a new service over the years? We might not have much of an internet at all.

No Free internet

For a great example of how the OIO harms consumers and innovation, we can look to the absurd fits that so-called "net neutrality" partisans pitch over zero-rated services.

Zero-rated services allow users to access certain features of the internet for free or at steep discount; some high profile examples include Mobile Wikipedia and internet.org. For people living in conditions of extreme poverty, this kind of access can literally mean the difference between being able to connect with the broader world and being stuck in digital isolation. But zero-rating is also good for binge watching. Consider T-Mobile's popular "Binge On" service, which allows customers to stream content without counting against data usage caps. Consumers might see this as a welcome facilitator for their next Netflix fix, but OIO advocates see it as a "slippery slope" that undermines "net neutrality principles."

Because zero-rating may technically violate the prohibition against differentiating access, the FCC actually launched an investigation into zero-rated services in 2016 for potentially running afoul of the OIO. (Thankfully, one of Pai's first actions was to call off this insane witch hunt.) That's right: The FCC wanted to prevent companies from giving away free stuff because it "violated net neutrality." This is the ridiculous world of the OIO.

It is unfortunate that the FCC's heavy-handed and political power grab through the OIO has been conflated with the nebulous and universally positive-sounding abstraction of "net neutrality." Industry supporters of the OIO often deploy high-sounding (but largely incomprehensible) rhetoric about "treating all data equally" and "protecting our open internet" without delving much into the specifics of how they want to get there—namely, by super-charging the FCC with an expansive and arbitrary permission-based regime for internet services. Instead, net-neutrality ideologues prefer to focus on the doomsday scenarios that they imply would occur without the radical new OIO rules, conjuring images of a tiered internet and bundled-access packages reminiscent of the cable television industry.

Yet two decades without the OIO has wrought nothing like these imagined apocalypses. The best actual "scandal" that OIO advocates can dredge up is MetroPCS's 2010 decision to offer budget 4G LTE service using unconventional network construction. For most people, this is hardly a reasonable pretext to hand major new powers to a regulator. Especially a regulator like the FCC.

FCC's Empire Expansion

America's telecom regulator is notorious for developing clever rationalizations for new authorities each time that it finds its influence waning. In the case of the OIO, the contours are especially sharp: as the influence of radio, telephones, and cable continued to slump, the FCC was eager to find some new rationalization for why it should regulate the internet.

Perhaps this is why—as my colleague and FCC-watcher Brent Skorup points out—the FCC included a major loophole in the OIO that allows ISPs to still prioritize their own services. According to Skorup, it appears that the FCC wanted to broadly control these services rather than being limited to merely adjudicate competitive concerns.

It is also odd that "net neutrality" advocates rarely, if ever, discuss alternatives to the OIO that could achieve their intended goals. Denmark, for example, is frequently singled out for praise of its stellar telecommunication coverage and service. Yet, as Roslyn Layton and Joseph Kane recently pointed out in a report for the Mercatus Center, Denmark achieved this not by rolling out new top-down net neutrality rules, but rather by eliminating their telecom regulator all together.

In the U.S., perhaps a more general purpose regulator, like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), would be a more appropriate body to investigate and deal with violations of net neutrality principles, rather than endowing the famously labyrinthine FCC with a broad grant of power to manipulate the market as it sees fit.

It is exceedingly rare to find a regulator with enough honesty and humility to admit when his or her office is simply not needed. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai should be applauded for his move to deregulate by small government advocates, competition-minded businesses, and consumers alike—but it's just a first step. Expect a lot of wailing and grinding of teeth from the OIO hardliners before the FCC moves to vote on Pai's proposal. The stakes are high, but the benefits from rolling back these asinine regulations are even higher.

Photo Credit: David Becker / ZUMA Press / Splash News/Newscom

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  • CookieDeLavie||

    Writing an entire argument against net neutrality without actually spelling out the objections to an unregulated internet is facetious in the extreme. That the "Free Stuff" that's so great only applied to a very few sites (Netflix, Facebook, Amazon etc) is completely glossed over by the author. That such a situation would disadvantage a hypothetical start-up competitor to these established sites, even if the start-up was more innovative, is obvious to a child.

    Then praising Denmark - yes, their way of handling disputes is tech-neutral and market-based; but Denmark still operates under the strict net neutrality-safeguards of the EU; only their mechanisms are market-based. Sweden has the same mediation-based mechanisms, despite heavy regulation of telecoms - and Sweden's capital Stockholm is the most innovative tech-area in the world, only Silicon Valley has more "unicorns" per capita.

    So sure, if the US wants to fall behind the EU completely, by all means - forge ahead. It's gifting the rest of the world the chance to catch up and surpass the US, but who cares if we get ours right now, right?

    An incredibly naive article, in short, full of exclamations, false equivalency and straw-men that wouldn't even make the grade in a high-school debate.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Explain, please, how unimplemented net neutrality somehow saved the internet, and rolling back those regs to the previous 20 year status could possibly destroy the internet.

    You wasted even more words saying nothing and dodging the central question.

  • sudon't||

    That's easy - internet data was treated equally until the corporations thought up a different way to treat it. It took 'em a little while to get around to it, but when they finally did threaten data neutrality, and begin to abuse their positions, acting as gatekeepers rather than simple providers of access, that's when people realized we needed to protect net neutrality. You know, while we still had it.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    It took 'em a little while to get around to it, but when they finally did threaten data neutrality, and begin to abuse their positions, acting as gatekeepers rather than simple providers of access

    Oh look, another moron who doesn't understand how data transport works.

  • CookieDeLavie||

    Easy, I thought it was implied, but clearly I overestimated you - it's not until the last 10 years or so that internet companies have become dominant forces within their sectors, (coinciding with the launch of the iPhone and Facebook) and it's less than 5 years ago that high-data streaming became (ahaha) mainstream. Before that, net neutrality wasn't really an issue, as the amount of data transferred was comparatively tiny. The telecoms were huge and rapacious, sure, but the internet was made up of hundreds of little fish fighting for dominance, so the lack of regulations did very little.

    This is basic economic theory. It's not like it's a secret this is how it works.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    it's not until the last 10 years or so that internet companies have become dominant forces within their sectors, (coinciding with the launch of the iPhone and Facebook) and it's less than 5 years ago that high-data streaming became (ahaha) mainstream

    Sounds like an issue of scale and nothing that couldn't be solved with a good old-fashioned anti-trust lawsuit--but then, the government is the one that approved those mergers and buyouts, so how exactly will "net neutrality" solve the problem you're saying they helped create?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    It would also be interesting to see some concrete examples of how the US is falling behind Europe. How many of the top 50 internet companies come from Europe? Or Asia? Or anywhere outside the US?

    Or maybe you have some alternate definition of success.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The fact that you don't understand that so called net neutrality implicitly favors netflix and google, aka big internet, shows just who is the child here.

  • Jerryskids||

    You get paid by the word or by the post?

  • Not a True MJG||

    By the punctuation.

  • Untermensch den 2||

    There are lots of things companies do to put themselves at an advantage. But giving customers more of what they want at a low cost is a bad thing in what universe exactly. Being a large incumbent on a pile of cash will always give an advantage over new entrants, and yet large companies are unseated all the time.

    If the new entrants were not free to try to negotiate their own favorable deals, you might have a point, but that isn't the case here. In fact, under your preferred system, these new entrants would have an even harder uphill battle because they would not have the connections or regulatory carve-outs they need.

    But hey, as long as nobody gets free stuff if not everybody can give free stuff, we all win…

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Oh look, another "I fucking love SCIENCE!!" dipshit that doesn't understand how data transport or maintenance works.

  • spec24||

    Don't you mean "spelling out the objections to a regulated internet?" I don't think the author has any objections to an unregulated internet.

    "That such a situation would disadvantage a hypothetical start-up competitor to these established sites, even if the start-up was more innovative, is obvious to a child."

    Only if that child was you. It is not the job of the government to make sure that start-ups are not disadvantaged by the other companies. That's stupid liberal thought that imagines all companies should involve themselves in "fair trade." If a company is giving away free shit there is no reason to regulate them so another company can "compete." That is just beyond a level of stupid that can only come from the American liberal mind.

    "only Silicon Valley has more "unicorns" per capita."

    What? Is that an economic value? If I understand you correctly, you're saying Silicone Valley is more innovative than Stockholm... but then claiming we will fall behind the EU. Are you high on something?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    The knee-jerk reactions on Ars Technica, and I presume Salon, HuffPo, et al, is very satisfying. As TFA says, the internet thrived and grew like crazy before Obama's pseudo net neutrality, which wasn't even in effect long enough to do anything, so how they can claim this reversion is a step back to the stone age which will stifle the internet, well, we all know why. Obama the light giver (even if you have to pay $400K for it) vs Trump the dark dribbler.

  • sudon't||

    Yeah, the rivers were clean before factories started throwing toxic gunk into them, ergo, we don't need stupid regulations against dumping toxic sludge in rivers. Same with the internet. The internet was perfectly neutral before the carriers started giving priority to some data, so we don't need any regulations now. Also, and perhaps more importantly, regulations=bad.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    The internet was perfectly neutral before the carriers started giving priority to some data

    Data has always been prioritized, you dipshit. It wasn't an issue until Netflix started flooding ISPs with bandwidth demand.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    "t wasn't an issue until Netflix started flooding ISPs with bandwidth demand."

    The demand comes FROM the ISPs, not from Netflix. You have no clue what the hell you are talking about. On top of that, you can't seem to string together a sentence without an ad hominem. This article is a burning dumpster fire of half-assery.

    There are two ways to handle Internet connectivity, the rest is window dressing.

    1.) Make the *last mile* network connection public domain and let companies (really) compete to *transport* customer data to the broader internet. This is the most sure-fire way to bring down costs. Check out the historical rates for transport providers. Good luck prying ownership from the monopolies, though.

    2.) Regulate the hell out of what is essentially a utility service.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    The demand comes FROM the ISPs, not from Netflix.

    No, the demand comes from streaming services like Netflix that gobble up bandwidth--particularly at night when most people are home watching the service. The ISP provides the *infrastructure* for that data to travel on. An ISP can't *demand* more bandwidth, you dummy.

    Your "ways to handle Internet connectivity" is a statist fantasy that demands more government power for a problem caused by government power in the first place. Fuck off, slaver.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    "No, the demand comes from streaming services like Netflix that gobble up bandwidth--particularly at night when most people are home watching the service. The ISP provides the *infrastructure* for that data to travel on. An ISP can't *demand* more bandwidth, you dummy."

    Ugh. You have to be willfully ignorant to not understand this. But I guess you are routinely willful and ignorant.

    The data is being requested from Netflix by an ISP customer. If the ISP customer doesn't request it, it doesn't get sent, end of story. If a bunch of an ISPs customers make a lot of requests for data from Netflix, then Netflix (which has purchased significant capability to do so) gladly gets that data to that ISPs interconnect. At this point, it is up to the ISP to serve their customers on their own damned infrastructure. Netflix can't do a thing about it because it isn't their infrastructure.

    "our "ways to handle Internet connectivity" is a statist fantasy that demands more government power for a problem caused by government power in the first place."

    Read and re-read my options. It may take you awhile, but the bulb may eventually go off.

    "Fuck off, slaver."

    You're a true poet warrior.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Ugh. You have to be willfully ignorant to not understand this. But I guess you are routinely willful and ignorant.

    I understand it just fine. You're just pissed because you think shit should be free or at an arbitrary price point you deem appropriate.

    At this point, it is up to the ISP to serve their customers on their own damned infrastructure. Netflix can't do a thing about it because it isn't their infrastructure.

    And when Netflix users flood the infrastructure with bandwidth demand, that data is prioritized--i.e., "throttled" in NN-proponents weasel-language--so non-Netflix users can still get decent response on their own internet usage demands. PS--this has been going on for years, BECAUSE BANDWIDTH IS LIMITED.

    Don't get pissed because content providers would rather take advantage of settlement-free interconnect and have to pony up to maintain the infrastructure that they're overloading. One way or another, the user is going to ultimately pay that cost, either through increased Netflix fees, increased ISP bills, or both. Or do you have objections to people who drive more, paying more in gas taxes to maintain the roads?

    Read and re-read my options. It may take you awhile, but the bulb may eventually go off

    Yeah, re-read them several times. They're still bullshit demands to make daddy government fix your problems.

  • Jerryskids||

    There's a couple of sites anguishing over the roll-back of internet neutrality with the explicit argument that we need Big Government to protect us from these rapacious ISP's and their monopoly positions they use to screw us - with no explanation of how the ISP's gained monopoly positions. Near me, if you live inside the city limits you have one choice and if you live in the county you have one choice and the choice is the same - take it or leave it. The city and the county each granted a franchise - and by granted, I mean sold the rights - for the cabling on the grounds that a single provider is much more efficient (and more lucrative) than multiple competitors all tearing up the right-of-way laying multiple lines and having all that confusing choice for the consumer. Needless to say, the lack of competition does not lead to efficiency, it leads to shitty high-priced service. Much like the city and county government services and their monopoly powers. They can't get it through their thick skulls that competition is not needlessly wasteful duplication of services, it's what drives the endless pursuit of efficiency.

  • Jumper||

    Of course they gained the monopoly positions by government regulation, but those monopolies aren't going anywhere. As soon as they don't have the first hop monopolies I will be fully against net neutrality. Right now the dumb pipes are the gatekeepers and have complete power over consumers on what is an essential utility in the 21st century.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    If Netfux is so bent out of shape about paying into the maintenance of the network while they flood the ISP pipes with bandwidth, maybe they should just develop their own ISP and infrastructure and they won't have to worry about it. They certainly have enough money to make overrated drek like Orange is the New Black.

    Incidentally, Google is finding out just how hard this is with their own fiber network rollout. Turns out it's one thing to promise the world; delivering it is something else entirely.

  • spec24||

    I'm so tired of you Monopoly people. Most of the country can get what they need from the internet via their phones. And soon that wireless service that pumps all that data to the phones will be as fast (it's already faster than land lines used to be) as land lines. When that happens, those "monopolies" won't mean shit.

    "Right now the dumb pipes are the gatekeepers and have complete power over consumers on what is an essential utility in the 21st century."

    No.. see.. you're a leftist. You think people are owed the internet. No one is owed it. And no one HAS to have it. You're so brainwashed into assuming that "utilities" are owed to people you have no business speaking about them.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    "Most of the country can get what they need from the internet via their phones"

    This is pure nonsense. Can you get a 100+ Mb/s asymetrical service with sub 100ms latency from *ANY* mobile broadband provider in the US? Can you get it without data caps? The answer is no and no, not even close.

    "No.. see.. you're a leftist. You think people are owed the internet."

    That's a fabulous strawman you have there. OP never said people are owed internet access. He even made a point to call out that net neutrality is ONLY needed when there is a monopoly provider of *gateway* access.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Can you get a 100+ Mb/s asymetrical service with sub 100ms latency from *ANY* mobile broadband provider in the US?

    Why do you *need* that level of service? You sound like a nerd version of the "small-dick big-truck drivers" your type likes to mock.

    Can you get it without data caps?

    Gee, bandwidth costs money? Do you even have any idea how much an OC-192 costs per month? ISPs aren't going to take it in the shorts just so you can stream furry porn.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    "Why do you *need* that level of service?"

    I'm a software engineer. I frequently work remote into work via a VPN and have multiple remote remote desktops going. I also have a 24/7 NAS running, stream all of my media content, and my wife uploads terabytes of her professional photography photos. Without a fat pipe and low latency our productivity goes to hell. Are we supposed to do this on the 4 Mbps mobile service we get at the house? There are lots of people, unlike yourself apparently, that actually need high quality ISP service.

    More importantly, why the hell should the ceiling of network connectivity be just enough to watch crappy compressed videos on a 4.5 inch mobile device?

    "You sound like a nerd version of the "small-dick big-truck drivers" your type likes to mock."

    I literally have no idea what the hell you are attempting to say. It's an awful sentence.

    "Gee, bandwidth costs money? ISPs aren't going to take it in the shorts just so you can stream furry porn."

    Did I claim it should be free? Please show me where, I'll wait.

    "Do you even have any idea how much an OC-192 costs per month? ISPs aren't going to take it in the shorts just so you can stream furry porn."

    9.6Gbps service will cost around 2k a month, but it's not a standard service so a custom quote is likely. The final price will largely be dictated by where you live (metro or rural) and if you need fibre dropped or not.

    Nice job making another strawman argument, though.You'll get there someday.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    I'm a software engineer.

    Funny that you don't seem to understand how data transport actually works.

    There are lots of people, unlike yourself apparently, that actually need high quality ISP service

    Your own situation does not equate to "lots of people," you solipsist.

    I literally have no idea what the hell you are attempting to say. It's an awful sentence

    Do bugmen not understand basic English?

    Did I claim it should be free? Please show me where, I'll wait.

    Lol--you claimed it should be "cheap"--I never said you claimed it should be free. For someone who claims to be a software engineer, you're having a tough time contemplating that bandwidth costs money.

    9.6Gbps service will cost around 2k a month.

    Not even close.

    Nice job making another strawman argument, though.You'll get there someday.

    For someone who argues like he believes bandwidth is unlimited, I consider that a compliment.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    Funny that you don't seem to understand how data transport actually works."

    I understand perfectly well, which is why I aced my undergrad and master's level network administration courses.

    "you solipsist."

    Says the person who claimed wireless broadband was sufficient. In 2016, it was estimated that 3.87 million professional software developers worked in the US. Is that enough? https://goo.gl/1ueFrq

    "not understand basic English?"

    Don't know what bugmen are, since the vast majority of my interactions are with high functioning adults. I did make the effort to check. Are you saying I'm a homosexual with HIV (https://goo.gl/PnlWw6)? Since sexual identity and viruses have no correlation on what languages on speaks I can't say with any certainty what bugmen English comprehension is.

    "Lol--you claimed it should be "cheap""

    Nope because cheap and expensive are fuzzy. Here's a more concrete examination of costs. https://goo.gl/Lc0GAn

    "Not even close."

    Really? You have an invoice for a real OC192 data drop with service you care to share?

    "For someone who argues like he believes bandwidth is unlimited"

    My argument is that the bandwidth bottleneck is with ISPs who use their monopoly status as last mile provider to extract rents from both edges of their networks (which works!). You still haven't made a coherent argument against this position.

    Upside though, you're improving! Not a single swear word or ad hominem.

  • timbo||

    Pretty sure I saw Obama marching in one of the communist day parades yesterday with a vagina outfit on.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That wasn't an outfit, that's just what he looks like. Because giant pussy.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Perfect. Today the internet is yours.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) clutched his pearls and warned that rescinding the OIO would "destroy the internet as we know it." ... The political group Free Press, a dogged OIO supporter, bemoaned that if Pai succeeds, "the internet as we know it will be gone for good."

    Apparently the internet didn't exist prior to the adoption of the OIO in 2015. Fucking morons.

    Actually, given the glacial pace that the government tends to move at, I'm guessing that the regulations under the OIO probably haven't even been fully finalized and implemented yet. These fuckwads are literally complaining about nothing.

  • Diane Merriam||

    I believe the proper response is "aint nobdy gotta no nuffin bout nuffin. govmnt sposed to tak care of us al"

  • Ron||

    By its very nature regulation never increases freedom, just complying with those regulations reduces freedom and increase cost. And always creates new reasons for more lobbiest to contribute to ( bribe ) government officials

  • Cynical Asshole||

    For years, U.S. internet policy was guided by a remarkably laissez faire approach encapsulated by the Clinton administration's Framework for Global Electronic Commerce. This extraordinary document instructs the federal government to "encourage industry self-regulation wherever appropriate" and "refrain from imposing new and unnecessary regulations" on commercial internet activities.

    Bill Clinton: free market libertarian. Who knew? /sarc

    Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act states that any "service or system that provides access to the internet" should be "unfettered from Federal or State regulation" like the OIO.

    IANAL, but doesn't this mean that the OIO was actually in violation of the law anyway. Not that it matters, at this point the government is basically like Cartman as an out of control teen. "Whatevah, I do what I want!"

  • NickS||

    Although I definitely prefer a laissez-faire approach to any market, I'm troubled by these changes because the ISP market is decidedly *not* a free market and doesn't operate like one. Government-granted monopolies at various levels are the rule in telecoms, and the result is that companies have outsized power over markets.

    These changes would be totally fine with me, *if* they came with rules banning government-enforced ISP monopolies at all levels and forced ISPs to compete on a level playing field without free access to infrastructure, subsidized contracts, or explicitly granted local monopolies.

    For example, my sole option for high-speed internet is Comcast. My state and local governments grant Comcast an effective monopoly through contracts, subsidies, and right of use to hard infrastructure.

    What is the market remedy if Comcast begins to offer their VOD service at no additional cost while metering data to charge me more if I prefer another service? The answer for me is either move (not happening), pay them more, or use their service.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Government-granted monopolies at various levels are the rule in telecoms, and the result is that companies have outsized power over markets.

    We've heard this same lament on numerous NN-related articles, and it's the same misperception. Net Neutrality has nothing--absolutely NOTHING--with breaking down these government-granted monopolies. It's solely about letting data-hogs like Netfux take advantage of settlement-free interconnect and put nothing towards the maintenance of the actual network or expanding bandwidth availability--costs that are eventually passed on to ISP customers. And "NN" advocates are too clueless to realize it.

    Setting aside the general debate over whether taxes are "good" or not, imagine driving on ROADDZ where those who drove on them the most and contributed the most to their breakdown paid no taxes on fuel towards their development or upkeep--and in a society where typically only one or two entities (usually the government) holds the monopoly on the transportation infrastructure. THAT'S the kind of world that "Net Neutrality" advocates, so-called, think should be applied to a utility that's essentially grown exponentially via the government remaining mostly out of the way of that growth.

  • spec24||

    Excellent.

  • Longtobefree||

    Or use either satellite service provider, or any of the wireless "phone" companies, or in an act of utter desperation, go to the movies.
    Or go all sixties on them and burn down their facilities. I hear the programming in jail is "free".

  • Spartacus||

    ...the FCC's controversial 2015 Open internet Order (OIO), which granted the telecommunication regulator expansive discretionary authority over how internet Service Providers (ISPs) can operate and compete.

    How is it that regulators get to decide their own scope of authority ?

    Yeah, I know *how* it works. I'm wondering who could possibly think it makes sense to allow an agency to define its own boundaries. If I have signature authority for reimbursement requests, that doesn't mean I get to sign off on my own requests.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Data has always been prioritized, you dipshit. It wasn't an issue until Netflix started flooding ISPs with bandwidth demand.

    *it wasn't an issue until customers started using the internet connection they pay for.

    That damn Netflix, streaming content to every home in America whether they want it or not! So Demanding!

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    *it wasn't an issue until customers started using the internet connection they pay for

    Right, because no one had an internet connection or used streaming video before Netflix. It's not exactly a coincidence that "Net Neutrality" became a catchphrase right around the time Netfux started screaming about getting their data throttled so other customers who weren't using Netflix could also have reasonable speeds on their own service.

    Get back to me when you actually figure out how data transport works, dummy.

  • aajax||

    The internet will become a tool of the wealthy, if you don't have money you will not be able to communicate. This may be good economics, but not good for democracy.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    The internet will become a tool of the wealthy, if you don't have money you will not be able to communicate. This may be good economics, but not good for democracy.

    Stupid tin-foil comment with no substance.

  • Cattress||

    Net Neutrality does not get rid of the monopolies, and that is a fair point to make whether you're opposed to it or not. Frankly, it is just not an issue that the FCC can resolve because the regulations are set at the local level and we can all agree that we don't want federal overreach. Unless locals can not only loosen ISP's stranglehold on the market, but also generate enough interest and capital to develop competitors, consumers are stuck at the mercy of ISPs. Because monopolies are horrible for consumers, the FCC is trying to reduce the harms that other arms of the government have enabled.

  • Cattress||

    ISPs like to create false scarcity- wireless or landline- and use data-caps and throttling to extract more money from the consumers. ISPs could invest that additional profit in upgrading infrastructure to expand capacity and coverage areas. They don't have to, it's not my place to dictate how they run their business. Instead of serving the demand of the high-paying captive consumers, they go after the bandwidth gobblers for more money. Now that Netflix can afford to, they made a deal with Comcast. Whose to say that the next business will survive long enough to able to afford the favor of ISPs? Who knows what beloved content or edge provider the ISPs will take aim at next, which means a legitimate concern of censorship. Consumers can't choose an alternate ISP to reduce the demand that exceeds the ISPs "capicity" (regardless of real or fake bandwidth scarcity) because ISP have spent lots of money on local monopoly controls. Consumers cannot use market forces, like choosing a competitor, to maintain accessibility to their preferred content (which may be competing content of the ISP). NN rules that ISPs cannot pick the winners and losers of the content/edge providers. ISPs must treat all data the same, and do what is necessary to meet their contractual obligations to consumers. And because the various local governments have shoveled tons of money at these ISPs, which they've happily accepted, they should expect strings attached.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    ISPs like to create false scarcity- wireless or landline- and use data-caps and throttling to extract more money from the consumers.

    Data has always been prioritized in delivery, and it has nothing to do with those nefarious ISPs trying to extract more money. It's also not "false" scarcity if you understand a single thing about how data transport works--it's how ISPs keep bandwidth hogs like Netflix from overwhelming demand on the network and pushing out other users. That's why you get "up to" 40 MB or whatever access level you're paying for, and not 40 MB *at all times*.

    It's issues like this that reveal how ignorant some people really are about IT, and their ridiculous need to enact their ignorance as public policy.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    "it's how ISPs keep bandwidth hogs like Netflix"

    Why do you keep saying this? Netflix serves a lot of bits BECAUSE ISP CUSTOMERS ASK FOR IT. Netflix has spent buckets of money paying transport providers to bring the bits REQUESTED BY ISP CUSTOMERS right to the edge of ISP networks as fast as possible. The ISPs, having a monopoly on the last mile connection, intentionally make their interconnect points slow in order to extort content providers for more money for DATA THEIR CUSTOMERS ASKED FOR. On top of that, they tell their customer to buy higher tiered bandwidth plans that will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the interconnect issue.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Netflix serves a lot of bits BECAUSE ISP CUSTOMERS ASK FOR IT.

    No shit, fuckwad. You think bandwidth is unlimited? Because you certainly argue like you think it is.

    Netflix has spent buckets of money paying transport providers to bring the bits REQUESTED BY ISP CUSTOMERS right to the edge of ISP networks as fast as possible.

    And that data is prioritized DUE TO LIMITS IN BANDWIDTH AVAILABILITY, you moron.

    The ISPs, having a monopoly on the last mile connection, intentionally make their interconnect points slow in order to extort content providers for more money for DATA THEIR CUSTOMERS ASKED FOR.

    Who do you think gave them that monopoly, Santa Claus? And LOL at your claim that they intentionally make their interconnect points slow "to extort customers". Again BANDWIDTH IS NOT AN UNLIMITED RESOURCE, NOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO DELIVER IT. THAT COSTS MONEY TO GROW AND MAINTAIN. Get that through you stupid pea-brain before you attempt to argue this issue again, bugman.

    On top of that, they tell their customer to buy higher tiered bandwidth plans that will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the interconnect issue.

    Is someone holding a gun to your head to buy a higher-tiered plan? Nice things cost money. You haven't seemed to have learned this lesson yet.

  • NewEnglandNole||

    So much fail.

  • Longtobefree||

    Scary thought. The feds could just require all providers to charge for all usage, no "unlimited data" for anyone from any provider. No free riders sucking up all the bandwidth so that "network management" is needed.
    Weird, I know, expecting people to pay for what they use.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    "... eliminating their telecom regulator all together..."

    OMG, Freedom......can't have that in America, The Home of the Brave and Land of the Free (except when it comes to the 'net).

  • Redcard||

    Libertarians, rejoice—a U.S. regulator took the bold step of deciding that his office simply doesn't have the jurisdiction to control major parts of the internet.

    But here's his signature cock holstering move:

    http://bit.ly/2pjUUQK

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