FCC votes yes on Net Neutrality

MacNut

macrumors Core
Original poster
Jan 4, 2002
21,544
7,802
CT
The FCC has voted 3-2 to classify the internet as a Title II utility.
The vote marks the culmination of a yearlong struggle that pitted grassroots Internet advocates and Silicon Valley tech giants against the titans of the telecom industry.

The FCC’s vote is considered an historic victory for so-called Open Internet advocates, and a major blow to big Internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, which will now be subject to stronger regulations.

Crucially, the FCC’s new rules were designed to give the agency explicit legal authority to regulate broadband Internet providers by reclassifying broadband under Title II of the federal Communications Act.

Because of a weedy legal issue, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit found in January 2014 that the FCC did not have authority to regulate broadband, and therefore threw out the FCC’s previous rules on net neutrality, which were passed in 2010. The court recommended that the FCC reclassify broadband under Title II in order to establish its regulatory authority. Mobile phone companies and public utilities are also classified under Title II.

The ISPs strongly opposed the Title II reclassification. They argue that the move will destroy innovation and investment in the nation’s digital infrastructure by imposing burdensome regulations on the industry. For example, under Title II, the FCC technically has the power to dictate how much ISPs can charge customers for online access.

The FCC has vowed it won’t regulate broadband as strongly as it could and that it will not control broadband prices. The new rules include a line guaranteeing that the FCC will not regulate “unbundling, tariffs, or other forms of rate regulation.”

Many net neutrality advocates, including President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who did not immediately support Title II reclassification, have announced their support for the move recently. Clinton said at a conference on Tuesday that the move is the only plausible option available to the agency, which needs to establish its legal authority in order to regulate broadband at all.

Earlier this week, Republicans on Capitol Hill said they would not actively oppose the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, since any new bill would be nearly impossible to get through Congress without Democratic support. But Verizon, AT&T, and their trade group, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, aren’t giving up quite yet. They are expected to sue the FCC again this year in an effort to have the rules thrown out.

The stakes in this battle are high. Net neutrality, the concept that an Internet service provider can’t block, slow or otherwise hamper users’ access to any online site, has an immediate impact on nearly every business and individual in the country.

One of the biggest sources of controversy has been over what’s known as “paid prioritization agreements” or “Internet fast lanes.” Open Internet advocates and Silicon Valley tech firms, such as Google, Amazon and Ebay, lobbied hard that any new net neutrality rules should explicitly forbid ISPs from collecting payment from web companies for delivering their content to Internet users more quickly or in higher quality in paid fast lanes. A record-breaking 4 million people wrote to the FCC last year to comment on its proposed net neutrality rules. The majority of commenters supported a version of net neutrality that prohibited fast lanes.
http://time.com/3723722/fcc-net-neutrality-2/
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
Yeah, I can't wait for my bill to increase and my speeds to slow. :/
If you're waiting for that, then you're with the wrong provider.

Having this classified as a Title II utility classifies this (and broadband) as a utility, like power or telephone service. Since most of the big name providers (VZW/ATT/Comcast/TWC) provide phone service via those wires going into your house, they can no longer restrict access to those lines.

This enables other companies (like Google and others) the access and ability to provide fiber directly to you, ensuring competition with those other providers, and killing the monopoly they would have had over such service based on the classification of their service.

Win for business (ensuring fair competition), win for the customer (faster rollout of fiber, ensuring faster speeds), and forcing the other providers to innovate instead of hiding behind laws lobbyists.

BL.
 

BladesOfSteel

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2009
206
41
St. Paul
Ya because we really have those mega fast speeds now with really cheap prices. :rolleyes:
I didn't say it was cheap now... but do you think it is really going to get cheaper for the majority of people? I bet there will be "taxes" and "fees" that will be added to the bill - both by the provider and the government.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Original poster
Jan 4, 2002
21,544
7,802
CT
If you're waiting for that, then you're with the wrong provider.

Having this classified as a Title II utility classifies this (and broadband) as a utility, like power or telephone service. Since most of the big name providers (VZW/ATT/Comcast/TWC) provide phone service via those wires going into your house, they can no longer restrict access to those lines.

This enables other companies (like Google and others) the access and ability to provide fiber directly to you, ensuring competition with those other providers, and killing the monopoly they would have had over such service based on the classification of their service.

Win for business (ensuring fair competition), win for the customer (faster rollout of fiber, ensuring faster speeds), and forcing the other providers to innovate instead of hiding behind laws lobbyists.

BL.
The lawsuits will be coming tho, so don't expect a fast roll out. The ISP's are going to fight this to the death.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
I didn't say it was cheap now... but do you think it is really going to get cheaper for the majority of people? I bet there will be "taxes" and "fees" that will be added to the bill - both by the provider and the government.
When you have faster rollout of fiber because of this classification, you definitely will be seeing cheaper prices for faster speed.

BL.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Original poster
Jan 4, 2002
21,544
7,802
CT
I didn't say it was cheap now... but do you think it is really going to get cheaper for the majority of people? I bet there will be "taxes" and "fees" that will be added to the bill - both by the provider and the government.
Those taxes and fees already exist. Have you seen your cable bill.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Yes, but you add more government "regulation" you're probably going to get more taxes/fees.
What Macnut is saying. This was basically put into effect due to ISPs wanting to act as a tollbooth between you and 3rd party services like Netflix, with both you and they paying for the right to access each other. They were double dipping on the bill, in other words, and it would've raised prices across the boards were the ISPs allowed to have their way.

Title II prevents ISPs from doing that, only allowing them to throttle data in order to maintain network consistency, rather than because they found a way to make a buck at our expense. It is, like Macnut said, an anti-regulation. It doesn't require anything except that your broadband provider treats all data going through its network the same, without preference or restriction.
 

TheHateMachine

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2012
836
850
This is fantastic, I read a live blog on it. (Although it was from the Verge... ugh)

I original thought Wheeler was going to be a corporate shillbag and make things worse. I was surprised with Title II it was announced. A step in the right direction this goes.
 

edk99

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2009
701
709
FL
If you're waiting for that, then you're with the wrong provider.

Having this classified as a Title II utility classifies this (and broadband) as a utility, like power or telephone service. Since most of the big name providers (VZW/ATT/Comcast/TWC) provide phone service via those wires going into your house, they can no longer restrict access to those lines.

This enables other companies (like Google and others) the access and ability to provide fiber directly to you, ensuring competition with those other providers, and killing the monopoly they would have had over such service based on the classification of their service.

Win for business (ensuring fair competition), win for the customer (faster rollout of fiber, ensuring faster speeds), and forcing the other providers to innovate instead of hiding behind laws lobbyists.

BL.
Thanks for the bullet points.

Can't wait to read all the fine print that contradicts it all.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I original thought Wheeler was going to be a corporate shillbag and make things worse. I was surprised with Title II it was announced. A step in the right direction this goes.
Everyone thought that. He's an ex-cable lobbyist sitting at the head of at the FCC. We all thought we were gonna be screwed over.

But now here we are, watching him actually do his job. It's a helluva weird thing.

And what's really funny is that the ISPs did this to themselves. They sued the FCC over the previous net neutrality-lite laws that allowed them to do pretty much whatever they wanted to, so long as they didn't regulate traffic on the last mile. They didn't like it, so they took them to court, got it thrown out, and now...welcome to reclassification under Title II. It's like a textbook example of falling on your ass because you got too greedy.
 

samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
1,575
3,518
Atlanta, GA
Yes, but you add more government "regulation" you're probably going to get more taxes/fees.
And that's the part that a bunch of people can't understand. This is regulation stating that the companies cannot block certain services or make certain services faster than others based on who pays the most. In other words, they can't add new overhead and equipment to track and charge.

This is regulation essentially saying "leave it as it is and don't make it harder". So, there's nothing to do.

Of course, some people simply see the words "government" and "regulation" and immediately think that companies are going to be burdened by all sorts of new rules that change their business and cost them lots of money. Apparently, they can't even take four seconds to actually read what it's about.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
This is regulation essentially saying "leave it as it is and don't make it harder". So, there's nothing to do.
Even then, this new law isn't covering the ISPs under the full spectrum of Title II restrictions. They're still allowed to set their own prices and whatnot, so we'll still see healthy competition there at least. It's merely demanding that they don't regulate traffic. Which I saw a nice quote on...

“This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.”

Of course, some people simply see the words "government" and "regulation" and immediately think that companies are going to be burdened by all sorts of new rules that change their business and cost them lots of money. Apparently, they can't even take four seconds to actually read what it's about.
Yeah. They're the same group of people who take pot shots at census people because THAR GUVMINT!. You can't really argue with crazy.
 

BladesOfSteel

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2009
206
41
St. Paul
And that's the part that a bunch of people can't understand. This is regulation stating that the companies cannot block certain services or make certain services faster than others based on who pays the most. In other words, they can't add new overhead and equipment to track and charge.

This is regulation essentially saying "leave it as it is and don't make it harder". So, there's nothing to do.

Of course, some people simply see the words "government" and "regulation" and immediately think that companies are going to be burdened by all sorts of new rules that change their business and cost them lots of money. Apparently, they can't even take four seconds to actually read what it's about.
How could one not think of the burden when a) the FCC's proposal was 322 pages? I get all the legalese and things like that, but 322 pages... and b) Oh, the public didn't get to see it before they voted on it? That doesn't scare anyone?

Listen, I think NN is a good idea, but I think this will be more than what most supporters bargained for.
 

Peace

macrumors Core
Apr 1, 2005
19,467
3,833
Space--The ONLY Frontier
The way I understand this it means the fibre under the road by my house can be used by AT&T who owns the fibre.

Up until now they couldn't use it because of the rules.

This means comcast can't block AT&T from providing Fibre to my house.

I will be happy to pay a few extra bucks if I can get out from under comcast's thumb.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
The way I understand this it means the fibre under the road by my house can be used by AT&T who owns the fibre.

Up until now they couldn't use it because of the rules.

This means comcast can't block AT&T from providing Fibre to my house.

I will be happy to pay a few extra bucks if I can get out from under comcast's thumb.
Under Title II classification, you are quite correct. Comcast couldn't block ATT, or Google, or whomever wants to roll out fiber. This means more locations for roll out, and as such, cheaper prices, as one could be undersold on service.

BL.