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U.S. Court Rules FCC Cannot Impose Net Neutrality Rules

 5:54 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

In a ruling that has significant implications for the future of the internet, an appeals court has ruled that the FCC cannot impose so-called “net neutrality rules.”
An appeals court in Washington on Tuesday ruled that the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules, which forbid prevent companies like Verizon from favoring some type of internet traffic over others, are invalid. The 81-page ruling, which was 2-1 with one judge dissenting in part, has big implications for content providers, consumers and the future of the internet.U.S. Court Rules FCC Cannot Impose Net Neutrality Rules [gigaom.com]



 7:35 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

This is not good news, paying ISP's for traffic fastlane is not welcome.


 8:25 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Can anyone doubt that this will go on to the Supreme Court? It isn't over till it's over.


 8:42 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's almost always a sad day when the wants of few trump the wants of many.


 8:42 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Little faith in courts that are packed with elected judges, from politicians that are financed by corporations


 8:47 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well, there are many big money players in this and a diverse set of issues at hand. The most interesting to me has been the obfuscation of the facts from both sides. This is a political issue, and is being played like a political issue from all the parties involved. Thus, I don't think we have been well informed of the issues at hand.

I personally like that the rules around the horrendously nicknamed "net neutrality" provisions have been struck down. A better name would be "forced access and usage rules", because the ISP's are being forced to provide YouTube and Torrents with 50% of their bandwidth per month without compensation. I don't think video and audio traffic have any place on the open "internet". The internet was not designed for audio and video data. This is *NOT* the public commons - this is private enterprise. This is the same as the "death tax" vs "inheritance tax" or my personal favorite is Used cars vs Certified Pre-Owned Cars. No way that ISP's should have to carry Youtube and example.com website text traffic the same way.


 9:07 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Once you start charging sites for bandwidth from ISP's you run into a two tier internet, those that can afford to pay those that can't.

As bad as the damage has been over the last few years to SME's by Google, multiply it by a thousand.

At the moment no one pays and I for one would not have an ISP that couldn't stream Youtube so I doubt they would

No it would be SME's paying this additional charge.


 10:33 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

The analogy that I see is Rural Free Delivery.* A letter to a farm located miles and miles from the nearest center of population costs the same as a letter to an office in Manhattan.

* If the term is unfamiliar, it's because the system was created before any of us were born. But it was created; there was a time when it did not exist.


 10:44 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

bandwidth per month without compensation.

I appreciate your take on this Brett, always a pleasure to hear your point of view, however, don't I compensate my ISP for the bandwidth that I use?


 4:35 am on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

> don't I compensate my ISP for the bandwidth that I use

That model used to apply. When web/http/email/text traffic was 95% of the web traffic, that model was perfect. Now that the web is 80% video and audio data that is serving a very small percentage of the users as delivered by .00001% of the websites (youtube, netflix, torents etc) on the net - it now breaks down.

So, now you have the ISP's toying with bandwidth caps and speed caps. Of course, users are so outraged at the idea that ISP's are not having much luck with that new model. However, given that we are all being trained that it is ok because we are getting billed for bandwidth on our phones, they may be able to railroad that through.

On the other hand, you have big players pushing back from the way it *should* be solved by market forces. You have Google and AT&T starting to promote 1gig internet services with unlimited bandwidth. This may right the entire ship by letting competition solve the problem.


Is a government program that is subsidized and that loses money. You want the Government to operate the internet? Me neither.


 4:56 am on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nothing is or will be "neutral" when money (profits) are involved. Have to agree with Brett on this one.



 5:47 am on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am amazed any webmaster thinks net neutrality is a good idea.

The ISPs will do a few deals with Google, Facebook and the like and everyone else will be slowed to a crawl.

Even worse, they will go into the content business themselves (many are already in it, or have tried) and simply cut the competition off from their customers.


 10:56 am on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

I must confess that I have net read the proposed laws in their entirety, that said:

I am OK with paying for the bandwidth that I use accessing the internet.

I am NOT ok with the company selling me my bandwidth telling me where I can or cannot go on the internet.

I liken this to buying gas for my car and the gas station being able to restrict where and how fast I drive.


 2:39 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

"That model used to apply. When web/http/email/text traffic was 95% of the web traffic, that model was perfect. Now that the web is 80% video and audio data that is serving a very small percentage of the users as delivered by .00001% of the websites (youtube, netflix, torents etc) on the net - it now breaks down."


Your argument gets shot down very fast when companies like Charter & Verizon are advertising their internet plans specifically for people streaming video & audio.

Lets get a quote from Charter's internet service sales page:
"Internet speed that keeps up with your life with download speeds up to 30 Mbps. Simultaneously stream videos, download music, upload photos, and more without sacrificing your internet performance."

Well, that one above seems like they are not marketing their product to people simply viewing normal boring webpages.

Lets get a couple quotes from Verizon's sales page:
"Upload and download in a flash. Plus, play games and stream videos virtually lag-free—ideal for watching Redbox Instant titles."

Here's another (75/35 Mbps):
"The gold standard in computing speeds. Perfect for households that enjoy streaming content on the Internet on multiple devices at the same time."

These companies are marketing their product for people who are consuming Video, Audio, Gaming, Downloading, ETC. Which is the entire basis of your argument.

If they were marketing their service by saying "view regular web pages at lightning fast speed", I would agree with you, but that is clearly not the case.

They know you are going to be streaming video/content and created a product around that need.

They are just trying to squeeze more profit margin by killing net neutrality.


 5:39 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

The carriers wouldn't have any customers if it weren't for the content. Content creators could make the same argument that they deserve a slice of the carrier's profits.

I think all webmasters should block Verizon ips in protest.


 7:57 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

In theory it sounds great and well intentioned for the government to tell ISPs how to treat IP content. In practice it's more regulation which always has negative unintended consequences.

Does anyone here want the government telling you how to serve the users on your server, or telling you how to use your server's bandwidth? I doubt it. Likewise, why is it any different to tell another business how they should utilize their resources?

I'd rather have ISPs determine their business model than the government... if an ISP causes enough headaches people will march with their feet and a competitor will gladly take the business. Once government does something isn't almost impossible to undo.


 8:41 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Does anyone here want the government telling you how to serve the users on your server, or telling you how to use your server's bandwidth?

By the same token, how would you like to have the website that Acme ISP restricts it's 1,000,000 customers from seeing? Customers who are paying for the bandwidth to be used to view your site.


 9:11 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

>advertising their internet plans specifically for people streaming video & audio.

Yes, they are and they have multiple levels of service! They are advertising internet at $14.95 a month knowing full well that won't work for most people. In order to watch and enjoy video on their service you are going to have to pay for higher speeds/bandwidth. It's a poor-mans corporate bait & switch. It's selling a sizzle they can't provide on their entry level packages.

I still think, we just need more competition in the service area. I'm down in Austin TX (a million+ people in the metro area) and all I can get for broadband is TimeWarner cable, or cell wireless. I can't even get DSL in my new neighborhood. That's wrong.


 9:23 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

By the same token, how would you like to have the website that Acme ISP restricts it's 1,000,000 customers from seeing? Customers who are paying for the bandwidth to be used to view your site.

Life isn't fair, but I'll take the downsides of a free market over government control any day.


 9:32 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Life isn't fair

Can't have your cake and eat it to. Fair is easy, I'm purchasing bandwidth, I should be able to use it to access any legal website I want, that's fair.


 10:37 pm on Jan 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

The court’s opinion states:

Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the (1996) Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.

And this is how you know the lawyers had a sense of humor: They used a cat video to explain the whole idea, simply.

To pull the whole picture together with a slightly oversimplified example: when an edge provider such as YouTube transmits some sort of content—say, a video of a cat—to an end user, that content is broken down into packets of information, which are carried by the edge provider’s local access provider to the backbone network, which transmits these packets to the end user’s local access provider, which, in turn, transmits the information to the end user, who then views and hopefully enjoys the cat.

Sometimes the rulings can be even more confusing hiliarious head-scratching. But there is no doubt that the FCC has attempted to have its cake and eat it, too.


 2:03 am on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

We can't see the big picture yet, we don't know where the powers that be see the internet going in a few years, so I'm going to assume this is part of that plan.

A good litmus test for tech and net issues in the United States is to look North of the border to Canada.

Cable: $20-40 gets you a lot more channels than you need, same in both countries
Cell phone: Plans vary widely but in general they are equal, except with net usage on mobile devices
ISPs: $25-$35 buys you unlimited/throttle free internet access through companies like roadrunner in the U.S. but in Canada you pay for the plan, then you pay for the speed, then you pay for the bandwidth and then you pay for the usage and there are other "fees" on top of all that.

I think the U.S. wants to get in on the nickle/dime action Canada is able to force on Canadian users. It leads to internet bills above $100 a month in MANY cases, cell internet rates are even worse a lot of the time.

Another litmus test to see if there is gouging going on is to see how heavy handed the company is with collections. Companies that surprise their users frequently with higher than expected bills end up with a lot more unpaid accounts to deal with which, in turn, results in less patience and more force in dealing with these. Companies who do it a lot will be less inclined to discuss your bill and more inclined to sell your account to a collector.


 6:53 am on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think you're all missing the big issue here is the cable companies really don't care what you do with the internet as long as you're not watching movies from other sources, like YouTube, Netflix, etc. as they're in the steaming video business as well.

For instance Comcast has already upgraded their entire network, or the bulk of it, to give screaming speeds with burstable bandwidth and a cap of 250GB/mo and kept the same rates. I've never come close to hitting that cap, maybe halfway once, and that was because I did a marathon watching 100s of videos from Netflix all month long and that's just not possible under normal circumstances.

However, that's what they don't want is me watching Netflix and in order to counter that you can now watch Xfinity online, plus there's HBO2GO, etc. with most of the cable channels now offering their stuff as streaming services.

I personally don't think we have anything to worry about as they've put themselves in a situation they'd get themselves sued because you can't discriminate against competing services.

However, the old school phone companies without a stake in the video on demand business could easily throttle their customers but it would cost them what little DSL business they have left as everyone would flee to other solutions.

It's a simple case of the old landline dinosaurs that didn't keep up with the times now looking for more ways to squeeze revenues out of their dying business model at the same time the cable and cell phone companies are growing and thriving.

The only thing that would save the traditional phone services about now would be a massive solar flare that lasts for years and basically knocks out most satellite and cell service for the duration. Of course that scenario would cause an infrastructure apocalypse that would even bring the power grid down, so net neutrality, or any net at all, would be the least of our problems.

I'm not terribly worried as these companies are still showing black ink on their balance sheets and the only reason this ugly question keeps rising over and over is the pressure from Wall Street for these technological has-beens to show more growth areas and I think the market has already sorted itself out thanks to the cable companies getting heavily into the streaming video game.

At this point, all of them would have to agree to make a move which is collusion, price fixing, RICO, etc. and the DOJ would have to step in and start cracking skulls.

Where throttling and high bandwidth fees do actively happen is on the cellular networks and they're already ripping off consumers so bad they couldn't possibly ask for more money from anyone and keep a straight face. To make matters worse, idiots blindly use streaming music services which rack up the fees instead of just playing their own MP3 files. Some idiots even let Google and Amazon sucker them into putting those MP3 files on cloud servers and the cell companies are thrilled, more fees.

They don't need net neutrality when they've got sheep consumers that buy into streaming cloud services for files they could carry with them, something I call net stupidity but I digress.

I download videos in advance so my mobile devices aren't racking up charges like crazy when I travel. More mobile storage and extra batteries are the key and they aren't exepensive :)


 10:24 am on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

To me it comes down to just a few things...

US internet access speeds are slower than much of the rest of the world, while at the same time being more expensive. In many cases dramatically, a quick search can confirm this.

Despite this the big ISPs in the US make huge profits from internet access sales. They are mostly public companies so this is easy to confirm. And the profits are not high entirely because they have a lot of subscribers. They also have large margins. Which means there is no NEED for net neutrality to die, no matter how much they try to spin it that way.

The internet is constantly evolving, largely because there is still very little barrier to entry for a new company with a great idea. The last thing we need right now is prioritized bandwidth that only the established web properties can afford.

Personally I think that internet access (in both directions) should be treated more like a utility. Some may not agree that it's indispensable in the same way that other utilities are but it's at least fair to say that it will be in the not too distant future.


 7:21 pm on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

US internet access speeds are slower than much of the rest of the world, while at the same time being more expensive. In many cases dramatically, a quick search can confirm this.

I'm not sure how 50Mbps can be seen as a "slow" connection and if I'm willing to pay more, I can have 105Mbps but I suspect I might bee a new cable modem for that speed :)

Lots of people simply don't buy the faster connections which doesn't mean we don't have the speed, people just aren't willing to pay for it as I have a few cheap friends that are wasting good money on dog slow connections for reasons I can't fathom. They won't be among those of us downloading full movies in 4 minutes, that's for sure.

Those reports are a load of nonsense as it's an average speed and what the US has in urban areas vs. sprawling rural areas simply doesn't add up as it's not apples and oranges. The city is all high speed cable and wifi vs. rural areas using DishTV and DSL or wireless broadband.

In urban areas it's not an issue and it's a silly average to start with considering that our states are the size of most of the other countries on that list. If you break the US down by state then you see some states have very dense urban populations and higher broadband vs. places like Montana with no people and no speed.

Not trying to take it too far off topic but check this out:

I'm not sure where they get the speeds for California, they claim it's live download speeds, but I know who the major cable providers are, and I know what my download speeds are like, and those numbers are low for this area based on what's actually being advertised or the speeds I'm actually seeing myself.

FWIW, I do a nightly backup of a huge database that's over 100MB and it only takes a few minutes to download a local copy and I have log files to prove it :)

I don't really see a toll lane being installed on the internet any time soon as the consumers would revolt big time, just like when the modem revolution started and each time the topic came around of making people pay extra for using phone lines for data or taxing email or anything stupid like that people went nuts and those plans got quickly scuttled.

What really happened here is the phone company didn't like having to install extra gear to handle all the machines that were always. Phone companies do what's called a "grade of service" which means they only install enough gear to allow a percentage of the phone lines to work at a time. If everyone picked up the phone line at once and dialed, only a percentage would get a call through which is what happens after an earthquake and everyone jams the lines and wrongly assumes the busy signals are service outages, it's actually working as designed. However, when all the modems and fax machines came online the phone companies added all sorts of infrastructure to handle it and wasn't allowed to raise prices for lines constantly in use, like modem data lines. Unless you bought an ISDN or T1 line, which they charged as much as possible, your modem line was a regular rate. Then along came broadband cable which was much faster than DSL and totally wiped out any chance they had to profit off all that infrastructure investment.

So IMO all this net neutrality stuff is just their sour grapes of lost revenue and if this doesn't happen, which I don't think it will as the market has already established itself, then they'll try something else.

If you're into conspiracy theories, look around and see what else is going on in the world of telecommunications as many think that when high profile issues like this emerge to enrage the public they are actually carefully crafted misdirections to keep the population from paying attention to other more important issues happening elsewhere. Basically, the same tricks magicians use but on a much larger scale.


 8:12 pm on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

I participated in a communal limited-bandwidth laboratory experiment yesterday, my Southwest flight from Vegas to Orlando.

The problem isn't the ISP, it's my neighbors. If the ISP can't treat them differently, who will?



 12:59 am on Jan 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how 50Mbps can be seen as a "slow" connection and if I'm willing to pay more

Slow by comparison. And even if you happen to live in an area where there are 50 meg connections available for an absurdly high price, you still won't be getting the same connection speeds that many countries are averaging.

The US isn't even in the global top 10 in average internet speeds while at the same time the price per mbps/month is higher than most of the rest of the world.

I'm sure an argument could be made that the reason the world leader (where the web is concerned) is behind in connection speeds is something to do with poor infrastructure decisions.

But when you look at the profit margins of US internet providers there's no justification for the cost per mbps. These companies don't have any economic need for an extra revenue stream from tiered bandwidth, their subscribers are already funding huge profits by paying too much.


 4:23 pm on Jan 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

The most interesting to me has been the obfuscation of the facts from both sides.

I'd agree with that, they are both trying to use this as something it shouldn't be.

No way that ISP's should have to carry Youtube and example.com website text traffic the same way.

Sure they should, if I recall when Comcast instituted their bandwidth cap they claimed something like 98% of their users would be unaffected.

This is not a complicated problem to solve. As the internet is such an important part of everyone's lives ISP's need to be treated just like utilities with the exception of price controls. Other than for technical reasons they should have to provide equal service to any website or service, bill the consumer for the bandwidth they use. If you want to provide fast lanes you provide that option for the consumer with equal access to any site or service including those provided by the ISP.

Both sides on this issue are going to find this disagreeable. The ISP won't be a able leverage bandwidth for the delivery of content and low income people may find some of these high bandwidth services unaffordable since they are no longer being subsidized by other customers paying for services they don't use.


 1:33 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Personally, I'm happy it was thrown out. The government didn't build the internet and doesn't own it either and really should just keep their grubby paws off of it.

The internet is not a necessity to life, as food and shelter are. It's a luxury service, not a right. One can get by just fine without 30MB fiber or any internet at all for that matter.

Like many of the laws passed the last few years, the name of the law says one thing, but what the law delivers turns out to be much different, and in some cases, the opposite of what the name would indicate.

Frankly, the low producers in society should be seeking ways to increase their production levels rather than browsing internet video sites, which I guarantee you are mere distractions for them and tie them to a computer when they should be out in the world.

I work 7 days a week and run 4 businesses and employ people. It takes hard work and personal effort. Spending hours browsing the internet for entertainment wouldn't go over well in my house as it would be costing us lost production/income.

Production brings income. Low production brings low income. One handles low income by handling why one has low production. It really is truly that simple. There are no restrictions on how much one is allowed to produce, save for government regulations. Anyone can be as productive as they choose to be. I know many don't believe this, but that's the first barrier to overcome. Believing that one can be productive. It's a hard sell to people who have been given what they need for nothing in return. Such people have been subjugated by the system and trained to watch TV in place of living a full life. It's one of the sadest things really.

I was talking with the postman the other day. He was telling me how he's worried he may never get his retirement pay. I, of course - being me, told him that he should start a business on the side and build it up so that he'll be indepedent of such matters in a few years. He, of course, didn't understand that I was giving him jewels. Instead he went on and on about how the internet has destroyed the post office and people should pay the post office to use the internet. Yep, that's what the government really has in mind with laws like this one.

It has never occured to the postman that he's been being handsomely paid to insert numbered envelops into number boxes, a job more suited for low skilled teens needing to earn some money, and that somehow, this menial task was turned into a career. But times change and one must change one's approach to life continually to survive well.


 3:14 pm on Apr 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

The following message was cut out to new thread by engine. New thread at: foo/4665543.htm [webmasterworld.com]
5:03 pm on Apr 24, 2014 (utc +1)

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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