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Cable Equal Access Case Goes to Supreme Court

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the equal-fishing-rights dept.

The Courts 351

DCTooTall writes "The FCC has ruled that Cable High-Speed Internet is an Information Service, and therefore not subject to the same equal access regulations that govern DSL. Brand-X Networks sued the FCC for equal access to the Cable Networks and won. The FCC appealed the decision and next Tuesday the case goes to the Supreme Court. The Telco's have repeatedly used the current FCC stance on Cable Broadband in their fight to get the same monopoly on DSL. This case has the potential to not only open the Cable networks to competition, but also prevent the Telco's from further attempts on limiting DSL options."

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351 comments

What? No first Post? (0, Offtopic)

killproc (518431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036897)

imagine that.

Re:What? No first Post? (3, Funny)

m3j00 (606453) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036907)

You should be receiving your subpoena for my lawsuit demanding equal access to first posts in 5 to 7 business days.

Wayne's World! Wayne's World! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12036902)

whooo ooooo oooooo!

Party on! Excellent!

A non-issue like getting local sports goes to SC (-1, Troll)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036911)

But something like the life or death matter of Terry Schiavo is not even looked at.

I'm all for an "activist court", but I'd rather see them take on the important decisions rather than having them decide whether I can get the local high school basketball game rather than the network broadcast.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12036979)

Oh, and GET SOME PRIORITIES!!!!

Why is the Schiavo case such a big deal? Has this kind of thing NEVER happened before?

Suck it up, you fucking pussy Americans! (-1, Troll)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036997)

People starve to death all of the time all the world over, and nobody does dick. Some damn American starves to death, and they make a big deal about it.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (0, Offtopic)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037023)

It has happened thousands of times before. What has never happened before is another party (her parents) having the money and the political savvy to involve politicians in the process.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037145)

And involving politicians is a sure way to make sure the right thing gets done.

They decided by not intervening. (-1, Offtopic)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036981)

By taking no action they gave their support to the status quo, i.e. one spouse has the right to make life an death decisions for the other. The sanctity of marriage some call it.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (0, Offtopic)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036993)

They're not considering Schiavo because every court has held that the Florida court has acted properly, and there's no legal reason to retry the case in a higher court. The Supreme Court isn't for Republicans who want to cry to mommy when daddy says "no". SC appeals require that justice has not been served in the lower court, and Schiavo's parents have had their days - years - in court. Let the husband bury his wife in peace, instead of perverting the entire system of US justice to have a political argument about metaphysics. Our courts are for mundane matters like network access, not for faith debates.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (-1, Offtopic)

Iamthewalrus (688963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037003)

The Supreme Court declined to look at the Schiavo case not because it's unimportant, but because the law in that area is quite well defined already. As much as the media and the right to lifers are talking this up, it's really not a contentious case with respect to Constitutional law.

Really? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037083)

If you take the position that the guardian of a severely handicapped spouse has the right to decide whether that spouse should live or die, can you extrapolate from that that guardians of severely mentally handicapped children should also be allowed to let those wards die?

If the law says that the spouse has the right to decide whether to prolong the life of a loved one in the absence of a living will, then where does this right end? Or better asked, where does it begin? Braindead? Severely mentally handicapped? Unable to resume normal life? Something even less severe?

There are quite a few questions that are still wide open in regards to this type of situation. Just because the Supreme Court decides that it's not interesting doesn't mean that they are right.

Re:Really? (1)

bluprint (557000) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037170)

Most of those questions aren't "still open" in THIS case, which is all the SC would have (correctly) considered.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037266)

I refuse to believe that the SC has made the correct decision to not hear this case. The ramifications of such a blank check to spouses is terrifying.

Whether you choose to put your complete trust in them is up to you.

The case law regarding this case is almost solely from previous decisions of this case itself. Therefore, none of it stands in the event that it is overturned. And if it is upheld, which it might very well have been, then we could have at least hoped for a better and more detailed analysis of the rights and responsibilities of a "surviving" spouse.

This is not some wacko Right to Life problem we're talking about. We're talking about the willful termination of the life of another human being. As far gone as their mind may be, without a living will, can a spouse (on the evidence of only their word) be able to terminate the spouse's life when challenges exist to the veracity of that evidence and the ability of transfer of guardianship to an interested party?

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037237)

The questions are NOT wide open they are VERY WELL DEFINED.

Her parents are trying to REDEFINE a VERY CLEAR set of rules.

If her parents get their way THEN chaos will ensue becuase there will no longer be a set of rules to follow. They will have violated logic, science, the law and common sense. After that what's left? Whim?

Great.

Re:Really? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037286)

Yes, the whim of her husband to terminate his wife's inconvenient life. No living will.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (-1, Offtopic)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037029)

This decision affects the nation, thus it should be in the highest courts. The Terry Schiavo case (god bless her soul) has already been decided by 17 judges... its getting ridiculous. Personally, I feel that unless a person specifies in writing that they don't want to be kept alive, assume the will to live and keep them alive as long as possible. But it doesn't matter what I think... I used to think that only big corporations could manipulate the courts, Terry Schiavo's parents have manipulated and abused the court system to no end. I would like to see Terry live, but obviously there is something in the husband's argument that is making sense to alot of judges. I don't know both sides of the story and something tells me its a little more in depth the "the husband wants her dead for reason X". Anyway... I digress, the point is that Terry Schiavo affects one person, not a nation, if you write in a living will that you wish to not be given artificial life support then your request will be honored. This won't set precedent for anything other then that families will disagree, it didn't belong in the court system to begin with (but don't even get me started on baseball...).
Regards,
Steve

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (-1, Offtopic)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037078)

if you write in a living will that you wish to not be given artificial life support then your request will be honored.

Except she didn't write a living will. The husband claims that she told him this but there is no written or recorded proof.

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037166)

So, sworn testimony should no longer be considered a valid form of evidence?

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037318)

Some how you have gotten off the subject here. This is about cable networks and not living wills and right to life..

Re:A non-issue like getting local sports goes to S (0, Offtopic)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037055)

One involves the FCC, which is a federal agency, while the other focuses on state law. Provided that the state law isn't violating some federal law, or especially the US constitution, the SCOTUS should definately put it pretty low on the priority list. Actually, I think the SCOTUS' policy is not to get involved at all in cases that are at the state level--that is, they are in the state's juristiction rather than federal jurisdiction.

Competition is good (1)

Rinzai (694786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036916)

At 5 Mbit, my cable broadband outstrips anything the telcos can offer, and without that embarrassing DSL 18,000-33,000 ft range problem.

The price is still a little hairy, though. If this opens up price competition, I'm liking it.

Re:Competition is good (5, Interesting)

DCTooTall (870500) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036996)

The Technology exists for the Telco's to improve DSL, such as ADSL2 and ADSL2+... not to mention Reach Extended ADSL.... The big problem is the Telco's have been slow to upgrade or really take full advantage of the available technology. They have repeatedly gone to the FCC crying that Cable doesn't need to share their lines, and that being forced to abide by the Equal Access rules it is holding them back. As a result, there have been many cases (such as the recent Anti-muni FCC ruling, or even Bellsouth's recent "Naked DSL" victory) in which a Bell has used the fact that Cable doesn't have to share in order to have a ruling in their favor, allowing them more in the way of monopoly control over DSL technology.

Re:Competition is good (3, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037167)

I'm going to break up your argument into two issues. That of sharing the lines and that of having two different companies playing under different rules.

Sharing the lines is something most are in favor of but I am not going to get into that.

Right now Telecos are forced by regulation to share their lines that they laid down and maintain for a fee that is around cost. That gives no one a reason to upgrade the networks. And BTW they are working to upgrading to fibre not measley ADSL2+. Having full control of their own lines meand that they can make a profit sooner and have more incentive to do so. They need to compete with cable, afterall.

Cable, on the other hand, supplies internet as well and is under no compulsion to share in either the internet of TV market. This gives them great reason to expand as they have a captive market on their lines and with a few small upgrades can drive the phone companies out of the business.

Cable offers TV and internet and is looking at doing phone. Telcos do phone and internet and are looking at doing TV. Why should one be forced to open up their lines and not the other for the same service? As for competition, they are already competing with each other (or the Telcos are trying but the forced line issue is incentive to not try) so why not have a level playing field to expand the competition?

Re:Competition is good (5, Interesting)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037295)

Having both, I can say that they both have their advantages.

DSL - static IP address, more upstream bandwidth, liberal use policy

Cable modem - more downstream bandwidth, and in a few cases about 2 hops closer to key backbones

Would I give up either? Not unless I can no longer afford to. They're both down up to 3 days a month, and thankfully those 3 days haven't overlapped yet. Plus, since I use a real linux router, and not some lameass linksys piece of shit, I can make use of both simultaneously. Not just failover, mind you, but round-robin connection marking through both. Can I download a single large file, making use of both? Not yet...

But supposing I scrape together enough talent to patch wget, I might be able to download a piece of the file over each, simultaneously.

So, let's just stop with the cable vs. dsl bullshit already, folks. Whichever you can get, or if both, whichever suits you, is best. It wasn't so long ago that we were all struggling along on 28.8k modems anyway.

That'll learn 'em. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12036917)

DSL is theft anyway. I don't know what insane trickery is involved in allowing voice AND data go over the same medium, but I don't like it. It smacks of devil-worship.

Re:That'll learn 'em. (1)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037222)

I don;'t know how this data moves with my voice and who carries it through these wires. I'm just a Cave Man. And all I know is that my client is innocent!!!! And before I wrap up let me tell you about Chewbacca...

Competition (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036927)

What cable competition really means:
  • Better prices
  • Better service
  • More jobs
  • Alternative services
  • Fresh thinking
  • Offspring markets

Re:Competition (5, Funny)

Mercano (826132) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037067)

What cable companies want you to think competition really means:
  • Communism

Re:Competition (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037096)

no, terrorism. multiple cable companies fragment the American mind and make us more susceptible to attack.

Re:Competition (1)

PyWiz (865118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037164)

It's funny because Communism CANNOT COEXIST with competition.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037184)

Bullshit.

There is nothing stopping any other company from laying it's own lines like most of the cable companies did an offer compeating services today.

What these "alternative" companies want is a free ride on the hard work and expense of others. They will bering nothing to the table and will actually deteriorate service.

The actual Phone service today is WORSE than it was when the telco was a monopoly. Price competition leads to inferior service on all fronts to the point of almost not being worth having.

The ONLY thing that the justtice dept should look into is Cable's price bundling practices. If it was illegal for MS thent the cable companies match the exact same criteria!

Re:Competition (3, Informative)

thinkliberty (593776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037285)

Look at the contract your cable company has with your town or county (depending on where you live.)

They prohibit another cable company from laying cable. So no one can compete, even if they wanted to lay their own cable.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037291)

I'm not sure who laid down the cable for cable TV service back in the day, but the phone infrastructure was paid for by you and me and our parents, out of tax money.

Personally, I say turn cable and telco service over to the government. You can't make them play nice with others as private companies, and you can't enfore real competition in the market while one company owns the infrastructure and everyone else is screwed.

Re:Competition (1)

Pionar (620916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037328)

There is nothing stopping any other company from laying it's own lines like most of the cable companies did an offer compeating services today.

What these "alternative" companies want is a free ride on the hard work and expense of others. They will bering nothing to the table and will actually deteriorate service.


And what did these established cable companies do to deserve the free ride? They didn't lay the wires. You and I paid for them. Municipalities for the large part own these systems. They give cable companies a "charter" to operate in their area.

The actual Phone service today is WORSE than it was when the telco was a monopoly. Price competition leads to inferior service on all fronts to the point of almost not being worth having.

What sources do you have? I get a better deal now than I ever did (and not with SBC), and with more services.

Re:Competition (2, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037195)

To bad no one addresses the real issues, cable companies are given monopolies by the counties which they offer cable in. When i lived back in Maryland, there was one cable provider that only serviced 1/2 of my county, sadly i was part of their jurisdiction. They offered no real services beyond basic cable, yet that was all i could get. Why? becuase the county didn't want Comcast to have a "monopoly" over the whole county, so they banned them from my part. So, I couldn't have high speed internet because it was in my best interests.

When government stops protecting companies and allows FREE MARKET we will all prosper.

Re:Competition (1)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037337)

When government stops protecting companies and allows FREE MARKET we will all prosper.


I was about to argue with you on that, but I actually agree with you. The gov't should only get involved when they need to punish the company.

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037244)

In theory, the above is true. In fact, I suspect what will happen is the same that happened with the Telecommunications Act - The phone companies will pay lip service to opening their infrastructure, then continue to barely meet their obligations to their competitors while quickly fulfilling their own orders. Northpoint and Covad did very well until, for some mysterious reason, the telcos started completing their requests for copper pairs very slowly, usually coming up with bogus excuses.

Then, of course, the telcos can charge whatever they want without regulation, since they have 'competition'...

So, what's needed is enforcement and regulation. I've got no idea how this can be accomplished in a private market, though.

Re:Competition (1)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037267)

The cable companies are generally granted limited
monopoly status regulated by a local (eg. county)
government, as opposed to the telcos falling under
Federal and (generally lenient) state regulatory
commissions.

The cable companies have additional incentive to
"build-out" their infrastructure for widespread
broadband access -- failure to meet (local)
government access requirements might lose them
their local monopoly. On the other hand, the
telcos "talk the talk" when it comes to widespread
broadband access (like FTTP), but they will not
"walk the walk" (for infrastructure improvements).

DSL technology is based upon the old Ma Bell POTS
infrastructure, as well as being limited to a
certain distance from the local CO (Central Office).
POTS service that is underground, or
is too far away from that CO means no DSL service,
and maybe not even ADSL service. Areas with
modern high density residential construction
gets the DSL service, not less profitable areas.

Ma Bell, as the national telephone monopoly, was
broken up too soon for the "digital" revolution.
A Federal monopoly could have been compelled to
provide equal access to more rural areas, which
is definately not the case today. Back in the
day, the Federal government induced competition
to bring electricity into rural areas. There is
no such populist sentiment today in regard to
broadband internet access. In fact, the regional
telcos are using state legislatures to mark out
"future" captive markets for municipal WiFi,
which will never happen in many juridictions.

Cable will never saturate rural markets, due to
the shear expense of the final mile. Unfortunately
there is little competition for the only rural
alternative for broadband internet access, by
way of bidirectional satellite, which is bloody
expensive.

Re:Competition (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037319)

Is the cost of that, though, that companies will be less willing to build that sort of infrastructure down the road.

I mean, seriously, would you spend billions of dollars laying fibre if you're just building it for your competitors?

government involvement? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12036933)

If cable companies paid to put in their infrastructure, why should they be required to share it? Or, worded differently, did the govt. help pay to put in their system?

Re:government involvement? (4, Informative)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037070)

In almost all cases, yes, there was some form of government subsidy, whether it be by allowing only one cable company for a given locality, or giving free right-of-way for the lines to be run, or other such consideration.

Re:government involvement? (2, Insightful)

DCTooTall (870500) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037110)

The Telco's paid for their networks too.... The big difference is that there are existing regulations... and zoning laws... that prevent others from laying down their own cable... or even phone service lines. In essence, the Cable companies have a legalized monopoly just like Ma Bell did years ago. The difference is Ma Bell was forced to break apart into the Baby Bells and to open their network up to competition. The Cable companies have not....yet. And nobody is saying they have to provide FREE equal access... they are free to charge in the same way the bells do to CLECs currently. (Even though the Bells own the phone networks, it was CLECs like Covad, Northpoint, etc who drove the DSL revolution, and forced the Bells to get into the business. Hopefully the same type of innovation will help drive Cable technology advancement.)

In Plain English? (2, Interesting)

Chris Kamel (813292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036934)

Could someone please explain this "regulations" thing to non-americans?

Re:In Plain English? (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036998)

There is no plain english explanation. This is why most americans don't understand how badly they are being fucked by the fcc.

Re:In Plain English? (0, Troll)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037035)

Hey, at least we don't need a license to own a television.

Re:In Plain English? (4, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037042)

Local telephone companies (who own the wires) are required by law to sell allow other companies access to their wires (whereby the other company can supply local service) at below market costs. Sometimes around or below how much it costs them to maintain the wires as well. This way we can have competition between multiple local phone companies on the same set of wires. This was extended to DSL some years ago.

Now, Cable companies (who sometimes own the wires and sometimes don't, in my are the county officially owns the wires and we still only have one cable company) are not required to open up their cable lines to competing companies.

Re:In Plain English? (1)

first.last (751698) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037098)

INO: they're money hungry, greedy, congress bribing bastards.

Re:In Plain English? (3, Informative)

mamladm (867366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037104)

With Cable Internet services the Cable TV operator is the only internet service provider on the cable network and no other provider has any right to gain access to that network providing their own service.

With DSL services the situation is different. Internel service providers have the right to get access to the telco's network to provide their own service over DSL in competition with the telco that owns the wires.

The telcos would like to get the same monopoly status that cable operators have. Internet service providers would like to get the same access right to cable networks that they have to telco's DSL networks.

The FCC has tried to argue that there is a difference between cable and DSL that justifies the difference in access rights. Not everybody agrees with that view and so the issue went to the courts.

Re:In Plain English? (3, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037330)

Interestingly enough, the telcos getting monopoly status over their lines may lead to an increase in competition:

Telcos upgrade to fibre to the home to compete with cable (Verizon is doing this).
Cable operators drop price/increase bandwidth to compete with Telcos.
Telcos offer Video services.
Cable offers better deals to compete.
Cable offers phone service to compete with Telcos.
Telcos offer better deals to compete.

At this point in technology the two are evolving into natural competitors on multiple fronts.

If the cable corps have to open the lines, it can mean more competition on that front. Either way so long as the status quo is not maintained consumers come out ahead.

Re:In Plain English? (1)

PyWiz (865118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037203)

Just wondering, what country do you live in exactly? As far as I know we Americans have to put up with the _least_ government intervention in business of most first world countries.

Re:In Plain English? (1)

znaps (470170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037278)

And if he's in the UK, he should be familiar with all the hassle with BT phonelines and competition. It's not that different.

Re:In Plain English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037327)

For a start, take a look at wikipedia [answers.com] .

Probably the most important part is the difference between regulations and laws. Instead of congress passing a law requiring xyz. Congress passes a law giving the executive branch the power to regulate something and a goal. Then the executive branch decides how to reach that goal by requiring xyz. The idea is to give the executive branch more power to make rapid changes in regulations to adjust to current conditions. In truth it's usually an excuse for congress to avoid making the hard decisions, and instead require the executive branch to make them.

How the news does travel. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12036938)

I submitted this as a story back in December, and it was rejected.

Ob: "slasdot sucks!" comment (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037018)

Should've submitted it twice. That'd do the trick!

the real problem (4, Interesting)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036942)

is the FCC. They started this new philosophy of "let's deregulate, and all our problems will go away," and look what happened. The media sources are consolidating, and the telcos are consolidating. Did the FCC WANT this to happen? Sometimes I think so, since it seems so damn obvious that it would. Why would you EVER want to monopolise the cable and telephone lines? How is DSL NOT an information service? The FCC has to recognise that whether it's IP over coax or fibre or phone line or WHATEVER, it's still internet service. They've just really turned the wrong way in the last few years, and it's hurting us all.

Re:the real problem (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037093)


They've just really turned the wrong way in the last few years, and it's hurting us all.


So you want more, or less FCC regulation over the market?

Re:the real problem (5, Insightful)

igjeff (15314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037095)

Unfortunately, you're suffering from, apparently, the same lack of understanding that the FCC is.

There are two services in play, here.

The first is DSL or cable modem service, which are clearly telecommunications services. These are the actual DSL or cable modem signalling over the wire.

Then there's the Internet Access overtop of the DSL or cable modem service. This is correctly classified by the FCC as an information service. Their problem (and apparently yours as well) is that they/you don't realize that DSL and cable modem service isn't *inherently* Internet service. DSL has, quite successfully, been used for non-Internet services, and cable modems could easily be used in the same ways. The FCC's stance on DSL and cable modem service, however, has made most of these uses uneconomical. A more reasonable stance, that takes into consideration of the layered nature of networking technologies, would much more realistically align the regulatory environment with the real world...both technically, and wrt competitiveness. (Internet service is competitive, DSL transport service is notsomuch).

Jeff

Re:the real problem (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037132)

Exactly!

The FCC wants the DSL guys to have a monopoly too!!!

Thus no slashdot broadband..or my local dsl guys i guess since qwest could do it sooo much better for the country :O See we do notice the ads, hehe.

Dont RTFA it's scary ;p

Re:the real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037241)

They started this new philosophy of "let's deregulate, and all our problems will go away"

Well, we keep electing Republicans, so we're getting what we ask for. That's not a flame or anything, just an observation that this is clearly within their agenda, and we elected them for their agenda.

Note: Slashdot has a vocal Libertarian component, and they are also in favor of deregulation and anything else that gets the government out of the market. Sometimes that results in monopolies.

My favorite solution is to have the government own the last-mile wires. Low-bidder gets the maintenance contract, and every company in existance gets to pay the same fees to provide access over the wires. It's a free market without someone having a stranglehold on the choke points.

Re:the real problem (2, Informative)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037323)

Just FYI, deregulation started in the 90s, under Clinton...

"Naked Cable" (5, Interesting)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036948)

If the cable companies are forced to open their networks, it would hopefully allow one to eventually obtain "naked cable." I'd like cable internet access, but the price for non-subscribers is $20 over their already inflated price.

Re:"Naked Cable" (4, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037016)

Doesn't your cable provider offer Cinemax?

Re:"Naked Cable" (1)

PoPRawkZ (694140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037046)

That is one of the largest limiting factors for many people. When I got my first apartment I had to wait a few months for my income to stabilize to be able to afford the $50 a month for high speed as well as $40 a month for the 'basic' digital cable. Regular cable was only $15 a month, however you had to get the 'basic' digital package for $40 a month if you wanted high speed. A service that I'd gladly pay $40 a month for turned into a $90+taxes ($105) a month service.

Re:"Naked Cable" (1)

Pionar (620916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037141)

That's interesting. What service do you have? I have Bright House in Indianapolis. At first, I too had both digital basic and high speed internet. Then I realized that my tv habits didn't justify the cost, so I called and said that I wanted to cancel the cable tv, but keep the internet service. I found out what you did, that the non-subscriber rate was $20 more than the subscriber rate. The customer service rep was nice. She told me that if I changed to the "basic" basic cable at $6.95/mo, which only includes local channels, I would still be considered a subscriber. So I did that.

But here's the sweet part. Although they picked up the digital box, they forgot to switch me down to the basic basic cable. So, for the last 3 months, I've been paying $6.95 for the $40 full basic cable service.

Re:"Naked Cable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037292)

Haha! Not for much longer. Caught you, you bastard.

Yours sincerly
Mr B. House

Re:"Naked Cable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037059)

They already have "Naked Cable". . . It's called "Spice Channel"

--AC

Competetion is good (4, Interesting)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036949)

I hope it happens. It'd be nice to finally be able to get better than 2mbit down and 256kbit up.

Re:Competetion is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037020)

I agree. In NY there is a competitive environment and RCN offers 10Mbit connections.

Re:Competetion is good (1)

theVP (835556) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037180)

And maybe they'll let me use an ftp server, and not fuck me in the ass with their disallowance of game servers too. Its really hard to play online games that require you to be the host every now and then...

Re:Competetion is good (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037185)

There is competition. I can go with the more expensive DSL that's slower (2048/256), makes me have a voice line, doesn't block ports, and gives me ISP choice or I can go with Cable which is cheaper, makes me have CATV as well, blocks all server ports, and is faster (3000/384).

I chose DSL.

So you are saying that somehow, if DSL had competition, it would get faster? They are slower with Cable competition so I really don't see your point.

One possible bad outcome from this is ... (2, Insightful)

My_guzzi (306998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12036972)

One possible bad outcome from this is that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate any of it. ... and the Phone company ( was one big one, then baby bells and now ...) and the cable companies and do what ever they want .....the courts are going more and more big bisness..

Re:One possible bad outcome from this is ... (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037134)


One possible bad outcome from this is that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate any of it. ... and the Phone company ( was one big one, then baby bells and now ...) and the cable companies and do what ever they want .....the courts are going more and more big bisness..


If the FCC has no jurisdiction over cable systems, how are courts going "more and more big business"?

Surely you don't suggest the FCC can just arbitrarly choose what they have authority over?

tired of hearing about her (-1, Offtopic)

weavermatic (868696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037027)

My response to Schiavo: Paging Dr. Kavorkian. Dr. Kavorkian to the vegetable ward please.

Telcos as a monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037032)

Done there, been that...remember the 1970s?
If the FCC wanted the telcos to become a monopoly again, all they would need to o is ask the Supreme Court to go back on their earlier decision to break up ATT&T and the local BellCos.

So in the words of Nappy Dyn-o-mite, "...IDIOT...".

from TFA (2, Informative)

killawatt5k (846409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037043)

"High-speed Internet connections are not telephones," HA!

Re:from TFA (1)

Pionar (620916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037192)

Then how did I call my sister in another state last night with SkypeOut?

Techinal Problems (5, Interesting)

steve6534 (809539) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037073)

While this could be a good thing for customers there are several technical considerations to look at. 1. There is not enough upstream bandwidth in a typical cable plant for several providers to provide their own service over a seperate cmts. 2. If multiple service providers try to offer their brand of "service" over the same cmts there wouldn't be a difference in service from what there is today (Except content) If one provider tried to sell a higher bandwidth package it would affect customers from all different providers on the same cmts. 3. Who pay's to maintain, power, and house the cmts ? The way that dsl ir provided (Each ISP installing their own DSLAM) works great because there is a seperation of where the last mile to the customer terminates - The only leased telco facilty is the copper from the service address to the CO. If service providers had to share the same DSLAM and had a limit of bandwidth that could be provided dsl would be a huge disaster.

Re:Techinal Problems (4, Informative)

BumbaCLot (472046) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037126)

Wrong, they actually do.
Not all ISPs have to supply DSLAMs to share DSL with telcos. I work for an ISP and we sell Verizon and SBC DSL. We are charged for lineshares by both companies. With Verizon we provide them with DLCI numbers and have static IPs for our customers. With SBC, their Redback routers look at the username and route to our system based on that.

Am I missing the point here? (3, Insightful)

BigZee (769371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037080)

As far as I can see, the issue here whether the cable network should be opened in the same was as the phone network. However, isn't it the case that the phone network is considered to be a public asset whereas the cable network is a private one? This is certainly the case in the UK where the phone network is a public network that is gradually being made open to any internet supplier. However, there's no reason that I can see that Telewest or NTL should be expected to open a network that they put there own private money into. Is this not exactly the same thing? If it is, although one might like the cable company to open it's networks, it doesn't seem to me that there is any obligation or regulation that should expect it.

Re:Am I missing the point here? (1)

Pionar (620916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037247)

However, isn't it the case that the phone network is considered to be a public asset whereas the cable network is a private one?

No. The phone companies own the wires. They are required, however, to allow other companies to "lease" their lines at cost.

The problem was that breaking up Ma Bell didn't solve anything because the baby bells were still monopolies in their areas. Then, the telcos started merging (SBC with Ameritech and some others) and now, you've got almost the same situation. You've got four or five companies that own all the lines. So, the FCC forced the companies to open their lines up.

Cable is usually just the opposite. Usually a municipality owns the cable network and grants licenses to companies. These companies in turn lobby so that they can get a monopoly over an area. Here in Indianapolis, there's two cable companies. Bright House serves the center of the city and Comcast serves the outlying areas (relatively outlying, that is).

Re:Am I missing the point here? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037265)

Are other cable companies allowed to lay their own cable in these neighborhoods? If not then they have locked out competition and have an unfair monopoly.

Has the cable company paid the government for the use of public property to run their cables? If not, the public space is being used with no compensation, and being forced to allow other companies to use the lines to service the public may be seen as fair returns to the public for the use of that space.

It seems under either of these conditions, requiring the cable company to rent out some bandwidth to other companies (for a fair usage fee) might be quite reasonable.

Interesting trade-off... (5, Insightful)

Giant Space Hamster (157354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037101)

The FCC is basically offering the cable companies a de facto monopoly on cable internet in order to ensure that more people can get connected and the size of the network is increased. After all, if the cable company has a monopoly, the only way it can really grow is to hook up more people.

But if, on the other hand, other companies are permitted to use the network, the cable companies may feel that expanding their network is not worth the cost, thus preventing people from ever getting high-speed internet.

Personally, I think it's a relatively hard decision to make. Allowing the monopoly screws over those people who already can get cable internet, but offers the greatest incentive to extend access to more people. Not allowing the monopoly gives cheaper prices to those with cable internet, but pretty much ensures that the networks won't get expanded, especially to more rural areas.

Perhaps a compromise of a limited-time monopoly would be best. Cable companies get a 5-year monopoly on new networks, and afterwards must open them up to competition.

Re:Interesting trade-off... (3, Interesting)

newdamage (753043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037256)

I'd like whatever you're smoking, please.

The FCC is going to give them a monopoly so they can grow and increase the size of their network? When has that ever happened? In every case of a monopoly all that happens is that progress stagnates and prices go up.

Examples?
Intel: if it weren't for AMD we'd all still be using PII 500's and paying out the nose for them.

Microsoft: we have Apple and Linux to thank for MS even acknowledging that Windows might have flaws that need fixing.

Comcast is the monopoly where I live (Tallahassee, FL), and all that means is that they can afford to do rediculous things like charge an extra $15 for naked cable (more than just getting bare bones local channels + high speed), having crappy service, and inflated prices.

Where's their incentive to improve? I'd love to have other options.

Re:Interesting trade-off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037282)

Why would a company expand service to make more money when they can just jack up the price for the current customers?

Time Warner Already has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037109)

Way back when Time Warner and AOL merged. They had to open up their cable network to other broadband providers. Now you can get service via Earthlink thru their cable system as well as others.

DSL was guaranteed in the Constitution (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037111)

Here, let me download you a copy.

I don't know about you... (3, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037127)

but I've never gotten "information" from my cable modem provider. All they sell is a pipe and the information comes from elsewhere. It's not that much different than using the telephone, in which case the "information" comes from the people I call, not the phone company.

Re:I don't know about you... (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037314)

By the same logic, a libary is not an information service as the information comes from the books, the library is just a provider (the pipe in cable internet) of books.

bipolar (1)

natedubbya (645990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037178)

Being the computer loser I am, I wholly support opening up the lines to increase competition, thus reducing my outrageous broadband fees I'm currently paying. However, if I was a cable company and I personally laid thousands of miles of cable lines, I'd be royally ticked off if the government forced me to offer the lines as free grass to any Joe Schmoe with an internet hookup.

Of course, the former argument sways me more because I don't actually own a cable company. Considering most Americans are like me, I'll bet polls show everyone wants the lines opened.

Cable (1)

fanblade (863089) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037194)

I'm currently paying US$108/mo for digital standard cable + high speed cable internet from Time Warner. This seems like way too much to me, but I haven't seen any better deals out there. Has anyone else?

VoIP (0)

mikes.song (830361) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037201)

Could this effect VoIP?

The FCC should not be able to regulate VoIP, because it does not use the airwaves.

At the same time, the government should not allow cable co's to block VoIP, because the cable co's can not be allowed to monoplize the land lines.

If the cable co's want to sale Internet access, they have to let one use the Internet however they want. If all the cable co's want to block a port, or access to something, then the Government should step in and regulate. If the Government wants to allow the cable co's to block the way info is shared, VoIP or whatever, then the people should take to the streets.

I hate subjects (5, Interesting)

weavermatic (868696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037207)

I always hate how aprtment complexs always try to tell people that only one type of broadband service is available in their buildings. Liek where I live now, they told me I would have to go through Qwest. Meaning I would have to have Qwest phone service plus shitty Qwest DSL. Instead I called Speakeasy, had Covad come out and install some sort of bypass so I dont' need a phone line, and now i have 6mbit down 768 up with tons of extras for $100 a month, and I can resell the bandwidth on a wireless access point. Screw telcos.

Is the cable company a common carrier? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037208)

The deal with a common carrier is that a common carrier has to accept anyone's traffic. ie. If the railroad ships wheat for company X then they can not refuse to ship wheat for company Y.

Cable did not start as a common carrier. It started with small providers grabbing signals off the air and stuffing them into the cable to sell to their subscribers. Since they weren't charging the TV stations to get their signals to the subscribers, they weren't acting as common carriers. They weren't charging people to get their signals somewhere.

Telegraph started out as common carrier in that if they sent messages for company X, they had to send messages for company Y.

Telephone is a common carrier because they were forced to be one. I think that will happen to the cable companies too. The minute they started dabbling in internet services and telephone, they opened the gate and they won't be able to shut it.

Another Option (3, Interesting)

Kefaa (76147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037216)

This case has the potential to not only open the Cable networks to competition, but also prevent the Telco's from further attempts on limiting DSL options."


Or, it could allow the Court to redress what it may see as a fact no longer in existence. They could decide that equal access is unenforceable regardless, in which case the telcos would be allow to prevent competitors from using their equipment.

You can never tell in these cases because the SC can be thinking anything. But I do agree, it will have an impact.

Re:Another Option (1)

JoeNiner (758431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037246)

This case has the potential to not only open the Cable networks to competition, but also prevent the Telco's from further attempts on limiting DSL options.

Or the author is simply pulling this out of his ass. The article says nothing of the sort, and so far the FCC has seen telephone lines as a completely seperate system.

I Don't Get It (4, Interesting)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037220)

The FCC is supposedly there to help the public out by regulating phones, internet, RF, etc ... Why would they appeal this sort of thing? It should be blatently obvious to anyone that opening up cable lines to outside companies is in the public interest (even if the cable companies gripe and do a half-ass job at it). I mean, sure, they can defend themselves in the first suit just to defend themselves. But why appeal it? This is ridiculous. The operation of the cable companies as monopolies is obvious ... with their erroneous fees here and there, their slow service, the whole "wait 60 days until you get service again", bundling services so you can't get internet unless you have cable, etc, etc. None of this stuff would be as bad as it currently is if there was true competition, because they would be out of business at the drop of a hat! I think the FCC positions need to be elected or something, so at least there is SOME pressure to serve the public interest.

monopoly question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12037236)

I thought the phone companies had to share the lines because the government gave them the monopoly to lay down all the wires. Are cable companies granted the same monopoly rights in their laying of cable?

Isn't the problem local government? (1)

hirschma (187820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037263)

Isn't the local monopoly status of most cable companies granted by the local muncipality? Doesn't the local muncipality have the power to insist on common carrier status for Internet access? I know that more savvy communities used to hold the cable companies for community access channels, video equipment, classes, etc.

Is this just another situation where the elected officials are not working in the best interest of their constituents?

jh

Sillyness (4, Interesting)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12037331)

This is silly.. if you don't like the cable company, work to change it.

EVERY cable company must have a contract with the local city/town to operate.

I worked at a public access TV station in a small town during this. They are usually 3-7 year contracts, the cable comittee is usually made up of people from the town/city.

Our managed to get MediaOne (at the time) to give free cable modems to all the schools, as well as free cable service, on top of what they were required to give the public access TV station. They also had to agree to offer high speed access across the entire town in 2 years or less.

It came VERY close to dumping them and going with Adelphia.. if that happened then everybody in the the town would switch to Adelphia and MediaOne (now Comcast) would have been OUT.

Also, you can get Earthlink service over cable via Comcast..
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