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FCC Plans December Vote to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

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#1 Iyouboushi

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 10:29 PM

FCC Plans December Vote to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

 


The U.S. Federal Communications Commission next month is planning a vote to kill Obama-era rules demanding fair treatment of web traffic and may decide to vacate the regulations altogether, according to people familiar with the plans.

 

The move would reignite a years-long debate that has seen Republicans and broadband providers seeking to eliminate the rules, while Democrats and technology companies support them. The regulations passed in 2015 bar broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. from interfering with web traffic sent by Google, Facebook Inc. and others.

 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, chosen by President Donald Trump, in April proposed gutting the rules and asked for public reaction. The agency has taken in more than 22 million comments on the matter.

 

Pai plans to seek a vote in December, said two people who asked not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public. As the head of a Republican majority, he is likely to win a vote on whatever he proposes.

 

One of the people said Pai may call for vacating the rules except for portions that mandate internet service providers inform customers about their practices -- one of the more severe options that would please broadband providers. They argue the FCC’s rules aren’t needed and discourage investment, in part because they subject companies to complex and unpredictable regulations.

 

Democrats and technology companies say the rules are needed to make sure telecommunications providers don’t favor business partners or harm rivals.

 

The agency declined to comment on the timing of a vote. “We don’t have anything to report at this point,” said Tina Pelkey, a spokeswoman for the commission.

 

Pai in April proposed that the FCC end the designation of broadband companies as common carriers. That would remove the legal authority that underpins the net neutrality rules.

 

Pai could also choose not to find authority in the FCC’s powers to promote broadband. That would leave the rules without an apparent legal footing, leading in turn to a conclusion the agency lacks authority even to issue revised, less-stringent regulations.

 

The April proposal also asked the agency to consider lifting bans on blocking web traffic or on building “fast lanes” that favor those willing to pay more for faster service.

 

News of the December vote drew immediate reactions.

 

“Abandoning bipartisan net neutrality principles threatens to kill the streaming revolution and will hurt businesses, large and small, who are migrating to the cloud at record speeds,” said Chip Pickering, chief executive officer of the Incompas trade group with members including online shopping giant Amazon.com Inc. and video streamer Netflix Inc.

 

“Chairman Pai’s affection for AT&T and Comcast holds great political risk for President Trump and the entire Republican Party,” Pickering said in an emailed statement. “No one wants to see the internet turned into cable and have to pay more for streaming services they love."

 

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, part of the FCC’s Democratic minority, said the agency is headed down a “destructive path” that doesn’t help consumers.

 

“What consumers want is access to a free and open internet without fear of being throttled or assessed a toll by their broadband service provider,” Clyburn said in an emailed statement.

 

The current regulations forbid broadband providers from blocking or slowing web traffic, or from charging higher fees in return for quicker passage over their networks.

 

Supporters of the rules say they are needed to keep network owners from unfairly squelching rivals and discouraging web startups. Critics say the rules discourage investment while exposing companies to a threat of heavier regulation including pricing mandates, and that marketplace competition will discipline broadband providers.

 

The regulation survived a court challenge from broadband providers last year.

 

Trump’s White House has opposed the rules. In July, as Pai’s critics protested, a White House spokesman said the administration “supports the FCC’s efforts to roll back burdensome, monopoly-era regulations.”

 

The FCC (and I suppose all GOP at this point) has become downright cartoonishly evil.  Like mustache twirling evil.  Something you'd really only expect to see in a movie or a comic book yet here we are in real life.  It's downright maddening.

 

Anyway.. too long; didn't read:  in a month the FCC will most likely get their way (yet again) and kill off net neutrality.  What does this mean for you?  If you like using the internet expect to start paying more depending on what you do.

 

I'm pretty sure we've discussed net neutrality before on the board before but I'll just kind of recap here:

 

If the Internet is no longer neutral it essentially means it'll be "two lanes" (fast and slow). The Internet slow lane means the bandwidth you pay for no longer guarantees you equal access to everything that’s on the Internet. It means that the people you’re paying for bandwidth can decide what services they want you to get quickly, and what services they want you to get slowly. And, they can charge the sites you’re trying to look at for getting access to you, even though you’ve already paid for the bandwidth the first time. Right now, with it being neutral, it means every website has to load at the same speed, whether it's a direct competitor of the isp (like Netflix is of Verizon) or not.

If net neutrality ends, the innovation on the American internet subsides. Not completely, obviously, but the countries that have net neutrality become better laboratories for the future. In the same way that Samsung became the world’s biggest handset manufacturer by simply being in the most wired, most connected country in the world, you can expect innovation in other kinds of services to move there. Locally and more close to home to your wallets, it means that you might end up paying more. Netflix, for example, may raise their rates to compensate for having to pay the ISPs more to have their content streamed at the same speed it is currently (under the neutrality). It may also cause ISPs to raise their rates for the same speeds you have now, or introduce a lower-tiered plan (where you get slower internet for the same price you're paying right now). Essentially ISPs can double charge everything (consumers and companies). Those who don't pay..well, let's just say you, as a consumer, may have a bad time when trying to watch your favorite TV show online, or want to download something.

 

And I've read the arguments online "but they didn't do that before net neutrality was passed by Obummer so what evidence is there that they will when this passes?"   Except the internet is completely different from back then.  Back then streaming services and cloud services were barely starting to become a thing.  And Verizon DID do exactly that.  When Netflix started to get bigger and become a household name (along with Hulu) they started throttling Netflix to the point where customers could barely even use it.  Netflix even had to go so far as to put a huge message on the screen saying it was Verizon's fault, not their's, and that they were trying to force people to not use it by throttling it so much.  So uhh.. yeah.  The net neutrality stuff Obama's FCC put into place in 2015 is a GOOD thing and if it gets repealed expect the internet to get horrible pretty quick.


~James~
Even if you can't rely on anyone else, just pull yourself together and roar!
My Website :: The Ultimate Rurouni Kenshin FAQ

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#2 Iyouboushi

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 12:39 PM

Well, here we are.  The vote happened about 20 minutes ago.  I was watching it live.

 

There's five people on the FCC.  Everyone had a chance to talk at length about net neutrality.  Two were immediately against repealing it, two were immediately FOR repealing it.  It came down to Pai (because of f'ing course it did) who, to no one's surprise at all, voted to repeal it.  Three to repeal, two to keep.  Net Neutrality has been repealed.  RIP.

 

One of the women who was against repealing it made a note that there were 24 MILLION comments submitted to the FCC over the last month about this issue.  Pai and one of the other guys who were for repealing it basically said that those comments didn't matter at all.  Democracy? What's that?  Representation?  Hah.

 

So now I guess we'll see what happens.  It takes 60 days (I think I read) before any decision the FCC makes becomes active... so we might start seeing some changes early next year with ISPs.  Though if they were smart the ISPs would sit and wait.  People have short memories.  Let the whole net neutrality thing blow over and a year or two down the line they can start implementing the changes.  By then people won't really care and will have forgotten all about this (by people I mean most average Americans who don't sit online 24/7 like us super nerds).  By then it'll be too late and they can do whatever they want.

 

I think our only hope now is for the courts or congress to reverse that decision.  I'm not sure what kind of legal options the courts/congress has in this case but we'll see how it goes from here.


~James~
Even if you can't rely on anyone else, just pull yourself together and roar!
My Website :: The Ultimate Rurouni Kenshin FAQ

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