On a party line vote:
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.
The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.
Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets is being placed under the new rules. The order also includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and to ensure Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas.
Continue reading the main story
But the new rules are an à la carte version of Title II, adopting some provisions and shunning others. The F.C.C. will not get involved in pricing decisions or the engineering decisions companies make in managing their networks.
Sounds like a win.
The whining from the GOP members of the FCC board is quite impressive. Via Ars Technica,
They’ve got one script and everything gets jammed into it.
“Ordinary citizens,” they write, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”
@dmsilev: So what if the Commissioner bowed to President Obama’s wishes? And? I really wish someone would explain to the Republicans that President Obama won. Twice.
Villago Delenda Est
Party line vote.
The only good Rethuglican is a dead Rethuglican.
isn’t it funny that local communities, working in the best interests of their citizens are now thought of as being unAmerican by the GOP because somebody somewhere didn’t get to make a buck….
Villago Delenda Est
@dmsilev: The projection. It’s blinding me!
@Arclite: That was part of the reason I had a good feeling about this. The cable companies were pushing against Net Neutrality, but there were also huge Internet companies (Google, Amazon) fervently pushing for it.
Not a great system, but I’m not going to complain about the results in this case.
The Moar You Know
@dmsilev: The best part about O’Rielly’s whine is that he wasn’t willing to read it out loud. Entered into the written record only.
That’s some bravery.
Gin & Tonic
@piratedan: Funny thing is, there will still be opportunities to make bucks. Municipalities will have to buy equipment, which is not manufactured by charities, and will have to install and configure it, which requires people with skills that are not normally found on a city’s org chart. And the resulting network traffic will still have to be passed off to an “upstream” carrier, which will charge for that.
The Blog Dahlia
Obama sold us out! Wait
Let the lawsuits commence.
I’m still not clear on why opposing Net Neutrality was such a no-brainer for Republicans.
This wasn’t a typical “Big Business vs. the world” issue but “Big Business vs. Big Business.” A small group within the business community (ISP’s/Telcoms) was trying to screw everybody else. So one would think that pro-business Republicans should have been up in arms, shouting “Ape has killed Ape!”
@The Blog Dahlia: Certainly the ISPs feel that Obama sold them out. :)
What, we don’t get to charge monopolistic pricing without having to do any infrastructure improvements anymore? That’s criminal!
The original plan for cable TV was for consumers to pay to watch and broadcasters pay to be seen. That didn’t work out the way they wanted, so they tried again with the internet.
From the Christian Science Monitory story:How John Oliver turned the tide on the net-neutrality debate is a discusssion of how, after John Oliver’s bit on “this week tonight” created over 4 million messages to the FCC. It seems comparing the FCC commissioner to a baby eating dingo can be useful politics.
1. Because the ISPs paid them more than Google and Apple did.
2. Because everyone knows those damn tech companies like Google and Apple are bastions of liberals and gays. Because, California.
This was monopolists vs. innovators, so it was obviously the standard Republican policy to back the monopolists. After all, the monopolists have the cash to cross their palms with silver.
@patrick II: Thank the FSM for John Oliver. Bless John’s saucy soul with His noodly appendage.
True, but if this had gone the other way the Telcoms would have been allowed to steal from everyone and everything connected to the Internet… from you and me to Exxon and General Motors.
I’m not sure it’s that simple. It’s not as if Google is hurting for cash with which to lobby on issues that affect them.
@Arclite: but that is bullshit — Obama and Wheeler have been behind Net Neutrality all along. John Oliver was just ranting against them based on fantasies.
Iowa Old Lady
As far as I can tell, most objectors, including most idiot congresspeople, think net neutrality is something like the fairness doctrine. That is they think it’s about content. I can hardly stand it.
Even if Obama and Wheeler were for making the FCC a public utility, and it is not clear to me they were, the expression of millions of opinions to the FCC on net neutrality could only help. There has been more than one thing Obama has been for but has not had the public support to do. Obama has even told various interest groups that lobby him that if they want their particular policy implemented they have to have built up public support to enable him to do what they both want.
Oliver’s work only helped. And Wheeler denied he was a dingo.
Note further up in the article:
I would like to know if their data only goes back to the 1980s or if the data goes back further but the trends start in the 1980s.
I suspect that their data only goes back to the 1980s. Because my read on US history is that the idea that the country is actually a meaningful democracy of equals is a bit of propaganda that we are fed from the day we’re born. This country has always been for the oligarchs, of the oligarchs and by the oligarchs right back to its founding – when a group of tax hating rich guys convinced the rest of the colonists that it was in their best interests to kick out the king and set up their own country. This country was founded on the principle of rich people convincing not-rich people that it was in their best interests to do what the rich people wanted. And I haven’t seen anything to convince me that we’ve ever been anything but that, or that any history we’ve been fed that suggests otherwise is anything but propaganda.
How’s Ginger, any better?
@Gin & Tonic:
Really, you surprise me, G and T. The examples you give require corporations to make more money by actually doing things and providing additional services in return for the right to collect more money. What kind of crony capitalism is that? What kind of self-respecting monopolist does that?
Why not just sit there on your assets, and get the money for nothing?
I don’t understand the ins and outs of the issue but I can safely predict The Corporation will profit. And the sun will rise in the east etc.
@dmsilev: Seems like a good case can be made that today’s ruling is return to traditional common carrier (not sure that is right jargon for communications industry, IANAL) regulation, and last decade or two has been a deregulated exception carved out for the internet. I think that is true in terms of economics, not sure about the legalities.
Edit: and I think last ten years or so of deregulated exception has been period where US had fallen behind other countries in terms of access to connections and speed. Because of oligopolistic firms exercising their market power, to charge more for existing capacity, rather than having incentive to create more capacity.
Judging by the comments I see on Facebook, it’s evil because it’s an action by the government. It’s a regulation and therefore it kills jobs. Also, they heard Obama is for it and therefore Cleek’s Law.
Iowa Old Lady
It’s interesting to me that a lot of small towns in Iowa have their own utilities. It’s a rural tradition dating from the time when the big carriers weren’t around. People think it’s normal rather than commie Muslim.
Did Bob in Portland finally get banned for first-degree tedium? He’s been remarkably quiet lately.
I teach and I have heard the complaints from my foreign students for years – “Why is your internet so slow?”
I’m tired of saying “Free Market!!!! Rah Rah Rah!!!” when it never truly was
About time we start treating the Net as a vital utility the same as gas, water, and electricity. This will allow communities to start flexing their muscle to demand better service — higher speed/performance.
For once, something worth while comes out of D.C.
@Pogonip: that other schmuck did.
@Iowa Old Lady:
Early rural telephone cooperatives were ahead of their urban counterparts because they had important infrastructure in place already–barbed-wire fencing that could serve as transmission lines. Cable companies sprang up first in rural areas that were outside of easy signal reception. Maybe some of that spirit lives on still.
@raven: What other schmuck?
@Iowa Old Lady: Same for a lot of towns and cities in Central Valley California. Been that way for well over a hundred years now. And they had to fight court cases against corrupt private utilities for decades back in the 1870s and 1880s to get them done.
A lot of Central Valley is purple now, but in some deep red Central Valley towns, you would have to pry that commie public water, gas and electric utility out of wingnuts’ cold dead hands.
Edit: and I read in the news that the bogus lawsuit lives on. Peculation Greed and Explosion is suing a Central Valley community for trying to set up a public power agency.
@The Blog Dahlia: More proof that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between–ah, fuck it.
@Pogonip: Spinwheel I think, whoever was sweatin Zandar.
Villago Delenda Est
@NonyNony: Um. No.
The guys who set the country up were NOT tax hating rich guys. They were taxation without representation hating rich guys. They had no problems with taxation, per se, as long as they got to be involved in how said taxes were used. I think they pretty much demonstrated this with their reaction to Shay’s Rebellion.
The specific taxes they objected to were taxes designed to stifle debate and to funnel their resources back to a monopoly corporation in Britain intent on maintaining its monopoly.
Villago Delenda Est
@Pogonip: I think he’s still awaiting instructions from Russia Today on how to counter the reports that Vlad went into the entire Ukraine crisis with the premeditated intent to annex the Crimea and huge chunks of eastern Ukraine.
Villago Delenda Est
And your chicks for free!
Maybe his parents threatened to kick Bob out of the basement bedroom if he didn’t go to work lots more hours delivering pizzas in order to start paying rent and his share of household expenses. And he doesn’t have as much time to rant on-line now, and even when he does have a little time, he’s too gassed from being out delivering pizzas on 12 hr shifts.
A joyous occasion. I wish they had come down less alacarte and full on Title II, but this is a very positive development regardless. Enjoying popcorn on facebook posts by people derping about “THE GOVERNMENT TAKING OVER THE INTERNET”.
Comcast sucks. And fuck Comcast.
Why does Latvia have better internet service than the U.S.
That’s about the way I read it, too. Basically, the DMCA safe harbor provisions gave them the equivalent of the legal protections common carriers had without the requirement that they treat all traffic the same. The action today will essentially treat them as common carriers, which is what DMCA should have done in the first place.
@Villago Delenda Est: Who needed a report to figure that out?
I am not friend of US policy in Ukraine or Eastern Europe, and hate the NATO expansion policy, and always wonder how much some marketing company gets paid by corporate sponsors to decide which color the next revolution is going to be. Not all of them, but some of them.
But, really, who needs a report to figure out that Putin wants his stupid security cushion against stupid NATO expansion.
Won’t save him or his vision of Russia if he gets it. It’ll fall apart like the Soviet Union did. May take a few decades, and sad for the people living there right now but that is what will happen if we play long game like we did in Cold War.
@Pogonip: spin whatever.
@Roger Moore: Gee, sure is a coincidence that news reports from media companies just somehow manage to give the opposite impression.
@Pogonip: I guess with the rubble in freefall Vladimir’s checks no longer cover the rent and he had to go back to flipping burgers to supplement his income.
@NonyNony: Yes, the most surprising thing is that the researchers thought that the US was actually a meaningful democracy at any one point. It certainly wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act, and I doubt it has been for any significant period of time since. (And that’s not taking into account my personal opinion that proportional representation is one of the requirement for a democracy.)
But it’s all part of American mythology. Real democracies don’t pretend that they were a democracy before universal suffrage.
@voldemort: Regardless, Oliver’s show resulted in 4 million comments to the FCC in favor of NN, and also thrust the issue into the national spotlight for weeks. Do I think JO singlehandedly caused this result? Of course not. Do I think that his show on the topic gave NN a huge boost in the right direction? Absolutely.
@NonyNony: Well, I think that’s my point. Any result appearing to effect the common person is strictly coincidental, regardless of whether that’s the way it has always been or not.
That being said, I think there have absolutely been laws passed in the past that weren’t strictly in corporations’ favor: universal suffrage, social security, civil rights act, medicare/caid, Federal Meat Inspection Act, etc. Not sure you would be able to get laws like that passed today without some kind of corporate giveaway, a la the ACA.
Tree With Water
Nowadays it is newsworthy when common sense prevails over mammon in governmental councils [hidden agenda: “today the internet, tomorrow the guillotine!”].
@Calouste: maybe he’s been an extra on Portlandia and is sleeping off the micro brews
@Arclite: 4 million comments were probably important ingredient. Regardless of what was in the works, public comments are important for agencies like the FCC. That is why corporate campaigns on regulation spend money on generating them. I seem to remember Oliver just telling people to write, and if that is true, they wrote their own comments. No one handed them a BS form with everything pre-written except the name and date. And if it is a letter form on the internet, then all they have to do then is click.
If those 4 million comments were really generated by the Oliver show, and each one was custom written, that was really important for the agency.
That is demonstrably false. He changed his mind. Was it because of JO’s rant, reddit’s online action, Obama’s suggestion, or he got a good night’s sleep. But he did change his mind and help save the internet.
@trollhattan: We had cable TV in the early 1950s. A guy with a TV store couldn’t sell TVs because we were on the other side of a mountain from the early broadcasters. So he set up an antenna on a mountaintop utility pole—-
Raven on the Hill
This could get tacky…
If you guys keep saying his name, he’ll show up…
Major Major Major Major
@trollhattan: The barbed wire thing is one of my favorite stories to tell at parties. I’m young, mind you, I just happen to have studied telecom policy extensively. Half the people are astonished merely by the idea of a party line, and 95% by the barbed wire thing (the other 5% nod sagely and draw conductivity diagrams).
I was watching the Google News live feed for Net Neutrality this morning, and it was pretty amusing because it was mostly places either running the AP’s story about “The FCC is expected to pass these regulations” or offering a quick explainer of what, exactly, all this Net neutrality mumbo-jumbo means. But every so often, a wingnut site would get into the feed, so amongst these rather dry, bland headlines, you’d see things like:
Net Neutrality Seizes the Internet for the Federal Government
Dusting Off Old Regulations Won’t Save the Free and Open Internet
A Leading net Neutrality Activist’s Neo-Marxist Views
(All of the above are real headlines, by the way)
I wonder how many tears he shed over Reagan’s interference with air traffic controllers. I am going to take a wild guess and estimate somewhere between zero and Rand Paul’s credibility.
I wonder whether he and Spinwheel/Pinhead were the same troll.
I have wondered whether he and Lil’ Spinwheel were the same troll.
I have wondered whether he and Spinninghiswheels were the same troll.
Yeah, a lot of it is this. Basically: “Obama wanted it, therefore it must be some sort of tax or regulation (which, by definition, murders jobs) and Ted Cruz said it was ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ so it’s an online death panel of some kind?”
Gubmint bureaucrats will get between you and your PC-Doctor. There will be mandatory death camps for old white spaces and code will now be written in rainbow and black to comply with internet sharia law.
@jl: I know I wrote a comment on the FCC website after watching that. :)
@Calouste: The rubble in freefall?
Nice Freudian slip about currency valuation.
Poor old Vladimir Putain!
@Iowa Old Lady: that’s only because the PPPrivatisers haven’t gotten ’round to you as yet.
No difference btwn Bush and Gore!