FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017 by Tali Arbel And Barbara Ortutay
FCC votes along party lines to end  'net neutrality'
In this Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, file photo, demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store in New York. The Federal Communications Commission is voting Thursday, Dec. 14 to undo Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet. The industry promises that the internet experience isn't going to change, but the issue has struck a nerve. Protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will be able to control what they see and do online. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds.

In a straight party-line vote of 3-2, the Republican-controlled FCC junked the long-time principle that said all web traffic must be treated equally. The move represents a radical departure from a decade of federal oversight.

The push toward eliminating the rules has touched off protests and stirred fears among consumer advocates and ordinary Americans that cable and phone companies will be able to control what people see and do online. On Thursday, about 60 demonstrators gathered in the bitter chill in Washington to protest the FCC's expected decision.

But the broadband industry has promised that the internet experience for the public isn't going to change.

The telecommunications companies lobbied hard to overturn the rules, contending they are heavy-handed and discourage investment in broadband networks.

"What is the FCC doing today?" asked FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican. "Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence."

The FCC vote is unlikely to be the last word. Opponents of the move plan legal challenges, with New York's attorney general vowing to lead a multi-state lawsuit, and some hope to make it an issue in the 2018 midterm elections. There is also some hope that Congress might overturn the FCC decision.

Mark Stanley, a spokesman for the civil liberties organization Demand Progress, said there is a "good chance" Congress could reverse it.

"The fact that Chairman Pai went through with this, a policy that is so unpopular, is somewhat shocking," he said. "Unfortunately, not surprising."

FCC votes along party lines to end  'net neutrality'
In this Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, file photo, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai speaks during an FCC meeting in Washington. The FCC is voting Thursday, Dec. 14 to undo Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet. The industry promises that the internet experience isn't going to change, but the issue has struck a nerve. Protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will be able to control what they see and do online. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The FCC subscribed to the principle of net neutrality for about a decade and enshrined it in rules adopted in 2015.

Under the new rules approved Thursday, the Comcasts and AT&Ts of the world will be free to block rival apps, slow down competing services or offer faster speeds to companies that pay up. They just have to post their policies online or tell the FCC.

The change also eliminates certain federal consumer protections, bars state laws that contradict the FCC's approach, and largely transfers oversight of internet service to another agency altogether, the Federal Trade Commission.

AT&T and other big internet service providers welcomed the decision. AT&T senior executive vice president Bob Quinn said in a blog post that the internet "will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has." Quinn said the company won't block websites and won't throttle or degrade online traffic based on content.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat appointed by President Barack Obama, lambasted the "preordained outcome" of the vote that she said hurts small and large businesses and ordinary people. She said the end of net neutrality hands over the keys to the internet to a "handful of multibillion-dollar corporations."

With their vote, she added, the FCC's Republican commissioners are abandoning the pledge they took to make a rapid, efficient communications service available to all people in the U.S., without discrimination.

But Michael O'Rielly, a Republican commissioner appointed by Obama, called the FCC's approach a "well-reasoned and soundly justified order."

The internet, he said, "has functioned without net neutrality rules for far longer than it has with them." The decision "will not break the internet."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, has been investigating what appears to be large numbers of fake public comments submitted to the FCC during the net neutrality comment process. Schneiderman said 2 million comments were submitted under stolen identities, including those of children and dead people.

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33 comments

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LED_Guy
2.1 / 5 (8) Dec 15, 2017
OK, I'll probably get flamed for this, but . . .

People are worried that a few "internet giants" will control the content you can access on line. These are the same people who have for years quietly accepted the internet companies collecting their personal information so they can be targeted with tailored ads, news feeds and search results. Do they accept this because no one told them Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. did this behind the scenes? Our internet content is already filtered!

On another note, if I spend billions of dollars on internet infrastructure, I should allow everyone to use it for free? The current version of net neutrality is socialism and a real disincentive to invest in infrastructure.

Now if the government (with tax payer dollars) built the internet infrastructure the argument would different.
mackita
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 15, 2017
These are the same people who have for years quietly accepted the internet companies collecting their personal information so they can be targeted with tailored ads, news feeds and search results
This is argumentation fallacy. The fact that Hitler killed the people doesn't vindicate you in doing it too. The fact that (nearly) no one protested against risk of Facebook (because the usage of Facebook isn't mandatory for people) doesn't mean, that another risk doesn't exist (the more, the users of Internet can not avoid it).
mackita
5 / 5 (7) Dec 15, 2017
if I spend billions of dollars on internet infrastructure, I should allow everyone to use it for free
This is complete nonsense - the net neutrality isn't about internet for free at all (I mean free as a beer).
ASoliderInHisOnionHeadHat
1 / 5 (6) Dec 15, 2017
LED_Guy
I completely agree, Id like to ask anyone who was for net neutrality to name me a site that they visits that wasn't already getting millions of people on it. Which sites specifically that you visit that you are worried about that will be slowed, and millions or hundreds of thousands of other people won't notice it either? Because I bet in that rally of people, the majority of them spend 90% of their Internet time on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon. You think those sites will be slowed down? I doubt it, any site the majority of us visit nowadays has the money to pay to be just as fast if not faster when net neutrality ends.
PTTG
5 / 5 (7) Dec 15, 2017
It's comments like LED_guys that show the power of propoganda. Not only does it show that one person was affected by it, it does so in a way that throws doubt on the entire communication system of the nation -- the very system that we need to have faith in if we are to overcome dangerous propoganda.

What news agency convinced LED guy of his laughable view of NN? How much did his teachers fail him, and at what level of education? Where and when did the propogandists reach him?

The effort -- the tempting effort to correct him -- is not worth the reward, which will be more propaganda and a continued platform. To demonstrate, I will point out that his final drive-by statement is bullshit. Do not expect further response from me.

https://nationale...nternet/
SwamiOnTheMountain
1 / 5 (6) Dec 15, 2017
Wow, the government decided to take it's finger out of the pie. Good for them.
mackita
5 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2017
This isn't only about #NetNeutrality. This is about democracy. When 80% of Americans don't want something, and the government does it anyway, that is a direct violation of the will of the people. It erodes faith in government as an institution worth engaging in or even defending.
Caliban
5 / 5 (5) Dec 15, 2017
This repeal of the common carrier status of the internet- ie, net neutrality, was carried out against the will of the American people, and along strictly partisan lines.

The whole idea of Net Neutrality is that ALL INFORMATION being transmitted across the internet is to be treated EQUALLY and without any barriers to that information being created in terms of arbitrary and individual differences in cost, speed or access to obtain that information.

Repeal of the NN principle means that ISPs, at their sole and arbitrary discretion, can charge you more for your usage, slow down your transfer speed(remember dial-up?), or block access to any content that they deem --again, at their sole and arbitrary discretion-- to not meet their standards for profitability.

Or for any other reason. It's solely up to them. You have no choice in the matter or recourse to redress any harm that this may cause you.

contd
Caliban
5 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2017
contd

If this cynical power grab, enacted without our consent, by private interests, for their own purposes(eg, greater profitability and to control information) doesn't enrage you as a Citizen and a "consumer", then one has to question why you would venture a comment upon the issue, since you've just gotten what you --apparently-- want:

Restricted, slowed, or higher-cost access to content and information via the web.

Finally, in case you haven't noticed, there are entire sectors of the information universe that aren't even available via any other means than the internet.

Phone books and information desks for both Public and Private institutions and domains are a thing of the past, now almost completely redundant since the advent of the "Digital Age" made possible by the PUBLICLY FUNDED development of the world wide web.

Now that we've paid for it, it is being co-opted by private interests in order to reap all the profit and control your access to information.
Da Schneib
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2017
If the Reprehensibles vote for enough stuff that screws everybody, eventually things will get screwed up enough they'll get kicked out.

It's a matter of pain tolerance. And most people aren't very bright so they don't notice the pain for a while. If your focus is getting elected again, you still might if you screw things up.

For a while.
mackita
1 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2017
Will Governments Start Taxing Meat? A Large Investor Group Thinks It's 'Inevitable.' In similar way, any part of internet protocol can get taxed: the peer-to-peer networks, the bitcoin transactions, file-sharing services,etc which can be considered harmful. The breaking of net neutrality is just first step which would enable it.
Not to say, than the whole taxation of meat is just another greedy and imbecile proposal which is ignoring that meat is way more concentrated source of proteins than plants. For example, for production of rice it's required 2552 m³ of water/ ton rice, whereas for production of one ton of poultry 3809 m³ of water its required. Therefore the consumption of poultry may sound like ineffective waste of resources for someone - but the content of proteins in rice is ten times lower than in chicken meat!
mackita
not rated yet Dec 17, 2017
It's a matter of pain tolerance. And most people aren't very bright so they don't notice the pain for a while. If your focus is getting elected again, you still might if you screw things up.
This is like the naive belief, that the science will gradually repair and regulate itself. Well, in some areas yes, because science advances each funeral (as Max Planck once noted) - but the research of many breakthrough findings is already delayed by more than one century.

For greedy people only the delay of freedom or progress as long as their life-time is enough - but the damage is already permanently done. Once we are smart enough for to foresee the consequences, we are obliged to prohibit such a damage in advance.
ddaye
5 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2017
LED_Guy
Which sites specifically that you visit that you are worried about that will be slowed

MINE. My livelihood.
Da Schneib
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2017
This is like the naive belief, that the science will gradually repair and regulate itself.
Seems to have worked pretty well for refrigerators, computers, telephones, and jet aircraft.

Just sayin'. You know, the whole data thing and all.
Thorium Boy
1 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2017
I love the freedom of speech stuff . We already have massive censorship in media, courtesy of left-wing run organizations like Google and Twitter, Reddit. As long as you support their political views, you have free speech. Otherwise not.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
Seems to have worked pretty well for refrigerators, computers, telephones, and jet aircraft
Just because these stuffs are developed outside the basic research as so-called applied research. In applied research you can hardly find taboos or dominant paradigm like mainstream cosmology, which would be maintained for years without reflection of new findings and observations. But not all areas of science develop slowly - for example the descriptive chemistry or condensed phase research looks quite pluralistic and fast. But it already contains cognitive black holes (like the high temperature superconductivity or water cluster physics) the development of which remains frozen in time.
Mark Thomas
5 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2017
The Republicans have put the U.S. up for sale.
Da Schneib
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
But the applied research is based on the basic research.

This is what you don't seem to get.
howhot3
5 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2017
The repeal of net neutrality is just another jab of "Screwyouism" coming from the once fabled "conservative" party that actually practiced "conservatism" many years back. Now they have transformed into a brud of prickish plutocrats effecting everything from EPA, FCC, FDA, CDC, State Dept, Dept of Interior, Justice, etc. They have implemented policies unwanted by the majority of Americans. The net-neutrality regulations are one. Basically it's the republican party giving you the big old flying bird of screwyouism just to please their Russian installed puppet!

Screwyouism seems to be the norm for republican philosophy these days and it only seems to be getting worst now with the Tax bill.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
But the applied research is based on the basic research. This is what you don't seem to get.
Not always. Just the areas of mainstream science which have no applied research (cosmology, theory of particle physics to name just a few) remain conservative and biased the most, because their public feedback and confrontation with experimental facts is missing.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
From certain perspective the cancellation of net neutrality has a good meaning, because the internet data get gradually diversified. For example for internet gaming you need a "good quality" internet "signal" with low latencies and low number of lost packets. For listening of Netflix or Spotify such a quality is not needed at all, because these streams get cached and selfcorrected by codecs so that lost packets will only result into an insignificant dropout of videoframe - what you need is to have large bandwidth instead. Therefore the requirements for various data streams differ significantly and it's a bit nonsensical to ask ISPs to warranty the same prices, latency and bandwidth for all data streams on the internet. But such a flexibility could be easily abused for less or more open control of internet traffic, which would wake a wave of various free-speech right and antimonopoly legal actions in foreseeable future.
leetennant
5 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2017
I love the freedom of speech stuff . We already have massive censorship in media, courtesy of left-wing run organizations like Google and Twitter, Reddit. As long as you support their political views, you have free speech. Otherwise not.


Oh, please, please, explain to us all in detail how Google, Twitter and Reddit are "left wing". I am literally breathless with anticipation here.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
One possible solution in this situation would be a mandatory tariff / universal datastream for all ISP's, which would warrant full net neutrality without FUPs and with acceptable bandwidth - I mean something like the mandatory basic health care which is common in European countries, which already have longer tradition in providing health care than USA. The specialized internet users who would enjoy not only freedom and universal access, but also diversified services could pay for another types of streams with optimized parameters for certain purpose (games, video/audio, file sharing etc.). Such a model would represent an acceptable compromise between rather clueless full governmental control of net neutrality and full destruction of net neutrality without any public feedback. Unfortunately the people responsible have black and white vision and once some conceptual change becomes imminent, they tend to apply it at full scope - quite needlessly.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
explain to us all in detail how Google, Twitter and Reddit are "left wing"
These media are pushing quite hardly the dumb environmentalism, globalism (after all, they're all global companies - or not?), pro-immigration politics (under evasion of "hate-free" speech), gender equality and programs which strengthen the position of mainstream science (especially the investments into so-called Big Science projects, which are consuming most of public resources). I can tell it rather safely, as I'm getting banned at most reddit channels within matter of minutes, once they follow the official ideology.
leetennant
5 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2017
explain to us all in detail how Google, Twitter and Reddit are "left wing"
These media are pushing quite hardly the dumb environmentalism, globalism (after all, they're all global companies - or not?), pro-immigration politics (under evasion of "hate-free" speech), gender equality and programs which strengthen the position of mainstream science (especially the investments into so-called Big Science projects, which are consuming most of public resources). I can tell it rather safely, as I'm getting banned at most reddit channels within matter of minutes, once they follow the official ideology.


Even if that is true, literally none of those things are "left wing". In fact, apart from science and gender equality which are apolitical, the rest of your issues are standard centre-right. Globalisation, in particular, is right wing.

If you're getting banned a lot, maybe the problem is you???
Whydening Gyre
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
...
Even if that is true, literally none of those things are "left wing". In fact, apart from science and gender equality which are apolitical, the rest of your issues are standard centre-right. Globalisation, in particular, is right wing.
If you're getting banned a lot, maybe the problem is you???

Apolitical?!?
Science, in particular climate science, is HUGELY political. Or hadn't you noticed ...
And - Gender equality is one of the BIGGEST political footballs in play, at the moment...
You need to watch the news more ...
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
If you're getting banned a lot, maybe the problem is you???
The Jews barbecued in concentration camps would probably disagree with such self-reflection - no matter how useful it occasionally could be..
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
Globalisation, in particular, is right wing
It's not secret for me, that attitudes of many leftists are internally inconsistent: for example they fight for multiculturalism, even if some of these cultures boycott gender equality and another liberal values. The right-wind conservatives have similar - just dual issues with intrinsic consistency: it's easy way how to find out, you're an extremist.
mackita
not rated yet Dec 19, 2017
apart from science and gender equality which are apolitical
Mainstream science is typical leftist thing until it's subsidized from public mandatory fees - which applies just for basic research and large projects the most. Gender / cultural equality and collectivism in general are also traditionally socialistic traits, which don't favor individualism.

But I can agree, in times of state capitalism many sides of political compass fuse together. From this reason I'd distinguish scope at which they're applied: individual ,communal or governmental level. For example the conservatives favor liberalism and free entrepreneurship at individual level - but similar liberalism pushed at governmental level perceive like authoritative and socialist trait.
leetennant
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2017
...
Even if that is true, literally none of those things are "left wing". In fact, apart from science and gender equality which are apolitical, the rest of your issues are standard centre-right. Globalisation, in particular, is right wing.
If you're getting banned a lot, maybe the problem is you???

Apolitical?!?
Science, in particular climate science, is HUGELY political. Or hadn't you noticed ...
And - Gender equality is one of the BIGGEST political footballs in play, at the moment...
You need to watch the news more ...


Apolitical in this context because it spans the left/right divide. Both centre left and right parties pursue evidence-based policies and gender equality. In this, there is no particular 'wing' to these issues. Globalisation is specifically a right-wing concept, in that protectionism was classically left. If anybody's politicising these issues, it's ultra-conservatives and fascists who are ultra right wing.
leetennant
5 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2017
Globalisation, in particular, is right wing
It's not secret for me, that attitudes of many leftists are internally inconsistent: for example they fight for multiculturalism, even if some of these cultures boycott gender equality and another liberal values. The right-wind conservatives have similar - just dual issues with intrinsic consistency: it's easy way how to find out, you're an extremist.


Multiculturalism is not globalisation. Globalisation is the free movement of assets and wealth. Yes, this also includes the free movement of labour but labour is NOT culture. In a purely globalised world, labour would move freely into and out of markets without importing culture, In fact, true globalists don't want to deal with multiple cultures. They only want to create wealth. Multiculturalism is about the way in which a society embraces the different cultures that already live in borders. It does not presuppose free movement through those borders.
mackita
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2017
In a purely globalised world, labour would move freely into and out of markets without importing culture
Such a globalised world is pretty abstract, because the first and last thing, which immigrants import together with their labor force is their culture, religion and national identity. They tend to form enclaves, ghettos and communities instead of seamlessly fuse with their host country by their self-preservation instincts.
true globalists don't want to deal with multiple cultures
Yes, they hope in dissolved cultures without any color. For this purpose the multicultural society is indeed the very first step during mixing and free movement of various cultures. But globalism is advantageous even for multinational governments like the EU, which is more close to socialism, than it's already healthy. It struggles to control way more aspects of common life, than just economy. So try to return back from abstract definitions to real world of their practical applications.
mackita
2 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2017
Apolitical in this context because it spans the left/right divide. Both centre left and right parties pursue evidence-based policies and gender equality. In this, there is no particular 'wing' to these issues.
Because you're saying it or because the right-wing conservatives prefer individualism and families with traditional division of gender / marital roles? The human society is chiral and all sides of political compass aren't involved in it in equal way. The right-wing scientist living from public taxes is sorta oxymoron in similar way, like the abstract left-wing conservative. Similarly to physics, such an abstract symmetries exist only in heads of formal theorists. We have very few positrons and left-handed neutrinos in real world, despite by abstract symmetry nothing should prohibit it.

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