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FCC Votes To Punish Comcast

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the time-for-your-whoopin' dept.

Networking 188

MaineCoasts brings news that three out of the five FCC commissioners have voted in favor of punishing Comcast for their P2P throttling practices. The investigation of Comcast has been underway since January, and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin made clear their conclusion a couple weeks ago. Ars Technica has coverage as well, noting: "The initial report on the vote said nothing about which way Republican commissioners McDowell and Tate might lean. FCC watchers wouldn't be at all surprised to see both vote against the order; the really interesting moment could come if they support it. Having four or even five commissioners support the order would send a strong bipartisan signal to ISPs that they need to take great care with any sort of discriminatory throttling based on anything more specific than a user's total bandwidth."

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alignment (0, Troll)

jrubens (1333783) | about 6 years ago | (#24357665)

So whose side is the FCC on? they seem pretty two-faced to me.

Re:alignment (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24357751)

So whose side is the FCC on? they seem pretty two-faced to me.

Mmmmh... a contradictory double-sided bias.. what could it possibly mean... maybe... I don't know.. a lack of bias?

Re:alignment (4, Insightful)

daemonburrito (1026186) | about 6 years ago | (#24358341)

Indeed, the body of FCC commissioners is designed to be double-sided [wikipedia.org] .

That said, I think it's pretty obvious that the commission makes biased decisions all the time. The Republican commissioners are almost always unified, and the Democrat commissioners seem to swing over to the "regulation is bad, m'kay" position a lot of the time.

Re:alignment (2, Informative)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#24358157)

So whose side is the FCC on? they seem pretty two-faced to me.

As always, they are on the side of the administrations loyal pets, the incumbent telcos.

Re:alignment (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 years ago | (#24359019)

Telcos? You're talking like they were plural. Yeah, Ma Bell was forcefully split up, but what has happened since is that all the baby bells have merged again, like metallic droplets flowing together to reform a blasted monster. With the SBC/AT&T merger, the monster is back with a vengeance.

Comcast's likely reaction to any FCC "punishment": (5, Funny)

base3 (539820) | about 6 years ago | (#24357675)

Ow, my wrist!

Re:Comcast's likely reaction to any FCC "punishmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24360421)

More like "Stop patting my wrist, you're annoying me"...

Finally!!! (2, Informative)

Zosden (1303873) | about 6 years ago | (#24357681)

The Government is doing their job by stopping the ISPs from abusing their power. Costumers paid for unlimited bandwidth and that's what they should get. If Comcast doesn't like that they should change their plan.

Re:Finally!!! (1)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | about 6 years ago | (#24357731)

If that's what it's about, then this belongs in civil court, as a class action suit, not a bureaucratic ruling.

Re:Finally!!! (5, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#24357801)

That's not what this is about. Comcast was found by the FCC to be interfering in the traffic of specific application types, violating principles established by the FCC to allow customers open access to the Internet. The customers were not charged for the bits that were blocked, so it had nothing to do with bandwidth caps.

Re:Finally!!! (1)

irritare (1326733) | about 6 years ago | (#24358013)

I have COMCAST. They SO obviously restrict certain protocols. Bastards.

Re:Finally!!! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24358241)

That's not what this is about. Comcast was found by the FCC to be interfering in the traffic of specific application types, violating principles established by the FCC to allow customers open access to the Internet. The customers were not charged for the bits that were blocked, so it had nothing to do with bandwidth caps.

Ok, what? They were not charged for the blocked data? Are you nuts?

As a customer you are paying for XMb/sec download by yMb/sec upload on their network, not taking account of the fact that those speeds will be affected by traffic on other networks and the actual speed of the server, you still are paying for that bandwidth continuously.

If they are messing with your traffic and/or reducing your connection speeds on their network then they are not giving you the service you payed for. And they are violating federal law that prohibits ISPs from discriminating against data types.

It would be like the phone company blocking calls from an area that a lot of people call or intentionally reducing call quality to lower the number of calls from there.

Re:Finally!!! (1)

Original Replica (908688) | about 6 years ago | (#24359011)

They were not charged for the blocked data? Are you nuts?

Since blocked data still eats up a users connection speed, and higher connection speed service costs more money, then in that way customers were charged for blocked data. They may not have had the blocked data counted against their upload/download limit but they did effectively get downgraded to a lesser connection speed for the same price. Rather than the telephone analogy I think of this as ordering and paying for a Corvette and getting a Chevy Malibu.

Re:Finally!!! (1, Insightful)

phulegart (997083) | about 6 years ago | (#24359213)

No, not in "that" way, or any other way. If I have Comcast, and I don't download anything (I don't surf, I don't IM, I don't email, I don't use my connection) for a month... what is my bill going to be? Now, after I've returned home from living at my girlfriend's for that month, I decide to upload a bunch of videos we made to youtube, and I'm downloading a ton of other things I think she will find "cute" (since VLC will save video streams onto your harddrive)... and I do that every day for another month.. what will my bill be now?

Guess what.... the bill will be the same for both months.

Now, with time warner AND comcast sending out those TCP kill packets... all that happens is your connection burps for a moment. You never notice it when you are surfing, you might notice it when YouTubing, and you will definitely notice it if you are downloading torrents. Although, if you aren't torrenting, you won't be sent TCP kill packets.

People are all like "I paid for the connection. I should be able to do whatever I want with it!" Where did this attitude come from? Who thinks that they can do whatever they want with whatever they buy?More often than not, there are restrictions of use on what you purchase. You cannot buy a baseball bat and then legally go beat your neighbor with it. Sure, they don't need to put a warning label on it. How about an aerosol can? They come all kinds of restrictions on the back, that if you are caught doing one of those restricted activities, you face a penalty. Ok. Why aren't you arguing about how your ISP doesn't protect your anonymity when you surf child porn sites? Because that is sick and damaging to children? How much of a hypocrite does that make you? It's Ok for an ISP to restrict some access and traffic.. but NOT when it interferes with what you want to do?

Come ON!

Re:Finally!!! (2, Insightful)

McGuirk (1189283) | about 6 years ago | (#24359657)

The examples of restrictions that you use all refer to illegal things. You've compared P2P to child porn. This is a sad thing.

The restrictions on aerosol cans were placed there by the government.

Comcast blocking/throttling illegal things is one debate, but deciding to hinder one type of traffic because they don't like it is a different issue.

ISPs, when offering unlimited service, especially considering that they like to claim is unlimited because nothing is blocked, not unlimited bandwidth -- so they can get away with throttling, should not be allowed to hinder things they don't like without legal grounds for doing so.

Re:Finally!!! (-1, Flamebait)

phulegart (997083) | about 6 years ago | (#24359915)

If you point out the existence of restrictions, you make my point for me. It does not make a whit of difference who put those restrictions there.

And Yes, I compare P2P with child porn. Does the person who is into child porn think there is anything wrong with it? Nope. What about countries where it is perfectly legal to have sex with what we in the US would consider a minor? We say a video record of that is Child Porn. In that country, it is not. So child porn is not a Universally defined thing. Photographs of underage individuals living in a nudist colony is not considered child porn, since they are in their natural state. Place the same underaged individual in a studio and take nude pictures, and it is child porn. Get official sanctioning and take the pictures for identification purposes, or to show the extend of damage from abuse or an accident, and it is no longer child porn.

You argue that what you are downloading over a P2P network is not illegal.. or it should not be illegal. This is no different than the person who argues that his child porn should not be illegal. You just think you are standing on moral high ground. Both activities are considered illegal.

Now, when I regularly download ISOs of linux distributions for work, so I can test and decide which distro we are going to recommend, and how much progress is being made with installers and such... I will torrent them. And it sucks that Time Warner will throw TCP kill packets at me. I have to live with it because of all the people downloading illegal copies of movies and software and music with the same software I use to download linux. There are currently more than 170 different distros of linux.. some are still under development, and some aren't. That's a lot of downloading I've still got to do.

But, by your argument, I should be able to walk into any gun store and buy a pistol and bullets without even showing an ID. Because there should be no restrictions. Because it doesn't matter if people do illegal things with the same hardware I want to buy. Because I'm not going to do anything illegal (supposedly), then I should not face any of the same restrictions.

{whine} Oh, it's not fair. Movies should be free. Software should be free. Comcast doesn't like me because of what I download. wuaaah! {/whine}

Comcast isn't affecting what people download because they don't like it. Comcast, and every other major ISP out there in the USA is getting slammed by entities like 20th Century Fox. You *are* aware that 20th Century Fox is monitoring what people download with BitTorrent? All you need is a fucking client. You can then see the IP addresses of anyone who connects to you. Thus, Fox can see who is downloading whatever files they want to monitor. They then send a nice letter to the ISP, saying that such-and-such a file was downloaded by such-and-such an IP, over such-and-such a port range. After a few hundred or thousand of those letters, COmcast is going to get pretty sick of facilitating theft. And when 20th Century Fox can grab the same software and watch people stealing THEIR SHIT... I'd expect them to push ISPs like Comcast to do something about it.

I'm just in the minority who understands what's going on, and has to deal with it. You need to stop downloading illegally copied stuff... or accept that what you are doing is wrong, but that you are going to do it anyway, and face the responsibility for your actions.

Or get all the applicable laws changed.

Re:Finally!!! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24360165)

I don't think people buy a connection thinking they can do what they want, but they do buy a connection frequently based on promised bandwidth (which to my mind, is pretty much tacit approval by at least the marketing arms of ISPs that you can download what you like). When someone sells a connection promising blazing speeds and then it turns out that the company is then pretty much shaping the traffic to eliminate those blazing speeds for damned near any application that could use it, then I'd say the customer has been lied to.

Re:Finally!!! (1)

Gerzel (240421) | about 6 years ago | (#24358759)

Yeah, and the costs of going to court shouldn't be prohibitive to a small consumer such that large corporations can get their way simply by threatening long drawn out legal proceedings.

Re:Finally!!! (2)

freeasinrealale (928218) | about 6 years ago | (#24357917)

Congratulations America. Now lets see if our Canadian FCC (CRTC) slams our own arrogant ISP's - Bell, Rogers, etc...

Comcast (5, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | about 6 years ago | (#24357701)

Comcast will be along shortly to check any negative posts against their outgoing traffic logs.

Re:Comcast (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | about 6 years ago | (#24360203)

Everybody who modded parent "Funny" thinks he's making a joke, heh.

"Throttling" (5, Interesting)

AsnFkr (545033) | about 6 years ago | (#24357725)

Yea, when I am running torrents what Comcast does to me is make it so I drop like 30-80% of all (not just torrent) of my packets every 5-10 minutes, then it comes back up (tested via pings). My torrents are still blazing fast when I actually have a connection. All I do is spoof my router's MAC to a random number, release and renew my IP (to chick they give me a new one) and my internet works PERFECT for 2 days until they start the process over again. Annoying, but it's amazing they are so stupid they won't associate my IP with my MODEMS MAC instead of the router/PC. BTW, If I shut off my torrents after getting a new IP, I *never* need to reset the MAC as they never force me to drop packets.

Re:"Throttling" (3, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#24357795)

clever! one thing you should have done was kept that bit of info to yourself, now comcast will find this comment you made and fix it for you...

Re:"Throttling" (1)

dattaway (3088) | about 6 years ago | (#24358629)

I can confirm this. I once posted how cozy my job position was to find how management reads slashdot themselves. Think like a spy if you want to be sneaky, because they are the ones making the rules.

Re:"Throttling" (4, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | about 6 years ago | (#24358051)

I call bullshit on this.

The cable companies allow access to their networks based on MAC. What you are doing is possible, but you would need to call comcast and tell them that you got a new modem every time, which would look extremely suspicious. MAC addresses are also not random. So you cannot spoof it to a "random" MAC.
Your post also lacks continuity. You say that they start dropping "30-80%" of your packets every "5-10 minutes". But you also say that you only need to reset your MAC every 2 days?

please go Home [digg.com]

Re:"Throttling" (2, Informative)

jim.hansson (1181963) | about 6 years ago | (#24358115)

read his post one more time and you may see that he does not need to call comcast every time he changes the MAC address because he do not change MAC address on the MODEM only ROUTER

Re:"Throttling" (2, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about 6 years ago | (#24358389)

It used to be that if I changed the computer connected to my cable modem, I had to call in to register the MAC address of the new system. Apparently they got fed up with the hassle of all the calls, so they changed the system to allow any MAC, eliminating the need to call. At least that's true of Comcast in some areas. It's not true of all cable providers, though.

Re:"Throttling" (1)

blhack (921171) | about 6 years ago | (#24358627)

That was more than likely an attempt to enforce the "only one computer can be connected to this modem" policy (it used to be in the Eula).

The cable companies DO track the MAC address on your modem. That is why if you go and buy a new one you have to register it, and why the discourage buying used ones.
If they weren't tracking by the MAC on the modem, messing with things would be as easy as the parent post suggests, which it isn't.

Re:"Throttling" (2, Informative)

AsnFkr (545033) | about 6 years ago | (#24360125)

True. If I change my router mac (or put a different PC on the "gateway" position, I do not need to call. If I change my modem, they do require a call.

Re:"Throttling" (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | about 6 years ago | (#24358731)

...but you would need to call comcast and tell them that you got a new modem every time

He's changing the MAC address on his router, NOT his modem.

MAC addresses are also not random. So you cannot spoof it to a "random" MAC.

While there are rules for creation, an address can be randomly chosen within the limitations of these rules

You say that they start dropping "30-80%" of your packets every "5-10 minutes". But you also say that you only need to reset your MAC every 2 days?

I believe he means that after two days they start dropping the packets every 5-10 minutes

Re:"Throttling" (2, Insightful)

AsnFkr (545033) | about 6 years ago | (#24360099)

Yea, you are bad at the internet. I change the MAC addy on the ROUTER, not the MODEM. Also, it takes them 2 days or so to start the dropping of the packets each time I make an adjustment to the MAC. And yes, the MAC addy CAN be random within a hex limit. But nice try.

Punishment enough (4, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#24357729)

Punishment enough would be for the FCC to require Comcast to double the capacity of their network every 18 months.

Re:Punishment enough (2, Funny)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 6 years ago | (#24358189)

Finally a reliable network, in 5 years...

Re:Punishment enough (2, Funny)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | about 6 years ago | (#24358825)

Perhaps they could call this "Moore's Law." (Yes, it doesn't apply to networks, but whatever)

The Republicans are correct (0, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24357767)

Regardless of your stand on Network Neutrality, the fact of the matter is that what Comcast did was absolutely legal. The FCC is overstepping its bounds by acting like NN is already law. You might like this particular decision, but it sets a bad precedent for the FCC doing whatever it wants without regard for what the law actually is. You might not like the next decision.

The FCC should be an enforcement arm of the government, not a legislative arm.

Re:The Republicans are correct (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24357827)

No it isn't legal. They deliberately forged messages ( RST packages ) that were sent over the phone lines. That is a federal crime.

Re:The Republicans are correct (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24357873)

No it isn't legal. They deliberately forged messages ( RST packages ) that were sent over the phone lines. That is a federal crime.

Yes, I've heard that theory, but it's a huge, if not ridiculous, stretch to claim that forged packets are some sort of illegal impersonation. I don't like what Comcast did, but I also don't like using abusing unrelated laws.

Re:The Republicans are correct (5, Informative)

mindstrm (20013) | about 6 years ago | (#24357985)

It's not at all a stretch.. thats' why they call them "Forged Packets"
They *very clearly* do not come from the source that compcast pretends they come from.

Re:The Republicans are correct (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24357987)

Yes, I've heard that theory, but it's a huge, if not ridiculous, stretch to claim that forged packets are some sort of illegal impersonation.

Is it not at least an equally huge, if not ridiculous, stretch to claim that it is "absolutely legal?"

Packet forging is rightly named---Comcast sends them as if they originated from me, when they did not. They do not advertise that they do it & I did not sign any document authorizing them to do it on my behalf. In fact, many AUPs prohibit forging and spoofing from their users & ISPs should be held to an even higher standard.

Re:The Republicans are correct (4, Funny)

Thiez (1281866) | about 6 years ago | (#24358287)

> Is it not at least an equally huge, if not ridiculous, stretch to claim that it is "absolutely legal?"

How about 'barely legal'?

Re:The Republicans are correct (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 6 years ago | (#24358265)

it's a huge, if not ridiculous, stretch to claim that forged packets are some sort of illegal impersonation.

So you won't mind if I send some mail and list yours as the return address then?

Re:The Republicans are correct (0, Offtopic)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24360117)

So you won't mind if I send some mail and list yours as the return address then?

So, let's say you go to a Halloween party and dress as a police officer. You are technically breaking the law -- impersonating a police officer. But I think most people would say that would be an abusing the law through a use for which it wasn't intended.

Impersonation laws were not written and were not intended to cover subtle technical distinctions. They weren't using this traffic control method to defraud people -- they were using it for traffic control.

Unfortunately, this is another case where people are not looking at the bigger picture. They get all happy when a law is abused in a way they approve of. They don't see that this sets dangerous precedents for the government to use laws to abuse you in ways you won't approve of.

Re:The Republicans are correct (2, Insightful)

wmbetts (1306001) | about 6 years ago | (#24358379)

So it's okay for my to highjack BGP routes? After all I'm only sending packets.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | about 6 years ago | (#24359371)

A DOCSIS network runs over coax.

Re:The Republicans are correct (5, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24357843)

It's not a legislative arm. It has broad legislated enforcement mandates from Congress, going back to the early-mid 1930s on communications policy and enforcement. It is IN FACT an enforcement arm, upheld by SCOTUS. The US President, as in theexecutive branch appoints the commisioners.

That said, I don't agree with a lot of what they do, and they do have considerable power, but power that's not unlike that of the EPA, the military, and so on.

So is the Comcast pending fine a good idea? You bet. Once the pandora's box of stepping on protocols to favor another is open, it can't be shut. This sends a great signal to carriers that they'd best not fool with consumer access. Be a good carrier; don't mess with protocols to favor your own perceived traffic. Controversial no doubt; a good one this time, IMHO.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24357931)

It's not a legislative arm. It has broad legislated enforcement mandates from Congress, going back to the early-mid 1930s on communications policy and enforcement.

Yes, exactly. Enforcement. Not legislative. We agree.

So is the Comcast pending fine a good idea? You bet. Once the pandora's box of stepping on protocols to favor another is open, it can't be shut. This sends a great signal to carriers that they'd best not fool with consumer access.

And then, frustratingly, you turn right around and are happy(!) that they go power drunk and implement network neutrality in direct violation of THE LAW. Do you not see the problem with this? Do you think your local police should be able to create new laws and ignore others?

That you like the new law they created out of nothing should be irrelevant. Think about the fact they think they can do anything they want.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24357999)

Ok. Cite the law. They have the leeway. They can do this legally. It is their congressional mandate to do so; it's policy. Not every action taken by every agency needs to have a bunch of congress people dictating their every move and boundary. It's ok to develop policy; it's done every day in government and done so (often) with success for all parties considered. Sometimes it's awful, like Bush's meddling with the FDA and EPA. It's called trust within defined boundaries. They really can't do anything they want. They really can define policy and enforce it. Don't like the outcome of the policy-- then tell your congress person and vote out the executive branch. File suit, if you have nexus. I do, as I'm a Comcast customer. But I won't, as I don't do very many torrents. Most often, I download from a direct source. I have no need for sharing files that might be considered the intellectual property of others. I don't trust torrents anymore, anyway. I'd rather get things from an original source. And I don't want Comcast screwing up my streams, voice, video, or otherwise.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24358827)

Ok. Cite the law.

Do you believe that anything that is allowed must be allowed by law? No, the onus is on you to cite the law that Comcast violated by not embracing network neutrality. And yes, I understand that the way they did was controversial, but as near as I can tell, that's not why the FCC is acting.

And no, I think it's reasonable that I have to file suit to keep federal agencies from going crazy and doing something that is clearly beyond their authority. And it's clearly beyond it because the legislature is actively considering the idea of network neutrality. Given that, the FCC should have backed off.

Re:The Republicans are correct (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24358891)

Now you have the crux of the matter.

The FCC is authorized by law (see the nineteen additions to the Communications Act of 1935 as amended) to set and execute this policy. Good thing their nipple wasn't showing, eh?

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | about 6 years ago | (#24360039)

Do you believe that anything that is allowed must be allowed by law?

I don't know about GP, but it seems that you do think so. Otherwise, maybe you'd say what law it is that makes it illegal to implement network neutrality instead of trying to avoid the question.

Re:The Republicans are correct (2)

Farnite (670426) | about 6 years ago | (#24358003)

What about the DMCA then, that says that if an ISP or other content provider blocks any traffic then they aren't protected as a provider and can be held accountable for any content that is transferred across their network? I guess if the ISPs can enforce one law and ignore another, why can't the FCC?

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

mi (197448) | about 6 years ago | (#24358047)

Controversial no doubt; a good one this time, IMHO.

Thus begin most terrible trends...

FCC should be working harder to allow more competition — and to prevent the existing ISPs from colluding with each other: "We'll do this, if all of you do too — let's not compete on it.")

The meting out punishment for a particular practice the government is rather micro-managing.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24358109)

RIGHT!

If you shut down torrents, what else do you shutdown next??? Do you stop the NetFlix pipe because it competes with your own or business partner offerings!??!!?

No!

And that's what this enforcement sends a message about-- net neutrality must remain.

Re:The Republicans are correct (-1, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | about 6 years ago | (#24358501)

If you shut down torrents, what else do you shutdown next???

Your access to Slashdot, kid, so you learn to use fewer question and exclamation marks.

Do you stop the NetFlix pipe because it competes with your own or business partner offerings!??!!?

That would be illegal already — using a monopoly in one market to advance in another. This is not FCC's area.

You missed my point, though — competition is the key. If you are pissed off at your ISP, what would you rather do:

  • petition the government for months and years
  • call their competitor the same evening

?

The government's acceptable role in the market is to foster competition.

Re:The Republicans are correct (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24358677)

Your sense of legality and illegality are the crux for a need to understand more than I can explain in this forum. Competition means unfettered pipes, which is what the FCC is ostensibly punishing Comcast for-- non-"net neutrality".

And I haven't been called kid in over 40 years!

Additionally, after 14 books, and heaven-only-knows how many articles I've written, I've discovered that my choice of communications is my own, and those that would not understand emphasis via punctuation are looney. Two days ago, it was my choice of the word gendarme-- meaning policeman. Someone believed that the only correct use had to do with syntax connoting only French and only military policing.... all here on /.

You're entitled to your opinion, but not your facts. There.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

rpj1288 (698823) | about 6 years ago | (#24358779)

Pity that in many many places, there is no competitor.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

Xelios (822510) | about 6 years ago | (#24358989)

That's what it should mean, in reality it's more like a speedbump. They'll just try the same thing again, packaged in a slightly different way, and they'll keep on trying until they get a group of commissioners that agrees with them. This will go on until they're given stiff fines for their actions. Fines based on a percentage of their revenue, instead of a fixed number.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#24359041)

At each opportunity, fight it or the Internet is doomed to support only a carrier's application by priority. It's that simple, not that the bribes to the campaign funds, lobbying efforts, and so on won't be tough to fight. Keep fighting. It's all we can do as greed motivations won't stop, either.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

wdb (574229) | about 6 years ago | (#24360315)

Once the pandora's box of stepping on protocols to favor another is open, it can't be shut. This sends a great signal to carriers that they'd best not fool with consumer access. Be a good carrier; don't mess with protocols to favor your own perceived traffic. Controversial no doubt; a good one this time, IMHO.

This box you speak of has been open a long time. Prime evidence is port 25 shenanigans and other anti-spam measures, and there are others.

Laws are legal. (4, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | about 6 years ago | (#24357915)

Isn't that convenient? The will of the people will be done, and the will of the people is that douchebag corporations don't abuse the people after being gifted billions of the peoples' tax dollars to build network infrastructure.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

freeasinrealale (928218) | about 6 years ago | (#24357965)

No. The Internet began Neutral... If the money-grubbers want to co-opt the Internet, then they'll have to overturn NN, not the other way around.

Re:The Republicans are correct (3, Informative)

cpu_fusion (705735) | about 6 years ago | (#24358049)

I'm going to assume for the moment that you do not have a legal education. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The FCC is -- and should be -- both an enforcement and legislative arm of the Government. This is because it is an ADMINISTRATIVE body created by CONGRESS. Congress delegated [limited] rulemaking and ordermaking power to the FCC. That's not unusual: go look at the Enabling Acts of the other administrative agencies who handle a huge chunk of the rest of the way our Government functions. The Supreme Court has upheld the Constitutionality of agencies like the FCC again and again.

Now as to whether Net Neutrality is "already law", you would need to define what you mean by "law". Court made law? Statutes? Agency rules/orders? You do see the title of this, "FCC Votes to Punish Comcast" right? Guess what -- that's the action of the law. You may think the "law" is purely statutory, but then you'd be leaving out the Constitution, administrative bodies, common law, executive orders.

But hey, it's not surprising for me to see a subject line like "The Republicans Are Correct" spouted by someone who appears to know little about the law.

(Law student.)

Re:The Republicans are correct (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24358723)

The FCC is -- and should be -- both an enforcement and legislative arm of the Government.

The FCC is mostly an interpretive arm of government, with *limited* ability to extend and enforce *existing* law. The cannot create new law out of whole cloth.

Now as to whether Net Neutrality is "already law", you would need to define what you mean by "law".

You seemed to have missed all the ongoing debate about network neutrality among the government. Apparently the real legislature does not believe that network neutrality is existing law.

But hey, it's not surprising for me to see a subject line like "The Republicans Are Correct" spouted by someone who appears to know little about the law. (Law student.)

Well, Mr. Student, you appear to have the attorney arrogance down already, if not the understanding of the concept of limited power.

Re:The Republicans are correct (4, Informative)

cpu_fusion (705735) | about 6 years ago | (#24359191)

The FCC can make law within the bounds of its enabling act. Rulemaking and orders have the force of law. The FCC can't pass a rule that forces ignorant people to actually learn about the law before they speak, but they can create an order to punish Comcast, and they can make rules regarding network neutrality. You can go read the enabling act at: http://law.onecle.com/uscode/47/151.html [onecle.com]

If it is arrogant to point out how wrong you are, then anyone with any education must seem arrogant to you. I guess that's the "liberal elite" hate we see from Republicans. Your statements are just as annoying as someone who comes to Slashdot apparently not knowing shit about computers, but still wants to talk like they do. Do yourself a favor and stop seeing knowledge as arrogance. It's not my job to coddle your ignorance.

And in regards to whether the "real legislature does not believe that network neutrality is existing law", there again you are clueless. Go read up on Antitrust law (tying), or the policy statement in section 230 of the CDA. Congress has been quite clear, throughout its history, that preserving competition is more important than preserving competitors, and that the Internet in particular deserves preservation as a free market.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24359349)

If it is arrogant to point out how wrong you are, then anyone with any education must seem arrogant to you. I guess that's the "liberal elite" hate we see from Republicans.

I give up. You're determined to read what you want to read, rather than what I actually say. Probably something to do with your frothing, foaming prejudiced hatred of just having the word "Republican" mentioned.

Re:The Republicans are correct (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about 6 years ago | (#24359455)

The FCC is mostly an interpretive arm of government, with *limited* ability to extend and enforce *existing* law. The cannot create new law out of whole cloth.

Yes, but the war powers act and Global War on Terror allows for the FCC to make their own laws targeted at specific organizations. At least that is the way I intpret it... or am I thinking of something else?

Re:The Republicans are correct (4, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 6 years ago | (#24358053)

I AM a Republican and I'm on the FCC's side.

It's debatable whether or not Comcast's conduct was legal. They advertised and sold "internet access". That has certain connotations. If instead of the promised "Internet Access" they sold a neutered version thereof, then they may have run afoul of Federal regulations.

LK

Re:The Republicans are correct (3, Informative)

Alrescha (50745) | about 6 years ago | (#24358133)

"Regardless of your stand on Network Neutrality, the fact of the matter is that what Comcast did was absolutely legal."

I don't think that has been established. Actively forging packets may qualify as an act of impersonation, which might be considered illegal. This may or may not be the case, but I suggest that the legality of what Comcast did is not yet a 'fact'.

A.

Re:The Republicans are correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24359569)

Actually, his stand does weigh-in as it (false advertisement) is illegal on all fronts.

LOL, it's like purchasing a vehicle from Ford and them saying "Now, if you get an oil change from anywhere else but a Ford dealership, we WILL remove two cylinders, until you decide to conform!"

I am a Democrat and a Liberal whenever in Germany :) I have the same views as I'm an American first.

What Comcast did, WAS proven to be a fact by more than one creditable source.

Why don't they use those funds to reach rural America, as opposed to wasting money limiting service to those they already accept money from?

Re:The Republicans are correct (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#24358605)

This was a man-in-the-middle attack. Such efforts are illegal. Period.

Consequently the FCC is (rather surprisingly, I admit) enforcing the law as written. That's actually a good thing.

Good first step, now to the telecoms... (1)

xSauronx (608805) | about 6 years ago | (#24357785)

Im glad that our elected officials are taking meaningful, important and proper steps to curb wrongful practices by large businesses. Hopefully they will go after the phone companies ne--oh that's right, nevermind.

Sudden outbreak of common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24357793)

Why was sudden outbreak of common sense? not added in?

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#24358489)

Bribes were inadequate, I'd guess.. Foolish mistake for a company the size of Comcast.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24359165)

But you guys DO suck. I've seen Linda Lovelace, Jenna Jameson, Seka, and Marilyn Chambers in the cinema. You know, the giants.

It looks good, but its not. (2, Interesting)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 6 years ago | (#24357805)

The FCC are yes men/women.

They're only doing this so Comcast doesnt have to look like the bad guy, when they lower their bandwidth per month usage. This is so they can say "Well the FCC wont let us throttle P2P users, so we're going to raise prices for high bandwidth users, and cut bandwidth for everyone at the current rate"

The government would never do anything to hurt a corporation.

Re:It looks good, but its not. (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 6 years ago | (#24358101)

Fine then. Would you rather have a 'pay more for high-bandwidth no-throttled connection' or 'ultra fast connection cheap! (note: we won't let you use it in ways we don't like)'

I know what I want.

Tiered bandwidth is not the problem (4, Insightful)

cpu_fusion (705735) | about 6 years ago | (#24358119)

Tiered or capped bandwidth is not the problem here. Net Neutrality is the problem.

The most fundamental way to distinguish between the two is that violations of Net Neutrality will lead to tying between different relevant markets, a critical Antitrust concern.

Tiered or capped bandwidth ALREADY EXISTS at Comcast, and has been around since the days of Compuserve and timeshared systems.

AT&T in the 1980s could charge you for every minute you were on the phone, but they sure as hell couldn't tell you that you could only call their preferred pizza delivery services. I hope you can see why that matters.

Re:It looks good, but its not. (5, Informative)

Corbets (169101) | about 6 years ago | (#24358309)

"The government would never do anything to hurt a corporation."

Um, AT&T, Standard Oil, and a few other examples come to mind... plus, if you run a small business and have ever dealt with OSHA, you'll have plenty of other more modern examples ready.

While it's certainly true that the government supports corporate interests from time to time, it would behoove you to understand why it happens instead of making blanket assumptions.

Re:It looks good, but its not. (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | about 6 years ago | (#24359027)

Um, AT&T, Standard Oil, and a few other examples come to mind... plus, if you run a small business and have ever dealt with OSHA, you'll have plenty of other more modern examples ready.

Bear in mind those were pretty progressive governments at time compared to society. Unless you think having a single company determine the price of oil and force you to rent your phone for an arbitrary price is a good thing.

In truth some of our government regulation for small businesses is asinine, but letting single or a select few corporations run the economy is just as bad as having a government planned economy (aka Soviet Union).

If Comcast doesn't want to deal with government regulation now, I'd say it would be fair if they gave back the tax money they got for infrastructure development on public lands back from the telecommunications acts during the 90s.

Re:It looks good, but its not. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24359153)

AT&T are doing just fine, and i think we all know how well Oil is doing...

Small businesses don't lobby. The government does not really care about small business. Local town governments perhaps at times do, but as you can see big corporations have destroyed small town America. Every town looks the same, the same home depot, the same mcdonalds. There is almost no reason to travel anymore.

Re:It looks good, but its not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24358915)

The government would never do anything to hurt a corporation.

That's because the government and the corporations are in cahoots. They work to benefit each other at the expense of the common man. The more power and revenue tied up in government, the more the corporations benefit. The more power and revenue tied up in corporations, the more the government benefits.

After all, government is the creator and primary beneficiary of this concept of "corporation". This is why I can only shake my head when I see the anti-free-market crowd call for more government to solve the problem of corrupt and over-powerful corporations. Someday they will wake up to realize that more government increases the corporation's power and worth, not the other way around.

Without government to stack the deck, even the largest business would be equal in power to the common man. No amount of money would increase their chance of winning a lawsuit or generally being able to squash any whistle-blower in their path.

See corporatism [wikipedia.org] for more information.

Passing on the fines.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24357957)

I have Crapcast. Last month, my internet charge jumped by about $40 (I was unable to get a useful answer from them as to why, just lip service about "increased service charges"). How much do you want to bet that they will just pass the fine along to their subscribers?

Sadly, they are a monopoly in my particular town.

Well, they deserve it. (3, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 years ago | (#24357995)

If you sell something you don't own (bandwidth), then it's your fault, not the buyers.

What's really needed is QoS. You get X MB per month of high quality, Y MB per month at medium quality and Z MB (maybe z=inf) at low quality, and a final unlimited lowest quality, throttled down to something quite small.

Your app sets the QoS level it wants (eg voip sets high quality). When you run out of the quality level set, traffic automatically gets demoted to the next one you have. Or, you can buy more a la carte.

Re:Well, they deserve it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24358345)

I would hate to know what this would require in terms of infrastructure, not to mention application support.

Re:Well, they deserve it. (1)

karnal (22275) | about 6 years ago | (#24360457)

I agree with your posting for the most part - however, the QOS rules shouldn't by default throttle the lowest queue to neverneverland by itself.

I've done some work with QOS and in a large implementation, we do around 10 percent limitation for VoIP as well as another 1-5 percent for managment/inter switch communication. We give normal traffic a max of 90 percent on the wire. This way you're not starving applications if there's bandwidth to spare within the network; however it does guarantee that there is always ten percent to start communication for higher valued conversations.

Whe I saw your final unlimited lowest quality throttled, I'm picturing 1-5% max BW allowed - which really shouldn't be the case 24x7 since I'd have to bet that most times the line rate isn't anywhere close to being exceeded within the network.

The punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24358181)

I bet the "punishment" will be "because of your nasty p2p hax, you must remove all the alt.* hierarchy from Usenet."

"republican" vs "democrat" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24358217)

Obama supports blanket immunity for telecoms, the democrats are pretty much wholly owned by the media and comms companies. Clinton brought us the DMCA and it's ridiculous measures.

God fucking damnit I hate stupid dumbass Americans talking "political". Nothing but straw man attacks on the "other side" with no real acknowledgement that there is no "other side". The two parties of the two party system are WAY THE FUCK to the right of center, each are owned by the same corporate fucks.

And you toads actually buy into this shit and spend all your time infighting.

WELL HERES HOPING THOSE SCUMMY REPUB-LIE-CANTS DONT FUCK IT ALL UP M-I-RITE-GUYS !

Re:"republican" vs "democrat" (1)

causality (777677) | about 6 years ago | (#24358833)

God fucking damnit I hate stupid dumbass Americans talking "political". Nothing but straw man attacks on the "other side" with no real acknowledgement that there is no "other side". The two parties of the two party system are WAY THE FUCK to the right of center, each are owned by the same corporate fucks.

I consider that in politics, the two major parties serve the same function that guilds used to serve in commerce. The purpose of a guild was to lock out competition by raising the barrier to entry. That the two major parties serve this function is why you generally never see minor parties win any elections beyond the local level, because if you aren't either a Democrat or a Republican, you don't get the media time and the campaign donations and the political support that it takes to win major elections.

For some reason, we recognize that a monopoly or a duopoly is bad for everyone when it comes to commerce/money, but we do not seem to realize that this is even more true when it comes to political power. This is absurd considering that political power is even worse than money when it comes to what people will and won't do in order to obtain it. There are no major philosophical differences between the two major parties when it comes to the question of what is the proper role of government. They both want to expand the power and size of government; the only "debate" is how to go about it and which reasons should justify it. That there is no longer any real difference between them is why the presidential election has to be this big dog-and-pony show that is dragged out to take up months and months of time, because this is necessary to take very tiny differences and make them sound like distinctive features.

Re:"republican" vs "democrat" (1)

strelitsa (724743) | about 6 years ago | (#24359345)

That the two major parties serve this function is why you generally never see minor parties win any elections beyond the local level, because if you aren't either a Democrat or a Republican, you don't get the media time and the campaign donations and the political support that it takes to win major elections.

This is blatantly off-topic and I'll happily accept the modding down this is going to get, but if third parties in the US would run candidates who didn't turn themselves Smurf blue from drinking too much colloidal silver [washingtonpost.com] or allow racist tripe to be published in newsletters under their own name for almost 10 years [cnn.com] , they would do better at the polls and perhaps even win some races.

Re:"republican" vs "democrat" (1)

causality (777677) | about 6 years ago | (#24359527)

There's just no way that what you said could explain why third parties generally have not won any major federal elections for generations. If what you pointed out were the only problem, then someone somewhere would have gotten it right. I can understand if you don't want to believe it and prefer rationalization in order to explain it away but it's really quite simple: there is a deliberate, concerted effort to control access to media and funding and to frame debates (mostly in the form of false dichotomies) and to marginalize anyone who might otherwise threaten to change the status quo. There is no "smoky back room conspiracy" needed. The only thing needed is the understanding that politicians do not want to give up their power and will take steps to entrench that power whenever they have the opportunity (for an unrelated example, see "gerrymandering"). They are not really "conspiring" to do it any more than the thousands of employees at Microsoft are "conspiring" to produce Windows products; it's what they set out to accomplish and it takes either a fool or a lot of denial to fail to recognize this.

Re:"republican" vs "democrat" (1)

strelitsa (724743) | about 6 years ago | (#24359219)

Obama supports blanket immunity for telecoms, the democrats are pretty much wholly owned by the media and comms companies. Clinton brought us the DMCA and it's ridiculous measures.

God fucking damnit I hate stupid dumbass Americans talking "political". Nothing but straw man attacks on the "other side" with no real acknowledgement that there is no "other side". The two parties of the two party system are WAY THE FUCK to the right of center, each are owned by the same corporate fucks.

And you toads actually buy into this shit and spend all your time infighting.

WELL HERES HOPING THOSE SCUMMY REPUB-LIE-CANTS DONT FUCK IT ALL UP M-I-RITE-GUYS !

It was wrong and stupid to mod this down as a troll because the AC's point was quite apt. No one US political party has the moral high ground when it comes to wiping their asses on the Constitution, in telecommunications or any other field. They both use the same roll of parchment to eradicate the spinchter cling-ons, and the same group of plutocrats always seem to get paid no matter whether the paymaster has an R or a D by his name.

Wow (1)

ndnspongebob (942859) | about 6 years ago | (#24358243)

Well, that's just comcastic!!

the vote hasn't happened yet (4, Informative)

not_anne (203907) | about 6 years ago | (#24358413)

"The Wall Street Journal reports tonight that commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Martin have decided against the cable giant, paving the way for an official vote when the order is publicly voted on next Friday."

Re:the vote hasn't happened yet (1)

ShinmaWa (449201) | about 6 years ago | (#24360455)

Since when has Slashdot let mere facts stand in the way of a good headline?

Mmmm. (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#24358559)

I know it won't be anything like this; but I have this wonderful image of Comcast's CEO's face smashing into the hood of his limo as they slap the cuffs on and take him away...

This ruling will never stand (5, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | about 6 years ago | (#24358939)

All Comcast needs to do to get this overturned is find a judge that isn't a Comcast customer.

Nice change of tactics... (2, Funny)

NeuroManson (214835) | about 6 years ago | (#24359157)

Instead of fining a single boob, the FCC moved up to fining plural boobs. Business as usual.

When did the FCC start regulating the Internet? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about 6 years ago | (#24359865)

This is a serious question. As a user of the Internet, naturally I don't want my ISP throttling my connection based on my surfing habits, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the government getting involved here.

Now, given that cable companies typically operate with a government granted monopoly to run cables to people's houses, it is perfectly reasonable that perhaps they have some obligations to go with that monopoly, but I'm not aware of any such obligations in legislation at this time. On what legal authority is the FCC basing their complaint at this time? If they do have "rules" about even-handed, open Internet access, do they apply to all ISPs, or just those that are taking advantage of a government granted monopoly? Do these rules apply to anyone running a router? Are they just making up rules as they go along? As much as I dislike Comcast's policies in this matter, the actions of the FCC frighten me a lot more.

FCC should be punishing the govt instead (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | about 6 years ago | (#24360423)

The whole reason Comcast is able to even consider throttling a possibility is because of the monopoly handed to them by government restriction preventing the construction of additional internet access lines by competitors. Competition would make it ridiculous and dangerous for a company to think of restricting their own customers, as the customers could simply go elsewhere.

FCC no longer an "expert agency"; now political (3, Insightful)

Brett Glass (98525) | about 6 years ago | (#24360463)

What this result shows is that the FCC, which has driven away all of its best technical people during the past eight years, is now purely a political organization. And because the law requires a 3-2 partisan split among the Commissioners, it means that most of its decisions will be influenced by partisan politics rather than what's best for the people.

If the Chairman and the two other Commissioners of the same party agree on something, it sails right through. (This is what happened with travesties such as the Sirius-XM merger.) However, if the Chairman is motivated to support an agenda to which the other party subscribes, he can expect the two Commissioners of that party to fall into lockstep due to partisanship. That's what happened here. McDowell and Tate, the Republicans, want (as McDowell put it) to "let engineers solve engineering problems." But the Democrats, beseiged by the left-leaning Democratic lobbyists of Free Press, voted to regulate the Internet both because of the Democrats' inherent desire to regulate and because they swallowed the falsehoods of their fellow partisans at Free Press uncritically. So, if the Chairman was willing to support the same result, it would happen.

The question, of course, is why Martin -- a Republican -- would be pro-regulation. I do not know Kevin Martin, but several theories have been floated on various blogs. The first is that the Chairman was feeling pressure from Congress. (He was on the hot seat less than a month ago before a Congressional subcommittee which strongly suggested that if he did not regulate, they'd take matters out of his hands.) The second is that he is "anti-cable," and -- regardless of what harm he might do to the Internet -- wanted to take a swipe at Comcast. (Some bloggers have speculated that Martin is bucking for a job as a telephone company executive or board member when he retires from the Commission, and so is giving those companies the quid pro quo for obtaining such a post. I certainly hope that this is not the case, but then, I do not know him.)

Many people have also noted that the slates of panelists at the two hearings on network management were stacked against Comcast. In Boston, the ratio was about 2:1; at Stanford, it was 6:1. Since the Chairman picks the panelists (the other Commissioners can offer advice, but he need not take it), the fact that even the first hearing was heavily stacked against Comcast suggests that the Chairman or his staff may have had a predisposition to rule against Comcast from the start.

In any event, the fact that only one witness at either hearing was actually engaged in business as an ISP strongly suggests that politics, not engineering facts, would rule the day. And they did. The lobbyists and lawyers of Free Press, an inside-the-Beltway lobbying group which spent more than $700,000 on various Internet agendas in 2007 alone, repeated statements which were simply technically false again and again until the Commissioners believed them. And little guys like my own independent ISP? We got 8 -- count them -- 8 -- minutes to talk. This is not promising for the future of the Internet. If it's dominated by politics, and especially by an agency which has lost its technical compass and rules on the basis of politics and partisanship -- the Internet is in trouble.

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