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Free Press Sues FCC Over Discrepancy In Net Neutrality Rules

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the give-me-interwebs-or-give-me-death dept.

The Internet 71

hypnosec writes "The Free Press has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission, challenging the net neutrality rules laid out by the regulator. The lawsuit (PDF), which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, claims the rules are different for fixed line and mobile wireless broadband. According to the rules, mobile wireless carriers are not allowed to block voice and other applications that compete with their own services, but other than that, they are free do to what they want."

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Dicks aplenty! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566714)

I love dicks. Can I suck your dick? Oh and frist psot!

Not a problem (2)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566744)

So the only thing they are not allowed is to block competing services? What about detecting them (by packet inspection) and charging premium rates?

Re:Not a problem (2)

click2005 (921437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566816)

Or just lower the QoS... routing data over satellite links instead of terrestrial ones, inserting lag or 'losing' packets.

There are many ways to make a service unusable without blocking it.

Re:Not a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566920)

If you sell a tiered service, as cell network operators do, it's important to make sure your lower-cost tiers suck. If you provide those customers with too good a service, you'll remove the incentive to upgrade so something more expensive.

FCC recognizes that made unusable = blocked (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37570068)

Or just lower the QoS... routing data over satellite links instead of terrestrial ones, inserting lag or 'losing' packets.

There are many ways to make a service unusable without blocking it.

Making the service unusable is blocking it, according to the Report & Order, at para. 66:

We make clear that the no-blocking rule bars broadband providers from impairing or degrading particular content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices so as to render them effectively unusable (subject to reasonable network management). Such a prohibition is consistent with the observation of a number of commenters that degrading traffic can have the same effects as outright blocking, and that such an approach is consistent with the traditional interpretation of the Internet Policy Statement. The Commission has recognized that in some circumstances the distinction between blocking and degrading (such as by delaying) traffic is merely "semantic."

Re:Not a problem (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566964)

No, instead, they raise rates for everything else and discount their own. That's the "fair" way to do it.

It reminds me of something a particular apartment management company has been doing ( these bastards [apartmentratings.com] ). The law says they cannot charge ridiculous late fees to people and has limited what they can charge for various things. But, the law did not prevent them from offering huge discounts for paying rent "on time" and so that's what they did. But now it's worse than it was before! How? Well, first is the very large effective late fee (which is the loss of $100+ discount + the normal late fee) but then here's the fun part -- these 'discounts' accumulate and they can be made to blow up on you like a giant usurious bomb! So, let's say you need to move because your job is relocating you. Well, you can usually give the customary 30 days notice, but they don't subscribe to that policy... they are more like 60 to 90 day notice is required! And then they want to charge you lease breaking fees which is equal to the remainder of the lease + all discounts previously applied or something like that.

Apartment dwellers almost never have enough money to get legal representation and people without money don't have the ear of the government either. So these abuses will continue until something reaches a breaking point.

Seems I went off topic? Well kinda -- the practice of "raising prices + applying discounts" would likely be the approach the wireless carriers would take... you know, just like "friends and family" plans they use to get entire groups of people to move to their service who then become reluctant to change to other services because all of their friends and family are on the one service.

Gotta love the clever ways they use and abuse their customers...

Re:Not a problem (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567406)

And I thought my landlords were terrible because they've never fixed the pool and the supers pay their favourite tenants crap money to do the cleaning for them... Those guys sound like utter assholes. Got to love the 5.0 reviews that were blatantly written by staff.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567450)

BS. If your job is relocating you, they'll pick up the relocation tab. If you don't want to pay the late rent fee, however it may be worded, pay your rent on time, durr.

You think an insurance company, or lender will sit back and let you pay what you owe late? Here's news for you: your insurance will be canned immediately, your car will be repossessed, your home will be taken from you, and your credit will be torn to shreds.

Why do you feel a property owner should give you a break? They don't get any and most would happily sell up and get out of the business. Don't like it? Learn to manage your funds and get on the property ladder, and that doesn't mean starting in a large family home like they make out on TV, it means buying what is within your means and working up.

Re:Not a problem (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567606)

The point is that there are laws in place to limit them from taking advantage of people in a bad or difficult situation. They are skirting the law by offering large discounts for on-time payment.

FWIW, I never paid late. Not once. However, I did get relocated for work. And they did try to take advantage in the way I described. Once I got the company attorney involved, I hadn't heard back from them though...

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567610)

If you don't want to pay the late rent fee, however it may be worded, pay your rent on time, durr.

Wow, yeah! If someone is late on their rent, we should just allow them to charge a $10,000 late fee! After all, they were late (no normal people ever are because there are no unexpected events in the real world). Therefore, they must be severely punished.

Businesses can do whatever they want. Regulation is stupid and stinky.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37570302)

Reminds me of something Jeff Vogel once said, "Everyone makes mistakes, some people are just unlucky enough to be savagely punished for theirs."

Re:Not a problem (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585826)

There is a such thing as too much, and there is a law that defines what too much is. These bastards re-structured things to skirt that law on technicality.

You have apparently never heard the word "reasonable"

You are also apparently unaware that sometimes "guano occurs"

Please tell us your real name so we can make sure never to do any sort of business with you.

Re:Not a problem (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567828)

Making the usual price include "discounts" and then charging back those discounts on early termination is a bastardy thing to do. However...

A lease is a lease. If you terminate early having to pay out the remainder of the term is pretty standard. So if there' this "giant usurious bomb" you just keep the lease and pay it each month while not living there, no bomb goes off.

Surely the real estate agent you got to read it pointed out this ridiculous term and advised you not to sign it?

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37570356)

Yes, because the average person getting an off-campus apartment at college can get a real estate agent to look over an apartment rental for any sort of reasonable fee.

Re:Not a problem (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37572280)

If you got into college you should be able to read the thing yourself. If you are dumb enouh to sign the terms mentioned above then you can't afford not to pay one (or choose an area where the landlord pays it)...

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37568132)

Apartment dwellers almost never have enough money to get legal representation and people without money don't have the ear of the government either. So these abuses will continue until something reaches a breaking point.

Yep, then you move to a place with proper regulations that does its best to stop such legal trickery as you described above.

Heck, here, they can't charge you an early termination fee or anything if they could reasonably be expected to fill the vacancy. For example, if they had anybody on a wait list, or an excess number of applications for some other vacancy, or just another vacancy they're trying to fill, they can't charge you any fee. I'm also pretty sure they can't charge you a fee if they've let other properties remain vacant, but I'm not sure on that one.

Re:Not a problem (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568464)

Different states, different rules and laws.

I never suffered much from this place but I know there are plenty who have. *I* have learned long ago to pay attention to those details. The new rules were put into place while I was still there. I left not long after.

I hope people read the reviews and comments I linked to above. Those people need to be brought to justice and held to account. The $300/mo electric bill there was pretty common and without good reason. The apartment management always pretends to be surprised when informed of it and it has been a problem for at least 10 years.

I don't live there and haven't lived there for a while, but they were the worst case I have ever witnessed.

Re:Not a problem (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569824)

Different states, different rules and laws.

Yep....in New Orleans...really bad.

For one thing, if you rent here...you pretty much count on never seeing a penny of your deposit back. Even if you clean, do everything well...or even if your landlord sell the place out from under you, it is gone.

That's the first thing. Tenants really have virtually no rights....the one exception is that of eviction. It basically takes a landlord 3-6 months to get your fully out of the place once proceedings start. So, you have time to look for a new place. But other than that...tenants have no real rights down here..

Re:Not a problem (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37572820)

For one thing, if you rent here...you pretty much count on never seeing a penny of your deposit back.

Back when I was a renter I always assumed I wouldn't get my deposit back, so when it came to moving I was finished as soon as the stuff I wanted was in the new place. I didn't clean anything. Didn't even throw away the stuff that I didn't want to move. If you're taking my deposit you can work for it.

Re:Not a problem (1)

zifn4b (1040588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568428)

Just because they are using a sneaky way to get around a law or regulation doesn't mean that you can't hire an attorney to file a petition to bring it to a court's attention. A judge may decide that what they are doing is logically equivalent to disobeying the law and render a judgment against them anyway. It comes down to having the money for the legal representation.

You may be able to get an attorney to take your case with a low retainer if they feel strongly that you would win the case and be awarded substantial legal expenses and/or damages. It just depends. DISCLAIMER: IANAL

Many people make assumptions about whether they have the ability to fight something that is wrong without ever making it their business to find out. They just assume they are doomed without even trying. You are guaranteed to be a victim and complain incessantly for the rest of your life unless you take responsibility for standing up for yourself.

Re:Not a problem (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569592)

Or I could just leave... which I did.

That said, I did try to take action and I did speak to an attorney and got similar advice -- get a petition together. LOTS of people refused to sign the petition and some later requested to be removed from it. There were and are a lot of people living there that shouldn't be for "various reasons." I relocated for my job before I could see justice through.

As for the high lease-breaking fee? Well, that matter hasn't really been addressed by me... last I heard, a letter was sent by my company's legal department seeking answers to some hard questions. I hadn't heard anything since.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37574974)

This is why I love student legal services [google.com] . College students pay a small yearly fee (like $40), and get free legal representation as long as they're enrolled. Stuff like this won't fly if the student has enough time to pay the attorneys a visit.

Re:Not a problem (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567094)

Wireless is a competitive market so carriers are permitted to do what they want with the presumption that if the customer doesn't like it they'll go to another vendor.

Wired broadband typically suffers from a monopoly or duopoly. There typically isn't a lot of choice available to the consumer, so there are strong restrictions on what the vendor is permitted to do.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567130)

Yeah, wireless is so competitive you have to sign two-year contracts when you buy a new phone.

Re:Not a problem (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568892)

You don't have to, if you're buying the phone, it's just that some carriers like AT&T don't offer any discount if you don't accept their subsidy.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567162)

Competitive market? ha not in the USA, we got AT&T Verizon and T-mobile and Sprint.

Re:Not a problem (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567188)

Wireless is a competitive market so carriers are permitted to do what they want with the presumption that if the customer doesn't like it they'll go to another vendor.

Yep, locked phones, multi-year contracts with punitive termination fees, incompatible networks, rampant collusion in pricing and services. Real vicious competition there.

Re:Not a problem (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37571996)

Yep, locked phones, multi-year contracts with punitive termination fees, incompatible networks, rampant collusion in pricing and services. Real vicious competition there.

I don't know in the US, but here in France they also have a very well shared list of 'bad customers'. Say you refuse to pay a 4000$ bill because you forgot to turn off data roaming when you were on vacation in some other country. Then no other carrier will sell you another contract. How do you spell 'collusion' in french ?

Re:Not a problem (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37572836)

Collusion? Do you have anything to back that up, or do you just know?

Immature, not competitive (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569788)

Wireless is a competitive market so carriers are permitted to do what they want with the presumption that if the customer doesn't like it they'll go to another vendor.

This is false in three ways:

First, the Open Internet Report and Order distinguishes between fixed and mobile broadband, not wireless and wireline; fixed includes many wireless services.

Second, mobile broadband providers are not "permitted to do what they want", there are several restrictions placed on them (there is a transparency rule, and and non-blocking rules applying to any lawful websites and to any applications which compete with the provider's voice and video telephony services.)

Third, and perhaps most critically to the point you are making, the FCC did not put looser restrictions on mobile broadband providers based on the market being competitive, but did so based on the market being less mature (see, e.g., Report & Order at para. 8: "Mobile broadband is at an earlier stage in its development than fixed broadband and is evolving rapidly. For that and other reasons discussed below, we conclude that it is appropriate at this time to take measured steps in this area.")

Re:Not a problem (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567920)

no no no.

THEY DO IT LIKE THIS!!: they sell you a data package with some ridiculous limit.

THEN, they introduce their own garden apps which bypass that limit(use different ap settings, or route just real 'voice' to voip or whatever like that).

this is actually the old "good" way how they have been behaving since forever, it's the normal playbook for them since wap days.

no need to throttle competing services as you'll be billed to moon for going over the data limit by using them. this is how operators saw that they could roll their own video etc services.

Re:Not a problem (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569926)

So the only thing they are not allowed is to block competing services? What about detecting them (by packet inspection) and charging premium rates?

This appears to be allowed, although the transparency rule requires them to disclose exactly what they are doing in this regard and why.

No wonder (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566772)

Well looking at who had something to gain over the wireless rules, it's no wonder that they got a pretty free reign to do whatever they please over that spectrum. Google's stance in it may have had something to do with their push for Android, but I really don't get why they sided with VZW on it. No neutrality towards all content is not neutrality at all.

Good (2)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37566842)

The FCC needs to grow some balls. I can't believe they put these rules through and harped about needing an open internet and then allowed the wireless providers to do whatever the hell they want. What PRECISELY will hurt your "new" wireless networks so much by not being able to block whatever you want? Precisely what? Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. I'm pretty sure the companies making 100's of millions of dollars like Verizon and AT&T are quite fine having to deal with the new rules. That any wireless company would claim their networks are new and just barely growing is absurd. That they would use that as an excuse to not have net neutrality is insane. I cannot understand why the FCC people would even give a shit unless they are in someone's pocket. Honestly, what a load of horseshit.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37566954)

Hate to point this out, but the FCC is a *government* entity. Ergo, they are in someone's pocket. Our entire government is a wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporations doing business in the US. It's no longer 'Of the people, by the people, for the people'. It is 'Of the corporations, by the corporations, fuck the people'.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567044)

Since when was it ever that? It was always in the pockets of the rich and the.corporations.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567172)

Yup, the entire reason we revolted from England in the first place was that a small collection of rich merchants didn't like the way England taxed trade and favored English merchants over those in the colonies.

Those same rich guys formed the continental congress and later one them invented the corporation via the first trust.

Re:Good (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567454)

The ENTIRE reason? I seem to remember there was a tyrannical king involved, one who refused to assent to laws "most wholesome and necessary to public good;" one who purposely "called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant." One who arbitrarily dissolved Representative Houses because he didn't like their results, and refused to allow others to be elected. And other affronts, such as restraint of trade, and withholding the right to trial by a jury of peers.

You go on about "rich guys," but it was far from a bunch of foppish gentry. These founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the desperate cause of a final redress against tyranny. Some lost those lives; many lost those fortunes; but damn few lost their honor. I can't say the same about their oppressors, who called down the wrath of the world's greatest power against them, resorting to mercenaries in an assault whose triumph most of the world considered to be a forgone conclusion.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37571176)

Lol at the randtard who.bought into the romanticized version of what happened. Next you'll tell us that the civil war wasn't about slavery but "northern aggression", right?

Re:Good (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567242)

Which pretty much made up the "founding fathers". Who, naturally, restricted the club to themselves and their peers - only land owners (of the right gender, age, color and creed, of course) had the right to vote, and who could be elected was even more restricted. All to keep power where it belonged with the Good Ol' Boys.

Re:Good (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37571268)

All to keep power where it belonged with the Good Ol' Boys.
Or maybe those with the most to lose if govt. should grow to big and cumbersome. Rather than just become a massive bureaucracy whose sole purpose is to direct transfer payments.

PUtting the brakes on business (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567700)

Business is built (and grows) from innovation on top of infrastructure.

This is the infrastructure part - by allowing companies to ration the resources and block new business models as they see fit, it allows them to put the brakes on growth.

This then reserves the "growth" for the carrier if, at some future time, they should decide to add new business models.

For a concrete example: by making the barrier to entry for streaming video very high it becomes impossible to start a streaming video company. The carrier wants to reserve that potential business opportunity for itself in the future.

Unfortunately, this sort of rationing stunts the growth of *all* new business which might make use of the resource - including new and innovative ideas which are untested and whose viability is unknown at launch. Big companies are risk-averse, and generally don't innovate. (For instance, this is why at launch it was nigh impossible to make a call with an iPhone in Manhattan - the new business model swamped the limited resources of the carrier.)

Just one piece of the US policy of investing in stagnation.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37568714)

You were told that the FCC would fuck you by many people that learned long ago that the FCC cant be trusted because they make a habit of fucking people.

Now you are surprised? What a fucking idiot you are.

Re:Good (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569710)

The FCC needs to grow some balls. I can't believe they put these rules through and harped about needing an open internet and then allowed the wireless providers to do whatever the hell they want.

They didn't.

First, the rules don't distinguish between wireline and wireless, they distinguish between fixed and mobile, which isn't the same thing. (See, e.g., 47 CFR Sec. 8.11(b), as added by the Report and Order, "Fixed broadband Internet access service. A broadband Internet access service that serves end users primarily at fixed endpoints using stationary equipment. Fixed broadband Internet access service includes fixed wireless services (including fixed unlicensed wireless services), and fixed satellite services.")

Secondly, they don't let mobile providers "do whatever they want", even though there are fewer rules for mobile broadband providers than for fixed broadband providers; not only are they generally prohibited from blocking access to competing voice and video applications, they are similarly prohibited from blocking access to lawful websites (47 CFR Sec. 8.5, added by the Report and Order, "A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network management.")

Re:Good (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37570968)

Can Verizon still block my access to getting on IRC networks without me having to mess around with a bunch of different servers? I can't use the main Rizon server...I had to go find a specific one to log on to because half the ones I tried wouldn't work. If the answer is anything other than no, this argument doesn't matter. If someone is trying to tell me I can use AIM, GTalk, MSN, and Yahoo but not log onto IRC, I'd LOVE to hear why. It's pretty much accepted on most forums that Verizon is blocking for no apparent reason.

Re:Good (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37573520)

Can Verizon still block my access to getting on IRC networks without me having to mess around with a bunch of different servers?

Insofar as IRC is neither a website nor a competing voice or video application, Verizon (when acting as a mobile broadband provider; they also provide fixed services) could block it, though under the transparency rules they would have to disclose details about how and what they were blocking that would take much of the guesswork out of dealing with the blocking.

If someone is trying to tell me I can use AIM, GTalk, MSN, and Yahoo but not log onto IRC, I'd LOVE to hear why.

The transparency rules require them to identify both what they are blocking and why, among other things.

Re:Good (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37584186)

Who cares if they tell me I can't do it? I want my phone to access the internet...all of it. TELLING me I can't do something doesn't solve the problem of NOT BEING ABLE TO DO IT. That pisses me off. I don't even understand why they're blocking it...honestly. From a network management stand point, why would you block IRC? o_O

Re:Good (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37587210)

Who cares if they tell me I can't do it?

One of the problems in avoiding the blocking that has been practiced by both fixed and mobile internet providers in the past is that neither has announced what they were blocking, making it unnecessarily difficult for consumers to make purchasing decisions informed by accurate facts. So, I'm going to say lots of people probably care about being able to get accurate information on the services actually provided.

Further, requiring accurate reports of what is being blocked, as long as requiring providers to publicize their justification, makes it a lot easier for public entities like the FCC to weigh future restrictions on blocking as the market for mobile internet provisions becomes more mature.

I don't even understand why they're blocking it...honestly.

As noted in GGP, the Open Internet Report and Order adopted by the FCC will require mobile broadband providers to identify why they are blocking it.

From a network management stand point, why would you block IRC?

Who said that they are blocking it for network management purposes?

Re:Good (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#37574236)

I think the bit about telephony should say "nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services or with the provider's text and multimedia messaging services, subject to reasonable network management."

That is, providers are not allowed to block things that compete with SMS and MMS in the same way they are not allowed to block things like Skype or FaceTime or other voice and video call applications.

The FCC is all political (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37570142)

Powel's Kid was running the FCC under Bush Jr. I assume that was part of the package to get Powel in with Bush, or just Powel pulling some strings for nepotism. That wouldn't be all so bad, it was when the kid rolled back all the anti-monopoly changes in the 1996 telco reform act and allowed wired lines their protected monopoly status again. You wonder why it's a duopoly in the states? The FCC under Bush is a major factor in this. Oh also the lovely Rep Upton (R-MI) who was head of the house subcommittee on telecommunications (My Rep, go figure!) was very pro-big telco and supported these changes back to the old ways. Guess who his largest donors were? But Upton has moved along.. now he's just one of the super 12 fixing the budget. Yeah, that's gonna go over well. So it's not just the FCC, it's the entire system that's rigged. Corporatism run wild.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37572022)

The FCC lacks the jurisdiction to enforce any of this by law. Just because the pass a law they did nothing to abolish the fact that they have no oversight in term of enforcement.

Tethering (1)

ZildjianKX (872002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567034)

If net neutrality was strictly applied to wireless carriers, wouldn't they have to stop charging for tethering since they are price discriminating based on where the packet originates from?

Re:Tethering (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567092)

Yep. Do you want to file, or are you going to wait? They will change the rules when someone with money and time makes them change the rules.

Lacks Standing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567096)

Just a guess, but the Free Press lacks standing. Therefore, the lawsuit will be dismissed.

Re:Lacks Standing (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567214)

Just a guess, but the Free Press lacks standing. Therefore, the lawsuit will be dismissed.

I would imagine it's quite easy to have standing in this case. Just have a fixed line broadband for your home and a wireless internet for your phone. If the carriers start disconnecting litigants to prevent you from having standing, they'd be stepping into some deep shit.

The suit could be dismissed for other legally valid reasons (especially for not contributing sufficiently to the right election campaigns).

More to the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567170)

Both the Congress and the DC federal Courts have told the FCC that it does not have the authority from the enacting legislation to enact such rules.

I've heard this arguement before... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567296)

The line based ISPs lost their battle, their bandwidth is cheaper than dirt. Wireless carriers have to build and use expensive towers so their per GB rate is much much higher.

The thing they are trying to avoid is terminating user contracts because they went over their cap limit. I remember when wireless carrier internet was first starting, Verizon termed mine for torrenting down a few linux distros in a day. A year later I got a check for $50 from a class action lawsuit paying for my termed broadband card, stating they terminated my access w/o actually knowing if I was violating their TOS or not, they just assumed I was torrenting w/o actually knowing lol.

Re:I've heard this arguement before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567388)

They shouldn't be actively blocking anything. The bandwidth excuse makes no sense.

Re:I've heard this arguement before... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37568298)

It's made sense to the court system so, you are vastly underestimating what wads of $ and legal can do for a company. It's definitely unethical, if they have a problem w your account, they should term it after showing you violated TOS, not throttle it to the point where u can't use it, BUT are still paying for it, make sense?

However, terming accounts doesn't make them any $, while the customer getting throttle is still paying AND getting shitty service for their alleged abuse.

Torrent traffic doesn't have a big red sticky note on it labeling it torrent traffic, it's determined by # of simultaneous connections and the bandwidth utilization of the client, these are not 100% sure fire ways of blocking p2p. This why I'm able to fully bypass our corporate firewall on port 443 (opened by me for VPN, actual requirement) w torrents, the firewall thinks its VPN traffic. :)

Re:I've heard this arguement before... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#37574506)

The whole solution is for everyone (wired and wireless) to forget about trying to detect if its torrent traffic or otherwise and just charge by the megabyte or gigabyte. For congested wireless cells, you just rate limit the total amount of data any one customer can transfer over the given cell

Re:I've heard this arguement before... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590396)

ALL wireless carriers are capped now, I don't think anybody in the states offers unlimited cell phone data as of very recently.

For land based ISPs in the states its a little different, they would lose money. They currently charge like $50 (median like average from mine and friends experience), most people don't use $50 worth of bandwidth, maybe the torrenters do, but they are not the majority of an ISP's users.

Also the RIAA would not appreciate not being able to detect torrent traffic, and they have lobbyists.

I remember the good ol' days when ISPs weren't so anal with their bandwidth. Profit models tend to f' up like this in the long runs.

There is a difference between wired and wireless (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37567424)

Wired spectrum from the local service provider to the customer is limited only by money and the time, effort, and politics of laying new wires. Barring local political obstacles or the rare geographical obstacles, companies are free to invest and lay more fiber to their customers.

Wireless is another matter. Even if additional spectrum were auctioned off and radio towers built every other block, there is a practical limit to wireless bandwidth. There's also the issue that there's not a lot of spectrum to auction off except at the high end, and that spectrum isn't exactly great for things like mobile phones.

Re:There is a difference between wired and wireles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37567890)

Everything uses up bandwidth. That has nothing to do with blocking certain protocols/content. As far as I know, they are still allowed to have bandwidth caps. They could use up that bandwidth by doing anything.

Re:There is a difference between wired and wireles (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569094)

That argument would have merit if they weren't selling 5-Laptop hotspots.

Re:There is a difference between wired and wireles (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569684)

Presumably they're only selling what they believe their infrastructure can support. If the data bandwidth required were two or three times their capacity model and they didn't have funding or spectrum to increase capacity, not only are they screwed, but so are all their customers.

We can't have it both ways. Either a few pay for tethering and large data usage, or we all pay for tethering and large data usage whether we need/want it or not. What everyone seems to want is all you can eat data with unlimited tethering but at the same price or even less than they currently pay. That will not happen.

Re:There is a difference between wired and wireles (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37571552)

Amazing. A limited resource that everyone can tap into. Here comes the tragedy of the commons!
If only there was some way to keep the hoards from screwing it up for the rest of us.
Like a per-arranged set of rules that the majority of us found to be fair enough.
...
REGULATIONS

Wired and wireless ARE fundamentally different. But the fact that wireless has a limited resource isn't a good argument to make EXCEPTIONS to the regulations.

Re:There is a difference between wired and wireles (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37585894)

Anybody remember all the hype about 5 years ago when we heard how much cheaper it is to deploy wireless bandwidth and how much cheaper it was to maintain?

Can someone remind me then how much cheaper mobile networking is compared to cable or DSL?

Summary reverses facts and claims (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37569610)

The lawsuit (PDF), which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, claims the rules are different for fixed line and mobile wireless broadband.

That's not a controversial claim, its a fact which is explicitly noted with a justification presented in the Report and Order.

(Report & Order, para. 8: "Mobile broadband is at an earlier stage in its development than fixed broadband and is evolving rapidly. For that and other reasons discussed below, we conclude that it is appropriate at this time to take measured steps in this area. Accordingly, we require mobile broadband providers to comply with the transparency rule, which includes enforceable disclosure obligations regarding device and application certification and approval processes; we prohibit providers from blocking lawful websites; and we prohibit providers from blocking applications that compete with providers' voice and video telephony services. We will closely monitor the development of the mobile broadband market and will adjust the framework we adopt today as appropriate.")

According to the rules, mobile wireless carriers are not allowed to block voice and other applications that compete with their own services, but other than that, they are free do to what they want.

On the other hand, that's not a fact, its a (demonstrably false) claim. Mobile broadband internet carriers are prohibited from blocking access to any:
1. lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management, and
2. voice or video applications that compete with the provider's voice and video telephony services, subject to reasonable network managements.

(Report & Order, Appendix A, provision added as 47 CFR Sec. 8.5: "[...] A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network management.")

some caveats though (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37571240)

For instance, there's nothing keeping them from saying "streaming video via our paid app doesn't count towards your tiny data caps". This is in fact reasonable for them since it means that they don't need to increase their upstream connections.

It kind of sucks for the end user though since if everyone in a given area does it the effect is chilling.

Re:some caveats though (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37573474)

For instance, there's nothing keeping them from saying "streaming video via our paid app doesn't count towards your tiny data caps". This is in fact reasonable for them since it means that they don't need to increase their upstream connections.

Given the rule in paragraph 66 of the Report and Order which equates rendering content unusable with blocking it, establishing very low caps in general or specific to competing voice or video service which acted to render competing voice and video services unusable in practice and then exempting the providers own voice and video services from those caps would seem to fit squarely in the definition of "blocking". And, while you assert that it is "in fact reasonable" for them, it does not appear to be clearly within the scope of "reasonable network management" as defined in the Report and Order (it isn't unquestionably outside of it, either, the definition is explicitly designed to be refined through case-by-case analysis.)

It kind of sucks for the end user though since if everyone in a given area does it the effect is chilling.

Which, given the principles established in the Report and Order, would seem to be a factor weighing against the validity of the practice if it were to be adopted and subsequently challenged under the Order.

if data = speach then problem will solve itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37574070)

If there can be legal president set defining data as speech then all free speech rules would begin to apply. this would frame the network traffic in a way that US law could start to apply past rulings. It would at least be interesting to explore the legal consequences of defining data as speech.

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