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FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

The FCC today voted to repeal net neutrality rules.

The agency scrapped the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone service.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai joined with the two Republican members of the FCC to make the vote a 3-2 decision.

His views read like trickle-down falsities to me: [More...]

Pai says:

“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr. Pai said in a speech before the vote. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

The New York Times reports on his record :

In his first 11 months as chairman, he has lifted media ownership limits, eased caps on how much broadband providers can charge business customers and cut back on a low-income broadband program that was slated to be expanded to nationwide carriers.

I don't think there is a single member of the Trump Administration who knows what he (or she) is talking about. Either that or they lie deliberately.

Here is Pai's statement from April.

What it may mean for you:

Many consumer advocates have argued that if the rules get scrapped, broadband providers will begin selling the internet in bundles, not unlike how cable television is sold today. Want to access Facebook and Twitter? Under a bundling system, getting on those sites could require paying for a premium social media package.

In some countries, internet bundling is already happening. In October, Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, posted a screenshot on Twitter from a Portuguese mobile carrier that showed subscription plans with names like Social, Messaging and Video. He wrote that providers were “starting to split the net.”

The internet will be split into fast and slow lanes. Where do you think you'll end up? According to the Times:

Another major concern is that consumers could suffer from pay-to-play deals. Without rules prohibiting paid prioritization, a fast lane could be occupied by big internet and media companies, as well as affluent households, while everyone else would be left on the slow lane.

This vote is bad for consumers. AT&T Inc, Comcast and Verizon will control the keys to the internet kingdom, along with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. They will decide what you can access, what you must pay and how quickly your service will work. They will work together for their benefit, not our benefit.

Some argue the internet has long been dying a slow death.

The five most valuable American companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — control much of the online infrastructure, from app stores to operating systems to cloud storage to nearly all of the online ad business. A handful of broadband companies — AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon, many of which are also aiming to become content companies, because why not — provide virtually all the internet connections to American homes and smartphones.

Together these giants have carved the internet into a historically profitable system of fiefs. They have turned a network whose very promise was endless innovation into one stuck in mud, where every start-up is at the tender mercy of some of the largest corporations on the planet.

I am not so much worried about startups as I am about ultimate consumers. Personally, I think wi-fi destroyed the value of the internet. I am back to using ethernet cables at home because as ugly as they are, its so much faster than wi-fi. It's so frustrating that even with speeds of more than 100 Mbps, almost every site hangs because of videos and ads. I think there's been throttling going on for a long time.

The privacy intrusion on the internet (regardless of whether your network is secured) is atrocious. It's far too difficult to turn off targeted ads that are based on your internet use. Pretty soon I'll be back to buying print newspapers and paying my bills by mail. Reading books on an e-reader is soul-less. As for email, years when I checked it every hour. Now, except for my Court accounts for work, I open my email every 3 days or so.

Smart phones are also way overrated. I have so many features turned off, I might as well go back to a Motorola flip phone.

But what's really killing the internet (and streaming and free Apps for your phone) is Ads. I hate them. When you pay $90 to $100 a month just for internet service, there's no reason we have to view ads as well.

Fast lane, slow lane, the internet is already so broken I'm not sure it matters any more. But ending neutrality rules just throws fuel on the fire. Let the lawsuits begin.

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  • Display: Sort:
    It appears that non-ISPs have already started (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jack E Lope on Fri Dec 15, 2017 at 09:42:45 AM EST
    ...giving us examples of restricting access, such as the feud that Google and Amazon are having:
    Google said it is pulling YouTube from some Amazon.com Inc. devices in retaliation for Amazon refusing to sell many Google products, escalating a battle between two tech titans as their businesses increasingly overlap.

    Google said Tuesday [Dec. 5th] it had cut access to YouTube on Amazon's smart speakers with screens, called the Echo Show, and that it plans to block YouTube on Amazon's Fire TV media-streaming device on Jan. 1.

    But those were not regulated by net neutrality rules; the lack-of net neutrality will allow ISPs to participate in similar hostage-holding.

    Heard an I interesting bit (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 15, 2017 at 10:16:02 AM EST
    About this yesterday.  So far the internet  providers (comcast, verzion)  and the internet content providers (Netflix etc) have been on opposite sides in this discussion.

    But the difference between them is  blurring.  With network providers becoming content providers.

    Interesting because the upshot of the discussion was that this would be a good thing.  

    Maybe.  But I can see a scenario where it was just the opposite.

    This is a difficult issue because in is hard to make the average person understand why this is bad.   As long as, as the commissioner explained in  video, you can continue posting pictures of their food.  That wass both brilliant and terrifying.  Because, you know what, it will work.

    They are counting on the stupidity of the consumer.  Sadly probably a good bet.

    Parent

    The problem (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Dec 15, 2017 at 08:32:35 PM EST
    is going to come to consumers when the internet starts getting packaged like cable. Then they were going to be irate. But until then nobody is probably going to notice except people like me who run their business out of their home and other small businesses who no longer will get much out of having a website.

    Parent
    Re: Lawsuits (none / 0) (#1)
    by linea on Thu Dec 14, 2017 at 08:45:58 PM EST
    Multiple attorneys general promised a legal challenge, with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman calling the vote "illegal". California State Senator Scott Wiener said he would introduce a California-specific bill enshrining net neutrality.


    I am pretty sure that no State can (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 14, 2017 at 08:49:52 PM EST
    effectively impose its own stricter rules on the inherently interstate (and international) Internet. If there were ever an area where federal regulation (or deregulation) would seem to occupy the field and preempt state rules, this would seem to be it (alas).

    Parent