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FCC May Tweak Broadband Plan

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the all-waps-must-be-named-after-beatles dept.

Government 52

adeelarshad82 writes "Despite a recent ruling that said the FCC did not have the right to interfere in Comcast's network management issues, the agency is pushing ahead with its national broadband plan, though there might be some tweaks. Since the case was won on the fact that the FCC based its decision on its Internet Policy Principles, a set of guidelines the agency developed internally several years ago regarding broadband Internet service and not actual rules that went through a formal, open rulemaking process, they are invalid, as is the enforcement action. FCC general counsel Austin Schlick acknowledged that the court's decision may affect a significant number of important plan recommendations. The commission is assessing the implications of the decision for each recommendation to ensure that it has adequate authority to execute the mission laid out in the plan."

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Sad to see that (0, Flamebait)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799650)

Verizon's trolling may have had an effect on the FCC.

Without high-speed broadband, the US won't remain *first* in the technology race.

In a *post*-industrial economy, digital infrastructure is the most important thing the government can invest in.

Too bad the Feds decided putting hundreds of billions of dollars into Wall Street was a bigger priority.

Re:Sad to see that (1, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799716)

>>>the US won't remain *first* in the technology race.

We're actually 2nd right now, behind the Russian Federation (~10 Mbit/s) but ahead of the EU (~7 Mbit/s), Brazil, Australia, Canada, China (~2 Mbit/s), and other continent-sized federations.

And if you look at individual states, Delaware is #1 at almost 20 Mbit/s (average) with other northeastern states taking 2nd, 3rd, 4th places. Washington State also offers high average internet speed.

Re:Sad to see that (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31799790)

... behind the Russian Federation (~10 Mbit/s)...
Russia does not end beyond MKAD, you know? And I highly doubt that they have average 10mbps inside MKAD either. Maybe only in media, which is beholden by Putin by the balls.

Re:Sad to see that (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800028)

Cite?

There are many nuances to these kind of metrics that can be exploited to make things look one way or another. For example, measuring "availability" without regard to cost, which is almost meaningless.

The number that matters is adoption - for each country, a histogram of what percentage of the population has each speed of connection. Adoption is what matters because that determines the actual impact of the infrastructure.

Re:Sad to see that (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800076)

speedtest.net, which means they are taking a direct sampling from the actual user connections - no politics involved. No "massaging" of the numbers trying to produce the result desired (either faster or slower). There really is no more accurate data than that coming from speedtest's surveys.

AND speedtest.net is hella more accurate than the US-FCC's lame test (which claimed I only had 350k when I actually have 750kbit/s).

Re:Sad to see that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31800552)

don't be on it, all the isp has to do is see what the connection is to, and if they recognize it as a speedtest site give you better priority/bandwidth than you'd otherwise get.

If they were doing that, then anytime you used testsites the isp knew, you'd rate high, but if you tested with someplace they didn't recognize yet, you'd show something lower and more accurate.
(Kind of like the situation you describe in your last sentence, but without the assumptions of accuracy. And no, I don't know if that's the situation, but not only is it possible, I wouldn't put it past Comcast and other companies.)

Re:Sad to see that (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801010)

speedtest.net, which means they are taking a direct sampling from the actual user connections - no politics involved

OK, I found the page [speedtest.net] you may be referring to, but what does that ranking actually mean? You said "we" are second, but that's a list of continents (North America is 2nd of 6 continents - sorry Antarctica).

But if you then click "top countries ranked by speed," the US is 29th.

Even so, what do those numbers mean? Is it just the average speed test result for people from that country? That would make no sense, since a country with no access except from the Presidential Palace with 1 GB Internet would win easily.

Re:Sad to see that (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800042)

We're actually 2nd right now, behind the Russian Federation (~10 Mbit/s) but ahead of the EU (~7 Mbit/s), Brazil, Australia, Canada, China (~2 Mbit/s), and other continent-sized federations.

EU Politician: "Our Internet runs at ~7 Mbit/s

Russian Politician: "Ha! Our Internet runs at ~10 Mbit/s!"

EU Politician: "Nonsense! Nobody can watch pornography that fast!"

US Politician: "Speed doesn't matter! The girth of your tubes is important!"

So broadband Internet infrastructure is now the key to world domination?

Things were simpler when countries only had to worry about Mine Shaft Gaps.

"We have the best internet infrastructure in the world! It's just too bad that most of our citizens are so undereducated, that they can't figure out how to do anything useful with it."

Re:Sad to see that (2, Funny)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799786)

Yeah, its a shame that our federal government decided that keeping our national currency, which materially affects international currency, might be slightly more important than getting our national internet structure slightly faster yet in no way more useful than Russia.

Re:Sad to see that (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799994)

>>>our federal government decided that keeping our national currency...might be slightly more important than getting our national internet structure slightly faster
>>>

Sounds good but:

The federal government is actually destroying US currency. When the Fed bailed-out banks like Bank of America and Chase, they didn't handover actual money. They simply added 9 zeroes to the Bank's account. In other words the Federal Bank Monopoly created money out of thin air.

Problem: Doing that devalues all the other dollars. Where $1 might have bought a half-gallon of milk, in 2-3 years it will require $1.50 because the currency was devalued by the Fed. By the end of the decade you'll need 2 dollars because the currency will be worth half as much, thanks to the Fed's devaluation of the paper (adding zeroes to accounts).

Re:Sad to see that (2, Insightful)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800102)

Yes, this outcome is vastly preferable to collapse of an economic system.

Nice try though.

Re:Sad to see that (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800246)

First off the economy would not have collapsed.

The businesses that made poor decisions (Chase, AIG, etc) would have died in 2009, and then the healthy companies (like Ford, Apple, Microsoft) could have rebuilt on top of their broken bones in 2010, with a better stronger economy. Survival of the fittest. - Instead we have chosen to save a bunch of crippled, corrupt corporations, and they are dragging us down into a decade-long malaise (think 1930s).

Second, having your half-million-dollar Retirement savings shrink to only half the value (by 2020) is preferable? No, not really. That's a loss of ~$250,000 in real personal wealth.

Re:Sad to see that (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800320)

Incorrect.

Inflation is slated for 3-6% annually, not 17%. This is only slightly elevated from historical trends. Not a big deal. Furthermore, Ford, Apple, and Microsoft are not banks, financial institutions, etc. They are not in competition with these types of organizations, and in fact, rely upon their existence for their own profitability. The failure of large financial groups means that ford, apple, and microsoft also take huge hits. Are you really of the belief that if AIG fails, I'm gonna buy a second truck instead of an investment portfolio?

Yes, having my 500k savings reduced 250k is much, much, much better than having it be worthless. Although in reality, since my portfolio is making more than inflation despite bailouts, its increasing in value, albeit at a slower rate than when it artificially was higher due to financial market flaws (like artificially low interest rates and inflation rates).

nope (1, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800332)

Wrong. Your cult member response is just slap wrong.

    That system needed to crash and burn, the sooner the better so we can rebuild around fairer ways and sounder economic policies. That three headed ultimate conjob scam bankster gangster criminal cartel of the Fed, Wall Street casino bank parasites and so called government regulators-who come from the first two, then go back to them at big bucks after their alleged government "service"- *needed* to collapse. The sooner the better. Pure scam ripoffs, bloated ticks, or as Matt Taibbi put it referring to goldman sachs, a vampire squid sucking the face of humanity. Just because some people got brainwashed into a Stockholm syndrome defense of their "masters", doesn't mean all of us got sucked into "believing" their extortionist lies and threats they used. Ya, an economy "would have crashed", THEIR bullshit thieving economy. They would have "earned" it. Pigs. Privatize profits, socialized their risks and huge gambling losses. Fascist, corporatist *pigs*, and too chicken shit and too corrupt and crooked to eat their own capitalist dogfood. Same sort of pigs and same policies that completely destroyed Iceland economically, a microcosm of the larger picture.

In a REAL free market, where the rules were applied fairly, those parasites would have crashed and burned, gone really bankrupt just like any other failed industry or business model, then their "financial products" their suckass "quants" come up with would have been exposed for the smoke and mirrors financial snakeoil they are, monopoly money crap, "weapons of mass financial destruction", worth maybe a fraction of a penny on the inflated buck, and that's only if they were printed out and the printouts sold for scrap.

Easily proven, not even close to being rocket surgery, a simple observation that counters that BS brainwashing they keep their economic cult members under control with -> IF those grifter's conjobs worked, they WOULDN'T have needed bailouts nor would there be any "economic crisis".

Re:nope (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800360)

Cult member?

You are the cult member. Responding with tons of quotes, run on half thoughts, and meaningless rhetoric.

We don't have a real free market (hence why we have an economic system), therefore you need to invest under the market rules and enforcement that in fact exists. No sense in forum spamming worthless crap when it won't change a damn thing.

By the way, there are no moral issues to my response, so you should have said that I was incorrect (which I was not), rather than wrong.

voodoo junk economic science (1, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802950)

Crap. And you are a cult member because you "believed" in their fairy tale threats and extortion and other lies, just like a good cult member "believes" in whatever his or her cult leaders tell them to believe. This is the sort of system we have

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/32906678/looting_main_street/ [rollingstone.com]

  THAT is what would have crashed, and it deserves it. The other system, the one where people are honest and just go to work and make useful things and similar, would have been just fine in short order after we had disposed of that rotten carcass. And I'll counter that phony cult belief system every time I see it on this board. "Believing" in their lies and repeating them is no different from being a flat earther or scamsciencetologist.

There are no rules, just looting by the casino banks, facilitated by their cult members and brainwashing. Yep, I would be for a "free market" if it existed. Those turkeys would be past history by now if it did. You can defend them or believe in their lies, I refuse, I don't support conmen. And I wouldn't have said jack shit to you if you hadn't insulted the guy you were replying to with your snarky "nice try" comment. "ohhh we avoided a collapse". No we didn't, we facilitated even more ripoffs! We got put on the hook for trillions to support that grifter's economy!

fuck..that...shit

Well if 200 billion didn't work.... (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800274)

Too bad the Feds decided putting hundreds of billions of dollars into Wall Street was a bigger priority.

That's a funny point. While we're all aware that $200 Billion won't even get 768k to every home in the country, [pbs.org] just how many mega(giga?)bits do you think it could have gotten us?

I've seen "estimates" for Gbps FTTH setups and do understand that it would cost a lot of dough, but one really does wonder.

I'm quite certain that anything that's overall cheaper than a complete backbone through last-mile overhaul, though orders of magnitude more expensive per bit/second gained in capacity, will be the repeated step taken by every telco and cable provider in existence until the end of time, offering marginal increases in bandwidth every two years to the average consumer that's paid more in telephone/cable bills than the FTTH materials and installation cost in-between upgrade cycles.

Sigh. I should buy a sign that reads:

WTB:

INTERNET THAT MAKES UPGRADING TO 802.11n NECESSARY

SYMMETRICAL CONNECTIONS JUST LIKE THE ONES MY ISP HAS

Oh well the last Cox tech I spoke with said DOCSIS 3.0. Last summer. At least that can max out 100BASE.

Any day now.

Re:Well if 200 billion didn't work.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800354)

>>>$200 Billion won't even get 768k to every home in the country, [pbs.org]

This article is repeated again-and-again by Slashdotters, but it has no citations. Without citations which I can double-check and verify his numbers/claims, it has even less value than a college student's paper.

As for cost, we could have dug-up a couple million miles in the 1980s and wired the country for 10 Megabit/s fiber at a cost of 1-2 trillion dollars, but we would have simply wasted a lot of money (because 10 Mbit/s is now obsolete). IMHO it makes more sense to progress step-by-step as technology allows, the same we gradually increased computer speeds from 1 megahertz to 8 megahertz to 100 megahertz to 333 megahertz and so on.

Re:Well if 200 billion didn't work.... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800578)

I would buy your we-shouldn't-act-now argument if it wasn't for the fact that cable lines laid down literally decades ago, with absolutely no consideration for data rates, are pumping 10 megabits (with a theoretical max under DOCSIS 3 of 42 megabits) into my home.

It didn't require trillions of dollars then, and it doesn't require trillions of dollars now.

The last mile is apparently cheap and can be laid down accidentally/coincidentally.

Re:Sad to see that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31800520)

The sad thing is that these companies *do not care* where the US stands with connectivity. In fact, if people were still being charged $50 a month to use a 28.8 modem, with connection fees per hour using a SLIP connection, these ISPs would be quite happy.

Add an amendment to the constitution... (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799702)

...granting power to Congress to regulate commerce INSIDE the states. That appears to be the only way they (and the FCC) can regulate a company like Comcast of Baltimore, or Comcast of Oklahoma, or other wholly intrastate companies.

Otherwise without that amendment, the regulation responsibility falls to the Maryland Government's Public Utility Commission, Oklahoma's PUC, et cetera...... the same way electricity and natural gas companies are regulated.

IHMO.

Please don't mod me down if you disagree.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799744)

That would be against the very foundation of our country and the concept of state sovereignty, and would have far reaching consequences as it would instantly give the federal government direct control over *every* aspect of your life.

Might as well shut down all state government if that should happen.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (-1, Offtopic)

wbackner (1417725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799804)

Nice way to turn a decent post into a troll. If only I had mod points. Signatures that condone murder are nice and classy.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799914)

Mod points are not meant to be used to Damage users. If you disagree with the signature about Booth killing a leader, then say so. Do NOT damage his karma. That makes you no better than someone who stabs a person with a knife, just because he didn't like the stabbee's comment.

It makes you no better than this person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hznSuacEN_I [youtube.com]
Or this person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWnxlFbYjVY [youtube.com]
Or this person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EId7itYniR4 [youtube.com]

Mod points are not to be used to attack other slashdotters. That is not their purpose. Read the FAQ: "Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. Likewise, agreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it up. The goal here is to share ideas. To sift through the haystack and find needles."

In practice... (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800138)

Slasdot's moderation system tends to mod based on popularity than what is actually labeled as "insightful" or "troll". Perhaps there should be agree/disagree moderations and those scores would not be able to either promote a comment above the viewing threshold or consign it to oblivion of not seen... But then that would be abused too: the only thing that will keep bad moderators away is if moderation was only granted to fair people and if you moderated unfairly you lost moderation privileges forever - there is always someone else to try giving the points to.

Re:In practice... (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800220)

So you want an agree/disagree button regarding moderation score? That just seems unecessary, considering that we already have meta-moderation...

Re:In practice... (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800254)

Everything is lumped into one number right now. How about multiple feedbacks? One of them could be the ratio of people who agree/disagree, others could be a measurement of how insightful a comment was and yet others could be how inflammatory one is. Lumping everything together into a single number and then letting that number determine how visible a comment is is the problem. People right now are moderating based on their own emotional investments not on an objective basis - perhaps quite a few don't even know how to try to be objective. If the moderation system can't be fixed - and right now it has issues all the time - then the pragmatic thing to do is ignore it and browse at -1. You lose an audience when what you have to say is true and unpopular or you reinforce prejudice when what you have to say is popular and false. This happens all the time here. Mismoderation is an issue, but is it enough of an issue to get addressed?

Re:In practice... (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800270)

...One of them could be the ratio of people who agree/disagree...

And arguably everyone not just those with mod points should be able to contribute to this one metric.

Re:In practice... (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803656)

then the pragmatic thing to do is ignore it and browse at -1.

Once you realize you don't agree with moderation system, why not go all the way and simple "hide moderation scores" while browsing at -1? That allows you to make up your own mind for each comment without any consideration of what others think.

I been reading /. this way for a few months now and I highly recommend it, even compared to browsing at -1 and leaving scores on. I find it hard to think so many browse at the default of 2 or whatever... just a bunch of disjointed comments and replies to words you can't see. Maybe I'm just not living fast enough...

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (-1, Offtopic)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799954)

Signatures that condone murder are nice and classy.

"Booth was a patriot" isn't condoning murder, genius, it's illustrating that blind patriotism is not a virtue in and of itself.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31800114)

Booth *WAS* a patriot but just not a patriot of the united states. But a country that did not exist anymore.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803938)

>>>Booth *WAS* a patriot but just not a patriot of the united states. But a country that did not exist anymore.

Bzzz. Booth was a patriot of neither country (north or south), but of the U.S. Constitution, which specifically guaranteed the right of habeus corpus and free speech and trial by jury, all of which Lincoln abolished during his term. Lincoln was like an 1860s incarnation of George Dubya Bush.

IF (key word) you consider Bush to be an evil president, then you should consider Lincoln evil as well. Their anti-constitution, anti-liberty policies were remarkably similar.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799930)

>>>[granting power to Congress to regulate commerce INSIDE the states] would be against the very foundation of our country and the concept of state sovereignty

- It would make us look like the European Union.
Which is why any such amendment to the US would
likely fail to pass, and we can stop this nonsense
of Congress regulating inside our bedrooms, bathrooms, et cetera.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800032)

That would be against the very foundation of our country and the concept of state sovereignty, and would have far reaching consequences as it would instantly give the federal government direct control over *every* aspect of your life.

Sorry, we've already lost that battle in the War on (Some) Drugs. If what you plant in your backyard is a matter of interstate commerce, so is what Comcast plants in your backyard.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31799824)

Well, your point might have some merit if the FCC's enforcement action against Comcast had been overturned because it wasn't Constitutional.

But that simply is not the case. The FCC was smacked down based on administrative law, not Constitutional law.

Please try to understand the actual issues involved before you advocate for extreme positions.

KTHXBYE

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (3, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799932)

We already have an amendment about this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800014)

The 9th and 10th Amendment has been nullified by the 9 old, unelected farts on the U.S. Government's court.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31799958)

The FCC deals with communication. The Internet is data. That is why the Internet is not regulated and taxed like the Telcos are. The politicians have been looking for a way to tax the Net for years. If they can get the Net recognized as a communication network then they win.

This is about power, control and money. Remember: "We are from the Government and we are here to help".

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (5, Informative)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800058)

Add an amendment to the constitution granting power to Congress to regulate commerce INSIDE the states. That appears to be the only way they (and the FCC) can regulate a company like Comcast of Baltimore, or Comcast of Oklahoma, or other wholly intrastate companies.

The FCC can regulate intrastate companies, especially when they're subsidiaries of an interstate company. To be more accurate, the FCC could regulate those intrastate companies if Congress empowered it to. The fact of the matter is that Congress chose not to preempt state public utility commissions. The interstate commerce clause has been interpreted so expansively that there is very little economic regulation that Congress can't enact or delegate to an agency (the only examples that come to mind are gun restrictions in/around schools (US v. Lopez) and enabling women to seek civil remedies under the violence against women act (US v. Morrison)

Anyway, the FCC's net neutrality order against Comcast wasn't slapped down by the DC Circuit because it lacked constitutional authority. It was because the FCC's action wasn't reasonably ancillary to a specific grant of jurisdiction. In other words, the FCC can't enforce net neutrality unless it can better explain which of its specific powers authorized by Congress net neutrality would fall under. Let me reiterate - the problem isn't that the FCC lacks the power to enforce net neutrality, the problem is that the FCC hasn't given a sufficient, consistent explanation of why it can enforce net neutrality.

The easiest way for the FCC to respond to the DC Circuit's ruling, assuming it still wants to enforce net neutrality, is issue a new rule that finds internet access service to be regulated under Title II of the Telecom Act. That would enable the FCC to regulate ISPs as common carriers.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31801848)

thanks for that explanation. i was one of the folks who was under the impression that FCC had no jurisdiction.

now, since it seems they do have jurisdiction, assume that FCC wants to maintain net neutrality, it seems like the death knell that many headlines were announcing earlier is not the case. since FCC has jurisdiction, if they establish the policy correctly, net neutrality could be alive and well, correct?

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31803820)

This is somewhat simplified, but:

The FCC doesn't currently have jurisdiction over internet access service, because of the way it interpreted certain definitions [slashdot.org] in the telecommunications act. A pretty good argument could be made that it interpreted those definitions in a certain way in order to prevent "open access" requirements on cable ISPs (i.e., requiring cable providers to allow third party ISPs to use their cable infrastructure). But, now the FCC wants to enforce net neutrality, and those interpretations have come back to bite them. So, they probably have to go through a formal rule-making procedure and announce a re-interpretation of those definitions in order to legitimately claim that they can regulate ISPs and enforce net neutrality.

Let me restate that in a way that sounds absolutely crazy: The FCC doesn't have jurisdiction because it used to say it didn't have jurisdiction. The FCC can get jurisdiction by saying it has jurisdiction.

And now, to blow your mind: The FCC has jurisdiction to say what its jurisdiction is. (obviously this is limited to what congress delegated to it, but the FCC can say what congress delegated to it.)

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

careysub (976506) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802134)

... The interstate commerce clause has been interpreted so expansively that there is very little economic regulation that Congress can't enact or delegate to an agency (the only examples that come to mind are gun restrictions in/around schools (US v. Lopez) and enabling women to seek civil remedies under the violence against women act (US v. Morrison)

Indeed. In Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005), it was held that the Federal government had the right to ban growing medical marijuana by the patient herself, with no money or cannabis changing hands, because it involved interstate commerce. How you say? Well, the decision NOT to buy or sell marijuana affects the interstate trade in said product, according to the court!

It seems with interstate trade anything goes today, unless it is some specific policy that the right wing of the court dislikes.

Re:Add an amendment to the constitution... (1)

MacWiz (665750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31805396)

...the same way electricity and natural gas companies are regulated.

Not a chance in hell.

The best one could hope for from the FCC is for them to provide the same expert guidance they used to prevent payola, make sure that ClearChannel didn't homogenize and monopolize radio, and champion the causes of localism and diversity.

Fortunately, unlike electricity and natural gas, radio isn't that important to our survival. It's been replaced by the Internet, over which the FCC has no authority yet. Even if they ever do get authority, it'll take them 15 or 20 years to really fuck it up beyond repair.

formal, open rulemaking process (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31799730)

So the true ruling is that the FCC really DOES have this authority, they just have to put the rules in black and white before they run off enforcing them. Nothing new here, just that they didn't follow procedures ( DOH ! ). And you can bet when they do, Comcast will regret calling them out on it. ( of cousre even if they do go down, their board already made their millions )

Re:formal, open rulemaking process (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31799878)

So the true ruling is that the FCC really DOES have this authority

The Court didn't say that. The FCC may or may not have that authority. The presence or lack of that authority was simply not used by the Court to make this decision. If the FCC follows the proper rule making procedures, it would still be possible for a future court to rule that the FCC does not have that authority.

Even if the Court did say that, it would be nonbinding dicta, meaning that a future court could simply ignore it.

Re:formal, open rulemaking process (2, Interesting)

Kirijini (214824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31800104)

If the FCC follows the proper rule making procedures, it would still be possible for a future court to rule that the FCC does not have that authority.

Under NCTA v. Brand X [google.com] and the Chevron Doctrine [wikipedia.org] courts have very little power to overrule agency interpretations of vague statutes. Under Brand X itself, the Supreme Court found that the telecom act was vague on whether internet access service was or was not a "telecommunications service" (versus a "information service"), and therefore, the FCC's interpretation was valid unless it was not a reasonable policy choice. It seems pretty clear that if the FCC changed its mind, and enacted a new policy that found internet access was a telecommunications service and therefore potentially subject to common carriage regulation, the courts would have to accept that (because it's a reasonable policy choice). So long as the FCC followed the proper rule-making process.

Re:formal, open rulemaking process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31800162)

Chevron is great in theory, but in practice, the FCC is like 0 - 1,000,000 over the past ten years in the courts. There's just no telling what the courts will do, especially because the courts have gotten so used to smacking down the FCC over the past ten years.

Re:formal, open rulemaking process (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31800066)

"And you can bet when they do, Comcast will regret calling them out on it."

I hope they get hammered. Just look at how they treat customers in their home state, in between where they're headquartered and the state's capital.

I'm in Pennsylvania, which is home to Comcast corporate. The state legislature pretty much kisses Comcast's derriere and passes whatever the company wants into law, as seen with the cable box law they passed several years ago. Assembly hearings on trying to break the monopoly on PCN in the past always revolve back to how "it can't be done" or worrying about "disrupting" current services. Comcast has jacked their rates up an average of $35 a month on an extended cable bill with broadband internet over the past 7 years. The move to digital TV has gotten rates even higher, from box rentals, and generally piss poor customer service, esp. billing, where they often threaten to charge people for speaking to a representative about their bill.

The thing is, for huge swaths of the county I'm in, Lancaster, they are the only game in town. Verizon refuses to activate ISDN lines or hook up fiber to the curb where they ran it, and most COs that have DSL don't serve many available houses because they pair gained lines as residential communities exploded. FiOS is unavailable from what I can tell. Verizon isn't running lines to new communities (I know, I'm in real estate) or to wealthier developments (usually targetted by FiOS). Because utilities are underground in the new areas, it's nearly impossible to build out new lines later.

So we get stuck with Comcast. For the $35 more per month, I have fewer channels than I did before, and even fewer that I like. Movie channels have been replaced by game and decade old TV rerun channels. My broadband speed has gone up a whopping 1.4 megabit over those 7 years, despite being claimed to have gone up 3-4 megabit according to Comcast. Upload speed has doubled from 256 to about 512kbit. However, the lag has gotten far far worse. Before it was quick, now it's a slug. Hitting a website delays nearly half a second usually, because of the caching Comcast does (documented years ago on /. and often seen when their network crashes) and gaming generally sucks despite their claims because of the lag. And BitTorrent, well, that's just obviously filtered to hell, as has been well documented on /. They also obviously throttle BT traffic too.

Now, this month, they have yet another change; I have to get boxes from them to continue my service (after less than a year ago during the analog to digital transition Comcast advertised stating "Comcast has you covered"). I supposedly get more channels with digital (we'll see), but I have to rent a box for every damn TV over 3. Can't buy it at a reasonable cost, and they also likely know my viewing habits since it's their box. And I've got to go hook the damn sets up. Channel changing is piss ass slow (my parents already changed over) compared to analog, and Comcast just made defunct many recorders--VCRs, digital recorders, DVRs, and PVRs--because of non-standard interfacing with the IR outlet used in their DTAs.

They even charge for speaking to a billing representative (or at least threaten it) or for phone payments. Whopping $5. How the hell is automated phone processing add $5 to a customer's bill?

When Comcast first hit the area and built it out, satellite TV dishes in the area were few and far between. Now, I see more and more people getting Dish Network and DirecTV. Makes me wonder where people are getting their internet access. Dialup? Cell phone providers?

"( of cousre even if they do go down, their board already made their millions )"

Sadly, they have. They went from doing things the right way, to finding that removing services and giving less value increases their profitability. This is why we lag other nations, and why I hope the FCC increases competition, because the current crop of monopolies--Comcats with TV and Verizon with phone--use broadband as a secondary profit layer, not a primary one. They suck as ISPs.

Back to Comcast, they've made those millions if not billions because of the specialty packages from the digital TV market--pay per view of special events, pay per view movie "rentals", sport packages (MLB), and forced cable box rentals to continue previous service "levels."

By my estimation, they pull a profit off the forced box rentals alone, and they are only dialing that down because it's tapped out, so they are shifting to a strategy of giving more boxes away for free (included in the csot of your service) to get people to buy beyond their standard service model. This is only possible by reducing the channels available--which they've already done during the digital rollout, when they pulled analog channels and made them exclusively digital. Want your channels? Had to rent a box.

Now the holdovers are being targetted. Want your service (extended cable)? Here's a box. But we'll only give you 3. How long until they start packaging those channels into paying tiers?

Re:formal, open rulemaking process (1)

careysub (976506) | more than 4 years ago | (#31802186)

So the true ruling is that the FCC really DOES have this authority, they just have to put the rules in black and white before they run off enforcing them. Nothing new here, just that they didn't follow procedures ( DOH ! ).

Correct, it is only the DEA it seems that can ignore its own rules, administrative law rulings, and science and set regulations that contradict all of these at once.

The scheduling of marijuana as Schedule I when pure THC is Schedule III directly violates its rules on scheduling, and was actually ruled in violation by an administrative law judge. The DEA simply ignored the ruling. Laws don't apply to the lawmen apparently.

From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31800048)

On net neutrality, meanwhile, the FCC has again extended the public comment period – this time from April 8 to April 26. The rulemaking would essentially require ISPs to use reasonable network management and not block specific applications. It would also make those Internet Policy Principles actual FCC rules, a move that might actually give the commission the authority the court said it currently lacks.

In other words, FCC is going through the proper hoops to do in the right way what they tried to do in the wrong way.

Latency (1)

TM22721 (91757) | more than 4 years ago | (#31806290)

I always get amused by the focus on bandwidth. Even a few seconds of latency above 200 ms will kill a Netflix movie or Youtube video. I know because I have a dedicated T1 business line and this is NOT covered in the contract. They will compensate you for time lost but that doesn't help when a movie or episode has to be restarted every half hour.

About Law, not "right" (1)

Lord Flipper (627481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31808518)

The FCC lost the case because the Court said they lacked "statutory authority" only. It had nothing to do with "rights" as was alluded to in the article summary.

That means Congress can pass a law giving the FCC that statutory authority; the FCC's statement about looking at various aspects of their "Broadband Plan" to discern where they have "authority" and where they do not, is a bit on the disingenuous side, no? It's as if they're saying, "We'd like an open/fair internet access situation, but we just can't do it." Whether bought-off Senators and Congress-people can muster a little "independence" and simply enact a law giving them that authority is another issue.

My g-friend is an attorney who deals with legal/regulatory affairs for the Cable/Telecom industry, and her position (which was shared by Comcast, AT&T, Time/Warners, etc), before the ruling, was that the FCC lacked statutory authority. Whaddya know?

This was a simple, easily-ascertained fact, not an opinion, or "interpretation", and therefor, it seems obvious (to me) that the FCC was well aware of that same fact, and was just playing a "game" in order to get some jurisdictional precedent. Why would they do that? My guess: To appear "concerned' about net neutrality, on the surface, but to ratify the business-as-usual abdication of industry/utility oversight, the interests of the "Public" (and society, as a whole) be damned.

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