California's net neutrality law has been put on hold

mongeese

Posts: 414   +63
Staff member

The lawsuit against the FCC is led by Mozilla and the Attorney Generals from 22 states, and their goal is to reverse the FCC’s decision to remove net neutrality on the grounds that the FCC does not legally have the power to make such a decision. That case, which is in the US Court of Appeals in the Washington DC Circuit, is months ahead of the one against California. Importantly, if the judge in that case finds that the FCC was erroneous in removing net neutrality, then California needn’t introduce their own bill. If the result is in the FCC’s favour, however, then it will be harder for California to introduce their bill. It makes sense why California’s bill is being delayed, but it’s still sad to see. It was originally going to come into effect at the start of next year.

Becerra promises that he’s just as committed as ever to net neutrality. "Every step we take, every action we launch is intended to put us in the best position to preserve net neutrality for the 40 million people of our state," he said. "We are fighting the Trump Administration's attempt to repeal net neutrality in the DC Circuit Court and we will vigorously defend California's own net neutrality law."

Unfortunately, this set back could take a long time to resolve. The best-case scenario, where the Court of Appeals decides in favour of net neutrality, still might not result in net neutrality being restored. The Trump administration could decide to take it to the Supreme Court and drag the process on for several more years. If the FCC wins in the Court of Appeals, then California still has a long battle with the lawsuit against it.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is pleased with the delay – which is a bad sign. He seems to be expecting the Court of Appeals to side in his favor.

California state Senator Scott Wiener, who wrote the ‘golden standard net neutrality bill’ himself, is confident that somehow California will win in the end.

"After the DC Circuit appeal is resolved, the litigation relating to California's net neutrality law will then move forward. Particularly in light of the Trump Administration's decision to end federal net neutrality protections, California has the power — indeed, the responsibility — to protect access to the internet by our residents, businesses, first responders, healthcare providers, and others. This fight is about protecting the health, safety, and vitality of our state.

Net neutrality ensures open access to the internet and guarantees that each of us can decide for ourselves where to go on the internet, as opposed to internet service providers making that decision for us. I look forward to successful litigation on this issue and to the restoration of strong net neutrality protections in our state. "

The agreement between California and the Department of Justice and the coalition of Telecoms still requires a judge to sign off on it, but there’s little doubt they will. Even if you don’t live in California, there are so many people and organizations fighting on your behalf, so support them and don’t give up on net neutrality.

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MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,213   +1,462
Even if you don’t live in California, there are so many people and organizations fighting on your behalf, so support them and don’t give up on net neutrality.
How do you know what is on my behalf?

Regardless - I'm confused... wasn't NN accomplished by the FCC classifying the internet as a utility? How can the FCC be allowed to classify it as a utility (enable NN), but then not be allowed to UN-classify it (disable NN)?

They're suing because they believe the FCC doesn't have the authority to un-do it's own decision?!
 

psycros

Posts: 3,202   +3,400
Even if you don’t live in California, there are so many people and organizations fighting on your behalf, so support them and don’t give up on net neutrality.
How do you know what is on my behalf?

Regardless - I'm confused... wasn't NN accomplished by the FCC classifying the internet as a utility? How can the FCC be allowed to classify it as a utility (enable NN), but then not be allowed to UN-classify it (disable NN)?

They're suing because they believe the FCC doesn't have the authority to un-do it's own decision?!
ISPs were never declared utilities despite the fact that they meet all criteria for being exactly that. We briefly had as law the ruling declaring that no ISP can pick and choose which customers get priority for their traffic based on how much they pay or for arbitrary reasons such as a content provider and ISP being owned by the same company. In North America, Big Telecom has already taken us to the cleaners but of course its never enough. Being able to pick who gets the best connections based on the depth of their pockets is the final step to a completely unregulated Internet. Open borders, no regulation and universal surveillance - we're all living in a technocratic oligarchy now.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,418   +6,008
Even if you don’t live in California, there are so many people and organizations fighting on your behalf, so support them and don’t give up on net neutrality.
How do you know what is on my behalf?

Regardless - I'm confused... wasn't NN accomplished by the FCC classifying the internet as a utility? How can the FCC be allowed to classify it as a utility (enable NN), but then not be allowed to UN-classify it (disable NN)?

They're suing because they believe the FCC doesn't have the authority to un-do it's own decision?!
The FCC is suing because they don't believe california has the authority to regulate ISPs in california. The FCC, under pai at least, also believes that the FCC doesn't have the authority to regulate ISPs either.

I have no idea how Pai can sue California though unless they admit in court that the FCC does indeed have authority to regulate ISPs. Obviously you can't sue a state for something you have no authority over. I'll be waiting for the trial to see what they say.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,992
As with cable TV and so many others, IP's are very much a states rights issue that the Fed should stay out of. Chalk another one up for the Imperialist Presidency!
 
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gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
Even if you don’t live in California, there are so many people and organizations fighting on your behalf, so support them and don’t give up on net neutrality.
How do you know what is on my behalf?

Regardless - I'm confused... wasn't NN accomplished by the FCC classifying the internet as a utility? How can the FCC be allowed to classify it as a utility (enable NN), but then not be allowed to UN-classify it (disable NN)?

They're suing because they believe the FCC doesn't have the authority to un-do it's own decision?!
The FCC is suing because they don't believe california has the authority to regulate ISPs in california. The FCC, under pai at least, also believes that the FCC doesn't have the authority to regulate ISPs either.

I have no idea how Pai can sue California though unless they admit in court that the FCC does indeed have authority to regulate ISPs. Obviously you can't sue a state for something you have no authority over. I'll be waiting for the trial to see what they say.
There was a case a few years back where California put limits on how farm animals had to be treated in order to sell their produce in state. Farmers sued, claiming California was infringing on interstate commerce. California won that decision, based on the argument that so long as the rules only apply in California and apply equally across the states, California is not infringing on interstate commerce.

If Kennedy were still on the Supreme Court, there's no reason to think the same logic wouldn't apply. Now, I'm fully expecting a 5-4 the other way.
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,213   +1,462
There was a case a few years back where California put limits on how farm animals had to be treated in order to sell their produce in state. Farmers sued, claiming California was infringing on interstate commerce. California won that decision, based on the argument that so long as the rules only apply in California and apply equally across the states, California is not infringing on interstate commerce.

If Kennedy were still on the Supreme Court, there's no reason to think the same logic wouldn't apply. Now, I'm fully expecting a 5-4 the other way.
yes, but according to the story this case is
in the US Court of Appeals in the Washington DC Circuit
No need to worry about who's in the Supreme Court.

This whole thing is just a big show.... over the last few years we went from no NN to having NN to turning it back off again and pretty much nothing has changed for anyone.

Oh - except T-mobile can now offer video streaming that doesn't count toward your monthly data allowance.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,418   +6,008
yes, but according to the story this case is
No need to worry about who's in the Supreme Court.

This whole thing is just a big show.... over the last few years we went from no NN to having NN to turning it back off again and pretty much nothing has changed for anyone.

Oh - except T-mobile can now offer video streaming that doesn't count toward your monthly data allowance.
You can thank NN for that. Any plans that comcast / verizon were putting into action had to be cancelled and it takes time to get the ball rolling again. NN hasn't been gone very long. What we are seeing right now though is Comcast "testing" data caps in select states again and as you pointed out, zero rating. It would be naive to assume that a company will not seek maximum profit and that includes selling user data, throttling competitors, and making "fast lanes".
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,213   +1,462
You can thank NN for that. Any plans that comcast / verizon were putting into action had to be cancelled and it takes time to get the ball rolling again. NN hasn't been gone very long. What we are seeing right now though is Comcast "testing" data caps in select states again and as you pointed out, zero rating. It would be naive to assume that a company will not seek maximum profit and that includes selling user data, throttling competitors, and making "fast lanes".
yeah, but what changed when NN was enacted? What great improvements did we see?

Re: data caps - so long as a data cap applies to all data it wouldn't violate NN regardless. and zero-rating is a benefit for the consumer.

Yes, companies want to maximize profit, but I'd argue it's naive to think maximizing profit means screwing your customers. Maximizing profit means earning more customers, not upsetting them.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
yes, but according to the story this case is
No need to worry about who's in the Supreme Court.

This whole thing is just a big show.... over the last few years we went from no NN to having NN to turning it back off again and pretty much nothing has changed for anyone.

Oh - except T-mobile can now offer video streaming that doesn't count toward your monthly data allowance.
Whoever looses is going to appeal; it's going to the Supreme Court in three to four years or so. Granted, it's likely whoever replaces Trump is going to simply re-instate NN making the issue moot. Regardless: There is precedent for California's position.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
yeah, but what changed when NN was enacted? What great improvements did we see?
One of the reasons NN was enacted was because ISPs were abusing their power to consumers detriment. Two notable examples involved Level 5, which is the backbone provider of Netflix. Comcast and another ISP (I *think* TWC) intentionally slowed down Level 5's content in order to extort more funds due in part to the amount of traffic they handle. Level 5 eventually had to cave in, and passed the higher costs to Netflix. In turn, they passed the cost to the consumer.

With NN, that type of throttling would be illegal and that cost increase never would have happened.

Re: data caps - so long as a data cap applies to all data it wouldn't violate NN regardless. and zero-rating is a benefit for the consumer.
Zero-rating is anti-competitive in nature. What it does is allow certain sites to not count against data-caps, which sounds nice. In practice, the sites that are exempted full under the umbrella of the ISP offering the content. This hurts competing sites which can't compete due to their content counting against data caps.

For example, why would anyone bother with Netflix if they can go use a corresponding site that is zero-rated by their ISP? Of course, this reduces the amount of viable customers for Netflix, who then have to raise prices. All zero-rating is at the end of the day is a modern form of vendor lock in.

Yes, companies want to maximize profit, but I'd argue it's naive to think maximizing profit means screwing your customers. Maximizing profit means earning more customers, not upsetting them.
Except in many situations, due to a lack of competition, there aren't that many customers that can be reasonably added without significant financial investment. Therefore, the easiest way to increase profits is to increase cost, be it in terms of fees, caps, or whatnot, especially if it isn't easy to lose customers due to said lack of competition. ISPs are a prime example of this, given that many regions of the country are only served by one ISP (or one ISP per speed/cost tier). Therefore, there is no incentive to compete, especially given the costs involved in building the necessary infrastructure. [This is why I've long held that States/Federal Government should take over the building of the Internets infrastructure, and leave ISPs to manage the networks. That's a separate debate though.]
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,213   +1,462
In turn, they passed the cost to the consumer.

With NN, that type of throttling would be illegal and that cost increase never would have happened.
Netflix raised their prices because they were getting a few million new subs each year and were paying for original content. There's also inflation... $9.99 in 2014 isn't $9.99 in 2017.
I agree though that Netflix got the bill for the extra traffic they were causing. That's why they went to the FCC and complained, and it's where NN started. Corporations should not be able to go to their friends in Washington to pass laws to fix prices on their overhead costs.

Zero-rating is anti-competitive in nature. This hurts competing sites which can't compete due to their content counting against data caps.
I understand the argument... it's the same thing that screwed Microsoft in the 90's when they gave away IE for free with Windows. But in that case they owned both. Netflix is not a service of T-Mobile. Yes, it hurts Hulu, but T-Mobile has to pay for it for their customers. I see zero-rating as much closer to a grocery store's rewards program. If you offer a sale on ice-cream for your card holders isn't that anti-competitive for any other stores? I'd say it's exactly what competition is supposed to be! T-Mobile giving consumers something they want. In return they get more customers. Verizon is free to do the same. Hulu is free to offer discounts etc... the winner is the consumer.

For example, why would anyone bother with Netflix if they can go use a corresponding site that is zero-rated by their ISP?
Because Netflix offers a better product. Why buy a BMW over a Toyota when the BMW costs more? You won't get to work any faster. Netflix knows this - it's why they have original content.

Except in many situations, due to a lack of competition, there aren't that many customers that can be reasonably added without significant financial investment. Therefore, the easiest way to increase profits is to increase cost, be it in terms of fees, caps, or whatnot, especially if it isn't easy to lose customers due to said lack of competition. ISPs are a prime example of this, given that many regions of the country are only served by one ISP (or one ISP per speed/cost tier). Therefore, there is no incentive to compete, especially given the costs involved in building the necessary infrastructure.
You're absolutely right, and that's why Pai got rid of NN. How will a small ISP be able to compete if they're not allowed to charge Netflix when that ISP needs to build out new infrastructure to handle 4K streaming (or VR or whatever is next)? If Netflix is demanding the increase in service the ISP should be allowed to charge them for it. If they're not allowed to charge them, then only the big ISPs will be able to afford to eat the cost of it.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
Netflix raised their prices because they were getting a few million new subs each year and were paying for original content. There's also inflation... $9.99 in 2014 isn't $9.99 in 2017.
I agree though that Netflix got the bill for the extra traffic they were causing. That's why they went to the FCC and complained, and it's where NN started. Corporations should not be able to go to their friends in Washington to pass laws to fix prices on their overhead costs.
The Comcast/Verizon/Level3/Cognet/Netflix thing went on for a number of years:

https://arstechnica.com/tag/level-3/
https://arstechnica.com/tag/cogent/

Basically, the interconnect points between networks got overloaded, and Verizon/Comcast intentionally did nothing about it, demanding payment despite the fact they already had peering agreements to let traffic over their networks at no cost. Despite those agreements, the ISPs wanted additional payments to upgrade their networks.

Proving again why government should be responsible for the hardware, with ISPs limited to just providing access.

I understand the argument... it's the same thing that screwed Microsoft in the 90's when they gave away IE for free with Windows. But in that case they owned both. Netflix is not a service of T-Mobile. Yes, it hurts Hulu, but T-Mobile has to pay for it for their customers. I see zero-rating as much closer to a grocery store's rewards program. If you offer a sale on ice-cream for your card holders isn't that anti-competitive for any other stores? I'd say it's exactly what competition is supposed to be! T-Mobile giving consumers something they want. In return they get more customers. Verizon is free to do the same. Hulu is free to offer discounts etc... the winner is the consumer.
I point out Microsoft was found guilty in both the US and EU of anti-competitive behavior.

You also ignore my point: What ISPs are doing is using their dominance in one area [in this case, internet access] to gain market dominance in another [in this case, streaming services]. This in turn makes is much harder (and more expensive) for any other options to exist. Farther, this often forces consumers to stay in-network due to bandwidth caps, limiting their options to choose other content.

You can't seriously argue that fewer options is pro-consumer.

Because Netflix offers a better product. Why buy a BMW over a Toyota when the BMW costs more? You won't get to work any faster. Netflix knows this - it's why they have original content.
But they are still bound by bandwidth caps, which the options offered by ISPs do not. For metered connections, this will cause them to not be able to compete.

You're absolutely right, and that's why Pai got rid of NN. How will a small ISP be able to compete if they're not allowed to charge Netflix when that ISP needs to build out new infrastructure to handle 4K streaming (or VR or whatever is next)? If Netflix is demanding the increase in service the ISP should be allowed to charge them for it. If they're not allowed to charge them, then only the big ISPs will be able to afford to eat the cost of it.
You miss the point; no one is against service providers raising costs to fund infrastructure expansion. But they want it both ways; they want to charge both the customers as well as individual sites, effectively getting paid twice.
 

MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,213   +1,462
The Comcast/Verizon/Level3/Cognet/Netflix thing went on for a number of years:

https://arstechnica.com/tag/level-3/
https://arstechnica.com/tag/cogent/

Basically, the interconnect points between networks got overloaded, and Verizon/Comcast intentionally did nothing about it, demanding payment despite the fact they already had peering agreements to let traffic over their networks at no cost. Despite those agreements, the ISPs wanted additional payments to upgrade their networks.

Proving again why government should be responsible for the hardware, with ISPs limited to just providing access.
I agree with the cause of the issue, but not the solution. Anytime the govt is in charge of something it becomes more expensive (usually to taxpayers, not directly to users) and the service goes down. Think of the VA, DMV, backlog in the courts etc. The most comparable example being the terrible condition of the nation's electrical grid. Also - when the govt is responsible, then it must be available to all. The post office right now is going under and one of the biggest reasons is the requirement that it serve everyone, even the hermit who lives 30 miles from any town. The 'last-mile' becomes very expensive.

I point out Microsoft was found guilty in both the US and EU of anti-competitive behavior.
Yes, which is why I used the word screwed

You also ignore my point: What ISPs are doing is using their dominance in one area [in this case, internet access] to gain market dominance in another [in this case, streaming services]. This in turn makes is much harder (and more expensive) for any other options to exist. Farther, this often forces consumers to stay in-network due to bandwidth caps, limiting their options to choose other content.

You can't seriously argue that fewer options is pro-consumer.
Of course fewer options is not good for the consumer. The govt would be the ONLY option. I've never been in favor of that, and I explained in my last post.

The ISPs aren't gaining any dominance in streaming. They don't even have a share in it. You can't sign up for Comcast's video service - there is no such thing.

if the ISPs are forced to charge only customers for their increased cost, and not customers AND content providers, how does that make it easier for smaller ISPs to survive?

You miss the point; no one is against service providers raising costs to fund infrastructure expansion. But they want it both ways; they want to charge both the customers as well as individual sites, effectively getting paid twice.
yes, and that's entirely normal. Netflix wants it both ways too - they want to increase their product output without increasing the cost of distributing more product.

The ISPs don't want to raise prices to customers. With unlimited data plans and free hotspots - it's already an option for many people not to have broadband at home. And that's only going to continue. Raising prices doesn't always mean more revenue. I'm sure they'd rather raise the costs to Netflix, as Netflix is guaranteed to pay it. Customers will leave.
 
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