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FCC approves net neutrality in landmark decision, broadband to be reclassified as a public utility

By Shawn Knight · 65 replies
Feb 26, 2015
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  1. fcc verizon isp regulations net neutrality open internet tom wheeler telecommunications act title ii paid prioritization public utility

    The Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality is in. As a result of the expected 3-2 victory, broadband Internet will be reclassified as a public utility under Title II of the Federal Communications Act which gives the government more power to regulate its use.

    Under the new classification, things like paid prioritization, slowdown of select content and the ability of ISPs to selectively disable certain web features will be prohibited. The new rules also ensure that those with disabilities have access to the Internet as well as those living in remote areas.

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel voted in favor of net neutrality while the two Republicans on the commission, Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, unsurprisingly voted against it.

    fcc verizon isp regulations net neutrality open internet tom wheeler telecommunications act title ii paid prioritization public utility

    The new regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. They’ll become law 30 days after publication although one would be foolish to think that the matter is settled and done.

    ISPs like Verizon threatened legal action leading up to the vote; now that it has passed, lawsuits from a bevy of companies are almost a given. Those against net neutrality argue that it will open the door for future government meddling and will deter infrastructure innovation and investments – a move that will ultimately hurt consumers.

    Given today’s historic outcome, what’s your stance on the matter? Has the FCC made a wise decision or a grave mistake in passing net neutrality? Share your opinion in the comments below.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2015
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,186   +2,650

    As with most things, particularly when the government is involved, the devil is most definitely in the details. The benefit to the American people may be realized, but as with most things this will probably lead to more taxes and regulation for the benefit of the government rather than the common citizen.
  3. AnonymousSurfer

    AnonymousSurfer TS Guru Posts: 452   +40

    I think it's a wise decision if they will pursue raising the speed standards. Otherwise, I'm not too sure. Gov. Cuomo of NY wants to make 100mb the standard, which I agree with. However, if the government allows for "legal" monopolies like they do for electricity and water utilities, we may have a problem.

    I guess the only way to see whether or not this is bad is to let it play out. Hopefully it's good, but if it is bad it needs to be repealed ASAP.
  4. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 160   +130

    This is the best possible outcome. It's about time the playing field was leveled for the small players.
    No more choking the network boundaries to sell your content to a captive audience.
    No more overcharging for bandwidth.
    No more lack of competition (sharing infrastructure dissolves the lockout for players who do not already have infrastructure in a location)

    This is good. This is very good.
    Jim$ter likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,499   +626

    This is a loss for the freedoms of Americans. The government will now have the power to access, use, and do whatever they want with all the data that is stored or passed through technology in our country. As far as I'm concerned it nullifies all these "privacy terms and conditions" that many companies claim to protect. Although we all have our suspicions that these large corporations are not watching out for our privacy, despite their claims, they will now have no laws to protect their customer data. The government will be able to regulate their own rules into how the internet is used and they will have unlimited control over the American peoples use of it. As if they weren't already using NSA and CIA to spy on us right? Well maybe, but now it can be "legal" and we'll not be able to do anything about it.

    Just another chunk of freedom we are letting the government take away as things continue to get worse and worse. Within 50 - 100 years we will be China, the individual will have no power, no rights, and will be slaves to those in power.
    Wendig0 and USAvenger like this.
  6. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 160   +130

    What the hell are you talking about?
    Classifying internet communications as 'telecommunications' on par with telephone calls means that the internet [edit] is very likely going to be [/edit]FURTHER PROTECTED from unwarranted tapping, similar to other telecom networks.

    Why don't you guys read the order before making Faux News -esque statements?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
    Jim$ter likes this.
  7. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 160   +130

    The order says nothing about speed, only what kind of behavior is and is not allowed (e.g. no paid prioritization, no blocking competing services, etc), as well as forcing disclosures on things like packet loss, data caps, etc. Presumably, we'll lose the 'up to x Mbps!!!!1!' marketing bullshit they do now. Which is good.
  8. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 535   +167

    There is so much uncertainty. It seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of thing. I can only hope that this is in fact the lessor of two bad options. This is one of those things that you know that government needs to step in and protect because the majority of ISPs are too greedy to regulate themselves, but then again the government is too evil to do anything purely out of the goodness of their collective non-existent hearts.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,499   +626

    Well you are all quite hopeful.... but I know they have been regulating other "utilities" for years and we still get screwed by them all the time. I won't go into details but more government isn't the answer. Will this help some of those things we are concerned about? Maybe, but it may also have many other negative effects that we don't know about yet. We'll see them later and then wonder how the hell it can happen.
    USAvenger likes this.
  10. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,043   +1,336

    They didn't pass 'net neutrality' they passed a means to tax the pants off of ISPs and customers and are TELLING us it's to protect net neutrality.
    If they were interested in net neutrality, Congress (you know, the ones who are SUPPOSED to make laws) would have passed a net neutrality bill. but they're not interested in that, they want control, power and tax money, and regulating the internet in 2015 like a telecom company from 1930 was the easiest way to get it past the 'low information voters' pictured cheering above.

    have you not been paying attention in last 6 years? The govt just got done tearing up health care with 'if you like your plan you can keep it' (Obama) lies, that resulted from 'passing the bill to see what's in it' (Pelosi). A bill that was written specifically to 'take advantage of the stupidity of the American Voter' (Gruber). They come out with another story about how much better off you'll be and you jump on the bandwagon all over again.
    Don't take this the wrong way, but do you get scammed a lot?
    Wendig0 likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,838   +3,246

    But as you well know, Congress doesn't really do anything anymore. Their approval rating is hovering n the 20th percentile. So, lobbyists do the legislating for them. And as should be plainly evident, (as in, "we hold these truths to be self evident" (*)), the FCC doesn't want any stink of collusion on them. Therefore, it's taking up the lobbyist's slack, and writing it's own legislation.

    The reasoning here is, if the telecoms don't want this, it must be good"! But what if, the telecoms were actually for this, and their public antagonism toward "net neutrality", was just a backroom deal to cut the government in on the take?

    (*) If it were worded into 21th century speak, the Constitution would read, "that this is true, is a remarkable grasp of the obvious".
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  12. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,605   +1,774

    the problem here is that when my water goes out, the water company has to come and fix it. If my power goes out, the electric company has to come fix it. When my internet goes out for 4 hours every night Comcast gives me free HBO and $20/m off my bill. I've been fighting with them for months and even had 3 techs come out. All they did was change a cable and the router. I can't switch unless I want DSL because comcast is the only game in town. So either I pay Comcast for **** service or I go without any service. This is a particularly bad one for me because I run a portion of my business at home. Comcasts inability to give me the service I'm paying for is costing my business money. It's like a restaurant that didn't have water or a movie theater that didn't have electricity. There are people and businesses who NEED to use the internet to make their living. My fathers medical equipment uses the internet to send information to his doctors. Our phones run through our internet lines. If something happens to ihm and our phones go out he could die. When the internet goes out in my house it quite literally means someone's life is on the line.

    The internet isn't just something people use to pirate media, look at porn and talk with their friends. It is a critical part of our societies infrastructure and needs to be treated as such
    Satish Mallya likes this.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,838   +3,246

    Holy poop! IDKT...:confused::confused::confused::D

    I think you've backed yourself into a lack of job opportunity corner, my friend. You're never, ever, getting a job with the RIAA now.:D
  14. Jim$ter

    Jim$ter TS Booster Posts: 161   +32

    This is good! Hopefully companies will get back to expanding fiber because they haven't been doing anything for a long time now. If our country had any balls they would have a national roll-out of Fiber and let companies compete over them.
  15. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,062   +1,375

    "If they were interested in net neutrality, Congress (you know, the ones who are SUPPOSED to make laws) would have passed a net neutrality bill."

    No they wouldn't have. you have people like Ted Cruz throwing "Obama" and "Net neutrality" in the same sentence and now all of a sudden its become a plot to install Communism in America to a bunch of americans.
  16. Jon Paul

    Jon Paul TS Rookie

    I bet you are a Republican. It figures!
  17. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,224   +4,357

    Like linking to a press statement and not the actual regulation? I suspect you're an MSNBC type – Fox isn't your flavor, CNN presents too much information, and CSPAN is out of the question.

    Nobody critical of the law is concerned about the Order's stated intent. That you would link to a sales brochure only betrays your ignorance. We are concerned about the specifics of the 332-page legal document and how its wording specifically impacts (1) ISPs, (2) content providers, (3) other parties, and, most importantly, (4) how it can be legally applied by the FCC.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
    USAvenger, Satish Mallya and cmbjive like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,499   +626

    Guys this isn't going to fix crap. The reason you don't have super reliable internet is because it COSTS MORE MONEY. The reason the internet and high speed isn't available to EVERYONE is because... wait for it, IT COSTS MORE MONEY. The FCC regulating ISP's, or the whole damn internet isn't going to fix that. Everyone has to pay to get the service they want. Residential internet is already quite cheap, but the ISP's do it as cheaply as possible. If you want reliable connection go pay for for BUSINESS internet connectivity.

    Internet is NOT a utility, not everyone HAS to have it. Do we create our own needs on it and say we have to have it? Sure, but that is your own doing.

    I don't care what some little letter to the public says, there is more to it behind the scenes we are not being told. This is not to help the American people.
  19. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    Because the current FCC was able to stop the NSA from wiretapping telephones and getting wireless phone records. Did you forget the "F" in FCC means "Federal"?

    And always going to Fox News...of course the FCC will say that it is adopting rules to protect the open internet! Do you think it would be forthcoming in saying that it intends to turn regulating the internet - which is as much international as it is domestic - into a bureaucratic morass?
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,224   +4,357

    Has the FCC made a wise decision or a grave mistake in passing net neutrality?

    The regulation has yet to be published for general consumption. All chatter about how great and awesome or horrible and wrong the regulation will be is speculation.

    Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on the official PDF and deliver yet another citation-filled I-told-you-so to the more..."optimistic"...members of civilized society.
    Satish Mallya and cmbjive like this.
  21. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your internet does not go out every four hours. And I'm going to go further out on that limb and say that when you have a problem with the other utilties, you just keep your mouth shut because there really isn't a damn thing you can do about it (what? You're going to force another city to provide your water? Get another electric company which is barred by your corporation commission from operating in your area to provide you with better service). Even if your internet went out every four hours - which it does not - at least you get a $20 credit on your bill and free HBO for a month. When my electricity went out five hours, I got absolutely nothing from the electric company. I'm going to go even further on that limb and state the you got nothing from your utilities when they went out as well.

    And as for your last comment well, yes, the internet is about watching porn, pirating media, and socializing with friends. It's no wonder that some of the highest trafficked sites are porn sites, bitTorrents, and Facebook.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  22. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,233   +344

    So now you cannot build a house unless it has internet access? I guess you can satellite nearly anywhere so his probably doesn't matter.

    "The new rules also ensure that those with disabilities have access to the Internet as well as those living in remote areas."
  23. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 160   +130

    This is the FCC, not Congress. No bill was passed here. This is the FCC asserting that their authority to regulate telecom - their mandate - also applies to broadband. Broadband is telecom by it's nature, and should be regulated as such.
  24. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 160   +130

    It seems a bit of a stretch. Besides, it very obviously and directly impacts their bottom line (and about time, I say!). Their bottom line has been padded by morally and ethically questionable tactics for some time, now (e.g. Netflix throttling combined with TV services offered by ISPs, poor service, monopolies leading to high prices, etc.)
  25. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,605   +1,774

    I said it goes out for about 4 hours everyday. And my point about them giving me money off on my bill and HBO is irrelevant because I just want my internet to work. I don't want HBO, I don't want $20, I want a product that works when I want it to work. The electric company and the water company has to, by law, fix it if we are paying them for their service. I don't care if the power lines are down, get me some electricity, I don't care if a water main is broken, I'm paying them for water. I don't care if comecast has a problem with their lines, I want them to fix it. What makes it even worse is that they are the only game in town, I can't even switch. And, trust me, I want to switch pretty bad.

    And, sure as far as common house hold use, porn, torrents and facebook make up much of that. However, there is far more network traffic than what you think the average person uses it for. Any business you can think of uses massive amounts of bandwidth for things like shipping, financial information, product information. On a small scale you can think of the card machine at your gas station. If their internet goes out, they lose business.

    On a larger scale, if a large warehouse cannot receive the orders and shipping information for the day, they can't much send it out. If visa servers cannot connect to the internet potentially millions of people could not use their cards.

    Internet traffic is far more complicated than just Facebook and email. what we do only makes up a small portion of network traffic. People rely on it to run their businesses and receive important information. This practice of frequent outages "just being the norm" with no other game in town to go is completely unacceptable.
    Satish Mallya likes this.
  26. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Maniac Posts: 160   +130

    However, the salient points are mentioned in the press release.
    If they are at odds with the actual content of the order, do share.
    No, for serious - let's have a look at that duplicitous order.

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