Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
I'm on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality (latimes.com)
966 points by mjfern 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 407 comments



Nick Gillespie: Your plan will, according to a write up in Politico, and I think this is accurate, it quote, "will jettison rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing web traffic or creating so called paid internet fast lanes." Question for you, do you think fast lanes will become a thing? What is the value of a internet fast lane?

Ajit Pai: The answer to the first is we're not sure. We've never seen them before and that's part of the reason why I thought the rule in particular was, that was adopted in 2015, was very premature banning something that's simply didn't exist.

I took the time to read Ajit's argument here. It's completely mislead. If murder hadn't happened in a certain area yet, would it be "too preemptive" to outlaw it? Fast lanes DO exist in other countries right now. This is outrageous.


Make no mistake, Pai is a former Verizon lawyer, he's not misled as he is intentionally misleading. He knows very well the ISPs will exploit as much as they can and then rely on a slow legal system to keep it going. He knows very well the ISPs want the benefits of being a monopoly with none of the regulations. Why do you think he prematurely said the states will not be able to pass their own net neutrality laws? The main ISPs in this nation are some of the most corrupt, unethical, and anti-consumer organizations around, and because there's no competiton (and they do work hard to keep it that way). While I agree with Pai that we need more competition, repealing NN will not do that.


He is specifically talking about blocking web traffic, "The answer to the first is we're not sure", not fast lanes. Repealing NN will do that, every time you have regulations you have to hire another team of lawyers and accountants; which only large corporations can afford––it's just another barrier of entry to market.


The barriers to entry in the ISP market right now are the large corporations, which keep doing adorable things like suing would-be municipal competitors out of existence. The claim that regulation is the problem here, rather than a matter of mere ideological opposition, is a claim desperately in need of some kind of substantiation. And the idea of empowering oligopolists even further, by relaxing restrictions designed to prevent them engaging in rentiership, is an idea in desperate need of anything concrete to show it's worth implementing.


He was asked two questions then began his response with “the answer to the first is”, I think it’s much more reasonable to interpret that as the first question.


Except we have seen cases of blocking before in the US, so even by that interpretation he's misleading people: in 2005, North Carolina-based ISP (and phone company) Madison River blocked customers from using Vonage. More recently, Verizon blocked its customers from installing Google Wallet on their phones and AT&T tried to block its customers from using Skype on iPhones...


He's also lying, there are fast lanes in US already: https://www.networkworld.com/article/2226901/opensource-subn...

We learnt about this from Snowdens documents in 2014.


You should not have needed the Snowden documents to learn about the existence of peering agreements. The issue is ISPs requiring compensation for the peering agreement.


This is where we get into the difficulty of what is net neutrality.

Taking compensation for a peering agreement is perfectly fine if it's imbalanced. What net neutrality should prevent is, ceteris paribus, asking for $X from YouTube and $Y >> $X from Netflix because you figure your dying cable business will benefit from less competition.

Ideally, net neutrality would be FRAND for peering agreements: you can't deny anyone if they are happy to pay market rate, and market rate is what you charge everyone else, plus minus.


It’s absolutely not fine if your customers are already paying you specifically to connect to Netflix, which is an extremely common use and why we have the bottleneck in the first place.

The imbalance of the traffic has little to do with what we have here, since the telco is specifically paid to deliver that traffic by consumers. Charging on both ends is very profitable, but is definitely double-dipping.

Your phone provider doesn’t charge you more to receive calls from large customer care call centers when you have a problem and request a call back. The call center may get charged more by their provider if their call pattern is problematic, but your provider doesn’t stop the call from going through. It is really not any different with internet networks and why common carrier rules make a lot of sense.

These same rules also provide a lot of liability protection for the carriers, which I’m guessing they have negotiated to keep somehow.


If I operate a large network, I would want authority over how much bandwidth I provide to each neighboring network. That seems like a reasonable demand.

I would want the authority to choose to peer with who I want, but if someone doesn't want to peer with me at market rate, then they won't experience "degraded" service coming through other networks that I peer with indiscriminately.

If you think this isn't fair, I would like to hear why.


I hate to be an apologist, but you're the only one who is mistaken here, he specifically is talking about the blocking of web traffic not fast lanes: "The answer to the first is we're not sure".


The net neutrality laws prohibit anti-competitive blocking and "throttling" of Internet services or discriminating by protocol, ip-adress, application, etc.

What should be outside net neutrality laws are protocols that leave the customer and applications in control. There is nothing wrong with using Resource ReSerVation Protocol (RSVP), DSCP and IPv6 flow labels to get QoS that differ from the dumb pipe. Many future applications require it.

- Online games might want to request low lag.

- Streaming services might want constant bandwidth with less strict lag requirements.

- File downloads might be OK with bursts and pauses as long as the best effort throughput is good.

- Safety-critical applications like, robot cars, remote surgery or emergency messaging, need guarantees that discriminate against other uses.


> The net neutrality laws prohibit anti-competitive blocking and "throttling" of Internet services or discriminating by protocol, ip-adress, application, etc.

Except that NN does not prohibit it for traffic engineering purposes. And I'm here, just doing traffic engineering:

if (you-pay-me-for-PNIs) { set-local-preference really-high } else { set-local-preference default }

Oh look, your traffic is going to the non-congested path which happens to be the path to my PNI locations, directly into your network. Jack on the other hand, Jack gets to use the standard transit. "Hey Jack, you know, we will drag all your traffic to SJC, even if you are on the East Coast and hand it off to TATA because TATA gives us the lowest transit price. Man, TATA seem to be congested from 5pm Eastern to about 2am Eastern. Oh well, maybe you guys need to yell at TATA. Oh, do you want to buy a dozen of 10Gs to me all over the country? That would avoid those dolts at TATA."


> Except that NN does not prohibit it for traffic engineering purposes.

Not outright but it does restrict it specifically to prevent it from being a backdoor for this kind of edge provider discrimination.


There's zero discrimination in here. It is basic network engineering:

1. Terminate transit on transit-edge. All routes form transit edge get preference X.

2. Terminate peering routes on peering-edge. All routes from peering edge get preference Y.

Oh wait ma, I have traffic engineering and it matches $$. Aint life grand? NN rules are what happens when dilettantes who have never seen a 20U sized router are in charge of writing rules about networks.


So you're in favor of eliminating NN rules?

TCP/IP is optimized for neutral nodes in a network, sure you're doing traffic engineering, throttling is already happening. At a network level this makes sense, doesn't make sense that we give ISPs carte Blanche to openly start filtering traffic based on any rules they see fit. The people who want to repeal NN are the suits, not traffic engineers and techies like yourself. Obviously


Yes, I'm in favor of eliminating NN rules because NN currently does not work, did not work since 1995 and people pretending that NN works would make it impossible to encourage competition which is needed to make "ISPs cannot mess with authorized access" happen.

If we are to stop pretending that NetFlix does not pay Comcast and Verizon directly to get content to the customers of Comcast and Verizon without sucking in addition to paying others to deliver the same content to customers of Comcast and Verizon ( like an upstart MyFlix.com ), we can have a conversation about Net Neutrality 2.0, traffic engineering and settlements.


Sure, corruption there. But repealing what's in place just makes it even easier for them do things like this and get a way with it too. What legal ramifications will consumers have now that the FCC is siding with ISPs? Any? We'll have to take this to the supreme court. I think we both agree, the network should remain neutral.


You raise a good point. I think the net neutrality ethic can accommodate traffic shaping by application type, provided certain conditions are met:

A) Traffic shaping is done in the public's best interest.

B) It doesn't discriminate between packets of the same type but different providers.

C) Carriers are transparent about how and why they shape traffic.

D) All affected parties retain ultimate control over how shaping happens.


But who is going to determine what gets which priority at what price? The only one who can is the ISP and I don't trust them.


If any positive effect will come from the rollback of net neutrality, it's that more people in the US may realize that ISPs are generally adverserial. They have been for a while.


Customer determines by requesting QoS for connection.

ISP sells service with fixed price that states what kind of QoS requests it can fulfill. Net neutrality prevents the ISP from setting them on their own.


I believe it is best to leave traffic shaping to the endpoints, what is important to me doesn't mean it is important for the ISP.

ISP should just provide enough capacity to pass all their traffic without being dropped. Don't oversell what you can't provide.


You've listed a set of applications that require priority on the network. Do you think that there is value to traffic prioritization?


Pai gave a pretty complete interview with Tech Policy Podcast yesterday and went in depth with much of what he was thinking.

Tech Policy Podcast: #206: The Future of Internet Regulation w/ FCC Chairman Ajit Pai http://podcast.techfreedom.org/e/206-the-future-of-internet-...

But, I think Robert Graham summed it up pretty well when he said "you believe the FCC should allow companies to bend the rules when it's in the interests of customers, then you don't believe in NetNeutrality." Lots of politics and emotion in the hysteria, very little sound reasoning.


> The answer to the first is we're not sure. We've never seen them before

You’ve (the FCC) seen abd addressed seen and acted against selective slow lanes, (intentionally inhibited traffic) which are the same thing as fast lanes, just with which side is the “default” switched. And you've seen paid prioritization fast lanes in foreign markets without the FCC’s 13-year history of pro-neutrality policies. So this is either misleadingly selective or just plain outright lying, but then that's true of basically everything Pai has said about neutrality since joining the FCC.


> "If murder hadn't happened in a certain area yet, would it be 'too preemptive' to outlaw it?"

But even with murder, the law doesn't stop murders before they happen, but rather only acts retroactively (and that is for good reason).

> "Fast lanes DO exist in other countries right now."

But this is ignoring the whole debate: proponents of net freedom don't consider fast lanes to be a problem.


> But this is ignoring the whole debate: proponents of net freedom don't consider fast lanes to be a problem.

I think that this is the part that I can't comprehend. The railroads misbehaved so badly that the government had to break rail transportation as an industry to kill them. Ninety years later we're still using long-haul semi trailers for everything. Bell's abuse of its monopoly was similarly severe. How do people hold this belief without becoming laughingstock?


>Ninety years later we're still using long-haul semi trailers for everything.

No. There's actually a very healthy cargo rail system and relatively little trucking is truly long haul.


According to the DOT [1] it looks like my intuition is a bit out of date. Right now US freight about even, trucking still a little bit ahead by ton-mile. Ten years ago rail carried 2/3 as much freight as trucks. Last-mile delivery on trucks (from the rail station to the point of use) is taken care of by the unit of measurement (one ton of freight traveling one mile), so I think that those numbers are relatively reasonable.

So I'll admit: fair enough, the rail industry is still healthy and carrying a good amount of cargo. I'll withdraw the wording; we do not in fact use long-haul trucks for everything. The fact that trucks are competing with rail at all, however, given the geographical extent of the US and how horrible long-haul trucking is, I believe makes me stand by my claim that the US rail industry was broken and never recovered. It frankly astonishes me that driving something down the highway is even remotely financially effective in comparison to rail freight.

And, of course, none of this is relevant to my original point: the railroads abused their powers to an astonishing degree and the government was forced to smash them for the good of the economy. Is it obvious to me that today's ISPs are following in the footsteps of yesterday's railroads and telephones and I don't understand how people convince themselves otherwise.

[1] https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/pu...


It's wasn't obvious to me that trucking is much less energy effecient than rail. According to treehugger.com rail achieves "400 ton-miles per gallon whereas trucks currently hover around 130 ton-miles per gallon" [1]. I wonder why that would be - rubber tires vs steel-on-steel? Traffic? There isn't much traffic during the majority of a long-haul and the last few miles have to be done by truck anyway.

[1] https://www.treehugger.com/cars/rail-versus-trucking-whos-th...


Braking and acceleration - once you get x tons of anything moving, it generally wants to keep moving. Trains are tens of times longer than trucks, brake significantly less often, and have a lot more horsepower for acceleration.


Lowered overall wind resistance also plays a significant part.

With Semi's, each separate truck has to endure its own wind resistance independently.

With a train, each rail car effectively drafts the car in front, producing significant reductions in wind resistance for all cars behind the locomotive.

This site (https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/parasitic-loss-reductio...) quotes wind resistance, braking, and rolling resistance as responsible for a 45% reduction in efficiency.

This site (https://www.nap.edu/read/13288/chapter/7) has a table that separates the factors out. Of the parasitic losses, aerodynamic losses (i.e., wind resistance) is responsible for consuming 53% of the motive power.


The other thing is, you can string wires along the rails relatively easily, and power everything directly with electricity - which offers substantial savings from efficiency of large scale power generation, even accounting for distribution losses. Better yet, you can then use regenerative braking, and feed energy back into the line.

I do believe there's some benefit from the tracks themselves as well, though. Surely there's a lot less friction (per ton of weight) between the train wheels and steel rails, than there is between truck tires and the road?


>you can string wires along the rails relatively easily, and power everything directly with electricity -

Except all freight trains in the US have 6600 HP diesel engines, usually ~6-8 engines per 100 cars from what I've seen (which is mostly coal).


US is an outlier in that regard. In other developed countries, railroads are mostly electrified.


I'd also say increased engine efficiency resulting from being able to have a bigger engine to move more tons.


A small part of it is air resistance. A train has a lot less frontal area per ton.


I don't think that many people actually do hold this belief. That's why someone had to make a bot to create the illusion.


A bunch of the GOP seems to hold this belief. If there wasn't such a strong movement for net neutrality, I bet a bunch of Democrats would like this as well.

I understand there are a lot of lobbyists, but there are many people who sincerely believe the "less regulation and more competition will solve the issues" mantra.

I place a lot of the blame on outlets like the Wall Street Journal giving credence to arguments that strip out all context and use fancy words to justify these positions. Doesn't help that other people are afraid to call out their lies because they came from the same social circles.

Yes, the "free market + competition makes things cheaper" argument works well when you remove all the reasons why a specific case does not fit the theory perfectly.


I'm pretty liberal, and I believe that there is some truth to the "less regulation and more competition will solve the issues" mantra. The issue here being that there isn't a real way to inject more competition into the ISP space. Soooo, we are just getting less regulation. Which will inevitably lead to abuses.


If the government owned the infrastructure, would be held accountable to maintain it, and would provide access to different ISPs there would be more competition. The problem is that some people see this is "regulation" or "socialism" or "lack of choice" while others see this as "healthy competition" and "liberty".

If there's just one infrastructure, or maybe two (cable and DSL) and the ISPs own it then there's barely any competition. That's when you get anti-competitive behaviour.

Such behaviour would be punished in a free market even if it were allowed. But we don't have a free market in this segment. We got monopolies and duopolies.

There are different ways to limit the power of monopolies and duopolies. One is legislation to force them to treat all data equal. Another one could be to break up the large mammoths who are monopolies and duopolies. The latter ain't happening, so why revert the former?

Either due to sheer stupidity or because of heavy lobbying from certain interest groups who'd profit greatly from this (ISPs is my guess).


> If the government owned the infrastructure, would be held accountable to maintain it, and would provide access to different ISPs

Yeah last time we tried this we got Amtrak so I don't really see it as a workable solution. Size limits and market choice requirements might work, though. They did, pretty well, with media companies, for quite a long time.

Of course, those also only last until we get an FCC that's either so corrupt it'd be right at home in the Gilded Age, or so out of touch it'd be right at home in Versailles. I tend to the latter suspicion, myself; DC people are long known in general to make a habit of thinking of 495 more or less as the end of the civilized world, beyond which lies only a terrifying wasteland full of barbarians and howling ghosts. That's why lobbyists exist - just as in Versailles, there's a market for paying people to present one's case and pray intercession on one's behalf at court. I suppose we'll see whose lobbyists pray most effectively this time. And next time, and the time after that, and...


Break up the biggest ISP's by force.


Or properly regulate local loop unbundling and force cost+ resale of access to subscriber lines.

E.g. the way it works in the UK (it works similarly, but not entirely identically, in all EU countries), which is absolutely not ideal but gives reasonable competition is that BT OpenReach (by virtue of BT's past monopoly) is regulated and is required to offer any ISP access to their network on equal basis. This means the ISPs have a few choices:

* They can put equipment in the exchanges, and "just" get access to a raw connection to the subscriber. OpenReach maintains the lines.

* They can contract OpenReach for "backhaul" of IP traffic to central locations.

* They can build their own last mile network.

I can pick from dozens of providers because of that, but most of them mean I'll pay a basic line rental either directly to BT or via the provider, and that is the same for any of them. Others are free to build their own network without the same restrictions, but this for natural reasons happens very slowly (predominantly fibre providers in dense urban areas, and a cable provider).

In that model net neutrality is less of a concern. It's not entirely free of issues, as major ISPs certainly still could offer preferential access to certain content, but at least we have real competition beyond the last mile.

The biggest problem with this is that the way it is structured does not give BT a strong incentive to invest in improving the last mile network. I'd have preferred if there was an additional clause restricting them to only take out dividends from OpenReach proportional to the investments made in improving the network. But overall it's working reasonably well.


The biggest issue is that since this is a network the most cost effective thing is for there to be a single network.

Networks are a great example where a regulated monopoly on one level can allow for a healthy free market on the upper levels.

If you forget about the money, having a single operator makes the most sense. Thus we should model our economic system to take this into account


We'd need another Teddy Roosevelt for that to happen. Unfortunately, we have Trump. And frankly I don't see politics changing from that mindset for a long time.


The Ma Bell breakup was probably started under Nixon/Ford (lawsuit filed in 1974) and finished under Reagan.

Not that it worked completely, because everyone has nearly merged back together, but it is evidence that Republican administrations aren't necessarily pro-monopoly.

A large part of the issue is that, through lobbying and franchise agreements, ISPs have locally secured their status. Even if you break them up they only become more local monopolies (which is better but not competition and still requires regulation).


It's tiring how the dialogue is still so ideological. Every single person agrees that there should be 1 or more regulation. We are just determining their precise character. I wish public discussion would become more nuanced and specific to the issue at hand.


> But even with murder, the law doesn't stop murders before they happen

At least in Germany planning a murder is illegal. Just like preparing a terrorist attack is - otherwise the police wouldn't be allowed to stop it.

Also Wiki: "In some jurisdictions, the very act of preparing for a crime is a criminal offense in itself" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_preparation)

For the US, interesting read: https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-bas...


"Conspiracy to commit murder" is a crime. So, there's that.


Even the language is wrong. Getting rid of net neutrality doesn’t introduce fast lanes, it introduces slow lanes. Nobody will get faster service than today, but some will get slower service.


Some people could get faster service than they do today, in the sense that a given flow (e.g. VoIP data) might go from having equal QoS priority to having higher QoS priority, meaning that under congestion, their flow might go from being slow (before) to being the-speed-they're-paying-for. Of course, that would come at the expense of other flows (e.g. BitTorrent) having lower relative QoS priority, making them slower under congestion. It's zero-sum.

This type of flow management is already how VoLTE flows are prioritized on LTE (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Multimedia_Subsystem); I wouldn't be surprised to see land-line ISPs implement it.


It's zero-sum

Not so fast. It's zero-sum if and only if call Internet subscribers have the same ability to pay for the service. If any user has a very high willingness to pay, but does not have the resources to pay it, then this amounts to a transfer of "wealth" (i.e. bandwidth) from that user to another who might not value it as much. It's not hard to construct utility curves in which this decreases total welfare.

That said, QoS is probably not the concern here. This is very much not a zero-sum proposal.


Only with a poorly designed routing, networks, and VoIP systems. Routers can't cache meaningful amounts of network traffic, so assuming ~zero dropped packets you degrade bandwidth not latency. VoIP works fine with even minimal bandwidth so that's not an issue.

Dropped packets are a sign of poorly designed networks at which point you can't assume QoS will improve things. The added complexity might make things worse for all traffic.


Keep in mind, cellular carrier stations (cell towers) don't just become congested; they're oversubscribed, pretty much all the time. Each level of cell service has essentially an SLA for minimum voice quality per line—which can be modelled as each customer having a fixed bandwidth allocation. So, at a given service tier, you can sacrifice latency (which doesn't work for real-time protocols) or drop packets (which is what ends up happening), but you can't just lower the available bandwidth of the channel. The [hardware!] voice codecs are built to assume the bandwidth when they're on a given cellular network standard—they're essentially emulating circuit-switching!

All that being said, that's why cell networks, until 4G, used actual circuits for voice, rather than having it be packet-based; and that's why 4G+ networks use IMS (a layer 1+2+3 protocol suite that all middle boxes are aware of for QoS purposes) rather than just relying on layer-3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentiated_services QoS fields (which are handled by full layer-3 switches within a given LAN, but get dropped the moment the packet crosses onto the public Internet and are just ignored by layer-2 switches.)

(And even on large LANs—like your cable provider's ATM network—DiffServ tags aren't relied upon, because QoS is just so much easier when layers 1 and 2 are aware of it. If you get a IP phone line from your ISP, it'll be using https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiprotocol_Label_Switching tags instead, to give its packets QoS priority across even the dumbest middleboxes.)


That's more an abstraction than reality. Frequency hopping means N senders may overlap but the abstraction is independent the IP part of TCP/IP or UDP so the device knows things failed instead of waiting for a timeout on a dropped packet. Thus IP software never sees latency spikes just lowered bandwidth or dropped connections.


To clarify, in the past the over subscription might have required dedicated bandwidth for voice but that's no longer the case.

Voice is very low bandwidth as long as the minimum bandwidth per device is over 100 kpbs and the device to prioritize voice data towers don't need to bother with QoS for traffic. They still do this for various reasons, including the fact they are sending the voice data to a separate network not the internet.

TLDR; Total bandwidth / devices > 100kbps and it's not actually over subscribed.


The net neutrality in the EU isn't perfect, but it does allow for QoS for things like VoIP.

EDIT: Example: Free Music Streaming by T-Mobile [1] is active in EU as well. So if you stream from Spotify its "free" yet when you stream from your home server, via a VPN, or an unsupported service it isn't "free".

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2014/06/18/t-mobile-stops-counting-da...


Wait a minute, the opposite of net neutrality is called "net freedom"?

This is sick (the lack of net neutrality is more likely to reduce freedoms than to promote them). If you remotely support net neutrality, please never use that term again. This is self defeating.


I'm pro-net neutrality and I'm against dishonest marketing, but I think overall it's important to take the higher ground and remain intellectually honest. Doing otherwise results in a mud-slinging contest.

Existing regulations are a restriction on the freedom of service providers. That is undeniable. There many cases where we restrict freedoms for the greater good, but I don't like to pretend we are not doing so in those cases.

I'd also add that freedom is not the right to demand other people give you something you want. I wouldn't say that I've lost my freedoms if there are no good ISPs left after the regulatory change. Everyone involved can still either choose an existing provider or set up their own. We have monopoly/anti-trust laws when that ceases to be the case. Of course, this may not be the efficient path to a world that a huge majority of people want - which is why I slightly side with net neutrality.


> Existing regulations are a restriction on the freedom of service providers.

Then go ahead and call it "corporate freedom". The network isn't getting any more free without neutrality.


An ISP doesn't necessarily have to be a corporate entity. It could be a municipality (e.g. city of Chattanooga) or hypothetically owned by residents directly.


> An ISP doesn't necessarily have to be a corporate entity.

In practice, they are. There are exception, but they remain exceptions.


Is any of those interested on the end of neutrality?


> Everyone involved can still either choose an existing provider or set up their own.

As in, for real, in practice? I seriously doubt it, the hurdles are huge, and most deals favours gigantic corporations (bulk often being cheaper than detail).

Try to get a peering agreement with some big provider. Most wouldn't even talk to you if you're not big enough.


The freedom in this case is for the ISPs.


Sounds like pro-life/pro-choice. Both sound so good!


More like net favoritism


Not sure about the downvotes but whatever floats your boat


> But even with murder, the law doesn't stop murders before they happen, but rather only acts retroactively (and that is for good reason).

Murders are punished after they happen. But a plot to murder is in itself a crime.

Also, the fact that punishments come after the fact has nothing to do with this. Murder isn't banned after it happens. It's banned before it happens.

Lastly, you say "the law only acts retroactively". The main purpose of punishing past actions is to disuade people from doing them in the future. If I hate my boss but I decide not to murder him because I don't want my child to grow with me in prison, the law has stopped a crime before it happens.


>But this is ignoring the whole debate: proponents of net freedom don't consider fast lanes to be a problem.

And they literally wouldn't be if internet service was delivered in a free market. The problem is that the market isn't free. ISPs have spent years rigging the market in their favor, politically. The landscape is already hostile to the consumer--they intend to make it more so.


That's why the law should dissociate the "tubes" from the service providers. Let any company operate on the infrastructure with their own policies as long as they rent the lines, and the lines should be traffic agnostic by definition.


That's by far the best solution.


What happens when the highest bidder rents up all of the infrastructure?

I believe your suggestion is already practiced with phone carriers. The infrastructure is finite & there are physical bandwidths limitations, at least currently.


A lot of proponents of what you call "net freedom" lie about fast lanes or wave their hands and pretend that won't happen, though, because they are deeply unpopular with a huge majority of internet users.


Wait, "net freedom" seriously? That's a cynical name considering what that choice entails. If you called it "corporate freedom", sure.


> Fast lanes DO exist in other countries right now.

It's called shaping and you easily pay 2x the price to avoid it. Everyone above the poverty line pays.


Is traffic shaping website specific? I thought it was just related to packet size, etc. — as in, British Telecom may throttle bandwidth at peak times for data that looks like it may be videos, torrents etc.

In my mind, this is very different to allowing YouTube load faster than Vimeo


Haven't heard of shaping before in the UK. I'm not aware there's any form of payment for prioritised traffic, at least not for broadband. On the contrary, BT participates heavily in LINX, the London network exchange.

Speed differences will happen though, e.g. I notice that Netflix sometimes tends to be a bit slower but that doesn't improve using a VPN so that I guess it's not BT's fault.


yeah, didn't mean payment for priotisation, just that they may implement throttling for certain types of traffic — BT was also meant as a 'for instance' hypothetical example :)

Can't remember who my ISP was at the time, but definitely have hit times when (especially gaming) would be fast & then would hit a wall suddenly. That said, seems to happen less recently, was more in early broadband days.


No, it is called PNIs to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other eyeball networks where whoever puts the PNIs still pays to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other eyeball networks to reach their eyeballs over those PNIs.


PNIs?


Private Network Interconnect

"With peering, there are two methods that connectivity is formed on. The first is where direct connectivity is established between individual networks routers with multiple 10Gigabit Ethernet or 100Gigabit Ethernet links. This sort of connectivity is known as “private peering” or PNI (Private Network Interconnect)."[0]

[0] https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/internet-routing-a...


> But this is ignoring the whole debate: proponents of net freedom don't consider fast lanes to be a problem.

“network freedom” was the FCC’s original name for net neutrality before it shifted to “open internet”; because it protected end-user freedom. Using “net freedom” to refer to the abolition of that protection is, well, about as honest as the rest of the anti-neutrality effort.


Is the internet network infrastructure not owned by corporations, and isn't this giving them the freedom to do with their asserts as they see fit?


" proponents of net freedom don't consider fast lanes to be a problem."

Don't care whether there will be a problem with how the internet works as they will become filthy rich. That is why they want to kill net neutrality; dollar dollar bills. They couldn't care less about the user experience.


Murders are illegal "upfront". The regulator declared it illegal. The police would definitely stop a murder attempt.


> But even with murder, the law doesn't stop murders before they happen, but rather only acts retroactively (and that is for good reason).

In a way the law tries to accomplish this by limiting ways like guns, bombs and sometimes doing checks randomly or based on suspicion.


> proponents of net freedom don't consider fast lanes to be a problem.

But the reply was in reply to Ajit's position that "we don't know what will happen because we don't have them".


But the beneficiaries of your "net freedom" are a handful of regional monopoly ISPs who are protected by regulations that realistically won't ever be rolled back.


Pre-2015 - keep the govt out of our internet! 2017 - save us government we need your kind regulations!

No thanks. It’s amazing what a little bit of polishing a turd and renaming it will do.


I've been looking through your comment history and the majority of stuff you say is unsubstantiated, provocative, and immediately refuted by comments 5x longer than yours with a bunch of sources because your original comment sounded informed but was actually way off base. Your six comments on this story fit this pattern as well.


Argumentum by verbosity [1] is a fallacy. So is argumentum via comment history [2]. Maybe you noticed my account is 10x older than yours and couldn’t call me a shill? Perhaps you should lurk a bit longer instead of using the downvote button as a disagree button like it is on the site you came from. You’ll notice even my heavily downvoted posts in this emotional and poltical thread aren’t hidden because I have a long history of discussing things in good faith on this forum. Believe it or not, it is possible to disagree about whether the FCC can make ISPs Title II by fiat.

EDIT: I do not claim everything I say is right. But I will stand the courage of my convictions and am happy to be proven wrong. So far this thread is a total disaster of emotional pleas, doomsday predictions, and bad reddit-like behavior (such as yours).

[1] https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem


I feel like I've read comments of yours I disagreed with before, but in this case we agree completely. I'm not interested in winning a debate per se, but I wish we had more people looking at the fundamental principles at stake here rather than using ends-justify-the-means thinking. The hysteria surrounding this topics seems really odd.


Wrong. Net neutrality proponents have been advocating for the FCC's pro-NN actions long before 2015, the problem was courts kept shooting them down because they said (probably correctly) that they didn't use their authority the right way.


Most people want NN, when it comes to censorship (this is why I use Sonic.net). They don't want NN when it comes to gaming latency vs. email latency. There's a big difference, but NN lumps them in as the same thing. This is why we should punt to Congress that ensures NN applies to the First Amendment but not to voluntary trade.


> There's a big difference, but NN lumps them in as the same thing.

No it doesn't. The FCC's net neutrality orders have always included an exception for "reasonable network management", most recently defined as:

> (f) Reasonable network management. A network management practice is a practice that has a primarily technical network management justification, but does not include other business practices. A network management practice is reasonable if it is primarily used for and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the particular network architecture and technology of the broadband Internet access service.

(emphasis mine; source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/8.2)

Prioritizing gaming latency is clearly a "primarily technical" concern rather than a matter of "business practices" - at least as long as the ISP didn't try to charge game publishers for the service. So it would be fine.


> They don't want NN when it comes to gaming latency vs. email latency.

That isn't a thing. ISPs don't actually do that.

Latency on any reasonably provisioned network is determined by distance and the speed of light. There is no magic thing routers can do for special packets to make it go down, it's just the laws of physics.

They could only do something when the network isn't reasonably provisioned and the ISP's uplinks are fully saturated, but that should never normally happen unless the ISP is either incompetent or creating artificial scarcity for anticompetitive reasons.


> but that should never normally happen unless the ISP is either incompetent or creating artificial scarcity for anticompetitive reasons.

See Verizon and Comcast. Today. With Net Neutrality on the books. Want to bypass this congestion? Buy some PNIs.

So what we have here is dilettantes talking about a how they think the world should be or is today rather than acknowledging that net neutrality stopped existing in 1995 when AS1239 started asking for $$ to get peering routes.


> See Verizon and Comcast. Today. With Net Neutrality on the books. Want to bypass this congestion? Buy some PNIs.

That absolutely is a problem with the existing rules. Some people pointed that out when they were proposed.

But the existing rules solve some problems, just not all of them. And you don't go forward by going backward.


Since Sprint in 1995 got away with asking others who peered with it over public exchanges for money in order not to turn down their existing peering, NN was dead.

NN does not live in reality. In reality there are so many line cards that one can put into a router/switch/linux box, there's so much space in a cabinet and there are only so many people who know how to operate in a physical world. Everyone with a little money and clue can generate a hundred gigabit per second traffic towards eyeballs behind Comcast but only those with serious money and serious clue would be able to do it with reasonable performance - Comcast/Verizon/ATT/NewFiberToEveryoneOnTheEastCoast ISP will need to prioritize physical world deployment and it would go to the one with serious money and serious clue. And since NN cannot address this, it is toast and it has always been toast.

The solution is regional ISPs and regional networks - breaking up franchise agreements with Comcast and Verizon that your little town has, getting ROW via cities/towns, leveraging small electric companies ROWS, etc.


> Since Sprint in 1995 got away with asking others who peered with it over public exchanges for money in order not to turn down their existing peering, NN was dead.

Which is why we still need a rule prohibiting that. But the existing rules are still helpful. They address the consumer side of things. At least you don't have Comcast charging its customers money for a Netflix package and charging Netflix for peering.

> The solution is regional ISPs and regional networks - breaking up franchise agreements with Comcast and Verizon that your little town has, getting ROW via cities/towns, leveraging small electric companies ROWS, etc.

That could be a solution, but it would certainly take at least a decade if not more, and until that has actually happened we need something else.


> Which is why we still need a rule prohibiting that. But the existing rules are still helpful. They address the consumer side of things. At least you don't have Comcast charging its customers money for a Netflix package and charging Netflix for peering.

ISPs do not care about charging customers for tiered packages - policies are too difficult to implement. It is much easier to charge Google, Netflix and Facebook. Single point of contact, single large payment and if Google/Fb/Netflix don't pay ability to deliver real pain.

> That could be a solution, but it would certainly take at least a decade if not more, and until that has actually happened we need something else.

That is the solution and it is something that needed to be started twenty years ago. If we started it at that time, we would not even be having this conversation because ISPs would be highly competitive utilities. The problem is that building networks, digging ditches, mounting routers and dealing with customers is not as sexy as launching HotOrNot or SnapChat.


I have a 500mbit/sec wan link. Unless I'm careful I can lose packets with a stream running at 100mbit (send at 1gbit for 100ms, 0mbit for 900ms - see this with iperf3 for example)

I need to buffer that 50mbit of traffic, which could be 100,000 packets. It also introduces delay.

I can still use qos to ensure packets I want with less jitter get through in front of the 100k queue.

The latency over the second will vary from zero to 50ms, even with 20% network utilisation (or I get lost packets)


> I have a 500mbit/sec wan link. Unless I'm careful I can lose packets with a stream running at 100mbit (send at 1gbit for 100ms, 0mbit for 900ms - see this with iperf3 for example)

Sending at gigabit for 100ms implies a 12.5MB buffer. A lot of routers sensibly won't (or just can't) buffer that much data, so sending in such large bursts is a good way to get your packets dropped. Which is why sensible programs (and the TCP stacks in major operating systems) don't do that. Instead they'll either use a smaller time slice or use the event-based TCP "ACK clock" where packets are sent in response to receiving acknowledgements of previous packets, which spreads the transmissions more uniformly.

Moreover, notice that the thing you're describing still shouldn't happen within an ISP's network, because it's caused by an individual stream sending faster than the path bandwidth. That can happen when you go from 1Gbps LAN to <1Gbps WAN, which is why QoS can be helpful on the customer's edge router, but that isn't part of the ISP's network.

It shouldn't happen when you go from a 500Mbps customer link to an unsaturated 40Gbps peering link. The 500Mbps link can't saturate the 40Gbps link, and if some combination of them do, it's not because of the sending pattern, it's because the uplink is too over-subscribed.


As far as I know, every consumer ISP everywhere oversells their capacity, counting on people not using it at max capacity 24x7. That implies sometimes there will be moments of congestion in the uplinks.


> As far as I know, every consumer ISP everywhere oversells their capacity, counting on people not using it at max capacity 24x7. That implies sometimes there will be moments of congestion in the uplinks.

No it doesn't. Having every customer use 100% of their connection at the same time is something that could happen in theory, but it never happens in practice. Literally never.

A certain amount of over-subscription is perfectly reasonable. As long as you have the capacity for the actual peak load, there is no congestion, regardless of whether you have enough capacity for the theoretical peak load.


That's a nice straw man you got there. Be a shame if someone set it ablaze...

Pre 2015 people were worried about the government actively monitoring and controlling what could be said on the internet. It was a fight to protect free speech on the web.

The current issue about the actions of the FCC focuses on net neutrality. While also being essential for free speech on the web, this issue focuses on the prevention of monopolization and antitrust practices by internet service providers.

Or did I miss some point you made?


> But even with murder, the law doesn't stop murders before they happen,

No, but it does outlaw it before it happens. The question isn't "is it happening at the moment", but "should it ever happen".

cmurf 4 months ago [flagged]

What sort of idiotic nonsense is this? The law absolutely provides for law enforcement intervention to stop a murder from happening, and to charge the perpetrator(s) with attempted murder or conspiracy to commit murder.

And I'm sure some people think murder is not a problem, but most of the rest of us think they're also crazy.

You know, if the ISPs were better at selling this particular turd sandwich, or turd polishing it at least, what they'd do is say they intend to charge astrometric tons more per unit of spam, email and crappy ads, that slow down people's machines and disproportionately suck up internet resources. But they aren't. So why do they want this? To do exactly the same f'd up shit they've been doing with cable TV.


We've asked you several times to stop breaking the guidelines. Would you please try to do better?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


The bottom line is that he's flat-out lying.

Pre-2015, ISPs weren't classified under Title II. The unspoken (and occasionally spoken, when disagreements came up) agreement was that the ISPs wouldn't violate net neutrality principles, and the FCC would leave them alone and not classify them under Title II (which introduces more pain for ISPs than just net neutrality concerns).

In 2015, Verizon decided not to play ball anymore, and start violating net neutrality principles. They won a court case saying that the FCC couldn't regulate them in this way without Title II. They thought they had the political/lobbying clout to avoid the Title II classification despite that. Turns out they were wrong.

So clearly Pai has his agenda and is just lying to support it. ISPs have absolutely tried to do fast-lane-style bullshit in the past, and were stopped first by the threat of Title II, and then later by Title II itself.


I thought the rule in particular was, that was adopted in 2015, was very premature banning something that's simply didn't exist.

If I had to start a new society tomorrow and I needed a quick list of things that should be illegal, I think I could figure out things like "Don't rape, murder, or steal" before having to actually witness someone rape, murder, or steal.



> Fast lanes DO exist in other countries right now.

Which countries?



As was pointed-out repeatedly yesterday, those are add-ons for mobile data.

You pay your base fee ( to access anything ) and you can then add particular bundles to get flat-rated access to certain websites. Or you can just continue to pay by the MB.


> As was pointed-out repeatedly yesterday, those are add-ons for mobile data.

I don't see how that changes anything about the situation. Just because mobile providers have already been far more ruthless doesn't suddenly excuse these practices, some would argue that mobile providers have pretty much normalized this in the very first place.

I consider the vast majority of mobile plans, with data volume caps, straight up rip-offs: The moment you go past your volume cap you might as well not have any plan at all, as the throttled bandwidths usually ain't even fast enough for just regular browsing on the www.

Yes, I realize there are differences in the medium, mobile being shared and all, I still can't shake the feeling that the vast majority of mobile providers use this as an excuse for not expanding capacities and instead nickle&dimming everybody trough data volume.


You're right on that.

One could draw a comparison between what these packages mean - they only bundle the big services, making it even harder for small alternatives to compete. Same would be possible if ISPs would start to play the big money game the other way round - serving faster access on cable lines, which I would view essentially as the "landline" version of free traffic on mobile connections.


I don't see Vimeo on the free video bandwidth list.

This is the exact same problem.


That might not be a fast lane, but it's certainly an anti-competitive practice that reduces consumer choice and nudges them toward the "free" services.


"Our company doesn't discriminate against colored people, we are just very picky about or employees and white people happens to satisfy our requirements"


I support Ajit's argument here. Fast lanes exist in other countries and it is saving money for them.


Saving if you mean they are even less incentivised to increase their capacity, because less capacity means more people will purchase those fast lanes?

Don't you understand that the capacity issue was artificially created to push this agenda? There was blog article from level3 showing the capacity issue was coming down to enabling another port[1], perhaps purchasing extra transciever that costs just few thousand (level3 offered to even purchase one for them if they can't afford it)

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20140907021805/http://blog.level...


i don't know if it's saving money, I can't find information on that right now, but it does seem like a horrible situation to be in if you want to start a competing service with a company that's already established and included in an ISP plan.

The fact that he is trying to sell this as a repeal of regulatory overreach makes me kind of sick to my stomach. And, it's apparently an overreach because it solves a problem that didn't have a chance to come about? I feel like he's bullshitting me. Regardless, I like my internet access right now, so what problem is he solving for me or the rest of the public by doing this? If it's that these fast lanes will save us money it better be an enormous chunk of money to merit a such significant shift in the way I experience the internet.


>Reach out to the rest of the FCC now. Tell them they can’t take away internet openness without a fight.

How?

As this article mentions, their comment system had issues (spam and DDoS) and the only other avenue I've seen is to beg our representatives (who aren't part of the December vote) to do _something_.

It was a clean and concise piece, but I was hoping that an insider would provide a new course of action.

I've seen action across online media from users (reddit, Twitter, etc) as well as among peers. But not as much from the platforms themselves. Remember SOPA? Do those pushing for this really not hear the public's outrage yet?


This may be about the Internet, but doing online "protest" will get us nowhere. Real protest means people going to the streets and making the government afraid of real violence. Other than that I don't see any way out.


Real protest means going to your local government to fight the internet access monopolies and duopolies. It means voting with your wallet and not supporting the companies pushing for this. It means showing up to vote next time instead of staying home. It means educating your neighbors about what this will mean for all of us.

Don't pretend we've exhausted all alternatives to violence -- we haven't. We've barely done any of the things that have been successful in the past at causing change. Suggesting otherwise reduces our power, it doesn't enhance it.

Sometimes we lose ground before we make progress. But that doesn't mean we've been defeated.


When I only have one option for Internet > 5mbps and my job depends on it how do I fight with my wallet? I would happily pay 3x for municipal fiber but it'll never happen.

The monopoly of ISPs is what makes this whole free market argument completely unbalanced.


Halve you looked at gathering like minded people and starting a WISP?

The problem with specialist isps is they tend to attract expert users, who are currently subsidised by the average Joe. If your ISP has a 1G port upstream for $3k a month, and 100 customers, you'd be paying $30 for 10mbit each, excluding the rest of the isp's costs, which we'll put at $30/month/customer.

So they should charge $60pcm for 10mbit, but instead they sell 500 customers at $32/month, and offer up to 20mbit. This covers the upstream port, but one gives you 2mbit, but it sets the expectation that bandwidth is far cheaper than it really is.

Start up a fair ISP and you'll have to win customers who see your option at $60/10mbit // $90/20mbit, or the competitor at $32/20mbit. You'll need to attract 100 customers to pay for your uplink for 3 times the price. You'll then realise those numbers don't really work for a small isp - with 100 customers at $60/month minus upstream you'll have $3k/month for running costs.


Voting with you wallet can only be done in a competitive market. That's why capitalists love to create oligopolies and monopolies.


Most of those have nothing to do with what “protest” means. It doesn’t just generically mean “participate in democracy”.


They're not all what people traditionally mean when they say protest, but the parent was talking about violence -- which I consider a separate category from protest. Definitionally, any act that registers disapproval or objection is protest -- so everything I listed is covered.


I don't condone violence but I feel like it's coming. It just feels like so few of those representing the public are actually making decisions based on best interests and the rhetoric is getting exhausting. Net Neutrality and beyond - I'm surrounded by people who feel like our government does not represent them and that they are unheard. And, as MLK said "I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard."


Unfortunately, Americans today are weak. Everyone is way too self-obsessed with their own pitiful, pathetic lives (family, jobs, house, creature comforts, etc.) to actually take to the streets and protest like their parents and grandparents did during the 60s to fight for their rights and those of others.

The Internet, despite its tremendous potential, has proven to be a massive liability, as it gives people the illusion that they have done something useful and constructive after they post angry comments on message boards such as this one. At the end of the day though the truth is this: political representatives will only really represent the populace if they are constantly worried about real backlash, such as if hundreds of people are gathered outside their office blocking access to vehicles, buildings, and so on.

On December 17th, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi famously set himself on fire, which precipitated the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring. At this rate, America is going to need equally brave and selfless individuals to make a stand and spark similar movements.


I'd argue that taking to the street and protesting is also just giving people the illusion that they're doing something useful.

The Iraq War protests were some of the largest in history, and they accomplished exactly nothing (and to your example, look up Malachi Ritscher). Occupy Wall Street was a massive movement and accomplished nothing. The protests against Obamacare repeal were massive and widespread, and seem to have only succeeded in delaying the destruction of Obamacare to the current tax bill. Black Lives Matter is a massive movement that has accomplished meaningful change in a few jurisdictions and nationwide has managed to at least generate conversation, but that conversation has already been largely derailed to the question of whether or not football players need to stand for the national anthem.

Office holders are not beholden to people yelling in the streets but to the people who get them elected. This means the people who show up to vote and, increasingly, the people who finance their campaigns.


> Office holders are not beholden to people yelling in the streets but to the people who get them elected

That's completely incorrect, the easiest thing in politics is to get people to vote for you, especially in a two-party system that effectively prevents challengers to the status quo in an election. All in all, the only power that people effectively have is the power to revolt. Democracy is a peaceful system of government but it can only be maintained through the threat of revolution. When that threat doesn't exist, politicians will do whatever they want.


Or, alternatively, having more than two parties is also an option. Because then you have a real choice. I have that choice. If I don't like the currently ruling party I can vote for any of the numerous parties that I feel represent me better. And unlike a 2-party-system people actually do that in mass to protest what the government is doing.


I absolutely agree with you--there is no threat of anything resembling revolution in the US today. The issue is not the self-obsession or lack of engagement the ancestor comment describes, but that e.g. Occupy Wall Street was never going to result in the actual occupation of Wall Street.


While civil disobedience etc. are useful forms of protest, we haven't exhausted other avenues, like actually showing up to vote. And the parent post is talking about violence, not just civil disobedience.

The act you describe at the end of your post happened in a dictatorship where the people truly had no voice. While we may live in a flawed democracy[1] we're not in the same situation -- we do still have nonviolent ways we can turn things around.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index


Yes, which is why I said "at this rate, America is going to need equally brave and selfless individuals to make a stand and spark similar movements."

Things haven't reached that point, but will soon.


Ah yes, the Arab Spring, that beacon of hope and light for the world.


For that part of the world, it certainly was. Not sure what your point is.

Yes, ultimately it failed, but it is difficult to dispute that it was a noble attempt. More will come in time.


It wasn’t purely noble attempt. Arab Spring was actually driven largely by rising food prices and high unemployment. And it lead to some dangerous people getting in power. E.g. Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Unrest in this part of the world will continue as the population is still rising fast, average age is very low so you get young unemployed population with no jobs and no money and basics such as food are rising in price. That is a recipe for more revolutions.

But revolutions and overthrowing of local governments won’t solve the underlying issues of these countries not being able to provide some reasonable standard of living to their population due to economic reasons.

It would be much safer to do incremental change and try to slowly build up local economies to create jobs for millions of young people. Violent revolutions will only further damage economic conditions and make situation worse in many cases.


It was a noble attempt by some, less so by others. The people who were involved in it all had very different goals - it's not like it was an ideologically monolithic movement even within country boundaries. The only unifying force was the opposition to the existing regimes. Which are/were bad, but what some people wanted to replace them was even worse.


I hope so, it was so sad to see this region fall to power plays by various large and medium sized nations. Fending that off while a revolution is occurring is a challenge though!


Call them. Write them. The internet comments don't really amount to much. But if you call or write, they will at least have a tally of how many complaints they've received. They may not see your complaint specifically but at least it counts, unlike internet complaints


I'm happy to do so. But in the end should we even need to do this crap? Isn't it just so obvious how bad this is that our representatives should be fighting it without calls? It just baffles me.


Yes. That's called democracy.


Well actually I'd call it a kakistocracy at a the moment.


No we shouldn't.. the government is supposed to work for us.. but instead its basically a criminal enterprise in large part.

At this point we may need to make a totally new decentralize internet with meshnets or something. I think that we should just come up with a way to do like cable protection/management in the streets and start laying out fiber in the gutters guerilla style.


Corruption is baffling?


"Should" isn't a helpful word when reasoning about reality.


Yes, you need to. So many people have already and we all need more voices.


I sent an email to one of them saying something like "this type of moral failure will lead to the downfall of Western civilization". Heh. I hope it was an exaggeration.

Ajit Pai - Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov

Mignon Clyburn - Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov (confirmed 'no' vote)

Michael O'Rielly - Mike.ORielly@fcc.gov

Brendan Carr - Brendan.Carr@fcc.gov

Jessica Rosenworcel - Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov (confirmed 'no' vote)




Thanks. Who should I email if I'm against Net Neutrality as imposed by the FCC?


noreply@fcc.gov ;)


battleforthenet.com <-- This is a really great service that will dial each of your representatives for you, so you can state support for NN.

democracy.io (EFF) <-- The same thing but via email. Not as effective as battleforthenet, but takes maybe 30 seconds to contact all of your representatives


Fill out a form, click a button and the actual hard work is done for you - via robodialing and spam. Democracy in the modern age.

Do you really think this is effective? That this lets your voice be heard?


Well, they have a phone number here, and I suppose you could directly email Ajit Pai.

https://www.fcc.gov/about/contact


This is how China "blocking" web site from most of the world other than China. When many sites are blocked out right, many more are accessible but painfully slow. On the other hand, if you go to any major Chinese site, it would be lightning fast. By doing this, those foreign sites are rendered almost useless.


China has net neutrality. You are quite naive if you think NN is a solution to censorship. Browse eff.org for more than a few minutes to see that NN doesn't even scratch the surface of underlying issues. I don't want NN because then everyone will think the internet is just fine, when NN is a joke of a solution that doesn't even cover anything more than the FTC already covers.


I am a Chinese and I am curious starting when we had net neutrality? Every major sites has to pay all major ISPs to connect into their network so that all ISPs' customers can access the site. When you rent a server, you need to make sure that the server is connected to at least two of the major networks otherwise ISPs will throttle traffic from other competitors. It is also true that connecting servers outside the country is terribly slow if it even accessible


Wow so a nicely named govt policy has the opposite effects it’s intended to have? I’m shocked!


But it's not result of Net Neutrality, but the lack thereof... What makes you think that China has NN?


> China has net neutrality.

China most definitely does not. Even if they did, it'd be unenforced. State-run tech services would get preferential treatment. Actually, that's how it works now.

> I don't want NN because then everyone will think the internet is just fine, when NN is a joke of a solution that doesn't even cover anything more than the FTC already covers.

The FTC won't stop ISPs from slowing access to content they don't own. ISPs are communications services and rightly monitored by the Federal Communications Commission.

> You are quite naive if you think NN is a solution to censorship. Browse eff.org for more than a few minutes to see that NN doesn't even scratch the surface of underlying issues.

I don't think the above commenter was claiming NN is a solution to censorship, rather that without it, content is more silo-ed and access becomes more difficult, adding to the censorship problem. Censorship is a human problem that tech can help with.


> The FTC won't stop ISPs from slowing access to content they don't own. ISPs are communications services and rightly monitored by the Federal Communications Commission.

ISPs are communications services just like trucks are communications services because they carry mail and shipments. No. The internet is far more complicated than postage, and the FCC is not equipped to handle it.

> China most definitely does not. Even if they did, it'd be unenforced. State-run tech services would get preferential treatment. Actually, that's how it works now.

So you realize that a good name doesn't make a good policy. That's a good step.

> I don't think the above commenter was claiming NN is a solution to censorship, rather that without it, content is more silo-ed and access becomes more difficult, adding to the censorship problem. Censorship is a human problem that tech can help with.

You aren't going to lose access to your favorite polemic website or torrenting because of NN or lack-thereof. That would be immediately met by FTC lawsuits. Far more critical to censorship is YouTube demonetization and SEO shinanigans, but I don't see the front-page of reddit giving a damn about subreddits being blocked from the "Hot" feed.


> You aren't going to lose access to your favorite polemic website or torrenting because of NN or lack-thereof. That would be immediately met by FTC lawsuits.

This already happened. Comcast was injecting forged RST packets into BitTorrent connections - and after lying about it for a while they were stopped by the FCC, who cited network neutrality rules in their decision.

https://www.wired.com/2008/09/comcast-disclos-2/


Your link didn't claim what you claimed, and what Comcast did sounds eminently reasonable (coming from someone who hates them so much as to use Sonic.net as reduced speeds just to avoid Comcast).


> The internet is far more complicated than postage, and the FCC is not equipped to handle it.

The FCC is both equipped and specifically Congressionally authorized to regulate broadband, and has been doing so for years even outside of the ”network freedom”/“open internet” regs.

The FTC, on the other hand, is not equipped to handle it, and (at least per the recent FTC v. AT&T ruling) is statutorily barred from regulating it to the extent that major ISPs happen to also be common carrier telcos, as the prohibition on FTC regulating common carriers applies to the whole org, not just its common carrier operations.

> You aren't going to lose access to your favorite polemic website or torrenting because of NN or lack-thereof. That would be immediately met by FTC lawsuits.

No, it wouldn't. There is neither evidence nor reasoning supporting this suggestion, just wishful thinking. In fact we know it is false, because (aside from the recent case suggesting that they are barred from acting in this area) they have in fact not done so (instantly or otherwise) in any of the instances of blocking which have occurred.


The FCC is absolutely equipped to regulate the internet (or, interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable).

Believe it or not, that's exactly its congressional mandate!


@jquery:

Trade happens over the highway system, too. That doesn't take away from the NHTSA's authority to regulate it. Just because trade happens over the Internet doesn't somehow make it magically not-communication.

Y'know... the first C in FCC?


An increasing amount of trade is happening over the internet. It's disingenuous to suggest the FCC's internet mandate is at all similar to radio or tv. I also think the FCC has done a particularly poor job of managing those resources, as well. (This comment is subject to an obscenity fine, thank you for reporting)


> NN is a joke of a solution that doesn't even cover anything more than the FTC already covers.

The FTC covers nothing in this domain, and there is recent appellate case law which suggests that they could not act in it without significant change to the statutes governing their authority.


In what domain? The FTC certain covers situations where ISPs use anticompetitive practices against potential competitors. The FTC does not cover voluntary capitalist behavior that benefits the consumer, such as ISPs preferring to reduce gaming latency over website or email latency. Good.


> The FTC certain covers situations where ISPs use anticompetitive practices against potential competitors.

I thought the FTC tried to, but a SCOTUS ruling gave the sole responsibility for this to the FCC?


I feel helpless. In this and in many things that this administration has brought on.

Vote? Yeah, right.

Sign a petition? Yeah, right.

I feel like unless there are real ramifications to the people doing this stuff, nothing we do matters.


You're a dope if you don't vote. It's impolite to mention this, but it is not a political problem, but a Republican problem. A Democratic administration's FCC enacted Net Neutrality, a Republican one is attempting to dismantle it. Vote for Democrats at every level of government, in every election possible.

This will change some day, but today the Republican party has lost its mind and morals.

To be clear, I'm not calling you a dope.


both parties don't make decisions i consider sane or particularly clever yet those are the only two parties i may vote for with any chance of success. the voting system is broken by outmoded/gamed structures (gerrymandering, an electoral college), and all-or-nothing outcomes (if i vote for one candidate and they don't win, i may make no second or third choice with which then to put my voting power behind).

i simply feel an unrelenting despair when engaging in the realm of politics. it's two devils on a stage lording over minions who condemn and pollute the miracle of human life daily with short-sighted greed and a stunning lack of ethics.

a revolution is out of the question because the very tool that was meant to fight back against such sloven corruption no longer disbands after war but simply persists against an invisible Enemy none of us can touch, see or feel. what is this insane existence we find ourselves in where the only choice i have is to acquiesce or ineffectually protest?


That's because you have an unrealistic and naive view of the world and politics!

Abandoning politics because you're... too "moral" to deal with such things just leaves the field to those who do not feel that way. Those people you may not be wishing to represent you, eg: the current head of the FCC.

Secondly, yes there are only two parties and a suboptimal outcome, but that's what is happening. Your lack of a vote doesn't help, and in fact hurts.

Thirdly, you don't have to be fully 100% on board with everything, you just have to pay attention to (a) what are you able to do and (b) what are the likely outcomes.

Revolution is hardly a great idea. How would the US civil war work with nuclear weapons? Not well. I have a friend who lived thru a real revolution, and yeah, you don't want that.

The reality is simple. We have gotten to where we are by incremental changes, and we can get back via incremental changes. It's not sexy, it doesn't make for good front page articles. But that's the reality.

Politics doesn't get better if people opt out.


From any given viewpoint, both parties may not be ideal. But within both of those parties are numerous different ideological groups. On the right, the major wings range from evangelicals, libertarians, neoconservatives, "traditional", and so on. On the left, the parties tend to fall into a mix of "Blue Dog" democrats, Clintonians, progressive caucus, black caucus, and a whole bunch of single issue and identity issue groups.

No matter what your particular viewpoint is, one of those groups likely aligns with most of it. During primaries, those different groups hash out against each other, and then redirect the party as a whole.

So the key, then, is to find the smaller groups and politicans that more closely reflect your beliefs, and lend your support to them.

Yes, our two party system doesn't allow for second and third choices on a single ballot. But what it does allow for is for you to vote for your preferred candidates (the above caucuses) in primaries as your first choice, and then vote for your second choice in the general if your favorite candidate didn't win or run in a specific primary.


I suggest you find a grass roots organization you believe in and engage. Over the past two years, I've learned so much, been to DC and met many US Reps and Senators, met with State leaders and even Mayors and city councilors. My opinion of how our system works has changed from almost exactly yours to, if you want to get our way, show up. That's right. Meet people, talk, and share ideas and network. Show up. Be the guy that talks about how net neutrality is going to kill your business, or destroy educational opportunities for children in your district. Stories are super powerful. And being a constituent who shows up in DC and shares stories helps a ton. Money is not as valuable when optics and power are the currency.


Considering donating to fairvote.org, I do. I should confess I don't know much about how they actually use my money but I support their stated goal of improving our voting systems.


I don't think anyone who thinks critically about politics finds a party they align with 100%. This is literally the definitions of the lessor of two evils: voting at an election is about finding the party you agree with _the most_, or who's downsides you can live with the most.


The calculus of voting is very simple: always vote for the least evil candidate. That will insure that over time candidates will get less evil.

Republicans have been working for decades to foster that feeling of helplessness you are feeling, and they are hoping you will not vote. Don't fall for it.


You can pick the party which most closely represents your interests and then work to change the party from the inside. I also wish that the US was structured to allow more parties to thrive, but we are not helpless.


> Vote for Democrats at every level of government, in every election possible.

And this is why a lot of us feel powerless with this issue. I live in an area where every elected official from local to federal is a Democrat. (obvious exception being the president, a Republican that actually lost the popular vote by 3 million).

Needless to say, my federal representatives strongly support NN.. but they are in the minority.

Hence, why voting feels meaningless for me.


You can lobby the Democrats to change their platform from identity politics to economic issues and then they won’t alienate the voters that left them in 2016.


What a delightfully simplistic view of politics. You know about the Blue Dogs, right?


The Blue Dogs are a very belated rearguard action against the partisan realignment that had largely completed when they were formed, and as the realignment progresses and solidifies they have rapidly become irrelevant.


He's posting from "throwaway" which means he knows his entire statement is completely biased and absurd. As if voting "D" without knowing a thing about the candidate is a good idea.


Yes. I'm posting from a "throwaway" which is 5 times older than your account, has almost 15 times as much karma, and contains exactly the same amount of personally identifiable information.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Wow, just saw your reply. I'm happy you have so much karma! That must mean a lot to you. Have a wonderful holiday season!


Yes. And?


And so you could have a single-party system and you'd end up with a split of conservatives and liberals. It's not about party, at least not about blindly voting for one party.


This is not about liberalism or conservativism at all. It would be lovely if the current Republican party was about conservativism. This is not about political philosophy, this is about party and who exercises power in those parties.


Not all Dems support Net Neutrality, not all Republicans oppose it, which contradicts your point.


Most Dems support NN, and most Reps oppose it. You know this.


There are some people that think the earth is flat or that lizard shape shifting aliens control the highest level of every government does that make them a fair representation of the views of humanity as a whole? There are significant differences between the two parties.


He's not advocating voting blindly. He's advocating voting for the party that actively supports net neutrality.


> You're a dope if you don't vote.

Are we all dopes if we buy that voting on this issue is going to once and for all solve the problem of corporations continuing to take more control and extract more money from the internet?

This "vote" has come up for discussion every year for a decade at least. Some years I vote and some, I admit, I haven't bothered. But it keeps coming back. No matter how many times we vote no, it keeps re-appearing.

The elephant is the room is privacy & encryption. We're asking elected officials to protect our freedoms for us, when we have the technical means to protect ourselves. ISPs shouldn't have the right to look at the contents of traffic at all. The issue of whether they get to charge more for some routes is a side-show compared to the issue of whether they have the right to look at our traffic.

If we focused on privacy, and built a system that encrypted routing information and blocked it from prying commercial interest eyes like ISPs, we wouldn't need to have a debate, and we wouldn't need to vote.


Democrats use drones to kill innocent or presumed-guilty people in other countries. Are you sure their lives don't matter compared to net neutrality? They're also responsible for harsh sentences for drug offences which is a major reason for all the imprisoned people in the US. Net neutrality is still more important than all those ruined lives?

The housing shortage in San Francisco is democrats too. Maybe with money saved from rents to landlords could be spent on rents to non-neutral ISPs.

It's far from a simple as "always vote democrat". That kind of naive arrogance is why the US has two entrenched parties that both maintain the status quo of terrible things you don't like.


> Democrats use drones to kill innocent or presumed-guilty people in other countries.

That's not a Democrat thing, that's an American thing.

We don't have enough data to say democrats use drones more than republicans. GW Bush was the first President to have access to drones period, and it was not yet a mature technology nor at the beginning of his term. Obama was the first President to have drones available for his first term, and yes he did use them.

President Trump is using drones just as much as Obama did, and in fact Trump has taken the White House out of the command loop and is giving more authority to the CIA to execute drone strikes! So not just drone strikes, but drone strikes with little accountability, ordered neither by an elected official or the military but instead the CIA. Also, President Trump rolled back Obama's mandate that drones can't be used outside of war zones.

Don't forget that President Reagan signed that drug sentencing act into law.

The housing shortage in SF is NIMBYs, not democrats. It just happens that democrats are overrepresented in SF so you are using a correlation as causation.

> Net neutrality is still more important than all those ruined lives?

It's not a binary decision. But losing net neutrality could lead to some pretty awful social and economic effects 20 years down the line. It can lead to even more class inequality, lower education levels, increased crime, and potentially even a major recession or crash as our tech sector productivity decreases due to the anticompetitive environment.

> It's far from a simple as "always vote democrat".

That I agree with.


America cannot be divided by D and R. Nobody fits cleanly in either category if they have any independent thought. It's completely ridiculous that my views on internet regulation should be aligned with my views on the school system.

Our government might just need to be completely rebuilt to include more granularity. And we should toss these lossy classifiers that only serve to dehumanize one another.


It's worth noting that Ajit was installed by Obama


Obama installed the Republican nominee since the FCC can't have more than 3 comissioners from the same political party (thus there's always a 2v3 balance).

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_V._Pai#Career

> In 2011, Pai was then nominated for a Republican Party position on the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama at the recommendation of Minority leader Mitch McConnell. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012,

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commiss...

> Only three commissioners may be members of the same political party.


A lot of people are asking this on the various forums, but is misunderstands what actually happened.

Many of the major regulatory bodies work in the same way. At the top of the body, there is a board of political appointees. For the FCC, there are 5 commissioners.

Of these 5 Commissioners, 2 are always Democrats, and 2 are always Republicans. That last one, the chair of the committee is always the current sitting President's choice.

This is done this way, to keep some stability among the various administration heads across washington.

So during Obama's term, a Republican chair opened up on the commission when Meredith Baker resigned to lobby for NBC. That meant a Republican needed to be appointed to the commission, so Obama asked Mitch McConnell for Mitch's recommendation, and Mitch chose Ajit Pai.

When Trump took office, the sitting chair of the commission Thomas Wheeler (Obama's nominee) resigned, and Trump elevated Ajit Pai. Trump then filled Ajit Pai's Republican seat with another Republican, and now the board is majority Republican.

So Ajit Pai was not Obama's recommendation. Ajit Pai was Mitch McConnel's choice for the then open Republican Chair on the FCC Commission. Its a little strange, but this is traditionally how its always been done.

Now as to your other question: this last sentence is just conjecture, but we know from the Russia investigations that Trump had a tendency to demand loyalty pledges from his appointees, so I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised to find that Ajit Pai is marching so steadfastly towards this single policy agenda, despite all of the obvious flack and harm it is incurring on him and the nation in general.


As an independent agency, the FCC is required to have two members from a minority party, and when a spot opens up, a new member is traditionally given to the President by the minority party. (Pai was Mitch McConnell's choice.)


[flagged]


Happy Thanksgiving. May you and your loved ones have an enjoyable holiday.


I'm just tired. I'm tired of fighting all these pro-tech and pro-freedom fights going back decades, to the Clipper chip and the CDA. I'm tired of trying to figure out if the hyperbole (this time it's CRITICAL you act!) is deserved, whether the issue is that serious, and whether we're really on the right side of the issue in the first place.

I'm tired of trying to figure out if contacting my (Democrat) lawmaker will make a difference if they've already signaled opposition anyway. I'm tired of wondering if an angry tweet to a Chairman who clearly doesn't have my best interests at heart anyway will make a damn bit of difference. And anyway, somebody's twitter bot army is already doing the opposite of what I'm doing, times a million, and the FCC comments stuffing is doing far more than I would ever choose to do (legally, morally, and ethically).

More generally, with regards to this atrocious administration, I know the entire point is to just go after everyone who opposes 'them' in the most craven, cynical, and childish manner possible, to wear 'them' down and rub 'their' face in it for daring to suggest they're terrible people, but all of this internet freedom stuff vastly predates most of the people in power.

I read just the other day that, if enacted, this will almost certainly be declared unconstitutional in the courts anyway, so what's the point?

I'm just tired.


You and me both, bud. I really fear for our country. I used to be proud to be an American, these days I'm ashamed.

I'm half Dutch and went back to the Netherlands with my family this summer and it was so frigging pleasant. The discourse was sane, they actually work together to fix stuff. As painful as it is to form a government there sometimes, I much prefer their system to ours. We look pretty crazy from the inside, we look bat shit crazy from the outside.


I suspect a lot of people feel this way.

You're right, your individual vote isn't remarkable. And yet, voting is the only legal direct action any normal person can take.

If only there was some way you could convince more people in your community to vote with you. Then you might have something.


This is the exact problem I have with bureaucratic regulatory frameworks. The ones making the regulations have essentially zero accountability to the people.


Go to a town hall. Call.

Both of these are more important than voting (which you should also do).


In Switzerland, any legislative action can be put on the ballot with enough signatures. Citizens can actually block what the Federal Assembly does.

In the US, we get to comment on it. And they get to say "That's nice."


No, actually. If comments are largely against what a regulatory body is proposing to do, it can be used in court against the regulatory body in court to block the action. That just very, very rarely happens. When captured, regulatory agencies tend not to try to pass measures that very obviously go against public opinion, or are too complex to arise public wrath. This is a special situation that's only happening due to arrogance of the Trump administration, and the fact that he simply does not care about appealing to voters outside his base.

If and When this passes, it will be immediately challenged in court, and this will be one of the things brought against the FCC. That's why the FCC conspired with ISPs to flood their own public opinion pages with comments from ISPs several months ago.

Again though, this is all not normal. Its a damn important thing to remember in Alabama and in 2018, however.

What I haven't been able to find any good articles on, however, is how strong those safeguards actually are.


> This is a special situation that's only happening due to arrogance of the Trump administration

Pai was nominated by Obama on McConnell's recommendation [1]. Trump only elevated him to Chairman.

I'm curious about his personal motivations. Is it as simple as him having served as associate general counsel at Verizon? Is it a legalistic interpretation, that the FCC doesn't have the authority to regulate this? Or about the role of government in general?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajit_V._Pai


A lot of people are asking this on the various forums, but is misunderstands what actually happened.

Many of the major regulatory bodies work in the same way. At the top of the body, there is a board of political appointees. For the FCC, there are 5 commissioners.

Of these 5 Commissioners, 2 are always Democrats, and 2 are always Republicans. That last one, the chair of the committee is always the current sitting President's choice.

This is done this way, to keep some stability among the various administration heads across washington.

So during Obama's term, a Republican chair opened up on the commission when Meredith Baker resigned to lobby for NBC. That meant a Republican needed to be appointed to the commission, so Obama asked Mitch McConnell for Mitch's recommendation, and Mitch chose Ajit Pai.

When Trump took office, the sitting chair of the commission Thomas Wheeler (Obama's nominee) resigned, and Trump elevated Ajit Pai. Trump then filled Ajit Pai's Republican seat with another Republican, and now the board is majority Republican.

So Ajit Pai was not Obama's recommendation. Ajit Pai was Mitch McConnel's choice for the then open Republican Chair on the FCC Commission. Its a little strange, but this is traditionally how its always been done.

Now as to your other question: this last sentence is just conjecture, but we know from the Russia investigations that Trump had a tendency to demand loyalty pledges from his appointees, so I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised to find that Ajit Pai is marching so steadfastly towards this single policy agenda, despite all of the obvious flack and harm it is incurring on him and the nation in general.


It’s possible that he actually believes Net Neutrality is bad policy.

I’m for net neutrality but I at least recognize that it’s possible to disagree in good faith.


it is. I can't recall seeing a well reasoned argument against it, but one can presume there is one.

but this process seem pretty perfunctory. in this corner the open exchange of ideas and the free market, and in the other...the idea that if we allow service providers the ability to package and toll all the content in the world, somehow that will be better for all of us.

maybe this decision is too important to delegate to appointed commissioners.


Here's one: getting rid of net neutrality increases the freedom of ISP's to monetize their control of your internet connection.


I appreciate that. Reddit would have me believe anyone who is for market solutions to internet concerns is some sort of total anarchist who wants to burn down everything we have.

I want to note that NN is something we've only never quite had for 2 years, and for the rest of the history of the internet we did not have.


That's not actually true. NN is something we've had since the foundation of the internet. The FCC has only been enforcing it the current legal framework for the last two years.

Prior to 2 years ago, the FCC enforced NN without stipulating that ISPs were classified as "Title 2" communications services. Because ISPs really, really didn't want to be classified as Title 2s, whenever the FCC asked them to change their practices and thereby enforce net neutrality, the ISPs nearly always conceeded.

Two years ago, Verizon refused to do so, and the matter went to court. Verizon argued that unless the FCC explicitly classified ISPs as Title 2 communications services, the FCC shouldn't be allowed to enforce NN the way they had been for the previous 20 years.

The court agreed. Verizon was banking on the fact that, quite simply, they had made enough donations to Washington that the FCC wouldn't be willing to reclassify, and NN would die a quiet death.

But then a giant public backlash happened, and Thomas Wheeler and the two Democrats realized they DID have political support for Title 2 reclassification, and they did exactly that. So for the last two years the FCC has been enforcing NN the way it always has been before.

So in short, no, NN is what we've always had. Removing NN would be a MAJOR change to how the internet is regulated.

And while I am all for free market solutions, we can't have free market solutions for last mile ISPs, when last mile ISPs have local monopolies on (I've read as high as) 90% of the US. If you both remove NN, and allow ISPs to continue being regional monopolies, you haven't created a free market, you've just hurt the people and the economy.


Tl;dr we didn’t have NN but we didn’t need it and now we do because.

The FTC and FCC can still enforce anticompetitive regulations. This is so much FUD.


I don't understand how you read my comment, and came to the exact opposite conclusion to what I was saying.

What I literally just said was that we have had NN for the last 20 years. The exact legal definition for how the FCC enforces NN changed 2 years ago, but the fact that they continued enforcing NN did not.

If Ajit Pai gets his way with this vote, the FCC will no longer be allowed to enforce NN. This would be the first time in 20 years that the FCC would not be able to enforce NN, which has never happened before.


Good thing we have elections and laws and if the bad behavior you predict happens (which I doubt) we can fix the situation.


I agree, the current Alabama election, and the 2018 elections are going to be very important.

I'm not sure why you think the bad behavior wouldn't happen. [This reddit link](https://np.reddit.com/r/KeepOurNetFree/comments/7ej1nd/fcc_u...) compiled a number of times the FCC has had to step in to enforce NN.

And if the ISPs weren't planning on behaving against NN, why spend the money fighting against it?

But at least we're on the same page now : )


I'm amazed at your lack of knowledge on a subject you insist on repeatedly commenting about.

Net Neutrality has existed longer than you pretend, nearly 15 years in various forms that have gotten stronger over time.

We have past examples of the bad behavior being stopped by net neutrality you are trying to pretend may or may not happen in the future.

The "Market" solution was already tried, and bad actors/bad behaviors already drove the "solution" of net neutrality. You're pretending the past doesn't exist and you're claiming we haven't tried and watched the market solution fail to protect consumers.

As for other comments, no China doesn't have Net Neutrality. Without NN, ISP's were deregulated preventing the FTC/FCC from being able to regulate them specifically as you've claimed. What consumers want with NN doesn't immediately fall under "anti-competitive" (look at cable for example), so no the FTC/FCC cannot use anti-competitive regulations to provide the same consumer protections as NN.

You repeatedly confuse censorship with "pay to access" or "pay to perform". NN isn't to prevent censorship, its to prevent pay for access/speeds and turning the web into a tiered/package platform like cable is.


Will it go into effect while the court battle is going on? Or will it be put on hold until a decision is reached?


Those type of voter propositions is what we have here in California and how our ballots end up with so many props including all the wacky ones.


I dont necessarily agree with the following but its a devils advocate argument I rarely see shared, and it has a lot of merit. Like everything, this issue is shades of grey.

Bandwidth is a limited amd expensive resource. When government mandated price controls are in effect ("Net neutrality" is a marketing meme) this expense is effectively socialised across the entire country. It is illegal for a telco to go to a hospital and offer a dedicated nine 9s reliable robot surgery link (technically its just illegal to charge a fair economic price for it but same/same). So the cost gets divided up, averaged out, and smalltime users end up paying a big chunk of the cost while people above the magic median point get massive benefits. YOU subsidise the cost of the BigCorp. video conference call between Sydney and Tokyo every day. You subsidise the cost of your neighbour streaming The Bachelor every night, and make it illegal for me to pay a higher price for the quality of service I need to work. Its a total mismanagement of resources. If the consumer was forced to bear the true economic cost of their internet usage then of course heavy users (like Netflix subscribers...) would end up paying more. Not directly to Netflix but the true cost of their product still goes up. This is obviously bad for Netflix/Youtube/the top 1%, who are the ones extracting wealth from this thing we call the internet. These whales love having their infrastructure costs socialised. You dont even have to be a Google customer for you to be giving them money, no wonder they're so rich!

Blocking freedom of people to publish on the web doesn't have much to do with net neutrality. This is big company lobbying and public propaganda from the tech industry. Tech companies are the new oil barons, in 80 years when the bio lobby is pushing for access to proprietary databases and end "Data detention" (you heard it here first) we'll look at tech giants the way we look at oil companies lobbying for clean coal now.


That's not how I understand net neutrality. If we go with the electricity analogy it's like saying the energy company charges a different rate depending on whether you use your electricity for your refrigerator or your coffee machine. That's completely different from charging based on the "quantity" of electricity used, which is what currently happens.

Why should the internet be any different? If your neighbor watches hours and hours of netflix every day then they'll likely be paying for a high-bandwidth/large data allowance plan. It's got nothing to do the net neutrality.


There are current laws that are trying to be repealed. These laws don't make it illegal to build dedicated lines and charge fair prices for that so I don't understand your argument or why this means those current laws should be repealed.


Boy... I guess I'll go one piece at a time here:

> Bandwidth is a limited amd expensive resource

No, it's not. Bandwidth has been and still is throttled so that it can be perceived that way. Where it gets expensive is in rural america where you have few customers per mile, but those customers have long been subsidized by everybody else and mostly are STILL underserviced. Despite the subsidy, and despite repeated large public investment handed over to providers.

> When government mandated price controls are in effect

There are no mandated price controls. What is mandated is a lack of interference.

> this expense is effectively socialised across the entire country

Infrastructure has, in large part, been laid at public expense on public land. Communication providers always cry poor when they are forced to invest in less profitable areas, but they have repeatedly and consistently charged exorbitant amounts to the public to provide communication services. They have done so to such a degree that stopping these practices has required repeated congressional attention and sanctions.

> It is illegal for a telco to go to a hospital and offer a dedicated nine 9s reliable robot surgery link

It is not illegal to provide high availability service to anyone. It is not illegal to charge a fair economic price. There are highly available connectivity solutions all over the marketplace.

> So the cost gets divided up, averaged out, and smalltime users end up paying a big chunk of the cost while people above the magic median point get massive benefits.

Low bandwidth users are given lower cost service today. High bandwidth users are given higher cost service today.

> YOU subsidise the cost of the BigCorp. video conference call between Sydney and Tokyo every day. You subsidise the cost of your neighbour streaming The Bachelor every night, and make it illegal for me to pay a higher price for the quality of service I need to work.

False. BigCorp pays significantly more for high quality service, support, and reliability. If I don't watch streaming video, I have a lower cost service plan than my neighbor that does.

> Its a total mismanagement of resources.

It's a completely fabricated and misinformed argument.

> If the consumer was forced to bear the true economic cost of their internet usage then of course heavy users (like Netflix subscribers...) would end up paying more.

ISPs would love for customers to pay more, especially considering the popularity of Netflix. They would love to make Netflix pay as well. The fact is that Netflix has found a price point that works for them. Changing the dynamic changes the business model. Their profitability and popularity are not unlimited. The model that ISPs are demanding is that they be inserted as legally required middlemen into an existing marketplace, with the ability to skim profit from every popular online business model. Of course they want it. Of course they lobby for it.

> Not directly to Netflix but the true cost of their product still goes up. This is obviously bad for Netflix/Youtube/the top 1%, who are the ones extracting wealth from this thing we call the internet.

The top 1% of businesses are profitable entities that will suffer a loss of revenue which in the end will be passed onto the consumer, but they will also be provided with the protection of decreased competition and increased cost of market entry. Today, anyone with the gumption can walk into lionsgate and come up with a "Netflix for ..." business. Tomorrow, it will require significant venture capital simply to deal with the connectivity issues. Today that business can prove itself and then seek out investment. Tomorrow, that business needs investment in order to prove itself. That's a huge dynamic shift that knocks out MANY would be innovators of the kind that formed the world wide web into what it is today.

> These whales love having their infrastructure costs socialised. You dont even have to be a Google customer for you to be giving them money, no wonder they're so rich!

Google has paid and will continue to pay plenty of money for bandwidth. Just like consumers already pay plenty of money for bandwidth. The cost that we pay has NOTHING to do with infrastructure or maintenance costs. It has nothing to do with the cost of running that infrastructure. Comcast for example has had significant revenue and profit increases for the last 5 years. While internet usage has steadily increased and the usage of high bandwidth content has steadily increased. There is no resource limit they are running into. There is no financial constraint preventing them from doing anything. They aren't struggling to pay their workers who are frantically trying to squeeze more network out of the network at no cost.

> Blocking freedom of people to publish on the web doesn't have much to do with net neutrality

It has everything to do with net neutrality. So Netflix pays a big chunk to Comcast. Does pornhub? Do they pay more because they are porn? What about SnapChat and other user-to-user video sharing services? What about all the youtubers, camgirls, streaming game players, twitch streamers? How does that all change? What segment of them is going to be cut off because the cost model doesn't make sense or because Comcast has arbitrarily decided that they either must pay a different price or that their content should not be allowed?

> This is big company lobbying and public propaganda from the tech industry.

There is certainly a lot of lobbying going on. And plenty of propoganda. Oddly, though... the lies, misinformation, and nonsensical arguments seem to be all coming from the telecoms and ISPs. Like there's some sort of concerted effort to do what the internet community has repeatedly and loudly expressed that it does not want.

> Tech companies are the new oil barons, in 80 years when the bio lobby is pushing for access to proprietary databases and end "Data detention" (you heard it here first) we'll look at tech giants the way we look at oil companies lobbying for clean coal now.

We _should_ be a long way off from that. If we stagnate today, maybe that will be so. Maybe we have a 75 year future of pop-up ads and click-farms while communication is relegated to single sentence slang laden snippets that are designed to be provocative.

I see a stronger, better future for the web, technology, and communication networks. There is innovation happening all around the world. There are fantastic ideas that are being nurtured and others that have yet to be discovered. Don't advocate for stagnation. We can do so much better than this.

(I can't believe I spent an hour on this. I've been trolled and it totally worked. This was the top comment when I hit reply.)


Not a troll, thanks for the good dialogue.


You are right, but if you ever been to a country without net neutrality then you will notice that the "free" volume goes down and the facebook/youtube does not count towards the volume. Do it's basically doing exactly what everybody fears. However, if you would charge facebook/google for using the infrastructure it would be another case... But let's be honest, they never let that happen.


net neutrality != government mandated price controls, so the argument goes nowhere. Companies can charge whatever they want.

The other problems you describe could be solved by making false advertising illegal. Don't offer unlimited bandwidth, unlimited transfers or any of this mumbo-jumbo if you can't technically fulfill the promise. It's not your neighbors fault if he uses the Internet for whatever he wants to use it, whether that includes high or low bandwidth use, and if that interferes with your streaming, it's your ISPs problem to fix the issue or sell plans with proper bandwidth limits.


Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating most of the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.[1] For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

Wikipedia


So basically you just debunked your original argument.


Exactly. It has nothing to do with price regulation.


It clearly has price regulation bundled up in it. Oldest lobbying trick in the book, attach your agenda to something nobody can disagree with. Censorship and control over who sees what is a totally seperate issue to what it costs.


These “whales” have built mega cities and hughe highways to interconnect.

The ISPs on the other hand have built the small roads that connect the highways to your home. You pay the ISP a monthly fee for limited usage of the road so you can get to the highway.

Not having net neutrality is allowing the ISP to control your access to the highway depending on your final destination or the kind of cargo in your car.


Where did you source that?


It's probably futile, but you might sign this "Do Not Repeal Net Neutrality" [0] petition on the White House petitions site. It already has over 100,000 signatures -- the threshold at which the White House is supposed to, at minimum, respond to it.

Since we can't vote on this and our representatives aren't voting on it either, it's worth a shot.

[0]: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/do-not-repeal-net-...


There are plenty of absolute crackpot petitions on there at this stage that undermine the legitimacy of this one by being placed alongside it. I believe this motion is futile as well.


battleforthenet.com and democracy.io are two much more direct alternatives.

Battleforthenet will be over the phone (and therefore be a bit more influenential), so I recommend it. But democracy.io (from the EFF) will have you contact all of your representatives directly, via email, within a minute or two.

I highly recommend them.


I don't understand the "contact all of your representatives". As I mentioned in the comment you replied to, "our representatives aren't voting on it".

You think that somehow we're going to cause our reps to put pressure on or "sway" the FCC? No, their votes have already been bought.


NN is an excellent example of framing by naming. Imagine if it was called the the "More Internet Regulation Act". Prima facie it's a more accurate name.

Since this is going to happen (reverting to the way it was for ~25 years), I'll point out that an echo chamber forms by default because most of us who might spend time arguing about it don't see a good reason to.

Aside... the largest cable provider decided it would be a good idea to edit a cleartext page on the way to me ('helpfully' inserting a JS popup about upcoming metering changes), I called and canceled my decade old ~$90/mo acct on the spot when the refused to put it in writing that they would not edit my inbound data in the future. Consumer reaction is equiv to voting. See NFL. Spare me variations on the 'normies don't care' arg.


> ... I called and canceled my decade old ~$90/mo acct on the spot

So... what do you do for internet access now? Oh, you have more than one legitimate option in your area? Lucky you. Many people don't.


Tethered my ATT acct for now. Prob go with my local microwave provider here in Tucson. Why arg for 'NN' when the real beef when you get down to it is the lack of competition?


Lack of competition often comes from municipal governments granting local monopolies. Good luck fighting that out city by city.


So argue for federal NN instead? It's so odd, can you not think of some alt universe where local monopolies are preempted regarding physical internet access? You are arguing for the logical (data) FCC parallel (or you think you are, I disagree that NN means that but lets not go there).

When local monopolies block data, they get sidestepped. It's not like water gas or electricity. 4G is fast. Heck I'm happy here tethered to my old 3G phone.


A lot of Americans have entirely no choice in their broadband provider. Many areas have a single provider who actively prevents any other company providing access in that area. Those customers don't have the luxury of calling up and cancelling unless they're happy to go without broadband. "Vote with your wallet" only works outside of monopolies.


So maybe you found the actual problem. And forcing anyone providing network services to be common carrier just makes it less likely for competition to happen.


How do you draw that conclusion?


If you're wondering, how the wonderful invisible hand of the market would use "net freedom" - say hello to Portugal.

https://mobile.twitter.com/rokhanna/status/92370187109244108...

I don't see how this benefits anybody besides the ISP. It just makes them find a multitude of reasons why $everybody should pay double and triple to get a proper connection.


Portugal (EU) has a slightly nuanced problem within Net Neutrality. EU does have net neutrality but they also allow Zero Rating based on some criteria [0]. I am unsure on the procedure to allow Zero Rated services. If the default choice is "Allow until regulations violated", a simple change in default choice to "Ask for EU Approval" would prevent such scenarios.

[0] http://berec.europa.eu/eng/netneutrality/zero_rating/


Khanna’s original tweet implies that Meo is blocking or limiting certain “packages” unless you pay for them, the way that you can’t watch HBO without the right cable plan. But that's wrong.

It’s an add-on to general-purpose mobile subscriptions, which let you access any service — including the ones above. The idea is apparently that if you’re into apps like Snapchat and Facebook (or... LinkedIn, I guess), you pay around $8 a month to specifically get more “Social” data, so you can use your regular allotment for everything else. It looks a lot like the “Vodafone Pass” service in the UK, where subscribers can pay for unlimited access to a similar stable of services.


>if you’re into apps like Snapchat and Facebook [...] you pay around $8 a month to specifically get more “Social” data...

Ugh. This kind of cable plan confusopoly is so annoying.

I hate how marketing creates all these plans and promotions, then expects us jump through hoops to figure them out.

What a waste of time playing these silly games.


some portuguese say it makes their internet affordable

https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/799qzu/in_portugal_...


If what is happening now is that the 2015 vote for net neutrality rules is to be repealed, couldn't a later FCC vote again to return to the 2015 rules?


I've asked myself the same question. But back in 2015, when the rules were put in place, there was a controversy (Netflix and a court ruling) and people cared. When will the next time people "care" to put it back in? Just how politics work.


They will try to prevent it by passing a fake NN law through the Congress, that will "put discussion to an end", and will make future fixes even harder.


It’s amazing how the FCC can go against the American people when there is such overwhelming support for net neutrality.


> when there is such overwhelming support for net neutrality.

I think you may be overestimating how representative technical communities are compared to the general public, as well as overestimating how universally people even in technical communities agree about this.

(I also think that even with widespread agreement that wouldn't necessarily be enough, but I don't necessarily think that widespread agreement exists, either.)


Here's a poll of the general population. It's overwhelming.

https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2017/06/06/new-mozilla-poll-am...


Thank you very much for posting that. I read through the information.

To be honest, I'm not sure the poll correctly shows overwhelming support. Certainly the numbers from the poll show overwhelming support - however the poll is of 1,008 people online. And, the results of the responses are weighted for demographics.

Regarding weighting by demographics, I still remember during the last presidential election cycle how there was a single 19 year old Black man in Illinois whose voice was weighted so strongly in polls that his votes were actually 300 times greater than the least weighted vote.


I don't want the general population making what boils down to technical decisions about how the internet works. The name "net neutrality" is also very leading. If you know nothing about the subject it sounds quite appealing.


That's also because it is.


I think you mean it's amazing what money can buy.


At a base level, it's amazing that money counts as free speech.


Mob support for NN does not justify it. There's a reason we let domain experts make technical decisions.


...And you believe that's what is happening with this decision?


Well, people who are anti-NN would never voice their opinion in this climate. They will get downvoted to hell.


The comments on this article are clearly a "safe space" for anti-NN people. Others are engaging with them and they're not all being downvoted to hell.


I recall trying to argue against NN years ago here and getting down voted.

It's interesting that economists largely are against NN as well.

http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/net-neutrality-ii


Let's ask beekeepers what they think of Net Neutrality while we're at it. Or how about professional dog walkers too?

"Children under the age of 6 overwhelmingly oppose Net Neutrality."


See my other comment, that's not what those charts say. Less than half of those economists surveyed think that net neutrality is bad policy.


There's a significant number of uncertain ones but those should be excluded, and then the ones against NN significantly outnumber the ones in favor. I don't see any other reasonable way to spin that.


> There's a significant number of uncertain ones but those should be excluded

That's not how polling works. Well, unless your plan is to twist the results to fit your desired narrative.


Assuming you're building a policy off of poll responses, how would percent of uncertainty change the policy? It's not clear to me that it should. If it's possible to test, then maybe higher uncertainty should mean you spend more on testing before rolling out policies, but otherwise I don't see what else you'd do with it. Could you enlighten me on what you would do?


That's not what those charts say. Less than a sixth of the economists surveyed think nn is a good policy.


If you mean we're letting domain experts decide on a technical issue, yeah, that's exactly what's happening.


Domain experts are overwhelmingly in favor of NN.


Actually, a weighted average shows 3 times as many against as for

http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/net-neutrality-ii


Those appear to be economists, not Internet domain specialists.

Less than half agree or strongly agree and in the weighted chart, a whopping 41% are Uncertain, which suggests they recognize that they don't know much about the subject. Many of the comments by Agree and Strongly Agree respondents indicate they don't understand the subject fully.


> 41% are Uncertain, which suggests they recognize that they don't know much about the subject

> comments by Agree and Strongly Agree respondents indicate they don't understand the subject fully

So according to this reasoning no matter what answer you give, you don't understand the issue.

> Those appear to be economists, not Internet domain specialists.

NN is about regulating the internet. Economists are experts in the domain of regulation.


>> comments by Agree and Strongly Agree respondents indicate they don't understand the subject fully > So according to this reasoning no matter what answer you give, you don't understand the issue.

I'm not referring to their responses, I'm referring to the comments quoted in the table below the charts. Some indicate clear ignorance of the subject. Others acknowledge pitfalls while handwaving them away.

This comment is ignorant and hand-wavy:"Seems like those who cause congestion should pay more. I know some worry that ISPs will play favorites, but that should be preventable." The question posed is whether content providers should pay ISPs, but this first sentence talks about those who cause congestion, it's the ISP's customer causing the congestion! Then he acknowledges ISPs playing favorites but assumes it's preventable. It is preventable, by having regulations that require net neutrality, what else is there?

Some economists are experts in the domain of regulation. These economists were not picked for that specific domain knowledge and clearly not more specifically the sub-domain of regulation of this kind of service (utility or at least utility-like).


Can you give examples of economic studies that support banning paid prioritization?

There's some links in http://www.aei.org/publication/net-neutrality-economics-says..., but I had trouble finding studies saying the opposite - it's surprisingly difficult to find anyone going into technical detail at all


> NN is about regulating the internet. Economists are experts in the domain of regulation.

Wait, what? Knowing a lot about regulation in general doesn't mean you know shit about any given subject of regulation in particular.

By your logic we should fire the doctors and scientists at the FDA and replace them with economists.


We should, and then they'd probably stop killing tens of thousands of people every year (cf http://www.fdareview.org/05_harm.php and studies cited within)

Or at least have an economist in charge.


It feels like you're going for an economist version of this xkcd. https://xkcd.com/793/


I'm assuming you disagree with the conclusions of the studies cited for the number of deaths caused by the FDA? Any particular reason?


I haven't looked into it enough to have an opinion one way or another. I suspect that the article is cherry-picking, but perhaps the FDA is so critically fucked up that randos off the street could do a better job. But this isn't about the FDA. You're claiming that knowing a lot about economic regulation makes you a superior domain expert in any field which can be regulated. That economists are better qualified than doctors to regulate dangerous medicines, better qualified than ecologists and meteorologists to predict human-caused climate trends, better qualified than automotive engineers to determine what makes vehicles safe. That's very silly.


"You're claiming that knowing a lot about economic regulation makes you a superior domain expert in any field which can be regulated."

Not quite. I'm claiming that knowing a lot about regulation makes you more qualified to study the effects of various regulations, after listening to input from domain experts in the field.

An automotive engineer can tell you that requiring component X in all vehicles would make accidents Y% less fatal - an economist can tell you whether that actually translates to lives saved (maybe it increases the risk of accidents due to behavioral changes? This was a theory around seatbelts for some time although I can't speak to the current consensus in the field).

Sure, an economist who isn't allowed to speak to the relevant domain experts wouldn't do well. But likewise, a domain expert who doesn't know economics wouldn't do well either. Understanding side effects of regulation, incentives, etc are critically important for crafting regulation/public policy that actually help.


The relevant domain for regulations is economics. 45% agree or strongly agree compared to 14% disagree, which is a 3-1 ratio. Excluding the uncertain ones because they likely don't know much about the topic.

Could you give examples of what you think they don't understand?


Economics is not the only relevant domain for public policy.

Just because someone is confident in their opinion doesn't mean they're knowledgable, surely you see that regularly online. Economists are not especially self-aware or more humble than other people.

Here's an ignorant comment: "Net neutrality is a fiction. Hire Akamai (et al.) to mirror your servers worldwide to speed content to your users." Using Akamai isn't going to do shit if Comcast decides your videos are hurting their cable TV business and start dropping packets, or set a data cap that counts your traffic while they zero rate their own competing product.

Another one: "If all qualities sell at the same price, markets cannot allocate quality efficiently. Works for soap, wine, and haircuts; why not Internet?" ISPs do not operate in a market, consumers have little to no choice amongst providers. ISPs provide a service, not a good like soap or wine; haircuts are a service but have nothing in common with Internet access, you can cut your own hair but you can't make your own Internet.


>if Comcast decides your videos are hurting their cable TV business and start dropping packets

That's already illegal under existing anti trust law.

Zero rating is a different issue but doesn't count as paid prioritization which is what they're asking about.


> That's already illegal under existing anti trust law.

Comcast and others have already done exactly that and it was the FCC that went after them, not the FTC. And how does anti-trust apply when it's the actions of a single company? There's no collusion between businesses to drop packets, one business just does it and other businesses may decide to do it also, they don't have to all agree to do it for it to be effective (from their perspective).

It's true that the question posed in the survey was specifically about content providers paying ISPs for access (or better access) to us, the people ISPs think belong to them. But the article and the overall debate is about far more.


If a company uses a monopoly in one industry to benefit them in another industry that can be an anti trust violation. No collusion is required.

The famous Microsoft anti trust case wasn't about collusion, but about using OS dominance to create browser dominance.


Thank you for the correction.

Monopoly cases are extremely difficult to prove and rarely brought, regardless of which party is in power. With ISPs, if consumers can choose Verizon or Comcast, neither is a monopoly but both could still be acting against competitors (or simply people who didn't pay their extortion) to the detriment of their customers.


>ISPs do not operate in a market, consumers have little to no choice amongst providers

The market being discussed is between companies and ISPs, where companies can pay more for priority.


I don't think that's clear from how the comment is written.

I just realized the presumption embedded in the original question, "Considering both distributional effects and changes in efficiency, it is a good idea to let companies that send video or other content to consumers pay more to Internet service providers for the right to send that traffic using faster or higher quality service."

It assumes companies paying ISPs to reach consumers is normal. It's not. So even the people asking the question don't understand the subject.


It is asking whether paid prioritization should be allowed.

Companies usually pay some ISP to send them traffic, maybe not the same ISP as the last mile but "paying more" does seem appropriate wording.


> It is asking whether paid prioritization should be allowed.

Yes, but they're assuming that some payment is already the norm when it is not. It's like the punchline to the apocryphal story that goes like, "Madam, we've already determined you're a whore, now we're just dickering over the price."

The subject at hand has nothing to do with how much companies pay their own ISPs, of course they pay more for using more. This is about whether those companies should also have to pay my ISP if I want to access their content without that content being treated unequally by my ISP.


I disagree. The FCC has a myriad of advisors with comprehensive knowledge about internet regulation. I'm sure they're being consulted on this.


I think it was amazing it was the USSC that saved the 'net from overreaching gov reg (communications decency act).


Actually, the overwhelming majority of the American people outside of tech circles don’t give a shit. I’m pretty sure if you polled my non-tech friends, fewer than 10% would even know about the issue.


We don't have a group that scares the hell out of politicians like the NRA. This crap comes up every year no matter what the party in power is. Until we find people with a killer instinct and skill, we will keep loosing. No one fears the EFF.

Someone with some clout needs to form a single-issue (no other politics allowed) net neutrality advocacy organization that effectively frames anyone who opposes net neutrality as an evil villain.


I think the best possible investment one can ever make is politics. These people have probably got paid million or less dollars and they would generate the reruns of literally 10s of billions of dollars. Nearly guaranteed 10000X returns in just year or two is unheard of anywhere else. I wish politicians were available as ETFs.


> I think the best possible investment one can ever make is politics.

It's not an investment. It's a birthright —at least at the top levels. Good luck being a politician if your family doesn't already have ties with this caste.


"There is something not right about a few unelected FCC officials making such vast determinations about the future of the internet."

Is she talking about 2015 or 2017?


Bullshit is so easy to spread. People willing to peddle falsehoods often end up winning if they can just repeat the lies until everyone else gets tired of repeating themselves.

Network neutrality started in the early 2000s because some ISPs started blocking VPNs and other services. Network Neutrality was simply how the internet had always worked prior to that. The FCC wanted to take a light hand toward regulation but preserve neutrality so they imposed NN regulation. Verizon sued to overturn the regulations. The battle went back and forth several times. Eventually the courts said the FCC had the authority to impose the regulations but had to reclassify ISPs as common carriers to do so. That’s what the FCC did in 2015. Because the courts said so. Because Verizon sued to block network neutrality and overturn the way the internet had always worked up until that point.

The telco and cable companies all have handshake agreements not to “overbuild” - that is to lay lines in each other’s territory - because that would trigger competition. They hijack DNS queries to serve ads for mis-typed domain names. They hijack HTTP responses. They’re rolling out bandwidth caps.

If you think they aren’t going to exploit the rollback of NN for rent-seeking purposes then you’re naive at best.

P.S. they couldn’t exist without right of way to lay cables on other people’s private property! The internet and WWW were invented using government research money. ATT, Verizon, Comcast, et al are the ultimate welfare queens who exist thanks to suckling on the government teat.


Who is spreading "bullshit", the person who knows that NN never existed until 2015 when it barely did, or someone who is trying to claim that 2015-style NN was necessary resolve issues in the early 2000s and is using FUD to push for NN?


The enforcement actions taken against the carriers in the early 2000s only went through because they wanted to avoid an explicit legal ruling against them. Thus NN has implicitly existed since the beginning of the Internet.


2017, because in 2015 the FCC acted on the advice of the people. Now, they act opposed to 98.5% of the unique comments from the public.


Where by “people” you probably mean the lobbyists from Google/Facebook/Netflix and other internet companies who would have to share a fraction of their fat profit margins to deliver their stuff to you.

As the present predicament shows “advice of the people” means jack squat to the FCC, just like it did in 2015.


Those companies contribute a significant part of their margins to deliver content to you, including paying for servers, programmers, sysadmins, and so on to actually make the product. And then by colocating, peering, or other arrangements that pay for their own connection to the internet. I pay for my connection, they pay for theirs, that seems entirely fair. It's not my fault I have to pay more than they do because of no competition in last mile service -- that's the FCC's fault.


Seriously? You are on the FCC and expect other people to fix your problems? What are you doing, playing Solitaire all day?

YOU NEED TO BE DOING STUFF RIGHT NOW, not tomorrow, not next week. Now.

Call ISPs which are against NN repeal. Tell them to pull all the strings they have available. Call senators. Do counter-lobbying, aren't you americans big fans of lobbies? I don't care what you do. DO SOMETHING. The internet is in danger.

And you come forward and tell us that we have to do something. Wow. We really are doomed.


1) She is one of five FCC commissioners. She and one other oppose changes to net neutrality. On her own, she can't keep the status quo.

2) You have no idea what she is doing in the background.

3) Mass public outrage is the only way the public is ever heard. She is asking the public to mobilize to help her fight this change. Her voice is an important one, since she is on the FCC and views these changes as dangerous.


Alas, that's not how policy making works. She doesn't have the votes. But if you/we bring the heat, the other commissioners will see the light. Then opponents of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness will wait until the heat cools off, and then try again while no ones looking.

Been there, been done like that.


Yes, and they will keep trying. Corruption won't be stopped by seeing the light I am afraid.

But I have no solution to the problem, I admit. Still, whoever can help should help, like right now.


What is the most effective avenue to voice my concerns?


Call the FCC. Call your representatives. Make sure they know that you're in their district and that you vote.

When the FCC ran demos of broadband over power, it caused a tremendous amount of radio disturbance. Ham radio operators saw the disturbance on their licensed parts of the spectrum. They feared the FCC was killing Ham radio. So they wrote letters. Lots of letters. The FCC heard them and abandoned the trial of that technology.


I'm working on composing letters to my state representatives for a contingency plan(city broadband). I read on reddit, that it might be more effective than directly contacting my federal representatives(I plan on doing that too.) I'll post my letters if there's any interest in them.

Would these letters be of any use?


Yes. All elected politicians monitor public input on major issues.

It usually goes something like this:

1) Comcast lobbyist: Hey politican, we'll donate 10k to your campaign this year, and another 100k+ if it becomes a tight race, just promise you'll vote against net neutrality if that ever happens, ok?

1a) Comcast, that's a deal.

2) Office Aid: Hey politican, after the FCC announced today, our phones are ringing off the hooks. People are really upset about this Net Neutrality thing.

2a) Okay, poll our constituents, and figure out just how many votes I'll lose if I vote for this thing.

3) If the number of votes > than the amount of votes the politican thinks (s)he can buy via the lobbyist's money, they change their position.

So your letters greatly affect step 2. Of course, its less cut and dry than above. Democratic politicans by and large believe in NN. Republican politicans these days rarely do. And polls are expensive and slow, so sometimes step 2a is skipped entirely and the politican makes a gut call based on the amount of feedback they receive.

But the point it, yes, your letters matter.


with your wallet.


Would someone outline the pros and cons of the FCC vs FTC overseeing regulation of the internet?


Net Neutrality prevents abuses; the FTC can step in after a violation reaches critical proportions. It's like the difference between parking in a locked garage in a bad neighborhood, and having a car alarm to let you know when your window has been broken and all your stuff stolen.


How does it work with FCC today though? What if a company (say Verizon) throttles some traffic (say Youtube), how would the punitive part work from the part of the government.


You could make the valid argument that no matter how beneficial net neutrality may be it isn't within the regulatory authority of the FCC to define or enforce such according to the agency's definition per their charter. This is perhaps the best argument for killing net neutrality.

The common consideration is that killing net neutrality poses a direct and immediate harm to consumers of potential discriminatory practices from a small industry of commercial entities operating in a capacity similar to utility providers. That said it would fall squarely within the regulatory confines of the FTC.

I think something like net neutrality is important and necessary, but I also think there is something more immediately important. I want the FTC to regulate the online advertising industry. I am tired of slow websites even though I get 900mbps up and down at my house. I am also tired of the excessive spyware and occasional malware that comes from online ads. Online advertising really is most horrid part of any online experience.


https://www.fcc.gov/about/overview

> The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America’s communications law and regulations.

I am real curious why people think that the Internet, which is a communication medium, is not within the regulatory authority of the FCC.


> I am real curious why people think that the Internet, which is a communication medium, is not within the regulatory authority of the FCC.

Despite the name the FCC does not regulate communications. The FCC regulates spectrum and interstate commerce thereof. Despite the definition on the FCC.gov site and the Wikipedia page the FCC cannot regulate cable even if they wanted to as mentioned by both Pai and Wheeler.


I'd like to know more about the decisions that led to this then. It seems to me like that's exactly what the FCC is supposed to be regulating.


Then you would be wrong. The FCC was created to regulate and license access to the RF spectrum, because radio frequencies are a natural finite resource.


Bits sent across a wire use radio frequency transmission to do it.

Bits processed in a routing system are a natural finite resource.


> Bits sent across a wire use radio frequency transmission to do it.

No, they are either electrons pushed across metal with voltage or light bouncing around fiber. This is absolutely not part of the RF spectrum.


They are pushed across at a specific frequency.

Regardless, it is still communication. It's very clearly the domain of the Federal Communication Commission. If not, then the FCC is simply named wrong.

Then whose domain does it belong a part of? FTC has clearly rejected the ability to solve neutrality issues.


It was named in 1934, and at that time the naming was fully appropriate. Ignoring history, inventing your own terms, and sticking your head in the sand could explain why you are confused about what the FCC is (as opposed to what you wish it were).


FTC regulating the advertising industry is not mutually exclusive of the FCC enforcing Net Neutrality.


Thanks. I definitely agree that ad bloat is getting out of hand and users would benefit from leaner pages.

For now gone are the days Google thought load times longer than 600ms were a no go in germs of user experience --that legacy is definitely gone in Google Mail.


What indication is there that the current FCC would ever change course, no matter how loudly the constituents complained? Is the only goal of all the current outcry simply awareness?


There's value in taking away a tyrant's velvet glove, if you'll pardon me the hyperbole. Don't let them hide behind doublespeak about how this is what people really want and it's just a few malcontents making noise. Make it very, very abundantly clear that they're ignoring the desires of the people they claim to represent. It may not change anything now, but it gets the attention of on-the-fence voters and unites and galvanizes the opposition.


Ajit Pai is an abomination. He is on the same level as Trump in shamelessness and probably more corrupt.


I was kind of confused why many big tech companies are for net neutrality. As someone who doesn't trust big tech companies, it made me doubtful.

But I guess it makes sense; big tech companies have a lot of power right now because of net neutrality and they don't want it to fall into the hands of ISPs...

Big internet companies that currently have direct guaranteed access to users don't want to be forced to make deals with middlemen who work for ISPs.

Getting rid of net neutrality will allow ISPs to claim a piece of the pie. They will be able to cut into the profit margins of the most profitable companies while allowing the least profitable ones to get a discount.

Getting rid of net neutrality would be similar to how it works in commercial real estate; if your business isn't doing well, you can make a deal with your landlord to get a discount on your rent... The rent prices are inconsistent. But if the landlord always sees a long queue of customers outside your shop, they may be tempted to increase your rent.

The main concern I have with removing net neutrality is what would happen to peer-to-peer services... Maybe some ISPs will attempt to block them.


Google et al want the infrastructure to be dumb pipes so they can direct traffic by manipulating search results. Ending NN is bad for them but it is yet to be shown it will be bad for the consumer.

You're your ISP's customer but Google's product.


Ending net neutrality is, while not in their longterm interest, just fine for Google & Co. - they are already established players that are able to afford the bandwidth and overcome whatever other barriers ISPs might come up with. It's the future services and companies that might challenge Google, Facebook and Netflix someday. They won't be able to enter the market due to not being able to afford access to the fast lane.


It seems each time lobbyists and lawyers achieve to pass a law against democratic will, it generates a lot of efforts to cancel it. This means many years of mess and fights where lobbyists and lawyers will make a lot of business. Bad behavior is rewarded.


I am in favor of net neutrality. But the way you win this argument is not to support it en masse, or to blindly ask your representatives to support it because you think it's good. You have to craft an argument that overcomes the "This is not the government's right or responsibility to control" response. This is what the conservative talking heads are spouting, this is what average Americans believe in and stand behind, and changing this argument is how you win.


I see very little reason to think that persuading people by rational argument is an effective way to make policy happen.


They seem hell bent on passing these new rules regardless of what anyone else says or does.

I'm afraid that it will have to come to lawsuits after the fact to stop this course of action.


Nationalize the internet.

I'm not kidding. We paid for it in the first place, and if it's such a critical piece of economic infrastructure that market intervention needs to be mitigated, the solution is to nationalize it.

How? Take the municipal broadband idea, and scale it up. It's not really hard. Net neutrality only privileges one set of multi-billion-dollar corporations over another set of multi-billion-dollar corporations. Nationalize the lot of it.


There's a problem with that idea, which is that then the internet is at the mercy of those in congress who want to shut down the government all the time, because they won't pass a budget unless we go on a governmental starvation diet, while at the same time giving tax breaks to the rich.


Just like how policing, the military and roads stop when congress decides to shut things down


Then let's replace the government with open source AI and ML algorithms. End corruption!


Given how well that works for YouTube at the moment, I'm not so sure that's a good idea.


I see a lot of the discussion revolving around price, but I don't think this is the issue at all.

Wiping net neutrality would give ISPs - and by extension their shareholders / backers - leverage over any online content producer who cares about the US market.

To me the most worrying scenario is "hey guys, we might want to moderate our content more heavily, or we might be taken out of Comcast gold package next year".


If you thought foreign (aka Russian) interference via social media was bad, imagine your internet service provider having discretionary control over the priority of your news and information feed.

It would be like telephone companies being allowed to decide which calls to allow through and relegating the rest to busy signals.


Bottom line: This gov. is looking for more control. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T... are looking for more profit.


It's not like NN would make them have more competition, either. Which, if they are greedy bastards that make anything for a profit, would make instead of charging to access some websites, get that same money from raising prices to everyone, easy as pie.


Fairly sure the prices are already set at max for the existing system, so yeah, more competition needed. Corporations are for profit. Governments are for control. No mutual exclusivity in this one. Fast lanes lead to more money through a system change, and are a simple way to facilitate control, entrench existing controls, and contain dissent.


Can this be realistic stopped? What if FCC just don't give a fuck and proceed? Serious question


the fcc already said that they won't be swayed. nothing will be changed by NN being repealed.


Wasn't sure what being a "member of the FCC" meant:

https://www.fcc.gov/about/leadership/jessica-rosenworcel


So is Ajit Pai her superior? Must be an interesting workplace with her being so vocally against it.


This is just one step to internet becoming a utility. If the companies take it too far and mess with sites people like, the next set of politicians will make it a utility like water or power.


> I think the FCC needs to work for the public

Unfortunately Pai and Co, think that FCC needs to work for ISP monopolists and not for the public...


The obvious way to reinstate net neutrality is via legislation. Congress has the power to do this.


EME supported by the same racket that wants neutrality. What is going on?


I used to support net neutrality. Then I did my homework on the issue and realized so many of the arguments in favor of net neutrality rely on fear-mongering and a false history of the internet.


Could you explain what false history are you taking about?

Internet from the beginning treated all traffic the same, this was because:

- lack of technology to do deep packet inspection at large scale

- competition, during dial-up times anyone with a phone could become an ISP, the phone did not discriminate due to regulation, then ISDN and DSL came and due to regulations telcos were required to lease their lines to anyone keeping the competition

During those times Internet was neutral and all sites were treated the same.

In last decade we switched to cable which has regional monopoly and doesn't have such regulation. They already were used to control what we could see and for how much. Earlier we had to deal with cable because we had no choice. High speed internet came and caused wave of "cord cutters" because people hated how the cable companies treated them. The cable companies do not like that movement, because with Internet they are losing control.

So why not make Internet like a cable? Provide basic access and allow paid access to premium sites. Perhaps consumers wouldn't have to pay, maybe the sites would? And if the users don't like it what they going to do, switch from Comcast to Comcast?

There is also another issue that no one talks about and is even more important. Current cable companies are also media companies and already have power over traditional media (did you wonder why they never talk about NN?).

This change essentially gives them freedom to perform censorship. They can alter/slow down/block sites they don't agree with. This gives them power to decide which sites users will see and which sites will survive and can and will be used for political gains. Imagine replacing ads and cutting income for the site, or replace ads with messages that contradict articles. It slowing down the site to be practically unusable.

I can't believe anyone would be ok with giving power to companies (ones that have monopoly and consumer don't even have choice to vote with their wallets) what sites we are allowed to see or not.


For ~20 years the internet somehow functioned well without title ii regulations. So yes, I agree with you that "Internet from the beginning treated all traffic the same" and "During those times Internet was neutral and all sites were treated the same". Ajit Pai's proposal seeks to roll back these relatively new title 2 regulations.

> I can't believe anyone would be ok with giving power to companies (ones that have monopoly and consumer don't even have choice to vote with their wallets) what sites we are allowed to see or not.

Likewise, I can't see why anyone would give more power to government (especially those who don't support the current government) to decide what is "fair" and "neutral".


> For ~20 years the internet somehow functioned well without title ii regulations. So yes, I agree with you that "Internet from the beginning treated all traffic the same" and "During those times Internet was neutral and all sites were treated the same". Ajit Pai's proposal seeks to roll back these relatively new title 2 regulations.

In US Internet was classified as a telecommunication service, so it was following similar restrictions. Back in 2002 FCC reclassified it as information service, with lesser restrictions. Since then companies violated net neutrality multiple times[1], but each time they backed out after FCC got involved. Not until Verizon sued them and won in 2014. The court ruling essentially stated that FCC has no control over ISPs anymore until the Internet would be reclassified. Because of that FCC reclassified it under Title II.

So no, what happened in past ~20 years is just small taste what's will happen. The 2014 ruling got the cat out of the box. Now all ISPs know that if Title II classification is removed FCC no longer has any power over them. And worst of all since there's monopoly, we can't just vote with our wallet, without regulation we as customers are simply screwed.

> Likewise, I can't see why anyone would give more power to government (especially those who don't support the current government) to decide what is "fair" and "neutral".

The decision what's fair and neutral is very simple to make. ISPs are just there to provide Internet access and can't control what we can access and what not similarly as an electric company provides electricity, but can't tell me what brand of a dishwasher I can use.

Regulations are there to protected a consumer, would you also be ok if FDA would allowed companies to add poison to our food if that would help them save money, because they will (especially when they are public companies when number #1 goal is to make profit) if they were able to. Before you answer that, know that requirement of labeling what's in the food is also imposed by the FDA.

I know that you're thinking that FCC planned is not an issue, because free market will solve this. The problem is that there's no free market right now. Vast majority of people have at most 1 viable ISP, if you have 2 you're really lucky.

It's extremely hard to enter the market right now, the best example is Google Fiber, a company which almost has unlimited resources (they can afford to work on projects like self driving cars, or photograph streets all over the world so they can improve one of their products (not even a core product) that they offer) is giving up. If they can't who else do you think could enter that market?

When cities want to provide a municipal network they get sued by these ISPs.

The FCC plan to repeal also wants to prevent states on implementing own rules in that area.

How can you be ok with this? It's not just other people who are affected by it, you will be too.

Also, and it is sad that this is not mentioned, it's not just net neutrality that is at stake here. Once that change is made, there won't be anything preventing incumbent ISPs from filtering content that they don't like. A small example is Telius from Canada blocking site that was supporting labor strike against them. Imagine that this could also be used for political control.

[1] https://www.freepress.net/blog/2017/04/25/net-neutrality-vio...


Sorry, which arguments are fear-mongering?


Maybe it's time to have national referendums...


They buried this on reddit.


It's the very first post on my home feed. I don't think it's being buried (the one I'm seeing is /r/politics).


CSS / JavaScript challenge: remove whatever is blocking you from scrolling on that page. I could not figure it out for the life of me after 20 min messing with the it in the dev tools. Deleting the paywall is easy enough, but what is stopping the scrolling?


body gets a class ".bx-client-overlay" that has "overflow: hidden!important" which hides the scrollbar


Yeah I saw that, but even after I removed it and the scrollbar showed back up, I still couldn't scroll with it.


Try ublock origin. I didn't get either a paywall or scroll-blocking. Must be one of the ads?


wow that works great! i had abp but it didnt do that


nope. Small ISP's need to thrive against monopolies.


Just for the record I support Ajit Pai on this issue. Putting this comment just to show that not all on HN disagree with FCC.


Ajit Pai's home address is: 4868 Old Dominion Dr Arlington, VA 22207

That is public information.


Further thoughts on why the end of net neutrality will be fine: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15765461


Sorry I'm not buying into the panic.

Between wide scale TLS deployment and larger swaths of bandwidth available, I'd rather see free market solutions so these regulatory powers can't be abused. Net neutrality only matters if your ISP can decrypt your traffic and there is a limited share of bandwidth available.


You are probably a little bit ignorant of how the internet works to make this comment. The big players are already peering with residential ISPs. That means there's a fiber line that connects Google to Comcast, to use an example. They pay for these arrangements.

The little guys have to use transit. They don't have enough clout or money to peer. Without net neutrality, ISPs could start severely degrading those connections. And there's nothing TLS can do to stop that.


Yes. Comcast and other big ISPs think you belong to them, that other businesses should pay to get to you, despite the fact that you, the ISPs actual customer, already paid so you can get to those businesses and they can get to you.

And yes, TLS doesn't conceal the domain names from your ISP and that's all they need to pick winners and losers. It can somewhat conceal different kinds of connection (e.g. peer-to-peer protocols like BitTorrent) but those aren't hard to spot through traffic analysis and Ajit Pai explicitly thinks ISPs should be able to block them, as Comcast was doing to BitTorrent traffic.


Users need to get directly involved in protecting the content they desire. In the long run we need a cross between TOR and bittorrent to create a distributed cache to avoid throttling. Local "metropolitan" bandwidth is very fast, hard drives have expanded 10x in 10 years. An alternative is to use WiFi mesh networks.


"a cross between TOR and bittorrent to create a distributed cache to avoid throttling"

That arguably describes Freenet, which I think actually predates both Tor and BitTorrent. It's languished in semi-obscurity for a variety of reasons: performance issues, a dearth of popular content, the possibility that your node caches illegal/unsavory data (this is implied by its approach to resisting censorship, which has been harshly criticized but which has no established alternative besides abandoning censorship-resistance as a goal)...


What makes you think this peer-to-peer network wouldn't be throttled?


It has many peers. Even if it's throttled on each one, they could distribute the load.


How much of that load is carried by Comcast-approved hosts?


It will be a cat-and-mouse game.


All Comcast has to do is not whitelist any of your peers.


Free market solutions only work in a free market.

Do you think an ISP can't throttle/limit encrypted traffic?


Right, that's the key. Even in some larger cities there are usually 2 or 3 providers to choose from. In some rural areas there is only 1. If it decides to throttle Youtube and charge extra to access Facebook, there is no competition to go to and bargain for a lower price.

So in an abstract world where there is ample choice of providers, Comcast would be dead if it continues with the practices it is engaged in now. In the real world that's not happening until someone comes in and slaps it on the head and tells it to behave.


TLS doesn't hide destination IP addresses


Most forms of encryption also do very little to effectively conceal which application-layer protocols are in use, which has implications for ISPs with incentives to degrade BitTorrent, third-party VoIP, etc..

edit: It occurs to me that I'm apparently goddamn old now, and a good few HNers of 2017 might be too young to remember the whole Comcast/Sandvine/BitTorrent mess [1], viz. the history of this not being a hypothetical concern.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandvine#Network_neutrality_de...


Not only that, but I'm seeing a lot of people mentioning VPNs as a solution when they're really not. Sure VPNs obfuscate your destination, but not the fact that you're connecting to a VPN, and without net neutrality, what's stopping them from seriously deteriorating the quality of VPN traffic unless the VPNs cough up some dough?


Encryption is not a synonym for security, there are many ways your activities can leak and ISPs can still be biased against you if there are no rules to stop them.

For instance, they can decide you’re simply transmitting too much of this data that they can’t decrypt. They can observe the times of day you perform activities and guess what that means, e.g. heavy data use in evenings might be watching streaming content. They can look at addresses and infer activity based on what is going where. And they could even install a blanket ban on any data they can’t inspect unless it’s between some approved domains like banks with deep pockets.

You can’t just be comfortable with encryption. There’s no real security without net neutrality.


Network providers can effectively filter and manipulate traffic regardless of TLS. Look at China.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: