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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > FCC approves net neutrality, Title II proposal in 3-2 vote

FCC approves net neutrality, Title II proposal in 3-2 vote
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NewsPoster
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Feb 26, 2015, 12:59 PM
 
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the net neutrality rules, including Title II regulation of Internet Service Providers as proposed by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, with minor modifications. The vote wasn't unanimous, nor was it expected to be, and predictably split across party lines. The two Democratic members and the Chair voted to approve the contentious policy, and the two Republican members voted against it.

A summary of the rules had already been posted, but the full proposal will likely take a week to see the light of day. The summary spells out the FCC's current authority, as well as dictates that Title II regulation of Internet Service Providers "addresses any limitations that past classification decisions placed on our ability to adopt strong Open Internet rules, as interpreted by the D.C. Circuit in the Verizon case last year."

Major Title II provisions that are going to be applied to ISPs include enhanced investigation of consumer complaints, protections for consumer privacy, fair access to poles and conduits (currently mostly blocked), protections for the disabled, and an enhancement to the Universal Service Fund for underserved area expansion. Notably, the order "will not impose, suggest or authorize any new taxes or fees -- there will be no automatic Universal Service fees applied, and the congressional moratorium on Internet taxation applies to broadband."

The order also does not include utility-style rate regulation, last-mile unbundling requirements or new accounting standards. All three of the spelled-out conditions were railed against in recent op-ed pieces paid for by the telecommunications industry and opponents of the Net Neutrality proposals.

"Common sense" network management is still allowed. Traffic can be shaped, but not blocked -- any abuse of this will be subject to governmental oversight. Paid Prioritization has been eliminated, and interconnect deals, such as those signed with most of the major ISPs and Netflix are still allowed, but subject to examination -- and aren't allowed to be "unjust and unreasonable."

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn noted of the approval, framing it in a historical context. Clyburn said that she believed "President Madison and Justice Brennan would be proud of the rigorous, robust, and unfettered debate that led us to this historic moment. I believe the Framers would be pleased to see these principles embodied on a platform that has become so important to our lives."

Clyburn noted that "there are countries where it is routine for governments, not the consumer, to determine who has access and what kind of content can be accessed by its citizens. I am proud to say we are not one of them." Without this framework, she believes that "Internet Service Providers could do just that." Clyburn is still seeking changes, but overall has "been struck by how so much rhetoric in this debate has been so divorced from reality," a veiled reference to the scare-mongering claims that came from Republicans, including the "Obamacare for the Internet" remark from tech-challenged Senator Ted Cruz.

As part of today's vote, the FCC also voted to override state laws preventing municipal broadband build-outs. In two specific cases in Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the FCC has determined that the two states "are needlessly preventing the reasonable and timely deployment of high-speed Internet access to all Americans." While not applicable to the rest of the communities fighting state law prohibiting municipal broadband, the vote will bolster those arguments supporting a lift of the ban.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Feb 26, 2015 at 01:51 PM. )
     
techweenie1
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Feb 26, 2015, 01:26 PM
 
Goodbye Freedom
     
mgpalma
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Feb 26, 2015, 01:49 PM
 
If you are in favor of this, you have no idea what it will actually do. A very sad day for Americas freedom.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 26, 2015, 01:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by mgpalma View Post
If you are in favor of this, you have no idea what it will actually do. A very sad day for Americas freedom.
Tell us, then.

Reasonably.

Seems to have been fine for landlines, and wireless phones. Also fine for electricity, and clean water.
     
MitchIves
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Feb 26, 2015, 02:26 PM
 
@Mike, I don't understand. I don't think it's fine for wireless phones. There are so many different taxes and fees on there that it looks like income tax. As far electricity, it isn't working. I'm paying more than others because we don't have any free choice... were stuck with whoever controls the area. Just my $0.02...
     
TheGreatButcher
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Feb 26, 2015, 02:49 PM
 
@Mitchlves, I'm assuming you didn't live in CA in the early part of the 2000's...
     
robttwo
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:08 PM
 
So now instead of paying more to those evil, inefficient, uncaring corporations, we will get to pay more in taxes to the wonderful, efficient, caring government.

Listen, if you want to pay more in taxes — nothing is stopping you. The federal government accepts money, just send it to them. But stop asking everyone else to pay.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:12 PM
 
This has nothing to do with freedom. Except, maybe, the freedoms AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast were enjoying that let them do basically anything they wanted to the traffic passing through their servers and routers at their sole discretion.

This has everything to do with keeping the internet the way it is today: equal, non-prioritized traffic for websites, big and small. Because the alternative is where we were headed: where ISPs -- perhaps having a conflict of interest with a competitor, like, say, Netflix, charge customers extra for guaranteed delivery in a certain amount of time. How do you do that? Well, you simply slow down (or completely stop) the other traffic. The traffic to your right-wing or left-wing blog, perhaps. Or perhaps any Netflix competitors that want to enter the space in the future. Or your mom's Etsy shop. Or maybe your VoIP phone system at work. Or whatever, whomever, however.

The argument against net neutrality is an argument for corporate freedom to exploit the entirety of the internet however they see fit. It doesn't matter how much money these corporations have poured into their infrastructure -- you don't get to take over the whole thing just because you built something large and massive that connects to it. A corporation dumping money into the clean water distribution infrastructure of a city doesn't give them ownership of or permission to modify the water that flows through it, and similarly, building infrastructure that delivers the internet to people's homes doesn't give them ownership of or permission to modify the bits of information that flow across that infrastructure.

Imagine if our public roadways were privately owned by large, profit-seeking corporations, and one morning, on your drive to work, you notice that the left-side of the road is all smooth and fast, but the right side has many more "Stop" signs, "Yield" signs, traffic lights, and obstructions that artificially slow you down -- and the only barrier to hopping into the fast, unobstructed left lane was payola to the corporation that owned it.

That's what this net neutrality thing is about, and unless you're either sitting at the top of a mega ISP corporation or have perhaps been taken in by bad or misinformation, I can't see how any home user or small businessperson would be against it.

Well, I take that back. Irrational fear of or resistance to government oversight and regulation, even when done to the absolute benefit of the common man, might do the trick.
     
pottymouth
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:26 PM
 
I, uhhh... But, ....

I have no response. That was perfect.
     
driven
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:40 PM
 
Imagine if our public roadways were privately owned by large, profit-seeking corporations, and one morning, on your drive to work, you notice that the left-side of the road is all smooth and fast, but the right side has many more "Stop" signs, "Yield" signs, traffic lights, and obstructions that artificially slow you down -- and the only barrier to hopping into the fast, unobstructed left lane was payola to the corporation that owned it.
Dude, that's every H.O.T. toll lane in the country. The most egregious example is on I-85 in Atlanta where they converted a useful car-pool lane into a paid H.O.T. lane with a variable toll that goes up as traffic gets higher. It sucks.
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driven
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:41 PM
 
BTW: I don't trust the government to fix just about anything. They can't even deliver my mail on time (and sometimes not at all!)

But I'm actually in favor of this bill. Verizon has had terrible over-reach, and when the FCC tried to regulate this, they sued and won. This was the result of Verizon winning that lawsuit. So, in many ways, they brought this on themselves.
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xomniron
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:46 PM
 
What a wonderful term: Net Neutrality. Who wouldn't be in favor of that, right?

This isn't about neutrality, it's about gov't takeover of the Internet in the U.S. -- the Department of Internet has been born. This is Obamacare for the Internet. This is about further control over "free speech," no matter how advocates spin it.

How long before web sites will be required to have a Federal permit? How long until there will be gov't oversight of content? Remember, I mentioned it here first. It will happen.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:57 PM
 
How long before a federal permit is required to use the water that comes out of my tap? How long before a federal permit is required to talk on my telephone? How long before a federal permit is required to use the electricity being delivered to the sockets in my home?
     
DiabloConQueso
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Feb 26, 2015, 03:58 PM
 
"Obamacare for the internet" -- I don't even think YOU know what you mean when you say that.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 26, 2015, 04:05 PM
 
Okay, I feel like I have to ask. In what way is this Obamacare for the Internet other than a Republican talking point that doesn't say much?
     
Flying Meat
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Feb 26, 2015, 05:11 PM
 
The "slippery slope" thing is sooooo tired.
     
Flying Meat
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Feb 26, 2015, 05:17 PM
 
The "slippery slope" thing is sooooo tired.
The fact that the U.S. is a verrry distant 9th in broadband speed, and many areas still have only bicycle ramps to the information superhighway even after/while collecting funds FROM the government to change that, should tell you just how trustworthy and customer oriented these companies are.
     
iBricking.com
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Feb 26, 2015, 05:39 PM
 
Behold the effect of Fox "News" misinformation and obfuscation.

DiabloConQueso is right. Read that long post, everyone.
     
Grendelmon
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Feb 26, 2015, 05:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by xomniron View Post
How long before web sites will be required to have a Federal permit? How long until there will be gov't oversight of content? Remember, I mentioned it here first. It will happen.
Jeezus, could you spin this anymore?

Last I checked, I don't need a permit to speak to other people on my telephone.

Try changing your TV channel to something other than FAUX News.
     
Ham Sandwich
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Feb 26, 2015, 06:54 PM
 
For those of us who don't understand why "net neutrality" is so bad, can someone (perhaps the editor) explain it using super-easy-super-simple-unopinionated language? Wikipedia's explanation just went way over me.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 26, 2015, 07:05 PM
 
I can't - I don't think its bad. I'm for it.

Wikipedia's explanation is... not neutral.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 26, 2015, 07:08 PM
 
Okay gang, as a reminder - this thread is on the main news page. Discuss, but be civil.
     
PJL500
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Feb 26, 2015, 07:34 PM
 
@ oxomniron you left out the internet death panels... (well explained diablo)
     
The Vicar
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Feb 26, 2015, 08:04 PM
 
@And.reg: The reason nobody is going to take you up on that request is that "net neutrality" isn't bad, it's good. The people saying it's bad are... well, if you give them the benefit of the doubt, they don't really understand how things work. If you don't, they're just liars.

Without net neutrality, the company which connects you to the Internet (your cable company, or your phone company, or whatever) can decide that some websites don't deserve to get full speed. They can configure their routers so that some sites are artificially bottlenecked and load slower, or possibly don't load at all.

They WANT this. If there's a fake "fast lane" — and make no mistake, they would have to alter the way they do things to make this happen; things already default to net neutrality — then they can sell access to the fast lane. They can either charge consumers extra to get everything, or they can charge companies with Internet presences to put their data on the fast lane by default. Big companies like Microsoft and Apple can probably afford those fees. Smaller companies probably can't, and free services which are current offered by large companies probably would not be upgraded because they already operate at a loss. So this would probably be a death knell to free e-mail services, blog sites like Wordpress.com, media sharing services like Tumblr, and so on.

Furthermore, there is a strong presumption that the speed of the filters would be influenced by the ISP's owners' political views. For example, there would at least be a strong temptation to slow down sites critical of the ISPs themselves.

The people claiming that net neutrality is bad are generally regurgitating right-wing talking points. Right-wingers would love for big businesses to be able to control what we can and can't see, and so they're desperately trying to spin net neutrality into some kind of threat. Since it isn't, they can't come up with a coherent explanation, and so you won't be getting any replies which aren't basically sputtering and hand-waving.
     
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Feb 26, 2015, 10:18 PM
 
And.reg: The very short (counter) answer is that these net neutrality rules ensure that the Internet will continue to operate as it always has. The LOSS of net neutrality would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to start charging new and creative fees, such as to promote their own content and services. Title II effectively makes ISPs "common carriers" . As such, you pay the going rate for Internet connection/speed, and they have no control over the content you may choose to consume or produce through that connection.
     
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Feb 26, 2015, 11:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by DiabloConQueso View Post
This has nothing to do with freedom. Except, maybe, the freedoms AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast were enjoying that let them do basically anything they wanted to the traffic passing through their servers and routers at their sole discretion.

This has everything to do with keeping the internet the way it is today: equal, non-prioritized traffic for websites, big and small. Because the alternative is where we were headed: where ISPs -- perhaps having a conflict of interest with a competitor, like, say, Netflix, charge customers extra for guaranteed delivery in a certain amount of time. How do you do that? Well, you simply slow down (or completely stop) the other traffic. The traffic to your right-wing or left-wing blog, perhaps. Or perhaps any Netflix competitors that want to enter the space in the future. Or your mom's Etsy shop. Or maybe your VoIP phone system at work. Or whatever, whomever, however.

The argument against net neutrality is an argument for corporate freedom to exploit the entirety of the internet however they see fit. It doesn't matter how much money these corporations have poured into their infrastructure -- you don't get to take over the whole thing just because you built something large and massive that connects to it. A corporation dumping money into the clean water distribution infrastructure of a city doesn't give them ownership of or permission to modify the water that flows through it, and similarly, building infrastructure that delivers the internet to people's homes doesn't give them ownership of or permission to modify the bits of information that flow across that infrastructure.

Imagine if our public roadways were privately owned by large, profit-seeking corporations, and one morning, on your drive to work, you notice that the left-side of the road is all smooth and fast, but the right side has many more "Stop" signs, "Yield" signs, traffic lights, and obstructions that artificially slow you down -- and the only barrier to hopping into the fast, unobstructed left lane was payola to the corporation that owned it.

That's what this net neutrality thing is about, and unless you're either sitting at the top of a mega ISP corporation or have perhaps been taken in by bad or misinformation, I can't see how any home user or small businessperson would be against it.

Well, I take that back. Irrational fear of or resistance to government oversight and regulation, even when done to the absolute benefit of the common man, might do the trick.

The voice of reason - as always!
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Charles Martin
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Feb 27, 2015, 12:31 AM
 
And.reg, I'm happy to take a stab and why net neutrality (which is what we had until just very recently, and now will have again) is good. There is no reason why its bad, people are just woefully misinformed (and can't even be bothered to do rudimentary fact-checking anymore).

At its simplest: providers of Internet service currently do not place any restrictions on where you can go on the Internet. Provided you pay your monthly service charge, all (legal) sites (and beyond) are available to you. Think of it like free unlimited long-distance worldwide calling for a flat monthly fee. That's net neutrality: no favoring one website over another in terms of delivery, speed and quality.

What was starting to happen was that broadband providers decided they could charge both customers and sites an extra fee to ensure better or faster delivery, on top of what you and I and the sites are paying now. In essence, a lot like changing that flat-fee unlimited worldwide calling into local zones, long-distance zones, overseas zones -- each with a different extra charge.

The FCC decided that was enough of an abuse of the consumers, and a mistreatment of an absolutely vital resource to America's competitiveness, that it stepped in and imposed public utility-like oversight. Contrary to the claims of fatuous pundits and the gullible folks that believe them, the rule is a "light touch" approach that doesn't change much of anything, except the following:

1. Paid prioritization deals (toll charges for certain sites over others) are null and void.
2. No more throttling for capricious reasons (like someone on an "unlimited" plan who is actually using it)
3. After years of taking government subsidies (that's your tax dollars) for rural expansion and then just making excuses, the providers are going to have to actually build out their rural capacity (more bandwidth for everyone)
4. Backroom deals that stop cities and towns from creating their own community Wi-Fi or broadband networks are null and void.

And in the longer term, broadband speeds will get ridiculously faster due to increased competition from things like Google Fiber, which the broadband providers will need to match. As others have noted elsewhere, 100mbps is the standard in many other countries. Why not, for heaven's sake, in the USA? Because greed, that's why.

So if you're against what I've outlined above, I'm going to need a detailed and specific reason why (with documentation). At a dead minimum, you will need to have read the short summary of the specific changes which has been posted on the FCC's website for the past three weeks and be able to base specific objections on that until the full rule is published.
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xomniron
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Feb 27, 2015, 01:25 AM
 
So tired of the Faux News straw man from Liberals. Right out of the playbook. Like CNN and MSNBC are so much better at unbiased reporting, right?

The Internet is the greatest tool for freedom of expression to come along in our lifetime. Now it is in danger. One cannot have genuine freedom of expression with a government monitor prepared to immediately shut down any "threats" to the state. You can deny (or spin) this all you want, and say the FCC would never use those powers. In the February 4 issue of Wired, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler hinted at ways the FCC bureaucrats could start identifying what they would view as "threats."

Two questions for those in favor of the actions taken by the FCC today: How do you resolve the issue that the FCC charter does not give it jurisdiction over the Internet? Do you even care?
     
Charles Martin
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Feb 27, 2015, 02:21 AM
 
xomniron: your last question is easy to answer.

The FCC action does not, in any way shape or form, regulate (or even have anything to with) the Internet.

This may come as a shock, but the Internet ... exists outside the United States. Thus, nothing that only happens in one country -- be it the US or be it, say, Iran -- has any effect on the overall Internet.

What the FCC is regulating is providers of telecommunication services. For which they do indeed have jurisdiction.
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Feb 27, 2015, 08:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Vicar View Post
Without net neutrality, the company which connects you to the Internet (your cable company, or your phone company, or whatever) can decide that some websites don't deserve to get full speed.... things already default to net neutrality — then they can sell access to the fast lane.
Wait, I'm confused. Is it because without net neutrality, companies can throttle the loading speeds for some websites to the consumer, or is it because that net neutrality is the "default" that they "can sell access to the fast lane"? I don't see the difference.

I don't think that I've ever seen or heard of any company asking me to pay extra to have a website faster, so this concept is extremely bizarre. I have had issues with a company not delivering the full promised speed over the internet, as a whole, but never for specific websites (unless the server is having issues loading).
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 27, 2015, 08:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by xomniron View Post
The Internet is the greatest tool for freedom of expression to come along in our lifetime. Now it is in danger. One cannot have genuine freedom of expression with a government monitor prepared to immediately shut down any "threats" to the state. You can deny (or spin) this all you want, and say the FCC would never use those powers. In the February 4 issue of Wired, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler hinted at ways the FCC bureaucrats could start identifying what they would view as "threats."

Two questions for those in favor of the actions taken by the FCC today: How do you resolve the issue that the FCC charter does not give it jurisdiction over the Internet? Do you even care?
Because ISPs aren't the Internet.

I argue that content providers, or governors, like the MPAA are a greater threat.

Here's the deal. When the proposal is out in the open, in the next week or so, lets all sit down and read it. I know we're going to.

I don't like Fox, just the same as I don't like whatever MSNBC is now, or CNN. I hate how they do technical reporting. This is why I'm here.
     
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Feb 27, 2015, 11:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by xomniron View Post
So tired of the Faux News straw man from Liberals. Right out of the playbook. Like CNN and MSNBC are so much better at unbiased reporting, right?
It's typical right-wing BS. If you disagree with me, you're a liberal. You think I'm a liberal because I don't like FOX? FOX is an entertainment channel, just like MSNBC and CNN.

Look, your allegations about what will happen in the future because of the FCC decision is complete stipulation which is only being spread by right-wing media outlets. This is blatantly obvious. The WSJ and FOX (Murdoch, Inc) has already called this "Obamanet," just like their insistence to use "Obamacare."

Stay classy, Murdoch. Captain FUD.
     
   
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