Senate Votes To Save Net Neutrality

The Senate voted on Wednesday to restore the FCC's rules on net neutrality, passing a bill which will probably die on the floor of the House, but may ignite a fierce debate among Democrats ahead of midterm elections.

Senate Democrats managed to force the Wednesday vote using a rare legislative tool called the "Congressional Review Act" (CRA) - which allows Congress, with a majority vote in each chamber along with the president's signature, to overturn recent policy changes. 

Democrats argue that without the FCC's net neutrality rules, companies such as Comcast and Verizon will have free reign to discriminate against certain content, or allow superior access to partner websites and services. Under the old rules, internet service providers (ISPs) are required to treat all internet traffic equally.

In order to pass through the House, the bill would need 25 Republicans to support the Democratic effort in order to even bring it up for a vote. 

Most Republicans have argued that the FCC's net neutrality rules are overkill and not required for broadband providers - urging Democrats to come to the table and negotiate a legislative solution to replace the FCC rules. The broadband industry is predictably very supportive of this effort. 

Supporters of net neutrality, however, flatly reject the notion that the GOP-controlled Congress can come up with solutions which protect content as well as the FCC rules. The proposed GOP legislation, for example, would allow internet service providers (ISPs) to create "fast lanes" which would charge websites to provide faster speeds to end users. 

Of course, as Recode pointed out last year, Obama's net neutrality rules were celebrated by websites and content providers who could be subjected to throttling by telecom and cable companies who own distribution networks.

Adopted in 2015 under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. government’s current approach to net neutrality subjects the likes of AT&T, Comcast, Charter and Verizon to utility-like regulation. That legal foundation prevents them from blocking or throttling web pages, while banning content-delivery deals known as paid prioritization. And it grants the FCC wide legal range to review virtually any online practice it deems harmful to consumers.

Such strong rules always have been popular in Silicon Valley, where startups in particular fear they could not compete without tough net neutrality safeguards. But they long have drawn sharp opposition from the telecom industry, which sued the FCC in 2015 in a bid to overturn them.

Before that case could come to its conclusion, however, Trump entered the White House, ushering in a new era of Republican control at the nation’s telecom agency. And Pai, a fervent opponent of utility-like regulation of net neutrality, set about undoing the Obama-era rules almost as soon as he took over the FCC. -Recode

In addition to the Senate bill, there is a separate battle in court to fight the FCC's repeal - however that is likely to drag on for months. 

Comments

techpriest BennyBoy Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

As a small web business owner, I hope Net Neutrality dies. Its a propaganda word to get you to sign on to the idea that the FCC should run the Internet, because we all know how fair they are going to be the next time your less favored party is in power.

Also, if you are a small publisher, this is just like renting an apartment. If you are only willing to pay $3 a month for a crappy one-click-install Wordpress site hosted on Bluehost, you will get the corresponding bandwidth (enough to send text and optimized images, not enough to do video). If you pay the princely sum of perhaps $20 a month with a good host, they will pool the extra bucks together from the thousands of customers to pay for the needed bandwidth to self-host a site that has a moderate amount of traffic.

Currently it costs me a few hundred to provide fast, reliable hosting for software that serves a user base in the mid thousands, and I price my products accordingly. It comes out to pennies per end user.

If you had the expectation that you should be able to pay zero to host hours/days of video for millions of people, and for it to be just as fast as the people paying thousands to millions to do the same, get real.

In reply to by BennyBoy

mc888 techpriest Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:39 Permalink

"Net Neutrality" was Soros-sponsored snake oil. Obamunist placement under FCC regulation made them official agents of State Propaganda, exempt from Consumer Privacy and Antitrust laws.

Dems are the tool of Deep State desperation to remove internet companies from standard business FTC regulation and place them back under Communist rule.

In reply to by techpriest

vaporland techpriest Wed, 05/16/2018 - 18:42 Permalink

I don't think "bandwidth" means what you think it means.

The infrastructure cost difference between megabit internet and gigabit internet (from the ISP's perspective) is negligible. 

Kinda like 'cost' of windows home vs windows pro, as opposed to retail price of same.

It's all a scam, just like metered 4G bandwidth.

But sure go ahead and advocate for big telco vs everyone else 

If you think Twitter is good at shadowbanning, just wait until AT&T Verizon et al start bandwidthbanning.  

In reply to by techpriest

TheEndIsNear techpriest Thu, 05/17/2018 - 02:43 Permalink

Didn't you read the article?  If passed, "Net Neutrality" will make it illegal for the people paying thousands to millions to do so.  I don't understand how that can work out in real life though, because the cost you pay is to your host server. As you point out however, some low end host like BlueHost will never be able to afford the costly upgrades to equal the bandwidth of corporations like Google's server farms. Are they going to force Google, Amazon, et. al., to the limit their bandwidth to that of the slowest server on the Internet, hahaha.  Back to 9600 Baud. :))

In reply to by techpriest

Buckaroo Banzai BennyBoy Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:15 Permalink

When the content is censored at the source by FaceBerg, Jewgle, JewFlix, Imajew Prime, etc, then it's irrelevant what the telecom and cable companies do after that. Of course, the real purpose of so-called "Net Neutrality" is to subsidize the bandwidth of FaceBerg, Jewgle, JewFlix, Imajew Prime, etc so they can more profitably pump their propaganda sewage into your home and workplace.

The cable and telecom companies are boring monopolies and the one good thing about boring monopolies is, they are pretty incompetent at managing complex processes like censorship or propaganda manufacturing. So it's hard for me to get worked up about the possibility that they might censor me. Plus its a lot harder to censor content at the delivery point than it is at the production point, and the cable and telecom companies are at the delivery point. Incompetence + high degree of difficulty = something I don't have to worry about.

This is why the kikes are being so stubborn about getting "Net Neutrality" back in running condition. Remember, there is nothing worse than a filthy lying kike!

In reply to by BennyBoy

Sophist Economicus BennyBoy Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

I know there is a /s implied above, but, this is all about Hollywood and other large scale content providers trying to get a free ride from the broadband providers

 LARGE content providers are pulling out all the stops to make sure 'Net Neutrality" aka Net Free Ride stays in place.    Hence the Democrats and the looney left fight for it.    The cute name (NN) just gets the useful idiots all whipped up.

 

As an FYI, I've been in the meetings with the content providers discussing this...It gives them night tremors 

In reply to by BennyBoy

pods Sophist Economicus Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:25 Permalink

What, you don't want a free internet?
Comcast has people right now waiting to censor ZH!

/s

NFLX goes from cash furnace to immolation without being able to cost-shift bandwith to the ISPs.

And no people, the argument about NFLX buying bandwith is a fallacy too. We are talking rubber meets the road last mile here.

When I was with Time Warner, you knew when everyone fired up their "cheap" streaming crap.

Now with a small, great little fiber provider I don't have to worry, yet.  But with 3D and 4k or whatever, they are gonna be looking to plug even a fiber line.

pods

In reply to by Sophist Economicus

ZENDOG Wed, 05/16/2018 - 16:58 Permalink

""Comcast and Verizon will have free reign to discriminate against certain content, or allow superior access to partner websites and services""

Didn't Twatter, Utubby and Fuckbook just do that? WTF?

LetThemEatRand ZENDOG Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

Different.  Twitter may ban a user.  Verizon/Comcast will slow down entire sites they don't like and/or that don't pay up.  So you go to ZH for example, and it will load very slowly.   Presumably you can still get to it, but it becomes a severe annoyance and readers start dropping off.  It blows my mind that anyone who is not a Verizon or Comcast CEO thinks it is a good idea to allow these monopolist entities to make those kinds of calls.  Of course they will throttle back sites like ZH and other outside the mainstream sites.

In reply to by ZENDOG

techpriest LetThemEatRand Wed, 05/16/2018 - 18:12 Permalink

Let me give you an example:

Lets imagine that the new "fast lane" policy is that you pay $5/TB for bandwidth, but during peak times or for more than 5 TB per day, you must pay $20 per TB.

A site like ZH is 5-600kB per page. Youtube delivers tens to hundreds of megabytes per page (video), and Netflix delivers multi-GB 4K video. Using either model, who is more likely to take it on the chin without NN?

With NN, everyone has to pay the same, so in this case the price gets set at $10/TB to cover the people who would have paid $20. Now who wins?

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

techpriest ZENDOG Wed, 05/16/2018 - 17:57 Permalink

People have short memories. Well, I suppose this one is a while back, but who here remembers AOL? At first that service ws a straight-up walled garden, you surfed inside of their space, and that was it. A while later MSN came out (then one after the other), and petty quickly you found out that there was a whole other Internet outside of AOL, and at this point AOL has next to no significance.

This is also how it works with the standard arguments around Net Neutrality. If Comcast really tried to do what Facebook is doing, there will be a corresponding uproar, and it would be expressed with people taking their dollars and giving them to whoever is going to give them the freedom they are seeking.

Also, who has noticed how the argument is that they *might* do something? Pre-NN, does anyone remember a company getting away with a walled garden Internet perpetually? Like I said, AOL tanked on that model.

In reply to by ZENDOG

ChinaCatRider techpriest Wed, 05/16/2018 - 19:23 Permalink

 

This is also how it works with the standard arguments around Net Neutrality. If Comcast really tried to do what Facebook is doing, there will be a corresponding uproar, and it would be expressed with people taking their dollars and giving them to whoever is going to give them the freedom they are seeking.

 

If I could choose between three or four players, then, sure let the market figure itself out. In many/most places there is only one option in town to deliver high speed. I do not want some suit & tie dictating what is or is not available.

 

In reply to by techpriest

techpriest ChinaCatRider Wed, 05/16/2018 - 20:29 Permalink

Again, NN was brought in only a few years ago. Who was doing this a few years ago when the regs weren't here, and how many got away with it at a substantial scale in perpetuity?

Further, if there is only one option in town, would you pay an additional $10 per month for a second? I'm thinking back to when I lived in Iowa, and about a group of farmers that went in together on some equipment to set up a network of wireless antennae on silos to get around an existing company. There are solutions other than hoping the FCC will be favorable toward you, and not toward the same suit&tie who has the time and money to lobby.

In reply to by ChinaCatRider