FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler aims to reclassify the Internet as a utility, huge win for net neutrality

By Shawn Knight
Feb 4, 2015
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  1. It's been more than a decade in the making but the debate around net neutrality will finally be settled. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has unveiled a proposal in which broadband providers would be regulated under Title II of...

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  2. I just can't believe that the former lobbyist turned FCC chair is actually doing the right thing. I fully expected him to side with his former employers (ISPs) and I'm very happy he went against them. The ISPs would ruin the Internet for their own profit, hopefully this will prevent that.
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  3. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Enthusiast Posts: 51   +37

    There's always a hidden agenda. I don't think someone with his background and the potential to make a lot of money from lobbyists would do the right thing.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I have my doubts about the FCC changing anything.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,375   +2,165

    Proponents of net neutrality will get exactly what they're asking for. Like healthcare, every tax policy of recent memory, and the rest of the sales pitches that have been thrown about over the past thirty years, they'll jump for joy right before the reality-induced bewilderment and subsequent clueless lamentation hits them like an undocumented cargo ship operated by an unlicensed crew commanded by a one-eyed captain in a non-union port.

    The rest of us will probably continue to ridicule the folks, as we have since Bush and Presbo satisfactorily fulfilled some of the most obvious political and economic predictions of the past decade.
    cmbjive likes this.
  6. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,322   +263

    One concern is that if this proposal passes, ISPs may use the increased regulations and likely clampdowns on service plan costs to reduce or stop expansion plans. With the recent broadband reclassification, however, ISPs might be forced to continue to expand coverage or upgrade lines anyways to be able to continue legally advertising slower connections as broadband.
  7. Jim$ter

    Jim$ter TS Booster Posts: 156   +31

    About Time!!! I'm all for anything the ISP's are against!!!! They are exactly what's wrong with unregulated business's out of control. After the dust settles maybe they will get back to actually providing service, expanding, and not just collecting profits. I have my doubts, but we can always hope. People who think everything is fine need to look at other countries. We are the USA and we should have Fiber to everyone by now. We are so behind the times it isn't funny. Unfortunately many of these companies are only focusing on ripoff capped wireless.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  8. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    Abusing the open internet. Talk about a loaded comment. The net neuts will soon realize how much of a fool they have been played for as this so-called "paid prioritization" will have to be metered somehow so that the FCC can ensure it is not occurring.
  9. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    So because Tom Wheeler's business went bankrupt due to AOL's competitive dominance we must now have net neutrality. Only in America can such logic take hold.
  10. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    Yeah, we're so behind the times that we are able to do all of the things that these other countries have with an alleged outdated and outmoded internet infrastructure. Do any of these other countries have something like net neutrality? Oh, wait, most other countries don't have anything remotely like net neutrality, which seems to be an *****ic American idea.

    Maybe there is something to your wish to be like other countries.
  11. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +114

    Several commentators here appear to be opposed to the proposal, but no one has said why. Someone who is against this please explain how this could be a bad thing? I just see over-the-top passive aggressiveness (e.g. "in some vague time-frame you'll all see you were wrong because you were also wrong about completely unrelated stuff like some allusion to some generic taxes!") It sounds like the crazy guy on the corner with the "the end is nigh" sign.

    The few arguments I've seen against this are:
    1) Spammers would be downgraded to slower traffic because they probably won't pay to speed it up (to which I counter... it's spam, do the spammers really care when it gets to you? and... Spammers have more money than most small businesses, so they could afford to get the higher speed)
    2) Illegal download speeds would be reduced unless people start paying for torrent speeds from their servers (and presumably, illegal downloaders wouldn't tolerate the slow speed, thereby reducing piracy) (and the counter... so would almost all legal downloads, like drivers, torrents, etc. that some business doesn't care how fast you get it).

    That's about it... both of which are stupidly easy to counter. What is everyone afraid of?
  12. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,535   +288

    "no local unbundling", "no rate regulation" - without either I am concerned that the one who will foot the bill is US. Net Neutrality is a good thing for competition among the internet delivered streaming services - but it does not resolve the more basic issue. Currently, I have only one internet provider in my geographic area that delivers 'broadband'. The current activity at the FCC is unlikely to improve that.

    I hope I'm wrong.
  13. richincle

    richincle TS Rookie

    "What is everyone afraid of?"


    For some reason I think people automatically think that any change our government makes must have some "hidden agenda" attached to it. So any change (as good as it might look at first) must have some nasty side to it.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to what happens.
  14. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    How exactly would you enforce net neutrality? Whatever answer you come up with is futile as the FCC is the one that will be making the rules as to how its enforced. In addition, have you noticed why wireless services are increasing and there has been hardly any type of innovations coming out for hardline telephony? And on top of that, when's the last time you've seen any type of innovations in electrical services and water distribution?

    Internet has grown so rapidly from its infancy in the 90s to now, but that appears to not be enough for folks. Now, we'll get the innovation of a bureaucrat who is still butt hurt over his business losing out to AOL.
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,375   +2,165

    My thoughts, from a previous thread:

    Additional supplemental reading:

    Public services and utilities are on average run horribly and the companies (where applicable) that run them do very well. Television, telephone, radio, cellular, electricity, and water are regulated as public assets. Each of these industries are also controlled by a small number of ultra wealthy corporations that dictate not merely what their clients get, but who will enter the market. Simply put, this type of regulation has never resulted in more competition or reduced costs and it has rarely improved the utility or service for the end consumer. Introducing the exact same regulations to the Internet will result in the exact same outcome: same crap, higher price, more headaches, fewer options.
    MilwaukeeMike and cmbjive like this.
  16. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,375   +2,165

    Let me ask you a question...

    Do you know any good lawyer jokes?
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. Libertarian

    Libertarian TS Rookie

    To anyone who thinks regulation of the Internet as a public utility is a good idea:

    Pull out your telephone bill, electricity bill, cable bill, or any other utilities bill, and look at all the Universal Access, Low Income Subsidy, etc., fees. That's what will be coming to your Internet service bills if the Government takes over and regulates your ISP as a public utility.
    MilwaukeeMike and cliffordcooley like this.
  18. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,535   +288

    Funny, I'm pretty satisfied with results of competition in television, telephone and radio - and electricity is improving. Water needs improvement, but the scarcity issues of potable water are likely to keep this relatively non-competitive for a long time. I do not understand cellular, but I am happy to see that there are a number of competing providers. Local loop unbundling brought competion to telephone. Television and radio were limited to the number of members allowed in a network. With airwaves being in essence unlimited by structure, it was sufficient to limit the number of local affiliates. Electricity is now split between competitive in supply but must be heavily regulated in distribution.

    I do not see how the consumer could be much better off in most of these cases. Without government controls, just what is your guess as to what we would pay and what would would get from any oligopoly - especially one with geographic monopolies. I think a quick look at past practices of Comcast and Time Warner helps provide some insight into that.
  19. BadThad

    BadThad TS Enthusiast Posts: 58   +26

    This is a complete and utter fail! You fools think government regulation is going to improve things? What's going to happen is all the ISPs will cut the amount of data in your plan. BANDWIDTH IS NOT FREE! Another failure of the Oblamo administration and ignorant liberalism which fail to look at the ultimate consequences of imposing regulation.
    cmbjive likes this.
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,375   +2,165

    A smaller bill and a similar service. Increased regulation of industry does not result in net lower prices, as it increases the net cost of business.

    Whether you like the present state of your services is irrelevant. The argument supporting net neutrality is premised on the assumptions that reclassifying the Internet as a public utility will make all data "equal", increase competition, and result in net gains for the consumer (at least, these are the arguments that have been put forward on Techspot). The argument against net neutrality that I am making is that these are all demonstrably false, as evidenced by other public utility sectors. Instead of benefitting customers, it will increase their direct costs (service fees) and indirect costs (new taxes), among other things. All without any appreciable gains in the technology itself or competition.

    Net neutrality proponents think they are dealing a blow to the oligopoly. They are merely shooting themselves in the foot (again).
    BadThad and cliffordcooley like this.
  21. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,375   +2,165

  22. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +114

    I would disagree here as well. My power hasn't gone out in several years now (all buried lines here by law), my water bill is about $30 every quarter and my water is very clean and always comes out the faucet when I turn it on. Both are highly regulated - wayyy more than the (proposed) internet.

    You can't say this, when it was the premise for why we should be afraid of the up coming change (see above).

    "make all data equal..." when it comes to how it is delivered. Obviously data are different.
    "increase competition" - no where does the law say this (even if people believe it) - so I agree the law could be better, but its the first of its kind.

    It is possible my costs for internet will go up through taxes to help keep companies moving, but given their ridiculous profits ( right now and threat of competition (I.e., Google Fiber and local townships), I doubt that will happen. Also, with companies like Google and other new-comers having access to the Utility Right-of-Ways (if passed), entry into this market is significantly easier.
  23. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,535   +288

    So I read Seimle's opinion piece and agree with some of it, but he fails to give me good comfort that 'free market' will solve my problems with lack of competition in the near future (the next decade or so). I do agree that some day someone somewhere will invent an alternative and if the current ISPs were allowed to become monolithic business monsters that they would eventually fall of their own weight.

    Against that possibility, I think I will take more comfort in an 'unbundled local loop' (if the FCC ever gets around to it) and pay a few bux to connect hospitals/schools/people/kids in the rural / plain states.
  24. Brewskie

    Brewskie TS Rookie Posts: 28   +6

    "Huge win for net neutrality"

    Pretty biased eh?

    Why not "Huge loss for Constitutional principles".

    That would be more accurate.
    BadThad and cmbjive like this.
  25. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    Increased regulation has never, NEVER made it easier for small startups to enter the market, never mind for public utilities. There's a reason that even after the FCC broke up AT&T and then forced them to open up their lines to CLECs (Competitive local exchange carrier) the Ma Bells still retained tremendous market power. You guys really don't know what it is that you're advocating.

    And aside: Google is already making inroads into providing fiber services. Now even THAT will be messed up if the Congress allows the FCC to go ahead and apply the Telco act of 1934 (!) to the internet (and it will be applied to the internet as a whole, not just the ISPs).

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