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FCC Reminds ISPs That They Can Be Fined For Lacking Transparency

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the beware-the-$5-fine dept.

Communications 38

An anonymous reader writes The FCC issued a notice on Wednesday reminding ISPs that, according to the still-intact transparency rule of the 2010 Open Internet Order, they are required to be transparent about their services. "The FCC's transparency rule requires that consumers get the information they need to make informed choices about the broadband services they purchase." Applicable scenarios include "poorly worded service offers or inaccurate counts of data against a data cap...[as well as] blocking or slowing certain types of traffic without explaining that to the customer." The transparency rule gives the FCC the power to fine ISPs for non-compliance.

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Transpaerncy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521831)

Lots of talk about from that from this Administration , that but it's all very opaque from the President on down.

Re:Transpaerncy (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47522263)

Lots of talk about from that from this Administration , that but it's all very opaque from the President on down.

They DO claim that "This Is The Most Transparent Administration In History." Problem is that it is only enforcing this transparency on others.

Well, to be fair, it's pretty obvious what "transparency" means to them. It's obviously a "You show me yours!" without any "I'll show you mine" kind of transparency. But being obvious what they are up to, it's "transparency" in a opaque sort of way...

Re:Transpaerncy (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47525455)

I'm pretty sure this administration is making sure that there are no backups available, and shredding HDD's as we speak. Then they can simply claim that in the "interest of transparency" that the data no longer exists.

About time (3, Funny)

rainfay (757211) | about 4 months ago | (#47521843)

About time, now will the actually follow through with it.

Re: About time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522101)

How about a simple rule that says "The customer gets whatever deal is stated in the largest font as understood by a five year old." That would eliminate almost all marketing BS.

Re: About time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522411)

..and the cheapest plan would be $1M/month because the average five year old has almost as stupid expectations as the average internet user.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Andrio (2580551) | about 4 months ago | (#47522433)

In 2013... ...Verizon had 120.5 billion in revenue, 32 billion in operating income. ...Comcast had 64.7 billion in revenue, 16.6 billion in operating Income. ...AT&T had had 128.8 billion in revenue, 30.5 billion in operating income.

What does this tell me? That unless the fine is a percentage of their profit (which to my knowledge doesn't happen in the US), internet providers probably aren't too worried about it. In fact, if lack of transparency nets them more profit than they lose by paying the fine, it's only good business to continue breaking the rule.

Re:About time (2)

Andrio (2580551) | about 4 months ago | (#47522443)

Damn, my formatting broke. Sorry about that!

Hey Slashdot, how about a useful feature in Beta? Like a 5 minute window to edit your post!

Re:About time (0)

maharvey (785540) | about 4 months ago | (#47523401)

Wish I had mod points. That would be very useful indeed.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47526105)

And a fucking button allowing to send a "fuck beta" message every time you face this vomit

Re:About time (1)

Lando (9348) | about 4 months ago | (#47532425)

These numbers don't seem to make much sense to be. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but if the revenue isn't coming from operations, where is it coming from? Do you have a link to where these numbers are coming from?

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47550615)

They can always charge 50-500k per misleading commercial per day, effectively making it a very high tax on misleading commercials, scaling with company size (number of commercials). Should be enough to put anybody not contributing 50% of the PBI out of business.

FCC Reminds American Public... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522633)

...that they aren't doing anything about net neutrality.

 

Re:FCC Reminds American Public... (1)

HappyPsycho (1724746) | about 4 months ago | (#47523503)

Given the pushback from the supreme court and lack of fuck given by congress this is actually one of the few ways the FCC can actually enforce net neutrality (or in this case force the ISPs to say up front they are not neutral, which assuming an educated public should result in lost business to the non-net neutral ISPs).

Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (5, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47521859)

If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule? Plenty of ISPs were (and some still are) throttling YouTube, and I don't think I saw a single notice from the ISPs themselves about it. I would think that YouTube counts as a "certain type of traffic" for the purposes of this rule.

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47522063)

If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule? Plenty of ISPs were (and some still are) throttling YouTube, and I don't think I saw a single notice from the ISPs themselves about it. I would think that YouTube counts as a "certain type of traffic" for the purposes of this rule.

ISP's get fined all the time. The fines are not advertised unless the FCC wants to make a political statement. I suspect this press release is a shot over the bow of one or more ISP's over a particularly egregious case that may even be local and not on our radar yet.

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47522081)

who is throttling youtube?

hosting video content on the internet without paying a CDN or directly peering with ISP's is asking for trouble

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47522273)

who is throttling youtube?

hosting video content on the internet without paying a CDN or directly peering with ISP's is asking for trouble

Right, Google is very friendly with the ISPs. I doubt there is any throttling of Youtube happening.

Re: Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522667)

Say that to my buffering videos

Re: Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47522863)

who says i'ts your ISP's fault?
how do you know where the video is being served from? for all you know it's from 3000 miles away and has to travel over 3 or 4 different networks

Re: Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 months ago | (#47523191)

for all you know it's from 3000 miles away and has to travel over 3 or 4 different networks

If its coming from 3000 miles away and transiting over 3 or 4 different networks, the its certainly his fault and not his isp's fault.

This is the sort of thing that happens when you don't use your ISP's (or at least one on their network) name server.

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522691)

There was a lot of congestion with YouTube but not as mush in the past ~6 months. I would bet money changed hands, or some back-room deal was made. Notice how Youtube recently started rating all ISPs as "HD Awesome" (or whatever).

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47525385)

who is throttling youtube?

hosting video content on the internet without paying a CDN or directly peering with ISP's is asking for trouble

At&t definately is throttling both youtube and netflix.

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522159)

Because they don't technically throttle, refusing to upgrade the link to a specific carrier technically isn't throttling, and you'll have a hard time saying it's a specific type of traffic as well. What's mostly happening is simply letting a border router saturate, the fix is to invest money in the router. It doesn't really matter that it's a trivial amount of money, the FCC will have a very hard time convincing a judge that they invested their money in the wrong spot or that they are activitly sabatoging that carrier (even though it's true, they'll just claim they have the right to pick where to invest in upgrades, they never spent a penny in making youtube/netflix slow). That's really the issue with a lot of this, none of the ISPs have spent a penny in making any website slow, they are not imposing caps or limits on any service like netflix or youtube, they are simply doing a piss poor job at delivering that content and refusing to do a better job, and for the most part their advertising says they don't guarentee anything (so they have no requirement to improve). If they had real competition they might have a motive to invest in their network, but they have no competition.

Re:Why haven't they fined practically every ISP? (2)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 4 months ago | (#47522289)

If this order still stands, why hasn't the FCC fined practically every ISP under this rule?

It seems they've got quite a lot of bark, but not enough bite. Unless it comes to boobs on TV.

Gasp! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521929)

It's refreshing to see that the FCC can and does behave like a regulatory agency. Despite all the "discussion" over Net Neutrality and all the maneuvers that appear to fly in the face of what consumers and end users want, this is a move that makes sense. Forgive my overt cynicism, but I can't ignore the fact that the individuals heading the FCC in recent years have all been former CEOs of the telcos they have been trying to *cough* regulate. There have been apt analogies by John Oliver that leaving these folks to runn the FCC is akin to "leaving the dingo to watch the baby."

In a logical market, the consumer's wants and needs are supposed to be what drives the market. If a customer wants a smartphone, it should be a device provided at the point of sale with a cellualr service. Customers do not want the bloatware that the telcos push on them. From a network security standpoint, there is nothing more frustrating than apps that just appear on the device without customer interaction. Telcos have become too greedy for thier own good and it is simply a matter of time before the trend in business of "self-regulation" will fail to work. Arguably, and across multiple industries, it already has.

Re:Gasp! (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47521973)

Keep in mind, this represents the FCC _talking_ like a regulator, not _acting_ like one.

Re:Gasp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522009)

I can dream, can't I?

Re:Gasp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47523209)

You, sir, are a communist.

Attitudes like this kill jobs.

God Bless America.

Enhanced IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47521975)

Perhaps this might be helpful to Enhanced IP? e.g. a very new alternative protocol to IPv6. (www.enhancedip.org)

A note to consumers as well? (1)

GenaTrius (3644889) | about 4 months ago | (#47522217)

Perhaps they're also trying to send a message to consumers to not suffer illegal charges in silence. The FCC can't audit every single bill that an ISP sends to it's customers to see if it's in line with that ISP's advertisements, but consumers are hopefully pretty conscious of what they're paying for internet service. How many people do you know who, when faced with an egregious bill for internet or cell phone service, send a letter to the FCC?

Election Season (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522253)

Election fundraising season is close to the end and certain politicians need more money. This is just extortion -- nice ISP you have there; would be a shame if you had some FCC trouble.

But who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47522435)

fines the FCC when they are not transparent?

I can hear it now... (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 4 months ago | (#47522597)

"Peace In Our Time."

Re:I can hear it now... (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 4 months ago | (#47523733)

"I promise I won't cum in your mouth."

Still no jurisdiction (1)

gavron (1300111) | about 4 months ago | (#47522965)

Lots of posters are asking why ISPs are not getting fined... why the FCC hasn't done anything... and nobody's asked the important question: "What CAN the FCC actually do?"

This article by CommLaw (really great outfit that analyzes communication, broadband, ISP, VoIP, and carrier law) puts it in great perspective:
http://www.commlawblog.com/tag... [commlawblog.com]

The FCC is unable to regulate ISPs since they deregulated them and declared them not to be common carriers. The reason that the FCC won't make ISPs be common carriers is (as has been discussed before countless times) the incumbent carriers DON'T WANT the ISPs to get the privileges (and lower rates) of being carriers... so they lobby hard to prevent anyone else from being carriers.

That leaves the FCC in the position of putting out these stupide "reminder memos" because they really have no enforcement actions to take. That's why they've done nothing.

Ehud

Re:Still no jurisdiction (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 4 months ago | (#47523341)

So here's the first thing I thought of after reading the summary. The quotes in the summary make it sound like a case of false advertising, deceptive practices, and/or fraud. While the FCC might not have the authority to do anything about the problem, what about the FTC? Can the FTC slap them around more than the FCC can?

misleading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47526807)

they mean LITTLE isps who don't bow down will be forced to be extra transparent..

but our good friends over at comcast, time warner and the other big guys... you keep fucking people however you want.

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