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F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality Rules (nytimes.com)
3384 points by panny 67 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1431 comments



The voters elected a Republican government. That a Republican-led FCC would err on the side of under-regulating telecommunications companies is about the least surprising outcome you can imagine. Anybody who told you that lobbying the FCC was going to make a difference here was, whether they meant to or not, selling a bill of goods.

As someone who respects but mostly profoundly disagrees with principled Republican laissez-faire regulatory strategy (at least, once we got past 1991 or so), it is more than a little aggravating to see us as a community winding ourselves in knots over market-based regulation of telecom at the same time as the (largely unprincipled) Republican congress is putting the finishing strokes --- literally in ball-point pen --- on a catastrophically stupid tax bill that threatens universal access to health insurance, not just for those dependent on Medicare but on startup founders as well.

If you care deeply about this issue, stop pretending like filling out forms and putting banners ads is going to persuade Republican regulators to act like Democrats. "Net Neutrality" isn't my personal issue --- I worked at ISPs, have backbone engineer friends, and candidly: I think this issue is silly. But if it's yours... sigh... fine.

But do it right: get out there, to your nearest seriously threatened D districts or to the nearest plausibly flippable R district (the suburbs are great for this), open up your damn wallets, and donate.

The FCC may very well be right that it's not their job to impose our dream portfolio of rules on Verizon (certainly, a lot of the rules people are claiming NN provided were fanciful). It doesn't matter how dreamlike the rules are: Congress can almost certainly enact a law, which the FCC can't revoke.

But otherwise, be clear-eyed: elections have consequences. We elected the party of deregulation. Take the bad with whatever the good is, and work to flip the House back.


"That a Republican-led FCC would err on the side of under-regulating telecommunications companies is about the least surprising outcome you can imagine."

That is not why this is shocking. This proceeding is shocking because the legal basis for this change is dependent on a false statements about the technology involved. It goes beyond just, "Republicans prefer deregulation," or, "Republicans favor market-based approaches." There is plenty of room and a general need for debates about what policy approaches are best, but there is no room for debate about the answer to technical questions.

Engineers and researchers submitted hundreds of comments to the FCC trying to correct the falsehoods presented in the NPRM. The FCC did not simply ignore those comments. The draft rules specifically cite those comments and totally dismiss them as "not persuasive." Only commentary from ISPs was "persuasive" in this proceeding, and the ISPs omitted facts that were inconvenient for them (the point of public commentary is in part to fill in the omissions that lobbyists would obviously make).

Sorry, but I do not buy the "what do you expect from Republicans" argument. I expect Republicans to be pro-markets, even pro-big-business; I expect Republicans to favor deregulation. It is not acceptable to pursue that agenda by ignoring expert answers to technical questions, regardless of party affiliation. It is one thing to interpret facts -- for example, the draft rules interpret the fact that edge services can be accessed via ISP networks as ISPs providing a capability to their customers, which is bizarre but within the bounds as far as policy debates go. To simply dismiss facts that are being presented to you by experts, when you have a legal obligation to receive and consider such facts, is another matter entirely.

Yes, I expect the party of deregulation to base its policy goals on facts, as interpreted through the lens of a pro-business/pro-markets approach, and not some convenient fantasy.


>It is not acceptable to pursue that agenda by ignoring expert answers to technical questions, regardless of party affiliation

Your entire premise can be rebutted with the policies around climate change. If something as catastrophic and irreversible as climate change can be subject to partisan nonsense, twisting of facts and delegitimization of experts; what makes anyone think that Net Neutrality would be looked upon with logic, facts, and reason.

I personally lean towards preserving NN.

I hope at some point we can return to some semblance of governance based on facts, logic, and pragmatism rather than ideology.


Or, we can accept that ideologies are how we all make the majority of our decisions and then work to create a convincing ideology which combats the systems of power/corruption we're currently dealing with. None of this going to go away with facts and logic.

Change never happened because someone spouted a couple damning facts and shamed people with power.


Oh I disagree wholeheartedly.

We're in the sh*tshow we are today not because of a lack of ideologies: Libertarian, Conservative, Liberal, Progressive, Evangelical, Green, and on and on... So clearly, there's no lack of 'convincing ideology' for any single individual's belief system and ideals.

The problem as I see it, is that the majority of people have retreated into their ideologies and just started tossing grenades and stones behind their respective walls, rather than having dialogue, understanding, and compromising.

And if your counter is that we're just lacking an even BETTEREST ideology that somehow rules them all, I think that's fallacy. Ideology is neither the solution, nor the problem.

It's the fact that ideologies have become ending points, rather than starting points of discussion. Which leads me back to my original point that we need leaders who will govern by listening to ideas, facts, counterpoints, and making tough compromises and decisions based on that.

EDIT: spelling


I really want to agree with you. And in times past I absolutely would have. But I think something that's become clear over time, worldwide, is that getting incorruptible, good, and objective people into office is not really possible - certainly not on a regular basis. Really it's unclear if such people even actually exist. I think most of us believe our decisions are driven by objective merit, yet we all view most of everybody else as subjectively driven. The latter view is probably the correct one.

What we need is systems themselves that take human nature into mind. The founding fathers of the US set out to create this exact sort of system. And they really did. Lacking a super majority, literally a single senator can prevent a political appointment. So on this issue, if the senate really did not want to put into appointee into the FCC who was in favor of dismantling net neutrality - they had that power. When Pai was appointed by Obama in 2012 his views were no secret. The senate could have said no. McConnell could have proposed a new person, Obama formally nominates him, and again the senate could reject. They are under 0 obligation to approve any nominee - ever.

Yes, this would be incredibly dysfunctional - but that is precisely how the US government was envisioned. The whole checks and balances thing we learn about in elementary social studies is specifically about preventing something from happening unless there is mass consensus. The founding fathers did not want a huge, powerful democratic government - they wanted a small accountable republic driven to progress only on issues where there was minimal to no opposition.

You can even see this in things like the bill of rights. The bill of rights does not, for instance, guarantee you the right to free speech. It says you already inherently have that right - it is inalienable. The bill of rights does not grant you a right - it prevents the government from infringing on your natural rights. In other words the view is that governments cannot grant rights, but they can take them away. A dysfunctional government maximizes the freedom of the people by preventing the infringement of such freedom except in cases such that there is a mass consensus of its merit.

The problem is that the doomsday scenario of all of congress falling into one clique happened. Politicians all need money to get elected and stay in office. Corporate donors (and influence) is where that money comes from. And this is where I think the problem is. But I also don't think there's any solution to it. Imagine you take all money out of political campaigns. That don't stop already famous individuals from running for office and their advantage in these cases would be monumental. There are radical ideas like treating political duty the same as jury duty, but I'm unsure how well that would be publicly received.

The point here is that I don't think 'just get better politicians' is something that's necessarily workable in the longrun. We need to create systems that readily accept the realities of corruption, cronyism, and general pettiness -- but then operate in a publicly desirable way regardless of this.


Why do Americans believe trying to interpret the Founding Father's intent is a reasonable way to debate policy? If the opinions of 18th century wealthy men have merit today it should be because we believe their reasoning applies to current circumstances, not because they were the Founders of anything.

I'm not saying I necessarily disagree that "a small accountable republic driven to progress only on issues where there was minimal to no opposition" is desirable today, but you have put forward no valid argument for it.


What the grandparent comment did was bring the Founding Fathers into the discussion, took an idea from them, and then presented it in light of current events. You can evaluate the grandparent comment's idea without including the Founding Fathers; the reference is relevant only to show the changes that have occurred in the last 200 years.


...because we have documents (e.g. the Federalist Papers [1]) that explain their philosophy and arguments. Moreover, significant technological advances aside, our basic psychology / neurobiology remains virtually unchanged, and so many of their initial insights into mitigating the risks of human political systems still pertain.

For instance: they foresaw the problems powerful interests acting in bad faith could cause, and so we now enjoy judicial recourse when politicians or appointees make arbitrary, capricious, or corrupt decisions. The fact that we're discussing legal challenges to the FCC's decision as even a possibility underscores this point.

We understand more about human psychology / neurobiology now, of course, so this is one limitation of uncritically accepting their advice. We also have the benefit of over two centuries of additional hindsight. Still, I think there is good reason to at least consider the opinions of people who would, by any reasonable reckoning, count as political systems design experts of their time.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Federalist_Papers


"government maximizes the freedom of the people by preventing the infringement of such freedom except in cases such that there is a mass consensus of its merit" seems pretty clear. The argument is that the freedoms the founding fathers wanted to preserve are protected by making it hard for corrupt politicians to take them away. The vision of the founding fathers is taken seriously because they were very smart and America has been very successful in many respects.


>> The problem is that the doomsday scenario of all of congress falling into one clique happened. Politicians all need money to get elected and stay in office. Corporate donors (and influence) is where that money comes from. And this is where I think the problem is. But I also don't think there's any solution to it. Imagine you take all money out of political campaigns. That don't stop already famous individuals from running for office and their advantage in these cases would be monumental.

Many countries such as the UK have legally enforceable limits to the amounts parties can spend on elections. This helps, the UK government is not totally in the packet of big business. The only celebratory I can think of having been elected is Glenda Jackson. Of course big business still owns most of the "popular press".


> getting incorruptible, good, and objective people into office is not really possible - certainly not on a regular basis.

How about we make these people complete a PhD in three different fields. After that, they will be humbled enough to be fit for politics. (Of course, experimentation needed for validation of this claim; anecdotal: Merkel has a PhD and she did pretty well so far).


The way to reduce the impact of money in elections is to make elections smaller, i.e. shrink the federal government and go full blown State's Rights. So much money is needed because there are so many people to reach and marketing costs a lot. Fewer people to reach = less money being deployed in any particular election.


I can't agree more with you and wish so much we as a nation would see the wisdom the founding fathers had when they wrote all rights not given to the federal government belong to the states. They were weary of powerful central governments and introduced competition throughout the system to stay the power of wicked men in centralized systems.

Going back to such a system would require incredible tolerance on both "conservative" and "progressive" sides. We would have to accept that within one nation there would be other states regulated in highly different fashions than our own.


Which leads me back to my original point that we need leaders who will govern by listening to ideas, facts, counterpoints, and making tough compromises and decisions based on that.

Good luck raising billions of dollars or marshaling millions of volunteer hours to elect candidates that may or may not follow through on promises on any given issue. Where are these wise leaders going to come from that they're immune to the vagaries of party politics and voting blocs?


Honestly, at least some of these issues can be addressed game theoretically... But having a well educated populace is key to most of those strategies.

If people can't (or won't) critically evaluate claims, and vote, then how can we expect the system to work in their favor?

Take Trump as an example of that latter point: I had friends who believed that because he was a businessman he would be able to run the country better than Hillary. They assumed this was true, and even when presented with his poor performance in that role they didn't yield. I didn't even receive a counter-argument. The conversation ended.

As a side note: we already raise billions of dollars every year in the form of taxes.


The only protest that makes a damned bit of difference is the vote.

Once in a long while citizens clean house. Major parties dissolve, etc, and fresh leadership emerges. This will happen again once rank-and-file on the left and right begin to find consensus on some key issues like diminishing freedoms, privacy, and corrupt leadership.

It's my opinion that ideology gives one tunnel vision and shouldn't be encouraged. There are things we can ALL be pissed about, let's talk about those things. Above all, we should agree that "incumbency" and "party affiliation" are nasty things.


Unfortunately, world history has clearly shown that by the time rank and file realize they need to reach consensus, they have lost their freedoms, privacy etc. (For their own good as so many dictators have said.)

By being passive and blindly listening to your party's claims -- in this case Republicans and Democrats mainly -- you have conceded your power to extremist groups (see gun control, extreme right, racists), corruption (anything to do with lobbying in the U.S. (in other parts of the world it would be called legalized corruption)) and politicians passing last minute illegible bills to laws. If you have under 20% turnover something is ridiculously wrong with the system.

Kid yourself not. It is your choice. You have the obligation as a citizen in a democracy to pay attention, vote and yes put your foot down when they feed you bullshit, like the FCC report. Otherwise, you are being ruled, you have conceded your power and it is democracy only in name. Thus I think this must be a wake up call -- see how many people on e.g. Twitter accepted this deregulation as totally ok and for "our own good". How many people know about title I and II classification? Or why FCC was forced in 2015 to finally classify ISPs as title II? Search what happened in 2005 here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality_in_the_United_S... . It is not like ISPs are playing nicely or care about our rights. And us accepting their blatant lies and this farce is the defeat of the day.

The worst thing is you teach the next generation of voters that this is ok and natural. It is not.

And you are lowering the bar by saying "oh it is Republicans they can do that." No -- if Republicans followed their advertised mantra to the letter they should be totally against this deregulation. Don't lower the bar of what you are demanding from your representatives. If you care for your country and your life stay informed.


There are many other useful forms of protest. What makes you think that?

I genuinely challenge you to come up with a form of civic protest that solves a problem, then commit to solving it. Big or small; doesn't matter. Just get out there and do something.

(Disclaimer: I've never voted and don't plan on it, but I spend much of my free time attempting to fix some niggling problems at local and state levels)


Do you not vote at the local/state level either?


No, though I've tried working with campaign teams before in Chicago. The ruthlessness (and by proxy, the system that enables such ruthlessness) of political candidates and their campaigns is something I'd rather not support.


> I hope at some point we can return to some semblance of governance based on facts, logic, and pragmatism rather than ideology.

This is a great point. We're in this NN shit show because of ideology. The GOP tried to work with the Democrats to craft NN legislation, but the Democrats only wanted a Title II designation and nothing else. Now the GOP has effectively stripped away any NN protections. Both sides holding firm on ideology have landed us here.


No, they haven't, not yet. There is lawsuit being filed by multiple state attorneys general stating alleging the FCC violated the Administrative Review Act, and there is reason to believe they have a strong case.

During this whole process, the Republican commissioners have done many mistakes. They stated they do not need to mind the public's comment period. They even stated they would not pay heed to the public's comments. They cited technological reasons for this, were told they were wrong, and then tried to dismiss those reasons. They refused to work with investigators on the fraudulent comments. They refused to listen to Congress's requests to delay the vote. There have been statements and leaks of Pai acting openly hostile towards the public and catering to Verizon. The other thing is that there is no compelling proof the ISP landscape has changed enough since 2015 to warrant repealing these rules. There is a very strong case that if skillfully argued can demonstrate Pai was acting in an arbitrary fashion against the consumer's best interests, which is the mandate of the FCC.

It's not a sure guarantee, but as I said, the FCC has given the AGs more then enough fodder. It's what happens when you hand the reigns over to people who don't understand the limitations of their office.


Why wouldn't the dems just go along with the GOP and enact NN legislation? Why is Title II so important? This is what I mean by ideology getting in the way. If it wasn't about ideology, then the dems would be working with the GOP to get NN done.

https://morningconsult.com/2017/01/23/thune-net-neutrality-r...


"Why wouldn't the dems just go along with the GOP and enact NN legislation?"

IIRC it would have prevented the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules at all, which makes no sense. Title II is not an ideological position.

(Edit: Thune's compromise would not prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality of some form, but it would restrict the FCC and prevent it from adapting to future net neutrality challenges. For example, it might have prevented the FCC from dealing with new kinds of NN violations like zero-rating.)

If Republicans introduced a new regulatory framework for the FCC to apply to ISPs, which gave the FCC the power to enforce net neutrality rules without the parts of Title II that have nothing to do with this issue, many Democrats would probably support it. The problem is that Republicans have not yet introduced that, and have instead tried to introduce watered down traps that would prevent a future FCC from enforcing strong net neutrality rules.


It's not ideology getting in the way, it's pure corruption. If the Republicans truly believed in free market competition, they would seek to end the agreements between ISPs and local governments that create monopolies. They would put a stop to the ISP's usage of the legal system to hamper competition (Google and Nashville, for example). They would find ways to use federal money to incentivize people to create new ISPs, increasing competition.

As it stands, though, the Republicans are doing none of that. Their only goal has been to undo Title II and then do nothing about the state of broadband access in the United States.

Also:

> Why is Title II so important?

Because right now, it's the only tool we have to enforce NN. I'd love to have more ISP choices and not have to rely on the government to ensure fair play, but money, politics, and business are a hell of a drug for people.


>> Why is Title II so important? > > Because right now, it's the only tool we have to enforce NN.

We have plenty of tools to enforce a thing. We have existing legislation, and we have the power to enact new legislation. We have existing regulation, and we have the power to effect new regulation. We have voices, and we have votes. I am not entirely convinced that Title II vs Title I is the best way to move forward, but I am entirely convinced that it is not the only.

The Telecommunications Act was enacted in 1934, then updated in 1996. That's more than twenty years ago. With significant change in politics and the creative ways in which ISPs have quashed neutrality in the name of network management, Congress has had plenty of opportunity to take notice and offer something more substantial than "Oh, no, how did this happen?"


> We have plenty of tools to enforce a thing. We have existing legislation, and we have the power to enact new legislation. We have existing regulation, and we have the power to effect new regulation. We have voices, and we have votes. I am not entirely convinced that Title II vs Title I is the best way to move forward, but I am entirely convinced that it is not the only.

The current administration and Congress have shown a blatant disregard for the voice of the American citizens beyond a wealthy few. Any legislation they enact will to further enrich themselves and their donors, and only continue to selling of America. Our system is rigged so our votes don't matter in general. The current president ran a "populist" campaign and still lost the popular vote by 3 million. The system is setup so that when Democrats win, they need to win big, and when Republicans lose, they still win. Title II is the best we're going to get in this regime.


> I expect Republicans to be pro-markets, even pro-big-business; I expect Republicans to favor deregulation. It is not acceptable to pursue that agenda by ignoring expert answers to technical questions, regardless of party affiliation. It is one thing to interpret facts... to simply dismiss facts that are being presented to you by experts, when you have a legal obligation to receive and consider such facts, is another matter entirely.

From where I sit, the particular observation you're making about how policy has been treated when it comes to Net Neutrality issues looks exactly like how the Republican party behaves generally. Whether it's about net neutrality, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, climate change, stimulative effects of tax policy, health care -- it sure looks like many Republican positions are primarily arrived at and founded in the profit and power aspirations of a narrow constituency rather than observation and study, and that "deregulation" and "market-based" approaches are primarily invoked as tools or even just fig leaves where they appear useful.

Net Neutrality just happens to be one example where the audience here is predominately familiar enough with the relevant practical issues that it's easy to see.


[flagged]


> Who appointed Ajit Pai to the FCC in the first place?

The FCC by law cannot have more than three commissioners from the same party. The sitting President therefore finds himself in the position of having to appoint up to two commissioners who are NOT from his own party.

I don't think that there is any actual requirement for how the President picks such nominees--so a Democratic President needing to appoint a non-Democrat could in theory choose someone from some left-leaning non-Democrat party like the Green party, and a Republican President could choose someone from a right-leaning non-Republican party, such as the Libertarian party.

In practice, though, what Presidents of both parties usually (always?) have done is ask other party leadership [1] for a name, and then the President nominates that person.

When the nominee comes up for confirmation in the Senate, generally the Senators from each party pretty much automatically vote to confirm the nominees from the other party unless there is something that actually disqualifies them. They don't vote no just because they disagree on ideological grounds.

So yes, Obama originally put Pai on the FCC, but you can't really read anything into that as far as Democrat positions goes. Pai was the choice of Republican leadership for one of the two seats that could not go to a Democrat.

People are too focused on Pai here. Getting rid of net neutrality is in the freaking GOP party platform. By winning the White House, Republicans won a majority on the FCC. It didn't matter which existing Republican commissioner they elevated to the chairmanship (Pai or O'Reilly) or if they made their new, third guy chair (Carr). Whoever they picked was going to do this.

[1] Usually whoever leads the other party in the Senate, I believe.


More broadly the point is that Republicans are not alone in their idea that a bunch of things should be privatized or deregulated; they're just more enthusiastic. The Democrats have been scorning and ignoring their core constituencies (because what are they going to do, vote for Republicans?) for decades. On countless issues both parties march in lock-step with each other and against the wishes of a majority of voters. Simply scolding people for voting for not turning out hard enough for the Democrats seems to miss the point.


From what I've seen Democrats seem to look at the data and studies on the situation to figure out what works best for the economy and the people. Republicans tend to vote on ideology regardless of who it benefits (turns out it mostly benefits those who sponsor their compaigns, surprise surprise).

As for "voting in lock-step", nope not even close. Good analysis of many major votes here: https://www.reddit.com/r/cantmisslists/comments/7gaq5z/both_... Democrats vote to keep the government transparent, honest and benefiting the people way more than Republicans.


>That is not why this is shocking. This proceeding is shocking because the legal basis for this change is dependent on a false statements about the technology involved. It goes beyond just, "Republicans prefer deregulation," or, "Republicans favor market-based approaches." There is plenty of room and a general need for debates about what policy approaches are best, but there is no room for debate about the answer to technical questions.

Haha. Try working in education or, gasp, environmental science, if you think that the contestability of simple facts is shocking.


One could argue that the democrats have an anti-science view on gender. The newest argument from the far left is that there are no physiological differences between man and woman. Biology says otherwise.

The best thing you can do is realize everyone is an idiot and think for yourself rather than the party.


There is no doubt that Democrats sometimes ignore facts and expert opinions. That is a normal part of the political process.

The problem is that in recent months Republicans seem to always ignore the facts being presented to them. That is beyond "politics as usual" and is dangerous and destructive to our country.


Which Democrat/s said this? A blog / site claiming to be far left != Democrats. Saying those in government believe what the some member of the general public believes is not a logical train of thought.


There's a large difference between the Democrats and the far left.


No, the science said there’s no physiological difference between the male and female _brain_. Big difference there, chief.


> what do you expect from Republicans

Disclaimer: I am a canadian citizen.

What I expect from republicans is the opposite of evidence based policy making. None of their policies are supported or motivated by evidence. Pick one from taxes to gun control to sex education.


All politicians occasionally lie about the facts; that is the nature of politics. Yet it was not that long ago that Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to base their policy proposals on (actual) evidence. The decline has been happening for a long time, but in the past decade Republicans have completely abandoned the idea of interpreting (actual) facts from a conservative perspective and have instead come to rely only on "alternative facts" (I believe in Canada you would say "fantasies" but I am not Canadian).

Put another way, I like to remind people that it is possible to be an intelligent conservative, despite the image the Republican party has been projecting lately.


> Put another way, I like to remind people that it is possible to be an intelligent conservative, despite the image the Republican party has been projecting lately.

It's an inevitable truth, with half the country on "either side", that any given side will have a bevy of smart, reasonable, sane people... It's high time to start distinguishing the corporatists, the fascists, and outright liars from "conservatism".

At the same time: with the crusade against reality, common sense, and collective action on long term problems the GOP has wholeheartedly embraced since the 90s (along with the media barons), I think it's high time we remembered that before the 90s we had liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats who weren't afraid of those labels.

The problem isn't that conservatives are "dumb" or "crazy". The problem is that smart conservatives haven't put the GOPs feet to the fire, or changed party affiliation en masse, or primaried the teapartiers to a degree that the tribalism FOX News fosters is offset.


Both parties are irrational, but about different things. Both largely shaft their base and serve different segments of the oligarchy.


Informed gun advocates can actually make a pretty compelling case against gun control, but few are interested in listening. Canada's gun control IIRC isn't that much stricter than the US's, yet there's significantly less gun crime. As Michael Moore pointed out in "Bowling for Columbine" culture seems to play a significant part.


That's interesting but I haven't heard any of these compelling cases. All I see is fear mongering from the NRA.

I'd argue that there isn't a good argument against gun control. The 2nd amendment gives US citizens the right to bear arms but pretty much any sane person will agree that there should be control over some arms. You aren't allowed to build a nuke or make sarin gas in your back yard. If everyone agrees that control over some weapons is a good idea then why would guns specifically be exempt from regulation?

Here are a few questions I'd like to see answered by someone who is against gun control: Should we allow the sale of devices that modify guns to fire at a rate of 100s of rounds a minute? Should we allow the sale of guns to people with a history of violent crime? Are there mental illnesses that should prevent someone from owning a gun? Should we require a cooling down period between when a person decides to buy a gun and when the actual purchase goes through? Are there any places we should not allow people to go while armed with a gun?


Our gun control laws are significantly stricter.


The party of deregulation cannot base its policy goals on facts, by definition. Because the idea that regulations and government intervention are universally bad and all sectors should be deregulated is a dogma that has been disproven by facts many times. So any party with that ideology goes against facts.

For example, in healthcare, it's more than proven by countless studies that countries that provide universal healthcare not only provide better healthcare by almost any metric, but also spend much less in it than e.g. the US. So anyone that defends the broad idea that government intervention is bad goes against facts, period (as does someone that defends the idea that it's always good, of course - the only position compatible with facts is that some sectors may need more regulation and some may need less, on a case-by-case basis, with some individual cases arguable).


So what you are saying is that the republican party in its current form is unvotable. I agree. Even people holding dear republican aligned beliefs should take note and realize that the party is not able to act aligned with their own interest.

I guess partisanship might simply be a huge problem because democrats can‘t recognize republicans as republicans any more - still because there are only 2 relevant parties - republicans don‘t see an alternative to the GOP and still go for the „in theory better aligned“ party. That should give any American pause to think and highlight the importance of choice when it comes to politics. Why not create a new republican party?


>Why not create a new republican party?

The system is heavily weighted in favor of the duopoly (televised debates, etc.). Fixing that might increase the odds a third party would be able to be a genuine contender, rather than simply splitting one side's vote.


Do you have examples of outright falsehoods?


Among other things, the rules claim that DNS is an integral part of the service ISPs provide. The rules also claim that using a third party server requires unusual configuration on the part of consumers. That is false: an ISP could choose not to provide any DNS service and configure their customers' equipment to use a third party server.

(Amazingly enough, DNS is one of the central points in the FCC's argument that ISPs provide an information service.)


If that's the best example of a 'falsehood' the ISPs presented then I'm not surprised the ISPs won. What kind of consumer ISP doesn't provide DNS servers? And in which universe would it be acceptable to sign up for a new ISP and discover DNS resolution didn't work?

Yes, in theory ISPs can outsource it, in theory a company can outsource everything. That doesn't make any difference to arguments about whether it's an integral part of the service though.


Your argument is equivalent to saying that ISPs can "outsource" email to third-party services like Gmail and Outlook. That is an awfully stretched interpretation of what it means to "provide" or to "outsource" a service. ISPs do not need to coordinate with third party DNS servers to have their customers use those servers, any more than they must coordinate with third party email providers.

There are plenty more falsehoods in the order. The order states that DNS is analogous to a gateway server that translates addresses and not analogous to a directory service. The order claims that transparent caching is a critical aspect of ISP service that users have come to depend on, and dismisses comments pointing out that numerous modern web standards break transparent caching. The order states that the service an ISP provides is a "multi-user computer server" through which consumers access the Internet and ignores the fact that most consumers receive public IP addresses and are technically connected directly to the Internet (and that, technically, it is possible to host edge services using a broadband connection, even if doing so is rare). You can go read the order if you want more examples.


While I suppose if you are in to nitpicking it's technically wrong but it's a generalisation that is excusable. It's not as if they are saying something inexcusably erroneous, like for example that JSON is the protocol used to route packets.

In effect I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of ISPs are running their own DNS servers. Making this point rather unimportant.

Any other technical inaccuracies?


"It's not as if they are saying something inexcusably erroneous, like for example that JSON is the protocol used to route packets."

They also suggested the DNS is like a proxy server (in their words, a "gateway") rather than a directory service. Does that count?

"Any other technical inaccuracies?"

That consumers continue to rely on transparent caching and that caching is a core ISP service. The FCC dismissed comments pointing out that TLS breaks transparent caching on the basis that there are websites that do not use TLS.

The order also claims that because people are able to access websites via an ISP network, the ISP provides people with the capability of whatever those websites do (e.g. under the order's reasoning, Verizon is providing me with the capability to have this conversation with you). You can argue that is an opinion and not a fact, but the order does not apply it consistently; for example, it does not assert that a phone company is providing an information service by virtue of its customers' ability to use a dialup ISP.

The order claims that by connecting to your ISP's network, you are receiving, "...computer access by multiple users to a computer server...that provides access to the Internet." Maybe that is just how the FCC interprets routers, but again it is not being consistently applied e.g. to the phone system.

If you want more, go read the order; the technical analysis is not very long.


Yes referring to a DNS server as a gateway is obviously wrong.

I'm not aware of how much caching is used, but to my knowledge is not that common as it would introduce a lot of problems for developers. This is also wrong.

How much of their arguments are based on DNS and caching?


The Tax Plan will pay for itself.

That is an outright falsehood.

"Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), Congress's nonpartisan scorekeeper, predicted that the Senate tax bill would add about 0.1 percent more a year to growth over the next decade, far less than what Treasury says. JCT took into account the economic effects of the tax cuts on individual and business taxes, but not other policy changes advocated by the administration, such as welfare reform. The JCT says the Senate bill's total cost would be $1 trillion after considering growth effects.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/11/the-t...

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/364415-wharton-study-gop-t...


So your 'evidence' is based on a group that purports to see the economic future? That's hardly evidence.


> To simply dismiss facts that are being presented to you by experts, when you have a legal obligation to receive and consider such facts, is another matter entirely.

That makes it sound like you can sue the FCC for not meeting their legal obligations here. Is that viable?


If I'm interpreting you correctly, you can totally sue the FCC for matters like this, and in fact, people are doing just that. [1]

1: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/state-attorneys-...


Marvellous! :)


That's a silly expectation for a party that denies science whenever it's inconvenient. Climate change, the war on drugs, abortion, and more are all examples of this. This is the party of anti-intellectualism and anti-science, yet somehow you expect them to treat the Internet differently?


Most of drug, abortion policy is due to values, not science.

You're corrupting the notion of science to say otherwise.


I did not say otherwise. I completely agree. That is exactly the problem. Policy is based on people's delusions and stupidity, not science.


Are you saying that it's good to base drug and abortion policies on values even though science indicates that those value based policies do more societal harm than good?

Is it a good policy to harm people as long as you are faithful to some set of values?


Science can't really measure 'societal harm', it's not a well defined concept. The moment government delegates what 'societal harm' and 'societal benefit' mean to a bunch of self-proclaimed scientists they've effectively given up on democracy and delegated to a dictatorship of doctorates. But history shows us that having a PhD is hardly a magic talisman against dangerous or delusional thinking.


Ok. What about the cases when value based policies have scientifically measurable effects exactly opposite to stated also value based goals of the policy?

I.e. to reduce teen pregnancies we create policy of abstinence only sex education. You can measure that this policy causes exactly opposite effect yet value based lawmakers cling to it.

As for scientific inability to objectively define societal harm...

That's what's beautiful in science. You can define it any way you like and then measure how well policy causes the effects fulfilling the definition. You can define it as "less people addicted" or "less addicts homeless" or "less addicts without steady jobs" or "less people jailed for non violent crime" or "less violent crime". Definitions are plenty. But if you ignore any measurements by any definitions and make laws just based on your values then you are doing favor to noone.


They are presumably evaluating the benefit in ways that are wider than just teen pregnancy rates (i.e. they probably assume that other policies would cause fewer pregnancies but more teenage sex and their real goal is to reduce teenage sex).

Not that I agree with teaching abstinence to teenagers, that's daft. But I've learned over the years that simplifying an apparently rational adult's views down to a single factor "it's so obvious they must be idiots" analysis usually leads to poor analysis.


> their real goal is to reduce teenage sex

I don't get it. When they are in position of power they secretly want teenagers to have less sex, but they don't tell that anybody, instead they enact policy that they think will do that loudly claiming it is to reduce teen pregnancies despite the scientific fact it does exactly opposite thing....

This is beyond silly scenario. Way simpler explanation is that they simply ignore the facts when they counter their believes and cultivate illusion they will still be right in the end despite available and mounting evidence to the contrary.


Everyone agrees teen pregnancy is bad. It's a bipartisan issue. Not everyone agrees teen sex in general is bad. So it makes sense for them to hang their preferred policy on that issue.

Yes, you can assume your opponents are just thick as bricks and randomly generate policies with no basis. You aren't ever going to make political progress that way though. You'll just irritate them and build support for them: "you're too stupid to have an opinion" is a vote winning position in no democracies ever.


> Everyone agrees teen pregnancy is bad.

Apparently they don't agree, at least not as bad as teen sex since they are willing to, under false pretense, enact policy that factually increases teen pregnancy rates just to possibly decrease teen sex.

They are willing to lie to their constituents to gain support of their opposition. Not to mention that they harm both sides on yhe issue of teen pregnancy, not to mention actual teens.

No matter how you spin it it still doesn't sound good. Even worse. I'd prefer to think my opponent as misguided not machiavellian and malicious towards his own supporters.


Whether there are mistakes in the official documents doesn't change anything about the policy. They weren't persuaded because they didn't receive a persuasive argument about why net neutrality is supposed to help. That doesn't mean they weren't persuaded that some of the "facts" were wrong, it means that they weren't persuaded in terms of opinions. The arguments of the ISP are obviously biased and that should surprise nobody. I think it's pretty reasonable to assume the same thing about tech companies. Is e.g. Netflix unbiased when the net neutrality question pretty much came up in regards to Netflix? You would have to be insane to claim that Netflix (or Google, or Facebook, or Reddit) aren't supporting this (at least to some extent) for the sake of increasing their own profit margins.

The Right is arguing for a free market economy and decreased regulation not because they are "going against the facts." There is no fact stating that "net neutrality is necessary for the world to function" or "internet is a human right" or whatever. All of these things are opinions. You have the opinion that net neutrality is needed, but there is no fact backing that statement.

> It is not acceptable to pursue that agenda by ignoring expert answers to technical questions

Here's what you're missing: they don't oppose net neutrality because of what the ISPs said about it. They oppose it because it is a regulation that limits the free market. There is no fact or fiction to this opinion, it's like saying "because there's facts to show that speech can hurt people, free speech should be restricted." I agree that speech can hurt someone, but I disagree that it should be restricted. Does that mean I'm fighting the facts here?


"That doesn't mean they weren't persuaded that some of the "facts" were wrong"

Why did they repeat the false statements from the NPRM in the final draft is that is true? Why did they dismiss comments correcting falsehoods in the NPRM as not persuasive?

"it means that they weren't persuaded in terms of opinions"

I am not talking about opinions. I am talking about the details of core Internet technologies like IP, DHCP, DNS, etc. The rule change was based on an argument that ISPs meet the legal definition of an "information service." To make that argument the FCC's NPRM and the final draft make several false statements about the technical details of the Internet.

Whether or not net neutrality regulation is proper is a different matter. This order actually removes net neutrality requirements as a side effect. What the order actually does is change the FCC's official legal classification of broadband Internet service from "telecommunications service" to "information service." The 2015 rule change also involved changing ISP classification, in response to a successful court challenge to earlier net neutrality regulations that were based on the "information service" classification. Basically, the courts determined that an "information service" cannot be subject to net neutrality rules, because that is a "common carrier" requirement that can only be imposed on a "telecommunication service."

"they don't oppose net neutrality because of what the ISPs said about it"

Maybe so, but in terms of the technical details this entire order is predicated on, the FCC for the most part cites the comments of ISPs as the truth, and dismisses everything else.


The core issue here is surely not Dems vs Reps but rather that there's a meaningful difference in law between "information service" and "telecommunications service". This is the kind of vague regulatory language that causes so many fights in the halls of power.

Can someone reasonably argue an ISP is an information service? Hell yes! The internet started out by being called "the information superhighway", I guess some of us here are old enough to remember that. The internet is literally used to retrieve information, that's all it does. If an ISP is the on-ramp to the information superhighway then it can obviously be classified as an information service.

Can someone else reasonably argue an ISP is a telecommunications service? Hell yes! ISPs move packets around, they may also provide other forms of information on top, but their core service is the movement of data over wires: surely the essence of being telecoms.

In such arguments it's important to take a step back and realise it can legitimately go either way. The problem is not the players, it's the game. And the only way to fix that is to change the rules of the game. Instead of bickering about the exact bucket into which ISPs fall, pass a new law that is explicitly targeting ISPs and say explicitly what they can or cannot do.


"The internet is literally used to retrieve information, that's all it does."

That is false. The Internet supports communication between the end points; information retrieval can be built using communication, but the Internet itself is more than that. For example, it is also possible to use the Internet for two-way voice communication (VoIP).

What is important to remember about the "information service" classification is that it has a specific legal meaning that was meant to capture the service provided by AOL, Compuserve, and other early consumer ISPs. At the time Internet access was just one of many features provided by online services, and some truly acted as "gateways" and did not us IP for the last-mile connection. Obviously that is not what ISP service looks like today; the FCC had to really dig to even find examples of ISPs providing something that meets the "information service" definition (the best they could come up with is DNS and transparent caching).


> The rule change was based on an argument that ISPs meet the legal definition of an "information service."

It was an excuse and as such it doesn't have to be real. ISPs donated 100mil$ to the congress. The only reason for an excuse is that they couldn't say "Hey, NNaggers, you haven't paid us nearly as much as ISPs"

ISPs are just more aware than idelistically arogant silicon valley what it means to enter public political discourse. You do it with cash, arguments are secondary and just a way of spinning the decision that has already been made with money.


1. voters did not elect a Republican government. Gerrymandering has given Republicans wins in many places where Democrats would have won in any other universe. Likely rigged electronic voting machines that have no audit trail have given Republicans votes they would not have had. *Targeted voter suppression campaigns have prevented people from voting who would have tipped the scales in favor of Democrats.

2. Republicans (and many Democrats) do not "under-regulate". They regulate in favor of paying corporations. Those regulations are not all typical visible regulations; many are special provisions or loopholes. That is not laissez-faire.

3. Since you re-iterate, I re-iterate. Republicans are not a party of deregulation. They are a party that supports monopolistic, bully-capitalist behaviors.

The only real solution for the US is that it suffer a slow decline in global and economic relevance until it becomes desperate for a change in behavior. Only then will the shit be flushed out of the government and campaign finance rules put in place to prevent another corrupt government that serves a very limited few people at the cost of 330million others.


> 1. voters did not elect a Republican government. Gerrymandering has given Republicans wins in many places where Democrats would have won in any other universe. Likely rigged electronic voting machines that have no audit trail have given Republicans votes they would not have had. *Targeted voter suppression campaigns have prevented people from voting who would have tipped the scales in favor of Democrats.

Regardless of the other points, _millions_ of voters selected Republican. Fixing gerrymandering, voter suppression, voter turn out, etc, doesn't change the fact that of those who did vote, picked republican. Fixing those issues may change the _result_ of the election but it won't change millions of people's individual minds.

Millions picked this government and I would guess the primary reason is abortion law as this party seems to like laws that favor corporations over people.


Eh, there’s a difference between the parent comments (“voters elected...”) and yours (“voters selected ... [regardless of] the result of the election”).

Your statement is technically still true if only 1% of voters chose a given party. The discussion above is whether a given party was given a democratic mandate to enact its policies. When the fundamental idea of a democratic election is rule by popular consent, the fact that the minority has rigged the system to give them wins despite lacking majority popular consent undermines the very idea of election.

That some portion of the people still “selected” a given party is irrelevant. Entirely.


>Targeted voter suppression campaigns have prevented people from voting who would have tipped the scales in favor of Democrats.

And the Democrats have spun reasonable measures, such as requiring some sort of identification to vote, as "suppression", possibly so those who aren't citizens can vote. Who cheats more? Who knows.

The low-hanging fruit for the Democrats is, however:

1) Prioritize lower/middle class economic concerns over progressive identity politics

2) Push the DNC not to scuttle candidates, like Bernie, that people don't universally loathe

If those two things get done, the Democrats have a good chance going forward. Otherwise, who knows.


No, in person voter fraud is well studied and considered so uncommon that it is a red herring. If it were truly considered a problem then mail in ballots would require some proof that the correct person voted. That's the low hanging fruit for vulnerability of voting, why isn't it fixed? You can't even catch the perpetrator! Because rural voters who support them would scream, they don't care about fixing the gaping security hole.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/12/16767426/...

1) has identity politics has been shown to be such a loser for republicans? 2) since more people voted for Hillary than Trump, is "universal" loathing actually a problem for presidential candidates?

Roy Jones won 6/7 districts and lost the popular vote. Pretty much the definition of gerrymandering, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/13/how-d...


Saying that someone won the popular vote but not the election is identical to saying that someone won in the more densely populated area but lost in the more sparsely populated areas. It don't prove gerrymandering, which is the intent to arrange voting districts to manipulate elections. The intent is the key here and not the result.

Having seats allocated by area rather than population is an very old tactic to unify a large number of small provinces into a single nation. Rural voters votes need to still feel like its worth to vote, even if they are outnumbered by 10 to 1 to the voice and needs of the more populated areas. Similar how people view voting of third-party to be a wasted vote, so is it believed that people in low population areas would feel if election was purely based on the popular vote. This is not the definition of gerrymandering, but rather policy that is designed to prevent splintering of nations and civil war.

Did Roy Jones or his party rearrange the district to orchestrate a election win? If so then that is gerrymandering. If not then the idea of having voting districts rather than popular vote is really just the trade that happened a long time ago between low and high populated areas being applied to all levels.


For reference, the previous commenter was talking about AL's 7 congressional districts. US congressional districts are defined based on population (they're suppose to be equally sized intra-state).


>has identity politics has been shown to be such a loser for republicans?

Pretty much, which is why they didn't really do it. Trump stole from Bernie's playbook - if you take his last few ads as a representative sample - they pushed the class warfare angle pretty hard - starring Lloyd Blankfein, ironically enough.

That played really effectively off Hillary's "business as usual ; government is hard ; I work hard" angle, and was probably responsible for her losing Michigan - not exactly a state that has done well out of the status quo or the trade deals she championed.

>2) since more people voted for Hillary than Trump, is "universal" loathing actually a problem for presidential candidates?

Yes, because the numbers that stayed home in disgust outnumbered both candidates. Voter turnout is what killed Hillary's chances, not "white supremacists" or "fake news" or whatever, and that voter turnout was because she was such a thoroughly loathed individual - which was actually largely her doing.


Re: 2 - that's an inaccurate way of representing it. Hillary had an 0.1% difference in voter turnaround relative to Obama in 2012. What actually won the election for Trump was (a) the distribution of votes across the landscape and how that translates to Electoral College votes and (b) demographically speaking, white people (at every income level).


What exactly is your point about white people?

Are you claiming this is about racism? If this was a race issue, the black man would've lost (instead he won both times) and the white woman would've won. Or am I missing something?


> Are you claiming this is about racism? If this was a race issue, the black man would've lost (instead he won both times) and the white woman would've won. Or am I missing something?

I don't claim either side of that question, but I just have to say that your statement is patently false.

Hypothetically all racists could vote one way, and still lose an election (or turn the tides), depending on the size of that group.


If all white people in the US had voted for McCain instead of Obama, Obama would've lost. Literally impossible for there to be any other outcome.


Well, that statement is only relevant if you assume that all white people are racists, which I think is absurd.


That was my point.

What is the point of saying "white people won Trump the election" if your underlying presumption is not "all whites are racist".


Demographic analysis != racism


Stating demographics != analysis

Pointing out that "white people won Trump the election" does not really mean anything to me. Which is why I asked for clarification from OP. I feel like I'm supposed to understand some veiled inference, but I'd rather OP explicitly say what they mean.


That's always what the Dems are claiming these days.

Though, if you dig deeper, economic distress (which correlates to race) is was the real mover.

Or, to put it as Bill Clinton once did just before he won an election, "it's the economy, stupid".


My last mail in ballot was rejected because the state of Texas thought the signature on the ballot and the signature on the envelope didn’t match.

So much for my scribble sig.


> Roy Jones won 6/7 districts and lost the popular vote. Pretty much the definition of gerrymandering

No, it's a common consequence of the fact that partisan leanings aren't uniformly distributed that will be able to occur in almost any situation where districts aren't artificially drawn to compensate form that fact, which even most proposals to use blind algorithms for districting wouldn't do.

Now, in the case of Alabama, it's absolutely the case that the Congressional districts are the result of a partisan gerrymander, but simply the fact that a party can lose a statewide vote while winning in the vast majority of districts doesn't prove that; the way democratic voters are often hyperconcentrated in urban centers makes that quite plausible, especially for a Republican statewide loss, without gerrymandering.

Which is why we need to eliminate FPTP for House elections, not just limit the ability to.deliberately distort districts.


>since more people voted for Hillary than Trump, is "universal" loathing actually a problem for presidential candidates?

Evidently so seeing as getting the most votes in total isn't what was required to win.


Well, exactly, my point is that you could be loathed by more people and still win!


Requiring ID often is voter suppression. Democrats repeatedly offer to support these requirements if ID is free and easy to obtain. Of course, republicans often actively work against that. In 2015 in Alabama, DMVs in predominantly black (and therefore democrat) areas were going to be closed closed by republicans in power, making it harder to obtain ID for democrats. Republicans have repeatedly been caught talking about how voter ID law is pushed only for partisan advantage. Is it really surprising the democrats are wary?

Yes, voter ID requirements, while not necessary by any metric I can see, sound reasonable, but they are being abused as a tool for suppression. If republicans truly care, they just need to include law that enforces free and easy access to ID for everyone.


In the Netherlands we require ID to vote and having an ID is not free but it is compulsory. In most cities there is only 1 place where you can get an ID. You also automatically get a hard to forge letter in the mail that you have to bring with you. Seems like common sense to me. The idea that anybody can vote (multiple times, even) seems crazy to anybody outside the US. Don't you need an ID many times in your life? How do you prevent people from getting married / applying for welfare / getting a job in somebody else's name? How do you verify somebody's age for age restricted activities?


All over Europe they have a requirement that you carry ID at all times. It's very handy for governments.

It is also a hangover from Nazi occupation. The UK has no ID that you have to carry at all times, nor does the US.

So where as requiring ID in the Netherlands is a non issue it's a massive issue in the US, especially as many people don't need a passport if they never leave the US.

Personally I prefer the US and UK systems. I like the basic level of anonymity that you have from not having to carry ID.


> All over Europe they have a requirement that you carry ID at all times.

This varies country by country. I would say roughly half the countries require one and the other half not (and even less require it for foreign citizens)

There is some other weirdness though. As we are in the Schengen area there is no border control and thus the police have been given the authority to look for people here illegally and thus they are allowed to ask anyone to identify themselves basically without any reason. If you can't identify yourself they can take you to the police station to verify who you are.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_identity_cards_in_the...

And in some places (like Finland) you can vote without one if you can prove who you are in some other way (for example have a relative with you who has one and the police give out temporary free ID cards for voting). Though as the drivers license works as a valid id in Finland it usually isn't much of an issue (very few actually have the official id card thingie).

Also everyone registered to vote automatically. For early voting you can use any polling station (on the actual election day you have to use the one assigned to you)


The question is not whether you have to carry an ID on you at all times, but whether you have to show your ID to vote. Having an ID does not really change anything with respect to anonymity, unless you have to carry it. Something that really impacts anonymity and privacy: mobile phones.


>The question is not whether you have to carry an ID on you at all times, but whether you have to show your ID to vote.

No, but it is nontheless relevant: in the Netherlands one is compelled to carry ID. Absolutely no such requirement exists in the US. So it's a different situation where an ID is required to vote in a country where carrying ID is already compelled compared to requiring an ID to vote in a country where no such ID-carrying requirements exist and many find the notion of compelled ID-carrying odious.


That would be a good point if an ID was not required for many other activities. I don't understand why people think it's voter suppression that you need an ID to vote, but not, say, marriage suppression that you need an ID to marry.


Requiring an ID isn’t in itself voter suppression. Actions taken that reduce (ease of) access to obtaining that ID is suppression.

A marriage also isn’t as time-sensitive as a vote, so that’s somewhat different. If someone who lacked ID goes to the poll to vote and is rejected for not having ID, this is different from going to the City Hall to register a marriage. You can do the marriage on another day. The vote, not so much.


Why can't you get the ID some time before the vote?


In terms of political philosophy it's a fundamental issue. What is paramount? The sovereignty of the individual, or the government?


Voting multiple times doesn't happen, at least not easily. The U.S. voting system requires people to register ahead of time. They are assigned a specific voting location. When that person arrives s/he must verify their address/some info.

Certainly not fool-proof, but enough hurdles to weed out fraud. Seems to work as voter fraud is minimal.


Funnily enough the few reported instances of actual voters voting multiple times this past election were (almost?) all people attempting to vote multiple times for Trump.

One such instance: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/01/2...


I'm actually from the UK - but either way, I feel like my post made it clear that I don't think having ID is a problem, the problem is attempt to increase friction on voting for a subset of the population by making getting that ID harder in areas where your opposition has more supporters.

The issue is that the republicans keep trying to push through legislation that requires ID to be shown, while providing no guarantees on ID availability. If they want it to go through, they just need to add the guarantee and then it can't be used for partisan gain. They refuse to do so, and have repeatedly abused ID requirements when passed by restricting access in democrat-supporting areas.


>In the Netherlands we require ID to vote and having an ID is not free but it is compulsory.

But the easy access point remains, doesn't it?

Or would you consider "I wanted to vote, but just couldn't get an ID" a plausible excuse in the Netherlands?

Edit: Clarification, excuse to not vote.


No, that is not an excuse. They will not let you vote if you do not have an ID. Why should it be an excuse anywhere? I just looked it up; getting an ID is cheaper in the US than in the Netherlands. If it is somehow extremely difficult to obtain an ID in the US, then surely the fact that this would make it difficult to vote is the least of the problems, since you presumably need an ID for lots of other things, like opening a bank account and getting married. Why is the outcry only about voting?


Because the party in power is actively restricting access in areas that predominantly vote for their opposition. While it may still be possible to get IDs, increasing friction will definitely result in some not getting them. Should that kind of gamesmanship be legal when it comes to voting?

It's worth noting that another example specifically is legal in the US - you are legally allowed to gerrymander for political gain. Most people I talk to agree this is wrong too.

The reason it's mainly focused on voting is because the idea of voting as an enshrined right is very important, especially in the US. Everyone is meant to get a vote, and attempts to stop people from voting are seen as an attack on the core principles and foundations of the country.


Why is the focus almost entirely on not requiring identification for voting then, and not on making it easier to get an ID? It seems to me that, unless the point is to allow people to vote illegally, getting people an ID is a far more important issue since you need it for most important actions in your life (getting a job, getting married, etc.), and many unimportant actions too. How hard is it really to get an ID? From a European perspective this discussion makes no sense at all. If somebody proposed no longer requiring an ID to vote they'd be laughed out of the room, and if somebody proposed to set up a system to make it hard for a specific party's voters to get an ID there would be a huge outcry.


Oh come on, you posted 2 hours after i clarified i meant excuse to not vote, your first point completely missed. (the rest is tackled by Latty)


Not having an ID isn't a plausible excuse for anything. You really need to have your ID.


"I lost my ID, I need a new one", "Sure. Please show me your ID so I can ensure you are who you say you are and issue you a new one", "I can't do that, I lost it", "Then please wait until you receive the certified letter attesting to the fact you are who you say you are", "But I need to vote", "You'll need ID for that", "I know, but I lost it", "Then you need to get a new one".

Repeat.


I don't understand the problem. If you do not have an ID you do not get to vote. The reason why you do not have an ID is irrelevant; without an ID they cannot verify that you are casting your own vote. Without this requirement it would be possible for people to buy other people's "stempas" (the letter that you get in the mail that allows you to cast one vote). That would be very bad because it allows wealthy people to cast multiple votes. This is also why there are strict rules about only one person entering into a voting booth, and why you are not allowed to take a picture of your ballot.


Except that's how it works in the US, and voter fraud rarely ever happens.

And the problem is it disenfranchises people. As others mentioned, it really depends on what you want to prioritize on.


How do you know that voter fraud rarely if ever happens if you don't ask for an ID? Why does requiring an ID disenfranchise people? If people are prevented from getting an ID then surely the issue is that people are prevented from getting an ID, which is necessary for lots of important actions, and not that you can't vote without an ID? Making it about voter suppression makes it seem like the only thing that matters is that these people vote for the right party, and not how not having an ID impacts their lives.


>Or would you consider "I wanted to vote, but just couldn't get an ID" a plausible excuse in the Netherlands?

Carrying ID is compelled by law in the NL. But you are correct that it is easier to access and it is not a burden to obtain.


FYI, the current laws in Alabama provide voters with free ID and will give them a free ride to obtain that ID. Pretty reasonable, and if you look at the latest election, voter suppression (if that is a goal) must have been pretty ineffective!

I don't see any reason why we can't have BOTH high election integrity and nearly universal access. Personally I'm in favor of both sensible, easy to obtain voter ID and measures to increase turnout, such as making election day a national holiday. (High participation vs election integrity is not an either-or choice. Why do so many people insist on having one but not the other? Is there any reason other than seeking partisan advantage?)


The problem is many Republicans have, off the record, admitted that voter ID is specifically about voter suppression, and that voter fraud is a non-issue (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/us/some-republicans-ackno...)

That makes Dems really, really reluctant to support those laws.

Now, objectively, is it fair to require ID if it's free, and easily obtainable? Probably. But those are both more complicated than you think. Per your Alabama example; do people know about it? How do they arrange a free ride if they don't have internet access (such that they can find the number to call)? For the working poor, are these IDs availabile "after hours", i.e., on Sundays and outside the hours of 8-5 (answer: no, the only locations are governmental offices)? Is the process from departing from their home, to the location, and back again, sufficiently short that a working mother with her kids will be able to take that amount of time? And what about the trip to the social security office to get their SS card, and etc (because the process of getting an ID is a pain in the ass if you don't have anything to start with).

Alabama, which you mention, still doesn't have mobile ID units, which was talked about as part of the bill that required voter ID (in 2011...), and which is still listed on their governmental website ( http://sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes/photo-voter-id/mobile-i... ). The technology exists to know when no adult at a given address holds a photo ID, and to send out a letter to ask if any resident wishes to get one, and if so to please send in a reply letter with a date and time they'd like the mobile unit to show. But we don't do that anywhere, and none of these proposals suggest doing so (because these proposals generally aren't willing to actually spend that much money to prevent voter fraud, because, again, it's a non-issue)


I understand the reluctance on the part of Dems, for the reasons you point out.

I disagree that voter fraud is a non-issue, mainly because it gets brought out every time a Republican candidate loses. It is technically a vulnerability in the process, even if it isn't currently being exploited. Why not patch it? If nothing else it will stop those specific complaints. If we fix enough holes in the process then voters will start to feel more confident that results are legitimate. This is important if we don't want to descend further into political tribalism and violent conflict.

The mobile ID units sound like a great solution.


I think I was clear in my post that I agree that giving free ID to everyone is the preferred solution. The issue is that whenever laws are passed requiring voter ID, the law doesn't tend to come hand-in-hand with equally strong requirements on ID availability.

There have been a lot of attempts to use it to gain partisan advantage, so why would the democrats support it without guarantees it won't be used for that purpose? After you have had your wallet stolen three times, you get pretty wary of the guy going "please just put your wallet here", but refuses to promise he won't touch it.


> The issue is that whenever laws are passed requiring voter ID, the law doesn't tend to come hand-in-hand with equally strong requirements on ID availability.

I completely agree. Typically Republicans propose these laws, and they are usually filled with half-considered measures that are ripe for abuse.

Neither party really seems to want to "solve" these issues properly. Democrats typically oppose all forms of voter ID and Republicans typically oppose measures that increase participation (including early voting, easier registration, etc). Even worse, BOTH parties resist increased ballot access for independents and third parties, and neither party seems to be interested in improved auditing of election systems.

The only bright spot recently is Colorado, which just launched formal post-election audits to validate election results. Every district should be doing this!

So much is on the line when it comes to free and fair elections. The worst part about the status quo is that the populace increasingly believes that the game is rigged -- and they aren't entirely wrong -- leading to generally low turnout and even less motivation to tackle the hard problems. It's an ugly feedback loop.


Are you serious? With all the allegations of election fraud you seriously think it's okay to go to the voting station without identifying yourself? Do you have any idea how crazy this sounds to the rest of the developed world?


I doesn't sound crazy at all. In Australia no one shows ID, we have a voter roll. You walk up and say your name, which is found on the voter roll and you then go an vote.

The name is checked off, as it is compulsory to vote in Australia, so you get rid of all the shannigans about turnout, and actually find out what all the people want rather than a subset.


And to make it clear the reason Australians don't need ID is because voting is compulsory so turnout is >90% each election.


Australian here. If often wondered if anyone checks those rolls. What's to stop a motivated person from going to several polling booths and casting multiple votes? I suspect this doesn't happen much.


In the UK you just:

Go to a polling station. State your name and address. They cross your name off and you get a card Make your choices and put it in a box.

There is negligible voter fraud.


Sure, but you need to register in advance for the electoral roll, and that registration is linked to an actual known identity (usually via your National Insurance number). And if you arrive at the polling station and someone has already "stolen" your vote, I'm sure you can contest that, no?

That is why your UK credit score has "being on the electoral roll" as a major component - private companies trust the registration process required to vote.


In the USA you have to register in advance for the electoral roll (which is tied to your SSN or DMV number) and show up with photo ID in these states. If voter fraud were occuring people would, as you say, notice that their vote had been stolen. This is why the photo ID requirement seems superfluous.


Yes, you need to register in advance in both places. However, SSNs are known to be fairly easy to use fradulently. Much more so than the UK's NI number, which is far better managed, tracked, and linked more closely to employment and social services. In the US, there have been many instances where the SSNs of dead people have been abused for a variety of reasons [1].

As to photo ID - there is no federal mandate to have photo ID for voting, and only 15 states require voters to show up to polls with a photo ID [2]. And those states that do are routinely accused by democrats of voter suppression for this requirement. That's kinda the point. One side argues that SSN verification is ripe for abuse, the other side argues that requiring ID is voter suppression.

In order to claim that the system is not ripe for abuse, I think you'd need to prove that SSNs are secure, which is gonna be a major problem because they are definitely not.

1: https://www.cnbc.com/2015/03/11/dead-peoples-social-security...

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_ID_laws_in_the_United_St...


There is a postal vote fraud. I wouldn't say it was common, but it's definitely not negligible.


https://www.ncpolitics.uk/2016/12/how-big-a-problem-is-votin...

> According to the data provided in the report, there were 51.4 million votes cast across the UK in 2015, with 26 allegations of voting fraud relation to in person voting and 11 relating to proxy voting, a total of 37.

It seems negligible.


That's just the number of occurrences, not the number of votes. One postal voting instance could be hundreds of votes. EG: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1487144/Judge-lambast...


This sounds barbarian to me!


This is one of the ways "dead" people can keep voting over and over long after they've passed away.


Except the allegations all have no proof, despite being investigated, and meanwhile voter suppression has happened, repeatedly. Courts have forced states with voter ID laws to reopen DMVs, for example, where they were closed in predominantly black areas.

You are also completely ignoring the core part of my post, where I say there is literally no issue with requiring ID, provided you ensure that everyone has easy access to it at minimal cost. If you want to require one, require the other - it's hardly a big ask.


> In 2015 in Alabama, DMVs in predominantly black (and therefore democrat)

In 2017 in Alabama black people had an amazing ~30% turnout for the senate elections. More than for President Obama.

I don't think requiring ID is a real issue in Alabama.


To those downvoting this comment, please think hard about whether you're just downvoting because you disagree with them. The comment wasn't inflammatory, and does counter the comment that it's replying to in a logical manner.

We need to allow for civil discourse between people we disagree with, or else we'll form an echo chamber.


It's a response to a comment saying "Black people's votes are routinely suppressed" with "Black people don't vote enough, that's the real problem!" - yes, at least in part, because they are being suppressed!

It's just like when people quote the percentage of black people in prison as some kind of proof of inherent black immorality. They are ignoring the root causes that aren't the fact those people are black: average wealth, systematic racism, etc...

The comment is getting down voted because it's just logically stupid - it's like someone coming to you with the problem that they don't have any food, and you going "Well, you haven't eaten a meal all week! Maybe start there." - it's not useful or a "counter", it's just restating the problem and pretending it's the fault of the victim.

Compare that voting figure to the national average for people in a similar socio-economic class to the average black person, and then consider they are having votes suppressed as well. Not to mention a political history of being ignored, discriminated against and lied to that would likely reduce anyone's faith in the system.

The idea that it's somehow their fault they are being targeted for systematic suppression or that we shouldn't care about the issue because they, as a population, have low turnout, is just flat-out stupid.


>And the Democrats have spun reasonable measures, such as requiring some sort of identification to vote, as "suppression", possibly so those who aren't citizens can vote. Who cheats more? Who knows.

Everyone knows: it's the Republicans, and it's not close. Voter fraud is not real. It doesn't happen. It's kind of amazing that it doesn't, but that's the facts.

Voter ID laws and stringent voter registration laws do disproportionately suppress the vote of Democratic-leaning subpopulations; that's also a proven fact that's not up for debate. Poor and non-white voters are less likely to have acceptable identification readily to hand, and even when they do, poll workers in certain areas have a bad habit of suddenly changing the rules or not accepting identification for certain voters.


If people don't have ID how can you know that there's no fraud? That seems kind of circular. It's kind of amazing that this is even a debate, what kind of voting system doesn't require you to prove you're a citizen?

I'm not sure you should be so trusting of studies of ID fraud. For the longest time it was claimed in Europe that migrants who 'lose' their ID and commit asylum fraud are a tiny proportion of the total. Now there are large scale medical studies being done and it turns out in some countries that maybe 70-80% of the asylum seekers who claimed to be children are in fact over 18. Many of the lost ID documents were deliberately lost or destroyed to enable this sort of thing.


> how can you know there’s no fraud?

Because the FBI has repeatedly investigated these claims and found them lacking in merit. Various academics have studied it. Police departments have been called in. There’s never anything noteworthy there. It’s one of those things for which there’s no evidence of meaningful fraud, which everyone who has -bothered looking into the issue- knows, rather than proclaiming “but there must be.”

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/The...


Can you highlight where in the PDF they set out their methodology for determining voter fraud?

It seems difficult to measure but easy to fix.


> what kind of voting system doesn't require you to prove you're a citizen?

The UK, really. If you know someone's name and address, you can steal their vote pretty easily.

https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk/polling-stations

> Give your name and address to the staff inside the polling station when you arrive. You don’t have to take your poll card with you.


You just have to know that the guy who you are voting for doesn't also show up. That seems rather tough.....


That's if you only fake one vote, yes. But it would be relatively easy to visit a whole bunch of polling stations (even on foot you could do 15-20 in a day). And also easy to get a whole bunch of people doing this.

(I'm surprised this hasn't actually been tried before now.)


> But it would be relatively easy to visit a whole bunch of polling stations

That would make it harder. If you try it for one vote in one place there's a decent chance you might get away with it. You have to hope that the person isn't voting at the same time you are, that the poll workers don't recognize the person, that others voting there don't, etc. It's quite possible you'll get caught, considering these are local areas, but there's enough people that you might get away with it once. But try it 10-20 times, and the likelihood that you're going to get caught increases a lot. And even trying it 10-20 times doesn't mean 10-20 votes, since if the person already voted you'll get a provisional ballot.

So even trying to get a handful of extra votes is extremely risky. If you tried to organize a dozen people to do the same, the chance you're going to get caught goes up massively - both because of the possibility of getting caught in the polling place mentioned before, and the fact that if you try to organize a group like that there's a good chance something will leak out/someone will tell people.

You're in a situation where it's very likely to be caught and, even in the off chance that you succeeded, you wouldn't even be creating enough votes to impact the vast majority of elections. This is why in person voter fraud is so rare.


It has - there were Facebook posts from students in the last UK election boasting that they'd voted multiple times. Nothing happened to them.

I thought you had to show ID to vote in the UK. But I've done postal voting for the last 10 years or so. So I guess my memory is bad.


I don't think you can't quite compare asylum ID fraud with voter ID fraud.

From what I understand, for people with some moral sense (so every non-psychopath), to be motivated enough to commit fraud, a mixture of selfishness and self-justification is required. The latter part is where the two examples differ here.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of asylum seekers, from an objective, rational point of view, asylum fraud comes down to trying to maximize one's chances of success against a system set up to act as a gatekeeper.

It is not hard to see why asylum seekers would find it very easy to morally justify committing fraud to themselves. From their POV, said system has xenophobic and racist elements to it, and the gatekeeping is purely intended to separate the haves from the have-nots. If rules feel unfair, people are less likely to respect them.

And that's not even taking into account the factor of "being sent back would put your life in danger".

By the way, I'm not saying that all asylum seekers are saints; a typical example are the guys from countries that have no political problems, and simply ask for asylum knowing that the application will be rejected (they're pretty easy to spot: they're the bored guys not worried about family back home, harassing the female asylum seekers). They exploit the time it takes for administration to prove out that they have no reason to leave, using the asylum seeking center as some kind of motel. This is obviously a problem, and it takes away resources for people from warzones who genuinely need asylum.

But if anything that just shows how ridiculous this system fails: when rejected they get a plane ticket home. There is zero incentive for them not to do this (except moral incentive of course).

Anyway, voter fraud requires stealing someone's identity to cast one extra vote for the party that you want to win. If voter fraud happens it's systemic and large scale, not individual; the impact is too small, the risk too great, the self-justification not remotely comparable to the things I just mentioned, and it's not gameable for immediate personal gain like with the fraudulent asylum seekers I just mentioned either.


Do you have a link to one of those studies?


According to: https://www.rmv.se/aktuellt/det-visar-tre-manader-av-medicin...

I don't speak Swedish, so I had to translate it (the site I found the link from[0] after Googling seems like it has an axe to grind). They indicate that, of ~2400 refugees where the National Medical Board rendered an opinion, some ~2000 were estimated to be eighteen years of age or older, with ~400 estimated to be under eighteen years of age (so ~5/6).

This may be different from the patterns in general because these are cases where the board was asked for and subsequently rendered an opinion. It might be that (contra the headlines) this sort of misrepresentation is relatively rare, and the rate for the subset of the population where no questions were raised is substantially lower.

-----

0. https://nationaleconomicseditorial.com/2017/07/15/sweden-chi...


It is, perhaps, useful to take into account the context here.

These are people who have risked their life to escape from areas in which they are being persecuted, and are taking every step they can to avoid being forcibly returned to those areas.


Without ID you don't actually know that. They claim to be asylum seekers but you don't know where they're from.


And closing voting stations or greatly limiting hours (typically to work-day periods, when hourly wage earners cannot reasonably take off).


Wouldn't this suppress republicans more than democrats?


As implemented thus far, they close stations (and post offices, as far as ID requirements go) in democratic districts. Travel plus hour limits mean Democrats from democratic districts literally can’t get to a voting station in time unless they take off a full day of work to accommodate it.


  proven fact
Source?


1) Prioritize lower/middle class economic concerns over progressive identity politics

This. This right here. And I can't get any Dems to pay attention to this.

In the '90s it became popular to "brand" the Democrats as the "liberal elite." I had no idea what they were talking about (and neither did most of the people who were using the term).

But now there is a new term going around- one that makes much more sense: Coastal liberals. I grok this term because I now live in MA. These are Democrats who (although they mean well and have a heart of gold), they truly don't understand a lot of the middle-class, working Americans. They live in white neighborhoods and their kids go to private schools. Nobody in their family every mined coal or built Fords. They really, truly, do not understand what those people are going through. And because of that, they aren't talking to them and they lost them in the election.

This is why we still have an electoral college, and why I actually favor it. It was put in place to help ensure that everybody has a chance of being heard, and the large cities wouldn't be able to run roughshod over the smaller (but very important to our country) areas.

The Dems still aren't talking to those folks. If you watch left-tv (which is damn near unwatchable, I must say), nobody is talking about how to help middle America. Everybody is still talking about "anything but Trump." They should be doing both, and if they don't then Trump is going to win again in 2020.


> I can't get any Dems to pay attention to this.

Because they are all funded by corporations who want, as Alan Greenspan put it, "worker anxiety" to keep profits high. They gave Trump 37 billions more in the military budget than he asked for - authorising a level spending on par with the height of the iraq war, but will balk at Bernie Sanders's suggestions for universal healthcare or free tuition because it's unaffordable.

It also helps that the republicans are horrific towards anyone who isn't a straight white male: Roy Moore overwhelmingly won the white vote despite talking about how America was greatest during the times of slavery, how he believes all the amendments after the tenth were mistakes(these include allowing woman and black people to vote), not to mention the rampant homophobia.

Trump is the absolute worst thing that can happen to middle America. His policies hit the middle and lower class whites the worst. But they will _feel_ safe and secure with a giant wall and a ban on refugees.


>It also helps that the republicans are horrific towards anyone who isn't a straight white male

There are women in all rungs of the Republican Party, from local to federal levels. The GOP has also followed the general trend of growing diversity (1) and I believe in 2013 were MORE diverse than the Democrats (although this isn't true today).

The Democrats are more diverse, but the idea that the GOP is just some old boys club is outdated.

Also, what do you mean by horrific? Certainly many are not as progressive on the issue as Coastal-Elite-White Democrats (and I'm being very specific there), but homophobia is extremely prevalent among the democratic base, especially among African-Americans (2) and Latino Americans (3).

>Roy Moore overwhelmingly won the white vote despite....

I agree with you, Roy Moore was an absolute disaster.

(1) http://www.people-press.org/2016/09/13/1-the-changing-compos...

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2974805/

(3) http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0739986390012400...


> And the Democrats have spun reasonable measures, such as requiring some sort of identification to vote, as "suppression", possibly so those who aren't citizens can vote. Who cheats more? Who knows.

Do you really want to suggest the listed examples to targeted voter suppression is comparable to overreaching when complaining about what is and isn't voter suppression? Because it is blatantly obvious "both sides"-ism nonsense that should not pass the smell-test with anyone, unless they've been desensitized from being neck-deep in shit for ages perhaps.


>Because it is blatantly obvious "both sides"-ism nonsense that should not pass the smell-test with anyone, unless they've been desensitized from being neck-deep in shit for ages perhaps.

The idea that one side is lily white and the other is wholly corrupt doesn't pass the smell-test. Politics is a dirty game and confirmation bias is especially easy when folks stay in partisan bubbles.


You're assuming both sides have equal opportunity to cheat. Democrats' base is composed largely of minorities who are easier to disenfranchise. Republicans' base is largely middle class white people.

Sure, if Democrats could prevent middle class whites as a group from voting, they would; they can't. Replublicans absolutely can price poorer black people out of voting.


Democrats' base is also composed of a huge population of over ten million illegal immigrants. They are often well-integrated with Democrat-aligned political organizations, and many have family or friend connections to citizens who can vote legally. And given the political climate, it's obvious they massively favor Democrats.

They don't have to do anything as complex as voting at several polling places. They just have to go vote once. That's easy to justify to yourself.

It's a massive opportunity to cheat.


How exactly are they registering to vote? Have you ever actually talked to, or worked with, someone in this country without a visa? I have and without exception they stay as far from official government interactions as they possibly can. They don’t fly, they mostly don’t have health care, they don’t get welfare, food stamps, disability or any other kind of government assistance — all they do is work and eat and pay rent. In many ways they are the ideal Republican fantasy!

They definitely do not vote! There are more published examples of Republican politicians illegally voting than there are of illegal immigrants voting.


Um, that may be true in you local experience, but statistically it is really, really false.

There are lots of places where illegal immigrants can receive drivers' licenses and other forms of government assistance. And they do. For example, just in California, there are now a million illegal immigrants with driver's licenses. [1]

"Through June 2017, the Department of Motor Vehicles has issued approximately 905,000 driver’s licenses under Assembly Bill 60, the law requiring applicants to prove only their identity and California residency, rather than their legal presence in the state."

In California, a driver's license is enough to vote. In fact, it automatically registers someone to vote.

[1] http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert...


Any citation on illegal immigrants voting?

Or are you calling "connections to citizens who can vote legally" a massive opportunity to cheat?


If identification were readily accessible and free then it would be a reasonable measure. But we don't live in a country like that-- instead we live somewhere where banks and credit unions get away with using SSNs for identification they weren't meant to provide. Once /federal/ IDs are free, readily accessible, and easy to replace when lost/stolen we will be ready to ID voters at the booths; that just isn't going to happen for a long time.


I really don't understand this, as a non American. Don't nearly all Americans outside major cities drive cars? It's been almost mandatory to drive any time I've been there outside of Manhattan. And doesn't that require a driving license? Driving license issuance clearly works, it must do, otherwise you'd get lots of poor people who are poor only because they couldn't renew their license and couldn't drive to work. But I never heard of anything like that.

More to the point if nobody is checking that voters are eligible to vote how does anyone have any confidence in the outcome at all? What stops people voting multiple times or stops illegal immigrants from voting?


>>What stops people voting multiple times or stops illegal immigrants from voting?

Let's face it. In the US the problem is getting people to vote at all -- not stopping them from voting multiple times.

But, to answer your question, when you go into a voting station you have to tell them your name. You don't get to vote anonymously, at least not in New Jersey! They look you up in the register and then you sign the register. No one there is a handwriting expert, so I assume that you could actually vote as someone else, but then that person would not be able to vote when they got to the voting station. There would be trouble.

Also, in the 99% of the voting stations not in big cities, these stations are small, local affairs. You couldn't vote multiple times because the people there would see you and notice that you had been there before. I suppose you could come back and try to vote later in the day again, but you would have to be a pretty dedicated fiend to do so.


The main issue is not citizens voting multiple times, it is illegal immigrants voting once each.


It’s a political issue, and politics robs words of their meanings.


> If those two things get done, the Democrats have a good chance going forward. Otherwise, who knows.

Otherwise, I hope the US political system gets an upheaval and more than just the lesser of two evils have a fighting chance in the elections. The two-party system is one of the problems that the US has. A lot of left-leaning HNers support the Democrats, but I'm fairly sure a lot of those are because it's the lesser of two evils.


Had DNC not effectively shut Sanders out, I daresay he could have won. Despite that possibility, Congress would still be full of members funded by corporate interests. That's not likely to change no matter who is president.


>The low-hanging fruit for the Democrats is, however: > >1) Prioritize lower/middle class economic concerns over progressive identity politics > >2) Push the DNC not to scuttle candidates, like Bernie, that people don't universally loathe

I wouldn't say that these are really "low hanging fruit". I think it's difficult to overstate just how much the DNC insiders truly loathed him - he represented a threat to them that even Trump doesn't. They can potentially win back power from Trump in 4 years; they wouldn't stop Bernie from unseating them and replacing them with progressive allies.

A similar pattern occurred in the UK's Labour party and the depths to which the insiders stooped in order to unseat him were, if anything, even more extreme. The only thing that kept him in power during the coups, was a grass roots organization set up to lobby for him. It functioned similarly to the Tea Party (only non-crazy), and not only let him cling to power but let him reshape the party into something more democratic and member led.


Well, Corbyn's story isn't quite that simple. He's reshaped the official opposition into something dominated by a tiny segment of the population with outlier views, and set things up in such a way that from now on the sort of MPs who actually won votes in non-safe seats won't be ideologically pure enough to be selected. Thus guaranteeing a hard-left Labour whether it wins elections or not in perpetuity. Before Corbyn the party wasn't left-wing enough for some, but it did hold power for a long time, so it was clearly acceptable to many.

As for it being "non crazy", that is surely your own political filter at work. Corbyn and his allies routinely do and say crazy things. McDonnell was caught on video saying "I'm a Marxist" and then when questioned on TV, he said "I'm not a Marxist". When the questioners pointed out that he'd said the exact opposite, on film, and anyone could find it on YouTube he doubled down and claimed he'd never said that! So anyone can go see that the man is willing to baldly lie about his own political beliefs.

He also keeps getting asked how much his spending plans would add to the national debt, and he keeps saying he doesn't know the answer because it's irrelevant for him to know, on the grounds that however much his plans cost they will pay for themselves. This didn't just happen once, it keeps happening. He's shadow chancellor! And as for Diane Abbott's grasp of numbers, well, let's not go there.

Finally, McDonnell also talked about how elections don't work and how he wants to seize power through insurrection. Every so often a similar statement crops up: he talks about using violence to achieve his political ends. Not surprising for a self-avowed communist.

In the US, the Republicans and Democrats at least pretend to care about the costs of policies, even if it's often a bit of theatre. And I don't recall any US politician literally threatening to overthrow the government in violent revolution. Labour has dispensed with the theatre entirely, its shadow cabinet happily and publicly revels in not knowing or caring about the cost of anything they propose.


>tiny segment of the population with outlier views

I knew a comment like this was coming.

This was essentially the story that the insiders played non-stop from the moment he was elected leader.

He was going to destroy the party.

He has views that are "so far left" that was they are crazy and would render the Labour party unelectable for a generation because that's not what the public would ever vote for.

The media dutifully followed this line, and at one point every single major media outlet in the UK - including the BBC and the Guardian and "traditionally" left wing (although billionaire owned) media like the Independent attacking him nearly non-stop.

The most common complaint I got about him at the time wasn't that people disagreed with his policies (his policies were rarely talked about in the media until the election manifesto was leaked), but that they read that he was unelectable so they believed he was unelectable. At that point he was polling very low because of this.

Then Theresa May called an election and completely pulled the rug from underneath this illusion. Labour insiders rallied behind him out of fear for their jobs and the media followed suit. His polling climbed so quickly it gave Theresa May whiplash, causing a hung parliament in the end.

So much for destroying the Labour party and so much for unelectable.

That's the point it became clear to everybody that it was much, much more than just a tiny segment of the population that shared his views.

And, today, they poll much better than the ruling party. Nothing says "tiny segment of the population" like that, right?

What this all demonstrates is the sheer power of propaganda to shape people's perceptions - yours included - because your line was the most common talking point, right up until it was proven so utterly, completely wrong that even Alastair Campbell - the consummate Blairite Labour party insider - was forced to grovel for being so wrong.

Incidentally, this whole process was mirrored in America with Bernie Sanders. The only difference is he never got to prove that he was electable.


I would note that whilst Corbyn does have a few policies that are popular, he still lost despite facing perhaps the weakest Tory candidate in a very long time. Theresa May: "the naughtiest thing I've ever done was skipping through a field of wheat" wat?

The objections to him aren't usually about the specific policies raised in the last manifesto (which I disagree with but reasonable people can differ on things like railway nationalisation). They're more that people don't trust his government would actually stick to the manifesto. The habit he has of surrounding himself with liars who try to hide their extremist views - and yes, in the UK thinking Marxism is great is an extremist view - engender a deep suspicion that if he won on a moderately left wing platform he'd immediately go off the deep end.

today, they poll much better than the ruling party

The latest polls don't show Labour polling better at all, although this many years into an administration the opposition would normally be polling much better. Actually the Tories are slightly ahead at the moment:

http://britainelects.com/polling/westminster/

Of course the polls will drift around all over the place between elections. That doesn't mean much about what would happen if there was another snap election.

What this all demonstrates is the sheer power of propaganda to shape people's perceptions - yours included

Given that you just made a claim that's provably false, I'd be careful about tossing around accusations that those you disagree with are all brainwashed, although I realise this is a very common belief amongst Corbynites.


>he still lost despite facing perhaps the weakest Tory candidate in a very long time.

Or, to look at it another way, he triggered a hung parliament in spite of:

* 60% of the PLP openly and covertly sabotaging him.

* The entire mainstream print and broadcast media attacking him relentlessly ("left wing" Independent and Guardian included) until the day the election was called.

>Given that you just made a claim that's provably false

I was talking specifically about the claim made in 2015 that Corbyn was "unelectable" and would "render the Labour party unelectable for a generation" by members of the media and Blairite members of his own party.

They were arguing that the UK was going to become essentially a one party state with Labour polling similarly to the Lib Dems in all of the following elections for a generation (~25 years).

What followed was the largest vote gain in history by any UK party since 1945.

That is not provably false, it is provably true.

>I'd be careful about tossing around accusations that those you disagree with are all brainwashed

I'm not arguing that people who disagree with me are all brainwashed. I'm arguing that people who agreed with that specific idea were brainwashed. What else do you call people who buy into ideas promoted heavily in the media that are so divergent from reality?


Number 2, I think, really hurt Dems in the last election. Enough Dem voters didn't like Clinton's "I deserve to win" attitude[0]. Those voters would have voted easily for Bernie.

[0] Nobody deserves to be President. We choose.


If you believe that gerrymandering renders the election of Congressional representatives moot, what on Earth could possibly be the point of lobbying the FCC? They're two steps removed from accountability in that analysis.


> Likely rigged electronic voting machines that have no audit trail have given Republicans votes they would not have had.

Is there any reasonable source for this other than wishful thinking and denial?


Your wish is my command [1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1thcO_olHas


"The purest form of insanity is to leave everything the same and the same time hope that things will change." -Albert Einstein.

I mean, to be frank, I think that both major parties are playing a role in this illusion that you, the voter, have control over the government without grabbing pitchforks and heading to their office in your preferred form of communication. We live in a country where you can decide your own fate. You can work for what you want, no one will stop you. The government seems to have forgot what "govern" means. They get their hands into things they shouldn't be in, and then make the every-man look like a criminal. Why do we continue to rely on a capitalistic fascist society? One that pays us in non-backed currency as well. This is literally alchemy and everyone buys into their bullshit.


> But otherwise, be clear-eyed: elections have consequences. We elected the party of deregulation. Take the bad with whatever the good is, and work to flip the House back.

What I'm bitter about is that my vote, as a californian, is worth a tiny fraction of a vote in a swing state. Republican lawmakers have zero incentive to care about me, and red states are overrepresented in congress in relation to their small population.

The American people from a popular vote standpoint didn't want any of this, but they can be safety ignored by people who are abusing a flawed system. The voices of individual Californians count for very little unless they have money that they can spend on PACs and political campaigns. How is that democratic?


Republicans aren't pushing deregulation of the internet to make swing states happy. They are pushing for deregulation because that's what several billionaire campaign contributors want them to do.


Again, per OP's suggestion, if everybody got one vote, instead of the current formula "<effective votes> = f(<net worth>)" with f' > 1, we would not be in this situation.


That's more than a little bit off the mark. Both the U.S. and Europe are in the middle of a multi-decade economic boom resulting from deregulation. Telecom, airline, etc., deregulation isn't something we did on our own. Pretty much the whole developed world has massively deregulated these industries, and continues to do so, and continues to benefit from those policies.

To me, the litmus test for whether deregulatory (or really, any other) argument can be assumed to be in good faith is to ask: what do other developed countries do? Pai's self-regulation approach is being mocked as disingenuous in the U.S., but for example, Japan and Denmark also rely on self-regulation in this area.


The US at least, has been in an economic boom since the Subprime Mortgage Crisis in 2010, which was partly caused by deregulation of banks and lenders. Can you provide some examples of why this world wide boom is credited to deregulation?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis#Decre...


I'm talking about longer-term trends. Post New Deal, government regulation didn't just mean things like safety standards. The government was micro-managing the economy, telling companies where they could build telephone lines or what routes they had to fly and what prices they had to charge. Getting rid of all that was hugely beneficial: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PB_Dere.... And these market reforms weren't just adopted in the U.S. European countries engaged in massive deregulation themselves.

This is kind of a silly example, but in France, the government used to regulate the open hours of bakeries to ensure adequate supply of baguettes: https://econlife.com/2017/07/tbt-throwback-thursday-french-b.... There was a time when this sort of government intervention in the market was completely common, even in the U.S. But everyone realized that less invasive methods of regulation were preferable. (Though France has always been slow on the uptake--Macron got rid of the baguette regulations only in 2015.)


If only the gains from that boom could go to more than just a few...


Why is it so hard for people to take the other side at their word? Republicans push deregulation because they think it's the right thing to do, because they believe the market is a better regulatory mechanism. Perhaps you think this view is mistaken. Good, great, fine! Then argue against it.

But there's no crazy hidden motive here. Republicans just disagree with you.


Invoking the term "deregulation" carries with it the connotation that this is a policy decision. But given the active efforts to avoid engaging with the topic on a policy level made by the FCC in this case, it's obvious that it's not a policy decision at all.

They don't disagree, they just don't care.

And that's before we get to the signs of influence/interest contact points.


I don't know what to tell you. They do disagree with you. Setting everything else aside -- money and influence in politics, etc -- you really need to start by accepting that there are people who disagree with you in good faith. Not just on this issue, but in general.

If you can't even do that, then I'm not sure there's really any conversation that's likely to be fruitful.


> you really need to start by accepting that there are people who disagree with you in good faith.

Certainly, such people exist. I respect them and even enjoy talking to them sometimes.

But that's off topic. We're talking about the current/recent incarnation of the Republican Party. The idea that they believe, "in good faith", in deregulation implies that they have some kind of tested framework for believing it, that they've actually spent any time at all observing and thinking out issues where they intersect with relevant policy areas. And when it comes to how Net Neutrality debate (and now, recent policy changes), there is no evidence that's happened, and absolutely ample evidence of bad faith scattered all over both the process and the transparently poor arguments deployed to give a pretense of engagement.

Or what, exactly, does "good faith" really mean in your mind? Is honest belief enough? If I were to say, honestly believing it, "I think the earth is flat, not round" or "I think the gold standard has been behind the most stable and prosperous economies," or "I think a hot air balloon is a reasonable way to provide transport between the earth's surface and the moon," would my honest belief be enough to really give grant me "good faith?"

Also, why should anyone "set aside" money and influence in politics, particularly on this issue where the fingerprints are pretty clearly visible?


"Also, why should anyone "set aside" money and influence in politics, particularly on this issue where the fingerprints are pretty clearly visible?"

I'm not asking you to set it aside forever and in all contexts. I'm asking you to set it aside when evaluating the claims of Republicans against net neutrality, because it seems to be blocking you from accepting that they genuinely and in good faith disagree with you.


> And when it comes to how Net Neutrality debate (and now, recent policy changes), there is no evidence that's happened

Yes there was.

They are working on the rule of thumb that we shouldn't have a regulation unless there is significant evidence that it is needed.

And the truth is there is not a lot of evidence it is required.



> They don't disagree, they just don't care.

Except this just isn't true. In NN in particular, the GOP tried to push legislation through, but the Dems only wanted Title II as the method. The disagreement is really less about NN and more about how to accomplish NN.


They disagree with me because I’m not giving them money for their reelection campaign. Same goes with Democrats. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed and one that’s really obvious to spot.


Removing money from politics will take a constitutional amendment. And it will take a different breed of politician to make that happen at either the Federal (Congress initiated amendment process) or state (convention initiated process) level. It will be difficult and there will be many other distractions that the moneyed class will put up, and has always put up to prevent the country from becoming more of a democracy.

This country and its constitution only prescribe a polyarchy instead of a monarchy. And from the outset participation and benefit was primarily meant for white, male, land owners. The discrimination is stacked into the system still, despite multiple amendments to make it incrementally more of a democracy.


1. What reelection campaign are you talking about? The chairman of the FCC is appointed, not elected.

2. Second, these two issues aren't mutually exclusive. Let's get some of the money out of politics? Sure, great, fine! But the Republicans still just disagree with you on net neutrality.


The FCC chairman is appointed by President under the strict direction of Congress. FCC decisions follow from Congressional elections.


What exactly happened in 2008, companies had to be bailed out with taxpayer money. Capitalism with profits, socialism with the losses.

> Republicans just disagree with you.

The problem is they are wrong, the most famous deregulation guy Alan Greenspan had to admit he made a mistake with deregulation.


I know my post was very cynical. I agree open and free markets are very valuable and need to be protected. But in this case, anti-NN policies are so hugely unpopular, I can't see how anyone would think that they will be good for business as a whole.


That makes no sense. If california voters did anything other than voted for the candidate with the D next to their name, not everyone would assume their massive pile of votes will always go Democrat. California voters matter way more than any swing state, it's just so predictably one-sided that nobody bothers to waste time there.

The same thing would happen in a pure democracy. No candidates would spend time placating any large population centers that consistently vote one way. LA/SF/NYC issues would be irrelevant because everyone will just pick the D each time anyway so it will still come down to appealing to groups that might change their minds.


Republicans won the house popular vote 63.1 million to 61.8 million.


239 r's 193 d's. the point is that house is gerrymandered to hell and favors r's.


Gill v. Whitford will be heard in the current term of the U.S. Supreme Court to look at this issue again. It has the potential to make an explosive difference in 2018.

Look at the recent Alabama election. A Democrat won most of the votes in the state, and also won most of the votes in every single urban area. And yet applying that state wide vote to the House of Represenatives district map in Alabama, would have still sent one Democrat and six Republicans to House of Representatives in Congress (had it been an election for HoR rather than Senate). Even in the case were Democrats made double digit gains in most counties from the 2016 election, it still would not affect the representation in the House. This is a massive case of voter disenfranchisement.

And while both parties gerrymander, only one party engages in the most obvious and egregiously unfair form of it while benefiting overwhelmingly and disproportionately, hence the lawsuit before the Court. And in the Alabama case, it is blatantly racist as well.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQ862zWUIAAxWfa.jpg


"And while both parties gerrymander, only one party engages in the most obvious and egregiously unfair form of it while benefiting overwhelmingly and disproportionately"

i like that you said that. ive always said that it wouldn't surprise me if d's try suppress vote if it benefitted them. its just that they are fortunate enough that enfranchisement benefits them and is also the right thing to do. i dont mean to equate r's and d's, but just to reinforce the idea that all parties seek to consolidate power and preserve themselves.


It's quite convenient that the Democratic party happens to benefit from Democracy. That means their policy positions are correct, and for as long as that continues, they deserve to win.


Yes, but the point is that they don't have to. Look at 2010.


FPTP isn't really democracy, let alone whatever the electoral college is.



> What I'm bitter about is that my vote, as a californian, is worth a tiny fraction of a vote in a swing state.

And? Surely with the money flowing through California you can actually afford multiple providers and in doing so ensure competition.


That a Republican-led FCC would err on the side of under-regulating telecommunications companies

Holding it as "under regulating" seems like it's falling for the doublespeak. It is also Republican governments at every level that are almost universally responsible for the (over) regulations that led to the current monopolies of providers in most areas (often a single `choice'). If a city or region or even second party looks to install alternative feeds, overwhelmingly opposition comes from Republican governments, and there is already threats that this federal government will prevent States from passing their own rules on this (it would be too obvious if red states lived in a shitstorm while blue states lived in the modern world). It is profoundly corrupt.

I'm not trying to be partisan, but the Republican party in the US are the voice of a oligarchy. This FCC decision is the perfect example of it -- something they are profoundly incapable of building the slightest justification for, and that can only possibly benefit already overwhelming providers.


>I'm not trying to be partisan, but the Republican party in the US are the voice of a oligarchy. This FCC decision is the perfect example of it -- something they are profoundly incapable of building the slightest justification for, and that can only possibly benefit already overwhelming providers.

Net neutrality is 100%, unequivocally favorable for every tech company (Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Microsoft, etc.). Are you sure the Democratic party is not the "voice of the oligarchy" here? You say that Republicans are incapable of building justification for this decision, but it fits exactly to the pillars of the Republican party -- deregulation, a free market economy, and a small government. Their argument is that NN is unnecessary regulation that limits the free market and oversteps the boundaries of a reasonable government. You may disagree with this, but that argument is a subjective one and not an objective one. It may benefit the providers but it also hurts the tech monopolies (which is why they oppose it so adamantly... unless you really think that Alphabet, inc. is on the side that opposes big businesses).


Net neutrality is 100%, unequivocally favorable for every tech company (Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Microsoft, etc.).

Net neutrality favors any entrant equally, and thus is unfavorable to the large tech players (all of whom can financially overcome any obstacle).

deregulation, a free market economy, and a small government

Right, and that is total bullshit. State rights is a supposed principal of the Republican party, until a state wants to do something in opposition (seen time and time again, and already evident with net neutrality -- if California and New York state demand NN, it will turn the whole thing into farce leaving the hillbilly states reaping what they sow). Republicans love free market, unless it's the free market threatening the incumbents.

unless you really think that Alphabet, inc. is on the side that opposes big businesses

This profoundly and comically misreads the motives of the big tech players.


If it's unfavorable to large tech players, why does every single one campaign for it? These are the companies that make up most of the bandwidth use, which is why ISPs want to slow them down if they don't pay for a "fast lane." Either way, losing NN will decrease their profit margins.

The GOP is for states rights, and they are also for the general decrease in government size. They are against state-level NN because that is increased regulation in those states. There are legitimate exceptions (gay rights, abortion rights, war on drugs, etc.), but those apply more to social issues than to economic ones. In terms of free market policy, the Republican party has a pretty reasonable track record of supporting it. For example: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-do....


This is hilariously naive. You're essentially pointing fingers and laughing at people who you esteem to be less intelligent than yourself while making pretty absurd statements that have little to no basis in actual fact

For instance the original, and probably fatal, blow to net neutrality was the 1996 Telecommunications act that was passed mainly to encourage "wire to wire competition", which has since become a total farce. In exchange for this absurd concept we not only gave the telecoms huge tax cuts (nominally so they could expand infrastructure) that they then directly plowed into dividends, share buybacks, and bonuses, we also allowed the sale of wireless spectrums (another public good). But most importantly we enshrined local monopolies into law. Almost every single fight we've had for net neutrality since then has stemmed from this legislation. Guess who signed it into law? Bill Clinton, a democrat. And while the Senate and House both had Republican majorities the bill was passed with largely bipartisan support (less than 20% of the Senate and less than 5% of the house voted against it) and heavy support from the Clinton administration.

But lets say you don't buy that, lets take a look at the current political climate. The largest recipients of telecom dollars in the Senate have been overwhelmingly Democrats (it's about 50/50 over the past 8 years in the House), the telecoms have extremely influential Democrats in their pocket like Nancy Pelosi (who laughably claimed that the ISPs would save us from the Republican bill to allow ISPs to sell your internet traffic history), and even ex-Obama administrators are largely applauding today's ruling. Don't for a second think you or anyone else is somehow above this just because you identify with a certain tribe.

Also it's pretty odd that you think name dropping engineering friends means you have an informed opinion on this extremely non-technical matter, as if an RF engineer would have an informed opinion on the intricacies of economic repercussions of spectrum auctions.

But you do have one very good point, elections have consequences. Vote out anyone who takes a dime from telecoms, ISPs, interconnect providers, or even tech companies. The issue here is not ideological, it is monetary. Corporate influence has completely taken over our political system and regardless of party we are helpless to stop it until we take a principled stand and refuse to vote for the representative who's trying to sell us to the highest bidder simply because they wear the same color shirt as the people we associate with.


Yes, people are quick to forget that Obama's FCC was not anxious to implement these rules and did not do so until the very end of Obama's term, presumably because they knew it wouldn't hold up very long and by getting it done in the administration's final gasp, they could keep it as a feather in their political cap and pass the burden of "net neutrality repeal" onto the next guy.

Interestingly, amidst the jokes about Tom Wheeler leaving babies to the dingos, I don't recall much of a lament over the "consequences" of electing Obama. It wasn't until after this point that Wheeler reversed course, likely after the party realized this issue had teeth with one of their important constituencies. This "you asked for it" anti-Republican line is pure opportunism.


> Yes, people are quick to forget that Obama's FCC was not anxious to implement these rules and did not do so until the very end of Obama's term, presumably because they knew it wouldn't hold up very long and by getting it done in the administration's final gasp, they could keep it as a feather in their political cap

Nothing but damn lies.

Obama's FCC set up the Open Internet Order in 2010 (to formalise the informal 2005 rules which had been judged no basis for governance), they moved towards Title II following that being mostly invalidated by the courts in 2014 (the courts ruled that the 2010 rules couldn't be applied under Title I), the new rules were proposed in May 2014, the public comments period was opened in July, closed in September, and the FCC passed Title II rules in February 2015.

> pass the burden of "net neutrality repeal" onto the next guy.

What burden of net neutrality repeal? There was no burden because there was no requirement to repeal NN.


>Nothing but damn lies.

Please review the civility guidelines. If nothing else, mischaracterizing a clearly-labeled presumptive statement as a "damn lie" reveals your malice and discredits your POV.

As I alluded to in the grandparent, it was not at all obvious that the FCC or other elements of the Obama administration were working toward net neutrality when the jokes about Obama leaving the baby to the dingos were getting flung around. [0]

> What burden of net neutrality repeal? There was no burden because there was no requirement to repeal NN.

It was clear that ISPs did not fit the legal definition of Title II carriers which is why they weren't just classified as such at the beginning. It was clear that it was not likely that they would retain this classification, whether a Democrat won the next cycle and a successful lawsuit overturned the rulings or whether the FCC undid it as is the case now with Ajit Pai (whose primary contention, by the way, is not that net neutrality shouldn't exist, just that Title II is not an appropriate regulatory framework in which to cast it).

Of course, in politics, all that really matters is brownie points, so as long as the public sees you as the good guy, then you win and it doesn't matter if a judge overturns everything you've done.

Obama made liberal use of this principle, and in some cases his staff would openly discuss the expectation that some executive action would not survive judicial review. Obama was pretty bad about his respect for legal structure and processes, but Trump takes it to such an extreme that saying this about Obama seems like a joke now. :P

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbOEoRrHyU


> If nothing else, mischaracterizing a clearly-labeled presumptive statement as a "damn lie" reveals your malice and discredits your POV.

Oh come off your high horse,

> FCC was not anxious to implement these rules and did not do so until the very end of Obama's term

is not presumptive, and it's a bald-faced lie.

> It was clear that ISPs did not fit the legal definition of Title II carriers which is why they weren't just classified as such at the beginning.

Oh look, an other lie. DSL ISPs were classified under Title II until 2005 when Bush's FCC reclassified them.

> It was clear that it was not likely that they would retain this classification

It was not clear at all, and regardless there is no "burden of net neutrality repeal" following a court order.

> whose primary contention, by the way, is not that net neutrality shouldn't exist, just that Title II is not an appropriate regulatory framework in which to cast it

And that's a bullshit assertion, as I told you in my previous comment the only reason Obama's FCC reclassified ISPs under Title II is that the courts ruled net neutrality could not be enforced otherwise.

And regardless of judicial review risks, the only alternative would have been a brand new Telecommunications Act. In 2015. With a GOP legal majority.

But funnily enough, "concerned Ajit Pai" has been hard at work reclassifying ISPs without either waiting for the court decisions you state was clearly coming, and without putting any effort into building a new regulatory framework.

You know what that sounds like? Concern trolling.


[flagged]


> There is no difference between the two parties. None. The rhetoric is different but the actual voting records show they are the same animal.

Er, no, actual voting records of Congress and regulatory agencies like the FCC show a whole host of issues on which the parties are very different.

Including, relevant to this discussion, the consistent absolute partisan split on net neutrality at the FCC.


How much of that do you believe is simply taking the other side by democracy’s because they hate republicans? Versus if the dems has the WH and both houses they would appoint another telecom shill and have done exactly the same thing?

That’s the party that tried to bring us the Clipper chip my friend. Think about that.


> How much of that do you believe is simply taking the other side by democracy’s because they hate republicans?

Approximately zero; the areas of partisan difference, and the details of disagreement in those areas, have drifted a bit over time, but were largely similar 25-30 years ago, when, despite campaigns being hard-fought, relations were much more collegial then today. It's not personal hatred driving the policy differences.


One of the two parties thinks my gay and trans friends should have human rights, and the other party has fought tooth and nail against it, so "they're exactly the same" is bullshit for that alone. The Democrats aren't nearly good enough, but they're by far the lesser of two evils.


> work to flip the House back

A well written response, but I choke on salt when I read this sort of call to action.

The house has been slowly and surely gerrymandering the country into hereditary fiefdoms for their parties.

And if the solution is to relocate to "to the nearest plausibly flippable R district" then we're really saying that money is the real power.

Today's decision is a black eye for the concept of self-governance.


Don’t relocate. Stay in your damn house. Go talk to the people who are actually running in those districts. If you can write them even the cost of a ps4, they want to hear from you.

In particular for Democrats running against entrenched Republicans, these people aren’t evil corporate fat cats. They own restaurants, teach high school, are small-town mayors, or nurses. They need help to compete. The DNC is not going to help candidates who don’t show viability on their own.

NOW is the time to get involved, before the primaries.


>> Go talk to the people who are actually running in those districts. If you can write them even the cost of a ps4, they want to hear from you.

You propose this as a solution, but for the average person it makes no sense. Suppose that in the worst case scenario, the big ISPs did eventually start throttling certain content and offering tiered pricing for unfettered access to the entire Internet. Would the extra cost of upgrading to a higher tier really be worse than the cost of making political donations and taking the time to participate in lobbying activities (even if it were as simple as mailing a printed letter or making a phone call)? I am going to guess that for the average person it is not worth it.


I am not sure if this is the right equation. Should we accept something wrong just because it costs (financially) us (personally) less than fighting for fixing it ? Are we becoming more apathetic than the previous generations ? (real question) Should the cost of right be priceless ?


I'm not saying whether it is right or wrong. I am just saying that realistically, this is the calculation that many people will make.


The calculation has to include the whole set of stuff the Republicans break and cost you though, not just net neutrality and your connection bill.


Don't be so pessimistic, people care about things.


Ahh I misunderstood what you said. I see what you mean now, but sadly I'm still salty that solution (despite being a sound one) boils down to money.


Yes, Citizen United and unlimited corporate monetary donations to political candidates is at the core of many of our political problems. The only fix I see is to use the system to fix itself. Wolf-PAC goal is to end the corrupting influence of money in our political system.

It's a PAC with the goal of ending all PACs.

http://www.wolf-pac.com/the_plan


The Supreme Court has decided that in this country money=speech, so ...


If you can write them even the cost of a ps4, they want to hear from you.

Isn't this the problematic issue, though? If you have some disposable cash, politicians will pay attention to you even if you come form outside their district. If you don't, they won't. Sure, they want people to vote for them but that's basically a function of how much money they can throw at the problem.


You say "politician". I say "registered nurse running in a district where the R would be effective unopposed otherwise, needing straightforwardly to raise $100k before the end of the year to get taken seriously by the DNC".

You can not like that the system works this way (I hope you do like the idea of more RN's and school teachers as reps!), but compared to lobbying the Republican FCC, it has the virtue of being plausibly effective.


I love the idea of more regular people (especially non-lawyers) running for office, I'm just more pessimistic than you about the wisdom of throwing more money into the campaign finance machine.


Any suggestions about how to find this type of person running in this type of district? I agree that supporting this type of person could be disproportionately effective, but how do you find them when still in the early stages?


Maciej Ceglowski of Pinboard has been traveling the country meeting candidates for races that professionals helped identify as underserved by the DNC, and came up with a "Great Slate", which is a good starting point:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/great_slate

But: if you live in a major metro area: you're probably in a D district, where just a few miles from you there's a suburb in an R district. Find that district and see who's running in it.

Here's who's running in the NM-2:

http://fec.gov/data/elections/house/NM/02/2018/

Just fix the URL for whatever race you're interested in.

Strong recommend on donating to the Great Slate.


Are you sure that the time to be involved wasn’t say... a couple of decades ago? This feels like the terminal end-stage. It was time to be involved when Reagan was ending the hope of public education or mental health, during three or more decades of scientists and environmentalists screaming bloody murder, or at some point during our decades of failed adventurism abroad.

This isn’t new, this is the sharp end of an edifice people have allowed to be built underneath them, complete with extralegal security apparatus. It’s only when an orange clown is in charge and his henchmen are sharpening their regulatory knives, or 75% of the insect biomass vanishes that people start to notice.


Orange clown --> Racist

Henchmen --> Fear-mongering

Public Education --> We still have it.

Mental Health programs --> Still have 'em.

Insect Biomass --> It's almost as if having 7B humans on the planet has consequences. But sure, rabble rabble, it's all Reagan's fault.


He clearly looks orange due to spray tan. Although it's rude, I don't see how it's racist to make fun of someone for their spray tan.


You're not wrong, except that no one has a time machine, so...

But I feel ya'.


No time machines, but maybe a genuinely panicked recognition of just how much trouble we’re in could inform the nature and magnitude of the response.


Don't choke on salt. That could make you vomit


I like how you think donating to politicians is the answer. Money in politics is why we're in the situation we're in. Those with insufficient money to donate should be heard as well as those with money. The system needs a change. It can happen peacefully or not. Seems to be going in the not direction.


I personally find the whole donating money to politicians thing in the US mind bending. I’m from a country where no ordinary people donate to politicians and everyone is doing just fine (we don’t have the party that we’d like, but throwing money at them won’t fix that).


Yes, I think the biggest take away of this is to push the fact that republican legislators did not listen to their constituents. At all. They did not put their constituents first. At all. The chairman actually talked about consumers working with the FCC to enforce regulations as a bad thing.


I do not agree. I believe Republican voters do not in fact want the government extensively regulating the Internet. It is very difficult to argue in 2017 that the Republican party is the party of a pragmatic, consumer-protected regulatory state. The Republicans believe that the market will take better care of Internet users than any regulatory agency. On this one issue, it's possible they're even right.


"The Republicans believe that the market will take better care of Internet users than any regulatory agency. On this one issue, it's possible they're even right."

There is a pretty significant problem with this reasoning: what market are you referring to? Most Americans have zero, one, or two broadband ISPs they can receive service from. In most cases where there is any choice, it is between cable and DSL, which have very different technical characteristics and are not always interchangeable.

I could get behind a market-based approach if there was some kind of proposal to foster a market. What happened to the line-sharing requirements that gave us competition among DSL services in the late 90s? That was a market-based solution and it worked well; that approach continues to work well in other countries.

Instead, the current approach is to leave the monopolies and duopolies in place, and to do nothing to reduce barriers to entry for competing services or otherwise foster a competitive market.


We could sit here all day and argue about net neutrality regulation all day. But "let the market decide"? I don't know how someone can say that with a straight face.


It's not a straight face, it's a smirk, and they'll keep saying it so long as it bothers you. They'll happily eat dog shit if the opposition has to smell their breath.

This is how populism works, and it's only going to get worse.


That was a damn good mic drop my friend


1) Republican voter support is broad for net neutrality. Multiple sources have shown this pretty consistently.

2) The Republican deregulatory ideal (if it works at all) only works if competition exists. It doesn't. The market can only have a chance to work if it exists.


On top of that republicans have been enforcing net neutrality for decades.


Can you back that up with something specific? I'm Paul Ryan's party platform put out last year they specifically mentioned deregulating the internet. Not sure how you can overlook that


You do know that TCP/IP packet data delivery is handled by network protocol right? Protocol is designed to work, not to please Verizon lawyers.

Internet only works when neutral.

Here is your argument: Regulation bad - Deregulation good. Don't you think that's a bit overly simplistic?

What part of this are you missing? Either you have the Internet with protections in place or simply you don't have an Internet at all. Your world view is AOL and Compuserv. That's what a world without NN looks like.


> On this one issue, it's possible they're even right.

IF there was competition. However, the ISPs have sought to end that.


And when a market doesn't take care of itself the people are the ones to suffer, no matter which party they are part of or voted for.

Mortgage industry was self-regulated and politicians just balled out the bad actors.

It is about "finding" simple and reliable regulations, since there is no true "etched in stone" regulations.

Regulations have a shifting baseline. Say 100 fish are in a lake. Regulate that only 20 maybe harvest a year. This goes on for 10 years and in the 11th they are all gone. Write once regulations do not account for changes in the environment / market environment.


A poll "found that 83 percent overall favored keeping the FCC rules, including 75 percent of Republicans"

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/364528-poll-83-percent-...


Actually the voters elected a Democrat. The electoral college elected the Republican.

Not your issue? I've followed your account for years. This is exactly your issue, and everyone in this community's issue.

Without the Internet you have no chance of fighting against things like the new tax bill. It takes away your voice. It takes away all of our voices.

This might not be 'your' issue, but make no mistake, it is more important than all of the issues you mention, in that without a free and open Internet, your free speech is essentially gone, and that severely handicaps any efforts to organize and protest against the other issues you talk about.


> Actually the voters elected a Democrat. The electoral college elected the Republican.

You mean 48.2% of 58% of eligible voters elected a Democrat. You can slice it many ways but the electoral college is all that matters.


Err, no. Winning the most votes is not "one of the ways you can slice it" -- it's the natural criterion that almost universally comes to mind when you ask somebody how democracy should be implemented.


Well, maybe if you founded a federated republic and wanted each state to decide independently how to cast their votes for the president it might make sense.

It really doesn't matter what's "natural" though. It's like talking about who had more pieces on the board at the end of a game of chess. You knew the rules and you still lost by them. If you had changed the rules the entire matchup would have gone differently.


Of course I know the rules; I was born into them!


Winning the most votes is irrelevant if the contest was something different. I‘m sure the campaigns would have looked differently if the contest had been about the number of votes.


Yes! If everyone knew it was a popular election, the results would be drastically different. Candidates would actually campaign and get out the vote in states they never even think about now, and voters in states that are not swing states would be more motivated to vote.

Saying Clinton won the popular vote is just wishful thinking.


How ever did society function without the Internet? Were all leaders just dictators leading up to the 90s? It's hyperbolic crap like claiming this is the very foundation of free speech that leads people with opposing views to disengage, leave you to your echo chamber, and then surprise you when they pass regulation that represents their views.


You've been breaking the HN guidelines more than once in this thread. We've had to warn you about this before. When this keeps happening and people don't stop, we ban them, so please stop.


Please tell me how I broke the guidelines with this comment. Please keep in mind this is the level of hyperbole I replied to that you did not warn against.

>Without the Internet you have no chance of fighting against things like the new tax bill. It takes away your voice. It takes away all of our voices.

That type of comment ignores thousands of years of civilization through extreme hyperbole and you have felt the need to call my hyperbolic response out instead?

I've seen you complain about this community falling apart but this blatant partisanship on your behalf as a moderator is one of the reasons this happens. Anyone who disagrees with the main stream silicon valley politics is treated like a child.


> Please tell me how I broke the guidelines with this comment.

"Hyperbolic crap" and "leave you to your echo chamber" are name-calling, times 10 when bubbling in the stew of indignation.

> this blatant partisanship on your behalf as a moderator

If I can say this respectfully and not just about you: it always feels like blatant partisanship when oneself or something one likes is moderated, and it always feels like decency and even-handedness when someone from the other side gets the moderation. This is one of the dominant cognitive biases I see on HN.

That doesn't mean we aren't biased in our own right. Inevitably we are. But we do try not to let that govern moderation here, and have put in a lot of hard practice at the effort. Many things that might look like bias outwardly are actually attempts to preserve certain qualities for the community. They're not attempts to promote one view over others, and there's little if any information in there about what we personally agree or disagree with.

But because most HN readers don't know that, they reach for the readier explanation of 'blatant partisan bias'. Combined with only considering the data points that fit this theory and ignoring the other ones, that is a potent bias cocktail in its own right. I'd love to know some effective things to do about this but we are where we are. And to repeat, I'm not talking about you except insofar as you're one of everybody.


Paradigm shifts makes previous systems obsolete. That's why it's not a great time to sell landline telephony or newspapers, and why relying on pre-internet political organizing technology is to cripple oneself straight out of the gate.


> The voters elected a Republican government.

FALSE. The voters were sidelined by both old (electoral college) and new (mechanically-assisted gerrymandering) methods. Just look at Texas:

"The redistricting had a revolutionary effect. Today, the Texas delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives includes twenty-five Republicans and eleven Democrats—a far more conservative profile than the political demography of the state. The Austin metropolitan area, the heart of the Texas left, was divvied up into six congressional districts, with city residents a minority in each. All but one of these districts are now held by Republicans. I’m currently represented by Roger Williams, a conservative automobile dealer from Weatherford, two hundred miles north of Austin."

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/10/americas-futur...

Republicans have used these tools to cook up an unprecedented constitutional challenge to our republic. MULTIPLE suits are presently being heard by the Supreme Court regarding their shenanigans.


> FALSE. The voters were sidelined by both old (electoral college) and new (mechanically-assisted gerrymandering) methods.

More of them voted, for the House of Representatives, for Republicans than for any other party.

It's true that the actual representation of Republicans is outsized for that vote, and gerrymandering played a role, but they also got more votes. (And an outright majority voted for anti-NN parties.)

Good point on the Presidency, though (but even there, it's a hairs breadth either way on whether pro- or anti-NN candidates got a majority of votes.)


I agree with your points in broad strokes, so please don't think I'm being argumentative when I point out one quibble I have with your post:

The lack of Net Neutrality is not an example of "market-based regulation."

Although government regulation can, for better or worse, hamper the operation of a free market, that isn't the case here. The point of Net Neutrality is to keep Internet infrastructure free from being feudalized. A feudal government where massive policy changes impacting people's everyday lives are decided by power players and their arcane web of alliances is still a government, and it is definitely not one conducive to a free market.

Anyone who favors free markets cannot oppose Net Neutrality. It would be like opposing antitrust laws and claiming to be free market.


We already have the feudalism. Facebook/Twitter/Google/Apple. They have tremendous lock-in on the current market.

Your content is theirs, and their policy is your law.


Voters != Electoral College. It's an important distinction because this particular issue is very clearly a national issue (and even a global one). And yet at a national level the one person one vote principle does not apply to U.S. presidential elections. Some people's vote counts more than others in this system even though it should not count more on this issue.

Unquestionably elections have consequences, but do not say we (voters/citizens/individuals) voted for this person or party or policy outcome. The Electoral College that did that. This president didn't get a majority of the votes, and much more relevant is he didn't even get a plurality of the votes.

This was an unpopular administration from day one by definition. It could have tried to grow its base. It hasn't. There's no national mandate for this policy change. Could the administration have supported stronger competition law while also deregulating net neutrality? Sure. But it didn't try to make this case at all.


> The FCC may very well be right that it's not their job to impose our dream portfolio of rules on Verizon (certainly, a lot of the rules people are claiming NN provided were fanciful)

That^ Too many people are trying to shove things that are covered by antitrust into net neutrality. This makes it a much harder sell.

I'm convinced many Republicans could be convinced to support net neutrality if it didn't have that extra baggage attached.

Keep it to:

1. No blocking of legal content,

2. No throttling of legal content,

3. Must deliver the speed and bandwidth that the customer pays for.


Many Republicans do support those principles, today. They simply believe that the FCC doesn't need to impose Title II regulations on ISPs to accomplish it. For instance: the Republican component of the FCC strongly believes it's already unlawful to block legal content to consolidate and exploit ISP market positions, and that the FTC already has the power to enforce that regulation.


Yeah. We probably would have been better off if people had accepted Wheeler's first proposal for the 2015 Order. That was the one that stayed under Section 706, and so would not have been able to do everything that had been done under the 2010 Order because of the court decision that struck down the 2010 Order. It would have had to allow "fast lanes".

But I don't see any net neutrality issue with "fast lanes" AS LONG AS the ISP does not slow other things down in order to force the use of "fast lanes" to get normal advertised speeds. Paid "fast lanes" might be anti-competitive in some cases, but that should be handled under antitrust law.

ISPs probably actually do belong under Title II as far as actually providing internet access goes --I don't see anything fundamentally different from a policy point of view about the internet compared to, say, the telephone system. But that should probably be done by Congress, not the FCC.


First, your condescending tone is unnecessary.

Second, the last Republican president and FCC commissioner, Michael Powell, defended and enforced net neutrality. So this wasn't a given.


For those in California, Josh Butner (D) is trying to flip Duncan Hunter (R)'s seat. This is the same Duncan Hunter Jr who basically rolled into the seat when his dad, Duncan Hunter, Sr, rolled out. Voters never even noticed. This is the same Duncan Hunter who vaped in Congress and spent something like $1300 of his campaign funds on Steam games.

Josh is a retired Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander. Spent 23 years in the Navy including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, raised his family in Jamul, and continues to serve on the local school board. Go help Josh. https://joshbutnerforcongress.com/


So your solution is to spend money to move somewhere else? Government of the rich, for the rich, by the rich :-/


No, that is not my suggestion.


> The voters elected a Republican government

Not the majority though, as far as I understand, they won even though they don't have a majority of the voters, just a majority of the districts. Or something along those lines which simply confuses (and amazes) us non-US residents.

I'm also a bit impressed / curious about how much power the President has; he appoints FCC the chairman, and that chairman ends up taking these sort of decisions? Sounds a lot like something that the legislative branch should pick up, not [transitively] the executive one.

Or am I missing something?


Majority of land-owners.


Republicans don't support deregulation per se. That's just the cover story. Republicans just support big business, that's it. If regulations make businesses better? Why the hell not?


Yup, the obvious next step will be to go after muni ISPs. Republicans will be more than happy to regulate them out of existence.


If you're going to make blatant conspiratorial statements about the motivations of nearly half of the US population you are going to need to back that up with evidence.

That would be the biggest 'cover story' in the history of humanity


Sorry, not referring to voters. I'm referring to republican political leaders.


The worst part about this thread is how people resign to their party lines distancing each other from the common ground where the solutions exist.


>>> The voters elected a Republican government.

Not precisely. The proportion of people who voted in a gerrymandered electoral system with potentially widespread voter suppression produced a preponderance of Republican legislators and an outcome of the electoral college that produced a Republican president. I'm not sure that this qualifies as an "elected" government.


Those same gerrymandered districts and electoral college elected Democrat Congresses and a Democrat president for the last 8 years. To suggest that it's completely rigged when they lose the following election is absurd. This coming from someone who also hates the current outcome, but come on now. If the Democrats ran someone who most of the country didn't hate, they would have won easily. If they hadn't fought themselves in the primary and nominated a much better candidate, they would have won.

We've had this same electoral college in place for a long time, and everyone knew the rules ahead of time. It certainly has flaws, and you can argue a popular vote would be better, but it is the system we have and everyone knew it going into the election. It absolutely qualifies as an elected government.


I'm willing to take the risk that creating a better electoral system would not benefit my party. Even if we ended up with exactly the same government, I think it would be preferable if that government could credibly claim legitimacy.


this seems like whataboutism to me.

I completely agree the tax bill is also terrible. but this conversation started around the FCC NN rules and due to _lack_ of competition anything we have is better than this form of deregulation. I'm happy to entertain a _separate_ conversation about the tax bill but I feel like you are saying because that is so much worse that NN does not matter... I believe that way of communicating is very dangerous because it can be applied to anything and everything. for example ISPs being able to store/mine and sell data on their users which was another law passed this year and caused me to donate to the eff.

my point is, I do not think you comment contributes to NN fairly by correlating the tax law as more important, I believe they are both very important.


> it is more than a little aggravating to see us as a community winding ourselves in knots over market-based regulation of telecom at the same time as the (largely unprincipled) Republican congress is putting the finishing strokes --- literally in ball-point pen --- on a catastrophically stupid tax bill that threatens universal access to health insurance, not just for those dependent on Medicare but on startup founders as well.

Yeah. It was nice to see people coming together to fight for net neutrality, but it would have been nicer to see some of that energy and excitement used to fight something that will actually kill people.


This is not republican vs democrates. It's simply corporate donor money at work. You might remember that FCC tried exact same thing during Obama administration as well and they had to turn back because of huge backlash. This time I think backlash wasn't super aggressive and Trump administration thinks they can get away with anything as long as they are tough on border and other party is weak on border.


> The voters elected a Republican government. That a Republican-led FCC would err on the side of under-regulating telecommunications companies is about the least surprising outcome you can imagine.

Even less surprising as the GOP has been opposing Title II all along, and a GOP FCC is how ISPs got moved to Title I in the first place.


True, but net neutrality is also broadly popular. Granted, they won't lose any votes but I know several staunch conservatives who are pissed about losing NN. I don't know if they are pissed enough to change their voting habits though and thats probably the real problem.


> I worked at ISPs, have backbone engineer friends, and candidly: I think this issue is silly. But if it's yours... sigh... fine.

Why is it silly?


> The voters elected a Republican government.

The majority actually didn't. But election system is skewed.


Why can't I vote this comment down, or at least flag it?


> The voters elected a Republican government.

The Electors elected a Republican government. The voters elected a Democrat by 2,868,691 votes and there was Russian meddling on top of even that. Associating any popular mandate with that is shear nonsense.


I’ve seen no proof of Russian meddling that had any provable effect on the election. Only theoretical.

Second do you have ANY idea how many elections the US has “meddled” in? Let alone how many leaders we have literally overthrown?? Get some perspective. If you don’t like other nations pissing in our oatmeal I seriously suggest we stop pissing, shitting, and vomiting in theirs. Golden rule and all. Let the booing begin.


I guess it's only a theory that Cheeto's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

Really.


Even if that’s accurate how does that negate what I said about all of the Russian BS is just that BS. No proven election fraud, no voter fraud, nothing provable to russians.



You realize that Ajit Pai was appointed to the commission by Obama right?


It had nothing to do with Obama's preference.

Obama was required to appoint a Republican to the commission per the rule whereby the agency's commissioner seats must be split between the parties, with the tie breaking seat going to the party in control of the presidency.

Following these rules, when a Republican seat opened on the commission, Obama asked Mitch McConnell for an recommendation, and he suggested Pai. When Trump took over, Obama's FCC chairman Wheeler left the position, and Trump put Pai in his place, and replaced his former seat with another Republican, Brendan Carr.


Your statement is factually right, however the only way someone can treat this statement is by assuming you are trying to refute the OPs republican claims. Since I can't downvote you, ill just include an explanation for others on why this comment holds no merit.

Ajit was appointed to the chair under Trump (Republican). Ajit was a recommendation from Republican minority lead (at the time) Mcconnell. Ajit has (to my knowledge) always been a republican member of US FCC.


What's more, Ajit Pai was nominated by Obama only because the FCC has a fixed apportionment of party appointees.


This wouldn't be a problem if ISP's weren't de facto monopolies. If there was competition in this space, then there would be incentive to improve the infrastructure and Internet speeds. However, ISP's kill competition by making legal arrangements with local governments to only do business with them, and by cutting competitors' cables. Since we have no way to guarantee reasonable speeds to small time websites now, we should pursue antitrust legal and foster competition in this space. Comcast didn't realize it, but net neutrality was their own safety net.


I've been thinking this over for the past couple months, because I was pretty sure this would be the outcome - that we would lose our net neutrality protection.

So let's play out the worse case - Comcast, AT&T etc wait out the shitstorm and then start throttling traffic and packaging the internet, releasing cable-esque "plans."

Is it feasible to just start running our own fiber to hubs? I want to learn more about the internet and what it would take to bypass the ISPs. Can I do this? Do I need to be incorporated to do it? What would it take to start a new ISP with the premise "unthrottled, unmonitored traffic, charged by the gigabyte - an internet utility service"?

As a private citizen, can I purchase a bunch of land between me and, I dunno, a DNS node or whatever and just lay a super long fiber cable straight to it? Who do I have to pay at the node to get to "plug into" it or whatever?

Hmm. I should see if there's some "How the Internet Works: for Dummies" book.


> As a private citizen, can I (snip) just lay a super long fiber cable straight to (the internet).

Yes. I worked on a startup ISP for a few years, which attempted to do this. It's actually really easy to do :

1) Pick a point where you can get connection to the internet. (Backhaul). This is usually a phone companies central office, but it can also be at a data centre or other point of presence.

2) Run fiber cable from there to your customers. (You can also use wireless gear instead for a WISP. I don't like this approach, it's very 1990s despite all the newer better gear, but it's much cheaper than fiber and if your careful it can work out OK)

3) Setup some light network management.

Some cities / municipalities have signed agreements for monopoly rights to a telephone or cable provider. Many (but not all) of them can be worked around by simply not selling telephone or TV service.

The land between you and your customers is owned. You'll need space in public property (or 'right of way') to connect to them. This also varies based on city/county/state/local laws, but in Michigan there are somewhat decent rules around this. (Set rates for underground conduit access or utility pole access, rules about what can/can't be blocked, etc).

The only real roadblock is money. Fiber ISPs are super cheap at scale, but are effectively impossible to bootstrap unless you are already a millionaire. In Michigan, I could easily offer everyone residential 500mbps to the home via fiber for $50/month and cover all costs, no problem. But only after we already had a few thousand customers. The cost for your very first customer is somewhere north of $50k/each, and prices don't become reasonable until your in the thousands.

In most areas, the only thing you really need to start an ISP is (1) Lots of money, and (2) perseverance. There's not really any rules that prevent it, and the regulations aren't unreasonable. But the upfront cost is so high, it rules out basically any honest person from having the chance to do it.


"Some cities / municipalities have signed agreements for monopoly rights to a telephone or cable provider. Many (but not all) of them can be worked around by simply not selling telephone or TV service."

Isn't it ironic that the only way for a startup ISP to get around the local monopoly agreement is to not provide services which are regulated by the FCC?

Yet somehow, Google, Amazon, and Facebook have convinced most young people that FCC regulation of ISPs is a good idea.

The sad part is, the only thing between a mass of young voters and 1984-style internet is just 3 more years of Trump/Pai, who most of them hate. Hopefully the FTC's renewed authority over "information service" can be demonstrated for the virtue it is before it's too late.


These are not "monopoly agreements" (which are illegal). If you actually read them, you'll see each one says it's "non-exclusive." E.g. http://charmtv.tv/sites/all/themes/charmtv/pdf/comcast-franc....

What not offering telephone or television service gets you is avoiding the need to negotiate with the city for a television franchise. These agreements are usually stuffed with grab-bags for the municipal government (e.g. per-user fee, 5% of revenue off the top, offer XYZ public-access channels, build out to XYZ neighborhoods). All of this is imposed by the local government, not the FCC.

If you just want to run an ISP, build out where you think you can make a profit, and don't want the city to skim off the top, you can avoid that by not offering television or phone service. On the other hand, not offering television makes it hard to compete. People really do care about television service. I lived in an apartment building in Baltimore that had both cable and FiOS. FiOS was internet-only, because Verizon couldn't get a television franchise in the city. I found out I was the first one on my floor (of dozens of apartments) that had subscribed to fiber since the building was built 4-5 years before. All because people really love their television bundles. (There is a reason Google Fiber offered television service.)


Could a local government impose net neutrality rules as a condition for a franchise?

[edit] Or more practically, what general policy changes could a municipality make to maximize the availability of competitive free internet?


Probably not. Franchising authority extends only to television. Municipalities aren't permitted (under federal law) to leverage their authority over the television side to regulate the broadband side.

I suspect the best thing municipalities can do is to make it easy to build competing systems. Take the list of concessions that Google Fiber cities made in return for getting service and commit to doing that for any potential entrant. Adopt one-touch make ready rules, maintain city-owned ducts in good shape and make it easy to get permits. Lay dark fiber every time the city digs things up to put in sewers or roads. Even a little bit of competition can have significant effects. E.g. in the D.C. metro area Comcast has no data caps because it's in competition with Verizon, RCN, and Cox. At the state level, municipal networks can provide a backstop for places (e.g. rural Maryland) that can't support sufficient private competition.


I would really like to see a business case study of building out and operating an HFC network in a single average suburb, and how that varies with how cooperative the suburb is.

Could any of the economies of scale enjoyed by the huge/evil ISPs be recaptured by using some kind of franchise-model where the locals can own an ISP like they would a McDonalds?

I think towns might be more willing to make those concessions if at least some of the competitors were local small businesses rather than giant corporations like Google.


They could but they won't. VZ/Comcast/ATT/etc of the world throw fantastic fundraisers


With respect, you don't know who my local government representative is or how effectively I can persuade him.

The question I asked was what policies, not how to persuade politicians to pass them.


That's why Google Fiber failed.


Google Fiber failed because being a telecom network operator means tying up billions in capital assets in your infrastructure and then only making 10% margins.

Google’s business model is built around low capex and 35% margins. It’s simply a terrible fit for the other side of the company. Exponential growth becomes logarithmic growth and drags down their financials if they scale out too far.


Google Fiber failed because it was a software company that has engineers that have never seen a prism decide they can take on VZ.

When Warren Kumari gets less accolades than a random Google SRE you have a real disconnect with reality.


The opposite is true: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/09/how-kansas-city-.... Google got tons of concessions from Fiber cities that other providers don't get, such as free power and free use of public property. There was nothing special about Kansas City--cities were falling over themselves to offer Google concessions in return for getting Fiber.



Google fiber failed because carriers would fork and eventually drop Android unless Google got out of the ISP business.

But now the carriers are buying up tech companies like Yahoo, their services are going to get preferential treatment so tech companies are screwed.


That's laughable. If Google was to take a VZ, there would be no VZ. Same goes for Comcast, AT&T etc.

The reality is that Google has no interest in taking on carriers. There's nothing sexy is digging treches and hiring Fat Joe, who belches, farts in a workplace, drinks a litter of coke, votes Trump and goes to work at -4C to splice fiber. You won't get accolades. You would only get shit if fiber is out and Paris Hilton can't watch her Netflix.


I live in Overland Park, KS and I’m still waiting for GF. They have ground to a halt.


Here in Seattle our condo building is in the middle of something insane - Comcast is actively installing their network in our building; previously we were only served by Wave Broadband. The local government has finally pushed back on what used to be de facto "gentlemen's agreements" to not allow competition in buildings. Excited to see what this brings!


Cool. Thanks for the clarification & details.

Do you think the "monopoly" concept may still apply when looked at through the Net Neutrality argument that ISPs may throttle/block services which compete with their own (possibly franchised) services?

I too live in the DMV area and am on the lookout for an apartment with decent internet.


Sure. You can have market power in the antitrust sense without being a legal monopoly.

I don't know where you work, but I'm personally loving the Annapolis area. (As I like to say, VA won't let you have weed, DC won't let you have guns, but MD will let you have both.) I also have two fiber providers to my house, and the state is building municipal fiber in the more rural counties that don't have FiOS.


Ahhhh Annapolis... Home to a big naval academy & supporting infrastructure/economy. That sounds great. My hope is to find a sweet/similar deal somewhere between Laurel & Crystal City.


Dude, MD won’t let you have guns. Need to move to flyover country for that.


If your view of the Second Amendment runs more towards militias than self defense, MD isn't bad. For long guns, there is no permit required, and either concealed or open carry is allowed without a permit. The ban on "assault style" weapons just means the state police runs a website listing all the semi-auto rifles you can legally buy (which is a lot). You can get your 30-round magazines in Virginia and bring them in with no trouble.

Fun fact: MD has more NFA registered weapons per capita than most of flyover country: http://metrocosm.com/map-of-federally-regulated-weapons.


Concealed carry allowed without a permit in MD? When did that happen?


For long guns (which is kind of pointless, I suppose). The point is that there is nothing preventing you from stocking up on arms for when MD/DE/PA have to become their own country.


You’ll need to shoot for constitutional carry. Here in KS (least gun laws in the nation) there is statewide open & concealed carry, no license required, at schools, bars, university. Though there would be a trespassing charge if you refuse to leave if asked. Still need a CCH license to get around federal Gun Free School Zones. No NICS if you have CCW.

The recent Firearms Protection Act says firearms and accessories (suppressors) made in KS are exempt from federal regulation. Though a couple of guys lost their federal case when they built a suppressor and sold it; at least no prison sentence.


I wonder how much this has changed recently. We have PS Vue, sling, Youtube XYZ. Could you partner with one them to provide a discount to their services? Do the same with Vonage/etc?


I viewed sports as a major obstacle for people ceasing their cable television subscription. I think YouTube TV offers a viable option for this now.

So, work on that referral from your ISP to YouTube TV!


Municipal Monopoly agreements are not illegal. No monopoly is illegal. _Abuse_ of monopoly power is illegal. Cable TV is a government granted m.onopoly


> Isn't it ironic that the only way for a startup ISP to get around the local monopoly agreement is to not provide services which are regulated by the FCC?

Isn't it telling that the FCC is repealing the consumer-protecting regulations, and not the monopoly-protecting ones?


What the heck are you getting at? You don't seem to be making a clear point. Federal regulation of most common monopolies is a good idea, and the internet has thrived under the net neutrality regulations.


> What the heck are you getting at?

Please don't do this here, but rather post civil, substantive comments only.

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


Ladies and gentlemen, behold astrotrufing.


This breaks the HN guidelines badly. Please read them and don't do this again.

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

https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20astroturfing&sort=by...


The “everyone who disagrees with me is a paid shill because I surround myself in an echo chamber and can’t fathom of a legitimately dissenting opinion” mindset on the internet is more toxic and disturbing than actual astroturfing (insofar as it is far more prevalent at this time). It adds nothing to the discussion, stifles the sharing of unpopular opinions, and only reinforces the echo chamber. Please consider the ramifications of such accusations and in cases where you have proof, present it in lieu of the substance-less attack.


My identity as real person is somewhat assured via Keybase.IO.... https://keybase.io/equalunique


Ladies and gentlemen, behold astrotrufing.


Crowdsourceable? If you need a couple thousand users, would it be possible to run a marketing campaign, get pre-purchase commitments of $100-200, and give some rewards to early adopters? If you raise enough funding, you're good, if not, just cancel the campaign.


Google Fiber did some variety of this:

> Google Fiber works better when communities are connected together. So we’ve divided Kansas City into small communities we call “fiberhoods.” We’ll install only where there’s enough interest, and we’ll install sooner in fiberhoods where there’s more interest.

https://fiber.googleblog.com/2012/07/how-to-get-google-fiber...


Google fiber was a flop as those of us who played in the ISP land knew it was going to be.

Being an ISP is running an sewage treatment network. It is not sexy.


fuck it at least I have a gigabit pipe from fios now


Just don't try to push a gig over it.


I have a gigabit connection, and regularly verify my bandwidth. It's usually not actually in four digits, but I see 800+ megabit on a pretty regular basis.

Admittedly, not FIOS.



> b4rn.org.uk

It amuses* me that the rural Northwest and Yorkshire Dales can get orders of magnitude faster yet cheaper broadband than my parents in suburban Manchester.


This article might give you some inspiration: https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-09/tired-waiting-high-sp...


Sweet. That's from Yes! Magazine, headquartered just up the road from me here on Bainbridge Island, WA.


I was thinking a co-op but, yeah this.


I wonder if this would be feasible at the neighborhood level via Home owners association. The neighborhood gets a tower and microwave link to a backhaul station, and provides internet via wifi or wires to the neighborhood.

I think our neighboorhood is about 130 houses. probably not enough to make it cost effective.

On the flip side, maybe starting a local company to provide LOS microwave hookups to the various neighborhoods in the area could make it work.


If you can somehow convince your HOA to let you put up a tower, then yes, it's feasible. And if you are doing microwave link only, it's pretty cheap.

You can rent space on a nearby cell tower for a pricy-but-not-insane monthly fee, and they'll usually have decent backhaul already present. (American Tower had a WISP sales program specifically for this at one point, I'm not sure if they still do). Run point-to-point from there to your neighborhood via some microwave WISP gear.

If you had a volunteer from the HOA willing to setup and manage it (a bigger ask than it sounds like), and if all 130 houses would agree to pay $50/month, then the math would work out OK (at least, using pricing I got in suburban Michigan about 4 years ago).


> If you can somehow convince your HOA to let you put up a tower.

You don't have to convince them, let the FCC do that. I lived in an area with a heavy handed HOA. The only decent broadband was a WISP. They had a few go rounds with the HOA, but they can't regulate antennas. In the end the WISP put a tower on my roof - I never heard a word. They may try, but they don't have authority to regulate it.


> They had a few go rounds with the HOA, but they can't regulate antennas.

That's a little bit of an overstatement. HOAs can regulate antennas unless the FCC (or Congress) makes an exception.

In the case of WISP, there is an exception that applies: 47 CFR 1.4000 [1]. WISPs would fall under the exception for antennas for "fixed wireless signals". A "fixed wireless signal" is "any commercial non-broadcast communications signals transmitted via wireless technology to and/or from a fixed customer location".

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/47/1.4000


I think you have a flawed assumption that the big telcos that own the tower and backhaul aren't going to charge content providers for access to that tower.


> you have a flawed assumption that the big telcos that own the tower and backhaul

Most cell towers are owned by a third party (not a big telco), and they'll lease to anyone if you have the cash, and the site has the capacity (physical space, weight/wind requirements, etc). You can lease from American Tower, Crown Castle, SBA, etc.

The existing backhaul is often owned by existing monopoly telecom providers. But not always. And competitive non-big-telco commercial operators will often install service to a site for you, if you are willing to pay for it. For example, I'm looking at a cell site in Michigan right now, that's deep in AT&T territory, but Sprint fiber is actually the installed backhaul provider, and four other commercial providers will install service there for a price.

You can know all of this upfront, before you sign anything, so there's very little risk in terms of tower space or backhaul availability. People have been doing this for decades now, it's not as ill-defined as it might seem.


Speaking from today's perspective, you're correct. But it won't be long until all the third parties et. al figure out they too can get into the paid access game. Contracts will be revised. Rents will be extracted. Because there are no regulations to put a check on greed.


Your neighborhood would be an ideal candidate for something like this wireless mesh network solution currently in development: https://8rivers.com/portfolio/8-rivers-networks/


Yes, it is feasible: https://dbiua.org/

There are lots of local groups doing this around the country already in underserved areas as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B0u6nvcTsI


No need to do wireless.

Contrary to the claims made if one is to remove municipal blocks fiber is very easy and very cheap to install. What makes fiber installation expensive is municipal regulations


I wonder if 1000 homes pitched 1000$ each if the 1M$ would be enough for them all to get access? From OP it sounds like no.

I wonder if the onion network will counteract this.


> I wonder if the onion network will counteract this.

How, exactly?


Maybe GP was asking is using Tor would circumvent the issue?


Wouldn't ISPs just block or throttle all Tor traffic (like they did with bittorrent back before net neutrality regulations were in place).


I mean, that's my guess. Just trying to interpret GP.


I’m thinking something like the onion plus a conglomerate fee for first class citizen level prioritization.


I have no idea what you are talking about. What do you think "the onion" is?


Maybe GP is saying Tor could monetize to provide private access? Which, correct me if I am wrong, is a feature Tor doesn't even provide?

I'm pretty lost too.


Clearly I’m not the guy to talk to about tor/onion. I’m wondering if a network could be set up across thousands of homes somehow and that network could purchase priority of its traffic. Basically there’s always a way to add another layer of abstraction to circumvent a lower layers restrictions.


Yes, a mesh network would work for that, then you just need a method to measure how much traffic each node serves then pay the node operators for that.


Is anybody working on that?


I know there were mesh networks with wireless microwave transmitters deployed in some rural areas, but I can't find the articles. It's probably going to get more and more attention though, along with distributed electricity and similar things as technology progresses.


um


I remember seeing a company that was doing exactly this. They setup shop in an area and then sell to neighborhoods.

Can't remember the name.


About the wireless approach, Monkeybrains (https://www.monkeybrains.net/residential.php) in SF seems to do this. I believe I read somewhere that they're planning on replacing the wireless stuff with fiber for areas where they have high customer density. They're awesome, the service is good (except when it rains. Thanks california), it's cheap ($35) and I've been pretty happy with it.

I wonder if that could work to bootstap an isp. Obviously the wireless thing won't work in less dense areas and is subject to weather but maybe a successful business in the city could provide enough capital to expand to the suburbs.


Thank you maxsilver, this is one of the most informative posts I've seen on HackerNews.

Question, you said: This is usually a phone companies central office

Are there risks involved with that? Like for example, they could start playing games with you by saying 'sorry we're doing construction for a week, you can't access your office' ? Maybe a bad example, but I mean, would it make more sense to do it outside of their office?


> Are there risks involved with that? Like for example, they could start playing games with you by saying 'sorry we're doing construction for a week, you can't access your office' ?

Probably? I've never written up a plan using an actual monopoly telco's CO, exactly for this reason. It's easier to find anywhere else to start from, and usually cheaper too.

I only mention it because my experience is mostly suburban / small city related, and I know the majority of small ISP / WISP guys are hyper-rural. They may not have any other options available to them.


Got it! Thank you.


I'm having trouble finding it now, but didn't the FCC overturn the rule that says ISP's have to sell bandwidth to other ISP's? If they do not, or they are able to make it to where they do not have to, they could pretty easily prevent people from doing this or charge some huge amount for a contract to connect directly to a backbone.


Yes absolutely, but it's not really a problem on the commercial market because there's enough competition there.

In my small city in Michigan, for example, there's exactly one phone company and one cable company for residential uses. But there are 4 different local companies selling commercial bandwidth backhaul, in addition to nationwide major providers like Level3 and AT&T.

If you're somewhere truly rural, this can be an issue, the local monopoly might not let you buy commercial (re-sellable) bandwidth. But in most cities -- even small ones, it's probably not a major issue.

At the moment, commercial ISP services are still somewhat competitive. It's the residential ones that are completely monopolized.


This is cool, thank you for explaining. It never occurred to me that it would be so different for commercial offerings. The main question I have with ideas like this is where the shitty pricing scams are going to be happening—if it's the residential companies, then yeah, this is perfect. But if it's Level3 that's shaking down Netflix for more money, for example, then the "fork" isn't happening high enough up the chain. Do you have any insight into this part of the equation?


There is some related (old) discussion in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7699862.

That posts link is dead, but the wayback machine is awesome: https://web.archive.org/web/20140828011618/http://blog.level...


Please don't be offended, I am only pointing this out because you are obvious very intelligent and expert in the field.

>If your somewhere

*you're

I only point it out because I know some people discount comments that have grammar and spelling errors.

Thanks for the super informative posts!

Edit: I guess I offended, based on the downvotes. I only pointed it out since it was used incorrectly in the posts. I was trying to be helpful, apologies if I was being a dick.


As a non-native speaker, I appreciate if somebody corrects me like this, even if they hurt a little bit. I think you wrote it in a very nice manner.


I apologise if I hurt you feelings in any way. I meant it only as constructive feedback to someone who might not be aware.

Thanks again for your posts.


I wasn't the original poster you corrected. I wanted to express that I would prefer to be corrected the way you did it.


Oops! Sorry about the confusion.


I didn't downvote you, but you might have gotten downvotes because the beginning of your post built up anticipation by making it sound like you had some amazing point/rebuttal to drop, and then seeing only an `s/your/you're` was a huge disappointment ;-)


Based only on this description it sounds like a Kickstarter-esque model might work. E.g. get tens to hundreds of dollars from thousands of would-be customers, then start building once the funding goal is reached. Contributors would get X GBs or Y months of service once the utility is operational.


"In Michigan"

People in Michigan are getting fed up with this situation. Lyndon Township passed a 20 year millage to fund a municipal fiber network. The vote passed 2-1 with almost 50% turnout in a non-general election year. The tax will cost every $200K household about $300/year; $6000 total. That's on top of the monthly fees they intend to pay for the service.

People want good fixed broadband Internet. They are willing to pay for it. The telcos and cable operators don't care; they're happy with the customer base they have and their horizon is measured in quarters, not decades, so they're entirely uninterested in the effort and investment needed to build out such systems. They want the low hanging low effort fruit.

This NN outcome won't change any of that; whatever ambition these companies have is now focused on the windfalls they'll make from the peering agreements they're going to negotiate with Netflix et al. and none of that money will find its way to build outs.

http://www.mbcoop.org/lyndon-township/


You've covered the "last mile", but there is the upstream world to take into consideration.

1) Connecting into a CO is one thing, but your fiber is going to need to connect into something. Who is paying for your optics, is there a port or line card that can accept those optics? Does the CO actually have enough bandwidth upstream? This is a real issue.

Back in the 90s, I helped set up an ISP in Boston proper and our main competition had well over a 1000 customers attached to a single T1 (1.5mb/s) link. Everyone wanted 28.8k speeds (lol), but would normally get ~300 to 2400bps. The competition had a bunch of modems with a single upstream link. No one wanted what we were selling - guaranteed bandwidth / true 28.8 bandwidth all the time. People wanted $19.99/unlimited all you can eat. People still want that today.

Back to the CO, maybe you are lucky and they have some open ports. Worst case scenario, they want you to plop down a router and you'll do 10gb/e between. You can go with a homemade box and hope that it is stable, or you can buy expensive network gear.

2) To your customers, that "CO" is the "internet", but to that vendor/telco, it is just a single point of presence (POP). That CO has to connect to other POPs that are owned by them, and that costs real money. Eventually through a unknown number of hops, your traffic will hit an exchange point or carrier hotel. This is where your traffic exits their network and is taken up by another provider and/or company (google has their own fiber plan, for example). The amount of bandwidth at these peering/access points is finite and providers choose to peer with each other, usually at no charge, if there is an equitable distribution of traffic. The last thing that you want is for one company to take up all of the (finite) bandwidth at a peering point.

An ISP connects to multiple carriers (l3, cogent, comcast, att,verizon, etc) so that your customers have quick access to the websites/services that they want to visit - which most likely have to traverse one of those other providers. Similarly, their customers will want to access services that you are hosting, so you will take in a similar amount of ingress traffic.

With the fiber network that you are connecting your customers to, they'll most likely want to access bandwidth intensive services. You better hope that your CO has upstream capacity and a fast path to netflix/hulu/facebook/google/akamai/etc.

Or you, as a internet service provider, try and peer directly with the content providers if they allow it. If there are only 2-3 hops between you and Netflix, your users will love you. If they have to bounce around the country a couple of times, your customers will go back to Comcast (because they have a well connected backbone).

3) This doesn't even cover where you are going to get your IP addresses, if your upstream provider will announce them in BGP for you, etc. Or maybe you connect in to two carriers, get an ASN and announce your networks yourself. You are still at the mercy of your upstream providers.

I think a lot of these details are often overlooked when someone talks about network neutrality. I think network neutrality is a glib term for a number of issues:

- filtering of traffic and/or inability to access a service - loss of freedom to host stuff "for free" on the internet - lack of competition in "the last mile".

The FCC/TitleII stuff, from what I've heard, negatively impacted small WISPs that were trying to start up, by assuming that they were the same size as major wireless providers. A $20k fine because your lawyer failed to properly submit paperwork can wipe you out if you are a simple provider that is trying to provide access to a small community. You aren't AT&T, but title II will assume that you are - and penalize you accordingly.

For more information, read some of these filings/papers:

https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/10717113433056/FCC-17-108%20Res...

and in particular:

http://www.interisle.net/sub/FCC-14-28%20NN%20Interisle%20Co...

-Paul


This is not correct.

Say you have a HOA with 100 houses and you got the last mile wired with fiber. There is probably some place ( such as community center ) that is owned by HOA itself. You get 100 pairs to that building. 10G LR SFP+ are $40 a pop all day. So you need $80 per link once. 48x 10G port switches are $3k all day. So it is 24x edges with a reasonable fabric oversubscription - so you need 5 of those because you want to oversubscribe core rather than the edge as edge requires interaction with a customer while core requires simple internal upgrades. In reality we are goig to do 1Gbit/sec to every drop delivered over 10G so we only need 100Gbit/sec to the edge. Lets spend another $10K on the "core switches" - which in reality are going to be the same as the edges but we will provision them in a way where should this take off we could replace core with 40 and 100G. All of this is going to cost us very little money. Hell, lets pretend it costs us $50K just for the sake of the argument because we like buying really expensive stuff

We can ride a single fiber pair ( remember, this is a residential service, so screw redundancy ) to one of the major interconnect centers because we can drop DWDM gear on our side ( prisms are cheap as hell ) and rent a rack in that interconnect location.

Monthlies:

$10K/mo ( worst case scenario ) DF to interconnect point $2.5K/mo ( rack at the interconnect point )

This gives us the L2 access. But that's not a problem. The problem is that 100Gbit/sec of non-congested IP transit is abou 55c per mbit/sec so that is $55K/mo.

So your cost is $67K/mo to provide 100 houses in a HOA with 1Gbit/sec of IP.

Lets say that you are in a magic place called say... NYC and it just happened that this wonderful thing is a building located right next to one of the big interconnect points and the developer who developed this highrise owns both buildings. You nuke dark fiber monthly cost. Hell, lets even pretend that the developer who owns both buildings lives in a building that we are wiring and he wants high speed internet connectivity to be able to watch NetFlix and PornTube. So there's not only no cost for dark fiber but there's no rack cost.

You are still at $55K/mo of non-congested IP to provide 1Gbit/sec access to every one of those 100 apartments.


Kind of insane to not oversubscribe residential or small/medium business connections, it's extremely rare that 100 houses would saturate a 10Gb line or even half that.

When you pay $50/mo for an internet connection you aren't paying for guaranteed bandwidth, you're just hoping the ISP has enough capacity to meet peak demand - not much different from your local electric provider.

It'd cost me roughly ~$3000/mo for a 10Gb point-to-point link from Boise to Equinix in Seattle from Zayo, and about another $2500/mo for a 10Gb transit connections from Hurricane Electric. You could serve quite a lot of households from that, 50-100:1 oversubscription is pretty common for residential/small business service - so that 10Gb connection could pretty safely serve 500 households reducing your fixed costs to $11/customer/mo.


Replying again.

What we need a boatload of small regional networks ( like the one with 100 houses of HOA ) that have an open peering policy. If you can peer out 50% of your traffic at $0.01 per mbit ($100/mo PNIs to CloudFlare, JoeSchmoeNet, FLIX etc) then you have the same non-congested non-oversubscribed exit for 50% less.


And this is where you are getting into some really interesting stuff:

what you want to do is be an ISP and content originator. In that case you effectively are double-selling your bandwidth since eyeball networks are bringing content in while web farms are pushing content out.

Oversubscription is a reality but it transparently works only on a very large scale - which is why Verizon and Comcast should be able to provide extremely high speed connections ( they don't due to their peering and interconnect policies but that's a separate thing ).

HE is terribly oversubscribed.


> Who is paying for your optics, is there a port or line card that can accept those optics? Does the CO actually have enough bandwidth upstream? This is a real issue. (snip) You better hope that your CO has upstream capacity and a fast path to netflix/hulu/facebook/google/akamai/etc.

Yes and yes. I don't want to dismiss this, it's a real need, but this is what you pay your upstream for. I've never seen a provider not take care of it.

I suppose if you cheap out on your upstream, this can be an issue. I can't imagine someone doing all the work to build a Fiber ISP, and then cheap out on the actual internet service, but I suppose anything is possible.

> This doesn't even cover where you are going to get your IP addresses, if your upstream provider will announce them in BGP for you, etc. Or maybe you connect in to two carriers, get an ASN and announce your networks yourself. You are still at the mercy of your upstream providers.

I don't know how common this is, but my upstream providers would just sell me the IP addresses and were flexible enough to handle either scenario.

> You are still at the mercy of your upstream providers.

Absolutely. This is always true, until you get large enough to be the upstream provider yourself and peer with others directly. But since upstream is competitive, and carries heavy contracts with teeth, you are mostly shielded from the worst atrocities.

It's kind of like forming a union. Sure, you're still "at the mercy of the employer", but you have way better bargaining power to prevent major problems, when you represent 10,000 internet users instead of just one. It's not perfect by any means. But it's worlds better than anything folks are used to on the residential side.

> The FCC/TitleII stuff, from what I've heard, negatively impacted small WISPs that were trying to start up,

Yes, fines should be lower for small business. But these guys could also just not break the law.

The complaints I've seen from some small WISPs are from people who are cheap and lazy, and want to do some pretty sketchy things. (Intentionally throttle Netflix to save upstream bandwidth, for example, because they want to sell 20mbps but can only provide 2mbps). These are blatant violations of Net Neutrality that would cause a shitstorm when AT&T/Comcast does it. But because they are 'small businesses', they want a bunch of sympathy despite doing the same slimy stuff.

I'm guessing there's probably an honest reason for some of the complaints, but the ones I've heard myself were all pretty shady. These providers give honest ISPs a bad name, and play into the false "everyone's just as evil as Comcast anyway" narrative.


What's the breakdown of the $50k/month/customer at the very beginning? Is most of the cost the equipment or leasing the backhaul connection?


> Pick a point where you can get connection to the internet. (Backhaul). This is usually a phone companies central office, but it can also be at a data centre or other point of presence.

You could try searching for your city on peeringdb to find good places to get the internet connection from. https://www.peeringdb.com/advanced_search


I have this right now. First in a small mountain town, and now in Longmont, CO, USA. $49.99/mo for 1Gb/1Gb no caps, no extra charges.


Me too :) I think it was easier for Longmont as it's part of "Longmont Power and Communications" - they were able to run a lot of fiber in existing infrastructure, and right of way was essentially a non-issue.


power companies seem to be in the best position to offer awesome internet. a local provider here has 1000/1000 for $99/mo. but unfortunately they haven't laid fiber in all of the neighborhoods, especially the older ones. so it's only the newer subdivisions that are getting it. :/

i'd be all over it. one less bill to worry about too. (just bundle internet + power)


Acenteck has been doing this in Michigan for the past few years in the Grand Rapids area. They keep pulling lines to new rural neighborhoods coming in. Basically get everyone on the block in one shot because Comcast/Charter have such a bad name.


>The cost for your very first customer is somewhere north of $50k/each, and prices don't become reasonable until your in the thousands.

Sounds ripe for a crowdfunded startup.


> In Michigan, I could easily offer everyone residential 500mbps to the home via fiber for $50/month and cover all costs, no problem. But only after we already had a few thousand customers. The cost for your very first customer is somewhere north of $50k/each, and prices don't become reasonable until your in the thousands.

Sounds like you could benefit from and ICO to gauge interest and raise the capital necessary for infrastructure development ;)


No, it isn't. I live in NYC. I have access to exactly one broadband provider. So, if Spectrum starts blocking Vonage because they want you to pay for their VoIP instead (ISPs in the US have done this in the past), I'll have to drop Vonage and use Spectrum's VoIP. Repeat for blocking P2P, Google Wallet, Facetime, Netflix, etc (all of which have previous incidents in the US).


As someone from a country without net neutrality, I have to say this hasn't happened. Generally you get very cheap or free plans that are sponsored by Facebook or others that give priority to Facebook, but ISPs are always happy to take a little bit more money for an unlimited plan that gives you full access. And at least in my country, they're not unreasonably priced.

Even without net neutrality, your single monopoly ISP could triple their prices and there would be nothing you could do about it. The fact that they haven't seems to show that net neutrality probably isn't going to affect you all that badly. No sane company is going to block Google Wallet or Netflix.

Feels like net neutrality isn't the problem - it's Spectrum that is the problem. If repealing net neutrality gets your country to fix your real problem, then I'd say it's going to be a massively good thing in the long run as top parent on this comment chain implied.


>No sane company is going to block Google Wallet

Verizon, then, is insane. http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/06/technology/verizon_blocks_go...


It's not entirely clear whether they blocked it from being installed on their carrier locked phones, or if they blocked it from communicating with Google servers at the network level. Back in 2011 it was relatively uncommon to buy unlocked phones, particularly for use on CDMA networks. It sounds to me like they just blocked the phone from installing the application, rather than anything that net neutrality would prevent.

There's no legal reason that a carrier has to allow you to use an unlocked phone on their networks. My cable ISP doesn't allow me to bring my own modem, for example. From what I can tell, the net neutrality rules wouldn't have changed this situation at all.

edit: This article[1] is extremely informative; Verizon was not blocking anything at a network level, they were disabling the OS from accessing the necessary "secure element" (TrustZone) in some of their carrier locked phones, which made the Android APIs that Google Wallet relied on cease to function. Due to this, Google chose to not show the app on the Play Store to customers on Verizon because they didn't want people to try the app and have it fail.

So in conclusion, this "blocking" (if you can even call it that) is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand about net neutrality.

[1]: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/05/01/a-brief-history-of-v...


yet that is one big example that even the ACLU has been spreading around.

No wonder people have been confused.


The level of disinformation with NN is staggering. The perils and draw of confirmation bias does not discriminate based on political orientation.



Just read the article.

They blocked Google Wallet on Verizon phones, so not completely comparable as, say, throttling Nexus.

As a side note, their competing mobile payment platform was called ISIS. I'm guessing they rebranded since then.


They re-branded themselves to Softcard and then dissolved.


How long did it stay blocked? I bet they unblocked it as soon as customers complained.

Definitely an interesting example though. Nothing like that has ever happened in my country without net neutrality, but then we have a fairly competitive market where a single carrier trying that would lose their customers very quickly.


> How long did it stay blocked?

Nearly 2 years.


> That's crazy! I'd have cancelled and swapped ISPs after a week. Guess people didn't really care?

The vast majority of people in the US only have access to a single broadband ISP. I live in NYC and only have access to one. My other options are slow DSL (under 15Mbps download and under 1Mbps upload), dialup, or using a hotspot that is generally limited to 15GB download (3 Netflix movies) for $90 a month.


That's crazy! I'd have cancelled and swapped ISPs after a week. Guess people didn't really care?

EDIT: After reading more replies, it seems like you guys actually have no choice. Serious red flag that it sounds like net neutrality was covering up. I think you will be better in the long run with it removed, but you all need to get active and fix your ISP problem and create a free market.


In many regions in the U.S. you don't have any other ISPs. Cable & telecom companies have de-facto monopolies in most places; your only competition is often a reseller that uses the exact same pipes as the local telecom and so is subject to the same throttling.

Internet speeds are also ridiculously slow. In the heart of Silicon Valley, I'm on 5 MBPs/sec, even though the equipment can easily do gigabit. (How do I know this? Because if you pay several hundred bucks a month, they will upgrade your speed to gigabit without anyone coming out.)


Yeah you definitely have bigger problems than net neutrality. I'm in the middle of Africa, 30km from the CBD of a small city, and I have 1gb local / 100mb international fiber with no caps or throttling for the equivalent of ~$85/month. Plus I can WhatsApp the tech support if something goes wrong and they'll drive over and fix it within 30 mins or so.

I also have a choice of about 8 different ISPs offering me fiber lines to my door who seem to be in a price war with each other at the moment.

I don't have net neutrality though. But surely the problem you're facing is ISP/government monopoly related, not the net neutrality bit? Or do you think it's something else causing the ISP issues there?


It's totally ISP/monopoly related, but convincing the government to keep net neutrality regulations is generally viewed as easier than convincing them to break up monopoly telecoms. It was hard enough getting them to block the AT&T/T-mobile merger. The last time a company's been threatened with being broken up was Microsoft in the late 1990s, and they got off with a slap on the wrist (albeit one that made them reluctant to enter new markets, which opened the door for Google & Facebook, and Apple's resurgence, in the early 2000s).


Is that 100 up as well as down? How's the roundtrip latency to get a packet to a US server and back? In any case you have better internet than me for cheaper, and I'm two miles from downtown Bellevue, WA USA not out in the sticks of a flyover state. :(

Generally speaking though I'm also not particularly sad that this NN regulation has been repealed, I agree with the assessment that our problems are not from NN, lack of NN is merely one of many unpleasant possibilities with the current system so even if it was fully fixed there's still all the other problems, most of which have no workarounds. Lack of NN has a workaround. The fact that many employees at many businesses require using a VPN to work from home means that most ISPs will have no choice but to accept extra money to give those people unthrottled / uncensored lines that they take for granted right now as part of the base fee.


Speaking of flyover states, I'm in Kansas and have symmetrical gigabit from Google Fiber. They've recently moved in and I think that if net neutrality is really an issue, competitors like Google will be able to handily out compete the existing companies that already exist here. I tried to get AT&T Fiber for almost a month before finally giving up and getting Google Fiber.


Symmetric gigabit at $85/mo is oversubscribed by a factor of 10


Have you considered that maybe your internet is bad in the heart of silicon valley for the same reason your public transit, housing, etc., is bad? Symmetric gigabit is ~$80/month where I live, and I'm having 2-gig installed in a couple of weeks for $150/month. We've got all our utilities on poles, zoning variances are a breeze to get, and nobody cares that my house never got its final inspection. But we've got lots of Trump lawn signs around so people in Silicon Valley would never stoop to moving here.


Just as a counterpoint, I'm also in the heart of silicon valley. I have 125Mbps internet, with a few other options available, at a not-unreasonable cost.

I recently redid our garage to create a laundry area, and the inspector collaborated with me to identify the most efficient (and safe and legal) way to implement the plumbing, drainage, and electrical. It was neither confrontational nor onerous; I truly got value from a helpful, knowledgeable person that wanted the project to succeed.

We have more jobs than houses, our local schools are some of the best in the state, I have 3 parks in walking distance and a network of bike paths that run through the city. Miles of protected open space, with trails, farms, and facilities are all nearby.

I'm more than happy to pay the taxes to live here and to support the regulatory regimes that protect all of the above.


Certainly considered it - I'm a political moderate, my political views are generally a mishmash from both parties (really all parties, I've been known to vote Libertarian and Green as well, sometimes on the same ballot).

But I'll say that my sister lives in Houston, TX, which has a basically diametrically opposite political philosophy. And it's fucked up in entirely different ways. Traffic and public transportation both suck here, but public transportation is basically nonexistent in Houston, and at least we don't have people shooting at each other because of road rage (which actually happened in my sister's neighborhood - some woman with a small child in the back seat cut off a guy in a pickup truck, so he pulled out a handgun and opened fire). Our house prices are ridiculous, but at least we can drive ten minutes and be in well-preserved, well-maintained open space preserves, while Houston's public parkland exists but is nowhere near as easy to get to or enjoy. Our Internet sucks, but PG&E is pretty reasonable and actually fixes outages fairly rapidly (even if it does have a tendency to burn down Santa Rosa), while my sister's electric bill goes through half a dozen companies, each of which tries to extract as much money from the customer while providing as little service as possible.

On balance I prefer the Californian system, though I'm open to compromise systems that combine the best of both worlds. (We're both initially from Boston, BTW, which is kinda in the middle of those two politically but fucked up in its own special charming way. At least the streets in both Silicon Valley and Houston are laid out in a grid, with more than one lane apiece and traffic lights in the appropriate places, and they can build a new public works project without the ceiling caving in.)


> and at least we don't have people shooting at each other because of road rage

Sorry, but yeah, you do. no major city is immune from crime, sadly.

> but at least we can drive ten minutes and be in well-preserved, well-maintained open space preserves

We can do that here too. I'm not in Houston, though, but Houston isn't representative of Texas. Neither is Dallas, though.

I found that I had more internet options when I moved away from San Jose and landed here. I had FIOS, Cox, Charter, wireless ISPs, even had that Clear service for a while. Now I live out in the cow fields and have Suddenlink for cable. My other internet options would be DSL or wireless. 200/20 down for $140/mo, business package with a static IP.


Most cities don't have poles, especially up here in the Northeast (snowstorms and such), so it's not like another cable company can come along and just string another wire to an existing pole.


> but you all need to get active and fix your ISP problem and create a free market.

I, for one, think this is excellent advice and eagerly await the United Stated dedicating itself to becoming a free market someday.


> That's crazy! I'd have cancelled and swapped ISPs after a week. Guess people didn't really care?

Lucky you, having a no-contract plan and alternatives that don't have worse policies.


I think this is true, but it also ignores the fact the U.S. does not have nearly as strong anti-fraud and competition law as in Europe.


> And This Doesn't Apply To Google Wallet

> The thing is, these rules don't even apply in the case of Google Wallet, because Verizon isn't blocking anything. Why'd I bother explaining them, then? So you can see exactly how they don't apply.

> Unlike the tethering app that requires root access, Verizon isn't actively preventing the Wallet app from being installed on phones. That's all Google. If Google wanted to make the Wallet app compatible for every Verizon phone in the Play Store such that you could download and install it, it could. There is absolutely nothing to stop that happening - but the app wouldn't actually work.

[0] - http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/05/01/a-brief-history-of-v...


All of the services you mention were founded in the US on NN principles. We wouldn't have services like Netflix or Facebook or Google if NN had not been in place.

What web services & startups have come out of your country recently that are house hold brand names? Can you name any?

You are missing the point entirely.


Sorry, I may be incorrect here, but from what I understand net neutrality only came into effect two years ago in 2015. All three of the companies you mentioned were up and running prior to that. So net neutrality enabling them doesn't seem to be correct to me.

EDIT: As for my country.. c'mon, low blow. Most of the people in my country are having some difficult problems with simpler issues than video streaming. We're getting there though, hopefully!


> Sorry, I may be incorrect here, but from what I understand net neutrality only came into effect two years ago in 2015.

You are off by 10 or more years, depending on how you count. Some modes of internet service were under regulations which promoted something like neutrality before they were regulated specifically as internet service rather than ancillary to telephone service, but the FCC adopted a formal net neutrality policy (the Open Internet Policy Statement) in 2005 which was enforced through case-by-case action without general regulations from then until 2010 when that approachbwas struck down by the courts; at the time, the FCC was already developing net neutrality regulations under Title I, which it adopted also in 2010. Those rules were struck down in 2014, with the court saying that rules of that style could only be adopted under Title II authority. The FCC then initially drafted slightly weaker rules under Title I (on the theory that they could avoid crossing the line requiring Title II reclassification), but after the robust public comment period on that draft adopted, in 2015, regulations under Title II.

Net neutrality has been FCC policy since 2005, and every enforcement avenue except Title II regulation has been foreclosed by the courts.


> Sorry, I may be incorrect here, but from what I understand net neutrality only came into effect two years ago in 2015.

The 2015 regulations were a replacement for 2010 regulations. The 2010 regulations were struck down in court on the grounds that they exceeded the FCC's powers under Title 1 of the Communications Act; the court told the FCC they would have to classify ISPs as Title 2 Common Carriers in order to enforce net neutrality.


2015 was when official rules were put into place to protect Net Neutrality. But before that, ISPs had generally worked in a way favorable towards Net Neutrality. But then they started to act against Net Neutrality and then the rules were put into place.

So, you could argue that we've have net neutrality in principle since the internet existed (or at least up until 10 or so years ago when ISPs started to push back) but we have only had Net Neutrality enshrined in regulation for a couple years.

It appears that going forward we will have neither.


No. The entire history of the internet has been built and developed under NN principles. It was merely codified by the FCC in 2015. Companies regularly violated these principles in the past, and the FCC has previously intervened on behalf of customers. Now, there are no protections, with the FCC stating that it will no longer intervene for these violations.


> It was merely codified by the FCC in 2015.

And 2010.

And, more generally, in 2005.


My point was that the innovation from NN was a HUGE deal for the US economically and all the innovation came out of that, i.e. Netflix, Google, Amazon. If a country like yours has no NN protections then you probably won't see innovation like this in your country.


"We wouldn't have services like Netflix or Facebook or Google if NN had not been in place."

Facebook was founded almost a decade before Net Neutrality regulations were in place in the US.


That misses the point. NN protections were enforced even if they were not codified by the FCC, through the courts. Once they were hard coded it made it a lot harder for ISPs to cheat. That's all 2015 was about, making it harder for ISPs to throttle so we didn't have to sue every time. It wasn't about putting practices into place that weren't there before, it was about hard coding practices that were enforced for years so that it was simpler to enforce. That's all.

The new ruling by the FCC does the opposite. It encourages the ISPs to cheat in a blatantly obvious way.


The concept of net neutrality is as old as the internet itself. Are you saying facebook was founded a decade before the internet was invented?


>We wouldn't have services like Netflix or Facebook or Google if NN had not been in place.

I'm astonished at the FUD I've seen recently over NN. Netflix, Facebook, Google and the rest of the internet predated NN. NN started in 2015.


The current regulations around Net Neutrality have only officially existed for that long. Previous attempts at regulation happened before that, and the principles around net neutrality were how the Internet worked for a long time until ISPs began to go a different direction.

So, we've had lowercase net neutrality for basically the entire existence of the Internet. But the uppercase Net Neutrality has only been around for a couple years, but came into existence because we were losing the lowercase version.


exactly. before 2015, you had to pay Comcast extra if you wanted a package that included access to Google, and even more if you wanted reasonable speeds to get to your Facebook feeds

those were the golden days that created the internet. remember when Microsoft payed out to isps to close down access to altavista so they could get more users to use Bing?


Every example I gave in my comment you are replying to are things that a US ISP did prior to the implementation of net neutrality. Even during net neutrality multiple ISPs were caught artificially throttling Netflix to attempt to get payouts.


Ho! Amazing, thanks for clarifying. Your ISPs are pretty messed up. Are they government monopolies? I think your problems are far, far deeper than net neutrality, and just re-affirms my belief that net neutrality was a band-aid that needed to come off for you guys to wake up and fix your problems directly at the source. I wish you well in the fight ahead!


Well yes, most of the US's problem stem from the fact that Corporations Are People (when it suits them to be), and can thus give unlimited amounts of money to politicians because Money Is Free Speech.

It’s been getting worse and worse over the past few decades because of this, and we may be near the point of violent revolution. Except probably not because hey, who has time for that when they gotta put in forty hours a week plus overtime, or three part time jobs, just to barely fail to make ends meet?


What type of competition do you have among your ISPs? I think this is a fear in the US because many people are locked into a single ISP because of geography.


Tons of competition. I have a choice of multiple different fiber line providers, government copper phone line provider, a bunch of different wireless options, and then multiple different ISPs who run over those different fiber or copper lines or 4G towers.

Generally small towns would only have access to 1 fiber or copper line provider (generally Telkom our useless government supplier), but multiple ISPs running on that line so it's not that bad, but I live in the suburbs near a city so I have a lot more choice.


I wanted to add that I think everyone's case is different. I had a tenure in Chicago and all of the apartment buildings I lived in were locked to a single ISP. This is very much so a YMMV.


I'm definitely not going to be that guy who says his ISP is the exception, but Spectrum, basically the evolution of Time Warner Cable, hasn't even dabbled in paid prioritization. Time Warner Cable didn't start fiddling with fast and slow lanes when Comcast tried it and never put out any such policy. That's why I liked living in a TWC city and not a Comcast city (ever noticed there are barely any cities that have both TWC and Comcast? That's intentional)

However, I will say that the management of TWC left once Charter completed the purchase, and as such they might start new prioritization policies and anti-net neutrality stuff. But from what I've seen, Spectrum doesn't seem to be publicly expressing interest in that stuff. Unless I see it in a policy change on their website I won't be concerned. (Okay now time for the part where I tell you that I am completely for net neutrality and think that Ajit Pai is a piece of excrement for gutting net neutrality laws because judging from how I worded my message it probably seemed like I supported the repeal. In short, screw Ajit Pai.)


If the thrown-together design of TWC's official app is any indication, I find it more likely that the previous leadership knew that software wasn't their specialty and (rightfully) shied away from building software businesses before they became worth prioritizing in the first place. Now that they can amortize the costs of such development over the entire Charter-TWC group, it may very well become worthwhile... not to mention that they'll be looking for new profit centers given the demise of cable [0]. So our insulation from this may be short-lived.

To your parenthetical point, I actually find it fascinating from a psychological perspective that someone like Ajit Pai can present himself as, and very possibly believe himself to be, a "man of the people" while simultaneously literally making a mockery of their interests [1]. Someone with a mind so ungrounded that it can function under that level of cognitive dissonance is as deserving of pity as they are of ire. (Or perhaps that's what I tell myself about most politicians so that my veins don't burst.)

[0] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/11/chart...

[1] https://gizmodo.com/ajit-pai-thinks-youre-stupid-enough-to-b...


I think TWC didn't implement any of the anti-consumer technical measures not due to altruism, but due to a lack of technical acumen. They implemented anti-consumer human measures because they had that ability.


I believe the FTC, the government agency responsible for going after unfair trade practices, already covers the scenarios you're worried about.


> As a private citizen, can I purchase a bunch of land between me and, I dunno, a DNS node or whatever and just lay a super long fiber cable straight to it? Who do I have to pay at the node to get to "plug into" it or whatever?

You'll have to buy transit from someone, which will most likely be terminated at a neutral internet exchange / data center. You'll pay the transit provider (e.g. Hurricane Electric) for the bandwidth, and monthly fees to the data center for colocation and the cross-connect.

To get that transit back to a point of presence from where you'll branch out service to end users, you'll either have to bury your own fiber (very expensive - tens of thousands of $ per mile even in rural areas not to mention maintenance costs), lease fiber through someone else (e.g. Zayo) (also very expensive), or use wireless backhauls (cheaper but wireless comes with its own set of headaches).

Also you'll have to get a CCNA yourself or pay someone to manage your network since a carrier network is nothing like a home network.

Now by the time you get service back to your point of presence, you'll have to figure out how to get it to people. Burying fiber is extremely expensive, no way around it. Fixed wireless is a simpler option but getting a line of sight to the customer isn't always feasible, and you'll never have the bandwidth of fiber.

That's assuming people even want it. Out in a semi-rural area there may not be much competition, but the population density is so low putting up a tower or burying fiber may not be viable. In any city you're likely to have cable or DSL companies already there, with a price point that may be difficult to convince people to switch. Most people won't care about philosophical arguments about net neutrality, or be willing to pay a lot more for higher speeds.

In my opinion your best bet is to rally a coalition of people in your area to petition the municipality to bury the fiber and provide it as a utility. If you're uncomfortable with the gov't being an ISP, there is a very interesting model where the city provides an open access network which lets private ISPs plug in as virtual network layers, letting customers easily switch providers: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/06/what-...


> As a private citizen, can I purchase a bunch of land between me and, I dunno, a DNS node or whatever and just lay a super long fiber cable straight to it?

I'm sure you can, the issue is do you have a couple million $ in your bank account to do this?


Start a kickstarter/gofundme. I'll contribute.


This is the route I'm thinking - crowdfunded. Problem is how do you crowdfund "unfettered, utility-style access to the internet" when your funders are spread across the country? It would have to be municipality by municipality. Much harder to get a concentrated volume of funding.

Could go the VC route, are there other companies doing this right now? Is the profit model not sellable to a VC yet?

It might not be feasible until the actions of other ISPs drive demand high enough for new ones.


I do; want to come and hang out on my compound?


You joke but...


Yeah!


I want half a mil spent on us wearing new socks every day for the rest of our lives, and the other half spent on a pool full of sushi.

I understand the pool full of sushi would go bad in about ~8 hours if it is not eaten. I can guarantee you this will not happen.


This is essentially how cable worked in the beginning[0]. In lots of rural areas, it is still the case that communities band together into co-operatives to provide power, cable, and broadband[1].

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_television#History_in_th...

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_cooperative


Co-Ops (at least mine) are awesome. I have fiber to my home and I live in the "middle of nowhere". The other two are the power company and the propane company. They act like a company - except they only try to provide a service and provide jobs, not reap huge profits.


> I want to learn more about the internet and what it would take to bypass the ISPs. Can I do this?

Fwiw, a group called Toronto Meshnet [1] was investigating the opportunity for a community mesh project (which lacks incorporation and know-how of how to run an ISP) to partner with a non-profit ISP [2] (that lacks capacity, constantly gets shut out of the last-mile to new condo developments, but understands the ISP side) to have mesh accommodate the last-mile into homes.[3]

I think they're in a slow-down phase right now as they didn't get funding, but I imagine there's legs in this approach, and they'll ramp up again :)

[1] https://tomesh.net/ [2] http://www.torfree.net/ [3] https://github.com/tomeshnet/documents/tree/master/meeting_n... -


In San Francisco there's local ISP called MonkeyBrains that uses microwave tech to create a wireless network in the city. They put a receiver on top of your apartment/building and then run cat5 or use existing cable. It's pretty awesome and fast. So it can be done. I'm hopeful that people will be inspired to create their own local ISP in light of the new rules.


Wireless won't solve this problem.


How is the latency?


5-15ms


Mostly what you need is a lot of money and a legal team. There are some government granted monopolies in certain municipalities, but by and large I understand it's just a money problem. The incumbents have tons of established infrastructure; you're starting from scratch.


Along the same lines, curious, what if it was a WiFi mesh network connected to a gateway node. You could bridge cities/regions by gateway. Inspiration stemming from Havana’s 50mi mesh intranet.


If you're looking to actually do this, look into wireless broadband: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_broadband

There are currently small operations that offer wireless broadband by putting the receiving equipment on your roof (sometimes they give you a discount if you serve as a repeater) and they purchase wireless data from larger companies' cell towers.


Building a mesh network* is a much cheaper, more realistic alternative.

Also, with regard to your point about "starting an ISP", I don't know the legalities and IANAL, but NYC Mesh goes out of their way to state that they _are not_ an ISP - there's probably a reason for that.

- https://nycmesh.net

- https://www.alliedmedia.org/dctp


Mesh networks do not work at scale.


How not? I'm not disagreeing, but genuinely curious.


Fundamentally, mesh network is a shared medium. Think of it as ethernet over hubs. As long as there are not lots of talkers it works just fine. The more talkers you get the worse it becomes.


If those "talkers" all had hubs which were participants in the mesh, would that help the network "scale"?

Also, _what is_ the "scale" issue? Network congestion? Latency introduced by the need to relay a message from node A1 to node Zn? Something else entirely?


Network congested which is going to cause latency.


I sent a message to our mayor, to which he responded, regarding muni fiber... It seems the best way to approach it is via a public-private partnership - meaning, we (the residents of our 50,000+ city in SoCal) pay for the buildout, own the fiber infrastructure that should be good for at least 3-5 decades, while someone like Cox, GFiber or whomever provides billing/maintenance/operations.... that way it's a win win and the city doesn't have to get involved in becoming a full blown ISP.

In his response he said the topic's been brought up before. If I get his and the council's blessing, the next thing is to hit the ground and get probably 3000-5000 signatures and put this up on a ballot in 2018 November to see how the city feels. I'm optimistic however cause I've been hearing multiple complaints, on-goingly about bad service from ISPs (and we have Cox here, and I don't think they're that bad as opposed to Comcast) and probably a pet peeve is data caps... Sure, we've 1TB caps which is plenty, but w/advent of 4k TV and IPTV ... that may be very low.

Here's to hope that in a few years we all have FTTH where I live (crossing my fingers!)


> Is it feasible to just start running our own fiber to hubs?

It is, on the city level. Some created municipal broadband, and showed crooked monopolists and their paid shills to the door. To be clear - Comcast and their ilk fear municipal broadband way more than net neutrality rules. So expect fierce opposition, especially attempts to bribe local legislature to write laws forbidding or obstructing municipal networks.


> As a private citizen, can I ... just lay a super long fiber cable straight to it?

The other responses offer far more technical details than I can, and probably also a better long-term strategy, but here's a small thing you can do right now: knock on your neighbor's door, and offer a six-pack of good beer and half his internet bill in exchange for his WiFi password. If he says yes, cancel your service. Say you are moving to Bhutan and becoming a monk to make their "customer retention specialists" go away.

From my apartment in a fairly spread-out "city," I can see about ten wireless networks, half with a pretty good signal. I can only imagine what things are like in SF/NY, where techies are stacked on top of each other like dogs in a no-kill shelter.


It's quite expensive to start a fiber network. You might want to consider using wireless with a mesh network. In Detroit there's an organization that has become the leader:

https://www.alliedmedia.org/dctp

In Detroit it's not real high speed because they're using foundation money to provide basic access, but there's no reason I know of that it couldn't be.

Here's more information on the mesh network in Detroit:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kz3xyz/detroit-me...


Back when the last mile was a real problem, people got pretty inventive with using directional antennas to establish links over vast distances using unlicensed spectrum, which as far as I know is totally legal still.

Here's a Cringely blog from 2001-ish:

https://web.archive.org/web/20011215000823/http://www.pbs.or...


I did this for a few years in the late 90's, before anything better than POTS was available in my area. Used a 2.4 GHz 24 dBi antenna on my roof to reach an access point on a mountain about 7 miles away. This worked well; the network operators were competent and the service was more reliable than some of the systems I've had since.


A relevant story many will recognize: https://www.thelocal.de/20140601/german-villagers-build-own-...

As best I can tell they are not even municipal. Merely a cooperative owned by a big chunk of the town. At least last I heard.


Depends on where you live. Every city has different laws about how to run cable underneath the ground. The first cost you pay is figuring out where everyone's cables are. The second cost you pay is convincing the city to let you do it. The third cost you pay is doing the digging.

If you spin it off as a service to your block, then it might be possible...?


IMO the way to go if the ISP monopolies start getting unreasonable is to start single-issue voting for free municipal broadband. Possibly also run a campaign or grassroots organization for it as well. Comcast can't screw with you if nobody is using Comcast.


Also a possibility of ad hoc suburban networks, where each phone becomes a cell tower. User ISP.


Besides the costs, getting all those easements takes a lot of time, and often legal work. This is why crowdsourcing fiber hasn't taken off, it's a nice idea but you'll go through a ton of money on permits and legal filings before you buy a single spool of cable.


The more likely next step is not cable-esque plans. It is ISPs shaking down Internet companies to try to get huge sums of money at the source.

As such, what you'll see as a consumer is just higher prices from _other_ companies, as they're forced to pay for access to bandwidth which you paid for.

This also means that most people won't understand the problem, and won't get upset with the correct people.

This is a travesty, akin to if every appliance manufacturer had to pay a recurring tribute to the electric company.

But hey... at least the Libertarians are all quite excited.


Ask around for community-friendly ISP's in your area (including Monkeybrains and Sonic in San Francisco).

EDIT: OK I suggested sharing a T1 but apparently that hasn't been a good deal since the 90's.


I so desperately wanted to use either of those, but MonkeyBrains would require me to mount something outside my building which wasn't going to be possible at either place I've lived in the city... and Sonic... well I got Sonic.

Sonic runs on AT&Ts lines. It was slow and had lag spikes. After about a year it got to be where the modem (and Internet) would cycle for a couple minutes about once every 2 hours. The (Sonic!) tech came out, found a fault on the line, and his advice was to get Comcast.

I also tried getting Wave, but couldn't.

I went through a similar runaround with my previous building (also in SF), where I tried to avoid Comcast. Eventually I caved.

Comcast was terrible and shady from the very beginning. They sold me an internet package they later claimed didn't exist(!) even though I had the offer in writing from the sales guy. So they just adjusted my bill to what they thought I should pay.

They eventually backed down after I kicked up a huge fuss (and took it to social media), but they also threw a bunch of free stuff I didn't want in to my package as "compensation", and guess who was paying for that when my promotional rate expired before they promised it would? My rate was constantly going up if I didn't fight them tooth and nail. I had to check every bill and almost every one had a new surprise. I have never worked with such a perfidious organization.

So after all that I wanted Anything But Comcast, which I already disliked before that experience. I've seriously considered tethering to Verizon Wireless as better...

But I like to do online gaming and Comcast is the only vaguely reasonable option at this point. They're a little less shady if you avoid ALL television service.


You realize a T1 is a measly megabit-and-a-half right? Crappy 3G is faster.


3G may be faster but it is rarely better - with a T1 you are going to get very low latency and very very very low jitter.


Why would they include the T1 option but ignore the nearly equivalent bandwidth of a pair of tin cans connected with string to some acoustic modems?


T1 lines only carry 1.544 Mbps. On the upside, I don't think they cost $1000 nowadays.


10 friends sharing a t1 falls apart if more than 1 friend wants to stream a movie at the same time. Or if just one friend wants to stream a HD movie. A t1 is 1.54mbit.


Ah, the good old days - when I had DSL with 1.1 Mbps up AND down, guaranteed. My ISP didn't even have a policy against resale so I shared with 15 units in 6 different buildings - all wired. I was always amazed how much better my dedicated 1.1 felt compared other plans boasting up to 5.


The "last mile" is a utility, and by its very nature will always result in monopolistic control.

It is impractical and irrational to wire up a home to multiple ISPs with their own fiber channels. Each channel could cost tens of thousands to install.

Instead the "last mile" should be a non-profit funded by ISPs who lease the channels. The non-profit is responsible for installing the "last mile," upgrading it, and repairing defects in it. The ISP is responsible for everything that happens from the exchange upon up (inc. pricing, support, peerage agreements, interconnects, etc).

This way you can still choose Comcast if you wish but may also have several local ISPs competing for your business. When you choose to change no engineer needs to come to your house, they just plug and unplug you at the exchange.


So an open-access network (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-access_network).

This is done quite successfully in other countries around the world, like New Zealand where we mainly have one infrastructure provider (selected and monitored by the Government), who must offer fair and standard pricing to any ISP who wants to add value to the network.

As a result, we have many ISP options throughout the country and competition between providers is high.


What value do the ISPs actually add to the market?

It seems like a government granted middleman position to me, where I'd rather just purchase service from the government or the government's selected infrastructure manager.

Presumably there's already some base price for service that this infrastructure provider is charging everyone (a controller monopolist), what are you gaining on top of that by having a second middleman that is presumably also making a profit?


> What value do the ISPs actually add to the market?

They're the main point of contact for the end customers; as a typical customer, you only interact with Chorus (the public company that provides the fibre/copper in most of NZ) when they send technicians out to work on the connection upstream from your house.

So, the ISP handles billing, tech support, DNS, email, liaising with Chorus, etc. Different ISPs offer different service tiers, billing arrangements, options for buying/leasing the modem, etc.

Our residential electricity works similarly, which leads to retail companies offering both - for example I get one bill each month to pay for both fibre and electricity.


Given the government's track record with some big projects like healthcare.gov which is still a nightmare to use, I would not trust them to be an ISP. In fact, in the past, some states did (or still do) have their own ISP that they use at a lot of schools and public facilities. Ours was always slow with frequent outages.

I think a hybrid approach with the government managing and maintaining the physical lines and allowing isps to plug in and pay rent is the way to go. The ISP rent should be enough to cover the cost of physical line maintenance.


What are your specific complaints about healthcare.gov? I was out of the country when it initially rolled out, but have had no problems with it the past 2 years since I've moved back and needed to get it.


Washington State exchange is notoriously terrible in terms of downtime, availability, and customer service. I won't go into what I dealt with for six months using their service vs. my previous low-cost insurer that left the market due to regulations, but it was an absolute nightmare for me and my family. Small business owners got absolutely screwed in our state.


packet transit, installation, maintenance, customer service. Also most less technical ISP customers get a lot of value out of ISP managed equipment rental and don't want to buy and maintain a router-AP themselves.

Local loop unbundling for phone and DSL service was extremely successful in the US, there's not a lot of reason to think a government bid process would have done better than CLECs did.


The most immediate one to come to mind is that a private ISP can't indict me.


I hear San Francisco is about to attempt this? https://futurism.com/san-francisco-has-approved-a-plan-for-c... Where "about to" means soon-ish?


> The non-profit is responsible for installing the "last mile," upgrading it, and repairing defects in it.

What incentive does a non-profit have to invest the billions of dollars required to do these things? If you use public dollars to do it: what do you think happens when investment into upgrading from GPON to NGPON2 is competing for taxpayer dollars with roads and schools? I can't imagine that anyone in say San Francisco would rather have SFMTA running their internet than Comcast.


1) You get the government you deserve. If you're worried it would be mismanaged, become active.

2) I would absolutely rather have an unbiased and fair agency installing utilities than a rent seeking public company that is beholden to shareholder value.


You get the government your neighbors want. I'd vote in a heartbeat to raise water and sewer rates to upgrade our water systems so we could stop dumping untreated sewage into the Chesapeake Bay: https://www.baltimorebrew.com/2017/08/01/baltimore-released-.... But my neighbors won't do that. Do you think they'll be more forward looking when it comes to broadband? Or will all the retirees who dominate the voting decide that 50 mbps ought to be good enough for everybody?

Since my parents first got fiber 10 years ago, Verizon has spent a ton of money upgrading from BPON to GPON, and now is working on NGPON2. If a public utility were in charge, even if they were willing to raise the money to install fiber in the first place, there is no way in hell they'd have made those upgrades.

You can see this in practice. Here in Maryland, the only upgrade in transit service I can think of in my lifetime is running the Penn line from Baltimore on weekends. More typically, the public authorities run the transit systems on the edge of collapse. Simply maintaining existing service levels in the face of under-maintained infrastructure is considered a victory.


That has been tried in a few places, and I'm not sure that it has succeeded anywhere. Municipal fiber was laid where I used to live in Provo, UT and it had huge funding problems. ISPs could compete, but all the value is in the last mile not in the gateway.

Eventually Google bought it out, but the city had to increase taxes to help pay for the current bond, and was looking at more bonds to pay for it before Google stepped in.


It has definitely succeeded. For example, New Zealand uses this model, and we're actually in the middle of rolling out fiber to almost every house in the country.

Okay, so technically in New Zealand the last-mile infrastructure is owned by a utility company, not a non-profit. However, the utility companies are selected by the government and tightly regulated, so they act more like non-profits than typical companies. Also note that they aren't allowed to actually sell internet access to consumers; they only maintain the infrastructure.


When I lived there, I had 200mbps up and 200 down for $70 a month and it was great. This was before Google came to town. But since I didn't own property, I guess I was out of the loop on property taxes.


I had it as well at 100Mbs before Google fiber. The service itself worked great, but it had to be subsidized by taxpayers throughout its lifetime - it never broke even after the subscribers fees.


This is how it has worked for 15-20 years in France, the UK, and probably most of Europe.


> The "last mile" is a utility, and by its very nature will always result in monopolistic control.

This is THE central point. Everyone saying that they would be OK with the latest FCC regs if there were only more competition need to consider this. In what bizarro world would anyone actually want ISPs competing for the last mile?


The one where 5g is faster than my comcast connection.


> In what bizarro world would anyone actually want ISPs competing for the last mile

You can easily have up to 1 gbit symmetric internet connection in Russia for $10 because of that competition.

It's not rocket science, guys, US ISPs suck because your regulation killed all the competitors, and your solution is what, more regulation?


I have options of cable, DSL, and fiber. With each new ISP offering service to my house my rates have gotten cheaper and bandwidth faster.


If you last mile is minimally-maintained aging copper far from the central office, and the competition is fiber...


How does this compare to municipal electricity companies? Do you think the same model could be applied?


Coming in 2019, electric companies monitor your usage profile to tell when you turn on different appliances and charge you a higher rate for running your TV or charging your electric car. But don't worry, the free market will fix it.


In California you do get different rates if you get an electric car. You also get different rates (higher) if the State thinks you don't "need" air conditioning.


This is already a thing in several states and the general consensus is that it saves citizens money.


Is that because electric rates are heavily regulated as utilities, or because the free market let the only electric supplier do whatever they wanted to with your rate structure?


Isn't that already the case? You don't have two electrical lines running into your house.


That's the argument. The power utilities are tightly regulated.


You've just described Local Loop Unbundling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local-loop_unbundling), this has been the way things have worked for 15-20 years in France, the UK, and probably most of Europe.


I think that would be a good value proposition for a city that does not already prefer one ISP over another. Interesting idea to spin something like this up.


Many states have laws that forbid this, along with any attempt at local control of the issue.


> Instead the "last mile" should be a non-profit funded by ISPs who lease the channels.

That's an interesting idea, kinda like Interac for telecom. From what I hear, Interac has a bit of an issue with being fairly closed to new peering agreements, so I wonder how that could be solved for the telco space, maybe constitute the maintenance corporation to be open to bids from new ISPs.


Instead the "last mile" should be a non-profit funded by ISPs who lease the channels. The non-profit is responsible for installing the "last mile," upgrading it, and repairing defects in it.

Yes, that's called "government".

We do that with roads and mail, we can do the same with communications.


Even if you avoid the last mile cluster F*, you still need to rent physical space to ISPs for setting up their network equipment. With multiple ISPs, its not clear who should "own" the space. I doubt individual homeowners want to deal with that headache.


How much money are we talking for a mile of fiber? $6K for materials and $12K for labor? Anything else? Could you do a neighborhood for $18K?


cars cost "tens of thousands" yet personal automobile ownership has been feasible and has a huge positive impact on the economy. If that 10-90K ballpark cost estimate is accurate then accessing the information superhighway could be a similar situation.


Right, but not being able to afford a car severely limits people's' access to jobs, care, entertainment, groceries, etc. And this would be worse; access to the Internet is starting to be assumed here in the US. If it's going to be it should be treated as a right.


I'm always surprised that folks on here don't think about the future of last mile connectivity being wireless, instead of wired. Next generation wireless networks (5G) are poised to have broadband like speeds, faster latency, and high bandwidth. Wireless operators have been pretty explicit in that their plan to get into the home broadband game. These networks are a few years away from a broad roll out, AT&T is starting next year. I predict there will soon be much more competition in the home broadband game and much of these net neutrality debates will seem pretty silly. Other cities like Boston already have a wireless broadband provider and are moving in this direction.


Wireless is inherent issues that fiber and copper does not.

1. Wireless is burst not pure data streams, latency issues. 2. High probability of interference. 3. High probability of collisions, wireless spectra bouncing off one another and objects, requiring multiple transmissions.

Big difference between Wireless and Wired / Fiber. Pokeman GO event in IL is a prime example of inherent issues.


So we shouldn't worry about the monopoly because it should "go away soon". How does that make any sense? You know, these same companies started out as multi-decade cable monopolies before they were providing monopolized internet service. You really think that will change? If it wasn't for the DoJ blocking mergers 90% of the country would already have a single internet provider.

Wireless internet for everyone will never be realistic. There's a theoretical limit to how much data you can send wirelessly, the "Shannon limit". On many bands we're already close to it, 90% of "5G" is just about using the rest of our bands more effectively. Once we're using all the frequency bands that penetrate far enough to be useful theres nothing you can do in increase wireless bandwidth. Theres more hope with satellites and narrow beams but these technologies are a decade away. 5G isn't going to do anything noticeable to ISP competition and I think you need to do more research on how 5G works if you think otherwise


I don't think I said that. Emotions seem to be running really high today! I admit my comment was a bit rash. I'm not against all government regulation of the industry, your comment is a bit lost on me. DoJ anti trust enforcement isn't the same as net neutrality debate, so I really don't disagree with your point.

Yea I don't think it will be realistic for everyone, especially folks outside of the city. I understand the concept of the Shannon limit. But I still think there is still plenty of opportunity for it to be useful in real world applications. I think you need to do some more research on some of the wireless breakthroughs going on and start ups in this space if you think otherwise.


I just don't think you see the net neutrality debate from the stance of someone that had shit internet for 10 years and could nothing about it because there were zero local competitors. And this is the norm nowadays, more than 50% of Americans have a single option for high speed home internet. DoJ enforcement is directly related to to introduction of net neutrality law. They couldn't get ISP's to compete effectively anymore.

Considering 4g just muddies the waters because there's no way we'll ever be able to provide the data allocations needed to make a realistic competitor. There's a good reason wireless has data-caps, it's all about limited spectrum. 4G/5G/wireless is, at this point and for the near future, a classic straw-man argument.

I was a lifelong moderate small-government republican until we elected the orange clown, and I still see telecom monopolies as a defiance of antitrust. Internet service is just as important and power or water hookups these days. It's a government utility and natural monopoly. The fact that we don't treat it that way is disturbing.


As a Webpass customer in Boston, you really hit the nail on the head. More than twice the speeds of Comcast's best offering at less than half the price, better reliability and none of the bullshit - no outages, no slowdowns, no rate hikes, no forced modem upgrades, no shitty customer service, just 500Mbps up/down for $45 a month.


The amount of people who argue that this tech isn't possible is astonishing! I show them it's literally happening now and they don't believe me. I show them how wireless mobile and traditional companies have plans to create wireless home broadband networks and they don't believe me. We are at the early stages of this and it's pretty clear to me that this industry is about to be massively disrupted.


Why would wireless lead to more competition? Wireless spectrum is monopolized in much the same way that the right to lay fiber/wiring is. FCC auctions sell exclusive use of the spectrum to these companies for billions of dollars. The switch to wireless would be nothing more than a chance for these companies to save on the expense of physical infrastructure, not a way to increase competition. Unless you're suggesting that high speed internet could be delivered on unlicensed bands, we'd just be trading one monopoly/duopoly situation for another, and likely with the same obstinate companies that we currently lament having to depend on for internet service.

The best hope for competition in the home broadband market is municipal ownership of last-mile infrastructure. We need to lay last-mile fiber and it needs to be owned by the public, though network maintenance can be contracted out.


Because wireless spectrum is finite. Anyone who's been on LTE since it started rolling out can tell you how degraded the network has become since more people came on to it.


Hehe, you know, line of sight solutions like lasers would be epically cool here.


Until it snows


Snow can be effectively invisible to a beam when wavelengths are larger than snowflakes (i.e. microwave range: broadly defined as lengths between 1mm and 1m.)

What confounds line-of-sight isn't "until it snows" but "until something/someone has to move around". :)


I agree, to some extent, but I'm not sure if wireless will ever be able to give me gigabit speed with sub 10ms latency. If that's possible, then I'm ready to sign up right now!


Wireless can give you gigabit speed with sub 10ms latency, for sure! With a few assumptions and caveats. You have to work out a compromise involving spectrum width, power usage, transceiver positions, etc. etc. etc. to get optimal performance, for all the various definitions of optimal.

And there are lots of games you can play with QAM, channel-hopping, frequency division, and I am sure that future DSP experts will invent still more ways of getting more data to more people faster with less power. But the basic compromises still need to be dealt with. Using a wired link, you can blast data as fast as you want to yourself without messing with other people, on wireless things are more complicated.

But enough of that, to answer your question: here's a product that can get you 20 Gbps and 0.2 ms latency over hundreds of kilometers:

https://www.ubnt.com/airfiber/airfiber24-hd/

https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-airFiber-AF-24-Worldwide-Lic...

Easy as that! ...but you're not about to mount one of those on your cell phone.

In an ideal world, all wireless access points could adjust their configurations as required. They'd share information on their physical locations, transceiver capabilities, power status, and bandwidth usage, with the data flowing across the landscape like electrical current in a sheet of metal or water in the shallow riffle of a stream. And of course all these devices would contain unimaginably brilliant and complex software that would manage all this with high efficiency, and they'd all interoperate seamlessly. And since this is the ideal world, no one would ever use the transceiver information from the network for nefarious purposes, and we'd all share the burden of keeping adequate transceiver power available, and the power would be generated from renewable energy sources.

But that ideal wireless world would still have far less capacity than the ideal wired world. The question is whether you think a user-driven wireless setup can be superior to the crappy wired situation we have now.


It can give you that. Unfortunately, it can't give everyone that.


http://beta.speedtest.net/result/6880152186 - That's last mile wireless. Throughput is hampered by my crappy usb NIC because all of my thunderbolt ports are in use. With thunderbolt ethernet I'm getting the full 500Mpbs that I pay $45/mo for.


> I'm always surprised that folks on here don't think about the future of last mile connectivity being wireless, instead of wired.

Many people have and have tried, wireless last mile has been attempted hundreds of time since 2005 (and the end of mandatory line-sharing).


I totally agree. Who cares if the worst case scenario is tiered pricing, as long as their is REAL competition, a competitor can come along and say "we offer it all for one flat fee because our infrastructure is better." Boom, done. These municipal exclusion deals are the real problem.

I also think this is going to backfire and bite the telco's in the ass if they try to roll out tiers. The legislative outcry when joe schmo is affected could become so deafening that congress will be likely be forced to get up off their ass and intervene which is exactly what they don't want. If they were smart they would only go after the Netflix and Face-books of the world and leave the consumer out of it.

Can you imagine the 2020 campaign slogan of "Donald Trump ruined the internet." Ignoring this issue was stupid but I don't think they thought this through.


A rather naïve reading. People are stupid. They may even prefer the "simplicity" of tiered packages. They'll roll over.


I predict the first package is going to be a gamer package. Image a low latency / high bandwidth connection tuned for gaming. Lots of people would pay $10 or $15 per month for that if it would give them an advantage in gaming.


No way, man. People hate their ISP's, and would love to be able to switch.


Ok everyone, it's been fun. See you on America Online!


They could conceivably just demand subsidies from Google, Facebook etc. and charge customers nothing.

Then they can say to some degree of truth say that bringing net neutrality back would force them to raise prices.


I am concerned they'd go farther and use such demands to subsidize consumer rates. Then people would get complacent while losing the freedom of choice.


But going after Netflix, for instance, will result in a price increase for the consumer, no? When Netflix's costs for bandwidth go up, they are going to pass that cost on to you.


I worry the average consumer's reaction to that is going to be as follows: "All the tech nerds were worried about this net neutrality thing, but since it got revoked my Comcast bill is cheaper than ever. In completely unrelated news, those bastards at Netflix have hiked their prices again!"


Isn't this really the point? Netflix consumes a lot of resources and are the sole reason for a lot of ISP infrastructure upgrades. Why shouldn't Netflix and by proxy their subscribers be on the hook?


There's a microwave based ISP in SF called Monkeybrains. From their about us page:

"Monkeybrains is primarily a WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider). What this means is Monkeybrains uses microwave technology to create a wireless network covering much of San Francisco. We deliver internet service to individual locations by placing an antenna on the roof. This antenna picks up an encrypted wireless signal from one of our network access points which can be found on over 1000 buildings city-wide.

From the roof, we run a Cat5 Ethernet wire either to the unit, telecom closet, or the property's Ethernet patch panel. We are happy to comply with any building wiring guidelines or work with the building's riser company if required."

https://www.monkeybrains.net/how-it-works

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a1...

They are pretty responsive in terms of customer service.

*Don't work for Monkeybrains but my company uses their service.


Los Angeles is too big for that over the entire area but parts of LA like North Hollywood could become an opportunity to setup a microwave wireless ISP that covers an entire neighborhood in LA like North Hollywood or Santa Monica.


I live in SF and I used to use Monkeybrains, but I switched to Comcast about 12 months ago. It felt like using MB was taking the moral high road, but there are some things that a wired connection just does better. MB would have very spotty signal during rainy days. A few of us play competitive games (eg Overwatch) and MB had too many latency spikes.


> This wouldn't be a problem if ISP's weren't de facto monopolies.

It would still be a problem for startup companies. If TimeWarner gives exclusive preferential pricing to Vimeo and Verizon gives exclusive preference to YouTube, your video-streaming startup still has an extra uphill battle even if there is competition among the established players.


TimeWarner Cable no longer exists and was purchased by Charter.


I thought he meant TimeWarner -- the content company that owns TBS and Warner Bros-- not Time Warner Cable which was bought by Charter? (For the sake of correctness, the two companies are written as Time Warner Cable and TimeWarner, Inc)


I meant an arbitrary established player giving another arbitrary established player a nicer deal than a startup could get.

Everyone should feel free to insert proper nouns that make more sense to them.


Agreed. And corporations like AT&T that not only provide ISP services but actually serve original content, they are uniquely positioned to push their services over their competitor's. Perhaps we'll be seeing streaming services like Netflix become slower, while, say, DirecTV Now runs at full speed.


YES.

Hopefully when sanity takes office, we don't repeal the changes in net neutrality, but rather repeal the laws that created these insane corporate monopolies in the first place!


Or we could do both...


queue the old el paso why not both commercial


Google, Facebook, and Amazon are de facto monopolies and we don't do anything to improve competition in that space either. Ironically they were the leading advocates of net neutrality. We should also pursue antitrust legal and foster competition in their space as well. In the meantime, we are back to the status quo that was present in 2015.


This is incorrect on several points. Most importantly, the idea that this move returns to some "deregulated" 2015 is a myth and has been refuted so many times throughout the net neutrality discussion. The short version is that NN has always been roughly in place and has been enforced with legal action by regulators for many years prior to 2015.


ISPs, like power network companies, and road and rail network operators, are natural monopolies. There is no theoretical or practical reason to believe that free markets are the appropriate tool to organize them.


It would still be a problem. Maybe if one of those providers is benevolent enough to have a sanely priced "package" that promises to treat all data neutrally there'd be a shot, but I think greed would prevent that from lasting if things start moving away from neutrality.


When I emailed my Senator this was essentially his response. Whether genuine or not he said he wants to see a permanent solution that creates more competition. Who knows if he's being truthful but it is an argument I've seen for a long term solution.


If a Senator says he wants to see something as an alternative to a concrete option that exists (either as status quo policy under threat or a concrete proposal under debate) he's making excuses for not supporting the thing you care about.

If a Senator says he's actively working on something and points you to specific legislation he sponsors or supports, well, that might also be political theater, but it's at least possible that there is real substance behind it.


5G networks could very well change that. Right now people rely on LAN, however it's very possible that with the growth of 5G people will just use over the air internet rather than having their own setups everywhere they go.


Not being sarcastic, but is this honestly better? There are only a few major cell providers that can roll out 5G, so it seems to me that instead of Comcast-TW-Cox we would have ATT-Verizon-Tmo.

I guess it would be easier to set up municipal ISPs, since minimal wiring would be needed. But the lack of real competition in the cell market seems to indicate that the problems are pretty similar for small startups.


What's special about 5GHz? What about 700MHz-2100MHz?

Even with its high latency, packet loss, data caps, etc, LTE internet fits the need of a huge segment of casual internet users and has been doing so for some time now.


Not sure if you're joking, but just in case...

5G in this context means 5th Generation, not 5 GHz.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G


Oh, whoops. I wasn't joking. I never realized that there's actually a definition of 3G/4G/5G that isn't just made up marketing lingo. Thanks for the link.


> This wouldn't be a problem if ISP's weren't de facto monopolies.

And even if they weren't monopolies, they would probably collude.

Telcos in some countries, for example agree to not market services in each other's territories.


Comcast and TWC did that literally all the time. I can't back this up with a specific website link, but I have anecdotal evidence. When they tried to merge a couple of years ago a Comcast exec said in one interview that the move wouldn't affect consumers and isn't something intended to incite "anticompetitive" behavior because TWC and Comcast already do not compete. Ever noticed how a city is EITHER a Comcast or TWC city, and not both?


Ha, I was in class with Rexford today and this is exactly what she thinks.


> ISP's kill competition by making legal arrangements with local governments...

Seems like this should read "local governments monopolize ISPs." ISPs have no other access to this arrangement.


This. I wish something was done about the regulations that are de-facto monopolizing franchise agreements and such at a city level for telecom services. Not much better in Canada either.


If Comcast re-enable Sandvine and start tinkering with P2P and VPN traffic, will that be enough to start the conversations around anti-trust? Or is there already a precedent?


Are you also in favor of bundling when it comes to TV/Cable?


Would crowdfunding new local ISPs and boycotting the big ones be a viable option?


Local governments have been legally prohibited from making exclusive ISP franchise agreements for quite a while now. IMHO the only thing really preventing local competition is the economic aspects of laying multiple physical wires to residences giving the setup strong natural monopoly conditions.


Source? Every single city I've lived in has such an agreement. One cable provider, one phone(DSL) provider. There might be smaller, internet only companies.


Do they have an agreement with the local city, or is it a natural monopoly? It's unclear what causes that condition of a lack of choices in a given area.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/pages/publicationsandnewsdetail.a... (March 5, 2007)

>In streamlining the franchising process and preempting (Local Franchising Agency) LFAs from taking action inconsistent with its reforms, the FCC relied primarily on its statutory authority to carry out the Cable Act’s mandate that LFAs “may not grant an exclusive franchise and may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise.” The FCC interpreted that mandate to cover not only the unreasonable denial of a cable franchise, but also unreasonable delay in action on a franchise application and the conditioning of a franchise on unreasonable terms.

Now local cable/isps do mess with the process of permitting and right of ways as much as they can when competitors arise, and local governments are susceptible to both corruption and being overwhelmed by the large corporations deploying such tactics. Just maybe not in that specific way of signing monopoly franchise agreements. So I'm under no illusions that this prohibition of monopoly franchise grants goes very far...


Their safety net is their lobbying power, which hasn't changed.


I have more ISP choices than grocery store choices.


For power users on websites like HN and reddit, this might seem true. But if you take a step back and realize that the large majority of Americans don't use the internet like you do, and maybe never will use the internet like you do, I think this argument holds far less water.

Consider that it's estimated that 13% of Americans don't use the internet-- at all, for anything, ever.[1] Think about how many people probably exclusively use their $60/mo cable internet to use Facebook, read news websites, and send emails. They don't use Netflix, they don't watch YouTube, they only do what they know and they're happy with it. Is it accurate to say that someone with these needs has no choice in their ISP?

Where I am right now, in the middle of central Wisconsin surrounded by acres of farm fields in every direction, I have fiber all the way to my house. In addition, there is reliable LTE coverage on multiple carriers. There's also satellite internet. For the average internet user as of 2017, I really think it's inaccurate to imply that consumers lack choice.

What you're really saying is that there's no competition in the very high end segment of consumer ISPs. And I'd agree with that, there is little choice when it comes to a provider that is willing to offer you a highspeed DOCSIS plan without a data cap, or fiber internet, etc. Most homes probably only have one provider that meets the needs of power users.

And to that I say, "tough shit!" If you're an outlier as a consumer, you're going to pay through the nose for it and you're not going to have a ton of choice. It's not some giant conspiracy to milk consumers dry, it's a matter of business. ISPs don't want to invest billions into infrastructure that some trivial portion of their consumer market really would utilize. It would be fiscally irresponsible to spend all that money for such little return. If posing it that way doesn't appeal you, let me put it another way: it would be bad for the long term growth of the internet to spend all that money to appease a small portion of internet users. That money is better saved and spent later.

You might say, "Consumers will certainly desire faster internet as years pass, so it's an investment they'll have to make eventually, and the taxpayer has subsidized this expansion, so they should be doing it now, anyway."

I believe you'd be wrong to say that. ISPs shouldn't be obligated to be spending money now if they're meeting the majority of needs of their customers. I know online it maybe doesn't seem that way with all the "Comcast-are-Nazis memes", but it's just a matter of overlap between poweruser segment with high bandwidth requirements also being active on the social media you frequent. Elsewhere on the internet, there's a majority of casual internet users who are not coming close to being meaningfully impacted by technical limitations of their connection.

If you're interested in stable growth of the internet as time goes on, you should root for them to save their money now so they can spend it later when demand from the average consumer catches up. Doing anything else would mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure that sits unused, that is antiquated by the time people want it. Think of China and their crumbling empty cities, let's not make the same sort of mistake with internet infrastructure.

[1]: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/09/07/some-america...


Netflix has 52 million subscribers in the United States. https://www.statista.com/statistics/250934/quarterly-number-...

55% of Americans watched Netflix in the last year. http://www.businessinsider.com/percent-of-americans-who-watc...

98% of Americans think internet speeds need to be improved. https://tech.co/americans-internet-speeds-improving-2017-06

Roughly 50% are 'satisfied' with their home internet speeds but this is according to the FCC, which has lied to me a lot recently. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-298516A1.p...

[2015] Satisfaction with cable tv and internet falls to 7-year low, making them the worst industries. http://www.businessinsider.com/satisfaction-with-cable-and-i...

These are just the top links in the search results, not cherry picked at all. You seem to be extrapolating from your experience with ISP choice. I've lived in supposedly very high-tech American cities with only one choice of ISP over 2Mbps. Compare US prices and service to places like Scandanavia. What's the difference? Over here ISPs can extract a much larger fraction of value while providing smaller total value (worse service). This is a natural result of lightly-regulated monopolies and oligopolies. It doesn't mean that their choices not to invest are somehow best for the long-term growth of the internet, in any way shape or form. Their monetary incentives are not aligned with long-term growth of the Internet.


> Netflix has 52 million subscribers in the United States.

Put another way, about five of every six Americans doesn't subscribe to Netflix.

> 55% of Americans watched Netflix in the last year.

That article is based on a "study" whose source is an online survey (surveymonkey) with 1046 respondents.

> 98% of Americans think internet speeds need to be improved.

Blogspam article which cites, though does not link, to an alleged study from Cambium Networks. Cambium Networks sells WISP equipment.

> Roughly 50% are 'satisfied' with their home internet speeds but this is according to the FCC, which has lied to me a lot recently.

Wow, that's a serious misrepresentation. It says that 50% are "very satisfied" with their internet speeds, but you conveniently left out the line that follows: an additional 41% are "somewhat satisfied" with their internet speeds. So it's really saying that 91% are 'satisfied' with their home internet speeds.

The broader point you can take from that document is that, between two different studies, only 20% of homes had respondents who were aware of their network speed... It's not a tremendous leap to assume that most people are not savvy enough to understand whether their network issues are caused by their ISP, or whether their network issues are caused by an old and flakey combo-WAP-router-modem that lacks modern developments in things like traffic shaping. A lot of hatred for ISPs probably comes from misinformed consumers cursing their ISP for network slowness that is actually due to wireless congestion or old/slow computers running a virus scan.

> This is a natural result of lightly-regulated monopolies and oligopolies. It doesn't mean that their choices not to invest are somehow best for the long-term growth of the internet, in any way shape or form. Their monetary incentives are not aligned with long-term growth of the Internet.

My argument is that there is no real monopoly, the average internet user has a lot of choices that meets the needs of their usage patterns-- usage patterns that seem completely alien to HN readers and reddit users.


I don't have time to dig deeply into sources for all these things because I'm not a lobbyist by profession, but I think your assessment is way off. Somewhat satisfied also means somewhat dissatisfied, so by your reasoning 50+% are "dissatisfied" with their internet speeds. There also have been tons of studies on the level of monopoly service, but you seem to not count those because you think 1Mbps is acceptable in 2017.

You seem to be saying that we should be thrilled with this wonderful world where lots of people are "somewhat" satisfied and pay much higher prices than other countries and get 1Mbps level service. That's the status quo you want to hang on to? Is that where you want America to still be in 20 years?

If we never serve people a better internet, there will be tons of opportunities they'll never get. As just one example, right now there is a huge crunch of millenials moving to big cities where the jobs are at, but that's also where housing prices are highest. If only we had the Internet service to allow large numbers of good paying jobs from home in rural areas, it would be huge for our country's economy. But I worry that the attitude you present, that most people don't need good internet anyway, will never get us there.


> the large majority of Americans don't use the internet like you do

They might not for the majority of the time, but they certainly do use the internet like you and I do.

Were this not the case, "googling" would not have become such a common word.


Google is useful to everyone no matter if you're just a casual internet user or very technical, but a google page is like 80kb so it's not relevant in the conversation about what usage patterns are pushing the need for improvement of internet infrastructure.

Things like streaming media, file sharing, big game downloads, etc. are what's contributing meaningfully to filling up pipes and making it necessary to improve the links. And my point is that HN readers are far more likely to take part in these usage patterns, and underestimate how many Americans have zero interest in using the internet that way. They think that because their usage patterns could not be met by a cellular or satellite internet plan that it means that it wouldn't fit the needs of most everyone else, either. It's just not true.


> so it's not relevant in the conversation

It is what google leads to that matters. Google is the main way that laypeople find alternatives to Netflix, etc.

> HN readers are far more likely to take part in these usage patterns

One group being "more likely" does not make the other group "less likely".

File sharing, game downloads, etc. are still areas that are not very centralized, and that is why average people do care about net neutrality, whether or not they understand that to be the case.

Don't overestimate how many Americans "have zero interest in using the internet that way".

> They think that because their usage patterns could be met by a cellular or satellite internet plan that it means that would fit the needs of most everyone else, too.

Sure, there are a lot of people in that situation, here on HN, and elsewhere.

When file sharing sites, youtube, steam, etc. were new, they showed the limitations most people had with bandwidth, etc. It wasn't until later that most people found themselves with more bandwidth than they needed.

I think it's important that we reverse that order. I believe that if most people have significantly more bandwidth, that new services that use it will appear that wouldn't be possible with the bandwidth currently available to most people.

It's difficult, with many people, to convince them that should be the case, and ISPs seem to be working hard to convince people that providing more bandwidth is unfeasible. I don't believe that.


I agree with this point of view.


The reason ISPs are monopolies is because if they were unregulated, you'd have a thousand phone lines outside of everyone's house, from every single private phone network provider. You'd have a bunch of phones in everyone's houses, one for each network.

This is what it looked like before the FCC: https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--FfVBroP...

An unregulated ISP market is a safety hazard and ugly. Because of these issues, government eventually decided that only one phone company can serve each house, forcing a monopoly situation because of that. But that monopoly has to allow every other network access to that line so that callers can call anywhere. This is the origin of net neutrality.

You're never going to go back to the situation where you have a thousand different lines to everyone's houses, so you're better off regulating them properly with net neutrality.


Unpopular opinion: Title II is not a great solution to Net Neutrality. The only thing I disklike is there isn't a better option already in place.

I would rather see the FTC address EULAs. If a company says, "we may from time-to-time limit your bandwidth" I think they should be on the hook to produce a report every month when and why they limited you. This is not much different than the report you get from your investments, or your cell phone carrier report when you place a call or send a text message.


Limiting bandwidth is one thing. My local Cable company is proish-NN (they have publicly stated that they have no plans to implement prioritization even if the FCC passed this vote), they still impose data caps and network management practices on consumer plans. While I hate these practices (hence paying extra for a business connection), that's not what the NN issue is about.

Comcast refused to upgrade their peering connections to the networks used by Netflix (Level3 I believe was one of them?) to extort money from them. Netflix doesn't get service from Comcast, yet Comcast decided it could charge them to get access to their customers.

The internet is built upon no-fee exchanges between Tier 1 providers, but since Comcast (and some others like CenturyLink, Verizon, AT&T) is both a consumer ISP AND a major transit provider they try to make arguments like "you're sending us more traffic than we send you, this isn't fair" even though their customers are the ones requesting the data. It's total bullshit, and they will milk this for everything it's worth.


Comcast isn't a Tier 1 provider. Cogent, the netflix ISP at issue, claims to be, but that is very debatable. The internet isn't built on two T2 or T3 providers doing no-fee exchanges.

Net Neutrality doesn't prevent peering disputes.


Comcast is by all intents a tier 1 provider. They have a huge national backbone they own and operate, have settlement-free interconnects with many other providers, etc. Just because a majority of their revenue (as far as data transit is concerned) comes from consumer services doesn't change anything.

You're right NN doesn't necessarily solve peering disputes, but one could argue extortion like this falls right in line with it (under a proper regulatory framework crap like this wouldn't fly, "no we aren't throttling netflix, we're in a peering dispute" would be seen through by the courts pretty quickly when documentation of them demanding money from netflix is submitted).


Major CDNs don't use Tier 1 providers to reach major eyeball networks in the United States. There are no ISPs who have sufficient capacity to the other networks. I'll cover why later.

Netflix is what... 37% of Internet traffic? They aren't sending anything to Comcast other than Comcast traffic, guaranteed. Same with Verizon, AT&T, Cox, etc.

Also, Comcast's backbone isn't large enough for someone like Netflix to inefficiently deliver data. Netflix is delivering the data locally, not using Comcast's national backbone.

So sure... Comcast might offer "Tier 1" internet services, but they don't have enough connectivity to other ISPs to matter to major CDNs.

Why?

Because the other major eyeball networks in the US employ the same tactics as Comcast! They all want to force major CDNs to connect directly, for different reasons. Some ISPs do it to avoid paying "tier 1" internet providers, allowing CDNs to peer settlement free. Others do it to extort CDNs.


As with any other system where a product is delivered over someone else's product, a negotiation will take place, money will change hands, and business will resume. That's normal.

Google and Netflix wanted to implement rules prohibiting a perfectly normal transaction in business because it would cost them money, and framed it as the public good. I'm entirely okay with the two giants having to pay more, it provides Google and Netflix's competitors additional room to breathe and innovate.


>As with any other system where a product is delivered over someone else's product, a negotiation will take place, money will change hands, and business will resume.

I don't think this is always true, is it? The price of a phone call isn't contingent on the contents of the call. Regarding the internet, though, I'd feel better if there was any guarantee at all that these "negotiations" would be on a level playing field. If you're a startup that wants to complete with some Comcast streaming service, the Comcast ISP side of things can kill you day one. There's no negotiation possible when one party has all the power. Maybe that's the system working as intended, but if that's the case, then the system creeps me out.


If there was one company that was making 30%+ of calls at peak times, you bet there would be negotiations.


That's a good point, I hadn't thought of it that way.


LOL that's not what's going to happen here.

You're right Google and Netflix et al will cut a deal with the major US ISPs to get their traffic delivered, they have the money to do so.

But innovation... the next up and coming netflix (or any other data heavy service) isn't going to have a good time. Start-ups can't afford to pay for the same as rich incumbants, so they have no chance.

Why would a US ISP agree to carry a data heavy service without recompense now, when they can charge incumbants with deep pockets for the same bandwidth.

This seems very likely to hurt innovation , not help it.


The mistaken concept that startups would have to pay "for the same" seems to hinge on not understanding that bandwidth cost is relative to bandwidth use. Nobody else even sits on the same order of magnitude as Google and Netflix: These are the only two companies who will need to pay extra. (Combined, Google and Netflix together account for up to 70-80% of all US Internet traffic.) If anyone else was ever to be charged extra, comparatively, it would be ridiculously minimal in comparison.


You are working on an assumption that any charges would be based off of usage in a logical manner.

In reality Netflix might offer to pay a little more to comcast if comcast is willing to up the costs on their competitors, or other such arrangement. The problem with removing NN is that we're inviting oli/monolopy forming to occur, which the free market cannot deal with.


Title II actually exempts telecoms from FTC regulation. Rather than pushing for special-cased laws to mandate how the Internet is operated (which bans a lot of things I don't think are justifiable to actually ban), we should be pushing for a reawakening of antitrust enforcement. Anticompetitive behavior is already illegal, and the tools already exist, in law, to deal with it. Let's get the FTC back in the business of busting up monopolies and fining anticompetitive behavior, regardless of what industry they are.

Anticompetitive behavior is a problem that exists well beyond just telecoms, and getting back into trustbusting would do wonders across the board for consumers.

Google, one of net neutrality's principal backers, obviously is not fond of this approach.


Nope that's not a mistaken understanding on my part at all.

Obviously you pay for what you use. but say a start-up starts blowing up and in the way of things isn't making money yet (as many early stage start-ups don't)

If their niche happens to be a bandwidth heavy one the ISPs can and probably will start levying charges on them as they grow, which the start-up will be in a poor position to pay.

and that doesn't even touch on the possibly anti-competitive aspect.

Say an ISP has a competing service, do you really think they won't try to throttle start-ups in that area using bandwidth charging? Given that US ISPs already have a record of doing exactly that.


First of all, Google and Netflix together are around 80% of all bandwidth use. The amount of cost on them is so insurmountably higher, by the time anyone could ever rival their bills, they would be in a better position to pay it.

And it doesn't have to touch on the anti-competitive aspect: The FCC is not an antitrust regulator. The FTC is. And revoking Title II places ISPs back under the FTC's purview. Anticompetitive behavior should be addressed by the agency charged with ensuring competition.


You appear to be overlooking that the ISP's customers already pay the ISP for bandwidth.

I pay Comcast for 1 TB/month. Why should Comcast be allowed to say that I cannot use some of my 1 TB/month on Netflix and Google unless Netflix and Google (who are NOT customers of Comcast) pay Comcast?


Isn't this kind of arbitrary? You frame it as "paying twice". What about the framing that you're normally "paying half"? If Comcast had Google's margins, we could argue that they're pricing unfairly. But Alphabet has 2-3x Comcast's profit margins. I feel about this argument the way I feel about militancy over airline baggage handling fees. Sure: it's obnoxious. But the airlines used to bake that directly into the fare.

I'm not saying Comcast should hold other video services for ransom; I'm just pointing out an oddity of the argument you're using.


Does it really cost Comcast more if I use my 1 TB to watch YouTube videos or Netflix videos than it does if I use it to watch, say PornHub videos, or instructional chess videos at chess.com?

If it actually does cost them more, then shouldn't they be trying to bill their own customers for what it costs? (I don't believe Pai for a second when his document claims that ISPs cannot figure out how to bill users for bandwidth).

What will they do if Netflix tells its customers on Comcast that their bill is going up unless they switch to accessing Netflix via a VPN? Will Comcast then start blocking VPNs? So then I cannot work at home? (My office went 100% work from home a couple months ago, so that would be very irksome).


How is their cost basis on specific part of their business relevant? We're obviously not entitled to any one price point, much as HN threads seem to believe we are. Comcast's margins hover around 10-12%. If they need to keep them there, they can raise their consumer prices, or find alternative revenue streams. Why is it better that they raise prices for consumers?


My beef is that they sold me what purports to be internet service, not some kind of CompuServe or Prodigy or GEnie like service.

Finding alternate revenue streams is fine...but I don't see why they should be allowed to stop me from using the service they sold me in order to try to convince some entity, which they have no relationship with other than that they and that entity have mutual customers, to pay them something.

I'm fine with it if my ISP wants to find alternative revenue by establishing some kind of relationship with outside sites and selling them something, just as long as the ISP continues to provide the service they sold me, on the terms they sold it to me.

For example, something like AT&T's "sponsored data" is fine. That lets sites pay AT&T to not count data AT&T users exchange with those sites against those user's AT&T plan data limits.

That's fine because AT&T's customers get the service they paid for. If a site buys "sponsored data" some AT&T customers get more than they paid for. If a site does not buy "sponsored data", those AT&T users that use the site still get what they paid for.

The EFF and other leading net neutrality proponents would probably disagree with me on "sponsored data". This is the kind of thing I was thinking of in another comment when I talked about trying to shove things into net neutrality that do not belong there. Yes, "sponsored data" favors bigger, established content providers, so could harm competition. We've got antitrust law to deal with that.


I'd argue Netflix has a more clear impact on their business. As 30% or more of their traffic, any given business decision by Netflix can have a significant impact on an ISP's business. A change by Netflix (like switching to 4K) could have huge impact on Comcast's need to rapidly upgrade lines to handle it. Whereas a smaller provider wouldn't affect them or their priorities as much.


When an airline charges you extra to check bags, they are charging you for a service they provide. This is annoying, but we as a society agree that people generally have the right to do this and it is in society's interest that they have that right.

When an ISP charges a service provider to get access to their customers, they are leveraging their monopoly on those customers to extract rents from other service providers. What is the social value of this behavior?

The main problem with this line of argument is that is can be applied to anything an ISP does, because there is of course no functioning market for last-mile connectivity in most areas. A real fix would be unbundling or something else that split allowed there to be a functioning market over shared infrastructure. That doesn't mean we can't stop them from rent-seeking from other firms in the "short" term. Doing so is in line with Republicans' claimed pro-business stance.


I'm certainly not 'overlooking' it. I just don't find it particularly compelling of an argument. A business can certainly charge on both the downstream and upstream ends of their own network if they so choose. As long as they aren't operating in an anticompetitive fashion, of course.

And while Google is much less public about their special peering agreements and CDN setups, Netflix is pretty public, so let's talk about Netflix Open Connect. Netflix Open Connect boxes are hosted "at no charge to the ISP" at various ISPs, as if it's a charitable offering. https://openconnect.netflix.com/en/

But essentially, Open Connect boxes are colocated. If anyone but Netflix were to ask for free colocation, they'd get laughed right out of the room. A startup trying to compete with Netflix could never get what Netflix gets for free. Net neutrality effectively removes Comcast's negotiating power to demand Netflix pays for the service, because things like throttling their peering traffic isn't allowed. The irony is, in this instance, net neutrality is actually granting Netflix an exclusive advantage (by the nature of their size and customer demand for them) that smaller players can't hope to match.

Once again, net neutrality regulations help big monopolies and hurt smaller players.


Actually the competitors would have trouble competing with Google and Netflix in this scenario due to the fact that they would be harder for them to beat out what Google and Netflix would pay.

This also ignores the fact that consumers have paid the ISP for general internet access, no where did it stipulate some services you want to access should pay extra for us to carry their data to you.


> Title II is not a great solution to Net Neutrality. The only thing I disklike is there isn't a better option already in place.

Sure. But it was an attainable solution, which is much better than no solution at all. It's not like Pai is going to find some other way to protect NN.


I think Title II is a fine solution (why shouldn't internet be a utility?). There are a ridiculous amount of people in these comments that are trying to thread the needle between "I support NN," but saying "it is fine that they reversed Title-II classification" (which I guess is their cool contrarian point of view, but functionally tripe)


Title II is an 80 year old telephone rule that was stretched and deformed to fit the internet. Congress needs to pass real legislation that's specific to the needs of the internet.


The 4th amendment is a 270 year old rule that is "stretched and deformed" to fit personal electronic devices too. In either case, we don't need a specific law for each use-case as technology evolves.


Yes. Congress-critters try to have their cake and eat it too by punting to the regulators and claiming to the voters it is out of their hands. Dereliction of duty.

(Not that I would necessarily like to see the horse-cum-camel design-by-committee solution these grifters would negotiate their way too...)


I think there is a decent argument for regulating ISPs. But Title II is a telephone regulation. It's not narrowly targeted at ISPs.

The fact that the FCC had to suspend most regulations under Title II sort of proves it.


Why do you think such views are 'trying to thread a needle', 'contrarian', and 'functionally tripe'?

You are exhibiting a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that there are (god forbid!) dissenting views from your own.


Title II is a loooot more than being classified as a "utility"

Theres a lot of reports and other tasks that the ISP would have to do, but was put of 2 to 3 years since 2015.


Because when it's a utility you can't treat different traffic types differently and QoS suffers, especially in domains like satellite internet


"Unpopular opinion: Title II is not a great solution to Net Neutrality."

Do you have a compelling reason why? Tittle II worked fantastically for phone calls. I see zero reason why it wouldn't work for internet as well.



I wasn't convinced by that article when it first came out, due to it's using several arguments in bad faith, and simply mischaracterizing many things (you can check back to the HN thread when that article was released for examples). I'm less inclined to believe it now.


Access to information like you describe would be very useful in a free market, but the ISP market is not.

If I get a report from my ISP outlining how they throttled me, how am I supposed to act on that information?


You'll get the "vote with your wallet" speech. Which for most people, and like myself, your only other option in order to do just that is to buy an LTE wifi or get satellite internet.


Exactly. It's damn near impossible to vote with your wallet when your choices are Comcast or nothing.


How would that help? What are you going to do if you don't like what the report says?

Also, why not leave the Title II designation in place until a better solution is agreed upon and finalized?


There was a discussion about all this during NPR's Morning Edition.

The FCC chair talked about how there was very loose regulation of the Internet back in 1996 during the Clinton Administration. And this should be a model for regulation of the ISPs going forward.

Except that the world was quite different in 1996. You actually had a lot of competition with ISPs, because most people were doing dialup. If I didn't like AOL, I could just switch to Prodigy (yes, I know), or one of the local ISPs. That was easy.

People like me can and did switch ISPs on a regular basis. In my case, looking for a reliable Net News feed.

Compared to today, where there is only one (or if you are lucky) two ISPs for the area. You don't have a choice, so these ISPs are defacto monopolies.

The reasons given for repeal are just wrong, and this is a transparent attempt by the big ISPs to make more money, without benefit to the average citizen or even the other Internet companies which made the Internet awesome to begin with.


It does remind me a bit of the trickle down economics. They are making it sound like that the only thing holding them back from massive innovation is profits lost to regulations and as soon as we get rid of those the floodgates will open - but they never do. The ISPs are going to use that money to consolidate their power, buy more companies that depend on their infrastructure and shovel money back to their shareholders and drive their stock price up. This is exactly what is going to happen with the tax bill (and is already happening due to the expectation of a tax bill), we're being sold that companies have been right on the cusp of increasing wages and hiring if it weren't for those pesky taxes they had to pay. When the jobs and wages don't come, they'll blame something else and down the road they'll take away another important thing, like labor protections or something. And we'll fall for it (collectively), its like a mystery box or something, we can't resist the idea of the free market as this chained beast that just has to be released and it will solve everything with no oversight or maintenance.


This is exactly what is going to happen with the tax bill (and is already happening due to the expectation of a tax bill), we're being sold that companies have been right on the cusp of increasing wages and hiring if it weren't for those pesky taxes they had to pay.

Exactly.

I know business. Extra profits are extra profits. Wages won't rise unless there is a labor supply shortage.


> The FCC chair talked about how there was very loose regulation of the Internet back in 1996 during the Clinton Administration

Of course, the web was a few years old and the internet was just becoming used by the general public. Pointing to the state of broadband regulation in 1996 is kind of like pointing to the state of automobile safety regulation in 1912.


Verizon fought against those loose regulations and won. IIRC, a judge on that case said (I'm paraphrasing) that the Obama-era FTC couldn't use legally achieve what it was attempting to under those rules, but might (wink and a nudge) under Title-II.


I agree the answer is either more ISP competition, or more regulation. The middle ground is hell.

Any chance this repeal lead to more ISPs? Ajit Pai mentioned it would in interviews, but I don't know enough to say whether that had any merit.


Slowly but surely, our open internet will get choked. This is just one step in horrible path that will lead to our largest corporations controlling almost everything in our lives with very little competition.

I am blaming the tech giants for this ruling. They are the only ones with enough power to challenge this horrible ruling and they sat idle and watched it happen.

They may have given lip service to net neutrality, but their lack of enthusiasm and almost zero effort speaks volumes on their true opinions.

Microsoft crossed over to the dark side a long time ago.

Now, Google, Apple, Facebook join them in completely abandoning the ethos upon which the companies were founded.

I have been skeptical of their true intentions for years, and facebook has probably been corrupt since day one, but I thought if they were able to keep net neutrality, then I would think there was a chance for them.

No longer. They are gone. Truly sad day for the world.


I couldn't agree more. When it comes time to sum up this administration with one word, "sad" will be it.


Seriously, silicon valley playing the role of "poor ole me" content provider that's "with the people" trying to defeat the big bad telecoms was completely absurd. I mean good lord, I am supposed to believe GOOG and APPL and FB and AMZN couldn't match lobbying efforts? Please.

The other absurd thing is people worried about Netflix, which as far back as I could remember is a big reason why this whole debate started in the first place. How about, if you want to watch TV, get TV. Leave the internet to information that doesn't have an alternative.

They were fine with Uber operating in an unregulated manner while dominating highly regulated competition. Soon I wont be able to hail a cab in Manhattan and we will all be crying about muh monopolies again.

All you needed to know about GOOG was the fact that it ever crossed their minds to make their motto "Don't be evil."

Hopefully there is opportunity to return to decentralization with the blockchain and projects like Substratum.


> Seriously, silicon valley playing the role of "poor ole me" content provider that's "with the people" trying to defeat the big bad telecoms was completely absurd. I mean good lord, I am supposed to believe GOOG and APPL and FB and AMZN couldn't match lobbying efforts? Please.

What's not clear is how much money Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix put into firing up the keep net neutrality campaign, but I'd assume there was quite a significant war chest available, judging by the size of the outcry. There were "viral" vids showing up on Reddit for example where the channel looked a lot like it was run by a think tank or similar.


> How about, if you want to watch TV, get TV. Leave the internet to information that doesn't have an alternative.

Thanks for this valuable and insightful contribution.


21 of the last 23 years of the Internet in the US, there has not been net neutrality. Turned out really bad huh.

Net neutrality didn't exist in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015.


Please don't spread this false talking point any further.

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

"By a 3-2 vote, the FCC concluded that Comcast monitored the content of its customers' internet connections and selectively blocked peer-to-peer connections in violation of network neutrality rules. The selective blocking of file sharing traffic interfered with users' rights to access the internet and to use applications of their choice, the commission said."

Net neutrality has been the status quo since the start of the internet. First from the threat of regulation, then from Title I, then from Title II after Verizon's lawsuit.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality_in_the_United_S...

It's been there far longer than you think, just in different forms. It's changed as the internet has.


Net Neutrality is the default position, so in a sense has always existed from the inception of the internet. Only within the last 10 years have telcoms begun a series of intentional efforts to begin throttling, and manipulating traffic in a way that falls outside of the bounds of Net Neutrality.


Lies


Could you please stop posting flamebait to HN? We've asked you before. Eventually we ban accounts that keep breaking the rules.

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


Common response on HN for the past two months has been nothing short of hyperbolic. "The world will end if NN is repealed".

Speaking as a conservative: When Obama was president, I got told the same thing about the ACA. The world will end, the sky is falling, America is finished. But eight years later, here I am, nothing's that much worse.

I have no reason to believe this is "the beginning of the end" of anything. Life will carry on as normal.

Disproportionate reactions (like HN is doing right now) is not good for anyone. Take a step back from politics. Take a deep breath. Take a walk outside. This isn't the end of the world.


The ACA was actually a conservative plan that is actually good for people. In some sense, you could argue that everybody agreed with it until it became a partisan issue.

NN is also good for people and also has bipartisan support (from constituents) but just got repealed. Yes, the sky won't fall but it is now a little darker.


Depends on how you spin it. Yes it was a conservative plan originally. The reasoning went something like:

"Too many poor people are showing up to hospitals without health insurance and getting treated for free, driving up the cost for everyone else. We need to FORCE them to buy health insurance or else there is a penalty!"

Doesn't sound that great in those terms, but that's exactly what you got. Change the way you talk about it, sprinkle in a couple keywords like "affordable", mix in some coverage for pre-existing conditions, and suddenly its more palatable to liberals.


> Doesn't sound that great in those terms, but that's exactly what you got.

Imho, many solutions don't benefit from a partisan branding. Some things are just good ideas. If research shows it's simply cheaper to hire a bunch of people to offer the homeless free apartments and a simple job no-questions-asked than to keep cleaning up after them, keep designing the city to be anti-homeless and keep paying for the all the police time to deal with them.. Well, you'd have to be pretty damn stupid not to put that idea into law. But if you put a partisan stamp on it (‘We have to help people’ or ‘We need to keep poor people from bothering us’) all of the sudden you have the other camp against you.


I didn't mean that statement as my own opinion, I'm simply pointing out how the same legislation can be demonized or embraced based on how its spun. But you can't tell a Republican that it was actually another Republican that came up with the idea of ACA, they simply can't get passed the fact that its coming from terrible horrible Obama so it must be bad! Just as Democrats don't want to hear that it was a Republican idea.

I agree that political branding is whats toxic.


Principled doesn't mean stupid. You can research and calculate all you want to show someone that it's cheaper to euthanize their retarded child instead of raising them. Some people will still never do it.


As unpalatable as you think that sounds, it's also exactly what we do with car insurance, and has worked mostly fine there for decades, excluding enforcement problems and illegals.


It works for car insurance because it’s actually, you know, _insurance_. Health insurance is more of a weird discount club for an industry where there’s zero price transparency and competition.


And also because costs are relatively predictable with Auto Insurance, unlike Medical, where costs skyrocket very quickly. Also, Car Insurance requirements also stipulate clear minimums that the insurance must carry.

IMO Auto Insurance is a lot closer to Dental than Medical.


Car insurance has deductibles. ObamaCare has deductibles. They're still both insurance.