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Report: FCC Head Plans to Overturn U.S. Net Neutrality Rules

     
10:51 am on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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According to a Reuters report, the head of FCC, Ajit Pai may be planning to overturn the Net Neutrality rules.
Pai asked in May for public comment on whether the FCC has authority or should keep any regulations limiting internet providers’ ability to block, throttle or offer “fast lanes” to some websites, known as “paid prioritization.” Several industry officials told Reuters they expect Pai to drop those specific legal requirements but retain some transparency requirements under the order. Report: FCC Head Plans to Overturn U.S. Net Neutrality Rules [reuters.com]
11:19 am on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This was his plan all along. He's been very clear about this from the start; setting up the groundwork to lift regulation that protects consumers.
6:30 pm on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This was his plan all along. He's been very clear about this from the start; setting up the groundwork to lift regulation that protects consumers.
Without meaning to sound political, that seems to be the goal of the current administration.
9:00 am on Nov 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Part of the new law allows for broadband & stream providers to own 2 companies in the same local area, making it possible for market manipulating & price fixing.

This was something net neutrality protected against.
9:31 am on Nov 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Consumer protection is already addressed in existing USA (FTC not FCC overreach) law. Net Neutrality doubled down (and confused) that legislation with regulations that weren't necessary. Title II regs would lead to MORE GOV INTRUSION, which is why the roll back under consideration.

Merely two sides to every story. (I just happen to like that side and know full well I am in the minority of opinion here).
6:41 pm on Nov 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So, here's the latest on this progress.

It's worth keeping an eye on this story.

Federal regulators unveiled a plan Tuesday that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use, and at what cost. FCC plan would give Internet providers power to choose the sites customers see and use [washingtonpost.com]
In a news release, Pai said his proposal would prevent the government from “micromanaging the Internet.” Under the new rules, he said, the FCC would “simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices.”
8:00 pm on Nov 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I bet all the ISPs are having parties today.
11:31 am on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if this is being buried by the Thanksgiving Holiday. Really, this is bad news for consumers if it goes through. Only big business will win, imho.
Before my fellow FCC members vote to dismantle net neutrality, they need to get out from behind their desks and computers and speak to the public directly. The FCC needs to hold hearings around the country to get a better sense of how the public feels about the proposal.

[latimes.com...]
11:37 am on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The big ISPs have been frothing at the mouth to charge the movie & music streaming services (HBO, Netflix, Stars, Showtime, Pandora, Amazon, etc) additional fees for fast lane speeds. Then of course these stream services will pass-on the higher cost to the consumer... us.

Website business owners will be the eventual target of pay-to-play tiers. Want to reach customers on a different network, you'll need to pay for it.

There are several sites helping users connect with their representatives in the US Congress. If Congress gets enough feedback against this move by the FCC, they may stop it.

More info here: [battleforthenet.com...]
4:50 pm on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Personally I don't see any difference between an ISP asking for a payment from a streaming service and a middle eastern politician asking for a kickback from an arms company,.
8:02 pm on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Big ISPs have tried many times to abuse their position as gatekeepers of the internet and Net neutrality was created to officially put and end to their constant attempts, it's not overeach, in fact, it just makes the playing field clear for everyone. When you're in a quasi monopoly position, you don't fear or even care about consumer backlash. Wasn't Comcast once voted the worst company in the US?
8:22 pm on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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BTW - if this goes into effect in the USA, it will surely affect internet users in Canada, Britain, the EU, Australia, and elsewhere and the world. In fact, users in other countries may see a significant increase in fees to offset those in the USA.

You want customers from the USA? Be prepared to pay those ISPs extra.
6:22 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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if this goes into effect in the USA, it will surely affect internet users in Canada, Britain, the EU, Australia

As for Australia, we have the Nemesis of businesses - big or small - called the Australian Consumer Competition Commission.

They get very antsy about businesses trying "to be smarter than the average bear" and unfairly profiting.
8:35 pm on Nov 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@IanCP - we once thought that as well.
10:20 pm on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Internet providers since the very commercialization in the USA have had the power to decide which sites you see all along, but didn't do it. Nothing there to stop them from blocking or redirecting certain DNS queries.... but by and large when crap like that happens they lose customers, people raise hell and the market corrects itself. When in the past 25 years has any Internet provider had paid priority that lasted once consumers reacted? The market took care of it, not the government.

Net Neutrality is largely fear mongering. Charging overseas companies to see US customers? More fear mongering. They've had the power to do that, but haven't, have they?

Costs don't magically disappear because the government steps in. Ever increasing streaming rates requires more and more bandwidth infrastructure. Internet providers will make up for increased costs of more and more streaming one way or another. Added regulation tends to increase, not decrease, costs (or result in decreased infrastructure spending).

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
11:25 pm on Nov 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Verizon has been attempting to charge cross-network use for years*. They have made at least 2 pushes towards this, but Net Neutrality law has stopped them. Now they have their former employee Ajit Pai calling the shots. Under the former administration, while he sat on the board, Pai had relatively little power. In this current administration he is now the head of the FCC.

Comcast has been very outspoken against Net Neutrality and has already set up rate tiers to pass on to their customers as soon as Pai implements the roll back and removes Net Neutrality.

My own ISP Cox Cable has similar rate tiers in their account settings but currently grayed-out. How much ya wanna bet they go active if Net Neutrality is reversed?

*This means if you want access to resources (websites, stream services, etc) on one network but your connected through another network, you'll be paying extra for it through your service plan. Net Neutrality protects against this.
2:01 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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ISPs that attempt to set gate keeping will face the wrath of consumers and exodus to providers who don't do this. The market will correct any overeach.

As for tiers, these already exist and have from day one as BANDWIDTH/USE has a cost (which everyone on the NN mix seem to forget).

My current plan is 1tb a month at $x and I have yet, on my WORST case, got close to that. NN means nothing to me.
2:55 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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ISPs that attempt to set gate keeping will face the wrath of consumers and exodus to providers who don't do this. The market will correct any overeach
Nope. Doesn't work that way with most all broadband providers where there is only that one company servicing the area. Nowhere for the customer to "exodus" to.

No talking about those types of tiers. These are new levels that provide what they are calling "additional services" such as movie or music streaming.

There is really no ideological argument here. This is not about big or small government. This is about the public and the small business website owner getting screwed.
3:20 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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ISPs that attempt to set gate keeping will face the wrath of consumers and exodus to providers who don't do this. The market will correct any overeach.

That might be true if it weren't for the fact that:

two-thirds of American consumers have at most one choice as to who they can get their Internet access from


Where exactly are these consumers going to go? Shortwave radio maybe?

Here are two interviews that aired on NPR one with Ajit Pai and the other with his predecessor Tom Wheeler. Well worth a listen.
[npr.org...]
[npr.org...]

PAI says that rural customers that are in a monopoly situation will be helped by these rules, because "competition".
4:19 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You guys are missing the point.

AMERICA as a nation might have (in 98% of the LAND MASS, 75% of which has no internet! or have only one provider) but there is the 2% COASTAL areas with more than one provider and are more than 80% of the population (thus the majority of users) would pitch a significant hissy fit.

The market will correct IF THERE IS NO TITLE II getting in the way.

Strawman arguments are so much... straw....
6:20 am on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well in Oz my current plan is effectively for me unlimited download a month at the most practical speed available.Take your own pick of "N" number of internet providers.

The only restriction any ISP is capable of putting on me would be those demanded under the law - e.g. looking up terraist groups is frowned upon.
3:51 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@tangor
COASTAL areas with more than one provider and are more than 80% of the population (thus the majority of users) would pitch a significant hissy fit.

I think the stat I quoted was pretty clear 66% of US consumers have at most the choice of one service provider. Not 20%, 66%. I assume that you do not own your own ISP, so as an independent webmaster your business is at risk.
3:52 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There is really no ideological argument here. This is not about big or small government. This is about the public and the small business website owner getting screwed.


I disagree. Take a look at Europe, until recently it was government which didn't allow ecommerce sales across member states. It's government that's telling google what can appear in their serps with the right to be forgotten. It's government forcing useless cookie notices which are commonly ignored and simply clicked. Its government trying to force what Google shows in newsfeeds. etc.... etc....
4:02 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think the stat I quoted was pretty clear 66% of US consumers have at most the choice of one service provider. Not 20%, 66%. I assume that you do not own your own ISP, so as an independent webmaster your business is at risk.


[arstechnica.com...]

You have to manipulate the numbers by ramping up the transfer rate of what is considered "broadband" in order to hit anything like 66%... and even then the numbers don't come to 66%. If you go with 3mbps, which is enough to stream Netflix video, only 6% of America has one choice. (And that's a 2 year old stat, satellite (which is pretty much available anywhere in the USA) has rolled out 25mbps to 1gbps since then)
4:13 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There are some interesting points on how the whole process of Public comments on this subject has been corrupted:


FCC net neutrality process ‘corrupted’ by fake comments and vanishing consumer complaints, officials say:
[washingtonpost.com...]
[hackernoon.com...]
5:08 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Motorhaven the ars technica link is very interestig article. But it doesn't prove your point.

Even these numbers overstate the amount of competition, because an ISP might offer service to only part of a census block. The percentage of households with choice is thus even lower.


You may well have two service providers within a given Census block, but that doesn't mean that each housing unit in that block has the choice between both of these providers. Mind you when you look at the definition of a Census Block this would seem unlikely. But I have lived in a an area where this was the case (albeit in Canada). I lived in a new construction in a previously developed neighborhood, the ISP refused pull a cable to serve the new construction because there were too few units in the building. So the next building over had access to two ISP whereas we only had access to one. I image that this is more of an exception.

The stat I quoted was from Tom Wheeler the then Chairman of the FCC, as he stated it in the linked interview on NPR. So I am not sure about the specifics, of those stats. He was at the head of the FCC when the report in the ars-technica article was published. But let's just say the concept of choice is ambiguous. And lets not loose sight of the fact in that even given a choice of one or two more ISPs, one is still dealing with oligopoly where each of these companies is still engaging in the same practices. It is not like Spectrum or AT&T is suddenly going to say "Yes we could get billions on kick-backs from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, but we will forgo that so that we have happy customer's". They will take the cash and fork it over to their shareholders.
5:38 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Most of this is above my pay grade, so my main question is are the ISPs going to charge very small website owners, like me, a huge fee so that my website will load for my readers? And if so, how?
7:58 pm on Nov 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@ember - If Net Neutrality is removed and the regulation is rolled back to where it was before, ISPs will not have many controls that were put in place to protect the consumer and small business owner alike. The whole "neutral" concept will be removed.

Part of what the ISPs have been proposing is called "paid packaging." This will be levied on their customers as services.

There may be one price for general connectivity at a certain speed with a max bandwidth cap. However, if that customer wants access to Facebook, or Netflix, these may be add-ons (paid packaging.) The same idea if the customer wants access to a different network where your website is served from. That will be a paid package add-on.
11:25 am on Nov 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Judging by what has happened in other countries, the likely most result is the reverse of what keyplyr suggests. There will be cheap packages that only offer access to certain sites, or unlimited usage for those sites and low limits on the rest of the internet. Customers who want general access, or to use services other than the web, will have to pay extra.

ISPs may also target some services for extra fees, as keyplyr suggests, if they think it will work - i.e. they will charge sites (and other providers, like VOIP services) to be included in the cheap packages and therefore accessible to everyone.

If they can get away with it, in the long run, they will do both. It would be interesting to know what arrangements are in place in countries where ISPs offer things like Facebook only packages. Are Facebook making payments for these? They are certainly willing to subsidise packages that favour Facebook (as events in India showed).
11:49 am on Nov 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Judging by what has happened in other countries, the likely most result is the reverse of what keyplyr suggests. There will be cheap packages that only offer access to certain sites, or unlimited usage for those sites and low limits on the rest of the internet. Customers who want general access, or to use services other than the web, will have to pay extra.
No, that's exactly what I'm suggesting, or at least one of the things I'm saying.

Instead of just paying for connectivity and having an open web to go anywhere and view anything we want (the way it pretty much is now) the ISPs will offer Paid Packages (as I said above) where we will pay for each add-on service.

The reason I say this is because that's what several big ISPs are setting up right now and as soon as the Net Neutrality law is reversed, that's exactly what they'll do.

They will also get more money from the stream companies for access to their users. Each music & movie stream service will have to pay the ISPs additional charges to reach their subscribers connected through the ISP. So the ISP gets paid from both sources now.
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