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FCC To Propose Net Neutrality Rules

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the panic-at-comcast-hq dept.

Government 110

wiredog writes "From The Washington Post comes news that the FCC is preparing to propose net neutrality rules on Monday. Quoting: '[FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute. He isn't expected to drill into many details, but the proposal will specifically be for an additional guideline on how operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast can control what goes on their networks. That additional guideline would prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services. ... The agency is expected to review what traffic management is reasonable and what practices are discriminatory. The guidelines are known as "principals" at the agency, which some public interest groups have sought to codify so that they would clearly be enforceable.'"

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Just one question: (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 years ago | (#29472563)

Define "reasonable" - reasonable according to the end-user (okay, somewhat geeky end-user), or "reasonable" to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T...

Re:Just one question: (0)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 5 years ago | (#29472567)

It's whatever is "reasonable" to the side with the most lobbyist $$$

Re:Just one question: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29472899)

Too true. In fact, shit like that is why i post nigger jokes. So why does San Francisco have so many faggots while Harlem has so many niggers? San Francisco got first choice.

Re:Just one question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473183)

Sir, that is neither appropriate nor is it chronologically accurate.
I say good day to you!

Re:Just one question: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473227)

The problem with that is that while niggers may rape your daughter, gay people will rape you. Would you rather be raped or have someone else be raped?

Re:Just one question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474459)

If it's a white person he'll do both: rape your daughter and rape you. White people are the gayest race on the earth.

Re:Just one question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474059)

That's pretty good, but have you heard this one? What do you say to a Jewish Nigger? "Get to the back of the oven!"

cotton niggers, sand niggers, rice niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474263)

kill all niggers

Re:Just one question: (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 years ago | (#29472589)

Same as always.

Reasonable to the judge and/or jury.

Re:Just one question: (5, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#29472707)

Define "reasonable" - reasonable according to the end-user (okay, somewhat geeky end-user), or "reasonable" to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T...

Here's my take: if you provide service to the end-user, you only take money from the end-user. When providing said service, you don't look at where a packet is coming from, only where it goes.

If your network can't handle it, you upgrade your network.

Re:Just one question: (2, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | about 5 years ago | (#29474309)

Totally agreed. And beyond that, don't look at the type of packet. You're providing a data pipe, and that's it. If it's VOIP or P2P or constant video streaming from a service that competes with one of your own, sell the bandwidth that you can afford to sell, and if you can't afford to sell it raise the price and get ready for competition.

And speaking of competition, all this net neutrality stuff would go away if there were any real competition. Almost all markets are duopolies, with basically the telco and the cable company providing the only two options. If they are going to give lip service to a level playing field, then they need to allow other providers in on that action.

Re:Just one question: (3, Insightful)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | about 5 years ago | (#29475619)

"If it's VOIP or P2P or constant video streaming"

Personally I would rather them downgrade the P2P priority so that my Skype call doesn't break up. Traffic shaping in moderation is a good thing.

Re:Just one question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29476293)

Personally I would rather them downgrade the P2P priority so that my Skype call doesn't break up. Traffic shaping in moderation is a good thing.

...Or they could upgrade their network to support both.
Maybe they could use all that tax money the Fed has been throwing their way since Clinton, Bush and now Obama. ...Or they could stop overselling the bandwidth they have available.

Re:Just one question: (1)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#29476837)

Personally I would rather them downgrade the P2P priority of other people so that my Skype call doesn't break up.

I see what you did there.

Re:Just one question: (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29476039)

Not sure I agree with that. If I'm downloading an ISO, I care about throughput but not about jitter or latency. If I'm making a VoIP call, my throughput is around 5MB/hour, but I care a lot about jitter and latency. I'd like my ISP to respect the flags in the IP header that request low jitter and low latency for a connection, so that my VoIP packets will be prioritized for the whole time that they are on the ISP's network. I don't care if my download has peaks and troughs in its throughput, as long as the total throughput is high, and I don't care that my VoIP traffic is only getting a small bandwidth allowance, as long as it is low-latency and relatively jitter-free.

Reasonable... (2, Interesting)

RulerOf (975607) | about 5 years ago | (#29473169)

Personally, I think that being "reasonable," would be for my ISP to open port 80 on my cable connection. When I call and complain. Several times.

From the summary:

prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services.

...I look forward to litigation that says that... but I'm sure we'll just get more bullshit.

My initial prediction.... (5, Insightful)

NecroPuppy (222648) | about 5 years ago | (#29472603)

The operators will think that any level of control they have is insufficient and the users will think that any level of control the operators have is far too much.

Re:My initial prediction.... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29473497)

the users will think that any level of control the operators have is far too much.

90% of the users won't care as long as the advertised speed is still 5 Megs, and they can still get to Youtube, Facebook, CNN, and Twitter.

Backdoor for fairness doctrine (3, Insightful)

Saint Stephen (19450) | about 5 years ago | (#29472667)

I know this is going to modded troll, but you know how Congress always tacks on stuff to bills, nobody will dispute that.

I heard a warning in November (from Republicans of course) that the Fairness Doctrine, trying to legislate the content of the internet and talk radio, would come under the guise of Net Neutrality.

I bet a dollar and a nickel that debate will somehow come out of this bill.

Mod parent troll :) (-1, Redundant)

iammani (1392285) | about 5 years ago | (#29472687)

You asked for it :)

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29472787)

Yes, you would be correct. The Democrat party is all about silencing the opposition. In fact, it was only a few days ago that the House of Reps had formally banned what could and could not be said in the chambers.

http://santabarbara.craigslist.org/rnr/1379492505.html [craigslist.org]

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_091609/content/01125108.member.html [rushlimbaugh.com]

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (3, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#29472843)

Eww you just admitted something emberassing, you are subscribed to rush limbaugh's site.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#29472873)

And to bring myself back ontopic: While I agree this law is horrible I doubt it will change anything. If a politician ever gets punished for calling the president intellectually dishonest and has something to back it up the president will be in a lot of shit. The law will likely have the opposite effect as it intends.

I mean who doesn't want a double whammy? You insult your opponent, prove him wrong when there is TONS of press on you and to top it off you get to prove the pres is a wad for enacting the rule and you are a hero for killing it.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29475037)

no it just prevents the lesser people from critcizing their elite class rulers.

"emberassing" (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 5 years ago | (#29473491)

Eww you just admitted something emberassing, you are subscribed to rush limbaugh's site.

And that is bad... why?

Re:"emberassing" (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29473829)

Because he's an incompetent hypocritical blow hard that inexplicably has more power than many congress people and no accountability at all.

Re:"emberassing" (-1, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29473981)

that inexplicably has more power than many congress people and no accountability at all.

Thank you for pointing out your disdain for the 1st amendment.

I hope you get modded up for the simple fact I wish your post be illuminated for all to see.

Re:"emberassing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474985)

I believe one of us is misreading the comment. The comment paraphrased and put into context as I read it: Being a subscriber to Rush's site is bad because Rush is an incompetent hypocritical blowhard. Also, he has more power than many congress because people are sheep and refuse to learn given a choice.

I believe that the initial poster is meaning not that Rush shouldn't be allowed to speak, or even be heard, no matter what he says, but rather that the audience needs to, as I heard a sound byte from his show say(Yes, it wasn't him and it's horribly out of context here) "Good judgement not included".

Your comment reads to me like you are interpreting the initial post as "Rush shouldn't be allowed to express his opinions". If that IS The original intent of the poster, I then retract this comment, otherwise I stand by my commentary.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0, Offtopic)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29473947)

Yes, I'm a "ditto head" for sure. But only because I love his radio show. Not because I agree 100% with what he says or what he believes. However, his radio show is factually more informative than what any other political pundit on radio has to offer.

What was embarrassing though was that I link to a page for members only. I do apologize though. I thought that link was available to the general public (non-subscribers).

Oops. Sorry.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474709)

Christ, youre stupid.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29476095)

Christ, youre stupid.

Posted the moron who can't properly punctuate...

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29472865)

oh wow, a link with statements without context and a link that forces me to register before telling me what's there.

them darn democrats!

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (5, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 5 years ago | (#29472883)

The Democrat party is all about silencing the opposition.

Anyone who has paid any attention to politics in the past 9 years knows how ridiculous that statement is, and also knows how to correctly spell "the Democratic Party". But more importantly, even the fairness doctrine that conservatives dread so much (even though no one is trying to bring it back) was never about silencing opposition. It was about providing a balance of viewpoints -- you know, like Fox News claims to do.

BTW, your second link requires paid registration. I'm amused that you're paying to hear conspiracy theories when there are already plenty online for free.

fairness doctrine (-1, Troll)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 5 years ago | (#29473049)

...(even though no one is trying to bring it back) ...

Not at the moment maybe, but they did recently. It's still fresh in some people's minds.

... was never about silencing opposition. It was about providing a balance of viewpoints ...

I call FUD. Anything which relies on perpetuating the false dichotomy of conservative v. liberal to determine what may or must be said is a form of censorship (call it a DoS censorship, if you like).

Fox may be the poster child of not-fair-or-balanced (and deserve it), but other news agencies tend far worse. At least Fox leans to the center periodically. Most news stations are so liberal that they think the Democrat party is the center on the political spectrum. ("political spectrum" is also an inaccurate model, but better than the either/or model.)

Re:fairness doctrine (1, Flamebait)

Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) | about 5 years ago | (#29473147)

At least Fox leans to the center periodically.

On that basis, I would be fascinated to hear your description of the BBC, considering how outrageously right-wing Fox really, and consistently is.

Re:fairness doctrine (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 5 years ago | (#29473891)

On that basis, I would be fascinated to hear your description of the BBC, considering how outrageously right-wing Fox really, and consistently is.

I will occasionally visit bbc.com for news. Being in the States (and without cable or satellite) I only rarely get the opportunity to view their news broadcasts. (Video at bbc.com is off limits to Americans.)

I have little specific opinion of the BBC, but acknowledge that they do have a good reputation. They do have some British bias, but they can hardly be faulted for that! I simply haven't seen enough to label them (or to see if they are above labels).

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29473187)

what business is it of the government whether or not there is a "balance of viewpoints?" how would it be enforceable and who would decide what "balance" means? Don't like what Fox news is spewing? Good. You can think for yourself. Change the channel.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (2, Interesting)

imamac (1083405) | about 5 years ago | (#29473303)

never about silencing opposition.

That's ALL it was about. Specifically talk radio. Far-left-wing talk shows simply couldn't turn a profit on radio (and were thus dumped) so they figured they could legislate themselves onto the radio waves.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (2, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 5 years ago | (#29473569)

It's not exactly healthy for the only voices to be heard are those who can afford to make themselves heard, i.e. big businesses. It sounds to me like it's the left who have been silenced, if what you say is true.

Less of an issue with the internet, of course, with its much lower barrier to entry.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (2, Insightful)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 years ago | (#29487535)

That's like saying "it isn't healthy to ignore flat-earthers so we need to force you to listen to them!" If customers don't want to listen to left talk-show hosts, you must not force them to. They have been tried, a small few do manage to make it, but the truth is the demand just isn't there.

The Constitution says "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

or more simply, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom...of the press"

That means no regulation, period. The media has the freedom to allocate whatever time they like, it's spelled out in the first amendment.

Plus, broadcast time is limited - it is an economic good. You seriously think forcing radio stations to put one side on won't abridge the freedom of people on the other side? The first amendment only says what the government must not do, and it must not tell the media what choices to make. Who gets air time and who doesn't is the decision of the owners, not the government.

Instead of crying out there is no opposition on most radio stations, think, why is there no demand for opposition? Perhaps because there are other outlets? Television and radio are largely substitutable goods (though, of course, not entirely). If there was really such a strong demand for left radio, wouldn't more left radio stations stay in business? I don't know why you think big business is on the side of talk radio, considering nearly all the giant corporations are in favor of government bailouts and some regulations, donating far more to the left too.

I have made the the common sense point, constitutional point, the economical point, and the factual point, I don't know how much clearer this argument can be made.

There's a hint of persecution complex... (5, Interesting)

weston (16146) | about 5 years ago | (#29473779)

... and whiny martyrdom among certain conservatives that sometimes make me wish that Democrats were in fact exactly as dirty-handed, ruthless, and out to get the GOP would-be victims seem to think it was.

So, yeah. The Fairness Doctrine meant that you could be "harrassed" to provide alternate points of view if you dedicated a broadcast outlet to partisan purposes.

Here's some interesting questions:

If the article of faith on the right that The Media(TM) is a veritable fifth column of liberal political support is true, why wouldn't this state of affairs benefit conservatives *far* more than it would liberals?

For the obviously very few and utterly beleaguered bastions of conservative broadcasting, why would it be "silencing" them media outlet to require them to broadcast expressions of other views? Do conservatives consider themselves silenced when they are encounter opposing views? Is freedom of speech for conservatives the right to avoid this?

Far-left-wing talk shows simply couldn't turn a profit on radio (and were thus dumped) so they figured they could legislate themselves onto the radio waves.

Yeah. Apparently the prospective audience was less interested in transparent polemics and more interested in reality than their conservative counterparts.

Re:There's a hint of persecution complex... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29476287)

Far-left-wing talk shows simply couldn't turn a profit on radio (and were thus dumped) so they figured they could legislate themselves onto the radio waves.

Yeah. Apparently the prospective audience was less interested in transparent polemics and more interested in reality than their conservative counterparts.

They also read and listen to multiple sources of news and on occasion read a book or two. Of course, right-wing radio ends up on top the same way right-wing books end up on the best seller's list: when a right-wing book is published, well-funded right-wing organizations buy up thousands of copies, thus giving them artificial market share. The rest of the media works the same way. When you deal with people who are easily manipulated (the crazy part of the conservative movement) that results in increased profits because the sheeple follow right along. Followers equals predictable profits in the media. When you deal with a more educated, less easily manipulated audience (everyone else) your results are a lot more variable.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 5 years ago | (#29476693)

never about silencing opposition.

That's ALL it was about. Specifically talk radio. Far-left-wing talk shows simply couldn't turn a profit on radio (and were thus dumped) so they figured they could legislate themselves onto the radio waves.

There is a helluvalot of rightward spin on those words.

Following a time when unscrupulous politicians were able to lead the country into hell-holes by abusing mass media with "silent majority" fictions, the Fairness Doctrine was a much needed correction. Its adoption made it much harder for ethically corrupt politicians to claim that the apathetic were actually supporting their position. And in a democracy like the USA, a large segment of potential voters are going to be too apathetic on just about any issue to develop informed opinions. That's an inherent part of the USA's diversity of cultures.

Today the need for a Fairness Doctrine is not so obvious since the Internet provides an uncontrollable source of divergent opinions on any subject to anyone who rises just a little bit above the level of apathy. Yet the F.D. has served us well for a few decades and does not impose all that much of a burden on society, so don't whine about it. Mass media is being replaced by newer technologies that have different strengths and weaknesses, and the F.D. will disappear as Fox and the networks disappear. The F.D. is not going to be the cause of their death. These things, like the recording industry, wet photography, and the use of sliderules are simply at the end of their natural life spans.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

DesScorp (410532) | about 5 years ago | (#29473583)

"But more importantly, even the fairness doctrine that conservatives dread so much (even though no one is trying to bring it back)..."

No one is trying to bring it back now, at least not openly. Last year was a different case. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate Majority leader both expressed support for it [wikipedia.org] . It's unpopular. Presidents from FDR to Nixon used it to smother opponents. That's why it was eliminated (by a Democratic Congress in the 80's, I would add).If Democrats ever do try to bring it back, yes, it will likely be wrapped in another bill of some kind.

"... was never about silencing opposition. It was about providing a balance of viewpoints -- you know, like Fox News claims to do."

Fox gives an alternative based on market choices. If people want it, they can watch it, while there are plenty of alternatives on the air at the same time. That's now how the Fairness Doctrine works. It mandates, under government authority, that you give an "equal" block of airtime to someone in opposition to your programming, whether or not your listeners want it. It's Big Brother on the radio. Your only alternative is to turn the radio off. That's regulating speech and micromanaging private enterprise. And as for the sure-to-come argument that "the airways belong to the public"... stations paid a lot of money for the rights to those airwaves so that they could put a product on them that would make a profit. Let the listeners decide what they want to hear. If something isn't making money, it's off the air. Period. That's how broadcasting works.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (2, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 5 years ago | (#29479075)

It mandates, under government authority, that you give an "equal" block of airtime to someone in opposition to your programming, whether or not your listeners want it. It's Big Brother on the radio.

Actually, it's the opposite of Big Brother. Read 1984 again; it sounds like you missed the point entirely.

Your only alternative is to turn the radio off.

No, you have other alternatives: change the station, listen to internet or satellite radio, do something else for a while, or even (gasp!) just listen to a dissenting opinion once in a while.

That's regulating speech and micromanaging private enterprise.

No, it's not regulating speech, it's regulating the use of one particular forum (the public airwaves). The First Amendment doesn't entitle you to say whatever you like on the radio any more than it entitles you to say whatever you like on your neighbor's lawn.

And as for the sure-to-come argument that "the airways belong to the public"... stations paid a lot of money for the rights to those airwaves so that they could put a product on them that would make a profit.

They paid for the right to broadcast on those frequencies, but their use is subject to certain terms, which they knew when they paid for it.

BTW, radio was still profitable when the fairness doctrine was in effect.

Let the listeners decide what they want to hear. If something isn't making money, it's off the air. Period. That's how broadcasting works.

Sometimes people decide they don't want to hear the truth, they just want to sit in an echo chamber. It may be profitable to provide an echo chamber, but unfortunately it isn't very healthy for a democracy. We the people have every right to decide that we don't want our airwaves used in such a way.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 years ago | (#29487709)

No, it's not regulating speech, it's regulating the use of one particular forum (the public airwaves). The First Amendment doesn't entitle you to say whatever you like on the radio any more than it entitles you to say whatever you like on your neighbor's lawn.

Being on your neighbor's lawn has nothing to do with free speech, it has everything to do with private property. What you say is irrelevant to the law.

They paid for the right to broadcast on those frequencies, but their use is subject to certain terms, which they knew when they paid for it.

BTW, radio was still profitable when the fairness doctrine was in effect.

Air space is just as much private property as land is, it can be owned and within a specific area. The FCC was created to defend this private property right, so broadcasters would not interfere with each other, and nothing more.

Yes, profit is a good thing, but in this situation the existence of a profit is not what matters: economics is about value on the margin, the value of the alternative. You can't say how much freedom we lost, or how much profit broadcasters lost, because of it, and that is what matters.

Sometimes people decide they don't want to hear the truth, they just want to sit in an echo chamber. It may be profitable to provide an echo chamber, but unfortunately it isn't very healthy for a democracy. We the people have every right to decide that we don't want our airwaves used in such a way.

How do you determine what is an "echo chamber" and what isn't? That implies all radio is bad and we should outlaw it entirely.If someone doesn't like what they hear they aren't going to listen, period, that is how people work. That means fewer listeners.

By the way, we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy. That means we have a constitution that tells us what to do before a majority can. That constitution happens to say this:
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

That means that the government may not tell the press what to do, only the press may choose themselves how to allocate air time. Nothing supports any other argument, not the Anti-Federalist papers, not court rulings (no one is in danger here, and even if a lack of regulation did put people in physical harm that wouldn't be permission to have a highly unbiased government bureaucrat allocate air time), nothing.

And as you pointed out, radio isn't the only source of information available.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 5 years ago | (#29489049)

Air space is just as much private property as land is, it can be owned and within a specific area. The FCC was created to defend this private property right, so broadcasters would not interfere with each other, and nothing more.

And yet we already impose plenty of other restrictions on how the airwaves can be used, from station ID requirements to bans on profanity and nudity (you may recall an incident with Janet Jackson). A broadcasting license has never given the broadcaster absolute control over content.

By the way, we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

Oh, please. Under that definition, there are no democracies. But you and I both know that "democracy" commonly refers to forms of government in which citizens elect their representatives, and such arrangements are harmed when citizens are uninformed or misinformed -- even if it's due to their own listening preferences.

That constitution happens to say this:
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

That means that the government may not tell the press what to do, only the press may choose themselves how to allocate air time.

By that logic, laws against libel and false advertising would be unconstitutional (not to mention laws against obscenity, copyright infringement, etc.). A law requiring balance of opinion is no less constitutional than a law requiring truthfulness.

Nothing supports any other argument, not the Anti-Federalist papers, not court rulings (no one is in danger here, and even if a lack of regulation did put people in physical harm that wouldn't be permission to have a highly unbiased government bureaucrat allocate air time), nothing.

Nothing? No court rulings? I give you Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC [wikipedia.org] , in which the Supreme Court found the fairness doctrine to be constitutional, rejecting a claim that the "equal time" and "response to personal attack" rules violated the First Amendment.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 years ago | (#29498139)

And yet we already impose plenty of other restrictions on how the airwaves can be used, from station ID requirements to bans on profanity and nudity (you may recall an incident with Janet Jackson). A broadcasting license has never given the broadcaster absolute control over content.

Regulation doesn't mean it isn't privately owned, businesses are regulated and licensed. Government prohibits employers from paying/employees from accepting wages below a given rate, for instance. That, of course, doesn't mean it is right.

Oh, please. Under that definition, there are no democracies. But you and I both know that "democracy" commonly refers to forms of government in which citizens elect their representatives, and such arrangements are harmed when citizens are uninformed or misinformed -- even if it's due to their own listening preferences.

Correct, while the idea of a constitution had been around for a while, nothing as formal as the US Constitution had ever existed (the articles of confederation carried no coercive authority and was therefore more of a treaty). The constitution became immensely popular after. "Republic" means that we are not entirely a democracy, we have an oligarchic court system, and an oligarchic justice/executive system. Republic means separation of powers, so no one person or group of people (such as voters) has all the power. Only the voters may elect representatives, only the House may propose a tax, only the Senate may ratify a treaty, only the courts may establish justice. That is how the Framers defined a republic, and what they guaranteed to citizens in the constitution.

That constitution happens to say this:
"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

That means that the government may not tell the press what to do, only the press may choose themselves how to allocate air time.

By that logic, laws against libel and false advertising would be unconstitutional (not to mention laws against obscenity, copyright infringement, etc.). A law requiring balance of opinion is no less constitutional than a law requiring truthfulness.

Libel and false advertising would be fraud, not free speech. The Constitution grants the government to protect contracts and exchanges. The Constitution also grants the Federal government the ability to establish copyright, so that is also a non-issue. Obviously we were never supposed to let people have free reign to do whatever they want, but that isn't what the first amendment means. But it does say pretty clearly, again: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom...of the press"

Nothing? No court rulings? I give you Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC [wikipedia.org] , in which the Supreme Court found the fairness doctrine to be constitutional, rejecting a claim that the "equal time" and "response to personal attack" rules violated the First Amendment.

I concede, I should have known better. I knew about that ruling, but there is also Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo [wikipedia.org] that ruled unanimously against a fairness doctrine for newspapers, against a state law which has far more freedom than the federal government does. So the issue appears to be how limited is the broadcast time for that media? Left-wing radio stations have been tried, some have been successful, but largely not so much. So the limited radio spectrum doesn't seem to be a problem, at least now if not ever. There is plenty of bandwidth to broadcast on, what is lacking is not a frequency, but listeners. Maybe NPR is monopolizing that segment (jk, Morning Edition is by far the best news program I listen to).

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29507807)

Government prohibits employers from paying/employees from accepting wages below a given rate, for instance. That, of course, doesn't mean it is right.

Heh. The question of whether regulations are "right" was settled long ago: the laissez-faire fundamentalists lost. Condolences!

Libel and false advertising would be fraud, not free speech.

So you agree that "free speech" doesn't mean absolute control over content. What are we arguing about, then?

So the issue appears to be how limited is the broadcast time for that media?

Exactly. That's the difference between broadcast media and newspapers: the airwaves are fundamentally limited in a way that newspaper space is not. That's why radio spectrum is licensed and printing presses aren't, and why broadcast media is subject to restrictions that don't apply to print, internet, cable TV, etc.

Left-wing radio stations have been tried, some have been successful, but largely not so much. So the limited radio spectrum doesn't seem to be a problem, at least now if not ever. There is plenty of bandwidth to broadcast on, what is lacking is not a frequency, but listeners.

The radio spectrum is still as limited as it ever was: the physics of broadcasting haven't changed. Thus the constitutional issue hasn't changed.

The fairness doctrine wasn't about ensuring that "left-wing" and "right-wing" views both had an outlet (as if that even describes the entire continuum of opinion). It was about ensuring that when the public airwaves were used to discuss controversial issues, those issues were covered fairly within that medium: so that a person turning on the radio would not be left with only part of the story, even if he didn't have the patience or knowledge to seek out opposing views on some other station or medium at a completely different time.

Note that "controversial issues" may include issues on which the "left-wing" and "right-wing" positions are the same (because the controversy is along a different political axis), or issues where one side is promoted by a group that doesn't have enough followers to justify its own 24x7 media outlet (say, tech issues like encryption or copyright). The public interest is not being served when $RADIO_PARTISAN spouts off on $ISSUE on the air but the only counterpoint is on a web site that his listeners won't know about.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29509177)

Yep, laissez-faire lost. That doesn't mean they are right. How is that "sound" regulation working out? No regulation has put a dent in the business cycle, quality, or cost, or at the very least, the supposed benefits were grossly overestimated.

You have not made the case that those limitations are actually causing any problems. I showed that it is entirely possible to start new stations with alternative viewpoints, and many are - they simply don't do well. The problem is always economics - limited resources - and in any case if something fails it means the demand does not offset the costs. What is limited here though is listeners - money, not bandwidth. It comes down to that, and there is no argument to prop up failing ratio stations that could be used better, according to the collective choices of society, doing something else. Even if bandwidth was entirely used up, the economy would allocate them to the people who most urgently demand them - in turn decided by the number of listeners. That is the reality of a free and liberal society.

You can't decide what "serving the public interest" is, it isn't up to you. How time is allocated is up to the owners of the stations, and no one else. If you disagree, go get your own and see how well it works out. You are suggesting the government should decide what is in the public interest? The government decides someone is not serving the public interest? That sounds like an awful violation of the Constitution to me.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29509815)

How is that "sound" regulation working out? No regulation has put a dent in the business cycle, quality, or cost, or at the very least, the supposed benefits were grossly overestimated.

It's working pretty well in my experience. For example, just a few hours ago I ate some food that wasn't filled with rat droppings or workers' severed digits. I have confidence that the money in my bank account today will still be there tomorrow. I can use third-party car parts without voiding the warranty on my car.

I showed that it is entirely possible to start new stations with alternative viewpoints, and many are - they simply don't do well.

You're missing the point. "New stations with alternative viewpoints" are a poor substitute for balanced presentation of viewpoints within a single station. Just because no one wants to hear pro-Controversy-XYZ programming 24 hours a day doesn't mean anti-Controversy-XYZ programming should go unopposed.

It comes down to that, and there is no argument to prop up failing ratio stations that could be used better, according to the collective choices of society, doing something else.

What "argument to prop up failing radio stations"? The fairness doctrine has nothing to do with that.

You can't decide what "serving the public interest" is, it isn't up to you. How time is allocated is up to the owners of the stations, and no one else.

We've already been over this. We both agreed that station owners are not given sole control over the content of their broadcasts.

You are suggesting the government should decide what is in the public interest? The government decides someone is not serving the public interest?

The public decides what is in the public interest, through their elected representatives. Again, this issue was resolved long ago: broadcasters are already subject to restrictions and requirements that are deemed to serve the public interest.

That sounds like an awful violation of the Constitution to me.

Which clause?

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29510225)

How is that "sound" regulation working out? No regulation has put a dent in the business cycle, quality, or cost, or at the very least, the supposed benefits were grossly overestimated.

It's working pretty well in my experience. For example, just a few hours ago I ate some food that wasn't filled with rat droppings or workers' severed digits. I have confidence that the money in my bank account today will still be there tomorrow. I can use third-party car parts without voiding the warranty on my car.

Again, that would be fraud. That is a legitimate purpose of government. What about the hair dryers that have electrocuted so many people, dish washers that have mutilated so many people, or the movies theaters that are spewing explicit content out... oh wait, those aren't regulated by government, or with the coercive authority they carry. They are regulated by the UL and MPAA. (I don't know if you have seen a variety of early electrical appliances, especially "dish washers" to know how much good the UL does for consumer safety.) I am not prepared to dismiss all regulations but we surely don't need the hundreds of thousands of pages we have today, there is absolutely zero evidence the benefits justify the costs for a vast majority of what is on the books.

You're missing the point. "New stations with alternative viewpoints" are a poor substitute for balanced presentation of viewpoints within a single station. Just because no one wants to hear pro-Controversy-XYZ programming 24 hours a day doesn't mean anti-Controversy-XYZ programming should go unopposed.

So it is about shutting down dissent then. It is about restricting how much speech one side may present. It is just veiled under the disguise of "force opposing views to be heard." By the way, last time I checked, no one (well, very few people, no one I know) gets their news all from the radio anymore. I don't see what frequency has to do with it, if people really only listen to what they agree with then they would just end up switching between stations anyways. Unless there is some innovation that would change that around (short of cash rewards for only listening to that one outlet, I can't think of any), what does it matter if one station specializes in one type of opinion, and another station in another, or if opinions are mixed up between the two? Forcing stations to mix it up in a balanced manner would undermine specialization of labor that allows us to make better things at a lower cost. Perhaps, if a station that specializes in one type of talk can't make it, there is a reason behind it?

What "argument to prop up failing radio stations"? The fairness doctrine has nothing to do with that.

Because one side can't get their views to be heard on a medium, that means they have to go after it. Never mind that this already happens on television and the Internet, where entire channels/websites are dedicated or near dedicated to one viewpoint, it just isn't dominated all around. I don't believe you have that reasoning, but some do.

We've already been over this. We both agreed that station owners are not given sole control over the content of their broadcasts.

The public decides what is in the public interest, through their elected representatives. Again, this issue was resolved long ago: broadcasters are already subject to restrictions and requirements that are deemed to serve the public interest.

No, the government has the guns. Just because a group of people decides it would be in their best interest to take money from the rich and give it to themselves, does not mean it is correct, ethical, or constitutional. I suggest you read the Federalist Papers for an explanation of what the Constitution means when it says "general welfare" and "necessary and proper." I think the cornerstone of this argument is around how public interest is satisfied, and that I maintain is through each person's individual decisions, not democracy. Two people willingly give up something they have for something they want more (they may not be happy about it, like $6/gal gas, but that doesn't mean they don't desire it in the end.) This is the only way to can compare the subjective wants of people. This process has decided how to allocate privately owned media, disagree with it as you may you have no right to use violent or the threat of violent force - the government - to legislate otherwise.

Which clause?

Again, allow me to quote the first amendment (thank God for the anti-federalists): "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

To put it another way, which section of the Constitution authorizes such a proposal? After all, the Bill of Rights was just supposed to protect liberties that couldn't have been infringed upon anyways according to the Federalists, it was only added at the request of the Anti-federalists to guarantee that in binding writing and gain their support, especially the 9th and 10th amendments that guarantee liberty, that is, negative rights.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29473921)

and also knows how to correctly spell "the Democratic Party"

BS! The Democrat Party is hardly democratic at all. In fact, I argue the Republican party is more democratic.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1, Offtopic)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 years ago | (#29474047)

The Democrat party is all about silencing the opposition.

Anyone who has paid any attention to politics in the past 9 years knows how ridiculous that statement is,

You mean the way that the Obama Administration prosecuted the members of the New Black Panther Party who were carrying weapons in front of a voting location and yelling racial slurs at whites who approached to vote (oversimplifying for brevity, if you are familiar with the case, you know what happened. If you aren't familiar with the case, why not?)? BTW for those who don't know, the Obama Administration dropped the charges when they were about to get a guilty verdict. If you aren't familiar with the case google "Black Panther voter intimidation" for the video.
If you aren't familiar with the Black Panther case, there is a good chance you also aren't familiar with why Van Jones was forced to resign or with why ACORN was dropped from working with the Census Bureau on the 2010 census (for ACORN google "ACORN video pimp")

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

weston (16146) | about 5 years ago | (#29477289)

You mean the way that the Obama Administration prosecuted the members of the New Black Panther Party who were carrying weapons in front of a voting location and yelling racial slurs at whites who approached to vote (oversimplifying for brevity, if you are familiar with the case, you know what happened. If you aren't familiar with the case, why not?)?

I must be missing something. How is this connected to the question of whether or not the Democratic Party is interested in silencing the opposition?

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 years ago | (#29487591)

Maybe because they are all examples of, oh, I don't know, SILENCING THE OPPOSITION?

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

garfent (1105359) | about 5 years ago | (#29476893)

The Democrat party is all about silencing the opposition.

Anyone who has paid any attention to politics in the past 9 years knows how ridiculous that statement is, and also knows how to correctly spell "the Democratic Party". But more importantly, even the fairness doctrine that conservatives dread so much (even though no one is trying to bring it back) was never about silencing opposition. It was about providing a balance of viewpoints -- you know, like Fox News claims to do.

BTW, your second link requires paid registration. I'm amused that you're paying to hear conspiracy theories when there are already plenty online for free.

You might want to go over to democrat.com and tell them they've got their own name incorrect. It could be your good deed of the day

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (3, Insightful)

HitoGuy (1324613) | about 5 years ago | (#29473109)

I almost bought your argument until you linked to the Rush Limbaugh site. You DO realize he's like the Rob Enderle of Republicans, right?

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29475297)

argument from authority. it doesn't matter who speaks the truth. what is important is that the truth is spoken.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | about 5 years ago | (#29475317)

So you agree Rush is wrong, good.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 5 years ago | (#29473917)

You're an idiot if you think the Fairness Doctrine in any way "silences the opposition". Also I'm sure the people escorted out of the premises while wearing anti-Bush shirts to Bush's speeches felt like the Democrats were silencing their cause. I'm also sure the Democrats rounding up people at the health care meetings for bringing guns is indicative of.... wait they didn't do that? Oh nm...

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | about 5 years ago | (#29475327)

I know you Libertards like to misquote and claim the memory of Jefferson, founder of, among other things, some of Virginia's oldest public schools, who knew how to get public moniez easily and could play his state's legislature like a fiddle, but this one is from Gerald Ford, who invented it of whole cloth.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (4, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 5 years ago | (#29472849)

I heard a warning in November (from Republicans of course) that the Fairness Doctrine, trying to legislate the content of the internet and talk radio, would come under the guise of Net Neutrality.

Republicans spreading FUD against a proposal (net neutrality) that favors consumers over big business? What a shocker!

The fairness doctrine has never had anything to do with the internet, BTW. There aren't even any serious proposals to bring it back for radio, much less apply it to the internet.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29472887)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html

yeah..those wacky republicans...

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

imamac (1083405) | about 5 years ago | (#29473321)

It's a shame you feel you have to post as AC knowing you'd be modded down.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 5 years ago | (#29479235)

Are you suggesting that off-topic posts don't deserve to be modded down?

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (4, Insightful)

horatio (127595) | about 5 years ago | (#29472905)

Troll? No, because I had the same thought - and wondered if this was a step in that direction. I don't think it is, but to your point: don't believe the Republicans. Believe the words of the FCC diversity czar himself, Mark Lloyd. Among other things, he believes the first amendment is an exaggeration:

"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press," [Lloyd] said. "This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies." (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/53055)

Notice he first says that his focus is not freedom of speech, but then dismisses it as unimportant and irrelevant. Lloyd apparently, by his own words (read the rest of the article in which he outlines his plan) believes the federal government, through the FCC and other satellite offices should be carefully controlling not just ownership (which in itself is an issue) but also the *content* of the media.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474321)

Because he's correct - FCC is not there to guarantee freedom of expression. Far from it. FCC is there to guarantee that *communication* stuff works - to follow the rules of communication as outlined in the law. And to put it simply, communication fails when Comcast or Verizon start to filter one content over another.

Now, Net Neutrality law would specify the meximum amount of filtering that the companies can do. What type of policies are allowed and not allowed under that law. And FCC *job* is then to enforce that law so that Comcast doesn't say "Microsoft payed us 30m for bing and google didn't so, Bing will be 100% of speed and Google will get a 300bit/s connection".

Now people just need to stop trolling and bullshitting. Gov't is there to prevent monopolies from dictating terms to you - that's one of its jobs. Stop pretending that "free market" will fix it, because it will not. Once you have a monopoly, the monopoly needs to be handed down rules from the top or it will just do what it wants with respect to competition (see Microsoft and Netspace, as an example from yonder days). Hell, free market fails as badly as communism. Or will you want to compete with the mafia in the garbage collection business?

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

Atario (673917) | about 5 years ago | (#29474685)

The FCC regulates what goes on in our communications commons -- traditionally, the electromagnetic airwaves, but others too (think publicly-owned, -funded, -subsidized, and/or -monopoly-granted cable/Internet/telephone infrastructure). Since these are owned by (or owed to) the public, they must be regulated for the public good. You have the right to speak freely, but you don't have the right to do whatever you want to alter, pollute, or dominate our commons. And just because some have built huge businesses on the model of taking advantage of the abuse of our commons doesn't give them the right for that situation to continue. They're our commons, and we have the perfect right to say what constitutes abuse and to enforce prevention of that abuse.

Now, the Fairness Doctrine -- saying that you have to give equal time to the opposing viewpoint -- is an admirable, but unworkable goal: how do you define what the opposing viewpoints are? If Fox News lets Bill O'Reilly have a say, what is the "opposing" viewpoint? Couldn't Fox put Chuck Norris on and claim he's the opposing viewpoint because he advocates armed insurrection and O'Reilly doesn't? Or would it be someone advocating the US adopt a Soviet system? Extreme examples, but illustrative -- you have to define what the center is to determine where its negation falls. And any such definition is bound to be arbitrary, or, worse, itself abused.

However, at the very least, you can go a long way toward preventing domination by a single viewpoint, or a single entity, by limiting ownership, the way we used to. Concentration of media ownership is, I think we can all agree, a bad thing. Getting more access to more people -- people, without preference for legal fictions like corporations -- is a good thing.

Looking at the article you linked, I see only good things coming from the vaunted Bogey Man called Mark Lloyd. It's all about re-democratizing the media, and attenuating the complete corporate big-money domination of it we have now. Things like Net Neutrality only serve to prevent the further erosion of media equality, and so are no-brainers. But he wants to -- rightly so -- go further toward this ideal, in other media too. I say more power to him, and I'm glad we have people like him in the machine now.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473053)

I'll take that bet, unless you count your own comment as starting "that debate".

It should be noted that the article is mainly talking about new FCC rules, even though you're probably referring to the upcoming House bill mentioned at the very end.

I think it unlikely that the "Fairness Doctrine" will be lumped in on a Net Neutrality bill. This republican warning is most likely just a guise to a.) cast suspicion on net neutrality legislation by business friendly politicians, and b.) a lame attempt to bring up the 'fairness doctrine' boogeyman that has next to no support in Congress at all.

Of course- it's the Brookings Institute (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473557)

The Brookings institute is a socialist thinktank. Expect for this to start, run, and end badly.

Re:Backdoor for fairness doctrine (1)

t_ban (875088) | about 5 years ago | (#29476379)

I know this is going to modded troll, but ...

It is interesting how this "I know this is going to modded [insert random negative mod label], but ..." trope almost guarantees positive moderation here.

Cannot believe... (5, Funny)

iamapizza (1312801) | about 5 years ago | (#29472683)

The FCC are actually proposing rules that could potentially favor us, the consumers? I've only had 1 moldy sandwich today, so I can't possibly be hallucinating.

Re:Cannot believe... (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29473001)

just because they say they're going to do it is no guarantee that it will benefit us. the real problems which allow these carriers to be discriminative still exist. that is to say that local monopolies, fraud and such still exist.

DON'T believe it, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473315)

The FCC are actually proposing rules that could potentially favor us, the consumers? I've only had 1 moldy sandwich today, so I can't possibly be hallucinating.

More government regulation benefits three groups of people:

1. Lawyers who get paid to litigate over all these wondeful new rules
2. Those with the money to buy politicians to influence all these wonderful new rules
3. The government that gets all that much more power because of all these wonderful new rules

Us, the consumers? We'll get to PAY for all those people to benefit.

Re:DON'T believe it, then (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29473839)

Right, as opposed to now, where we give all that money directly to the corporations and nobody else benefits. I'm constantly amazed at how us crafty Americans aren't happy until we're paying at least 4x what everybody else is paying for something while getting the lowest quality possible. I'm sure that will show those socialists who's superior to whom.

Re:Cannot believe... (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 5 years ago | (#29473997)

I know. Sometimes reality is stunning. I think the FCC has gotten a heap of pro-neutrality comments. Be aware, the FCC is driven by its public comment process to the point of almost ridiculousness.

It's the reason that the six participants of the Parents Television Council can through their weight around regarding obscenity. They essentially game the system, commenting over and over again on the same issue and the FCC counts each one as distinct.

Re:Cannot believe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29484097)

The FCC are actually proposing rules that could potentially favor us, the consumers? I've only had 1 moldy sandwich today, so I can't possibly be hallucinating.

No. What they are saying, is that when your ISP sells you a data plan, they need to treat ALL your data exactly the same.

If the ISP also offers a voip service, they run it over a different connection. For example, companies like Comcast use a Telephony modem, which is actually 2 modems, one for data one for their VOIP. If you tried to run skype, etc. over your data connection, it's not voip, it's just data to them, no different from someone else's p2p data, web traffic, etc. But since they run their own voip product over a seperate link under a different service plan, they can QoS that voip traffic higher than the data plan.

All this will really do, is make it so the ISP's can't tell you what TYPE of data you run over the data connection, or take specific action against certain types of data. They can still throttle your connection IN GENERAL but not just traffic specific. This is a good thing, but don't fool yourself if you think this will mean your ISP will have to start giving preference to certain data types- it will do the exact opposite.

Besides, trying to force an ISP to do something like QoS your 3rd party VOIP traffic is just plain stupid. There is no way for anybody to determine that the data coming from the connection is legitimately flagged, and opens a door ripe for abuse. It would be a fairly trivial matter to just wrap your p2p packets in a voip wrapper, for example, and get top priority for all your data.

Words (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#29472763)

Words in laws are like numbers on restaurant bills. Nevertheless, I look forward to the actual verbiage.

I don't get it (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 5 years ago | (#29472785)

If you don't like the internet, just go build your own military-industrial complex funded by a cold-war arms race culminating decades later in many scientific advances including high speed communications technology.

wrong approach, as usual (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29472811)

Another layer of regulation by people who barely know what they are talking about.
How much and where packets get routed should be responsibility of the ISP.
Why that leads to problems for the user? because we have de facto oligopolies in telecommunication. Instead we ought to have a state controlled infrastructure, which is built mantained, proportionally according to the use, by a variety of private companies. This would let even very small companies get into the biz, thus permitting real competition. Then we would see how much can ISP throttle stuff before losing a customer, or how much an ISP can collect and profile customers or bend to the demands of the intellectual property industr... er, mafia.

Applied to cellphone communication the same formula would cut the number of antennas and optimize energy and radiation, for obvious reasons.
When i see supposedly competing phone and net companies owned by the same banks run same ads and offer the same formulas i wonder why the net is not way worse than it is already.

Re:wrong approach, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473755)

Yeah, because that has worked so well in other industries. Wave the magic deregulation wand and it all gets better... right. Need I point out how that got us into our current economic situation? We've given that a chance. It didn't work. The free market doesn't work when the playing field is naturally uneven.

There is nothing wrong with some sane restrictions on ISPs, since no matter how much you cry for deregulation, it wouldn't do a damned thing to end monopolies, and would empower them to screw us over worse.

Re:wrong approach, as usual (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29476071)

It's not about deregulation, it's about ownership of infrastructure. The physical infrastructure should be owned by the people it serves. This has been done in a few towns in the USA, and works very well. Rather than cable and telephone companies getting government grants to build the infrastructure, suburbs build their own. They then get competing upstream providers to bid to offer them connectivity and competing local companies to bid to maintain (and upgrade) the infrastructure.

In this situation, deregulation is fine. Regulations are only needed when the balance of power is shifted too heavily toward the providers of the service. When the customers have control and can get providers to compete against each other, it is not nearly as important.

Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

irc.limerick (961321) | about 5 years ago | (#29472851)

Finally, maybe wireless providers will be forced to allow VOIP apps on their data network. Why is it that if Comcast decided to block Skype, people would be up in arms, but a cell phone provider blocking the same service is considered legitimate? People need to wake up to the fact that cell phone networks are no longer just phone services. It's not a matter of allowing competitors to use their network. It's about letting the consumer use their DATA network which they pay just as much for as the phone network as they please. If I have a certain amount of data allocated to me, I should be allowed to USE that data, as far as their network and costs are concerned, what I use it for doesn't make the slightest difference.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

Atario (673917) | about 5 years ago | (#29474713)

While what you say is true, it doesn't go far enough. Net Neutrality says: not only do they have to allow Skype, they can't charge the company running Skype extra for letting you get to it, or letting you get to it as quickly or as reliably as you do to anything else. Without full end-to-end protection against gotcha-games like this, the situation will hardly improve.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 5 years ago | (#29475431)

Yes, it really does not make much sense, except for the 17 people in the country that have the massively over-priced unlimited data package (OK, I don't know exactly how much it costs now, but 2 years ago it was pretty pricey.) For everyone else, they are going to wipe out their data quota in about 5 minutes and start paying the equally massive overage costs. You would think that the cell companies would even encourage such behavior.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29476089)

VoIP traffic uses about 5MB per hour. I don't have a data package attacked to my phone, but I pay about as much for 40MB of data[1] as I do for ten minutes of calls. That works out at 8 hours of VoIP traffic, but let's assume lots of protocol overhead and say it's only 4 hours. That's still a lot cheaper than making a call over the mobile network.

[1] Technically it's 'unlimited' with a 40MB/day AUP, so they won't charge if I go over 40MB, they just may decide to stop allowing me data access in the future.

And the *lawyers* win.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473035)

Because once the government starts the regulation ball rolling, regulations will get more and more complex, and those with the money for bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign contributions will be able to shape the rules to suit themselves.

And the little guy will be screwed.

PLEASE STOP ASKING THE GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS!

Not real network neutrality, anyway.... (1)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#29473481)

Whatever the FCC proposes, it almost certainly won't be the real thing [slashdot.org] , but a legislative band-aid. It's sad that we still can't correct century-old mistakes.

Once the goverment can control internet traffic... (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | about 5 years ago | (#29473601)

...it's only a matter of time until, combining precedent with hideous abuse of the Commerce Clause, they finally manage to control the content of the internet traffic. Make no mistake, once the government has the power to control the traffic, whatever the rationale given to dupe the inattentive, it won't unilaterally decide not to then further its scope of control.

Re:Once the goverment can control internet traffic (1)

MikeURL (890801) | about 5 years ago | (#29474169)

There are so many people per representative now that the constitution is virtually worthless. It was written for a time when each vote counted for so much more than it does today. To your senator you are one of an innumerable faceless mass. Freedom is a necessary sacrifice to unchecked population growth. It MIGHT help, up to a point, if the number of representatives increased with the population, proportionally.

But using the same government structure for 300 million people that worked for ~3 million people is a special kind of willful stupid.

Gov't regulating the internet? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29473705)

Do we really want the government regulating the internet? What's next? Requiring ISPs to filter offensive material, track users, etc? This is a bad direction.

Re:Gov't regulating the internet? (1)

Spewns (1599743) | about 5 years ago | (#29474603)

Yes, we do want government regulating the internet, because it's vastly superior to the alternative of private interests regulating the internet. Plain and simple. What exactly do you want?

Re:Gov't regulating the internet? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | about 5 years ago | (#29474671)

Funny, if they were planning on doing that, I imagine they should have done it when they invented the damn thing.

Rules Should Be Set by Legislature (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 5 years ago | (#29474083)

I know it happens all the time, but there is something wrong about complex rules being set by a federal agency instead of a legislature. That's the organization that should hash out competing priorities.

Principal or principle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29474219)

> The guidelines are known as "principals" at the agency

Did you mean "principal" (head of a school, or most important thing in a group), or "principle" (meaning defining code)?

Tethering... (1)

ZildjianKX (872002) | about 5 years ago | (#29474281)

So... why exactly does discriminating against packets sent from a tethered device not violate net neutrality? Why should I have to pay more to tether my laptop? If you want to argue that tethered users use more bandwidth, then clearly set bandwidth caps and let me use my bandwidth however I want to.

Principals? (3, Informative)

butlerm (3112) | about 5 years ago | (#29474437)

Principals run elementary schools. The word you want is "principles".

There STILL are morons who can tag this story (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 5 years ago | (#29475829)

with 'bigbrother'.

i want to beat them each with a thick stick. maybe this can put some sense into their heads. how STUPID can someone be, to leave his/her freedoms in the hands of private people and groups, over whom s/he has no control with. it seems like some morons are SO affected by decades of brainwashing that they think that word 'private' is synonymous to the word 'good'.

die out please, will you ? most of you are generally old anyway. just phase out and leave this world be. your time is past.

Re:There STILL are morons who can tag this story (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 years ago | (#29487807)

Government has the guns, private companies do not. That is the entire story, in a manner of speaking.

And newsflash, there is no human right to Internet, or telecommunications, or anything owned by someone else. Private companies have the freedom to offer their services, or not, to anyone they wish, and possible customers have the freedom to accept or reject anyone they wish. You fail to realize the companies are providing a great benefit to most customers, the cost of DIY-Internet would otherwise be gargantuan. You do not have a right to other people's property, yet that is what you are implying, that you have a right to the Internet another company has the ability to provide.

In short, you are not leaving your freedoms in the hands of private peoples and groups, you always retain your freedom (unless, of course, government tells you otherwise), and the people you exchange with always retained their freedom. Those "private people and groups" have voluntarily given you their services in exchange for your services, your money, because both of you think it will leave you better off than the alternative of not making the exchange. You willingly (if not enthusiastically) make exchanges, but you never gave up your freedom, your ability to choose which decisions to make.

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